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Chapter 12. - Flipped

The day passed by in a surreal daze. I was working on these wood pieces for Hazmat’s album release party, while Lukas LaBelle was painting in my actual studio. In real life.

If someone would’ve told me this could ever happen outside of fan fictions, I would’ve laughed in their face.

“So.” Lukas said, breaking the nearly hour long, comfortable silence. “Do you paint the other guys naked too?”

And just like that, the comfortable part went up in smoke and out of my silence. “Sometimes.” I managed to croak out, in my suddenly dry throat.

“Hmm.” Was his reply. “I didn’t see any lying around.”

I tried to move past the point that he must’ve looked through a very good portion, if not all of my art at this point, and cleared my throat. “I’m an artist, Lukas.”

His golden eyes snapped to me. “That was the first time you called me by my name!”

Yes, to your face… Little did he know that I frequently used his name – his full name, to be precise – in conversations. “I make a living by making art, is what I was trying to say.” I clarified, side-stepping his comment. “And then I sell it.”

He nodded. “So why didn’t you sell those of me?” Lukas asked, his nose scrunching up adorably as he looked at the shelves that were full of painting of him. “Am I not as popular as the others?” He wondered, his voice much more quiet this time.

Lukas LaBelle sounded almost sad, to have his portrait still sitting on my shelf.

I could’ve easily lied to him. I could’ve told him that his art didn’t sell as well as the other members of Hazmat’s, or something along the lines of that. But maybe it was that sad gleam in his eyes as he waited patiently for my answer, or the way I upset him earlier by bringing up his mother – I decided that Lukas LaBelle deserved the truth.

“I like to keep yours all to myself.”

His gaze stayed on me, but the look changed. He no longer seemed sad – in fact, that gleam disappeared so quickly, I almost though I imagined it.

What remained in its place was red, hot, adulterated need. An attraction that mirrored my own, something magnetic in the air around us that I couldn’t explain.

“Remind me again why I’m not allowed to distract you?”

I swallowed. Hard. “Because I’m working on your party. And I wouldn’t want it to be anything less than perfect.”

“I doubt you would be capable of imperfections.” He murmured, returning his attention to the canvas in front of him.

I didn’t ask him what he was working on, and he left me in peace too. For now.

Later on, he ordered some food for us – a whole bucked load of it. The delivery guy had to take two trips from his car to bring in everything, which was made even slower because the second time, he also brought in a little notebook, and his phone.

Lukas took a picture with him, in the condition that the delivery guy would not post the location, and signed a few autographs for multiple family members. When the man was satisfied, he waved us goodbye, and was out the door in half an hour flat.

“How do you ever get used to this?!” I wondered out loud, while shoving a forkful of food in my mouth.

But Lukas just shrugged, cool as a cucumber. “He’s a fan. It’s a compliment that he even asked.” Then, a moment later, he added. “Besides, it’s been so long since I didn’t have to deal with fans, I don’t really remember what being normal was like.”

I frowned. He didn’t seem bothered by it one bit, but to me, that kind of life sounded sad. “Do you ever miss being normal?”

He pulled a bowl of food in front of him, and was about to take a bite. “No.” He replied, then devoured the entire plate in under three minutes.

How he managed to stay so in shape while eating like a starving bull was beyond me. After the first bowl was discarded, he grabbed another one, and continued the process.

“Right, but you can’t even order takeout, without having to take pictures and sign a few autographs! Don’t you think that’s weird?”

Lukas shook his head. “Like I said, it’s a compliment. Signing an autograph and taking a few pictures here and there is no price to pay to be able to do what I love most. I get to create music, and reach people globally. I get paid for something I used to skip class to do. I get to travel the world with my best friends, afford anything that I could ever want, and not have to ever wonder if I’d have a place to sleep tonight or not.”

I paused, his words squeezing my heart. Lukas’ childhood wasn’t a secret, but it was never explored in much detail. All the public knew was that his father was never in the picture, and his mother was a drunk, and they struggled financially. Lukas has said in interviews in the past that Ash’s and Jesse’s mom has raised him too, and he viewed her as more of a mother figure than his own.

But reading about a sad past in an online gossip blog, or seeing the devastating emptiness in someone’s eyes as they talk about it were two very different things.

“So you see, signing something or posing for a photo is not a big price to pay at all. I don’t look at it as a chore, but as a privilege.”

I respected him so much for that. Not Lukas LaBelle, the famous rock star, but just Lukas – the man sitting in front of me, talking about his uncertain past living conditions. The man who managed to turn that around, and make a name for himself.

“I apologize.” I said, my voice a shaky whisper. “I’ve had no idea.”

His golden gaze met mine. Lukas winked at me. “Don’t feel sorry for me, Cairo. This isn’t a sad story.”

I didn’t know what came over me. There was some unexplainable emotion, this strange need to comfort him, even if he said he was fine.

I set my food down, got to my feet, and walked over to him, only to come to a stop between his opened legs. Lukas was sitting down, but I barely had to angle my head to be able to look into his expressive, honey colored eyes.

I hesitated, but his big hands reached out, encircling my waist as he pulled me down on his lap. My arms went around his neck, his around my waist. I snuggled my face into the crook of his neck, inhaling him deeply as we held each other.

I had no idea how long we stayed in that position, entwined in each other. I would’ve probably never moved, had it not been for the pulsing from between my legs. My thighs were around his waist, we were chest to chest, aligning us perfectly together in a way that wasn’t meant to be sexual. But, oh, it so was!

I didn’t realize how compromising the position was, until it dawned on me that it wasn’t just me who was pulsing down there.

I pulled back, separating our torsos so I can glance down. Yup. There it was.

“Ignore it.” Lukas’ voice sounded raspier when he spoke this time, and I didn’t dare glance up at his face to try to gauge his reaction. “I know I’ve been.”

As if I was slowly awakening from a daze, I started pulling back and getting to my feet. I was straddling him, wrapped around Lukas LaBelle like a vine. It was completely inappropriate, and so unlike me I could’ve screamed.

I was sure my face was flaming a bright red color, which I’ve tried to hide by letting some of my hair fall down to cover it. I walked back over to the table where the food was propped up on, and took a gigantic sip of my drink.

But the cool liquid didn’t help either. I was still burning up from the inside out. I cleared my throat, swallowing back the sudden sock that someone has put there. “I really have to get this done.” I mumbled, pointing dumbly at the wooden piece I was working on.

I watched Lukas LaBelle rise to his feet from the corner of my eye, his long, lean body stretching to his full height. “I would give anything to be able to see inside your head right now.” He ran a hand through his blonde curls, angling his body toward mine. “It’s like one step forward, and three back with you.”

I wasn’t sure what to do with my hands, so I shoved them into the pockets of my jeans. My head was still spinning from being too close to him, and I wanted to get closer… But at what cost?

Callie’s words from last night echoed in my head. I could just give it up and sleep with him – he clearly wanted it, and obviously so did I. But then what?

Have my heart broken by the only man I ever dreamed about? The one I thought myself in love with since I was in high school?

Or should I have just ignored the very impressive bulge in his pants, and continued hugging him as a friend. Fuck. I didn’t want to be his fucking friend! I wanted to be more.

“Am I supposed to go now?” His voice snapped me back from my spiraling train of thoughts. Lukas was only a few feet away from me now, one of his hands still holding his head, causing his shirt to ride up slightly, revealing a tan, toned midriff.

I sighed, and made myself look only at his face. “I think that would be best.”

“I didn’t mean to offend you.” His reply came out of nowhere. So we were going to talk about it. “Maybe I shouldn’t have pulled you and let you feel it.” His sentence hung in the air like a question, and when I didn’t answer, he dropped his hand. “Fuck, London! I’m really trying here.”

My mouth dropped open.

He called me by my name! Lukas LaBelle has called me by my-

“I don’t have a lot of experience being around girls like you.”

My eyes snapped up to his. “Girls like me?” I repeated. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

He rolled his eyes. “Oh, come on. You know I don’t mean it in a bad way. I just meant girls who aren’t… Well…”

“What?” I asked, lifting my brows as I took a defensive stand against him. “Pick your adjective. Girls like me who are… What? Ordinary? Plain? Fan girls? What is it going to be?”

“Not famous.” Lukas replied simply, his voice even. “You’re not with me to promote your newest movie, or to slip me your songs so I can get them on the radio. You’re not trying to sneak a picture in a compromising position to sell it to some gossip blog. You just like me.”

I swallowed. He had no idea how much.

“So I can’t behave the same way I do around you like I do with those girls, and I’m out of my depth here.”

My mouth dropped open. Lukas LaBelle thought that he was the one out of depth. Almost like… I was the one who was too good for him!

My eyes wandered back over to him. He seemed to be waiting for a reply – some sort of reassurance, or maybe guidance on what he should’ve done. Except, I had none. When he was sure I wouldn’t say anything, he stepped closer. “I’ll leave now and let you work. But we’re not done.”

His words were confident, but his eyes were searching mine. I nodded, agreeing.

“I’m going to kiss you now. And then probably go home and google how to get a girl like a normal person.”

My lips twitched into a grin at that mental image. Like Lukas LaBelle needed tips on flirting… “Be careful. The internet is a weird place, full of dark ideas.”

“So is your studio, and so far I’ve done okay with that.” He replied, mirroring my wide smile. He was back to teasing me again.

I relaxed. “Maybe you should-“

But I couldn’t finish my sentence, because he leaned down and pressed his lips against mine. He kissed me like I’ve never been kissed before – catching me open mouthed and gasping for precious air he was more than willing to give me.

His tongue slipped between my lips, massaging my own, his mouth setting the rhythm for both of us. It wasn’t a forceful kiss, but he didn’t need to assert his dominance. There was just something about him that made me melt into his hold.

Both his hands were around me, holding me up, pulling me close to him. I was thankful for his support, because I was pretty sure my knees gave out when his pink tongue licked my upper lip playfully – back and forth, back and forth, teasing me, tickling me in the most delicious way.

Somehow my hands ended up in his hair, and I was grabbing onto two handfuls of curls. I was shamelessly pulling him down, grabbing him wherever I could for leverage. He deepened the kiss, turning my head to one side, his knees bending so he could level our heights.

Then he straightened again, never breaking contact. His strong arms were holding me to him, my feet literally floating in the air as I clung to him.

Conscious thought was long out the window – at that moment, Lukas LaBelle could’ve done absolutely anything to me, and I wouldn’t have had a single objection.

Except that he didn’t.

An eternity later, that was still too soon, he set me down on the ground, keeping his arms around me until he was sure I wouldn’t collapse into a pile of goo at his feet. His lips were plumper than usual, and a darker pink shade, looking swollen and abused. And sexy as hell.

My eyes roamed his face, memorizing every precious feature, every glint in his now nearly brown eyes. But I knew that no matter what, I could never paint him exactly like this. No art would ever give back this chilling look that had my toes curling and my panties soaked, and my heart soaring.

“That was some goodbye kiss…” He murmured in a low voice, keeping his face leveled with mine as a small smile teased his swollen lips. “It almost makes me want to come back, just so I could leave again.”

I chuckled. “That sounds almost delightful – but in a very twisted way.”

He agreed. “I’m going to call you.” I nodded. “And text you.” I nodded, again. “And maybe show up unannounced in your personal space again.”

Oh, he could show himself in and all over my personal spaces… I sighed. “Maybe give me a slight heads up next time.” So I could at least comb my hair, I added in my head.

Lukas rolled his eyes. “But what would be the fun in that…” He grinned. “I’ll see you soon, Baltimore.”

And so we were back to the cities. I smiled back up at him, so hard that my cheeks hurt. I didn’t mind one bit, not anymore. “I’ll see you soon, Brian.”

He blinked. “I’m Lukas…”

I shrugged. “Same thing.” And with that, refraining from fist bumping the air in triumph, I turned back to my art piece. I felt him stand around for a bit longer, watching me, before I heard him leave, but I didn’t glance back at him.

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