I rang the doorbell with my heart in my throat. “Did you bring me pancakes?” Lexi opened the door with a huge smile. “Oh, Bryce.”
“Expecting someone else?”
“No.” She shook her head and waved me inside. “I’m surprised to see you.”
“I wanted to apologize for how everything went down last night.”
“It wasn’t your fault.” She smiled at me, sweetly, her brown eyes seeming to gaze into my soul.
“I should have known Suzannah was going to try to make trouble.” I rolled my eyes. “Heaven knows she always tried to when we were younger.”
“She is very beautiful.” Lexi was wistful and I grabbed her hand.
“Not as beautiful as you,” I said, sincerely, and her breath caught. “Can we go to your room to talk?”
“Talk?” She smiled, mischievously. “Let’s go to my room.”
“Is your mom here?” I looked around and she laughed.
“No, she’s at work.” And she grabbed my hand and ran up the stairs. “Now, just how sorry are you, Bryce Evans?” She pushed me up against the door and kissed me, her wet hair brushing across my face. “Your lips are so soft for a guy’s,” she whispered as she kissed me.
“And yours taste like cotton candy.” I crushed her against me and kissed her hard, running my hands up and down her back and savoring her smell. “And you smell like early morning dew, so fresh and clean.”
“Well, I should,” she smiled. “I just got out of the shower.”
“You did?” I raised an eyebrow.
“I did.” She grinned and pulled her top off and I stood there, staring at her body in amazement. “See. I’m still damp.” She grabbed my hand and pressed it against her bra. The fabric was wet. I slipped a finger in and touched her breast lightly and felt a drop of water. I pulled my finger out quickly and grinned at her.
“That you are.”
“You can touch me, you know.” She grabbed my hand again. “I don’t mind.”
“I would love to touch you, Lexi.” My voice was raspy. “I want to hold you close and feel every part of you.”
“So come.” She led me to her bed and pulled me down with her.
“We should talk first.”
“I don’t need to talk.” She pulled me towards her. “I just need us to be.”
“I know you sent the letters.” I held her gently and looked at the shock in her eyes. “Don’t ask how I know. I just know.”
“I ... I, don’t know what to say.” Her eyes were bright with unshed tears. “I had hoped you knew but, deep inside, I thought it was impossible.”
“Wait, I don’t think you understand. I know now. I didn’t always know.”
“But you figured it out.” She kissed me and pulled off my shirt. “You figured it out, Bryce.”
“Lexi, I think I love you.” My breath caught as I watched her take off her bra. “What are you doing?”
“I want to be with you, Bryce.” She looked into my eyes, deeply. “I want you to be my first.”
“I don’t know, Lexi.” I took a deep breath as she guided my fingers to her nipple. “I have something else to tell you.”
“It doesn’t matter.”
“Oh, but it does.” I sighed as I felt her tugging at my jeans and I leaned down to nuzzle her. She gasped with pleasure and, for a moment, all I thought about was pleasuring her and making her mine. All I wanted was for us to make a union that could never be broken. “Wait, Lexi. We have to talk before we go forward.” I took a deep breath. “There is something you have to know.”
“What is it?” She pulled her tracksuit pants down so that she was lying there in her underwear and I felt it hard to concentrate. She was so beautiful and so trusting. “Take your jeans off.”
“Wait, what?” I pulled them off and she grinned at me.
“You are as hot as I thought you were.”
“Yeah, right.” I laughed and stopped her hand as she tugged on my boxer shorts. “Wait, Lexi.”
“I don’t want to wait anymore.”
“It’s about the night with Eddie.”
“Huh?” She looked up at me in surprise and her hand dropped away from my shorts. “What about it?”
“It was the reason why I knew where you were going to be.”
“You mean, when you saved me?” She looked confused.
“Yeah.” I sighed and looked away in shame. “You see, I already knew that Eddie was going to get you away from the dance that night. We had planned it. Not the rape. I would never have agreed to that. But he was meant to sort of scare you. Rough up your dress with some mud. We just wanted you to rush home and be upset. That was it.”
“You knew he was going to try and rape me?” She looked at me with huge eyes and pulled away from me.
“No.” I looked at her, earnestly. “He was just meant to rough you up in some mud. Nothing to hurt you. I swear. But when I realized you were gone a long time, I started to worry that something had gone wrong, so I came to look for you.”
“He was trying to pull down my underwear.” She looked at me with a pained look on her face. “He had me down on the ground so I couldn’t move and he was trying to pull my underwear down.”
“I’m so sorry, Lexi. I never ever meant for that to happen. You have to believe me. Please.” I grabbed her hands and pulled her towards me. “I love you, Lexi.”
“You nearly had me raped?” Her voice was distant and she looked at me in confusion. “I don’t understand.”
“Remember my letters?” I pleaded with her. “Remember I told you about something that went horribly wrong and I blamed myself for it? I was talking about that night.”
“So it was just Eddie?”
“Yes.” I closed my eyes and tried to calm myself down. “He wasn’t supposed to do that. We argued terribly after that. I cut him off. I wouldn’t talk to him. He then slept with Suzannah and I told him I never wanted to see him again. And then he killed himself.” I heard the words as if someone else was saying them. “I honestly don’t know how it all led to that. I loved him like a brother. He was always there for me. And I turned my back on him, just like everyone else.”
“It wasn’t your fault that he killed himself, Bryce.” She grabbed my hand and pulled in close to me. “Just like it wasn’t my fault.”
“I could have done more. I shouldn’t have put him in that situation.” I held her close to me as my tears ran into her hair. “He never should have died.”
“So that’s why you joined the marines?” she whispered.
“I had to. I had screwed up too many times. I had hurt so many people. I didn’t want to be my father’s son anymore.”
“You’re not your dad, Bryce.”
“I nearly was, Lexi.”
“But you’re not.” She pulled away from me and stared into my eyes. “I love you too, Bryce. I forgive you.” She leaned over and kissed me and I melted into her with gratitude, holding her close to my heart. I felt myself become aroused as her br**sts crushed into my chest.
“You don’t know how much those words mean to me, Lexi.” I traced my fingers all over her body and she went still, breathing deeply. “We don’t have to do this if you don’t want to, Lexi.”
“I do.” She opened her eyes and looked at me sweetly. “But I don’t as well.”
“I can wait.” I smiled at her, widely. “I could wait a lifetime for you.”
“Well I don’t think you’ll have to wait a lifetime,” she grinned.
“I promise, no more secrets.” I gazed into her eyes and tried to blank out the events of the previous night.
“No more secrets.” She pulled me towards her and kissed me hard. I heard both of our heartbeats loudly beating in conjunction.
I lay against Bryce and felt complete. I was surprised at how easy it had been to forgive him for what he had told me. I had been shocked, but I felt like he must love me very much if he had told me. He didn’t have to tell me, there was no way I would have found out. I couldn’t believe that he was here in my bed. I’d dreamt of this happening for what seemed like years. I’d never imagined that it would actually come to fruition. And yet, I wasn’t completely happy. I still had an ache in my heart. I looked to my window, glad that my blinds were drawn and that Luke couldn’t see Bryce in the room with me.
“What do you want to do this afternoon?” Bryce smiled at me as he cupped my breast.
“I’m not sure.” I turned towards him. “What do you want to do?”
“Hmm, maybe I shouldn’t answer that.”
“I wouldn’t say no.” I grinned.
“I want it to be special.” He ran his fingers through my hair. “I want your first time to be romantic, and special and I want there to be fireworks.”
“I think I can hear some fireworks now.”
“Don’t tease me, Lexi. You’re driving me crazy.” He laughed and rolled out of the bed. “Let’s get dressed and go out somewhere.”
“You don’t want to stay in bed?” I looked up at him and made my sexiest face.
“If you keep looking at me like that, we will never leave the bed.” He laughed and pulled up his pants. “Let’s go and do something fun.”
“Fine.” I grabbed my bra and pulled it on.
“Well you didn’t have to do that.” He laughed.
“Oh, I forgot, you haven’t seen na**d br**sts in years have you?” I laughed and he turned away from me.
“Shall we go to a farm?”
“That would be fun.” I laughed and grabbed my phone. “Let me call Anna and see if she wants to come. I feel so bad but we left her at your house yesterday.”
“I’m sure she got home okay.” Bryce turned around quickly. “Can’t it just be us today?”
“Well, sure. I just want to make sure she is okay before we leave.” I started dialing the numbers. Bryce grabbed my hands and pushed me down on the bed, kissing me intensely, and I melted into him again, feeling things in my body that I had never felt before.
“I want the day to be about us.” He caressed my face. “Go away with me.”
“What?” I frowned. “That was like two thoughts in one,” I laughed.
“Let’s go away together. Just you and me.”
“I have to work, Bryce. I have a job. Plus I’m Anna’s ride to work. I can’t just take off like that.”
“Don’t you ever just want to be adventurous?” He kissed my neck. “I have money saved from my time in the Marines. We could go to Hawaii or London or Australia, anywhere you want to go.”
“I’d like to go to Los Angeles,” I laughed. “I’d like to go and see some stars.”
“So let’s go.”
“Maybe in a few weeks? I can ask for the time off.”
“I was thinking like now.” He laughed and lay back on the bed.
“Are you okay, Bryce?”
“Yeah,” he groaned. “This is wonderful. I’m just anxious.”
“Why?” I frowned at him.
“I just feel like it can’t be this easy. We can’t just find each other and be together so easily. I just feel like life doesn’t work this way for me.”
“You took the words out of my mouth.” I sighed and sat up. “There is something you need to know, Bryce.”
“Uh oh,” he groaned. “Do I want to hear this?”
“I don’t know.” I bit my lip and thought for a moment. “I don’t know if it’s my place to tell you this.”
“Oh shit. Why do I think I’m about to come crashing back to reality?”
“So you know our parents dated for a few years.”
“I know they cheated for a few years.”
I tried not to let his words bother me and I continued. “Do you know why they broke up?”
“My dad found someone new?” Bryce laughed, bitterly. “Did he move onto a younger and better looking model?”
“Hey.” I poked him in the arm, hard.
“Sorry, but isn’t that what normally happens?”
“I don’t know. My dad isn’t in my life.” My voice was bitter and upset and he looked at me in concern.
“Sorry, Lexi, I didn’t mean to be rude.”
“It’s okay.” I smiled at him quickly, not wanting to ruin the easy camaraderie we had. But I was upset. He was being quite rude about my mother, ruder than I thought he had the right to be.
“So why did my philanderer dad and your slutty mom break up?”
“My mom’s not a slut, Bryce.”
“Well she knew my dad was married, right? Who in Jonesville doesn’t know the Mayor is married with a golden child?”
“You’re not exactly a golden child though, are you?”
“I’ve made some mistakes, yes,” he sighed. “Look, I’m sorry. I’m choosing the wrong words. I’m just anxious to hear what you have to say.”
“We have a sister.”
“Just please tell me, wait, what?” He frowned at me. “Please, dear God, tell me you are not my sister.”