Dirty English Page 70

He studied me as I talked, and when I stopped, his mouth captured mine, his tongue sweeping out and plunging deep. I sank into him, immersing myself in his scent, his warmth, his bulk. He kissed me soft and sweet, then hard and dark, just like I liked it.

I came up for air. ’’It\s you, always you, my Mr. Darcy.’’

’’I love you too, Elizabeth Bennett.’’

We lay together cuddled up in a tangle of limbs as the sun peeked over the horizon. Two years ago, I\d watched another sunrise and had vowed to never love again, but this, this was different.

This was the beginning of my life.

I\d sensed it from the moment I saw him at that frat party, that movie-worthy experience we sometimes get when we sense a shift in the atmosphere as if something extraordinary is about to happen. It had. I\d found him even with my rules dragging me down. And we\d have troubles like all young people do. Love is never perfect, in fact, it\s the exact opposite of perfect, but that\s okay, because it gives you room to grow and explore. There\d be times when we\d bicker and argue, but we\d have great make-up se* too. And no matter what came our way, I was in this for real. If he wanted to use his fists, I\d stand in his corner and kiss him before he put his gloves on.

He\d do the same for me.

’’What are you thinking?’’ he asked a while later as we snuggled.

I turned my head on the pillow to face him. Some of his color had come back and it made me glad. ’’My mind is racing, thinking about possibilities. Our future. What I can do with my jewelry. What you can do with your gym. I I just haven\ been this happy or excited about life in a long time. And you\ e in the hospital, which makes it even more weird.’’ I plucked at the covers. ’’I feel like I\ve been going through these small yet monumental changes over the past few weeks, and I owe it all to you. Loving you is the best thing that\s ever happened to me.’’ I bit my lip to keep the tears at bay.

He studied me for a while, his gaze full of complete understanding. ’’You and me, we got this. I\m going to spend the rest of my life loving you. I\m going to give you whatever you want, Unicorn Girl. I\m going to kiss you every single night. I\m going to f*k you and then make love to you. I\m going to give you kids. A home. Happiness. All of my heart.’’

Joy filled my soul. ’’Will you read Jane Austen to me naked?’’

He barked out a weak laugh. ’’I\ll do one better. I\ll make love to you and quote the whole bloody book at the same time.’’

’’Mm, I could get used to that.’’

’’Just making sure you get what you want, love.’’

We laughed and held each other close as sun rose higher in the sky.

One year later

I SETTLED IN on the bench and gazed at the garden surrounding one of the water fountains in Hyde Park. I looked around for Declan, but he\d left to grab us water from one of the vendors near the entrance.

It was a chilly yet beautiful October morning and we were in London for the week to catch up with old school chums and family members of his mom\s.

I sighed. It had been a wonderful year considering the hell we\d been through.

I was in my last year of school, but I\d given up my job at the bookstore to work on my jewelry. Meyers had offered me another contracting design job, and when I wasn\ studying, I was working on new creations.

Blake and Shelley were together. Most of the time. They fought a lot, and I didn\ know if it was going to work out, but I had my fingers crossed.

Dax was his usual self, partying at the frat house and sleeping around. I knew the real man though. Underneath that shiny veneer was a guy looking for love.

My mom had left Karl, and the last time I\d seen her, she\d already found a new guy a drummer she\d met at a concert.

Declan\s father had given him and Dax a graduation gift of several hundred thousand dollars, therefore canceling the loan. Mr. Blay swore it had always been his intention to give each of his children a college graduation present, and the boys didn\ argue. Mr. Blay and Declan had formed a kind of truce, and while it wasn\ a total reconciliation, it was progress. Dinners at the Blay mansion were still a bit testy and odd, but I was content. Another mountain for us to climb, and we were armed and ready.

It was the best family I\d ever had.

As far as Colby went, he was in jail awaiting trial for first-degree attempted murder for me as well as a count of second-degree attempted murder for Declan. With the duct tape and penknife, it was going to be extremely difficult to prove his innocence. Senator Scott\s personal assistant had also come forward, revealing the blackmail scheme hatched by Karl and Mom, giving Colby plenty of motivation. His sentencing could be up to life in prison without parole. He and his father had done their best to get him out on bail, but because he was a flight risk, it had never come to fruition.

He\d been charged with rape as well, which has no statute of limitations in North Carolina, but the burden of truth rested with me, and my lawyers would have a difficult time proving it. There were pictures of me drunk at prom and the chaperones had tossed us out for being intoxicated. But I\d decided to tell my whole story in court, and Shelley and Blake would also testify. We didn\ know if it would be enough to convict him, but I was in it for the long haul. I was worth it. Declan had told me that a long time ago outside the truck stop, and now I believed it.

Declan came back from the refreshment stand with two bottles of water, his long legs crossing the park as a group of women across the fountain ogled him with hungry eyes but he ignored them, his gaze locked on mine.

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