Distractions Ch. 03byHotSprings22©
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I pushed my sunglasses on top of my head as I ducked into the bookstore. The cold blast from the air conditioning was a welcome relief to the unrelenting heat of the sun. Breathing in the smell of aged books, I navigated the familiar shelves waiting for something to grab my attention, and something did.
"Hey Isabelle," I felt the hand on my shoulder before I had heard the voice.
"Hey Jeremy," I said as I turned around.
"How ya been?" Jeremy looked at his feet as he asked me the question, trying to turn on his boyish charm. I'd known him for a while now, we went to high school together, be we never became close friends, in large part to his shyness. He always seemed to be at a loss for words around me.
"I've been pretty good, how bout you?"
He nodded. "I saw you at the party last week." I cringed. "I wanted to come over and say hey, but you seemed a little preoccupied." I shrugged my shoulders.
"Was it that bad?" I knew he probably wasn't going to tell me the truth. He smiled sheepishly. "Did a lot of people see?" His grin took over his face, confirming my suspicions.
"What's the deal with you and Gavin?" He asked again looking at his feet. His shyness was cute in a boyish way.
"There is no deal between me and Gavin," and as far as I was concerned that was the gods honest truth. Jeremy's questioning gaze met mine. "He was extremely drunk as was I. That's all." Jeremy let out a huge sigh of relief.
"Well then," he said as he was wringing his hands. "You wouldn't mind having coffee with me sometime would you?"
The look on his face made me say yes more than anything. He was wearing his heart on his sleeve, and before I really thought about the idea, I just said yes. If anything, he could provide a useful distraction from Wilson and Gavin. And if it was a start, Jeremy was nothing like Wilson or Gavin, which gave him a huge plus in my book.
Jeremy and I started seeing each other on a fairly regular basis. Sometimes after work we'd meet for coffee or dinner. On the weekends, we'd meet for lunch and a movie, or we would go to the bookstore and spend the day browsing around. It was cute how well we got along. We never argued, which was something I did with everyone I knew, even playfully. It had all the trappings for becoming something perfect. Jeremy was really into me and I could tell, but there was still something off. It didn't matter though because I could tell it was really starting to get under Gavin's skin.
Gavin...now there was a thought. He still stopped by the apartment all the time, but I hadn't had an actual conversation with him in a month. We'd both been too preoccupied with what was on our minds to actually talk about it. The entire time we'd be in each others presence was spent furtively sneaking glances at each other, waiting for the other to break the silence. It was extremely juvenile, but we're both extremely stubborn.
When he'd first shown up at the door and I'd seen first hand what Wilson had done to his face, I wanted to kiss his bruises and lick his cuts. I wanted to help him support his weight as he gingerly shuffled over the threshold clutching his side. I wanted to apologize for being a raving lunatic but it wasn't like me to apologize. I'm not good at admitting I'm wrong and I'm pretty sure he didn't want to hear whatever lame excuse I could come up with. But over the weeks, Gavin's bruises and cuts healed but the tension between us didn't. I missed my best friend, but what was there to say?
We needed to talk about how it wouldn't work, we are best friend and we shouldn't cross that line. We needed to talk about how if that line was crossed – again, it would ruin everything. If I were another person, I'd be ecstatic he was coming onto me. But I'm not and I know him too well. He didn't really want me anyway. He kissed me and it shocked him. That's all. And as for me, he didn't have to know I'd been wrestling over my feelings for him for what seems like forever, but that's my problem, and I would deal with it.
We'd gone to some ball games, just the three of us, just like old times, but there was always a hint of awkwardness in the air inadequately hiding the change in our relationship. My brother pretended not to notice, just like he was doing tonight.
It was Friday night again, and this was usually 'our' night, but I hadn't spent a Friday with my brother or Gavin in awhile. My weekends were usually occupied with Jeremy. My brother was annoyed, and he said so.
"Wanna fly with us tonight?" My brother asked as I emerged from my bedroom and strode into the living room.
"Nah, I'm hangin with Jeremy tonight." Gavin snorted. My eyes flew to the recliner as I watched him watching me. He was slouched low in the chair scowling at me. I couldn't hold his gaze, and I looked away first.
"What, you too good for us now?" Brenden asked.
I ignored him.
"Where are you and pussy boy goin?" It was Gavin who spoke and his tone was oddly conversational; not matching the venom in his eyes at all. Honestly, I don't know why he cared at all.
"Mind your own business." That really pissed Gavin off. I smiled smugly as he shifted in his seat. I could see the emotions running across his face. He wasn't sure if he wanted to shoot me or strangle me.
"Where are you and Jeremy goin?" My brother asked rolling his eyes at Gavin's obvious display of irritation.
"To that coffee shop on Main." That was enough detail because there was only one Main Street and there was only one coffee shop on it. The perks of living in a small town. Gavin let out a throaty condescending laugh.
I narrowed my eyes at him and walked out the door as my brother threw a pillow at Gavin's head.
By all accounts, Gavin should have been having a good time. The brunette grinding up against him was surely trying to make sure he did. She told him what her name was...Maria? Mary? Martha? He shook his head as he braced himself as she tried to get her ass as physically close to him as possible. He stared around the party completely uninterested.
At least Brenden was having a good time, He was chatting up some new girl in the corner. Gavin took another sip from his cup and noticed it was empty...again. Gavin moved out of the girls way without telling her, and he watched at she nearly fell flat on her ass. He shrugged and walked back to the kitchen to refill his cup...again.
If he let himself think about his alcohol consumption, he could directly correlate it to the amount of time he spent thinking about Red. The more she danced in his mind, the more he tried to drown her out. And tonight she was at a coffee shop with Jeremy. What the fuck was wrong with the world? And why the fuck should he care? As her best friend, he was still in the doghouse but he should be happy for her. If nothing else, he should be happy she was getting over that fucker Wilson.
He never should have kissed her.
He filled his cup and took a healthy gulp. He needed to talk to her and he needed to talk to her now. He couldn't stop thinking about that kiss. His lips were still tingling and he could taste her chap stick. He drained his cup and crushed it in his hand. He had to get a hold of himself. He was standing in the middle of this random kitchen, (whose house was he at anyway?), with a raging hard on thinking about some girl who was on a date with another guy. If he wanted, he could have had anyone at this party, but that's not what his mind was on. He wanted Red, and he wanted his Red now. Pandora's box was open, and he just needed to get her out of his system. If he did it once, he could do it again.
He shuffled through the dancing bodies to Brenden. Gavin didn't notice until he was on top of him that he was on the phone. Brenden held up a hand to Gavin as he told him it was still ringing.
The phone in my back pocket vibrated, nearly shocking me out of my seat. I looked at the display grateful for the distraction.
"Hey Brenden." I leaned back and covered my other ear in hope of hearing him better. The sound of the music was much louder than his voice was.
"Hey Red. What's up?"
Odd time for a conversation. "Nothin' what's goin on? Is everything all right?"
"Yea, yea, I was just checkin to see if you were still out. I'm pretty trashed so I think I'm gonna spend the night here." If my brother wanted to stay, that meant he found a girl. I wanted to ask about Gavin, but my pride and Jeremy's blue doe eyes kept my lips firmly sealed.
"Okay, I'm still at the coffee shop with Jeremy." My brother chuckled. By the subtle nuance in the tone I used, I knew my brother would notice the fact that I was soo over sipping on coffee talking to Jeremy, and he did.
"Well, if you want, we are still here, and it's actually a pretty big party, you should stop by." I smiled. I love my brother.
"Ok, I'll think about it, but don't look for me."
"K." Before I could say goodbye, Brenden disconnected.
I closed my phone and set it down on the table. "Is everything all right?"
"Yep. My brother just called to tell me he wasn't coming home." Jeremy's face brightened.
"Well then, I guess that means we have time for more coffee." I plastered a fake smile on my face as he jumped up from the table and ran back to the counter. Honestly, I've heard of guys liquoring girls up to sleep with them, but pumping them full of caffeine? This was defiantly a new one.
I watched as he placed his order and tried to desperately think of a way to get out of this. We could go to the party, but Gavin would be there, and Wilson might be there. That was another break down waiting to happen.
I looked at my watch. It was too late for a movie, and I wasn't hungry. I couldn't tell Jeremy that I had to get up in the morning because he knew better. I let out a long settling breath as I watched him come back to the table with a goofy grin plastered on his face.
Wilson or Gavin, if he actually liked me, would have been ripping off my clothes by now, and I would have liked it. But that was the difference wasn't it? That's the reason I'm sitting here with Jeremy and not them because Jeremy is different. I inwardly rolled my eyes. Jeremy is cute and all, but I can only take his lost-puppy look for two cups of coffee. We are on cup number four.
"I'm gonna go to the bathroom," I said as soon as he plopped down into the booth.
"Okay, hurry back, I just thought of another story to tell you."
If he tells me one more time how he loved putting marbles up his nose as a kid, I'm gonna poke his eyes out with my spoon.
I stepped into the bathroom thankful for the physical barrier between Jeremy and I. I stood above the sink, studying the reflection in the mirror. I bent down to splash water on my face as I heard the bathroom door creak open then slide shut. I half listened as a pair of heavy footsteps shuffled across the floor and stopped somewhere near the sink.
I reached up and grabbed some paper towels to dry my face with. They were those hard brown paper towels and I had to pat my face dry for fear of cutting my skin. I up-righted myself, flipped my hair out of my eyes, stared back at my refection in the mirror, shrieked and nearly pissed myself.
The shock of seeing Gavin standing behind me didn't seem real. I spun around and nearly collided with him as he stood still as a statue behind me.
Eventually, I found my voice. "What the hell are you doin here?"
Wide-eyed I watched a thousand emotions play across his face. His flushed tanned cheeks stretched taunt over his clenched jaw. His eyes were guarded and angry. If I hadn't known him, I'd have been scared, and honestly I was. The ends of his hair were wet with perspiration where they touched his forehead and neck. I watched as his chest heaved as he tried to catch his breath. His shirt clinging to his damp chest defining exactly what I knew was beneath it. Briefly I wondered if he walked here, and then I remembered I didn't care.
Gavin just stared at me as if he had made this entire trip, and now that he was here, he didn't know what to say. I rolled my eyes and started to walk past him when he blocked my path with his body. Instead of trying to force him out of the way, I took a step back. If I touched him, I knew I probably wouldn't be able to stop.
The alcohol on his breath wasn't overpowering, but it was there. He'd been drinking again...this seemed to be where all of our problems started, and I was getting sick of this routine.
"I asked you a question," I said as I crossed my arms in front of me. If he was gonna keep me prisoner in the bathroom, he had to at least answer my questions.
After a long pause, he finally spoke. "What are you doing here with Jeremy?"
"Why do you care?"
Gavin repeated his question, which really pissed me off. Who does he think he is? "What were you doing with Cassie?" I snapped back.
Gavin stood still as a statue and stared at me with a blank expression. His jaw twitched, and his eyes softened. I looked away. If I stay locked in his gaze any longer, I'd forgive him for anything.
"No answer, huh?" I rushed on. I had to get away from him.
I rolled my eyes and sighed. "Lay off the alcohol, Gavin and get the fuck outta my way." I started to walk past him. "Did my brother bring you here?" I added as an after thought.
The look on his face at the mention of my brother made me think that my brother didn't have any idea he was here. What the fuck is going on?
Gavin still didn't answer the question.
"Forget it. Move." This time, I tried to shove Gavin hard in the shoulder.
"Oww!" Gavin's grip on my wrist was like fire to ice. I could feel myself melting as I tried to fight the pain he was inflicting with the tightness of his grip. "Let me go you lunatic!" The rage building inside me forced my head to pound. I needed to get away from him.
"Answer me," he said in a hushed voice as he pushed me backwards until I smacked into the bathroom wall. "What are you doing here with Jeremy?"
I didn't feel the need to answer his retarded question. I thought it was pretty obvious I was on a date, even if I was nearly bored to tears.
I glanced at the door, and he followed my gaze. A slow lazy smile spread across his full lips. He was taunting me, and I knew it.
"If you can make it to that door, you can leave." As if sealing his victory, he reached over and flicked the lock on the door, and turned back to me. His look was one of the cat that just got the cream. It went without saying he's physically stronger than I am. Even when we fought each other, it was never really a contest.
"You can't be serious."
His gaze never faltered. Gavin looked me dead in the eye as he anchored one hand on the wall behind my head effectively blocking me from the door. I gulped as I eyed the veins standing out on his forearms.
"Jeremy is waiting for me."
"Like I give a shit."
"I'm not doing this with you. What the fuck is wrong with you? What are you doing here?" My voice dripping with irritation and slowly increasing in volume. Just when I thought that I might actually be getting over him, he corners me in the bathroom. Unbelievable.
"Sounds like you're sayin' uncle." I rolled my eyes. "Stop pretending. You know you want this," he growled as he moved his head closer to mine. He was standing so close to me, I can feel the staccato rise of his chest brushing lightly against me, his eyes melting as he looked at me.
"This isn't about me saying uncle." But on some level, I knew it was. "It's about you being a freakin' lunatic. Grow up, Gavin. Every hot-blooded female isn't interested in you." I lied.
The corner of his mouth tugged upward further as he molded his body to mine and stole my breath away. It was like a thousand voices were whispering inside my body that this is exactly what I wanted. They were whispering for me to give in; to completely surrender, and just when I thought the kiss was too much for me, Gavin's lips stilled.
He only pulled back slightly, our faces still touching. If I could have moved away from him I would have, but my head was against the wall. As if he was savoring the taste of me, he slowly ran his tongue across his lips, lightly brushing mine in the process.
"I saw you out there with him," he said whispering against my lips. "You looked bored as shit. You never looked that way when you're with me."
"Lay off the alcohol and leave me alone. We can talk when you're sober," and I stressed the word sober.
"What's wrong, Red? Afraid of being with a real man?" he asked as he pressed his body to mine. The whispering voices were back and they were telling me to give in, and give myself and Gavin what we both knew I wanted.
"When I see a real man, I will let you know."
"You used to be so sweet, Red," he said as he slowly drew a finger up my arm enticing goose bumps from my skin. "What happened?"
"Well, being surrounded by assholes can do that to a person."
"I can think of something to put in that dirty little mouth of yours," he said as he rubbed against me bringing his mouth to my ear. I felt the wetness of his tongue dart out and tickle my ear lobe.
The moan that escaped my mouth was in complete contrast to me rolling my eyes. I shoved him hard in the chest, trying to get him out of my way. Gavin was caught off guard but recovered quickly and went for my arm when I'd tried to run.
"Don't walk away from me, I'm talking to you." Judging by the look on Gavin's face, I knew this wasn't how Gavin pictured things going. I could tell he had no idea I'd be so insistent on getting away from him.
This was getting out of control.
"Let me go," I nearly screamed now. I couldn't take this anymore. If I didn't get away from him soon, I was going to loose my mind. When I felt his grip tighten on my arm, I tried to hit him as hard as I could, but even in his drunken state, he saw it coming. His other hand clamped around my wrist as he pinned my hands next to my head and slammed me back into the bathroom wall lewdly using the rest of his body to hold me still.
His hips started grinding against me as I tried to figure out what was more distracting, his breathing so close to my ear, the feel of his erection capturing my clit on the rough seam of my jeans, or the fact that he knew exactly what to do to me.
I wanted to cry in frustration, I wanted to rip my clothes off and let him have me in the bathroom. I wanted to give in to the feeling of his body enveloping mine. I wanted to give in. I wanted him. But I couldn't.
"Tell me," he whispered hotly in my ear, "you wanna go back to boring Jeremy, and I will let you go."
I began to struggle in his arms now, but the only thing I succeeded in doing was raking my painfully erect nipples against his chest for him to feel how aroused I was. He slipped a knee in between my legs and slightly lifted me off the ground.
"Hmm," he growled. "Its hot down there." My face began to burn in shame. No matter how much I tried to deny myself and him, my body was betraying me and revealing to me how much I wanted him.
"Let me go," I muttered, barely a whisper. My resolve was cracking. I wanted him more than anything, but not like this.
"Tell me you want to go back to Jeremy, and I will."
I opened my mouth to speak but instead gasped as I felt his fingers dancing at the button of my jeans. With one very skilled hand, he popped the button on my jeans and slid the zipper down.
"Were you going to say something?"
"Don't do it," I pleaded with him. There was that line I'd been talking about and he was about to slip his finger under it.