On my knees, p.12
Larger Font   Reset Font Size   Smaller Font       Night Mode Off   Night Mode

       On My Knees, p.12

         Part #2 of Stark International Trilogy series by J. Kenner
 
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26
“I don’t know,” she says as Jackson returns with a tray carrying three martinis. “But I know you got lucky with this one. ”

  “I did,” I agree, then lean over the table to kiss him. As I do, my new necklace clinks against the side of my glass, and Cass cocks her head.

  “Oh my god,” she says, emphasizing each word. “I saw that in a magazine. You’re wearing a vibrator. ”

  She doesn’t lower her voice as she announces that little fact to the world. If anything, she’s louder.

  “Cass!” I look around to see if anyone has heard, certain that my face is bright red.

  “What? I think it’s totally cool. Or hot,” she says, “depending on how you look at it. I thought about buying one. ” She shrugs, as if she’s just told me nothing more interesting than that she’d tried a new brand of coffee, then glances at Jackson. “Did you get it for her?”

  “It seemed both classy and practical. ” Page 46

  “It really is,” Cass agrees, nodding sagely.

  “I’m going to die,” I say. “I’m just going to melt here into the floor and die. And you,” I add, pointing to Jackson who looks just a little too amused, “are going to pay. Big time. ”

  His lips twitch. “I look forward to it. ”

  “Incorrigible,” I mutter. But, yes, I’m amused, too.

  Cass leaps to her feet and grabs my hand. “Come on. I love this song. Dance with me. ”

  I don’t recognize the music, but I’m willing to dance. I extend my other hand to Jackson.

  “Oh no,” he says. “I already danced once. Besides,” he adds before I can protest, “I need to stay here and guard the table. But you two go on. ”

  “You sure?”

  His grin is just a little devious. “What? Watching two beautiful women dance together? Trust me. That won’t be a problem at all. But first,” he says, then pulls me in for a long, deep kiss.

  I let out a soft moan, then grin happily at him as I stroke the pendant that hangs between my breasts. “Later,” I say in my most husky voice.

  “You can be sure of it,” Jackson says, with so much real heat in his voice that my mood shifts immediately from amused to aroused. He can see the change, and his smile is understanding. “Go,” he says, nodding toward the dance floor where Cass is already moving to the music and motioning me over.

  I obey. But where I really want to be right now is in his arms.

  We dance for a while, moving with the music, following each other, just generally having a good time. But after six long songs I start to lose a little steam. I need a break and a drink, and so I nod my head toward the table, indicating that I’m going to fight my way back through the throng.

  I’ve barely taken a step, though, when Cass pulls me back, her eyes wide.

  “What is it?”

  “Look. ” She points toward the table, but slightly to the left of Jackson. I follow her line of sight—and then gasp.

  “Is that who I think—”

  “Graham Elliott,” she confirms, identifying one of the biggest stars in Hollywood at the moment. “Damn,” she says. “If only I were straight. ”

  Normally, I’d laugh. But right now, nothing seems funny to me. Because Graham Elliott is gunning to play Jackson in the movie that Reed wants to make and that Jackson wants to block.

  And at the moment, Elliott is making a beeline for Jackson.

  I am no longer even swaying to the music. Instead I am just standing on the dance floor watching as Elliott goes right up to Jackson, puts his arm around him, and greets him as if they are the best of friends while all around them, dancers pull out their cell phones and snap their Twitter and Instagram images.

  Jackson remains as still as a mountain, his expression like thunder.

  “I don’t get it,” Cass says. “Why’s Jackson so down on the movie? Does the script make him look like an ass?”

  “He knows the family. And what with the murder and the suicide, he’s protective of their privacy. ”

  “That’s it?”

  I’m certain that it’s not, but I don’t know the rest of it, and I tell Cass so.

  She frowns.

  “What?” I demand, and my voice is harsher than I’d like, because I’m touchy about the subject.

  “I just figured he would have told you the real story. ”

  “We haven’t really talked about it. ” And that’s technically true. But at the same time, the movie has come up every time we’ve talked about the assault on Reed. Because the movie is Jackson’s sleight of hand—it’s what he’s willing to show the public even as he protects me.

  And yet never once has he told me why he punched out that screenwriter. Why he doesn’t want to see the movie come to life. And I have no clue what is so goddamn private within that family that the world would come crashing down if Hollywood looked through the lens.

  And, most important, I don’t know why it matters so much to Jackson, who wasn’t even in the same state when the murder-suicide occurred.

  So, yeah. I’m a little touchy on the subject. And all the more so now that even Cass thinks Jackson’s silence with me on the subject is more than a little odd.

  Right now, however, that’s not what I’m focused on. Instead, I just want to get to Jackson, but that’s getting harder and harder, because the crowd has realized that Elliott is nearby and it’s moving in, circling tight around the two of them. And though I keep trying to see Jackson again, the crowd is just too deep.

  “Dammit,” I curse. And then, when there is a gap in the crowd and I finally do get a glimpse, I repeat the curse with even more ferocity as Jackson stands. And I seriously fear for Graham’s very pretty movie-star face. Because at that moment, Jackson looks ready to explode. Page 47

  “Cass. ” My voice is tight, urgent. I start to shove through the crowd toward him, but Cass gets in front of me. She’s taller than me, and bulldozes a path through the swarm.

  As soon as we reach the edge of the dance floor, I burst past her, no longer shy about using elbows to shove my way to Jackson. He’s standing now, and his fist is clenched. And I have a sudden premonition of the front page of Variety showing him and me and Cass and Graham Elliott all in a sprawl with fists and feet and teeth and fingernails.

  It’s not a pretty mental image. And one I very much want to avoid.

  I grab Jackson’s arm, my fingers closing tight around him. “With me,” I say. “Now. ”

  For a moment, I think he’s actually going to argue. Then he surges forward, pulling me through the crowd with him until we reach the end of the bar. We round the corner for the hall that leads to the restrooms, and the instant we are past the turn, Jackson lashes out, slamming his fist against the wall and, fortunately, not injuring the hardwood paneling.

  I’m not sure if the same can be said for his hand, and I cry out in surprise and worry. “Jackson! Are you okay?”

  I start to reach for his hand, wanting to make sure he didn’t break the skin, but instead, he shoves me back so that I am pressed against the wall and his arms are caging me.

  The unexpected motion has knocked the wind out of me, and I suck in a hard breath, then look up at his face. It’s raw. Feral. I feel a bit like his prey. And though I know that he is angry right now—that he is wild—I cannot deny the excitement that is arcing between the two of us. That is filling me. Making me wet and hot and oh, so very ready.

  And before I can even form a coherent thought, his mouth crushes mine, hot and hard and demanding.

  I open to him immediately, almost instinctually. Tremors of excitement course through me, and all I can think is that I need. But even as I spread my legs in response to the silent demand of his thigh pressing against me, a small rational voice in my head is yelling for us to get out of there. It’s reminding me of cameras and crowds and that this could be a very, very, very bad idea.

  “Jackson. ” His name is ripped from me when he breaks our kiss f
or breath. “The crowd. ”

  The word seems to bring him back to himself, and he takes a single step away from me. He is breathing hard—so am I.

  “The office. ” He grinds out the words. “Where?”

  It takes a moment for the words to make sense, but once my mind starts interpreting English again, I lead him to the stairs that head up to the club manager’s office. It’s empty now, and I punch in the key code, then draw him in. One entire wall is one-way glass and looks out over the main dance floor. Through it, colored lights now burst in, filling the otherwise darkened office.

  Right now, though, I’m not thinking about the dance floor or the lights or anything other than Jackson’s hands on me. His body pressed hard against mine as he slams the door shut with his foot.

  He grabs me up, and I hook my legs around his waist. I cling to his neck as his mouth finds mine even as he stumbles backward, finally slamming us against that wall of glass.

  I slide down his body until my feet find the ground. My skirt doesn’t follow, and it’s up around my waist, and somehow in the midst of all that, Jackson’s hand ended up between my thighs. “Did you mean it?” he asks as his fingers push aside the band of my underwear. “Did you mean what you said about using you when I want to beat the shit out of somebody?”

  “Yes. ” The word is hard and full of meaning. I want this—him. All I can think of right now is his hand inside me—and I shift my hips in silent, desperate invitation. “Oh, god, yes,” I say again as he thrusts deep into me. Two fingers, then three.

  His mouth is over mine again, then on my neck, my collar, my breast. We’re pressed up against the thick glass, and I wonder if we cast a shadow, but I don’t care. Right then, I’m not even sure that I would care if the glass were fully transparent instead of mirrored from the perspective of the club. All I can think of is this. Pleasure. Ferocity. Passion.

  Jackson.

  “Here. ” The single syllable is harsh and short, but I don’t think I have ever heard a word so full of need.

  He pulls me away from the window, turning me so that I am facing the desk that is behind us. It’s large and the surface is mostly clear, just a few documents scattered about.

  With one arm, Jackson sends the papers flying, then bends me over the desk so that my breasts are hard against its wooden surface. I’m still dressed—blouse, bra—and yet I feel the pressure of the desktop against my breasts so intimately that my nipples tighten painfully and red hot threads of sensation shoot from my chest all the way to my cunt. Page 48

  “I have to have you,” he says. “Christ, Syl, I have to fuck you. ”

  “Yes. ” It’s all I can say. All I need to say.

  My skirt is still up around my waist, and now he yanks my underwear down so that it is almost to my ankles. I hear his zipper and spread my legs, and then his cock is right there and he is thrusting inside me with no foreplay, no teasing, no effort to get me ready.

  It is hot and fast and frenzied, and dammit, I love this. This feeling of being needed. Of being used. Of being Jackson’s release valve. Not violence, not anger. But me.

  He is holding my hips, pounding hard into me. And though I have never orgasmed like this, without any attention at all to my clit, right now I am almost there. The pressure of his cock inside me. The rhythm of his thrusts stroking my walls. And most of all the wild excitement of knowing what he is doing and why he is doing it.

  I feel his own release coming. Hear his muffled groan as he tries to hold back. The tightening of his grip on my hips when it can’t be stopped and his release cuts through him. And I follow him over, exploding into a million tiny pieces even as he collapses, exhausted and spent, over my back.

  For a moment, we are simply silent. Then he gently gets off me and uses tissues to clean us both up. He slides my panties back up and tugs my skirt down into place. Then he turns me around and straightens my blouse.

  Once I’m put back together and well tended to, he takes care of his own clothes. Then he studies my face and says simply, “I needed you. Christ, Syl,” he adds with rising emotion, “I always need you. ”

  “I know the feeling. ” I pull myself up to sit on the desk, and he gets on beside me. I lean against him. We’re facing the glass wall, and I look out at the crowd and lights below us. “Do you want to tell me what happened?”

  He doesn’t answer at first, and I tell myself that I shouldn’t push him. A moment passes. Then another. And it is becoming harder and harder for me not to say anything.

  Finally, he speaks. “He came up to me like it’s a done deal. ” His voice is low. Even. But I can hear the anger underlying it. “Like the movie’s going forward and there’s not a damn thing I can do to stop it. ”

  “You’ll stop it,” I say. “If it’s that important you’ll find a way. ”

  He nods, but he doesn’t look convinced.

  I hesitate, then make myself go on. “But, Jackson, I still don’t understand—would it really be that horrible if it was made? I get that it digs into the family’s personal lives, but the papers have already covered the murder, right? And so did a lot of the news magazines and television news shows. So how much worse could a movie be?”

  He turns to look at me. “Trust me. It would be worse. ”

  I wait for him to continue—to explain—but he doesn’t. Instead, he just turns back toward the window and looks out at the club.

  I don’t press him.

  And I do trust him.

  But still, the question lingers. And, yes, my heart aches a bit. Because though I don’t understand why, I am certain that he is keeping things from me. Secrets. Big ones—big enough, at least, to eat him up inside.

  I want to press, but I don’t. After all, I’m keeping secrets, too. He knows the what about the stuff that happened with Reed, but he doesn’t know the how or the why.

  And those are both very big things. Big, important, emotional things.

  My own words to Cass return to haunt me. Maybe you were seeing what you wanted to see, instead of what was really there?

  Is that what I’m doing with Jackson?

  Am I seeing trust because I want to see it? Because I crave his presence? His touch?

  Am I fabricating depth to a relationship that isn’t there?

  And if I am, how do I stop?

  More important, how do I tell the difference?

  fourteen

  “I am completely undrunk. ” Cass scowls at me as I take one arm and Jackson takes the other.

  “Not drunk at all,” I agree. “But we thought you might want to ride in the limo. ”

  “Yeah?”

  “It has a bar,” I remind her. “In case you want to get more undrunk. ”

  She narrows her eyes, but she’s too wasted to decide whether I’m serious or not.

  We leave through the front entrance that faces Sunset Boulevard, and I see that Edward has pulled the limo up by the valet stand. We maneuver Cass down the set of six steps, then move across the wide sidewalk. Beside us, a crowd is gathered behind the velvet rope, impatiently waiting to enter this popular hotspot.

  We’re walking slowly in deference to Cass’s general state of inebriation, and when the first camera flash fires, I realize that we’ve been recognized. Suddenly, both the in-line crowd and the passersby are raising their phones and taking pictures. The rapid-fire flashes burst all around us, making me feel like we’re arriving at a movie premiere rather than going home to nurse a drunk friend. Page 49

  Usually, this kind of attention doesn’t bother me. Damien attracts the paparazzi wherever he goes, which means it has little to nothing to do with me. I’m just the assistant in the background, much like the way Secret Service agents appear in so many candid photos of the president.

  Tonight, however, is different. Tonight, we’ve already dealt with Graham Elliott’s celebrity inside the club. Out here, we are dealing with Jackson’s. Because this crowd wants pic
tures of the guy who bloodied the face of Robert Cabot Reed. And if they can get a shot of him with the former teen model that Reed photographed, then all the better.

  Honestly, the thought makes my stomach curdle.

  “Jackson! Jackson!”

  “Why’d you punch him?”

  “Sylvia! Why did you give up modeling?”

  “What’s the status of the movie, Jackson? Is it true you’re trying to block production?”

  “Someone just tweeted photos of you and Graham Elliott talking inside. Is he attached to the project?”

  “How long have you and Sylvia been dating?”

  The questions are coming on top of one another, and my initial calm in the face of the familiar has entirely evaporated.

  I glance at Jackson, and it’s clear that he sees my panic. “Go,” he says, nodding toward the red-jacketed valet who is holding open the limo door for us. “I’ve got Cass. ”

  At this point, I’m all about self-preservation, and I bolt for the limo. I get settled, then punch the intercom to tell Edward, the driver, that we’re going to Jackson’s boat. I start to give him the address, but he cuts me off. “Don’t you worry, Ms. Brooks. I’ve got it under control. ”

  A moment later, Jackson guides my unsteady best friend into the limo and settles her on the back bench. He starts to cross the short distance to where I sit on the long side of the limo, but she tugs him down beside her.

  He glances at me, but I just shrug, amused.

  The moment we pull away from the curb, Cass peers around the interior. She looks at the bar, then looks to me sitting right beside it.

  “Just one more,” she says. “Pretty please?”

  I roll my eyes, but grab a tiny bottle of vodka. I pass it to her, and I’m about to pass her a glass with ice as well, but she’s already unscrewed the lid and is taking a sip.

  “Was that such a good idea?” Jackson asks.

  “Probably not,” I admit. “But she’s calling it quits with Zee, and I think she decided to drink away her angst while you and I were otherwise occupied. ”

  “Hell, yeah, I did. ”

  I grimace. “She’s on a bender now, and not driving. Might as well let her finish. ”

  Jackson tilts his head, and I see compassion in both his expression and the way he pulls her closer and gently strokes her hair. “I’m so sorry, kiddo. ”

  “It’s just not working with her,” Cass murmurs. “I know it hasn’t been that long, and she’s going to say that we just need to give it time, but—”

  “But you know,” Jackson says. “You already know the way it is. ”

  She shifts in his arms, her head flopping back a bit as she tries to look him in the eyes. “Yeah, I do. Is that dumb?”

  Jackson shakes his head. “Not dumb at all. You can know the truth in a heartbeat if you’re willing to really look. ” He turns to face me. “I’m really looking. ”

  My chest feels suddenly tight, and I nod. Just one single nod of acknowledgment, but it fills me up. And all my earlier worry and angst seems to melt like cotton candy in the rain. Because though we may have secrets, there is nothing shallow or fake about what is between Jackson and me. It is real. It is right. It is us.

 
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26
Turn Navi Off
Turn Navi On
Scroll Up
Scroll
Add comment

Add comment