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|Strings of the Heart(Runaway Train #3) by Katie Ashley|
Deep down, I knew I deserved to be treated a hell of a lot better by Rhys. I should have pushed him away right then and there for daring to use me like he was. But when it came to him, I was an utter and complete masochist. I seemed utterly incapable of ever denying him. He owned my heart, despite the fact he had refused it. He owned my traitorous body that always responded whenever he was near. In the end, my head and my heart continued to wage a war between each other that would render no winner.
When Rhys dipped his head down to kiss me, I jerked back. For some reason, I felt I could give him my body, but I couldn’t kiss him. It was too intimate, and it meant too much.
His brows lined in confusion. “Give me your mouth,” he demanded.
A roll of his h*ps caused us both to moan. “Give me your mouth,” he growled. When I shook my head, he grasped my chin in his fingers as his movements inside me stilled. “Why not?” Because you don’t really want me. You just want to use me, and it hurts too much.
I narrowed my eyes at him. “What’s it to you? You don’t care about me. You just came in here to f**k me, so keep f**king me.”
Rhys’s brows rose in confusion. “I can f**k you but not kiss you? What the hell does that mean?”
“Kissing is personal, so I won’t do it with you—not until I know with absolute certainty that I’m not just an easy lay to you, Rhys. Not until you acknowledge you have feelings for me, not just lust.”
At my declaration, he stared at me, unblinking and unmoving. As his expression began to lighten, I brought one of my hands up to cup his cheek. Closing his eyes, he leaned his cheek into my palm as if he were savoring the gentle touch. “Don’t you really want me, Rhys?”
“I can’t,” he murmured, his voice laced with agony.
“Please,” I whispered.
“You deserve to be loved.” He grimaced as if he were in pain. “And we both know I don’t know how to love anyone.”
Shaking my head furiously back and forth, I countered, “That’s not true. You love Ellie, and you love the guys. You have a lot to give me if you would just open up. You could love me as much as I love you.”
“Dammit, Allison, we’ve been over this. It can’t work between us—it won’t work.”
His refusal caused white-hot anger to pulse through my veins. Dropping my hand from his face, I stared at him in disbelief for a moment before bringing my hand back up again. But this time it wasn’t for comfort. It was to slap the hell out of him. Hard. “Fine then. Finish f**king me since that’s all you seem to be good at. Fucking me and f**king me over.”
Rhys stared at me in utter disbelief. His mouth opened, but no words came out. And then he surprised the hell out of me by pulling out. He eased me down to where my feet were touching the floor. After sliding off the half used condom, Rhys tucked his slackened dick back into his pants. When he finally met my gaze, he shook his head forlornly. “Jesus, Allison, what have I done to you? What am I doing to you?” When I didn’t respond, he muttered, “I’m so f**king sorry.”
He then exited the stall. When I heard the bathroom door close, I staggered over to the toilet seat and collapsed down onto it. As my body shook with sobs, I tried desperately to get a hold of my emotions. Wrapping my arms around myself, I finally just let go and cried until there wasn’t anything left within me. When I finished, I wiped my eyes and left the stall. Standing in front of the mirror, I looked like the hell I felt like. Mascara and eyeliner streaked down my cheeks while my lipstick was smudged from Eli’s kiss.
Once I had cleaned up as best I could, I made my way out of the bathroom. I skidded to a stop at the sight of Eli waiting on me. His eyebrows shot up in surprise at the sight of me. “Jesus, Allison. Are you all right?”
I shook my head. “No, I’m not. I’m so sorry, Eli, but I need to go back to the hotel.”
“Of course. Whatever you need,” he said. He took a tentative step forward to wrap an arm around my shoulder. “Lean on me. I’ll get you out of here.”
His kindness caused the waterworks to start up again. Turning my head, I buried my face into Eli’s chest and let him lead me out of the club. When I got to the limo, Eli helped me inside. Even though I shouldn’t have, I snuggled up to him when he opened his arms to me.
“Do you want to talk about it?” he questioned softly, as we began to make our way along the quiet streets.
“No, not really.”
Eli sighed. “I knew trying to start something up with you was going to be difficult, but I sure as hell didn’t know I’d have competition.”
I twisted out of his arms to stare at him in shock. “W-What do you mean?”
“Come on, Allison. I may act like a fool sometimes, but I’m not really one. I know there’s something between you and Rhys. Hell, any idiot could see that.”
Wincing, I said, “I’m sorry to have put you in the middle of all this. What’s happened between Rhys and me is such a mess. I don’t even know if it is still possible to even be friends with each other.”
“That bad, huh?”
“Yeah, it’s pretty abysmal.” I shook my head sadly at him. “I’m sure after all this you aren’t still interested in our date, huh?”
Eli held up one of his hands. “Whoa, wait a minute. I never said that I didn’t want to be with you.”