BEYOND REDEMPTION

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Chapter 2 - Unlikely Meetings

ALISON

“This better be good, Max. You just pussy-blocked me.” I hissed in annoyance as soon as Jackson had shut the door to my apartment, angrily crossing my arms in front of my chest, looking straight into Max’s eyes.

“Okay, I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear that as well as see everything I just saw. Your brother has too much on his plate already, for me to be adding this on top of everything else, so I’ll just wash my eyes with bleach when I get home. Maybe a lobotomy wouldn’t be a bad idea either.” Max taunted a little less amused than his light joke would suggest.

“Haha, very funny. The clock is ticking Maxy Max. What are you doing on my doorstep?”

“Your brother has been trying to get a hold of you for hours now, Miss Battaglia.” He replied, clearly straining to keep up with the forced formalities after what he had just witnessed.

“ALISON, Max. My name is Alison. I’ve told you that!” Max had always tried to keep this formal distance between us, especially after what happened. There was this imposed coldness that I knew came from who I was as opposed to who he was, as he so humbly put it, ’nothing but the help’. But those were his words, never mine. Max had been there in one of the most devastating moments of my life. He was behind me, literally catching me, as I crumbled when Matt told me about our grandfather’s death. And even after that, he was there helping me slowly pick up the pieces of my shattered self. He was a constant rock by my side when my own family was also crippling in pain from such a sudden and deep loss. He came by to check on me every now and again, but never stayed for too long. At the time, and after the fog of pain cleared a little, I no longer needed him to lift me, but he still came anyway and I enjoyed every one of his small visits. I thought we had shared something. Something deeper than just the weakness of a painful moment, something unrelated to all the rest around us, something just about the two of us. Fuck! I was almost sure he had feelings for me as I was starting to see him in a different light too. But I was wrong, he was just simply doing his job. One night I was down in the gutters, and it almost seemed as if Max had sensed it. My face was stained by my unrelenting tears when I heard the familiar faint rhythmic knock on my door. He hugged me as soon as I opened the door, and just held me as I sobbed. I was never one to show this kind of vulnerability, but somehow it didn’t feel like a weakness but a release. I buried my nose in the crook of his neck, feeling his soft strokes on my hair slowly soothing me. I looked up at him, into his hypnotic blue eyes as he looked down into mine, his rendering me exposed as if he could see my deepest secrets. It was as if I could feel his soul calling out to mine, luring me in, bringing me further and further until I felt my lips on his. I melted into that unexpected kiss, feeling it with every fiber of my being, as it affected me more than I could ever think it would. Max pulled back, leaning his forehead against mine, his eyes tightly shut as he slowly nodded his head in reproval. ‘I’m sorry’ he murmured before plastering a dry kiss on my forehead and leaving.

Yep! Just doing his fucking job alright. The moment he let his guard down just a little, being Max and not my brother’s employee, he immediately shut back down, retreated and I hardly ever saw him again.

He kissed ME! So why was I left feeling like I was the one who had done something wrong? Why was I the one feeling like I was suffering from withdrawal? Fuck that and fuck him! That happened months ago, so I am not letting it mess with me again.

I shook my head, ridding myself of those buried thoughts, “Did you come here just to spy on me and waste my time or does this visit actually have a purpose?”

“Don Battaglia was afraid something had happened to you, and so here I am making sure you are unharmed. We are not going through peaceful times right now, so you might just want to think about keeping your phone on. You know… be responsible and not lose it over five miserable minutes in the mud.” He said, motioning towards the closed door to my apartment, where Jackson was waiting for me on the other side. Of course Matt’s hatred for Jackson would rub off on his men, it was only natural. But this remark was all Max, I could feel the disdain dripping from his words.

“I was busy!” I pointed out, opening my arms revealing my messy clothes.

“Unfortunately, it was hard to miss.” He bluntly snorted with a disgusted expression on his face, before taking in a sharp breath as if he was steadying himself, “Cazzo, Alison! He’s your brother’s enemy! What are you doing? This isn’t you!”

“We’ve had this conversation before, Max. Jackson is only Matt’s enemy in my brother’s head. Besides, I can date whoever I want. I’m a free woman, remember? And I especially don’t owe you any explanations.” I snarled not liking the way Max was pushing me into this corner, trying to make me feel ashamed of my options. But his observation was still burning into my skull and I found myself nervously shaking my leg wanting nothing but for him to be gone.

“You are right, Miss Battaglia. I was clearly out of line. I apologize.” There’s the canyon again, growing wider. He had let his guard down, showing me he was bothered to see me with Jackson. This was what he did, confusing me beyond explanation. He would let me in only to shut me out just as quickly.

“As you can see, I am fine! Anything else you need? Or can I resume my previous activities?” I snapped. I was now growing a new nerve I needed to ease.

“Your brother asked you to call Francesca as soon as possible. She’ll be arriving in two days for The Commission meeting. He was wondering if you could keep an eye on her while she’s in town.”

“No problem. Anything else?”

Max shook his head no, as he started to leave, stopping right by my side, so close I could feel the heat that radiated from his body even through the thin layer of my shirt. He looked down into my eyes before leaning in to whisper in my ear. “Non è l’uomo per te!” (He’s not the man for you). I could hear his footsteps fading away, giving place to the loud thumping of my heart, as I stood there, still rooted to the same spot, those words echoing in my mind repeatedly.

After the shivers that had rebelliously spread down my spine, I felt my body loaded with so many contradicting emotions that I couldn’t settle on what exactly I was feeling. I couldn’t decipher if my heaving chest and flaring nose were from the anger and resentment his words stirred in me, or from the faint notion that he might just be right. Either way, it didn’t matter. I wasn’t on a quest to find my prince charming anyway. Jackson was hot, available like me, and we had extremely good chemistry. He was the perfect match for what I needed right now. Just some fun and games. A good time without any strings attached.

I decided to dispose of whatever I was feeling from this unsolicited intrusion to my privacy, steadying myself before walking into my apartment, finding Jackson sitting on the couch in nothing but his jeans. As soon as I set my eyes on him, I understood Max’s game. He was trying to throw me off, trying to definitely interrupt what we were doing. The joke’s on you, Maxy Max. My hunger just turned into starvation.

“Are you okay?” Jackson asked as soon as I walked in, before standing and making his way over to me. “Any troubles?”

“No, not at all. My brother was just trying to get a hold of me but I have my phone off and he got worried.” I replied, allowing myself to progressively calm down as Jackson’s hands started wrapping around me, pulling me closer to him, feeling every inch of my skin.

“Good. We can start right where we stopped.” He whispered into my ear before nibbling on my earlobe.

I let go of my previous constrictions, wrapping my arms around him too, as Jackson placed sensual, wet, open-mouthed kisses down my neck. My head fell to the side, giving him better access to the soft spot that drove me crazy. I was trying as hard as I could to focus, to bring back the fire I was feeling before, but I was struggling more than I would like to admit. I felt his hands sliding over my ass, continuing further down to my thighs before he picked me up, my legs, instinctively, enveloping his fit torso, as he took us over to the bedroom. His mouth devoured mine, while he fumbled with the buttons of my shirt for the second time today, managing to undo them and taking it off. He laid me on the bed, taking his jeans off together with his underwear and slipping on a rubber, while I shimmied out of my skirt and panties. Jackson was all game already, just with a couple of kisses, and I was just starting to get warm. He took his place between my legs, kissing me all over, his hard and free erection rubbing against my skin, hungrily looking for its fitting nook.

“Nah-ha. I’m on top, remember hottie?” The way I was feeling I definitely needed to take control over this situation, otherwise, Jackson would be erupting like an active volcano before I had secured my happy ending. I straddled him, slowly sliding down onto his hard cock, until my clit hit his skin, grinding onto him in circles, running after my own pleasure. Jackson’s hands were set on my hips, helping with the movements as they got progressively more enthusiastic. I started to feel the build of my increasing pleasure, as I thrust harder, always rubbing my sensitive nerve on him. I took one of his hands, placing it on my breast and squeezing a little, wanting to feel his touch harsher. My head fell back in delight while my mouth fell open, small moaning pants escaping my lips as I neared the edge of this blissful pit. If my ears were registering right, Jackson was also writhing in delight beneath me, his grasp even becoming stronger around my hip, the roughness enticing me further.

“Oh fuck, Jackson… I…I…” I exhaled, my eyes tightly shut as I concentrated on reaching my goal.

“Come, Alison. I’m close too.”

I placed my hand over his, making him squeeze my hip tighter as I rode him harder before taking the plunge into the deep lusting sea of overwhelming bliss. My body was shaking in waves of rapture as I drove my high, slowly coming down.

“Fuck…Alison. That was… that was good!” Jackson exclaimed between ragged breaths as I climbed off him, lying beside him, my minding immediately wandering off. “Alison”

“Uh? Yeah, good. I know, right?” I answered, sporting the most honest smile I could fake while Jackson stood up and started to get dressed. “I think I’m going to take a shower and relax. You’re heading off to work right?”

“Yeah, I have to be there in an hour.”

“Okay. Will you let yourself out?” I asked already on my way to the bathroom.

“Sure, I know the way. I’ll call you later, if you have your phone on.” He teased before walking towards me, placing a kiss on my cheek, and turning to leave.

As soon as I heard the door close, I let my body fall back onto the bed, admonishing myself for what I was feeling.

Fuck!

I had never longed for anything after a one-night stand besides the happy ending. So what the fuck was I still after? I had gotten my high! My release. I have never minded being alone afterwards. I had gotten what I needed from Jax after all! Why did I have this nagging feeling that something was missing?

Then it hit me, like a ton of bricks. There’s a difference between alone and lonely.

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