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|On Dublin Street(On Dublin Street #1)(37) by Samantha Young|
We didn’t see each other on Monday, so I actually managed to write another chapter of my book and squeeze in a visit with Dr. Pritchard. That was fun. Tuesday, Braden took his lunch break in my bed. Wednesday he got caught up with work so I didn’t see him at all. I spent the night with Ellie, enduring a teen romance that actually made my teeth hurt it was so sweet. I insisted next movie night we watch something or someone get maimed by an action star or put on a Gene Kelly movie.
“You’re such a boy.” Ellie wrinkled her nose as she chewed on chocolate buttons.
I glanced away from the sickly sweet romance to look at her across the room. She was sprawled over the couch, covered in chocolate wrappers. How did she not put on weight? “Because I hate cheesy romance?”
“No. Because you’d rather watch someone get pummeled than declare their love.”
I made a face. “I think Braden would disagree.”
“Ugh. That was mean.”
I grinned wickedly. “You called me a dude.”
She turned her head on a cushion to look back at me. “Speaking of… Not that I wanted to notice – I can’t help my exceptional observational skills – but you seem to be doing whatever you guys are doing on Braden’s schedule? You okay with that?”
It wasn’t that I hadn’t noticed that myself. But seriously, how could I argue with it? I ‘worked’ from home, and Braden worked all the time. When I did work, it was on two of the only nights Braden was free. “He’s a busy guy. I get that.”
Ellie nodded. “A lot of his girlfriends resented it.”
“I resent being called his girlfriend,” I warned her teasingly.
“I never called you his girlfriend. I just meant… actually, you know what, I don’t know what I meant because you two boggle my mind.”
I could tell she was getting ready to work her overly romantic self into a conniption over me and Braden, so I quickly changed the subject. “You haven’t said much about Adam lately.”
My roommate’s face fell and I wished I’d picked another subject to change my subject from. “We’ve barely spoken since that Sunday at Mum’s. I think he realized he was sending mixed signals so he’s just completely backed off.”
“I didn’t notice anything weird between you last Sunday when we were hanging out.”
“That’s because you were in Braden Land.”
I guffawed. “Yeah, okay.”
Ellie shook her head. “Delusional numpty.”
That was a new one. I couldn’t remember Rhian or James ever calling me that. “Did you just call me a numpty?”
“Yup. A delusional one.”
“What, may I ask, is a numpty?”
“A person demonstrating a lack of knowledge of a situation; a silly person; an idiot; a dumbass. A delusional numpty: Joss Butler’s stupid, idiotic, blind misconception of the true nature of her relationship with my brother, Braden Carmichael.” She glowered at me, but it was an Ellie glower so it didn’t really count.
I nodded my head. “Numpty. Good word.”
She threw a cushion at me.
When Thursday rolled around and I got a text from Braden to tell me he couldn’t make it that night, I have to admit to a teensy little bit of disappointment. I couldn’t admit to being hugely disappointed because I’d stuffed that emotion under my steel trap door. He was in the final stages of closing a deal on the development he’d been working on this summer so I understood. It didn’t mean it didn’t suck.
I dug deep and wrote the entire day away, amazed and gratified that I’d managed to write a few more chapters without having to open up the memories that were sure to send me back into the bathroom with a panic attack. Although, admittedly, I hadn’t had one of those since the epic attack last Friday.
Thursday night with no Braden to keep me busy, I let Denzel ease my pain with a Denzel Washington marathon. Ellie gave up two movies in and went to her bed. A few hours later I was out.
I woke up as I felt the world drop beneath me. “What?” I mumbled, my eyes trying to adjust to the dim light.
“Shh, babe,” Braden’s low voice rumbled above me, and I realized I was in his arms. “I’m putting you to bed.”
I sleepily wrapped my arms around his neck as he carried me towards my bedroom. “What are doing here?”
“Mmm,” I mumbled, burying deeper into him. “Missed you too.”
A second later I was out.
One minute I was dreaming the world was flooding, the water rising inside our apartment with no way out, my panic growing deeper and deeper as the water crept up towards the ceiling, leaving me waiting on imminent death, when a bolt of lust shot between my legs and I looked down to see a gorgeous merman’s head there. The water drained away in an instant and I was flat on my back with the faceless merman who was now just man and he was licking away at me with gusto.
“Oh God,” I breathed, sensation ripping through me and pulling me with it into consciousness.
My eyes flew open. I was in my bed. It was morning.
And Braden’s head was between my legs.
“Braden,” I murmured, relaxing against the mattress, my hands sliding into his soft hair. He had the most magical tongue.
My h*ps jerked as he sucked at my clit, his tongue circling it, his fingers sliding inside me. I lost control of my breathing, my heart pounding in my ears, and I was coming around his mouth in seconds.
Talk about a wake-up call.
My muscles sunk into the bed as Braden crawled up my body, his eyes smiling down at me as he braced himself above me. I could feel his hard on rub against my wet center. “Morning, babe.”
I caressed his waist, scoring my nails lightly across his skin in a way I knew he liked. “Morning to you, too. And what a happy morning it is.”
He laughed at my goofy grin and fell off me to lie at my side. I turned to check the clock but my eyes caught on the object on my desk. I bolted upright, staring at it, wondering if I was actually seeing right. I felt Braden at my back and his chin came down on my shoulder.
“Do you like it?”
A typewriter. A shiny, black, old-fashioned typewriter sat on my desk beside my laptop. It was beautiful. It was just like the one my mom had promised to buy me. Just like the one I’d told Braden my mom had promised to buy me. The one she didn’t buy me because she’d died before she could.
This was an amazing gift. A thoughtful, beautiful gift. And it was more than sex.
I felt the pressure on my chest before I could do anything to stop it, my brain fogging up like it too was too full. The tingles exploded across my skin as my heart galloped out of control.
“Jocelyn,” Braden’s worried voice penetrated the fog, and I reached for his hand to reassure him. “Breathe,” he murmured in my ear, his hand squeezing mine, his other on my hip, holding me into him.
I breathed in and out in rhythm, taking back control, letting my lungs open, my heart rate slow, my brain unfog itself. Exhausted, I leaned back into Braden’s chest.
After a minute or two, Braden spoke, “I know you don’t want to talk about why you’re taking these panic attacks, but… do they happen a lot?”
“Sometimes. More lately.”
He sighed and my body moved as his chest moved. “Maybe you should talk to someone about them?”
I pulled away from him, unable to look at him. “I already am.”
I nodded, hiding behind my hair. “A therapist.”
His voice was quiet. “You’re seeing a therapist?”
My hair was brushed back behind my ear, his fingers gliding along my jaw to turn my face to his. His eyes were kind, concerned. Understanding. “Good. I’m glad you’re talking to someone at least.”
You’re beautiful. “Thank you for my typewriter. It’s beautiful.”
Braden gave me an uneasy smile. “I didn’t mean to cause a panic attack.”
I kissed him quickly, reassuringly. “That’s my bullshit, don’t worry about it. I love it. It was really thoughtful.” And more. To push out the ‘more’, I grinned devilishly, my hand sliding down his stomach to grasp his cock. It hardened instantly. “I can’t accept it, however, without giving a gift in return.”
Just as my head descended Braden stopped me, grasping me by the upper arms to pull me back up. I frowned. I knew he wanted it. He was throbbing in my grip for it. “What?”
His expression had changed so quickly, his eyes dark, his features granite. “You go down on me because you want to, not because of the typewriter. It was just a gift, Jocelyn. Don’t go f**king it up in your head and twisting it into something else.”
I let this sink in and finally I nodded. “Okay.” I squeezed him a little harder and his nostrils flared. “Then I’m going down on you in return for you going down on me.”
Slowly, he let me go and rested back on his elbows. “That I can work with.”
“The book is coming along then?” Dr. Pritchard asked, seeming pleased.
I nodded. “I’m getting there.”
“And the panic attacks?”
“I’ve had a few.”
“When did those occur?”
I told her and when I finished she lifted her gaze and there was something in it I didn’t understand. “You told Braden you were seeing me?”
Oh hell, was that the wrong thing to do? It had just slipped out. I don’t know why… “Yeah, I did.” I pretended like I didn’t care.
“I think that’s good.”
Wait. What? “You do?”
“Why do you think I do?”
I made a face. “Next question.”
I saw Braden nearly every day after that morning. We spent the next week hanging out. Ellie, Braden, Jenna and Adam, and some girl Adam had brought along as a date, stopped by the bar on Saturday night before dragging Braden to a nightclub. He seriously hated clubbing which had brought me to ask him the question ‘why he owned a nightclub?’ His reply was that it was good business. When he was being dragged out of the bar for the nightclub, I gave him a sympathetic smile. I was not at all surprised to find that he’d escaped the club to come pick me up. Sunday was dinner at Elodie’s and Clark’s, which consisted of Declan and Hannah bickering, Clark ignoring said bickering, and Elodie making the bickering worse. Ellie, in an effort to forget Adam’s date last night, was complaining constantly that she didn’t think the lenses in her glasses were right, and no one noticed anything different about me and Braden. Thank God. Elodie’s head would explode if she knew what was going on between us.