Salty

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18

O L L I E

Two feet of fresh snow, slippery roads, and frigid temperatures were supposed to keep the general public in the safety of their own homes on days like this one. Black Friday at Mulligan’s was proving otherwise. The weatherman’s looped forecast had been playing in the background of Ollie’s home while he listened to the restaurant fill beneath him. As much as they needed the income of a day like today, their chef had no desire to leave the safety of the second floor.

Ollie scanned the room, looking for another dirty dish, a lost article of clothing to be added to the laundry, or maybe some junk mail in need of being thrown into the already emptied trash. Useless. The place was as tidy as it had ever been. With an entire night filled with nightmares that left him with limited sleep and overthinking what had went down in Sloan’s kitchen the day before, he had made himself useful by making the place spotless. Now instead of avoiding his bed, he was avoiding the restaurant.

Two unneeded scenarios were awaiting him downstairs—neither being the crowd of shoppers that were looking to his establishment as an escape from the day’s nasty weather. One was his brother giving him shit about not attending Thanksgiving. The guilt trip was going to be laid on thick for missing a family holiday. He’d spent the day with Sloan...and that was another problem in itself.

Ollie had rules. He’d broken not just one but multiple.

“Never the same girl twice,” his head shook, muttering to himself for what seemed like the millionth time today while taking a Clorox wipe to his stainless counters. “Never a student. Never an employee.”

The only rule he managed to keep on lock yesterday was no kissing. No kissing was important. That shit led to feelings and feelings were off the table. He’d never make a mistake like that again. Feelings don’t stop after the other person busts your heart open. Those feelings just get stronger when you can’t have what you want. Employee and student were more than enough to put his head back on straight. Sloan was a widow. Had it even been a year since she’d lost her husband?

Ollie found himself wanting to know more about Steve. In fact, much of his night was spent wondering about their relationship. So, spouses, but ones that didn’t marry for ordinary circumstances—according to Sloan. But what if they were just pushed into something that was inevitable? She clearly loved him. Did Steve feel as strongly about Sloan as Ollie once did Shelby? Did he know ways to make her smile on her bad days? Know ways to make her pissy? Did he like her cooking? Were they playful? Did they make love after fighting? Did Steve enjoy the way Sloan’s bangs always freed themselves and blocked her from seeing, and how cute she looked as she tried to blow them out of her face?

The only thing that managed to keep Ollie from scrubbing his way through the countertops to the floor was a knock at the door. His hand immediately stopped, eyes moving to the direction of the light tapping. It was a rare occurrence—someone even knowing that there was an apartment above the restaurant. The staff feared him enough to mind their business and stay on the first floor. Mikah wouldn’t be bothered to move his feet that far from the bar when he could send a text or call if he was really feeling motivated.

“Ollie,” Shelby’s calm voice accompanied another knock. “It’s me.”

Ollie sighed, tossing the wipe to the trash. It missed completely and fell a good foot in front of the bin. To open the door or not open the door, that was now the question. He loved seeing Shelby on payroll days. He wanted to see her as much as possible, but it never failed to make him hurt just as bad. He already wanted to fall into old habits and scold her for driving here in a snow storm. He knew her well though. She’d likely been up since four in the morning, planning a day of shopping with her mom and his own sister, Kit. They’d have maps and plans of what stores to hit as they opened to get the best Black Friday deals. By now, he knew that they had probably finished their Christmas shopping, and it wasn’t even close to noon. Christmas gifts first, then break for coffee and breakfast, then spend the afternoon shopping for themselves. Shelby wouldn’t stop until every bit of available credit was used. In the old days, his credit cards were also fair game. Shelby loved shopping possibly more than him at the time.

“Ollie...”

“Yeah, yeah,” he moved to the door.

It took a minute to unlock the deadbolt and chained lock above his head before opening the door. There stood his ex, wearing a pale purple, Canada Goose coat with light-colored fur around the hood. It looked like it was sparkling with snowflakes that had melted since coming indoors. Her long blonde hair was off to one side and braided. With one hand very carefully holding two coffees, freeing the other for her knocking, Shelby also had a folder tucked beneath one arm and was surprisingly giving him a smile.

“Hi,” her pink-lipped smile grew.

Ollie’s stomach summersaulted. He wanted to enjoy this. He wanted this to be about them. He knew better. Opening the door wider, he offered an unspoken invite into his home, leaving Shelby to close the door after entering and him once again looking for a way to put his hands to work in the kitchen.

“Wow,” she followed him in, glancing around the kitchen and living areas. She placed one coffee in front of him and held one for herself, dropping the folder to the counter top. “You’ve done a lot with this place. It’s stunning.”

He nodded, tucking his hands into the pockets of his black trousers. The last time Shelby had seen this apartment, it was storage. Years and years of paperwork tossed into boxes and hoarded by his dad and grandfather. It was nothing but a crumbling shit box that he was practically forced into. He had to agree though, the last few years and a lot of money later, the place was suitable as a bachelor pad. At least until he could escape from all things Mulligan.

Shelby sipped her coffee, giving herself a little tour of the two main spacious rooms that she had access to. Meanwhile, Ollie was coming up with every excuse he could about hanging up on her yesterday. Ollie was a man of many emotions and anger usually got the best of him.

“You’re not sick,” she spun around and unzipped her coat. She took it upon herself to hang it on the free stool before taking the one beside it.

“Not today, no.”

“You weren’t yesterday either.”

“I was, actually,” he rocked on his heels. “I didn’t realize I needed to specify with a diagnosis. I had a hangover.”

“Have you been drinking a lot?”

Ollie laughed loud. An alcoholic, he was not. She should know better than to even think that. He didn’t owe her any sort of explanation as to why he had been drinking. She was assuming that he was drinking alone, and that was not the case.

“Are you here to lecture me on missing a holiday again?” he quizzed. “I’m really not in the mood for it, and I’m sure Mikah is waiting to scold me about breaking my mother’s heart over a meal. Can we just wrap this up? We both know you shouldn’t be up here.”

Shelby shifted on her stool, visibly uncomfortable. “I can go where I want. And yes, that was part of the reason for my visit. I don’t believe that the holiday is what was bugging you anyways.”

Ollie’s eyes narrowed, head beginning to shake wildly for her to let it go.

“You look exhausted,” she continued.

“That tends to happen with lack of sleep,” he picked up the cup in front of him, not bothering to blow on it first. The burn to his tongue was needed to prevent him from saying something he’d regret. “So, thanks for the coffee,” he tipped the cup towards her, “but let’s get to the other reason you are here. What’s in the folder?”

“Sloan Smith...”

Hot coffee sprayed from Ollie’s mouth, having just taken a sip as the one name he expected never to come from Shelby’s lips, drop from it. So much for his earlier cleaning. Droplets now covered not only himself, but some of the floor, the counter, and the folder beneath Shelby’s palm.

“Are you okay?” the blonde’s eyes widened.

“It was hot,” he became defensive. Ollie picked up a rag from beside the sink and swiped his mouth. “What about Sloan?”

“She’s been here long enough to qualify for her benefits, but I’m having trouble with the insurance company.”

Fuck, Ollie thought, setting down the paper cup and willing himself not to squeeze it.

“She listed herself as single, but they are saying that’s not the case. I wanted to talk to you before I spoke to her.”

Ollie reached out for the envelope, taking it right out from the hold Shelby had on it. “I’ll take care of it.”

Ollie was sure never to schedule payroll days on days that Sloan worked. The two had never met, and he was sure as hell keeping it that way.

“You don’t have to,” her head shook as she stood from her place at the island counter. “It’s my job. I just haven’t ever had issues with it before. I probably should introduce myself to staff that don’t know me anyways.”

“Shelby, I said I’ve got it,” he countered again with a heightened tone. The folder was tossed behind himself to another counter and out of her reach.

With a frown, she exhaled and picked up her coat, hugging it against her stomach. She took a few steps towards Ollie—who was already feeling like complete shit for his outburst. He just wasn’t expecting the girl who was on his mind all night to come out of the mouth of the girl who is on his mind all the other times. Shelby lifted a hand to hold Ollie’s cheek as he looked anywhere but the eyes he loved. Instead, he focused on a cast iron pot that was hanging on the wall behind her, wishing he didn’t like her touch on him so much.

“I know you,” she whispered, and unlike him, keeping her calm. “You are not okay. The Oliver I know would have never hurt his mom by missing a family holiday like that.”

Ollie swallowed hard. The sound of the restaurant beneath them was only getting louder, and he wished that he could be in that kitchen instead of right here right now. But again, Shelby was touching him for the first time in years.

“I know when you are overworked. And that’s not it. I know when you and Mikah are at each other’s throats, and again, that’s not it. Do you want to talk about it?”

“No,” he pulled back, away from the feeling he craved.

“Please?” she asked again. “Dinner. You and me.”

“Your boyfriend won’t like that,” his head shook no.

“I don’t see where it’s any of his business if I have dinner with a friend who is having a hard time. It’s just dinner, Ollie. You and me. We go somewhere private and you tell me what’s bothering you. Tonight? We will go to that place you like down the road. The one with the pastrami you love so much. We should talk about us anyways. We never did.”

It wasn’t until the last two sentences that Ollie’s heart began to race. He looked up to her, meeting her eyes, not speaking a word. Both of them knew that his silence was a yes. He didn’t need to talk about anything with her other than about what went wrong. About how he’d wanted to fix it. They both made mistakes and he wanted to make his right if she did too.

“I know it’s busy down there. So, how about eleven? That place will still be open, right?”

His head nodded.

“Okay,” she smiled again, this time biting at her lip. “Eleven.”

* * *

After a quick shower and a much-needed change of clothes—due to the others being saturated in coffee—Ollie made a call to the insurance company and was promised coverage for Sloan. He knew she’d likely answered single on her form as a way to hide Steve, but they were one step ahead of her. If they weren’t questioning her before, they might have been now. Ollie ensured the representative that his employee was, in fact, widowed, and she had misread the question.

As the chef of Mulligan’s descended the stairs to the boisterous establishment, he did a quick glance to the messages on his phone. There was a voicemail from Mikah, telling him to get his ass into the kitchen. There were also two messages from Kit and one from his mother—none that went in his favor. Everything from the restaurant, his private life, and even the job at the school was thrown back into his face as being a priority over his family. The phone didn’t even stop chiming as he walked through the sea of busy tables to get to the kitchen. The thought of how many messages he would have by the end of his shift had him hoping that his dinner with Shelby could free his mind of it.

Another message buzzed on his phone; this time it was Mikah again.

What was happening? Was this pick on Ollie day? Was there a family newsletter that went out that said any baggage you have with Oliver Mulligan can be tossed in his face on what was apparently going to be the busiest day of the year? Missing a holiday was not the end of the world. He was positive that everyone had a much better time than they would have if he had been there. It was for the best.

Thankfully, he was able to avoid Mikah entirely. The bar was insanely busy for it being so early in the day. Ollie made a dash for the safety of his kitchen, finding it was a mistake. A petite brunette, one he’d been thinking about all morning, collided chest to chest with him.

“Oof,” Sloan groaned, her hand lying on his chest for support.

“Jesus, sorry!” he reached out to steady her.

“My fault.” Shyly, her hands quickly retreated. “Wasn’t paying attention.”

Servers were diving around them from the left and from the right while the two stood embarrassingly eyeing each other. Yesterday was apparently on both of their minds, and there was no way to make this less awkward. Who was going to say what they were thinking first?

“We should—”

“Can we—”

“Talk!” Sloan’s head bobbed to agree. “Yes.”

Seeming to now be on the same page, the two rushed across the frantic kitchen, knowing they were on limited time. The staff needed help and soon. The alley behind Mulligan’s was the closest private space they could get to.

Slapped with brisk air and continued snowfall, the two both began rubbing their own exposed arms for warmth. Maybe this wasn’t the best spot for a talk, or maybe it would help move it along quickly.

Sloan began pacing, kicking fresh snow as she did which almost made Ollie want to laugh if it wasn’t such a weird time for it.

“You’re my teacher,” Sloan began arguing with herself, using a lot of hand movements. She wasn’t looking up, but only at her soaked feet.

“Yep,” Ollie agreed.

“And my employer...”

“Correct,” he agreed again. It was as if she was reciting his own rules back to him.

“We made a mistake once. We can’t do that again,” more hand movements before they landed on her hips.

Ollie’s head cocked. “Not a mistake, but continue...”

Now she looked up, eyes wide. They discussed this before. As far as a one-night-stand went, they did nothing wrong. They didn’t know of their impending professional relationship. However, doing that again last night would have been different. He made her feel shitty about it once and now knew differently.

“Yeah. Let’s just agree that last night was just...”

“It doesn’t need a word,” Ollie’s head shook. “Nothing happened. It stopped. Let’s just proceed as we normally would.”

“Yes,” she exhaled and did a few jumps for warmth. It knocked her bangs free from the red bandana meant to hold them back. “Good plan.”

Great. They were on the same page. Ollie opened the backdoor of the restaurant, motioning for her to enter first. The warmth of the kitchen was more than inviting. Sloan rushed in, going straight for a sink to wash her hands. After pulling a white apron from the hook beside the door and tossing the loop of fabric over his head, Ollie joined her there.

“I’ll start the truffle fries,” Sloan announced. “I’ve never done salmon; so, that’s all yours.”

“Got it.”

At the exact moment Sloan’s hand reached for the soap, Ollie’s did the same. With neither of them holding what they had intended and, instead, holding each other, two pairs of very surprised eyes met.

Why am I not letting go? he questioned himself. Christ, let go of her.

But Sloan wasn’t pulling her hand back either. Touching her soft skin was sending off a rushing of his endorphins—just as it had last night. And just like last night, his head flooded with all thoughts of Sloan. How gorgeous she is naked, how he loved the way her thighs wrapped around his face. His entire morning was up in smoke. There was absolutely no denying it; his body was craving hers. He could tell himself a million times over again why fucking her a second time was a mistake, but it didn’t stop the want of doing it again.

A clattering of pans hitting stainless countertops sent two pairs of wet hands in opposite directions. Without looking back to the girl beside him, Ollie went for a different sink. He was removing himself from a situation that they had just agreed was a terrible idea.

Nothing happened, he told himself, scrubbing his hands as if they were soaked in mud. We did not just have a goddamn moment.

By the time he was finished, she was already over the sink, washing each potato thoroughly. It was good that she had already mastered his truffle fries. The kitchen was becoming chaos. Orders were coming through fast and normally this would have the restaurant’s chef in his zone. Ollie was made for days like this. Fast pace, beautiful creations, barking orders at his staff to keep everything flowing smoothly. Not today. All his mind could think about was sex. Not just any sex—the mind-blowing night of sex he had shared with Sloan Smith.

“Focus,” he told himself under his breath. He dashed for the spice cabinet, but with little room left in the place to move, it felt like navigating a maze. Avoiding one person in the sea of people in the room, kitchen chaos led him right to her. Of course, it was right as Mick needed through behind him.

Ollie’s groin shoved right into Sloan’s ass, a common and unfortunate hazard of working in a tight space. It was to be expected. What he wasn’t expecting was the most erotic gasp that fell from Sloan’s lips when it happened. Mick slid past his back again, knocking him just far enough that he clutched her hip to steady himself—and fuck if that didn’t feel good. Their night together was now front and center in his memory. Not just what happened that night, but what he wanted to happen right now if they were alone. His mind was flashing with visions of bending her over right here and taking what he desperately wanted.

“Sorry,” Ollie muttered, quickly excusing himself when he had enough space to do so. He dropped his hold of her.

Panicked, Ollie dove into the freezer, shutting the door just enough that his team couldn’t see him, and massaged his aching cock. No time for a cold shower, the freezer was going to have to do.

Last night he’d kept catching her stare as they studied, and all night he kept thinking of how gorgeous she was when she laughed. And now? Shit. As if last night wasn’t enough with his lips pressed to her neck, feeling her again like this? What the hell was he thinking bringing her to work here? She was hands down the best fuck of his life, and his dick was throbbing—saying it wanted another go.

She’s depressed, he told himself. A widow. Screwing again would be a terrible idea. She needed that last time. Doing it again would not be the same. Plus, you’re meeting Shelby tonight for dinner.

That sound he heard her make, shit. It sounded like a moan. It was a sexy, horny, fuck-me-now gasp. and he wanted to hear it again. It was the same gasp she made when she felt his cock inside of her for the first time, and it practically drove him over the edge as soon as she made it.

This day was killing him, as were his boxers. The tent was now pitched. Not just a little—he was rocking a full hard-on that gave morning wood a run for its money.

He leaned himself against a nearby shelf and set his head against his arms. The cold was doing nothing. “Dead puppies,” he whispered beneath his breath, pressing his eyes shut tight. “Forrest fires, burnt food, literally any song by Miley Cyrus...”

Nothing. He was stiff as steel.

“My ex leaving me, the second Thor movie,” he continued, adjusting himself. “Sloan’s mouth sucking me until I filled it...”

He twitched, releasing his own groan.

“I’m backed up out here, Chef!” the door to the freezer swung back open.

Ollie bolted towards the back wall, acting as if he was looking for something while cursing himself and this day.

“I need a minute, Todd!” he scolded his employee. “Have Sloan,” his eyes pressed shut. “Have Sloan help you. She’s capable.”

Todd muttered something behind him and left the door hanging open. Ollie took a deep breath, and then rushed from the kitchen out the back door. The alley was his safe haven for now. There was one thing he knew he could imagine to end this, and his mind wasn’t going to go there just to talk himself out of an erection. So, he took ten minutes to pace the alley during a blizzard.

This busy day was going to kick his ass in every way it could. Eleven couldn’t come soon enough.

* * *

The damp cloth was tossed to the counter. It was the white flag for the night. It had been years since the restaurant was that full. One night of missing crumbs on the counter was deserved. He couldn’t even blame his kitchen staff for abandoning him as soon as their shifts ended. Sloan was the only one to stay and help get the room somewhat under control.

It was quarter to eleven—confirmed by a glance at his watch. His feet and neck were burning with pain from working his ass off. He had fifteen minutes to shower and get to the restaurant to meet Shelby. Yet, his feet weren’t moving. Ollie stood, watching Sloan—who he knew was just as sore as he was—finish her cleanup and move around the kitchen as if it was her own. She was amazing tonight.

Ollie glanced at his watch again, seeing another minute had passed by.

“You hungry?” the words left his mouth before he could actually think them.

“Hmm?” she asked, hanging a skillet from the hook above the prep table. She had to use her tip-toes to reach it, just barely getting it to latch on. He liked watching her do that—always insisting that she could do it herself when someone offered to help.

“Food. Did you even get a break tonight? Do you want to eat?”

“I...” she dropped down a few inches when she went flat-footed again. She looked tired and like she was about to refuse but she nodded. “I’m starving.”

“Me too.”

“We just cleaned though,” she sighed and looked around the room.

He got it. He didn’t want to do it again either, but he wasn’t going to let her leave here hungry either. While Sloan’s hip was leaning into the counter, Ollie ran around the room, collecting ingredients for their dinner. Every ingredient he could think of from her shopping cart the first day they had met was nearly falling out of his hands—including their favorite, Worcestershire.

“You’re a thief, Oliver Mulligan,” he heard giggles behind him that had him smiling, knowing she was catching on to what he was doing. He loved hearing her laugh. “That is my soup recipe and my Worcestershire!”

Ollie grinned. “Finders keepers. And yours is actually upstairs, hidden away for safekeeping from the real thief.”

“I’m stealing it back,” she countered playfully.

Sloan joined him at his side, selecting carrots to begin peeling and slicing. Ollie busied himself with the chicken. They obviously didn’t have time to marinate, but he did what he could for seasoning it with the same flavor. Without even realizing it, they found their normal rhythm in the kitchen with her working the veggies and him readying the cooked poultry for shredding. Soon, they had their ingredients mixed together in a pot with a rolling boil.

Beside the stove, Sloan was already cleaning her area. She took care of the kitchen just as he always had. For being so young, and green to working in a kitchen, Sloan was probably his hardest working employee and student. That shouldn’t have been the reason why his eyes were glued to her, but alas, this morning’s thoughts were catching up to him again.

He was trying everything not to think of last night and how he had tasted the skin of her neck, where there was now a tiny bruise on that very spot. There was something very sexy about the little black mark on her—his mark. From a slide-glance, Sloan’s eyes caught his watch of her. He visibly watched her inhale a deep breath and hold it, meanwhile using both of her hands to clutch the edge of the stainless countertops. The two held their gaze for what seemed like minutes, knowing it was more like a few very heated seconds.

What was it about kitchens?

Student, he reminded himself, taking a step closer. Employee. Never the same girl twice.

By the time Ollie’s front was against her back, Sloan’s hold of the countertops had her knuckles turning a ghostly white. She only released one hand and used it to turn the gas burner to off, leaving their soup not nearly done. All noise disappeared, other than the wind of the alleyway coming off the lake and two people breathing erratically.

Unable to stand it, Ollie pressed his lips to the back of her neck, beneath her pony tail. His hands gripped her hips. His cock was as hard as this morning when he had to take laps in a blizzard, and Sloan was very aware of it and not moving away.

“Ollie...”

“Tell me not to,” his hands moved to the hem of her pants where his fingertips just barely teased to pull them down. “Tell me to stop, and I will.”

Sloan’s breathing intensified, but she still didn’t pull away. In fact, he could have sworn that she backed up a little, molding herself further into his hold on her. More turned on than he’d been in likely ever, his fingertips entered the pants. Her tight body was in his hold and all she had to do is tell him no, that they were about to do something very stupid. Ollie wanted to be so stupid.

“Tell me you didn’t think about this all goddamn day like I did. Tell me you don’t want me to fuck you in this kitchen, right here and now.”

Her head shook no, and Ollie froze for a moment. Did she want him to stop?

Sloan’s hand reached behind her, gripping the bulge that she had put there twice today, and causing Ollie to close his eyes tight to focus on it. “I’m not going to tell you that I don’t want it, because I do.”

“Fuck, Sloan,” he allowed his head to rest on the back of hers as she continued to squeeze him. She felt good, and he needed more and soon.

His hands finally yanked her pants down beneath her ass, finding a thong beneath. His fingertips danced along the string of the undergarment until he could feel just how much she’d been wanting this too. One finger massaged her dampened slit, leaving the girl in his hold to become a mess of heavy breathing.

“Is this where you want me?” he teased her puffy lips and briefly sunk one finger between them. Tight, warm, wet—fuck she was sexy. Sloan moaned without an answer. “Is it?”

"Yes.” Becoming greedy for more, Sloan took the initiative with her hand to unzip Ollie’s pants and fumble with a button for a few seconds before it finally came free.

All day. All day he wanted her and now she had his pants hitting the floor of his kitchen, pooled around his feet. A hard cock was already bursting from the hole of his boxers, ready for her hand to once again feel him. Her skin on his, gliding her closed fist around his erection, his front still to her back—this is what he needed. His hands teased her a few more times before wandering up her toned body to tits that were practically made for his hands to squeeze. He could tell that she was wearing a lacey bra beneath—one that he was dying to see. Sloan was hot and no matter how many times he told himself not to notice, he always did. There were reminders in the back of his mind of her moans and whimpers from their night together—ones that sounded just like this with the same ones falling from her lips.

“Sloan,” he growled into her neck, sucking her bruise once more. “Tell me you are on some type of birth control.”

Her head bobbed yes—thankfully.

Now. He needed her right here, right now. His palm pushed on her back, leaning her over the counter and lifting her ass higher into the air. With one hand, Ollie gripped himself, using his crown to press to her slit. It took one thrust to find the spot he needed, finally entering Sloan. Tight, slick walls accepted him as the girl in his hold cried out in pleasure.

Ollie knew he could be rough with her. Their night together fell nothing short of that. Making her loud for him was the best part, and he knew he could make her scream his name throughout the entire empty building all night. Thrust by thrust he took what he wanted, his pelvis slapping against her ass while her pony tail was gripped in his closed fist. Ollie raptured her until he felt her first orgasm rip through her, sending the first OLLIE! cry from her lips. Her pussy convulsed around his shaft, but he didn’t stop and neither did she. Sloan arched her back further, riding the waves of her ecstasy until Ollie couldn’t take it. His own orgasm emptied into her—something he hadn’t done without a condom in years.

The intimacy of coming inside of someone was not lost on him and he tried to shove it to the back of his mind as his release oozed down her thighs. Sloan—still breathy and just fucked—leaned herself back into him. There was no way he was done with her yet, and they both knew it. With her pants still at her knees, Ollie swung her around and lifted her over his shoulder, filling the kitchen with a squeal and giggles. They needed to get up to the bedroom. He needed to see her completely naked and sprawled out on his bed, because that was a memory worth repeating.

The restaurant floor was dark, dimly lit by the lights behind the bar. It was just enough light to get them to the iron stairway that led to his apartment. His arm was wrapped around her knees tightly, but still, Sloan gripped his shirt, as if it would stop her from falling.

“No kissing,” Sloan reminded him once they had reached the upper landing.

“Correct,” he grinned. At least he’d be sticking to one rule tonight.

The apartment was still dark and you’d have thought Ollie had never stepped foot through it a day in his life. Every object between the front door and the bedroom became an obstacle. He collided toes with the end table and a bookshelf, knocked Sloan’s arm into a wall that led to a lot of sexy giggles and finally, he tripped with her in his arms, luckily landing them into a soft bed. They collided with a moan.

* * *

Whirling wind, ice-cold drafts from shaky, clattering windows, and snow plows awoke Ollie from one of the best sleeps he had experienced in over a year. His naked body stretched, still aching from a hellish Black Friday in the kitchen of Mulligan’s, in addition to a night of screwing. It might have been better than the first time. They fucked, they ate, they fucked again somewhere else. They even used Mikah’s bar at one point, which he was extra proud of.

Ollie shivered. The apartment was cooler than usual, and he’d have to bump up the heat if the storm didn’t stop. Recalling the last time Sloan was in his bed—and the cover hog she was—Ollie sleepily reached out an arm to capture some of her warmth. He was not expecting his arm to fall flat to the mattress beneath it. He pried an eye open, scoping the bed in its entirety and finding it empty.

“Sloan?” he called out into the abyss of the apartment. No response.

Not caring how naked he was right now at six in the morning, Ollie left the bed as is. With the exception of himself, the apartment was empty. Sloan had clearly left, with the cloths he had discarded from her being gone from the floor of the bedroom. The pants he had brought upstairs just a few hours ago were draped over the back of the couch, and he pulled his cell phone free from the pocket. Other than a few missed calls from Shelby—which was another issue on its own—nothing. Sloan left in a snowstorm to get out of his apartment and avoid the morning after.

Sighing, Ollie walked himself naked to the fridge and opened it for a bottle of water. He paused before taking a bottle though. Because there, on the top shelf and right where he had left it, was a bottle of Worcestershire. He frowned and picked up the bottle to stare at. She didn’t steal it back.

“Goddamnit, Oliver,” his head shook as he slammed the fridge door shut. “You fucked up.”

They said they wouldn’t do it again and they did. He knew she was still a mess from Steve and still, he thought with his dick instead of his head. Sloan had not been ready for a one-night-stand to be anything more than that and he knew it.

Never the same girl twice.

Never a student.

Never an employee.

His phone buzzed in his hand, reminding him of the missed messages from Shelby. He’d messed up twice last night. Standing up Shelby with the one attempt she’s made since ending their relationship may have been a mistake, but Sloan was the girl that had his heart sinking into his stomach.

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Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.