Undone volume 2, p.15

Undone, Volume 2, page 15

 part  #2 of  Undone Series

 

Undone, Volume 2
 


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  Climbing back into bed, he greeted me with a drowsy kiss. “Welcome back.”

  “I was only gone two minutes,” I laughed.

  “Too long.”

  “Your phone is blowing up.” I handed it to him. It hadn’t stopped vibrating and lighting up the whole time I’d been holding it.

  Grumbling, he took it from me, but moved to put it on the bedside table. “I don’t want to know.”

  “It might be your family,” I said. Then I realized the stupidity of my words. I was the one who checked in with her parents on a daily basis, sending them emails and texts and leaving them voicemails to always let them know I was OK. Ash’s father had passed away. He didn’t seem close at all with his mother. And though his grandmother clearly cared for him, to her he was still just one among many in a large, extended family. The only people checking in on him as frequently as my parents checked in on me were the people making money off of him. His PR reps, his agent. That had to suck.

  With a sigh, he resigned himself to looking at his phone. “There it is,” he said, clicking on a link that had been sent to him.

  I drew up next to him under the covers and together we watched ourselves. In the little bar from last night, we sat close on the piano stool and sang to each other. It felt strange, to say the least, seeing our intimate moment broadcast like that. The way we looked at each other, the flirtatious way we sang, it made my heart swell up all over again in my chest.

  Me and over 800,000 other viewers.

  “Is that right?” I pointed at the number under the window, labeled ‘views.’

  “Yeah,” he confirmed. “It’s been making its way around.” Then, reluctantly, he pressed on his voicemail, letting it play through speakerphone.

  “You fucking killed it!” Lola’s voice rang out, sharp and clear into our hotel room. I didn’t like her intrusion, but I guessed she was a necessary part of Ash’s life. “You had me worried, Ash. But you came through. That video is genius! Taking her to Paris! You’re nailing it!”

  Ash sat up, clearly not enjoying Lola’s entry into our scene, either. “Work it today!” Lola called out from his phone. “Get some shots in front of the Eifel Tower.”

  He ended her call, then looked up at me sheepish. “She’s fun.” He made light of it. But there it was, the undeniable reminder of what this was between us. A month of fake romance, for public consumption.

  I smiled at him weakly, suddenly wishing I had on some clothes. I already felt vulnerable enough without also lying there stark naked.

  “I should have gone with my first instinct and thrown the fucking phone out the window.” He looked pissed off and miserable.

  “Come on.” I tossed a small pillow at him. “Let’s go out and explore. We’re in Paris.”

  I got up and headed to the shower, telling myself to shake it off. Lola didn’t get to decide for us what this was. But her voice stayed with me as I soaped up my hair, letting the warm shower spray massage my aching body. “Work it today!” she’d said. She really knew how to make a girl feel like dirt.

  §

  I soaked up Paris like a dry, hungry sponge. I’d never been anywhere more beautiful. New York would always be my favorite city. It was the city I’d grown up near, the one I’d cut my teeth on, gritty and bustling and loud. Paris was like New York’s sophisticated, older cousin. All of the hustle without any of the crass brassiness of New Yorkers.

  The women were so slim and chic, but it was the small touches that really blew me away. The drape of a woman’s scarf and how perfectly it matched the color of an accent on her boots. The little jacket on a dog and the way it complimented her owner’s outfit. Nothing seemed slapped together in the kind of rushing tornado my roommates and I enacted on a daily basis, barely managing enough time to dry our hair before braving the freezing cold outside. Every detail seemed deliberate and planned. I could people-watch in Paris for days on end.

  Ash and I walked through the Luxembourg gardens with its statues and fountains, then stopped in a café to warm up. It was the one night a week that the Louvre stayed open late, and Ash suggested we head to it at night, taking advantage of the after hours.

  I felt more eyes on us today, more people watching our movements and a couple of times I’d started at a camera flash. But it was hard to know if I was just being paranoid or if we were, indeed, getting followed around. Tons of people had cameras in Paris. Tourists walked every block wearing their big cameras across their winter coats. Maybe I was making some of it up?

  At a small café, I sank my teeth into the most divine cheese I’d ever tasted. I didn’t know what the French did to make every single piece of food in their country taste divine, but I did know I was enjoying the hell out of it. Every sip, every bite I’d tried in Paris had melted in my mouth.

  “You have to try this.” I spread some of the soft cheese onto a piece of toasted bread and handed it to Ash. “It’s straight from Heaven.”

  “I’m sorry about Lola’s call.” Ash surprised me by saying.

  “Don’t worry about it.”

  “I can tell you’re still upset.” He was right. I had been tense ever since her call earlier that day. But I hadn’t realized I’d been showing it, or that he would notice.

  “Ana, I mean it.” He reached across the table and took my hand. I looked up and met his serious gaze. “I know I live in a circus. I’m sorry.”

  “I know. It’s not your fault.” I waved him off, not wanting to discuss it. I felt too raw. Having to explain why it hurt to be reminded that this romance was fake would lead us onto tricky ground. It hurt because to me, it didn’t feel fake, not at all. But that wasn’t a conversation I was ready to have with him.

  “Ana.” He brought his other hand to mine. “Don’t let Lola spoil this.” Then he leaned over and kissed me, soft and full on my mouth. He felt so good and I couldn’t help it, my whole body responded. I craved him, inhaling his scent. He ran his thumb over my bottom lip, looking like he wanted to take me right then and there across the café table. I wanted him to do it, too.

  “Let’s enjoy our time here together,” he murmured, kissing my hair.

  “Yeah,” I agreed, feeling the tension slip from my body. He was right. We didn’t have much time left in Paris. We flew out tomorrow night. Our time together was too precious to let it get spoiled.

  At the Louvre that night, we couldn’t stop touching each other. We kept it PG, holding hands, caressing each other’s backs, stealing a few brief kisses in shadowy passageways. But he lit me up, his nearness, his touches, keeping me at a steady simmer the entire time.

  He flirted shamelessly, relentlessly, each blush he coaxed from me encouraging him more. We stood in front of the Mona Lisa, all boxed up in heavy glass, and he pronounced me far more beautiful than any masterpiece. At the sculpture of the half-naked Aphrodite, he declared me more tempting than any goddess. The light kisses he feathered at the nape of my neck, the way he ran his fingers along the inside of my wrist, it felt as if he were making love to me room by room, building my desire. By the time we got to an early 1800s French portrait of a nude woman reclining, one foot sensuously grazing up the side of her calf, her eyes turned over her shoulder to beckon the viewer into bed with her, I was nearly panting.

  “Let’s get back to the hotel,” Ash murmured in my ear as we stood in front of it, one hand on my stomach, his groin pressed into my back. I could feel him through our clothing, the full length of him, all male and hard, ready to drive into me again. I trembled, already wet for him. I couldn’t wait.

  Outside, he pulled me into the shadowy recess of an overhang.

  “Ana,” he breathed into me, his hands at my waist, his mouth on me. I pulled at his hair, clasped his neck, pushed my hips against his. I’d never felt so wanton, so hot, so consumed with need. I felt so sensitive to his every touch, so aware of every brush of his fingers.

  His hand at my hip, he slipped his fingers just inside the waist of my jeans. The hot feel of his fingers under my
shirt, against my skin, so close to the forbidden as we stood outside, had me wild. I panted, licking the hollow of his neck.

  “Are you wet for me, my Ana?” he asked, low and husky in my ear. His fingers trailed across my skin, slowly, teasing me.

  “Yes,” I murmured back, wanting him to know. Wanting to show him. I wanted him to feel me, sink his finger down into my sex, have the satisfaction of knowing what he did to me.

  “Have you been thinking about me fucking you?” He pressed his huge, hard bulge against my stomach. I sighed in response, grasping his hip, hating the clothes between us.

  “Yes,” I admitted, remembering the feel of him, velvet steel plunging into my wet heat. He filled me so completely, stretched me so wide it almost hurt, but the pain burned so good. I wanted him to take me rough again, fuck me hard and long all night. “I want you to fuck me again, Ash,” I panted, licking his earlobe.

  He groaned into me, thrusting against my hip. I could almost feel him thrusting inside me and I moaned.

  “How do you want it, Ana?” He wound his fingers down, shielding me with his large body, keeping our moment private in the dark corner. His hand found my sex, tight in my jeans, and he drew his fingers along the seam. I wondered if he could feel my heat, my growing wetness through the denim. I hoped he could, hoped he knew how nasty he made me feel, how much I wanted him.

  “Do you want it soft and slow?” He began stroking me through my jeans, somehow finding exactly where to touch me, pressing against the nub of my clit. I whimpered at his touch, my hand clutching at his t-shirt, pulling it up so I could press my hand against his hot, lean stomach.

  “I worked you hard last night,” he continued, sounding so satisfied. “You must be sore today.”

  “I am sore,” I admitted, pushing my throbbing sex against his hand. “I love it,” I whispered, almost not able to believe I was saying it, so dirty. But I meant it, every word, and I wanted him to know.

  “You’re sore because I fucked you so hard,” he whispered. The ownership in his words, the way he strummed me with his fingers, I whined and swallowed, hard, closing my eyes. He pressed against my clit in a rhythm, like the rhythm of him fucking me, thrusting deep inside of me.

  “You want it hard again, Ana?” he asked, his fingers drawing along the length of my pussy through my jeans.

  My hand fisted in his t-shirt, quivers starting to tremor up through my body. “Yes, Ash.”

  “Tell me how you want it,” he ordered me, taking me so close.

  “I want you to fuck me hard, Ash,” I begged him, bucking against his hand. “Please.”

  “Yes,” he growled, taking my mouth in his, feasting on me. He pushed his hand full onto my pussy, cupping me hard through my jeans.

  And then the bright flash of a camera went off.

  “Fuck,” Ash swore, bringing his arms up on either side of me, his head down over my face. “Get the fuck away!” he barked out over his shoulder.

  More flashes. “What you up to, Ash?” a male voice called out, taunting, knowing.

  “Show us who you got there, Ash!” another voice called out.

  Oh God, this was a nightmare. What had they seen? What had they caught on camera? On video?

  “Come with me,” Ash said to me, quiet, quick and urgent. He grabbed my hand hard and pulled me with him, holding me to his side. Shielding me with his coat, he propelled us forward. I could hear voices calling out, see more flashes, feel the push of foreign hands

  “Stay the fuck away from her!” Ash thundered out as he rushed us forward, somehow breaking through the throng and getting us curbside where we ducked into a waiting taxi. They followed us right up to the car and I almost thought a few might try to get in with us, but Ash slammed the door shut and barked out the name of our hotel to the driver. He sped away into the night.

  I shook as Ash held me to his chest. “Fuck!” he exploded. “I’m so sorry, Ana.”

  “What do you think they saw?” I hated how scared my voice sounded, but damn did I feel it. What would come out from that on video? What would everyone see, my boss at the library, my piano students, my younger cousins? My parents? Hot tears sprang to my eyes and I sank my head into my hands.

  “Ana, I’m so sorry. Are you all right? Did they hurt you?”

  “No, no.” I shook my head. No to both questions. No, they hadn’t hurt me, but no, I wasn’t all right.

  “Damn it!” Ash pounded his fist against the door of the taxi and the driver turned his head around in concern.

  “Tout va bien,” Ash reassured him, then added some more stuff in French. He spoke French on top of it all. Add that to his list of lady-killing attributes. The list was long and it had made a complete fool out of me. So much so that I’d let him finger me nearly to orgasm on a public street, begging for him to fuck me. Oh my God, did they have microphones good enough to pick that up? Would there be audio to go along with it all?

  By the time we got to the hotel, cold panic had set in. A lone photographer waited for us by the entryway. So they’d figured out where we were staying, too. Ash glowered at him and swept me in underneath his coat.

  Up in the hotel room, the two of us paced the living room like wind-up dolls set in opposite directions.

  “I can’t believe this!” I cried out, feeling sick to my stomach.

  “I’m going to kill them,” Ash spat out, fists by his sides, seething with rage.

  “What do you think they got?” I asked, wincing at the memory of everything I’d said. All that dirty talk. Had I told him I loved feeling sore because he’d fucked me so hard? Dear God.

  “Nothing.” He fisted his hand in his hair as he paced. “They got nothing. I think they got nothing.” He stopped in front of an armchair and roared out, “Fuck!” He gave the leg of the chair a violent kick. It shot right out, the leg detaching from the furniture and launching into the air where it hit the wall and left a small dent. The chair toppled over to its side.

  “Ana.” He came over to me, urgent, grasping my shoulders hard. “I’ll make this right. I swear I will.”

  “I can’t do this, Ash.” I shook my head. “I can’t do this.”

  “What do you mean?”

  “All the cameras, all the time.” I was shaking and crying, a sick pit in my stomach. “I can’t do this anymore.”

  “Fuck!” he yelled. He spun around and smacked his palm into the wall so hard a painting fell to the floor. A gorgeous ancient-looking painting in an ornate, gilded frame.

  “What are you doing, Ash? Are you trashing the hotel room?”

  “Yes, I’m trashing the goddamned hotel room!” he yelled as if it were his God-given right.

  “What are you, a toddler throwing a tantrum?” I yelled right back at him, all my fury now unleashing on him. He was the one who’d put me in this position. He should have known better. He’d been in the celebrity spotlight for years now. He shouldn’t have exposed me like that.

  “How could you do this to me?” I screamed, seething with anger. “How could you let them catch us like that?”

  “I’m sorry, Ana!” He tore his hand through his hair looking tortured, frenzied.

  “That doesn’t change anything!” His apology wouldn’t rewind time and take video down off the Internet.

  “Fuck!” he roared again, kicking a baseboard.

  “Kicking things won’t help!” I yelled at him.

  We stood there, panting, looking in separate directions. Only minutes ago we’d been pressed up against each other, panting for entirely different reasons. That seemed a lifetime away.

  Emotions stormed through me. He looked so wrecked, I wanted to reach out to him, wrap my arms around him, kiss the pain away that I saw etched there on his face. But then a hot wave of shame rose up through me, bubbling over the top until I felt tears stinging at my eyes again.

  “I think I just need…” I brought my hands to my face. I didn’t really know what I needed. But that was the problem, I needed some time to figure shit out.
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  Maybe I could go outside and take a walk. I always felt better after a walk, brisk on a city street. A walk always managed to clear my head.

  “I think I’ll take a walk,” I said out loud. I still had my coat, gloves and boots on and I headed toward the door.

  “Are you crazy?” Ash asked, bringing his hand to my arm. “They’re out there waiting for you.”

  I stopped in my tracks. It was like some kind of a horror movie, as if zombies were clustering at our front door. I couldn’t go outside or they’d eat me alive. I was trapped. My eyes went wide.

  “I’ll head out.” Ash decided, heading toward the door. “I’ll give you some time on your own. If it’s what you want.” He paused, standing, looking at me distraught.

  “It’s not that I don’t want you around,” I protested. “I just—” Hands to my face again, I closed my eyes, wishing everything could go back to the way it was. But, like in a horror movie, that never worked. When I opened my eyes again, it was still just me and Ash in a hotel room freaking out over the fact that paparazzi had just taken pictures of and possibly videoed me nearly coming on his fingers.

  “You don’t want me around,” he finished for me. “I get it.” Hand to the doorknob, he turned to say one last thing. “I never wanted to hurt you like this. I never meant to pull you into all of this with me.”

  “But you did,” I said, quiet and filled with regret.

  He looked at me and swallowed, grim. Then he left, the door closing behind him with a click.

  The second he left, I felt worse. I knew he hadn’t actually wanted me to get humiliated in public like that. I shouldn’t have lashed out at him. It wasn’t his fault.

  Or was it? He’d deliberately brought me into his media circus, invited me in with the express purpose of getting more attention, elevating his profile, filling the airwaves with scenes of our romance. A sickening thought occurred to me. Had he wanted that moment to be captured? Maybe he’d intended for it to get leaked? Hot and heavy, if our little piano duet got nearly a million clicks, what would this one get?

 
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