Integral Instruments - With prelude to Justified Voices (Book 7)

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7

Noah

I went straight to the gym. I wanted to break something and needed to work it off.

Why the fuck did I have to be like this? Why was this a part of me? My mother was so even tempered that I should have leveled out, but nothing leveled, especially when it came to Arlee.

Something in me wanted to protect her, in the same sense that I wanted to claim her and take her as my girl, but I couldn’t. I wasn’t for her.

I wasn’t good enough. I just wasn’t the right guy and I wanted her to date, but just the thought of her with another guy tore at me.

I was at the bench press when Arlee came into the room, closing the door behind her.

“Noah?” The way she said my name made my breathing hitch, and it wasn’t from the exertion from the weights.

“Yeah?” I docked the weights and sat up, cocking a brow and plastering a fake smile on my face. I was good at playing it cool.

“Can we talk now?” She fidgeted with her hands.

“You wanted to talk.” My jaw was tight, but my voice surprised me in it’s gentleness, “Talk.”

I watched as she moved to the pull-up bar on the other side of the room and began to grip the side support.

“Ian told you to back off?” She didn’t look at me as she asked.

“Yeah.” I gave a nod, leaning on my legs.

“So, you didn’t want to?” She bit her lip nervously, “Stop seeing me?”

“No.” I bit the word.

“And Summer?” Her little eyebrows shot up.

“A mistake.” I took a deep breath to calm myself. “It was to get Ian off my back.”

“By hurting my feelings?” She looked like she might cry and all I wanted to do was pull her into my arms, but I knew I couldn’t.

“Look, I tried to stay away from you, Arlee,” I told her, almost begging her to understand, “I knew it was better that way, but I couldn’t. There’s something about you that draws me in and I’m not right for you.”

“It felt right when we talked and when we hung out, Noah.” She bit her lip again as she fidgeted.

“Trust me, I’m not the guy for you, Arlee.” I shook my head.

“Is that you or Ian talking?”

“Arlee, I saw your face last night, when you said we needed to talk, I know Ian might have told you... something.”

“He was teasing though.” She rolled her eyes, “He said you liked to brainwash women and have your way with them.”

“It wasn't a total lie.” I shook my head, “I’ve never brainwashed anyone, though I do like control. There’s a difference.”

“So he wasn’t lying?” Her gaze shot up and her eyes met mine.

“I don’t know all of what he said.” I put my head in my hands.

“That you like, tie these women up and stuff.” The look on her face was so utterly nervous and cute that I couldn’t help the laugh that came out of me.

I gave a nod, “Sometimes.”

“This isn’t funny, Noah! Don’t fuck with me here!” Her face fell, “I’m serious!”

“I’m not and please don’t swear. I hate it when you do that and I’m already trying so hard to keep my shit together right now.” I cringed and looked into those entrancing round, brown eyes. I hated that coming out of her mouth. She was too innocent for that shit.

“Everyone else around me swears!” Her lips went into a strait line as she hissed, “I’m bound to slip at some point and I think now is a pretty good freaking time!”

“What do you want me to say, Arlee?” I leaned forward and rested my arms on my legs.

“I don’t know, Noah!” She crossed her arms and stared out the tiny cabin window, “I’ve never been in this type of situation before!”

“Okay, sit down,” I motioned to the sit-up equipment in front of me and she froze. I bit my tongue and pointed again, “Please.”

She did and was now seated across from me.

“When I was 12 I started getting these urges. It was like a rage that was building in me and I couldn’t control it.” I began to explain, “Remember, I told you that I had my dad’s temper, I was just good at hiding it?”

She gave a wide eyed nod.

“I began to play a lot of sports and it helped for a time, but at 15 nothing helped anymore and I realized it was because I had no control in my life.”

God, how could I explain this to sweet, innocent Arlee? How could I look into those beautiful doe eyes and try to explain this?

“You’ve met my parents, you know my sister. I just like to have control over something in my life.”

“So sex it is.” She gave a nod and looked around the room, anywhere but at me, “You take women’s options away and take your anger out on them.”

“Yes. No.” God it was hard to explain. “It’s always consensual. I haven’t been with anyone in 8 months, aside from that one insance.”

“So do you really do beat them?”

“Jesus, Arlee! No!” I hissed, “I like control, it’s different! Women enjoy it! It isn’t one sided and I don’t get my rocks off by hurting anyone!”

“People enjoy getting hit by you?”

“Arlee, I don’t think your following here.” I shook my head, “I have rules. I don’t hurt anyone. Not really.”

“Rules?!”

I cleared my throat, looking around my room, “I don’t cut off airways, I don’t leave bruises and I like to have a safe word.”

“You even need safe word?” She gaped at me, “It’s seriously that bad?”

“It’s not bad.” I shook my head, “Safe words can be used for certain things they don’t like. Like, positions and... Other stuff.”

“A safe word is something we had for “Stranger Danger” when I was little. Not for sex.” She hissed.

“Arlee-”

“And what do the women get out of it?”

“They get a few hours where they don’t have to think for themselves. They can relax and let someone else think for them.”

“Your only 19.”

“I’ve been having sex since I was 13, Arlee. I know what I like and I know I’m not for you.” It killed me to say it, but it needed to be said, “Trust me.”

“So they forget about everything?” Her brow furrowed and her gaze moved to the floor.

“I like to think so.” I cleared my throat, looking down at my hands.

“So, do you tie them up and do whatever?” She bit her lip nervously.

“Sometimes. Most of the time it’s just telling them what to do and when to do it.” I shrugged, “It’s not all dirty. I’m not beating them. I get my frustration out and they get to forget about things for a while.”

“But you take away their worries? It helps them destress too?”

“Where are you going with this, Ace?”

“Noah, I want to try.” She looked up at me again, through hooded lashes and I gaped at her.

I wanted to take her so bad. I wanted to make her mine in every sense of the word, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t do that to Arlee. She was too innocent.

“No.” I stood to gain some distance between us, “Absolutely not.”

“Noah, I want to try it.” She looked up at me, almost begging, “Noah, please. I have some things that I want to forget.”

“I can’t do that Arlee, go back to Colby.”

“I don’t want Colby.” She spoke through clenched teeth, “Noah, I have only ever wanted one boy and if this helps us be together why not allow me to try it?”

“Arlee, don’t do this.” My will to stay away from her was disolving quickly, “Your not this kind of person. I’m not for you and I don’t want to scare you.”

“Noah, we like being around each other. We have a connection. We have from day one. If it helps me destress and helps you with your anger, shouldn’t we at least give it a try?”

“Don’t try to rationalize this!” I hissed, “You are not this kind of girl! Your good and clean!”

“What if I’m not and just don’t know it?” Her brow furrowed.

“That makes no sense.” I shook my head to clear it.

“It doesn’t have to Noah. We can lean on each other here.” She stood and took a step toward me, “I can see the anger in your eyes.”

“Arlee, you’re not up for what I offer.” I shook my head again, “No one can even know about this conversation, because if Ian finds out-”

“Then we mutually agree to that.” Her eyes met mine like she was so certain that this was what she wanted.

“Look, I work hard, Noah,” I was stuck, frozen. I couldn’t move as she took those steps toward me, “I have a lot of stress and a lot of other things going on right now. I need to destress and if this helps both of us, why not?”

I closed my eyes, mentally pleading for her to leave me here alone, before I did something we’d both regret, but when I opened them there she was, still pleading.

“Arlee,” I took a deep, ragged breath, “If we do this we’re together.. even though no one knows...”

“It’s okay.” She gave a slow nod.

“You’d be mine,” I swallowed hard, looking into her eyes and speaking slowly, “No one else can have you. No dating anyone else, no lies and no games.”

“Noah, I’m willing to try.” She whined, “What more do you want me to say?”

“I want you to walk out, Arlee.” I told her, “I want you to call me a pig and leave.”

“I won’t.” She shook her head, “I need to forget things, Noah.”

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