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If only, p.17

If Only..., page 17


If Only...

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  Just as I’m about to reach up for him, he breaks away and rests his hand on the wall behind me. “I’ve wanted you since the day I first saw you, Evie. I haven’t forgotten the way you felt for all those years, you know. Your face was the only thing that kept me going in that prison.”

  Prison. He’s been there. He deserved to be there. I need to remember that. “But yours wasn’t for me,” I whisper. “Your face was the face I hated.”

  He steps away from me and frowns.

  “We were completely broken,” I continue. “And it was all your fault.”

  He huffs in exasperation and pushes his fingers roughly through his hair. “This isn’t fair,” he snaps.

  “What isn’t?” I fire back.

  “Nothing,” he mumbles. “Just forget it.”

  “What’s not fair, Cole?”

  “I thought you knew me,” he snaps. “I thought you weren’t like the others who could doubt me so easily.”

  How could I be accused of doubting him when he confessed? “What are you talking about?”

  “You never once questioned anything, did you?”


  “Before I went to prison,” he snarls. “You refused to see me. You refused to answer your phone.”

  “I met you,” I remind him. “Under your special fucking tree.”

  “It was too late by then.” He roughly rubs his jaw and shakes his head. “Too fucking late.”

  I frown, wondering why he thinks he has the right to be pissed off and angry. “What’s this got to do with anything?”

  “It’s got everything to do with it,” he says. “Maybe if I’d thought you weren’t already leaving me, things would have been different.”

  “Oh, no,” I say, pushing at his chest. “Don’t you dare try and blame what you did on me!”

  “I’m not on about that.”

  The door opens and three men step out onto the balcony. Cole’s mouth clamps shut and he angles his body away from me, forcing me to stare at his arm.

  When the others are out of earshot and focused on their own conversation, he turns toward me again. “You’re giving me whiplash,” he hisses, throwing my knickers at my chest. My hands snap up to grab them, and I shove them into my bag with shaking hands. “You wanted me last night,” he says, “but now you’re acting like you don’t want to know me again. You say you’ve forgiven me, but clearly you haven’t.” He nods at my bag. “You keep those knickers,” he tells me, “as a reminder that sometimes it’s okay to let your heart rule your head.”


  The driveway is littered with balloons and banners as I walk towards their house. It’s Evie and Nico’s eighteenth birthday party and I’m late.

  “Where have you been?” shrieks Evie as she skips towards me in her pink dress. She looks amazing with her deep tan and sparkling green eyes.

  I pull her into my arms and twirl her around. “Getting you a surprise,” I tell her.

  “Ooh, what is it?”

  I grin and set her back down on the ground. “I’ll show you later.”

  She takes my hand and leads me towards the back garden, where all of her friends and family are. I spot Nico bouncing a basketball on the patio with Trent and some of the other guys.

  “Just a little clue?” she pushes.

  I shake my head as I spot Mrs Romano walking out of the kitchen with a steaming quiche in her hands. I wave at her and then I hear a cry behind me.

  I twirl around to find Nico on the ground, gripping his ankle.

  “Argh!” he yells. “It’s my ankle!”

  Trent shrugs at me as I approach them. “He just sort of fell over,” he says quickly. “No one was anywhere near him.”

  Mrs Romano and a few of the other adults start to flap around him and talk about taking him to the hospital, but they’ve been drinking. They’re in no fit state to drive there.

  “How bad is it?” I ask Nico as I push through them.

  He grits his teeth. “It’s bad.”

  “I’ll take you to the hospital,” I tell him, hooking his arm over my shoulder. He stumbles against me and shouts over his shoulder that he’ll be back soon.

  My eyes find Evie’s. “You okay if I take him?” I ask.

  She nods. “Yeah.” She leans over and kisses my cheek. “See you in a bit.”

  Amy runs up to us and kisses Nico on the lips. “Don’t be long,” she whispers.

  We hobble out of the garden together and down the drive until we get to my car. “Will the club be alright with me taking you to the hospital? Don’t you have to see their specialist or something?”

  He shrugs and falls into the seat. “I just want it sorting,” he tells me. “The club can look at it tomorrow if they want. I’m sure the NHS know what they’re doing with a sprained ankle.”

  After I’ve pulled away from the kerb, Nico goes berserk. He starts to thump the dashboard and slams his head back against his headrest.

  “What’re you doing?” I ask.

  “I’ll be out for fucking weeks with this,” he says, pointing towards his foot.

  “It’s the end of the season anyway,” I remind him.

  “I won’t be able to train,” he tells me. “I’ll be sent home to rest.”

  I frown as we turn the corner and onto the main road. “That’s good. You’ll get to spend some time with your family for a change.”

  “I don’t want to spend time with them! I don’t know them anymore. They just fanny about and talk to me like I’m still thirteen.”

  “They don’t,” I say quickly.

  “How the fuck would you know, Cole?”

  I chew the inside of my mouth, but I don’t say anything to him. Why does he bother coming here at all if he doesn’t like it?

  “When you get to reception, tell them who I am. See if they can speed things up,” he says with a huff. “I’m not sitting in a waiting room with a bunch of scrubbers.” Okay, that’s it.

  “Why don’t I ask them to take a look at that massive ego-filled head of yours while we’re there too?”


  “You heard me,” I say. “Who do you think you are these days? You’re just a guy that plays football, Nico. You grew up around here. Half of these people have probably seen your little todger when you were running up and down the street with your shorts in your hand. Why do you seem to think that you’re better than us all of a sudden?”

  “Because I am better,” he says.

  “You’re not,” I reply. “You just think you are. And that’s a real fucking shame because you’re turning into a proper wanker.”

  We don’t speak after that. We sit side by side in the waiting room for two hours before Nico finally gets called for an X-ray.

  When he hobbles back out to me an hour later, he’s got a cast on his foot and a crutch shoved under each armpit.

  “Is it broken?”

  He nods. “Ankle bone.”

  “Come on,” I say, sighing. “We’d better get back.”

  “Yeah,” he says with a snigger. “Wouldn’t want to miss the party of the century.”

  I shake my head, not bothering to offer him my help as we walk through the car park. When I get to my car, I turn around to see him sparking up a spliff.

  “Are you insane?” If he gets caught, he’ll be arrested.

  “It’s for medicinal purposes,” he says, blowing smoke in my face. “Doctors orders.”

  “It’s your career you’ll be throwing down the drain if you get caught.”

  “Then open the door so I can get in the car,” he snaps.

  When we pull up at his house, Nico looks stoned, but I know he’ll just tell them that the nurse gave him some strong painkillers.

  Evie waves at me from her bedroom window and then blows me a kiss.

  “You’ll be alright getting yourself to the back garden, won’t you?” I ask.

  “I suppose,” he grumbles.

  “You need to get yourself from up your own arse, mate.”<
br />
  He snorts. “And you need to get your head from up my sister’s arse.”

  I shake my head and slam the door shut.


  I’ve just wrapped a towel around me when I hear a knock at the front door. Ignoring it, I scrunch my damp hair with my hand then brush my teeth, smooth moisturiser over my skin and pull my black silk nightie over my head. When I walk out of the bathroom, I hear a knock again.

  I take a deep breath and pull the door open a fraction, hiding myself behind it.


  I stick my head around the door to find Cole frowning. He’s wearing dark denim jeans and a white t-shirt with sunglasses pushed into his hair.

  “Oh,” I say. “I wasn’t expecting you.”

  “Who were you expecting?”

  I shake my head, realising my mistake. “No one. I meant that I wasn’t expecting anyone.”

  He raises an eyebrow at me and quickly steps inside.

  “Get out,” I snap. He can’t be here.

  His eyes trail down my body as I try to cover myself up with my hands.

  “I was here to talk,” he says smoothly.


  He sticks an arm out and pushes the door until it closes. “Come here, Evie.”

  I shake my head, hating how I’ve already thought about giving in to him and his smouldering eyes and husky voice. “You need to leave. Call me and we can talk over the phone.”

  He smirks and steps forward, closing the distance between us until I’m flattened against the door. “Now why would I want to call you when I can have you right here?”

  I don’t miss his double entendre. “I don’t want this.” But I do. I really want it.

  He nods at my chest. “Your nipples are saying you do.”

  I glance down and then bring my hands up to cover them. “It’s cold.”

  “I can warm you up,” he whispers, peeling his t-shirt over his head.

  I tell my eyes not to look, but they do it anyway. They stare at his toned pecs and the grooves he has running across his stomach. “Please leave,” I beg.

  He laughs and shakes his head. “Not a chance.” His hand shoots out and his finger hooks over the nightie at my cleavage. Then he pulls, tearing my nightie right down the middle. My mouth drops open at the same time that the silky material floats to the floor.

  And then he’s on me. His chest presses against my breasts as he pins my hands above my head. His scorching hot lips trail a fiery line up my throat and across my jaw until he seals them over mine. His tongue darts in, and then he sucks, licks and kisses the life out of my mouth until I’m so desperate for him I can hear myself whimpering.

  He’s groaning and panting, and things are moving so fast and frenzied that I have no time to even think about what we’re doing. His hands are everywhere. They move from one breast to the other, down to my hips, across my back and bum, and then he comes around the front and does it all again.

  “Bedroom?” he growls, lifting me off the ground.

  My legs wrap around his waist as his tongue flicks over my nipple. “Behind you,” I breathe.

  Cole walks backwards with me until he crashes against the bed, and then he literally throws me onto it. I bounce with a jolt and his hands immediately wrap around my ankles. He tugs, forcing me to slide down the bed at the same time that he lowers himself to his knees. When my bum is on the edge, he plunges his tongue inside of me just the once and then flicks it over my aching clit.

  My back arches and my hands grab at the sheets as he mercilessly laps at me before sucking in places no man has ever sucked before. It’s all too much, too soon, and my orgasm bursts out of nowhere and crashes down on top of me.

  I gasp and twist on the bed. “Cole,” I breathe.

  Before I’ve had the chance to catch my breath, he’s up off the bed, yanking his boxers and jeans down his legs before kicking them across the floor. He grabs my wrist, pulls me off the bed and then spins me around so I’m facing my balcony doors. He pushes his chest against me until my breasts are flattened against the cold glass. The change in temperature sends chills all over my blistering skin.

  “Let them watch you,” he says into my ear from behind as he ploughs himself into me. “Let them all watch you being fucked, and tell me it isn’t turning you on.”

  He pulls my hands up and presses them against the balcony doors as the heat from my breath mists the glass in front of my face. I can see our reflections in the mirror on my dressing table, and I watch how he’s bending his knees just a fraction so he can thrust into me at the perfect angle. I see his muscles rippling as he moves, and I feel an unexplainable urge to watch him as I tremble underneath him.

  “I want to see you,” I pant.

  He stops moving and pulls out. Grabbing my shoulder, he turns me around and then slams my back against the glass. I lift my leg up and wrap it around his waist, but it’s not enough for him. He hooks his arms under my knees and lifts until my back is sliding up the glass and each of my legs are dangling over his arms. I have no idea how he has the strength to do that, and I don’t care as he slides back in.

  “So good,” he breathes, kissing my neck. He grunts as he continues to push inside me, and I can feel another orgasm building. He dips his head and sucks my nipples as his thrusts slow down. “I’m not ready yet,” he says.

  He backs away from the window and sits on the bed with me. My legs wrap around the base of his spine as I begin to rock and roll myself on top of him. My fingers are in his hair, fisting and tugging with uncontrollable desire. Our mouths mash together, but we can’t kiss for too long as our breathing becomes more rapid and our movements become wilder.

  There’s a moment when we both just look at each other as I twirl my hips around on him, and time seems to stand still. My hips don’t stop and our breaths still tumble out of our mouths, making it the only noise I can hear, but something is happening. Our eyes aren’t moving from each other’s, and there’s an unspoken truce and an absolution of guilt that hovers between us. Even though I don’t believe in that crap, it’s like our souls are reconnecting. The bonds are twisting and wrapping around each other again until they’re woven so tightly that I know nothing will stop me from loving this man. If what’s happened hasn’t destroyed what we had, nothing ever will.

  Then Cole grins at me and everything switches back on. My whole body is on fire, my skin is tingling and my heart is thumping so hard it feels as if it’s going to burst from my chest.

  Cole’s hands brush down my spine until he’s cupping my bum. The muscles in his arms bulge as he pulls me further onto him until there’s nowhere else for him to go, and I start to shake. He licks his thumb and then pushes it in between us and circles my clit. “Come. Now,” he demands.

  And like a pathetic girl that gets off being bossed around by her older boyfriend, I do as he says, tumbling off the edge at the same time he digs his fingers into the soft flesh of my bum and begins to pulsate and shudder inside me.

  He slumps back and pulls me down until I’m lying on his chest, then dances his fingertips all the way down my spine.

  “That was mind-blowing,” he tells me.

  My fingers play with a tuft of his hair. “It’s different than it used to be,” I say.

  He nods. “We’re different.”

  “I suppose.” I close my eyes and listen to his deep breathing, the same way I used to. It fills my head with memories of lying like this with him many times before—times when I felt as if I would die without him, when I felt completely safe with him.

  “I didn’t come here to do that,” he whispers into my ear. “I just saw you and I couldn’t help myself. You’ve always been able to do that to me.”

  I smile and kiss his cheek. I don’t know what we’re doing now though. This can’t just be written off as a quick fumble in the conference room. This wasn’t just sex for me, but I don’t know if he felt it too.

  “I came here to talk to you, Evie. To tell you truth.”
br />   I’m frowning as I push myself up onto my elbows. “The truth about what?”

  He turns his head to look at me. His eyes move all over my face, zoning in on my lips before they snap back up to meet my gaze. “The truth about what happened the night your brother died.”


  Despite the cast and crutches he’s had for nearly a week now, Nico has still insisted we go and get hammered tonight. It’s a good job we live in a small town where he can blend in without the attention.

  “Nico.” I sigh. “I don’t really want to go in there. I haven’t got the twenty quid entry fee to waste, to be honest.”

  “I’ll pay then,” he says, swaying in front of the bouncer. “Two, please,” he says, handing over some cash.

  The bouncer nods at Nico’s crutches and frowns. “You can’t take those to the tables.”

  Nico grunts and shoves them into the bouncer’s chest. “I’ll hop there. I’m not planning on doing much standing anyway.”

  I reluctantly follow him inside the strip club. I’ve never been in one before, and my eyes immediately widen as waitresses walk around with their tits hanging out. Nico hops towards the bar and orders two shots of whiskey for us. We’ve already had too much beer, but I take the whiskey and clink my glass against his.

  “Just don’t tell Evie,” I tell him.

  “She’d have a heart attack if she knew you were in here,” he says, laughing. “And then she’d chop your dick off.”

  I nod because he’s right. I know she wouldn’t like it, yet I’m still here.

  “What’s up with her anyway?” he asks. “She’s all moody and argumentative lately.”

  I shrug. “She’s not spoken to me properly for two days. Told me she wasn’t feeling very well.”


  “I dunno,” I say. “I asked, but she just said it was girl stuff.”

  Nico pulls a face. “Best off out of it then, mate.”

  I nod. “She liked that bag you gave her. Haven’t seen her smile like that in ages.”

  “Didn’t fucking thank me though, did she?”

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