Skin of the Night

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Chapter 44: They're In My Way

A man with a funny-looking hat opened the door to William’s building for us. He touched the brim of its twentieth-century appearance while slightly bowing his head. I’d seen him this morning, but I’d been too busy being cross with William to mind him much.

“Mr Night,” he greeted politely. Of Caucasian origin, he looked to be in his late fifties. A neatly groomed and white beard, in the form of a donut, surrounded his thin lips. Age had laid its mark on him. Wisdom and patience shined from his small brown eyes, which resided in a very round and constantly flushed face.

I presumed he was the building’s porter. I wanted to mock the fact that William had a daytime porter tending to his apartment complex, but resisted. In the end, it hadn’t surprised me. Like his brother, William came from a tremendously wealthy background.

“Will, Garrick. For the last time,” William replied with a tone of humour and offered his arm a friendly pat.

“Will,” Garrick echoed equally humoured. His brown eyes darted in my direction, but quickly flickered back to William’s figure when he suddenly halted beside me.

“You know,” William said and waved his finger in the air. When he later directed it to me, he continued, “This is Cara Jane Darby. I expect you’ll be seeing her a lot from now on. Could you write her name on the list of visitors allowed without needing to request prior permission?”

Startled, I blinked to myself. That was a leap of faith. Clearly, he believed we’d prosper together. That warmed my heart more than I’d expected.

“Of course, sir.” Walking toward a desk in the small lobby of the building, Garrick unlocked a drawer and withdrew an iPad. He approached me with the device and asked me to spell my name for him. Afterward, he raised it toward my face.

“He’ll need to snap your photo,” William explained and stepped a metre away. “Smile for the camera, sweetheart.”

I wanted to slap his sadistic grin off his face. Being told to smile on cue like that always made for the most awkward versions, but I made an attempt nonetheless.

“Beautiful,” Garrick said and lowered the iPad again.

“She is, isn’t she?” William chimed. His eyes squinted with his grin. I could hardly recognise him. He looked unlike himself; besotted. I struggled to reconcile this version of him with the domineering caveman he could present at any time.

“Absolutely, sir.” Garrick chuckled while I blushed between them.

“I’m a lucky man. In any case, have a pleasant evening, Garrick. Send Rose my regards,” William politely said before he wrapped his arm around my waist to guide me toward the lift. I presumed Rose was his wife, or something of the sort.

“Thank you, sir. You as well,” Garrick replied, audibly delighted.

When the doors shut, I turned my eyes up at him, and I couldn’t hide my amusement. “I’ve never seen you be that kind to anyone before.”

He snorted. “I’m kind.”

“Not stereotypically, like you just were.”

He shrugged his shoulders. “Well, I like Garrick. He’s a good man. Ex-military. Had a traumatic past, but he’s recovered now. I fancy his outlook on the world. He’s told me fascinating stories about his time in Afghanistan. It made him appreciate the smaller things in life, he said, which is why he’s settled for the job of being a porter. These days, he fancies just watching life’s trivial sides happen in front of him.”

My eyebrows arched while I rocked back and forth on my heels, fairly impressed. I hadn’t foreseen that, and like Will, I found myself admiring Garrick’s choice, too.

“Will, I’m curious.”

“Aren’t you always?” He chuckled. The doors opened on his floor, and he gestured for me to exit first.

“It’s a bit of an imposing question,” I warned and approached his door.

“I’m all ears.”

I turned toward him when I reached his front door. “Do you own your flat? Or is it your parents’? Or are you renting, perhaps?”

His left eyebrow curled upward while he inserted his key into the respective lock. “I own it. Why?”

“Well, Jason doesn’t own ours, so I was curious if your parents also owned this one.”

He smirked. “Not yours, he doesn’t. But he owns another place over by Crouch End. He rents it out, and lives for free in the flat provided by our parents. But he’s only allowed to live there for free for as long as he’s a student. Our parents are very strict about education. They never wanted us to get distracted by a job while completing it. Hence why he’s living there for free. The money he earns from renting out his own flat, he saves in a mutual fund. He hasn’t told you this?”

I gawked at him. Jason hadn’t told me that. Then again, he was always uncomfortable whenever the subject of money was brought up. He’d always been inherently modest and reserved about it.

“It’s the crux of capitalism,” William continued and opened the door. “Say what you want about it, but it makes rich people richer.”

Taken aback by his socialistic view, I blinked to myself. Seemingly impatient, he grabbed my hand and dragged me inside. After slamming the door shut, he grabbed my hips and walked me backward to pin me against the door.

“I’m starving, Cara,” he lustfully declared and stared deep into my eyes. A lump gathered in my throat under his smouldering stare. “And not for food,” he continued huskily and lowered his mouth to mine.

Wherever he found his energy, I was unaware of, but it was contagious in nature, because the second his mouth blessed mine, my pulse spiked and my heart throbbed. Thrusting his knee between my legs, he spread them apart and pushed directly against my sex. The pressure surged up my spine and made me gape with pleasure. Closing my eyes, I submerged into the satisfaction of his skilful kiss and wished for time to pause, only so I could enjoy him for longer. I wanted to kiss him for a lifetime. He was just so bloody good at it.

“God, I’ve wanted you all day,” he growled and lowered his hands to caress my aching breasts. I groaned against his mouth and circled his neck with my arms, wanting to be even closer to him. The feeling of never getting close enough haunted me. Only when he was inside of me did the feeling wane.

“Then have me,” I pleaded and trailed my right hand down his firm torso to reach for the bulk of his grey trousers. When I found it, I paid it a gentle squeeze while a lascivious smile interfered with our kiss.

He groaned into my mouth and pressed his erection against my palm, eager for more. “I’d like to spend hours on you, but I’m too impatient,” he revealed and parted from my lips to rest his forehead to mine. “Then again,” he smirked, “I can compensate later. It’s not like one round is the quota.” Without further ado, he reached between us to undo my trousers with visible haste. While he pushed the garment down, along with my knickers, his mouth reclaimed mine.

“This is my shirt,” he mumbled into our kiss. “So if you don’t mind,” he continued and gripped onto the front of it. He ripped it open. The buttons flew and scattered across the hall, and the sound of it blended with my hitching breath.

“You’ve got a kink for shredding clothes, Will,” I remarked breathlessly.

“When they’re on you, yeah.” He chuckled, and his smile flirted with his twinkling irises. “They’re in my way.” Planting his large hands under my thighs, he hoisted me up against the door and secured my limbs around his body.

“Remove your bra,” he ordered while he reached into the pocket of his trousers.

Swallowing the lump in my throat, I reached behind me to obey his command. As I liberated my aching mounds, I watched him tear open a foil packet with his teeth. The entire while, his eyes were glued to my breasts while I slowly revealed them to him. Courageously, I sent him a lewd smile and closed the fabric of my bra around his neck to pull his mouth back to mine.

“Oh, Cara,” he hummed appreciatively just before our lips reunited. Insatiably, his mouth devoured mine; taking possession of my body the way he had taken possession of my spirit. I rejoiced in the taste of him, in the scent of him. Even the sounds he made aroused me senseless. He was the very embodiment of magic, and I was utterly enchanted by him.

For the first time in my life, I was truly falling in love, and part of me feared that it wouldn’t be reversible. If my feelings for him transcended into the irrevocable, how was I supposed to focus on my career? Lately, all I could think about was he. I frowned to myself while concern feasted on my mind. This was escalating so fast. The chemistry we shared was of such magnitude that I feared its power over me.

I’d reunited with him a little over a mere week ago, and yet here I was, utterly at his mercy while he played the strings of my heart as though it were an instrument he’d been meant to play all along. And he seemed the only one capable of mastering it.

“You’re distracted,” he alleged through a ragged breath. My eyes had closed, but I opened them upon his statement.

“What’s the matter?” he probed and cupped my cheek to run his thumb across it. I shook my head while my heart hammered painfully within me.

“Cara, what’s the matter?” he repeated firmly.

The intensity of his gaze intimidated me, so I looked away from him. “I’m just a little overwhelmed. I feel like we’re moving very fast,” I confessed.

He was silent for a while, processing what I’d said. “I don’t see the problem,” he finally replied. “And look at me when you’re talking to me, Cara.”

Pouting, I met his eyes again. The sight made my heart sting. The effect he had on me was shocking, as well as it was unnerving. “There isn’t a problem per se. Like I said, I’m just a little overwhelmed. This is totally unexplored terrain for me.”

He was not impressed. “What, fucking a man you want?”

I glared at him. “Yes, actually.”

Sighing, he dropped both his hands and his gaze to his erection between us. Following, I watched him push his trousers down before he sheathed his length in the latex. I sensed him lift his gaze again, so I swiftly met it. I’d expected him to look annoyed, but on the contrary, his eyes were soft as they trapped mine.

“Are you scared?” he quietly asked and studied my reaction.

“A little,” I feebly admitted and looked away from him again.

“What of?” he probed, and his tone was tender and patient.

I inhaled sharply and chewed into my lower lip. After a few steadying breaths, I dared to confess it. “You.”

When my eyes darted toward him, I found him analysing me. His expression was unreadable, and it frustrated me. I wished I could hear his thoughts.

“What do you think I’ll do?” he finally asked. “I’m not going to hurt you, if that’s what you’re thinking.”

“No, it’s not that.” I grimaced and covered my face with my hands. “I’m only confused, Will. Everything’s so intense. I’m in utter chemical imbalance here, and I know you’re the cause of it. I don’t feel like myself. My priorities haven’t changed, but my focus is!”

He groaned in profound despair. “Please. Do continue to invent problems for yourself. You do have a knack for it.”

“I never said it was a problem! I was only stating a fact. You asked why I was distracted. Don’t ask if you can’t handle the answers!” I disparaged and folded my arms over my breasts. He was bloody exasperating. My blood boiled.

He arched a brow and gripped my wrists to force my arms apart again. “Just enjoy it, Cara. It is what it is. There’s nothing you can do about it, because I’m not going to stop chasing you.”

My heart cried out at his affectionate declaration, but I couldn’t understand what it was trying to say. “You don’t get it, Will. It’s like you’ve infected my brain! I can’t think straight when you’re in my life. Around you, it’s like my head is talking in a language I don’t speak.”

He rolled his eyes at me. “Maybe that’s because you’re not actually listening,” he grumbled and reached between us to align his cock with my entrance.

“I am list-” A hiss interrupted my sentence when he thrust powerfully into me. Fuck, it hurt. I was still sore after last night, and he was so bloody big. “Ah, gentle,” I pleaded high-pitched and gripped onto his shoulders.

“Just feel that. Listen to your body respond to this,” he urged and gently retreated. When he pushed in again, he was slow and tender. “Feel that, Cara? How much your body loves it?” he continued and nuzzled his nose to mine. “Because I can. And you’re dripping for me. Clenching around me as though you never want me to leave.”

I gritted my teeth and rested the back of my head against the door. Buried within me, I savoured him. He felt unbelievably good. It never ceased to blow my mind. Finally, the burrowing desire to be closer to him was silenced. Instead, serene joy replaced it.

He closed his strong arms around me, and I melted into his embrace, subdued. Conquered. While holding me so intimately, he pulled me away from the door and carried me toward his bedroom. The entire while, he remained within me, and I was already dreading his withdrawal. Like he’d said, I never wanted him to leave.

I clung to his robust frame when he made us descend onto his mattress, and groaned in delight when his lips yet again found mine. Across my waist his hands roamed, warm and soft, exploring every curve and angle of my wanting body. As he propped his weight on his right arm, he grabbed hold of my jaw with his left hand and kept his mouth on mine.

Delicious endorphins exploded in my mind. This was different to every other time we’d had sex. Though he was always sensual, he was adding a different dimension to it this time around, and it wreaked havoc across my emotions. He poured his passion into me through his delectable kiss, and meanwhile, he started thrusting into me again with slow, soft intrusions.

I thought I would implode. His tender actions were fuelling the confusion within me. Simultaneously, my heart pounded in both agony and exultation. If this continued, I’d go mad. I felt so divided.

Was he making love to me?

“Faster,” I croaked out and thrust against him.

He smiled against my lips. “No.”

“Will, please,” I begged and tried to writhe away from his mouth, but his hold of my jaw prevented me.

“Trust me, darling. I’ll make you come this way,” he countered and thrust so deeply into me that it pushed the air out of my lungs. Upon his steady retreat, I collected all my strength to tilt him over. Tossing us around, I straddled him. Now seated atop him, fully in control, I puffed out a breath of relief.

He sighed and tucked his hands under his handsome head. Impassively, he stared up at me, and I took note of the fact that he didn’t admire the view. Instead, his eyes were locked with mine. Strange. Men tended to love it when I was on top.

“Go on, then,” he said, underwhelmed. “Fuck me. Keep making this out to be nothing. Whatever you need.”

I released a cry of frustration and buried my hands in my hair to tug my head backward, profoundly annoyed. I realised in the same moment that the fact that he read me so easily was as much of a curse as it was a blessing. He growled back at me and launched forward to clasp my wrists in his grip. Nose to nose we glared at each other.

After reeling in a deep breath, I stated with a low voice, “I’m not making this out to be nothing. I’m just saying that it’s moving very fast.”

“So what if it’s moving fast,” he snapped back at me. “There isn’t a universal recipe on how to tackle dynamics like these. Every relationship is different to the next, because people are different. And how the fuck is this fast? We’re not even in a relationship! So tell me, Cara. What do you want me to do? How in bloody hell shall I slow this down when you’ve barely allowed it to start?”

“Just stop talking!” I hissed and glared menacingly into his eyes.

“Fuckin’ hell.” He collapsed backward, seemingly at a loss. “Jason warned me you were wrong in the head about attachment, but for fuck’s sake. You’re totally out of touch with your emotions.”

“I’m not,” I whined and dragged my hands through my hair again. “I know I fancy you. I’m only trying to get familiar with it, but before I manage, you’re charging forward like a bloody freight train!”

His eyebrows furrowed with his frustration, and I felt him tense beneath me. He was the very definition of exasperated. “How am I charging forward?!” he shouted at me and threw his arms apart. I stole a quick glimpse of his torso, because his shout had made it flex. And when I peeked at it now, I saw that his abdominal muscles still weren’t relaxing. “I’ve asked you on one date! This is the third time we’re having sex!”

“You’re disrespecting how intimidated I’m feeling about all this,” I quietly argued and looked away from him.

“Cara,” he complained high-pitched and rubbed his face with his handsome hands. “I’m not. I’m really not. It’s simply in my nature to take the initiative about things, and I’m sorry if that scares you. It’s not my intention.”

After a loud sigh, I dismounted him. He watched me collapse onto my back beside him with a vigilant expression on his face.

“Not in the mood anymore?” he quietly questioned.

“No.”

“Come here, you,” he ordered and grabbed my arm to pull me toward him. Brushing my forehead clean of my hair, he then placed a chaste kiss to it.

“Are you angry with me?” he asked while he hooked his arm around me.

I laid my cheek on the bump of his shoulder, and the masculine, unique scent of him drifted into my nose as a painful reminder of how irresistible he was. He smelled amazing. “No. I’m just... knackered.”

“Quick nap?” he proposed and used his left hand to remove the condom he was wearing.

“Yeah.”

After dropping the latex onto the floor beside the bed, he set his alarm to wake us in two hours top. When he’d killed the lights, he brought his duvet to cover us both.

“Turn over,” he commanded.

While rolling my eyes in the dark, I turned my back to him. He hooked his arm around my waist and dragged me into a spooning position. There, he buried his nose in my hair, and I heard him collect my scent deep into his lungs. His warm chest expanded against me, and I relished the feel of it.

“See you in a bit,” he murmured and squeezed me against him.

“Yeah.”

It took him about a minute to pass out. I could hear it in his changed breathing and feel it in his slackening hold of me. Obviously, he’d been running on spare battery earlier. Though I was tired as well, our argument had left me too rattled to fall asleep in a mere heartbeat. I was still chasing slumber when I heard my mobile ring from the hall. I contemplated whether to ignore it, but since rest wasn’t finding me, I decided that I might as well answer.

After sneaking out of William’s embrace, I tiptoed out of his room. Before closing the door, so not to wake him from the conversation I was about to have, I cast a glimpse at his huge figure in the bed. My heart fluttered at the sight. Utterly at peace, he soundly slept, and he truly deserved it. He’d had a bloody rough day, and I hadn’t made it any better.

By the time I found my phone, it had stopped ringing. Olivia had tried to reach me. I was about to call her back when her name occupied my screen again, seemingly determined to get a hold of me.

“Hey, love,” I greeted her.

“C-Cara,” she sobbed, and my heart broke at the dreadful sound. What had happened? The blood drained from my face while I stared blankly ahead of myself.

“Livy? What’s going on?”

“It’s... It’s C-Colin,” she replied through stifled sobs. “He’s been calling... calling me all day, s-saying he wants me b-back, and I don’t know what to do! I really need you,” she cried out.

Fury encompassed me. That bloody bastard. He deserved to rot in hell for all I cared. “Shit, Livy. Don’t answer if he calls again, yeah? Where are you now?”

“O-on my way t-to yours,” she replied through a row of snivels.

“Livy... I’m not home right now. I’m with Will. But Jason should be there. Just...” I closed my eyes, trying to think. “I’ll be there as soon as I can, alright? I’m fetching a taxi right away.”

“T-thank you. I’m sorry if I’m ruining-”

“You’re not. The twat’s asleep,” I answered through feigned cheerfulness. I was desperate to lighten her mood. “I’ll see you in a bit, yeah? Stay strong.”

“Y-yes,” she stammered. “Thanks, Cara.”

“Of course, Livy. I love you,” I cooed and hung up on her. When I opened my eyes, I immediately searched for my clothes. Though William had ripped his shirt apart earlier, which I’d been wearing, I did still have my hideous red sweater in my bag. It would have to do. Confident I’d disturb him, I didn’t want to enter William’s bedroom to search for another shirt to borrow when he was finally catching some much-needed rest.

I dressed with haste. After collecting my belongings, I went for the door without informing him. Since I didn’t have his number, I couldn’t send him a text, but I gathered he’d call me when he woke up to ask where I was. I’d explain my abrupt departure to him then. I frowned to myself when I realised that I didn’t have his number. He only had mine. I’d have to change that reality.

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