Boulder (Riders of Apollo #5)

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Riley Everett

I know I said I was comfy yesterday but I will admit right now, nothing compares to sharing a bed with someone who is built like a brick shithouse. I am basically on top of him and the soothing rise and fall of his chest has me drifting back off to sleep every time I move to wake up. He’s warm too and radiates it, his arms wrapped around me and my face against his bare chest which I could lick if I wasn’t half-asleep.

Before I left he used to stay in my bed sometimes but we wouldn’t really cuddle. I would put distance between us almost immediately and for the life of me I can’t remember why. I’m curled up into a ball on his chest, my arms tucked in and everything and he isn’t struggling under my weight.

That’s when you know you’ve found the right one, ladies. Your entire body weight doesn’t crush him so you can sleep wherever the fuck you want, including on top of him. It gets better. Thing is, he’s awake and has been for about twenty minutes and as soon as he woke up, he kissed my head and started stroking my back and hair.

What kind of sorcery is this bullshit?

If you couldn’t tell, I’ve never been a hugger. I suppose I’ll have to change up my entire lifestyle just for this. I snuggle deeper into his chest if that’s possible and he kisses my head again. “You awake?”

I just grumble and bury my head down under the duvet so he doesn’t make me move. “You’re like a cat.” He says with a laugh and I decide not to dignify that with a response. I whine when he pulls me up his body so that he can see me better so I manoeuvre myself to hide in his neck instead. “Are you going to wake up any time soon?”

“I don’t wanna.” He squeezes me tighter before literally rolling on top of me and crushing me to the bed. If he thinks that’ll stop me from sleeping, then he’s sorely mistaken. It’s like a really heavy weighted blanket and I like the feeling so I wrap my arms under his and tuck myself in nice and snug. He stops supporting his weight with his arms either side of me and I feel the full weight of him.

“Really? That’s not gonna stop you?”

“Just cuddle me and stop complaining.” I flick his ear as I glare up at him making him laugh at me.

“I have church in ten minutes so I have to move.” I narrow my eyes at him and wrap my legs around his waist to lock him in. “Are you challenging me?” He questions with a playfully stern face. I know he’s big and strong and whatever but I am well trained. He goes to move but finds himself stuck, I raise my eyebrow teasingly and he bites my chin in retaliation.

After a few minutes of struggling, I release him from my grip and snuggle back into the covers, fully intending to go back to sleep. It’s only eight in the morning so I have no reason to be awake. “Nope, Lexie wants the women in with her at the same time so you’re up now too.”

“That’s it, I’m going back to England.” I reply jokingly as I crawl to the edge of the bed where he’s stood. He puts out his hands to help me out of the bed and I take them. My leg is incredibly stiff and painful in the morning so I almost fall over, Boulder catches me with a questioning look. He lowers me back to the edge of the bed and I hiss as the pain shoots down my leg.

“What do you need me to do, baby?” He kneels in between my legs and holds my face tenderly with concerned eyes.

“Can you pass me my bag?” He passes me the small cosmetics bag from the corner of his room and I pull out some numbing cream and my bandage grip to ease the pressure. I’ll only wear it for an hour or so then it’ll be fine. He gently applies it for me as I lean my head on his shoulder with small whimpers of pain.

God, I hate being weak but I know I can be with him. “Is that better?”

“Yeah, thank you.” I kiss his cheek and he helps me up. I stretch out slightly and head into the bathroom with him right behind me. We brush our teeth and I brush through my hair with my fingers because we’ll be getting ready downstairs with Lexie.

Boulder, the eternal gentleman, carries my bag downstairs with me on his back. I took advantage of the situation, sue me. He leaves both in the pink room and heads off to church. Within seconds, the girls notice the grip on my leg and I just explain the reasoning. “How come you’re not in Church?” I ask Sav as I sit down in front of the mirror and start straightening my hair.

“I don’t actually know, Bear didn’t call me in so I assume it’s a surprise of some sort.”

“What makes you say that?” Cassidy asks, flicking on some mascara and almost poking herself in the eye with the wand.

“Well Bear knows that if I know about a surprise then I’ll tell Lexie who will then tell you three so I get it. Plus, it’s Christmas next month so they’re probably talking about gifts too. They don’t give them to each other but they give them to us.”

“Why wouldn’t they want you in there though? You can give them ideas.” Marielle states, laying her newest wig down. It’s a gold blonde which I’ve never seen on her before but somehow she manages to pull off everything, which is really fucking annoying by the way.

“I’ll tell you what they decide on and what they suggest so you know how much of an idiot your boy is.” We all laugh in agreement as Saviour roots around in the closets with fervour. It’s not a lie, I mean I don’t even know what to get Boulder for Christmas.

To be honest, I’ve never really celebrated Christmas, as the neglected child you kinda don’t get the choice. You get a pair of socks while your sisters get phones. You get a small plate of food and your sisters get a whole feast.

I guess I’ve hated the occasion since then, especially after both of my sisters left and formed their own family, their own traditions. Now, mum has got Chief who loves Christmas, Johnson and his girlfriend are going to her family for Christmas and I’m just kinda here.

“What is it, Riley? You look upset.” Cassidy jumps into comforting me, stroking my arm gently as she side hugs me. It’s amazing that this woman used to hate touch and now she can initiate a hug and sustain it for a while. Growth.

“Uh Christmas and I have never gotten along I guess. It’s just another forgotten holiday in a long line of them.”

“I’m sorry. Hey, you’re here for Christmas this year, right?” Lexie asks, tucking her curling iron away and turning in her seat to look at me. I nod hesitantly as she grins. “Then this will be the best Christmas you’ve ever had!”

“Thanks guys. I really appreciate that.”

“You’re family, Riley. Forever.”

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