Sleeping with the enemy
Two years ago I would have died if Damion Richardson wanted to cuddle with me. Now. Now, I was torn between two decisions. There was a voice whispering yes and sharing encouraging thoughts, but then there was another voice screaming warnings, reminding me of what happened the last time I started creating fantasies of this guy.
Relaxation became a thing of the past. My body stiffened when he pulled the scrunchy from my hair. It didn't relax when he threw out a compliment of how soft it was before burying his face in the nest he made. To make matters worse, he even pulled me closer, so he could wrap his strong arms around my waist.
Yes! I was even more terrified when I heard myself say, "This dress is suffocating me."
I bought the dress while in the city. It was a gift to myself for moving forward. I was dead wrong. Here I was with the same person I was supposed to move on from.
"Yeah? Then, take it off." His voice was muffled by my hair.
Take it off?
Somehow, the words sounded dirty in my head.
"Really? You wouldn't mind?" I asked, unsure of my decision.
Of course, he wouldn't mind, Emily!
His chuckle vibrated the bed. "I'm in my boxers. So technically, I don't get to judge."
My cheeks heated at my stupidity. I had the urge to jump face down in a corner. As much as how I loved the color red, blushing was never a good look on me. Thank God Damion couldn't see me. Yet.
The quarterback released me from his clutches, so I could get out of the bed. The movement was slow as if he was hesitant. It was a factor to jump at if my heart wasn't beating a mile a minute.
For a second, the knowledge that Stacy was the one who helped with my zipper slipped me. When the memory came back another unexpected thought came with it.
Pulling my now loosened hair to the side, I exposed the zipper at the back of the dress. "Can I get some assistance?"
That got me another chuckle. There was a little shuffling, then my zipper started moving down. It was okay that my body was already buzzing from the proximity of the hot guy behind me. But, I was astonished when my ears picked up a sharp intake of breath when the fabric fell to the floor. Not to mention the hissing sound when I turned around to face him.
What was that for? Was that a good thing? Or a bad thing?
By now, it didn't take a genius to figure out my face was the same crimson color as my lips.
A smirk tilted Damion's gorgeous mouth. "You're cute, you know that?"
Before my brain was able to process the statement, the athlete pulled me onto him. We both fell on the bed with a soft bounce. The hard muscles pressed against my body were hard not to notice. I tried to move away, but Damion held me in place.
'You might as well get comfortable because you're not escaping anytime soon,' a voice in my head warned.
Blowing out a long breath, I did just that. I got comfortable. I allowed half of my body to rest on the bed with my head on his chest and my leg draped across his waist. And, boy, did it feel good.
"I'm tired," Damion groaned. His robust chest vibrated with each word.
Who wouldn't be tired? He was an athlete. They had to train and still try to make time for their classes. Some of them failed. Most of them succeeded. Damion was one of those guys. He was the one who got the A's, and from what I heard, it wasn't just in his academic life.
Before I had the chance to respond, though, he continued, "I'm tired of these fake bitches, fake friends. All the fakes. This year is my final year in college. My last opportunity to make history. To show the Giants that I'm really their best pick. I really don't need distractions, I need support. I think I need a girlfriend."
What? Was he messing with me? He must have been drunk.
Damion's warm palm caressed my thigh. The gentle strokes left goosebumps in their wake.
"An actual girlfriend I can depend on," the quarterback elaborated. "A girl that doesn't laugh at my jokes because I'm the quarterback, but because she thinks what I said was actually funny. A girl that's willing to watch my playbacks and other games with me at night, rather than go out partying. She doesn't have to be a football Wikipedia. But she has to have a little interest in the sport. A girl I can trust, who's honest, no matter what. She should be bright enough to command my attention, not to chase after it." He let out a small chuckle. "You know, I hate those types of girls. The ones that chase and chase after a guy who's not even interested. I mean, seriously, I'm avoiding you for a reason, how dense can you be."
He laughed aloud this time. His voice coated with disdain. As he did, my heart sank. At that very moment, all I wanted to do was cry. The past was coming back to haunt me.
Gosh! I was such an idiot.
'Well, at least you don't have to be anymore. The guy's a douche,' my inner voice soothed.
Once settled down he inquired, "What do you think?"
Me? How nice of you to ask?
I was too drained to put up a front. There was no point in anything anymore. This was my past life. I was moving on or trying to.
Therefore, I gave him my honest opinion. "I'm not sure if a girl like what you want exists on campus, but if she is, then she's hiding in the shadows. I guess you'd have to lure her out. If not, then maybe you have to expand your horizon, date someone off-campus."
Another laugh exploded through the room. "I think I like you. Most girls would have tried to put in an application right there and then."
It didn't matter if he liked me now. It was six months too late.
The skin in my forehead pulled together. "Yeah, well, I am like most girls. I am the complete opposite of the girl you just described. In fact, I'm selfish. I'd skip out on the football marathon to maybe study, hang out with friends, or be alone. The worst part is, I have zero interest in the sport itself. I mean, why do they call it football, if the ball is always in someone's hands?"
Damion gasped. "You did not just blaspheme against the sport. The football gods will punish you for that."
I couldn't help the laugh that tumbled out my lips.
Football gods, my ass.
"There is no such thing."
His chest vibrated from a hum. "You'll see. I did warn you. Might as well repent."
I rolled my eyes. "Yeah, remind me to do that when I visit the stadium. Besides, if the football gods are not angry with me already, they won't be now. I only go to football games for silly reasons. You guys look great in those jerseys. Not to mention, I'd be the girl that laughs at your joke because you're the quarterback. Most of all, I do throw out a little white lie here and there just so I won't hurt the person's feelings. And, last but not least, I am the idiot who obsesses over a guy who doesn't want to be with me."
After my shit show of a speech, I was ashamed of myself. This was not the by-product of doctors. I shouldn't be even parading after athletes. My parents taught me better. Athletes and I never meshed. We were on the opposite sides of the fence.
I made another attempt to escape but failed. Again. My companion had other ideas. When I struggled to get up, Damion flipped me on my back and positioned himself on top of me, pinning my hands above my head. When he was certain I wouldn't try to leave, he flopped back down on the bed, turning on his side. Still, not satisfied, the quarterback used my hand to pull me in the same position he was, so we could be face to face.
Geez! This guy was not only an ass but a bully too. I couldn't even believe I was letting him manhandle me like this.
'Shame on you, Emily,' my inner voice scolded me.
"I'm going celibate," he declared.
Now, this was a joke.
I couldn't help the laugh that took over. "I don't think you can do that. Celibacy is not for you. You get a blow job the morning before every game. It's like a ritual, a good luck charm."
It was something every girl learned before we decided to hang out with the footballers. If any of us got the quarterback, we would have been prepared. That was our ritual.
Damion's brows furrowed. "I don't do that. I mean, I sometimes…" Realization spread across his face. "Fuck!"
Another one of my laughter rang out.
"Well, I can change that. I can find something else," Damion declared.
"No, I don't think it would be healthy to change your ritual when you were just pressing the point of having an amazing year." I quoted, "Your last chance to make history."
"Oh, God!" he groaned. "Please don't tell me you're the superstitious type."
"No, I'm not, but you're a jock. You guys live for superstitions."
It was a thing. They each had rituals. Some of them were conscious of their actions. Others, like Damion, weren't. Even Dylan had a ritual. He would…
I shook my head, getting rid of that thought. He shouldn't be on my mind now.
"Really?" Damion's brows knitted together. "They also said something about jocks being dumb."
I arched my brow. "Isn't that true?"
A false factor. My time being a puck bunny taught me a lot about athletes. Not all college players wanted to go pro. Most of them were playing because of scholarships, or they loved the game and all that came with it: fame and girls.
"Why you little…" Damion started tickling my sides.
I turned on my back and he came on top of me, still tickling. Swatting the tickler's hand away, I tried to crawl away from him. Due to my excess laughter, I was too weak. When I was about to lose my shit, he stopped. Groaning, I gasped for air as my belly cramped from all the laughing. When my breathing went back to normal, a smile stretched my lips.
It had been a long time since I laughed like this. It was nice.
Damion flopped down on the bed. I turned back on my side and noticed he was watching me. A few rebellious curls laid on his forehead. Involuntarily, my fingers combed them back in place with the rest. My sudden action got a slight shiver from him.
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to—"
"It's okay, it felt good." He grabbed my fingers and kissed them before asking, "Can you do it again?"
With trembling fingers, I raked it through his forest of curls, reveling in the softness and silkiness of them. There was a vast line of hair products on my dresser, but none made my hair feel this way.
"I'm gonna do the celibacy thing," he murmured. His voice sounded more like a sigh that miraculously turned into an actual sentence.
"Yeah, but you're gonna have to find a different ritual," I informed him.
My assessment still stood. There was no way he was going to be celibate.
"Yeah," he agreed with closed eyelids.
"Am I putting you to bed?" I whispered.
"Yeah, I think so," he whispered back.
With a full-on crazy smile, I continued to massage Damion Richardson's scalp until he fell asleep before later falling asleep myself.