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|Down London Road(On Dublin Street #2)(60) by Samantha Young|
‘It wasn’t about Blair, baby. It was about you. About us.’
‘I don’t understand.’
Cam’s hand slipped down my arm, his knuckles caressing my skin in soothing strokes. ‘When we bumped into Blair, it was a shock and it was strange. When she and I dated I thought I was in love with her. We were together three years and I didn’t take it well when it ended. But standing there, looking at her, I didn’t feel anything but a distant familiarity. There was no hurt or love or anything but a friendly gladness to see her.’ His eyes darkened. ‘As we were standing there I got stuck in this thought … the thought of me walking down Princes Street ten years in the future with some faceless woman on my arm, and bumping into you when you weren’t mine any more. Because everyone leaves eventually, I thought.’ He huffed in what seemed like pain and his grip on me tightened. ‘It winded me. No, it floored me. I think I’ve been in love with you since that moment in the kitchen, but last Saturday was the first time I realized how crazy I was about you. What I feel for you …’ Cam sucked in a breath and I found myself reaching a hand up to his face, my heart pounding as I watched this man – this strong, irreverent man – overcome with emotion … emotion for me. ‘It’s all-consuming,’ he breathed, leaning his forehead against mine again. ‘It’s almost debilitating. It’s too much. It’s … I can’t even describe it, but being with you is … there’s this intensity inside me all the time, this … constant pull, desperation … it’s like you’re branded on me or something. And it bloody well burns.’
‘I know,’ I whispered soothingly, my tears falling faster. ‘I know. I feel it, too.’
‘You never told me that, though,’ he answered a little harshly. ‘You always kept something of yourself hidden from me, and I didn’t know. I couldn’t tell if you felt the same way. That’s why I got drunk on Saturday night. That’s why Nate came around the next morning to talk to me. He convinced me you felt the same way.’
‘How did he do that?’
‘I asked for his opinion about you and he said, “You’ve nothing to worry about, mate. That girl thinks you’re ‘it’ and I wouldn’t say it if I didn’t think it.” ’
I suddenly remembered Cam’s attitude once Nate had left. It was like someone had flipped a switch inside him. Gone was the quiet, subdued, moody man from the night before. In his place had been a seducer. The rough sex against his desk … I remember thinking at the time that it had felt like a claiming. Now I didn’t think I’d been too far off the mark.
Relief, intense relief, washed through me and I rested my head against his warm chest. ‘You told Blair this?’ I murmured against his skin.
‘I told her I was in love with you and that I didn’t think it was a good idea to renew our friendship.’
Another tear fell, splashing his skin.
‘I hope those are happy tears.’
I sobbed now, the well of emotion inside me too much to contain after everything I’d been through. ‘I love you,’ I cried, holding him tighter. ‘So much I want to kill you sometimes.’ I hiccupped attractively.
Cam laughed softly. ‘The feeling is definitely mutual, baby.’
‘So what now?’ I sniffled.
‘Now? I endure the agonizing wait for those ribs to heal up so I can have my wicked way with you and show you just how much I f**king love you.’
I grinned through my tears. ‘I feel your pain.’
Cam grunted in response.
We lay there in silence for a moment and then I pulled back to look up into his gorgeous face. ‘I think I have to leave Mum, Cam. I don’t know how I’m going to bring myself to do it.’
Another soft kiss grazed my lips and I tugged him back to me, ignoring the pain so I could kiss him, long, hard and deep. We finally broke apart, panting.
God damn these stupid ribs.
‘We’ll worry about all that later,’ Cam said. ‘For now, let’s just get you on the mend.’
‘Can I tell you I love you again?’
He nodded slowly, his expression earnest. ‘I’ll never get tired of hearing it.’
‘So any word from the mysterious Marco?’ I asked Hannah, leaning against her bedroom wall, watching as she taped a poster of the lead singer of one of the biggest indie rock bands in the world to her wall. My girl had good taste.
Hannah blew air out between her lips, stepping back from the wall to analyse the poster. ‘I’m helping him with a paper for school, so I’ve seen him quite a bit.’
‘I detect from the tone that nothing of import has happened?’
She looked at me over her shoulder. ‘I think there might be some sexual tension between us.’
The matter-of-fact reply caused no small amount of snort choking on my part. ‘Sexual tension?’
Turning fully towards me now, Hannah stared at me with the nonplussed expression of an academic facing a theory she found baffling. ‘Well, I fancy him, so I don’t know if it’s me projecting those feelings into the situation or if the tension between us is due to the fact that the feelings are mutual.’
I thought of the tension between me and Cam before we started dating and then studied Hannah. The girl was stunning and way too built for a fifteen-year-old. A teenage boy’s Kryptonite. I smirked. ‘He’s feeling it back.’
Her eyes brightened with hope. ‘You think?’
Pleased, she began to hang up another poster, grinning like an idiot. ‘So how’s your ribs?’
‘Unfortunately still sore.’ It had been a week since the attack, and after spending seven days of bed rest in the flat, I’d begged Cam to let me attend Sunday dinner. Seeing my desperation, he’d agreed it was time I got out of the flat. Considering I had to go back to work tomorrow, I was counting it as a practise run. Leaving the flat with Cam and Cole in tow, I was surprised to find that I was still a little nervous and jittery being out and about. As we got on the bus, I found myself glancing back on to the street to make sure Murray Walker’s face wasn’t in the crowd.
Cam caught me and deduced what I was doing. The clouds that gathered in his eyes made me feel loved, but it upset me that part of the blackness in their depths originated from his feelings of helplessness over the whole situation. Basically, he felt guilty that he hadn’t been there to stop it, which was sweet but silly and irrational. As it turned out, we both needed comforting about the whole ordeal. I’d taken his hand to let him know I understood, and he had kept me close beside him to let me know he understood.
Our relationship had changed in the last week. Our confessions of love had brought us both the security we needed. I didn’t think it would cure either one of us of our possessiveness, or the flare of jealousy we felt when an ex-partner was mentioned, but knowing that we trusted each other had made us stronger.
It had also made me horny as hell, and not being able to do much about it was killing me.
Assuaging my frustration was the knowledge that it was killing Cam, too.
‘Done.’ Hannah stepped back and we gazed around her newly poster-decorated bedroom. ‘What do you think?’
‘I think Elodie’s going to kill you.’
‘She said I could.’
‘She said “a poster”.’
‘Well, I just heard the permission part.’
‘Come on, you,’ I grinned, gesturing to the door. ‘Let’s enjoy dinner before Elodie discovers your bedroom’s been transformed into a groupie’s paradise.’
Before I could exit Hannah asked quietly, ‘Are you really okay, Jo?’
Looking back at her over my shoulder, I was warmed by the concern on her face. ‘Baby girl, I’m fine. In fact, you know what? I’m more than fine. I’m great.’
‘But your dad …’
Needing to vent, Joss had told Ellie what had happened to me, and Ellie had told Elodie and Elodie had told Clark and apparently Hannah overheard the conversation between her mum and dad. I reached out for Hannah’s hand, giving it a squeeze. ‘I know it must be difficult for you to understand because you’ve got such an amazing dad. I could let the fact that my dad doesn’t care who he hurts, including his own children, get to me. Or I could find what he can’t give me somewhere else. I have Uncle Mick. And I have family in all you guys. It doesn’t change what my dad did, but you know, it goes a long way to helping me get over it.’ I smiled reassuringly at her. ‘Some people are born with family, and others have to make family.’ I shrugged. ‘I can live with that if it means I get to spend time with you sarcastic buggers.’
Hannah laughed, the sadness fading from her eyes. She squeezed my hand back, and I led her to the dining room, where our family was waiting:
Cam, Cole, Uncle Mick, Olivia, Joss, Ellie, Braden, Adam, Elodie, Clark and Declan.
What a beautiful sight for sore eyes. I smiled at Cam across the room as he pulled out a chair for me.
Once we were all settled around the table and the others were chatting loudly, Cam leaned over me. ‘How are the ribs holding up?’
I looked into his concerned eyes as I held a roast potato to my mouth. ‘Just as they were when you asked me that question twenty minutes ago.’
‘Well, excuse me for being a concerned boyfriend.’
I made a face at him, and we shared another silent conversation.
You just want to know if we can have sex yet.
Cam’s lips twitched around his mouthful of food.
Amused and turned on in equal measure, I searched for distraction from Ellie, who was talking about the bridesmaids’ dresses for Joss and Braden’s wedding.
‘I saw these beautiful fuchsia gowns on this Spanish wedding designs website. I was thinking –’
‘That I’m out of my mind if I think Joss will have the colour fuchsia in her wedding,’ Joss finished for her drily.