The Road Between

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Chapter 14: Party

LIZZY: WARNING This chapter has mature content!

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Ariana’s POV

"So what now?" I asked as we stopped right inside the clearing surrounding the house.

"Now you leave it up to me." His face had changed again and he quickly dropped my hand.

I glared at him crossing my arms and forming fists with my hands, "Of course leave it to the men right? What could a woman possibly have to offer?"

He sighed, rolling his eyes, before running his fingers through his hair and relaxing again. "That's not what I meant Avi. I just meant you don't have to worry about it. The guys and I will come up with a plan."

He wrapped his arm around my waist pulling me around so we were face to face. His apology only 30 minutes ago had changed something. In the walk from the cliff to here I had suddenly come to the real meaning of that moment.

If I said stop, he would. I had no doubt. This realization made it all too easy for me to relax into him. Feeling safe and maybe even loved.

"Jacob," I shuddered at the name wrapping my arms around his waist. "Is my problem not yours."

"Your problems are my problems." He smiled bending down and nuzzling my neck. "Because you are mine."

For the first time those words didn't sound threatening or even bad. In fact hearing them sent a shiver of anticipation down my back and suddenly he was all I wanted. I heard him chuckle as an involuntary moan escaped my lips.

For a second I was afraid, I had never let my guard down like this around a man. As our eyes met though that fear washed away with the tenderness of his gaze. It was quickly replaced with nervousness.

I was safe here with him, with all of them. I could drop my guard here for the first time I could remember. However I had no clue what was expected of me. How was I supposed to act, what should I say, and worst of all what if I messed up?

Suddenly there was a cheerful bing sound. Liam sighed pulling out his phone.

"Ian wants us both to go to the pool house." He frowned down looking confused. "I wonder if Mason is swimming drunk again. He does that and refuses to get out." Liam rolled his eyes.

"Mason? He's the one Natalie was with right?" I asked thinking back to slumber party conversations.

"Was?" He asked, suddenly confused.

"Yeah, broke up with him in the garden today. Or she was going to." I replied suddenly wondering if I shouldn't have told him that. "Why do I need to be there?" I added, anxious to change the subject.

He started leading me toward the back of the house. If men made me nervous, drunk men flat out terrified me.

Liam shrugged, squeezing my hand gently, "It should only take a minute. Anyway Ian asked for you."

He sighed irritated before muttering, "I swear if they are both drunk." He shook his head.

As we rounded the corner at least twenty people yelled, "Happy birthday!"

I jumped back around the corner into the shadows ripping my hand out of Liams hard enough I knew it would bruise.

"Shit guys, seriously?!" Liam said feigning frustration.

"What did you think you got out of it this year?" Someone laughed, Adam maybe.

Just then Liam poked his head around the corner. "Come on. You'll have fun. They may be idiots but they can throw one hell of a party."

I accepted the hand he offered me as I squared my shoulders deciding to face this straight on.

Liam's POV

In the confusion of everything going on I had completely forgotten my birthday, giving Scarlet the chance to throw the first actual successful surprise party.

She had tried every year for 10 years, since I dared her when we turned 16. The pride on her face was elating, but I also felt horrible that I had forgotten her birthday as well.

I led Aviana over to where the group of people was gathered around the pool now talking and laughing.

"Avi!" I heard Natalies voice and watched as a rare, real, smile spread across Aviana's face as she waved back.

"Go have fun, I need to talk to Adam." I smiled, squeezing her hand reassuringly, before dropping it and walking towards where Adam and Ian were standing.

I knew this was not an easy situation for her. I also knew she was more than brave enough to face this, and I promised myself I would be sure to be nearby just in case.

Time flew by and suddenly three hours and two long drawn out beers had passed. I spent the time half listening to people talking to me and half watching Aviana from across the pool where she was with Scarlet.

Natalie I noticed was talking with Asher who seemed to be enjoying her company. I was glad, he was so much better for her then Mason ever had been.

I spotted Mason drunkenly flirting with some tall red head who seemed to be immensely interested in her own finger nails.

I rolled my eyes with a sigh. Looking back at Aviana. She looked beautiful in the tank top and swim shorts Scarlet had talked her into wearing. Her auburn hair hung loose and she was chuckling at something Scarlet was saying.

"Hey Liam, can I talk to you about Scarlet?" Adams sounded nervous as he sat next to me with a sigh.

I noticed he hadn't been drinking much today either.

"What about?" I asked pulling my attention away from Aviana.

"I want to go out with her. Like officially dating her." He cleared his throat, an obvious sign of nerves for him.

I had known this was a long time coming, but I still wasn't sure what I thought.

"Adam I love you like brother and you are an amazing guy it's just..." I sighed, "I was hoping Scar could get away from all of this, live a normal life. And she did, for a while."

"I know." He nodded, "After her attack she came back though. She's happy here. I will protect her, you know that." He said meeting my gaze with a fiery intensity. "I love her Liam, I would do anything for her."

"I know," I smiled at him nodding. "I'm good with it under one condition."

"What's that?" Adam asked, smiling triumphantly.

"If your position in the gang ever puts a target on her back, you tell me. No trying to handle it by yourself. She's still my sister and I will protect her." I said seriously.

"Of course, but you have to do the same with Avi." He said, looking just as determined. "Obviously not because I have any connection with her, but we are brothers. The life we live is dangerous and we have to be able to depend on each other."

I fought the urge to argue that I wouldn't let it get that far with Aviana. She would never be in danger from me. I wouldn't allow myself to get that close, but as I glanced back at her I knew there was a chance I would fail. I sighed before turning back.

"Agreed." I nodded, deciding a party wasn't the time to get into this discussion.

"Good." Adam suddenly beamed at me, "Wish me luck."

He stood walking towards the drinks where Scarlet was now standing.

I looked over and knew automatically something was off with Aviana.

She stood arms crossed tightly as she glared at Jonah and two of his friends. Just a few lower level goons, but she had the same stance she had been in that first night at the pier.

I was surprised to see how easily I could now see the fear in that same position.

That first night though I had known it had to be there, but all I could see was anger and determination. In the last several months though I had learned her tells.

Like the way she pursed her lips just a little too much when she was scared, or how her eyes never stayed still instead jerking from face to face.

I started working my way towards her. As I got closer I could hear the conversation.

"Can I at least have your name babydoll?" Jonah slurred stepping closer. He was shorter than me but still taller than her by several inches.

She stepped back bumping into his friend. A tank of a guy I didn't recognize.

"Why? Don't you have your own?" She hissed.

I grinned and couldn't fight the pride and longing that filled me hearing her strength in the words.

Jonah reached out touching her cheek and a fury overwhelmed me as she flinched away.

"Don't touch me." Her voice was a growl and her bright green eyes burned with fear covered by anger.

"Come on sweetheart." Jonah chuckled drunkenly.

My blood boiled but I knew if she hit him, all the others who didn't know her would defend him. It would be seen as an insult to the mob. I had to get to her now.

"Back off." She warned angrily.

"Normally they have better entertainment." Jonah slurred, reaching to touch her face again.

Aviana swung hard, and though I had seen it coming Jonah had not. He staggered backwards falling into the pool.

"What the fuck?!" I heard a girl yell as five or six goons turned to glare at Aviana.

"Back off." I said loudly, stepping up beside Aviana and automatically taking her hand.

I towered over everyone there and they all turned away back to what they were doing. Nobody knew her yet but everyone knew me.

Jonah pulled himself out of the pool spluttering and fuming. Without letting go of Aviana I stepped to him dragging him up right by his shirt. I lifted him up with one hand.

"Touch her again and I will kill you." I hissed quietly.

He nodded dumbly and I tossed him back into the pool, but not before noticing the beginning of what I was sure would be a beautiful black eye forming.

I dragged Aviana back to the house and up the stairs into her room shutting the door.

She jerked her hand away as I tried to convince myself she was fine, and control the fury that was still burning in my gut.

"I had it under control." She snapped

"Clearly." I turned chuckling humorlessly. I fought to ignore the insane amount of tension that I could feel burning between us. I wanted her more then I had ever wanted anything.

"I can handle myself." Her breathing was quick and I could see the longing in her eyes. She wanted me to and I knew it.

With one step I closed the gap between us. My lips fell on hers desperately as I wrapped my arms around her picking her up by her ass. She wrapped her legs around my waist willingly as she grabbed handfuls of my hair.

I had never felt like this. I was desperate, I had to have her.

All of the attraction, irritation, and many other emotions she made my ice cold heart feel over the past several months, had built to this burning fire. This was the breaking point. I couldn't hold it all back anymore.
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