He moaned in my mouth as I pushed him down the hallway, through the living room, into the bedroom, our tongues dancing in each other’s mouths. I clumsily shoved his leather jacket past his shoulders, my fingers trembling to feel the hot skin beneath it. Who needed drugs when you could have Emmett Delcour pressed so close to you?
We couldn’t get each other out of clothes fast enough. I cornered him between the doorframe to my bedroom and me, trapping him in a cage of my arms. He gasped as the paneled wood dug into his back and as I kissed him deeper, he relaxed in my arms, tangling his fingers in my hair. He snaked an arm around my waist and pulled me closer, pulling the waistband of my jeans down from my back. It had been seconds since we’d come back and I was already painfully hard.
I raised his arms in the air and pinned them to the wall, licking and biting on the side of his neck. There were battling forces inside me to take this excruciatingly slow and no-holds-barred fast. I needed all of him, every inch of his sweet skin, his sinful body, his erotic moans. He squirmed when I didn’t let his hands go but I bit his earlobe and growled to chide him. He stilled immediately, albeit with a small whine.
I spun him around so that he was pressed against the door, his back flush against me. There was a quick ripping sound as I tore his T-shirt into two and hurriedly stripped him out from the rest of the clothes. His back was as built up as the rest of him, smooth tanned skin with taut muscles that curved into the most delectable ass ever created on earth. Just looking at his fucking gorgeous body could make a man reach the edge.
He turned his face slightly towards me. “I’ll kill you if you’re actually just standing there and staring at me,” he said, a little out of breath.
I muffled my laughter by open-mouthed kisses on the back of his neck and over his shoulders. I traced my tongue on his spine till I reached the small of his back, peppering kisses on the curved surface where it dipped into his ass. “Keep your hands there,” I ordered him and curled my fingers on the sexy ‘V’ on his pelvis.
“You’re behind me. I can’t exactly do anything with my hands except keeping them there,” he said.
I bit his ass playfully to shut him up. That was my automatic reaction now when he mouthed off to me; bite whatever skin available nearest. His accompanying gasp was more than satisfying. I spread his legs, applied some lube on him and kissed my way back up his spine. To his credit, he hadn’t moved his hands an inch. I rubbed the back of his wrists in circular motions, rubbing myself against him, teasing him until he was whimpering and trembling in anticipation.
I pushed him flat against the door again and it banged on the wall with a loud thud, adding to the currents of electricity zapping through the air. I reached forward and stroked him lightly, getting him closer to the delirious, drug-like zone where he wouldn’t know his name until I ask him thrice. He tried to turn but I just nibbled on his shoulder until he stopped squirming against me, his struggles receding into small whines and whimpers.
“Trust me?” I whispered.
“Always,” he said promptly.
I wrapped my arms around his waist and bent him over a little. With one thrust, I was deep inside him. He gasped loudly, halfway between a scream, and I froze. I’d never been so rough with him and for a second, I was scared I had hurt him. But then he cursed in a throaty voice like he always did and I loosened up.
“Are you okay?” I asked.
“Move, damn it. Move!” he said through his teeth, clenching my forearms.
That was all the impetus I needed. I drove into him with all I had, impaling myself into him with an unabandoned force. I held his hips tightly as they pushed back to meet each thrust, his head fell back against my shoulder, our eyes clenched shut. The air was filled with screams so loud that I hoped the kids couldn’t hear it. The door banged on the wall again and again with us, adding to the wildly euphoric atmosphere.
“Look at me,” I told him as clearly as I could muster speaking.
He tilted his head to the side so I could see his dark, smoldered eyes, filled with so much passion and love and trust that I came apart. He grunted something but I didn’t understand. All I could feel was his hard body clenching before he erupted in my hand, his voice screaming my name, zapping every nerve ending in my body.
We simultaneously collapsed on the door, catching our breaths after the most intense experience of my life. Once we’d cleaned up, I gathered him in my arms and stroked his back gently. “Did I hurt you?”
“Yeah, but in a good way. It was mindblowing,” he whispered in the hollow of my neck.
I looked down at him tangled with me, his thick eyelashes brushing against my skin, the dim light from the bedside lamp casting shadows on his strong jaw, highlighting his cheekbones in a way that they looked even sharper. He stretched his lips a little, smirking in his adorably arrogant way that automatically made me smile back. God, why was he so fucking handsome?
I cupped his cheek and pressed my lips against his forehead. I loved him so much that I felt like I would spontaneously combust if he made me love him even a little more. His smile- his genuine smile, the one that reached his eyes and lit them up like Times Square on New Year’s eve- did things to me that I didn’t know were possible. I’d fallen in love before, sure, but never this hard, never this desperately, never this completely that I wouldn’t be able to breathe if he wasn’t over-the-rainbow happy.
He had become so much better in the past few weeks. When I had found him in his apartment all those days ago, slumped on the floor like a rag doll, a box of letters and a bottle of vodka in his lap, in so much pain internally that he couldn’t feel the cuts on his hands where the glass shards scattered on the floor had dug into his skin. My heart had just about stopped seeing him like that. It was all I could do to not scream and shake his shoulders until he snapped the fuck out of it because a big part of me was terrified that he never would.
“Ajax,” he said, interrupting my train of thought. “I need to tell you something.”
He hesitated. “Promise me you won’t react till tomorrow morning. Please.”
My eyebrows turned down. He was acting suspiciously like someone who had screwed up really badly. “I promise.”
He lifted himself on one elbow, his eyes somber. “Jackson called the other day. I’m being called back.”
His words were like an iron fist that rammed into my heart suddenly when I wasn’t paying attention. I had to remind my face to stay impassive, give no reaction as I’d promised and ignore the fact that I felt like throwing up. “By back, you mean…?” I couldn’t even complete the sentence.
I nodded after a second, once I was sure I could get my muscles to move. “Are you going to go?”
“My flight’s in two weeks,” he said.
I swallowed hard. My mind screamed, no, fuck no, you can’t leave me, you can’t go to that godforsaken place for a task that will more likely kill you, please, no, just no, does what we have not matter even a little to you, you bastard. Out loud, I said, “How long have you known?”
“A while,” he replied.
”Okay?” he asked, a little bewildered.
“I don’t break my promises,” I said and let my head fall back against the pillow, staring at the ceiling and willing my eyes to not tear up. No reactions till the morning. No fucking reactions. Never mind the fact that he was going to throw his life away which apparently meant more to me than it did to him. I was doubting my sunny optimism that had told me I could make him change his suicidal mind.
He hesitantly placed his hand on my arm but I still didn’t have enough will to look at him. He laid his head on my chest and kept whispering, “I’m sorry,” over and over again until one or both of us drifted off to sleep.
I felt a pair of arms around me, a soft kiss between my shoulder blades. “Come back to bed,” Emmett murmured.
My grip on the balcony railing tightened. “How long did you hesitate and stare at me through the window before you decided on this perfect course of action?” I said. I sounded rude, I knew that, but after hours of staring at the ceiling with the man I loved in my arms, I couldn’t ignore the time bomb attached to him.
“You promised not to react till the morning,” he reminded me.
I bent my arm and turned the back of my hand towards him, showing him my watch. “5 am. It’s morning.”
“Not morning for me yet. Too early.” He yawned to prove his point and nuzzled my neck. He was doing all of this to make me go soft and damn it, it was working. The bastard knew which buttons to push. He could be the poster boy for safe sex and the condom industry’s sales chart would have a rising mountain featured on it. But what did he want to do instead? He wanted to kill himself.
“Did you really think I would just paste a huge smile on my face and buy balloons and cakes for a farewell party?” I demanded.
He slowly retreated his arms and came to stand by my side, and I missed his warmth instantly. “Look, I know you’re pissed. I get it-“
“No, you don’t!” I shouted at him. “You don’t know. You don’t get it. I’m not pissed, Emmett. I’m hurt. I’m heartbroken. I haven’t been able to suck in a complete breath because I can’t bear the idea of something happening to you! Did you know that?”
He was stunned into silence. He hadn’t expected an outburst from me. No one ever expects an outburst from me. That was the problem. Oh, Ajax? No, he’s a saint dressed in white robes. He won’t shout. Seriously, take this gun and shoot him through the center of his eyebrows. The most he’ll do is worry if you wiped off the gunpowder residue so you don’t get in trouble. Go ahead.
But they weren’t very wrong. As quickly as my anger had flamed, it extinguished just as fast, leaving me slumped in defeat and resignation. “I thought you were getting better.”
“I am better and it’s all because of you. I never thought I would be able to laugh without feeling guilty about it and you made that possible. I can never thank you enough. But you know why I need to do this,” he said calmly. Imploringly.
I nodded right along with him. “Survivor’s guilt.”
“Don’t be a hypocrite. You make one little mistake and work your ass off to make it right. I’m doing the same,” he said, pursing his lips, evidently a little miffed, like he had he had the right to pout.
“This is not the same,” I exclaimed in bewilderment. “I forget to buy candies for my kids and take them to a theme park. You’re going to kill yourself for something that you think you did.”
He pressed his lips together. “You’re so sure I’m not going to come out of it alive,” he said quietly.
“I’m sorry. Let me bring out my optimistic hat. By the way, I’m going to jump from the roof. It’s only about sixty feet. Who knows? Maybe I’ll survive,” I said sarcastically.
He held up his hands in surrender. “If I was in your position, I’d scream at myself too,” he started to say very calmly.
“Don’t fucking patronize me.”
He scowled, starting to lose his cool. “This is my retribution, Ajax, it’s my choice. Does that mean worth a damn to you?” he shouted.
“I love you. Does that mean worth a damn to you?” I shouted back.
His eyes softened but before he could say anything, my cellphone started to ring. It was still in the pocket of my jeans I had mindlessly worn when I got up from bed, considering it was the only article of clothing around. Breaking our eye contact, I took it out.
Ginger was calling. I frowned. If it wasn’t the break of dawn, I wouldn’t have been worried. But it was her night shift with the kids that day and it was possible something had gone wrong.
“Dr. Myron, are you at home?” she asked when I picked up. She sounded strained.
“I am. What’s wrong?”
“Ginny is not well. Can you please come down here quickly?”
“Of course. Right away.” I quickly put on a shirt and grabbed the keys, not bothering to adjust my clothes respectfully. Emmett and I ran down to the room where she stayed, forgetting our argument. Through the months, he had come to care about them as much as I did. He understood they were my family and liking them was an important part of being with me.
Ginny was an ADHD kid whose parents died when she was two due to drug overdose. There weren’t even legal documents like a birth certificate for her. She had a scar on her forehead that looked like a lightning bolt. We wanted to name her something from Harry Potter but she was a girl, so we named her Ginny instead of Harry. She was also a redhead so that put Hermione out of the options.
The rest of the children who shared the room were crowded around Ginny’s bed, standing on their tiptoes to stare at her and Ginger.
“How’s my sweetheart?” I crooned, sitting down beside her and placing her head on my lap.
“She has been having headaches and a persistent cough since a few days. I thought it was cold. But now she’s running a fever. I called you when she threw up,” Ginger explained.
I asked her to get my briefcase from the clinic. Ginny had a very high fever and her breath was congested due to the cough. It was most probably just a flu but I still took a swab of her throat to test, just to be sure.
“This will only take fifteen minutes,” I said to Ginger. “If there are any more symptoms, tell me immediately.”
Ginny caught my hand when I started to get up. “Please don’t leave,” she croaked.
“I’m not going anywhere, love. Here, take this medicine and go to sleep. I’ll be right here.” I helped her up and made her swallow the spoonful of syrup Ginger had been holding out. She tucked the other kids in while I took Ginny in my lap and ran my fingers through her hair until the medicine started to take effect and she fell asleep.
“I’ll take it from here. Thank you,” Ginger whispered.
I transferred Ginny from my lap to Ginger’s as gently as I could without waking her up and tiptoed out of there. The laboratory looked like any other lab in any other hospital. It wasn’t very big because the only regular user was me but it had almost every machine I could need.
“Are you going to keep pouting and ignoring me?” said Emmett.
“That’s the plan,” I mumbled and deliberately pouted very comically in his direction, making him laugh a little.
After a long minute of watching me pointedly not looking in his direction, he stuffed his hands in his pockets and sighed. “You remember that day when I met your friends for the first time? I told you before that we don’t need to give a title to our relationship. Do you know why I said that? Because I knew that as soon as this vacation gets over, I will go back to Afghanistan and probably never return, and I didn’t want to leave a scar on you. It would be better to remember me as some guy you had a good time with than a boyfriend who died.”
“Do you remember what you said after that?” I asked. “That it doesn’t matter what we call each other. It won’t make what we have any less. I could still call you my You Know and it’s gonna hurt just the same.”
He rubbed a palm over his face, the will to argue about it leaving him. “You always knew I was going to end up doing this.”
I shot him a look. “Gee, sweetie, do you think I think immortality is an achievable concept? I know I’m going to die someday too but if you tell me it’s tomorrow I’ll be devastated.”
And just like that, the fire was back. “This is not a suicide mission. Stop treating me like I’m a maniac about to jump off the Empire State building.”
“On the contrary, it really is. I thought we’ve been over this.”
“Are you intentionally being rude?”
”Are you intentionally being dense?”
He chuckled without humor. “Talk to me when you actually wanna talk, not pick a fight.”
A sudden urgency filled me as he started to leave. I was mad at him, so fucking mad, but I didn’t want him going away. “If you walk out of here, never come back,” I warned him in desperation, actually hoping he wouldn’t.
He shook his head with the same resignation and went away, leaving me screaming through my teeth and punching the wall.
I didn’t hear from him at all, but then again, it wasn’t like I tried to contact him either. I convinced myself that it was for the best. A clean break. I didn’t deserve to be kissing a coffin. He was the bastard for putting me in this position. And as well as I had come to know him, he would have thrown a bigger fit if the roles were reversed. But he was partially right too. I had always known he was going to end up doing this. What was I thinking when I got into this? That I could change him? That I would touch him and he would heal? This wasn’t some movie where somehow, against all odds, everything becomes alright in the end. Reality is way too bitter to be real.
The smallest things irritated me, made me want to curl up in a ball and cry. Ginny got a little worse before she got better and I was this close to calling an ambulance. I would have if Elaine hadn’t whacked me on the head and set me straight. I was so depressed that even my patients were starting to notice it.
The night before he was supposed to leave, I didn’t get a second of sleep. All I could think about was the fact that I was letting him go without even so much as a goodbye. I was scared, sure, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t as well. He was probably more scared. The memories of the torture of last time wouldn’t just wash away. I had just heard them but he had lived them. He deserved to have someone cry for him. He deserved to leave a mark on someone. Most of all, he deserved to have someone to come home to.
I knew when his flight was supposed to take off. If I raced to the airport, there was a chance I could catch him. In the rush, I even forgot to put on something over a thin T-shirt, something I regretted only once I reached the airport and got out of the car and the cold wind hit me like a glacier had dropped on my face. I desperately scanned the crowd, hoping to see him around there somewhere. My mind kept tricking me into thinking some random person was him but every time they turned, my hopes crashed.
The check-in for his flight had started. It was possible he had already boarded the plane. Maybe my epiphany had come too late and he had already slipped away. Defeated, I started to go back when I saw him. I finally saw him! He was standing in line to get checked in, a traveling bag at his feet. He was staring at his cellphone in intense concentration, as if he was either reading something in too small a font or he was willing something to happen.
I cupped my hands around my mouth and called out, “Emmett!”
His head whipped towards me, along with a few other people around us, wondering who the crazy screaming maniac was. A multitude of emotions ran across his face; shock, pain, confusion, and finally delight. I don’t know if we ran or floated of walked towards each other in the seconds it took us to believe we really were standing in front of each other. I grabbed his collar and pulled him to me until our lips were clashing and we were drowning, gasping, fighting. His hands were everywhere all at once and all I knew was that if I let him go now, I would collapse, and if he wasn’t touching me, I would start to doubt if I was actually real.
He took off his jacket and put it around me. “You’re shivering, baby.”
I tilted his chin up and leaned my forehead against his. “Promise me you’ll take care of yourself?”
He laughed under his breath, his hot breath fanning over my lips. “I promise.”
“If I find a scratch on you when you come back home, I’ll kill you.” He started to say something but I placed a finger on his lips. “You will come back to me.”
“You’re not at pissed at me anymore?” he asked.
“I am. Majorly so. But we’re gonna pick up that fight later.”
He put his arms around me and buried his face in my neck, peppering tiny kisses on the side. “Thank you.”
I tightened my hold on him. The line in which he was standing was getting shorter and shorter, like a physical manifestation of an hourglass and the sand was running out way too quickly. I squeezed my eyes shut tightly but I could already feel his warmth slipping away.
He took a step back, swallowing hard, and patted my cheek gently. “You’re worth way more than a damn to me, Ajax.” And he went away, leaving me alone with a jacket wrapped around my shoulders that smelled like him, tricking me into thinking he was still there, and a bone-deep terror in my guts that the momentary tricks was all I would ever have of him. I tightened the jacket around me and watched him disappear.