He trailed his strong fingers over the quivering skin of my belly and stopped to slide the button on my jeans out of the loop. He kissed my shoulder and used his arms to lever himself up and off of me so he could take a step back. His eyes trailed over me and I saw his breath shudder out of his lungs. He gave his head a shake.
“I didn’t think there was anything in the world that could make this car better. I was so wrong.”
He was going to make me cry. “Shane . . .”
He hooked his thumbs under the edge of my jeans and my panties and yanked them down my legs at the same time. Being that exposed to the air suddenly made me shiver, but he was only gone as long as it took him to shove his pants down around his hips and cover himself in latex.
“I think my greatest fantasy just became you in nothing but my hoodie. Copper-Top, you are the prettiest thing I have ever seen.”
I wanted to be his fantasy. I wanted to be his reason for him to get past the fatalistic attitude that seemed to be his default. I wanted him to want me enough to let Bax take a backseat once in a while so I could enjoy everything Shane brought to the table. He lifted one of my legs up and wrapped it around his uninjured side while I curled both my hands up around his broad shoulders. I loved the feel of his muscles as my hands moved across his back, I loved the way his eyes blazed all his intensity and determination into mine. When he first slid into me and my body reacted by clasping down on him, hard, it was him who let out the first gasp.
My skin pebbled up, but not because I was cold anymore. I was on fire, everywhere we touched, all the places on the inside where he dragged and pulled on sensitive flesh, I felt like I was going to combust. He kissed me again, used his tongue to mimic the motion his hips were making below. The double stimulation was a lot, my body was already primed, my heart already open, and when he took my hand and put it between us, it only took the simplest touch, the lightest pressure from my own fingers to push me over the edge. I called his name into his mouth and felt him increase the leisurely pace he had initially set.
He put a knee on the bumper of the car and I felt him lean fully into me. I dug my fingers into the bunched cords of his neck and held on as he thrust and pounded into me like he was trying to imprint me forever onto the paint job of his car. He sealed his mouth over mine and groaned into my mouth as he reached the point of no return and released himself into the night and my welcoming body. There had never been a moment in my life when I had felt such rightness and such peace. I hugged him to me and rubbed my cheek against his prickly one.
We stayed like that for a long time, until the chill of the metal from the car made me start to shiver against him. He groaned as he pulled out of me and helped me situate myself since it took more work than him just pulling his pants back up. He pulled me back to the edge of the hood and zipped the front of his sweatshirt back up. Then he bent down and kissed the corner of my mouth.
It made me want to cry because even though he didn’t say it, I could feel it in him again. That was Bax letting Shane kiss me good-bye.
DOVIE DIDN’T SAY A word when I took her back down the mountain to the group home. I made the drive last longer than it normally would and simply enjoyed the quiet and the feel of her hand on my thigh. The gnawing need to hurt something, or, more accurately, to let something hurt me, had faded to a dull throb in the back of my neck. I still didn’t want her to be part of this life, didn’t want her to look at me and see things I would never be able to be, even if she made me want to. At least this was a proper good-bye, and while she still looked sad and disappointed, she also seemed to have a quiet kind of understanding settled around her. She wasn’t pushing or asking me for things I couldn’t deliver on.
When I pulled up in front of the house, the first rays of dawn were just starting to crack on the horizon. She turned in the seat and I thought she was going to ask me not to leave her, tell me that we could figure things out between us, but she didn’t. She just leaned across the space separating us and pressed her lips softly against the star forever dancing on my temple. It made my breath lock so hard in my throat, I thought I was going to suffocate.
“Take care of yourself, Bax. It would break my heart if something happened to you that was avoidable.”
The warning was clear. I was my own worst enemy and she knew it. There was plenty in this life that could end up destroying me, and she was finally seeing that instead of passing it by. I was actively seeking it out.
The door closed with a soft thud and I watched her until she disappeared inside the house. I tossed my head back against the headrest and squeezed my eyes shut. There was no air and there was no light. I called Race and told him I was taking off and let him know that he was going to have to either convince her to come home for Saturday night or watch her himself. There was no way I could do it and not go to her, not put my hands on her again. Plus I had the fight Nassir set up, and there was no way I could be in two places at once.
Race sounded sleepy but told me he would make sure she was safe, and I had no choice but to believe him. I called Titus, who was even less thrilled with the crack-of-dawn wake-up call than Race had been, and told him he better have something figured out no later than Monday or I was taking matters into my own hands. I was feeling reckless, untethered from everything, and in the very dangerous mood to make some shit go down. He yawned at me and told me to chill out. He said he had some people working on it and he should have an answer for me by Monday. I hung up on him and forced myself to go to the bungalow at the base of the Hill.
I couldn’t stand not knowing why Novak was ambivalent about the tape and had let Race go without as much as a scratch. I hated waiting on the razor’s edge for the other shoe to drop. I wanted to know what Novak was planning, what his next move would be. I wanted to go after him and throw everything on the table and see which one of us came out the victor. I was worried that he was going to get tired of the cat and mouse, of dangling the carrot, and the threat, right in front of my face and make a move before I could strike first. Even with Dovie hidden away and safe with Race, I had to admit I was terrified that Novak would find her before I took him out, and even though I was still pissed at both Race and Titus, I had to admit that I had some serious concerns Novak would go after them just to show me that he could. My baser instincts were screaming for blood and vengeance and they were all I could hear. The noise seemed so much louder than it ever had before, now that I really might have things . . . and people to lose.