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Damaged Goods: Chapter 28


Lev’s hand is sweaty and rough against my palm as he leads me to our huge canvas bed, still shirtless.

He doesn’t even notice that I cleaned it. I’ve been coming here ever since my parents loosened my leash.

Feeding our doves, tending to our little corner of the world. But it’s dark, and we’re desperate. The entire world could burst into flames and we probably wouldn’t even notice.

My heart is pounding in my ears. I’m glad I didn’t tell him the entire story. How I lost so much more than my virginity to Payden—I lost my trust in men too.

“Hey, you. Eyes on me. Remember where you are.” Lev pulls me out of the thick fog of misery I’m surrounded by, giving my hand a squeeze. He laces his fingers through mine and plays with them. “Let’s rewrite our past, Bailey.”

He takes his phone out and starts browsing through his music app.

“What are you doing?” I ask.

“I’ve always wanted to dance with you to this song.” He tosses his phone onto the canvas and opens his arms for me to walk into them. And in I walk as “It Ends Tonight” by All-American Rejects sounds off his phone.

The song is so final, so sad, I try not to read into it, but it’s hard not to.

Tears prickle my eyes. I don’t want us to end, but I also don’t know how to save us.

I rest my head on his shoulder and close my eyes, getting lost in the lyrics.

Our hearts are pressed together. Our souls lacing into one another seamlessly, like two cats’ tails.

I’m glad that I’m sober to be present enough for this moment. When the song ends, I wait a few more seconds, just standing there, and Lev allows me this time to gather my thoughts.

Finally, he speaks. “We don’t have to do anything you don—”

Pressing my finger against his lips, I shake my head. “I’ve never wanted anything in my life like I want this.”

“Are you the real Bailey?” he chokes out. “The one I fell in love with?”

I bow my head one in half a nod. “I am, Lev. I promise.”

He lowers me to the canvas, which is damp with dew, and kisses every inch of my body.

Every bruise. Every blemish. Every beauty spot and tear.

He starts from my forehead and works his way down. My breasts. My stomach, then lower still, to the place between my legs.

He worships me, and in this moment, I let him. I let go of my constant need to please.

I stop giving. I start taking. I tell him what I want, where I want it, and at what pace. First, he kisses me with our clothes on, and then, he undresses me, item after item, mumbling into my skin, “You’re so beautiful” and “I can’t get enough of you” and “You’re it, Bails. My beginning, my middle, and my end.”

Every inch of my skin blooms with gooseflesh. His head is between my thighs, his thumbs pushing my inner thighs apart, and he swipes his tongue along my center.

I shudder all over, fingernails digging into his shoulders. Then he slips two fingers into me, and there is no mistaking the sound of my desire as he pushes in and out of me, sucking my clit.

“Lev…” My knees give in, and I’m trembling all over as the pressure builds and he slides his fingers into me faster and deeper. “I’m coming.”

“Come on my tongue, little dove.” He glides his tongue into me as wave after wave of warm pleasure slam into me.

After my shudders subside, he looks up, his lips swollen and glistening, his hair a mess from my fingers, which played with it. “Hello.” He grins.

“Hi.” I feel my deep blush taking over my face. We’re naked as he kisses his way back up. Our skin sticks together, glued by sweat. I’m choking with feelings, swept away by desire. Then he’s on top of me, strong and protective. The guy who would never let me down.

“I don’t have a condom,” he whispers, rolling the crown of his dick over my pussy. “I wasn’t expectin—”

“I’m clean,” I say hurriedly. “And have an IUD to regulate my hormones and manage potentially heavy periods, so…you know, I think we’re good.” I don’t want there to be any barriers between us. We’ve had enough of those over the years.

He slants his head sideways, giving me a hooded, sexy look. “Fuck, Dove. Your dirty talk is unmatched.”

I shrug. “Guess I’m just full of surprises.”

His lips descend, claiming mine in a sloppy kiss full of saliva and tongue, and he gathers me in his arms, bringing all the parts of me together. The good and the bad. The ugly and the beautiful. “I’m clean too.”

Our eyes meet and I offer him a slight, barely visible nod. He closes his eyes, takes a deep breath, and sinks into me, inch by inch. And there are a lot of inches.

My body stiffens and I hold my breath, pleasure and pain battling it out inside my body. “Let me know if I should stop.” Lev’s voice is strangled, his own desire barely contained.

“You’re good.” And I mean that in more than one way.

When Lev is all the way inside me, I’m surprised by how much it hurts.

I’m not a virgin, am thoroughly wet, and have been fingered and tongue-fucked by him.

Why does it feel like he just inserted a tennis ball canister into me?

“Is this okay?” He strokes my hair gently, his eyes full of tenderness and anxiety.

I got the best one, I think to myself. Out of all the delicious men I know, all the footballers, millionaires, dry-witted alpha-holes, I somehow bagged the best one.

“Hurts a little,” I admit chokingly. “But pain from you is better than pleasure from anyone else.”

“No one should cause you pain, Dove. Least of all a person you love.”

He spits onto the pad of his finger and snakes his arm between us, massaging my clit, not daring to move inside me. He’s letting me get used to the size of him, drawing my attention to the delicious pleasure gathering between my thighs.

At first, I think my clit is too stimulated for me to come again. But he flicks, teases, and massages it until an orgasm rushes through me.

My legs fall open and I feel myself stretching, my body opening up like a flower to accommodate him.

This is the moment I turn from a wallflower into a wildflower.

Lev starts thrusting. Softly at first. Then, when he peers down at me and sees me panting and groaning, following that second release, his movements become jerky and uncontrolled.

We’re one unit, moving in perfect harmony, and elation sweeps through me because nothing that feels this good can be a mistake.

“Dove, I can’t take this anymore. Being inside you feels too good.” A bead of sweat falls from his forehead straight into my mouth. I lick it, shuddering with an intense orgasm just as I feel warmth spreading inside me, letting me know that he finished too.

We’re gripping one another, clutching hard like the tattered canvas beneath us is on the verge of ripping apart, an endless abyss beneath it with a path straight to hell.

Our foreheads stick together. Our labored breathing calms down. We stay like this for seconds. Then minutes.

Neither of us wants to pull away. To break the spell cast on this moment.

Eventually, I pull away. Lev is the one who has been shirtless for hours, shielding me from the frosty bite of the night, growing cold atop me.

“We should go.” My lips move over his.

“We should,” he agrees, closing his eyes. “But I’d rather run away with you.”

“I’m tired of running away. One thing college doesn’t teach you is that your problems always outpace you.” I push him off softly, kissing the edge of his shoulder when he rolls on his back next to me. “Besides, I don’t know if we can ever be together now, Levy. You’re fighter jet pilot material. I’m damaged goods.”

He turns to me sharply, the thundering ferocity of his scowl telling me he’s in complete disagreement.

He grabs my jaw, angling it so I look into his eyes. “Damaged goods are still goods. It’s the dents that make them special. That make them them. Survivors. Molded by their experience. Be proud of your scars, Dove. Because where you see hardship, I see opportunity. Where you see imperfections, I see growth. Where you see failure, I see effort. Where you see despair, I see hope.” He sucks in a breath. “You aren’t just good enough—sometimes you feel too good to be true.”

In that moment, on a dirty, old canvas, in the middle of the woods, in the arms of the boy I love, I realize that eventually, at the end of all this, no matter what happens, I will survive.

And that maybe, that will be enough.


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