Ashes to Ashes Page 3


I snorted, trying to ignore the prickles of unease on my neck. “Great. All we need is a bunch of creative art kids in a school full of ghost kids.”

“That’s the thing,” he said. He paused to take a swig of beer and settled back against the couch, his hand rubbing my shoulder. “Things have been fine until recently. That’s probably why, Rebecca, you didn’t hear about the place before. They have a new teacher for painting and drawing, Brenna McDonald or McSomething, and she’s the one who reached out to Jimmy. It all seemed to start the minute she got there.”

“And so she actually wants us to film it?” Rebecca asked.

“So she says.”

“And the school doesn’t have a problem with it?”

“He said they didn’t. Maybe they want the school to have some notoriety. I don’t know, but we’re going. On Sunday we’ll pack up the Highlander and go for it.”

“That’s like in two days,” I pointed out.

“Then it’s time to call your uncle and let him know you’ll be in town. Maybe we can drop in on Sunday for dinner. I’m sure he’d like that.”

I licked my lips. “I haven’t talked to him in forever.”

“So maybe this is the opportunity to start making amends.”

“I don’t have a problem with my uncle,” I said rather defensively.

Dex tilted his head. “No, not with him…but…well, we’ll have to drive through Portland to get there.”

Ugh. He was right. There was no way I could go to Oregon and not see my family. Even if we took the coast, if Ada ever found out that I’d been in the state without seeing her, she’d kill me.

Rebecca pulled out her cell phone and eyed it before slipping it back in her purse. “I suppose that means I only have a few days to prepare. I better get started.”

“Hey now,”Dex said, leaning forward. “You’re not going anywhere. Now that you know about the show, I want to know what you two were up to today.”

She gave him a smirk and started for the door. “I think maybe Perry needs to tell you. In private.”

Before I could say anything, she wiggled her fingers at me in a goodbye and left the apartment, closing the door behind her. My nerves suddenly started misfiring. I couldn’t believe I was actually nervous around Dex. My tattoo started tingling underneath my sleeve.

“Well?” he said expectantly.

I slowly turned my head to look at him. He was holding the bottle of beer at his mouth, taking a beat to grin at me before having a sip. He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and dipped his chin, his eyes boring into me, framed by those cocky brows. He certainly had a way of making me talk. Or a way of making me jump him.

“I, uh…I did something today,” I started, picking at the lint on my leggings.

He leaned in closer, bumping his shoulder against mine playfully. “Oh yeah? Is this the part where you tell me that you and Rebecca are running away together?”

“Does your mind always go there?” I asked, even though I knew the answer was yes. Once a pervert, always a pervert.

“Not always,” he said slowly. A grave look came across him. “But seriously. What is it? What did you do?”

I took in a deep breath and avoided his eyes. I stared at Fat Rabbit who had flopped down on the rug. “I did it for you.”

I could feel him straighten up. “You didn’t murder someone, did you?”

“Some blood was spilled…but no.” I tried to find the words. This was actually kind of hard. You’d think I was proposing to him or something. There was so much that I felt inside for Dex, but for some reason it wasn’t always easy to express the way I was feeling. Sometimes I totally felt like a dude.

“Okay, here,” I said quickly, pulling back the sleeve and placing my wrist on his leg.

He eyed the black plastic with surprise. “You got a tattoo? You got a tattoo?”

“Uh huh,” I said, and very carefully began to peel away the edges of the tape. “Ta-da.”

The skin around the anchor was a darker red and the ink wasn’t as vibrant as earlier but it was still there. Obviously. And suddenly it hit me how permanent this was. I mean, I knew before that it was—it was a tattoo—but holy shit, what the fuck had I just done?

“What is this?” Dex asked quietly, his fingers stroking alongside the ink as he stared intently at the anchor. My heart thudded loudly in my chest, my skin sensitive to his touch. Yup. I’d just gotten a tattoo for Dex and I was just realizing it would be embedded into my skin for the rest of my life. What if we broke up? What if this was too much too soon? What if he hated it?

I tried to pull my arm away but he swiftly wrapped his long fingers around my wrist, careful not to touch the tattoo, and held it closer to his eyes. “Perry?” His voice was even lower than before, barely above a whisper.

I tried to clear my throat. “It’s…it’s a tattoo. Of an anchor. It’s for you. Because…Dex, you’re my anchor.”

His grip tightened and he looked up at me, his brows furrowed. I went on, licking my lips, trying to keep my voice steady. “You…make me feel sane in this crazy world. You give me hope. You give me life. When I’m with you…I can’t even believe I’m with you. It’s like that every morning. Like I’m dreaming, but I’m not.”

I had to look down, his eyes were getting too intense for the words I was saying. “I just…I wanted you to know that. I know I can seem…distant sometimes. I know I’m always in my head and sometimes I’m just a little too quiet. But you’re the most important thing to me. You keep me grounded, you hold me in place, you make me feel real. I love you, Dex. I hope this lets you know that.”

He didn’t say anything. My heart rate sped up, the apartment thrummed with the silence. Shit. Shit, shit, shit. I just fucked it all up, didn’t I?

I exhaled shakily and turned my head to look at him, to see the damage.

His eyes seemed frozen in a state of shock yet awash with some unreadable emotion, his Adam’s apple bobbing as he swallowed hard. His grip on my wrist never changed. I was afraid the silence would bury me. I was afraid I’d made a mistake.

Then something remarkable happened.

The fear vanished.

He burst into a smile with the energy of a million fires, gleaming white teeth against dimples. His eyes seemed borderline watery and he shook his head back and forth so his hair flopped on his forehead.

“I love the fuck out of you,” he said, almost in awe. “Come here.”

He grabbed the back of my head, bringing my face toward him and held me firmly in place while he kissed me hard. There was heat and tongue and hunger all in one. It made me feel impossibly giddy, impossibly light.

He stroked one hand down my cheek and pulled away, whispering, “Did you seriously do that for me?”

I nodded. “Of course I did.”

Dex grabbed my face in both his hands and kissed me again. ”You have no idea how that makes me feel. No idea.”

“Good, right?” I whispered.

“Good? Oh, baby, better than good. You just made me feel like a fucking king.” His lips trailed to my ear. “I owe you for this. Big time.”

I gave him a sassy grin, suddenly exuberant at how much he liked the tattoo. I had no idea it would mean so much. My eyes darted over to the bedroom and back. “Well, I can think of a few ways you can repay me.”

His eyes blazed. “You don’t have to tell me twice,” he growled.

He got up, and in one easy motion, scooped me up in his arms. I cried out in surprise and put my arms around his neck as he carried me over to the bedroom and kicked the door shut before throwing me on the bed.

“Your clothes need to come off, now,” he commanded, immediately dropping to his knees and pulling me forward so my legs went over the edge of the bed. He parted my thighs and went between them, running his hands up my legs until they were under my skirt. “In fact, I don’t know why you bother wearing clothes at all,” he murmured as he slowly began to peel my leggings off.

“Boots first,” I pointed down at my feet without raising my head.

“You and your fucking Docs. Baby, they look great on you but twelve holes are a bitch to undo.”

“Then leave the boots on.”

He paused with my leggings around my knees and I could feel him giving me a steely stare. “Who’s the boss in the bedroom here?”

“Tony Danza?”

He lightly smacked the side of my thigh. “It’s going to be harder and it’s going to be on that fuckable ass of yours if you talk back again.”

I grinned to myself and bit my lip. His large hands went up and pulled down my boy shorts, pressing my legs slightly together to get them off. Then he ducked underneath my legs so he was trapped between me with nowhere to go but my lady bits. Not a bad predicament for me.

“This is going to be tighter than usual,” he said, his breath hot on my inner thighs. I could feel the rough scruff of his face brushing against my skin as he made his way to my slit. “I’m going to eat your pussy clean,” he murmured right before I felt his lips on mine, his warm, wet tongue dipping in between.

My breath hitched from the sensation before I relaxed, smiling again at his dirty talk. He made me blush so hard sometimes but it still turned me on anyway. And fuck, he was insatiable when he was between my legs. He acted like it felt as good for him as it did for me, and then it was double the turn on.

I know, I was fucking lucky.

I let out a little moan as his tongue flicked my clit and my hands gripped the sheets, holding them tighter and tighter as I felt myself swell and open wider for him. He responded with a moan of his own, the vibrations nearly sending me over the edge, as he slowly inserted two long fingers inside me. He made a come hither motion, knowing exactly the right moves to make, and I couldn’t keep it together much longer.

“I want you inside me,” I groaned.

He paused, his lips brushing against me as he spoke, sending shockwaves of honey through my veins. ”What did I tell you about talking back?”

“Oh, I’ll talk back to you,” I said deliriously, rolling my head from side to side.

“No, you taste too fucking sweet,” he said gruffly. “You’re coming now.”

His head went back down, his tongue sweeping over my clit, his fingers coaxing me until seconds later I was crying out his name, my body rocked by spasms. I barely had time to piece my reality back together when I heard him kicking off his boots and unzipping his jeans.

He grabbed me by the waist and rolled me over, giving my ass a hard smack with his hand. I could feel his balls pressing against my thigh, something else that turned me on.

“That’s for talking back,” he said. Suddenly he was flipping me over again until I was facing up. I took in the sight of his cock, his hardened muscles, as he leaned his taut body over me, feverish intensity in his eyes. “And this, this is for the tattoo.” With one hand he grabbed my face while the other guided himself inside of me. He kissed me so passionately I felt like I couldn’t breathe and it didn’t even matter.

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