Read Giving It Up Online

Authors: Amber Lin

Tags: #Fiction, #Romance, #Contemporary, #Erotic Contemporary

Giving It Up (5 page)

And for some reason I didn’t. Worrying was a well-worn shoe for me, but in the surreal dark of this night I accepted his word. I accepted him. He’d have someone drive it back. I shouldn’t worry. I was safe.

Shelly was groggy when she let me in. “How’d it go?” she mumbled.

“Brought a man back.”

Her eyes snapped open, full alert. “What?”

She’d been the one to teach me the rules. And by teach, I meant she’d drilled them into me, her lessons replete with stories of women who
followed the rules. Even though most everyone at the club held their hookups at their apartments, it wasn’t the safe way to play. And considering I had Bailey and also that my dates tended to be assholes of the first order, I played it safe. Relatively speaking.

“Well, he brought me back, technically. I think I’m going to”—what the hell had we agreed to?—“well, to see him again.”

Shelly inspected me for a long moment as the suspicion faded from her face and a knowing smile bloomed. “You are, huh?”

“Shut up,” I said, though I was more embarrassed than mad. “I didn’t agree to marry the guy.”

The light of laughter gleamed in her eye. “What’s his name?”

“Colin,” I grumbled.

She sang under her breath. “Allie and Colin, sitting in a tree…”

“Oh, great. You’re in first grade.” I marched into the bedroom to fetch Bailey, ignoring Shelly’s tinkle of laughter behind me. And continued ignoring her smirk as I passed her on my way out, laden with a sleeping baby girl.

Shelly’s soft voice followed me down the stairs before she shut the door. “Then comes Bailey in a baby carriage.”

Back in my apartment, I slipped past the kitchen and carried Bailey straight to her bedroom, where she settled immediately. The faded pink toddler bed was old and used, but it had a certain charm. Something old-fashioned and innocent. As soon as I’d seen it at Goodwill, I’d spent too much money on it. It didn’t fit with the rest of my sparse apartment, but it fit Bailey.

She was the only thing good and clean in my life. If I had to release the darkness inside me once a month in order to keep it away from her, I had never minded doing so. But now there was Colin, and presumably he would not be okay with me making solitary trips to the club for a quick, dirty fuck. Neither did he want to be rough with me himself. I didn’t see how this could work out in the end, but I couldn’t bring myself to let him go.

In the kitchen Colin had piled together a sandwich from the contents of the plates and poured a glass of milk for me. I sat down with this strange, achy feeling. Guilt, maybe. I’d never had someone take care of me like this, not ever. There’d been my dad, but I’d been the one who needed to make dinner if I wanted it done. It was the kind of thing a mother would do, but I’d never had one, at least that I could remember. Who knew Colin could be motherly?

For everything,
I wanted to say,
not just for the sandwich. Not even for protecting me from the guy at the club. Thank you for seeing my flaws and wanting me anyway.
But those words hung in the air, just out of reach.

“You’re welcome,” he said, his face blank. He stood up, grabbed my keys from the counter. “I’ve got to go. I’ll make sure your car is back by morning. ”

He rummaged through a drawer and shoved a piece of paper and pen into my hands. I scribbled my number on the paper and kept my eyes downcast as he plucked it from my fingers.

I was used to feeling competent. In my work and in my life. It wasn’t a wonderland, but it was mine. Even the date nights were an extension of that control—they were on my terms. But now I felt bumbling, inept, unable to do basic things like date a guy.

“Hey,” I said.

He paused at the door and turned back.

“Maybe we could go out. Tomorrow night,” I said.

A faint smile turned his lips. “Sure.”

And then he was gone.

I went to the closed door and turned the lock, then rested my forehead against the glossy white paint.

Shelly’s voice rang in my ear.
“Allie and Colin, sitting in a tree…”

Of course, Shelly had it wrong. Even if I were serious about Colin—and we were a far cry from that—I had a baby first. Another man’s baby, at that. And love and marriage had nothing to do with this thing between Colin and me. It was sex and companionship. Friendship, maybe. Love was for suckers.

Chapter Three

“How are you?” Colin’s eyes raked over my breasts as if checking to see whether any bruises from last night lingered.

Flowers. He was holding flowers. I accepted them, trying to look as if I’d done that before when I didn’t think I’d even held a bouquet before. They were heavier than I expected. The smell of damp spring serenaded me.

“I’m okay. Thank you.” I led him to the kitchen to hide my blush. “But I…I was hoping to talk to you about last night.”

A muscle ticked in his jaw as he leaned his hip against the counter. “Go ahead.”

“I know how it looked, but it wasn’t like that.” Maybe it would have been better to let him believe it was rape, to never talk about it again, but I couldn’t bind him to me by pretending to be the victim.

“I heard you say no,” he said.

I wiped my palms on the plasticky fabric of my dress. “I know I said that. But sometimes that’s what I want. For someone not to stop. I know that sounds kind of crazy. I mean, it probably is crazy. I guess what I’m trying to tell you is that I…have issues.”

His face softened just a fraction. “I know. Can you tell me?”

My throat tightened. Actually, every muscle went taut as if the strength of my body could keep my mind from saying too much. It wasn’t a choice, not talking about what happened. It was a physical impossibility. It always had been.

People seemed to think they could fix anything by talking it out. Afternoon talk shows and therapists and meetings didn’t really help people. All they did was provide a forum for them to talk. Assuming a person
talk about it.

The only person who really knew what had happened that night was Shelly. And even then she had pieced it together from my babbling and bruises and, later, the positive pregnancy test.

The thought of telling someone, of telling
, about that night was…unthinkable. If I tried, my mind shut down, blank and helpless.

I didn’t know how much time had passed with me frozen, but he pulled me to him. “It’s okay,” he said. “We all have issues.”

I heard Shelly’s voice in my ear, quoting the Mad Hatter.
“We’re all mad here.”

His hands running along my back unlocked my voice. “Even you?”

He nodded.

My eyes searched his. “What are your issues?”

“That would be cheating.”

I couldn’t help but smile. His eyes narrowed on my mouth.

He leaned down and pressed a soft, almost chaste kiss to my lips. I felt his lips open, and I opened mine too. But he didn’t plunge inside. Instead his lips fastened on my lower lip and tugged.

My eyes fluttered shut. I felt the soft wetness of his tongue, the scratch of his bristle, but oddly the most intimate was the touch of his nose against mine. I breathed in his exhales, and he breathed in mine.

“Promise me you won’t go back to the club,” he whispered against my mouth.

I kept my eyes shut. It was safer. “Okay.”

This was just supposed to be a casual thing, a date or two, but somehow it felt like more with him. He tempted me to want more. He was like the male equivalent of the sirens I’d read about in high school, who promised happiness when disaster loomed.

“Would you do that for me?” I opened my eyes. “Give me what I need?”

He paused, and I knew he’d understood what I meant. The roughness. His eyes gave nothing away. “Maybe,” he said.

* * * *

Colin took me to a hole-in-the-wall Italian restaurant for supper, where we split a classic Chicago pizza. The couple who owned the place screamed obscenities at each other, so obviously colored by affection that it made my heart hurt just to hear.

Later, back at my apartment, Colin followed me to my door. I unlocked it, but before I could enter, he pulled me back and kissed me. I remained frozen that way, leaning away from him for only a few seconds before melting. He pressed me into the door, kissing me, covering me. Headlights flashed onto us from a car in the parking lot, and he broke away.

Colin turned the knob and eased the door open, guiding me inside. As soon as we were in, I pulled him over to the couch, unwilling to let this turn into another coffee session. He sat, and I climbed on top of him, straddling his erection through his jeans. The hardness of it was intimidating and thrilling.

As a young girl I thought of a boy’s penis as a weakness, a vulnerability that could be exploited by a well-aimed kickball. But now that I was a woman, a cock was a thing of power, something that could give or claim or bruise.

Our mouths met in a kiss, both licking and exploring and biting. The line between taking and being taken blurred. If my stomach revolted at the thought of having sex, with the memory of that other man’s hands still crawling on my skin, that only increased my need. I could do this. I’d prove that I could.

I rocked my hips, pushing my clit onto the ridge of his cock.

“Good girl,” he murmured against my lips. I froze at both the humiliation and the pleasure of his words, then rode him over his jeans. Our kiss broke off from the force of my thrusts. He pulled off my shirt and bra to bare my breasts before he covered them with his hands.

The pleasure from my clit ricocheted through me. Almost, almost there.

If only I could stop thinking.
Does he want me? Of course he does; I can feel his erection. But any girl would do. If he wanted me, he’d already have fucked me by now. He wouldn’t be sitting there, letting me do this. What is he waiting for? Come on, come already. I’m taking forever. He’ll get bored, or worse. I’m doing it wrong. I’m not good enough. If you want me, take me. Please take me. Fuck me. Prove that you want me by fucking me.

A sting on my nipple snapped me back into my body. Colin pinched the other one, and I gasped.

He slapped the side of my hip, the pain making my inner muscles clench. “Don’t stop,” he ordered.

His mouth replaced his fingers at my breasts, licking and sucking. I kept riding him. It hurt, what he was doing, but I knew I needed the pain and he seemed to know it too.

I hovered on the brink. Then he bit down, lightly at first and then harder. Too much. It hurt too much. I couldn’t take it. My eyes fell shut as I shuddered through my orgasm.

When I became aware again, I was enfolded in his arms, my head resting on his shoulder. I looked up at him, expecting to see smugness or arousal, but instead he looked troubled.

Shit, I’d done something wrong. “I’m sorry.”

“For what?”

“For…doing that. It’s your turn.”

I reached for his zipper, but his hand stayed me. “Wait.”

Panic caught in my throat. He didn’t want me. My skin crawled with shame.

But I could fix this. I’d make him want me. “Come on, baby. Put your hard cock in my mouth.”

I licked my lips, and his fingers tightened around my wrist. “Please,” I said. “Give it to me. I’ll make it feel good.”

I tried to tug my hand away. He opened his fingers one by one. Gratified to have my hand back, I unzipped his jeans. I’d told the truth. Whatever he felt or didn’t feel for me, I’d make his cock feel good.

His cock sprung out, hard and eager. I grasped it at the base and pulled. The softness of the skin was always a shock, too soft for something so hard and scary.

Sliding to the floor, I licked the tip, that faint salty flavor a tease for us both.

“Suck it,” he said. My eyes flew to his and found them hot and insistent. I smiled. He’d certainly gotten over his reluctance. But I wouldn’t gloat. I took his cock into my mouth, slid it on my tongue, and back toward my throat. When I pulled back, my body sucked in a deep breath, knowing breaths wouldn’t come freely for a while.

I edged him deeper with each long suck, craving more even while I fought down a gag. This was what I wanted. A cock was made for fucking. Putting it in my mouth wasn’t something that came naturally. I didn’t have teenage dreams about being tenderly face fucked. But I did it anyway, with relish, because it felt good for him. It’s a special kind of gift, debasement.

My jaw ached, but I welcomed the pain—I was pleasing him. I worked him harder with my tongue and lips and hands. His hands came up and grabbed my hair.
He pulled me to him as his hips rocked up, less deeply but faster. I opened my mouth wider in acceptance, straining against the stiffness. He came with a grunt, spurting salty warmth into my throat, his hands stroking mindlessly through my hair.

He hadn’t yanked my hair or choked me on his cock, but it was still good. I reveled in the sight of his sated expression. All that buildup, not just the blowjob or making out, but even the dinner—all so that I could give him this moment of peace. Without opening his eyes, he reached for me and pulled me up into the crook of his arm. I curled into his side, shutting my eyes against the sight of his soft cock lying outside his jeans, too raw a reminder of what I’d just done.

He sat up and straightened his clothes. I did the same, suddenly wary.

His face turned away, but not before his eyes darkened. “Allie…I have to go soon.”

I looked down. “Oh.”

“Hey. I just have to take care of some business. Nothing bad.” His finger stroked my cheek and lifted my chin back to him. “That was great.”


“Yeah,” he said. “I’ll call you later tonight, okay?”


He turned at the door. Pulling me to him with his hand behind my head, he kissed me, lingering. “I’m going to see you again soon,” he said against my lips.

My lips curved against his. “Whatever you say.”

“Damn straight.” But his eyes were twinkling as he shut the door.

This entire night worked for me. I’d had a great time but wasn’t ready for the implications of a sleepover. And I got to pick up Bailey while she was still awake, our dinner being so much earlier than a club visit. That may not have been everyone’s idea of a great date, but to me it was almost like heaven.

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