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Keeping Her (Losing It #1.5)

By:Cora Carmack

se, growing up, I'd not had much of an example for what a relationship should be. I didn't know it could be any other way. But Bliss chased away the gray and made everything seem black and white. No matter the question, she was the answer.




She was my everything-­the lungs that allowed me to breathe, the heart that had to beat, the eyes that let me see. She'd become a part of me, and all that was left was a piece of paper to tell the world we were as inseparable as I already felt we were.

It was just a piece of paper. The feeling mattered so much more, but a part of me sang with nervous energy demanding we make it official. Soon. It was the same part of me that worried about how Bliss would react to my family . . . to the way I grew up.

She stepped out of my arms, biting down on her already red and swollen bottom lip. Then she pulled back the shower curtain and stepped into the tub.

I hated the fear that chased the heels of my love for her.

Despite the fact that our relationship had begun in the most troubling and impossible situation-­between teacher and student-­things had been almost perfect since then. A rose-­tinted world.

But it couldn't stay that way. Logic, reality, and a lifetime knowledge of my mother made me certain of that. The feeling always came out of nowhere. I'd be watching her, touching her, kissing her, and then suddenly, for one infinitesimal moment I'd feel like it was all about to come crashing down. Like we were balanced on a precipice, it felt inevitable that eventually we would fall. I didn't know how it would happen. Her insecurities. My stubbornness. The interfering hand of fate (or family). But for a few seconds, I could feel it coming.

Then always, she would pull me back. Those seconds of inevitability and uncertainty would dissolve in the sheer magnitude of my feelings for her. The doubt would be erased by the touch of a hand or the quirk of a smile, and I would feel like we could hold off that fall for forever and a day.

She did it again, peeking one last time around the shower curtain wearing nothing but a smile. I heard the water pattern change and knew she'd stepped under the stream of the shower. So I pushed my worries away in favor of a much more pleasant use of my time.

I kicked off the last of my clothing and joined her in the steam. We weren't in London yet, and I wasn't going to let fear steal another second of perfection from my grasp.

As long as we both kept pulling each other back, we'd make it. We'd keep our rose-­tinted world.

2

Bliss

OUR MORNING IN the shower turned into a morning back in bed, and that miraculous man loved every ounce of stress from my body. Seriously. I think his tongue had some kind of special ability to melt my bones because I felt so relaxed that I was practically liquid. Just call me Alex Mack.

"That, Mr. Taylor, was a very good answer to my question."

His fingertips tickled the back of my knee and his mouth moved lazily across my shoulder. I shivered as he said, "What was the question again?" The hand on my knee trailed up the sensitive skin on the inside of my thigh. "I got distracted."

I swallowed.

We did distraction so well.

"I asked if you were happy."

His hand continued farther up until his touch made my back bow and my head fall back.

"Right. That was a stupid question."

I wanted to swat him, but I had an unsurprising lack of control over my limbs thanks to his very focused ministrations.

"It's not stupid," I squeezed out through clenched teeth. "I can't read your mind. Sometimes I just need to hear it."

He leaned over me, his hair mussed, but his eyes thoughtful. "And I'm bad at saying it."

"Only sometimes." Or sometimes I just needed to hear it more. I told myself that I was being stupid, but hating my insecurities didn't make them go away.

He shifted over me and settled into the crux of my thighs. Still sensitive from our last go, I whimpered when his body pressed into mine.

"In that case, you should know that every time I do this"-­his hips shifted-­"I am incredibly happy."

Somehow through all the sensation I managed to roll my eyes.

"We're talking about two different kinds of happiness."

He shook his head, and lowered his lips to my ear. "There's only one kind. Whether I'm inside you or lying beside you or touching your hair or listening to you laugh, it all means the same thing. If I'm with you, I'm happy."

God, he was good. At everything.

He hit a sensitive spot inside me, and the word good tumbled from my mouth by accident.

He chuckled darkly. "Are you grading me? I thought I was the teacher here."

I pulled his mouth to mine to shut him up, and then wrapped my legs around his waist.

"I'm not grading you. Your ego is big enough already."

He laughed and continued distracting me through the morning and a good portion of the afternoon.

It worked for a little while, okay maybe a long while. But when we boarded the flight late that night, no amount of flirting or touching or whispers in my ear could get my mind off the plethora of potential disasters that awaited me in London.

I knew almost nothing about his family. Except that his mother terrified me. She scared me by proxy, just based on the look on Garrick's face while he talked to her on the phone and the sound of her voice leaking from the speaker. When I saw her name on the caller ID, it was like seeing the Dark Mark hovering above my apartment.

What if she took one look at me and confirmed what I already knew to be true? Garrick was too good for me.

Don't get me wrong. I wasn't awash in self-­pity about it because . . . hello, I got the guy. No complaints here. But that didn't mean I was too stupid to know that he could have someone prettier or taller or with less frizzy hair.

But he was with me. As long as I didn't screw it up, of course.

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