Love Stripped

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Chapter 17

When they arrived at the dance club, they had to yell at each other if they wanted to talk. The club was crowded with heaps of people dancing, drinking, and socializing. Jake, Eric and Aiden decided they wanted to drink more, so Ben and Joanne, alongside Tom and Kimberly strolled towards the dance floor.

Kimberly loved to dance. When her parents were still alive, she’d go out at night with her girlfriend and would spend the entire night dancing. Unfortunately, that ended when her parents perished, and she began her work as a stripper.

Once the four began dancing, they also were torn apart by other people, so Ben stayed with Joanne, and Kimberly with Tom. They danced together, not too close, not too far from each other. At some point, Kimberly looked into Tom’s eyes and wondered... did he know she’d slept with Jake?

He probably didn’t know. He was always quiet, and paid no heed to anyone in the house, although sometimes he was the one who started a conversation between them all.

After spending some time alone with Tom, Kimberly decided to fetch a drink.

Out of the blue, Eric appeared out of nowhere, and gripped her arm, pulling her close to dance a bit more. The music slowed down. Great. Just great. Eric’s arms went around her waistline, and he leaned his face down on hers. “I wanted to dance with you.”

“You don’t deserve to dance with me.”

“Kim, I-”

“Don’t say you’re fucking sorry, now.” The worlds blurted out of her mouth before she could stop herself. “It’s done. Why the fuck did you even act like that? Why? Why do you suddenly change sometimes? It’s because of me? If it is, just tell me!”

“I’m sorry,” Eric apologized, eyes averted, though. However, the soothing tone changed into an angry one. “It’s just that it fucking annoys me! You say you hate him, but you let him do what he wants, and then you won’t admit that you like him! At least admit you fucking feel attracted to him!”

“Look, this is just between me and Jake. I should’ve never told you what I planned to do. God, why did you have to know I was a stripper? Why did you have to find out about Jake and I...” She lost her words, not wanting to mention the sex.

They didn’t speak for a while. They kept swaying their bodies at the same time, without trading a word, as time passed by them.

“Kim...” All of a sudden, Eric brought her to a halt in the middle of the dance floor, and stared directly into her stormy eyes. “Tell me the truth. You know you can trust me.”

“What?” She breathed deeply, lacking patience.

“Do you... do you like him? Do you feel something for him? Don’t lie to me, please.”

Kimberly wanted to believe she’d been caught off guard, because then she’d have an excuse to run away, but she’d ran away from Eric plenty of times. In that instance, the music that was on annoyed her to a great extent. She wanted to think, she wanted to clear her mind, but she couldn’t. Still, music wasn’t what should be blamed, Kimberly was the guilty one.

Did she really feel something for Jake? The feelings which flooded her body sometimes... the anger, the desire he made her feel... The way she just lost all reason once he touched her, the way he touched her, the way he made her forget about everything else around her...

“I... I think I-” Her yells completely stopped when she became aware Jake stood by their side.

“Can’t I dance with her, now?” Eric’s eyes were ice. It looked as if he hated his brother for showing up in that exact moment.

“You’ve danced with her for a while.” Jake replied, his gaze never wavering while dealing his brother’s obvious anger. “It’s my turn. Besides, I’m sick of Joanne.”

“Yeah, well, she’s your girlfriend. You deal with her.”

“She’s not my girlfriend, and I deal with whoever the fuck I want, and right now... I want to deal with her.” He glanced at Kimberly with his dark green eyes.

The anger grew to fury. Still, Eric looked back at Kimberly. “Do you want to dance with him?”

Kimberly wanted to say no, but deep inside her, she knew what word would come out of her mouth. She pursed her lips, and looked away from Eric, whose heart looked as if it was going to break if she said yes.

“I’m sorry, Eric, I-” Knowing what her answer was, Eric immediately let go of her, and strolled away.

Not even glancing back, Jake stepped forward and took his brother’s place. He gripped both her hands and pulled her to him. Kimberly had no idea what to say. Jake was regarding her, as if he was considering something in his mind. A few moments later, he mouthed his thoughts, “I think Eric likes you.”

“What?”

“I think Eric likes you!” Jake yelled louder.

“Come on, Jake,” Kimberly smirked, dismissing such option. “Don’t say that.”

“I’m sure he likes you.” Each time Jake said that, it appeared he grew more certain. “Kimmy, that would explain everything. I’m sure you’ve noticed the way his mood changes! When we like... last time, when you slept in my room, he knew, and he was furious about it! He also knew I’d gone to the bathroom to meet you, and he just... changed right after we both got back!”

All Jake said seemed to make sense. It explained a lot, but... it also changed things. Kimberly refused to believe. “But Eric... your brother’s a friend.”

“He’s been mad about me... because of you.” Jake still added, wanting her to see things the same way he did. The right way. “I knew there was something going on with him. He likes you, Kimmy, and he fucking hates the fact you li- that you... that we...” Kimberly kept looking at him, waiting for him to keep continue, but the words he wanted to say just wouldn’t come out of his mouth. “Eric... he hates to know that we’ve slept together, when he likes you, too.”

“So there is a reason that explains why he’s been acting so hostile, lately...” She mumbled, aware that the music had slowed down.

“I’ll deal with him tomorrow. Now...” Jake’s hands slithered around her hips, and drew her closer to him. “I’d like to dance with you... the way he danced that night, at the hotel.”

A faint smile played on her lips, “Yeah, when I was drunk.”

“You weren’t that drunk when we danced.” He prompted, and Kimberly admitted it. However, while she’d been dancing, she’d kept drinking, and it was then the alcohol really hit her hard. Regardless of everything... she’d enjoyed that night.

Out of the blue, Jake pulled her towards him, and his hand slid down, reaching her lower back. He swayed his body at same rhythm Kimberly winded hers.

He leaned down on her, and their foreheads touched. They offered each other a puzzling smile. Kimberly’s stormy grey eyes met Jake’s dark green ones. “Tell me...” He started, drunken on her, “Explain me how you do it, Kimmy. Explain me how you make me desire you. Tell me why... why I find myself wanting more than just sex...”

The words struck the red haired. Was Jake... saying he liked her? Was he admitting he felt something for her?

His body brushed hers, and Kimberly found herself yearning for more. Closing her eyes, Jake then came down on her, and kissed the corner of her mouth. He skimmed down, and caressed the nape of her neck with his tongue. She opened her eyes, wanting to gaze into his and get lost. She wanted him to kiss her. Wrapping her arms around Jake’s neck, Kimberly pulled him down, but Jake didn’t give in, as expected.

Instead, he grinned at her, and forced to continue to dance, which Kimberly gladly continued.

They kept dancing for a while longer, until Aiden came to search for them, and unfortunately found them. At first, the couple wasn’t aware of him. Kimberly felt there was only she and Jake in that exact moment, and no one could interfere with them.

Aiden had to practically poke Jake’s arm to have his attention. Jake immediately glared at him, but Aiden’s patiently ignored him. Instead, he disclosed, “It’s time for your surprise.”

“My what?” Jake questioned him, though Aiden paid no heed to him, and spun over his heels. Curious, Jake followed Aiden, holding Kimberly’s hand and dragging her with him.

“Ben and I have a surprise for you!”

“What surprise?” He yelled back, his eyebrow arched up.

“You’ll see!”

It was only when they reached the rest of the group that Jake finally let go of her hand. Kimberly wondered if Jake had been aware Aiden had seen them and what had Aiden thought of it.

At any rate, after they were all reunited, they left the club.

“I’m sure Aiden’s already told you what’s going on!” Ben spoke, and given that they were out of the club, they didn’t need to yell anymore.

“Yeah, he told me. What is it?”

“It’s a surprise, Jake,” Kimberly reminded him.

“She’s right,” Aiden agreed with her, and then added, “And since it’s a surprise, you can’t drive. Yes, we’re taking you to a place. Ben’s driving your car until we get there, which also means one of you has to go in my car.”

“I’ll go,” She promptly said. She didn’t want to be in the backseat with Joanne.”

“Great! Then we can finally go!”

After they all climbed inside Aiden’s car, and he started the engine straight away. As Aiden drove, Kimberly recognized the streets and the roads they were passing by. It was the same way she used to go to the strip club. That made her wonder what kind of surprise Jake’s friends had prepared for the birthday boy. Judging the two young men, Kimberly had no idea what the hell awaited Jake.

“We’re here,” Aiden stated, parking the car, and bringing Kimberly back to reality. “Jake’s going to love this.”

“Where are we, anyway?” The red haired woman asked, at the same time she tried to get rid of the seatbelt. When she finally managed to unbuckle it, she noticed Aiden was pointing at something outside the car. Kimberly followed his eyes, and out all of a sudden, the world seemed to be falling down on her shoulders.

Aiden was pointing directly at the strip club where she worked as a stripper.

“T-there?” She stammered, “The... S-trip Club?”

“Oh yeah,” Aiden nodded, grinning proudly. “Jake never came to a strip club, so it’s the perfect birthday present! It was Ben’s idea, actually. I thought it was cool, seeing that it was for Jake. I already warned him that I don’t want a visit at a strip club as my birthday present, though. Come on,” He suddenly jerked his head towards Jake, who’d got out of the car. “I want to see the look on his face.”

Speechless, Kimberly followed Aiden, not knowing whether she should run away, or go in with them. If she told them she wanted to go home, everyone would make fun of her, and Jake would definitely take advantage of that later to probably say she just couldn’t handle girls hitting on him. If she didn’t, though, and decided to stay... she might take the risk of having Jake and his party finding out she worked as a stripper in that exact strip club.

“Are you ok?” She heard Tom, “You look as if you’ve seen a monster or something.”

“I... I’m f-fine.” She stuttered, completely shocked.

She could listen to Jake laughing and talking with Aiden and Ben about his surprise, but what he was saying, Kimberly couldn’t quite make out as she was still considering whether she should risk them finding out what her kind of work was.

They began walking towards the strip club, and Kimberly followed them but stayed a little behind. Eric noticed her, and slowed down his pace to join her. When he reached her, she blurted out without thinking, “I can’t go in there, Eric! They’ll find out! My boss, the bartenders, and all the other strippers will recognize me! Jake will find out! I”

“Kim,” He started quietly, keeping his voice low, “I know you the last thing you want is to go in there, but don’t you think they’ll suspect of something if you don’t go, at least for just half an hour? You know Jake will start wondering.” She was aware of it, and that was the reason why she hadn’t yet turned around and called a cab.

“God, Jake must love these kind of presents,” She let the spite show, staring at Jake’s back.

“Actually no,” Eric prompted, “It might seem that way, but... no, Jake isn’t really the type of guy that likes to go to strip clubs.” That was supposed to appease her?

Her heart raced when they drew near the entrance of the strip club. Well, screw it. She knew she had to go in. Taking a deep breath, Kimberly hoped for the best.

“Aiden and I have already paid for some lap dances,” Ben disclosed right after they’d walked inside the club, which was crowded. Then, he looked over at Kimberly and Joanne, and said, “I’m sorry for this, girls, but... this is Jake’s birthday.”

And how Kimberly was hating on Jake’s birthday...

“It’s ok,” She blurted out, tired. You know what? I think I’ll go to the restroom... again. I’ll be right back, guys.” And as she was turning, she noticed Jake regarding her, figuring out what she was going to do. Still, her thoughts were drawn away from Jake, when his brother Eric gripped her arm, and drew closer. Kimberly glared at him, reading the question in his greenish eyes. “No, this has nothing to do with him, Eric. Just keep them distracted for me, ok?”

Trusting this wasn’t a scheme to be with Jake, Eric let her go. Maybe... Maybe she should be thankful for the fact that Eric knew she worked as a stripper. This situation would probably be too unbearable if she didn’t have Eric with her. She felt as if he was the shoulder she’d lean on in case she needed his help.

Clearing her head, Kimberly looked around to check if she wasn’t being watched by any of Jake’s party. Since she wasn’t, instead of going to restroom, she walked towards the opposite direction. She immediately sighted Carl, standing in front a door – a passage way that could lead anyone to the place where the strippers traded clothes, and in Kimberly’s case, not only clothes... but her personality, as well. “Oh my god, Carl-”

“Kim?” He cut her off, confused. “What are you doing here? I thought Bob had given you the night off.”

“And he did, but-”

“Then why are you here?”

“Stop interrupting me, Carl!” She struggled to keep her voice low, but the frustration had grown too much. “I need you help! Carl, I’m screwed unless you help me! You know that that the fact that I work as a stripper... is a secret, right?”

“Yeah...”

“Well, come of my friends planned on coming here tonight, and I didn’t know about it. I only found out about it when they were parking in front of the club.” She explained, always looking around to make sure none of the guys or Joanne was near. “Look, I need you to warn the others. Tell them to ignore me tonight, tell them to pretend they don’t know me at all. Most of them will understand, as for the others... well, just tell them, ok? I’ll explain later. Oh! Don’t forget to warn Bob! Will you do this for me, Carl? I’m really screwed if you don’t.” Carl looked down at her, but he didn’t meet her eyes. Instead, he stared down at her hands, which were shaking. Nervous, Kimberly bit her lower lip, yearning for a positive reply.

“Of course I’ll do this, Kim.” The big man suddenly answered. “I’ll warn them right away!”

“Oh my god, thank you so much, Carl! I don’t know what I would’ve done without you!” Kimberly grinned at him, and moved to hug the huge man. Then, she stepped back, and cleared her throat. “Well, I should go back or they’ll get suspicious.

She was going to turn around, but then Carl spoke. “By the way, you look great, Kim.” Her grin widened, and she mumbled a thank you. It was nice of Carl to say that.

At last, she spun over her heels and headed to where the group was. They were all settled down, but no stripper was there yet. “Hi again,” She whispered, sitting next to Eric. “What are they waiting?”

Eric shrugged a shoulder, clearly disinterested. “Ben and Aiden are trying to find a suitable stripper for Jake, but he doesn’t know what type he wants-”

“I know what kind of stripper you want!” Aiden suddenly said. They all thought he was going to disclose which type of stripper Jake would wish, but he just turned at his red haired friend. “Ben, come with me!”

Smiling in a rather wicked way, Ben leaped to his feet. Kimberly rushed to do the same. “Oh, I’ll go with you guys, too!”

She took in all the questioning glances, but ignored them all. She innocently followed the guys. As they walked, Ben turned to say, “I’m sorry about bringing you to this place, Kim. I know how you girls hate this place.”

“It’s ok,” She tried to smile at that comment. “I can handle it, don’t fret about it. Besides, it’s Jake’s birthday, right?”

Ben nodded, but didn’t say anything else once they reached a blonde woman. “Excuse me,” Ben started. The woman looked up at them, and waited for me. “We want a stripper for a lap dance.”

Her brown eyes looked past Aiden, and settled on Kimberly. She’d recognized her. Still, Kimberly restrained from saying something, and just swallowed dryly; hoping Carl had managed to warn everyone. At any rate, the blonde woman asked slowly, with her amber eyebrow angled up. “Do you have... any preferences?”

“Uh, yeah,” Ben prompted, “We want a red haired.”

“A red head? Another one?” The woman looked utterly puzzled now. That could only mean... she didn’t know about Kimberly’s problem. Her heart skipped several beats as the woman kept going, “You already have-”

“Yes! We have a redhead!” Kimberly easily recognized the voice as belonging to Bob – her boss, and saviour. The way he acted clearly told Kimberly he’d already been warned. “I’ll call Sue and tell her to go over to your table in short moments!”

“Thank you,” Aiden said, turning around, and staring at Kimberly. The expression stamped on his face told her he was definitely suspicious about something, unlike Ben who seemed pretty relaxed. “That man confused you.”

“Yeah,” Kimberly giggled nervously, “But it’s ok, really.”

“You don’t even look like a stripper,” He insisted on the matter.

“Forget it, it’s ok, Aiden.” She tried to maintain her faint smile. Aiden didn’t seem too convinced, but he let it go as they began walking, and Kimberly thanked for that. In that moment, she looked over her shoulder, and winked offered Bob a very grateful smile. Since he knew her for two years now, he was aware of how nervous she was with that situation.

Five minutes later, Sue, the red haired, approached their table wearing nothing but laced white lingerie, showing off her hourglass figure. Her blue eyes roved all over the table, eyeing every single one of them, including Kimberly. But since she’d been warned, she ignored her, which Kimberly also was thankful for. “Good evening, gentlemen... and ladies.”

Jake suddenly poked Aiden in the arm, and all heard him, “You have got to be fucking kidding me, Aiden.” Both only laughed more at Jake’s hostility. They knew it would affect him the fact they’d asked for a red haired stripper. It was because of Kimberly.

Ignoring the argument, Sue focused on Tom. However, the guy uttered shyly, “I... I’m not the birthday boy... He is.” And then he lifted his arm, and pointed directly at Jake.

Her blue eyes immediately looked over at Jake, who stopped doing everything. The girl’s full lips curved in a satisfied smile, aware that the person she’d have to dance was very attractive. However, Jake cruelly dismissed her by avoiding her eyes. Unfortunately, Sue had to do her job, and so she came closer and began her lap dance.

Kimberly tried to look disinterested, but it was hard, so after a while, she got up. “I’m going to get something to drink.”

Surprisingly, Joanne rose to her feet too, and said, “I’ll go with you.”

Suspicious, Kimberly stared at Joanne through narrowed eyes, but as the girl walked past her, she took a deep breath, and followed her to do bar counter. Both asked for a drink, and while waiting, Joanne unleashed her frustration. “I’m so sick of this. I can’t believe those two planned this! I thought... I thought Jake didn’t like these things! This is definitely one of the worse nights of my life.”

Kimberly nodded in agreement. “I guess it’s hard watching the guy you like drooling all over a girl who’s dancing all over him.”

“You’re saying that just to provoke me?” Joanne snapped, and Kimberly restrained from retorting. Frankly, she really wasn’t provoking her. In fact, she got how Joanne felt.

“Relax, I’m not.” She uttered, looking over at Jake. Although Kimberly had nothing against Sue, it was irritating the way Sue was rubbing her body on Jake’s. Her stomach twisted in Sue drew closer to Jake’s face, her lips almost stroking his.

“I so hate strippers.” Joanne muttered under her breath.

That was yet another reason to hate the girl, but this time... Kimberly had to agree. She could be a stripper herself, but she didn’t hit on guys like Sue was hitting on Jake. “I agree,” She said,” They can be pretty nasty when they want.”

“I think she’s interested in Jake,” Joanne commented. In that moment, the barmaid finally gave them their drinks. Both women took a sip and stared at Jake and the stripper. He just couldn’t take his dark green eyes off her hourglass-shaped body. “But that doesn’t surprise me. Every girl is interested in him. You’d have to be blind to dismiss Jake just like that. What screws us all is that Jake shows he’s interested in them all the time.”

“I wouldn’t like to date someone like Jake,” Kimberly found herself saying, unable to look anywhere else. “Well, shall we get back?” Holding their drinks, the girl returned to the group.

All eyes were on Sue, completely paying no heed to Kimberly and Joanne’s arrival. Even Eric appeared to be in some kind of trance. Kimberly went to sit beside him, and elbowed him in the ribs. “I thought you weren’t like your brother.”

“I’m not, but... I can’t help it,” Struggling to look away, Eric managed it, and gazed at Kimberly. “Just like I couldn’t help it when I saw you in that stage, moving your body... You’re gorgeous, Kim.”

She felt her face hot, but was able to mumble a thank you.

“Kim!” Someone suddenly yelled, and Kimberly immediately looked over her shoulder to see who was about to ruin her night. Sandy was sauntering towards them, arms stretched towards the red haired woman. Kimberly glanced at Jake, and saw he was peering at Sandy. Her mouth went dry.

“Sandy, I-”

“I thought Bob had-”

“Yes!” Kimberly bolted up and moved to hug her friend Sandy.

“Didn’t you have you night-”

“How are you, Sandy?” She cut her off.

“Fine, but...” The blonde woman finally stopped talking when she looked into Kimberly’s cloudy eyes, and read the warning. “Oh!”

“Yeah, now-”

“Who’s this friend of yours, Kimberly?” When she heard that cultured voice, Kimberly’s body stiffened.

“A friend,” Kimberly replied, turning around very slowly, and watching the curiosity imprinted on Jake’s face. “Sandy, this is Jake. Jake, this is Sandy.”

At first, Sandy didn’t react, but when she realises who that man was, her eyes widened in surprise. “Oh, so this is- I’m sorry, I’m Sandy, and it’s a pleasure to meet you.” And without waiting for Jake’s response, she asked the red haired, “Kim, can I talk to you for a second?”

“Sure, let’s-”

“How do you know Kimberly?” Jake’s voice was once again heard, and Kimberly felt all eyes on her.

“I, uh... we’re old friends.”

“Since when?”

“Mind your own business, ok, Jake?” She retorted sharply. Then, she gripped Sandy’s arm and pushed her away from the group. When she was they weren’t being watched or heard, she let loose her annoyance. “Shit, Sandy! You almost screwed me back there!”

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to! I heard Laura saying something about you being here, but since I had to get ready for a lap dance, I didn’t listen to whole thing, but now I get it! They don’t know, do they?”

“Of course not!” Kimberly snapped, still angry. “But for a while I thought they were going to find out!”

“I’m sorry!” Sandy apologized again. Kimberly took a deep breath and let it out slowly. She had no right to be angry at Sandy. This was her problem. She opened her mouth to speak, but the blonde woman got ahead of her. “So... that’s Jake? The guy you live with?”

“Yeah,”

“He’s really handsome,” She observed.

“I know,” Kimberly was well aware of Jake’s alluring beauty.

“I’d definitely dance for him.”

“Don’t be a bitch,” Kimberly snapped, but regretted straight away when a wicked smile formed on Sandy’s red lips.

“You like him?”

“Of course not!”

“Then why can’t I dance for him?”

“Because...” For seconds, Kimberly didn’t know what to say, but then a motive came to her mind. “Because that other girl that was with us is his girlfriend.”

“No way,” Sandy prompted.

Kimberly’s eyebrow rose. “Why not?”

“You know guys don’t bring their girlfriends here.” Sandy said with a matter-of-fact tone. “And you know that, Kim.”

“Yeah, yeah,” She dismissed Sandy’s logic, and rushed to say, “Listen, I have to get back. Don’t screw me again, ok? We’ll talk tomorrow.”

“No problem! Have an interesting night, honey!” Sandy’s wicked smile widened, and she blinked her eye at Kimberly. The red haired shook her head, and headed back to where they were when Sandy turned to keep working. All she was hoping was that Jake had forgotten about that little event. He’d already drunk a little, so perhaps he wouldn’t really recall the night the next morning.

When she approached the group, she saw Jake gazing at her with his dark green eyes. She tried to pay no attention to him. She tried to ignore the fact that he was focused on her, and not on the stripper. Even Joanne noticed that, because around three-thirty, they heard her exasperated voice. “I’m fucking tired of this, so can we go?”

All glared at her, but for everyone’s surprise, Jake said, “Sure, I’m getting... tired, too.”

“Oh, come on, Jake! You’re fucking kidding, right?” Ben complained straight away. “Tonight’s your night, and you’re going home this early?”

“Yeah, sorry, but you guys can stay here, if you want.”

Tom, who’d surely drunk too much than he could handle, blurted out, “Yeah, I want to stay here! I want to watch her!” He pointed at Sue, who offered him a luring smile.

“I want to stay here, too, but without you...”

“I don’t mind, Ben. Enjoy the rest of the night for me, ok?” Ben nodded, visibly annoyed, but Jake ignored that minor detail, and turned over to gaze at Kimberly. At first, he said nothing, and waited. Kimberly wouldn’t be the one to say it first, and Jake knew it, because he asked the question, “Are you coming?”

“Yeah, I am.”

Jake’s eyes jumped towards Eric. His brother’s reply was rather hostile. “No, thanks, I’m ok right where I am.”

“Aiden,” Jake called his best friend, “Take care of them, ok? Watch out for Tom, especially. He’s too drunk, already.”

“Don’t worry, man.” Aiden assured him.

“Well, thanks for everything, guys. This was fun... and interesting.” He offered Sue a grin, and that was it.

At last, the three of them walked out of the strip club.

The ride back home was quiet.

When they’d dropped off Joanne, at least she’d bothered to mumble a goodbye to Kimberly, after she’d attempted to kiss Jake. Cruelly, he’d moved back, and the girl was only able to kiss him on the cheek. That surprised Kimberly, and she wondered why he’d done such thing. On the way to their house, both traded no words.

It was now. She had to get him now, or everything would be over, because she just couldn’t take this any longer.

As they approached the door, they didn’t stop gazing at each other, but when Jake shifted to open the door, they lost their eye contact. They walked inside. The house was quieter than the usual, which meant it was completely empty until then.

Kimberly was the last to come in, so she closed the door. However, when she turned around, Jake suddenly drew closer, and his lips finally met hers.

Kimberly lost her balance and hit the door, but that didn’t stop Jake’s craving kisses.

“I... was so... yearning for this...” He mumbled between the hungry kiss.

“Jake, calm down...”

As fast as he’d started, he’d stopped. Gasping for air, he said, “Let’s not stop now. We have the entire house for ourselves! We have the whole night!” He smiled and looked at her with his green eyes. And before she knew it, he’d taken her in his arms and was walking towards his room in the basement.

That had been too easy. He was letting her have what she wanted too easy. Well, it didn’t matter. All Kimberly had to do was to drive him crazy, and then... just stop, and wait for him to beg to more.

When they walked inside Jake’s room, he let her go, and rushed to take his shirt off, showing off his abs. Kimberly drew closer and kissed and caressed his chest, while trying to get rid of her high heel boots. Jake, on the other hand, wasn’t worried about taking his clothes off. All he wanted to undress the red haired.

“Calm down, baby,” She muttered, turned on, but always with her goal on her mind.

“Oh, no, I waited for this the entire night.”

"Calm down,” Kimberly prompted. Jake stared at her, taken aback by her bossy tone. Kimberly’s lips curved in a mischievous smile. “I want to undress you first.” And so she knelt in front of him, her tongue and lips slithering down his chest and abs. Jake never took his off her. First, she unbuckled his belt.

“I have to admit,” Jake started, his breath uneven as Kimberly’s hands deliberately touched his manhood while taking off his jeans. “One week ago, when you came up with this idea...” She forced him to slip his feet off his shoes, and then his jeans finally came down all the way. Jake continued, “I just have to admit it,” He repeated, feeling Kimberly’s hands on his hips.

“What?”

“Remember what I said that Saturday, when I came back from Joanne’s house? Do you remember?”

“Yeah,” She uttered, looked up at him, and realizing he was completely into her. “I asked who was better, and you didn’t answer.”

“What I said next... I was talking about you, Kimmy. I just can’t... get enough of you.” Slowly but surely, Kimberly’s took off his boxers. “You can... blow me away when you want...”

“I’m the one who feeds your flame then, hmn?”

Jake grinned at her, and pulled her up. “Oh yeah, baby.” Then, he came closer to kiss her, but Kimberly stepped back. Confused, he questioned her, “What?”

“You know what I want, Jake,” She promptly said, determined to win the game. “And I’m not talking about sex. Why are you doing this?”

“Doing what?”

“You fucking know what I want from you tonight, and yet you still... you still want to give up and have sex with me? I... I seduced you, then? I win?” Anger flooded her body. She didn’t understand why Jake was acting this way. He’d been avoiding her throughout the whole week when it came to be this close to her and yet he just didn’t care tonight? Was he giving up? Was he admitting everything? “What the fuck do you want, Jake?”

“I want you. I want to have more than just sex with you.” He finally admitted. As much as she searched for it, Kimberly saw no hint of deceit in his green eyes. “So yes, I guess you won. In fact, I think you won before we even had out first time. Is this what you wanted to hear? I admit it, you got me. What now? You can’t have sex with me?”

“No, I don’t,” She stated, “I got what I wanted.”

“Don’t do this to me, Kimmy. I was waiting for you the entire night! I’ve thought about this, and I don’t give a shit if this means you win.” He grabbed her arm and pulled her closer, looking straight into her silver eyes. “Please.”

An idea crossed her mind. A nasty smile materialized on her lips. “Call Joanne, then. Say everything’s over between the two of you. Say you don’t want anything with her, anymore. Say you want me.”

Jake didn’t even hesitate. He picked up his jeans from the floor, and took his cell from one of the pockets. Then, he dialled Joanne’s number, waited for the girl to pick up the call. When she did, Jake was downright brutal. “I don’t want to have anything with you anymore, because I never liked you. I just wanted to screw you. And for the record, Kimberly’s the one I want.”

He hung up, turned off his cell, and his dark green eyes pierced right through her chest.

How could he be so cruel? He’d spoken in such a... ruthless way. “This is yet another prove I wanted you to see! You find yourself another woman, and you just finish everything with the one you are, without caring the least bit about her feelings! You just use us to your own twisted pleasure!”

“I did everything you wanted. I admitted everything, and I fucking broke up with Joanne. What the hell do you want now?”

“Now?” Kimberly sighed, and picked her boots. “Now, I’m going to sleep. I have what I wanted.”

“You can’t do this,”

“Jake, you’re everything I have in a guy.” Something flickered in his eyes, and surprisingly, he didn’t hide it. Was it pain?

“I can change!” He hurried to say.

“You can change for one night only,” Kimberly let the spite show. “You can’t change the way you are – this is you, a ruthless asshole. I can’t and I don’t want a guy like you. I fucking hate guys like you, Jake.”

“You don’t seem to,” His voice rippled with disdain, now. “You went to bed with me three freaking times.”

“You’re going to throw that to my face, now?” Kimberly knew she had to finish everything with Jake tonight, if she wanted to get him out of her system. Taking a deep breath, and ignoring the fact that he did tempt her, Kimberly looked him straight in the eyes. “Listen, Jake, I admit I can’t stop the way you make me feel. I can’t stop the way I’m feeling even if I wanted to! I’m crazy about the way you say my name, and I completely forget everything when you touched me, but...” She felt the confidence leave her, and so she hurried before she wouldn’t be able to say anything else. “I don’t want anything to do with you. You’d end up breaking my heart, just like I’m sure you’ve broken Joanne’s tonight.”

“Kimmy..”

“Don’t, Jake,” Kimberly said when he moved to touch her. Still, the last words came out of her mouth, and... it hurt. “Anyway, I don’t know why the hell I said those things, because it’s not like you’d even date me, seeing that you don’t date girls, you just screw them. I’m tired of these games, Jake. I’m going to bed, and I really hope you won’t annoy me about this anymore, because... I’ve made up my mind. I’m done.”

Exhausted, Kimberly looked one last time at the man who turned her head upside down and inside out, walked out of his room and headed to hers.

She’d admitted everything. Everything. Even what she thought she’d never have the boldness to tell him, but she didn’t care, because after tonight, no matter what would happen, they were over. For sure.

***

It was past noon when Kimberly got up, recalling the heated conversation she’d had with Jake last night.

He’d been angry and caught off guard, and she’d admitted everything she’d tried to hide away from him. She could still hear her determine voice revealing the way she felt about him. Instead of divulging all of those things, she could’ve confessed downright that she liked him.

Sighing, the red haired woman walked out of her room and went to the kitchen, only to find a half-naked Aiden sitting at the table. Kimberly’s eyebrow quirked up in confusion. “Am I still dreaming?”

Aiden yawned. “No, you’re not.”

“What are you doing here? Or... you didn’t go home yet?”

“I brought Tom and Eric last night, and I was so tired to drive back home that I asked Jake if I could crash here.” Aiden disclosed, taking a cup of coffee to his mouth.

“You arrived at...?”

“Around seven.”

"Seven?” Kimberly repeated, surprised. “What were you up to the entire night?”

“We stayed at the strip club the whole time,” Aiden’s blue eyes followed Kimberly, and watched her pouring some cereal into a clean bowl. “Jake went to get some lunch for us, so you don’t need to eat that.”

“Jake was up when you arrived?” Kimberly wondered, ignoring the disgusted look Aiden was throwing at the bowl with cereal.

“Yeah,”

“What was he doing?”

“I have no freaking idea,” Aiden replied. Kimberly sauntered up to the table, and sat at the other end. Aiden leaned back on the chair, and stared at her in a puzzling way. “You know... a guy can reveal one of his best well-kept secrets when he’s drunk.”

“Excuse me?” Kimberly uttered.

“Eric’s one of those guys,” Aiden continued, his ocean blue eyes fixed on her. What the hell did he mean with that? “He was totally wasted last night. He began tossing down drink after drink when you guys left us. At the end of the night, he was drunker than Tom.”

“So?”

“I would’ve never guessed for myself that you worked in that strip club as a stripper.”

Kimberly’s heart skipped several beats. Had Eric... told Aiden about her? Did he know? She was only able to mouth a word, “Eric...?”

“Yeah, Eric told me.” Taken aback, Kimberly avoided Aiden’s eyes. She couldn’t even think of something to tell him. At her silence, he continued, “He also told me about other stuff like, for example, the fact that you’ve slept with Jake. I’d have never guessed that as well. I knew Jake was interested in you, but I didn’t know he’d gotten what he wanted, and still wants. That explains why Eric has been acting rather hostile towards him, or so Jake told me. Jake’s brother likes you, Kim, you know that?”

She buried her face in her hands, but still replied, “Jake talked about it last night, but I didn’t... I didn’t want to believe it. I... I don’t know what to say.”

Still, that wasn’t the worse. What was bothering her a lot was the fact that Aiden knew that she was a stripper, now. And it was all thanks to Eric, who couldn’t handle the fact that she liked Jake, and had decided to get wasted! Damn!

“I guessing no one knows you’re a stripper, except for, maybe, your sister?”

“Sid doesn’t know either...” She revealed, taking a deep breath before lifting her face to look at Aiden. “My best friend and Eric are the only ones who know about it. Eric... he found out before I knew he was Jake’s brother. Aiden, please, I beg you, don’t tell anyone!”

A faint smile formed on Aiden’s thin lips. “I won’t, so don’t fret about that, Kim. But now all makes sense! It explains why some of the strippers stared at you. That was why the guy we asked for a stripper said we already had one. I didn’t forget that, just like I didn’t forget about your friend’s appearance, Sandy. She lied, didn’t she? You two are not old friends.” Kimberly didn’t comment. Instead, she kept hoping Aiden would never tell Jake about this. She hoped this wouldn’t mean everything she’d recently known would find out about her dirty secret! Damn, why did Eric get drunk? Stupid!

“Aiden-”

“I didn’t know Jake was sleeping with you, you know? That asshole didn’t say a word about it, and he usually tells me when he’s screwing someone.”

Kimberly didn’t care that Jake hadn’t told Aiden that they’d slept together. Instead, she could think about Eric and that he’d revealed her secret. “I can’t believe Eric told you this!” She snapped, refusing the believe that. “Where is he?”

“Sleeping, just like Tom. Don’t say anything to him, Kim. You and I know he’ll feel like crap if you confront him about this. He didn’t do it on purpose.” Aiden’s soothing tone tamed Kimberly’s sudden irate temper. She took a deep breath and let it out slowly, leaning back on the chair. “Do you... like Jake? Or are you just like those girls who just want him for his money and looks?”

Kimberly’s silver eyes widened in shock at Aiden’s understatement. Was he implying she was just another one of those sluts Jake had screwed? Insulted, she exploded, “First of all, I didn’t know he was rich until a few days ago; secondly, he’s beautiful, but I’m not that type of girl; and last but not last, I don’t like him.”

Aiden didn’t flinch. “Eric said he was sure you liked Jake, but that he’d end up hurting you.”

“Eric’s been warning me about Jake for a while, claiming he knew he’d hurt me, but I...” Out of the blue, a door being opened was heard. Kimberly’s mouth shut, and she stared at Aiden.

“It must be Jake,” Unfortunately, the blue eyed man sat across her was right.

Jake walked in the kitchen carrying what Kimberly knew to be their lunch. But what drew her attention were the dark bags under his dark green eyes. Jake hadn’t slept all night, and he looked utterly exhausted. When he sighted her, he swallowed dryly, and muttered, “’Morning,”

She forgot her good manners, and words blurted out of her mouth before she controlled herself. “You didn’t sleep?”

“No,”

With pursed lips, and feeling pressured, Kimberly got up immediately, and set off to her room, though Jake’s voice stopped her right before she went through the door. “You’re not going to eat? I bought some Chinese.”

“No,” She mumbled, and then she turned, only to crash to bump into someone – Eric. “Oh my God, I’m sorry! I... Ah, good morning.” Kimberly didn’t have the guts to face both brothers, so she cowardly fled to her room, listening to Tom’s moans in the living room, complaining about a headache.

The moment she stepped inside her bedroom, she immediately spun over her heels to shut the door, but a hand stopped her.

“Please, don’t be Jake,” Jake prayed out loud.

“Well, I’m sorry to disappoint you, then.” Jake easily forced the door to swing inward, and managed to walk inside, only to then slam shut the door. She was trapped now. “Good morning.”

“Have you forgotten about last night?” Kimberly immediately snapped, “I thought I’d been clear! I don’t want anything with you, and I surely don’t want to talk about it anymore, so-”

“Of course I remember what you said last night, Kimmy,” Jake cut her off, his voice surprisingly calm, unlike Kimberly’s. All she could think about was what the hell he wanted with her now. Ignoring her glares, Jake continued, “How could I forget what you said? I didn’t know you loved the way I said your name, the way I made you feel and that you just can’t stop that... I couldn’t even fall asleep! I don’t know why, but I spent the whole night thinking about you and what you said!”

“Yeah, well, you lost a good night of sleep, then.” She sneered, just wanting him to be out of her room. If Jake believed she’d give in if he played the good guy part, then he was very wrong. “What do you want, Jake?”

“I can’t keep living my life like this! Soon, if my mother still wants me, I’ll be running a huge company!”

“So what?” She scowled, not understand why Jake had said that.

“I’m a pitiless asshole, I really am, but...” He paused, drawing closer. Kimberly swallowed dryly, and her stomach twisted as Jake reached out for her, gazing at her in such a selfless way. “I want to prove you I can change.”

“If you’re saying that just so you can take me to bed with you again, well, it’s not worth it. I’m done with you, Jake.” And because she couldn’t stand the pressure of Jake’s caring, yet piercing gaze, Kimberly spun around. If he could just let her be, and leave her room... Why was he going through this? “It’s not worth to prove me anything, because I don’t care. Soon, I’ll be out of this house, and I’ll never see you again, so I really don’t give a fuck about what you’re trying to say.”

“I’m sorry, but... look at me, Kimmy,” Jake asked, but Kimberly didn’t. “Fuck, look at me, Kimberly!” He yelled now, gripping her shoulders and obliging her to turn around. “I’m fucking saying I want to prove something to you, but you treat me like this?”

“I just don’t get why you’re saying all of this! Why do you suddenly want to prove something to me?” Couldn’t he see she was sick of him? Wasn’t he aware of the effort she was doing to just don’t... give in?

“Because, damn you, you have this wrong idea about me, and I want to change it! I want you to see I can be a good boyf- man!” He kept yelling, but that didn’t have an impact on her. In fact, it infuriated her. He thought that was enough?

“But why?” Kimberly yelled as well, turning around to meet his dark green eyes. “I don’t fucking get why you’re putting yourself through this! I’m so sick of it all, Jake! You say you like me, then you act like there’s nothing between us, and now you want to prove something to me?” She let out everything she’d been holding inside her since that night at the hotel. “I didn’t forget what you said, Jake! And I surely didn’t forget the way you acted the morning after! You wouldn’t even admit you’d said it!”

Jake stiffed, and his gaze looked unbendable, now. “I don’t want to talk about it.”

“See?” She pointed at him, feeling the rage flooding her body. Did he regret it that much that he wasn’t capable of acknowledging he’d said that? “You’re not even capable of admitting what you said!”

“So this is about that night, now? I’ve said it, but forget it, Kimberly!”

“Why?”

“Because I was fucking drunk, I didn’t-”

“You didn’t mean it, I know.” Kimberly said with a forced calm... and maybe... somewhat sadly. Breathing deeply, and shaking off that heartbreaking feeling that was consuming her inside, she stated, “I have no idea why you want to do this, and I surely don’t know why I said all of those things last night, or why I even try to make you admit you liked me, but... I don’t give a damn about what you’re trying to do, Jake.”

“God, you’re so fucking different, Kimberly...” Jake uttered, looking at her through narrowed and pensive eyes. “You say you have no idea why I’m doing this, but guess what, I don’t know why either. I don’t know if it’s because of you, but... you fucking turned my ideas upside down.”

“Of course I’m different,” She blurted out, trying to seem strong, when she honestly felt touched by Jake’s words. She was so pathetic. “I didn’t go to bed with you because of your money or looks. I didn’t spend that day at the hotel to suck up on you. Jake, I... I don’t where you want to go with this idea of yours, but I’m sick of these arguments.”

“Well, I feel the same,” He agreed, “I’m sick of these stupid fights. Give me a week, Kimmy.”

“What?”

“Give me a week to prove I can be a different. Give me a week to show I can change.”

“So that after you’ll get back at your old self?” She asked wryly, avoiding his intense stare.

“No, Kimmy, if I like it, I’ll stick to it. Besides, I’m getting old! I can’t keep living like this! I’m twenty-four already!” Now he made her giggle. “You think it’s funny? It isn’t!”

Kimberly just regarded him intently now, a faint smile forming on pursed lips. She had no idea why Jake was going through so much trouble to prove he could be... different. If at least he wanted to prove her that he wanted more than sex and that he actually felt something for her... Well, she could give him a chance, couldn’t she? Maybe that would help her figure out her own feelings for Jake.

“Ok, I’ll-”

“I never got the chance to ask you,” Jake suddenly cut her off, drawing near. His body touched hers, and something prickled her skin. “You completely dozed off that night, but I think I have the right to ask this. Do you like me?”

Caught off guard, Kimberly stumbled on her own words. “That doesn’t... It doesn’t matter now... does it? I mean, you didn’t... Jake, it just doesn’t matter, now.” She tried to run away from his green eyes that had swiftly darkened. He grabbed her face ever so gently, so she wouldn’t avoid him.

Kimberly expected him to speak with that rough way of his, but his voice was soothing. “It matters to me.”

“Eric asked me the same question yesterday, while we were dancing...” She spoke slowly, recalling that uncomfortable and pondering moment. “You appeared, and so I didn’t answer. You can’t imagine how thankful I was for that. Now, I just wished someone would interrupt-”

Out of the blue, Kimberly’s door bolted open and Eric dashed inside. He glared at the proximity between the two of them, but someone rather worse made he quickly forget that, or so his troubled look told Kimberly.

“You’re not going to believe this, Jake! Mom is here!” Jake’s eyes widened in sheer surprise and shock. That shouldn’t be bad news for Eric, so why the grim look on his face? His eyes then darted towards Kimberly, and he added apprehensively, “And so is Peterson.”

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