He had to catch her. He couldn’t let her disappear into the night. He needed to stop her. He couldn’t think, he had to find Jen. He ran through the building and out the front door onto the street. He stopped and looked both ways at the coats and hats that filled the sidewalk. She had to be somewhere. Which way would she have gone? Where was the nearest train station?
He turned and saw her. She was standing in the middle of the pavement, people flowing around her. Her head was dropped, and her coat was hanging loose on her shoulders, still unbuttoned. He didn’t stop to question. He stuck out his hand, flagging down a taxi, as he walked in her direction. The vehicle came to a stop as he reached her. Taking her by the forearm, he pulled her to him as he opened the rear door. She looked up at him with wide, moist eyes but didn’t make a sound as he bundled them both into the back of the cab.
“What are you doing?” she stuttered the words as he gave the driver the address. “Let me out now.”
“No,” he said in a harsh voice as he curled his fist and tighten his grip on her wrist.
“Let me go,” she said in a stronger voice, “I don’t want to go anywhere with you.”
“I’m not giving you that choice,” he said through his clenched teeth.
“Driver,” she called out to the man in front, “Pull over, I’m getting out.”
“No,” his voice was low and shook with the emotions he was bottling up, “Keep driving. Jen, stop this.”
“Why?” she blinked rapidly.
Before she could say anything further, he dipped his head and claimed her lips. He kissed her with rough determination. He pushed her back into the seat as his mouth moved against hers and his hands both pulled her body, twisting her hips in the seat so that they meet his. He wasn’t going to give her an escape route. He moved one hand upwards bringing her upper body against his so that her breasts were pushed outwards, her back curved and her front moulded against his.
She moaned softly into his mouth, and that was all he needed. He pulled away from her leaving her breathing heavily and still reaching for him. She opened her eyes, and he could see in them her emotions. The lust cleared and was replaced with shock, embarrassment and fear. She tried to push away from him as he held her and watched her fight herself.
“That’s why,” he said in a lust-soaked voice, “That is the reason why I’m not letting you go.”
“But,” she mumbled as she tried to wriggle herself free, “I can’t do this.”
The taxi pulled to the curb and Drew handed payment over while holding her. Then he pulled her out with him and started towards the entrance.
“No,” she yanked her hand from his grip with her feet planted wide on the pavement, “I’m not doing this. You’re drunk, and I’m going home.”
“That didn’t stop you last time,” he turned to her just in time to get a slap to the face.
“You,” she breathed heavily her fists clenched as she searched for an insult for him.
“I deserved that,” he rubbed the red handprint on his face, “And you deserve this.”
He reached out, and before she could react, he picked her up and threw her over his shoulder so that she faced his back and her legs dangled over his chest. She was rigid with surprise, for a short moment, then all her limbs started to move at the same time. He clamped one arm over the back of her calves and the other over her thighs keeping her hips in place. She hammered his back with her fists, but that didn’t concern him. He walked towards the building without listening to her screech.
“Good evening, sir,” the doorman’s eyebrows lifted, “Some packages arrived for you. Is the young lady alright.”
“I am not,” she yelled.
“Hi Lionel,” he said with a sigh, “Thanks for signing for the packages. This is Jennifer Palmer, she is the owner of the boot you retrieved and returned on Sunday.”
“Good evening, Miss Palmer,” a small smile formed on Lionel’s face.
“Put me down, Pretty boy,” she screamed and tried to thrash around again, “Get him to put me down. Call the Police.”
“Mr Miller,” Lionel said in a tired voice, “This establishment has rules that are for the benefit of all tenants. We spoke about the elevator incident. I hope that I won’t need to delete the surveillance footage again?”
“Let me down,” Belinda beat her fist against his waist.
“Unfortunately, I don’t think you need to worry about us undressing and showing our ‘affection’ in the elevator,” Drew frowned.
“All the same,” Lionel moved so that he could see Jen’s face, “I can’t allow you to forcibly abduct the young lady. It wouldn’t look good on my Employee Evaluation.”
“Alright, I understand,” he dropped Jen to her feet in one movement then as she staggered around, dizzy from being upside down, he put an arm around her and steered her past the doorman and towards the elevator.
“Let me go,” her head cleared by the time the lift doors shut. She pushed at him, trying to free herself from his steel grip, while she waved in random directions hoping to alert whatever surveillance was in here that she was being kidnapped.
“Jen,” he breathed out her name, “Stop it. I’m not going to hurt you.”
“Too late,” she sneered at him, “You’ve already done that.”
“I know,” he looked up at the numbers as the elevator reached his floor.
He tightened his grip on her as the doors opened and then he pulled her into his apartment. He shut the door behind them before he let her go and turned to her, facing her fury. He’d earnt this, but he really didn’t think he had any alternative. He knew he was drunk, and this wasn’t his plan, but he couldn’t let her go.
“Why are you doing this?” she snapped, breathing heavily she stood facing him.
“Because I’m tired of this,” he answered, “And I’ve had too much to drink to pretend anymore.”
“What do you mean?” she glanced at him.
“I’ve played nice,” he growled, “But it’s time for you to tell me what your problem is?”
“What?” she shot back, “My problem? You insulted me in front of your friends. You accused me of flirting with Sam. What is your problem?”
“My problem,” he felt his anger turn cold, “Is you and your contradictions. Stop toying with me.”
“What are you talking about?” she shot back, “I don’t do that.”
“Yes, you do,” he couldn’t stop himself, “One minute you can’t stand me, you refuse me, you deny you feel anything for me, you ditched me, you try to distance yourself from me, and then, then, you kiss me like, like that.”
She stood there looking at him, her mouth open but she didn’t say anything.
“You want me as much as I want you,” his chest was labouring under each breath as he yelled at her, “Why do you keep denying it? It’s driving me crazy.”
“I can’t do this,” she tried to turn away, but he caught her by the shoulders and forced her to look at him.
“You have to do this,” he dropped his face to hers, breathing his alcohol-soaked breath onto her, “You can either talk to me, or I’m going to kiss you again, and this time I’m not going to stop.”
“Drew,” she whispered in a hurt voice, “Please don’t do this.”
“Why not?” he released her and took a step back trying not to stagger as he did. He pointed his outstretched arm at her as he said in a loud voice, “Tell me, why not? Can’t you see what you’re doing to me? Can’t you see how this hot and cold attitude is driving me insane?”
“Troy,” she yelled back at him, “Troy Wright, Drey Anders and Drew Miller, that’s why.”
“What?” he stopped and took several steps away from her, “What did you just say?”
“I said,” she shook with pain, rage, or frustration, he wasn’t sure which, “Troy Wright, Drey Anders, and Drew Miller, that’s why I can’t do this.”
She stood, her head dropped, and her eyes closed, as he blinked in confusion. He took another step backwards and sat heavily down on a chair. This wasn’t what he expected. He didn’t like the sudden dizziness that hit him. The room was spinning. The venom she’d spoken with, and the fact she grouped the three names together was ominous. He could feel all the alcohol in his body draining from him, as he slumped in the chair. The sudden sobering left him feeling dry and depleted.
“Why?” he heard himself say, “What are you saying?”
“I’ll make you some coffee,” she took off her coat and headed for the kitchen leaving him staring at a blank space, “You shouldn’t drink so much.”
“Why? Tell me?” he turned his head to her, “Troy Wright? I’m as bad as that guy?”
“Drink the coffee,” she handed him a hot cup of black coffee, “I’m only going to say this once. You need to be sober enough to remember it.”
He drank the coffee as she took several deep breaths, looked out the glass windows at the view of the city. She was clearly preparing herself for this. He put the mug down as she turned to him and, with a serious face, she took a seat facing him.
“Troy Wright,” she started in a matter-of-fact voice, “Took my virginity after making me believe he felt something for me. He didn’t. He was popular and gorgeous, and I should have known that he was only after one thing from me.”
“I’m not,” Drew started to say.
“Aren’t you?” she shook her head, “You’re right, I am fighting this. The moment I saw you I knew I couldn’t resist you. It was the same with Troy. Every time you touch me, I can’t think straight. The only difference between Troy and you is that he dumped me the moment he got what he wanted, whereas you’re prolonging the agony.”
“And what if I don’t want that?” he curled his hands into fists, “What I have no intention of ‘dumping’ you? I am not this Troy guy.”
“Aren’t you?” she cried, the tears falling from her eyes, “This isn’t a fairy tale. This won’t have a happy ending. I am Jen the diesel mechanic from Trenton, and you’re, you’re Drey Anders.”
“No, I’m not,” he cringed, “I’m not that man.”
“You might have changed your name, but you are the same man,” she wiped a tear away with the back of her hand, “You’re a legend. You could have any woman you want. You’re talented and gorgeous. I’m not good enough.”
“Jen, you’re wrong,” he stood and gathered her in his arms, “And that name is not who I am today.”
“But Drew Miller is even worse. You’ve got women drooling over your body. You’re stunning and hot,” she sniffed into his chest, “And I’m no one.”
“You’re still wrong. You are someone,” he breathed into her hair, “You’re the one I’m holding on to.”
“Because you want sex,” her voice wobbled.
“Do you think that’s all I want?” he moved so that he could see her face, “Look at me, Jen. Why do you think I’m standing here? You are right, sex is easy to find. I could walk into any bar and find a willing woman. I’m not going to deny that.”
“See,” she tried to push away from him, but he didn’t release her.
“If we agree on that, then why am I here?” he focused on her face, “Why do you think that seeing you looking at Sam with those big blue eyes made my blood boil? If I just wanted sex, then I wouldn’t be hanging onto you so tightly.”
“But,” a fresh batch of tears formed in her eyes, “I’m not right for you.”
“Who are you to judge that?” he asked, “If I can have any woman I want, then why can’t I have you?”
“I can’t,” she pulled away from him as he tried to kiss her again, “If we do that, I’ll end up in bed with you. You’re drunk, and I’m pathetic.”
“Don’t say that,” he growled his anger surging, “I’ve drunk too much, but I won’t hear anyone, including yourself, say anything like that about you.”
“But I can’t do this,” she sniffed, “Not again.”
“You are so stubborn,” he huffed, “What do I need to do to convince you? What do you want from me, Jen? Tell me, and I’ll do it.”
“You’re drunk,” she turned her head, “You don’t mean any of this, you’re just saying it to get me into bed. It’s just the alcohol speaking.”
“Can’t you see how frustrating this is for me?” he growled, “Fine, I’m drunk. If that’s your problem, then I can fix that. I just want to get you in bed? If that’s all you think I want from you then I’ll prove to you that I’m more than that.”
“Maybe you should just let me go,” the tears ran down her cheers.
“No,” he sneered, “That, I will not do. You are not leaving me.”
“Are you threatening me?” she lifted her eyes to him as she edged away.
“No,” he shook his head as he tried to soften his voice, “This isn’t going the way I want it to go. I just want you to give me a chance.”
She stood there, not relenting but not leaving either. He rubbed his face and wished he was sober. He was really messing this up, and part of that was due to the alcohol coursing through his veins. He felt like everything he said was making the hole deeper and that wasn’t the direction he needed to be travelling in. He was going to lose her if he kept talking.
“It’s late,” he looked at the wall of glass and out into the night and said in an expressionless voice, “Don’t make any decisions tonight. Stay here. Sleep in my bed, there’s a mattress in the sofa I’ll use. In the morning, if you still want to go, I’ll drive you home.”
She nodded but didn’t say anything. He turned and started to pull off the sofa cushions to gain access to the hidden bed. He busied himself but watched her as she edged towards the bed. She glanced at him before she straightened the covers and sat on the side of the bed taking her boots off. He took his own shoes off and then stripped off his shirt while he grabbed some bedding and made the bed. He left his jeans on. It was going to be an uncomfortable night irrespective of what he was wearing, and he suspected that she would feel more relaxed if he was dressed.
Nothing else was said as he turned off the light and climbed on the small bed. He wanted to punch the wall to punish himself and vent his frustration. He was such an idiot. How was he going to fix this? He listened to her breathing and hoped that he’d find a way to convince her tomorrow.
They had an appointment in the morning that was important. Being late for that would be bad, but not as terrifying as watching her walk away from him. That was something he didn’t want to have to endure again. He closed his eyes and listened to her, knowing that he didn’t have any choice but to succeed.