Chapter 28: Libby
It’s the morning after the party, and the taste of morning breath greets me. It’s not entirely unpleasant, but there have been better scents in my past. “Yep,” I reply after trying to coherently process the question in my head.
My stomach isn’t churning.
My head isn’t pounding.
My body is not shaking.
I’m fine and dandy.
But Liam’s already one step ahead of me, his lips on mine in an instant. The kiss is soft and pleasant, but after an entire day of being at least two yards away from him, I needed more. I deepen the kiss and a soft moan comes from the back of his throat, causing a small tremor to course through my spine at the realization that I had made him react like that; that I had that effect on him.
Good to know.
His hands cup the side of my face, resting pleasantly on my jaw lines, while my hands are somewhere I don’t even know on his body. It could be his chest or his back or his hair I’m not even sure at the moment. All I know is that I’m enjoying this probably way more than he is.
When it’s clear that we need to take a breath, we part and rest our foreheads against one anothers, not wanting to be any further away from each other. I watch as his blue eyes appear as he opens them, admiring them as they sparkle with warmth and need. “Happy late birthday,” I whisper, and he laughs softly at the comment.
Leaning forward for one more kiss, he says, “Thank you,” before meeting my lips with his. It seems to take all my strength to pull myself away from him when I realize that Jere or Jimmy can walk in at any minute. “Random question,” I start, and he looks at me with a pout.
“What.” He’s obviously not happy about our change of direction this morning. Little does he know...
“Do you happen to have a lock on your door?” His eyes widen when he understands my need to ask and immediately answers with a breathless “yeah.” I can feel my face burn with anxiety and embarrassment when I murmur, “That might come in handy one day.”
He looks at me for a moment, studying me to see if what I’m saying is legitimate. And then a small, crooked smile takes form on his lips when he says, “Look at you being all confident.”
“Do you not want to?” I ask, suddenly very unsure and ashamed for thinking otherwise. I should’ve just kept my mouth shut....
“Yes! Oh, God, of course I do Lib,” he hurries to interject, laughing breathlessly at the end as if finding it hilarious that I lost faith in his lust for a moment. I should be feeling a bit better - more reassured - but in this moment all I want to do is run and hide. This kind of intimacy... scares the nincompoop out of me.
When he asks me what’s wrong, I tell him exactly that.
He stifles a laugh when he says, “‘Nincompoop?’”
I push him in the shoulder, although slightly pleased that the mood has been lifted. “What about it?” I ask innocently.
“What the hell is that?” he laughs, trying to avoid my next oncoming push by grasping my weak fist into his hand and intertwining our fingers. What a schmo.
“A silly, no brain, fool,” I recite, trying not to get too deep into my chummy thoughts. When he only smiles at my answer, I can’t help but smile stupidly back. “You suck, Liam.”
“Why?” he says, not even offended by my statement.
“Because you’re making me feel all these... feels,” I say, cringing at my choice of words.
“Feels? Where the hell are these words coming from?” He looks at me as if I were going loony. I promise you, Liam, that the only reason I am is because of your stupid ass. I blush at my thoughts, realizing how dirty that could’ve sounded.
“You’ve never heard of the term ’feels?’” I’m not entirely shocked since he hasn’t been on the internet for over a year, but still.
“Not until a girl who gives me ‘feels’ let me know that there’s a word for my emotions,” he smirks, watching in amusement as my cheeks grow hot. He squeezes my hand that’s still in his.
“Oh shoosh,” I whisper, adverting my eyes from his to try and find some sense to knock into me. I’m left senseless when he takes his free hands to cup my chin and turns me to look at him.
“Then kiss me, Elizabeth,” he rasps, and I don’t have to be told twice. It’s like the last kiss, but much more urgent. Not that I mind - this passion of his is what makes my heart go erratic and my mind grow numb.
When we automatically deepen the kiss, something drops in my stomach and I know that this time it will be difficult holding back. I’ve been so good towards him - so timid. Maybe a little change would be beneficial....
I grasp the back of his hair and pull, not even giving it a second thought anymore when I hear the groan in the back of his throat again. His hands are all over me now - on my hips, sliding up and down the contours of my body, trailing down my legs and back up to my rib cage. The ghost of his touch leaves me shivering as his hands come to rest on my jawline.
I’m so focused on his touch that I’m not even thinking about what I’m doing to him. But when I try and pay attention to what’s happening, all I can hear is him whispering my name at times in between kisses and softly moaning when I touch him in a new place.
When we part for air, he doesn’t even hesitate to have his lips on my skin again - maybe not on my lips, but instead trailing kisses on my jaw and down my neck, lingering some on my collarbone. It’s safe to say that the sound I make when he reaches my neck is not a sound I usually make.
On his last lingering kiss on the skin between my neck and right collarbone, I suck in a breath when I realize that he’s giving me a love-bite. My eyes close, leaning into his touch. As his lips slowly fade from my body, a sigh of pleasure escapes me. This must please him, because he lightly kisses my exposed eyelids, my nose, and then the two corners of my mouth. I grunt in complaint, and I hear him chuckle breathlessly at my impatience.
And, finally, he kisses me on the mouth.
And the sensation of being with him continues.
Mom is going to kill me.
And Dad... if he wasn’t mad at me already (which he obviously is way beyond that point), then this would hit the spot for sure.
“I can’t believe I’m doing this,” I whisper as I walk into the parlor, Liam’s hand squeezed in my tight grip and Jimmy just laughing behind us in amusement.
“You guys look like you’ve spent your entire lives avoiding places like this,” Jimmy says, shutting the glass door behind him and enclosing us in the small space of Mimi’s Tattoo Days.
“I’ve never had a reason to come in,” I reply, not sure how else to respond to a catty comment like that.
“Well, looks like little ’ole Liv gave us a reason to, yeah?” He walks to the opposite side that Liam occupies, wrapping his arm around my shoulders and giving me a small squeeze against his body. “You’ll be fine.”
I watch as three very scary looking men approach us from the back of the parlor, looking at us questioningly as if thinking the exact thing Jimmy had pointed out: We looked as uncomfortable as hell. The men were decked out in tattoo sleeves, and I’m pretty sure one of the three had tattoos just about on every visible part of his body. Didn’t that hurt?
The man in the middle breaks out into a smirk and crosses his arms against his chest, looking at three of us like pieces of meat.
“Are you sure?” I whisper to Jimmy, and feel as his body moves beside mine in silent laughter.
“Positive,” he replies. And that’s when the men decide to figure out what the hell we’re doing here.
“Can I help you?” the man with the neck tattoos asks, his brows scrunched in curiosity as he sizes up Liam who’s holding my hand in a death-grip, and Jimmy whose arm is still draped across my shoulders.
“Hey, Quincy, my man!” Jimmy beams beside me, taking his arm from my shoulders and holding his hand out for “Quincy” to take in his. The guy only gets more confused as he takes Jimmy’s hand, both of them giving the other an awkward guy-hug (two pats on the back), before he finally gets to say, “Dude, who are you?”
Jimmy doesn’t miss a beat when he replies, “You’re such an asshole. I should report you to the dean for not remembering me.”
Despite his harsh threat, recognition sparks Quincy’s eyes and everyone watches as a smile breaks loose on his face. “Jimmy.”
Jimmy spreads his arms out to his sides and smirks. “The one and only.”
The men, Liam, and I all watch as the guys embrace once more in another guy-hug. I take the opportunity to steal a glance up at Liam to his how he’s reacting, but nearly buckle my knees when I see how stark white his face is. And his hands are awfully sweaty....
“You okay?” I ask in a small whisper, and he hesitantly looks down at me with a forced smile.
“Just ready for this to be over with,” he whispers back, and I nod in understanding. Me too.
“You don’t have to do this,” I remind him, and he only shakes his head at my statement.
“For Liv,” he smiles down at me, kissing my head once, and then paying attention back to the scene playing before us...
... only to find that everyone’s attention is on us.
“You guys ready, or do you need a room?” Jimmy asks, and the three men behind him chuckle. Good, I think. They have a sense of humor.
“A room would be nice....” I say teasingly, and when I feel Liam go rigid beside me I start giggling.
“That isn’t nice,” Liam whines, taking his hand out of mine but only for him to step behind me and wrap his arms around my torso and his chin to rest on my shoulder. When the guys start talking again he whispers in my ear, “Naughty girl.”
I feel my body burn and I know my face is as red as Hell. Great. He says makes one comment, Lib, and you’ve already reacted like a prude. Instead of replying, I respond by wrapping my arms on top of his hold on my body, snuggling deep within his caress in an attempt to feel safer in this stark environment. This is definitely not somewhere I’d willingly be on a Sunday night if this were any other time.
But like Liam said: We’re here for Liv.
A ghost of a smile forms on my lips and I watch as the guy in the middle walk up to us and rubs his hands together menacingly. “Alright, girl, you’re coming with me,” he says, not even caring to glance at the man whose arms are wrapped protectively around me.
I squeeze Liam’s hands and he reluctantly lets go, looking down at me sorrowfully, as if watching me let this man walk me to my deathbed. “For Liv,” I remind him, and then follow the smirking man to a place that never in my wildest dreams have I thought I’d be going into.
“We’re doing what?”
Jimmy smiles down at me. “Going. To. A. Par-tay.”
I frown. “You’re already drunk, you dingus, why do we need to go to a party?”
He casually shrugs and pats Quincy’s shoulder. “For an excuse to get even more drunk, amirite?”
Scowling, I look over at Quincy and see that he’s trying to suppress himself from going into hysterics. Liam is still in the back getting his tattoo, and when I asked why it was taking so long Quincy only shrugged and said, “The guy couldn’t make up his damn mind.”
“I’m not going,” I state, awfully confident for a 5′7 girl who’s standing in front of three 6′0+, buff-as-hell guys.
Jimmy pouts and walks over to my side, wrapping his arm around my shoulders like he had earlier and resting his head against my shoulder. “You’re gonna leave me all by my lonesome? A cheeky bastard who doesn’t understand the word ‘no?’”
I laugh. “‘Cheeky bastard?’ I never knew you were British! If so, I would’ve married you weeks ago.”
“Who married who weeks ago?” Liam appears out from behind a curtain, his forearm wrapped in saran-wrap like my ribs are and Jimmy’s hand is.
I walk over to Liam with a small hop to my step at the thought of what we’ve just accomplished, and gently take Liam’s hand in mine. I look up at him to make sure it’s alright to see, and when he smiles down at me with shock still stinging his blue eyes, I turn over his arm and gasp when I see the navy blue ink that’s sealed over tight with the saran.
“MMVII” it reads, just under the inside of his elbow. “2007,” I breathe. “It’s beautiful.”
I can feel his gaze on me, but I can’t seem to part my gaze from the amazing tattoo that embraced Liam’s arm. “Do you like it?”
I nearly roll my eyes at the question, but somehow stop myself. “Of course. I think Jere will love it, too.”
I look up from the tattoo in time to see Liam’s lips part into a smile. “Yeah, he’ll be psyched that the letters are actually the year he was born.”
I bump my shoulder into his but suddenly realize it was a bad, bad, bad idea when a burning sensation courses my torso. Liam takes notice of my sudden intake of breath and his hands hover over my body. He keeps asking if I’m okay, not sure of where to place his hands in fear of hurting me more, but I just laugh in reply.
“The consequences of being a delinquent is brutal,” I comment, and the parlor erupts into laughter. I grin at the playful atmosphere in the room and Liam cocks his head to the side curiously. “Later,” I whisper, and take my hand in his instantly.
Paying our way out and saying our goodbyes, I thank my artist - Hans - once more and together we make our way out the door.
After we all pile into the cab we’d called ahead of time, Liam and me stuffed in the backseat with Jimmy in the passenger, I can’t help but yawn.
“Hey!” Jimmy calls from the front. “No yawning. We’re going to a party, remember?”
“I’m sorry, where are we going? I thought we were going to the apartment complex on-”
“We are,” Liam assures the confused driver, and I can barely see his scowl pointed towards Jimmy through the darkness.
Jimmy pouts even more than he had in the parlor and sinks lower in his seat. “Kill-joys,“he mumbles, and Liam and I smile.
Taking my hand in his, he squeezes it gently and rests them in the empty space between us in the back. “Go to sleep,” he murmurs, his eyes sparkling with the reflection of the yellow meter in front of us. Smiling, I squeeze his hand once more before nodding at his words and drifting away.