Crossroads: Book 1

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Chapter 85

Elena


“Elena, sweetheart, you can’t be in love with me,” he scolds.

I hold him tighter. “But I do. I have for a while now, but I wasn’t sure I could tell you,” I sob in his chest.

“Why?” he asks against my neck.

“You’ve just been so closed off; I was scared of what you’ve been hiding from me. I used it as an excuse to keep myself at arm’s length. The truth is, you’ve had my heart all along,” I confess with my tears in his chest, soaking his shirt. Why can’t I stop crying? This is so embarrassing, but I can’t seem to stop.

His hold tightens around me, flushing my body right against his as he pushes his face further into my hair. I can feel those warm, soft lips assault the side of my neck ever so gently. His hands glide up my body to hold my face in his hands as he pulls himself far enough away to look into my eyes.

Using the pads of his rough thumbs, he delicately wipes the tears from falling down my face. His eyes have gone mostly black from his dilated pupils; the green irises are once again dark. “Why are you still crying?” His eyes search mine with intent.

He must have buried his heart away for so long that he doesn’t know how to use it. I hope I can teach him how to use it again...

I close my eyes as I let out a deep breath and try to calm my thundering heart. “I’ve never been in love before.” I shrug a shoulder. “I’m a little scared.”

Those beautiful lips of his find mine; his kisses are not only filled with promise, adoration, and slow-burning passion. With his large hands still holding my face, he pulls away just for a moment and says with a small upturn of his lips and a raspy breath, “I’m petrified.”

In an instant, his hands find my bottom to hoist me up, so my legs wrap around his waist. As he kisses me, our tongues fight a sweet war, he tastes like coffee and smells like heaven. A small moan leaps out of my throat and into his mouth from his slow torturous kisses.

He’s carrying me effortlessly as he walks somewhere - I don’t know where we are going; I don’t care. It’s only when I softly land on a large, white fluffy cloud that I realize – he’s taken me to his bed. The feeling of the cool plushness comforter against my back with his radiating body heat suspended mere inches above me is exhilarating. It makes my head spin, and I am so glad the tears have stopped.

His lips move to the side of my neck, with his teeth - he gently nibbles the spot behind my ear, coaxing another moan out of me. He lies down on top of me enough so I can feel his hard chest and abdominal muscles against my chest and belly. Mike still holds himself up just enough, so his weight doesn’t crush me.

“Damn, girl, you got me so fucking hard,” he rasps against the hollow of my throat, then he breaks contact just long enough to reach over his head with one hand to pull off his shirt. One of my hands quickly moves to his strong back to hold him closer. He can never be close enough. My other hand buries itself in his hair. He moves so his one hand can venture the length of my body; his touch sends jolts of electricity right to my core. I can feel his solid hard member through his sweatpants, pressing against my belly as his hand glides up to the hem of my t-shirt above the waistline of my yoga pants. Just when his fingers make sweet contact with my skin, his phone rings.

“Dammit,” he hisses into my chest then lifts his head. With regret, he says, “Baby, I’m so sorry -but I need to take this.” I sigh and turn my head. It’s fine; I need to catch my breath anyway.

A string of curses flow out from under his breath as he reaches for his back pocket and struggles to extract his phone; I can’t help but giggle and let my eyes dance around the room. His bed is very large, probably a King size. There’s a long black dresser to my left with shiny silver handles on each of the four drawers. Looking to my right against the opposite wall, I see a large mirror that is almost the bed’s length and reaches up close to the ceiling.

No closet in here.

Watching his movements in the mirror, I see Mike push a hand through his hair when answering the call. “Yeah?”

“Right now?” He looks over at me with a pained expression. He reaches for the bare skin peeking out from the gap between my shirt and my pants with his free hand.

“Alright,” he says as though he’s paying attention to the phone call, but all his focus is on me. He pushes his hand further up my shirt with a wicked grin playing on his lips. We laugh but heat pools in my cheeks as I push his hand away. I really didn’t want him to stop, but it’s a bit strange to have him touching me like that while on a phone call with someone. What if his mother was on the other line?

That would be awkward.

He chuckles into the receiver. “No, I’m not laughing at you...I’m on my way.” He presses the red button on his phone with his thumb and shoves it back in his pocket. “Believe me, I’m so sorry, Kitten, but I’ve got to go.”

“Okay,” I sigh.

Mike reaches for my hand, pulls me up from his comfortable memory foam bed, kisses my lips, and then jumps off the bed. He opens a dresser drawer to take out another shirt then reaches down on the floor for the one he removed and tosses it at me with a wink. I smile up at him, but it’s not my sweet, innocent smile. With a devilish smirk of my own, I decide to try flirting with him, seduce him, even tease him.

Here goes nothing.

With his questioning eyes on me, I change position, so I’m kneeling on my spread knees on the bed and cross my arms over my torso to grip the hem of my shirt. Something flickers in his eyes as I tug at the bottom of the material. Slowly, I lift it higher and higher until it’s over my head, and I’m clad in nothing but my white cotton bra and yoga pants.

He groans. “Dammit, Elena.” He drops and shakes his head. When he lifts his gaze back at me without lifting his head, I giggle with how his eyes twinkle.

In a flash of light, he tackles me back on the bed, straddles me, and tickles my sides forcing my fits of laughter to fill the room. “You like that?” he teases between chuckles of his own. “When you tease me, this is what you get, baby.” I hear his amusement through my hysterics.

The tickling stops, there’s a glint of mischief in his eyes as he gently takes my hands in his own and guides them above my head then holds them there in a strong hold with one hand. My body is recovering from laughing so hard, and now heavy breaths take over as his body moves closer to mine. His lips barely brush mine when he whispers, “Gotta go.” He kisses me on my bottom lip as light as a feather. “Stay as long as you’d like.”

How dare he.

A small whimper leaves me as he chuckles and pushes himself off the bed. Sitting back up, I reach for his shirt that he tossed at me then shrug into on.

“Where are you going?”

“To the clubhouse for a bit.” He sounds indifferent, so I don’t press the matter.

He steps out of the room and leans back into the doorway. “I’ll be back a bit late, but stay as long as you’d like.” He winks, and then he disappears, leaving me alone in his house with a resounding click echoing from the door to the garage. The garage door goes up, a sound of his truck’s engine rattles the house, then the garage door goes down, indicating he left.

Perching on his bed, I struggle with the urge on whether I should snoop or not. He said I could stay as long as I’d like, which means he either trusts me not to look around or he wants to prove to me that he has nothing to hide. I decide that a little snooping wouldn’t hurt; maybe it will help me dive deeper into the kind of man he is.

Without shame, I kick my feet off the bed and head to the dresser. The dresser’s top is completely bare; I open the top drawer then see boxers and socks neatly folded and separated. I dig under some, then find a handgun, but I don’t touch it. It doesn’t surprise me that he has a firearm in his underwear drawer.

I close the top drawer and open the next one down. T-shirts. Neatly folded white and black t-shirts, separated. Then there is a pile of neatly folded muscle shirts and cut-off shirts. I rifle through them and find another handgun. Does he have a gun in every drawer? Paranoid much?

Upon closing it, I open the third drawer and find light blue jeans, dark blue jeans, and black jeans. All folded neatly and separated. He really does like things neat and organized. I don’t even go through the piles; I’m sure he has another gun in there too.

In closing that one, I open the fourth drawer and pause. There is a box like the one from my dad’s closet. It shares the same space as his neatly folded sweatpants and jersey shorts. The top of the box has the same design as my dad’s...

I remember Dad saying that he and Mike’s dad grew up together...were they in the same club, too?

I check over my shoulder to make sure that I’m, in fact, alone, then lift the lid.

It’s empty.

My shoulders slump as I put the lid back on the box and close the drawer. I remember that he stuffed some papers away the day I wanted to see his house. My feet pad over to the hallway table and open the drawer. There are some folded pieces of paper; I pick them up and unfold them.

Bills.

With a sigh of relief and a little bit of dismay that I didn’t find anything scary, inappropriate, or shocking, I swirl around and take in once again everything inside the house. I look over at the flat-screen television, his large bookcase, the black leather couch, and two matching lazy boy chairs. Even the nice fluffy, light, grey rug beneath them and the glass coffee table helps me feel a little validated on snooping.

With a shake of my head, I push away the thought of once again how he has been able to afford all this stuff at my age. I don’t want to think about all the criminal acts he might have done. Hopefully, it’s just illegal deals with moonshine and nothing else.

I notice that the only colors in this place are white, grey, and black. I turn for the bathroom adjacent to the bedroom to see if there are any different colors in there. I flip on the switch and see a black curtain over a nice porcelain tub, a white toilet, a small, plush black rug in front of the white wooden vanity, and a medicine cabinet mirror.

A small frown tugs at my mouth. As I open his medicine cabinet, I decide that maybe I should try to bring some color to this place. Nothing big, just... something.

Upon opening the cabinet, I see deodorant, a toothbrush, toothpaste, hair gel, shaving cream, and a razor. A man’s bathroom, for sure. I step out into the main room; my yellow rain jacket looks really out of place amongst his colors.

Definitely a man’s house.

There are no photos, no other pictures or art besides his painting...

The painting. I stroll up to the canvas and run my hand over it lightly, feeling the ridges and lines. It’s absolutely beautiful. My boyfriend is so talented.

My eyes catch a small crack on the wall that I overlooked before; it looks like it’s coming out from behind the canvas. I carefully grip the picture to lift it off the hook, but my phone starts to ring, stopping me in my tracks.

I’m not sure why I jumped, but I did. Leaving the canvas on the wall, I leap for my jacket and shuffle through my pockets then lift my phone to answer it.

“Hello?”

“Elena, dinner is ready.” The deep tired voice of my dad is on the other line.

“Okay. Be right there.” The crack behind the wall will have to wait for another day. Maybe I should let Mike know...in case he doesn’t already.

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