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Love Redesigned: Chapter 25


Sharing a room with Dahlia proves to be a difficult challenge, especially after she takes a bath and climbs into bed beside me.

I reach over and yank on the cord of the lamp, plunging us into darkness.

“Good night,” she says as she sinks into the mattress.

Regardless of the space between us, I’m acutely aware of every breath and move she makes.

“Night,” I grumble up toward the ceiling with my arms crossed over my chest.

She shifts to the right before turning to the left, only to land on her back with a huff.

“You good?”

“Mm-hmm,” she replies before moving back to her right side.

I try to fall asleep, but Dahlia’s tossing and turning keeps me wide awake for the next five minutes. I’m not sure if she is typically a restless sleeper or if her cast makes finding a comfortable position difficult, but either way, she is driving me insane.

I turn my head to the side. “What’s wrong with you?”

She fixes the comforter for the tenth time. “I can’t fall asleep.”


“Because…” She motions toward the two of us like it answers everything.


“This is weird.”

“Would you rather I sleep on the floor?”

Her smile can be seen in the dark. “Could you?”

“Hell no, but good to know you’d be up for me being exposed to more bodily fluids than a sperm bank.”

My brain is sent into a tailspin by the soft, melodic sound of her laugh.

“Don’t be dramatic. This has to be the nicest hotel in all of Detroit,” she says.

“It could be the Ritz-Carlton, and I’d still refuse to sleep on the floor.”

“There’s always the couch.”

“Thanks for the suggestion, but I like my spine alignment the way it is.”

She giggles again, this time with a little wheeze at the end.

Both of us fall quiet, although this round of silence feels more comfortable compared to the others.

“Julian,” she whispers a few minutes later.

I screw my eyes tight. “I’m sleeping.”

“No, you’re not.” She nudges me with her cast.

I pop an eye open to confirm she closed the gap between us. She leans on her side, with her right arm tucked beneath her pillow and her dark hair billowing around her like a curtain.

“What?” I ask without hiding my annoyance.

“Something has been bothering me.”

“About the mattress?”

“About us.”

I remain quiet.

Dahlia sighs. “Sometimes it feels like…” Her sentence dies before she has a chance to finish it.

What? I want to ask.

Tell me, I wish to say.

But rather than give my curiosity away, I keep the questions locked away.

She returns to her original position on her back. “Forget it. I’m exhausted.”

I let her get away with the lie because I’m not ready to face whatever she wants to say about us, mostly because there is no us to begin with.

Only because you are too afraid of what might happen if there was, the voice in the back of my head whispers.

Putting my history with Dahlia aside, there are plenty of issues standing in my way of pursuing anything serious, including her moving back to San Francisco next year and me not being good enough for her.

I don’t even want a child, for fuck’s sake. So, while I could acknowledge how I feel about her all I want, that doesn’t mean we’re a good match.

No matter how much I wish we were.

I wake up to the sound of something thumping against the wall behind me. My eyes snap open, and my body goes rigid beneath Dahlia’s. Her rhythmic breathing doesn’t falter, so I doubt she notices anything, including the way she holds me like her favorite pillow.

Dahlia is always gorgeous to me—smile or scowl, made-up or barefaced, dressed like a runway model or wearing nothing but a sweatshirt and leggings—but right now, I find her absolutely stunning with her arm wrapped around me and her cheek pressed against my chest.

A smart man would slide out from underneath her and replace his body with an actual pillow, but obviously I lack the necessary IQ level required to move a single inch. Especially not when Dahlia burrows deeper into my chest and throws her leg over mine as if she senses my urge to flee.

Nothing has felt better than waking up with her in my arms.

The usual heavy feeling every morning I wake up alone is absent.

Just a few more minutes, I promise myself as the couple next door continue their sex marathon against our shared wall.

My eyes shut at some point, and I drift off to the sound of Dahlia’s light snoring—a fact that she indeed lied about last night.

Yet I still fall back asleep with a smile regardless.

She doesn’t plan on sticking around for long, I repeat for the umpteenth time during our trip to Detroit.

Then you might as well make the most of it and enjoy her company while you can.

At some point this morning, Dahlia slipped past my ironclad hold of her body against mine, leaving me to wake up all alone a few hours later to our door banging against the wall.

¡Buenos días, princesa! I got you coffee and a ham and cheese croissant.” Dahlia juggles two plastic cups of coffee in her arm while closing the door with her foot.

I blink up at the ceiling, rub my eyes, and let out a long yawn. She places my drink on the nightstand beside me before taking a seat near the bottom of the bed.

I don’t need to check the label on the side to confirm it’s the right order. Dahlia was the one who got me addicted to iced coffees with extra caramel, caramel drizzle, and a splash of cream, and I haven’t found it in me to stop drinking them, though they always remind me of her.

After a single sip, I feel revived. I sit up against the headboard and brush a hand through my hair. “You sleep okay?”

“Mm-hmm.” Her gaze shifts away from mine, although the flush crawling up her neck gives her away.

¡Buenos días, princesa!: Good morning, princess.

I nearly forgot about our neighbors until they restrart their hourly ritual of fucking hard enough to make their headboard bang into our wall.

Dahlia’s eyes widen. “Is that…?”

“Yup.” My reply is followed by an obnoxious moan.

Her brows shoot up. “Wow.”

“Only the tip,” the lady coos.

Dahlia slams a hand against her mouth.

“Fuck, yeah, baby. You’re so tight,” the man growls.

Dahlia collapses face-first on the bed, right on top of my legs. The comforter does a good job of muffling her laughs, although I can feel them straight to my soul.

“Do you like it when I get rough?” A slap echoes through the walls before another moan.

“Oh, yeah.” The woman moans. “Harder.”

The man grunts, followed by the woman saying, “Just like that, baby.”

“Just like that, baby,” Dahlia repeats in a sultry voice as she peeks at me through her dark curtain of hair.

My dick should be the complete opposite of hard, but all it takes is her calling me baby while looking at me with bedroom eyes to have my blood rushing south.

“What are you doing?” I whisper.

“Having fun. Try it with me.”

I don’t know much about her life in San Francisco, but with the way she has been acting during this trip, one would think she was deprived of all the things she loved.

Dahlia crawls up toward the headboard and sighs loud enough to make our neighbors pause whatever the hell has them counting aloud like they’re learning their numbers.

Holy shit. Tell me she isn’t doing what I think she is doing.

She grabs the headboard with her right hand and shoves it with all her might. We could all hear a pin drop with the way everyone, including our neighbors, remains quiet.

“Did you hear that?” the woman asks.

“Fuck if I care. Let them listen,” the guy admits.

“I won’t lie. That’s kind of hot,” Dahlia says as her cheeks turn a deeper shade of pink.

I choke on my inhale. “What?”

A female moaning on the other side of the wall has my eyes widening.

“Put your finger up my ass like the last time,” the guy grunts.

“Still find that hot?” I rasp.

“Only if he loves it.” Dahlia’s eyes glitter in a way I haven’t seen since college, right before everything went to shit.

Fuck. Based on the way the guy is groaning, it’s safe to say he enjoys whatever is being done.

Dahlia rattles the headboard again, making the couple quiet down.

Damn me straight to hell if I ruin her fun. I’m not sure she had much of it while dating that tool, and for once, I want to be the reason behind her smile.

Screw it.

I rock back and forth hard enough to make the headboard bang into the wall. Instead of our neighbors worrying, they seem to be encouraged by our eavesdropping.

“Where do you want me?” Dahlia’s husky voice has my dick standing to attention.

“Sitting on my face sounds like a good start.”


“You heard me.” I tap my lips. “Spread your legs and show me what’s mine.”

Her face goes from pink to red. “I— We—”

“If you’re going to run your mouth, might as well do it with your lips wrapped around my dick.”

She grabs the nearest pillow and launches it at my head, only for me to deflect it.

I trace a line from her neck to her tomato-red cheek with the tip of my index finger. “Someone’s shy.” After all the years of dealing with her constant teasing, it feels good to be on the other end of it.

Her nostrils flare. “Cut it out.”

“Why? Afraid you might like it?”

“Like I could want your cock anywhere near my mouth.”

“Does that mean the other two holes are available?”

“Only if yours is too, mi amor.” She swipes her thumb across my bottom lip.

Fuck. Me, along with our neighbors, both shut up. Her comment shouldn’t be hot, but damn, my dick feels hard enough to snap in half.

Dahlia is breathing so heavily that I question if she might shoot fire from her nostrils.

You took things too far. Way too far.


She straddles my lap and slams her right hand over my mouth. “Shh. No names,” she whispers.

Sorry.” My reply is muffled.

She moves to slide off my lap, but I hold her in place by clamping my hands around her hips.

We both stare into each other’s eyes.

What are you doing?

Her gaze drops toward my lips, which tingle from a single glance.

Something I will probably regret.

Wouldn’t be the first time.

She seems to come to her senses first as she attempts to wiggle out of my grasp, only for her eyes to bulge.

“Are you…” She swallows hard enough for me to see before shifting her hips again, making me hiss as she grinds against my erection. “Oh my God.”


“You’re hard,” she announces, her cheeks flushed. “Is it because—”

Something loudly crashes against the wall, followed by another moan.

“Take a guess,” I snap.

She swivels her hips, and my head drops back with a groan. The giggle she unleashes has me battling two different emotions—neither of which are good.

She trails a finger down my chest. “I’m flattered.”

“Shut up.”

“No. To know I affect you like this…” She presses her fingers to her lips and makes a kissing sound. “Justice is served.”

“I’ll show you justice.” I grip the back of her neck and pull, dragging her toward me. Her eyes shut as she leans forward, only for them to snap open at the ear-splitting sound of our neighbors finding their release.

Dahlia shoots off the bed and dashes toward the other side of the room while I drop my head back against a pillow and groan.

I don’t need a pro-con list to remind me of all the reasons kissing Dahlia is a bad idea. It would only complicate things more, and with everything going on in our lives, it’s best not to rock the boat when it’s more structurally compromised than a sinking Titanic.

I climb out of bed, grab my phone, and head toward the bathroom while shielding Dahlia from my raging hard-on. My voicemail is clogged with messages from my mom, Sam, and Rafa, all of which I ignore for a hot shower.

Jacking off is the smartest choice, although thinking about Dahlia while doing it is most definitely not. At first, I try to resist, but my task seems impossible as I’m flooded with images of her.

I work myself to the array of ideas floating in my head from our theatrical performance.

Her sitting on my face.

My tongue and mouth fucking her until she threatens to cut off my oxygen supply.

Her lips wrapped around my cock—licking, kissing, sucking—as she wrecks my world with a single orgasm.

My spine tingles with each frustrated tug, and my breathing quickens until I’m gasping at the fantasy of Dahlia choking on my cock while swallowing my release.

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck!

The final image has me exploding. I ride out my orgasm while fisting my dick, pumping hard enough to make me hiss.

It’s not until I come down from the high and am thrust back into reality that I realize what I did. Thinking about fucking Dahlia is one thing, but coming to the vision of her? That’s a whole other level of fucked up.

I wait for the shame to sink in, but it never comes. Instead, my mind spirals with the possibility of what might happen if I stopped ignoring the obvious.

Fighting my attraction toward Dahlia is a losing battle, and if there is one thing I hate most, it’s being defeated by her.


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