Overruled, p.18
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       Overruled, p.18

         Part #1 of The Legal Briefs series by Emma Chase
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  18

  Stanton

  Marshall gets out of seeding the field because he has school. The rest of us—Sofia, me, Carter, Jenny, and JD—aren’t so lucky. We have breakfast together and spend the morning raking seed and fertilizer into the dirt so my father isn’t tempted to come out and break our asses. But later, after a long shower, the pressure starts to build. And by the evening it feels like a renewed weight is pushing on me—the little time that’s left before Saturday.

  So I take matters into my own hands.

  “Ow!” A branch rakes across my forearm as I climb, drawing blood.

  “Shit!” A thin, leaf-covered limb boomerangs into my face.

  “Fuckin’ hell almighty!” I smack my head on the underside of a particularly solid bough.

  Why was this easier when I was seventeen? Maybe the horniness made me immune to pain. Eventually, I make it to the top—to my golden, glowing goal.

  Jenny’s bedroom window.

  It’s unlocked, like I knew it would be. I open it and brace my hands on the ledge to pull myself through.

  “Christ on a fuckin’ cracker!” Jenny screeches from her vanity chair—where she sits, clad only in a tiny pink nightgown with thin straps. “Just scare the everlovin’ shit out of me, why don’t you?”

  “Kiss your nana with that mouth?” I grunt. “Explains a lot.” When she just continues to sit, arms folded, I frown. “You’re not even gonna give me a hand? That’s pretty cold, Jenn.”

  She rolls her eyes and exhales loudly—but then she gets up and helps pull me in.

  I stumble forward, gripping onto her hips to keep us from falling—and we both freeze when we realize our faces are just millimeters apart—sharing the same breaths.

  Then Jenny blinks and backs away. “You can’t be here, Stanton.”

  I ignore her and glance at the bed. “Where’s Presley?”

  “She fell asleep on the couch downstairs. I’ll carry her up in a bit.”

  And then my gaze falls behind Jenny—to the flowing white dress hanging on the wall. And every bone in my body turns to Jell-O, held together by loose, shredded straps of tendon.

  “Is that it?” I whisper.

  “Yeah,” Jenny says—so softly. “That’s my weddin’ dress. Isn’t it pretty?”

  I see her wearing it in my mind. Delicate lace, embroidered flowers wrapped around the body I know so well. Pretty doesn’t even come close.

  “It’s beautiful.”

  Then I remember she’ll be wearing it for someone else—and my heart squeezes so hard, it feels like it’ll evaporate in my chest.

  “I don’t want to hurt you, Stanton.”

  I turn to her—desperate now. “Then don’t do this. Talk to me—listen to me.”

  “I have talked to you! It’s you who hasn’t been listening!” she claims, wearing a fallen face. “You’re so stubborn—you’re so stuck on what you think is supposed to be, that you’re missin’ what’s right in front of you.”

  I sit down on the edge of her bed, pushing a frustrated hand through my hair. “You sound like Carter.”

  I notice a pile of boxes near my feet, opened with ribbons hanging off. “What’s this?”

  “The girls from my club threw me a little weddin’ shower.”

  I notice a scrap of material peeking out from the closest box. Black and . . . leather?

  I pull it out and hold up a set of black binding cuffs with shiny silver locks. Attached to the cuffs is a matching black flogger.

  What the hell?

  “Stanton, don’t—”

  But I’m already looking. Blindfold, ball gag, riding crop that’s definitely not meant for a horse, cock ring, and a wide array of dildos—purple, blue, glass, and a particularly huge battery-operated sucker.

  My near-speechlessness is clear in my tone. “What the fuck kind of club are you in?”

  With a scarlet blush, she takes the giant dildo from my hand and sighs. “I told you there were ways JD knew me better than you.”

  “He’s into this kind of stuff too?”

  She nods.

  “Why didn’t you ever tell me?”

  She doesn’t meet my eyes. “I don’t know—do you tell me everything you like to do these days?”

  Jenn and I have always had terrific sex—but it’s a familiar, practiced kind of awesome. Asking her if she wants to be fucked hard, making her beg to come, bending her over a desk and nailing her without bothering to take off our clothes just because it’s dirtier that way—has never, ever crossed my mind.

  “No, I guess not. Thought you’d slap me if I did.”

  “What would you have said if I told you?”

  I take the dildo from her, turn it around in my hand appreciatively. “I’d have said . . . make sure you have extra batteries.”

  She giggles, drops the dildo back into the box, and rests her head against my shoulder. “I love you.”

  That brings me back to serious. “So don’t do this.”

  She just smiles sadly. “There’s all kinds of love, Stanton. Ours is what makes the best kind of bond, one that will last our whole life. But it’s not the marryin’ kind.”

  “That’s not true.” I take her face in my hands. “I’m in love with you, Jenny.”

  Her eyes are dry, but there are tears in her voice. “No, you’re not. It’s an echo. Of who we were, the promises we made, the passion we had. But an echo’s not real—you can’t build a life on it. It’s just a memory of a sound.”

  I stroke her cheek with my thumb, hearing her words but not really listening. “I just wish . . . I wish I had known that the last time I kissed you was gonna be the last.” I trace her lips with the tip of my finger. “I would’ve taken more care to remember. Let me kiss you now, Jenn. Give us that. And after, if you still want to marry him, I swear I’ll stand aside.”

  I see it in her eyes. Desire. Maybe she regrets not cherishing that last kiss more, too. She stares at my mouth and her hands cradle my jaw. I lean in closer—giving her time to say no.

  But she doesn’t.

  And then our lips touch, brush, mold together. She sinks into the kiss with the barest of moans, and I pull her nearer. I move my mouth over hers, and she tastes just the same—just like I remember—sweet summer cherries.

  And I wait for that feeling that always comes—that undeniable pull that makes me want to touch her everywhere, all at once. I wait for that sensation of certainty, flawless perfection—that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be, and the woman in my arms is all I could ever ask for.

  The problem is . . . those feelings never come.

  My heart doesn’t hammer in my chest, my hands don’t shake with the need to caress. There’s just . . . nothing. I mean, I’m in a dark room with my mouth pressed against a beautiful woman—so there’s something. But it’s not what it’s supposed to be—not powerful or mind-blowing, not tender or exciting.

  It’s nothing like when I kiss . . .

  Oh shit.

  I’m reminded of the fairy tales I read to Presley when she was smaller. The ones where the kiss always broke the spell. Lifted the curse.

  Opened the eyes.

  We slowly pull away, and Jenny and I stare at one another.

  “You feel it too, don’t you?” she asks.

  “What?”

  “Like tryin’ to squeeze a puzzle piece into the wrong slot . . . like there’s somethin’ missin’. You feel that now, don’t you?”

  In a shocked whisper, I finally admit to myself—and her, “Yeah. That’s it—exactly.”

  I put my hand on her shoulder. “Jenny, I—”

  Suddenly she covers her mouth with her hand, her face morphing into a mask of regret and guilt. “Oh my God! What have I done?”

  “Jenn—”

  She stands up and paces, talking with quick, horrified words. “Oh my god ! I kissed you! Three days before my weddin’! Three days before I’m about to stand up in front of God and my family and promise myself to another man! A
man who’s done nothin’ but love me, trust me, respect me! Oh my fuckin’ God!”

  “Calm down! It’s all right. We don’t—”

  She turns on me like a viper. “Don’t you tell me to calm down! JD’s always been intimidated by you. You were like—a legend to him. He always worried that I couldn’t love him like I loved you. He never thought he could measure up . . .”

  I can’t stop the satisfied smirk from tugging at my lips. “Really?”

  She points her finger and grits out, “Wipe that smile off your face or I’ll slap it off!”

  My smile flees in terror.

  “How am I gonna tell him? How am I supposed to explain without him feelin’—”

  I stand up, blocking her way. “We’ll keep it between us. You don’t have to tell him shit.”

  “Yes, I do!” she wails. “Secrets are poison. They eat away the soul of a relationship.”

  “Oh, for fuck’s sake, Jenn—you really need to stop hangin’ out with my brother.”

  She points in my face again, backing me up toward the window. “This is all your fault! You tricked me!”

  “I didn’t trick you!”

  “My nana was right about you—you’re a Satan.” She picks up the first thing she can grab—the ball gag—and throws it at me. “Get thee back, Satan!” The blue dildo follows next. Then the handcuffs.

  I put my arms up as sex toy projectiles hurtle toward me. The giant dildo bounces off my forehead.

  Probably gonna leave a mark.

  “You’re supposed to fling holy water!”

  I turn and scramble out the window. Descending quickly, I make it about halfway down before my foot catches—and I fall the other half.

  “Ooof!”

  I land on my back—possibly rupturing a kidney.

  As I breathe through the pain, I hear Jenny slam the window shut above me and I stare at the sky. It’s black as ink and white stars blink down on me—like a million mocking eyes.

  I cover my face with my arm. Tonight did not go as planned. That’s been happening a lot lately.

  But I realized something crucial. Absolutely life changing.

  I am a man in love. Just not a man in love with Jenny Monroe.

  My first thought after this realization is: fuck me.

  The second is: Drew Evans is going to laugh his ass off.

  • • •

  I take my time getting back to my parents’ house, trying to process it all. My brother would tell me I should meditate, and for the first time since he went off the deep end, I consider that he could be onto something. Feelings rush through me, too quick to hold on to, like a twig going down a raging river.

  I push the door to Sofia’s room open gently, making out her form in the dim moonlight streaming in from the open window. She’s on her side, the luminous skin of her bare back facing me.

  Tenderness floods my chest, and a sweet, relieved feeling—like coming home. I force my mind to silence, push out the crazy confusion that’s swirling, stripping down to bare skin. Then I slide into bed, determined to focus on this moment. The simple here and now. Just her.

  But before I touch her she turns over, surprising me.

  “How’d it go with Jenny?” she asks.

  I push damp hair back off her face. “It was . . . enlightening.”

  “What do you mean?”

  Truthfully? I have no idea. For so long, I thought Jenny Monroe was my endgame. It was a certainty, like the sun rising in the east. To realize that nothing about it is certain, and that I’m actually okay with that, is throwing me for a major goddamn loop.

  I wonder if this is how people felt when they discovered the earth wasn’t flat? It’s a shift in perception—in how I view the world—and what my place is supposed to be in it.

  My thoughts about Sofia are a whole other level of fucked up. What I feel for her extends further than admiration for her stupendous tits and magnificent intelligence. Deeper. I know that now—I just don’t know what I’m supposed to do about it. Would she believe me if I told her? Is there any chance she feels the same way?

  So I’m not going to do anything. Because when you’re driving a car, if you try and change gears too quick? They’ll grind, screech, possibly cause the transmission to drop out of the bottom of your car.

  When in doubt—it’s better to wait it out.

  “I don’t want to talk about it.”

  Her face tightens, like she’s going to push the issue, but then she turns onto her back and complains, “It’s so fucking hot—I’m literally melting.” She wipes sweat from her forehead.

  I smile. “My grandma used to say Mississippi was closer to God. The downside is when you’re closer to the heavens, you’re nearer the sun—and that’s why it’s always so goddamn hot.”

  Sofia chuckles. Then she arches her back and rolls her neck uncomfortably. “I’m never going to be able to sleep.”

  That’s when I have the best fucking idea.

  “I want to take you somewhere.”

  • • •

  “Are you sure it’s safe?”

  “Completely.” I pull on the handlebars, testing the weight the rope will handle. It creaks like an old house in a storm, but holds. “See?”

  We’re at Sunshine Falls, a few miles down from Jenny’s and my spot—where everybody goes swimming. They’re not really waterfalls—more like a three-foot ridge of rock that the water cascades over, cool and clear. But . . . that’s the name. The best part is the line of deep-rooted old trees on the bank, whose branches hang out over the water—making the perfect, most epic swing. This one has old bicycle handlebars tied to the end, instead of just knotted rope, which helps with the grip.

  “The only thing you have to remember is to let go.”

  She nods with rapt attention. “Let go. Got it.”

  “Don’t freeze up and hang on. You’ll swing back and smash into the trunk . . . which will be fucking hilarious, and I’ll never let you live it down. But it will also hurt like a mother. Don’t get nervous.”

  “I wasn’t nervous, but now you’re making me nervous.” Sofia shifts from foot to foot, and her awesome breasts shake beneath the triangles of her tiny red bikini.

  I lick my lips. It would be so easy to just bend down, suckle on her tasty, peaked nipples through the fabric of her suit. And the things I could do to her with this rope and handlebar . . .

  I close my eyes with a groan, a full-out hard-on now aching against the fabric of my trunks. But I ignore it—’cause it’s time to swim. Sofia is hot. So hot.

  Swim, swim, fucking swim.

  “I’ll go first.” I grip the bars, lift my legs, and swing out over the water in a seamless arch. When I reach the threshold—a second before the rope starts to swing back—I let go, landing feet first in the water after a perfect backflip. I break the surface and sigh with pleasure; the cool water feels amazing against my overheated skin.

  Squinting through the darkness, I spot Sofia on the bank. “Come on! It’s beautiful.”

  Then, with an earsplitting shriek, she’s swinging out toward me. Just as I shout, “Let go!” she does, and cannonballs into the river.

  She comes up laughing, choking just a bit. Her skin is slick and shiny, her wet hair heavy and long.

  “Is my top still on?” She checks the strings tied around her neck.

  “Unfortunately, yes.”

  Her face is ecstatic, like a little girl seeing the vast ocean for the very first time. “I’m doing that again!”

  • • •

  Later, Sofia lies on her back on the bank, her foot stirring through the water. “This is the best idea you’ve ever had,” she sighs.

  I watch her from the shallows, ripples lapping around my hips. My voice is hoarse—almost unrecognizable. “I’m thinkin’ of a few better ones right now.”

  She lifts her head and meets my eyes. And just like that, her breathing picks up. Her chest rises and falls a little faster. Her pulse throbs in her neck just a little bit ha
rder.

  “Come here, Sofia.”

  Her gaze doesn’t leave my face as she slides into the water, moving closer. When she’s just an arm’s length away, I take a deep breath. “You said no sex when we got to my home—but I want you so badly, I can taste you.”

  She stares at my mouth, debating. And I can’t help but smirk.

  It’s the smirk that does her in. Because a second later, she’s pulling me to her, murmuring, “Fuck it.”

  “Oh, darlin’, I plan to.”

  The moment my lips touch hers, the second my tongue invades the wet heat of her mouth, I’m moaning. It feels like it’s been fucking forever. She grips my bicep, nails digging in, her tongue as eager as my own.

  I pull the string on her bikini, releasing soft, lush flesh. In one motion, I wrap her legs around my waist, hoist her higher and lower my head. And my mouth is on her, sucking her already pointed nipple into my mouth, laving with my tongue, lapping at the water on her skin and the taste of her. Christ, I could do just this for hours.

  And sensations hit me, blinding and contradictory.

  Everything that wasn’t there when I was kissing Jenny. The insane desire, the unexplainable need, wanting to spend hours and days with the woman in my arms, yet never wanting this moment to end. Needing to come so badly my dick throbs painfully, yet wanting to stay buried inside her all night.

  I’m totally screwed. But in this second, there’s not a goddamn thing I would change.

  Sofia writhes and whimpers in my arms. Her hips rub, gyrate against the planes of my stomach, her hands clasp at my head, pull at my hair.

  And I take my time worshipping her gorgeous tits. Keeping one arm around her back, my free hand massages her breast, pinching the nipple until she gasps.

  Sofia doesn’t seem to have the same patience as I do.

  “Stanton, please,” she begs, her chin rubbing against my hair. “Oh God, I need you to fuck me.”

  I trace over the hickeys on her chest with my tongue, then suck, re-marking her. “Not yet.”

  She uncurls her legs and slides down my front. My cock aches from the friction and my hips grind forward, searching for more. Then Sofia takes matters into her own hands.

  Literally.

  I kiss her mouth, nipping her lip with my teeth, when I see her hand dip below the water, into her bathing suit.

 
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