I pulled my car next to Dorian’s and turned off the engine. I couldn’t believe I’d actually come here. I was scared shitless to let someone in, especially now when all my attention needed to focus on one thing: my dad. Shaking my thoughts loose, I grabbed my purse, exited the car, and made my way over to where Dorian was waiting for me.
Stormy clouds drifted across the sky, hiding the moon and darkening the neighborhood. Dorian stood at the base of a street lamp where it illuminated his features, softening the rugged angles of his face. He was attractive in a rough-around-the-edges kind of way, but now – as I let myself really look at him – I thought he was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen.
He left me breathless.
“We should go up,” he said. “It’s getting cold.”
He took my hand and led me in the direction of his home. God, his home. The place where he lived. I was going to see where he slept, ate, and took showers.
Shut up… Don’t think about showers.
We took the stairs two floors up until we reached a wood door. After unlocking it, he waited for me to go in before him. As I passed the threshold, he said in an awful British accent, “Welcome to my humble abode.”
I looked back at him and grinned. I found myself loving playful Dorian. “Why thank you.”
When he turned on the lights, I sucked in a breath. I was here, and there was no turning back. I gave myself a moment to focus on the apartment. Floor to ceiling windows consumed the entire back wall. The living area was an open concept, providing a perfect view of the whole space. Dorian’s apartment was nothing I had expected. A Victorian chandelier with a modern twist hung from the ceiling over a rustic dining room table. And even though the space was open, it had a cozy feel. The warm tones of dark blues and light creams contrasted together beautifully to make the room feel inviting.
“So, what do you think?” he asked hesitantly.
I eyed him as he looked everywhere but at me.
“I really like it.” Then I added, “I like it so much I’m afraid I might never leave.”
His eyes landed on mine in a flash and a smile spread across his full lips. “I’d love that,” he whispered.
He took a step forward and I took a step back. I knew that if he caught me, it would be the end of our friendship. I would cave. I would fall into his strong arms and never let go. I wasn’t ready for him.
He approached me, his pace steady and his steps sure. His eyes were fixed on mine, making it hard for me to breathe.
When I felt my back hit the wall behind me, I knew there was nowhere for me to go. I drew in a sharp breath.
Waves of heat washed over me when he placed his hands on the wall beside my head. My tumultuous heart threatened to break out of my chest.
“Did you mean that?” he asked, his deep voice in my ear, rattling my thoughts.
My eyes fluttered closed. “M-mean what?”
“The song. Did you really mean that?”
His finger touched my chin and lifted my head. “Open your eyes.”
I shook my head. I wouldn’t be able to control what he would see reflected in them. And I had a feeling my eyes would tell him everything my mouth was afraid to say out loud.
That I was afraid.
That the world kept beating me down and there was nothing I could do to stop it.
That I didn’t know how to help my family.
That I wanted him. Wanted to be with him.
“Open your eyes, sweetheart.”
I gritted my teeth, refusing to give in.
Heart beats and erratic breaths were the only sounds in the room. Then I heard him mumble, “Fuck it,” and without warning, Dorian’s lips crashed against mine. My eyes flew open and then they fluttered closed again when my hands found their place on his chest. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to push him away or pull him closer. He kissed me deeply and with purpose, like he had been starving for it. Then his touch became gentle. The pad of his finger ran along my cheek, and then I felt the brush of his lips against mine as the kiss softened, caressing them lightly. When he bit my bottom lip, I gasped. He soothed the stinging pain with his tongue, slowly grazing it until it found its way back into my open mouth. His hand traveled to my thigh, lifting it up and wrapped it around his waist. He pulled me closer, until I was glued to his hard body. With my other leg, I had to stand on my tiptoes, because he was so damn tall. I could feel his hardness on my stomach.
He was hard for me.
My mind awoke from its daze, and I began to realize what was happening. Even though I loved the feel of his lips on mine, I was mad. How could he do that? How could he kiss me without my permission, after he said he would only be my friend? After he promised me we would take it slow.
Suddenly, I was furious.
I shoved him but he was a brick wall. He didn’t feel my pathetic attempts to push him away, so I pushed him harder and punched him across the chest. He brought my thigh down, grabbed my hands and pinned them to the wall above my head. He was like a man possessed. It felt like nothing in this world would make him stop kissing me.
Not even me.
An internal battle took place inside my head. I wanted to kick his ass, to punch him in the face for taking what he wanted without asking. For making me give in, for surrendering myself to the emotions that overwhelmed me. But even more than that, I wanted to cling to him as my heart stepped up its pace while his tongue circled around mine.
I needed more.
I lunged forward, but my captive hands prevented me from getting closer. I kissed him back with eagerness, my tongue connecting with his. His hands let go of mine and he cupped my face. We kissed as if we’d done this a million times before.
His fingers moved along my jaw, then up until they were buried in the roots of my hair. He tightened his grip and pulled me even closer, swallowing me whole.
My hands were busy doing their own touching. I began at the base of his stomach, feeling his abs flexing under my touch. My fingers rose until they reached his strong and broad chest, up to his collarbone, until they touched the scar on his chin. I traced its path, feeling the raw and carved place where smooth skin use to be. I tore my mouth away and kissed the jagged lines. He needed to know that it was a part of him and he was beautiful to me, scars and all.
His body stilled, but I carried on with my inspection. When I was satisfied I hadn’t missed a spot, I looked up and found him watching me, his eyes wet with unshed tears. They shined with sadness, acceptance, warmth, and affection.
I watched him intently as I braced myself to expose my soul to him. It was time. I would not run away anymore.
I opened my mouth and said, “I meant every word.”