Teardrop Shot

Page 42

He nodded, but I still saw hesitation on his face. He told me once he never went raw. And I understood why. He was a professional athlete. Wrapping it up was vital for them, but I didn’t care right now.

All logic had fled my mind, and I reached down for him, tunneling through his pants to find him.

He hissed, his hips jerking up at my touch.

I wrapped my hand around him, giving a slight squeeze, just enough to torment him. Then I began stroking. I wasn’t timid about it. I had a good grip, and I knew just the way to touch him to make him go mindless with desire—the same way he had made me feel.

Cursing, his mouth dropped over mine. “Can we do this bare? I need to feel you.”

I paused. It was my decision now.

I couldn’t say anything, but I couldn’t stop touching him either.

He grabbed my hand, pausing me. “Charlie, I need to know.” His hand went to my hair, taking ahold of the back of my head, and moving my mouth against his. “What do you want? I’m clean. I know you are too. It’s your decision.”

The temptation was strong. But… “Are you sure?”

“God, baby.” His tongue moved over me. “I am so fucking sure.”

Lust skyrocketed through me, and I was nodding before I realized I was nodding.

He lifted me up, and we both clawed to get my pants off, until I was bare. As he lowered me down, I yanked at his pants until he stood before me.

Firm. Thick.


I grabbed his cock and moved over him. One adjustment, and I sank down on him.

“Fuck,” he hissed through his teeth as his eyes clamped shut a second. His hand flexed over my ass. “You feel so damned good.”

I was almost shattering apart, just feeling him surge up inside me.

The sensations. The pleasure. They slammed through me, almost violently from the abruptness and so quickly after I’d already peaked. Then he began moving over me, his mouth tasting mine, and I went with him.


Our hips rolling back and forth.

His hand cupping my breast, holding me, squeezing, his hips digging up.

He was hitting my wall.

A savage growl ripped from him, and he picked me up, shifted us to the bed, and was between my legs once more. He grabbed my waist and plunged back inside.

I could only hold on.

Pleasure seeped into every inch of me, coating my insides. My second climax barreled through me, even more powerful than the first, and I was a trembling mess as he pushed in one last time, his hips rotating, grinding to touch every angle inside, and then he jerked, coming inside of me.

He groaned, collapsing on top of me, his body relaxed.

We’d taken a shower together and dressed in lounging clothes. Reese pulled on the same sweats he’d worn after his first shower, but I wore leggings and the sweatshirt he’d given me at camp. We’d ordered food in, and the delivery guy had just dropped off our salads, plus two sandwiches for Reese. I’d answered the door this time, preferring to keep Reese to myself, just for a bit longer.

Grant and Sophia were coming back.

I didn’t know when, but I guessed we had another hour, maybe two depending on how long everyone decided to talk after dinner.

Reese asked, “When are you hoping to see Damian?”

I paused in spearing some lettuce with my fork. “Are you serious?”

He put a forkful of salad into his mouth, nodding. “Yeah.” Swallowing, then taking a drink of water, he put the bottle back down on the table. “That’s a big deal.”

I felt a heaviness settle over my shoulders. It weighed me down, but I knew this was the time. This was the moment I would say it all.

It wasn’t even about Reese. It was about me. I finally could, for some reason, so I needed to. If I didn’t now, I didn’t know the next time the words would come to me, because sometimes grief closes you up and doesn’t let you open. Sometimes grief controls you, and not the other way around.

I set my fork down and scooted all the way back in my chair, assuming my normal position: feet up on the chair, arms wrapped around my knees. But I didn’t hide my face. I watched Reese right over the top of my knees, resignation taking over me.

“When you fall in love with someone, you’re not supposed to lose them right away. That’s tragic. I mean, normal breakups—like if someone cheated or lied, I don’t know. Those would be easier, but when it’s something inside a person that takes them away, little by little, each day a tiny bit more, it paralyzes you.”

I had to take a breath.

And then, I found I could continue.

“Damian never wanted to accept what was happening to him. He wanted to deny it. He wanted to remain normal, but every day he had to make a small adjustment to keep the lie going for himself. Suddenly he couldn’t drive during busy times because it was too dangerous, not because it confused him. Not because one time he forgot how to get home, and he had to call me.”

“Where are you?”

“I don’t know.”

“We were three years in. Seven months before the wedding, he forgot my name. He stared at me with this blank look. He was terrified. I thought he was terrified about the wedding, and I teased him about it. I’d had to ask him three times to send the save-the-dates. I thought he kept forgetting them in his car because of cold feet.”

It hadn’t been cold feet.

“We lied to everyone. I told everyone he was stressed at his job, and that he wanted to put the wedding off one more year. Everyone… I don’t even know what my family said to my extended family. My sister was panicked, wondering if everything was okay, but I couldn’t tell her. Because I knew my world was falling apart, but even then I didn’t really understand. And I was stubborn. I knew something was happening, but I didn’t want to accept it. I didn’t want to lose him, not just yet. So I held on, and I lied too. I denied too. It’s easier than fully walking away, because what are you walking away from? Your future? Someone who was going to be your husband? The guy you thought would be an amazing father to your future children? The guy who could light up the room with one laugh, one look, one touch. He was mine, and then he wasn’t. The disease took him, but not right away. At first we all became roommates: Damian, me, the disease. It slowly ate at him, and he kept refusing to go in. Kept saying they couldn’t even diagnose him if it was what we thought it was, that it was pointless. That—”

I couldn’t speak. My throat was scraping against itself. I could taste the blood.

“And that’s when I lost myself.”

“Damian …” I’d whispered once in bed.

He’d rolled over and stared at me. Then flatly said, “Get out.”

“He was so cold at times. Everything was about keeping his lie going. All he thought about was ‘what-ifs.’ What if he had done this—then maybe he wouldn’t have this happening to him. What if he had done that, and maybe it wouldn’t have happened. If he’d eaten healthier. If he never drank, and he rarely drank anyway. If he’d only had a certain healthy drink. If he’d spent time with—I don’t even know. I thought at times he was trying to learn what he could do to prevent it from getting worse. But that wasn’t what he was doing. He was thinking back on his life, thinking back on what he could’ve done to have lived better. A more fulfilling life—that’s what he told me one time. He yelled at me that I didn’t fulfill him. That he didn’t want me. That he had never wanted me. That he had never been attracted to me, and he’d had to force himself to kiss me.”

I choked up, pressing the back of my hand to my mouth.

“Guys want it-girls,” he said. He refused to look at me, sitting on the edge of the bed. “You’re not an it-girl. You’re too nice. But every guy wants her, just ask them.”

My voice was hoarse. “He tried to break up with me so many times, but I never went. He broke me down, though. Little by little. And I don’t know if he did it on purpose, but the end result was that I was a shell. I had nothing in me to fight him on things, to insist we call his mother, to force him to go see the doctors, to say what was happening wasn’t normal. I just gave in. He threw temper tantrums. He told me how disappointed he was. And I took it.”

I managed to look up for a moment. “That was my mistake. I took it until I couldn’t stay in our house anymore. And once I walked out of the door, I couldn’t bring myself to go back. My body wouldn’t let me.”


“But I had to go back. By then he was dangerous to himself. He used to turn the oven on and leave it. He drank hot water once, not even stopping himself until he’d swallowed a good mouthful. He went a whole month forgetting to use soap to wash himself, or shampoo for his hair. He was using my facial cleanser.”

“What was the breaking point?” Reese asked.

I almost laughed. “It should’ve been when he beat the shit out of me, right? It wasn’t. No.”

I’d come down the stairs one night and there was a blizzard going on outside. Windchill was -25 degrees.

“He left the door open one time. I shut it, not thinking about it, and went back to bed.”

Tip: You can use left and right keyboard keys to browse between pages.