Peach - *Book Four*

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Eighteen

Jack

It takes me a couple of days to come back to my senses, as Emma put it.

It was all going so well. When we spent time together, it felt easy and comfortable. I could hold her hand for a little while, and we could hug for a moment or two. And I could even kiss her. Mostly just light, short kisses that were anything but passionate like I would have wanted them to be. And even though Emma kept telling me to take it slow, not to pressure myself, I felt terrible every time I had to pull back.

And then I had to ruin it all by getting hammered and showing up at her doorstep. Not my smartest move, I admit. But my body wants her so bad, and my brain isn’t on board with that craving yet. So my body took over control once my brain wasn’t functioning properly anymore.

Now I know what they mean when they say you’re moving one step forward and two steps back. Because that’s how it feels right now. I know Emma is mad at me, and she has every right to be.

By Wednesday night, after three days of silence between us, I can’t take the lack of communication any longer. So when I know she’s back home from work, I stand in front of her door once again.

When she opens, she gives me a look of momentary surprise. “Jack,” she says, and I frown at the hint of indifference in her voice. When she narrows her eyes at me, I let out a frustrated sigh.

“Oh, Emma,” I start, “I’m sorry about what happened. Can we talk?”

She still eyes me suspiciously, and I groan. “Shit, I messed up, I know. But I’m completely sober now, I promise. Here–” I hand her the box of chocolates I brought. “This is part of my peace offering.”

She takes the box and looks at it. “Those are my favorites,” she says in a low voice.

“I know.”

And when she looks at me again, I see a tiny hint of a smile on her lips.

“Can I come in?” I finally ask.

She nods and steps aside to let me enter. She closes the door and walks ahead into her living room. As I walk behind her, I take in her appearance. Looks like she was planning on a quiet, relaxed evening at home. With her hair piled on top of her head in a messy bun, she’s wearing sweats and a hoodie.

My hoodie - or what used to be my hoodie if I understood that rule correctly. And damn, Emma’s never looked sexier.

She sits down on her couch and waits for me to join her. While she does, she opens the box of chocolates and takes a piece, offering me one as well. I shake my head as I sit down too. She turns to me and looks at me expectantly. “Now, let’s hear it,” she says.

I nervously shift in my seat before I take a deep breath and recite the speech I prepared in my head. “I acted like the biggest moron, and I’m truly sorry. I have no idea what came over me, but when I had drink after drink, thoughts of you became all-consuming, and having you in my arms became an unbearable yearning. And that’s when I showed up here, and with that, risked to screw it all up. All the progress I’ve made. For the past few days, all I could think was that you’d never want to see me again.”

“Okay,” Emma interrupts me by holding up her hand. “Please, breathe for a moment.” I watch her as she takes another piece of chocolate and slowly lets it melt in her mouth.

Again, I shift left and right, growing a little impatient. I narrow my eyes at her when she chuckles.

“Jack, relax.” She swallows and turns to sit crossed-legged opposite me. “First of all, yes, I was furious. But second – was. I kind of understand why you did it. It’s just a little frustrating to watch you beat yourself up over this physical closeness thing. How often do I have to tell you I’ll wait for you to be ready?”

I scoot a little closer to her. “I’m sorry.”

She rolls her eyes but smiles. “Stop apologizing, please!”

“But I am. And most of all, I’m sorry I can’t give you more of that. To show you I care.” I take her hand and intertwine our fingers. And with the wistful look she gives me, it doesn’t take long for my heart to pick up its pace. But as it has become more and more normal with her, it’s not out of unease, but intense attraction for this woman sitting opposite me. And feelings have started to grow and are becoming stronger every time I see her.

“Jack–” The way she breathes my name sends shivers down my spine and does amazing things to me. “Listen carefully,” she continues. “You show me you care in so many different ways. Every time you make sure I get home okay. Every time you ask about my day. You get pissed off at the people that piss me off. You let me know in your text messages.” She points to the table. “You bring me my favorite chocolate. And when I was cold, you gave me your hoodie,” she says with an intense stare.“Which you are never getting back, in case you were wondering.”

I chuckle and shake my head. “Em-”

But she cuts me off. “Let me finish. Because most importantly, I see how hard you’re working on yourself so you can give me what you think I deserve. I see the progress you’re making, even if you don’t. What I don’t deserve, though, is you showing up drunk so we can have sex and you can take off afterward like you used to do.”

I cringe a little at her words. Like I used to do. She’s right. That’s what I used to do. Only think about myself, and once I had what I wanted, take off. But I could never do that to her.

She gives my hand a tender squeeze. “Can we move on? No more getting drunk? No more questioning my patience?”

I nod silently, deciding not to tell her it’s not all about her patience, but also about mine. I can’t wait to feel all of her and make her mine.

At the thought of her and me being intimate in the hopefully near future, my heart beats faster again. The sweet and sexy smile on her very kissable lips spurs on my already raging hormones. My palms are getting sweaty, and I close my eyes to take a deep breath.

Being entirely lost in thought, I flinch when Emma pulls her hand away, obviously misreading the signs.

My eyes fly open and meet her apologetic gaze. I grab her hand and pull her back toward me. “Oh no, I wasn’t feeling uncomfortable. My mind was going – other places.” I laugh at her stunned expression. “Yeah, that’s been–” I get interrupted by my phone buzzing in my pocket. I sit up at the unexpected sensation and take my phone out to put it on the coffee table.

“Don’t you want to check who texted?” Emma asks.

I give my phone a quick look and shake my head. “That can wait.” I focus my attention back on Emma. “As I was saying–”

Another incoming text makes my phone vibrate again. Emma groans and grabs it. “Please check, maybe it’s important.” Just as she wants to hand it to me, it vibrates again and automatically she looks at the lit up screen. Her eyes widen slightly before she finally hands me my phone with a forced smile. “Sorry, didn’t mean to look. It’s Kate.”

I raise my eyebrows at the way she says Kate’s name. There’s a hint of something I can’t quite interpret. “What’s wrong?” I ask with narrow eyes.

She hesitates a moment too long before she mumbles, “Nothing.”

“Emma!”

She rolls her eyes and sighs. “Fine. I don’t like her. Sorry, I know she’s your friend – what does she want?” She holds up her hand before I can answer. “No, don’t answer that. I’m sorry, that’s none of my business.”

I chuckle. “Hey, no, it’s fine.” I quickly read the texts Kate sent and look back up at Emma. “She asks if I wanted to go out to the Avalon this weekend.”

Her eyes widen. “The Avalon? As in New York’s hottest nightclub? As in getting all dolled up, and wearing a sexy little dress with lots of cleavage showing?”

I study her for a moment, and I raise my eyebrows when it dawns on me. “Are you jealous?”

She snorts and rolls her eyes. “Pfft. Of course not.”

I laugh. “Yeah, snorting makes me believe you.”

Emma crosses her arms in front of her chest and has apparently decided not to say any more on that topic. I chuckle again as she avoids my gaze. With a shake of my head, I put my phone back on the table and turn back to her. And as I’m feeling kind of brave tonight, I lean closer to her which causes Emma’s gaze to snap back to me and give me a questioning look. “Jack, what–”

I cut her off by gently pressing my lips to hers, and the little moan I hear from her goes straight down south. A sensation that is still so unfamiliar because this hasn’t happened to me in over ten years. No woman has had that effect on me while I was sober, and I have no words to describe this feeling.

While I gently brush my lips over hers, I can sense she’s hesitant to return my kiss. “Don’t you want me to kiss you, Peach?” I ask her. And I pull back when she chuckles. “What?”

She smiles cheekily. “Lately, you’ve only been calling me Peach whenever you were in a flirtatious mood.”

I lean in again. “I’m feeling a little more than flirtatious right now, Peach.”

“Is that so?”

I nod before I close the last inch between us. And this time she returns my kiss. She opens her mouth for me so my tongue, which is teasingly stroking her lips, can enter to move against hers. Some sort of low growl forms in my throat when she strokes over my chest and up to my hair which she runs her fingers through, even pulling gently.

I push her back, so she’s flat on her back with me hovering above her. I put my hands next to her shoulders, trying not to put my full weight on her. But I quickly realize that’s not working for me. I need more, with that new sensation rushing through me and my brain finally complying and not interfering. So I lie next to her as far as her couch allows so I don’t push her off. And now – while still kissing her passionately – my free hand can wander over her body to explore. And it wanders and explores. Down to the hem of the sweater. And underneath, back up, and I groan when I discover her braless state. “Damn, Peach–”

She laughs softly. “I was planning on spending a quiet and relaxed evening on my couch. And that only works without underwear.”

Another groan escapes me as I run my mouth along her jaw. “Underwear? Please tell me you’re wearing panties. Or else I might embarrass myself.”

She grabs my head with both hands to lead my lips back to hers and chuckles against my mouth. “I am. But shush now. Touch me, Jack.”

She doesn’t have to ask me twice. I cup her breast and run my thumb over her hard nipple which elicits a whole new sound from Emma, one that makes me painfully hard.

Her breasts feel so good in my hand, and along with her soft moans, my desire for her grows. And even though I am completely sober, I do feel intoxicated. I’m on an emotional high from Emma’s heavenly scent and the way she tastes like sweet, gorgeous woman. And with the way she’s writhing underneath me, I can’t wait to finally be as close to her as two people can be.

My leg parts hers, and I gently press my thigh to her core. With a small gasp, Emma rolls her hips back and forth, finding some much-needed friction.

“Oh, Jack,” she pants breathlessly. “You’re driving me insane.”

“Same here, babe,” I breathe on the smooth skin along her neck.

She wraps one leg around my waist to pull me even closer to her. “I desperately need to come,” she moans in my ear as she nibbles my earlobe. And that, along with her words, makes me tremble all over, and I can’t think of anything I’d rather do than grant her her wish.

But then I feel it. It’s just the tiniest sensation, and I have no idea why I even notice it. My focus is solely on Emma, on her soft skin, the scent of our arousal and the sound of our moans that fill the air. And still, I feel that unpleasant tingling in the pit of my stomach, slowly but gradually spreading through my entire body. And along with my ever faster-beating heart and labored breathing, I know I can’t prevent the sense of slight panic anymore.

I wonder how my brain even manages to do that with what feels like my whole blood volume flowing through another part of my body. That part which is still painfully hard and pressed against Emma’s thigh.

And as much as I want to continue, I have to acknowledge to myself that I can’t. This moment full of pleasure will be over soon, and not in the way I hoped for.

So with a deep breath, I sit up and retreat. “Sorry, I don’t think I can.”

Emma groans and pushes herself up on her elbows. “Fuck, Jack,” she says with an eye roll and a still heaving chest. “The next time you apologize, I’m gonna seriously hurt you!”

Despite all the bad feelings that currently wash through me, I have to laugh. “Okay, okay, got it.” I take a couple of deep breaths. “But I feel terrible that I can’t make you come now.”

Emma sits up with a wave of her hand. “I’ll get over it.”

I try to smile. “I wouldn’t mind if you wanted to take matters into your own hands.”

Emma throws her head back and laughs. And another new sensation takes hold of me. That laugh – no, that woman, everything about her – slightly eases the sense of distress and panic. Actually, every anxiety attack I’ve had in her presence was rather mild. And now she even manages to calm me down faster.

I can’t help but stare at her and realize I’m falling pretty hard right now.

Emma clears her throat and snaps me out of my daydream. She leans closer and whispers, “The first time I come in your presence, I want you to come right along with me. And believe me – once we’re taking that next step, I’m gonna make you see stars.”

I almost choke on my spit, and if my anxiety attack hadn’t already taken care of my hard-on, I probably would have come right there in my pants.

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