Chapter 13


“I’ve just never spent Christmas without my family.”

“I’ll take you there. You don’t have to stay here.”

“No, I have my car. If I wanted to leave, I’d go. You know that.”

“Is that why you brought your car?” I ask. “I thought you brought it so you could stop by your parents’ house and say hi to your family.”

“That is why I brought it … I …”

“I don’t understand. If you want to be here, why are you upset?”

She steps sideways so our faces aren’t so close and a thick cloud of steam escapes her mouth as she lets out a deep breath. “It doesn’t matter. I just need a minute. I’ll come back inside soon.”

I wait a moment for her to change her mind and tell me she’s coming inside, but she doesn’t. “It’s cold. Don’t stay out here too long.”

She closes her eyes and I take that as my cue to head back in. I leave the front door open and take a seat at the dining table, which, thankfully, still has a view of the front door.

“Where’s Senia?” Molly asks as she sips a glass of cranberry juice.

“She’s just missing her family a little. She’ll be back inside in a couple of minutes.”

But a couple of minutes turns into nearly fifteen minutes and I have to check on her. When I open the door, Senia’s car is gone. My first instinct is to hop into my car and go to her parents’ house, but they don’t know about me yet and I don’t want to cause her any more trouble then she may already be in for not showing up to their Christmas dinner.

I pull my phone out of my pocket. It’s a long-shot, but I have to at least try to call her. Not surprisingly, she doesn’t answer, but I’m not upset because I’ve been a bit of an asshole to her about using her phone while driving. I look up and down the street, foolishly hoping she may have just parked a few houses away to think in the warmth of the car heater, but her car is nowhere. I wait a few minutes, to give her some time to get wherever she’s going, then I begin typing a text message to her.

Me: Where are you?

I hesitate before I hit the send button. This text message sounds demanding. I swallow my pride and type two more words.

Me: Where are you? I’m worried.

I hit send and I get a response a few minutes later, just as Molly comes outside to see what’s going on.

Senia: I’m home. I’m in the study catching up on my homework.

I’m confused. She just said that she was upset because she wasn’t spending Christmas with her family and now she’s gone home – to our home – instead of to her family’s house. Why do women have to be so fucking complicated? I think as I reach into my pocket and grab my keys.

“Can I come with you?” Molly asks.

I smile. “Not this time. I think Senia and I have some stuff to talk about.”

Molly laughs. “You’re whipped.”

“What? I am not whipped.”

“Yeah, you are. But that’s okay. She’s worth it.”

I shake my head as I head for my car. “Tell Grandma she doesn’t need to clean up. I’ll send Lily over tomorrow morning.”

“Don’t be a pussy!” she shouts at me as I slide into the driver’s seat. “Tell her how you feel.”

Chapter Twenty


I probably screwed things up with Tristan and his family, but I couldn’t sit there and pretend like my mind wasn’t elsewhere. And I couldn’t tell Tristan what I was thinking. The last thing I need is for him to think I’m clingy and demanding. I needed a timeout.

So here I am in Tristan’s study, which is right next door to the room where he practices bass for hours at a time. If he’s that dedicated to his job, I should try to be that dedicated to my schoolwork. I can’t let all this family stuff and all these emotions sidetrack me. But now that Tristan knows I’m here, I fully expect him to come walking through the door into the study and say something totally stupid or totally dreamy. It won’t matter because, either way, it won’t be the words I want to hear; the same words I nearly blurted out at his Grandma’s dining table.

I’m such an idiot. I need to move out of here.

I grab my laptop and textbook then head back to my bedroom. I grab my suitcase out of the closet and begin stuffing the inner pocket with all my panties and bras. Then I pull a zipped case out from underneath the bed: my new goodie drawer since I know Tristan has probably searched all the drawers on this dresser.

“So that’s where you keep it?”

His voice makes my skin ache. I want to turn around to face him, but I’m afraid of what his face will look like when he realizes I’m packing.

“Are you packing?”

I turn around and his eyes are narrowed, as if he’s angry. “I can’t live here any more.”

“Is this because I asked you to have Christmas with us?”

“What? No! That’s … that’s not it at all. It’s just …”

I try to think of a lie, but my mind is not working at normal speed. And the truth is not an option. I can’t tell him I’m leaving because I’m in love with him. That just sounds stupid and if he doesn’t feel the same … I don’t know if I could handle finding out.

“What is it?” he asks as he takes a step toward me.

“I’m … I didn’t get you anything for Christmas.”

He laughs as he reaches forward and grabs my hand. “You’re leaving because you didn’t get me a present? Come on, what are you going to get me that I don’t already have?”

Exactly what I thought when I was trying to figure out what I was going to get him, which is why I had the brilliant idea of giving him … “Me.”

His smile disappears and I know I’ve scared him. That’s it. I have to leave. I shake his hand off and turn around to continue packing.

He grabs my elbow and turns me around, the muscle in his jaw twitching as his eyes search my face for something. “I didn’t get you anything either. Well, nothing you can unwrap and hold in your hands.” He takes a deep breath, steeling himself for whatever he’s about to say. “I know how much you hate commuting to class, so I rented an apartment near campus. I want us to move there before next semester.”

“An apartment?”

“Did you just say you’re giving me you for Christmas?”

I think I’m going to be sick. Why did I say that? “Sorry. It just sort of slipped out.”

I try to turn around again to continue packing, but he tightens his grip on my elbow. “Look at me.” I look up into his fierce gray eyes and say a mental prayer that I don’t vomit.

Chapter Twenty-One

This may be the biggest mistake of my life or the smartest thing I’ve ever done. All I know is that it has to be done. I can’t watch her go so soon. Not on Christmas.

“When I asked Chris what I should get you, he told me I should get you something that means something only to me and you. I didn’t know what the fuck that meant and I thought the apartment would be a great present, but I think you’re better at this than I am. I need you to teach me. I need … I need you.” She bites her lip, but I can’t tell if she’s doing it to keep from crying or laughing. “Say something.”

Finally, she smiles and I let out the breath I’m holding. “I think what you mean is … I love you.”

My body tenses when I hear the words, but I know it’s only because I haven’t heard them in so long. “You love me?”

She nods and a strange sensation builds inside me that is so powerful it lights the hollow of my chest on fire. Is this what love feels like? ‘Cause it fucking hurts.

I grab the sides of her head and tilt her face up. There’s a weird trembling in my chest, but my hands are steady and firm as I look her in the eye. “I love you. Nothing else can explain how crazy you make me. And I want you to stay with me, tonight, tomorrow, and … for as long as it takes to make this right, because I know everything seems completely fucked up right now. But it won’t always be that way. We’ll get it right, won’t we?”

She nods again and a tear rolls down her cheek. “We’ll get it right,” she whispers. “Eventually.”

I smile as I lean in to kiss her cheek and the taste of her tears is better than I remember it. I kiss the corner of her mouth and her hands glide up to grab handfuls of my hair. She kisses me hard as I slide my hands under her UNC T-shirt. Her skin is so warm and soft. I can only imagine how much softer it will get over the next few months.

I yank my hoodie off then I pull her shirt over her head. She drags out the moment, moving at an achingly slow pace as she unclasps her lacy white bra and lets it fall to the floor. Her nipples are stiff and inviting. She moans into my mouth as I kiss her and press my chest against hers.

“Are you ready to be fucked?” I whisper as I move down to kiss her neck.

She throws her head back and lets out a throaty laugh that’s sexy as hell. “Oh, Tristan.”


She smiles as she traces her finger along my jawline, then she looks me in the eye. “Are you ready to have your world turned inside out?”

I let out a soft chuckle and her smile turns me on even more. “Baby, you can turn me inside out, upside down, sideways … whatever position you prefer. I’m ready when you are.”

“I have more than a few positions in mind.”

She reaches for my waistband, but she doesn’t unbutton my jeans. She grabs my waistband and attempts to push me toward the bed, but I’m too solid to be moved.

She laughs sheepishly and I kiss her forehead. “You can always just ask and I’d be happy to lie down for you.”

“Can you please lie down?”

“No. You lie down.”

“Are we going to argue about this?”

“Nope, because you’re going to do exactly as I say and you’re not going to argue with me. Now strip down and lie on the bed.”

I shove her suitcase off the bed as she undresses, then I unzip her goodie bag. Sifting through the contents, I find an assortment of tools, most of which I’ve used before, but some are a bit foreign, and that intrigues me. First things first, I undress and slip a soft rubber cock ring down to the base of my erection; there will be no premature ejaculation tonight. I glance over at Senia and she’s biting her lip as she watches me. I pull out a smooth pink vibrator that’s as big as my dick, then I lie down next to her. She reaches for me, but I push her hands away.

“You’re not allowed to touch me. Just close your eyes and try not to scream too loud.”

She giggles nervously as she closes her eyes and I turn the vibrator on. I press it against the crook of her neck then I slowly trace a line over the hollow of her throat and down to her chest. She’s breathing faster now and I’m getting harder just watching her chest move quickly up and down. I lightly brush the vibrator over her nipple and she squeezes her eyes tightly shut as she whispers, “Oh, God.”

I trace a light circle around her areola with the vibrator, then I take her nipple into my mouth. I alternate between sucking and flicking and her back begins to arch.

“Try not to move.”

She lets out a nervous chuckle. “Impossible.”

I trail the vibrator over her other nipple then I run it down over her abdomen. I plant a soft kiss just below her navel and I can feel her muscles tense with anticipation.

“Just breathe,” I murmur as I slide the vibrator over her mound and stop there. “Relax.”

I gently spread her legs open and position myself between them. The perfect landing strip of hair I remember from the last time we did this a month ago has grown out a little. I trace the vibrator gently over her slit and she gasps. I keep going until I reach her cheeks then I move back up. I do this a few more times until she’s glistening wet, then I slide the vibrator inside of her, just a few inches, and immediately cover her clit with my mouth.

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