A Different Blue Page 82

He stood as I unlocked the front door. I dropped the keys into my purse and headed for my apartment, not acknowledging him. I had driven around town for hours after leaving the exhibit. For the first time since moving in, I hadn't wanted to go home to Pemberley.


I had to dig the keys back out again at my door. Smooth. My hands shook, and I sneered down at them. I would not shake! I would not show him weakness.

“Blue.” It was just a whisper, and I flinched against the quivering in my limbs, the shattering of my heart. And then he was next to me, his head bent over mine. I kept my head bowed, staring at the lock on my door.

“I was worried about you.”

“Why?” I responded quietly. The key slid into the lock, and I turned the knob gratefully. “Didn't Tiffa tell you? I was the high-priced call girl for the event. They hired me to keep Mr. Ying Yang happy.” I batted my eyelashes at him, not really looking at him as I shoved the door open and walked into the narrow entryway of my apartment.

Wilson jerked like I'd shot him. And then he was crowding me up against the wall, slamming the door behind us so hard the picture of me and Jimmy teetered and fell, crashing to the floor. Wilson's hands bracketed my head, and he leaned into me, his lips trembling.

“Stop. Stop that. It isn't funny, Blue. It's sick. It makes me want to hunt down Mr. Bloody Chen, whatever the hell his name is –”

“Isn't that what you thought when I left tonight?” I interrupted. “That I was on the prowl?”

“Why didn't you tell me?” he choked out in disbelief. “I was so bloody proud. It was brilliant. All of it. And you didn't tell me. You let me go on like a complete arsehole.”

“I let you? I got all dressed up and you . . . you insulted me and implied I looked like a . . . wh-whore.” I pushed against him, shoved him angrily, needing to breathe, not wanting to break down in front of him. But he didn't back off, instead his hands dropped to frame my face, forcing my gaze to his. I looked away immediately, defiantly.

“I was afraid.” I watched his mouth and tried to focus on what he'd said to me earlier. I reminded myself of his revulsion, his disdain. But his lips were so close. He was so close. His breath smelled sweet, and I felt a shuddering deep in my belly.

“I was afraid, Blue,” he repeated, insistent. “You've been through so much. And I am half mad over you. I don't think you are ready for the way I feel.”

My heart thudded to a standstill, and my breath hitched. And then . . . his lips brushed mine. Slowly, tenderly. Barely there. He spoke again, his words tickling my mouth. I gripped the back of his shirt, twisting the fabric, desperately trying not to lose my mind.

“I've tried to give it time. I've tried to give you time. And then I saw you tonight. You were all dressed up, ready for a night out, impossibly beautiful, confident, strong. And I thought I had lost you once and for all.”

I could feel his heart pounding in his chest, and mine raced to join the cadence. And then his mouth closed over mine again. Not hesitant, not whispering. And I too felt lost. Completely. It was a kiss too long denied. Asking, opening, claiming. And the room spun as I clung to him. My hands moved over the length of his back, pulling him into me, needing more.

His wrapped his arms around me and lifted me up and into him, opening his mouth on mine, demanding entrance. He tasted like black licorice and snowflakes. Simultaneously forbidden and familiar. Hot and cold. Sinful and safe.

His mouth left mine to rain kisses on my eyelids, my cheeks, my throat, and his hands gripped my hips desperately, crushing the fabric in his hands as if he resented the barrier. I felt like I was riding a wave, mounting a crest, and I couldn't get close enough to him. Then he lifted me, wrapping my legs around his waist, as he claimed my mouth again, swallowing my name as he spoke against my lips.

“Blue, I need you so much. I want you so much.”

And his face rose in my mind . . . the way he had looked as he told me he wouldn't follow me down “that road.” I broke away, panting, my legs still locked around him, his arms braced around my body.

“Do you want me, Wilson? Do you want me? Or do you love me?” The words rushed out of me, and Wilson's eyes were heavy with passion, his lips a breath away, seeking me again, as if he hadn't registered the question. I pulled back further, denying myself, denying him. His brow furrowed and he nipped at my lips, pulling my head toward him, demanding more. I resisted, even as my body trembled with need. I unlocked my legs from his waist, letting my feet find the floor. I smoothed my skirt down, grateful that my legs held me. If I didn't stop now, I wouldn't have the strength to say no. And tonight I had to say no.

Wilson looked dazed, as if all reason had left him.


“I saw it when you looked at me tonight. You were disgusted. You looked at me like I was . . . cheap.” I took a deep breath. “But I'm not that girl anymore. And so you need to go. Please.” My voice wasn't strong, but it was firm. Wilson seemed stunned. He ran his hand along the back of his neck, confusion and remorse warring in his eyes.

I moved beyond him and opened the door. I waited next to it, my heart in my throat.

“Please, Wilson,” I entreated. He moved as if he didn't know what else to do, stepping slowly into the foyer beyond my door like a man who has just suffered a terrible shock. I closed the door behind him and waited, my ear pressed against it, until I heard his footsteps move away. They tread heavily upon the stairs. I locked the door and knelt, retrieving the picture that had fallen to the floor. Jimmy's face stared back at me, but it was my own that drew me in. A little girl with long braids, longer than Jimmy's but plaited just like his were. I was missing my two front teeth, and I smiled gleefully, mugging for the camera in all my toothless glory. Jimmy didn't smile, but his arm was wrapped around me, and I clung to it as naturally as he held me to him. As if I were precious. As if I were loved.

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