Hudson (Page 79)

Hudson (Fixed #4)(79)
Author: Laurelin Paige

I could tell her to f**k off. I could tell her whatever she wanted to hear just to get her off my back. I could try to explain to her what the game really was, so that she could understand that it wasn’t actually a problem.

But the truth was that it was a problem. The experiments had become an obsession. I lived and breathed for them. And none of them, not a single one, ever taught me what I really wanted to know, which was why the hell I felt so goddamned empty.

So I said the only word I could. “Okay.”

“You mean that?”

I nodded, speech not easy through my clenched throat.

Her face crumpled, tears forming at the corners of her eyes as she bit her lip. She nodded a few times. Finally, in a choked voice, she said, “Thank you.”

She crawled up into my lap then, her legs to one side, and hugged me, like she used to when we were younger.

I let her.

I even hugged her back. Reluctantly at first, and then with a bear-tight grip.

“Thank you,” she said when she finally broke away. She scrambled off my lap to the bench beside me. She dabbed again at her eyes. “I’m sorry. I didn’t want to cry. I figured you’d take me more seriously if I remained together. But, that’s not me, I guess. Anyway. You have an appointment tomorrow.”

“An appointment tomorrow? With who?”

“A psychiatrist. Dr. Alberts. He’s an expert in experiential avoidance and a bunch of other big words that basically mean ‘aloof.’”

Other big words like sociopath?

“He’s situated in the city,” she continued, “but he makes house calls, and he agreed to come out here to meet you at ten. I arranged it before tonight even happened, Hudson. So don’t think I’m just reacting to this one incident.”

That she’d had this planned all along left a sour taste in my mouth. I hated that she’d formed an opinion about me, and then I’d proven her right. It was almost as though she’d played her own game, formed her own hypothesis, and she’d guessed correctly. Having the tables turned wasn’t my idea of a good time.

Besides that, I’d agreed to being intervened, so to say, but I’d thought it would be on my own terms. I could decide the course of my treatment. Not her. I used the obvious for my protest, “It’s your wedding day.”

“And this is my wedding present. From you.” She was even giddy about it.

“My wedding present was to not work all week.” But I already knew I’d meet with her specialist.

“This is another wedding present. You got me two.” She swiftly pecked my cheek. “Thanks, big bro.” And I was the master manipulator.

“What have you done to me, Mirabelle?”

“Good things, Hudson. I’ve done good things. Just wait and see.” She stared at my profile for several seconds. I felt her gaze like it was her hands that touched my skin. When she seemed satisfied with what she saw, she said, “But I’m going to go back to the party now and let you stay here and mope or mull or whatever really boring antisocial thing it is you like to do. Brood. That’s what you do.”

“I don’t brood.”

“Well, whatever you do, I’ll leave you to it now.” She stood, her skirt swirling in the light breeze. At the stairs, she looked back. “Ten tomorrow morning. In the study. Dr. Alberts is coming. Be there.”

“Where else would I be? Organizing the flowers with Mother?”

“Good point.” She gave me another bright smile, this time adding a wink. “I love you, brother. Thanks for making my wedding everything I ever dreamed.”

There it was. The typical words for the occasion. It made me smile a bit as well.

She blew me a kiss then skipped off into the night.

I sat on that bench for a long time after. I sipped my Scotch. And I cried. Sobbed for the first time that I could remember. There was no feeling behind the tears, just release. It was cathartic. It was a start.

Maybe it was even the beginning of the road to more.

Chapter Twenty-One

After

I wake to an empty bed. I should be used to it by now, having woken up the last several days alone. Each of those nights had been restless, sleep hard to come by without the warmth of the woman I’ve come accustomed to wrapping around in slumber.

Except I came home from Japan earlier tonight and reunited with Alayna, so my bed should not be empty. I’m so in tune with her that, despite several days apart, her absence can be felt even in my sleep.

I find her in the bathroom, staring in the mirror, her face pale and eyes wide. “What’s wrong?”

She jumps slightly at my voice, then peers over her shoulder at me. I don’t miss that she scans my na**d body. My dick thickens a bit at her eyes, yet I ignore it, crossing to her. “Are you okay?”

There’s a moment of hesitancy before she says, “I just had a bad dream, and now I can’t sleep.”

Her reluctance to say more worries me. It’s only a dream, but after everything we’ve just been through, we have to be more open with each other. I need her to share this with me, if for no other reason than to feel like we are making progress.

I prod her gently. “Want to talk about it?”

She shakes her head then says, “Yes. But later.”

That, I can live with. Meanwhile, I start her a bath and agree without pause when she invites me to join her.

A few minutes later, we’re settled in a warm tub, Alayna sitting between my legs, her back to my chest. I hold her and think for the first time in my life that I understand happiness. It’s a truly different feeling than being sexually sated. We are naked, and I’m definitely aroused. I’ll have to be inside her before our bath is over. I’ll need to lick the wet drops of water from her br**sts, need to fill her tight pu**y with my cock. But it’s not a requirement. Touching her, holding her, being in her world—that’s where this peaceful bliss originates.

Also, we talk. We connect with words. It’s a strange thing for both of us to communicate openly, without fear of judgment, without regret. It will take getting used to, but we begin to try. I’m profoundly excited about this new start.

I even begin to forget about the one secret that I’ve held from her. I’ve worried whether I should tell her, then I’ve worried she’d find out. Now the worry starts to fade. Perhaps it’s not that big of an issue. I can keep it buried, and, as I learn to live with it, I can maybe stop letting it affect the way I am with Alayna. Possibly I could tell her how I really feel. Tell her that I love her without the guilt preventing the words.