Unbreakable (Accidental Crush #3), page 1
(ACCIDENTAL CRUSH BOOK 3)
All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2015 by Adrienne Torrisi.
This is a work of fiction. Any similarity of characters to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental and not intended by the author. The Author holds exclusive rights to this work. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited.
No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical photocopying, recording or otherwise, without written permission from the author.
Book 1: Accidental Crush
Book 2: Accidental Love
Book 3: Unbreakable
Cover Design: M. ten Napel
Editing: C&D Editing
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: New Beginnings
Chapter 2: First Day
Chapter 3: After School
Chapter 4: Practice
Chapter 5: The Rescue
Chapter 6: Homecoming
Chapter 7: The Aftershock
Chapter 8: The Day After
Chapter 9: The Dance
Chapter 10: Meet the Parents
Chapter 11: The Aftermath
Chapter 12: Playing Along
Chapter 13: Monday
Chapter 14: The Date
Chapter 15: Something New
Chapter 16: The Trip
Chapter 17: The Results
Chapter 18: Feeling Better?
Chapter 19: Moment of Truth
Chapter 20: New Routines
Chapter 21: Threesome
Chapter 22: Prom
About the Author
This book is dedicated to my family and friends for their incredible support.
Also, to all of the readers, who continue to ask for more. Thank you for your inspiration.
Chapter 1: New Beginnings
Todd rolls me over and presses his body into mine as we lay in the middle of our field. This has become our place, and I love every second we spend in it as my toes push into the cool grass and his body presses into mine. I feel the wool from the blanket scratch against my skin. I’m on sensory overload whenever I am with him, but especially when we are here.
I breathe it all in, take him in. I feel everything, see everything, smell everything. The scents, the feel of the grass, and the wool all add up to us and to everything that makes this place ours. This is where we come to just be, and I wouldn’t change a thing.
Tomorrow school starts, and everything will change. Deep down, I know I’m being dramatic and school won’t change anything, not really. We will still be together, and I’ll see him every day, but the hours of us lying here together will be gone. No longer will we be able to just come soak in the sun and each other. With school comes homework, football practice, life. The bliss of the last two weeks with no work, no school, no homework, and the hours of free time between Todd’s summer football two-a-day practices will disappear.
School means an even bigger stress of the impending doom of college. I know it’s coming. I wish I could freeze time.
Todd’s long, lean fingers trace the scar that runs right across my hairline. If you didn’t know it was there, you would never notice it. Fortunately, the hospital had a plastic surgeon stitch me up. I guess it’s protocol when the wound is on your face. It’s pretty incredible that the scar is already almost undetectable, even though I got my stitches out only a few days ago.
I really don’t remember much about what happened, but I’ll be eternally grateful to the kid who freaked out in the pool because he brought us back together.
I feel Todd’s fingers gently run over it, and I revel in the sensation of the rough calluses on his hands from pitching and playing the guitar, but even through the rough parts, his skin is incredibly soft, his touch incredibly gentle.
I love studying his features as he studies mine, yet I hate the tense look on his face. I hate that he feels like he needs to protect me and that he is treating me like I might break. I know he is doing it because he cares, but it’s frustrating. It’s been two weeks since my accident, and Todd has been overly protective the entire time.
“What are you thinking?” I ask.
He stops stroking his fingers over my forehead, his look turning pensive. “You have no idea how scary that was for me, Ash—seeing you at the bottom of that pool, not moving.” He shakes his head, his hair falling into his eyes as he hangs his head, avoiding eye contact.
The silence stretches between us. I can almost feel his pain, but I can’t allow myself to absorb it. Instead, I ignore it and study him, which is much more fun. His hair is still a little wet from the shower he took after this morning’s football practice, and I know they have another one later this afternoon—I’m dreading four o’clock. I need to lighten his stress, change the mood for the little time we have left together today.
“Um, I think I know exactly how it feels. I remember seeing Brian and Gretch. It wasn’t that long ago, you know,” I finally say as I gently grab his chin and pull it up so his eyes meet mine, the shock of their beauty stunning me as it always does. “Hey, I know,” I soothe gently, making sure I have his full attention. “I’m here. I’m fine. I’m a big girl. I can take care of myself, as long as there aren’t any giant eight-year-olds around.”
A small smile breaks through his stoic look, and he presses his lips together to try to stop a full smile from forming.
I slide my hand through his damp hair, brushing it away from his eyes, and I relish in the feeling of his soft cheek as my thumb grazes it.
“Come on, you have to stop worrying. It’s not a good look on you.” I continue to run my fingers through his hair, making it stick up in messy points. “Now this is a good look on you.” A full smile finally breaks through. His hair is going in a million different directions as it sticks up in the air, but he somehow still looks perfect.
He rolls me over so I’m now on top of him. “Okay, I get it,” he says before his soft lips brush against mine. Then he twirls his tongue with mine, and I fall into him.
The feeling of his lips on mine will never get old. Ever.
Between kisses, I continue to make my point. “You’ll have to let go eventually. You can’t follow me to classes tomorrow.”
“Oh, really? Watch me.”
“Oh, yeah?” I press my smile into his.
“Yeah. I’m going to be a senior, and we can do whatever we want.”
“Oh, is that how it works?”
“It is.” His smile widens over mine, and his kisses get deeper, which stops our small talk and takes us right into pure make-out mode.
Kissing him is my heaven. This is exactly where I should be, where I need to be.
His lips connect perfectly with mine as I run my fingers down his strong arms and feel the contours of each of his defined muscles. I can’t get enough of him. I’m so happy to have him back; it still feels like a dream. Being away from him, not talking to him, not having him in my life to laugh with was painful beyond words, way worse than a concussion and twenty stitches. As a result, I’ve vowed to never let that happen again. If nothing else, it’s made me appreciate just how amazing he is, how amazing we are together.
I feel my phone buzz from underneath me, but I ignore it. There is no one else on earth I want to talk to right now.
While I press my body farther into his, in the back of my mind, I remember we are in public. Just as quickly, I push that thought out of
Todd finally pulls back after the fifth or sixth buzz—I lost track.
“Um, our blanket seems to be vibrating,” he says with a smile. “I kind of like it.” His smile turns mischievous, and I can’t help laughing as I shake my head. “But maybe you should check. It seems like whoever it is really wants to talk to you.”
I reluctantly pull away, my anger at Sid already building. I mean, she knows we’re together, so why does she keep texting?
When I pull my phone out, I’m shocked at the name staring back at me. It’s Casey. I haven’t really talked to him since he came to see me in the hospital. Nothing was said to officially end whatever we were doing. It didn’t need to be. It was understood. I still care about him, but he is nothing more than a friend to me. However, I know Todd doesn’t see it that way.
Todd lies back on the blanket and runs his fingers through his hair as he checks his own phone. “What does Sid want now?” he asks, assuming the same thing I did.
I promised myself to always be completely honest with him, and as much as I dread his reaction, there can be no more secrets.
“Actually, it’s not Sid; it’s Casey.” Just rip off the band-aid.
I feel his body tense beside me, yet on the outside, he’s his usual calm, controlled self. If I didn’t know better, I would say he was unfazed, but I can feel his tension, his anger. I see the deeper blue his eyes turn instantly at the mention of that name. The hate is emanating off him, which is so unlike Todd.
“Oh, yeah?” he remarks, his voice not giving anything away. “What does he want?”
“I don’t know,” I say, locking my phone and putting it away without reading the texts. I lean back in to kiss him. “Now, where were we?”
He turns his head toward me without returning my smile. “You should see what he wants.”
“It doesn’t matter,” I say, leaning in closer. “I. Don’t. Care.” I complete each word with a kiss and make each one deeper than the one before it.
Todd only half-heartedly returns my kisses. I know he’s angry, but he’s not saying anything. Instead, he’s stiff and suddenly uninterested, no matter how I attempt to undo the wall that one name just put between us.
I run my hand down his ridiculously firm chest. The different sports camps this summer really defined what was already a perfect set of abs. I can see the contours of definition through his T-shirt as it rests on his stomach. Feeling them through this barrier of thin cotton isn’t enough, though. I need to run my hand across his actual skin, so I slip my hand under his shirt in hopes that this gesture will remove the wall. Plus, touching him is so divine.
“Stop, Ash.” He pushes my hand away, breaking the moment and my smile.
That is a first; he’s never pushed me away, not physically at least, even when we were broken up.
His eyes finally meet mine, and I can see the anger in them. It’s written all over his face; he’s no longer trying to conceal it.
“I hate that you still talk to him.”
I pull my hand completely away and meet his gaze, unsure how to respond, so there is only silence as I study his body language.
“Todd, there is nothing between us. We’re just friends. I love you. It will always be you for me, and he knows that.” I move my hand back toward his chest, making another attempt to wipe away his concern.
His hard look doesn’t soften at all. He pulls his hand away before mine touches his. “Ash, I know how you feel, but he doesn’t feel the same way. He wants more. He is always going to want more. I told you before that I don’t trust him. He’s bad news.”
“He’s not. He’s a good guy. I think you might actually be friends if you got to know him.” As the words come out, I can’t believe my automatic reflex is to stick up for Casey, and by the stunned look on his face, Todd is just as surprised.
“We were friends,” he says matter-of-factly, no longer trying to hide his hatred.
“I know, but that was different.”
“How? I can’t believe you are sticking up for him.” His stunned look is now pure anger.
“I’m not. It’s just—”
“Just what? I don’t trust him. You know what happened with Dylan, and I know he has a different agenda with you, Ash. He doesn’t want to just be friends. I know it. He knows it. Why don’t you know it?”
Todd is now shouting, and the few people scattered across the field all start to turn in our direction as he stands up to leave. His eyes haven’t left mine, but they are cold and distant.
“Let’s go. I need to eat before practice.” He grabs the blanket as soon as I stand up, his motion so quick it almost knocks me off balance, but he’s already halfway to the car.
By the time I slide into his passenger seat, he has the car running. As we drive in complete silence, I can see his knuckles turning white from his grip on the steering wheel.
I can’t stand how angry he is for no reason. It’s just a stupid text that I haven’t even read yet. I know he hates Casey, but this is ridiculous. Maybe I shouldn’t have stuck up for him, but I just need Todd to understand I don’t care about Casey, and I hate that he doesn’t trust me enough to know nothing will ever happen.
As we pull into my driveway, we still haven’t said one word to each other. I don’t want to leave like this. He has his last summer football practice tonight, and since it’s Sunday and the night before school starts, the entire team is going out for one last team “bonding” dinner, so I won’t get to talk to him until tomorrow morning at school.
“Can we please talk?”
Todd shakes his head and turns to look out of the driver’s side window. “I can’t believe you stuck up for him.” His voice is filled with anger.
“I know. I didn’t mean to. It’s just—it just came out. I just want—no, I need you to know that I am friends with Casey, but I love you. I mean, even when we were broken up, I didn’t choose him, so why do you think I would now?” My anger begins to fill my voice, too.
There is more silence.
“Look at me,” I say sternly. The more I absorb how angry he is, the angrier it makes me. He needs to trust me, or this is never going to work.
He finally turns to me, and the gorgeous aqua color of his eyes takes my breath away. If I didn’t already know he was upset, I would know now just by their color. Still, I need him to talk to me.
An apology washes over his face as he strokes my cheek. “I’m sorry, Ash. It’s just … I can’t control myself anymore when it comes to him. He’s made it very clear what he wants.” He pulls his hand away and continues, “We used to be friends and he”—Todd looks down and shakes his head—“he blamed me,” he says in a low voice. I know what happened with Dylan, but not from Todd. First Blythe and then Casey, but never Todd.
I pull his face toward mine. “I know. He did a shitty thing.”
Todd shakes his head again. “No. I know you think you know, but you really don’t. I didn’t want to tell you the whole story, because I hate talking about it, re-living it, but I have to. I want you to know. I need you to understand my side.”
His gaze shifts to the front window, and as he stares out, I can see how conflicted he is. “I know I told you about Dylan before, and I’m sure you figured out she was the older girl from Ridgewood last summer. She was my first. I’m not sure why I didn’t want to tell you before; it just seemed strange to say.” He looks back at me with a small smile.
“I get it.” I return his smile.
“Anyway, I really did care about her, and I still do, I guess. I mean, she’ll always hold a special place for me. I know I said this before, but it wasn’t the same with her, Ash. I cared about her a lot, but I’m not sure I ever loved her. She was crazy. Older. Daring. She pushed me to do things I would never have done on my own. She was wild, and it was contagious. We did a lot of things I would never have done.”
He ends it there, but
He takes a deep breath, his reluctance evident.
“Like, I went to a rave with her, and we both tried molly.” His eyes connect with mine. “I never even thought about doing drugs before. When we did it, I felt so full of life and love. It scared me, but it was exciting, too. I knew it was wrong, but I never felt like I could get into trouble with her.” He leans his head back against the headrest as his gaze shifts back to the outside. “We snuck onto the golf course at the country club in the middle of the night, and let’s just say we were doing more than getting drunk on the green.” He shakes his head with a smile at the memory.
“But these are things I would never have done without her. That was where I worked. I wasn’t a member, and I needed that job to help save money for college.” He looks back at me and gives me another small smile. “There is no guarantee on scholarships, so I need to save as much as I can.”
He takes a deep breath. “You know Ryan, Bri, and I have always been daring, but she pushed me out of my comfort zone, and I liked it. I hung out with Casey a lot last summer, too, and I got to know him. I liked him. He was tight with Ry and Brian since we were all working at the club. He’s a cool guy, and that’s what scares me the most with him.” His eyes meet mine, showing the same anger as every other time he mentions Casey, but there is also love for me in them.
“I mean, I get it. Their parents suck. They’re never around, and they couldn’t care less about their kids. It’s obvious they make up for their absence with their money. Casey and Dylan act like they own the world, and they kind of do. It was fun for the summer, but not forever.” His eyes come back up to meet mine, and my stomach does a flip at the sincerity in the word forever. It’s clear he thinks we could be forever just by the way he’s looking at me.
“Dylan had to go back to college early because of her sorority or something, so we had a few weeks of work left at the club after she left. I knew long distance with her wouldn’t last. Like I said, it was always fun, but I knew it was just for the summer, for me at least. So, before she left, I told her I thought we should break up.” He looks up to the ceiling of his car and takes a deep breath. He’s in a storytelling trance that I don’t dare interrupt.