Lick, p.15
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       Lick, p.15
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         Part #1 of Stage Dive series by Kylie Scott
Page 15

  Author: Kylie Scott

  His voice washed over me, deep, rough in the best way possible as he sang the ballad.

  I’ve got this feeling that comes and goes

  Ten broken fingers and one broken nose

  Dark waters very cold

  I know I’ll make it home

  This sorry sun has burned the sky

  She’s out of touch and she’s very high

  Her bed was made of stone

  I know I’ll break her throne

  These aching bones won’t hold me up

  My swollen shoes they have had enough

  These smokestacks burn them down

  This ocean let it drown

  When he finished I was quiet. He gave me a squeeze, probably checking I was still alive. I squeezed his arms right back, not turning over so he couldn’t see the tears in my eyes. The combination of his voice and the moody ballad had undone me. I was always making a mess of myself around him, crying or puking. Why he wanted anything to do with me, I had no idea.

  “Thank you,” I said.

  “Anytime. ”

  I lay there, trying to decipher the lyrics. What it might mean that he’d chosen that song to sing to me. “What’s it called?”

  “‘Homesick. ’ I wrote it for the last album. ” He rose up on one elbow, leaning over to check out my face. “Shit, I made you sad. I’m sorry. ”

  “No. It was beautiful. Your voice is amazing. ”

  He frowned but lay back down, pressed his chest against my spine. “I’ll sing you something happy next time. ”

  “If you like. ” I pressed my lips to the back of his hand, to the veins tracing across, and the dusting of dark hair. “David?”

  “Hmm?”

  “Why don’t you sing in the band? You have such a great voice. ”

  “I do back-up. Jimmy loves the limelight. It was always more his thing. ” His fingers twined with mine. “He wasn’t always the asshole he is now. I’m sorry he hassled you in LA. I could have killed him for saying that shit. ”

  “It’s okay. ”

  “No, it’s not. He was off his face. He didn’t have a fucking clue what he was talking about. ” His thumb moved restlessly over my hand. “You’re gorgeous. You don’t need to change a thing. ”

  I didn’t know what to say at first. Jimmy had said some horrible things and it had stayed with me. Funny how the bad stuff always did.

  “I’ve both puked and cried on you. Are you entirely sure about that?” I joked, finally.

  “Yes,” he said simply. “I like you the way you are, blurting out whatever shit crosses your mind. Not trying to play me, or use me. You’re just … being with me. I like you. ”

  I lay there speechless for a moment, taken aback. “Thank you. ”

  “You’re welcome. Anytime, Evelyn. Anytime at all. ”

  “I like you too. ”

  His lips brushed against the back of my neck. Shivers raced across my skin. “Do you?”

  “Yes. Very much. ”

  “Thanks, baby. ”

  It took a long time for his breathing to even out. His limbs got heavier and he stilled, asleep against my back. My foot went fuzzy with pins and needles but never mind. I hadn’t slept with anyone before, apart from the occasional platonic bed-sharing episode with Lauren. Apparently, sleeping was all I’d be doing today.

  In all honesty, it felt good, lying next to him.

  It felt right.

  CHAPTER EIGHT

  “Hey. ” David padded down the stairs seven hours later, wearing a towel wrapped around his waist. He’d slicked his wet hair back and his tattoos were displayed to perfection, defining his lean torso and muscular arms. There was a lot of skin on show. The man was a visual feast. I made a conscious effort to keep my tongue inside my head. Keeping the welcoming grin off my face was beyond my abilities. I’d planned to play it cool so as not to spook him. That plan had failed.

  “What’cha doin’?” he asked.

  “Nothing much. There was a delivery for you. ” I pointed to the bags and boxes waiting by the door. All day I’d pondered the problem of us. The only thing I’d come up with was that I didn’t want our time to end. I didn’t want to sign those annulment papers. Not yet. The idea made me want to start puking all over again. I wanted David. I wanted to be with him. I needed a new plan.

  The pad of my thumb rubbed over my bottom lip, back and forth, back and forth. I’d gone for a long walk up the beach earlier, watching the waves crash on the shore and reliving that kiss. Over and over again, I’d played it inside my mind. The same went for our conversations. In fact, I’d picked apart every moment of our time together, explored every nuance. Every moment I could remember, anyway, and I’d tried damn hard to remember all of it.

  “A delivery?” He crouched down beside the closest package and started tearing at the wrapping. I averted my eyes before I caught a glimpse up his towel, despite being wildly curious.

  “Would you mind if I used your phone?” I asked.

  “Ev, you don’t need to ask. Help yourself to whatever. ”

  “Thanks. ” Lauren and my folks were probably freaking out, wondering what was going on. It was time to brave up to the butt-picture repercussions. I groaned on the inside.

  “This one’s for you. ” He handed me a thick brown-paper parcel done up with string, followed by a shopping bag with some brand I’d never heard of printed on the side. “Ah, this one too by the look. ”

  “It is?”

  “Yeah. I asked Martha to order some stuff for us. ”

  “Oh. ”

  “Oh? No. ” David shook his head. Then he kneeled down in front of me and tore into the brown package in my hands. “No ‘oh’. We need clothes. It’s really simple. ”

  “That’s very kind of you, David, but I’m fine. ”

  He wasn’t listening. Instead he held up a red dress the same thigh-baring length as those girls at the mansion had worn. “What the fuck? You’re not wearing this. ” The designer dress went flying and he ripped into the shopping bag at my feet.

  “David, you can’t just throw it on the ground. ”

  “Sure I can. Here, this is a little better. ”

  A black tank top fell into my lap. At least this one looked the right size. The thigh-high red dress had been a size-four joke. Quite possibly a mean one, given Martha’s dislike of me back in LA. No matter.

  A tag dangled from the tank. The price. Shit. They couldn’t be serious.

  “Whoa. I could pay my rent for weeks with this top. ”

  In lieu of a response he threw a pair of skinny black jeans at me. “Here, they’re okay too. ”

  I put the jeans aside. “It’s a plain cotton tank top. How can this possibly cost two hundred dollars?”

  “What do you think of this?” A length of silky green fabric dangled from his hand. “Nice, huh?”

  “Do they sew the seams with gold thread? Is that it?”

  “What are you talking about?” He held up the blue dress, turning it this way and that. “Hell no, it’s backless. The top of your ass will probably show in that. ” It joined the red dress on the floor. My hands itched to rescue them, fold them away nicely. But David just ripped into the next box. “What were you saying?”

  “I’m talking about the price of this top. ”

  “Shit, no. We’re not talking about the price of that top because we’re not talking about money. It’s an issue for you and I’m not going there. ” A micro-mini denim skirt came next. “What the fuck was Martha thinking ordering you this sort of stuff?”

  “Well, to be fair, you do normally have girls in bikinis hanging off you. In comparison, the backless dress is quite sedate. ”

  “You’re different. You’re my friend, aren’t you?”

  “Yes. ” I didn’t entirely believe the tone of my own voice.

  His forehead wrinkled up with disdain. “Damn i
t. Look at the length of this. I can’t even tell if it’s meant to be a skirt or a fucking belt. ”

  Laughter burst out of me and he gave me a hurt look, big blue puppy-dog eyes of extreme sadness and displeasure. Clearly, I had hurt his heart.

  “I’m sorry,” I said. “But you sound like my father. ”

  He shoved the micro-mini back into its bag. At least it wasn’t on the floor. “Yeah? Your dad and I should meet. I think we’d get along great. ”

  “You want to meet my father?”

  “Depends, would he shoot me on sight?”

  “No. ” Probably not.

  He just gave me a curious look and burrowed into the next box. “That’s better. Here. ”

  He passed me a couple of sedate T-shirts, one black and one blue.

  “I don’t think you should be selecting nun’s clothing for me, friend,” I said, bemused at his behavior. “It’s vaguely hypocritical. ”

  “They’re not nun’s clothes. They just cover the essentials. Is that too much to ask?” The next bulging bag was passed to me in its entirety. “Here. ”

  “You do admit it’s just a tiny bit hypocritical, though, right?”

  “Admit nothing. Adrian taught me that a long time ago. Look in the bag. ”

  I did so and he burst out laughing, whatever expression I wore being apparently hilarious.

  “What is this?” I asked, feeling all wide-eyed with wonder. It might have been a thong if the makers had seen fit to invest just a little more material into it.

  “I’m dressing you like a nun. ”

  “La Perla. ” I read the tag then turned it over to check out the price.

  “Shit. Will you not look at the price, please? Ev. ” David dived at me and I lay back, trying to make out the figures on the crazily swaying tag that was bigger than the scrap of lace. His larger hand closed over mine, engulfing the thong. “Don’t. For fuck’s sake. ”

  The back of my head hit the edge of a step and I winced, my eyes filling with tears. “Ow. ”
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