There’s a need building in me, and it threatens everything. Every toxic memory of that awful woman’s words. Every fucking boundary I’ve tried to maintain with Zach. Every nasty little reminder that I’m not enough for him.
This need I have for Zach is physical—profound and primal and aching deep in my core—but it’s also elemental. It sings in my heart and it scrambles my brain and it transcends me—us—too.
It’s in my super-consciousness.
It defines me and consumes me and I’d bet good money it’s imprinted itself on my DNA and coloured my aura. I bet this need I have for him is in every single thing that makes me my physical and metaphysical self.
Because the ties that bind me to this man are far more frightening, far more permanent, than any restraints I could find here at Alchemy.
And that totally fucking terrifies me.
I know all this to be true as I begin to move, my gaze taking in every perfect inch of his body with the same hunger that my pussy’s taking in every perfect inch of his cock. The gorgeous, strong body that can turn me into a whimpering, pleading mess. His hands on my thighs, gripping hard in encouragement as I move up and down his length. And worst of all, that face.
So blue as to be astonishing. And so full of adoration, of awe, of desire and of hurt as to be the death of me.
He doesn’t understand why I’ve been pulling back. I’ll have to tell him at some point. Explain to him that I’m really not what he wants or needs at this stage in his life, that we’re infatuated with each other but perhaps, somehow—don’t fucking ask me how—we should at least attempt to sever those unbreakable ties. Loosen them, at least. Maybe—
‘Tits, Mads,’ he urges. I know from the low rasp of his voice that he’s unlikely to last any longer than I am. ‘Ride me harder.’
I shake my hair out of my eyes and cup my boobs, squeezing them as I roll my nipples around under my fingertips, and God, it feels fucking amazing. At his command, I raise myself up and impale myself down hard on his dick, grinding and squirming like the greediest, neediest little slut who’s ever taken her fill of cock.
But you can’t blame me, because nobody’s cock feels like Zach French’s, and nobody’s eyes on me make me feel like heaven and earth are colliding and angels are singing, and—
Jesus. His finger’s on my clit and he’s rubbing. I’m stretched so wide around him that my clit’s completely exposed, so exposed that the sensitivity level is almost painful, and yet it’s the best thing I’ve ever, ever felt. I’m tugging hard at my nipples now, I’m riding him like he’s a bull, his finger is doing magical things, and the connection we’ve forged with our eye contact is so unflinching, so searing, that I may never recover from this.
It’s almost too much. It is too much. There’s nothing kinky going on, and yet the rawness of this type of connection is more terrifying, more out of my comfort zone than anything I’ve ever experienced.
I need his tongue in my mouth. I need it so badly. Need him to plug me and invade me up here as much as I need it down there. I drag myself up and down his length, drawing every ounce of friction out as I go. My orgasm is building. My skin is slick with sweat. And Zach’s intense, unwavering eye contact is threatening to unravel me even more thoroughly than anything else we’re doing.
He pulls himself up so he’s bracing on one arm and kisses me hard, fisting my hair roughly at the nape of my neck with the other.
‘Feel how good it is?’ he growls against my mouth. His hips are thrusting up, driving his cock further into me, matching my movements.
‘Yes,’ I moan. I tug his bottom lip between my teeth, adoring how full, how luscious it feels. I cannot get close enough to this man. He’s God knows how many inches inside me and it’s still not close enough. I abandon one nipple and roam my hand over the heavenly bulk of his shoulder muscles before clinging onto the back of his neck.
He bottoms out in me and grabs my hip to prevent me from pulling away.
I stare at him. We’re both so close. ‘Yeah?’ I pant.
His eyes are so blue, so beautiful, I could drown in them. He releases my hip and cups my face. We’re braced on the edge of our orgasms, every atom in our bodies vibrating in anticipation of the glorious release that’s around the corner.
‘I love you,’ he says, his voice almost breaking with emotion on the word love, before crashing his lips against mine.
Oh my God oh my God oh my God. The emotions I’ve been trying to keep a vague handle on explode around me as my body takes over. I’ve got tears running down my cheeks as I devour him with kisses, my hips rising and falling and grinding and rolling as I sink down as hard as I can, and take him as deep inside me as I can, while his words ring in my ears like the most beautiful, deafening symphony I could ever conceive of.
I am loved.
This man loves me.
Zach loves me.
Oh my God. I’m so close. I’m so fucking close. His hand is still on my hip as he ruts up into me, but this angle has my clit rubbing against his pelvic bone which just adds to the feeling of intense physical and emotional overwhelm. I’m falling apart, and flying through the sky, completely rudderless, and all I can do is hold on tightly to Zach as we hurtle through oblivion together.
I come and I come, my face buried in his neck, inhaling every single pheromone from his miraculous skin as he releases his orgasm deep inside my body in hot, desperate spurts. Even as the waves of oblivion washing over me grow calmer, and my mind grows clearer, I can’t seem to let go of the headlock I have him in.
Instead I cling to him like a baby koala with abandonment issues, not quite noticing that my entire body is wracked with sobs until I grow conscious of him stroking down my back in long, soothing sweeps.
‘Hey, sweetheart,’ he’s crooning in my ear. ‘It’s okay. It’s okay. I didn’t mean to upset you.’
That only makes me cry harder, because what else are you supposed to do when you get thumped over the head with the most overwhelming double whammy ever of a life-altering orgasm and a life-altering revelation?
I love Zach.
I am totally, outrageously and horrifyingly in love with my older, gorgeous, nerdy boss who is the kindest and most thoughtful man on the planet and the best dad in the world and literally so completely opposite to what I thought my type was that it’s actually laughably ridiculous.
Oh Jesus fuck, I love him so much. I, like, adore him. I hero-worship him. So, so much that I feel like the blindest, stupidest person in all of humanity not to have figured it out earlier. I howl harder and even bite down on his shoulder in my efforts to contain myself, until I’m aware of him flinching and sucking in a sharp breath through his teeth.
‘Mads,’ he says again when I’ve ceased my efforts to imprint my dental records on his skin. ‘Talk to me, sweetheart. I’m so sorry.’
I pull away, mortified by my totally weird and hysterical behaviour, wiping under what are probably now my panda eyes and leaving a trail of snot on my wrist as I do. Nice. I’m kind of crying-slash-hiccuping as I finally brave eye contact. Those blue, blue eyes are alight with concern.
Oh. Shit. That’s what love looks like.
It is very fucking nice.
‘I love you,’ I manage to blurt out in a kind of desperate and not hugely romantic way, but I need him to know, like, yesterday. ‘I love you so much.’ My entire face contorts, and I burst out crying again as I collapse on his shoulder.
‘Hang on,’ he says. ‘Fuck. My wrist.’ He makes a pained sound as he lowers us both down. I suppose he pulls his arm away from under us at some point, because we kind of tumble the rest of the way. I lie sprawled over him with his dick still inside me, which is exactly where I want it for the rest of my days. But then he’s rolling us so we’re both on our sides, and he slips out of me. His cum starts to leak out too, but I couldn’t give a shit, because he’s tugging me right up close to him so our stomachs and noses are touching, and his big strong hand is splayed across the small of my back in the most gorgeously protective manner, and he’s grinning, even though his grin is a bit out of focus at this proximity.
‘Did you mean that?’ he asks. ‘Because you don’t need to say it back.’
I grin back like a lunatic and nod, also like a lunatic. But he needs to understand. It’s really important. ‘That’s why I was crying. Because, you know, you said it, and then I was like, oh my God, he loves me, and then I was like fucking hell, I love him too, and woah woah woah, that’s why I’ve been feeling so shitty and insecure.’ I press my lips together in a futile attempt at stemming the next flow of tears, because this whole declaration of love stuff is seriously emotional.
‘Hey,’ he says, moving his face back a little so he can see me properly. He really is a fucking beautiful man. ‘Why were you feeling insecure? What could you possibly have to feel insecure about?’
Oh shit. Because this is where I probably need to mention my conversation with Frances, and I’m not sure if he’ll be more cross with me for not mentioning it, or with her for being a total fucking raving bitch, or with me for going low too and saying the big, fat cock thing, which admittedly was not my finest hour while admittedly also being one of the coolest, best-timed things I’ve ever come out with.
So I tell him. I tell him what she said, and how she was, and he gets angrier and angrier and I’d put good money on it being with her and not me.
‘Then she said I was a gold-digging little ho,’ I say.
His eyes get wider and darker, and his grip on me tightens, and I know for a fact I’m going to have to get him to bone me again, because this whole in love with me and angry with someone else thing would definitely be total dynamite on the orgasm front. For both of us.
‘A ho?’ he intones in his sternest don’t make me voice.
I think back. ‘A whore. A gold-digging little whore who worked at a sex club and didn’t give a toss about you or the girls.’ Branded on my brain much? ‘Which is, like, so fucking rude. Also, who says toss anymore? It was weird that she was capable of saying whore but not fuck or shit instead of toss. Right?’
He’s not listening to my semantics, because his nostrils are flaring, and I just know he’s going to nail me to this bed like he threatened-slash-promised to before.
‘I’m so sorry,’ he says. ‘Fucking hell, sweetheart, I am so fucking sorry. I would never have invited her if I’d thought she’d in any way disrespect you like that—it’s unforgivable.’
‘I think she has her eye on you,’ I tell him. ‘Like, I can’t tell if she even fancies you, but she definitely wants to get her hands on the girls’ upbringing. There was a lot of talk about the Eleven Plus. And speech therapists?’
He rolls his eyes and presses his lips together in a if I wasn’t naked with you right now I’d break down her door and not in a hot way way. But the way he does it is very hot. ‘She needs to back the fuck off.’
‘Yeah. So if it doesn’t last between us, promise me you’ll never get it on with her? Because it’d be miserable for the girls. And she’d probably change their names to Skippy and Trippy to rhyme with Dippy.’
He sniggers before rolling us over again so I’m pinned beneath him. ‘Repeat after me, Madeleine. It will last between us.’
God, he’s so gorgeous. He has me all caged in and breathless, both from lust and the fact that he is actually squishing my lungs, but fuuuuck, having his weight on me is hot. And that right there is the sexiest thing anyone has ever said to me. And I swear his big, fat cock just twitched—
‘Oh.’ I blink.
‘What?’ he asks, and I can tell he’s pissed off that I haven’t yet repeated his deliciously stern words back to him.
‘Um. I may have, um, lashed out at her.’
He grins and smooths my hair out of my face. ‘That’s my girl. What did you say?’
I smile, and it’s not my armoured-up smile from the past few days. It’s victorious, and amused, and pretty fucking smug. ‘I told her I had not one but two trust funds and that I wasn’t interested in your big, fat bank balance but only in your big, fat, cock.’
His shout of laughter is so unexpected I actually jump, or I would if I wasn’t squashed beneath him. He slaps the pillow hard before kissing me even harder. ‘You little fucking beauty. Oh my God.’
I lie there and grin up at him.
‘I can’t believe you said that. What did she say—fuck, I’d have killed to see that.’
‘I don’t know. I sashayed off like a queen and left her mouthing like a fish out of water,’ I say. I don’t mention the subsequent puking, but his expression changes.
‘This is what’s had you freaked out, these past few days?’ he asks, staring down at me.
‘I suppose. Well, kind of. I mean, not her. But what she said, because it was true.’
‘Mads. How could you possibly have taken a word of what she said seriously? The woman’s clearly unhinged. And fucking disrespectful.’
‘She had a point,’ I venture. ‘Like, clearly the girls don’t deserve someone awful like her, but… don’t you all deserve a proper grownup who can actually help you in your life, and make it easier?’ I squirm, because this part is seriously awkward to say, mainly because we haven’t discussed it at all. ‘Maybe you should be looking for a girlfriend who can slot into your life. I know we haven’t talked about it, but I don’t have a clue what your long-term plans are for you, or us, or the girls. Ouch, you’re squashing me.’
‘Fuck. Sorry.’ He rolls us back onto our sides again and tucks me in close to him, throwing a gorgeously hairy, muscular leg over mine. ‘Mads.’ He seems to be choosing his words carefully. ‘I haven’t brought it up because I haven’t wanted to freak you out. I mean, you’re twenty-fucking-three, for God’s sake.
‘What am I supposed to say? Hi beautiful young woman, in the prime of your sexuality. Come and live with me and my bereaved children and sign away your future to us? I can’t ask you to do that, and I don’t for the life of me know how to square how much I love you and want to be with you with the guilt I’d feel if I asked you to make that sacrifice for me, or for us. Okay? I haven’t figured any of it out yet.
‘But that’s very, very different from me thinking you wouldn’t be utterly magnificent, and perfect, and fucking everything, in whatever format our relationship took. Got it?’
He’s deluding himself, but it’s sweet. And hot. I nod, but I suspect it’s not a convincing act, because he ploughs on.
‘Sweetheart, I don’t have an answer for you about all of this because I want you to have the bright future you deserve without being hemmed in by any of us, even if that future involves you wanting to, I dunno, study art in Paris or find yourself in Tibet.’
I snort, because both of those scenarios are actually ridiculous. But I appreciate his generosity almost as much as I hate his insecurity.
As if Zach French and his broken, beautiful little family wouldn’t be the epitome of a bright future for any woman lucky enough to win their love.
Tibet can fuck right off. Honestly.
He’s still talking. ‘Obviously the stakes are high here—I don’t want to break the girls’ hearts again. They wouldn’t survive it. But the reason I’m not coming on more strongly right now is purely that I need you to move at your own pace for your own reasons. It’s not out of any reticence on my part. I’m all in.’
He delivers those last three words with a smile that’s open, and tentative, and hopeful, and I swear to God it fucking slays me. I can’t handle it. I can’t handle the beauty and generosity of this man, nor the knowledge of what he must have gone through losing his wife, nor the astonishment that he still has the capacity to love, and to jump, and to put others first.
I could never imagine a man being more worthy of love than him. Could never conceive of a more beautiful soul. And honestly, in my short, self-absorbed life, I could never have imagined wanting to put someone else ahead of myself like I want do do with Zach.
I want to make his pain go away, and not just in the bedroom.
(Or his desk.)
(Or the shower.)
He seems to have some weird theory that I lighten his heart, and if that’s even one percent true then I want to deliver on that.
I want to lighten his load a little more every day of my life.
And, you know, have multiple Zach-French-branded orgasms while doing it.