“Come here.” He led me to the center of the large bedroom, which looked to be a guest room by the absence of photographs or other personal paraphernalia.
Jared took out his phone and pushed a few buttons before Seether’s Broken started playing. Setting the phone on the chest of drawers, propped up by its kickstand, he walked back over and took me in his arms as I wrapped mine around his neck. Slowly, we started moving together to the music in our very first slow dance.
“I’m sorry I didn’t dance with you tonight.” His eyes wouldn’t meet mine, and there was regret in his voice. “I don’t like doing things like that in public. It feels too personal, I guess.”
“I don’t want you to change who you are,” I told him. “But I might like to dance with you some time or hold your hand.”
He pulled me closer in a hug and wrapped his arms around my back like a steel band. “I’ll try, Tate. Yesterday is gone. I know that. I want that comfort we used to have back.”
I tipped my head up further to meet his eyes as we continued to sway to the music. “Your tattoo—Yesterday lasts forever, Tomorrow comes never—that’s what it says. What does it mean?” I’d finally been able to read the script on the side of his torso one morning this week while he’d been sleeping.
His hand skimmed down my hair. “Just that I was living in the past. What happened with my father, what happened with you, I could never get over the anger. Yesterday kept following me. And tomorrow, the new day, never seemed to come.”
Until me, he’d written on the note.
“And the lantern on your arm?”
“Oh, you ask too many questions,” Jared complained playfully, and I could tell he was embarrassed.
But I waited, not letting him off the hook.
He pinned me with a resigned smile. “The lantern is you, Tate. The light. I got it after I got in trouble last year. I needed to clean up my act, and my mom decided to do the same thing with her drinking. We both picked one thought that would get us through the day. A dream or a desire…” he shook his head and trailed off.
His confession made me breathless. He had thought of me every day?
“Me?” I asked.
He gazed down at me and stroked my cheek with his thumb. “It’s always been you.” He used my words, and I couldn’t swallow for the lump in my throat.
“I love you, Tate.” Jared looked at me like I was the most important thing in his world.
I closed my eyes and touched his lips to mine. “I love you, too,” I whispered against his mouth before sealing it with a kiss.
Our bodies melted together, and his fingers threaded through my hair as we devoured each other. His lips were soft but strong against mine, and my fingers dug into his back as his hands claimed my body. I wanted him everywhere.
I was insatiable, and guilt reared its ugly head at me. I wanted him here and now, but sex in someone else’s room while a party happened downstairs was not something a nice girl did.
I pressed my h*ps into his, and we were both breathless in between kisses.
I trailed a path to his jaw, and my teeth lightly grazed his chin. “Unzip me,” I panted.
He groaned. “Let’s just get out of here. I’m in the mood for more than a quickie.”
“Well, I’ve never had a quickie,” I pointed out. “Unzip me.”
He complied, but the corners of his mouth lifted in a sexy smile. “Where’d my good girl go?” The question was rhetorical. I knew he loved the way I wanted him.
I felt the draft when Jared’s hand reached behind me to unzip my dress, and I moaned when his hands slipped down and caressed my back. His hands were like a drug, almost as addictive as his mouth. I peeled off his jacket, while he let my dress fall down to my waist.
Jared’s mouth seared my neck in soft kisses, and I worked the buttons of his shirt. I sucked in a breath when his hands went to my br**sts. Tingles spread across my skin, craving more of him.
“Jared,” I whispered and wrapped an arm around his neck, placing my lips to his. “I really am a good girl. But tonight I want to be really, really bad.”
His breath shook against my mouth, and he captured my lips in a fierce kiss. God, he wanted me. And I was thrilled, because I didn’t want to wait until we got home.
Jared tore open the rest of his shirt, sending buttons scattering to the hardwood floor. I let my dress spill to my feet and then peeled off my panties, leaving my high heels on.
“Fuck, Tate.” Jared clenched his jaw, taking in the sight in front of him. And he pulled my lips to his again, devouring almost every part of me with his mouth and hands. “I’m sorry. I want to go slow with you. It’s just so hard. Do you think in ten years I’ll finally get to where I’ll actually need foreplay to get hard with you?”
His eyes questioned me, but I could only smile. There was just something about the way he wanted me, the way his eyes drowned out any doubts, that made me feel powerful.
Jared, from what I’d seen, was a one-nighter kind of guy. He didn’t do sleepovers, and he didn’t take phone numbers. I worried that he’d lose interest or consider it a mission accomplished when we’d first slept together, but instead, he’d become even more hungry.
Every touch this past week, every kiss, every time we’d loved, he acted like everything we were doing was new. Ridiculous, I know. He had more experience than me, so why would anything be different than what he’d experienced before?