Clutching his window sill with my fingers, my nails chipped the white paint as my muscles strained to work the window up.
Yes! It’s unlocked.
Pushing myself over the edge, I swung a leg over and crawled through the window. Rising to my feet, I let my eyes adjust to the near pitch darkness of the room. My pulse pounded so hard in my ears that I thought they’d bleed, and I was shaking with nervousness. I left the window open just in case I needed a quick escape.
Taking a survey of the room, I noticed he’d changed the furniture around since I’d last been in here. The room seemed clean, but it was messy. Clothes were strewn across the floor and on the bed. The top of his dresser was two inches deep in random junk, money, and receipts. The walls were still painted a midnight blue, though.
When he was younger, his mom had decorated the room in a nautical theme. From the looks of it, he’d tossed all the boat and lighthouse dÃ©cor. Now, the walls boasted some posters of bands and flyers for events coming up in the area.
I started tiptoeing around, but stopped short. Why am being quiet? No one’s home. Perhaps I was feeling a guilty.The little angel in my head whispered its disapproval at my dishonest snooping. But the little devil screamed its urgency.
I walked to his closet, and threw open the wooden doors. Anything of interest would probably be hidden in here. I still wasn’t sure what I was looking for, but at this point, I was interested in anything that would give me insight into his life now.
I closed my eyes at the sudden rush of Jared’s scent. Wind, rain, and man. I briefly ran my fingers over his shirt sleeves and sweatshirts before bending down to look for anything of consequence on the floor.
Shoes cluttered the bottom of the closest and a couple of shoe boxes filled with pictures. As I sifted through the boxes, running into pictures of Jared as a child, I realized not a single picture of me was among them. That’s not right. Jared and I were joined at the hip for four years before our fallout, and there had been pictures. Lots of them. I still had some. Had he gotten rid of his?
Placing everything back the way I found it, I closed the closet with more force than needed and spun around. Jared’s chest of drawers sat across the room, so I walked over and started sifting through the gas station receipts crumpled up on top. I noticed several were from Crest Hill, about an hour from our suburb of Chicago. Crest Hill? What would he be doing there?
A search of the drawers revealed nothing, so I walked to his bed and knelt down to peer underneath.
Jackpot! I drew out a shallow box with no lid that was stuffed with file folders and papers. Heaving it into my arms, I placed it on my lap as I sat down on his bed.
Once upon a time, it wasn’t at all weird to be in Jared’s room, but now it was like being inside a theme park after hours: wrong, but fascinating.
Inside the box, I picked through several things, each more intriguing than the last. There was a legal document from Jared’s grandfather. He left Jared a lake house in Wisconsin, a piece of shit from the looks of the pictures, too. But the land was beautiful. Several more receipts revealed months of trips to Crest Hill spanning the past year. A court order for Jared to appear in municipal court for assault was dated shortly after I’d left for France. More receipts for meals and hotel rooms were thrown haphazardly in the box, and as I dug deeper, my hand grasped a thick, smooth folder at the bottom of the box.
But I released it and stopped breathing when I heard a door open from the hallway.
I stuffed the box of papers back under the bed and leapt to a small hiding space between the closet and Jared’s bed. I couldn’t hear anything now with the way my heartbeat blasted through my ears, but I got out of sight in just enough time. Jared walked into the room wearing one towel around his waist and drying his hair with another.
Why is he home?! I saw his car leave, and I hadn’t heard it return. So what was going on?
He switched on a table lamp, which created a soft glow in the room, and continued drying his hair. His long body moved to the window, where he placed a hand against the frame and gazed out. I watched him, wondering what the hell I was going to do. Any minute he’d turn around, and I’d be discovered.
His towel was wrapped around his waist and covered him down to his knees. My stomach felt like it was on a roller coaster, and my mouth went as dry as the Mojave Desert. The gentle light washing over his skin seemed to make the sporadic droplets of water on his chest glow. I had to blink away the desire to just sit here and wait for him to drop the towel.
There was no way I was getting out of here without him noticing. It was either let him catch me and be cornered or come up with some story. Before he turned around, I stood up from the corner and took a deep, painful breath.
“Jared.” My voice was low.
His head whipped around, and his gaze narrowed on me. “Tate?” He paused for a moment. “What the hell are you doing in my room?”
My hands were shaking, so I locked them behind my back as I inched towards him. “Well, I thought about what you said about trying to be friends, and I wanted to start by wishing you a happy birthday.”
Smooth, Tate. Really smooth.
His eyes shifted to the right as he turned over what I said, and I knew he didn’t believe me. I wouldn’t believe me either. It was a lame excuse.
“So you broke into my room to tell me “Happy Birthday” a week after my birthday?” His sarcasm couldn’t be missed. I was drowning in it and fighting for air.
“I climbed through the tree, just like we used to do,” I pointed out, but my face was on fire. I could only imagine how red it was.
“And your birthday’s tomorrow. Can I climb over to your bedroom?” he asked condescendingly. “What are you really doing in here?” I held my ground as he approached, his stern eyes boring a hole into me.
Shit, shit, shit.
“I…um…,” I fought for words but held his stare. What would get him to shut up?
His freshly washed hair stood up all over the place, and the challenge in his eyes made him look incredibly sexy. I was in his room. He was half-naked. And he was asking questions I couldn’t answer. I needed to use the two things I had that would throw him off: the element of surprise and…my body.
“I have something for you, actually. Consider it your present to me as well.”
He watched me with wariness as I leaned in and kissed him. Tingling began with the touch of his soft lips and spread across my cheeks. I pressed into him, and when I felt his mouth move with mine, I wrapped my arms around his neck. My lips parted, and I teased him with my tongue, sending it out to lick across his top lip. When I caught his bottom lip between my teeth, he took me in his arms, too.
For once, we were going slowly. The other times we’d kissed, it’d been more like an attack. But now, every touch was like kindling to a fire.
He held me to him, his strong arms wrapped around my back, and our lips consumed in hungry kisses. The need to get out of his room without him finding out why I was really here was forgotten. All that I saw and felt was Jared now. He smelled like overwhelmingly good, and I craved to see if he smelled this good everywhere. I clutched him to me as I buried my head in his neck, kissing and biting.
“Jesus, Tate,” Jared gasped out.
The campfire in my belly had turned into a bonfire in my core. My hands glided down his back, registering the dips in his skin from his scars, and I slid my hand inside the towel. My fingers prickled at the feel of his smooth skin, and my stomach ached with hunger. I trailed kisses from his ear to his collarbone, my tongue darting out every so often to taste him.
He sucked in a breath through his teeth and tightened his hold on me, while I gently rubbed my h*ps against his.
His arms still encircled me, but my hands ran down his back and up his rigid stomach. I couldn’t get enough of him, and I no longer cared why I was here. I needed him beyond reason.
“I’m not stopping,” I whispered in his ear and then claimed his mouth again.
He took that as his cue and lifted me off the ground. I wrapped my legs around his waist as he carried me to the bed. Lowering us down, I pulled him with me.
I should stop. In just one more minute I would stop.
He lifted my tank top to just under my bra, and his fingers grazed my skin while he stared down at me.
“You’re so beautiful.” One corner of his mouth turned up with a small, thoughtful smile. My heart beat faster when his lips dipped to my stomach.
I let out a moan and arched up to him. “Jared,” I choked out.
His mouth scorched my skin from my rib cage down to my hip bone, and I felt a throbbing at my center. He kept kissing me while unbuttoning my jeans. I could feel through his towel that he was ready.
Was I? I wanted Jared so much. I just wanted to give in and let it happen.
I gasped at the touch of his mouth right above my panties. His tongue skimmed over my skin as I felt my underwear come off. I barely registered it, because he mouth was all over my stomach and thighs. The pulsing between my legs started to hurt, and I needed relief.
“Jared,” I breathed out, trying to get control of myself.
“Don’t stop me, Tate. Please baby, don’t stop me.”
I closed my eyes. I’d tried to put up a fight, didn’t I? It was okay to surrender now. I yanked my shirt over my head, and Jared pulled my bra straps down to release my br**sts.
As he lips cascaded over my body. The wet trail from his mouth was like a fuse on a stick of dy***ite. And the dy***ite was between my thighs.
“Oh!” My eyes snapped open, and my body jerked when I felt his tongue run the length of my sex. “What are you doing?” Oh, my God. That felt awesome. If I weren’t so embarrassed, I would grab him by the hair to keep him there.
He cocked his head to the side, figuring out something in his head. “You’re a virgin,” he stated quietly.
Yep, I guess I made it kind of obvious now.
But before I could feel self-conscious about my lack of experience, he kissed my inner thighs, sending me reeling again. “You have no idea how happy that makes me.” And he moved his mouth back on my clit.
Oh. My. God. Everything felt so good. I almost couldn’t stand it. His tongue licked the length of me, and he sucked on my clit. Every ounce of energy and desire in my body pooled between my legs, and I knew that something was building inside of me. My ni**les were hard, and Jared kneaded one breast at a time while he worked between my legs.
“Jesus Christ, if you could see yourself from my view. Fucking beautiful.” He breathed against my core.
He swirled his tongue around me, and I felt a sudden need to hold my breath. It felt like depriving myself of air would increase the urgency down below. And I was right. It allowed me to concentrate on everything he was doing. The throbbing sensations pounded inside of me, and I was incredibly wet.
Jared plunged his tongue inside, and I threw my head back, arching into him for more. I came, holding my breath while the waves of ecstasy heated up my body and made me cry out for him. Jared continued to work me until the final shudders left my body.
“Damn, Tate.” Jared inched back up to meet my eyes, his arousal poking me. “Your beauty is nothing compared to how you look when you come.”
“That was...” I couldn’t think. My body had never felt anything that wonderful, and I wanted him to feel the same.
He came up to meet me eye to eye and pressed his h*ps into mine. My muscles tensed, and I was in agony with his slow grinding. He was ready.
He cupped my cheek. “I’ve wanted you for so long.”
I pushed myself up and captured his mouth in mine. My hand traveled down between his legs and grasped him, hard in my hand. The size of his tongue and what it had just done to me was nothing compared to his erection. It both scared and thrilled me.
Unfastening my bra strap, he shed my last piece of clothing and brought his lips down on one of my ni**les. Shivers spread over my skin with the pleasure shooting out of my pores, and I held his head to me, savoring his hot mouth. He switched from one breast to the other, and I wrapped my legs around him, needing him as close as possible. I wanted more.