Free Me (Page 55)

Free Me (The Found Duet #1)(55)
Author: Laurelin Paige

Soon I was begging. Pleading with a jumble of sounds and syllables that didn’t make sense. I didn’t even know if I was asking for him to stop or go on. Just. Just, please.

Then, without pulling out of me, JC wrapped an arm around my waist and pulled me up so my back pressed against his chest. My hands flew behind me to clutch his neck—I didn’t have the strength to support myself without holding on. He put a hand on my breast and squeezed, his other returned to my clit. It was too much.

It was exactly what I needed.

The flames spread, licking up, up, until every cell in my body was ignited.

Then I burst.

My vision dimmed, blood whooshed in my ears, my entire body turned rigid and tense with the explosion. It wrecked me. Destroyed me.

JC’s voice wove through the decimation, praising me, cursing me. “Good girl, Gwen. Fuck, you’re killing me. You feel…Jesus. I’m coming. I’m coming.”

He pulsed into me, deeper, deeper, growling as he spurted out his climax.

I didn’t register finishing. Didn’t really notice when he pulled the plug out. I couldn’t feel anything anymore. I was numb. Exhausted. I was the ash after the fire. I was devastated. We fell—me facedown on my stomach, he on the bed next to me—sweating, out of breath. Worn down.

Satisfied.

JC came out of the haze first. “That was incredible. Holy fuck, this is the best arrangement.”

Then the haze cleared for me too. Because with those words, I remembered. Remembered it was all a lie. Remembered it was a quick fix. Remembered it was without strings, without commitment, without love. Remembered the chasm between us and the walls he hid behind.

I turned to my side, facing away from JC, and closed my eyes. Tears spilled out the corners, and I couldn’t decide if they were brought on partly from the amazing orgasms I’d just received or if they were entirely from the piercing stab of pain in my chest. How was it possible to have the best sex of my life while my heart splintered into pieces?

I was the type of woman who could be with a man without feeling anything for him, without feeling anything from him. But could I be with a man and feel something for him without the feeling being returned? Could I settle for whatever he had to give—the world’s best O’s and rare moments when our eyes would link and we’d fuse and feel?

Or would I insist on all or nothing?

It seemed like a harsh ultimatum, but now, as the afterglow of coming hard faded, and I was left with no touches, no kisses, no embrace, all or nothing seemed quite reasonable. Because this ache, this painful excruciating loneliness, was far worse than the ache he’d eased to begin with. It was trading one misery for another, and I didn’t know that it was worth it.

The bed shifted behind me as JC got up. I heard him in the bathroom. A few minutes later, he returned. “Gwen?”

I didn’t say anything. I was afraid if I spoke I’d end up sobbing or saying something I’d regret. This was supposed to be a no-strings thing. There weren’t supposed to be tears. So I kept my eyes shut and feigned sleep with deep even breaths.

He sighed, and I felt the weight of it as if it were a heavy blanket that he’d covered me with. Then another sigh. As though he could expel me from inside him with enough exhalations. He moved around for a bit. Then he left the room, and I let myself cry.

I didn’t overindulge—my cheeks were wet and my makeup smudged, but my eyes wouldn’t swell. I’d learned how to covertly cry growing up. For the times when saying ouch simply didn’t cut it.

When the tears subsided, I wiped away the evidence and realized that the hotel was quiet. Too quiet. I peeked in the bathroom and found it empty. He wasn’t in the front room as well. I would have heard him if he’d opened the doors to the terrace, but I checked there anyway. No sign of him anywhere. And he’d left no notes, either.

I’d felt lonely before, but this was worse. This was abandonment. The sting that had eased with my weeping now returned with a burn that made my previous ache seem dull. Perhaps I was being overemotional. Perhaps I wasn’t being emotional enough. I wasn’t schooled enough in the processes of love to have a grip on what was the appropriate amount of feeling involved.

What I did know was that I couldn’t wait around. Fuck, I’d been waiting around now for years. Ten of them. More. My whole life. I couldn’t escape one prison only to be chained in another.

I forced myself to clean up and dress. Even as I wrapped the coat around my near-naked body, I hoped he’d return with a good excuse. Hey, I ran down to get some champagne. That could have been delivered. I needed a breath of fresh air. There was the terrace.

I couldn’t figure out how to…be…with you when we weren’t fucking.

Ah. Now that one. That one would be honest. And if that was his excuse, there’d be even less reason to stay. At the door, I considered leaving my room key. It wouldn’t mean I couldn’t ever return—my name was at the desk. But it would be a message. When he saw it, he’d know something about my state of mind when I left.

In the end, I kept it. He’d left me clueless with no note. I’d leave him wondering as well.

I made my way to the elevator with as much stoicism and confidence that I could muster. Inside, I pressed the Lobby button then, on a whim, hit the button to the floor with the Meeting Rooms.

I didn’t hear him until I was just outside the Madison Suite. He was right—the walls were thick. The melancholy rolls of Philip Glass’s Opening slipped through the cracks at the door. I leaned my head against the wood and let it float over me. Into me. Let it simultaneously hold me and set me free.

It was gorgeous. Heartfelt. Not as sad as the songs he’d played for me before, and I wanted to believe that was a sign that, perhaps, JC wasn’t in as much despair as he had been. I twisted it into a daydream, as I tried not to breathe, afraid of missing even a single note. Pretended that this melody was the one that had demanded to be played. Because it was Philip Glass, which reminded him of me. Because it was hopeful and not forlorn.

But it was only a fantasy. And while I felt less abandoned now that I’d discovered where he’d gone, I didn’t feel any less alone. That man in there, the one lost in the sweet intoxication of his instrument, he was out of reach. Even if I went in and interrupted him, and he put me on the top of the baby grand and made me scream and writhe with his mouth and his cock…even then. Even then, he’d still be out of reach.

And I’d still be alone.