Rival Page 61

With her na**d and me still in my jeans, I left her standing there and went to sit down in the cushioned chair in the corner.

Her eyes went wide, shifting left to right. “Um, what are you doing?”

“Sit on the bed.”

She stood there staring at me for about ten seconds before finally dropping to the navy blue comforter and scooting backward to the middle. Pulling her knees up, she hugged them and teased me with playful eyes. Trying so hard to look innocent.

The hair on the back of my neck spiked. Her hair spilling around her, the curves of her waist, the muscle tone in her thighs . . . Fallon hid a lot under her boyish clothes, and I was the luckiest guy in the world to have been the only one to see her like this.

She lifted the corner of her mouth, challenging me. “What now?”

I leaned forward, my elbows on my knees. “When was the last time you were on a board?” I asked.

She blinked and asked with a shaky laugh, “You’re asking me that now?”

She was right. I was killing the mood like a bucket of ice.

But I waited anyway.

“Well,” she said, looking unsure. “I guess it’s been two years. The last time I lived here.”

“Why?”

She shrugged, more like she didn’t want to tell me than she couldn’t. “I don’t know.”

I stood up, taking a few steps toward her. “Did you lose interest in it?”

“No.”

“Then why?” I stopped and crossed my arms over my chest.

Fallon loved skateboarding. She’d put in her earbuds and go off to Iroquois Mendoza Park for hours, alone or with friends, and just get lost.

Licking her lips, she said with a small voice, “I guess at first, I didn’t want to enjoy anything. I didn’t want to smile.”

That sounded like guilt. But why would she feel guilty?

“Were you angry with me?” I asked. “For not coming after you?”

She nodded, her voice still small. “I was.”

“But not now?”

At the time, I’d thought she’d wanted to leave. I never thought about going after her, because I thought I was the one she ran from.

Her eyes met mine. “No, I don’t blame you for anything. We were so young.” She looked away and added as an afterthought. “Too young.”

I guess she was right. At times, I knew what we were doing was dangerous, but I was consumed with her. I didn’t care. And whereas she slowed down and took her time growing up, I charged ahead. I didn’t sleep with as many girls as I bragged about even though the opportunity was there, but I definitely couldn’t say I’d saved myself for her, either.

I moved closer, stepping up to the end of the bed. “Why did you never try to come home?”

“I did.”

CHAPTER 23

FALLON

So Madoc wanted to talk.

This was new.

I couldn’t get off the bed without his permission, and I was totally na**d and vulnerable while he conducted his Q&A.

I sighed, knowing I owed him this much. And more. “A few months after I left I snuck back,” I added. “You were having a party, and you had someone with you.”

As much as I’d gotten past hating him for that, the feeling of betrayal could never be forgotten. He had been sitting on the edge of the hot tub with his legs in the water while some girl blew him. He had been leaning back on one hand with his other in her hair, and his head had fallen back. He didn’t see me looking through the patio doors.

His dad and Addie were home but undoubtedly asleep. I thought I’d worked it well, arriving in so late. He’d be in bed. I’d sneak in. We’d talk.

My timing couldn’t have been more wrong. Or more right.

I ran out of the house, away from someone I was too young to love.

Madoc averted his pained eyes. “You shouldn’t have saved yourself for me. I don’t deserve it.”

“I didn’t,” I whispered. “I saved myself for me. Part of it was that I didn’t want anyone else but you, but the truth was I just didn’t want anyone. Even you. I was in over my head. I needed to grow up.”

His body was so still. He’d stopped advancing, and I wanted him to know that none of this mattered anymore. I’d lived with it and had plenty of time to get over everything. He was still adjusting.

I lay back on the bed, watching his eyes come back to me as I rolled onto my stomach and looked over my shoulder at him.

“Fuck the past. Remember?” I told him, keeping my eyes and tone serious. My pose might be to redirect his attention back on me, but I wanted him to know that while I understood his concerns, we were done talking.

His eyes softened, and he walked around the bed, leaning down over me on his hands.

He was so close, and I faltered when I felt a streak shoot from my chest down between my legs.

Please touch me, Madoc.

I gave him a sly smile and hooded my eyes, trying to be sexy. Kicking up my legs, I crossed my ankles and swung my feet back and forth.

He turned his head, running his eyes the whole length of my body in a way that made me feel as if a warm blanket covered every inch his gaze touched. Reaching out, he grazed the skin of my back with his fingertips, and I closed my eyes.

“How’s school?” he asked, and I popped my eyes open again.

“Madoc! For Christ’s sake!” I yelled.

I hated questions, and now was not the time!

He arched a scolding eyebrow at me. “Temper, Fallon,” he warned.

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