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Between Love and Loathing: Chapter 16


I didn’t give Clara a moment to respond to Natya because I saw the emotion on Clara’s face all of a sudden. Instead of me dwelling on Natya’s words, I yanked Clara into the fitting room and closed the curtain. “Don’t engage with her.”

Clara narrowed her eyes at me, and I knew she was gearing up for a debate. “She’s instigating, and you know it.”

“Of course she is. That’s what she does. She wants attention, and if we give it to her—”

“Is there still something between you two?”

“No.” I said it loud and fast, mostly because I didn’t want to share my heartache but also because I was starting to believe it.

Clara scoffed and then whisper-yelled at me, “Don’t lie for my benefit, Dominic. Better that I know what I’m dealing with than you lie for truly no reason. I don’t care one way or the other.”

“Is that right?” I growled because if her ex had come waltzing in the way Natya did, I’d have cared. I’d have dragged her to the fitting room and fucked her loud enough for him to hear. “You’re telling me you don’t care if I want to have relations with my ex?”

“It’s your life.” She stepped back, crossing her arms.

The dress bunched her cleavage together and my hand shot out to drag across her collarbone and down against the edge of the fabric. “You know, this, between us, whether it’s fake or not, it’s exclusive, Clara.”

Her breath hitched as I dipped my finger between her tits. She stepped back, but I followed her, and she lifted her chin to keep my gaze. “I didn’t agree to that.”

I hooked a finger on the V of that dress and yanked her forward. “You’d better agree to it now, little fighter.”

“Or what?” The challenge in her eyes was there. “Shouldn’t I be the one who’s worried? She stood out there fawning over you and practically foaming at the mouth when she saw me. She’d have gotten on her knees for you in a second.”

“She’s not the one I want on her knees,” I murmured, my hand going to the slit in her dress. Her pussy had dripped arousal past her panty line and onto her thigh. “Do you know how much I fuck my hand while thinking of your pussy, baby? How hard my cock gets imagining how tight you’ll be for me?”

She whimpered and bit her lip as I pushed her panties to the side and rolled her clit between my fingers. She grabbed the lapels of my suit and moaned, “I want you, right now.”

“You know I won’t. This isn’t the place.” Her eyes narrowed, turned almost cunning before they flicked to the curtain shielding us from the boutique. “But I’m happy to make my girlfriend relax, huh? Ride my hand, baby. Let me take care of you.”

My tone was teasing, but she glared as she whispered back, “Not really your girlfriend. Only fake.”

I was starting to hate her saying it, reminding me of it. It’d only been a few weeks, but I thought of her all the time, wondered what she was doing in that bakery, wondered if she’d sneer at me for not eating her sweets that I was already addicted to or talk nonsense to me all day while I worked there.

I yanked the side of her dress down and bit her nipple before I sucked it and lapped at it to soothe the bite, then I did the same to her neck over and over, leaving marks everywhere. She clawed her fingers through my hair, arching into me. “You want this?”

She didn’t answer, but her muscles clenched every time I put pressure on her clit, and when I slid my middle finger into her sex, she cried out.

“That’s what I want to hear. Tell me, little fighter, your pussy want your boyfriend now?”

She shook her head no and repeated softly, “It’s fake, Dominic.”

Right. “Your orgasm isn’t about to be fake, baby.”

I thrust another finger in her as I grabbed her thigh to hitch it onto my hip, then I curled my fingers up and down in her as she rode them. Her pace was just as fast as mine, so hungry for that orgasm that her round, luscious tits bounced exquisitely just for me to stare at.

When she was about to hit the high she wanted, though, when I felt her sex tightening around my fingers like a vice, I stopped. “Feel real yet?”

She gasped, “Fuck you, Dominic. Finish me off or—” She pulled me close as she rode my hand instead of me moving it, and said, “You’re trying to control me, trying to get your way. I hate that everyone does that with me, you know that?”

“Something you want instead?” I lifted a brow.

“You didn’t even let me say a thing to her out there.” Her leg on my hip flexed, pulling me closer. “I didn’t even get to tell her you were mine.”

“Oh, now I’m yours?” I antagonized, not apologizing for controlling her here. It was to protect her, to keep her out of the line of fire of my ex. “Not just a fake boyfriend?”

But Clara was done playing games. That Clara had left and this Clara—she was possessive and jealous—was a sight to see. Her green eyes vivid, her makeup-free face flushed with passion, and her lips rosy from nibbling on her bottom lip. She licked it again before she did something I wasn’t expecting.

She took control and she dominated me. Her hands went to my belt buckle, undoing it like she was racing against time as she pulled me close. I tried to grab her wrists. “What are you doing?” I knew what she was doing, knew that I’d pushed her too far.

“Be quiet,” she commanded before she freed my cock. I didn’t have much say in the matter because before I could reply, her small hand was wrapped around me, her fingers barely long enough to fully grip on. Still, she pumped me once, and I groaned immediately. With the sound, she came fucking alive, the smile that whipped across her face was powerful and all-knowing. Clara had me at her mercy, and my cock pulsed in her hand at the sight of her this way. Her long red hair fell in natural waves around her face, her skin glistened with a soft sheen of sweat, her lips parted to accommodate her rapid breathing. She stood tall, though, her chin tipped up like a queen, ready to rule the man she’d conquered.

Her thumb rolled over the head of my dick as she continued, “I deserve this, and you’re going to let me have it, Dominic. You deserve it, too, you know that?”

“A fitting room probably isn’t the best place for—”

She got on her knees in that dress. “Are you going to deprive your girlfriend?”

This time she left out the word I’d decided I hated. For that alone I knew I was going to give her what she asked for. “You going to take it all, baby?”

She bit her lip and when she let them pout out, I rolled my hips to move the head of my cock just right so that it coated them with my pre-cum. Her tongue followed like this was what she’d craved. After pumping me one more time, my veins protruded in damn anticipation and she murmured, “I don’t know if I can take all of you.”

“You’ll take all of me, baby. You’ll learn.”

She swallowed once and then opened that mouth. I saw her pretty pink tongue extend right before she wrapped her lips around me. I was lost to everything but Clara after that. Her tongue swirled around my head, and she moaned as her eyes drifted shut.

No way was I going to last but I needed to see her. “Eyes on me always, little fighter. Make it known who owns my cock.”

Clara dragged her tongue up my length so slow, I fucking shuddered at the feeling and slammed a hand onto the fitting room mirror right behind her. Even with me leaning over her and her on her knees, she reigned supreme in that room. I was going to come way too hard here; was going to lose control in a damn fitting room with my ex standing outside.

My hand went to her face. “We should go home, little fighter.”

She smiled and shook her head no. “When we argue, Dominic, I think you’re starting to learn that I always win.”

She took me further into her mouth then, eyes watering, and her rhythm picked up as she worked that mouth up and down, up and down. “Fuck, you’re beautiful.” I couldn’t stop from saying it over and over as I looked down at her, lips so red, I’d never look at the color the same, freckles on display for me because she’d listened even if she didn’t have to. I dragged a finger across her cheek over them. “Fucking flawless. My girlfriend is so damn good and—”

The gasp on the other side of the curtain was audible before I heard Natya seethe my name. “Dom, how could you?”

Most women would have stopped, but Clara must have known I was on the brink, and when I looked down at her, her gaze was on Natya where we’d accidentally left an opening in the curtain. She sucked on my cock hard instead.

“Fuck.” I dragged out the word. Clara owned me here, not anyone else, and I didn’t give a fuck who saw.

“Is she really—”

That wasn’t true. I didn’t care who saw me vulnerable to Clara, but no one was going to make this woman feel less than again. I knew that right then and there. “Go the fuck away, Natya.” I slammed the curtain shut as I said through clenched teeth, “I’m going to come down your throat if you don’t back off, baby.”

Her cheeks hollowed around me, no stopping on the horizon.

I gripped her hair as I thrust in. “Take it then. Take all of me, Clara. Fuck, baby, my girlfriend is good at sucking cock.” Damn, damn, damn. “Good girl. Such a pretty fucking mouth.”

She hummed and the vibration sent me over the edge. I exploded, not able to control myself for a second longer. The high was so damn good, I thought I’d black out. Instead, I saw the color of Clara everywhere. Bold, bright, and as epic as a grand finale of a firework show.

She drank every part of me she could, and I slumped over her for a minute, breathing heavily. When she pulled back, the come that had dribbled onto her chin was evidence enough of her being mine. Even still, I rubbed my thumb over it and then dragged it down onto her cleavage. “Oh my God, Dominic. What are you doing?”

I just shook my head. “I think I’m going a little crazy, cupcake. And honestly if I could, I’d paint you with it.” I took a breath. “I don’t think this dress is appropriate for the reopening.”

“Come on.” She laughed. “It’s absolutely appropriate. Women wear stuff like it all the time.”

“But I’ll be imagining you on your knees in it and not be able to function. Plus, every damn man will be staring at you the whole night.”

“You can’t take a few guys staring?”

“I can. I just don’t know if they can take me knocking them out.”

She tried to hide her smile, but I caught it. “So, you want me in a different dress?”

“No.” I shook my head. I couldn’t be that crazy about her that fast, wouldn’t dictate what she wore because I wanted to keep the attention off her. She deserved to shine, and she was just getting started. The confidence in her was growing, and I wasn’t sure I would be man enough to handle it.

I helped unzip the dress and stared at her while she got changed. “You can leave, Dominic. I can get dressed on my own.”

“Probably, but this is purely selfish. Anytime you want to go shopping, count me in as long as I can be in the fitting room with you.”

We were laughing as we walked out, her hand in mine.

The fact that my ex stayed until we came out of the dressing room was a problem. She wanted a fight, exactly like my siblings had foreseen, and she proved three things by walking into that boutique to confront me.

One, our love had always been a game to her. My happiness wasn’t important to her in the way hers had been to me. She could have kept walking when she saw me in here today.

Two, she put her ugliness on display when she saw Clara standing there, but it only served to showcase Clara’s light.

The dress, the way it hugged every part of Clara and the way the black crisscrossed over the nude made her look wild, in power, and untouchably stunning. Even the salesperson admitted, “That dress is the winner on you. Wow.”

Natya hated it, and that brought me to …

Three, she proved I no longer cared about her.

When she walked up to us again as we went to the register, she murmured to Clara, “That’s a great Valentino dress. Probably the most expensive in the store.” She scanned Clara’s face and came to a conclusion she shouldn’t have. “I wonder, does this boutique do loans or financing? Or is he buying it because of what you did for him?”

Clara visibly flinched, and I saw the pink on her skin before I stepped in front of her, ready to put myself in Natya’s line of fire. Sure, Clara was my fake girlfriend and I wasn’t supposed to care about her. We might have agreed to be done in a few months, but the timeline didn’t seem to matter anymore. Something was shifting between us, and no one was allowed to irritate my little fighter besides me.

She was mine. And no one made what was mine feel anything but fucking flawless.

“Natya, is there a reason you’re looking into fitting rooms you shouldn’t be? Because if my girlfriend feels violated in any way …” I turned to the saleswoman who immediately started to ask Natya to leave but I held up a hand. “And why the fuck would the woman I’m serious about need a loan or financing?”

“How serious?” she asked.

Instead of Clara staying quiet, she peeked around my body and spit out, “Pretty serious considering what I just did in there.”

When I whipped around in surprise to stare at her, her eyes sparkled with mirth before we both started chuckling, and then she was full-on laughing.

I turned to the saleslady and paid for the dresses. “Please make sure to keep my card on file,” I told the saleswoman and then turned to Natya as I said, “in case my future wife ever wants anything else here, got it?”

Natya and Clara both gasped at my words even as the salesperson mumbled, “Of course.”

I knew the news would spread fast, but the only person that needed to hear it was Natya. I was making it clear that Clara wasn’t just some fling that I hooked up with in the fitting room. I wanted a boundary set; I wanted respect for Clara to extend far and wide.

Natya may have proved three things when she’d walked into that boutique, but Clara proved more important points. She proved she was a force to be reckoned with, that the fighter in her didn’t quit, and that she could bring any man to his knees to prove his love for her.

I wouldn’t have anybody say otherwise.

I was falling for Clara Milton, and I had to make damn sure I stopped. Love between her and me would end up being a battlefield, and I didn’t want her wounded.

I had already been wrecked by love before and lived in a darkness now because of it. I’d accepted that I didn’t want love. She, on the other hand, was just finding her light, fighting for what she wanted and for herself. The way she owned me in that fitting room, the way she didn’t have any remorse about it either, she was a phoenix coming to life, and I was scared I’d ruin her.

She needed something I couldn’t give her. But despite that, I smiled the whole way to our car as she smacked my shoulder and told me I was an idiot for saying something like that. “Now, she’ll think we’re getting married. What if they tell the media? Are you completely mad?”

I was. Truly and utterly mad for Clara Milton, and it had started to feel a lot like love when I thought of her as my wife.

I repeated those words over and over again in my head.

My future wife.

It had a nice fucking ring to it.


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