I swallowed the giant lump that had lodged itself in my throat. “I feel like an idiot. I threw myself at you, and…and…” I couldn’t even get the words out. Epic. Fail.
He continued brushing my hair back from my forehead, smoothing it down. “I’m sorry.”
“Just leave me.” I pressed my thighs together and clenched my fists.
He watched me with a curious expression. “Oh hell, I can’t leave you like this. Let me take care of you tonight.”
My eyes flew open and my heartbeat built to an uncomfortable rhythm. Did he mean…
He peeled the blankets off me and ran his hands along my bare legs. “Tell me how to make you come.”
I met his dark eyes, but my voice refused to cooperate. He wasn’t rejecting me, but it wasn’t lost on me that he was refusing to share himself with me. For the time being, I was powerless to stop this. I desperately needed the release.
“What do you like, beautiful?”
My clit throbbed at his words. Oh, I wanted this. I couldn’t stop now for all the money in the world. He leaned down and kissed my mouth with soft, nipping bites and tender chaste kisses.
“Touch me, please,” I begged.
He pulled back from my mouth and eased down my cotton shorts and panties, removing them completely. I should have felt embarrassed, exposed, but I didn’t. I ached for his touch. He placed his palm flat against my belly, his fingers brushing past my tattoo on their way south. My breath hitched and I couldn’t help but lift my hips off the bed, eager to feel his hands against me. It was like the fantasy I’d had about him, only better than I expected.
His eyes devoured me and I found myself suddenly thankful that Liz had chastised my grooming habits a few months ago and I was now in the habit of shaving completely bare. He leaned in closer and pressed a kiss against my tattooed hip and I couldn’t help but let out a moan. His kisses continued all along my belly and the top of my mound. Heat and desire flooded his eyes when he pulled back to look at me.
He lifted my hips to make room for himself on the bed and positioned himself near me. He pressed a kiss to my belly and I let out a soft whimper.
He sat back to admire me, and ran his fingers over the clean shaven folds. He used his thumbs to open my inner lips, gently rubbing his fingers against the wetness. “So pretty,” he whispered.
I couldn’t help but moan. My clit was swollen and overly sensitive.
“Please,” I begged.
“I’ll make it better.”
He used his thumb to trace a slow, circular pattern over my clit and leaned down to kiss me. I ravaged his mouth with my tongue, so appreciative of his skilled fingers. My breathing came faster and my moans more pronounced against his onslaught of kisses. He brought his other hand up to my jaw, and tilted my head to the side, sucking and biting all along my neck while his fingers continued their mesmerizing dance.
I pressed my head back against the pillow and lifted my hips to writhe against his talented hand. I was so close. I opened my eyes to watch him and his eyes were locked on mine.
He brought his middle finger to his open mouth, and wetted it with a suckling motion. Then he gently eased his long finger inside me while continuing to work over me over with his other hand. The dual sensations were too much. I bucked my hips off the bed, matching his pace to grind against him. My moans got louder and less controlled. “Logan,” I called out.
“Shh. I’ve got you, baby.” He continued sliding his finger in and out, his pace quickening just slightly as I got closer. He kissed my lips and breathed against my mouth as I came. I called out his name again and again until the last of my orgasm rocked through me.
A few moments later, I opened my eyes to see him still watching me. My cheeks were flushed and my breathing still ragged, but I didn’t care how I looked just then, I only wanted to touch him, to make him feel the same way, to watch him come apart.
I sat up and reached for his waistband, working to unbutton his jeans.
“No. Just sleep now, sweetheart.” He eased my shoulders back against the bed, and then adjusted his erection.
I whimpered in protest, but he kissed me once again, silencing my plea.
My eyes drifted closed and I savored his kiss.
I wanted to argue, but suddenly the bed felt too good and sleep was too close. The combined effects of the alcohol and my orgasm had left me spent.
I startled awake at a thumping sound. My first thought was who the hell was knocking on my door at this hour; until I remembered Logan was sleeping in the other room.
I rose from bed and stepped across the creaky wood floors down the hall. I could see Logan crumpled on the living room floor, pounding his fists on the ground.
I sunk down on the ground next to him and ran my hands up and down his back. “It’s okay. I’m here.”
He responded to my presence by gripping my hand. His knuckles were red and swollen from where he had punched the floor. He looked up at me with the most pained expression and heart cinched in my chest.
“I don’t want to be alone,” he murmured, bringing my hand to his lips. “Come here.”
I curled up on my side, tucking myself into his body. He snuggled me into me like his life depended on it, clinging to me for safety. He rubbed his cheek against the top of my head, smoothing my hair down before he settled in and found a comfortable spot. Soon his breathing became deep and steady and I knew he had drifted off to sleep. I was glad my presence seemed to comfort him.
I pulled a throw blanket from the couch to cover us both and closed my eyes, concentrating on his deep, steady breaths.
At dawn the light woke us up, that or the aches and pains of lying on a wood floor. I rolled to my side and rubbed my aching hip.
“You didn’t have to stay with me last night.” Logan’s voice was thick with sleep, and even deeper than normal. I liked it. I liked that he could let his guard down with me.
“I wanted to.” I felt a sort of responsibility toward Logan. I wanted to be the one to be there for him and help him through all of this.
Without another word, he lifted me from the floor and carried me to my bed, placing me carefully in the center. He offered a small sleepy smile while still standing at the foot of the bed.
“Stay.” I reached a hand out toward him. He looked at my hand, and then at me curiously. A moment later, he accepted my invitation. I’d been there for him last night, and now he was choosing to get closer to me, to provide me with the comfort I associated with being near him. He lay next to me and pulled me in close, holding me against his chest.
Later that morning, I woke for a second time and I crept out of bed, not wanting to wake Logan. He lay sprawled across my bed, still wearing his jeans. I admired him for a second, silently reading the words tattooed on his side. Aut viam inveniam aut faciam tibi. I tiptoed out of the room and sat down at the cluttered dining room table, locating my laptop under a stack of papers.
I checked my email, discovering I had two emails from Professor Clancy. The first was sent yesterday afternoon informing me that all charges against Logan had been dropped due to lack of evidence, and the possibility that the murder was committed in self-defense, and that Logan had signed himself out against the doctor’s orders last night. His last line was a warning about how he and Dr. Andrews were worried that Logan might come looking for me, since he seemed to be fixated on me. A chill danced up my spine.
Clancy’s second email was detailed feedback on my thesis, which apparently needed a lot more work. Yikes. The track changes function was in full effect, splashes of red covering nearly every inch of the page. This was going to require a lot of coffee.
“That smells good.” Logan ventured into the kitchen behind me, running one hand over his hair in an attempt to smooth it down. He looked adorable first thing in the morning, sleepy-eyed and still incredibly sexy. Unfortunately, he shrugged his T-shirt on over his head, blocking my view of the delicious six-pack he sported.
I arranged two mugs on the counter and poured coffee into each. “How do you take your coffee?”
He shrugged his shoulders. “No clue. Surprise me.”
I laughed and added a splash of the steamed milk to each of our mugs, thankful that the elephant in the room – him getting me off last night seemed to fade into the background. “Did you sleep okay?”
“Yeah, that park bench set a pretty high bar.” He chuckled. “Thank you for bringing me here. It was more than I could have expected. Thank you.” He took a sip of his coffee. “This is good.”
I smiled and sipped my own. “I’m glad you like it. I slept like a baby.” I shifted uncomfortably, remembering my wanton behavior last night. Crap, shut up Ashlyn.
He smirked. “About what happened last night…” He ran a hand over his hair, hesitating to continue. I thought he’d offer some explanation for why he hadn’t allowed me to touch him, to make me feel better about being such a hussy. “That can’t happen again. I appreciate everything you’ve done for me, but I can’t put you in a compromising position. Dr. Andrews and your Professor were right and I won’t do that to you. I don’t want this,” he motioned between us, “to discredit your research on amnesia.”
I cleared my throat, and set down my coffee mug, hoping he wouldn’t notice my shaking hands. “Of course. I was drunk and feeling sorry for myself. That won’t happen again. I’m sorry.”
“Don’t apologize. That was my fault as much as it was yours. I shouldn’t have done that.” After a few seconds of uncomfortable silence, he set down his coffee mug, and stood. “I guess I should get out of your way, then. I’m sure you have a lot to do.”
I stood. “Logan. Please, you don’t have to go.”
“I won’t take advantage of you, Ashlyn.”
I gripped his hand. “Isn’t that what I did to you last night?” I smiled, hoping to ease the tension between us.
He grinned. “That was different. I didn’t mind that at all.”
Interesting… “I don’t mind you being here either. I’d like for you to stay.”
His eyes held mine, considering the offer.
“I have a lot more work on my thesis, according to Clancy, and if you stayed here, I’d have access to ask you questions and interview you if I needed to.” It sounded halfway plausible, but truly I just didn’t want to think about where he would go if he wasn’t here.
“I suppose I could stay for a little while, just while you’re working on your paper. If I get to be any trouble, just say the word, and I’ll go.”
I nodded eagerly. Like that would happen. “Great. I’m glad that’s settled. Now…for breakfast…”
He sucked in a deep breath, like there was still something that didn’t satisfy him. “Ashlyn…”
“I don’t have any money, no job. Fuck, I don’t even have a change of clothes. I can’t take advantage of you like this. Your generosity is too much.”
“Logan, it will be okay. We’ll get you what you need and when you get a job you can pay me back if it makes you feel better.”
He took a deep breath. “Yes, I guess that will have to work.”
Logan refused breakfast, saying coffee was fine, and after a quick shower, he wanted to get out looking for work. I didn’t point out that it was Sunday and he might not have much luck. He seemed eager to get out of the tiny apartment and do something productive with himself. Which was fine, since I owed Liz a phone call this morning, and I didn’t want Logan to hear me lie about coming home alone last night.
I showed him the hallway linen closet where I kept the spare towels and told him he was free to use anything he wanted. I brought him into the bathroom to warn him about my rickety shower facet and how to not be inadvertently scalded.
Logan stopped in front of the bathroom mirror, and stood there seemingly mesmerized.
I stood behind him, watching as he inspected himself in the mirror. He brought his fingertips to his face, running his hand along the stubble on his jaw, tracing the line of his nose, then tilted his head to the side to see his profile. I couldn’t imagine how strange it would be to not recognize your own reflection in the mirror. Things I took for granted every day, Logan was relearning.
Once Logan returned from an unsuccessful job search, I was only halfway through grading the essays from Clancy’s graduate level psych class. Logan peeked around the corner, and asked where I kept the cleaning supplies. I showed him my pitiful collection consisting of a few random spray bottles underneath the kitchen sink. He systematically pulled each bottle from the cabinet and inspected every one.
“What are you looking for?” I asked.
“I’m going to clean the apartment. You can keep studying.”
“Logan, you don’t have to do that.”
“It makes me feel useful. Like there’s still something I know how to do, some way that I can contribute.”
Oh. “Thank you. I just didn’t want you to feel obligated.” I’d lived alone for a few years now, and cleaning up after myself was usually limited to the bare minimum. Still it was a far cry from how I grew up. Overflowing ashtrays and beer can pyramids had been my dad’s basic décor. “I know I won’t be winning any awards for my housekeeping anytime soon; I just hope you don’t find me disgusting.”
He laughed. “I could never find you disgusting, Ashlyn.”
I knew from my research that as someone with amnesia began recovering, they looked for ways to feel productive and useful. I smiled at the thought of Logan progressing into this stage.
I dug out my extra key from the junk drawer and pressed it into his palm. “So you can come and go as you please.” I handed him a one hundred dollar bill. “And so you can get some of the things you might need, clothes, stuff like that. Sorry I can’t give you more.”