Beside You

This was going to suck.
Ren is sent to a well-known school in North Valley Washington, ‘Pruitt’s School for Young Ladies.’
Where she is supposed to be reformed and made into a girl her mother could be proud of. There is a problem, though.
Directly next to this new school is a school called ‘North Valley School for Juvenile Offenders.’
A place for good girls, and a school for juveniles, with only a large black gate between them.
What could possibly go wrong?
Unexpected friendship.
A new family.


13. Beside You Ch. 13: Long for More

Chapter Thirteen: Long for More

Something was wrong with him.

I sat on the bed in my pajamas as we waited for him to come back.

I didn’t usually wear short pajama shorts, but I didn’t really think that I would be in a room with Michael.

I was wearing a light gray long-sleeved nightgown. It ended barely mid-thigh.

It buttons all the way down the front. I was thankful I remembered to bring a pair of shorts with me to wear underneath. They weren’t long, but they did the job.

It’s weird, I know, but I also wore knee-high dark gray socks. The heel was open as well as my toes.

Benny and Gus still wanted to go to a party, but that was the last thing I wanted to do.

The only thing I was up for was a shower to get the chlorine smell off me, and I did that already. I was done for the night.

When we got back to the hotel, Michael told us to get out of the car. He drove off.

I didn’t know what to do.

It wasn’t like he was gone for hours, but he’s pushing the half-hour mark.

The door opened, and finally, he was back.

I didn’t bother him. I just followed him with my eyes as he walked around the bed to the small refrigerator.

I could hear glass bottles clank together as he walked.

“Where did you go?” I asked.

He didn’t answer or even acknowledge that I just spoke.

The adjoining door pushed open, and Benny was the first one through.

“Dude,” she said, throwing her hands up, “I thought we were all going to a party.”

I just looked at her, I was exhausted in every form of the word.

She looked back and forth between us.

I didn’t really know what to say to that.

“You guys go,” Michael said, “I’m done being around people today.”

I was relieved that he was the one to speak up.

“Seriously?” Benny demanded, “We agreed to this before.”

“I know,” he said, trying to sound calm, “I just didn’t think about how I would be after that ordeal with your mother.”

It bothered me a little that he ignored me, but didn’t hesitate to respond to her.

She looked at me, “You’re not going either?”

“It was harder on her than it was for any of us,” Michael cut in, “The two of you can take the car, just don’t crash it.”

She didn’t look like she wanted to leave.

“Go,” Michael said before walking outside again.

“Are you okay?” Benny asked me.

I nodded, “I’m just tired.”

She stared at me, and it made me nervous.

“You can still dress up,” I told her, “We can try this again.”

She hesitated before nodding.

“What do you think?” she asked me before spinning.

To be honest, I barely noticed what she was wearing until she pointed it out.

She was right about the dress showing cleavage.

The deep v of the dress ended at her sternum.

The black dress was all lace, it ended mid-thigh. The sleeves were lace too, and not quite the full length of her arm. I could see her bare skin on her arms and on her sides.

I wasn’t sure how I could have forgotten about those massive black heels, they made her look a lot taller.

“You look hot,” I said, “Try not to tear each other apart at the party.”

She grinned before going back into her room.

She did look good. My mind is just in a different place.

Part of me also felt a little guilty about earlier. I may not have said anything out loud, but I certainly thought it.

Gus just sort of stood there, I think he was waiting for Michael to come back in. He didn’t seem all that dressed up. That could be why he wore that nervous expression.

He wore beige dickie pants and a long-sleeved brown thermal shirt. The three buttons at his neck were all closed up tight.

He wore his usual camouflage shoes.

“Are you okay?” I asked him.

He looked at me and nodded with a small smile on his face.

The door opened again, and Michael walked through.

“Are you sure you don’t want to come with us?” Gus asked.

His eyes dropped to the two bags in Michael's hands.

“I need a drink,” Michael admitted, “This way, I won’t drive, and Ren will be here to stop me if I drink too much.”

Gus didn’t look convinced.

“Go have fun,” Michael said, “We’ll be fine.”

He pulled the car keys out of his pocket before tossing them at Gus.

Gus barely caught them, but he didn’t walk out.

“Will you keep an eye on him?” he asked me.

“Yeah,” I said.

I think it might have been a lie. I didn’t want to keep an eye on him, I wanted to sleep.

“Thank you,” Gus said, “And don’t go outside if you’re drinking.”

“Alright,” Michael said.

He went to the fridge again to place more bottles in it.

“Have fun,” I told Gus before he went into the other room.

The adjoining door shut behind him.

“I figured we could both use a drink after today,” Michael said from the floor.

“You don’t think alcohol is a bad idea?” I asked simply.

“I didn’t say that,” he said, “I just said we could use a drink.”

He wasn’t wrong.

“I also got snacks,” he said, holding up at least three bags of chips.

Hmm, because that’s exactly what we needed.

“I’m going to take a shower first,” he said, “You can start if you want.”

I looked at him again, and he was holding a bottle out to me.

I knew this was stupid, but it was easier than forcing myself to be numb.

I took the bottle from him and nodded.

His eyes stayed on me for a minute before he grabbed his bag and went into the bathroom.

The cold glass bottle burned my hand.

My eyes went to the lid, twist off.

I stared at the blue top, but I didn’t open it.

My brain kept telling me it was stupid, but the rest of me was telling me to go for it. That might explain why I couldn’t move.

The shower in the bathroom was louder than I would have liked. I could hear the water smacking against the tile.

I forced myself off the bed to retrieve the remote so I could put on the TV, at least I could make it loud enough so that I didn’t have to hear Michael in the shower.

The first channel that came on was showing an old movie in black and white, and I just changed the channel.

I flipped through it until something funny came on.

I could use some comedy.

I watched people fall down stairs, scare other people and get punched, and all sorts of accidents.

My hand went up and twisted the lid off, and I took my first drink.

It was gross, but that was beer.

I haven’t met anyone that enjoyed the taste, only the end result.

The show ended before I heard the water shut off in the bathroom.

It took longer for the door to open again, and Michael walked out in a pair of black basketball shorts and no shirt.

A white towel rested on his head as he walked over to the small fridge to pull a beer out.

“Feel better?” I asked, making sure to stare at the TV before turning it off.

“Only a little,” he admitted.

He tossed the chip bags on the bed before pulling a chair from the small table over.

He didn’t need to sit there. The bed was big enough for both of us.

When I turned, he was holding the beer back far enough to drink the last of it.

I was still at half.

He leaned over to grab another one.

I guess he was used to this kind of thing, though, wasn’t he?

I crossed my legs on the bed so I could put the beer between my legs before I grabbed the nearest bag of chips.

“Do you feel better?” he asked me.

He stared at the side of the mattress, not at me.

“I don’t know yet,” I said.

“I can get something girly next time,” he said, “I know it tastes like shit.”

I shrugged as I pulled the bag open.

At least he got decent chips.

Who didn’t love blue Doritos?

I ate a few before finishing the beer I had been nursing.

Michael held out his hand for the bottle, so I handed it to him, and he placed it on the ground next to the one he already finished.

“Do you want another one?” he asked.

I thought about it for a minute before nodding.

It was stupid that I agreed to drink with him, but I guess in a way, I did need it too.

Once I took the one he held out for me, I thanked him.

I twisted the top off, but I scraped my hand in the process.

I tossed the top onto the floor by where our pile was forming.

The cool burned my sensitive skin, but I appreciated the pain.

Michael finished his second one, and I realized we still weren’t really talking to each other.

Did I want to be a bitch and not get over this?

To be honest, I didn’t want to be one, and I knew I needed to get over it.

Even though I knew that I couldn’t bring myself to say it. I couldn’t say I was over it. I couldn’t say I was sorry for being a jealous bitch, and I couldn’t forgive him for lying.

I stared down at the bare skin showing on my feet, where my socks didn’t cover.

The silence between us was starting to drive me insane.

My free hand reached for the remote, but when I looked at Michael, I could tell that he was enjoying the quiet.

“Will the TV bother you if I turn it on?” I asked.

He didn’t say anything.

His eyes were on the side of the mattress again.

“Hey,” I said in a quiet voice, “Are you okay?”

He looked up to meet my eyes, “I’m thinking.”

“About?” I asked.

There were a few more minutes of silence before he spoke again.

“Does this mean that you hate me now?” he asked.

“Do you want the truth?” I asked coldly, “Or do you want me to lie to you?”

He took in a small breath, “The truth would be ideal.”

I had to think about it. Of course I wanted to be honest, but when I realized my answer, I wished I could have taken it back.

“Maybe,” I said.

His expression changed, and I didn’t think it was possible for me to feel any worse than I had earlier.

“I don’t know,” I said to try to redeem myself.

He smiled lightly, but I could see that it wasn’t genuine.

“You said you weren’t mad at me,” he said, “But I guess that was a lie.”

“Not at the time,” I said, “But I don’t know how I feel right now.”

“You didn’t drink that much,” he stated.

“I never said I did,” I hissed.

I already missed the silence.

“I’ll never understand why girls like me,” he said, “There are plenty of decent guys out there, look for one of them instead of trying to get my attention.”

He was an idiot.

“You aren’t one of the bad ones,” I stated.

“How would you know?” he asked, sounding irritated.

“Do you really think I’d like you if you were as bad as you want me to think you are?”

“You’re clearly blind when it comes to guys,” he stated, “How did that guy make you feel before you were finally ready to fuck him?”

He was really trying to piss me off, and it was working.

“I thought I loved him,” I whispered, “We were together for almost a year.”

“And you didn’t think to tell him about your scars?”

“I was afraid,” I said, “I couldn’t find the right time to tell him.”

“He was a good guy at first, wasn’t he?” he asked me, “Then he turned into an asshole.”

“He was,” I said, “I didn’t put it all together until after.”

“Like I said,” he said, “You’re clearly blind.”

I shook my head slowly, “You are.”

“Great come back Ren,” he said before finishing off another beer.

I’ve clearly lost count of how many he’s taken down.

“You know something I haven’t been able to tell another person myself,” I said, “You haven’t told anyone, have you?”

He shook his head.

“A good guy wouldn’t do that to a girl,” I said, “You aren’t a bad guy.”

“A bad guy would use that to make a girl do what he wanted her to,” he said, “I’ve done it before, I could do it again.”

“To me?” I asked, “You would do that to me?”

He removed the towel from his head before throwing it back towards the bathroom.

I hated how much I loved the tree on his body.

I wanted to trace the length of it with my fingers.

Only I knew that I couldn’t.

He would never let me.

“I’ve thought about it,” he admitted.

“But you haven’t,” I said.

He shook his head, “Your logic is flawed.”

“Do you want to hurt me?” I asked, feeling strangely excited by the idea.

His gaze met mine again, but he didn’t answer.

“Michael,” I said, “Do you?”

“Sometimes,” he whispered.

“What?” I asked.

Did he really just say that?

“No,” he said before taking in a deep breath.

“Then stop being an idiot,” I said, “I need more than two hours to get over stuff sometimes, just wait it out and I’ll be over it.”

He didn’t say anything, and we returned to our quiet drinking.

I was on my fourth when he spoke again.

“You didn’t even ask,” he said, “You were so busy being mad at me for feelings you thought I had. You didn’t even ask if I still had them.”

I was surprised that he brought up the topic.

“Do you?” I asked, “Still have feelings for her?”

“No,” he said, meeting my eyes, “I’ve accepted being the one-night stand, the mistake girls make when they are looking for a good lay. I accepted being alone.”

I wanted to hurl this nearly empty bottle at him.

“You aren’t alone,” I said.

“You say that, but you obviously aren’t understanding what I’m saying.”

I felt like it always comes back to this. Whose pain is worse.

It shouldn’t matter. Everyone feels alone sometimes.

“Then explain it,” I hissed.

“You can still feel alone even when you’re surrounded by people,” he said, “I’ve accepted that.”

“Do you really think I’ll let you be alone like that?”

“You don’t really have a choice,” he said, “Because I’ve already told you, you and I will not happen.”

Ouch. Though I think I have already accepted that too.

It still hurt a little to hear him say it that way.

“So I keep hearing,” I stated.

Though if I was being perfectly honest, I didn’t know why I really liked him.

He was an asshole to people, to me even. He was still good to me, though.

There was just something about him. I felt like it called to me in a way nothing else ever has.

He leaned forward to reach his hand into the open bag of chips.

“So, you’re saying I’m friend-zoned?” I asked, “I thought that was a girl thing.”

He looked up at me, irritated.

I shrugged at him, “Just saying.”

He ate the chips with an angry, thoughtful expression.

“That’s fine,” I said after a minute of silence.

His gaze met mine again.

“Future note,” I said, “You need to not constantly make sexual comments to girls you have no interest in.”

“It’s a habit,” he shrugged.

“I don’t believe that for a second,” I stated, “You being an asshole is a habit.”

The irritation was back on his face.

“If you really didn’t like me, I wouldn’t be here, would I?” I asked him, “You wouldn’t even spend time with me if you didn’t.”

“I never said that I didn’t like you,” he said flatly, “I said I wasn’t going to fuck you.”

I shrugged, “Not at the beginning.”

“I’m not denying that you’re attractive, Ren, but you’re clearly missing the point.”

“No, I think I get it,” I said, “You don’t want to ruin whatever friendship this is, you’re thinking like a girl.”

“Not just our friendship.”

He was worried about Benny and Gus.

I sighed before indicating I would like another beer.

I didn’t like that I understood why he felt that way.

He reached down and picked it up.

“There’s one left after this,” he said, “Do you want it?”

I shook my head, “I’ll drink this one, you drink that one.”

He nodded.

I twisted the top off, and this time I cut my hand.

A small hiss left me before I tossed the cap to the floor.

“You okay?” he asked me.

“Yeah,” I nodded before taking a drink.

He twisted the top off of his.

“You might not like it, but I know when I’ve found something good,” he said.

I nodded, but I wanted more. At least I think I did. Maybe that wasn’t a smart thing.

I sighed, “I get it.”

I would back off, though I was pretty sure I already stopped trying to get him to like me more than he does. I just wanted him to explain why he was showing signs of an overactive vagina.

Damn, even my thoughts were being mean.

It wasn’t long before both of us finished our drinks, and neither of us was drunk enough.

I laid back on the bed and stared at the ceiling.

Okay, I was feeling something.

My eyes shut, and I was enjoying the quiet.

I think he might have been too because he didn’t say anything either.

He waited a few minutes before he got to his feet and laid on the bed.

I felt the bed move around as he found his place next to me on my right.

It was strange, even though we were fighting and both saying stupid things to each other his hand reached for mine and I didn’t move away.

Maybe he has had enough sexual relationships with girls that he really just doesn’t want one with me because it wouldn’t mean anything. Then I would cease to mean anything.

I wouldn’t say it out loud, though, but I thought that it was an excellent theory my brain concocted under the circumstances.

“I’m sorry,” I said, “For being a brat.”

A small laugh came from him, “You don’t have to ask for forgiveness, not from me.”

“I just wanted you to know,” I said.

His hand was warm in mine, and again I felt like I wanted more from him.

How could I ask for more when I knew I shouldn’t?

Maybe I just needed to get it out of my system.

“Michael?” I asked, just above a whisper.

I waited to turn to look at him.

He faced the ceiling with his eyes shut.

I didn’t see him put a shirt on. He must have done it before he laid down. It was a short-sleeved gray shirt.

Several buttons lined up to the neck. I’d guess no more than six.

“Yeah?” he asked back.

“I have a request,” I said, feeling my hand start to sweat in his.

“What is it?”

“You won’t like it,” I stated, “But I think I might know how to get this out of my system.”

“The alcohol?” he turned to look at me.

He made a confused face.

“No,” I was quick to shake my head.

It was then that he frowned at me, “No.”

“You don’t even know what I was going to ask,” I said defensively.

“It’s obvious,” he stated, “Your hand is sweating like crazy.”

I tried to pull my hand away, but he refused to let it go.

“If it bothers you, let me go,” I tried not to hiss at him.

“It doesn’t bother me,” he sighed, “What you want to ask me, that does bother me.”

“Like I already said,” I growled, “You don’t know what I was going to ask.”

“I won’t have sex with you,” he stated.

“I wasn’t going to ask you to,” I stated.

“Then what were you going to ask me?”

I hesitated at first before speaking, but it was now or never.

“I want you to kiss me.”

His blue eyes locked with mine, “Why?”

“Is that a no?” I asked.

He looked confused, but there was another emotion there. I wish I knew exactly what it was.

“Why?” he asked a little more forceful.

“I told you already,” I stated.

“You think me kissing you will make you change your mind?” he asked, amused.

“Maybe,” I said, “It could.”

“Or you’re just wasting your time,” he said.

“We won’t know if we don’t try.”

He let out a sigh, “Fine.”

My heart pounded in my chest.

“Okay,” I said, “Are you sure?”

“No moving,” he said before I felt the bed move when he did.

My eyes followed him as he got to his side, and I felt like I couldn’t breathe as he slowly put his right hand on the mattress next to my head.

His face slowly moved closer to mine, and like an idiot, I was quick to shut my eyes.

His lips touched mine quickly before moving away.

“What?” I hissed.

“You never specified what kind of kiss,” he stated.

“Are you serious?” I asked, feeling irritated.

He shrugged, but he was still leaning over me.

“I said a kiss,” I said, “That was not a real kiss.”

“How real do you want it?” he asked with a serious face.

I didn’t know, I just wanted him to kiss me. Should I be satisfied with that annoying peck on the lips?

“Surprise me,” I said before I could really put more thought into it.

He looked a little surprised before his expression changed to something else.

He smirked, “Are you sure?”

I nodded.

He didn’t look like the usual Michael I was used to. Something was different.

“You can’t say I didn’t warn you,” he said.

“That’s fine.”

He moved closer, and the hand he kept to himself rested on my cheek before moving back and going a little lower to my neck.

His hand was hot against my skin.

I took in a breath before I felt his lips make contact with mine again.

On instinct, my hand went up to his shoulder to keep him there.

“I said not to move,” he said against my lips.

I thought about dropping my hand but didn’t.

His lips moved back a little, “Open your mouth.”

My body started to shake as I opened my mouth.

His tongue was hot when it came into my mouth.

Slowly his tongue glided over mine, tasting me.

I fought a noise.

His chest pressed against mine as he sucked lightly on my tongue.

I think I made a mistake.

This was a terrible idea because now I know how good he tastes.

My body tingled as his kiss got a little more aggressive.

His tongue pressed harder to mine.

It felt like he was trying to devour me, staring with my mouth.

He groaned as he pulled away, but we were both out of breath.

Yeah, definitely a bad idea.

He laid back down next to me, and we both stared at the ceiling.

“I’d ask if that changed your mind, but I already know it didn’t.”

I couldn’t help but laugh, “What makes you so sure about that?”

“That was a very dirty kiss,” he said, “Probably a bad idea.”

That was an understatement.

“Were you trying to make it dirty?” I asked.

“No,” he admitted, “But I guess that’s just how it turned out.”

“Clearly,” I said.

“I’m clearly a little drunk,” he said, “I should have said no.”

“Why?” I almost snorted as I laughed.

“Because,” he said, “I was thinking we should do it again.”

A horrible idea.

“Are you sure that’s a good idea?” I asked him.

“Of course it isn’t,” he stated, “But like I said already, I’m a little drunk.”

Should I?

I wanted to, but was it a good idea?

He stared back at me.

“Alright,” I murmured, “One more time.”

His expression changed.

He looked like he didn’t want to.


He shook his head, “Maybe we shouldn’t.”

“Okay,” I murmured.

He rolled onto his side to rest on his arm for support.

“Michael?” I asked again.

“Maybe we shouldn’t,” he said, “But I’m going to do it anyway.”

I leaned on my side so that I could meet him halfway.

He didn’t hesitate to grab the side of my neck and pulled me closer.

His lips met mine roughly.

He didn’t tell me to keep my hands to myself this time.

My hand went to his side, then went around to his back.

His mouth opened, and I hesitated to meet his tongue with my own.

He pressed his lips to the side of my mouth.

I had to turn my head to meet his lips again.

His breath was too hot against my skin. I could barely think straight.

I had to pull away again so I could breathe.

This felt too good to be true.

He didn’t move his mouth away from my face. He just trailed kisses over my cheek, then to the side of my neck.

They were sloppy, wet, and way too hot.

I shivered at the thought.

“Michael,” I groaned.

He moved back, “Fuck.”

He looked a little distraught.

I watched him shut his eyes, then he opened them to stare at me.

“I’m definitely drunk.”

He must be.

Why did it make me feel bad that the only way he would touch me is if his judgment was impaired?

“That makes it worse,” I pointed out.

“Now would be the time to take advantage of me,” he said.

He was using a different voice. It was a little deeper. He was trying to get me to do something to him, so he didn’t have to take responsibility for it.

“No,” I said, “Anything I wanted to do had nothing to do with you being drunk.”

I didn’t realize how much he actually drank until now.

“A little,” he stated, “I’m barely there.”

“Still,” I said before sitting up, “I’m not going to do it.”

He looked at me seriously, “Are you saying you don’t want me anymore?”

“Jesus,” I sighed, “Who knew you were such a lush?”

The way he looked at me now made me feel bad.

“You were the one that brought it up,” he frowned.

“I understand that,” I said, “But that was hours ago.”

“Do you want to, or don’t you?” he asked.

I did, but not like this.

“I do,” I confessed, “But not like this.”

“I’m saying yes now,” he stated.

“If you were in your right mind, you wouldn’t be,” I pointed out.

“Does it even matter right now?” he asked, “You want to, and I want to. Why aren’t we?”

Of course it mattered. Why was he being so difficult?

“You’ll regret it later,” I said, “You said you didn’t want to.”

He just kept looking at me before he got to his knees.

I had to look away. He really would regret this later, and he would be furious with me.

I didn’t want to hurt him, or for me to make him hurt me like that.

I turned myself away from him, and I knew he would be hurt right now, but it would be better when he woke up and realized how stupid he was being.

When I said I wanted more, I didn’t mean like this.

“Ren?” I could hear the confusion in his voice.

He was an idiot, and I should have refused to let him drink anything.

That was how he escaped, right? Drugs, alcohol, and sex.

What kind of person would I be if I let him hurt himself like that? Or me, for that matter.

What if he got mad at me for not doing this? What if he really is in full control?

“Why won’t you look at me?”

I crossed my legs in front of me. If he really wanted to do it later, then that would be fine. Right now, I wasn’t ready. That was a good excuse, right?

Was I ready, though?

The bed jostled again, and before I could move, I felt an arm wrap around my center.

“Michael?” I asked in a near panic, “What are you doing?”

His other arm wrapped around me, and slowly he moved his legs so that they were on each side of me, and he moved closer, so I felt him against my back.

I was about to open my mouth again, but I stopped when I felt his forehead between my shoulders.

“Are you okay?” I asked him.

His grip around my stomach tightened.

I turned my head in hopes of getting a better look at him, but he buried his face in my back.

I knew it was stupid to kiss him. Maybe I was the bad one for him.

My eyes went to his left knee beside me.

“I’m sorry,” he said after what felt like forever.

Why was he apologizing? I was the one practically agonizing over this whole thing.

“I’m sorry,” he said again.

“Stop it,” I said before taking a deep breath.

“I’m so fucking sorry,” he gasped.

“You don’t need to be,” I said.

“I know why you don’t want to. I just don’t know why I want to push you so fucking hard.”

“Because you’ve been drinking,” I stated, “You aren’t in full control.”

I was under the impression that he drank a lot, so why did it seem like he didn’t drink anything and it was hitting him as hard as it was.

My brain was trying to come up with a way to fix this, but I kept drawing a blank.

It took what felt like half an hour until I got an idea. One, it was hot as hell in this room right now, and I needed air. Two, it was getting late, so who knew when Benny and Gus would return from their party.

“Michael?” I asked.

His head only turned against my back.

“It’s getting late,” I said, “We should probably try to sleep.”

He didn’t move or even answer me this time.

“Then, can we at least move?” I asked, “It’s so hot in here I can barely breathe.”

His grip around me tightened before his hands slowly released me.

I hesitated before moving, but I went to the air conditioner by the window next to the door. I turned it on high before I sat on the floor in front of it.

I expected him to join me on the floor, but when he didn’t, I had to turn around to look at him.

He laid on the bed with his back to me, and he was almost completely covered in the sheet.

“Michael?” I asked, “You aren’t going to sit with me?”

“You said you couldn’t breathe,” he said.

I made a face. It was an awkward irritated face.

“I just needed to turn the air on,” I said, “If you want to sit with me, I won’t mind.”

He sat up but didn’t turn this way.

“If you’re worried about crushing me,” I said, hoping that he would agree, “Maybe we can reverse spots.”

“Okay,” he said.

I was genuinely surprised.

He pulled the sheet off the bed as he came closer, but he dropped it on the floor next to me.

He stared down at me before I moved so that he could sit in front of me.

My eyes were on his back as he sat on the floor.

I moved a little closer so that I could wrap my arms around his stomach, and I made sure my legs were straight at his sides.

I hesitated before I placed my cheek on his back.

I felt raised skin, but I was still afraid to really look. I couldn’t even allow myself to think about asking him about them.

“Better?” he asked.

“Yeah,” I said.

Even though his skin was warm, the cold air definitely helped.

He moved his legs closer to him so that they were crossed.

“How are you feeling?” I asked him.

I felt him take a deep breath, and I didn’t realize how tired I was until then.

“I think we’ve both had a long day,” he said, “Maybe we should go to bed.”

“Yeah,” I agreed.

Neither one of us moved, to be honest, I didn’t even want to move yet.

He was warm, and I was still having a hard time breathing. I didn’t want him too far away from me, though.

“Can we sleep like we did last time?” I asked.

I moved my head back so that I could get ready to actually get up.

“Yeah,” he said.

“Can we reverse that one too?”

“Not worried about me getting a boner this time?” he asked.

I shrugged even though I knew he couldn’t see me, “If it happens, it happens.”

“Alright,” he said.

Finally, I willed myself to take my arms back, and I let him go.

He was the first one up, and to my surprise, he held his hands out to me to help pick me up.

I reached for his hands, and he pulled me up kind of fast.

My head felt a little fuzzy, but I stared at him for a minute.

My vision blurred a little but was quick to refocus.

He picked up the sheet from the floor, but he avoided making eye contact with me.

“Lie down,” he said, “I’ll turn all the lights off.”

“Okay,” I nodded.

He tossed the sheet on the bed before going around the room.

I waited a minute before laying down on the bed. I chose the side closest to the air conditioner. I faced it and waited.

The sound of bottles clanking together made me sit up to see what he was doing.

I watched him put all the bottles and caps into the store bags before placing them near the trash can. He stood up and then turned off the last light before he made his way over to the bed.

I laid back down and waited.

It only took another minute before I felt him get on the bed behind me.

Part of me knew I should be feeling nervous, but to be honest, I wasn’t.

He moved in behind me, I could feel the warmth coming off of him.

I took in a breath before he pulled the comforter over us, and his arm went around me.

At first, it was awkward, then it became uncomfortable.

“Move back a little,” Michael said.

I leaned up on my elbow so I could see where I was moving. I hadn’t realized the little gap he left between us.

His hand flattened on my stomach as he tried to lead me closer to him.

I was pressed against him before I laid back down.

He moved the pillows, and I don’t know how this spot was better, but it was easily more comfortable than our previous position.

“Better?” he whispered.

The warmth of his breath on the back of my neck made me shiver.

“Yeah,” I said, feeling goosebumps all over my skin.

I shut my eyes, finally relaxing.

His hand moved up a little, so it was over my ribs instead of my stomach.

“Night,” he mumbled.

I chuckled, “Goodnight.”

Warmth washed over me. I felt good.

It didn’t take long for me to fall asleep.


Chasing Safety – Long for More

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