I firm my shoulders. Make myself ready for what he’ll say. Pretend David stirred nothing in me at all. I’m his fake employee, here until I find a way to do my father’s bidding and now he’s going to let me go. I won’t be able to do what Max wants me to and mom and I will be homeless.
“I’m not in love with Samantha; not even attracted to her. I went out with her for company but that’s all. I never promised her anything else. Never pretended to be something I wasn’t. I need you to know that,” David says.
“Why?” The word slips from between my numb lips.
I have to know why he wanted me to witness that. That’s what I don’t understand. I’m not stupid. I just need to know that I wasn’t going insane. Some words at least to help me understand I’m more than the Moss Creek town gutter rat. Good enough to serve their burgers and clean their houses, but otherwise remain invisible and out of the way because God knows that’s all I’m good for.
David turns his stark gaze on me. The weight of it presses on my shoulders, into my chest and into the marrow of my bones. “Tell me it’s not just me,” he whispers.
I blink and the breath stalls in my lungs. “What?”
His hands clench at his thighs as his stare drills into me. “You know what I mean, Adeline. Tell me it’s not just me feeling what there is between us.”
My heart pounds against my sternum, sledgehammer hard. I’m overwhelmed. Completely out of my depth. White noise starts in my head and I wonder if I heard him right or if I’m a victim of my acute imagination. My illicit fantasies. “I…”
He takes one prowling step towards me. Then another. His gaze never leaves my face. My hands shake. My skin flushes hot as he towers over me and my feet are locked to the floor. I press my knees against each other because I don’t think my legs will keep me upright if I don’t. He raises his hand to cup my cheek. Slowly, carefully, giving me time to move from his touch.
“Tell me I’m not the only one with this need, this…desire. I see the way you look at me, Adeline. Tell me I’m not going insane. Tell me I’m not seeing things that aren’t there. That I’m making this up in my head because I want you so damn much it hurts. Please. Adeline. Tell me you want me as badly as I want you because I want you with every cell in my body and I’m through with trying to hold myself back. Just one word. Tell me you feel the same way. Let me show you how badly I burn for you. Let me touch you. Let me kiss you. Let me tell the world to fuck off because I want you more than I’ve wanted anything in my whole damn life.”
I can’t draw my eyes off him. My hands curl around his biceps and I drift closer to him, pulled by an invisible string, my whole being attuned to him.
His fingers drift through my hair while his other arm winds around my waist, holding me securely in his arms. He draws me to him, pressing my body against his until we touch knees to chest. He’s warm. Hard. Immovable.
He leans down, his lips brush against mine, and whispers, “This is such a fucking bad idea.”