“I didn’t sleep with her,” I said, confirming his suspicions. “But that child was never yours. Don’t ever speak like it was anything but mine again.”
He closed his eyes as a new wave of pain furrowed his expression.
I left him there at the windows and headed for the elevators. Left him to struggle through his regret and guilt and sorrow and heartache—all those ridiculous emotions that made him weak.
I only have a few minutes before Alayna returns from the bathroom. I’m supposed to be waiting for her na**d on the bed when she returns, and I will be. I’m already half-undressed and full-hard. But as I finish shucking my pants and briefs, my mind sifts through a vacation’s worth of thoughts at lightning speed.
This room, this place—I’m overwhelmed.
Mabel Shores holds a lifetime of memories, yet the prominent ones right now are the summer with Celia’s experiment. It taints every wonderful thing that has happened here in the Hamptons this weekend with Alayna. It buzzes in my ear as a reminder of my faults, of my flaws, and there’s very little I can do to silence it.
My father’s presence here this weekend doesn’t help. While I should be grateful that he is a counterbalance to my mother’s bitchy welcome, I don’t trust his motives with Alayna. I don’t want him to befriend her as he has. Though she would never betray me the way Celia did, though he’s never made a move on anyone I’ve known in the years since, I can’t stand the idea that he might try something with Alayna. It frightens me, and I’ve never been one to scare.
The memories haunt others too. My mother is constantly reminded, and she takes it out on Alayna. Her unwillingness to move past Celia’s miscarriage and embrace Mirabelle’s pregnancy as her first grandchild makes me suspicious. In the back of Sophia’s mind—does she know? Does she suspect the secrets that surround Celia’s baby? Probably not, but how can she not feel that there is something off about it?
I suspect that’s why she brought it up again today, throwing it in Alayna’s face. I understand that the recollection doesn’t let my mother go—it doesn’t let me go either. But it’s no excuse for the way she hurts Alayna. The way she hurts me. It’s another new emotion that has cropped up in my repertoire in the last few days, but I’m not sure of its name. Sympathy? Compassion? It’s a pain that digs deep into my chest whenever Alayna is hurting, and I’m desperate to prevent it—not for my sake, but for hers.
And the way I had to dig myself out of that revelation with Alayna…
I’ve vowed to be as honest with her as I can despite the one lie—the huge lie—that I carry with me always. So when she asked about the baby, I told her what I could. For the first time, I wanted to tell her all of it, but I didn’t know how I could without exposing the worst parts of me. Yes, she knows of them, but she doesn’t truly know how awful I’ve been. Where does Celia’s baby’s story end, anyway? At her miscarriage? When she asked me to teach her how to be like me?
The only thing I could do was beg for Alayna to trust me. She’d given me her trust before, and I had no right to it then or now, but she gave it to me again. It’s another brick in my pack of guilt. How long can I drag this around before it weighs us both down?
And it’s not just the guilt pulling me down. There’s more—the emotion. There’s so much of it wherever Alayna’s concerned. It’s all new and intense, and it feels like a smear of colors on a painter’s palette—all of it so blurred that I can’t identify any colorful emotion for what it really is. Sometimes from the look in her eyes and the soft pressure of her lips and the way she gives and gives and gives—I wonder if she doesn’t feel it all too. I’ve told her, I’ve warned her that this can’t be real. But is she as powerless as I am in all of this?
Isn’t that just the question Celia’s putting to the test?
Alayna’s more experienced with feelings. I can only hope she’s unaffected. But if she is unaffected…
God, that might kill me too.
I hear her stir in the bathroom, so I rush to get in place on the bed. Suddenly I’m struck with a very different memory of Mabel Shores. Mirabelle’s wedding day. While I didn’t put any faith in romantic relationships, I knew she did. Her deeply rooted trust in Adam perplexed me so entirely that I eventually had to ask her how she could be so certain about marrying the man.
“Because when you love someone,” she’d met my eyes and answered without a flicker in her confidence, “their world interests you more than your own.”
I don’t have time to examine why that memory came to me now because the bathroom door opens and Alayna’s standing there, ready for me. She’s wearing a red lace nightie that draws attention to her gorgeous tits. Her hair spills around her shoulders, and she looks so incredible. My breath catches.
“Jesus, Alayna. You’re so goddamn beautiful,” I say, surprised I can speak. I kneel, my c**k standing at full attention between my legs. “I might have to let you wear that while I f**k you.”
She blushes, and I wonder if I’ll be able to last until I touch her. “Come here,” I growl.
She starts toward me and then halts. “Wait, I’m in control, remember?”
I’d forgotten I’d agreed to that. I’m not usually comfortable giving up the reins, but for Alayna, I’m actually looking forward to it. She might not understand it, but this is my way of saying I trust you too.
I sit back on my heels and invite her to take the power. “Then take charge.”
A spark flashes in her eye. She bites her lip and then issues her first command. “Sit back against the headboard.”
Fuck, she’s sexy. I can’t help grinning as I follow her orders.
She climbs up the foot of the bed and crawls up the length of my body. Her br**sts are on perfect display and they steal my attention, but I’m also drawn to her eyes. They’re on fire with lust and something else. Something soft and beautiful that I can’t quite make out.
Then she’s licking my cock, and I forget all else but her wonderful tongue. “Do it again.” I haven’t forgotten who’s in charge, but she needs to know what I want.
“Maybe I will,” she teases.
Jesus, she’s so goddamn adorable.
She bends to my dick again, kissing and licking my crown before she takes me into her mouth.