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Eighteen: 18 - Page 37

He stops my hips for a moment and looks up at me. I’m mesmerized by his eyes. “Fuck my face like I did yours. And when you come, I’ll flip you over and show you what a good time really feels like.”

I brace my hands on the head board, my knees trembling from keeping myself positioned over the top of him. And then I do exactly what he wants.

I fuck him. I rub myself all over his chin. His tongue does a dance that I will never understand, but I don’t need to. It’s not a mathematical mystery that requires solving. It’s nothing but pure ecstasy.

And when I come, I come hard. My head falls back as he laps me up. And then he does exactly what he promised. He flips us over and enters me from the top. His palms cradle my cheeks. His mouth kisses my mouth. And we go slow. We look at each other—gaze at each other—as the pleasure builds to something close to infinity.

We come together in every way possible.

It’s moaning, and writhing, and grunting. It’s sex.

But it feels like love.

I might never have understood what that word meant before, but I do now.

Mateo is love.

We lie there afterward, him mostly talking about what we will do in Hawaii, me still focused on the mind-blowing sex. And then it starts to get dark and I know I need to go home. He helps me dress and walks me across the street, kissing me goodbye on the other side of my patio gate, my head spinning from the leftover lust and the loud hum of the 5 freeway.

I’m addicted to him and what he does to my body. There’s no starting over or going back now. I am just addicted and I need more.

I walk inside and drift around the apartment, ignoring Jason’s bad mood as he gathers his stuff to leave for work. And I realize that I never did take my test today.

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Mateo and I settle into a routine after that. I see him every day but Sunday. The science class at Gilbert finishes up mid-February when all my open-book tests for that semester are turned in and I take the C as a grade. So I stop going to Gilbert altogether. Mateo arranges for us to meet in the library at Anaheim on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and even though this is far less fun because we agreed that sexy times are out of the question with Bowman so close, it’s far easier for me to not have to take the bus anymore.

The rest of the days we meet at his house and do the whole naked tutoring, dick-sucking, pussy-licking, test-taking thing. I don’t know where he gets his problems from. I think he actually makes them up special for me because every one of them has to do with astronomy and he says each of the answers are something he needs for his dissertation project.

I highly doubt that, but I humor him and solve them after we go over examples.

On Saturdays he takes me on a date and it’s never the same place twice. He took me to the planetarium in LA where he said he sorta works. Who knew? Not me. But I guess his dissertation isn’t on stars at all. Not really. It’s on the educational value of laser shows to generate interest in astronomy and math in young people. He didn’t have a show ready for me that day, that’s why we’re going to Hawaii, he said. That’s the first time anyone will see his project and he needs to gather data for his dissertation defense. I guess he’s been traveling for the past year trying to garner support from universities and organizations who use a planetarium as part of their astronomy program and that’s why he was in Arizona when I got sick.

Overachieving nerd. With star tattoos. And a hard body. And a big cock. And that fucking chin. Oh. My. God.

I’m falling for him.

No, I take that back. I’m on the goddamned ground banging my head against a rock, because if everything goes well on our trip to Hawaii this week, he’ll be traveling a lot doing much the same thing after he defends his dissertation.

I sigh as I sit on the back steps waiting for him to pick me up for the airport. He’s late. We leave in four hours and LAX is a good hour-and-a-half drive in traffic at this time of day.


A horn honks in the driveway, and I get up off the stoop and peek around the corner of the house. Oh, shit. It’s his mother in a pale yellow, classic Mercedes roadster. She’s got the top up and she’s leaning out the window. “Shannon, honey. Mateo is running late and he asked me to run you to the airport.”

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“Oh,” I say, disappointed.

“Come on. Do you need help with your bags?”

“No,” I say, grabbing my backpack from the stairs and walking to the passenger side door. I slide in, my bare legs loving the softness of the leather interior.

“He didn’t buy you a bag for this trip?” she asks, looking at my pack. “What kind of animal did I raise?”

I giggle at that. “He did offer. He was just as appalled as you that I was taking a ten-dollar backpack to Hawaii. But I said no. I’m not a traveler. I probably wouldn’t get a lot of use out of it.”

She gives me a sideways glance as we back out of the driveway and get on Broadway. “Honey, Mateo loves to travel, so you should just take him up on that offer. You’re going to need it.”

“Hmmm,” I say.

“What’s that mean?”

I like Gigi. I’ve seen her regularly since Mateo first introduced us. Mostly when we go eat at Alesci’s Laguna. But she’s been in Alesci’s Anaheim a few times when we’ve stopped in too. We eat there once a week at least. “I don’t know. I can’t predict the future. And Olivia is here. I can’t just go on trips all the time, you know? Jason was pissed off about this week, but I told him months ago, so there was nothing he could do.”

“I see,” she says, getting on the 5 north. “But they are not your only family, Shannon.”

“No, they really are. I know it’s hard to understand that, coming from such a big one yourself, but—”

“No, sweetie. We’re your family now too.”

I think I blush. I have no idea what to say to that. Does she really think Mateo and I will be together after he finishes his dissertation? Because I’m not that delusional.

“What are you going to do after graduation, Shannon?”

“Oh, I’m thinking about web design. I’m doing a project in school right now and I really like it. Plus, I can do graphic design at the same time. It’s sort of a win-win for me.”

“Do you do web design? I didn’t know that. Would you like to redesign the Alesci’s site?”

“Oh, wow, that must be a huge project.”

“Well, we can start small, maybe? How about just the Anaheim site? And then we’ll see where we are when you’re done with that.”

“Yeah,” I say, excited. Gigi speeds up to get over, and then we get stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic trying to merge onto the 91. “I’d really like that, actually.”

“I’ll pay you, of course. What do websites go for these days? Last time we redid it I think it was somewhere in the neighborhood of eight thousand dollars.”

“What?” I almost choke. “I’m pretty sure my services aren’t worth eight thousand dollars, Gigi.”

“Honey,” she says, raising an eyebrow. “Never undersell yourself. Always know your worth. And if you come out high, you can always lower your price during negotiations. But since I came in low, as a new businesswoman you will want to counter with something higher. Include a list of your talents and services. Now what are you worth?”

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