Chapter Fifteen

            When we left the Omega Kappa Beta meeting room the once packed foyer was deserted. I let out a deep breath I hadn’t even realized I was holding in.
            Penny and I made it all the way back to the car before we started arguing.
            He started it by saying, “before you ask, I’m not taking you with me to find Wesley’s hometown.”
            I sat forward, pulling my seat belt taunt and turning to him with mouth agape. “Then what’s the point?”
            “The point is that I’ll know where it is if you ever need that information.”
            “I need it now!” I’m sure I was speaking at such a high pitch that only dogs could hear me.
            “No,” he said, rubbing his right ear, “you need it when the witch-slash-coven becomes a threat. So far, that hasn’t happened.”
            “It’s a preventative measure!” I said.
            We continued in this vein the entire drive back to my office, not even stopping when we walked upstairs.
            “I don’t know why you’re so upset,” Penny said. “I’m going to find him and I will tell you. Just not right now.”
            I stomped across the room. “I’m upset because keeping it from me is pointless!” I said for about the twelfth time in the last forty-five minutes.
             He leaned against the wall by the door. “It’s not, either. You’re only upset cause you’re not getting your way.”
            “And you’re only doing this because you’re worried I have a savior complex.”
            “You do have a savior complex, but that’s not my only reason.”
            “Okay, then what is it?” I asked.
            He turned away, dark hair flopping onto his forehead. “You need someone to protect you,” he said.
            I laughed, but he didn’t even smile. “Oh. This is you being serious,” I said. “I can’t believe you’d say that to me!”
            “C’mon, Caro!” he yanked the hair away from his face with an aggressive swipe. “You’re not a superhero no matter how often you pretend to be. One day you’re going to get hurt, and I’m trying to keep that day from coming.”
            “I’ve lasted this long without dying, I think I’ve got a few more years left in me,” I started stacking the sticky notes sitting on the reception desk to have something to do with my hands.
            Penny took a few steps towards me. “I know you haven’t been seriously injured—yet. I just want to make sure that ‘yet’ lasts a little longer.”
            In my burgeoning anger, I flailed and knocked over my careful stack of Post-Its. “Who elected you to protect me, Penny? I’m not a fucking damsel in distress, screaming for Prince Charming to save the day. I save myself.”
            “I’m not saying you can’t protect yourself!” He yelled. This is the first he’d yelled the entire argument. He closed the distance between us, “I’m saying you’re a fragile, human, girl. I’m saying that even though you’ve worked for the last five years to become an expert in, like, twenty martial arts, you still can’t match our speed, skill, and strength.”
            “No, I can’t,” I agreed. “I’m a good fighter, but I win because I’m quick and cunning.”
            “And one day there will be someone who’s faster and smarter!”
            I have no good explanation for what I did next.  Maybe it was having the same fight over and over; maybe it was stress from the whole business with Wesley and the frat boy werewolf pack—whatever. It was no justification for drawing my fist back and punching Penny in the jaw.
            He reeled back, more out of surprise than pain; I hadn’t put any true heat behind the blow. He brought a hand up to caress the reddening mark on his jaw.
            “What the fuck was that for, Spencer,” he spat.
            “For ever thinking that I need anyone’s protection.” I said.
            “In a real fight you’d have no chance against me.”
            “Wanna bet?” I raised both eyebrows in the universal signal for “come at me, bro.”
            His head rocked back as he laughed, which is why he didn’t see me step my right leg back and swing it up, landing a kick to his abdomen. I made sure it hurt this time. He stumbled backwards with a grunt, face getting all scrunched up with pain.
            When he came forward, his eyes were dark; almost black. I raised my hands in front of my face, bouncing from foot to foot, ready for him to strike.
            His calves tensed right before he launched himself at me. I sidestepped to the left, but his body caught my shoulder and we both fell to the floor with a wall-shaking thud. When we hit the ground, I kept one knee bent, using that leverage to roll my body backwards and come up to my feet.
            He was right behind me, though, using one long arm to hook around my waist and pull me forward. I lifted a leg to knee him in the balls, but he deflected the move, and managed to get ahold of both of my wrists.
            “I’m not going to do this with you,” he said. He’d pulled me so close that tiny spit drops speckled me face.
            “Let me go,” I said.
            “Not until you calm down,” his hands tightened around my wrists.
            Poor Penny. He should’ve known not to patronize me at such close range. I threw my head back, slamming my forehead into his mouth. His lip split with a pop. Blood spurt onto my forehead and trailed down my nose.
            He let go.
            “Fuck, Caro,” he shouted, swiping the back of his hand over his mouth, streaking blood across his face.  
            I half-turned to walk away, because head-butting someone hurts. I didn’t get more than a step and a half before his fingers sank into the fringe of hair at the back of my neck, gripping tight, snapping my head back.
            A choked yelp escaped from my throat. No matter how much I struggled, his tight hold on my hair made escape impossible. With a quick twist, he turned me and pulled me up against him. His mouth had stopped bleeding.
            “You have no idea,” he said, voice like gravel. “What we could do to you. Not just me. All of us.”
            He moved the hand from my head to wrap it around my shoulders. The other he brought to rest, palm flat, where my chest and neck met. I could’ve gotten away then, if I wanted. Only I couldn’t move; totally hypnotized by the intensity of his eyes and the sincerity in his husky voice.
            “Your skin is so thin,” his fingers trailed against my flesh. “So thin,” My lips started to part, but I clenched my mouth closed. “Easily pierced and ripped by fangs. By claws.” He skimmed his fingernails in stinging circles, moving his hand until it was resting on my neck, stroking the spot where my pulse beat. “So warm,” he groaned. “So much blood flowing right here, begging to be tasted.”
            Slight tremors ran up my legs, making me lean all my weight against him. I balled a hand into his shirt to keep myself upright. He wanted me to be afraid, to realize how dangerous the supernaturals were. He was missing the fact that I already knew—was already afraid. The thing was that I didn’t care.
            Penny breathed heavily, the warm air caressing my face. He bent his head further, burrowing his nose in the join of my neck and shoulder. When he spoke again, the vibration of his words against my body sent chills up my spine.
            “Do you have any idea how delectable you smell?” His nose brushed along my collar bone as he took in my scent. “My werewolf self would love nothing more than to rip into you, tear you piece-by-piece, feel all that blood pumping into my mouth as the life slips from your body into me.”
            I shoved him away, but was still encased in his arms. I expected his eyes to be glowing with that feral, wolfish, light, but the only notable thing about them was the way the blue irises shimmered with lust.
            I lunged into him, pulling his cracked bottom lip into my mouth, flicking my tongue against the split. He moaned, arms going to my waist and lifting me. I wrapped my legs around his waist, and his tongue was in mouth, pressing against my own.
             His fingers trailed along the bottom hem of my t-shirt, tickling against my bare stomach, making me tremble. I broke the kiss to lift my arms above my head. He pulled my shirt off in one fluid movement, dropping it to the floor. The next instant, he was unhooking the clasp of my bra, and it too was falling away.
            Penny groaned as he placed his palms flat against my bare stomach, the muscles of which jolted at the unfamiliar, delightful, touch. His hands slid up, over my torso and rib cage, to caress each of my breasts, fingers tugging at the pebbling flesh of my nipples. I gasped out a breathless, needy sound, pulling his hands away.
            He kissed me, one of those kisses that sucks all the air from a room. When he pulled away we were panting, totally lost. His mouth moved from my jaw line, to my neck, to my chest. His tongue swirled around my areolas, lapping at my pink, erect nipples, until I was grinding my hips against the bulge in his jeans and moaning incoherent encouragements.
            With quick movements that I couldn’t quite comprehend, Penny slid me to the floor, giving himself enough space to pull off his shirt and begin undoing his pants. With fumbling fingers, I unbuttoned and unzipped my own jeans.
            When we were both standing in nothing but our underwear, he reached for me, slipping his fingers through my hair, and pulling me in for a kiss. His free hand cupped my ass, bringing me in tighter against him. His tongue plundered my mouth as his fingers began moving along the outline of my panties against my inner thigh. I opened my legs further, allowing his hand to caress between my legs.
            “Jeremy,” I sighed, as he tugged my underwear down to the floor.
            Our eyes locked for several long seconds, asking and answering the unspoken question.
            He tugged the boxers from his hips, revealing his flushed erection, the tip already glistening with pre-come.
            He wrapped his arms around me, yanking me forward until the backs of his heels connected with the couch. He sank down, pulling me on top of him. I straddled his thighs, our foreheads and the tips of our noses touching.
            He cupped my check, caressing his thumbs over my lips before he brought his mouth down to mine. I skimmed a hand along his chest, using my nails over his nipples so that he shivered. The other hand I slid over the smooth skin of his cock, he pulsed against me, moaning into my mouth. I closed my hand around his shaft, slipping my hand up and down, my fingers moving over the tip, smearing the wetness around the glans.
            His hand slipped between my legs, fingers teasing against my opening, before he slipped one inside. His rhythm matched the one I set, and before long our hips and hands were moving in tandem.
            We pulled away from one another at the same time. A condom materialized between his fingertips. He opened it and put it on with practiced movements.
            I shifted my weight, filling myself with his length.
            It had been years since we’d had sex, but now that we were there, nothing had changed. We knew each other. Completely. And no matter what had happened between now and then, this one thing between us hadn’t changed.
            I gripped his shoulder with one hand, while the other held the back of the couch. His fingers tightened around my hips. We moved together, sliding in and out; slow and then faster and faster. Our mouths connected, our tongues mimicking the movement of our bodies.
            Something more than warmth filled my body, and though I tried to choke it back, I called out his name as release washed over me. The feel of my orgasm pushed him over the edge. He gave one last, hard, thrust into me, shouting incoherently, before he collapsed back into the sofa cushion.


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