Strung

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Chapter 36. - Intimate

*London*

“I’m going to a spin class, then I might get a massage in with the girls.” My mom said, from the door of the garage. “Would you like to join?”

I shook my head. “I’ll be fine, mom,” I assured her, turning back to my canvas. “Go have fun.”

“Well, if anything were to happen-” She trailed off. “I’ll have my phone on me, sweetheart.”

I felt her presence behind me, her eyes trained on my back. She was worried - a worried parent, with a situation out of her control. I knew she felt helpless in this situation, but giving her life up to hover over me wasn’t doing anyone any good. “Go, mom! We’ve talked about this.”

“There’s added security at the gate, and you have the agency’s number in your phone. They’re five minutes away if you need them.” She rattled off, for the millionth time since I’ve been staying with them.

Behind the walls of my parents’ rich, suburban gated community, I haven’t spotted a single paparazzi since I’ve arrived, and with me being completely absent from the public eye for over a week, I prayed the tabloids moved onto a different subject. I was sure there was some celebrity out there who was entering rehab or getting arrested or pregnant. Between those troublesome stars, my simple existence shouldn’t have caused such a ruckus.

“I’ll see you in a few hours, sweetheart.” My mom said after a heavy sigh before I heard a car door close and open, and the distinctive sound of my mom SUV’s engine roar down the street as she drove away.

I was alone - for the first time since I’ve moved back in with my parents, I was left completely alone.

And unlike the heavy feeling I’ve experienced during the numerous times I’ve been alone in this house, wondering what my future was going to be like, today I felt at peace. Things out there were bad, sure. But in here? In my childhood garage, I felt content.

My father was always into carpentry, and he had a huge chunk of the six-car garage converted into a workshop long before I was born. Once I was old enough to stumble around, I followed him down here and played with my crayons while he built table after dresser after exquisite wall art.

I was about five the first time he let me sand one of the pieces he was working on, and soon, I was hooked. When my parents thought I was old enough to be down here by myself, I spent every waking moment in this garage, with the doors wide open, creating something remarkable out of ordinary supplies.

And these days, coming down here became my only escape again. My beloved studio has been hounded by reporters, fans, and… well, whatever the opposite of fans was. It was too dangerous to leave the house, and quite frankly, I just didn’t feel like facing the public yet.

Callie and Ginger have been visiting me almost daily, and I’ve spoken to Lukas every single day. He called me after he woke, then again when they were done with practice. We would speak while he drove to a fitting, and in between sets of interviews. He texted me pictures of their shots from the various photoshoots they were required to go to before Hazmat headed off to tour.

I haven’t seen him since he showed up at Ginger’s apartment after that night, but I felt him. He made an effort. Lukas made me feel like I wasn’t alone in this. Like he cared.

And for now, that was enough - or so I told myself.

I added some white to the mix of paint in front of me, lightening the brown I’ve had to a more beige hue. I wished I had gold paint, to capture the true essence of his beguiling eyes. But instead, this hazel tone would have to do.

“You’re getting better at illustrating me naked.” A familiar, deep voice said from behind me, and I spun around in my chair so fast, the paintbrush holding my hair in a high bun slipped out. My hair tumbled down my shoulders, and over most of my face - but not quick enough to hide the mouthwatering sigh that was Lukas LaBelle.

“You’re here!” I breathed, pushing my dark locks out of my face as I rose from my chair. “You’re really here!”

A slow, cocky grin spread over his bubblegum lips, his golden eyes dancing as they traveled down my body, taking in the grey shirt and the light denim overalls I was wearing. “I’m fucking glad I am. You are a sight to be seen, Hong Kong.”

I smiled back at him, reveling in the fact that Lukas LaBelle was teasing me. Actually teasing me.

“Come here, already.” He groaned, taking a step toward me before bracing himself. I collided with his body a second later, launching myself on him like I always dreamed I would. My legs locked around his narrow waist, my hands already pushed deep into his blonde curls. I was probably getting him dirty with paint and general sawdust flying in the air around here, but Lukas didn’t seem to mind.

Our lips met, teasing only for a moment before his tongue slipped into my mouth, igniting a fire deep inside me. But nothing, not even his skilled tongue could distract me from the fact that my heart was overfilled with love.

He broke the kiss first, and only then did I have a chance to take in his light scruff, white shirt and the fact that he had a guitar slung over his back. I raised a brow at him. “Are you here to serenade me?” I asked, sounding suspicious.

Lukas chuckled. “I’m coming straight from practice.” He said, and my heart fell as I remembered what that meant.

He was leaving. The whole band was leaving - in just six days.

“Hey.” Lukas rasped, his tone gentle as he cupped my chin and lifted so I had no choice but to look into his eyes. “Don’t be sad. It’s a short tour.”

I took a deep breath. Three months. “I know,” I said instead, not letting on that these past few days have been long, and we have been in the same city.

What was going to happen to us when he was gone?!

But I didn’t ask him that. I didn’t ask, because I was a fucking coward. Because I didn’t want to hear if his answer was any different than my wildest fantasies - and I was an artist. My mind was a storybook of mirages.

“Come on, London,” Lukas said gently, pulling me in for a soft kiss on my lips, before letting me slide down his body. I inhaled him, wanting to etch his scent into memory. “Let’s see what you have going on here.” His tone turned back to teasing as he took my hand, and started walking us toward the easel I had standing toward the front of the garage.

The way my parents’ house was built, there was a side road that wrapped around the house and opened the garage from the back, which was separated off with bushes so tall, they were nearly up to the second story window. This left the entire workshop out of sight from anyone walking on the otherwise deserted road, and the neighbors clueless of what went on behind the treelines.

This privacy was part of the reason why I always felt so comfortable painting here - especially since my parents were away for the day.

But now, when Lukas LaBelle was looking at the portrait I painted of him, shirtless, my earlier confidence flew out the window. “It’s not done yet…” I started, pulling on his hand to lead him away.

“Lucky guy,” Lukas noted, his eyes glinting with mischievousness.

“Lucky?”

He nodded. “Any man should be lucky to be on your mind. But I’m sensing a reoccurring theme here.” His golden gaze traveled to the sketches I’ve made, which were laid out on the floor. All of the shirtless bodies in different positions, in different lighting. And all of him. “You’ve been thinking about me too.”

I couldn’t deny it. “You’re a memorable person.”

His thumb caressed my hand as he continued inspecting my works. “I don’t think I look this good naked though. That-” Lukas pointed at a decidedly racy drawing. “-is not my ass.”

I grinned. “I think yours looks better. But I have a hard time capturing male butts. Callie forever ruined me with that stupid movie and her Brad Pitt obsession.”

Lukas’ gaze was gentle as he glanced down at me, his eyes more open than usual, and shining with something that made my stomach erupt in butterflies and a light flush appear on my cheeks.

I glanced away, but he caught my chin. “Would you like to draw the real thing?”

I blinked up at him, looking for any sign of mockery in his tone. But when his expression appeared nothing but genuine, I took in a small breath. “You would let me draw you?”

“I’d let you do a whole lot more, London.” He whispered. “But drawing me is a good start - if you want to.”

“I’d be honored to.” I sighed, trying to contain my excitement. My palms began to sweat, and my heart was beating out of my chest as I looked him up and down. “Here?” I blurted, sounding ridiculous.

Lukas smiled, patiently. “Where is your room?”

I led him nervously up the stairs, feeling like every bit the teenage girl who had the biggest crush on the rockstar of her fantasies would. This was the house I lived in when I first met Lukas, and this very room was where I watched video after video of the band, dreamed about one day meeting them again.

And now, my very own rockstar was sprawled over the windowsill of my teenage bedroom, with his acoustic guitar by his foot, eyeing me with a small smile as he pulled his shirt over his head.

“Woah!” I gasped. I’ve seen him in much fewer clothes before, sure, but not like this. Not sitting there, staring at me patiently as he waited for me to-

“How do you want me?”

Be. Still. My. Heart.

“Maybe you could unbutton your jeans and have it hanging open a bit, then lean down to your left and hold yourself up on one elbow.” When he complied, with an amused expression, I motioned for him to put his feet up next to him. “Push your jeans just a bit lower. I want your v-line out.” I breathed, focusing on the way his muscles bulged as Lukas lowered his pants further.

“You’ve thought about this before, haven’t you?” He asked, amused, but still going along with it.

More times than I could count, I thought, but instead of saying anything, I lifted my sketchpad onto my lap and began drawing him.

The picture was quickly forming on the paper, drawing a familiar shape I created thousands of times before. Except now, the difference was obvious from early on.

The sketch in front of me looked exactly like Lukas. Every bit of him was proportioned to perfection, every line and muscle precisely how he appeared in front of me, down to the way his golden curls fell over one wide shoulder, and his deepening smile line as he watched me while I drew him.

I had no idea how much time has passed, but I knew that this drawing would be the best I created yet.

When I set my pencil down, my hand was sweating, but my heart was pounding with adrenaline. I didn’t want to be done yet.

“What next?” Lukas asked, sitting up once more as he eyed my drawing of him next to me.

“You want to do more?” If I sounded surprised, it was because I was. I was quick with sketches, but I didn’t think he would have the patience to do another one so soon.

Lukas remained silent, and I met his gaze. He rose slowly out of the windowsill and strolled across the bedroom, stopping in front of me. His large hand was presented in front of me, and I slipped mine into it, enjoying the way his callouses felt against my heated skin. “I love the way you look at me, London.”

“How do I look at you?” I breathed, letting him pull me to my feet as I glanced up at him.

“Like I’m the most important thing in the universe.”

You are the universe.

I bit down on my bottom lip to keep the thought from escaping. A man like Lukas LaBelle didn’t need another ego booster, but fuck if I didn’t want to give him one. “You should get on the bed.” I squeezed his hands, before adding quickly. “No pants, this time.”

A slow grin spread across his pink lips, but he immediately began by kicking off his shoes and pulling off his socks. His jeans were pushed down his hips, past those muscular thighs and those bulging briefs he wore underneath.

I sucked in a breath when his erection sprung free, standing tall and confident between us. I realized he stopped and was waiting for me to give him more direction, totally catching me as I was ogling him and his private parts.

I turned away quickly, hiding my blush as I rushed up to my bed and pulled the creme covers back. Thankfully, my parents turned my old room into a spare guest room after I departed, and the many posters and other embarrassing stuff I’ve left behind as a teenager were now stored in a box in the attic, instead of being displayed. Which left this room looking chic and clean, and the least bit awkward of the whole ‘living with her parents’ situation I was currently stuck in.

Lukas kneeled on the edge of the bed until I murmured. “Face down, please.” He crawled along the length of the mattress and I gave him a pillow to tuck under his chest, further exaggerating the dip of his lower back. “Perfect,” I whispered, taking a step back.

He tossed his blonde hair over one shoulder and rested his head against the pillow he was holding, looking up at me like every bit of the Greek God looking creature that he was.

With one leg drawn up, the shadows under him hinted at the manhood he was hiding, but it was just out of sight enough to keep the pose tasteful and absolutely breathtaking.

My hand was itching to run down the curve of his body, but I refrained. I needed to capture this moment and etch it not just into my memory, but into the sketchbook that I held so close to me.

There was drawing for work, and then there was creating for the love of it. My personal sketchbook was a diary - a private collection of art that I wouldn’t share with anyone, that illustrated my fantasies, my dreams, my fears, and the thoughts hidden in the deepest corner of my mind.

Glancing up at him and catching him watching me again, I realized just how intimate this was. He was willing to do something that was clearly just for my benefit - something so personal and something that I loved.

He wrote a song for me, and I drew him.

I blinked, catching that glow in his golden eyes as the rays of the setting sun peeked through my curtains. And at that moment, I knew.

He loved me too.

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