Soundz is cramped. The air is warm and muggy with body heat. I clocked her almost immediately. It’s like I’ve got this inner radar alerting me to where she is in a room. She’s wearing her dark-chocolate hair down and wavy, just the way I love it — natural. The red top she has on clings in all the right places and I can’t pull my gaze away from her. She’s beautiful. I frown. No. Beautiful doesn’t even cut it. Emma deserves her own word. Beautiful is a word that’s used too widely. She’s captivating. Enchanting. Elegant. She carries herself with a grace that can’t be compared. I just can’t describe how I feel about her. Man, I have it bad for this babe — always have and part of me knows I always will. No matter what happens between us, I know that she’ll be a part of my life. At the risk of sounding cheesy, it’s like her soul calls to mine and I can’t do anything but obey and surrender. I almost feel proud of her for holding out on me for so long, because I wouldn’t have been able to do it. She’s strong, and I like that.
Staying home wasn’t an option. I was going crazy and I had to come. Wherever she goes, drama follows her, and there is no way on this fuckin’ earth that I’d let anything happen to her. I don’t trust the pussy that she’s with to protect her.
I shake my head. I’m so fuckin’ whipped right now but I don’t give a shit. I love her. She’s the only person that I really love and I’ll die before I let anything happen to her. I’ll take on the world for her.
She hasn’t seen me yet but I know she will –– she always does. I know she feels this weird pull too. She’s going to be pissed when she sees me here, but I don’t give a fuck. Someone needs to look out for her and I’d rather that person was yours truly.
I watch as Kyle moves with her, his hands on her waist and his attention all hers. I don’t like him getting so close to her, like he is now, but there’s fuck all I can do about it. Kyle bends to her ear and says something and she pulls back, nodding. He leaves her. My fists squeeze and I bury them in my pockets. She’s dancing alone and I watch reluctantly as sleazy assholes that seem to think they have a chance swarm around her. She doesn’t care. She’s not taking any notice of them. The corner of my mouth lifts. This pleases me.
Kyle is at her side again and he hands her two shots. She downs one, and then the other. What the fuck is he doing? She’s been sick and he plies her with alcohol? Hell. Fuckin’. No! He hands her a bottle of water and she pouts. I will her to drink it but she doesn’t and instead puts it down while Kyle isn’t looking. She pulls him to her and they dance. That girl knows how to dance, and tonight she’s really feeling it. Her form moves expertly and I know that she’s in her own world — forgetting her worries. She turns around so that her back is against his front. His hands go to her waist and it’s all I can do to keep my feet rooted to the spot. I can feel my mood darkening by the second. I want his hands off her. Did she lie to me earlier when she told me that there was nothing between her and Kyle? They’re too chilled with each other.
Her face relaxes and she’s singing. Then she frowns and casts a glance around and I know she can sense me watching her. Her eyes find mine and my heart slams against my ribs. She’s the only person that has ever had that effect on me. She holds my stare and stops singing, her lips parted. I maintain eye contact. There is something in her face that I can’t place. After a moment she seems to zone out and I want to know what’s running through her mind. Is she still afraid? I know why she feels that way and I was a stupid idiot for not seeing it sooner. My behaviour with other girls had pushed her further away and I had spent the last few weeks trying to prove that I could be only hers — if she wanted me. Who am I kidding? I’m a nothing and my chances with her are slim right now. She’s too good for me. Eventually, she would find me lacking and really know what a loser I was. All girls did in the end. They never felt anything for me and they never would. Emma is different. From the first time I met her she had been unlike anyone else. I tried not to fall in love. I tried so fuckin’ hard, but with Emma, it was impossible. She just has a way about her, and I went under. She brings out a fierce, protective streak in me that I never knew was there. That’s why I’m here.
Kyle’s hands are still on her and I can’t stop the jealousy that starts to simmer beneath my skin. She’s relaxed with him. I want her to be that way with me. The song ends and she places her hand on Kyle’s arm and leans towards him. My face heats as anger rushes over me in waves. She knows I’m watching. Kyle’s leaving and she’s making her way over to me. Her steps are unhurried, almost like she’s dragging the moment out. She’s focused on me, pinning me in place, like she’s devouring me. Shit! I want her so much and I’m sure it’s written all over my face. She made it crystal that she doesn’t want anything more than friendship with me. Perhaps it’s Kyle that she wants. I know from Newton that he’s been hanging around a lot while I was away. Man, I hate him.
She’s almost reached me and I don’t want her to see how much I need her, it’ll only freak her out. I look away. I look anywhere but at her. My head is all over the place. I’m angry that she’s that way with Kyle. I can’t help it.
I feel her small, soft hand take mine. I hum from her slight touch. But she’s been with Kyle all night and now she thinks that she can come and hold my hand? I’m a hypocrite too.
I throw her hand off. “Go back to Kyle,” I say, my tone blunt and rough.
Her brow lifts. “I told you — Kyle and I are friends.” She’s trying to placate me, but why?
I force a laugh. “Yeah?” my eyes turn to slits, “Like we’re friends?”
“Have you been…?”
I don’t want to hear her lie to me. “You know what? Don’t answer that — I don’t fuckin’ care.” I look away from her. I know I just hurt her, but damn it! I’m in hell right now. Can’t she see that?
She steps close to me. “Please, dance with me.”
I look at her. She’s almost begging and I want her so fuckin’ badly. I want nothing more than to hold her while we move but I can’t trust myself to keep my hands to myself right now. I grit my teeth. “Don’t play with me, Emma.”
“You don’t want to dance with me?”
I shake my head, not trusting myself to say ‘no’.
She sighs, “Why are you here?”
Doesn’t she know why I’m here? Does she think I’m here torturing myself for the hell of it? “To keep a fuckin’ eye on you. Why do you think?”
“You came to watch out for me but you won’t dance with me, even though I want you to?”
Before I can stop myself, I step towards her and grab her arms. “You and me — it’s never gonna happen. I get it. But it doesn’t mean you can rub salt in the wound.” Why the hell did I say that? I let her go like she burned me.
“Just go back to your fuckin’ fairy boy.” I turn and leave her before things get worse and either she or I says something that we don’t mean. I go to the bar and stand in line. I need a stiff drink. I don’t think she understands how much I want her right now — if she did, I’m sure she would have run a mile in the opposite direction.
I knock back the amber liquid and welcome the burn as it makes a trail down to my stomach. She has me twisted and I can’t fuckin’ see straight. It’s like I have Emma-vision. My thoughts are full of her, night and day. I know that she feels something for me and it kills me. It absolutely annihilates me.
I turn around and face the dance floor. Emma is dancing with some guy and I straighten up. She runs her hands up his chest and loops them around his neck. She pulls his head down and plants those gorgeous lips on his. Rage sweeps through me so fast that I can barely catch my breath. Why is she doing this? What the fuck does she want? I can’t take this anymore.
She pushes him away and goes off. She talks to Kyle and he hugs her. I don’t want to see it. She finds another guy and it’s all I can do to hold myself back from going over there and taking her home.
Her gaze finds mine. I’m coiled so tight that it’s a fight to keep myself still. The way she’s looking at me as she dances makes me sure that she knows what she’s doing to me. She’s doing it on purpose to get at me. But why? Is she trying to hurt me? I shouldn’t have come. Emma is the only girl that can rile me like she does, and God I wish she didn’t have that control over me.
She pushes the guy she’s with away and finds another one. I suck in air. I had seen this one around, he’s an asshole with women. He jerks her around, taking control of her body. My teeth feel like they’re going to snap, I’m grinding them that hard. I feel like I’m going to snap. Push him away, Emma. I will her to do it but she doesn’t. His clumsy hands crush her breasts and adrenaline starts to pump through my veins. Emma’s expression tightens — it says all that I need to know. She doesn’t want him touching her.
I push myself away from the wall and start striding. The guy’s hands move lower and touch her intimately. She looks stunned and turns to face him. Motherfucker! I’ll kill him!
My feet carry me to them and I draw my arm back, unable — and not wanting — to stop myself. My reaction is automatic and instant. The next thing I know, my fist is smashing into his face. I want to pummel him but Emma is watching and she comes before my own needs.
I reach for her and grip her arm. I haul her away. I can almost feel my blood bubbling and boiling. I keep dragging her, none too gently, and don’t stop until I’ve put a safe distance between us and that guy. I wanted to smash my fists against him again and again for touching her like that.
I’m hot and tense as I trap her with my frame and glare. “What the fuck are you doing?” I roar, making her flinch.
Her eyes darken. “I was dancing! You wouldn’t dance with me and I didn’t want to dance alone. Why did you hit him?” she screamed back at me.
Is she for real? “Are you seriously asking me why? You didn’t want his hands on you, that’s fuckin’ why!”
She raises her chin. “How do you know what I want?” She places her hands on my chest and shoves.
There is no way I’m moving. “It doesn’t fuckin’ matter. You’re not dancing again tonight.” I go close to her just to make sure she knows that I’m not messing. Her hands are still pressed against me and I want them to stay there.
Her lips tighten. “Yes, I am!” She goes to slip away from me so I loop my arm around her waist and bring her back. My other hand grabs her hair so she’s looking at me. I ignore the way her body is touching mine. I’ve had enough. This girl needs a warning label.
“Let go of me!”
“You’re not going back out there. You’re better than that. I won’t let someone else touch you because you want to hit back at me.” I shake my head. “I’m not worth it.”
She gasps and I know then that I’m right. She’s doing this to fuck with me — to hurt me.
Why? “Fuck! Why are you doing this to me?” I yell.
She reaches up and holds my cheek. “Isn’t it obvious?” Her voice is like a caress. Her touch is a gift and I want a whole lot more.
I close my eyes. I know I can’t touch her.
“No, it’s not.” I take my hands away from her before I do something stupid and put some distance between us.
Disappointment flits across her face, making me frown. She comes closer and puts her hand on the back of my neck. She looks at me, her features tender and inviting as she pulls me down to her. She’s going to kiss me. Shock and then excitement engulf me as her lips move over mine coaxingly, causing my bunched up muscles to tighten even more. Any minute now I’m going to burst and lose it. Her hand trails upwards and her fingers stroke my hair while her arm loops around my back, bringing us closer. I need her. Her scent is surrounding me, she’s lulling me, pulling me in for the kill, and at any moment I know she’s going to shove me away. I want more of her before she does that so I cradle her velvety cheek as I take over and deepen our kiss. I slide my tongue inside her mouth and immerse myself. Her soft body is flush with mine, provoking and exciting me. I know that nothing will come of it and it only makes me more desperate to take what I can now. I memorize her smell, her taste, her touch. My heart is exploding and I have nervous twinges in my stomach. God, I love this girl. I will do anything for her. She’s the only one that gets me. She makes me want to be better — become more than I am.
I free her lips and rain kisses over her cheeks, down to her neck. Jesus, I could take her right now and I want to. I’ve never wanted anything more than this. Her hands slip under my shirt. I shudder as her fingers roam over my bare back. Soon I won’t be able to stop. I want her too much. I don’t think she knows how much she affects me. I nip her neck, frustrated for something more. I’m losing it.
“Scott,” she says, in a moan of sheer pleasure.
Shit! I can’t fuckin’ do this! I can’t lose her friendship again over this. Fuck! I put my hands on her upper arms and move her away from me. That’s it — I’ve lost my fuckin’ mind. I stare at her and I’m shocked that she just instigated our kiss. I’m surprised at myself for breaking it. For the first time, she kissed me — and I was the one to pull away. She must be playing with me but she’s just standing there, frowning at me.
“Fuck sake, babe. This has got to stop.” She either wants me or she doesn’t.
Her face creases and she steps away. She studies her hands as she meshes them together. I want to know what she’s thinking because I’m so confused.
She faces me again. “You don’t want me.”
What the…? I take an abrupt step towards her, annoyed by her insecurity. “I don’t know where I fuckin’ stand with you — I never have. All the times you’ve blown me off — all the fuckin’ shit you put me through…”
She looks at her hands again and all I want to do is take them and hold them for her, but, dammit, she makes me furious sometimes. I’m taking her home. I’ve had enough of this club. I want to go home and there isn’t a fuckin’ chance that I’m gonna leave her here. Her eyes slide to mine hesitantly.
“I’m taking you home.” My voice leaves no room for argument.
She stiffens and glares at me. “I’m not going home, Scott. Go without me.”
“No fuckin’ way am I leaving you here, goddamnit!” My hand shoots out and I clench her small wrist.
She glances down at my hand wrapped around her wrist and then back up to me with menace. “Get your hand off me,” she growls, her stare solid.
I let go. She seems so pissed at me and I don’t want to push her into doing something stupid.
She attempts to stare me down but I refuse to look away. I won’t. She moves past me, her body grazing mine and I release a pent-up breath.
I watch her walk back out onto the dance floor. I could watch her dance forever and never get tired of it. Her hips swing and she closes her eyes as her arms sway in the air. As another song starts, she opens her eyes again and stares straight at me. Their intensity increases the ache that she already started to build. It’s like she’s pleading with me — dancing for me. My hunger builds –– a dangerous craving that won’t be ignored easily this time. I hate her for doing this right now. She doesn’t even want me so why is she fuckin’ around with me now? It’s not a joke, and how many times have I told her about teasing guys?
She’s still watching me and it’s as though I can almost feel her desire, which is a crazy thought. My breathing becomes labored and I’m hard and throbbing. Jesus! I study her for a minute and all of a sudden I know that she wants me to go over there — I can sense it.
Without my brain’s intervention, I go. Love and pure lust is taking the driving seat and urging me forward, with anger and frustration a muffled voice in the back. What the fuck is she doing? She knows the struggle that I’ve had. She’s being a bitch.
My mind goes insane with love and hate as I close in on her. I want her to know what’s going to happen if she doesn’t stop playing me but I know deep down that it’s just an excuse to be near her again.
I grasp her and pull her against me firmly so we’re touching. Her mouth parts in surprise as I seethe at her silently. I snap.
My mouth takes hers harshly. My lips are showing my feelings but it doesn’t matter. I can’t give a shit because she brought this on herself. I’m not a fuckin’ saint. My hands tighten on her as I draw her closer. I wrap my hand in her hair and pull her away from me.
“Is this what you wanted, Emma? To drive me over the fuckin’ edge.” That’s where I am. I’m on the edge.
She studies my face and her gaze softens. I don’t want to feel soft for her now. I need to hate her.
“Don’t look at me like that.” I close my eyes tightly trying not to let go of my anger. I need it. “I hate you right now.”
Her face falls and I feel like the biggest bastard around but I won’t give in. I just saw her get molested by losers, leading herself down a road that she doesn’t really want to take. I’m struggling to keep my head. No. I need hate — it’ll stop me from doing something stupid. I don’t want to hurt her but I can’t be around her any more tonight.
She fought to get free. “I’m going home.”
She stalks away from me and I follow — of course. Where she goes, I always follow. I can’t stop feeling pissed that she let those men put their hands all over her. As soon as we step out of Soundz I seize her hand and we walk in silence.