Edge of Chaos(Love on the Edge #1)(9)

By: Molly E. Lee


“Really?”

He took one last drag off his cigarette and dropped it, crushing it with his scuffed work boot. “Yeah, what, you don’t want me here? Planning on meeting up with someone else?”

“No, of course I want you here.” I knelt down and picked up the crushed butt and dropped it in the trash can that rested a few feet away.

“Good. Let’s get out of here,” he said, grabbing my wrist and tugging me across campus toward his beat-up white truck.

I climbed in, electing to hold my bag in my lap as opposed to setting it on the floorboard littered with fast-food bags and twenty-ounce bottles.

“Where are we headed?” I asked, hoping he planned on taking me out for a late lunch to make up for the one we’d missed earlier.

Justin quickly turned his truck into my apartment complex and parked in front of my unit. After the Tulsa fiasco, we’d agreed there was no rush on moving in together, and it helped that Justin already had his own place. I’d gotten lucky scoring this one so close to campus.

“Your place,” Justin answered and killed the ignition.

I eyed the floorboards and shuffled my feet, my sneakers crunching the paper bags. “Unless you’ve got some groceries hidden under this mess, we’re eating turkey and crackers.”

“No big deal. I ate earlier.”

Of course he did. I held back my smart response of thanks for asking if I wanted anything. After all our years together, I’d decided we were both happier if I avoided arguments—no matter how small—at all costs. It was so instinctive I barely noticed it anymore.

Justin hopped out of the truck and I followed, trying not to pout. I dropped my bag in its usual spot on the floor next to the couch and scratched behind Hail’s ears. She lifted her head slowly and slunk off the couch to lean into my legs. Her butt wiggled as I scratched harder.

Justin shut the front door loudly behind us. Hail snorted when she looked at him and then waddled down the hall to my bedroom. The loud thunk from her jumping on my bed sounded a few seconds later. She’d never been fond of Justin. When I got her as a pup two years ago as a birthday present to myself, she’d growled and barked anytime he came near her. Now she merely tolerated his presence, retreating to my room with a grumble only bulldogs are capable of.

“You could’ve called, you know. Avoid me thinking you blew me off,” I said, turning toward him. My annoyance over him bailing and then showing up just to take me across the street mounted.

“I told you I was busy with the game. Anyway, you can’t be mad at me. I got you something.” He reached into his back pocket and held his hand out to me.

I took the two pieces of paper from him, examining them. “Blue October tickets?” I squealed.

“They’re coming next month. I knew you’d want to go,” he said, smiling.

“I thought you hated concerts?”

Blue October was by far my favorite band, and I’d seen them every time they came to town or anywhere within driving distance. Justin had always dropped me off and picked me up. He never came in. He’d always said concerts were overcrowded and lame, but he wanted to make sure I made it home safe—like he thought I’d get kidnapped by the band or their crazy fans. I’d laughed at the notion but never argued because if I got to go to the shows without a lecture or a guilt trip over it taking time away from us, then it was worth it.

Justin shrugged. “I’ll just drink through it, and besides, it’ll make you happy, right?”

“Yes.” Maybe he was finally putting forth that effort he’d been promising me for years now. “Thank you!” I stood on my tiptoes and kissed him. “I can’t wait.”

He smirked and my muscles coiled out of reflex. I knew that look too well. He’d given me a gift and now it was time for his reward.

I barely had time to enjoy the spontaneity before I was hurtled onto the couch, my back hitting the cushions with an audible thud.

I gasped and looked up at Justin as he hovered over me.

His dark eyes held me for only a moment before his lips crushed mine. My mouth opened automatically underneath his, the pattern of his tongue familiar as it jutted against my own. He’d kissed me a thousand times, and it was always the same. His mouth moved hungrily, and he shoved frantic hands underneath my shirt. His intense desire was enough to stave off my resistance, and I tried to mentally switch gears as quickly as possible.

Justin never wasted time, and my jeans were quickly on the floor, followed by my underwear. I wanted to tell him to slow down while he slipped on a condom, that I needed a little more time, but I bit my tongue. It would only lead to an argument over how real men make love, so I took a deep breath in preparation as he turned me over and thrust himself inside of me from behind.