The Fighter

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Chapter 9: It Feels Like the First Time

When Drew and I reached the landing to my apartment, I felt my hands shake as I fumbled with my keys. Electricity seemed to course through every inch of my body; I felt excited and nauseous all at once.

At last, I got a grip on my keys and unlocked my door. Before I could push it open, I looked up at him through my eyelashes. I’d seen more rom-coms than I cared to admit, so I was assuming this was where he’d kiss me goodnight and tell me he’d see me later. But I so badly wanted him to go further with me.

“So…” I prompted and bit my lower lip. “I’ll see you tomorrow?”

Drew grabbed my waist and pushed me flat against my door. He crushed his lips against mine and pressed himself tightly to me. I gasped against his mouth, running my hands up his arms and into his curls. One of his hands slithered its way up my back and to the nape of my neck, his thumb running up and down my jaw. It sent chills down my spine. We continued for a few more passionate seconds and until he pulled back, leaving me hot and gasping for air.

“Maddie, I want you,” he breathed.

I examined him for a moment, and when I realized that he seemed sincere, nodded. “Do you want to come in?” I rasped, still trying to catch my breath.

He ran his thumb over my lower lip. “If you’ll have me.” He leaned down and kissed me once more.

Mesmerized, I grasped the doorknob behind me and stumbled inside. I let out a nervous laugh as he grinned wolfishly at me. I instinctively locked the door before kicking off my shoes. As soon as his were off, he scooped me up, laying me over his shoulder, and carried me into my bedroom.

“Drew!” I cried out playfully. Madelyn six weeks ago would’ve despised him picking me up due to the manhandling, but horny Madelyn was gleeful.

Before I knew it he dropped me down gently on my bed. I relished the familiar feel of the comforter below me. Inner hormone goddess made happy snow angels on the bed, spreading her legs wide open.

Wait. Is that what I was supposed to do?
For a brief moment, I felt panic rise inside me. I had no idea what I was doing. Should I tell Drew? Probably not. Men always got weird at the idea of a woman doing it for the first time. I didn’t even know if it would hurt me given my past.

I internally shook these dark thoughts from my mind. I finally felt ready. I couldn’t let my past continue to dictate my relationships with other people, especially good men, like Drew.

Drew crawled onto my bed toward me, a small smile playing his pouty lips, until he was right above me. I made eye contact with him, and felt completely at ease. If I were going to sleep with anyone, it would be Drew.

Drew.

The only person who seemed to really understand me, despite how little we actually knew about one another. The only man who’d been able to gain my trust in a long time, and who taught me other ways to defend myself.

I reached up and cupped his face in my hands, gently pulling him down to kiss me. Kissing him felt natural and comfortable. Even though I had no idea what I was doing, I somehow felt like Drew would guide me without judgement.

My skin felt tingly and hot wherever Drew touched me. He ran his hand up my outer thigh, over my hip, and rested on my waist, his pinky finger hooked under my top, then pulled it up and over my head. The little skin-to-skin contact sent shivers all the way down to my toes. When Drew slipped his tongue into my mouth, I couldn’t help the moan that escaped. I felt him smile against my mouth before pulling away and giving me an impish grin. His white teeth gleamed in the moonlight shining through my window, and his curls tumbled adorably over his forehead.

“Trust me?” He murmured as he shifted down to kneel over the apex of my thighs.

And even though a few weeks ago I didn’t, I wholeheartedly did now. I wasn’t sure when that changed, but I was tired of fighting human connection. I was sick of letting my past rule the way I lived my life. I was exasperated from being angry constantly. That was no way to lead a life.

I nodded. He made quick work of the button on my jeans and the zipper, then hooked his fingers under the waistband of my jeans. He pulled them over my legs and tossed them onto my floor, then gently pressed his lips to my inner thigh, near my knee. I gasped softly as he trailed kissed up towards my private area. It felt like a trail of white hot fire, and I writhed under him. He grasped my hips in his hands and held me still.

It was agony.

Pleasurable agony.

I watched as Drew placed a kiss on my dirty blonde pubic hair down there before diving in with his tongue, writing letters of naughtiness against me. I felt foreign sensations spread through me, somewhere between electricity and intense pressure. My inner hormone goddess was wriggling and sighing in pleasure. I audibly moaned without meaning to, the buzz of ecstasy making it impossible to be silent.

I could feel pressure building deep inside me. I wasn’t sure what that meant. All I knew was Drew’s wet tongue alternated between my vagina and circling a sensitive bundle of nerves, and it was bringing me to the edge. The edge of what, though, I wasn’t sure—

Just then, I felt my insides pulse. I cried out, straightening my legs to relieve some of the intensity, waves of pleasure wracking my body in ways I never knew were possible. My whole body was stiff as the euphoric attack swirled around me, enveloping me and wrapping me in its warm embrace. My mind reeled and I gasped for air. As I recovered and came back down to Earth, I glanced down to see Drew’s wicked smile and naughty look in his eyes. His lips were shiny, and I hadn’t realized I was gripping handfuls of his hair.

I released him. “Wow,” I breathed, still trying to catch my breath.

Drew stood up and pulled his shirt over his head, revealing washboard abs, complimented by muscular arms and broad shoulders. A tattoo of Roman numerals decorated his chest, right over his heart, and as badly as I wanted to ask him about it, refrained. He dropped his pants and revealed—

Good God.

He was going to fit that inside of me? And it wasn’t supposed to hurt?

“Drew, I don’t have…” I started, implying my lack of preparation of not having condoms on hand.

He climbed back on the bed and placed a finger over my lips to quiet me. “It’s okay,” he whispered, pressing his lips to me once more before entering me. I could taste myself on his lips and it somehow aroused me more.

I squeezed my eyes shut to brace for any pain, but there wasn’t any. Instead, I just felt him filling me. I was amazed that my body was able to stretch to fit him. It felt like a match made in Heaven as each of my sensitive nerve endings were touched by him.

The hormone goddess arched her back and tossed her hair behind her, her legs once again wide open and ready.

I opened my eyes as I exhaled softly, meeting Drew’s steely gaze. He propped himself up on his forearm, resting his hand under my head. Then, he leaned down to kiss me, timing his pumps with his tongue playing with mine. It was divine, magical, and overwhelming. His soft tresses brushed my forehead, and his gentle groans gave away how he felt.

After a few more moments, I felt that same rush of hormones rise inside me, but this time it spread down my thighs and up into the deepest core of my belly. I wrapped my legs around his waist as I quivered at the behest of him.

“Fuck,” I heard him grunt before he pulled out. While my body continued to pulsate, I felt a warm liquid spill over my stomach. As I floated back from cloud nine, I looked down to see Drew’s sperm on me. I giggled, suddenly curious about it since I’d never seen it in person. I dipped my finger in it and put it in my mouth to taste it.

Mmm… salty.

And not in a bad way.

Drew looked at me with amusement as he sat back on his heels, gloriously naked. He didn’t say anything, just climbed out of the bed and walked to my bathroom.

“So that’s what I’ve been missing,” I muttered to myself, still reeling from the satisfaction that seemed to course my veins. It was different than anything else I’d ever experienced.

“What did you say?” Drew wondered as he sauntered back into my room with a tissue. He wiped the mess on my stomach, but there was still a slight stickiness on my skin.

I cleared my throat. “Nothing. Just that that was great,” I said, fibbing out what I’d said but not about how great it was. I extended my arms up over my head to stretch.

He beamed at me. “I thought so too,” he stated before returning to my side, lying on his side.

I rolled onto my side to face him, propping my head up on my hand. I said something then that surprised me and would’ve had Madelyn six weeks ago appalled and sickened. “You’re welcome to stay tonight.”

He searched my eyes for a moment before flashing his dimples. “I guess I wouldn’t mind that,” he said sarcastically.

I laughed. “I’m also open to doing that again,” I added with a wink.

Drew pretended to think for a moment before tackling me on the bed. “Well, in that case, I guess I shouldn’t leave you hanging.”

I sighed in bliss and let my body lead me once more.


I lay in my small bed naked. He had left my room when he heard my mother return home. I was shaking and terrified, vulnerable and exposed. Even though I was only six years old, I was still old enough to understand that something was wrong. Something was terribly, terribly wrong.

I whimpered and pulled the blankets up to my chin, my cheeks wet and my hair stuck to my face from my tears. My mother hadn’t come in to tuck me in, and I didn’t know why. I had heard her giggle and go into her bedroom with him.

I stayed awake the whole night, and at some point in the middle of the night, I wandered over to my window. My body ached with every movement. It hurt so, so bad. I looked up at the moon, seemingly wide and innocent, but bad things happened at night, and I knew that. I just stood there, staring at its brightness, hoping for some escape from what had happened, when my door opened.

I jumped and turned around, scared it would be him again, but it was my mother. She looked at me in surprise.

“Dee, where are your jammies? And why are you up at this hour?” She asked me, her face colored with concern.

I opened my mouth to tell her, but couldn’t find the words. Would she be mad at me? I didn’t want mommy to be mad at me. “Sorry, Mommy. I couldn’t sleep,” I lied.

She frowned and then walked into my room. She quickly sorted through the dresser and pulled out a pair of orange pajamas. “Here, let me help you put these on.” I nodded and held onto her shoulders so I could climb into the pants. She paused about halfway through. “Dee, what are these bruises from?”

I gulped. “I was playing outside, Mommy.”

Mommy sighed and finished pulling on my pajamas. “Well, you need to be more careful, Dee. You could get really hurt.”

“Yes, Mommy,” I said and crawled into bed.

She tucked me in and brushed my curls out of my face. “Good girl. I’m sorry I didn’t come in earlier. I love you,” she told me.

“I love you too, Mommy,” I whispered as she kissed my forehead.

“Goodnight, my sunshine.”

“Goodnight, Mommy.”

She gave me a small smile before leaving my room. I turned my head to look at my window again, looking at the moon once more.

The memory in the form of a dream awoke me from my slumber. Drew’s arm was draped over my stomach, and his head was resting on my chest. He was nestled into me, and it felt so… normal. But my recent memory had me feeling somber.

I carefully wiggled out from under him and climbed out of bed. I walked over to the window, just as I did as a child, and opened the blinds. There the moon was, as bright as it was full, just as it was the night I was raped for the first time.

It was a strange feeling that settled over me. My body was sore like it was all those years ago, but in a completely different way. I was with a man of my choice this time, and that was the big difference. Of course, aside from the fact that I was a child back then. But was I supposed to forever feel this way after having sex? I didn’t want to continue thinking of my sexual assault every time I was intimate. That seemed wrong on every possible level.

“Maddie,” Drew grumbled from the bed. I looked over my shoulder and saw him sleeping peacefully. I smiled at the sight before turning to face the window again.

I was naked, the pale light that shone through my window washed everything of its color. My skin was pale, and I had bruises from my training. The parallels to that dreadful night and tonight were eery. Was it a sign that this was a wrong thing for me to, or a sign that I was growing and moving passed all the awful things he did to me?

I was hoping it was the latter. I wanted to believe I was capable of moving on. Continuing to get hung up on it meant that he won and that he was still dictating my life. I couldn’t have that.

I suddenly felt a pair of hands rest themselves on my shoulders. I stiffened and fought the urge to turn and punch the person, because I knew exactly who it was. I knew I was safe and that I was just on edge. I dropped my shoulders and leaned back into Drew.

“Penny for your thoughts?” He wondered quietly.

I felt like now was the time to tell him. In the moonlight, in the dark where bad things tend to happen, right here, right now. I had to change the pattern of the nighttime being the enemy. I had to be emotionally vulnerable with Drew, since I had failed to do so with my mother all those years ago.

I slowly turned to face him. “I think there’s something I should tell you,” I whispered, pleading with my eyes for him to listen to me.

His eyes looked almost black in the dim light. He searched mine frantically, a frown growing more and more prominent as the seconds passed, before he nodded. “I’m all ears,” he responded.


We sat in my living room, me in Drew’s shirt and him in his boxers, both with a cup of tea. My legs were tucked under me and my fists were clenched, and he was facing me, giving me his undivided attention. The only light was that of the moon, and there were no other sounds to be heard.

I had told him everything. I told him about the first time it had happened, and how it had continued, and then about my mother’s illness. How he didn’t care and assaulted me even after she had passed, on my birthday, and why I hated my birthday so much. I told him about being put in the system until I was adopted, and the bullying that followed, and why I was just so angry at the world all the time.

And it was a little bit easier than when I told Joan.

When I was finished, Drew took a deep breath before exhaling sharply. He had listened so intently it made my heart squeeze in adoration. “I…” he started before grimacing. “I just…” he paused again, then rubbed his forehead. “Maddie, this is an abhorrence,” he seethed, reaching out to hold my hands in his. His gaze darkened suddenly as he shook his head. “If you weren’t okay with what we did tonight…”

“Stop,” I interrupted. “I didn’t tell you this earlier for a reason. But you were, um…” I hesitated as blood crept to my cheeks. “My first. You know, since all that. I made this decision all on my own, and not because I felt pressured.”

Drew was really good at putting on a poker face, and sometimes that made him hard to read. I suppose that’s what made him good at his job. He stared at me now, probably waiting for any indication that I was lying about my feelings. “Okay, I just wanted to make sure,” he said cautiously. He took my hands once more. “I know apologizing isn’t what you want to hear, so I just want you to know he can go fuck himself and we will bring him to justice. You deserve so much better than what that asshole did to you. Thank you for trusting me with this.”

I gave him a sad smile. “Thanks for saying that. And for listening. I know it’s dark…” my voice trailed off as I looked down at our hands intertwined. “I know it’s a buzzkill.”

“Hey,” he said, reaching up with one hand to tilt my chin up so I would look at him. “Don’t ever think you’re burdening me. You’re not. I know this wasn’t easy to talk about.”

I shrugged. “No, it’s not, but I’ve learned pretty quickly that you don’t make friends by not opening up to them. So I’m trying.”

Drew cocked an eyebrow at me, his grey-blue eyes twinkling. “Do you sleep with all your friends?” He teased.

I laughed. “You’re funny, Matthews.” I playfully hit his arm, then yawned. “I think you really wore me out tonight.”

He smiled at me. “We can go back to bed,” he said, then furrowed his brows. “But if you want me to go, I will.”

I rolled my eyes, and when his eyes darkened and zeroed in on me, I couldn’t help but squirm. I knew I shouldn’t want what I wanted in that moment, given the heavy topic we had just gotten off of, but my body was yearning for the years back that I didn’t have any sort of physical touch.

“Please don’t,” I whispered. “I’ve been alone for so long, and the company’s nice.” I was surprised at my own words, but felt in my heart that they were true. Letting my walls down was a comfortable and welcome relief.

He reached out and tucked a piece of my hair behind my ear. I scowled at it when I noticed how curly it was compared to the rest of my hair. “Okay, I’ll stay with you. You should really get some rest.”

I nodded, and let him pull me to my feet and guide me to my bedroom.

Nothing more happened that night. We simply crawled back into bed, and I felt sleep pulling at me right away. For the first time in practically my entire life, I had a clear conscience and rested peacefully.


Drew and I stepped into the office building the next morning, and our team clapped and hollered. I blushed and felt the inexplicable urge to run away. As if sensing it, Drew rested his hand on the small of my back and gave me a sideways smirk.

“Looks like someone had a good night,” Josh teased quietly as he pulled me to the side. “How are you doing this morning?”

I frowned. “I’m good. Why do you ask?”

He shrugged nonchalantly. “You didn’t necessarily look happy when you walked in. Was it because we were all cheering?”

“Yes, Josh, you know I don’t like attention,” I hissed, even though that wasn’t completely true anymore.

He flashed his teeth as a feeble attempt at an apologetic smile. “I know, but this is very exciting for all of us. We’ve been rooting for you two pretty much since the beginning.”

I scowled. “My relationships are nobody’s business,” I seethed, feeling my blood start to boil. Who did these people think they were, hoping for me to start dating someone in the office right away?

Josh held his hands up defensively. “It wasn’t to upset you, Carver. We just think you’re good for each other. You challenge each other. He helps your composure and you keep him grounded. It’s a nice thing to see.”

I flattened my lips. I was angry, but also flattered. My emotions were fifty shades of confused and my nerves were feeling shot. “Well, since everyone seems so emotionally invested in my relationship with Drew, shall we?” I sneered, gesturing to return to the group who had gathered in the briefing room.

Josh grasped my elbow. I turned to look at him with my mouth downturned when I saw a nervous flicker in his eyes. “Josh, let go of me.”

“Carver, I’m sorry,” he apologized, his blue eyes flashing with regret. “I can’t let you go in there.”

I scoffed. “You’re fucking joking, right? You have no more power over me than I do over you,” I snapped, pulling away from him and storming toward the briefing room.

Stop,” Josh barked, stepping in front of me to block me from entering.

I eyed him suspiciously. What the hell was going on? Why wasn’t I allowed in there? I peered over his shoulder and saw everyone seated and their eyes purposefully avoiding me. I gritted my teeth and clenched my fists. “You’re really starting to piss me off. Who put you up to this?” I tried to push my way around him but he blocked me once again.

“Could you for once listen to what someone else says?” He wondered, crossing his arms over his chest.

Big mistake, I thought, then darted around him before he could jump in front of me again. “No!” I called over my shoulder as I busted into the briefing room.

My stomach immediately dropped when I saw the face on the screen.

It was him.

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