In the days that followed Logan and I fell into an easy routine together. He continued to work at the construction site each day except for the one day it rained. That day he’d returned home early with a stray cat he’d found huddled outside and a bag of dry cat food, saying that the cat was a cast-off, just like him. It broke my heart the way he compared himself to the stray, like he truly believed that no one wanted him. I couldn’t say no to him after that, and that’s how the damned cat, named Tom after Thomas Aquinas came to share the apartment with us.

Having Logan living with me in such close quarters had quickly become comfortable. He was thoughtful and attentive, often doing things for me to make my day a little bit better, like having my coffee ready and small saucepan of milk simmering when I got out of bed. I liked his nurturing side, even if it was part of working through his amnesia and a way for him to feel like he was in some way contributing. After losing my mom at such a young age and growing up with a single father, I hadn’t been pampered or taken care of that way…ever. He seemed to genuinely care, often asking about my day, or how my research was coming and he would listen thoughtfully while I answered. It was nice having him around. Being together so much meant we were now pretty much inseparable.

I found myself missing him when he was gone. I began to change my routine so that I was gone during the same hours he was, opting to study at the coffee shop or library so I didn’t have to be alone in the apartment. I’d always cherished my solitude and preferred living alone, but having Logan around had altered that.

After dinner each night he’d spend a few hours online trying to piece together what little information we had about his past. He completed the IQ test and college placement exam as I suggested and did extremely well on both. He also spent time online searching through social networking sites for anyone named Logan in the Chicago area, but there were several hundred, and he couldn’t find anything of interest. He also continued to help with the chores, and spent time painting after I went to bed.

That Friday night marked his first full week staying with me and, so far, his nightmares had not let up. At first, I’d slept with my bedroom door open so I could go to him and comfort him in the night when he needed it. The last few nights though, he’d made his way into my bed and I couldn’t refuse him. I wanted him close to me too. We had quickly gotten close – we just seemed to click together.

After takeout and watching a movie on TV, we were both exhausted from the hectic week. We went to bed together, no longer hiding under the pretense of making up the couch for him.

We crawled into my bed, covering up with the cool sheets. I sighed and closed my eyes, allowing myself to snuggle into his arms, knowing snuggling was as far as he’d take it.

I would have never thought I would feel so close to someone I’d known for such a short time. I was normally such a private person, and so careful about letting anyone in that my openness with him surprised me. I rested my hand over his heart and just enjoyed the sensation of it thumping steadily under my palm. Slowly, I drifted off to sleep in his arms.

Logan cried out in his sleep and sat up in bed.

I snapped my eyes opened, waking abruptly. “It’s okay.” I placed my hand on his shoulder, trying to calm him with gentle caresses.

His heart was pounding and his skin was damp with sweat.

“Another nightmare?”

“It was so real. I was back in that warehouse. I remember fighting with him. It felt so real, like I really was there. Maybe everything happened like they said it did.”

“It was self-defense though, right?” Who was I trying to convince, Logan or myself?

“Yeah. I think so.” He slowly nodded his head. “That’s fucked up, though. Not to know for sure.”

His doubt startled me, but I could see the pain in his eyes. I could either take a chance and trust him, or jump into accusations. I could tell he needed me to believe in him. The police had dropped all the charges, so it didn’t feel right that I still doubted him. “You’re not a monster.” I snuggled into his chest, planting a kiss on his neck. “You’re sweet and gentle.”

He rubbed his knuckles across my stomach, and inched closer to me. He worked his hand lower, dipping just under the waistband of my panties. “Logan, I don’t think that’s a good idea.” He’d just had a nightmare about killing a man for Christ’s sake. Sex was the last thing on my mind.

He pulled his hand as though he’d been burned. “So you are afraid of me.”

“Of course I’m not.” I brought my hand up to cup his cheek.

“Then you’re disgusted with me.”

“That’s not it either.” I sat up in bed, now completely awake.

He squeezed his eyes closed, as if willing the images from his nightmare to disappear as suddenly as his memory did. “But you won’t let me touch you.”

My heart pounded in my chest. I’d wanted him to touch me since his first night here. Not like this though, not because he was terrified and needing comfort. When I met his eyes, all my objections melted away. He watched me like I was something incredibly precious to him. I was stuck by the realization that if I turned him away now, I’d be validating his thoughts that he was nothing but a monster.

I took his hand and placed it on my chest, letting him feel the pounding of my heart. His eyes widened momentarily, as he felt its insistent thumping. My body wanted nothing more than his touch, but because I’d just refused him a second before, I didn’t know what to say.

“Logan,” his name slipped from my lips and it was all that needed to be said.

He lowered me to the pillow once again, and pinned me to the bed, kissing and nuzzling my neck. His stubble scratched against my skin and I inhaled the scent of his aftershave, trying to memorize this moment.

He hauled me up to a sitting position and removed my shirt, throwing it to the floor. I liked that he didn’t ask; he just did what he wanted, all with perfect skill. His gaze lowered to my chest, and his hands joined the inspection, softly running his fingertips along the bottom swells of my breasts, dipping between my cleavage, circling my nipples, but never touching them.

Heat and dampness flooded between my legs and I released a small whimper.

“Shh. I’ll make it better,” he whispered.

He lowered his head and kissed my breasts in the same pattern, everywhere but where I needed him. When my panting grew heavier, he finally slid his tongue across my nipple and I arched my back, pressing my breasts forward into his mouth. His tongue lapped slow, easy circles while he pushed my breasts together with his hands. I’d never had so much attention paid to my breasts before, and never knew it would make me so hot.

I snaked my hands underneath his shirt, and ran my hands across his abs, loving the solid feel of him. I hauled his shirt over his head and it joined mine on the floor. He continued kissing me and the effect of his skin, warm and soft, against mine drove me over the edge. I wrapped my legs around his waist and thrust my hips into his, grinding against him. I released a strangled cry at the contact.

After kissing me for several minutes more while I continued to grind against him, he reached between us and pushed my panties down my thighs. Thank God. I was ready. I reached for his waistband, but he shook his head. “Not yet.”

I swallowed and placed my hands by my sides, nodding like a good girl. I didn’t want to do anything to drive him away. Not when I so badly needed the release he could give me. “Logan,” I moaned loudly, frustration and sexual tension evident in my voice.

“I know, baby.” He kissed my forehead and lowered himself to his elbows, positioning himself between my legs. He pulled my legs apart suddenly, and held them there. I was completely exposed, and on display for his inspection, but I didn’t feel self-conscious in that moment. I wanted everything he could give me.

Just like that first night, he spread me open, sliding his fingers up and down the length of my wetness. I loved how unrushed he was. With the two other men I’d been with, it’d been a sprint to the finish line, they hurried to get inside me, to get off and then get out. Logan only seemed concerned with drawing out my pleasure, like the act of loving me could heal him in some small way.

After several minutes of torturing me with his fingers and watching me squirm while he kissed my inner thighs, belly, and hips, he finally flicked his tongue across my clit. My hips shot straight off the bed. He chuckled and held my thighs in place, then lowered his mouth to me once again. He suckled my clit into his mouth, his tongue doing laps against me. I panted and cursed, and thrust against his mouth, long past caring about how I looked to him. He made me hotter than I’d ever been.

He pulled my legs apart and eagerly suckled at my folds. I cried out loudly. There was nothing tentative or shy about his touches. He worked me over as if he’d known my body for years rather than days. Seeing this side of him was new discovery. There was nothing fleeting or impersonal about this. With Logan it was all or nothing. Is that why he had held himself back from making love to me?

When my cries grew louder, he still didn’t relent. He only held me in place and continued to lick and suck on my most sensitive parts until I fell apart. My orgasm built slowly, but once it crashed through me, I moaned his name in a final whimper and fell back against the bed, completely spent.

Logan chuckled at me, and curled his body against mine, holding me while the aftershocks of my orgasm pulsed through me.

After a little while, he found my panties and slid them up my legs, securing them in place and then folded me into his arms again. Playtime was apparently over.

I hated feeling like I was using him for my own pleasure, but I knew he wouldn’t let me return the favor. I didn’t have the energy to examine this new part of our relationship the way I wanted to, but my last thought before I drifted off to sleep was that if this was the only way I could provide comfort to him and chase away his nightmares, then so be it. Selfless, I know. Mother-friggin-Teresa, right here.

Chapter Nine

Saturday at noon was my weekly standing coffee date with Liz, and as I strolled into our usual coffee shop, I picked at the cat hair on my black sweater. “Damn cat,” I muttered.

“You got a cat? Since when?” Liz said, coming up behind me.

“Oh, um, yeah. I got a cat this week.”

She eyed me curiously. “O-kay. But you hate cats.”

“I don’t hate cats.” I actually did hate them.

“Whatever.” She rolled her eyes.

We ordered our coffee and claimed the lounge chairs in the back. Liz’s eyes were on me from the second I sat down. “What?”

She cocked her head. “Something’s going on with you.” She took a quick sip of her bucket-sized iced Americano, biting into the straw.

I tried to act casual, but crap, once Liz was on the trail, there was no hiding anything you didn’t want her to know.

“Something’s not adding up. You’re done working with Logan, Professor Clancy told me he’s no longer at the hospital and you’ve still been MIA all week. And you’ve got to admit the cat is strange.”

I removed the lid from my latte, needing something to do with my hands. “Nope, nothing’ going on. Clancy returned my thesis with tons of edits, so I’ve just been busy working on that. And the cat…that’s nothing. He was just a stray I found.”

She narrowed her eyes at me. “Are you kidding me? You think it’s your job to fix all the stray men and animals in the city of Chicago? Honey…” She shook her head. “You’ve got to let this go.”

I took another sip of my drink, trying to think of a way to change the subject. Liz had a history of drawing truths out of me that she didn’t need to know about. Such as my grooming habits, or the fact that I didn’t own any sex toys, which we promptly changed with a trip to the sex shop several months ago. Not that I regretted that particular intervention, but still, wasn’t I entitled to some privacy?

Besides she would flip if she found out Logan was living with me. If she told Clancy or anyone else, I didn’t want to think about what might become of my grant to study amnesia patients. Surely this was crossing some sort of line. At least we hadn’t had sex. God, if someone thought I was trading sexual favors for academic research… I shivered.

Liz noticed, narrowing her eyes at me. “Wait a second.” She lifted her finger into the air. “Uh-uh, no. No way.”

“What?” My stomach clenched with nerves.

“You’re still in contact with him, aren’t you?”

“Who?”

“Don’t play dumb. You know I’m talking about Logan. You must still be talking to him; otherwise you’d more upset or blabbering about him nonstop.”

“Maybe.”

“Girl, you better spill right now.”

“Stop, Liz.” I looked down into my drink. “There’s nothing to tell.” Other than that I’m badly lusting for a sick, possibility violent man with a past neither of us knows a lick about. Oh, just that.

She narrowed her eyes, but thankfully let it drop.

After Liz and I chatted for a little while longer, she insisted on driving me home, saying she wanted to meet my cat. No matter what I tried to tell her, that I’d prefer to walk, or that I was going to stop at the library on my way, she continued to insist, to the point where I knew if I kept making up excuses, she’d get suspicious. I finally relented.

“What’s his name anyways?”

“Who?”

“Your cat.”

“Oh, um, Tom.”

“Tom?” she questioned with a smirk. “You’re even more in need of a man than I realized.”

We rode in silence to my apartment, all the while I prayed that Logan would be out. He didn’t work on Saturdays, but if there was a God, I prayed he’d grant my request.

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