Chapter 29 🔥
“I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic then to love people.” – Vincent van Gogh
“Yes, Ethan?” I answered, the corners of my lips tugging upwards in a smile.
“McKenzie.” He replied, and I could hear the smirk in his voice. “Whatcha doing?”
“Sitting.” I couldn’t help but laugh. It was 10 AM, on a Wednesday morning. “Are you that bored at work you decided to call me?”
“No.” He chuckled. “I wanted to ask what you were doing for Thanksgiving tomorrow.”
“Well, let’s see – ” I pretended to ponder my answer. “Eating, taking a nap, eating some more, and bringing out my Christmas decorations.”
“Christmas decorations? In November?” He asked, stifling his amusement.
My family and I didn’t have a lot of traditions growing up, but decorating our tree after Thanksgiving was one of them. It started when it was me, my mom, and my dad, and it continued when Dave came into the picture. Mom usually brought down the boxes from the attic on Thanksgiving day after dinner, and we’d go out and pick a tree the following day.
It was also always a natural tree, none of that fake artificial tree crap you could find at Target or on Amazon.
“I’m hanging up...” I replied in a sing-song voice. There are very few things I genuinely enjoy in life, and Christmas was one of them. This time last year, I had just settled into my new apartment, unpacked boxes still scattered around – but I still went out and bought a tree.
If that doesn’t tell you how committed I am to the holiday, I don’t know what will.
“No, wait –” Ethan chuckled on the other end. “Don’t hang up.”
“Give me a good reason not to.” I retorted, setting my bowl in the sink.
“Because you love talking to me?”
“Wrong! Try again.”
“Me? Never –”
“Very funny, McKenzie.” I could almost see him rolling his eyes through the phone. “I’m having a couple of people over for dinner tomorrow night. Do you want to come? You can bring a friend or your sister.”
“And by a few people, do you actually mean a few people or the entire Thomas clan?” I scoffed. The Thomas family was legendary for their gatherings, or so they say according to Google. There’s not a lot of information about Ethan’s family out there, but the few photos that did pop up, there were at least twenty people present at each gathering.
Yes, I googled him a while back – sue me.
Instead of answering my question, Ethan asked, “Does that mean you’ll come?”
“I’ll think about it.” I sighed, my heart rate picking up speed. I wasn’t sure why I was scared to meet his family. I had already met his father at a few work functions, but this time it would be different. I wouldn’t be meeting them in an official work capacity – I would be meeting them as Ethan’s... Friend? Girlfriend?
It’s stupid really, because Ethan met my family months ago so it really shouldn’t be such a big deal – yet here we are.
I should make a mental note to ask Caryn about this the next time I see her.
“Of cour –” He was cut off, and I could hear MaryAnn’s muffled voice in the background. Then, Ethan cursed under his breath. “I’m sorry McKenzie, but I have to go. Just think about tomorrow.” I didn’t get a chance to reply, because the line went dead.
Picking up the rubber gloves hanging off the kitchen sink, I slipped them on and poured some dish soap on the dirty dishes in the sink.
Things had been great between Ethan and me, and each day I felt myself growling closer and closer to him. Nothing sexual had happened between the two of us, except the impromptu shower incident from a few weeks ago. It was easy to get lost in him, lost in the connection we had re-established – but for some reason, he was hesitant to take it all the way. I know he wanted to, I could feel he wanted to, but he always put a stop to it before things got out of control between us.
At first, I thought it was cute – him not wanting to rush me – but now, it was just annoying. Pretty soon, I was going to have to resort to other methods of relief.
“Wake up!” I felt something hit my head with a thud. Groaning, I pulled the covers up further before mumbling a groggy go away.
Just when I thought I was in the all-clear to go back to sleep, the sheets I had wrapped around myself were pulled back, and the bright rays of light from the sun blinded me. Squinting, I looked in the direction of the culprit half expecting to find my mother standing there, but instead it was Zoey.
“What are you doing?” I squinted, propping myself up on my elbow.
“What are you doing?” She glared at me, hands on her hips. “It’s Thanksgiving morning and you’re still in bed. Mom woke me up at six this morning – six!”
“Ha – sucks to be you.” I snorted, falling back against my pillows.
“I had a feeling you might say that.” She smirked, pulling out a white spray bottle from behind her back. I glanced between her and the spray bottle she had now aimed in my direction, and raised an eyebrow.
“It’s your funeral if you don’t get out of my room in the next five seconds.” She ignored the death threat, and instead wrapped her index around the spring of the spray bottle. A jet of water hit me directly in the face, and before I could react, Zoey had already run out of my room laughing.
“You are so dead!” I yelled after her, already on my feet.
After a quick shower and getting changed into a pair of comfy sweats and an old t-shirt from my high school days, I followed the scent of the food – down the stairs and into the kitchen.
Despite the side door leading to the yard being open, the kitchen was still twenty degrees hotter than it usually was on any given day. The heat continued to engulf me the further into the kitchen I stepped. All four stovetops were on, as well as the oven on full blast. My mother’s usually white, pristine countertops were now covered with dirty bowls and pots, and stains.
Mumbling a quick good morning, I immediately headed in the direction of the coffee pot. “Can you set aside one of those pies for me?” I nodded to the three apple pies currently cooling off on the rack near the sink.
“Sure.” Mom looked up, her brow creased with sweat. “Are you taking it to Megan?”
“No.” I shook my head, pouring some cream in and stirring it together. “Ethan invited me over for dinner later today. I thought it would be rude to just show up empty-handed.”
“Oh.” She nodded absentmindedly before her head whipped in my direction. ”Oh!”
"Mom," I warned her, lifting the steaming hot cup of coffee to my lips and taking a sip.
“I also made some Tiramisu.” She removed her hand from the bread dough, wiping her hands on the apron she had wrapped around her waist. “I was going to serve it tonight, but –”
“Mom,” I repeated, but it was no use. She had already entered crazy town. “MOM!” I yelled, finally getting her attention.
“What?” She asked, her brows furrowed together.
“Don’t go planning our wedding now.” I rolled my eyes laughing. “It’s just dinner. And Zoey’s coming with me by the way.”
“I’m doing no such thing.” It was her turn to glare at me. “Although that wouldn’t be such a bad thing. Ethan is a nice young man.” I heard her mutter the last part, although I don’t think it was her intention for me to hear it.
Rather than arguing with her, I asked, “Do you need help with anything?” My eyes scanned the room, trying to find anything I might be able to help with that didn’t require too much cooking knowledge.
The turkey was already in the oven – not that I was going to get near it anyway – and it seemed like she had taken care of dessert already. However, it was wishful thinking to assume Mom didn’t have something for me to do.
“Start peeling those potatoes over there.” She pointed to a sack of potatoes next to the coffee maker.
There goes my plan to sit on the couch, as far away from the kitchen as possible.
Mom had finally let me out of the kitchen around one, just in time for me to wash up and get changed for lunch.
By the time everyone had arrived and we all sat down to eat, I was ready to eat the entire turkey by myself. Knowing Zoey and I were going over to Ethan’s later, I decided to skip breakfast this morning, which turned out not to be such a great idea because I was starving.
We probably would have started eating earlier, had it not been for Mira and Robert – my parent’s friends – running late.
After everyone went around the table saying one thing they were thankful for, Dave finally cut the turkey. Piling my plate with a hefty piece of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and salad – I dug in. I was just about to take another bite of turkey when Zoey nudged me. “What?” I asked, turning my head to look at her.
“What time are we leaving?” She asked.
Glancing down at my phone, it read 2:49 P.M. “In about two hours or so.
“Can we make it sooner?” She looked at me pleadingly. “I don’t know how many more questions I can answer about my first year of college without pulling my own hair out and screaming.”
When I asked Zoey if she wanted to come with me last night, she practically screamed yes. She’d been home since last weekend, and things had been relatively calm between her and mom. Last night when I came over, I even found the two of them having a civil conversation over a cup of tea.
I had to blink a couple of times to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating.
“You’ll live.” I rolled my eyes at her, directing my attention to Mira who had just called my name.
The next two hours went by painstakingly slow, making small talk here and there. You never realize how nosy old people are until they’re all gathered in the same room. The question on everyone’s mind, and one they were not afraid to voice, was where Justin is.
Although Justin and I were already separated during Thanksgiving last year, I told everybody he was sick and couldn’t make it to lunch. Now – one year later – people were still asking the same question.
I guess my mom didn’t get around to telling them I had gotten divorced.
When 5 P.M hit, I couldn’t get out of that dining room fast enough. “Mom,” I called out, pushing my chair back. “Zoey and I are going to head out now.”
“Okay honey.” She smiled, a glint in her eyes. “Have fun. And don’t forget the pie!”
Yes – how could I forget the damn pie. She spent all morning trying to convince me that one pie was not enough and that I should also bring the tray of Tiramisiu she had made.
“That was the longest two hours of my life.” I let out a deep sigh once Zoey and I were in the car. Leaning my head back against the headrest, I closed my eyes. “People are so nosy.”
“I told you we should’ve left earlier.” She laughed, buckling her seatbelt. “But for the record, I think you handled that situation like a champ.”
“Thanks.” I glared at her, sarcasm rolling off my tongue. Turning the key in the ignition, I shifted the gear in drive and pulled out of the driveway.
It took us less than thirty minutes to get to Ethan’s house since there was barely any traffic. When I pulled into his driveway, there were already two cars parked – none of which belonged to him. One was a silver Jeep Grand Cherokee, and the other was a white Mercedes Benz.
“Let’s do this,” I mumbled, turning off the car.
“Why do you look like you’re about to throw up?” Zoey asked as the two of us walked up the driveway.
“I am not going to throw up.” I rolled my eyes, pressing my index finger on the doorbell. I was just extremely nervous, and on the verge of a heart attack, I thought to myself.
When the door swung open, Ethan smiled brightly at us. “You made it.”
“And we brought dessert,” I said, gesturing to the pie Zoey was holding, my eyes still glued to his. From the moment he opened the door, I wanted to jump his bones. Unfortunately, I had to try and control myself because we weren’t alone.
He was dressed in a pair of black slacks and a light green sweater that brought out his eye color. His sleeves were rolled up in a way that displayed his forearms and the veins throbbing alongside his arms. I discovered a long time ago that there is just something incredibly sexy about a well-dressed man.
Now, Ethan dressed to impress on any given day. But when you haven’t had sex in months and your hormones are a jumbled mess – your brain gets a mind of its own.
“Come in.” Ethan stepped aside, and Zoey and I both slipped past him. “It’s good to see you, Zoey. How’s college?”
“Oh, you know.” She shrugged, her eyes still scanning the surroundings. “Wouldn’t be college without a few mental breakdowns along the way.”
“That’s fair.” He laughed, taking our coats and hanging them on the rack by the entrance. Then, he gestured for us to follow him. “Everyone’s through here.”
When Ethan said he was having a small gathering, he actually meant a small gathering. I expected there to be at least a dozen people in his dining room, but instead, there were only three.
The first person I took notice of was the fairly short brunette dressed in a sharp business suit that held quite a resemblance to Ethan. She must be his sister, I thought. She was lean, and her hair was neatly pulled back in a high ponytail, only adding to her serious demeanor.
Then, my eyes focused on the couple seated side by side. The girl was young, and she looked like she was in her early or mid-twenties. Her long jet-black hair fell past her shoulders. Her small frame was accentuated by the large swollen belly she was gently stroking. While her entire demeanor screamed sweet and kind, the man next to her was the complete opposite.
Even sitting down, he looked to be at least 6′3" and his arms bulged with muscle. His eyes were a dark hazel color with specks of brown swirling around, and they shined under the bright light illuminating from the light fixture just above the dining room table. However, despite his tough exterior, the way he was looking at the girl next to him, you could tell he would move heaven and earth for her.
“Everyone,” Ethan cleared his throat, scratching the back of his neck. “This is McKenzie, and her sister Zoey.” All eyes were on us in an instant, and the first to react was the pregnant woman sitting down. Her lips widened into a grin as she stood up and walked over to me before pulling me into a tight hug.
“Oh!” I accepted her hug, awkwardly patting her on the back. Truth be told, I wasn’t used to strangers hugging me like this.
“I’m Sara.” She said, pulling back and extending her arm.
“You’ll have to forgive Sara, she’s a hugger.” Ethan scoffed, placing his hand on my lower back and guiding me towards the table. “The big grump right there,” he pointed to the dark-skinned man who eyed us with an unreadable expression. “Is my best friend Adam.”
“Who happens to be my husband as well,” Sara added, returning to her seat, but not before ruffling Adam’s hair in the process.
“And the one pacing holes into the floor is my sister – Ashley.” He motioned to the woman in the crisp business suit who gave me an awkward wave, quickly pulling the phone away from her ear to shout, “Looks like you owe me twenty bucks, Richards.”
My brows furrowed in confusion, and Zoey tried to stifle her amusement next to me. Meanwhile, Ethan threw her a murderous glare. “You can ignore her, she’s had a busy week at work and the wine hasn’t kicked in yet.”
“It’s nice to meet you all.” I shifted my weight from one foot to the other, my body all too aware of Ethan’s hand still resting on the small of my back. It was a comforting gesture, one I appreciated greatly at that moment.
“You know McKenzie,” Adam looked me dead in the eye, no signs of emotion on his face. “I was starting to think Ethan had made you up.” Then, his face broke into a smile and I couldn’t help but let out a visibly deep breath I didn’t know I was holding.
Adam was really intimidating, especially with that buzz cut.
As I took a seat in between Ethan and Zoey, my eyes scanned the table. A large turkey had been placed in the middle, surrounded by plates filled with vegetables, stuffing, Mac and Cheese, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and so much more.
“Are you guys planning on feeding an army?” I chuckled as I continued to eye all the food. There was enough food on that table to feed at least ten people.
“We like leftovers,” Adam smirked, pointing at Sara before bending down and planting a kiss on her cheek. “Especially this one right here.”
Those two were sickenly adorable.
As if reading my mind, Ashley playfully rolled her eyes, taking a seat across from me. “Spend five minutes in a room with those two, you’ll never feel more single in your life. Even if you’re already in a committed relationship.”
I’m starting to think she’s right, I thought as I watched Adam whispering something in Sara’s ear. She threw her head back laughing, while Adam continued to smile down at her in the most loving way possible.
In the short time spent talking while we waited for Ashley’s boyfriend, I learned that Ethan and Adam had been best friends since high school. While Ethan ended up going to business school, Adam enrolled in the military right out of high school, and it was through Ethan that the two of them met. Sara was one of Ethan’s classmates at Wharton, and it was he who introduced the two of them during a weekend visit from Adam while he was home from deployment.
“I’ll get it!” Ashley yelled when the doorbell rang, her seat scraping against the hardwood floor. Once her boyfriend Jason joined us, everyone began filling their plates.
I was so focused on Ashley describing a case she was working on for that DA’s office, that I jumped when I felt a cool hand on my knee. I tried not to react, and from the corner of my eyes, I saw that Ethan’s eyes were trained on his sister while he ate slowly.
I quickly placed my hand over his to stop him from venturing up any further and tried to shove it off. Of course, that didn’t work, and his hold remained firm on my bare skin. When he refused to budge even after some light pinching and shoving, I gave up altogether and settled for shooting him a dirty look.
That only seemed to amuse him further, and I felt his hand begin to slowly travel up further. Past the hem of my dress, and up the inside of my thigh. “Stop it!” I hissed, trying to kick him under the table without anyone noticing.
“I’m not doing anything.” He replied, flashing an innocent smile while his hand rested on the inside of my thigh.
“I swear to god, I’m going to stab you with this fork if you don’t get your hand out of there.” I gritted, my voice as low as possible and an innocent smile of my own plastered on my face.
“What are you two whispering about over there?” My eyes snapped to Adam who eyed us curiously, a smirk tugging at the corner of his lips.
“McKenzie was just telling me how much she hates your cranberry sauce.” Ethan bit back a laugh, cutting up another piece of turkey and biting into it.
“No, I do not!” I found myself laughing along with everyone else at the table, my body still aware of Ethan’s hand rubbing heated circles on the inside of my thigh.
“Ethan,” Sara called out. “When are you bringing out dessert? You can’t promise a pregnant woman cake, and then forget about it.”
He shook his head laughing and threw the napkin from his lap on the table. “Right away, your Majesty.”
“I’ll help!” I piped up, pushing my chair back and following Ethan in the kitchen.
“Can’t stay away from me, Cupcake?” Ethan smirked over his shoulder, reaching into the fridge for a glass cake stand.
“What the hell was that back there, during dinner?” I snapped, smacking his arm once he had safely put the cake on the counter.
“What was what?”
“Don’t give me that bullshit –” I let out an exasperated sigh, on the verge of pulling my own hair out. “You know exactly what I’m talking about. You’ll do that, but you won’t have sex with me?”
“McKenzie...” He sighed, running a hand through this face. The playfulness that had been there a second ago, had been replaced with the frustration evident in the hard lines of his face.
“Just tell me why!” I all but yelled.
“Because McKenzie,” He leaned against the counter, crossing his arms over his chest. “You’ve been through so much, and I just don’t want you to feel pressured. I want us to take things slow for once. I don’t... I don’t want to lose you.”
“Not this again!” I gritted, frustration dripping in my voice. “That is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. Rushed sex was never the problem here – I was! Me and my fucked up feelings, and commitment issues.”
His eyes softened, and he shook his head in defeat. “I swear to god if you don’t fuck me right now, I’m going to go buy a vibrator and make myself cum tonight.” I blurted, feeling my cheeks heat up a thousand degrees.
That’s what a whole lot of pent-up frustration and teasing will do to you.
Surprise flashed in Ethan’s eyes before they hardened. “Downstairs.” He grabbed my wrist, pulling me towards him, and I can’t say I wasn’t enjoying his reaction. “Now.”
“Took you long enough!” I let out a quiet yelp as Ethan wrapped his arms around the back of my legs and hoisted me up. As he moved us through the kitchen, he kissed the corner of my mouth – trailing his way down the curve of my neck to the sweet spot just between my collarbone.
“Wait –,” A soft moan escaped my lips as he opened the door leading to the basement. “What about everyone?”
“They know their way around.” He mumbled against my neck. I’m not sure how Ethan managed it with our mouths practically sewn together the entire time, but somehow we made it to the spare bedroom.
I guess this is where having a big house comes in handy – your family and friends don’t have to see you sneaking away to have sex.
Kicking the door shut behind him, and without missing a beat, Ethan carried me to the bed and threw me onto the firm mattress. I bounced slightly against it, but I didn’t have much time to adjust myself because Ethan grabbed my legs and pulled me to the foot of the bed. While his mouth found its way back onto mine, his hands pulled the entirety of my dress off, leaving me sprawled on the bed in nothing but a mix-matched navy blue thong and lace bra.
His eyes bore into mine as he pulled his sweater over his head, letting it fall to the floor. Rolling onto my stomach, I crawled to the edge of the bed and got on my knees. My eager hands quickly unbuckled his belt and flicked the button of his pants through the hole before sliding down the zipper and letting them fall.
Even though all we had done was take each other’s clothes off, the moment seemed so intense – both of us breathing hard. I felt myself growing hotter under his gaze as Ethan pushed me back onto my back and looped his fingers through my underwear’s waistband. He looked up at me, his eyes trained on me as he slowly tugged them down.
“I never want to hear you talking about anyone or anything else making you cum.” He growled, roughly pulling my legs apart so that I was completely exposed to him. I nodded – once, twice, maybe more as he crouched down and kissed my inner thighs. I could feel him smirk against me as his tongue inched closer to my aching core, knowing I was already wet and more than ready to feel him inside of me.
His tongue found its way onto my clit where he gently nipped at the bundle of nerves before circling around it vigorously. “I can’t tell you how much I’ve missed your pussy.” He murmured against my throbbing sex before licking up and down my folds. I moaned in response as my fingers dug into his shoulders.
As I felt myself inching closer and closer towards an orgasm, Ethan extracted his mouth from my pussy. I was about to protest when I saw him taking off his boxers and reaching for a condom.
Once he had slipped the latex onto his cock, he positioned himself at my entrance. He ran his cock up and down my folds, my wetness lubricating his throbbing erection. I was so wet, and the nerves in my pussy were on fire. “I want you inside me.” I continued to hold his gaze as he slowly pushed in, my walls tightening around him, before thrusting into me all at once.
A loud moan escaped my lips as he grabbed my legs and threw them over his shoulders, continuing to slam into my pussy. “Right there – yes!” I cried out, my back arching up. I fisted the sheets, Ethan’s name falling from my lips as my moans filled the room.
Ethan’s hands found their way to my bra and he pushed it up, exposing my hard nipples. Bending down to capture one of my hardened peaks in his mouth, his thumb found its way onto my clit and began rubbing circles over it.
“Your pussy feels so good on my cock.” He growled before his wet mouth began circling my other nipple.
“I’m so close,” I whined as I felt my core building with heat until I shattered, my toes curling around his waist in ecstasy. Ethan rode out my orgasm, before pulling out.
“Get on all fours.” He commanded, his lustful gaze holding me captive. I scrambled to get into position on the bed, and as soon as I settled, he slapped my ass and pulled me closer to the edge of the bed before plunging into me with newfound purpose.
“Fuck me,” I growled as he continued to thrust, each time sending shocks of pleasure up my spine. He pressed his lips to my neck, and nipped at the sensitive skin, sucking gently.
“Harder.” I moaned out and I could feel his smirk growing wider. I’ve never said anything like this to anyone before, but after months of pent-up frustration and missing the way his cock felt inside my pussy, I lost all shame and shyness.
Ethan’s movements became rougher and more out of control as he thrust into me from behind.
Deep. Hard. Powerful strokes.
I cried out when his hand made contact with my ass again, feeling the sting, and oddly enough – it only made me cry out his name louder.
“Do you have any idea the level of self-control it takes to not bend you over and fuck you like this whenever I see you?” I heard him say, but I was too far gone to answer him.
“Hm, McKenzie?” He pulled me out of my daze with another slap.
“Yes!” I screamed as one of his hands tangled in my hair and tugged on it, my head tilting back as I arched my back. “Faster.”
My walls tightened around Ethan’s pulsating cock, moaning loudly as I came again. His fingers gripped my waist as he continued to slam into me, another orgasm rippling through me as he continued to mercilessly fuck me. With one final thrust, he grunted above me, his chest heaving above my trembling body.
Ethan slowly pulled out of me, and made his way into the bathroom, before falling into bed beside me. “Wow,” I said breathily, rolling on my back and eying the ceiling as I tried to catch my breath. “That was...”
“You continue to amaze me every day, Cupcake.” He propped himself up on his elbow, tugging my naked body closer to him. In one swift motion, he had pulled me on top of him, and his lips found their way onto mine.
There are roughly ten chapters left in this book – give or take a few – with four additional bonus chapters I plan to release later on. My goal is to have this book finished by the end of July, so we’ll see ☺️
Thank you so much to everyone reading along. You guys keep me going. Love you all❤️
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