The Keys to Jericho

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Chapter 25

Running my hands through my hair, I drop them as I round the corner and go into the living room. Sitting on the floor around the coffee table are my dad and Brenda. Dad looks up from a monstrous pile of papers surrounding him. “You and Kat have been quiet.”

Smiling with a suspicious look, Brenda says, “I wonder if that’s something we should be worried about.”

Folding my arms across my chest, I shrug. “We were talking.”

My dad seems to buy it, but Brenda narrows her eyes at me. “I can’t believe you and my daughter were friends in high school. Why did Kat keep that from me? Isn’t it great that you’ve been reunited?” We’re not a fucking boy band.

“Uh, yeah.” I clutch the back of my neck as I peer around the living room, wondering how in the fuck I walked into this conversation.

Kat comes into the living room, holding a glass of wine in one hand and her phone in the other. “Liberty just texted me. She got the job in Virginia.”

“Oh,” I blandly reply but trying not to smile. She’ll be gone, and Rio will have to dump her ass. How unfortunate for him.

Kat says, “She starts in a little over a month, so I guess she’ll have to find a place to live down there soon.” Like any bitch, she can just live in a kennel.

Dad looks confused. “What’s Rio going to do?”

I answer, “Throw a bon voyage party without inviting her would be fantastic.”

“Jared. Not nice,” Kat scolds. I look from my dad to her and laugh, noticing her light pink lips have returned.

Brenda says, “Shit. I need my folders.”

Kat asks, “The ones on the counter? I’ll get ’em.”

“Thank you, Katydid.”

Dad and Brenda start discussing boring shit, so I back out of the living room, following Kat into the kitchen. She sets down her phone and wine as she digs through another pile of papers.

Going up behind her, I pull her against me and kiss her neck. Kat whimpers before turning around in my arms. Licking my lip, she whispers, “You taste good. Everywhere.”

“Do I, Kit Kat? I’m a huge fan of how you autographed my dick.”

She giggles. “I did, didn’t I? I guess that means it’s mine.”

“Uh-huh,” I say before our lips reconvene.

“Did you find my folders?” Brenda yells from the living room.

“Yes, I’ll be out in a minute.” I lick her neck, making her giggle again. Kat whispers, “What am I going to do with you?”

I grin against her neck and lifting my head, I say, “Any damn thing you want.”

Kat’s smile oddly wilts as she wipes my lips of her pink lipstick. Grabbing the folders from the counter, she takes my hand and leads me out of the kitchen but releases me before we walk into the living room.

Brenda asks, “What were you laughing at?”

“I had a text message I was replying to. It was funny.”

Dad says, “I think we’re done here. We’ll go over the rest of it Monday at work.”

Brenda sighs. “Okay. I hope this cleared some of it up, though.”

“Yeah, it did. I honestly don’t know what I’d do without your help.”

“Well, you don’t have to worry about that. Thank you both for coming to dinner.”

“Absolutely. Thank you for having us.”

Kat says, “I’ll get your salad bowl.”

“Oh. Yeah.” I nod to the kitchen. “I got it.”

Dad starts shuffling his papers. “I’m almost ready to go.”

Once more, I follow Kat into the kitchen, where she’s waiting for me next to the doorway. I pull her to me, our lips doing the talking.

Shuffling outside the kitchen forces us to break apart. Kat goes to the sink to wash the bowl, and I pull out my phone, checking my messages.

“Everything okay in here?” Brenda asks.

“Yep,” Kat mutters from the sink.

Brenda observes, “You two don’t say much to each other, do you?”

Kat says, “All talked out. Nothing really to say.”

Brenda goes to a cabinet, pulling out plates. “I totally forgot that I have a banana cream pie in the refrigerator. I’m so brainless. This project has been draining, I tell you.” She turns to me. “Jared, would you like a piece?”

I shrug. “Uh, sure.” Just not fucking strawberry.

I watch Kat taking her time drying a damn plastic bowl, either ignoring me or deep in thought.

Brenda hands me a plate and sets Kat’s on the counter. “It’s store-bought, so I don’t know how it’s going to taste.” She turns to cut another piece, and as Kat picks up her pie, I peer over to her. She wipes a forkful of whipped cream onto her lips and suggestively licks it off.

I grin and take my forkful of pie, slowly tonguing it, and her eyes become larger than the small plates we’re holding.

Seeing Brenda finishing loading two more pieces onto plates, we look down to our own. “Are you sure you two ever talk?”

Kat asks, “So, Jared, what’s your favorite sexual position?”

Brenda laughs, nearly dropping pie. “Kat!”

Kat shrugs. “Aren’t you curious?”

Brenda says, “Okay. I get the hint.” She shakes her head and leaves the room while we laugh.

Taking my fork, I swipe my lips with whipped cream, set down my half-eaten pie, and walk over to her. She giggles and does the same before we kiss, licking the cream from each other’s mouths.

I whisper, “By the way, my favorite sexual position is any when I’m inside you.”

Lightly giggling, Kat then whispers, “I’ll miss you tonight.”

I smile over her lips. “I’ll miss you, too. I have your autograph to remind me, though.”

“I want you to stay with me, but your car in my driveway overnight might be obvious.”

“We’ll figure it out and do it soon.”

Her smile fades. “I guess this is goodnight.”

“I’ll be thinking about you, Kit Kat.” I kiss her again, and it turns almost frantic with our tongues tasting each other for the last time tonight.

Hearing plates clattering, we swiftly return to our pie. Brenda returns but abruptly stops like she walked in on us having sex. “You’re still eating?”

Forking her pie, Kat clears her throat. “We took a break to discuss positions.”

Brenda laughs. “I’m usually the one with the dirty mind. What’s gotten into you tonight?”

When Brenda goes to the sink Kat looks my way, and I mouth, “Me.”

Kat grins, licking her lips.

My dad comes into the kitchen. “Jared, when you’re finished, we’ll go.”

I set my plate in the sink and grab the salad bowl.

At the door, we all say our goodnights, but before I go, Kat stealthily grabs my hand, giving me a quick squeeze. I hang onto her for as long as I can before I follow my dad out the door.

“Hey, Jericho. Did you hear about Liberty getting the job in Virginia?”

I shrug as I lift my foot, propping it on the van’s bumper to tie my shoe. “He’ll move on.”

“He didn’t say he was breaking up with her.”

I peer over at him. With his bright eyes, hair, and personality, Calder is just too damn sparkly. “Right. Like that shit will work out.”

“It could. I’m sure they’ll make it work.”

“For what? They’ll barely see each other.”

He toys with his gold watch, shrugging. “It’s a good thing you and Kat aren’t together. You’d have to dump her, too. That’s a relief.” I hate Dash Calder. And my own damn mouth.

Putting my foot on the ground, I dully repeat, “Yeah. Good thing.”

“What’s a good thing?” Kat asks behind me.

“Jericho was just saying how happy he is that Rio and Liberty are staying together.” I roll my eyes at him.

I face Kat, trying not to be obvious in front of Dash. “I think you need to get some driving done.”

Kat nods, her striped ponytail bobbing. “Okay.” She doesn’t argue, which surprises me. When we’re in the Nissan, as Kat pulls away from the curb, she drops her hand from the wheel and takes mine. “Both hands on the wheel,” I warn as I pull my hand back, but she tightens her fingers, and for a few seconds, I revel in it.

She complains, “You only drive with one hand.”

“Yeah. I’ve been driving a lot longer.”

“Oh. Like I should’ve been.”

Untangling my hand from hers, I lift and lower my hat, wishing I hadn’t said that. “Kit Kat, you’re working on it.”

Kat glances at me. “I’m getting better, right?”

“Eyes on the road. Yes, but for now, both hands on the wheel.”

She pouts, “You’re no fun.”

I grin. “Nope. Not at all.”

After I have her drive throughout various places in Annapolis and some of its outskirts, I give her new directions, eventually leading her to pull into the driveway.

She looks at me, confused. “Where are we?”

“My dad’s.”

She puts the car in park. “Why?”

With my arm behind her headrest, I smirk. “You’ll see.”

Getting out of the car, I punch the code for the garage door, ushering her into the utility room, then the kitchen, where I go to the refrigerator. “I made some sandwiches. We can take some water with us.”

“To where?”

Tossing my hat onto the counter and fluffing my hair, I nod to the window. “Out back.”

She smiles brightly. “Like a picnic?”

“Yep.”

Kat looks around. “We need a blanket, don’t we?”

“I already have one. It’s on the couch in that room if you want to grab it and follow me.”

When Kat is ready, I take her to the back porch that overlooks the mostly wooded backyard. She looks to the white rocking chairs on our right, then to the porch swing on the left before gazing out to the small lawn that ends at the wooded area. She asks, “Where should we sit?”

“Not here. We’re going in there,” I say, nodding to the trees. Grinning, I lean down, brushing my lips against her ear. “Just trust me.”

She smiles back. “I do.”

I lead her into the trees, but we only have to walk a short distance until we reach the small clearing. “Hadley and I used to play in here.”

“Aww, how sweet.”

“Not that sweet. She used to tie me to that tree with her jump rope. What a bitch.”

“Poor baby,” she says, laughing.

“That fucking tree was smaller, but so was I. How about a little sympathy?”

“I doubt you need it.” Kat spreads out the blanket while I teasingly sulk.

“It’d be nice, though.”

Kat walks over to me, giggling. I grab her and sink us to the ground, laying her on the blanket. She moves to take out her ponytail and looks up at me, smiling as her brown eyes shimmer in the sunlight. Gazing down at her, I run my fingers through her purpled hair. “Your smile rouses my soul, Kit Kat.”

She looks surprised I said that and frankly, so am I.

“Why?”

I anxiously lick my lip, unsure if I should say more, yet my mouth doesn’t stop. “Because it warms me. It makes me happy when you’re happy.” I hate my dad for filling my head with shit. Or for being right. Fucker.

Kat’s fingers go to the hair above my forehead. “I want to see you happy, and I’m honored that I can make you smile. You’ve saved me from a life sentence that I thought I had no escape.”

I chuckle. “That’s a little overdramatic. You just needed a push.”

Her sad smile returns. “Kind of like you.”

My voice hardens. “I’m not a victim of anything.”

“No, you’re not. You’re a fighter, Jared Beckett. You just fight the wrong battles.” Her hand goes to my chest, and she pleads, “I’m not your enemy. Let me in here.”

Not knowing what to say as I gape at her, Kat lifts her head to kiss me, and I respond with an uncertainty that soon dissolves as my lips gather speed. When her hand goes to my cheek, I reach up and stroke her fingers as she makes my fucking head spin.

Remembering why I brought her here, I leave her lips to sit back on my knees, pulling her up with me. As she looks at me in puzzlement, I go to the ground, rolling onto my back. “Stand up.”

“For what?”

I smirk. “Just do it, Kitty Kat.”

She doubtfully smiles but stands. “What do you want me to do?”

I reach up, tugging at the legs of her jean shorts. “Lose them.”

Kat looks around at the trees. “Someone might see me.”

I shake my head. “Nope. Do it.”

Inspecting the area around us once more, she unbuttons her shorts and slides them down. She nervously laughs. “What now?”

“You still have your underwear.” She sighs but pulls them down. I lick my lips and order, “Stand over me.”

Her confusion builds. “How?”

“Like this,” I tell her, raising my eyebrow as I reach for her leg, lifting it over me. Seeing what I want her to do, she stands over my torso, straddling me. I run my hands up her smooth legs, dragging my fingers slowly along her skin, and then slide my fingers back down to her knees, repeating my path. I purposely don’t go all the way to the top of her thighs.

She inhales a deep breath. “You’re driving me crazy.”

I smile. “Good.”

Kat whimpers, “I want you, Jared.”

Unexpectedly, she squats to undo my fly, which isn’t part of my plan, but I go with it, and I let her pull out my dick. However, before she can do anything more, I repeat my earlier order. “Stand up.”

She again stands, and I crook my finger for her to walk forward. Her face scrunches in curiosity. “Okay…”

When she’s up far enough, I put my hands on her calves. “Kneel.”

She questioningly looks down at me, and I move my hands to the back of her knees, coaxing her to kneel right where she is. Realizing what I want her to do, she says, “God, Jared. I can’t do that. It’ll hurt you—”

“Shut up and just do it,” I say with a grin. I lick my lips, pulling more on her legs until she buckles. Putting my hands on her inner thighs, I whisper, “I owe you some orgasms.” Her mouth falls as I split her open, kissing along her thighs and through her hair before I take my first long lick into her pussy.

“Fuck!” Kat gasps. I swirl my tongue around her clit. Her scent is heavy, and I lick deeper, tasting more of her, which makes me groan. She tastes even better than the preview I had on our first night.

She pants, “Damn. Oh, Jared.”

I push and pull on her thighs to get her moving, and I bury my tongue deeper, thrusting in and out of her pussy. My cock is at full attention, wanting the action. She gets wetter the more I lick her, so I make a pattern of my focus points, teasing her clit and then lapping her cream. I don’t have to encourage her to move anymore. She moans, “I love fucking your tongue.”

I groan against her pussy, which causes her to whimper louder. “I’m going to come!” She noisily pants, and I squeeze her thighs to encourage her, spreading them wider, and her spasms flood my mouth. So fucking amped, I feverishly lap at her and lose it. But fueled too much, I buck my hips up, spurting into the air.

“Jared,” she breathlessly says, recovering, still spread over me. “Holy shit.”

“I know,” I pant against her with a grin.

She shakily stands. Looking down, her eyes widen. “Whoa. You enjoyed it that much?”

I nod. “I’ve never done that before, either.”

“Which one? The licking or the coming while doing it?”

“Both.”

“You’ve never done that to a woman before?”

I shake my head. “Never wanted to.” I sit up, taking the edge of the blanket to clean off my dick while Kat gets dressed. When I’m done, she hands me a bottle of water. “Thanks.”

She sits down next to me, tucking hair behind her ear. “You’re the first to do that to me.”

I lower my water. “Seriously?”

“I guess I wasn’t in demand.”

I lean toward her, tipping her chin and giving her a quick kiss. “Bullshit. I demand you.” Her smile deepens, and I tuck the same, rogue hair behind her ear again. “You taste phenomenal, too.”

“You’re unbelievable, Jared. In more ways than one.”

My fingers trail over her cheek. “So are you, Kat. More than you even realize.”

We eat our sandwiches and then drop off the blanket to the laundry room.

At the last stop sign before the site, I lean over as she looks at me. “Kiss me, baby,” I whisper, grinning. She kisses me, and I don’t want it to end.

Returning to our platonic-friend mode, she parks, and we walk up the sidewalk. Seeing Dash coming out of the house, Kat falls behind me, putting more space between us.

Suspicious as usual, he asks, “Where’d you two go driving?”

“Around,” I mutter, reaching into my pocket for my ringing phone. Not recognizing the number, I still take it to avoid talking to Dash.

I vaguely carry on my conversation, half-listening while they ramble on about shit.

Dash asks, “Did you and Jericho play at the park again?”

“No. Driving.”

“He didn’t like the park?”

Kat says, “I guess he thought it was okay. He wasn’t crazy about my favorite part, the gazebo.”

“Hey, I love the gazebo!” Dash laughs.

Kat laughs with him. “It’s so The Sound of Music, right?”

“That movie sucks, but yeah, I remember when they danced and sang in there.”

She dreamily says, “I could sit in there for hours.”

“We can do that sometime, Merrick. I won’t complain.” Asshole.

She laughs. “You’re on.”

Hanging up my phone and walking back over to them, I say, “That was the building manager of my apartment building in Philly. The previous tenants left early. It’s been cleaned, and it’s ready for me to move in if I want. I just have to sign some liability papers.”

Dash says, “I guess you’ll have to keep your raging parties to a minimum.”

I shrug. “Same with murdering certain visitors with a saw.”

He cringes. “You just had to go there, didn’t you?”

Kat drops her gaze, slightly frowning, and I say, “I don’t have to live up there yet, but it’ll be good to at least get moved in.”

Dash asks, “You need me to help?”

I look back to my phone screen. “I was going to ask Duquesne.”

“He’s spending time with Liberty before she moves, I imagine. Come on, Jericho. I helped you move before. I told you I won’t say anything else to you.” Swiftly looking up, I widen my eyes at him to shut the fuck up, and he hurriedly adds, “About your daily horoscope.”

Rolling my eyes, I concede, “Fine. It’s only one bedroom, so you’ll have to crash on the couch.”

“I was looking forward to spooning with you.”

“In your fucking dreams, Calder.”

Kat says, “Sounds like fun. I’ll see you around.” She quickly walks into the house, where I can’t even talk to her since there’re witnesses everywhere.

Dash yanks a red sucker from his pocket. “We can stay up there a few days, set up your furniture, get to know your neighborhood, find your commute. Whatever.”

“Shit. I totally forgot about Kat’s classes and driving. Damn it.”

“Her mom can take her. It’s only a few days.”

Returning my phone to my pocket, I say, “I’ll go find her and see if she can swing it with her mom. If so, we can leave tomorrow morning after rush hour.”

He garbles, “Awesome.”

“Get that fucking thing out of your mouth. Jesus.”

I go into the house but have no idea where Kat went. Walking throughout, I look into rooms. Unfortunately, I’m not fast enough. My dad catches me as he sets down a ladder. “Hey, Jared.”

Sucking in a frustrated breath, I turn and nod at him. “Hey, Dad.”

“What’re you up to?” Does everything have to be a pop-quiz with him?

I shrug and try to sound casual. “Looking for Kat.”

He nods like he knows something I don’t. “I haven’t seen her.”

“Thanks for telling me nothing.” He frowns, and I say, “Oh. Dash and I are going to Philly tomorrow morning. I can get into the apartment early, so he’s helping me move my furniture.”

“You’re starting a new chapter. It’s exciting.”

“A real ball tickler.”

He sighs. “Jared Adam.”

Laughing, I shake my head. “Still out of reach.”

Going upstairs, I poke my head into the rooms, nodding at Chris and Tony. I try the corner bedroom, but before I go in, voices stop me.

“I’ll need you to help me get my driving hours and take me to class.”

I have to strain to hear them because of all the noise in the house, but I can’t go too close to the door, or I’ll be seen. Fuck.

“No problem. No. I mean, when he really leaves?”

“What am I supposed to do, Mom?”

“I see what he’s done to you. There’s no denying it.”

A hand goes to my shoulder. “Hey, I haven’t seen you for a while, buddy,” Lange says.

“Oh. Yeah. Helping Kat get driving hours so she can get her license.”

He nods. “Helping the boss’ sister. Nice.”

I laugh. “He’s not my boss.”

“He has a black belt in karate. I’d watch just how much you do help her.”

“You’re quite a comical guy, Lange.”

“Watch her around your coffee beans if you know what I mean.” He howls in laughter as he slaps my back, going down the stairs.

From in the room, I catch Brenda saying, “Did you tell him?”

“No!”

“Kat.”

“What difference will it make?”

“It might make all the difference.”

“Forget it. Please, Mom.”

“Okay. I won’t say a word.”

I hear movement, so I duck into the bathroom, pretending to be busy, inspecting the countertop alignment. Kat walks in, and cautiously says, “I didn’t know you were in here.”

“Yeah. I was double-checking things for Tony.” I lean my arm against the wall. “I’m not staying there after I move into the apartment. I still have time here.” I glance past her, and in case anyone is listening to us, I say, “For driving.”

Kat peeks into the hallway before closing the bathroom door. Walking over to me, she crosses her arms, and I say, “Dash and I are going to my apartment tomorrow. We’re staying until Wednesday as long as your mom can help you with your driving and take you to class all three days.” She nods as she stops in front of me. “I want you to stay with me next weekend. We just need to work out details.” I pull on one of her crossed arms, towing her closer. “I want you with me. We can be alone.”

Her eyes flicker over my face with thoughts or lies, unsaid. Reaching up, I stroke her cheek and ask, “What’s wrong, Kit Kat?”

“I’ll miss you, Jared. With all my heart.”

On impulse, I bend, kissing her with my tongue leading the way. Kat unwinds her arms, wrapping them around my neck. Dragging her closer, my hands go to her ass, pushing her into me. Also without thinking, my hands go to her fly. I yank the button loose and tear down her zipper. I breathlessly ask, “Door locked?”

She nods and pushes down her shorts and underwear. I walk her backward to the sink and picking her up, I sit her on the granite counter. She kisses me, almost painfully, and I work on my fly, the frantic ripping of my zipper mixes with the sound of our lips and the distant sound of a saw.

Moving my mouth to her ear, I say, “Tell me you want me.”

“I want you, Jared. Fuck, I want you so much.”

I push up her shirt, rolling her tits in my hands. “Fuck me, Kat. I need your pussy.”

She opens her legs wider. “I’m all yours. I always have been.”

As my cock burrows into her hair, voices in the hall both make us look to the door, and she pleads, “Don’t stop.”

“Fuck, I don’t want to.”

The voices are louder outside the door, and I recognize one of them as my dad. I angrily whisper, “Goddamn it.”

Stepping back, I pull up my shorts, and Kat hops down from the counter to put on hers. She says, “I’ll go out first.”

“Wait a minute.” I grab her arm and haul her to me for a long kiss. “I will miss you, baby. I don’t know what I’ll do without you.”

Kat sadly smiles and whispers, “Something you’ll have to get used to again, isn’t it?”

Rendering me speechless for the second time today, she opens the door and leaves the room.

What the fuck was that?

And what the hell isn’t she telling me?

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