Before jamaica lane, p.41
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       Before Jamaica Lane, p.41

         Part #3 of On Dublin Street series by Samantha Young
 
Page 41

  Snorting, I casually took a sip of my coffee even though I felt anything but casual about our conversation. ‘Right,’ I muttered sardonically, setting my cup back on its saucer.

  ‘I would never lie to you about that. ’

  At his hard, indignant tone I looked up at his face and found he was angry. I raised an eyebrow at his expression. ‘You’re mad because I don’t believe you? Really, Nate? I asked you point-blank if you were in love with me, you said no, and now weeks later you’re saying yes. And you wonder why I’m struggling to believe a word you say?’

  For a moment I thought he wasn’t going to answer. Clearly attempting to keep his impatience in check, Nate exhaled heavily before replying. ‘That night was the only night I’ve ever lied to you. More than that, I was lying to myself. I didn’t want to fall for you. You, more than anyone, know that. But I did. And I’m man enough to admit that it scared the absolute shit out of me. It still does. ’ He reached for me, his hand resting gently on my knee as his eyes bored into mine. ‘There’s been no one since you because I don’t want anyone else. You’ve ruined me for anyone else. ’ His hand coasted lightly up my thigh, and unfortunately that mere touch elicited a hundred memories of sensual caresses. Lust must have flared in my eyes, because I saw Nate’s gaze sharpen as he caught it. ‘I miss you, babe. I miss everything about you. ’ His fingers started tracing circles on my leg and I felt trapped, unable to move as my body began to hum with the memories. Nate’s eyes darkened with heat as they scanned down my body and back up to my lips. ‘I miss your mouth,’ he confessed hoarsely. ‘I miss your tongue. I miss the feel of it against mine. I miss the feel of it on my skin. ’ He leaned in even closer so all I could see and smell was him. ‘I miss your mouth wrapped around my cock. ’

  My breath left me, blood rushing in my ears as his words cast a sexual spell over me.

  His fingers continued to draw their lazy pattern on my thigh. ‘I miss your breasts, Liv, and the feel and taste of your nipples. I miss the way they pucker up for me, for my thumb, for my tongue … and how me just touching your tits makes you so fucking wet. ’ He groaned at the thought and his hand suddenly tightened over my thigh. ‘I miss that. You drenched and hot and tight around me as I pump into you. The feel of your nails digging into my back, your thighs gripping me tight, your eyes on mine. ’

  I think I whimpered.

  Nate’s eyes flared. ‘You screaming my name as you come around my cock. I miss that most of all. ’

  Breathless, I gazed into his eyes, my cheeks flushed, my breathing unsteady. I couldn’t believe he’d said all that to me in public. I couldn’t believe my body’s reaction.

  His hand smoothed over my thigh. ‘If I slipped my hand between your legs right now, I’d find you wet, wouldn’t I, babe? I’d find you as wet as I am hard. ’

  I sucked in my breath, trying to clear my desire-fogged brain.

  Somehow, somewhere, I found the strength to push his hand off my leg. Trembling, I reached for my bag. ‘Sex … it isn’t love. ’

  ‘For Christ’s sake, I know that. ’ Nate grabbed my wrist, stopping my flight. ‘Don’t walk away, Liv. You walk away now … it’s about pointless stubbornness. ’

  Anger engulfed me and I ripped my hand away from him. ‘You left me,’ I growled. ‘You treated me no better than one of your random hookups, and suddenly because you’ve decided that no, wait, you do love me, I’m to come running back?’ I stood up, my chair clattering behind me with the force of the movement. ‘Your words are nice in the moment. But at the end of the day it means fuck all. I don’t trust you with your own feelings, Nate. Why the hell would I trust you with mine?’

  Before he could say a word I hurried out of there, my throat choked with the tears I held back the entire walk home. It had taken an enormous amount of strength to walk away from Nate. A strength I hadn’t even known I had.

  26

  Even though I felt like Ben had left me to the slaughter, I was also flattered that he was concerned enough to want me to call him when I got home. However, when I did call him I was surprised to hear what he had to say.

  ‘You’re that couple,’ he told me softly.

  ‘What couple?’ I snapped.

  ‘That couple who are a couple even when they’re not being a couple. ’

  ‘You spent five seconds with us,’ I argued.

  ‘Yeah, and it was enough to know that you and Nate aren’t over. You’re unresolved, and until you know whether or not you’re going to go back to him, I think I’m less likely to get hurt if I stay completely out of the cross fire. Look, I really do like you, Olivia, so if I’m wrong and you decide he isn’t for you, give me a call. ’

  And then he hung up on me.

  I spent the next few days seething at Nate. Not just for the emotional damage he’d caused me but because my body had been strung taut like a guitar string twisted to near breaking point ever since his little word seduction in the dark corner of Black Medicine. My vibrator barely took the edge off.

  Jerk.

  The only good news to come at me that week was Jo’s casual mention that Nathan was home and recovering well, and that Elodie and Clark were hosting a party to celebrate Joss’s pregnancy. Jo suspected Joss was only going along with it to prove to everyone that she was happy with the pregnancy. I wasn’t so sure. I thought the only one Joss really cared about was Braden, and from what I’d seen, he was happy and he knew that Joss was happy. I thought that more than anything they were just going along with the party because it meant something to Elodie.

  The other good news – and I was determined that it was good news – was the fact that Nate had stopped calling. Saturday came around and it was time for the party and I hadn’t heard a peep out of him since our conversation at the café. That was good. It meant I was right.

  Nate didn’t love me.

  He’d given up easily.

  He didn’t love me.

  That was good.

  Yeah, that’s convincing, Soda Pop.

  Okay, so suffice it to say I wasn’t in the greatest mood when I turned up at Elodie and Clark’s on Saturday evening. Even the pink and blue balloons, the decorative baby gowns with funny quotes on them, the mammoth white cake with pink and blue buttercream frosting, the chilled champagne and delicious-looking finger food couldn’t pull me out of my funk.

  But I pretended it did. Or I tried to …

  ‘You look better. ’ Joss wandered over to me as I settled myself in the corner of the crowded sitting room with a glass of champagne. She, on the other hand, was holding a glass of water.

  ‘As do you. ’

  And she did. She looked well rested and happy.

  ‘I feel good,’ she said, a small smile flirting with her mouth as she glanced across the room at her husband. He was standing talking to someone I didn’t know, but his eyes kept flicking back to her. ‘Braden’s a little overprotective at the moment, which I thought I’d find annoying. ’ She grinned at me. ‘Not so much, though. You’d be amazed at the lengths he’s willing to go to to make me happy. ’

  I gave her a sly look. ‘Are you using your pregnancy to extort irrational favors from your husband?’

  ‘I wouldn’t call making him get up at two o’clock in the morning to find a twenty-four-hour supermarket that stocks chocolate peanut butter Häagen-Dazs ice cream irrational. ’

  My eyes bugged out. ‘You didn’t do that to him?’

  Joss snorted. ‘No. ’ She took a sip of her water, her eyes twinkling with mischief. ‘But I’m going to. ’

  I burst out laughing, drawing the gazes of several people in the room, and one of those gazes turned me to stone.

  Nate had arrived. And he looked good. His hair had been trimmed a little and he was sporting stubble. He wore a dark red T-shirt and black jeans. Nothing special, yet still he managed to look good enough to eat. I really hated that about him.

  Seconds after our eyes lo
cked across the room, his expression grew blank and he quickly turned back to Cam and Jo.

  What? My eyes narrowed in heated indignation. He was ignoring me?

  Joss hissed in her breath. ‘Did we forget to mention Nate was coming?’

  Attempting to control my anger, I turned back to Joss, smoothing out my own expression. ‘He is your friend. I can’t expect you guys to not talk to him. ’

  ‘Still … it’s awkward. I should have told you. ’

  ‘It’s fine. We’re ignoring each other. ’ I swallowed past the lump in my throat. ‘There’s no reason why we can’t both enjoy our friends’ happiness without one of us wanting to stick a fork in the other’s eye!’ I snapped, and gulped down the entire glass of champagne.

  Joss stared at me for a second. ‘Okay then. I’ll just leave you to … your violent musings. ’

  She was gone before I could apologize for my insanity.

  ‘Fuck,’ I muttered.

  ‘Charming. ’

  I spun around at Ellie’s wide-eyed, smiling regard. ‘Hey, Els. Sorry about dropping the f-bomb. I forgot to check my bitterness at the door and Joss got whiplash from it. ’

  Ellie waved me off. ‘Oh, Joss won’t care. She knows all about it. She’s just in this little happy bubble at the moment and it deflects all misery. ’

  ‘She shouldn’t have to deflect my misery. My misery should have been checked at the door along with my bitterness. ’

  Ellie took a step closer, her expression conspiratorial and yet still sympathetic. ‘So you’re still miserable?’

  I just blinked at her.

  ‘I’ll take that as a yes. ’ Without another word she scurried off.

  ‘Oh, God,’ I mumbled under my breath, as I realized I was successfully driving my friends away with my attitude. ‘I’m that cousin who stinks of pee. ’

  I was more than grateful, then, when I saw my dad striding through the party toward me. However, as soon as I caught sight of his grim countenance, the gratitude was quickly replaced by concern.

  ‘What’s going on?’ I asked softly, as he gently took hold of my elbow.

  ‘I need to speak to you,’ he replied gruffly.

  Mystified and troubled, I let him lead me out of the sitting room and all the way upstairs. To my surprise he opened the door to Hannah’s room and gestured for me to go in ahead of him.

  Throwing him an inquiring look as I passed, I walked inside, only to come to an abrupt halt at the sight of Nate standing with his back to me. I swung around, wide-eyed, to question my dad, but the door was already slamming shut behind me.

  My mouth agape, I whirled around to find Nate frowning at me.

  ‘You’re not Cam,’ he observed quietly.

  ‘You think?’ I snapped. ‘We’ve been had. My dad led me up here on false pretenses. ’

  He raised an eyebrow, amusement glittering in his dark eyes. ‘Mick was in on it? When did he take my side?’

  I knew exactly when my dad had switched to the dark side, and it was all my fault. Idiot child. ‘Before you turned into a total asshat, I made the mistake of convincing him that you’re a good guy. Unfortunately, what I told him seems to have overridden the fact that you stop being a good guy once your dick is involved. ’

  Instead of being offended, Nate laughed. ‘I remember a time not too long ago when you would have blushed from head to toe saying that. ’

  ‘I remember a time when I thought there was no one else like you. ’

  That bled the amusement right out of him. We stared at each other in tense silence for a moment until Nate shook his head sadly. ‘I hate that I’m the one who’s done this to you. The Liv I fell for is the kindest, most compassionate and understanding woman I’ve ever met. I’ve made you lose her. ’

 

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