I opened the door and stepped in. Raw pain filled me at the sight of my painting. ‘Show me what it looked like, before the fire.’ His request surprised me, but I did as he asked. With eyes closed, I projected the exact details of the painting I had poured my soul into. Just as I had experienced his love of surfing in a visceral way, he shared not just the visual beauty of my work, but the love and passion with which I had dedicated myself to it. ‘Thank you. Now, it will never truly be gone.’ I choked back a sob and went to Mr. K’s office.
Are you sure? I mean, I don’t understand how this could have happened. She’s only fifteen; I didn’t even know she was sexually active.” Mallory’s father, normally in control, was on the verge of tears. He refused to look at his daughter, his little girl. As much as he had preached abstinence to her, he still kept a watchful eye over her, yet here they were, facing the unthinkable. He wanted to know when this happened, and with whom—but those questions would have to wait.
Now I am their sword. And I do not forgive. I do not forget. So let him lead me onto his shuttle. Let him think he owns me. Let him welcome into his house, so I might burn it down. But then his daughter takes my hand, and I feel all the lies fall heavy on my shoulders. They say a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand. They made no mention of the heart.
I'm sorry," I heard him say again. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a sudden blur of movement as he slid out of his seat, left some bills for the breakfast he wouldn't eat, and walked away. And as he did, I thought again of those mornings in the hallway at school, way back in ninth grade. Everything had started in such sharp detail, each aspect pronounced and clear. Obviously, endings were different. Harder to see, full of shapes that could be one thing or another, with all the things that you were once so sure of suddenly not familiar, if they were even recognizable at all.
I'd heard of Evergreen Care Center before. Cass and I had always made fun of the stupid ads they ran on TV, featuring some dragged-out woman with a limp perm and big, painted-on circles under her eyes, downing vodka and sobbing uncontrollably. "We can't heal you at Evergreen", the very somber voiceover said. "But we can help you to heal yourself." It had become our own running joke, applicable to almost anything. "Hey Cass, "I'd say, "hand me that toothpaste." "Caitlin," she'd say, her voice dark and serious. "I can't hand you the toothpaste. But I CAN help you hand the toothpaste to yourself.
But in that moment, I didn’t want to be trusted. I wanted something far more primal. I stretched up on my tiptoes and leaned in. I closed my eyes as his scent overcame me. When his lips touched mine it felt as if he’d caressed them with a feather. It was all I could do not to wrap myself around him and do things I’d never really thought about doing before.
No,” she breathes. The smell of her turns to spice, sharp and warm, and I know I’m sensing her now, even through the block in the house.We stand like that for an eternity, still as statues on the outside, but inside I’m running, running toward a place I’ve never been. I should be terrified. But all I feel is strength. Rightness.And then Kara moves, her hands skimming up my chest, testing the boundaries. Her palms slide to my shoulders, her fingers tracing the line of the muscles in my arms, down to my waist. She grips my shirt, stretching it a little, waiting for me to tell her to stop. But I watch her lift it, let her pull it up, raising my arms, and I even take the last of it off myself, dropping it to the floor.We breathe, staring at each other.The vibrations move between us. My left arm buzzes with them. I think she’s doing it. Whatever’s happening, it’s her.I reach up and brush my marked knuckles across her cheek, amazed at the feel of her, the way her eyes seem to see everything, the way she pulls me into her. I can’t seem to remember why I shouldn’t kiss her. And kiss her. And . . .I kiss her, taking her face in both hands, skimming my thumb over her jaw as she leans into the touch, reaching out to curl her fingers around the back of my neck. I have to remind myself to breathe. I need more of her. The emotions roll over me in a rush, a tangle of sensation and movement, heat and sugar and heady aromas.I grip her tighter.Her nails dig into my shoulders. My hands slide down her spine. The kiss deepens, goes on forever, until I can barely see sense. I explore her shape, the feel of her ribs, the textures and taste of her skin on my tongue as I kiss her neck, her shoulders, her chest. As I draw trembling gasps from her lips, she grips me so hard it hurts.Our bodies mesh. Our breath mingles in frenzied desperation. Nothing else exists except her. Her warmth. Her spice. Her.
Hero Intercedes”:His hands flickered upward, and before I knew it, they were cupping my face. So, damnably fast now. Demonic-like fast. Trent reeled me closer. Our foreheads joined. He held me, while I trembled in his arms. I was vaguely aware of Evans and Maxwell watching, although it didn’t seem important. Nothing seemed important whenever he did this. It felt like we were enclosed in our own personal bubble made only for the two of us. Trent murmured something in my ear. We stood like that until my shaky legs gradually regained strength. I shut my eyes and pretended my body wasn’t sizzling with heat-lightning because Trent stood so close. My hormones always decided to rebel whenever he put his arms around me. And it wasn’t totally awkward and uncomfortable. No, it felt like the best thing I’d experienced since before Dad’s death. And that’s saying a lot.
A Kiss”:I went to snatch my hand away, but Trent caught my hand in his, startling me. I looked up to see warmth on his face. His smile held the promise of happiness. He scooted closer and held my gaze for a breath, glanced down. He leaned forward, as if he had no control over his actions. I inhaled his nice, soapy-clean scent, and all coherent thought left my head.His hands gripped my waist and Trent yanked me against him, his mouth covering mine in a deep kiss. The caress of his lips was softer than I’d imagined. An unfamiliar rush of excitement engulfed my senses. My hands wrapped around his neck, fingering his silky tousled hair. His moist lips seared a path from my lips to my neck, igniting a blaze of desire that flooded my skin everywhere his lips and roaming hands touched. Boys had kissed me before, but not like this. Never like this...
Fix me," I commanded him. "This thing, what I've done- there's something wrong with me, Noah. Fix it."Noah's expression broke my heart as he brushed my hair from my face and skimmed the line of my neck. "I can't.""Why not?" I asked, my voice threatening to crack.Noah lifted both his hands to my face, and held it. "Because," he said, "you aren't broken.