#17 I’m in trouble
“None of that is true,” Dshawn murmurs into my hair, still holding me, not caring that I’m staining his shirt with my tears. “Anyone who knows you can see how amazing you are, Shaughna.”
“I was heartbroken,” I continue the last part of the story. “And I missed Melchior so much. I called him every single day, until he blocked my number. And then I started showing up at his place, trying to get him to take me back. I actually begged the guy who abused me not to break up with me.”
“You loved him,” Dshawn whispers to me, pulling back a little to look me in the eye. “You shouldn’t blame yourself for that. Do you have any idea how many people stay with the person who abuses them? There are a million books on this subject, therapists who specialize in this… Just because he wasn’t good for you doesn’t mean you could just stop loving him. And you were 18… Shaughna, you don’t need to be embarrassed about this.”
“But I am,” I say, looking down at my hands in my lap. “I should have left the first time he hit me. Or the second time. Or the third. Or the hundredth. Instead, I stayed and believed him when he told me he’d never do it again, even if he kicked me only an hour later. And the begging, oh hell, Dshawn, the fact that I pleaded for him to stay with me, even after all he did to me…” My breathing speeds up again, panic surging up in me. “What if I do that again? What if I fall in love again and it makes me weak and I will stay with someone who treats me like that?”
“You won’t,” Dshawn says, grabbing my chin and forcing me to look at him. His grip is firm, but it doesn’t hurt, and I know I can break free from it easily. “You’re such a strong woman, Shaughna. The fact that you’re scared of making the same mistake again is exactly what will help you not to do it. You know how it feels to be in that situation. You remember how you felt after he left. I don’t think you will let yourself be treated like that again. I really don’t.”
“You’re right,” I say, trying to regain some control over myself. “I won’t. It’s just… I miss it sometimes, Dshawn.”
“What?” he asks softly, moving his hand so he’s now softly caressing my cheek. “Him?”
I shake my head, shuddering in disgust. “No. Never him. I just… I used to miss the sex when he broke up with me, the closeness. But that’s something that I soon realized I could get from anyone. A random guy in the club, a fuckbuddy, a friend, someone from the apps… But the love… I miss that sometimes, really opening up to someone, letting someone see all of you, even the ugly parts. Guys only get slutty, fun Shaughna, dressed up, funny, exciting… and ready to fuck. But that’s not all that I am.”
“Of course it’s not,” Dshawn says immediately. “And one day, you will find love again. No need to rush it. I think that love creeps up on you when you least expect it.” His fingers are still softly touching the side of my face, making me lean into his touch. “Look at Caroline,” he says with a smile, “with her 40-something divorced criminal with a kid. I don’t think for even a second that she was looking for him, but she’s surely head over heels already, no matter the consequences.”
“I want that too,” I agree with him, “but it’s just so scary.”
Dshawn laughs, touching his forehead to mine and staying there for a moment. “Trust me, I know.”
I know that if I don’t move out of his embrace right now, we’re going to end up kissing again and I don’t want that. I’m finally letting out all the crap that has been bothering me the past couple of days, and I don’t want his lips on mine clouding my mind right now. I don’t need the guilt of betraying Caroline crippling me again. So even though I want to stay right where I am, I push him away from me gently and look at him pleadingly.
He sighs and gets up to sit across from me again. “Are you okay?” he asks as I wipe at my eyes.
I sniffle and shrug, looking around to see if anyone noticed me breaking down in the corner of the restaurant. Luckily, it’s not too busy tonight and Dshawn probably just looked like we were having a romantic moment. No one is watching us.
“Let’s get you home,” Dshawn decides, getting up and offering me his hand. “Come on. You need a shower and the comfort of your own bed.”
I wait while he pays for our food and follow him outside, wanting to go straight to my car, but he shakes his head and points at a motorcycle with two helmets.
“You own a bike?” I ask, feeling like I must be dreaming. The bike is by no means as nice as Aston’s, but still, it’s a sturdy thing that does the trick. Every time I find out something new about Dshawn, I immediately become even more interested in him than I already was, even though I’m still trying to pretend that there’s nothing going on between us.
“It’s my dad’s,” he says, “but I’m the one who makes sure it gets out of the garage every now and then. Mom hates it.”
“I love it,” I say honestly, “but my car is here. I need to be back here tomorrow morning and it’s too far to walk. And I hate taking the bus.”
“I’ll pick you up tomorrow morning,” he promises. “Just leave your car here for the night. Hop on.”
Grudgingly, I accept his offer and put on the helmet before climbing on behind him, putting my arms around him. When the bike come alive beneath us, I can’t help but grin. I love this.
Dshawn is a careful driver, but he does like to drive just a little over the speed limit, making the whole ride even more exhilarating. Something about holding onto a man so I won’t fall off, the light vibrations going through my body and the thrill of the ride always makes me aroused, but tonight it’s even worse, because it’s not Aston with me or any other guy, but Dshawn. I can’t help but wish the drive was longer, while at the same time cursing myself for ever getting on his bike.
When we get to my place, he takes off his helmet and then takes mine from me. He grins when he sees my flushed cheeks and easy smile. “I thought that might cheer you up. Aston told me you like motorcycles.”
I feel my cheeks burning up even more now, turning my face beet red. “Oh God.”
Dshawn frowns and gets off his bike to follows me to my door. “Why do you seem embarrassed by that?”
“What did Aston tell you, exactly?” I ask, fearing the worst.
“Just that you like them. Why?” His eyes are sparkling dangerously in the dark and his pearly white teeth gleam when he smiles wickedly. “What could he possibly have told me to make you look like you want to hide from me?”
“Nothing,” I say quickly. “Nothing at all. Goodnight, Dshawn.”
He grins, shaking his head at me. “Goodnight, Shaughna. I’ll see you bright and early tomorrow.” Suddenly, he leans forward and kisses my cheek, pulling away just as quickly. Before I can react, he’s already walking back to his bike, making me feel like a fool for staring at him.
I watch him as he puts his helmet back on and drives off into the night, raising a hand in a final goodbye before rounding the corner. Damn. I already thought he was hot before tonight, but this is next level. Despite the emotional night, I’m aroused, wishing I could just call someone for a quick fuck, but I know that I don’t truly want that tonight. If I can’t have Dshawn in my bed, then I’d rather just be alone.
That’s a first, I realize with a start. I’ve never thought that about any guy after Melchior. Not even Joshua or any of the other guys I was more than just fuckbuddies with.
I’m in trouble.
I’m already in bed when my phone rings. I pick up without looking at the screen, because I’m pretty sure it’s Caroline. She texted earlier to tell me she was going to call me later.
“I was just about to fall asleep,” I grunt into the phone. “This better be important.”
“Oh it is,” Dshawn’s deep voice says seductively into my ear. “It’s really important.”
“Fuck,” I curse, sitting up in bed. “I thought you were someone else.”
He laughs, making me smile too. “You’re cute when you’re grumpy.”
“I’m always cute,” I shoot back in a reflex.
“True,” he agrees immediately. “Especially when you’re turned on by riding on the back of a motorcycle.”
“Fucking Aston,” I groan. “I can’t believe he told you that.” I should have known that Dshawn would call his friend to find out why I was acting so weird.
“Are you still turned on?” he asks, his voice sounding all smooth and sexy.
“Maybe,” I reply, not sure what to do with this side of him. Don’t get me wrong, I think he sounds sexy as fuck when he’s talking to me like this, but he’s still Caroline’s ex-boyfriend. And I just told him all about my abusive ex, which makes this all a little too personal for my liking.
“I know I am,” he says, grunting softly. “You’re too sexy for your own good.”
“Please,” I scoff, trying not to let him goat me into flirting with him. “I was in my work clothes and I cried all over you after stuffing my face with meatballs. I can do sexy as best as the next girl, better even, and tonight was not sexy.”
“The way you lick sauce off your fingers is enough to get any guy hard.”
Fuck. I’m getting wet now.
“I wanted to kiss you so badly in the restaurant,” he says, his voice still dark and seductive. “Every time I close my eyes, I feel your lips on mine again. I can’t wait to get you all horny by driving you to work tomorrow. I think I’m always going to drive my motorcycle from now on. Fuck my car.”
That last remark has me smiling, but I’m still reluctant to flip the switch in my brain and start teasing him back. This is not what was supposed to happen. It would be so much easier if this was Joshua I was talking to.
“I get it,” Dshawn says softly, sounding serious now. “And I know that this isn’t fair, calling you like this. I just… I can’t help it.”
“I know,” I breathe. “I can’t help it either.”
“Tomorrow,” he says with a smile in his voice. “7 am.”
“Yes,” I agree. “Tomorrow.”
When he hangs up, I stare at my phone for a long time, not sure what just happened. How am I supposed to face him tomorrow morning? I never get this flustered over a guy. Never. Not in seven years. I’ve had guys fuck me in bathrooms at clubs, I’ve been fingered underneath a table in a restaurant, I even slept with a girl once. Why does one single sexy phone call with Dshawn make me feel way more excited than any of those things did?