Trashed / Page 55

Page 55


“It was special for me too, Des—” he starts.

“No,” I say, feeling the truth lodged in my throat, and knowing it’s a bomb, knowing it’s going to explode and going to cause pain. “You don’t get it.”

“I do, Des. I really do. It was surreal, and I can see where you’re coming from, how you’d think it’s too good to be true. But I’m just a guy, at the end of the day.”

I blink away tears. “No, Adam. You really don’t get it. You can’t.”

He goes still, quiet. He suspects something deeper now. “Then what, Des?” His eyes narrow, and rove down my body, assessing. “We didn’t—I mean, you’re not—”

My eyes widen, realizing what he thinks. “No! God, no. I’m not pregnant. Jesus, I’d have told you that.”

“Then what?”

I breathe deep, let it out. Make my eyes go to his. “That night, Adam…” God, it’s so hard to make the words come out. “You were my first.”

His eyes close, blink, and he runs his palm over his face, massaging his temples. He leans forward, elbows on his knees. “Tell me you’re joking.”

I shake my head, but words won’t come out. I have to clear my throat of the ache, the tears I’m suppressing. “No one ever made me feel the way you did. There was one guy before you, we made out and he wanted to cop a feel, and I just couldn’t. The panic attack, that first day we met? That’s what it was about. If guys got close to me, tried to touch me, I would freak. Couldn’t breathe. Froze up. I just couldn’t let men get close to me, physically or emotionally. Any male that’s ever been in my life has, at best, been indifferent, just treating me as one more foster kid going through the system. At worst, they were Frank Platte, sexually molesting me.

“And then I met you. And you saw me. Like I meant something. Like I was worth looking at, worth talking to.” It’s harder and harder not to cry, because Adam isn’t moving, looking at me, or responding. “You had this way of…making me feel comfortable. Of not being afraid. And I was sick of being scared of men. I was sick of being a virgin. And you made me feel good.”

“I took your virginity.” His voice is pained. “Jesus fucking Christ, Des! Why didn’t you fucking tell me?”

“Because you’d treat me differently. You’d have wanted to make it a big deal.” It’s hard to talk, hard to even whisper. Looking at him is totally out of the question.

“It is a big deal, Des! It’s like, the biggest deal. You were a virgin? And I fucked you like—”

Anger blazes through me and I find my voice. “Don’t…you…dare.” I shoot to my feet and stand over him. He peers up at me with conflicted, hurt, and angry eyes. “Don’t you fucking dare make it less for me than it was. It was exactly what I wanted. It was more than that.”

“Did I hurt you?”

I shake my head and lift a shoulder. “Not any more than it would have anyway.”

“So it did hurt.”

“Adam. Jesus. With everything that happened before, how good you made me feel, both before and after, that part was like…not even worth thinking about.” I pace away. “This is why I didn’t tell you then, and why I didn’t want to have this conversation. It was my decision to make, and I did so eyes wide open.”

He lurches to his feet, drains his half-full beer in three long swallows, and then sets it down on the table far too gently. “I need a few minutes. I need to think.” He’s out the door, scrubbing a palm over his head.

The door slams, and I’m alone. The only sound is the ticking of a clock somewhere in the apartment.

Chapter 13

My head, heart, and body are at war. At the moment, my head is winning.

Des had been a virgin.

It all made sense. Her hesitation. Her panic attack. How incredibly responsive she was, how shy in some ways. And then, how hungry, how voracious for more. Even the way she shut down the next morning made sense.

But she hadn’t told me. She knew how I’d react, and she’d intentionally not told me. It hurt. It made me angry. That’s not something you keep from a guy. It just isn’t. I feel justified in being pissed off, but the logical part of me also understands where she’s coming from.

Only, logic doesn’t mean shit in the face of pain.

I find myself outside, stalking angrily down the sidewalk. And I realize if I walk too far, I’ll get lost. Which, at the very least, will just piss off Oliver. So I make myself stop, turn around, and walk back toward my building more slowly. I turn it over in my head, trying to think it through rather than just reacting.

And then I see Des on the sidewalk ahead of me, walking away from my building.

I catch up to her, grab her by the arms and stand in front of her, stopping her forward progress. “Des, where the hell are you going?”

She jumps and gasps in surprise, then jerks free, shoves me backward. “Get off me, Adam.” I’m confused, now. Which one of us is supposed to be pissed off?

I growl in irritation and jog past her again, stopping in front of her. “Des, hold on. Just talk to me. Where are you going?”

“You left.” She says this like it explains everything, and then starts walking past me once more.

I don’t know how to stop her, how to make her listen, how to make her understand. So I do something desperate. I stop her with my body, grab her hand as she starts to shove me out of the way, and then I capture her other hand and tug both behind her back, grab her wrists in one of my hands and pinion her arms behind her back. And I press my body against hers and force her to walk backward until her spine is up against the wall of the building.

“Let me go, goddammit!” she snarls.

I take her ponytail in my fist and tug her head back, chin up, and I slant my mouth over hers. Her body thrashes, fighting me. I’ve got her wrists captured in my fist, and I’m holding her gently but firmly. Her knee lifts and pushes against me, and I let her, but don’t allow her to move me. I kiss her, deep, hard, and sweet. And for all the fighting she’s doing, her mouth responds to mine. Her body fights, but her lips move, part, and her tongue slips out and touches mine, and I’m tasting her, putting all my conflict into the kiss.

When I know she’s not going to fight the kiss, I release her hair and cup the side of her face, my palm to her cheek, my thumb against her temple.

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