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Wretched: Chapter 33

EVELINE

I’ve just gotten back to the cottage and now I’m waiting on Brayden to get here. I realized that I didn’t have his number, which is insane considering his dick has spent numerous hours inside of me, so I got it from Zeke and texted, asking him to stop by.

It feels weird having what I guess you would consider guests. Nessa gifted me this cottage right before she passed, and when my dad realized we needed a space to grow, he built the underground greenhouse, stock full of security and insulation so that even thermal cameras wouldn’t pick it up.

I can’t help wondering why the hell he went through the trouble just to be so willing to give it all up in the end.

For years it was just the two of us. Now there’s Brayden, Dorothy and Cody to add to the list of people in the know. I refuse to sit and wait around for him to invite the Cantanellis too.

There’s a knock, and although I’m sure it’s Brayden, I grip my Desert Eagle anyway, swinging open the door and aiming. I’m anxious, and it’s making me feel a little manic.

Brayden grins, stepping through the doorway, his chest brushing against the barrel. “Is this your way of asking me to fuck you with it again?”

I drop the gun and move to the side, closing the door behind him.

“Are you ever not annoying?” I snap.

He smirks, brushing his lips across mine. “Nice to see you too.”

I press my hands against his chest, my fingers rubbing the leather of his jacket. “Is this real leather?”

“Uhh… yeah, why?”

Yuck. I scrunch my nose, looking up at him. “Doesn’t matter. Listen, can I trust you?”

His Adam’s apple bobs. “I don’t know, sweetheart, can trust you?”

I rub my tongue against the back of my teeth before biting my lip. He steps in close, running his hand through my hair and pulling me to him. I breathe in deep, enjoying the way he brings me comfort and hating myself for needing it.

“What’s wrong?” he asks.

Nerves race through me, making my palms sweatIt’s a risk to lay it all on the line for him. But I want to tell him everything, and in order to do that I need to make sure he feels for me the way I feel for him. I’m terrified he won’t. After all, he’s the one who said he didn’t believe in romance.

My heart stutters.

I pull him into me and press my lips to his before shoving him away.

His brows rise and he grins again, those dimples on full display. “So you don’t want to fuck?”

“I don’t want to fuck. I mean, I do, obviously, but not right now.”

That’s not what this is about. We always get distracted by the physical and right now, when my mind is so twisted, feeling like a captive with no way out, I need his attention, not his touch.

“I love you,” I blurt.

The words are surprisingly easy to say, and I hold my breath waiting for his response.

His body locks up tight, every single one of his muscles tensing as he stares at me blankly.

I laugh, running a hand through my hair. “I know, that’s crazy, right? I didn’t mean for it to happen. I don’t even know when the hell it did happen, but I just know it’s there and it’s big. Like, can’t breathe when you’re around kind of big. And it’s…” I pause, throwing my hands up in frustration. “Fucking annoying. The same way everything always annoys me with you. And it’s stupid. Because I don’t know little things like your favorite color, or how you did in school, or your middle name. And to be honest, I really don’t care.”

I start pacing because with every word I vomit out his body coils tighter. “But it’s there. And it fucking sucks, and I hate myself for loving you.”

He takes a step closer. I stop moving, dropping my hands to my sides.

“But I hate the thought of not having you more.”

The silence rings louder than any noise ever has, my words strewn out and tattered in the space between us. The urge to take it all back is strong, but I don’t. “All this time, and I couldn’t pay you to shut up, and now you choose to go quiet?” I complain.

The corner of his mouth lifts, and then he moves.

He’s on me quick, grabbing the back of my head and stealing my breath for himself, his lips and tongue claiming, with a kiss that tops every other kiss in existence. My heart skips, my stomach flips, and for the first time in my life I feel just like any other girl.

A girl who finally has someone to love her back.

He breaks away from my mouth and presses his lips to my ear, his hands gripping my face tightly. “My favorite color is blue.” He trails a light smattering of kisses along my jaw and down my neck.

My chest feels like it might cave in.

“I did okay in school. Good at sports. Bad at homework. Hated college.”

Something tings in the back of my mind, but then his lips meet mine again and I’m gone, lost in what he’s giving me.

“And what’s in a name?” he continues. “That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

I grin against his mouth.

“Thank you for loving me,” he whispers, pulling back just enough to look me in the eye.

His thumb brushes across my cheek and I melt into the moment, waiting with bated breath to hear whatever he’ll say next.

But then his phone rings.

“It’s Zeke.” He cringes. “Hold that thought.”

Before I can blink, he’s out the door, taking my heart with him.


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