God, she’s so f**king tight. She feels so incredible. Every time, it’s a surprise. Every time, I have to gather myself so I don’t come too soon. She rides me slowly but with force. It’s hot—her tits bouncing, her forehead creased with exertion, the breathy moans of pleasure that slip out of her mouth with each slide down. So mother-fucking sexy.
But this won’t get her off. She needs me to thrust. My girl likes it hard. I wrap my hands around her ass and hold her still so I can drive into her the way she needs.
“Do you always have to take over?” She’s not complaining.
I smile slightly. “If you want us both to come, then yes.”
She laughs and it causes her pu**y to tighten. I twitch inside her. I’m close. She’s close.
“And who is it that wouldn’t come if I stayed in control?”
Does she even have to ask? “You.”
I push deeper into her, angling toward the spot that always seems to send her over. It works. Instantly she’s gasping and digging into my skin as she soars through her orgasm. In this position, I can see her face clearly. She’s completely transparent in this moment. I see everything in her expression—her love, her trust, her ecstasy. It’s beautiful.
God, what I’d give to deserve her.
I finish after her. Then I kiss her along her neck and jaw and lips. When I pull away, she has tears streaming down her face. “Alayna. What is it, precious?”
But she doesn’t answer, and soon, her tears are sobs.
She pushes me away and fumbles out of the tub. I’m right behind her. I grab a towel and wrap it around her. “Alayna, talk to me.”
Again, she runs from me.
I’m baffled and worried. I have no idea what is bothering her. Did I hurt her? Was there something I said? Always, I wonder, does she know somehow?
Worst is that she’s running. When we just said we were committed to each other. When we just vowed we wouldn’t do that anymore. Did I expect too much from her too soon?
If so, she has to tell me. I follow after—I’ll always follow after her—and spin her toward me. “Talk to me. What is it?”
Her breaths are deep, her entire body shuddering with her sobs. “You. Really. Hurt me.” Her words are broken, but I understand them.
“No.” She tries to calm herself enough to talk. “You really hurt me. With Celia. When you believed her. Instead of me.”
There’s a weight on my chest, crushing against my heart, making it hard to breathe. “Oh, Alayna.” I pull her to me. That I am the cause of such deep pain—it wrecks me. I wish that I could take it all from her. “Tell me. Tell me all of it. I need to hear it.”
She tells me. All of it, in short, broken sentences. Each word another knife through my own skin. “It hurts, Hudson. It hurts so much. Even though you’re here. Now. And we’re together. There’s a hole. A deep, deep hole.”
I can’t say what I want to say, the magic phrase that will take it all away. So I tell her what I can. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. If I could take it back, if I could change how I reacted…I would have chosen differently.”
“I know. I do. But you didn’t choose differently. And you can’t take that back.” She straightens in my arms. “You can never take that back.”
“No. I can’t.” For all the things I’ve accomplished in my life, they will never outweigh the burden of this one failure.
“And that changes things. It changes me.”
I’m afraid to ask, but I do. “How?”
“It makes me vulnerable. Exposed. And you know now. That you can hurt me. You can hurt me real bad.”
“Alayna.” I pull her back to me. “My precious girl. I never want to hurt you again. Will you ever be able to…forgive me?” My voice is thick and unrecognizable, and I realize that I’m also on the verge of a breakdown. If this has the power to hurt her so much, what would my other secret do?
If I’d ever wondered if our love could survive my deceit, I know the answer now. It will not. She will not.
Maybe Celia had the experiment pegged right all along. Alayna could be broken.
I rock her in my arms, kissing her, apologies on my tongue. Eventually, I carry her to the bed where she finishes her tears wrapped in my arms.
While she cries, I think how there was a brief space of time there where the whirring had stopped, where my mind was quiet and my skin didn’t itch with regrets. I’d cut Celia from my life, and though I expected that she wasn’t finished with me quite yet, I’d begun the work to ensure that she was. In Japan, I’d met with GlamPlay and convinced them to purchase shares in Werner Media. I’d even got back Plexis.
Then I’d returned home to fight for Alayna.
And I’d won.
We’d won, I thought. Our demons hadn’t come between us. We were still together. Still in love.
Then in the course of an hour, I’d realized that not only would my lie always be on the verge of discovery, but how important it was to keep that secret buried. While I’d always expected, now I knew. The truth would destroy us.
When she’s calm, we talk, we start to mend. We move on.
We’ll be fine, I know that. I’m not worried that we can’t recover from the mistakes we’ve made. The ones in the open, anyway. And I vow yet again to never let her know the truth of how she came into my world. It’s this battle that may kill me, but better me than her.
After the words are said and our hurts confessed, I make my promises again to her, silently, with my lips. I kiss her, I cherish her. From her head to her toes, I leave no space untouched. My mouth adores each square inch of her skin, each freckle, each finger, each toe.
I lavish her in love that I can’t speak. I claim her body, her life, as mine.
I tap the side of my cheek with my pen in rapid tempo, deep in thought. Has it really only been five days since I returned from Japan? It seems like a lifetime has happened in this week.
“If you purchase GlamPlay under any of your American subsidiaries though, the press is going to get a hold of that information, and it won’t be covert like you want. Hudson, are you even listening?”
I halt my pen mid-tap and throw my gaze to Norma Anders. She’s frustrated with me. With this project. I’m frustrated too. But whatever it takes, we have to make this purchase happen. “I heard you. So we need to find a more indirect way to buy GlamPlay.”