I stare at the air mattress and wonder what I’ve gotten myself into. Tears leak down my face, and I can’t help but think about the first time I stood in this room and how those tears were tears of joy.
Boxes of shoes line the walls, some waiting for me to design and others having already been done. I’ve been coming during the day and working on them between job interviews, not knowing if this place would ever come to be. Likely not because I can’t take it now. I didn’t want to from the start with how guilty I felt spending his money on something like this for me. I’d have to give it back. It’s not right to keep it. Even less so now that we aren’t going to be together.
The last months of my life have been a lie. Small little white lies here and there, trying to make sure I didn’t hurt anyone, not wanting to lose the only real family I’d ever had. But all that has crumbled around me, leaving me even more broken than before. They found me and welcomed me into their home, but it’s all led to this.
Thomas was slowly putting back together the pieces of me. Pieces I didn’t know had broken off. He healed me and made me feel whole again. Made me feel loved and cherished. Like I belonged to someone. Now every part of me feels like it’s crushed. I’ve got almost nothing left.
I walk over to the air mattress and sit down, letting myself fall back. Lifting up my shirt, I rub my hand along my belly, thinking about the little boy growing inside me.
“I still have you,” I tell him.
The last few months have been harder than anything I’ve ever gone through. Harder than what I’d endured living at home with my parents. The drunk fights and contempt showed me just how little they cared about me. Being picked on in school for not always fitting in and being too shy to talk to anyone wore me down. This is so much harder than all that. Tasting something sweet then having it taken away is almost more than I can stand. I can’t go through that again.
The stress of Thomas going missing wore me out. Not only mentally but physically. The doctor told me I needed to calm down and to get myself under control, but I can’t seem to. How can I not worry? The father of my child is missing—a child he didn’t even know about.
I know I’ll have to tell him. A man like Thomas would want to be a part of his child’s life. It will be bittersweet for me. I’ve seen how he is with Maggie. He loves her so much and would do anything for his daughter. I know he’ll do the same for our son. It will just be hard having to see him all the time and knowing he isn’t mine anymore. That he could one day belong to someone else…
The memory of nights when everyone went to sleep and he’d pull me from my bed to get into his flashes through my mind. I think I’ll miss that most of all—our stolen moments that meant so much to me. Even the fights. I smile at the thought of them.
“What are you doing?” I whisper as Thomas pulls me from my bed.
“Putting you where you belong,” he half growls as he throws me over his shoulder, taking me from my bedroom. I look around the hallway, happy Maggie isn’t here to see this. I think that’s what Thomas wants to happen, though, so that everything is out in the open.
This would not be the best way for her to find out about her father and me—while I’m barely dressed and thrown over his shoulder in the middle of the night. Then she’d see I’ve been a terrible friend to the one person who’s really meant something to me. That after all she’s done for me, even inviting me into her home, I’ve fallen in love with her father.
Which I blame mostly on him. He’s been like a freight train from the first moment he laid eyes on me. He never looked at me like I was his daughter’s friend. He looked at me like I was his.
I hear the door to his room close right before my back hits the bed.
“Thomas.” I put my hands on his chest, holding him at bay, as he tries to come down on top of me. It takes everything in me to do it because I don’t want to be doing it at all. I want to grab him and pull him close, to wrap my body around him tightly and never let go.
“My sweet girl. Please, I’ve missed you all day. Just a taste.” I melt at his words. He always gets me with them. The way he talks to me, it’s like nothing I’ve ever known in the world. It makes me feel special, even more so because I don’t think a man like him ever begs.
My arms give way, and he leans down over me, caging my body, a predatory smile pulling at his lips. “There’s my sweet girl, always wanting to please. I don’t know why you don’t let me just please you. Show you what it’s like to be on the other side of a sweetness like yours.”
His mouth takes mine in a soft kiss. I didn’t think men could have soft lips, but he does. They fit against mine perfectly every time he kisses me. I wrap my legs around him, and I know it’s taking everything in him to be soft and slow. I see it all the time from the gleam in his eyes. He wants to take me, but he’s afraid it will scare me away.
“I don’t want anyone to get hurt,” I say as he pulls his mouth from mine. He goes after my neck, and I give him what he wants.
“You’re hurting me, sweet girl,” he mumbles against my throat, making me eyes water.
My fingers dig into his chest, and he pulls back, looking down at me. God, he’s so handsome. His dark brown hair is starting to show gray on the sides. His light blue eyes show so much passion and yet are filled with concern.
“Baby,” he whispers, leaning down and kissing me again. “Don’t be upset. I just want you happy. I’m trying. It’s fucking hard. I want you—all of you. I want everyone to know you’re mine.”
“I am yours,” I tell him, and it’s the truth. This man will always own me. He has since the first moment he pulled me into his arms to comfort me. He told me he was my home now. I’m scared. I don’t want to rock this boat, but I also know we can’t hide forever.
“Say it again.” His voice deepens, and I do as he commands.
“I’m yours,” I tell him again. I drop my legs from around his waist and spread them wider. “All of me.”
His whole body goes still, and I can’t feel him breathe. He leans down next to my ear, taking the lobe into his mouth. Before now all we did was kissing and heavy petting. He usually crawls into my bed at night or pulls me into his like he did tonight. He would never take it any further, even though I would silently try to push him to. He said he wouldn’t, not until I was really his, and I just told him I was—words he’s been trying to get from me for a while.
“I’m about to mark every part of you. Mark you so good there won’t be a way for people to miss that you belong to someone.”
His mouth is suddenly all over me. My shirt gives way as he rips it down the center, still not taking his mouth from me as he moves down my body. He takes one of my nipples into his mouth, and I moan at the sensation. I can’t take the teasing. I want him inside me now. Months of kissing and soft touches have been a tease, and I’m more than ready.
“Now, Thomas. Please.” He looks up at me, searching my face.
“I’ve wanted this for so fucking long. I want to savor it.” I wiggle against him and watch him fight his own control. I’ve never seen that control challenged before, except with me. “Tell me you’re mine forever. That I can savor you for the rest of our lives and I’ll give it to you fast this time.”
I nod, and he moves faster than I thought possible. My sleep shorts are ripped from my legs in one swift movement, and his face is buried between my thighs. I almost come off the bed at the delicious feel of his warm tongue on me, but Thomas’s hands grip my thighs, firmly holding me in place.
“Major,” I moan, and his fingers dig in harder. “Major. I. Thomas. Please. Oh God.”
He growls against my clit, and I come undone. Pleasure shoots up my spine and explodes outward. I call out his name over and over again until his mouth is coming down onto mine, stopping me. I taste my pleasure on him, making the moment even more erotic.
His cock nudges against me, sliding back and forth against my clit, making me jerk. I’m still so sensitive from my orgasm. I’m coating him with my release, coating him with the pleasure he gave me.
It’s all his to take.
“This your first time, sweet girl? Never mind. I know it is. I know I’m your first everything. And your last. No way someone would walk away from you after they got a taste. Hell, I didn’t even get a taste before I knew I’d never be able to stop.”
My eyes sting at his sweet words. I don’t know if he realizes what it does to me when he says things like that. It makes me feel so wanted when my whole life I never thought anyone really cared about me.
“I love you, Alice,” he says as he thrusts inside me. It makes me cry out, but I don’t know if I do it because of the little sting of pain or because of his words. Tears slip free, and he kisses them, stopping them in their tracks. “You hear me, sweet girl? I love you.”
I nod, so shocked by emotion I can’t even speak. He brings his mouth to mine and slowly kisses me, but the feel of him inside me changes from a foreign sensation to something else. I wrap my arms around his neck and shift a little, wanting him to move. Our kiss becomes more aggressive as our needs start to surface.
I rock my hips, and he groans against my mouth before he breaks the kiss. “I’m not going to last. I’m shocked I made it this long.” His hand slides between us, and he starts to stroke me.
“Move,” I beg.
He grits his teeth, closing his eyes as a string of curses leaves his lips. “You’re going to kill me.”
I wrap my legs around him and try to wiggle more. He strokes me faster, and I feel my orgasm closing in. Finally he starts to move as he opens his eyes. “Sweet one, I need you to cum.”
I do as he says, and this orgasm is more intense than the last one. I cling to him, unable to control the pleasure as it takes me. I feel his warm release deep inside as he moans out my name. His words fill my ears, and suddenly I understand what all those love stories are about.
He rolls, taking me with him so I’m lying on top of him with my head under his chin. I’m resting on his chest as he wraps his arms around me, holding me close.
“I’ll never let you go.”
I think he means the words to come out sweet, like how he normally talks to me. He’s usually nothing but softness, as if he thinks I might spook and take off. But these sound different. I can hear an underlying threat. Possession.
“I don’t want to be let go. I just…” I don’t want to say Maggie’s name while I’m laying naked on top of him. I’m sure the last thing he wants to talk about right now is his own daughter while he is still inside me.
“Everything will be okay. I’ll always make things right for you.” He pets my back, and I don’t push the issue. It’s not something we should talk about. Not something I want to talk about right now either. It only makes me worry about losing both of them. And it makes me think about the woman he must have loved before me. Loved so much he hasn’t been with anyone for years.
I feel wetness coat my thighs, and it’s then I realize we forgot to use protection.
“I’m not on anything,” I whisper.
“Pretty sure you’re still on me.” He thrusts up again, and his hard cock makes me moan.
“I know what you mean.” He keeps stroking my back. “If you’re worried about me being clean, I can assure you I am. It’s been…” He trails off and doesn’t finish. I know he doesn’t date. Well, at least not in front of Maggie. There has never been so much as a whisper from what she’s said. I shamelessly got that information from her one night.
It always makes me wonder if he’s still hung up on Maggie’s mom. No one knows what happened to her. Maybe she died and he’s spent all these years mourning her or something. It makes me wonder if I’ll always come second to the mystery woman he doesn’t talk about. Or maybe one day she’ll show up again…
I suddenly want to flee the room, but he only holds me tighter.
“It’s not that I don’t want to tell you, it’s that I really can’t remember. That’s how long it’s been,” he finally admits. I relax against him, feeling a little better at his words. The man is over fifteen years older than me and has a kid. I shouldn’t even be thinking about it.
He rolls me over and looks down at me. “I didn’t know it could feel like this.” He pulls out of me and thrusts back in. “Being skin to skin like this. Fuck.” He grunts and thrusts more, picking up a little speed. “Still don’t think I’m going to last long.” He pulls back and looks down at my naked body. It’s then I see he still has his boxers on, as if he can’t even take the time to kick them off.
“What about pregnancy?” I finally say around a moan.
“Hmm. Trying to make me cum already? Talking about you all round with my baby? Because that will do it.”
My eyes snap to his.
“I told you. I’ve never been skin to skin like this, and I’ll never put a condom on after this moment. Because I’ll never wear one with you, and you’re all I’ll ever want.”
I search his eyes. That doesn’t make any sense. He has a freaking kid. He must read my eyes.
“I promise you, Alice. I’d never lie to you. Ever.”
I reach up to touch his face, and he leans into my hand.
“You want me pregnant?”
“I want you for everything.” He leans in again, and I know he’s going to kiss me. We kiss like teenagers who can’t seem to get enough of making out. “Told you I was going to mark you so good everyone would know.
And he had. I roll to my side, still rubbing my belly. The only thing that has gotten me through his disappearance has been relieving moments like those. Every day with Thomas only got sweeter and sweeter. Like this place. He knew I didn’t want to go to college. So what did he do? He bought this place without so much as a question. Brought me here and told me he was going to make all my dreams come true.
He wanted me to have a little place to make the shoes I love to design so much. I’d even have room to hire more people if I need. He was making all my dreams come true. But now things have changed. Maybe he was right. He spent all that time handling me so softly, scared I might spook, and I did. I was so freaking scared.
When I heard his voice come over my phone line today, I almost collapsed. He could only talk for a second. Told me he loved me and would be home to me soon. I didn’t believe it at first. It was as if I dreamed it up. Then the landline rang, and I knew it was true. They were calling to talk to Maggie, to set up a call for her to talk to her father.
I also knew in that moment that he’d snuck away to call me first. It warmed me for a moment. I let the bit of sweetness take me until reality starts to sink in.
I can’t do this. I can’t go through this again—him going away and possibly leaving me forever. I’d always be worried that any moment he might have to leave. Then I’d worry even more when he was gone. The possibility of losing him would slowly eat away at me. I’m not sure I’m someone who can handle that. I also hate how weak it makes me sound. More tears fall. Thomas needs someone strong, not someone he has to handle with kid gloves. Or someone that he can be out in the open with.
Not that we can hide anymore. Soon Maggie will know the truth. She’ll know I wasn’t a great friend and that I’d betrayed her. And I’ll be all alone.
I feel a little flutter in my belly, and my hand goes to the spot. No, I won’t be completely alone.