Love Stripped

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Chapter 9

When they reached the restaurant, the first thing they noticed was that it was crowded, and yet there were still some people waiting in the lobby for an empty table. But since Kimberly had reservations, they didn’t need to worry about it.

“Excuse me,” She spoke first when she stood in front of an older man, around his fifties, with a grey moustache. The man looked at her and smiled.

“Can I help you, Miss?”

She nodded and smiled back, “I made reservations for 8 PM, in the name of Jake Dekker.”

“Just a moment, please.” She then saw him opening a slightly thick book, probably where all the reservations done were written. She saw pointed at a name, Jake’s name, she managed to see, and then he looked up at her, “Oh, yes, Jake Dekker. Can you please sign here?”

The older man looked at both young men behind her, and waited for one to say something. Kimberly looked behind her, but Jake had already motioned towards the man, and was saying politely. “No problem.”

He grabbed the pen and signed. Then, the man closed the book, and started saying, “Thank you. Now let me show you your table. Follow me, please.”

Nodding, they all started following the man, until they reached a nicely set table for four, near a window were they had a nice view over the city. “Please take your seats, and I’ll send a waitress with the menus in a second. Excuse me.” He made a slight bow with his head, and retired.

And then, they started sitting down. Kimberly sat across her sister Sidney, and Jake, unfortunately, sat at her side, across Tom.

“You even put the reservation in my name.” Jake leaned on her to say that.

“Well, of course. After all, you’re the one who’s paying.” She replied, not bothering to turn her head at him. “So, you two like the restaurant?” She asked Tom and Sidney.

“It’s really great.” Tom commented, “If I had a girlfriend, I’d definitely bring her here.” That was a nice comment... and one Tom wouldn’t have definitely said if he actually knew how expensive it was.

As for Sidney, the only thing she said was, “It’s nice.” Sidney had never come to this restaurant nor had Kimberly told her that this was the restaurant where Damien’s had had to come to pay for the dinner she’d had at the time that... pervert.

“What about me?” Jake asked at her side, “I’m the one who’s paying and you don’t even ask me what I think of it?”

She grinned provocatively at him, and said with a very false niceness in her tone that she knew Jake would identify too easily, “I’ll ask you at the end of the dinner.”

Before Jake could say something or by the time Kimberly could have watched the confused expression on his attractive face, a waitress came to their table. “Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. I’ll be serving you this evening. Here are your menus.” She gave each of them one, and stayed there until they’d cleared out their doubts of what they wanted to eat and ordered all.

“And what do you wish to drink?” Kimberly looked up at her, and noticed where was looking at. Jake, obviously. And it was worthless to say he was flirting with her equally, just by gazing at her with a faint smile on his lips.

“I’ll want a fine wine. I mean, we want a fine wine. The best you have, sweetie.” He replied, with that sensual huskiness on his voice.

Blushing, the girl turned around and walked away, without further questions. That was actually impolite. Sidney wouldn’t drink any fine wine! As soon as Kimberly had the certainty she wasn’t close enough to hear them, she rushed to say, “God, Jake, you’re the worse guy I’ve ever met! Can’t you go to a place without hitting on some girl?”

“You should get used to it, Kim,” Tom warned her, laughing, though. “He’s always like that.”

“Oh, really?” It’s not like she didn’t know, but it annoyed her!

“Really, and the worst part is that he brings them to the house whenever he feels like.” Tom revealed. Kimberly’s eyes widened in fake surprise. No one was able to notice the sarcastic expression, unless Jake.

“Don’t be so shocked, Kimberly. I’m like those guys who want and will enjoy life while they can.”

Which meant, I’m going to screw girls while I’m still freaking hot. She controlled that flash of temper, and said, “I prefer being at home, lain down on my bed, watching a movie.” Just like she used to do with her sister. “Remember those times, Sid? We used to do that a lot during those cold days.”

“Yeah...” For the first time ever, Sidney smiled at her. “It was so cool!” Then, her eyes jumped from her to Jake, “We should that sometime. Rent a movie and watch it in the living room all together. Don’t you think it would be fun, Tom?”

Tom nodded, “Definitely.”

“But when?” Jake leaned forward, “We have classes during the day and Kimberly can’t watch it with was at night since she has to work.”

“You know, I have night offs.”

“Then on your next night off, we could do that. We can lay on the couch, but it can turn into a bed.” Kimberly never thought Jake would actually be interested in that.

“Don’t you think the couch is a little small for the four of us?” Tom asked, just when she noticed the waitress was coming headed for them. “I mean, we’re not that skinny.”

“Well,” She smiled maliciously, “Jake can just make a bed for him on the floor.”

Narrowing his eyes, Jake said, “Well, and you can just lie at my side as well, given that I’m not sure you three fit on the couch. After all, Kimberly, I’m afraid to say, you’re a little overweighed.”

Her jaw fell a little before she caught it. “I am not!”

“I’m sorry, Kim, but I’ll have to agree with Jake.” Her sister was equally smiling, which meant she was just joking. And Kimberly played her part, pretending she was feeling outraged.

“I am in perfect shape!” And yes, she was. She was sure of it. Tom and Jake started laughing. Kimberly just leaned back on her chair and folded her arms over her chest. Now things were getting better at last.

The waitress came and started pouring some wine on their glasses, after placing down the entries. Before she could reach Sidney’s, Kimberly asked for some coca-cola, given it was Sidney’s favourite drink, and no way she’d let her sister drink wine. So the waitress turned around, saying she’d bring the cola in a second.

When Tom and Sidney started talking between themselves about school – or so she’d understood – she suddenly felt a hand on her leg. She didn’t need to at Jake to know it was him. She just shook her hand, and felt his fingers smoothly sliding up. Kimberly turned her face too look at him, but his eyes were fixed on Tom and Sidney, like if he was paying attention to them when she knew his thoughts were about her.

She pushed his hand away from her leg, saying nothing. As she expected, Jake laid his hand again on the same place, so she decided to play the same game. She tried to move closer to him, without drawing Tom and Sidney’s attention to them. She flawlessly managed to do it.

A special grin immediately lit up Jake’s face, and finally, he faced her. Smiling back, she blinked her stormy gray eye.

“Tell me, Kimberly,” Jake leaned a tad bit on her, and whispered so the two persons in front of them wouldn’t listen to what he was about to say, “Are you always like this? So provocative and breath-taking?”

“Always, baby.” She closed and opened her eyes leisurely, and took a deep breath and let it out slowly, in a way that turned on Jake. “I have to be.” She revealed.

“Why?”

“Because I have to.” Kimberly replied. No way would she tell him why. To make his thoughts about that vanish, Kimberly moved her hand deeper.

Jake inhaled slowly, but didn’t say anything, like Kimberly was whishing he’d say. Suddenly, the waitress appeared behind Jake and Kimberly, and saw where one of each other’s hands rested. Looking uncomfortable, and somewhat blushed given that Jake had started gazing at her again, the girl said, “Ah, here is the coca-cola and... hum, your dinner.”

“Thank you,” Kimberly said with a smile, though the girl didn’t even bother to look at her. Her eyes were on Jake, who held this sexy smile. He was provoking the girl. And annoying Kimberly. Being her turn to lean on him now, Kimberly murmured, “You’re trying to get this one to bang as well?”

“Kimberly, she’s hot.” He said, not really caring if the girl had heard him. He’d be probably happy if she’d actually heard his comment. Anyway, he wasn’t lying. The girl was indeed pretty. Her bleached blond hair was pulled back in a ponytail, and the little makeup she had on her face, made her greenish eyes pop out and her pinkish lips glow.

“And who says she’s good in bed?” She asked, still whispering, at the same time the waitress reached her side of the table to place down Kimberly and Jake’s order. “I’m sure you just like to screw girls who can actually screw you as well. I mean, it isn’t worth to have a one night stand with someone who can’t actually fuck.”

And that granted her Jake’s attention. He was gazing at her with his dark green eyes, and a faint smile on his lips, where once a grin had been. “Don’t be mean, baby.”

“I’m not. I’m just warning you that, just because she’s something – something, not beautiful – she might be one hell of a bad performer in bed, baby.”

And it was then, all of a sudden, that the waitress hit Kimberly’s glass of wine, accidently, and it tumbled, making the wine spread until the edge of the table and poured on Kimberly’s lap.

“Oh my god!” Kimberly said with a high-pitched tone, making everybody around them stare. “Look at what you did!”

“Kim-”

“Don’t you have eyes? Damn!” Kimberly ignored her sister, and got up, her jeans all stained with wine. Jake suddenly raised his arm – the one that had been resting on Kimberly’s leg - and all of them became aware his sleeve was equally stained. Tom and Sidney looked at them with suspicious eyes, but neither Jake nor Kimberly said something in their defence.

“Oh, I am so sorry!” Oh, what a bitch! She didn’t even bother to pretend she was actually sorry!

“This is just great!” Kimberly said, practically yelling at the young woman. “The last time I came here, the waiters weren’t this clumsy!”

“And the costumers weren’t this stupid and envious!” The waitress dared to yell. Oh, so she’d heard her whispering conversation with Jake!

“What did you just say?”

Jake, Tom and Sidney got up, and it was Tom the first who spoke, “Calm down, Kim.”

“No, I won’t calm down! Take back what you said you pitiful girl!” How did she dare to say she was jealous? Kimberly didn’t care if Jake would actually bang her while she’d be working. Hell, she’d pity the girl!

“Ladies, please calm down.” Jake said, positioned himself between Kimberly and the waitress.

“What is going on here?” It was that old man’s voice, the one who’d led them to their table. As soon as he actually understood what had happened, he looked at the waitress, “Carla! What did you do?”

“There is no need for discussions,” Jake started saying, acting like an actual grownup, instead of a cocky eighteen year old guy. “If you say you’re sorry for what you said. After all, you were the one who started it.” And surprisingly, he was talking to Kimberly.

“You’re joking, aren’t you?” She was laughing, but was furious as hell.

Jake shook his head. Carla smiled nastily, “I’m waiting.” She then looked over at Jake and blushed again, “I’m sorry I made your arm get wet.” She spoke with a sugary voice.

“It’s ok.” He shrugged, not really paying attention to her, but focusing on the red haired. “She’s waiting, Kimberly.”

“Fuck this.” She swiftly said, without caring about the people who were listening to her. She looked at her sister and Tom, “You can continue the dinner, but I’m out of here. Call me when you want me to pick you up.” And without anything else to say, Kimberly just spun over her heels, and left the restaurant.

That little bitch... The nerve she’d had! And how could just... stay on her side! What a fucking asshole he’d been! Just when she thought everything was going fine, Jake just had to flirt with that bitch. And he’d said it had been her fault!

When she unlocked her car, she got in, but before she started the engine, someone else got in her car. Kimberly looked at her left and saw Jake. “What the hell are you doing here?”

“My sleeve’s stained as well, or have you forgotten I had my hand on your leg when the girl decided to spill the wine all over you?”

“It’s just a small stain.” She snarled, not really in the mood to be alone with Jake.

“I don’t care.” He said sharply, like if he was mad as well. “Just drive.” Knowing it was worthless to convince him to go back to the restaurant, because she knew he wouldn’t, Kimberly said nothing else and just drove away.

They didn’t talk to each other on their way back home. And even if Jake would say something, Kimberly would just snarl at him. But when they got home, Kimberly actually was the first to say something, as she stepped inside their house, “Wait a minute! Did you left Tom alone just so that he’d be the one to pay for the dinner?”

“Of course not, Kimmy.” Jake replied, stepping inside the kitchen while taking his stained shirt off. “I gave him my credit card.”

“Oh... ok.” She sighed. She didn’t want Tom to be the one to pay the excruciating amount of money, even if they were just two now. “Well, I’m going to take a bath, or I’ll smell like wine when I go to work.” And no one would like that. Not to mention she couldn’t afford to lose any money she could earn just because she smelled like wine.

Jake didn’t complain or provoked her in any way when she said she’d take a bath, and that was what he should have done when that bitch spilled the wine over her – he should have just shut his mouth. When she walked in the bathroom, she could help but to close her eyes for a second and breathed gradually. Hell, she was fucking furious at Jake! How could he just embarrass her like that in the middle of the restaurant?

Thinking about it, Kimberly took off her clothes and got in the bathtub. At least the hot water running down her body calmed her down. Relaxed her. And hell, she needed to relax and calm down.

Twenty minutes later, Kimberly finished taking a bath, dried her body with a towel, and walked out of the bathroom wearing her robe. She crossed the corridor and reached her bathroom. She just wanted to put on some clean clothes. But before she actually did that, Jake appeared on bedroom wearing just some shorts.

“Don’t talk to me. Just leave, Jake.” She said, wanted to be left alone.

“Are you mad at me? It really was your fault.” The fury immediately brushed her skin, but Kimberly didn’t unleash it. “You started talking about the girl when was right there! If you hadn’t said what you said, she wouldn’t have spilled the wine on purpose! Maybe she would, later on, since she seemed so interested me, but could clearly see I was more interested in you.”

She bit back an angry reply. “Yeah, right. Can you please leave? I want to get dressed.”

“I could help you. But in this case I’d only help you take off that robe.” He spoke with hunger on his voice. He approached her from behind, and placed his hands on her shoulders, “Come on, Kimmy. Don’t be mad at me. I was just doing what I thought was right.”

She suddenly turned around, making him step back once. “And you thought it was right to defend some girl you didn’t know? You didn’t even screw her and she wasn’t even pretty!”

Jake’s eyes narrowed, seeming thoughtful. After some moments in silence, he asked, “Were you jealous about me saying those things?”

“Of course not,” She hurried to say, “As far as I know, your hand was on my leg, not hers.”

He smiled, and moved towards her again, few inches turning them apart now. “Oh, you were jealous, Kimmy.”

“Oh please-” And before she could say anything else, Jake was already kissing her, like he’d previously done. “Stop it...” Kimberly tried to say between that breath-taking kiss. She wanted him to stop, god, she wanted to kick in the balls, so why wouldn’t she do something? Why wouldn’t she move?

“Baby...” Jake mumbled, trying to breath, but not wanting to leave her lips. He placed his hands on her waist, and second by second, he approached the tie of her robe, touched it, and loosened it. Before it fell, Kimberly grabbed it.

“Bastard-”

“I know...”

Jake forced her to walk backwards, in the direction of her bed. When he managed to do it, he obliged her to fall down on her bed, and positioned himself over her straight away.

“Please, Jake, stop!” Kimberly pleaded. Her hands were on his shoulders, trying to push him away from her, but she didn’t have enough strength to do it. Honestly, she doubted she was actually trying to move him away. Jake didn’t listened to her fake pleas, and just grabbed her chin, left her lips and slid down to her neck.

“Stop it...” She murmured, but she body didn’t do anything to stop him. She’d locked his hair on her hands, her legs had surrounded Jake’s and her lips were burning to have his focused on them again.

“Jake...” It was suppose to sound like a plea, but it came out as a greedy moan.

Oh... now he’d gotten her wanting him for what he could give her if she gave in to temptation, which, frankly, was what she’d do. She’d give in to the insatiable temptation and would let him have her, because she wanted him as well.

Jake managed to take her robe off, after Kimberly told him to take off his shorts. He lain over her body again, both feeling the hotness in each other’s bodies. Oh, she wanted him now. “Jake... we n-need a con...” He didn’t let her speak, because he was just as hungry as her.

“Kimmy... forget the damn condom...” He said, breathless.

“No, we-” He interrupted her again, by licking and smoothly biting her lips. “Go get it, Jake... We-”

“We don’t need it, Kimmy. Not now.”

“How do I k-know you’re n-not filled with STDs?” Kimberly asked, feeling Jake moving lower, reaching her breasts, licking them, exciting her even more.

“I’m not. Trust me...”

“Why would... I?” She locked the sheets in her hands, at the same Jake moved down, spreading kisses across her belly, and reaching her inner thighs.

“Because I’m telling you the truth. I got tested... Don’t worry, baby.”

“You might be lying. Jake... Oh god...” She found herself arching as Jake dipped his head down on her inner thighs and please her that way once more.

He stopped for a moment, but stimulated her with his fingers, “And how do I know you’re not filled with STD’s? How can I believe you?” Oh, bastard, he was turning her question against herself.

Jake didn’t her answer, because she then felt two fingers inside her, and the only thing that came out of her mouth was nothing but an excited moan. She felt his fingers pumping inside her, and she knew Jake was probably watching her gasping for air.

But finally, she was able to speak, “Jake, stop it!”

It was worthless to say he didn’t. In fact, he made it all better for her. Still thrusting his fingers inside her, feeling her wet, Jake dipped his head once again and licked her.

And when she couldn’t take it any longer, she caught herself saying, “Fuck the condoms. Just fuck them.”

The moment Jake heard those words coming out of her mouth, he stopped doing everything. He lifted his head and caught her gaze, smiling. Bastard. Yet, she wanted him.

Moving up again, Jake set himself between her legs and looked into her eyes when she felt him inside her.

Oh, it felt damn good. The way stroked her, the hard way he moved up against her and pleasured her... The way she heard his heavy breath on her ear... How could she ignore the sexual tension that yelled all around her, when she too was just as excited as he was?

Lifting his head, Jake locked her hands and pinned them, forbidding her from moving. He eyes pierced through her and she could see the way he looked at her. She noticed his skin glowing thanks to the sweat and felt his hot breath right over her lips.

Jake was struggling to breath, but he didn’t want to stop. She was equally gasping for air, but no way would she want him to stop moving. He dropped his head again, but this time he restarted kissing her neck, provoking her even more. Finally, he let go of her hands, and all Kimberly felt like was just squeeze her body against his.

She was burning, sweating, but hell she wanted to melt with him. Her hands slid to his back and pressed him to come closer to her, if such was possible.

“Baby...” He whispered her in her. “I’m g-going... to-”

“I know...” She mumbled, understanding the meaning of Jake’s few words.

He shifted his head so that he’d face her now. And then, Jake’s strokes fastened, her hips rocked forward responding to the desire and Kimberly caught herself in that swirl of intense physical pleasure that ran all over her body. Jake experienced just the same.

And when it was all over, unfortunately, she felt that relaxing sensation settle on her body. As for Jake, trying to catch his breath, he was still able to kiss her, though it wasn’t a greedy kiss, but a soft, lingering one. Then, he just fell to her side with a grin on his beautiful face.

“Hell, this was good, Kimmy.” She looked at her side, and noticed his eyes were unusually bright. “You liked it?”

“You know I did.” She said, letting her eyes close and cuddled against Jake. She felt his arm rest over her, and she knew the unavoidable would happen. Kimberly knew she couldn’t fall asleep. She still had to pick up Sidney and Tom, not to mention she had to go to work. But it was inevitable. How could people fall asleep always after having sex?

She was just too tired to think about it. Just like Jake, Kimberly just fell asleep.

***

It was almost 11 PM when Kimberly heard that annoying sound of her cell phone. She moved at a snail’s pace, and when she slowly opened her eyes, she looked around to see where the hell that noise was coming from. Easily, she found out the phone was right at her side. It was Tom. “Hello?”

“Hey, Kim! Listen, I know it’s already 11 PM, but I was thinking about going to the movies with Sid now. Is that ok with you?” He asked for her permission.

Letting her head fall down on her pillow, she said, “No, it’s fine by me, as long as you don’t come home too late. Don’t forget she has school tomorrow.”

“Just like me.” In the background, she distinguished Sidney’s giggling. “Well, we’ll be back when the movie ends. Bye, Kim!” And then he hung up.

As for Kimberly, she looked at her side and saw Jake. Still sleeping, though. Since the light was on, she could clearly see him, unlike the other time, when his room had been dark. She didn’t mind of staying there, watching him, but as Tom had said, it was already 11 PM, which meant she was already late for work.

Quietly, she got up and strolled into the bathroom to clean herself. Afterwards, she put on some clothes, made her hair, and when she grabbed her bag, she noticed Jake was watching. He’d already woken up.

“You better get up.”

“Why?” He asked lazily. “They aren’t here yet, are they?”

“No, but they might arrive anytime, and imagine what they’d think if they caught you naked in my bed?” Even she wondered what Tom and Sidney would think... especially her sister. “Come on, Jake, get up.” She said impatiently.

“God, are you always like this?”

“Like what?” Her eyebrow rose.

“Like this,” He said again, but then explained, “So cold when we have sex. I mean, you’re already fucking cold, but when we actually finish having sex... you’re like an ice queen.” And then, he started getting up slowly.

Ignoring his stupid explanation, she just said, “I’m serious, Jake.” At last, he was up and sliding his legs through his shorts, while she waited until he’d leave her room. When he then stepped out behind her, he grabbed her arm and just pulled her to him. “Jake... I really have to go. I’m already late.”

He just leaned down his head, his nose touching hers now. “You’re so...”

“Cold? I know, you’ve already told me that plenty of times.” She tried to avoid his enticing green eyes, but they were so addicting and sadistic at the same time, that she just couldn’t leave them by herself. In the end, Jake was the one who let her go, not finishing his sentence.

Without looking back, Kimberly just walked out of the house, before his eyes and scent intoxicated her again and she’d catch herself turning around and go straight to his arms.

When she started the engine once she got in the car and drove to the strip club, her head was filled with those erotic images. She wanted to pull them aside, but she just couldn’t. They kept popping up in her mind, remembering her how she’d loved the little time with him.

As soon as she parked her car, and shook those thoughts off her mind, she looked forward, and noticed the strip club was actually closed. That couldn’t be. No one had warned her. Had something happened?

The red haired walked up to the door and became aware some men were inside the club, including Bob. She knocked heavily on the door, and Bob turned around. When saw her, he rushed to the door and opened it for Kimberly. “I am so sorry, Kim! I forgot to warn we’d be closing tonight!”

“Just like you also forgot to tell me you’re suing Peterson.” She said dryly, as she walked in her place of work.

“How do you know?”

“Someone told me.” She replied, remembering the man named Eric.

Bob then started telling her the whole story. “Well, yes, I decided to sue him. I already didn’t like the guy, and after what he did to you, I forbade him from stepping inside this bar ever again. He threatened to tell the police I was hiring under aged girls, which you know is a lie, and said that if he ever saw you again, he’d hurt you since he blames you for the fact that I’m suing him.”

Her jaw fell open. Peterson had not said that. “Are you serious? Did he really say that? I can’t believe he had the never to say such things!”

Bob nodded. “Yeah, so I advise to be careful if you spot him or something, Kim. The man was pretty angry when he spoke to me.” Bob warned her, truly worried about her safety. “Anyway, I’m really sorry I made you come here tonight. You weren’t the only one either. But now that you’re here, I can tell you some other thing I forgot.”

“What is it, Bob?”

She watched him reaching for a piece of paper in his pocket, unfolded it and then looked at her again. “I changed your night offs with Tanya. Now you have Thursdays and Saturdays off.”

“Saturday? Damn, Bob... You know very well Saturday’s when I get more money...” She really needed it, and Bob knew it. “Can’t you trade my night offs with someone else?” She pleaded. She couldn’t lose Saturday!

“I can’t, Kim. You know the others also need the money. You can’t always have the weekends.”

Sighing, she tried again, “Are you sure you can change my nights off with someone else?”

“I’m sorry, Kim.” He shook his head, “This time I can’t. Next week I’ll try to change your nights again, ok?”

“Ok... Thanks, anyway.” Disappointed because she needed the money, Kimberly said her goodbyes, “Well, since I’m not needed today, I’ll just go back home.”

“I’ll see you on Friday then, Kim.” Since tomorrow was Thursday, he’d only see her again after tomorrow.

Nodding and waving, Kimberly got out of the club, still thinking about the great night she’d lose on Saturday. Once she got inside her car again, she just drove back home, where she’d be alone with Jake again, since she was sure Tom and Sidney had gone to the movies.

Five minutes later, Kimberly was already thrusting the key inside her door lock. When she opened the door, she immediately heard two distinct male voices coming from the living room.

“I can’t believe he did that to you!” It was Jake’s voice, once again angry. “And mum didn’t even stop him?”

“She’s in Paris- ouch!” The other male cried out in pain. “Be careful, Jake! That fucking hurts!” The voice sounded familiar... but not the enough, otherwise Kimberly would have recognized it.

Walking towards the living room, but not walking in yet, Kimberly then froze when her eyes fell over the man that stood sat on the couch, with Jake in front of him, and Kimberly identified him as being the young man that had saved her from Damien last night.

Eric. Eric was there, his lip wounded, and his cheek swollen like he’d been punched.

When she looked at Jake, and then at Eric again, she became even more shocked when she reached another conclusion. That was why she’d recognized Eric the other night! He was Jake’s brother in that photo! Jake’s brother! Oh man.... she was so fucked! What if Eric had found out she’d been the stripper Peterson had harassed? What did he have to do with him anyway? And worse... what if he’d tell Jake she was a stripper?

Lots of thoughts went through her mind, and she knew she just had to calm down and wait until Eric would get out of the house. Just like she’d pray Eric hadn’t told Jake anything about the stripper he’d met, which was her. She quickly turned around, but her purse hit the wall, and she then heard Jake, “Kimberly? Is that you?”

“Yes,” She replied, not making an appearance in the living room, “I’m going to my room!”

“Wait! I need some help here!” He yelled from the living room.

“Not now, Jake!”

“Please!” His voice sounded like a plea, and a plea it was.

Since she didn’t reply again, she heard Jake’s steps coming in her direction. When he saw her, he said, “Come on, Kimberly. I need some help here. My brother’s hurt and I need you to help me. I’m serious.” She knew he was, but showing herself to Eric would be disastrous!

“I-”

Her voice was cut off when Jake just reached for her arm and started pulling her to the living room. When she actually stepped inside and Eric’s eyes met hers, she knew the young man had recognized her.

“You’re- Oh!” His jaw had fallen in surprise, but before he could say something, Kimberly just knelt in front of him and pressed her hand over his wounded lip.

“Yes!” She said, answering his unspoken question. “Yes, I’m Jake’s new friend here in the house.” That wasn’t the question, but she didn’t want Jake to get suspicious. “Nice to meet you.”

Eric just eyed her with visible shock stamped on his face.

“This is pretty nasty. I think you broke a tooth or something.” And now she was really paying attention to his mouth. And then she looked at his cheek. “My god, it’s really swollen...”

“That fucking pervert!” Jake yelled furiously. “If he comes here... If he dares coming to my house...”

She kept listening to Jake yelling and whispering stuff at the same time she treated his brother’s wound with the first kit Jake had given her.

Ten minutes later, Kimberly said, “Done. You just need to hold that ice on your cheek for quite a while, but I’m pretty sure tomorrow you’ll be better.”

“Thanks.” He replied, probably still confused about her sudden appearance.

Looking at Jake, she said, “So this is your brother... the one from the photo.”

“Yeah, that’s him, my younger brother.” Jake said, not giving away any more info on the issue.

“May I ask who did this?” She dared to question them, but none replied straight away. And when they did, it was Jake who spoke, since Eric was too busy admiring her. “My stepdad.”

“Why?” Their stepdad had done that to Eric? Why? That was... brutal!

“It doesn’t matter.” Jake said, looking away from her stormy gray eyes.

Understanding Jake wouldn’t speak about it, she changed the issue, “Oh, ok, then... Well, Jake would you mind getting me and your brother some coffee?” She said, also trying to force Jake to get out of there, so she’d be alone with Eric.

“That’s a good idea.” His brother said, nodding.

“I’ll be right back, then.” And so, Jake fell, and Kimberly caught herself alone with the man that had helped her running away from Damien last night.

Sitting down next to Eric, she sighed, and then said, “Yes, I am the stripper you found last night, and no, Jake doesn’t know anything about it, so I expect you- no, I beg to not say anything to your brother about it.”

“He doesn’t know you’re a stripper? My brother doesn’t know he’s living with a stripper?” Eric’s widened in surprise, and Kimberly almost swore he was about to laugh, “If he knows you’re a stripper...”

“But he won’t know. You and a friend of mine are the only ones who know about my secret. So please, Eric... not even my little sister knows about it!” She pleaded, desperate. Jake couldn’t find out about it! He just couldn’t!

Moments later, Eric said, “Don’t worry, I won’t tell anything.”

“Thank you.” And she allowed herself to take a deep breath, until she heard Eric again.

“But in exchange, you’ll have to tell me who the stripper is.”

“Why do you want to know?” Not feeling so secure now, Kimberly got up straight away, “Are you protecting that pervert?”

“Of course not!” Eric’s eyebrows rose, and then he pointed at his face. “That pervert made me this!”

Her eyes widened in sheer shock. “You mean... Peterson’s your stepdad? Jake’s stepdad?” In what the hell had she gotten herself into?

“Oh yeah.” Kimberly caught herself sitting down beside Eric, too astonished to say something just yet. She couldn’t believe it. This was really a small world! How the hell had she ended up living with Jake, whose stepdad was Peterson? Why in this goddamn world had this happened to her? “That son of a bitch lied to my mother, he’s getting sued, and he doesn’t even want to tell her! Today I was going to tell her all about it, but he stopped me. I had to come here... Jake’s the only one that can really face him.”

“He’s that bad?”

“Believe me, Kimberly.”

“You can call me Kim.” She told him. “And I think you’re waiting for me to say who the stripper is, right?”

“Right. But don’t worry, I won’t tell anything to Jake. I just want the name, Kim.” Eric was almost pleading. Why did he want to know her name that bad? Did he intend to do anything about it? At any rate, she had to solve the mess. She couldn’t deal with Damien, but she could probably deal with Peterson with Eric’s help.

She looked at Jake’s younger brother. In that moment, she almost saw Jake in him, now that Eric looked that serious. But there was something in Jake that was different... or maybe she was just imagining things. She shook her head immediately and sighed. Wanting to get over with that, she spoke, “Well, the stripper is-”

“Here’s the coffee!” Jake suddenly strolled in the living room with three cups of coffee. He gave each of them one and the last remaining one was for him. Easing the atmosphere, he just had to ask it, “So, you guys have been chatting about me this whole time?”

Kimberly rolled her eyes, “Don’t be so cocky, Jake. It doesn’t suit you. And you’re not that beautiful or important.” And in that moment, she got up. “Well, I think I’ll go to bed.”

“Oh, Kimberly, wait!” Jake motioned one arm towards her, stopping her from going elsewhere. “Do you mind if Eric stays with us for a few days?”

“Ah... no?” She’d been caught off guard, but she just had to say yes. The house belonged to Jake and Eric was his brother. She couldn’t be arrogant and say she minded it. Anyway, she kind of liked Eric. So it really wasn’t a big deal, as long as he wouldn’t get her in trouble with anyone since he now knew she was a stripper. “That’s fine by me, really. But he’ll have to sleep in the living room, unless one of you guys allows him to sleep in your bedrooms.”

“I can’t stay with Jake!” Eric suddenly said, his eyes wide-open.

“Why not?”

“You live with him and you don’t know?”

She only lived with him for a week yet, for god’s sake. “Is there something Jake hid from me that I should know about?”

And then, Eric said flat-out, “Kim, Jake has a very active sexual life.”

“Oh.” That. She already knew it. Looking at Jake now, Kimberly became aware he was grinning at her without Eric being aware of it. So typical of him. “Yeah, I’ve noticed that a couple of times. Anyway, I’m going to change and I think I’ll go straight to bed, I have the night off.” And she just had to grin. “Oh, and Jake, if Tom and Sidney aren’t home by 2 AM, wake me up.”

It was an order, not a request, and Jake recognized it. “Don’t worry, Kimberly.”

Nodding, she said, “Goodnight, guys. It was a pleasure to meet you, Eric.”

He smiled faintly, “You too, Kim.”

“Goodnight, Kimberly.”

“’Night, Jake.” And then she turned around and sauntered away.

Once in her bedroom, Kimberly changed clothes and went to bed straight away. She noticed Jake had actually had the decency to make her bed! Relaxing in her bed, Kimberly felt she could actually trust Eric, ignoring the fact that he was Jake’s brother. They might share the same blood, but she was most definitely sure Eric had nothing to do with Jake.

And with both brothers on her mind, Kimberly soon drifted off to sleep... just for a little while.

***

“Kimmy....” Someone whispered close to her ear. “Kimmy.” She felt a pair of hands settle down on her arms, slightly shaking her. Forced to open her eyes, the first thing she saw were Jake’s unusually bright green eyes.

“What? Something happened?” She lifted her head and rubbed her eyes with the back of her hands. “Tom and Sidney haven’t arrived yet? What time is it?”

“Baby, calm down.” Jake said with a rather soothing voice, sitting down beside her body. “It’s 3 in the morning, and yes, Tom and Sidney have already arrived and are sleeping too. So is my brother, I think.”

“Then what are you doing here?”

“Well... I just came here to thank you for the great sex we had tonight, baby.” Her expression changed immediately, but before she could actually tell Jake to fuck off, he hurried to say, “I’m joking, Kimmy. I just wanted to thank you for helping me with my brother about the wounds and all. And also about the fact that you didn’t mind having him with us for a few days.”

“It’s ok.” She said, smiling.

“But I’m not finished.” And in that moment, his eyes darkened a little.

“What do you want?” Talking to Jake at this hour of the night always meant trouble.

“I ah... about that thing... You know, the fact that we didn’t use a condom, I-”

“Oh, that. I’m on the pill. Don’t worry.” Kimberly disclosed. She didn’t intend to tell him that, but she wanted to sleep. And she knew Jake wouldn’t probably rest until he knew her period had come or something like that. “Everything is ok.”

“Oh, great!” Kimberly noticed everything in Jake relax. “I just wanted to know that. Well, I’m going to bed as well. I’m sorry I woke you up, baby.”

“It’s ok.” She offered him a smile. But before Jake actually got up, Kimberly arms reached his face and wrapped up around his neck unconsciously. “A goodnight kiss.”

And just like that, Kimberly smashed her lips against his, and gave Jake a kiss he didn’t even have to plead for. What had gone through her mind to do that, she didn’t know, but hell it tasted good.

When they broke the kiss, Jake had a smile on his face. Not the usual he had – the amused one. But a sweet smile, one Kimberly had enjoyed earning. Without saying anything to her, Jake got up and headed to his room.

As for Kimberly, after a few minutes in bed, she found herself feeling thirst, so she pushed the sheets aside and got up to go to the kitchen.

Once in there, she sighted Eric there as well. “Oh, I thought you were already sleeping.”

“I’m not. I can’t really fall asleep tonight.”

“You brother told me you were.”

“Oh, he did?” Eric just smiled. Then, before Kimberly fetched the glass of water she’d come for, Eric approached her, and she found herself thinking Jake was just a few inches taller than him. When Eric spoke, all of those thoughts went away, “Now that we’re alone, you can tell me who the stripper is.”

She knew it would come down to his one way or another. Today or tomorrow. “Ok, so... the stripper your stepfather harassed was...” She trailed off, feeling nervous.

“Was...?” Eric said when Kimberly became aware she’d paused for too long. God, why did Eric have to be Jake’s brother? Why did he have to be here? Why, in the first place, had that goddamn pervert harassed her?

“I’m going to say this very quickly! So, the stripper your stepfather harassed...” She allowed herself to inhale slowly and then let it out slowly, before she completed her sentence. “...it was me.”

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