Natalie so didn’t want to be here, at her mother’s house. Gross. She should have taken the house. She should have told Ryan to pack his things and get out.
She laughed at the absurdity of her joke, knowing that never in a million years would she do that to him. Yeah sure, maybe she’d smashed his heart into a million pieces, but she’d left him with the house. Was that arrogant of her to say? That she’d broken his heart into a million pieces? Sure, he was hurting right now, but was she really that great of a girlfriend that she’d ruined him for anyone else?
Yep, she was an excellent girlfriend. No one ever got over her.
Okay no, she was in a weird mood. This whole thing had made her a bit crazy. Yes, Ryan was hurting but he would move on. The two of them didn’t have the kind of relationship that leaves its mark on you. They were comfortable, easy, mundane. It might hurt now, but he’d get over her, and she hoped one day he’d find that person who changed his life.
Knocking at the door broke her from her thoughts and she shot her head up from the couch, annoyed by the interruption knowing it would probably be a salesman or something, or worse, one of her mom’s friends. Whatever was behind that door, Natalie knew she didn’t want to deal with it. She waited for it to stop. She waited and waited and waited, but the incessant knocking just kept going and going and going.
Ahh, who the hell was it and why wouldn’t they stop? She didn’t want to deal with one of her mother’s dramas. Her mom could deal with it when she got back from her spa weekend tomorrow morning. Why couldn’t this guy realise it wasn’t polite to knock this incessantly? Seriously, did no one teach him door knocking etiquette? You knock, you wait, if nothing happens you knock again, then wait. You can knock a third time, but if there’s still no answer you move on. You don’t start knocking and then knock and knock and knock until you knock the door down.
“Ahhhh.” She groaned, getting to her feet and stomping to the door. That was it, the ‘knocker’ had messed with the wrong girl. Angrily she flung it open, not even stopping to see who it was before she barked at him, “Learn to take a hint. If a person’s not coming to the door they’re either not home or don’t want to talk. Either way, you leave.”
Then she slammed it in his face, still reeling from how incessantly he’d knocked and knocked and knocked.
That was when it hit her. The guy at the door. He wasn’t a salesperson or one of her mom’s friends. It was Scott. Her Scott. Why was he here? What did he want? Was he going to kiss her again? God she hoped so. No. No, she didn’t. She needed time to think. She couldn’t impulsively jump into anything.
She flung open the door, her heart racing. And there he was. Still standing in the doorway, staring down at her just like he had right before he’d kissed her.
“Sorry.” She said. “I didn’t realise it was you.”
“Your mother’s huh?” He commented. “I was kinda hoping you wouldn’t be here.” He stepped toward her, reaching out his hands to pull her toward him. She desperately wanted to fall into his arms, but she stepped back. There was a right way to do this, first she needed to figure out what the hell she wanted.
“No.” She said. “No kissing.”
“Why not?” He asked.
“Because I can’t think straight when you kiss me.”
“Thinking’s overrated.” He said taking another step toward her.
“No.” She said, stepping away from him. “This isn’t a good idea. Not now.”
“Why not?” He asked again. “Why not now?”
“Because I don’t know what this is.” She said, motioning between them. “We broke up, eight years ago, and I haven’t heard one word from you since. You never called, you never wrote, you never even sent an email. I thought you didn’t care. I thought we were done. And then you just show up, flirt with me, kiss me, look at me the way you used to and I don’t know if it’s because you love me or because you used to love me.”
“Of course I love you.” He said, like the idea of him ever feeling another way was absurd. “I’ve always loved you Natalie, how could I not love you?”
“You left me.”
“I was flailing.” He replied, running his hand through his hair, his voice rising in frustration. “I was in a dark place, all I did was drink and smoke up. I was hurting you. I hated that I was hurting you, but I kept telling myself it would all be fine, I’d play again and everything would go back to normal. Then that didn’t happen so I pushed you away and I…Natalie I…” He stopped, his voice breaking when he said her name, his eyes glazing over with unshed tears he quickly tried to blink away.
He thought he had to be strong all the time. He didn’t get that sometimes it was okay to be broken, that the people he loved would be there for him, giving him the strength he needed.
She went to him, her hands cupping his face, forcing him to keep his eyes on her, not letting him hide this time. He leaned into her hands, sighing as if he’d been in pain and her touch had eased it.
“I wanted to be there for you.” She said.
“I know.” He choked, and the tears fell, all the pain, regret, misery of the last eight years gliding freely down his cheeks.
She rose onto her toes, and gently pressed her lips against his. They were warm, wet from the tears, salty. He came alive in her arms, wrapping her against his chest as he bent down and scooped her into the air, holding her firmly in place.
She wrapped her legs around him, steadying herself, and deepened the kiss as she opened her mouth for him, letting him in to explore. She angled his face more toward hers, her hands running through his soft blonde curls, her tongue dancing with his as he carried her into the house, kicking the door closed behind them.
“Room?” He murmured against her lips.
“First one on the right.” She replied right before she resumed kissing him, their lips completely in sync with their pounding hearts. She pushed herself closer to him, rubbing her tingling breasts against his hard chest. A low moan rumbled from his throat, the noise exciting her as she pressed against him again, loving the power she held over him.
Carefully he lowered her onto the bed, so careful it was like he thought she’d break, or maybe he was scared that if he moved too fast she’d change her mind and the moment would be over. If only he knew how much her heart ached for him. She loved him. She’d always loved him. He was it for her.
She rose to her knees and reached for him, her fingers playing with the base of his T-shirt, tickling his skin. Slowly she began to lift it from his chest, and he rose his arms, going through the motions, still scared that if he made any sudden movements she’d run. What would it take to convince him she wasn’t going anywhere?
She threw his shirt to the floor, and placed a light kiss against the pulse point at his neck as she reached down and unclasped his belt. She felt him grow as her fingers brushed against him and a groan caught in his throat, thrilling her even more as she eased the jeans down his legs. His eyes filled with heat and he clenched his jaw, trying to control himself, let her lead this. She reached for the hem of her dress, and she kept her eyes fixed on his as she pulled it over her head, leaving her in nothing but her bra and matching underwear.
She kissed him again, tasting his need, his desire for her, hating that he was still holding back. Wrapping her arms around his neck she pulled him down onto the bed, wrapping her legs around him and feeling his hardness pressing between the fabric of her panties. She arched her back, pressing him in further, drawing a long, desperate moan from his lips.
Then his lips came over hers, and just like that he lost control, tracing hungry kisses down her neck, teasing the tips of her breasts. Before she knew it he’d removed her bra, and his hands came over her breasts, the pads of his thumbs gently grazing her hardened nipples right before he lowered his mouth to them, making her body come alive.
She hadn’t been touched like this in years, never by Ryan. Or maybe he had but she’d just never felt like this, like she was completely losing her mind, every thought gone, her brain zeroed in on the man lying over her, making her feel a kind of bliss she’d forgotten existed.
This time she was the one to moan, a slow gratifying moan as she gave up all control and let the sensations wash over her. She needed more, a lot more, and she reached for the one piece of fabric still between them and quickly eased them down her legs.
“Wait.” He breathed, his body freezing mere inches away from her entrance. “This…Natalie…Are you sure? I don’t…I don’t want you to regret this.”
“I don’t ever want to be a regret for you.” He lowered his face into the crook of her neck, breathing her in before he began to pull away.
“Scott.” She said, grabbing his shoulder and steadying him in place. “I wouldn’t take back a single moment with you. I have no regrets. And I’m not going to regret this. Scott, look at me.” His eyes met hers, and she saw the vulnerability in them, just how badly he wanted to believe her words. He was also scared, and that confused her, because he had absolutely nothing to be scared of. She wasn’t going anywhere. She was completely in love with him. She’d tried to move on, she’d tried to love Ryan, but there was nothing that could compete with the way she felt about Scott. He was it for her.
“I love you.”
He smiled, and she couldn’t be sure, but she swore she heard him sigh with relief. She didn’t understand how he could be so surprised. Wasn’t this why everyone had been warning them to stay away from one another since he’d come back? They all knew this was going to happen, even while Natalie had been trying to convince herself it wouldn’t.
He closed the space between them, and kissed her softly against her lips, savouring the taste. Then he was gone again, the warmth from his body disappearing as the cold evening air replaced it.
“Where are you going now?” She asked, not bothering to hide her disappointment. He chuckled rummaging around for his jeans. For a moment she thought he was leaving, that she’d missed something, or imagined telling him everything she’d just told him, then he pulled out a square, plastic wrapper from the pocket, ripped it open and propped himself back onto the bed.
“A bit presumptuous of you don’t you think?” She asked, nodding to the condom he was sliding into place. She swallowed, momentarily mesmerised by the size.
“Was it?” He asked, a huge grin on his face as he caught her staring.
“I guess not.” She said, her breath hitching in her throat.
“You have to stop looking at me like that.” He said. “Or this will be over before it even begins.”
He kissed her playfully on the lips and when he pulled away their eyes met, his gaze shining with a kind of intensity she hadn’t seen in years. He lowered himself back over her body, and settled himself between her legs, his focus not shifting from her eyes. With one, long, deliberate thrust he was inside her, exactly where he belonged, where he’d always belonged.
He moved his hips and she cried out from the pleasure, losing herself in his arms as he brought her closer and closer to the ecstasy her body craved. She saw the same feeling in his gaze, his eyes glazed over with gratification, the light blue becoming even brighter and clearer with every rock of his hips. She clawed at his back, trying to draw him closer, the pleasure driving her insane as it built to its crescendo.
Her name ripped from his throat, and hearing the sound sent her over the edge, making her cry out for God as her world exploded around her, waves of pleasure coursing through her body. He collapsed against her, his body crushing hers in the best possible way, his breath warm on her neck.
“God didn’t do that sweetheart.” He said, chuckling.
“No he didn’t.” She said blissfully, trying to calm her racing heart and get the air back into her deprived lungs.
“I love you.” He said, propping himself onto his elbow and brushing stray strands of hair from her face.
“Don’t tell me.” She replied. “Show me.” She wiggled her hips, bringing him to life all over again. He laughed, right before he claimed her mouth for another kiss and lowered his hand between her legs. She felt herself tremble against him as his fingers hit the jackpot, making her more than ready for round two.
The smell of vanilla and apples teased Scott’s nose as his eyes flickered open. Soft, blonde hair tickled his chin, and he brushed it away, pulling the girl he held in his arms closer. She stirred slightly, a low moan escaping as she pulled Scott’s arms firmer across her chest.
“You awake?” He asked, placing a light kiss to her ear.
“No.” She replied, shifting into a more comfortable position.
“Finally had enough?” He asked, kissing her cheek this time.
“I could go all day.” She murmured, a small smile playing on her lips. He laughed, moving from her cheek to her lips. She reached up and cupped his face with one of her delicate hands, deepening the kiss as she rolled over to face him, pressing her naked body against his.
Within seconds he was hard again and she chuckled against his lips, biting down ever so slightly, sending a wave of excitement through his body and making him harder than he already was. You’d think after last night he’d have gotten his fix by now. They’d made love so many times he’d lost count. At first slow and intimate, taking their time, putting their emotions into every touch, every moan, every breath. Then it became frenzied, animal, fast and desperate as they spent the rest of the night trying to make up for the eight years they’d lost.
Somewhere along the way they’d passed out from exhaustion, tangled up in each other’s arms, until now, where they quickly resumed exactly where they’d left off last night. Scott wondered if he’d ever get enough of her.
No, he never saw that happening. She was his world, she always had been.
Their day was spent the same way their night had been, only stopping every now and then to eat or take a small break. They were wrapped up in their own bubble, and for a moment the rest of the world just faded away. It was just them, in this house, together. For a moment nothing else mattered.
“We have to get out of bed eventually.” He said after he’d come down from yet another orgasm, brushing a stray piece of hair behind her ear. “Face the angry townsfolk.”
“If only we were still in the city.”
“I hated the city.” He commented. “I like the mountains. That was my plan you know, come back, get my inheritance, buy a cabin in the mountains and live there.”
“We could still go. Escape before the angry townsfolk come after us with their torches and pitchforks.”
“Pete’s never gonna give me my inheritance now.” He said, making her laugh. The truth was that cabin in the mountains didn’t appeal to him as much as it used to. He’d wanted it because he could be alone there. Now he didn’t want to be alone. He wanted Natalie, and he wanted to coach the football team, he wanted Eliza and Jenny, even bratty little Bryce and eternally disappointed Pete. He didn’t want the mountains anymore.
“Maybe we’ll just have to save up.” She said. “It might take a while, what with my teaching salary and your coaching one, but maybe by the time our eldest kid turns 16 we could afford to put down an initial payment.”
“I’m sorry what?”
“We’d have three kids, obviously. Two dogs, five cats, maybe a couple fish.” She continued as if he hadn’t spoken. “You know, we’re not getting any younger, maybe we should start on those kids now.”
She burst into laughter, making it clear she was joking, playfully nuzzling his neck before throwing on a robe and heading out the room. He didn’t bother with any clothes as he followed her into the kitchen, wanting to finish this discussion. Kids didn’t sound that bad to him, neither did the dogs or the fish, the cats however he could do without.
“Kids wouldn’t be so bad.” He said, standing behind the counter. She reached into fridge and pulled out leftover spaghetti, handing him a fork as she pulled off the lid so they could eat. Only then did he realise how hungry he was. He tried to remember the last time he’d eaten something, sometime yesterday afternoon, long before he’d come here and filled his hunger for a completely different organ.
“No?” She asked.
“I wouldn’t mind having a few.” He said, swallowing a large forkful of the cold spaghetti.
“I’ve always wanted to call someone Max.” She admitted.
“Max is good.”
“We could give him all kinds of cool nicknames.” She said between bites. “Like Maximus, Maximilian…”
“It’s not really a nickname if you make it longer.”
“You’ve just ruined Max for me.”
“I’ve just sold myself on Max.” She said. “Please can we call our son Max?”
“I’ll make it worth your while.” She lowered her voice down to a sexy whisper, raising an eyebrow suggestively and reigniting a hunger that had nothing to do with his stomach.
She stepped out from behind the counter and her eyes immediately dropped to his waist when she realised just how naked he still was. Her eyes twinkled with anticipation and he grabbed the sash of her robe and pulled her toward him, slowly untying it and gently pulling it open. Her breath hitched as his hand slid down to her hip and he loved that she was just as effected by him as he was every time he saw her.
Just like that he was kissing her again, lifting her into the air and placing her on the counter as her legs came around him and welcomed him in. He pounded into her, her soft fingers clawing at his back as she tried to steady herself as the orgasm began to take over. She cried out his name, and he loved how it sounded coming from her lips, loved that he did this to her, that he drove her just as crazy as she drove him.
“You know I watched the Gilmore Girls Revival.” Scott said later that day, the sun had just started to set and they’d decided it would be a good idea to wash off all the sweat they’d accumulated throughout the day. Instead they’d worked up a whole new sweat in the shower. “Gilmore Girls always reminded me of you.”
He reached for one of the towel’s, wrapping it around her body before grabbing another and doing the same to himself.
“Should you be saying stuff like that?” She asked, a cheeky twinkle in her eye as she secured her towel in place. “Aren’t men, supposed to be, you know, macho?”
“We are, but women love that romantic crap.” He replied. “I’m just trying to get back into your pants. Or towel.”
He reached out and grabbed a corner of the fabric, pulling it away from her body so she stood before him in all her naked glory. God she was beautiful.
She let out a squeal and reached for her towel, but he dodged her attack, sweeping down and meeting her lips. She melted into him, and he wrapped his arms around her, humbled by her reaction to him.
Her fingers tickled his waist, and he felt her unwrap his own towel, releasing it so it dropped to the floor with a small thud.
“Again?” He asked, ready and rearing to go.
“Mmm-hmm.” She breathed, the sound vibrating against his lips.
“Natalie are you home?” Came a voice that definitely did not belong to either of them. The voice instantly killed the mood. It was like a bucket of ice water had been poured over them, and they sprung apart, sex now the last thing on their minds.
“Shit.” Natalie swore, reaching for their towels. She quickly wrapped hers back around her body before shoving his at his stomach, her hand accidentally brushing his thigh, reigniting his interest. Okay, so maybe sex wasn’t that far from his mind. “I’m gonna distract her, you slip into the bedroom and put on some clothes.”
“Roger.” He said, fastening the towel around his waist. Her eyes dropped to his waist, where a certain traitorous organ of his stood to attention. Desire flashed through her eyes, only making him want her more. “You need to stop looking at me like that.”
“Are you gonna be okay?” She asked, her eyes still where they shouldn’t be.
“I’ll deal with it later.” He said. “Let’s just focus on getting me out of here first.”
“Right. Okay. I’ll distract, you put on clothes.”
“Stop calling me Roger.”
“I’m not calling you Roger, I’m saying Roger, as in, got it.”
“Just say got it.”
“I’m gonna kill you.”
“There are worse ways to go.”
She laughed, shaking her head as she slipped out of the bathroom.
“Hey Mom.” He heard her say, her voice growing softer as she got further away. “I was just in the shower.”
Scott peered out the door and quickly spied Natalie. She was saying something to her mom, keeping Elena’s attention fixed on her daughter, and her back firmly to Scott. Quietly he slipped out of the bathroom and in three long strides he was in Natalie’s bedroom, scooping up his clothes and dressing at a lightning pace.
Then another problem hit him. How the hell was he going to get out of here? He couldn’t climb out the window, the thing had been fixed with a fly screen that made an escape impossible, and the only other way out was through the front door.
“I swear there’s a hole in your wall.” He heard Natalie’s voice say, closer than it had been before. “Come on I’ll show you.”
Their footsteps got louder as they walked toward Elena’s room at the end of the hall. Scott waited for an opening, peering through the crack in the door as Natalie and Elena passed by. Natalie met his eyes, and mouthed get out, before turning back to her mother and steering her away.
He heard a door open, and knowing it would be the one belonging to Elena’s room he stepped out of Natalie’s, the exit in his sights.
“Scott?” Came Elena’s voice.
Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap.
“Yeah, Scott’s here.” Natalie said, fumbling for an excuse. “Did I forget to mention that? You know that hole in your wall I was telling you about, well he’s here, to, you know, fix it.”
“His shirt is on backwards.” Elena observed, her voice cold, angry.
“Nothing gets passed you.” He replied, turning to face her and offering her a small smile.
“When did this happen?” Elena asked. “What about Ryan?”
“I left Ryan.” Natalie said and hearing that made Scott’s chest flare with happiness all over again.
“You left him yesterday.” Elena replied. “And what, jumped straight into bed with Scott? What were you thinking?”
“You should go.” Natalie said to him, sighing in defeat.
“You sure?” He asked.
“Yeah.” Natalie said, rolling her eyes at her mother. “I’ll see you later.”
“Okay. Don’t let her talk you out of this.” He joked, yet as he said the words he realised just how much he meant them. He’d just gotten her back, he couldn’t lose her now, not after this.
“You have nothing to worry about.” She said smiling, conviction in every word, making it easy for him to walk out the door. He’d see her tonight, and when he did they were going to pick up right where they’d left off.
“Have you lost your mind?” Natalie’s mom demanded the moment Scott shut the door behind him.
“Okay I think you’re being dramatic.” Natalie commented.
“You called me yesterday afternoon and asked if you could stay here. You said that you just needed a few nights away from Ryan to figure things out.”
“Well I figured them out.” She said.
“Natalie no.” Her mom exclaimed. “This is not figuring it out. Scott? Come you cannot go backwards.”
“He’s not backwards.”
“He’s your high school boyfriend. Your washed up, high school boyfriend, who has no ambition, no money, a drug problem and never takes anything seriously. He’s rude, he’s obnoxious, he has nothing to offer you, he runs away when things get a little bit too hard, he’s not interested in growing or changing or even just admitting to his mistakes and…
“You’re wrong about him.” Natalie exploded, cutting off her mom’s rampage. “You don’t get it, you never did and you never even tried to. You just saw what everyone else saw. Even when I was begging you to give him a chance you never did. You never even tried to see past all the labels and stereotypes.”
“Well I apologise for that.” Her mom shot back sarcastically. “I guess I was a bit blinded when he brought you home high, got you to ditch school, quit beauty pageants, took her virginity, made you move to the city, oh, and when you finally did come home, it was in tears and you were completely inconsolable because he…”
“He was lost. He still is, he’s…”
“Don’t be naive.” Her mom interrupted. “And stop making excuses for what he did.”
“I love him mom.”
“No you don’t.” She snapped. “You’re just coming down off an orgasm high. He’s a mistake Natalie. He’s already ruined your life once. Don’t let him ruin it again.”
There was nothing she could say that was going to change her mom’s mind. The day Natalie’s mom had caught them making out in the middle of the pageant dressing room she’d made up her mind about Scott. It didn’t help when Natalie announced she was quitting pageants forever, something that was obviously due to his influence. Ever since then her mom had never tried to know him. If she had she would have seen what Natalie saw.
Yes, he was lost, he was often overcome by self-loathing and feelings of inadequacy, and he had an ugly self-sabotaging reflex where he pushed the people he cared about away because he was scared they’d eventually leave him. He made mistakes, he could be an asshole, he had moments when he shut down and no matter what you tried you could never reach him.
He also loved, more strongly than anyone Natalie had ever known. He accepted people exactly as they were, even the bullies, the jerks and the bitches, he never asked anyone to change, he just let you be. He was compassionate, and empathetic, and he constantly saw the good in everything, the worth, that something that made them special. He looked at people and he didn’t see gender, or race or sexual orientation or all of that other crap that didn’t matter, he just saw a person.
He was kind, and fun, and he made her laugh, he challenged her, called her out on her bullshit. He let her want what she wanted, and he actually listened when she spoke. He never tried to tell her what to do, never acted as if he knew what was best for her, never tried to defend her honour or talk for her because he knew she could do it herself. Most importantly he’d never treated her like the beauty queen. He’d never put her on a pedestal or held her to a higher standard than anyone else. He treated her like a person, like a normal, average, person, yet at the same time like she was the most precious thing in his world. He loved her, more fiercely and with more passion than anyone else ever had. She doubted anyone else could love her the way he did. And she loved him back, just as fiercely, because he was the most beautiful person she’d ever known.
She wished her mother could see it, but as she stared into her mom’s eyes she saw that her mind had been made up. There was nothing Natalie could say that would convince her mother to even try again with Scott. To her he was the burnout who’d ‘ruined’ her one and only daughter’s life, and that was all he’d ever be.
Natalie wanted it to be different, because despite their differences she still wanted her mom to be there, to understand and support and celebrate in everything that made Natalie happy. But as much as she wished things were different with her mom she knew nothing would change. She’d learnt a long time ago to be okay with that.