Sunlight poured in through the window and an arm held me tightly while a leg had me pinned to the bed. Sawyer had snuggled up against my back at some point last night. I’d eaten the cheeseburger he’d ordered me and a few bites of chocolate cake before curling up as far away from his side of the bed as possible and falling asleep instantly. I was still on my side but Sawyer was pressed up against me. He was holding onto me like some sort of lifeline.
I reached up to move his arm so I could get up and go use the bathroom.
“Don’t. Please, just let me hold you a little bit longer,” he mumbled into my hair.
“You’re awake,” I replied
“Mmmmhmmm and I’m enjoying myself. Please, just a little bit longer.”
I smiled for the first time since the Ashton incident.
“You can still enjoy yourself without me,” I teased.
He froze for a second before snuggling even closer to me and moving his hand so that his palm covered my bare stomach where my tank top had inched up in my sleep.
“I can’t enjoy it without you. You’re what I’m enjoying,” he whispered in a deep sleepy voice as he took a small nip at my earlobe.
“Ah,” I squealed and he chuckled, sending chill bumps over my arms from the warmth of his breath tickling my ear and neck.
“I missed you so much,” he replied in a more serious tone.
I didn’t need to point out I’d been with him for three days. I knew what he meant. Mentally and emotionally, I’d been checked out yesterday. My chest didn’t ache this morning and I could breathe deeply again. Maybe it was the fact Sawyer’s big arms were wrapped around me giving me a false sense of safety.
“Can I go to the restroom, please?” I asked, tickling his arm with my nails.
“Will you promise to come back?”
I had planned on jumping in the shower again and getting ready. However, as much as I hated to admit it, I’d missed him too.
“Yes, if that’s what you want.”
“I want,” he murmured in my ear and pressed a soft kiss to my temple.
“Bring the small bottle of mouthwash with you,” I called out when I heard the bathroom door open.
Lana walked around the bed and handed me the bottle of mouthwash. “Here ya go.”
I opened it and took a swig. Then swished it around some before swallowing it.
“You did not just swallow that!”
Grinning, I reached up, grabbed her tiny waist and pulled her down on top of me.
“I believe I did. I probably need mouth to mouth to save me from the poisoning,” I teased leaning up and taking a nip at her bottom lip.
“Mouth to mouth won’t save you from poisoning. You need your stomach pumped,” she informed me as she pressed a kiss to the side of my mouth.
“Hmmmm… well that sounds like a lot of work. I’ll think about it later.” I slipped my hands into her messy curls and brought her mouth down to mine. Just as she opened her mouth to let me inside, Lana’s phone started singing.
She pulled back from the kiss. I needed this kiss. I needed reassurance I hadn’t lost this… whatever it was we had between us. “Don’t answer it,” I begged, reaching up to kiss her chin. Laughing softly she curled back into my arms and let me get a taste of her minty toothpaste flavored mouth. But the minute the ringing stopped it started up again. Lana lifted her head and glanced over at her phone with a frown. I fought the urge to grab the phone and throw it against the wall to shut it up.
“It might be an emergency,” she said and I loosened my hold on her and let her crawl off me and check her phone. The tense expression that came over her face had me sitting up and checking to see who was bothering her. Because it obviously wasn’t a welcome call.
Mom – flashed across the screen.
Lana slipped out of bed, “I need to take this. She’ll just keep calling until I do.”
“Hello Mom,” her voice sounded tired instead of worried by her mother’s determination to get her on the phone. Lana walked around the bed and headed for the bathroom. Once the door clicked into place, I threw the pillow across the room and muttered a curse. She wouldn’t be shutting me out if I’d been there for her. I was willing to bet she’d been going to tell me what crap her parents were putting her though the other night. I wouldn’t have to worry about how to fix it. I’d know what needed to be done.
“No MOM!” I heard her raised voice and I jumped out of bed to go listen at the door. I was invading her privacy but she was upset. I had my reasons. It was a damn good reason.
“I don’t want you to call him. I don’t want you to ask him. He’s moved on, Mom. He’s getting himself a brand new family now and we are his past. Just let this go. I’ll figure this all out. Just leave it alone. Please.”
Was she talking about her Dad?
“Mom, I’m an adult. You can’t continue to try to make all my decisions for me. I get to make those now. So please, back off.”
I backed away from the door and walked over to the window overlooking the mountains we’d left last night. Why did I care so much about finding out her problems? It wasn’t like we were an actual couple. I tensed up as that realization came over me. I had no claim on Lana. If Ethan or anyone else asked her out again, I couldn’t stop her from saying yes. Someone else could touch the soft smooth skin on her arms, her thighs, her stomach, her… oh, hell no. I needed to fix this and fast. This was more than a fling now. Sure, we were going our separate ways in August but right now, I didn’t want to share. I wouldn’t be able to share. I was pretty damn sure I’d rip another guy’s arms off his body if I saw him touch her.
The bathroom door opened and Lana stepped out. A forced smile touched her lips as her eyes met mine.
“Everything okay?” I asked, hoping to God that she’d tell me what was going on in her life.
Instead, she only shrugged. Dammit.
“Lana, listen, we need to talk about something,” I began walking across the room so I could touch her in case I needed to beg.
She shook her head, “If this is bad news I really don’t think I can handle that right now. Give me a few hours first, please.”
Well, hell, if the pain in her voice didn’t rip me in two. I pulled her against my chest and held her there. She was stiff as a board at first but I continued to rub her back and kiss the top of her head until she relaxed and wrapped her arms around my waist.
“It isn’t bad. But it is time sensitive,” I explained.
She tilted her head to look at me, “Time sensitive?”
“Very. As in someone could lose a limb if they stepped out of line.”
Lana pulled back and the frown puckering her brow was adorable.
“What in the world are you talking about, Sawyer?”
“The fact I want… no, I need, for us to be exclusive until we part ways when we head off to college.”
Lana made a small ‘o’ with her mouth and then she nodded slowly, “Okay. That sounds like a good plan. But why would someone lose a limb?”
I traced her bottom lip with my finger, “Because if they touched you, I’d have to rip off the offending limb.”
A small bubble of laughter escaped her and then she bit down on my finger. Her eyes smiled up at me like a playful kitten.
“So, you want to play rough, do you?” I picked her up and threw her down on the bed before covering her body with mine.
The ride back to Grove went fast but then I’d slept most of the way. Jake had not been happy when Sawyer informed him that I was sitting up front. I felt bad about it but I liked knowing Sawyer wanted me close to him.
Everyone had loaded their gear into their cars and left. Ashton had even gone inside to go to bed. She was still pretty weak. Sawyer took my bags and put them inside the door of the house, then looked back at me.
“Come with me for awhile,” he said, pulling me back outside onto the porch and closing the door behind me.
“You aren’t tired from all that driving?”
He shook his head and pulled me up against him. My aunt and uncle weren’t home but they could drive up at any minute. I wasn’t sure what they’d think of this.
“Okay. Let me go check on Ash and I’ll be right back down.”
“I’ll wait here,” he replied, letting go of my hand so I could run back inside.
I knocked softly on Ashton’s door then peeked my head inside. She was already curled up under the covers. Closing her door softly, I headed back to Sawyer.
“She okay?” he asked as I stepped outside.
“Good. Let’s go.”
He rested his hand on my lower back and led me toward the Suburban. “First things first, I’ve got to go get my truck from the house. I want you to be able to sit close enough to me so that I can touch you if I want to.”
Smiling to myself, I climbed inside.
I’d been to Sawyer’s house with Ashton before. We were younger and I never went inside. We mostly just swam in the lake back behind his property. Walking in the front door with my hand clasped firmly in his was a little nerve-wracking. His parents weren’t home and he’d convinced me to come inside.
“This way,” he motioned for me to go ahead of him down a staircase leading to what looked like the basement.
“Why are we going down here?” I asked, peering back at him over my shoulder.
“This is my cave. Go on,” he encouraged me.
His cave… hmmm. I walked the rest of the way down the stairs and stopped at the bottom unsure which door to open. There were two. One on my right and one on my left. Sawyer reached over me and twisted the knob on the right door then reached in and flipped a switch. The lights came on and I stood there in wonder as I took in the room.
It was huge. Two large black leather sectional sofas sat in the middle of the room in front of a massive flat screen television that hung on the wall. A crimson refrigerator with the University of Alabama’s logo on the outside sat against the left side of the room and a black marble countertop, complete with a sink, sat off to the left of the fridge. On the other wall, shelves and shelves full of trophies stretched from floor to ceiling. Framed football jerseys stood among the trophies. Under the television sat a long black narrow table complete with an Xbox and a Wii. Photos also cluttered the surface. All of them carefully framed. Sawyer’s mother had to have done that. I couldn’t imagine him actually framing photos to sit out.
“You thirsty?” he asked, walking over to the fridge and opening it. “Looks like Loretta came this week. It’s stocked. Coke, Mountain Dew, blue Gatorade, or bottled water?”
“Loretta?” I asked confused.
“The housekeeper. She does all the grocery shopping too.”
“Oh.” People actually had housekeepers that did their grocery shopping? How odd.
“Um, water is fine.” I walked over to the shelves and began reading the plaques on the trophies. MVP seemed to be the most popular award he had received.
“Here ya go,” he handed me a water and turned his attention to the shelves. “Mom did all this. She wanted somewhere for all of this to be displayed. She actually tried to turn one of the guest bedrooms into a “Sawyer Shrine” or so my father called it. He refused to let her and suggested she stick them down here. I agreed with him just so they would be somewhat hidden.”
“There’s a lot of them,” I replied, taking a sip of the water.
“Yeah, there is.” He nodded his head toward the couch, “Come sit down with me. We can find us a movie to rent off iTunes.”
I followed him to the end of one of the leather sectionals. He set his Gatorade down, reached up, took my water and set it down beside his. “Come here,” his voice dropped to that husky whisper that made my heart speed up. I let him pull me down onto his lap.
“I’ve been thinking about this mouth all day,” he confided before covering my lips with his. I licked at his bottom lip and he opened for me letting me leisurely taste him. The gentle pressure of his mouth was perfect and made me a little dizzy.
His hands slid up my thighs until both hands were cupping my butt. One of his fingers traced the edge of my panties. “I really like this skirt,” he murmured against my lips. I really liked it too at the moment. My breath was coming in short little gasps as he slid one hand inside the edge of my panties and my bare butt was being caressed by one hand while his other hand slipped slowly back down my thigh while shifting closer to my inner thigh. I knew what his next move would be. What I didn’t know was if I was going to let it go that far.
Then he moaned into my mouth as his fingers touched the inside of my thigh and my leg fell open of its own accord. The slow easy kiss became frenzied as we both fought to calm our breathing. His hand inched higher and higher up my now exposed thigh. The second his finger grazed the outside of my panties, I jerked in his hold and something very close to pleading squeaked in my throat. Sawyer pulled back and his accelerated breathing made me tingle with pleasure. I loved knowing I did this to him.
He kissed down my neck until he met the curve of my shoulder. He went very still. His warm breath bathed my chest and neck. His hand slowly moved again. One lone finger slipped inside the edge of my panties and made direct contact. He murmured something against my neck but I couldn’t focus enough to understand. My brain was in a foggy haze and my heart was about to pound out of my chest. The urge to move against the hand that now cupped the crotch of my panties was strong. But I waited while he eased his finger further inside and gently ran it along the folds.
“Ohohohmygod,” I managed to get out in a breathless chant.
“God, you’re so warm,” he whispered in a strained voice as he began kissing the spot where he had buried his head in my neck.
When he slipped his other hand over my leg and pulled it further open before reaching down and pulling my panties to the side as he gently stroked me, I started to come apart in his arms.
“That’s it, baby,” he encouraged as I clung to him calling his name and wanting it to never end.
When I could finally catch my breath, his fingers left me and pulled my panties back into place; then I was being cuddled in his arms while he whispered things against my neck between kisses and little nibbles.
Sawyer finally lifted his head from the now tender skin along my neck where he’d loved thoroughly. “That was… that was… damn,” he whispered before claiming my mouth for another kiss. After a long leisurely kiss, Sawyer lay down on the couch and tucked me back against him. “Let’s watch that movie now,” he said in a teasing voice.
The minute Ashton pulled her Jetta into the clearing down by the Vincent’s lake, Sawyer came jogging toward us. His hair was slicked back and wet with droplets of water flying off the thick locks. The navy blue swim trunks he was wearing hung on his waist and showcased his delicious abs and hip bones.
“Pretty sure he isn’t running out here to see me,” Ashton quipped as I sat there staring at him in awe.
Snapping myself out of my worshipful gaze, I opened the car door and stepped out. Sawyer was beside me instantly.
“I didn’t think you’d ever get here,” he said in a pleased voice as his cold wet hand clasped mine and pulled me up against his chest. He was getting my dry clothes damp but I wasn’t going to complain.
“Sorry, we overslept,” I explained.
“Don’t apologize to him. He was the one who kept you out late,” Ashton teased and headed off in the direction of Beau as he made his way toward her.
“I had a good time last night,” Sawyer informed me in a husky whisper.
We’d gone to get something to eat at Hank’s then we’d gone out to the field. There was no party last night. Sawyer took advantage of the location and brought a large blanket for us and we lay on our backs under the stars. I pointed out different constellations and he tried to get his hands under different parts of my clothing while pretending to listen to me. It had been perfect.
“I did too,” I replied, smiling up at him.
He lowered his head to kiss me softly then whispered, “Let’s go see if I can’t teach you how to do a flip off that rope swing.”
Shaking my head, I stifled a giggle. “No way. You tried that once and I ended up with ten stitches in my head.”
Sawyer rubbed his hand gently over the back of my head where I’d sliced it open on a rock when I’d panicked at ten years old. When Sawyer had said, “Let go of the rope, NOW” it had taken me a few seconds to obey. Those few seconds were the difference between me landing in the deep water and me landing on the edge of the shore. I never tried that swing again.
“I promise I won’t let you get hurt this time. Besides, I was like ten. I sucked at teaching people things. I’m so much better now.” He squeezed my hand and brought it to his lips before leading me out toward the lake.
Laughter and squealing traveled across the water loud and clear. At least twenty or so people were already here. This was supposed to be the last party at the lake before everyone went off to college. I’d never been down here with more than just Sawyer, Ashton and Beau. Girls were lying out on the pier, guys were climbing the tree in order to do dangerous tricks off the rope swing and not one person had a beer in their hands. It was a miracle.
“You’re really not going to go on that rope with me? I’ll hold the rope; you hold me and no flips.”
“You promise no flips?” I asked him, watching his face for any sign of a fib.
“Promise,” he assured me reaching for the hem of my shirt and pulling it off.
He stopped and held it in his hand staring at the bikini I’d only bought because Jewel begged me to. It wasn’t something I’d normally wear but I figured if I was coming to Sawyer Vincent’s lake party as his date I needed to be able to keep his attention even with the other bikini-clad girls running around. Especially Ashton. When I’d seen the red bikini she’d laid out to wear, I knew I had to step-up my game.
“Uh, would you consider putting this shirt back on?” he asked me as he started to put it back over my head.
I reached up and stopped him, “No, Sawyer, stop.”
He stepped in closer and frowned down at me, “There isn’t a lot to this swimsuit, Lana.”
I glanced around and took note of all the other swimsuits girls were wearing. Mine was not even one of the skimpiest ones. Turning my attention back to him, I took the shirt out of his hand.
“It’s called a bikini, Sawyer. If you look around you’ll notice a lot of them. We girls tend to wear them when we swim.” My voice dripped with sarcasm.
“I’m aware of that, Lana, but I don’t like the idea of everyone seeing so much of you. This thing barely covers up your boobs. I’m scared even to see how much of your sexy ass it shows off.”
Oh. He was jealous.
“My bottom is covered.” I turned around and shimmied out of my cut-off blue jean shorts with my butt facing in his direction.
“Ah, hell,” he groaned and reached out and pulled me back toward him. “Could you at least not do that little booty shaking thing with little pieces of fabric being your only cover?”
I couldn’t help it, I laughed.
“You think this is funny?” he whispered, resting his hands on my waist.
“I think it’s hilarious,” I replied, turning around to press a kiss on his pouty lips. He really was very unhappy about this bikini. “Come on, I thought we were going to do the rope swing.”
His frown deepened, “I don’t know if that’s a good idea. One of those tiny strips of material may fall off on impact.”
Rolling my eyes, I reached for his hand and pulled him toward the tree, “You’re being ridiculous, Sawyer. Come on.”
Muttering under his breath, he followed me to the tree. He went up behind me with his hands on my bottom. I wasn’t sure if he was helping me up or trying to cover me up. Either way, it was cute.
Once we made our way out onto the limb and a guy I didn’t know threw the rope back toward Sawyer, I realized I may have spoken too soon. This was terrifying from up here.
“Don’t look down,” Sawyer directed as he held onto my waist and moved in front of me so he could grab the rope. He squatted down, “Steady yourself by holding onto my shoulders then wrap your legs around my waist.”
I studied his back and wondered if it would be that big of a deal if I just went back down the tree the dry way.
Sawyer glanced back at me. “Come on, Lana. I got this. You’ll be fine.”
I wasn’t so sure about the “fine” part but I gave in and did as instructed.
Sawyer stood up and I wrapped my arms around his neck and closed my eyes.
“Take one of your arms and put it under my arm. If you do it this way you’re going to choke me to death,” he informed me with an amused tone.
I hadn’t thought of that. I guess that might be a bad idea. I gripped his shoulder tightly with one hand while sliding the other one under his arm. I stretched both arms until I could clench my hands, tightening my hold on Sawyer’s body
“Perfect. Now hold on baby, ‘cause here we go,” and we were airborne on his last word.
I opened my eyes just in time to see him let go of the rope and closed them back again, squealing as we plummeted toward the water.
The lake water wasn’t as cold as I’d expected when we dropped down into it. I was extremely grateful. I released Sawyer and kicked my legs, pushing my way back toward the surface. It was then that I noticed my bottoms had slipped down underneath my butt. Reaching down and tugging them up, I was glad Sawyer wouldn’t know he’d been partially right about my swimsuit coming off during impact.
Sawyer’s head emerged a few seconds after mine and he was grinning like an idiot.
“What?” I asked
He winked and reached over and pulled me up against him. “I can see real good under this water,” he murmured and understanding dawned on me.
I slapped him on the arm and he laughed then dropped a quick kiss on my lips.
“Wanna go again?” he asked with a smirk.