Harlow: A Military Bad Boy Romance: The Bradford Brothers, page 9
“I want to kiss you,” I tell her, my mouth already against her soft lips.
She opens her lips a bit wider and I slip my tongue into her wet mouth. I grab hold of her hips and draw them closer to mine.
Time stands still as we kiss, until I’m pulling at her hair and rubbing up against her in nearly an animal- like state. She has me so fuckin’ hard, and wanting her so badly.
“I want to fuck you,” I tell her.
She pulls away, slowly.
“Not… yet. Not now.”
She smooths down her hair but the way she is breathing tells me she’s into it. So what the hell?
I’m not used to chicks turning me down. Denying me the one thing I want. And I haven’t wanted anyone this bad for a long, long time. Maybe ever.
“Soon, then,” I tell her, lightly slapping her ass as she reaches for her keys.
“Yes,” she says, and stands on her tip- toes to kiss me on the chin before retreating into her house.
Damn. That fucking girl.
As soon as I’m in the car, I call Jensen.
“So you called it an early night?” he asks, as soon as he picks up. “Guess it didn’t go as well as you’d hoped?”
“No, it went fine,” I tell him, feeling strangely elated for some reason. “It was great. Except, she didn’t give it up.”
“Aww man,” says Jensen, as if he can feel my physical pain. “I remember those days. Oh well, on to the next, right?”
“She said, ‘soon.’”
I know I sound like a schoolboy full of unabated hope, but I can’t help it.
“Uh oh. You know what that sounds like?”
“She’s dragging you along. She’s holding out. For a commitment. Or some other crazy reason these chicks have.”
I sigh. I don’t even care. I just want to see her again.
Sure, I’ll see her again at my sessions but I want to her look at me like that, and talk to me like that, and kiss me like that. And let me do what I want to her, over and over and over again.
“Harlow,” says Jensen, snapping me back to reality. “Tell me you aren’t falling for your physical therapist.”
“I’m not. I mean, I don’t know. I mean…”
“Harlow! Get a grip.”
“Oh look who’s talking. You fell for your fucking lawyer.”
“She wasn’t my lawyer at the time,” Jensen says quickly and defensively.
But I don’t buy any of his flimsy excuses. Jensen met his now- girlfriend when she was assigned to represent him in a bogus criminal charge. For a while she might not have been his attorney, but that’s just mincing words. I know their history, and he can’t deny it now.
“Yeah yeah. You’re the pot and I’m the kettle.”
“Harlow, seriously,” Jensen says, and I can hear it in his voice. “I’m happy for you. And if you manage to bang your physical therapist I’m all for it. But just don’t get too close, emotionally. To a woman who has the power to make you or break you. It really is different than with Riley?”
“Because this girl knows she has control over the one thing you want the most in the world.”
“Oh, you mean like Riley did over your freedom? Whether or not you went to jail?” I can’t help but laugh.
“Harlow. I get it. I see your point. But there were a hundred different lawyers I could have turned to if things hadn’t worked out. She is the physical therapist they assigned you, and don’t you think Dr. Davis had something to do with that? What do you think he would say? Why don’t you go ask your mentor what he thinks about you being not only sexually but romantically involved with your physical therapist? Not only a one- night- fling or a friendly flirtation to keep things interesting in between your push- ups, but a real deal relationship?”
He has me there. I have no idea what’s been up with Dr. Davis lately but I’m relatively certain he wouldn’t approve.
“And anyway Harlow, what are you even doing? You don’t even do relationships.”
“I know someone else who used to have that same mantra. Now he’s practically living with some chick he wanted to bang and move on from, just like all the rest.”
He’s silent. I’ve won.
“I guess they’re just like all the rest… until, for whatever reason, they’re not,” he concedes.
“Yeah. For whatever reason.”
“Well good luck little brother. But don’t say I didn’t try to warn you.”
This morning when I get into work I call Dr. Davis first thing, before I can forget. I receive his voicemail and I leave a message, informing him of Harlow’s positive progress and asking if he would like to talk further about perhaps changing his treatment plan to be more suitable.
I start out on some paperwork but my mind is still on Harlow. That kiss was electrifying and unlike anything I’d ever experienced with Tony or anyone else.
I’m already wondering when it can happen again. I’m wondering what will happen if I don’t stop him next time. If I let him do all the things to me that he wants to do, and that I want him to do…
Luckily, I have a patient coming in and I know that working with him will keep me focused. I’ve never liked the paperwork aspect of this job nearly as much as I enjoy being with the clients hands- on. My grades are good but my clinic evaluations are always top notch.
As I work with the patient my mind continues to flutter back and forth to Harlow. Much like my heart. I’m sad that I don’t get to see him today. But I am going to play it cool and not call or text him. I watch enough romantic comedy movies to know that’s not a good idea.
When I’m finished with the patient, I check my office voicemail only to find that I still haven’t heard back from Dr. Davis. So I walk down the hall to discuss notes and treatment plans with Lance. Secretly I also want to tell him about my “date” with Harlow, and how well everything is going.
But after I knock on his door, he doesn’t look as happy to see me as he usually does.
It’s such a formal greeting from him, one that I’m definitely not used to.
I try to mimic his robot- like voice.
“Thanks for dropping in on my session with Harlow yesterday,” I continue. “I’m glad you were able to see that—”
“Yeah, about that.” He frowns. “About this whole Harlow thing. I don’t know what’s going on between you two, and I really don’t want to know, but I just think you should be careful.”
“I am. I haven’t…”
“I’m not talking about sleeping with him. I’m talking about whatever you’re doing during his treatment that is contrary to Dr. Davis’ wishes.”
“Look. If I knew more of what was going on, I would say more. All I know is that Dr. Davis has contacted the facility…”
“He has? Today? Well good. I’ve been trying to reach him.”
“That’s probably not a good idea, Whitney. Let the higher- ups deal with him. I have no idea what’s going on with him and maybe you’re right that he’s less than up front about things.”
He takes a cautious look around, as if someone could have possibly come into his office to eavesdrop on us without us knowing. I guess he really is worried about something.
“But apparently,” he continues, his voice dropping to nearly a whisper, “he’s not happy with Harlow’s treatment. There’s going to be some meeting about it and we’ll all know more soon. I probably shouldn’t even be telling you this much. But what I do know is that I’m to take over his treatment until this is all ironed out.”
“You’re to… but why?”
Despite my best efforts, my eyes well up with tears. I had thought everything was going so well in every way possible, only to find out that the exact opposite is true. I should have known not to get my hopes up.
“I’ve done everything by the book. Harlow is e
“It’s probably better this way anyway,” Lance says. “It’s never a good idea to be so emotionally invested in a client. And this way I can protect you from any allegations of incompetence.”
“I’m not saying that there are allegations. I’m just saying that I know you do good work and I want you to do as well here as you possibly can. So if there’s a… problematic client… it’s best you stay out of that mess. Let a more experienced person with job security handle it, while you stay in safer pastures.”
I’m crushed. Here I was thinking that working with Harlow was an exciting challenge that was going to propel my career forward, when in fact it’s a ticking time bomb.
I can’t think of anything else to say, or at least anything I should say.
“It’s okay, love,” Lance says, patting me on the shoulder sympathetically, turning back into the boss and friend I know and love. “I know it’s difficult, but you’re just beginning to see bureaucracy in action.”
Well okay. If that’s all it is.
I try to hold my head up high as I leave the office. But I can’t help feeling as if I’ve done something terribly wrong.
And I can’t help but wonder if I’ll ever be able to see Harlow again.
I call Whitney after five, when I know she’ll be home from her internship. I’ve been waiting all day to hear her voice and I know she doesn’t keep her cell phone on at work. This isn’t like me, but as I told Jensen, it wasn’t like me until it was. I just can’t explain it, not even to myself.
I begin to think she’s not going to answer, but she finally does after about six rings.
Her voice sounds hesitant.
“Well that’s definitely not the greeting I was looking forward to.”
I wait, but she doesn’t say anything further.
“I can’t talk to you.”
“You can’t… why not?”
It makes no sense. Unless I read it wrong, we had a great time yesterday. And I never read girls wrong.
“I need to stay away.”
Oh I get it. This is one of those things where girls tell each other not to seem too into a guy. She’s playing hard to get. She’s not very good at it, but it’s cute. I’d almost be flattered, if I weren’t so annoyed.
“Okay Whitney. But that doesn’t mean I need to stay away from you.”
Her voice sounds concerned. She doesn’t even get my joke. I’m beginning to wonder if I really am reading her wrong. Does she really not want to see me?
“I was on my way home from work, and I’m near your house,” I tell her, determined to plunge ahead with the plan that I had thought was a good idea. “I was thinking of picking up some to- go food and dropping by. Do you like Chinese?”
“Harlow, I… you were at work? At Dr. Davis’?”
I don’t really understand the relevance of this question, but at least she’s talking to me. She hasn’t hung up. I still have a chance to try to figure out what’s going on with her.
“That’s so strange,” she says. “I called him to talk to him about your case, but I haven’t heard back, although I guess the clinic did…”
She sounds shaken up. Maybe this is all work- related. Or maybe her awful ex- boyfriend has nosed his way back into her life and made some kind of threat.
“Look, I’ll be there soon. We can talk about it. It will all be okay.”
She sniffles but says nothing. There it is. My opening.
“I’ll be there in thirty. I’m assuming you like Kung Pao Chicken?”
When I get to Whitney’s house, she still seems standoffish.
She lets me in but walks over to the kitchen table and says, “feel free to sit,” as if I’m some formal guest.
I remove the Chinese take- out from its bag.
She says, “Thanks, but I’m not hungry.”
I shrug and take a bite of my eggroll.
“So talk to me. What’s going on?”
“I don’t even know, but it seems bad.”
“You know how I’m friends with my supervisor, Lance?”
“Sure. The guy your ex was so sure you were cheating on him with.”
“Ha.” That almost gets her to laugh. “Yeah, him. Well, he’s always super chill but today he told me to ‘be careful’ with you, and that Dr. Davis isn’t happy with how your treatment has been going.”
“That’s ridiculous,” I say, knowing for sure it must all be some sort of understanding. “I’ll talk to him first thing in the morning and figure out what’s been going on.”
“No, don’t,” she says. “Or he’ll know I talked to you. Lance said he is taking over your treatment until we figure out what’s going on.”
“What?” I pound my fist on the table. “Sorry. But this has me upset.”
“Yeah. I know.”
“We work so well together. Of course there’s the chemistry but I’m talking about for physical therapy. Everything is going so well.”
“I know. I don’t get it. I have no idea what they think I could have done wrong, unless they don’t like that we’re… getting close.”
“Have they told you that?”
“No. Lance seemed to act as if he didn’t care, and didn’t want to know. And luckily I didn’t get the chance to tell him about last night. But if it’s not that, then what else could it be?”
I shrug. “Whenever I organically find out that you’ve been replaced as my assigned physical therapist, I’ll talk to Dr. Davis about it. He won’t make me work with someone I don’t want to work with.”
She nods, half hopeful, but half doubtful.
“Although maybe I shouldn’t,” I add, with a grin. “Because if you’re not my physical therapist then there’s nothing standing in the way of us consummating this relationship. In fact, let’s do it right now before they re- assign you to my treatment.”
I laugh, but she doesn’t think it’s funny.
“Harlow, whenever I first saw Dr. Davis, I had a funny feeling. I don’t know why or what it’s about but I can’t help thinking now that I was right about him from the beginning. Why doesn’t he want me working with you? Why does he disagree with the treatment model?”
“I guess we’ll find out in due time.”
Whitney is definitely one of those perpetually worried types. I’m confident that I can work this out with Dr. Davis.
I shovel some of my entrée down my throat. “So do you want to watch a movie? I can cuddle you and make it all better.”
She picks at her eggroll but doesn’t really eat any of it.
“Harlow, I think you should just go.”
“Are you serious?”
I’ve never been rejected by anyone before. And I’ve never even liked anyone before, except for her.
I guess this is why I never let myself get close to anyone, except for my pararescue unit. It never ends up being worth it.
“I just think it’s safest to not see each other until we have this all straightened out.”
“Are you serious?”
I pack my food back up and stand up from the table.
“You are not the woman I thought you were.”
“What do you mean?” she asks, as I head toward the door.
You’re not the one for me, after all, I think. I guess I was right that there is no one for me.
But I just say, “I guess it makes perfect sense, though. I was blind to who you really are.”
I might as well lay it all out on the line now.
She’s not into me enough anyway, and I’m mad at myself for thinking that it could work out.
“You’re someone who never takes chances, never risks anything. You settle. You wanted to be a doctor but you settled for physical therapist. You wanted true love with a good man but you settled for Tony.”
I say his name in disgust, because I really can’t believe she was with him. And now that I think it all through, I’m not sure why I wanted to be with her, when this is her MO.
She just stares at me, blinking as if in shock.
“Have a good time excelling at the career that was your back- up plan,” I say, as I reach for the door. “It was nice getting to know you.”
I’m ready to leave, forever, but she grabs my arm. I’m not sure if she’s mad or sad or what.
“It certainly doesn’t sound like it,” she says, her eyes burning an accusatory hole into mine.
“Doesn’t sound like what?”
“Like you thought it was nice getting to know me. You think all these bad things about me. So what was so nice about it?”
“Oh I don’t know,” I say, not wanting to give too much away about how I feel— or, rather, make that felt— about her. “Your dedication. Your smile. Your laugh. Your eyes. Your ass. But I’m not going to go on and on, when we’re over before we could really start.”
It’s so stupid to be pouring my heart out to someone who isn’t interested. I open the door and take one step forward. But then she wraps her arms around me, and kisses me.
I don’t know why I kissed him. I’m never this forward. But he was about to leave, and he was saying such nice things about me. And even the mean things he’d said before were kind of… true.
He returns my kiss and we stumble back inside where he pushes me up against my front door. His tongue plunges relentlessly into my mouth while his cock rises up against my hips.
“You’re right,” I tell him, gasping for air as he continues to kiss me and press himself into me. “I want you. I would be so dumb to not want you. I’ve wanted you since the day first day I saw you.”
He spins me around and nudges me towards the bedroom. His hands trace the length of my spine as he walks behind me, and by the time we reach the entry of my room, he’s lifted the shirt above my head. I take it off and he is quick to unsnap my bra.