Lick, p.11
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       Lick, p.11
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         Part #1 of Stage Dive series by Kylie Scott
Page 11

  Author: Kylie Scott Except for that first day on the bathroom floor, I’d never seen him smile, never even seen him come close. This bare trace of one made me light up inside. My knees wobbled. That couldn’t be normal. I shouldn’t be feeling all warm and happy just because he was. I couldn’t afford to have any feelings for him at all. Not if I wanted to get out of this in one piece.

  “Thanks for putting up with me today, Mal,” I said.

  “The pleasure was all mine,” he drawled. “Sure you wanna go with him, child bride? Fucktard here made you cry. I make you laugh. ”

  David’s smile disappeared and he strode to my side. His hand sat lightly against the base of my spine, warm even through the layer of clothing. “We’re out of here. ”

  Mal grinned and winked at me.

  “Where are we going?” I asked David.

  “Does it matter? Let’s just drive. ”

  CHAPTER SEVEN

  My neck had seized up. Pain shot through me as I slowly straightened and blinked the sleep from my eyes. I rubbed at the offending muscles, trying to get them to unlock. “Ow. ”

  David took one hand off the steering wheel and reached out, rubbing the back of my neck with strong fingers. “You okay?”

  “Yeah. I must have slept funny. ” I shuffled up in the seat, taking in our surroundings, trying not to enjoy the neck rub too much. Because of course he was crazy good with his hands. Mr Magic Fingers cajoled my muscles back into some semblance of order with seemingly little effort. I couldn’t be expected to resist. Impossible. So instead I moaned loudly and let him have his way with me.

  Being barely awake was my only excuse.

  The sun was only just rising. Tall, shadowy trees rushed by outside. Trying to get out of LA, we’d gotten caught in a traffic jam the likes of which this Portland girl had never seen. For all my good intentions we hadn’t really talked. We’d stopped and gotten food and gas. The rest of the time, Johnny Cash had played on the stereo and I’d practiced speeches in my head. None of the words made it out of my mouth. For some reason, I was reluctant to call a halt to our adventure and go off on my own. It had nothing to do with pulling up my big girl panties and everything to do with how comfortable I’d begun to feel with him. The silence wasn’t awkward. It was peaceful. Refreshing even, given the last day’s worth of drama. Being with him on the open road … there was something freeing about it. At around two in the morning, I’d fallen asleep.

  “David, where are we?”

  He gave me a sidelong look, his hand still massaging my muscles. “Well …”

  A sign flew past outside. “We’re going to Monterey?”

  “That’s where my place is,” he said. “Stop tensing up. ”

  “Monterey?”

  “Yeah. What’ve you got against Monterey, hmm? Have a bad time at a music festival?”

  “No,” I backpedaled, fast, not wanting to appear ungrateful. “It’s just a surprise. I didn’t realize we were, umm … Monterey. Okay. ”

  David sighed and pulled off the road. Dust flew and stones pinged off the Jeep. (Mal wouldn’t be pleased. ) He turned to face me, resting an elbow on the top of the passenger seat, boxing me in.

  “Talk to me, friend,” he said.

  I opened my mouth and let it all tumble out. “I have a plan. I have some money put away. I was going to go someplace quiet for a couple of weeks until this blew over. You didn’t have to put yourself out like this. I just need to get my stuff from back at the mansion and I can be out of your hair. ”

  “Alright. ” He nodded. “Well, we’re here now and I’d like to go check out my place for a couple of days. So why don’t you come with me? Just as friends. No big deal. It’s Friday now, the lawyers said they’d have the new papers sent to us Monday. We’ll sign them. I’ve got a show Tuesday night back in LA. If you want you can lie low at the house for a few weeks till things calm down. Sound like a plan? We spend the weekend together then go our separate ways. All sorted. ”

  It did sound like a solid idea. But still, I deliberated for a second. Apparently, it was a second too long.

  “You worried about spending the weekend with me or something? Am I that scary?” His gaze held mine, our faces a bare hand’s breadth apart. Dark hair fell around his perfect face. For a moment I almost forgot to breathe. I didn’t move. I couldn’t. Outside a motorcycle roared past then all fell quiet again.

  Was he scary? The man had no idea.

  “No,” I lied, throwing in some scoff for good measure.

  I don’t think he believed me. “Listen, I’m sorry about acting like a creep back in LA. ”

  “It’s okay, really, David. This situation would do anyone’s head in. ”

  “Tell me something,” he said in a low voice. “You remembered about getting the tat. Anything else come back to you?”

  Reliving my drunken rampage wasn’t somewhere I wanted to go. Not with him. Not with anyone. I was paying the consequences by having my life upended and splashed about on the internet. Ridiculous, given nothing in my past was even mildly sordid. Well, apart from the back seat of Tommy’s parents’ car. “Does this even matter? I mean, isn’t it a bit late to be having this conversation?”

  “Guess so. ” He shifted back in his seat and put a hand on the wheel. “You need to stretch your legs or anything?”

  “A restroom would be great. ”

  “No worries. ”

  We pulled back out onto the road and silence ensued for several minutes. He’d turned off the stereo sometime while I slept. The quiet was awkward now and it was all my doing. Guilt sucked first thing in the morning. It probably didn’t improve later in the day, but first up, without even a drop of caffeine to fortify me, it was horrible. He’d been nice to me, trying to talk, and I’d shut him down.

  “Most of that night is still a blur,” I said.

  He lifted a couple of fingers off the steering wheel in a little wave. Such was the sum total of his response.

  I took a deep breath, fortifying myself to go further. “I remember doing shots at midnight. After that, it’s hazy. I remember the sound of the needle at the tattoo parlor, us laughing, but that’s about it. I’ve never blacked out in my life. It’s scary. ”

  “Yeah,” he said quietly.

  “How did we meet?”

  He exhaled hard. “Ah, me and a group of people were leaving to go to another club. One of the girls wasn’t looking where she was going, bumped into a cocktail waitress. Apparently the waitress was new or something and she crashed her tray. Luckily, it was only a couple of empty beer bottles. ”

  “How did I get involved?”

  He darted me a glance, taking his eyes off the road for a moment. “Some of them started giving the poor waitress shit, telling her they were going to get her fired. You just swooped in and handed them their asses. ”

  “I did?”

  “Oh, yeah. ” He licked his lips, the corner of his mouth curling. “Told them they were evil, pretentious, overpriced assholes who should watch where they were walking. You helped the girl pick up the beer bottles and then you insulted my friends some more. It was pretty fucking classic, actually. I can’t remember everything you said. You got pretty creative with the insults by the end. ”

  “Huh. And you liked me for that?”

  He shut his mouth and said nothing. A whole wide world of nothing. Nothing could actually cover a lot of ground when you put that much effort into it.

  “What happened next?” I asked.

  “Security came over to throw you out. Not like they were gonna argue with the rich kids. ”

  “No. I guess not. ”

  “You looked panicky so I got you out of there. ”

  “You left your friends for me?” I watched him in amazement.

  He did a one-shoulder shrug. As if it meant nil.

  “What then?”

  “We took off and had a drink in another bar. ”
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  “I’m surprised you stuck with me. ” Stunned was closer.

  “Why wouldn’t I?” he asked. “You treated me like a normal person. We just talked about everyday stuff. You weren’t angling to get anything out of me. You didn’t act like I was a different fucking species. When you looked at me it felt …”

  “What?”

  He cleared his throat. “I dunno. Doesn’t matter. ”

  “Yes, you do. And it does. ”

  He groaned.

  “Please?”

  “Fuck’s sake,” he muttered, shifting around in the driver’s seat all uncomfortable-like. “It felt real, okay? It felt right. I don’t know how else to explain it. ”

  I sat in stunned silence for a moment. “That’s a good way to explain it. ”

  Suddenly, he got decidedly smirky. “Plus, I’d never been propositioned quite like that. ”

  “Yeeeah. Okay, stop now. ” I covered my face with my hands and he laughed.

  “Relax,” he said. “You were very sweet. ”

  “Sweet?”

  “Sweet is not a bad thing. ”

  He pulled the Jeep into a gas station, stopping in front of a pump. “Look at me. ”

  I lowered my fingers.

  David stared back at me, beautiful face grinning. “You said that you thought I was a really nice guy. And that it would be great if we could go up to your room and have sex and just hang out for a while, if maybe that was something I’d be interested in doing. ”

  “Ha. I have all the moves,” I laughed. There might have been more embarrassing conversations in my life. Doubtful, though. Oh, good God, the thought of me trying out my smooth seduction routine on David. He who had groupies and glamour models throwing themselves at him on a daily basis. If there’d been enough room under the car seat, I’d have hid down there. “What did you say?”

  “What do you think I said?” Without taking his gaze off me he popped the glove box and pulled out a baseball cap. “Looks like the restrooms are around the side. ”
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