The Rose Collection (18+)

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12 | you're my peace (M,F)

My father had been in the hospital for two days after suffering from a heart attack. When I first saw my mother’s caller ID on my phone, my heart nearly stopped functioning properly, too. It’d been years since she kicked me out of the house. Since she called to check in and see how her own daughter was doing.

Naturally, I thought she’d realized her mistake, but she only called to tell me about my father. I drove the two hour trip as quickly as I could without getting pulled over. Nothing could have prepared me for that. It baffled me because the man was the epitome of good health! Thankfully he was doing better.

It was around 4:30 and I was on my way out from visiting him when my mother messaged me, asking me to meet her in the cafeteria to talk. She was seated at a table on the far left side, picking at a half eaten sandwich. When I approached, she finally looked up.

“You’re here.”

“Yeah, I stopped by Dad’s room first,” I said, pulling out a chair from the opposite side of the table. “What is it you wanna talk about?”

“I just want to know how you’re doing, that’s all.” she replied.

“I’m fine.”

“And what about your art fantasy?”

I crossed my arms, fighting the urge to roll my eyes. She always mocked me when it came to my artistic aspirations because she had zero faith in me and my abilities.

“I’ve been actively looking for places with openings where I can teach.”

As if our meeting was of the utmost inconvenience -even though she called it- she huffed and briefly checked her manicured nails. “So does that mean for 6 months you’ve done nothing with that art degree?”

My jaw was now clenched so tightly that I thought my teeth would shatter. “I may not be teaching right now, but I have a steady income and that’s what matters.”

“I just don’t understand.” An audible sigh left her. “I don’t understand why you’d throw away a future with security to pursue a career that doesn’t guarantee a salary.”

“I-”

“What happens when you run out of creative ideas? What happens when your artwork doesn’t sell? Is earning minimum wage at a coffee shop what you want to do for the rest of your life?!”

“No! It’s not, okay?!”

My hand came crashing down on the table. Several pairs of eyes were on me and my mother, but I was past the point of caring.

“But where were you when I needed a parent? Nowhere to be found, and why? Because I didn’t want to be a doctor?!”

“I didn’t want to watch you throw your life away!”

“So what, that makes it okay for you to leave me on my ass with nothing? Dad was disappointed at first, but at the end of the day he got over himself because it isn’t his life, and gave me encouragement.”

“Listen, Harper.”

The laugh that crept its way up my throat was humorless and bitter. “Hell no. I’m leaving. You said you wanted to see how I’m doing, but all you’ve done is berate me. I don’t need this.”

“Why are you behaving like a petulant child?”

I pushed my chair back so fast that it made a wild screeching noise. There were tears in my eyes threatening to spill, and no way in hell was I going to give that woman the satisfaction of seeing me cry.

No way.

The plan was to get as far away from my mother as possible. Back on the road, I drove with dangerously blurry eyes. I wasn’t going back to my hotel room. Hell, I didn’t know where I was going at all.

What I did know, though, was that my heart was broken.

~*~

I was driving on the highway for so long that soon I was able to see the sun as it met the horizon. Despite the ache in my chest and my tear-stained cheeks, a smile grew on my lips at the sight of the beautiful landscape before me.

At a nearby rest stop, I grabbed a cup of coffee, some food and checked my GPS to see exactly where I was. I knew I strayed far from Jersey, but it turns out I was just 45 minutes away from home in a nearby city. Truthfully, I had no intention of going back to Jersey, at least not tonight, even if I did have my things there back in the hotel.

For the first time since I’d been on the road, I knew where I wanted to go, who I wanted to see and what I wanted to do. I pulled out my phone and made a single call.

“Hey... uh, are you home right now?... Yeah, I want to see you... Okay, send me the address. Be there soon, bye.”

~*~

For a few moments, I stood in front of Elijah’s house, gaping in awe of its sheer beauty. It was a modern, nonetheless beautiful brick house with long glass windows. Honestly, I was intimidated, but before I psyched myself out more than I needed to, I gave myself a little pep talk and walked to the front door.

*knock knock knock*

The porch lights came on and the door swung open. Standing in nothing but a towel hung sinfully low on his waist was Elijah. Breathing became a difficult task.

“Um-”

“Harper...”

“Hot. I mean hi... hi!”

“I’m sorry, I didn’t know how close you were,” he said, adjusting the hold of his towel.

It took everything in me not to follow his hand. Why was I acting like this? Had it really been that long since I appreciated the male form?

“Thought I could grab a quick shower before you made it here. Come on in,” he continued.

I nodded, not trusting my voice.


“Wow, this is-”

“Bachelor pad-dy?” Elijah interjected.

I shook my head, chuckling. “No, I was going to say sleek and refined. But now that you mention it, it does feel a little bachelor pad-dy.”

Walking over to the kitchen area, I took a seat at the little bar/aisle. “I mean, you’ve got barstools.”

Elijah lingered by the couch with a tiny grin on his face as he watched me spin around. “Give me a second to change. This towel isn’t as comfortable as it looks.”

“Yeah, sure.”

When he came back, he was eating a gray t-shirt and a loose fitting pair of track pants. He took a seat on his couch and patted the empty space next to him. I hopped up off the swirly bar stool and graciously accepted his invitation.

“Hi,” he uttered softly, draping an arm around my shoulder. I then felt his lips as they sweetly pecked my forehead.

“Hey there, handsome.”

“Not that I don’t enjoy you being here, but did something happen in Jersey? I planned on missing you for a few more days.”

I sighed, leaning further into his embrace. It was time for me to bare my soul.

“Remember how I told you I went to school to study art?”

“Yeah.”

“Well, that came with a price and I’m not talking about the loans. After graduation, I was meant to take a position at my family’s practice.”

“But you wanted to pursue art.”

“Exactly. Mom in particular was never able to let that go, so she cut me off along with my
allowances. Prior to seeing her at the hospital, I hadn’t spoken to her in years.”

Elijah comfortingly squeezed my shoulder. “I’m sorry, Harper. Was she really that upset about you not wanting a job there?”

“She was, and not only that, but she doesn’t believe in me. She told me I’d never go anywhere as an artist... it’s like...”

My bottom lip quivered. The last thing I wanted to do was cry, and thankfully, Elijah came to my rescue before the dam broke.

“Hey now... listen, I don’t have to look at your work to see your talent or your worth as an artist. Everything about you pops off the damn walls. If there’s anyone who can’t appreciate your passion then they truly don’t deserve you.”

I sniffled, dropping my head.

“That includes your mother. Prove her wrong, you hear me?”

He crooked my chin upward with a gentle finger and like I often did when he looked at me, I got lost in his eyes. His deep, enchanted forest green eyes.

“I- I will...”

Elijah’s thumb swept across my lower lip. “You’re lovely. I don’t ever wanna see you cry unless it’s because I’ve made you laugh so hard that you can’t control it.”

“Deal. Don’t let me down, ’cause now I have high expectations for your jokes.” I chuckled, but Elijah’s face remained the perfect picture of tenderness, along with another emotion I couldn’t quite pinpoint.

“You’ve got to stop looking at me like that,” he whispered, his voice heavy with want.

I cocked my head to one side. “Like what?”

“Like you want me to touch you... cause god, Harper I will. And I won’t be able to stop.”

I let out a shaky breath. Steadying my voice seemed impossible at this stage.

“Then don’t stop.”

Those beautiful eyes of his darkened near a shade of black, sending a wire of electricity down my spine. That was all the encouragement he needed.

His lips were hot and hungry on mine. My hand fisted his shirt as we fell backward on the couch into a heap of interlaced limbs. He hovered over me and separated my legs with his knee, resting himself in between them.

In an unhurried exploration, I slipped my hands underneath Elijah’s shirt and slowly ran them from his love trail, up his taut stomach. His hips bucked into me in response, sending a wave of liquid warmth straight to my core.

As if reading me like a book, he undid the zip of my jeans and I raised my bottom off the couch to help take them off. Our lips only parted when he pulled away to strip off his shirt and mine. I was now clad in just my underwear.

“Christ. Just when I thought you couldn’t get any more beautiful. You’re unbelievable.”

“Oh, Elijah, you are quite the panty dropper yourself.”

Never tearing our gaze, I wrapped my legs around his waist, drawing him into me. He was rock solid up against my soft, aching point of desire. The friction of his clothes offered me some relief but it wasn’t enough.

“Tell me what you want,” he demanded.

“I want to feel you inside of me. No... I need you.”

A low growl ripped from his throat. I watched as he shoved off his pants, allowing his manhood to spring free. One of his hands firmly held my hip as the other pushed aside the delicate fabric of my panties.

The tip of his erection teased my sensitive bud before pushing past my wet folds. It was a delicious stretch that had a simmering heat settling deep in my loins. He stilled, allowing me to savor every inch.

Soon he began to move. The rhythm of his talented hips moving back and forth was slow yet deliberate. I held onto him, fingers weaving through his hair.

“Elijah...nghh. Please. Don’t. Stop.”

He swallowed my plea with a kiss, increasing his speed and plunging impossibly deeper inside of me. Our bodies connecting sounded out through the otherwise empty room.

Before I knew it, I felt myself clenching around him. That’s when his hand slipped down in between us and rubbed at my throbbing center, making stars explode behind my eyelids.

"Elijah, oh my god!”

“That’s it, baby. Come on.”

Wanton moans flew from my lips as he lifted me by my behind, hips never wavering as he chased down his own high.

“Fuck...”

For a moment we lay together, but before I could even catch my breath, I was quite literally swept off my feet. Elijah lifted me into the air and I wrapped my arms around his neck as he carried me past the kitchen and upstairs to his bedroom. Inside, he carefully set me down and walked off to the closet, but not before he claimed my lips in a slow, toe curling kiss.

I crawled to the head of the bed and slipped underneath the covers like it was the most natural thing in the world.

“Comfy?”

I looked up to see Elijah standing in a pair of boxers, with a shirt hanging from his hand.

“Yes... haha.”

“I brought this for you so you wouldn’t be walking around naked. Not that it’d be a terrible thing. Just want you to be comfortable.”

“Thank you.”

With the utmost care, he dressed me before joining me in his bed. I laid my head on his chest and listened to his heartbeat while he stroked my hair. The steady booming was a metronome that brought my soul a deep calmness. Something I hadn’t experienced in a while.

“I like you in my clothes, like, a lot,” he whispered.”

“I’ve never pictured myself in ’em, but I like it too. You just may never get this shirt back.”

A soft chuckle left him as I snuggled closer. It wasn’t long before I drifted off into a peaceful rest in such a wonderful man’s arms.

~*~

The next morning.

*boom* *crash*

I stirred from my pleasantly heavy sleep upon hearing the sound of glass shattering.

“Ugh... Victor, what’d you do now?”

Except when I fully opened my eyes, I realized I wasn’t back at home and my best friend was nowhere to be found. I was still in Elijah’s bed, wearing his shirt after spending the night with him. My cheeks heated at the memory of the things we did.

With my hair being a mess of wild curls, I tied it up into a loose bun and headed downstairs to see what Elijah had gotten himself into.

In the kitchen, he kneeled on the floor, uttering swears. There was a broken jar beside him, and he gathered the shards with his bare hands.

“Oh my goodness, be careful!”

I hurried over, forcing him to empty his hands as I inspected them. There were nicks all over. It was more dangerous for me to be barefoot on the scene, but I worried more about Elijah.

“I was trying to make pancakes for us. Wanted to add a little cinnamon to the batter and I dropped the jar.”

A tiny smile grew on my lips. I couldn’t believe he was making breakfast for the two of us. It was incredibly sweet but also apparently harmful.

“That must’ve been one very large jar. What were you thinking picking up glass like this? You could’ve sliced your hand clean off!”

He stared at me with an unreadable expression before his lipped tugged into a rueful smile. “No one’s cared for me like this in a long time.”

“Of course I care, you nut.”

Our eyes met, and the sheer intimacy of the emotion I felt in the moment had a warm flush creeping up from my neck to my cheeks.

“So- I ug- where’s your broom?” I asked.

“In the hall closet?” he replied.

“Alright, how about you go take care of your hands and I’ll sweep this up.”

~*~

“It smells so good in here. I didn’t even know cinnamon chips existed,” I commented.

Elijah and I were standing hip to hip at the kitchen counter. I was finishing up the batter to a batch of cinnamon chip pancakes while he warmed a pan with coconut oil.

My smile was so wide that you’d probably be able to see it a mile away. Doing something so domestic with him made me gushy inside. I could definitely get used to this.

“This is my mom’s recipe,” he said with a smile. “As a kid, it was these for breakfast every morning or nothing at all.”

I spooned the remaining batter into the sizzling pan. “I’m honored that you’re sharing it with me.”

“You’re special to me. These pancakes aren’t just pancakes, and last night wasn’t just sex. I care about you a lot, which is scary because we haven’t known each other that long. Am I crazy?”

For the first time, Elijah appeared nervous. I turned off the stove and took his hand in mine.

“You’re not crazy, I feel the same way. I’m in no rush, but you make me happy and I don’t think I want to give that up anytime soon.”

He breathed a heavy sigh of relief, resting his forehead on mine. The smile on his face was filled with adoration. After pulling away, he retrieved a can of whipped cream from his fridge.

“Well...” *pop!* and off came the top. “Let’s enjoy our breakfast now.”

Next thing I knew, my nose was covered in the fluffy sweetness.

“Oh, you are so gonna get it.”

Around and around the kitchen we ran. Elijah was quick on his feet but I was determined... determined and sadly kind of short compared to him. I was 5-foot-seven and he was at least a head taller than me. He held the can high up in the air. No matter how far up on my tiptoes I reached, I couldn’t get it.

“You’re too tall,” I said, giving him a slight pout.

“I’ll let you spray me back for a kiss.”

“Someone’s greedy, huh?”

“For you, always.”

I grinned. “You’re pretty cheesy too.”

“And I think you like it. However, I can be less cheesy and more assertive if that’s what you’d prefer.”

“Is that so, Mister Miller?”

“Yes, it is. Now get that pretty little ass over here and give me a kiss.”

At once I felt both exhilarated, yet soft and docile. Slowly, I walked to him and brushed my lips against his in a chaste kiss. He tasted like mint. With my eyes still closed, my hands found the can and loosened it from Elijah’s hold. I pulled away with a naughty idea.

“Take your aim. I’m an open target.”

Without thinking, I aimed the nozzle at his chest. Whipped cream covered his pecs and he looked at me puzzled. In return, he got a mischievous smile from me.

After setting the can down, I tugged him closer to me by the waistband of his sweatpants.
When my mouth was a breath away from his skin, I licked a delicious circle around his nipple.

“Holy shit, Harper. You’re so hot.”

I repeated the action on the other side, letting my teeth gently graze the sensitive peak before kissing him there and stepping away.

“...now, it’d be a real shame to let those pancakes get any colder.”

“Fuck the pancakes, I want you.”

My eyes quickly darted south and were met with the sight of an obvious bulge.

“I know.”

Feeling extremely smug, I left him in the kitchen while I took a seat and got ready to eat.

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