tagRomanceAnything for You Ch. 03

Anything for You Ch. 03


When I didn't reply, Drew looked up at me, his eyes narrowing. "Well?"

"I don't know," I mumbled, scared I'd make a fool of myself if I attempted a longer answer.

"You can do better than that."

"Drew—" Tilting my head back, I stared in desperation at the hand still holding my wrists above my head. "Please..."

"Fuck." He let go at once. "Sam—"

"Please? Can't you just leave it?" I brought my hands down, swiping at my wet face with one and trying to bat his fingers away from my rucked-up camisole with the other.

Drew was having none of it, his hand catching mine in an instant. "Answer the question," he insisted. "Is this the reason you're still a virgin?"

"Maybe." I blinked hard, determined to stem the flow of tears. "One of the reasons, maybe."

His fingers drifted to my abdomen, exploring my bare skin. And when he began tracing the longest of the scars there, fitting his fingertip into the slight indentation, I gave a shudder. "Don't!"

"What are the other reasons?"

"Drew—please," I begged, grabbing his hand before he could follow the ugly line all the way around my left flank. "Stop it."

His gaze met mine, his brown eyes soft. "Sam, do you think seeing this bothers me? Do you honestly think that anyone who really cared about you would give a shit?"

"I give a shit, okay?" I cried, glaring up at the ceiling as fresh tears began to pool. "I don't want people to see. I don't want people asking about it. I don't want to have to explain."

Drew grimaced slightly. "You don't tell people what happened?"

It wasn't really a question. He knew I rarely talked about it—and when I did, it was only in the most general of terms. "Would you?" I whispered.

He studied me for a moment. "Yeah," he said at last, nodding for emphasis. "Yeah, I'd tell people. Sam, I've never known anyone do something so brave."

I groaned, closing my eyes briefly, moisture escaping from the corners. "It wasn't brave."

"Are you kidding me?"

"It wasn't brave. It was stupid."

"Stupid?" He looked bemused. "How the hell could donating a kidney to your brother be stupid?"

"Because he died, Drew. Because maybe if I hadn't—maybe if we'd waited—" a sob welled up in my throat, unstoppable, my tears falling thick and fast now "—w-waited for another donor," I forced out, barely coherent, "he'd still be alive. He'd still be he-ere..."

Muttering another expletive, Drew reached forward, scooping me up from the bed and pulling me into his arms. But it soon became apparent the arrangement wasn't exactly comfortable for either of us, our bodies mismatched in height, my lower limbs still trapped beneath his thighs. And moving aside, he promptly knelt down and hauled me towards him.

"It wasn't your fault, Sam," he murmured, wrapping me up so tightly it was hard to draw in enough breath to cry. "You know it wasn't your fault. Do you think the hospital would've been so keen on reaching an out of court settlement if it was?"

"N-no, but—"

"Not that they paid anything like as much as they would've done had it gone to court," he went on grimly. "You should've held out for twice the amount."

I tried to shake my head. "It'd gone on for too long as it was. Two years, Drew. It wouldn't have been fair on Mum and Dad."

Especially Mum. I'd hoped that once the negligence claim was settled, she'd be able to get back to some sort of normality. Get back to being more like the Mum I remembered.

Wishful thinking.

"You deserved more."

"It was enough." Enough to buy my aunt's business from her and put down a sizable deposit on a house. Besides, it had never been about the money. It'd been about making sure that what happened to us couldn't happen to anyone else.

"Why did they even let you do it in the first place?"

I knew that by 'they', he meant my parents. "They didn't need to 'let me'. I was eighteen. I didn't need their permission."

"But to let you do that, to let you take that risk..."

"I was a perfect match, remember?" I said lightly. Too lightly. "Me. Perfect. Can you imagine?"

His arms tensed. "Sam..."

"You wanted to know what was stupid?" I pulled out of his embrace, another tear rolling down my cheek. "Well, here it is. I was happy to take that risk. For the first time in my life I thought I could do something to make them proud." My voice started to break. "And guess what? I even managed to screw that up..."

"Hey." Drew cradled my face in his hands. "You didn't screw it up, you hear me? They screwed it up. The hospital—that surgeon. Fuck, Sam." He shook his head. "We nearly lost you both."

"Yeah well, maybe I should've died too," I muttered, trying hard not to meet his gaze but finding it almost impossible given the way he was holding me, his fingers buried firmly in my hair, his thumbs brushing away my tears.


I closed my eyes. "Backfired on me big time, huh? There I was, trying to do the one thing that might just make them love me more—and I wound up making them hate me instead."

"Nobody hates you." I could hear the thinly-veiled pain in his voice, his desire to reassure me. "It wasn't your fault. Nobody blames you—"

"Oh come on, Drew." A bitter smile twisted my trembling lips. "Mum hates me, you know that. She wishes it'd been me that died, not her golden boy Paul."

I'd been in my brother's shadow my whole life. No matter what I did, no matter how I tried, I couldn't measure up. My elder by two years, he'd been the brains of the family, the one who scored straight As, the one with the good looks. Me—I'd been no slouch and I hadn't fallen from the top of the ugly tree. But though I worked damned hard at school, I could never manage anything more than high-average grades and as for looks, I paled beside him in photographs. The contrast between us was so pronounced, it was something of a family joke.

By rights, I should've hated him—except nobody hated Paul. He'd been the best kind of big brother, my protector when I needed protection, my tormentor when I needed teasing. So my decision to become a living donor hadn't been a tough one to make, even if I suspected now I'd made it for entirely the wrong reasons.

He'd been in his second year at Cambridge University when disaster struck. It shouldn't have been a disaster; he'd simply picked up a throat infection early on in the Michaelmas term. Having barely suffered a day's illness in his life—yep, he'd even been good at being healthy—Paul had no way of knowing he'd be allergic to the antibiotics the doctor prescribed. Worse yet, he'd had no idea his body was already reacting badly to the painkillers he'd been taking.

The double whammy put him in hospital within a week. Within two weeks, his kidneys had failed completely, damaged beyond hope of recovery. Paul being Paul, he took the thrice-weekly dialysis treatments in his stride, but it soon became apparent that only a transplant could give him a shot at leading a normal life. Mum insisted we all take tissue-typing tests when she found out there was no way of telling how long he might wait on the transplant list,. With Dad ruled out because of blood pressure problems and Mum only a partial match, the obvious choice became me.

Being young, fit and healthy, the transplant team told me I was an ideal candidate to have my kidney removed by keyhole surgery rather than by traditional open surgery. The recovery time would be shorter—weeks rather than months—and I'd experience less pain, they said. And with my A level exams coming up in June, we set the date for the end of February.

"Do you remember...?" I whispered as Drew pulled me back into his arms, allowing me to bury my face against his shoulder. "The night before the op?"

I felt him nodding, his hand stroking my hair.

We'd all been there at the hospital that evening, Mum, Dad and Drew with Paul and me in a two-bedded side room off the main urology ward. I could recall the party-like atmosphere as though it was yesterday, that almost tangible optimism, everyone laughing and joking. And I could remember exactly how I felt, the lightness in my spirit, the sense of euphoria. Knowing that for once in my life, I was the special one. That I was the one who was going to make a difference, whose selfless act of 'bravery' would change everything...

Well, everything changed, all right. It all went horribly, horrifically wrong.

I'd nearly died on the table, a 'surgical error' causing me to haemorrhage part way through the key hole procedure, the bleeding so extensive they'd had no choice but to open me right up. Incredibly, they salvaged my kidney and went ahead with the transplant—but whether they should've done was debatable. By the time I woke up in intensive care five days later, Paul was dead, having developed a massive infection after surgery.

"It wasn't your fault," Drew repeated. "And I don't think your Mum blames you. No—" he brushed his mouth against my temple as I made a disbelieving noise "—she doesn't, Sam. She loves you."

"Loves me? She can't even look at me, half the time," I reminded him.

He sighed. "Have you ever had this out with her? Told her how you feel?"

"Oh yes, 'cos that would be a great conversation to have," I said sarcastically. "Can you even imagine how that would go? "Hi Mum. Let's talk about how you feel about my mangled-up kidney killing Paul, shall we?" Yep, that's a fantastic idea. Pass me the phone, I'll do it now."


I bit my trembling lower lip, determined not to lose my slim grip on self control. But try as I might, I couldn't stop the tremulous sob rising through my body and Drew's murmur of dismay finally pushed me over the edge.

He held me while I wept, allowing me to cry the tears I'd tried so hard not to shed, all the while breathing soothing words into my hair, his body a solid wall of comfort against mine. "Happy birthday," he muttered as I calmed at last, the edge of irony making me laugh through the last of my tears.

"I really know how to party, huh?" I hiccupped, smiling as he drew back to look into my face. "God... I must look a mess."

Smiling back, he shook his head, tugging at the collar of my bathrobe and pulling it up to blot my face. "You look beautiful," he said softly.

Then he kissed me.

Too stunned to do anything to stop him, I let it happen for the first few seconds—only to discover I had no desire to stop him anyway. In the seconds that followed, I seemed to lose all touch with reality, all comprehension that this was Drew kissing me, instead losing myself in the wonder that was his mouth moving over mine.

And he was still smiling when it ended. Looking, in fact, rather like the cat that got the cream...

"Wh-what was that?" I gasped, striving to sound indignant—and failing miserably, my heart still pounding with pleasure. "You can't just—you can't just kiss me!"

He grinned. "I think you'll find you just kissed me back."

"I didn't!"

But I had. I knew I had. Worse still, he knew I knew I had.

"Well, make the most of it," I told him breathlessly. "'Cos that's the only kiss you're getting from me. It's never going to happen a—"

I groaned as he kissed me again. Not because I didn't want him to kiss me—because God help me, I wanted him to, like you wouldn't believe—but because I couldn't let this happen. Not between us. "Drew—"

"Shut up," he murmured against my lips, a split second before deepening the kiss. And then it became pointless to argue—make that impossible to argue—his tongue holding mine captive, my eyes closing of their own accord as I surrendered to his will. Willingly.

"We're not doing this," I said when he finally let me up for air, scowling at him when his smile returned. "We're not."

"Of course we're not," he agreed amiably, sliding his hand down between us to make a none-too-subtle adjustment, grinning when I gazed at him in startled comprehension.

I might be a virgin, but I wasn't completely oblivious to the workings of the male anatomy...

"Crying women turn you on?" I accused, a fresh wash of heat searing my already hot cheeks.

"Crying women in bathrobes," he admitted, in the manner of one making an embarrassing confession. "I'm sorry. I've tried to get help, I really have, but apparently, there's nothing anyone can do."

"Oh, really?"

He laughed at my tone of disbelief, planting a kiss on my forehead. "Of course, you could always take the bathrobe off. That might work."


He laughed again, covering my face with kisses now. My cheeks. My nose. My eyelids as they fluttered closed. "'Course, I'd be quite happy to take my bathrobe off, too."

"We're not doing this," I breathed again, less convincingly this time.

"Oh, we are so doing this." And abruptly pushing me backwards, he laid me down on the bed.

I gasped, watching in alarm as his hands moved to my belt, untying the already loosened knot. "Drew... You said—you said we weren't going to do anything I didn't want to do."

He smiled, opening my robe. "We won't. I promise."

"You promise?" I echoed, my heart beginning to thud in my ears again. "So if I said 'stop', you'd stop?"

Lifting his appreciative gaze from my scantily-clad body to my face, he tilted his head on one side, looking amused. "Are you going to say 'stop'?"

Unfair, a little voice screamed in my head. "I might," I got out, finding it horrendously difficult to breathe.

"Then of course I'd stop." And straightening up, Drew reached for the tie of his own robe, a moment later revealing that he, unlike me, hadn't reneged on the terms of our deal...

"Oh God," I whimpered, twisting my head away at once.

I could hear him laughing, the soft flump of his bathrobe falling to the floor. "Don't be a baby, Sam. Look at me."

"I can't."

I felt his hand slide beneath my cheek. "Yes, you can," he chided, gently turning my face back to his. "There you go," he said solemnly. "Easy. Now look."

Swallowing hard, all moisture having deserted my mouth, I looked, keeping my focus strictly north of his navel. Even the sight of his bare chest was enough to take my breath away. Strange in itself, given I'd seen Drew without a shirt maybe hundreds of times before, in the summer, at the beach and the pool. But in this context...

Oh crap. This was completely different.

"You're still not looking."

"Drew!" I screwed my eyes shut.

"Samantha Bloom, do I have to dare you?"

Opening one eye, I knew I was beaten the moment I clocked his confident grin. "You bastard," I muttered. "Fine."


I struggled upright, drawing a deep breath. And this time, after permitting myself a longer look at that broad expanse of masculine chest and abs—not bad for a guy whose idea of exercise was an occasional kick-about in the park—I let my gaze fall south. "Fine—whoa... Fuck."

There it was, erect and proud, jutting out from a nest of springy blond curls—a darker shade of blond than the hairs on his head, I noted absently. Though not before I'd noted the size.

There was no way in hell that would fit.

"You know what?" I said brightly, already edging away. "Now I come to think of it, those beds in the other room looked really comfy—"

"Sam." Laughing, Drew seized my shoulders before I could shuffle more than a few inches and pushed me back down to the bed. "We're doing this."

"No, we're not!" I yelped as he followed me down. "We can't. We mus-umph..."

I moaned helplessly as he kissed me again, conscious I was losing the battle. Because no matter how much that little voice in my head urged caution, my body seemed to be arguing otherwise, every nerve ending on high alert, the dull ache low in my pelvis intensifying with every brush of his lips.

"You're not playing fair," I complained when he let me up for air, grimacing when he rewarded my words with a snigger. "You're not! You can't kiss me like this!"

"How can I kiss you then? Like this?" He dropped the lightest of pecks on my cheek. "Or like this?" Opening his mouth like a fish, he hovered piranha-like over my nose, the o-shape segueing into a grin when I gave a helpless giggle. "Or how about this?" His lips claimed mine again, slow and seductive, his tongue gently seeking my own.

"No..." I blinked up at him dazedly when he pulled back, finding it hard to regain my train of thought. "That's not what I meant. I meant—if we're going to do this—"

"So we are going to do this?" He looked amused.

Oh, bollocks...

"Yes," I mumbled before I could change my mind, my heart promptly setting off at a gallop as he inclined his head to kiss me again. "I mean, no. Not like this."

"What?" His lips an inch from mine, Drew froze above me, looking understandably confused.

"We can't do this!" I wailed, throwing my arms out wide. "You can't do this," I added for clarification, growing increasingly desperate. "Oh for God's sake... You can't do this, like—like you actually love me!"

His face cleared, his brown eyes softening. "Sam, I do love you."

"Not like that, you don't," I fired back. "You're my friend—"

"I'm your best friend," he amended. "Doesn't that make me the best man for the job?"


Laughing when I growled in frustration, he gathered me up from the bed, pulling me into a much-needed hug. "So let me get this straight," he said gravely, brushing his mouth against my ear. "You're actually agreeing to this now?"

I nodded, not trusting myself to speak.

"We are going to have sex—and you'll let me take your virginity?"

"Yes." Oh God, what was I doing?

"Just so long as we don't enjoy it?"

He laughed again when I let out a whimper. "Interesting terms," he murmured, planting another kiss against my temple before starting to tug at my robe.


"Hey." Gently grasping my upper arms, he peered down into my face. "It's gonna have to come off sooner or later."

"I know—it's not that," I said, shrugging the robe straight off my shoulders to show I meant it. Because it wasn't. In my lacy camisole top and knickers, I was still wearing an awful lot more than Drew.

Shooting me a startled smile, he eased it out from beneath me. "What then?" he asked, balling it up and sending it sailing through the air to join his own bathrobe on the floor.

"I'm scared."

He gave a snort of disbelief. "Of doing this? Of me? Sam—I'll do my very best not to hurt you. We'll go really slowly—"

"No," I groaned, shaking my head. "That's not what I meant."

Yeah, right the little voice in my head muttered sarcastically.

"What I meant was," I tried again, ignoring the little voice, "I'm scared of what this is going to do to us. Are things going to get...? Well, you know. Really weird?"

He nodded. "You mean, are we ever going to be able to look each other in the eye again?"

"Yeah." I darted him a tiny smile, relieved he understood.

"Are we ever going to be able to look at each other without imagining the other naked?"

"That sort of thing, yeah."

He grinned. "Will you ever be able to forget how I snogged you senseless and brought you to two screaming orgasms?"

"Drew." A surge of heat flooded my face. Trust him to take it a step too far...

"Okay, four screaming orgasms?" he suggested, laughing openly at me when I punched his arm. "No, something tells me we might have trouble forgetting all that stuff. But that doesn't mean things have to be weird. They'll only get as weird as we let them, Sam."

I bit my lip. "It's just—I don't want to lose you."

"What?" The laughter fading from his expression, he wrapped his arms around me and touched his forehead to mine. "You're not going to lose me, you daft bat."

I swallowed. "You promise? You promise that after this, things will go back to the way they were? That things will be the same?"

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