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Because of Low (Chapter Fourteen)

Marcus

I pulled up to my mom's house and parked behind Amanda's new Mercedes. I was a little late but I had a hard time leaving Will ow at work after the way I'd found her.

Damn she'd been upset. I hadn't even met this sister and I really disliked her. If it wasn't for the fact she was Larissa's mom I'd hate her. I wanted to tell her I knew how screwed up family relationships could be but dropping my crap on her seemed unfair. Will ow was sensitive. She'd only worry over me and I wanted her happy. Giving her more to stress over wouldn't do either of us any good. Besides I wasn't alone in this. I had Amanda.

Opening the front door I walked in without knocking. It was family dinner night. Next week I intended to bring Will ow with me. I wanted her to meet my Mom. I'd just need to find out her work schedule and we'd make sure to have family dinner on a night Will ow was available.

"Well it's about time you drug your love sick tail in here," Amanda teased.

I grinned. No use in denying it. I wasn't in love yet. But I could easily see it going there.

"Lovesick?" Mom asked stepping out of the kitchen with her stark white apron on with the lace stuff around the bottom and a glass of white wine in her hand.

"Yes lovesick. You should see him with her mom. He's all sweet and possessive. It's adorable and slightly nauseating."

Mom's face brightened at Amanda's description. She'd been worried about me this summer after the Sadie fiasco.

"And why didn't you bring her tonight? I want to see this nauseating scene myself."

I walked over and hugged my mom because I knew she needed the affection and I was just so glad to see her smile again.

"I will next week. She's working tonight. When I find out her off nights next week I'll let you know and we can pick a night she's available."

Mom kissed one cheek and patted my other one.

"Good," she replied then turned and walked back into the kitchen.

"Cage know yet?" Amanda asked in a low voice as she sidled up beside me.

I nodded and she gasped.

"I moved her out of his room."

Amanda's eyes flew open as wide as they'd go.

"No way!"

"Yep"

"And he didn't kick you out?" She sounded shocked.

"And take Low with me? No. He'd never do that."

"Ah, didn't think about that. Smart move bro." I shrugged, "I'm pretty dang brilliant."

"Whatever."

Slapping me on the back of my head she walked around me and led the way to the kitchen.

Once we had all the food on the table and the three of us were seated, Mom cleared her throat, "Okay there is something I wanted to tell you both. Since our last little chat I've made some decisions." The look of apprehension on her face worried me. That couldn't be good. Taking a long swig of my sweet tea I waited for her to continue.

"I've spoken with your father this week. Several times. I did bring up the possibility of a divorce. I told him that if he wanted out then fine. I'd let him go," she paused and twisted the napkin in her hands nervously. Also not a good sign.

"He doesn't want a divorce. We both believe he has been going through a midlife crisis," she held up her hand when I opened my mouth very close to yelling "bull shit" at my mother's dinner table. "Don't Marcus. Let me finish," she pleaded. I couldn't look back at Amanda. This was just going to give her hope. I hated to see the relief on her face.

Knowing it would only hurt her even more when Dad screwed up again.

"You haven't been our age or lived our life. These things happen. A midlife crisis is very common. I understand it even if I don't like it. Your father is letting the girl go. She won't be working with him any longer. He's coming home.

We're going to work on mending what has been broken.

And I need both of you to stand behind me, us. Having you angry at your father won't help me," she swallowed hard and I saw the tears glistening in her blue eyes. "I want him to remember how good this family can be together. I want him to want us."

I sat there unable to make eye contact with my sister. I knew she was behind this one hundred percent. I also knew my mom wanted this to work. Dad had given her hope. My getting angry and pointing out the multiple issues with this set up would only upset them. It wouldn't change their minds. Nothing I said would change their minds. They wanted him that much. So I did the only thing I could do.

"Okay Mama. Whatever you want."

Willow

Something had upset Marcus. He'd been his usual attentive, thoughtful self since he'd picked me up but I could feel his anger under the surface. It had to do with his family.

He'd had dinner with them tonight. That much I knew. But I couldn't ask him, not when I wasn't willing to open up to him about my family problems. If he wanted to tell me, he would.

My thoughts shifted to Larissa. I stared up at the ceiling knowing sleep probably wouldn't happen for me tonight. As tired as I was my mind wouldn't shut down.

The door opened slowly startling me and I sat up in bed expecting to see Marcus. It was Cage. Frowning I pulled the sheet up over Marcus's t-shirt I was sleeping in. The last thing I needed was for him to have an angry fit in Marcus's bedroom while he was no doubt drunk.

"Cage," I hissed quietly, "wrong room." He didn't listen to me and closed the door behind him before walking over to the bed and sitting down.

"I'm not that drunk. I know whose room this is."

"Then what're you doing?"

He shrugged and let out a sigh, "I missed you and going into my empty bedroom and getting in my empty bed sucks."

"Well you can't sleep in here."

He frowned and I reached out and squeezed his arm.

"I know. Just wanted to see you. I thought you'd be asleep. I figured if I watched you a little bit I could go to my room and go to sleep with that image in my head." He could be so dang sweet. Cage didn't do well with change. He never had. This was a change that was going to be really hard on him.

"I'm sorry but he makes me happy Cage." His frown deepened.

"Why?"

Why? That list could be endless. But I knew the one answer that would shut Cage down.

"I'm enough for him."

Cage dropped his head into his hands.

"Why am I so screwed up Low? Why can't I be like him?

What the fuck is wrong with me?"

My heart broke a little. Memories of the bruises covering his body and gashes on his forehead and cheek all gifts from his step-father flashed in my mind. He and I both had issues. Mine were just different.

"Our life hasn't been easy," I replied reaching out to run my hand over his head of black silky hair.

He pulled his hands down enough so that I could see his eyes, "But you don't have issues with commitment."

"No and no one beat me either."

"But you were abandoned. By a man who was too stupid to know what an awesome daughter he had and even though your mom was there she wasn't, not really." Larissa's little face today as she cried because I was leaving her came back to me and a tear rolled down my face.

"Hey," he reached out and caught my tear, "What's this? I didn't mean to make you cry."

I shook my head and grabbed his wrist. "No, you didn't. It's I shook my head and grabbed his wrist. "No, you didn't. It's Larissa," I stopped myself. I needed to tell someone. I needed to talk about this. And Cage knew. He knew what I'd lived through. He'd understand.

"I met her father today."

Cage's eyes opened wider.

"Really?"

"Yep, and he's married and old. Says he's leaving his wife and going to come take Larissa and Tawny away from it all."

Cage didn't ask me what was wrong with this. He didn't have to. He'd held me when I'd found out my father had skipped town with his real family.

"Aw, damn," he whispered.

I nodded.

"Maybe he will Low. Maybe he won't do to her what your dad did to you."

I shook my head, "No, don't you see. If he leaves his wife then Tawny has broken up a marriage. Someone else is heartbroken. He'll hurt someone either way. He's married.

He's already promised God he'd cherish his wife. Now he has not one but two families. One of those families will suffer."

Cage blew out a long breath.

We sat in silence for a few minutes. I looked past him toward the door and thought of Marcus sleeping out on the couch. I didn't want him to catch Cage in here. He still didn't understand the relationship Cage and I had. This would upset him.

"Thanks for listening to me. But," I nodded toward the door hating to tell him to leave.

He gave me a sad smile and stood up.

"But I need to get out of here before lover boy catches me."

"Something like that," I replied.

He nodded and blew me a kiss before leaving the room.

I lay back down and closed my eyes this time. Saying my fears out loud had helped. Sleep slowly found me.

Fluttery kisses trailed down my face and I turned to the warmth beside me. When Marcus's clean scent reached my nose I opened my eyes. He wasn't under the covers with me. That was my first observation. He had on a t-shirt. That was my second observation. His breath smelled minty fresh and with that observation I tucked my head against his shoulder so he couldn't smell my morning breath.

His chuckle sent shivers through me.

"Why're you hiding," his fresh breath tickled my ear.

"I haven't brushed my teeth," I mumbled He laughed out loud this time.

"I'm sure your morning breath is just as sweet as you are."

"Um, no, trust me it stinks like the rest of the world's," I assured him refusing to tilt my face back and look up at him.

"Okay fine hide your face from me but I'll tell you I don't like missing out on your sleepy look."

"My sleepy look?"

"Yes, your sleepy look. When you first open your eyes in the morning you have the sexiest expression. Your eyelids don't open all the way and those long eyelashes of yours brush your cheeks and your bottom lip is all swol en from nibbling on it in your sleep."

Wow. Okay I was completely turned on. And I had stinky breath. Fabulous.

I groaned against his chest. "That just makes me want to flip you over and climb on top of you and kiss you senseless."

"Please by all means be my guest. I won't stop you." Laughing I slapped his chest and sat up.

"You stay put and let me go do a little morning freshen up.

Don't move," I pointed at him to emphasize my demand before sprinting toward the bathroom and brushing my teeth. Then my hair.

Running back into the bedroom I had to stop and sigh from happiness at the sight he made leaning against the head board. He had on a t-shirt but he was in boxers and his long tanned legs were crossed. And Marcus Hardy's bare feet were downright sexy.

I lifted my gaze back up to his face and he was smirking.

"Do I meet your approval?"

Laughing I continued over to the bed but my early threat to jump on top of him seemed a little too extreme. Instead, I curled up beside him and tilted my head up at him this time.

"What? No crawling on top of me and having your wild wicked way with me?" The teasing in his voice made my stomach flutter. Feeling slightly brave now he'd brought it up, I threw a leg over his lap and straddled him. His smile disappeared and his eyes flashed with interest.

"Let's see I believe the next step is this," I whispered taking his face in my hands and then leaning down and kissing him with small quick pecks all over his lips. Both corners and even the tip of his nose. His hands slid up my outer thighs and underneath my t-shirt to grab my waist. Finding my way back down to his lips I took a small lap at his bottom lip then pulled it into my mouth and sucked. A groan erupted from his chest and his mouth opened and immediately he took over. His tongue tangled with mine while we explored each other. He sucked on my tongue surprising me and I leaned in closer pressing down on him.

We gasped at the same time as the heat that had been pooling between my legs made contact with his obvious arousal. As if my body knew what to do on instinct I rocked against the pressure that was causing wild jolts of pleasure to course through me.

Marcus began breathing hard and his kissing became more intense. His mouth left mine and I cried out as he began kissing down my neck and stopping to nibble and lick at sensitive skin along the way. Something was happening inside of me that scared me but was so exciting I couldn't stop. I continued rocking and Marcus grip on my waist tightened as he pressed me down even closer to the wonderful pressure.

"AGH, God baby," his head fell back against the headboard and I paused panting and achy but worried I'd hurt him.

"What," I managed to ask in a strangled whisper.

He opened his eyes and both his hands left my waist and grabbed my face.

"You. Are. Driving. Me. Crazy." He took short breaths after each word before claiming my mouth again. I took that as a good thing and rocked against him one more time and then my world fell apart. It was as if someone had lit a bottle rocket between my legs. The scream I knew was mine sounded like it belonged to someone else as I held onto Marcus afraid I'd fall if I let go. What had I done? And could I do it again?

When my heart began to slow down and breathing was once again possible I realized I was wrapped tightly in Marcus's arms and my head was tucked into the curve of his neck and shoulder. Holy. Cow.

I still had a death grip on Marcus's arms and I slowly peeled my hands away hoping I hadn't left fingernail cuts on his skin although I don't see how I could have kept from it.

What had I done? How could I look at him? What was I supposed to say? Did he think I was insane? I was pretty sure I'd just screamed like a banshee. It was a miracle Cage hadn't come bursting in. Marcus stroked my hair as if comforting me.

"Low," his voice was husky.

"Yes," I replied keeping my face safely buried in his neck."

"Look at me."

Aw crap. Slowly I pulled back immediately missing the warmth of my little safe haven.

I lifted my eyes to meet his and a slow sexy smile instantly eased my mind. His eyes were hooded as if he'd just woken up.

"What's wrong?" he asked holding my gaze.

I felt heat rush to my face.

"Um… I uh," what did I say? I'm sorry for going crazy in your lap.

"Low," he reached out and ran his hand through my hair then rested it on my neck.

"Was that your first orgasm?"

Oh.

Well no freaking wonder. I completely understood the fascination with those things now.

Nodding I knew my face flushed even brighter. His grin grew to a full one hundred watt smile. He was obviously very pleased with this. Well, that was good.

"Did you enjoy it?"

I let out a small burst of laughter. He did not just ask me that.

"I'd say the fact I completely acted like a crazy person tells you that I did."

He chuckled and leaned forward and kissed me once on the lips then leaned back. The friction made me gasp. Oh.

He was still… hard. Weren't they supposed to not be hard anymore once a guy got off… which meant he hadn't. Oh.

"You uh," I glanced down praying he didn't move again because for some reason I was really sensitive.

"I'm okay. Really, really okay," he said with an amused tone,

"I promise."

My gaze went to his arms and the little red indentions where my nails had bit into him were bright red. I jerked my gaze back to him, "I'm so sorry."

He raised his eyebrows, "Low, those marks are really sexy.

What're you sorry for? Trust me I'll wear them with pride." Oh.

He cleared his throat and grabbed my waist and moved me off of him.

"I uh, need to go get a shower and if we continue to sit here like this things are going to get a lot more intense," he explained and leaned over and kissed me one more time before standing up.

"I'll be back in a few minutes. We've got somewhere to go today. A friend I'd like you to meet invited us to a thing." A thing?

I watched as he walked away. His backside was rather impressive. The boxers he had on hung on his hips and I sighed happily before jumping up to get ready.

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