BURNING LOVE

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Feeling her

Sawyer looked at Lizbeth half amused. He was exhausted but there was no way he could keep that from her any more time, maybe that would be the best way to make one last test because those kids were part of his package. They would always be the first thing in his life.

“Adam!” The little girl shouted from the inside of the house. Sawyer sighed.

“Wanna come in?” he asked Lizbeth, moving to the side to let her pass.

“Are you sure?” she asked, still puzzled by what she just saw. He couldn’t blame her though.

“We were about to have dinner, you can join. If you want, of course.” He stared at her, a stern look on his face as he tried to read her.

“Sure...” she said as she stepped in. She looked confused, scared, and amused, all at the same time, which wasn’t that bad.

Following him to the kitchen, where Adam was sitting on one of the stools, she couldn’t hide the surprise when she saw the boy.

He was a smaller and blond version of himself, even the haircut was similar —he had asked him to wear it like him some weeks before and he couldn’t deny. The biggest difference was that he had big blue eyes and was wearing his red glasses, but the Cox’s genes were definitely running through his veins.

Adam tilted his head when he saw her.

“Who are you?” He sounded kind of harsh.

“Hey! That’s not a nice way to talk to people, Buddy,” Sawyer told him, slightly frowning. He was a shy and sweet boy, he didn’t use to talk like that, so that shocked him a little.

Lizbeth approached him and held out her hand to him. “I’m Liz. What’s your name?”

A soft shade of pink covered his cheeks. “My name is Adam,” he introduced himself as he shook her hand.

“Nice to meet you, Adam.” Lizbeth sweetly smiled at him.

“Can you go check on your sister, please?” Sawyer asked him.

“Yeah,” he said as he jumped from his stool and ran to their bedroom, his colorful Spiderman pajamas brightening in his neutral-colored house.

Lizbeth stared in the direction he went until he disappeared behind the wall. Then, she turned back to Sawyer and sat on a stool.

“What the heck?” Her eyes opened wide. “When did...?” She didn’t know how to end that sentence.

“We’ll talk about it later.” He gestured with his head as he looked behind her. He didn’t want to talk about it in front of the kids, they had already been through enough.

Lizbeth turned back and saw the two kids coming their way. Sophia was wearing her light pink pajamas with white bunnies all over it. She looked adorable.

As they got closer, Adam climbed on the stool beside Lizbeth and shyly smiled at her while Sawyer helped the little girl up on the one beside her brother.

“Okay, here you have,” he said as he placed two plates in front of them.

“I don’t like this green thing...” Sophia said as she pushed the broccoli with her fork.

“You need to eat that to grow up. Besides, it’s not that bad, right Liz?” he asked as he sliced the sausages on her plate. The little girl shot her an innocent and questioning look.

“Yeah,” she responded automatically. Sawyer internally chuckled, seeing her so stumped was funny.

“Fine...” The little girl pouted.

“Good girl.” He kissed the top of her head. Then, he took another two plates from the counter, placed one in front of Lizbeth, and the last one in front of him on the kitchen island.

He started eating right away, acting as if that was the most normal thing in the world -and it was for him. Then, he looked at Lizbeth out of the corner of his eye, she was speechless.

“I’m Sophia and I’m three year old. And you?” The kid’s statement brought her back to the real world.

Lizbeth couldn’t help it and smiled at her. The little girl always made everyone’s heart melt. “I’m Liz and I’m thirty.”

“That’s a lot!” She giggled.

“I know, right?” He could feel her eyes on him, but he decided to ignore it, looking at his plate and biting the inside of his cheek to hold himself from grinning.

“Are you my daddy girlfriend?” she blatantly asked.

Lizbeth froze on her stool —just like him— and awkwardly chuckled.

“No, we’re just friends.”

“Why?” she said looking at Sawyer now, slightly creasing her brow. “She’s pretty.”

“Start eating or it’ll get cold,” he sweetly said pointing to her plate. It was true that he hadn’t introduced them to many of his friends —and aside from April, Lauren, and Erin the rest were all males— but that question got him with his guard down.

“Fine...”

They were all sitting in the kitchen, having dinner like a normal family.

They talked about school and laughed at silly things. Sawyer’s heart fluttered in his chest when Adam told him he had helped a friend doing his mathematics homework because he didn’t understand it. And he couldn’t hide the huge grin that spread across his face when Sohpia talked about her teacher liking her drawings.

They talked to Lizbeth a lot. They were so curious and asked her about herself. If she had a brother or a sister, her favorite cartoons and stuff like that. Stopping that questioning wasn’t a choice because he found it adorable.

Twenty minutes had passed when they finished their plates —even the broccoli.

“I’m done!” Adam shouted, putting his plate up high so Sawyer could see it.

“Great, Buddy.” He chuckled.

“Me too!” Sophia mimicked her brother.

“Good. Let me help you down,” he said as he got up and walked to where Sophia was sitting. As soon as she put her feet on the floor, she ran to the couch and turned on the TV. Adam followed suit.

“Come with us, Liz!” Sophia told her.

Lizbeth looked at Sawyer, asking for permission. He just nodded. While she approached them, she glanced at the TV, they were watching The Fairly Oddparents.

“Here!” Sophia patted the seat beside her.

“Thanks, honey.”

“You like this?” she asked, pointing to the screen.

“I don’t know, it’s the first time I’m watching,” she responded.

“It’s really cool! Right, Adam?”

“Yeah...”

“What is it about?” Lizbeth asked the boy, trying to get him into the conversation.

“Well, there’s this kid super clumsy that has two fairies following him everywhere. They’re like his second mom and dad, and then he asks them something, and then they make it come true with their magic, but he’s so silly and always messes things up.”

“I see...”

“There’s also a bad guy that wants to catch the fairies, so they have to hide.”

“Sounds interesting.” She smiled at him. It was the first time since she stepped into that house that he spoke so much. “Mind if I watch with you?” He nodded his head no with a shy smile on his face. “Thanks!”

They stayed there for a while, but then Sophia started to get bored and her concentration on the cartoons flew out of the window. Watching intently as he washed the dishes, he saw Sophia taking a lock of Lizbeth’s hair in her hand.

“You have a pretty hair,” she said astonishedly, looking at it.

“Thank you,” she chuckled. “So do you.”

“Do you like my daddy?”

“What?” The question caught her off guard and Sawyer couldn’t help it but softly laugh.

“He’s pretty and smart, you know?”

“I know,” she giggled. “He’s a very good friend of mine.”

“I see.” Sophia looked kind of disappointed.

“I want him to have a girlfriend so I can have a mommy.”

“Oh... ” Lizbeth didn’t know what to say and suddenly felt a bit uncomfortable. “Are you alright?” she asked her when she saw her pouty face and her watery eyes. Growing without a mom was hard.

“I want to have a mommy.”

“Sweetheart...” Lizbeth started.

“Adam, Sophia, go brush your teeth, please! It’s time to go to bed.” Sawyer interrupted her.

“Okay!” The boy said. “Come one, Soph!” He held his hand out to her. She just hummed and followed her brother into the bathroom.

As they got into the bathroom, Lizbeth approached Sawyer.

“Having fun?” he asked in a mocking tone.

“Yeah, they’re super sweet... But... What is all this?” Lizbeth said looking over her shoulder, in the direction they just went. “I mean... I didn’t know you were a dad!” She said in a low voice.

“What, does it make me sexier?” He wiggled his eyebrows at her.

She elbowed him. “Sawyer, I’m serious!”

He let out a heavy sigh and his mood turned somewhat cloudy. Having that conversation wasn’t what he enjoyed the most. “I’m not a dad. Well, now I am. But I’m not their biological father.” He stopped talking when Sophia ran to them.

“Are you reading me a story tonight?” she asked him. Sawyer glanced at the clock, it was almost eight. Any kids would have asked to watch some more cartoons, but they were very well taught. Thank you, Mom!

“Of course, Baby girl. Go choose which one you want and I’ll be there in a sec.”

“Yay!” Her smile went impossibly big.

As both kids went into the bedroom Sawyer’s tone of voice changed from the sweet one he was using with the kids, to a colder one. “Let me get them ready and we’ll talk later.”

“Sure...” Lizbeth said, placing a hand on his back as he walked away. He turned and slightly smiled at her. Her face was clearly showing the confusion she had in her mind, but her gaze seemed gentle and it warmed his heart. Maybe she really was the right one.

“Thanks.”

Adam had a comic from a small shelf hanging over his bed. He loved superheroes, and he said he was too old for Sawyer to be reading fairy tales to him.

“Are you okay, Buddy?” Sawyer asked him before moving towards Sophia’s bed.

“Yeah...” He paused for a second and moved his eyes to his comic, but then he looked at him again. “She seems nice.” He slightly smiled.

“Who, Liz?”

“Yeah… She seems fun too.”

“Yeah, she is.” Adam didn’t talk much, but every time he did Sayer wanted to hug him tight. He was so honest and cute but didn’t do it as much as he would like to because Adam kept saying they were both guys and it was weird.

“Read a chapter and then turn off the light, okay?” He ruffled his hair. The little boy laughed.

“Okay,” he responded with a huge grin on his face.

“Good boy,” Sawyer said, pulling the blanket to his chest and kissing the top of his head. Then, he moved to the other side of the room.

Sophia was already in bed, holding a book in her hands and smiling.

“This one.” She gave the book to Sawyer. He looked at it and chuckled. Dragons love tacos. What kind of book is this?

He laid down on the bed, Sophia beside him, and he started reading the book in a low voice so they didn’t disturb Adam. The little girl was giggling at the colorful pictures in the book, which made him smile —it was his favorite sound in the world.

A while later, one of the lights of the room went off and that meant that Adam had finished his reading. He looked up and saw his blue blanket up to his ears. Noah sleeping beside his bed.

Sophia yawned and rubbed her eyes, but she was still so into the story she asked him not to close the book yet. But then, he trailed off when Lizbeth peeked into the room, distracting him.

She leaned on the door frame and looked at them with a light smile playing on her lips. Luckily for him, Sophia started slowly breathing a couple of minutes after that.

He carefully got up because he didn’t want to wake her up. Leaving the book on her night table, he gently brushed the hair from her face and kissed her forehead.

“Sweet dreams, little one,” he whispered.

Lizbeth stepped away to let him get out of the room. Their bodies close together in the hallway when he left the door ajar

“Do you want to drink anything?” he asked in a low voice as he walked away.

“A beer?” she said. He nodded and opened the fridge.

When he had opened the bottles, he offered her one. Then he moved to the couch and let himself fall on it. His head resting on the back as he breathed out a heavy sigh. He closed his eyes, slightly frowning, not knowing where to start.

Lizbeth sat beside him. He could feel the heat of her body radiating towards him. No words were said for a few minutes, but he could feel her impatience growing as she looked at him.

“Do you remember Bethany?” He asked without opening his eyes. Just pronouncing her name felt painful.

“Your older sister? Yeah. She moved to Oregon, right?” Lizbeth asked.

“Yeah...” He paused and swallowed hard. Then, he raised his head and looked ahead of him, his gaze lost in the nothingness. “She and her husband died in a car accident two years ago.” Lizbeth gasped at that revelation.

“Sawyer, I had no idea...” Her voice broke at the end. “Liam didn’t even mention it.”

“I asked him not to… I didn’t need people that I haven’t talked to in years pitying me.”

“So I’m the only one that didn’t know…” She let out, disappointment and hurt clear in her voice.

“... We hadn’t talked in years and I wasn’t at my best back then. I had just broken up with Maggie and then all this happened. It was the darkest moment of my life and I didn’t know how I’d have reacted if I saw you back then…” He was so weak at that time, he was afraid he would hurt her or worse, fall for her again as they never really had closure.

“I get it,” she stated.

He looked to the floor, his elbows resting on his knees, clenching his teeth. “Adam and Sophia are my sister’s children. Well, they’re my children now, after what happened I adopted them.” The lump in his throat was so big, he almost felt out of breath. “Their grandparents and I are all they have left… but since I work so many hours and this apartment isn’t big enough, they live with my parents. I’m looking for a house to buy so I can bring them with me, but for now, that’s the way things are.”

“That’s why you visit them every week?” she asked.

“Yeah... I want to spend as much time as I can with them. I want them to feel they still have a family and that they’re loved.” He paused to drink from his beer. He felt so nervous his heart was racing in his chest like a formula one car.

Lizbeth got closer to him and placed her hand over his. “That’s really sweet of you...” Her expression was soft and candid. Her skin over his felt reassuring and warm.

He smiled at her as he caressed the top of her hand with his thumb. “Sophia calls me dad because, even though she knows about her parents, she barely remembers anything. But Adam still calls me uncle or Sawyer. I guess it’s harder for him since he’s almost seven and understands, more or less, what’s going on.”

He really understood that for the kid it was harder to turn the page, but it hurt either way. He didn’t want him to see him as his father. He didn’t want him to forget about Beth and Matt, but he had the feeling that no matter what he did or how much he loved them, that would never be enough.

Sawyer let out a deep sigh and left his beer on the coffee table to run a hand through his hair. “The problem now is that my father has to take care of my mother, so he can’t watch them. I don’t know how I’m gonna do it... I’ll have to look for a nanny or ask Mrs. Flanagan for help.” He bitterly laughed.

“You know I’m here if you need anything,” she told him.

“Yeah, thanks.” He smiled at her.

Now that he had her right there, telling him all that and supporting him the way she was doing, he didn’t know why it took him so long to realize what his real feelings were. She was gorgeous and sexy as hell, but she was also one of the best human beings he had ever known.

After four days of worrying about too many things, he felt exhausted. His sex drive had completely died when his father called him telling him his mother was in the hospital, but at that moment it all came rushing back as lust filled every part of his body.

“I mean, I know you have other friends and there’s also Mrs. Flanagan on the first floor, but I’m right across the hallway, so it’s easier—”

“Uh-huh...” He got closer to her staring deep into her eyes and stopped inches away from her lips. Then, he put a lock of her hair behind her ear and noticed the exact moment she stopped breathing. Her cheeks turned slightly pink.

Always mesmerized by her reactions, his eyes fell to her lips when she moisturized them with her tongue. They were so tantalizing, he was dying to lick them too.

He bit his lower lip as he felt his heart pounding hard in his ears, his cock excited at the anticipation. He locked his eyes with hers again, analyzing her.

The time seemed to stop as they lost into each other’s gaze. A thrilling sensation invaded his body when she didn’t even flinch. For a second, her eyes betrayed her and flicked to his mouth, which made him smirk.

One of his hands laced in her hair and gently pulled her in for a kiss, their eyes locked, enjoying the electricity sparking between them. It was soft at first but then he saw it, the flash of passion burning in her irises. She wanted him as much as he wanted her.

Without hesitation, he grabbed the back of her neck and deepened the kiss. She moved her hands to his chest, her touch was greedy but tender at the same time.

Her hands on him felt so good, and he had been waiting for that moment for so long, he thought he would lose it. As he pressed their bodies further, she bit his bottom lip, dragging a low yet guttural groan from him. Her breathing became uneven when he slid his tongue inside her mouth, finally tasting her the way he needed.

It seemed like a game at the beginning as they teased and played with each other but soon after they were entwined in a lustful and sensual fight.

Just with a simple move, she understood what he wanted. She grabbed him by the neck as he laid her on the couch, getting him between her legs.

His hand stroked her thigh from her ankle up and stopped at her butt, lifting her hips to press her sex tightly against his crotch.

A soft moan escaped her mouth.

“Fuck...” she softly groaned, making thousands of electric bolts run down his spine.

He couldn’t help it and seductively chuckled against her neck when she cursed. She was always so collected, he couldn’t wait to have the wild version of her completely naked under him again.

“Sawyer... What...” Her voice cracked.

Without bothering to answer her, he kept kissing and biting the sensitive skin of her collarbone. Letting his craves run free.

Then, his hand wandered along her side and slowly reached inside her leggings. She didn’t stop him or uncomfortably move underneath him, so he continued with what he was doing.

When he touched her in the right place she gasped, welcoming him with the moisturized warmth between her legs.

“Fuck, Kitten...” he said in a husky voice as he got even harder.

He went back to kissing her as he rubbed her mound and she laced her hands through his hair, slightly tugging on it when he slid two fingers inside of her. Her walls hot and tight around him.

She bit his lower lip and then he sucked on her tongue. Short sharp breaths coming out from both of them.

The desire that had been building inside of him for what seemed too long started to feel unbearable. He kept playing with her, stroking her clit and pressing his fingers at the entrance of her throbbing spot, teasing her.

His member was painfully swollen but that was such sweet torture he didn’t want that moment to end any time soon.

He didn’t put up a fight when Lizbeth slightly separated their mouths and reached between them, fiddling with his belt and unzipping his jeans. A strangled groan ripped through his throat when she took him in her hand, encircling her fingers around his shaft.

“Daddy?!” Sophias’ crying voice called him from the room.

“Fuck!” Sawyer said under his breath, quickly standing up. That put his soldier back to sleep faster than it had gotten up. For a minute he had completely forgotten that they were not alone. You’re the worst dad ever.

He got up from the couch and went into the bedroom, cleaning his hand from Lizbeth juices on his pants.

“Hey, baby girl... What’s wrong?” He sweetly asked.

Sophia could barely put two words together. She was crying her heart out because of a horrible nightmare she just had.

It had been happening for a while, and he was so clumsy with kids that he didn’t know what to do to help her. He hugged her until she calmed a little —luckily for him, Adam used to sleep like a log.

Lizbeth was already getting her things from the closet at the entrance when he walked out of the room with Sophia still in his arms.

“She’s been having nightmares for a while now... Sorry...” He apologized while softly rubbing the kid’s back. Her head was leaning on his shoulder.

“Oh... ” She gave him a small smile, but she seemed a bit disturbed. He knew why he had jumped over her with no warning and it had ended so abruptly that she was probably trying to understand what the hell had just happened between them. But at least she didn’t seem mad.

She walked around him so she would be facing Sophia. “Hey, girl...”

“Hi...” She mumbled in a sleepy, nasal voice.

“You know bad dreams are not real, right?” Sophia nodded. “Then, you can fight the monsters in them,” she said caressing her little hand.

“How?” She asked with a whimpering voice.

“Let’s say your superpower is making friends, okay?” The kid was actively listening to her. “So you just gotta go there and talk to them. They’re probably mean because nobody likes them because of their looks, but if you’re nice to them they will become your friends.” Sawyer softly chuckled. Where did that come from?

“Really?” Sophia’s voice lightened a little.

“I promise,” she said. Sophia nodded as she placed a peck on her nose. “Good night, Sophia.”

“Night, Liz,” she said.

Sawyer was looking at her out of the corner of his eye. That woman was much more than he could have ever imagined. He smiled at her, but she didn’t dare to look at him as she walked out of his apartment. He grabbed her wrist.

“Hey...”

“I’m going home, Sawyer.”

He tightened the grip around her wrist. “See you tomorrow?” He didn’t want her to think she was playing with her or something like that, she wasn’t just a fling.

“Yeah, okay.” She lightly smiled.

“G’ night then, Liz,” he said as he softly kissed her lips.

“Night, Sawyer...”

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