After Becca jumped off the bed and fled through the door to rejoin the party, leaving me alone in bed for the second time, the only thing I could do was stare after her, just like before.
It was turning out that running away seemed to be her thing.
I understood the feeling of wanting to run and hide. I was feeling the same.
I almost couldn’t believe the things I’d said to her. The things I’d confessed to. What had started as a stupid drinking game had become something much more.
And it hadn’t just been me. Becca had opened up as well. She’d opened up more in the last half hour than she had in the entire time we’d known each other. She’d always been sort of tight-lipped about things. She played her cards close to her chest.
I never pushed her on it. It wasn’t my place.
But now that I’d gotten a glimpse of the real Becca, I wanted more.
I’d wondered, during the game of Never Have I Ever, if she’d feel out of place. I knew Becca hadn’t done even a small fraction of the shit me and the guys had gotten up to over the years. But that wasn’t something to be ashamed about. Fuck, even I was aware that we’d done some really shitty things in the past. We should have been the ones who were embarrassed, honestly. What kind of person fucks up a hotel room for fun ’cause they’re drunk? I mean, I knew why Gael did it, but I’d just gone along for the ride.
Sometimes I really did wonder if I was a piece of shit.
But then Becca would look at me with those soft, earnest eyes, and I had to wonder if she was seeing something more inside me.
She made me want to be something more than the careless manwhore everyone thought I was.
Of course, during our drinking game, I’d immediately retreated back to my usual asshole ways and started talking about sex and foursomes and porn and other shit like that.
Fuck, I really was an asshole, wasn’t I?
But she hadn’t seemed to care. She hadn’t even blinked. She’d taken what I’d said at face value and moved on. She’d almost seemed amused by some of my stupid confessions.
But then there were those other confessions. The not-stupid ones. The real ones.
Why the hell had I brought up my fear of needles? Why the hell had I brought up my mom and her being sick? That was such a fucking downer on what was supposed to be a fun game.
But instead of getting uncomfortable or freaking out, she comforted me. She consoled me. She told me she was there for me.
And then she’d given me her own confessions. About her parents’ rocky relationship and about being sick as a kid.
She’d said she regretted walking out on me. She said I made her feel things no one else ever had.
She said she thought there was something more to me than what everyone else saw.
That girl confused me as much as she intrigued me.
I hadn’t expected her to open up like that.
But I was glad she had.
Because I’d had my own confessions to make.
I felt like I could talk to Becca about anything. She seemed like one of those old souls.
She really did seem like no one else I’d ever met before.
She was someone I wanted to get to know more of. And I could almost think she felt the same way about me.
Except for the fact that she’d just run away, again.
I heaved myself off the bed and grabbed the bottle of booze. We’d barely drank any of it. We couldn’t blame the alcohol for baring our souls to each other.
I wandered back down to the party, avoiding all the drunk people laughing and stumbling and spilling their drinks all over themselves without a care in the world. I wished I could be as carefree like I used to be. But now, with my mom getting sick again…
“Hey.” Julian appeared at my side like a ghost. I jumped.
“Fuck, make some noise, man,” I chuckled at him.
“Looking for Becca?” he asked.
“Why would I be?” I asked.
“I just saw her,” he replied. “She looked spooked. What did you do to her?”
“Nothing!” I protested. “We were playing a drinking game.”
I didn’t mention all the other shit that had gone down.
Julian made a small noise.
“You’re into her,” he said. It wasn’t a question.
“‘Course I am,” I said, aiming for blasé. “She’s cute. All sweet and innocent.” I aimed for a sly smirk, but my mouth wouldn’t move the way I wanted it to. All I managed was a worried frown.
“I saw her go out back,” he said.
“You’ve been less of a dick since you met her.”
“Thanks,” I said.
Julian nodded, grabbed the bottle of booze from my hand and wandered back to where Seth was playing another round of drinking games.
Julian wasn’t the type to talk about this kind of stuff, even as briefly as he had. Becca must have made an impression on him.
She’s certainly made an impression on me.
I found my way to the back patio where people were splashing around in the pool. Jessie and Cameron were play-fighting, kicking water at each other. Jessie stopped long enough to wave at me in greeting. Cameron used her distraction and sent a wave of water crashing into her face. He laughed as she sputtered and I knew she was already thinking of a way to get her revenge.
I looked around for Becca but didn’t see her. I was about to head back inside when someone shrieked out a laugh and pointed upward.
“Jump, jump, jump!” the random guy cheered.
I followed his finger to find Becca climbing up the brick wall, using the thick ivy to pull herself up.
“Oh shit!” I blurted out and immediately ran inside to the stairs that would take me to the second-floor balcony.
I barely made it in time to see her start to swing her leg over the railing. I hurried to grab her around the waist and pulled her back.
She grumbled and tried to fight me, but she was drunk, slurring her words, and I was stronger than her anyway.
I helped her back into the mansion, wrapping one arm around her waist and the other under her shoulders. She was able to walk but was wavering and shaky on her feet.
I couldn’t help but notice she was wearing a two-piece halter top bathing suit. Not as skimpy as others I’d seen, but definitely showing some skin.
Skin that was silky smooth under my hands, warm and soft. My fingers trailed up and down her side without me even thinking about it.
I looked down to see her head resting on my shoulder, her face flushed and her pink lips full and parted.
Fuck, but she was gorgeous. I wished she hadn’t had so much to drink. I wish she hadn’t run out on me. I wished she’d stayed and let me kiss the breath of her, let me press her down onto the mattress and…
But that was a shitty thing to think about while she was drunk and vulnerable.
Becca squirmed and I realized I must have been tickling her with my wandering fingers. I settled them against her hip and continued walking her inside.
I found a loveseat for her to rest on and gently set her down. She let out a small moan and squeezed her eyes shut. I had to wonder how bad her hangover was going to be tomorrow.
I ran my hand through her soft hair as it fell across her face, brushing it from her cheeks. She mumbled and turned her face into the palm of my hand. My heartbeat quickened as her lips touched my skin.
Fuck, but I wanted those lips somewhere else. Somewhere lower. I shifted my hips to adjust myself discreetly. Even as I did so, I knew I was an asshole for thinking about that kind of thing while she was so out of it.
I looked around the room and saw two girls chatting on a sofa who looked more sober than the others.
“Hey, you mind watching my friend for a minute?” I asked them. “She’s not feeling well and I don’t want to leave her here by herself.”
They smiled at me and said of course.
I went back to the pool to quickly gather Becca’s discarded clothes. They were soaking wet. She wasn’t going to be putting those back on any time soon. Which meant more time for me to appreciate that sexy, curved figure.
Aw fuck, there I went again.
I returned to the love seat and thanked the two girls for keeping an eye on her.
Becca had snuggled down into the soft cushions. I regretted having to move her, but I didn’t want to leave her lying on the sofa sleeping all night.
I called a cab, then bent down to pick her up, trying not to jostle her. She made a few noises of protest but allowed herself to go limp in my arms as I carried her to the front door.
I pressed a soft kiss to the top of her head, trying to reassure her.
This girl was beginning to mean something more to me than a hot one-night stand, or a fun adventure buddy.
I wasn’t going to let anything bad happen to her. I was going to make sure she always felt safe when she was with me. I wanted her to know she could always come to me when she needed help. The last thing I’d ever want to do is hurt her.
Because somehow, Becca Miller had done something no other girl had ever done before.
She’d found her way inside my heart.
Now I had to make sure I found my way into hers.
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