“Don’t TOUCH that food Della. It’s your brother’s. It’s his favorite. You know that. Why do you always try and throw it away? Why Della? Why would you do that to him? Be a good girl, Della. Sweet and good.
“But Momma it smells bad. It’s old and there are flies—”
“SHUT UP! SHUT UP! Go to your room. We don’t want you in here. All you do is complain. Go to your room. Go to your room.”
“Momma, please just... Let’s fix him a new plate. This one has gotten old. It’s making the whole house smell bad.”
“He wants you to leave it alone. He’s coming to eat it. Just go to your room, Della. Go sing a pretty song. One we can all enjoy.”
I didn’t want to sing a song. I wanted to throw away the rotten food. I shook my head and started to protest when she grabbed me around the neck and started shaking me.
“I told you to sing, Della. Leave your brother’s food alone. It’s his, damn you, girl. Such a selfish brat.” She screamed in the high pitch voice I knew to fear.
I pulled at her hands and fought for air. I couldn’t breathe. She was going to choke me. A trickle of something wet touched my cheek and I looked up to see the blood raining down on me. It was her blood. It was my momma’s blood. Looking down at my hands I saw they were covered in blood. I turned to cry for help but there was no one there. I was alone. Always alone.
I sat straight up in bed as the scream ripped through my chest. Opening my eyes I took in the unfamiliar surroundings. The large picture windows in front of me showed the early morning sunlight dancing across the ocean waves. I gripped the down comforter in my hands and took several deep breaths. I wasn’t back in that house. I was safe. Everything was okay. My body trembled as I sat silently and watched the beauty that I had found myself immersed in.
I didn’t know if my memories would eventually disappear or if one day they would consume me. Until then, I needed to live. Every time I thought about going home and giving up on this trip to find myself I had my dreams to remind me of why I had to do this. My time was limited. Shoving back the covers I made my way to the bathroom to get a shower. The sweat covering my body from the nightmare made my tee shirt cling to my damp skin. Every morning for the past three years I had woken up like this.
The end of day two at work and I’d not seen Woods since I had walked out of his office. I was beginning to think he was avoiding me. Maybe that was best. He was my boss and I’d already had a taste of how badly dating your boss could go. I guess Woods was making sure we put the past behind us. Considering Woods had given me my first ever orgasm that I hadn’t had to work for made it a little hard but I could do it.
I was ready to enjoy life, not worry over or want things I couldn’t have. This was supposed to be a fun carefree trip. It was time I started making it one. Jeffery had really put a hitch in my plans. He’d also taught me that men could be pigs. I needed to remember that.
An attractive brunette with a sincere smile stepped out of the fancy car parked beside mine. Her focus was on me. I paused as she closed her car door and walked toward me. She wasn’t dressed like the female members our age that I’d seen while in the dining room. She was wearing a pair of faded well-worn skin-tight jeans that hung low on her hips and a tight Corona t-shirt. The red stiletto heels on her feet looked hard to walk in.
“You must be Della. You’re exactly like Tripp described you. I’m Bethy,” she said in a bubbly voice and stuck out her hand for me to shake.
I shook her hand, relieved that this was a friend of Tripp’s.
“Yes, I’m Della. It’s nice to meet you,” I replied. I wanted to make friends here. I didn’t like being a loner.
“I’m sorry I’ve not been in to welcome you sooner. Things have been a little crazy. Woods and Jace are best friends. You met Woods right?”
I only nodded.
“Well, Woods has been over at my place with Jace trying to decide what to do about… well, never mind. I’m probably not supposed to talk about his private life with other people. Besides, I doubt you care to hear me ramble. I actually came here for a reason,” she paused and flashed me a full smile again. “We’re having a little party over at Jace’s tonight. Next week kicks off Spring Break season. It runs from March first through the end of April. This place gets swarmed with people. I want you to come. No, I insist you come. There are people you need to meet. The more people you know the better. I just wish Blaire was here. She’s my best friend and you would love her. She and her fiancé are off dealing with family.” She sighed and put her hands on her hips. “So you coming?”
I had planned on going back to Tripp’s condo and taking a walk down the beach and maybe reading a book. But she was right. I needed to meet people.
“Sure. I’d love to. Where and what time?”
Bethy squealed and clapped her hands. “Yay, I’m so glad! Okay, go get changed if you want and come over to Jace’s at about eightish. Oh and he lives… you got a pen?” I reached into my purse and pulled out a receipt from the grocery store last night and a pen, then handed them to her.
She scribbled down the directions and handed them back to me.
“See you in a few!” she called out, then spun around and headed back to her car.
I watched her drive away before walking over to my car and getting in. I couldn’t get her comment about Woods “dealing with” something out of my head. She was right, she shouldn’t have been talking about his personal life but I was curious. Even though I shouldn’t be.
I had found the right place. Cars were parked everywhere. This was a little intimidating but then it was also another experience. I was on this trip for things like this. I parked my car and got out hoping that I had dressed appropriately. I had been torn between dressing to fit in with the members of the club I’d come in contact for the past two days or dressing to fit in with Bethy. I’d settled for somewhere in between. My blue jean skirt, black leather boots, and vintage Bob Marley tee shirt would hopefully work.
Before I could knock, the door swung open and Bethy was reaching out to grab my hand and pull me inside. “You’re here!”
I couldn’t reply because she started yelling at someone to stop eating salsa over the white rug. I let her pull me through the crowded house out onto the back porch. “Sorry, it’s so crazy. It’s not as bad out here,” she said, glancing back at me.
A couple of guys were sitting around a fire pit with beers in their hands. It looked like that was our destination.
“Boys, this is Della. Tripp’s friend.” She smiled at me then pointed to an attractive guy who reminded me so much of Tripp I wasn’t surprised when she said, “That’s Jace.” She then pointed to a guy with long blond curls and a mischievous grin. “That’s Thad.” He winked and I decided I liked him. He had that ‘just for fun’ look about him. “And this is Grant, who surprised us by showing up. We thought he was up north again.” Grant was by far the best looking out of the trio. His dark hair was tucked behind his ears and he had a twinkle in his eye. The sexy smirk he was sending my way was extremely tempting.
“Hello Della, why don’t you come share my seat? I’ll even let you sip from my beer,” Grant drawled.
I thought about saying no but then caught myself and flashed him a smile in return before walking over toward him. “You gonna scoot over or am I supposed to sit in your lap?” I asked hoping the teasing in my voice didn’t sound stupid.
Grant’s smirk grew into a full-blow grin. “Hell yeah, I want you to sit in my lap,” he replied.
I was trying to decide if Braden would think this was a bold, fun move or if I was coming off as a slut. I could never tell. She was always my gauge for what I should and shouldn’t do. Which was one reason she sent me off to figure out life all by myself.
I might as well go with it now. I’d already acted like a hussy. I stepped over his legs propped up on the iron rail that went around the outside of the fire pit and then took a seat in the stranger’s lap.
“He won’t be here long, baby. You might wanna come over here to this lap. I never leave this place,” Thad said from across the fire.
Grant’s arm wrapped around my waist and pulled me back against his chest. “You never know, Thad. I might have found a reason to stick around awhile.”
I was pretty sure I was in over my head.
“Grant, play nice. She’s a friend of Tripp’s,” Bethy scolded. I wondered if she was thinking I was some kind of cheap whore now.“Don’t go getting all tense in my lap now, sweetheart. Lean back and get comfortable,” Grant whispered in my ear. His smooth southern accent made me feel warm. I liked this guy. I managed to relax and do as he said.“Here, you can have my beer. I’ll get another one next time one of these chumps gets up for another round.”I didn’t really care for beer. But I also didn’t want to be rude so I took it. “Thanks.”“You’re most welcome.”I was surprised that his hands didn’t go to my legs but one stayed around my waist and the other was resting on the arm of the chair. I liked that. He wasn’t assuming I was easy just because I’d crawled into his lap.“Tell us about Tripp. We haven’t seen him in for-fuckin-ever,” Thad said.I didn’t know much about Tripp. We’d talked on the nights we worked together but we never got real deep with our life stories.“He’s doing good. Women come from miles around just to sit at the bar and flirt with him. He has a dedicated following. He enjoys his job but after seeing this place I have no idea why he stays in Dallas.”Thad cut his eyes over to Jace and they both looked solemn. They obviously knew why Tripp wasn’t here and it upset them. They missed him. I didn’t blame them. Tripp was a great guy.“So, why did you come running here from Dallas?” Grant asked as his hand slipped up and covered my stomach. His thumb was awfully close to brushing the underside of my left breast. I wasn’t sure if this was okay or if I should just go with it.“Woods! It’s about damn time.” Jace’s words surprised me and I wasn’t sure I was okay with sitting in Grant’s lap anymore. I hadn’t expected Woods to be here.I glanced back at him and my heart stuttered when his dark eyes zeroed in on me… or Grant… or both.“I didn’t know you were back in town,” Woods said to Grant but his eyes shifted right back to me.“Yeah, came in last night. Might stick around a little while.” The teasing lilt in his voice didn’t seem to amuse Woods.I watched as Woods walked over to me and held out his hand, “Della, would you come with me please?”As attractive as Grant was, Woods’ dark commanding tone was too hard to resist. I slipped my hand in his and he pulled me up out of Grant’s lap. I started to say something to Grant but Woods pulled me back inside the house without a word to anyone else.“Where are we going?” I asked, setting my beer down on the first table we passed before he made me spill it.Woods didn’t reply. He nodded to the people who called out a greeting but then he just started ignoring them. I had to run to keep up with his fast pace.We went down a hall and Woods jerked open the door to the last room on the left and pushed me inside before closing the door behind him.I was starting to get worried that I’d somehow made him angry when he stalked over to me until he had me pressed back against the wall. The emotions in his brown eyes confused me. He didn’t seem angry. He looked confused, torn and maybe turned on.“I’m sorry,” he finally said as he placed his hands flat against the wall on each side of my head. “I think I may have snapped.”I hadn’t been expecting an apology. “Okay,” I replied waiting on more of an explanation.“I want to be inside you again, Della. I want to pull this sexy ass excuse for a skirt up and bury myself in the tightest pussy I’ve ever been in.”Whoa.Woods lowered his head until his breath was warm against my ear. “It’s a real bad idea. Fucking you is all I can think about but it’s a bad idea. Push me away and leave the room. It’s the only way I can keep from touching you.”That night we’d spent together was one I still dreamed about when my dreams were good. How could I walk away when he was offering it again? Why would I want to? I liked Woods. He wasn’t just sexy and really good at making me feel wanted. He was thoughtful and well liked by everyone. He was one of the good guys. I needed affection. I had lived most of my life without it. Sex made me feel close to someone even if just for a little while. I’d lost my virginity to a guy who had held me and touched me. I’d wanted to be touched so badly. I’d wanted to feel close to someone. It had been a mistake. The guy hadn’t been caring and thoughtful the way Woods was. Having Woods touch me was so different. I craved the way he made me feel.I moved my hands to his chest and laid my palms against the hard muscles under his shirt that I had licked thoroughly, every wonderful ripple. “What if I don’t want to leave? What if I want you to pull my skirt up?” I asked, looking up at him through my eyelashes. It was a simple question. An honest one.“Damn, baby,” he murmured just before his mouth covered mine. The desperation in his kiss made me tingle between my legs. Our tongues danced and tasted until we were both pressing our bodies closer while our hands fought with the clothing between us. I managed to jerk Woods shirt off by pulling it over his head and then covering one of his dark nipples with my mouth and sucking hard. My panties were jerked down and I quickly stepped out of them as he pulled them down over my boots.“You’re keeping these boots on. I want it all off but the boots,” he growled as he pulled my shirt off and then made quick work of my bra.As soon as he had me naked I went back to kissing his chest. Jeffery’s chest hadn’t looked like this. I had never touched a chest like this but with Woods.Woods hands circled my waist and he picked me up and pressed me against the wall as he slammed into me.“WOODS! YES!” I cried out as the pleasurable pain engulfed me and I wrapped my arms around his neck to hold on.“Fuck yes… fuck yes… damn Della baby, I’ve fantasized about this since the last time I was up in here. It’s like some kind of fucking utopia. I don’t want to ever come out.”Woods’ breathing was heavy as he leaned over my body and buried his head in my neck. “So good,” he groaned.“Fill me, then you can do it again,” I promised, wanting him to move. I craved the orgasm I knew he could give me. That one moment when I couldn’t tell where I ended and he began. Bad memories weren’t there to haunt me during that nirvana. It was my one moment of relief. I intended to get a lot of those from him tonight. I didn’t care about anything else. Just how Woods could make me feel.Woods let out a crazy growl before he started pumping in and out of me. He licked a trail down my neck and bit me on my shoulder and just above my breast several times .I watched, desperate to get as lost in him as I could. His tongue trailed a path down to my nipple and flicked it several times before pulling it into his mouth. I was so close to coming.My legs started getting weak from the impending orgasm. Woods noticed and he grabbed both my legs and moved even closer to use the wall as support. His eyes lifted and the moment they locked with mine my pleasure exploded and I cried out his name until it was a whimper.“Uhh, fuck, Della, uuuh, God yes.” Woods’ release shook his body so hard it sent a second ripple of pleasure through me. I managed to hold onto him tightly and rested my head against his chest.Our breathing was hard and heavy. It sounded like we’d both just run a marathon. I felt like I’d just run a marathon but had managed to reach heaven in the process.Woods hand ran down my hair and my back over and over as we stood there. It was a soothing gesture from him that only made me like him more. I’d never even had a hug until Braden had held me the night I found my mother dead. Woods gave me something no one else had. I sought out affection from others. Not only could Woods give me that but he made everything else fade away. If I could take him home with me at night would I have my nightmares? Could he exhaust my body with the ability to bring me pleasure until all I could remember was him?