Breaking the Rules (Page 26)

Breaking the Rules (Pushing the Limits #1.5)(26)
Author: Katie McGarry

New, refreshing air fills my lungs. Good. That’s good. I think. “Lila said her first time hurt.”

“I’ll try not to hurt you, but a lot of it’s going to depend on how into it you are.”

Kill me. Please tell me we aren’t discussing what I believe we’re discussing. “Got it.”

Yet he keeps going. “Because if you aren’t sure this is what you want to do and you say yes, it’s going to be difficult because you won’t be—”

“I said I got it,” I snap, and throw him a glare that says I’ll happily cut his stuff off if he doesn’t shut up.

“I’ve got condoms that are lu—”

“No.” I slam my hands over my face. “You have them. I know you have them. I do not need to know their specific function and attributes.”

Noah brushes his thumb against the inside of my wrist before he wraps his fingers around my hand. He pulls until my shield gives. “It’s okay. I’m fine continuing with what we’re doing.”

My foot rocks frantically on the bed. “But I want to.”

Noah’s grim as he watches my foot. “If it’s this difficult for you to talk about sex—”

“Because I’m embarrassed!” I yell. “I’m embarrassed because you know everything, and I know nothing, and I hate that no matter what I do, I won’t be good enough.”

Noah sits up, and when I try to duck out of reach, he advances like a tiger and flips me so that I’m lying flat on the bed. He presses his palms onto the comforter on both sides of my head, and his dark eyes bore into mine. My heart pounds wildly and, because I can’t help myself, I reach up and touch his face, sliding my fingers over the rough shadow of his jaw.

Noah leans into my touch, and I love that I have that effect on him. I lick my lips, half hoping he kisses me—half wondering what would happen if he did.

“Echo, kissing you for the rest of my life would be good enough, and you need to get these fucked-up thoughts out of your brain. I’m scared of making love to you because you’re too good for me. I’m terrified that after I share this with you, you’ll realize the mistake, and I can’t take that. Not from you.”

My eyebrows furrow. “Mistake?”

Noah slams his eyes shut then rolls away. Now I’m the one up after him, clinging to his hand before he can bolt off the bed. “What do you mean that I’ll think it was a mistake?”

“Let me go.” A thunderhead creeps onto his face as he stands next to the bed.

“No.” I wind my other hand around his wrist. “We’re talking about this.”

“I’m going to put some of these clothes in the dryer.” He reaches for the only pair of jeans that are halfway dry. I let go of him, grab them then shove them underneath my bottom.

Noah pinches the bridge of his nose. “I’ll go naked, Echo.”

I’m sure he would. “I looked at your penis today so you can talk to me about this.”

Noah’s eyes widen as they jump to me.

“Yep, I said it.” That’s right, world, I’m capable of a sexual conversation.

We’re silent and I toe his T-shirt on the ground that has a skull and crossbones on the back. “You’re good enough for me. In fact, you’re the best for me.”

“You don’t get it. There were girls…”

It’s hard to keep from cringing, and I hate that he notices. I love him so much, and it’s difficult to imagine him intimate with anyone else.

Noah swears softly. “This is how I don’t want to hurt you.”

I don’t want to hurt, either, especially over this. “We went to school together and despite my lack of popularity, I still had ears and heard the gossip. This is old news, so keep going.”

It helps that every girl we’re discussing is thousands of miles away in Kentucky.

“I warned them up front what I was and what it would be. I was a game to some girls, and I was fine being played. Others regretted it. Those girls, afterward, I’d see how they’d look at me at school. I think most of them thought after we had sex, I’d fall in love and when I didn’t—they regretted it. I hated the expression on their faces, but I swear to you, I gave them the out.”

“Like you give me the out?” I hedge. Noah never pushes me. Ever.

“I need you to be sure.” Noah meets my eyes. “I want it to be different with us. I don’t want you to view me as some sort of prize you scored or as the asshole that used you. I don’t want to lose the way you look at me—like I’m something…someone. I’ve survived a lot, but I don’t think I can survive if you regretted it. It would kill me if you looked at me any different than you do now.”

There are moments when your heart breaks and melts at the same time. When there’s so much love flooding your soul that you’re drowning in the tide. This is that moment with Noah. “I could never look at you differently.”

Noah stares at the floor, and his voice gets strained. “I hope not.”

The direction of the conversation bothers me. More than I would have thought it would. “Don’t you trust how I feel? What I say?”

Noah’s that soft place I fall. He makes me laugh. I can talk to him for hours, plus he makes every area of my body hot and drives it close to the brink of insanity. I love him. He loves me. Why am I hesitant to make love to Noah? What is it that I don’t trust?

“Someday, Echo, you’re going to wake up and realize that you’re more than me. That everyone you know is right. That I’m a phase that’ll die out. Someday I won’t be the man you want to walk down the street with.”

A slow, agonizing burn tortures my stomach as I replay his last statement. “You don’t trust me?”

A long heavy silence. I might as well be suffocating.

“Probably as much as you trust me.” He clears his throat. “Which is more than I trust anyone else in my life.”

I am suffocating, and that sting in my chest is the lack of air. It’s creating a strange numbness throughout my mind and limbs. “I guess that’s good.”

But is it enough to help us last beyond a few months of living in a bubble?

“Do you ever think…” I cut myself off while focusing on a framed print of fir trees on the wall.

“Do I ever think what?”

“Are you scared that we’re going to be heading home soon? Back to everything that threatens to pull us apart?” This summer was supposed to change me, and it hasn’t. I’m returning the same person as when I left.