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  • Inside by Noelle Adams #Chapter Eight



    "Here's Chapter Eight of Inside, the serial novel I'm working on. If you need to catch up, you can use the links to the earlier chapters below.
    Just a reminder that I'm only reading each chapter over once before I send it out, so try to overlook any editing/proofreading errors.
    If you want to let me know what you think of the chapter, you should be able to just reply to this email.  If you have any trouble, you can always just email me directly at noelle.s.adams@gmail.com. You can also join my reader group on Facebook and leave a comment there. I do appreciate hearing from you on the chapters as I send them out!"

    Need to catch up?

    You can catch up on the earlier chapters through the links below.

    Chapter Eight

    The last time I saw Will before he walked out on my father was on a Saturday afternoon.
    I was twenty. I had a real boyfriend at last. I’d had sex for the first time about six months earlier. I’d chosen a major in college. I’d made a few good friends.
    I’d mostly gotten over my humiliation with Will on my eighteenth birthday. That meant I didn’t think about it much. Whenever I did think about it, I still cringed, but I figured I’d be cringing about it for the rest of my life. Overall, I was happy, and I had grown up a lot.
    I was still living with my dad, so I saw Will occasionally. I didn’t seek him out, though. I was crazy about my boyfriend. I didn’t care about Will anymore.
    That Saturday, I’d gone shopping after lunch to pick up some groceries, and I’d stopped in a market on my way home when I saw some beautiful rose-pink peonies.
    The flowers were so full and lush and vivid that I wasn’t able to resist them, so I bought a bunch for myself and kept checking them out with pleasure.
    I was coming up the front steps of our house when the door opened and Will appeared. He wore black trousers and a black T-shirt, and he needed to shave.
    I gulped when I saw him.
    Yes, I had a boyfriend, and, yes, I wasn’t about to let my mind stray toward some other guy. But Will’s appearance surprised me. I wasn’t mentally prepared for the rush of attraction I experienced as soon as I saw him.
    Exerting some iron will-power, I forced the attraction away.
    “Hi,” I said, nodding politely. I was planning to walk by him into the house since he was obviously on his way out.
    He stared at me without speaking, but as soon as I came within arm’s length, he reached out to take the two grocery bags from my hands.
    “I can get them,” I said, moving the flowers into my other arm so I could reach for the bags again.
    Will still didn’t say anything. He just carried the bags into the house and then into the kitchen.
    Rolling my eyes, I followed him.
    “Thanks, I guess,” I said, putting my flowers onto the counter. “Although you could have asked.”
    “Asked what?”
    “If I needed any help.”
    “You would have told me no.”
    He wasn’t teasing me. There wasn’t even the slightest glint of playfulness in his eyes. His expression was sober, and for some reason it confused me.
    After a moment’s hesitation, I said, “Then that would have been your clue not to take the bags.”
    “But you would have told me no whether you needed help or not.”
    This was undeniably true, but it bothered me that he’d said it. It seemed to imply some sort of entitlement—if not to all of me than to my inner life.
    Like he assumed he knew what I thought and felt.
    No one knew what I thought and felt.
    When I didn’t answer, Will glanced down to the flowers on the counter. “From your boyfriend?”
    This question rattled me too. I hadn’t realized Will even knew I had a boyfriend. If I’d had a chance to plan a strategy, I might have said yes because it would have put more emotional distance between us, but lying is never my first instinct.
    His eyes darted up to my face. “No? Who from then?”
    He asked like he had a right to know.
    “I bought them for myself.” I didn’t know why I answered. It was none of his business. I was just feeling unnerved and disoriented for no reason that made any sense.
    “Oh. They’re nice.” He was looking down at the flowers again. He reached out to touch one in an oddly delicate gesture. “They look like you.”
    “They do not.”
    His eyes came up again, this time in surprise. “Yes, they do.”
    “No, they don’t. They’re bold and vivid and over-the-top beautiful. They’re not like me at all.”
    By that point in my life, I’d grown into myself, and I knew I was pretty enough in my own way. Not beautiful, though. And certainly not peony-beautiful.
    Pretty in a quiet, shy way—maybe like a violet.
    Will’s eyelids lowered slightly, and he touched his fingertips to the peonies again. “They’re more than over-the-top.”
    I didn’t understand what he meant by that, and I was starting to get nervous about the whole conversation.
    It didn’t feel like I had a proper distance here.
    I wasn’t eighteen anymore.
    I needed the distance.
    Picking up the flowers, I carried them over to another counter and pulled down a vase from an upper cabinet. “Thanks for helping with the groceries,” I said, glancing at him over my shoulder.
    He opened his mouth, but no words came out.
    There was a strange expression on his face for just a moment.
    Then he said, “Sure. Take care of yourself, Greer.”
    He turned and left the kitchen.
    I was putting up the groceries and telling myself to let go of the lingering jitters from that weird conversation when I heard a voice from the hallway.
    My dad. And he was singing as he approached the kitchen to the (slightly off-key) tune of “Twinkle, twinkle, little star.”  “Sparrow, sparrow, deep and smart. Build a nest to hide her heart. In the rain and in the wind, she’s safe inside the oak tree’s bend. Sparrow—”
    He broke off when he came in and saw me standing in front of the counter. “Hi, Sparrow.”
    “Hi, Dad. Why were you singing about me just now?”
    “Because I was thinking about you.”
    “Why were you thinking about me?”
    He moved closer to me and then surprised me by leaning down to kiss my cheek. “Why wouldn’t I think about you?”
    “I have no idea. But couldn’t you have rhymed the song a little better. Wind and bend?”
    He chuckled. “Close enough.”
    I finished putting the fruit and vegetables in the refrigerator, and I said casually, “I saw Will leaving.”
    “Yeah.” His tone went suddenly cold, and it surprised me so much I straightened up. “Did he tell you goodbye?”
    “What? What do you mean? He just said hello.” I certainly wasn’t going to tell my father about the weird conversation about the peonies.
    “But not goodbye?”
    “Why would he say goodbye.”
    “Because he’s taking off. For good.”
    “What? Where is he going?”
    “Nowhere. He’s staying in town. He’s just moving on. From us. From me.”
    I was flabbergasted by this news. So shocked I couldn’t make my brain function correctly. “But why?”
    My dad gave an ironic little shrug. He was brushing it off, but I knew him well, He was more than disappointed. He was hurt. Genuinely hurt.
    So was I.
    “But you’ve done so much for him. He wouldn’t be… anywhere without you.”
    My dad’s face twisted and he shrugged again. “People always move on eventually.”
    “But Will—”
    “Even Will.”
    Will had walked out of this kitchen less than two minutes ago, and he hadn’t even told me he wasn’t coming back.
    He hadn’t said goodbye to me.
    Maybe he was ashamed of how he was treating my father.
    Or maybe I was that unimportant to him.
    My dad reached and idly played with one of the stems of the peonies. “These are pretty.”
    I stared at the flowers in the vase, almost shaking as I tried to process my flurry of emotion. Then I stomped over, grabbed the peonies out of the vase, and stuffed them into the garbage can. “No, they’re not,” I said, when my dad’s eyes widened in surprise. “I’ve decided I don’t like them after all.”
    I was thinking about that afternoon three years ago as I got into bed beside Will that evening.
    When he’d come out of the bathroom earlier, he hadn’t said a word about the kiss. Not a single word.
    I’d expected him to say something. Explain his dramatic response or else give a more articulate argument for why he’d pushed me away. It would have made sense to say something.
    At least, it would have made sense to me.
    But this was Will. And Will wasn’t in the habit of explaining himself or talking when he didn’t want to. We watched TV and drank our whiskey and didn’t speak at all.
    I could have brought up the subject, of course. But that would have been making myself vulnerable when it was very clear that Will had already made up his mind about this. So I kept my emotional turmoil inside and went through our normal evening routine without falling apart or begging him to kiss me again.
    I call that a victory.
    It was around ten when I went to the bathroom, changed into the oversized T-shirt and gym shorts I’d been sleeping in, brushed my teeth (since Will had bought me a toothbrush the other day), and washed my face.
    Then I climbed under the covers.
    Will was lying on top of them, still wearing his clothes.
    He turned to look at me as I pulled the covers up over me.
    I met his eyes.
    I hadn’t been planning to say anything, so I hadn’t worked words out in advance. What I ended up saying was, “That day with the peonies.”
    His eyelashes flickered. “Yes.”
    “Do you remember what I’m talking about?”
    “Yes. I remember.” His voice and his eyes were serious.
    “You’d just told my dad you were leaving.”
    I took a breath. “Why… why didn’t you tell me? At least to say goodbye.”
    He looked at me for a long time before answering. “I was going to. I wanted to. I was standing right there, planning to tell you. Then…”
    “Then what?”
    He lifted one shoulder. “I just didn’t.”
    It wasn’t an answer. It wasn’t any sort of answer.
    “If you’d told me yourself, then I would have… I would have known why you were leaving.”
    “I know. I know that now.”
    “I wish I had known.”
    “Me too.”
    “I wonder why my dad didn’t tell me. He made it sound like…”
    “He had his reasons.”
    “What reasons?”
    Will shook his head and glanced away. “They don’t matter. He loved you, and he always tried to do his best for you.”
    “I know he did.” I sighed and stretched out under the covers. “I still miss him.”
    “Me too.”
    I felt like there was more to say, but I didn’t end up saying it. It had been a deeply confusing and emotional day, and I didn’t seem to have the energy to work out any more nuances.
    I turned over on my side, my back toward Will, and I closed my eyes.
    I was ready for the day to end.
    I had a dream that night.
    I don’t usually remember my dreams, and I didn’t remember that one either. But I know it scared me. It made my heart race and my breathing accelerate, and evidently I must have been making some sort of sound in my sleep because Will knew I was dreaming.
    He woke me up.
    The first thing I was conscious of was intense fear. Then I felt someone holding my shoulder, shaking me gently. Then I opened my eyes, and it was dark in the room.
    So dark I could only see the outline of Will’s head and body leaning over me.
    I gasped.
    “It’s me,” he was saying in a low, rough voice. “Greer, it’s just me. You’re dreaming. Try to wake up.”
    I’d oriented myself now, and my hands went up of their own accord to cling to Will’s strong shoulders. He must have gotten ready for bed after I’d gone to sleep because now he wasn’t wearing a shirt.
    Despite my groggy fear, I was aware of this fact.
    He’d also turned off the TV and the lights because it was very dark. He was still lying on the covers and I was under them.
    “You were dreaming,” he said again, his hand moving from my shoulder to my face. He stroked my cheek lightly. “You’re safe. I’m right here.”
    I felt safe with him. No one in the world made me feel safer.
    But the dream—whatever it had been—had lingering after-effects. I tried to catch my breath and suddenly started to tremble. I reached out for him again, vaguely realizing that if he was closer, then I would feel even safer.
    “Shit, Greer,” he breathed. “You’re shaking now. What was the dream about?”
    “I… I don’t remember.” I tried to scoot closer to him but the covers got in the way.
    “Hold on. Let me get under there with you.”
    Will quickly moved from on top of the covers to under them, and then he pulled me into his arms. I was pressed up against his hard, warm body, and his arms wrapped around me tightly. He occasionally breathed, “You’re safe. I’m right here.”
    I stopped trembling after just a couple of minutes.
    “Sorry,” I said at last, my cheek pressed against his bare shoulder. “I don’t know what happened. I don’t normally have bad dreams.”
    “You can’t help your dreams. You don’t have to be sorry.”
    “I feel better now.”
    I knew I should probably pull away from him. It was the middle of the night. He wasn’t wearing a shirt. And I was pressed all up against him.
    But I didn’t want to pull away.
    I felt good just like that.
    He loosened his arms but didn’t let me go, so I closed my eyes and enjoyed it.
    I was asleep again in just a few minutes.
    It was later that night—how much later, I’m not sure—that I woke up again.
    It was still dark in the room. Will was still under the covers beside me.
    But something had definitely changed.
    His body had changed.
    I wasn’t fully awake—just conscious enough to know that it was Will beside me and there was something about his body that I really liked.
    I rubbed myself against him and he groaned, low and hoarse.
    Washed with pleasure at the thick sound, I rubbed against him some more.
    “Greer.” His voice wasn’t normal. It was groggy, like he was barely awake the way I was, like he wasn’t fully conscious any more than me.
    I was glad. It put him on my level—acting on pure instinct rather than self-will and reasoned control.
    Moving my hands, I started to stroke his shoulders, arms, back.
    He moaned again and slid his hands down to my bottom. “Yes,” he said in almost a hiss. “Sweetheart, touch me.”
    I liked being called sweetheart. No one had ever called me that before. It felt intimate. Emotional. Slightly old-fashioned, which I might have thought strange at another time, since Will wasn’t an old-fashioned guy. It didn’t feel strange now though.
    It felt like we were more than bodies moving together.
    Since he’d told me to touch him, I did. I slid my hands to his chest, rubbing them along the firm, masculine breadth of him and then down to his flat abs. Then even lower.
    He was wearing a pair of old sweats, and his erection was very obvious beneath the loose fabric. I felt him over his pants, and he groaned again.
    My body was throbbing now, and my breathing had quickened. The fabric was an annoying obstacle, so I slipped my hands underneath his waistband. The pulsing between my legs intensified as I felt the warm, hard flesh of him. He was big in my hands, and I explored with a brazen entitlement I’d never experienced before.
    Like he was mine to touch like this.
    “Oh, fuck,” he gasped, his whole body jerking as I stroked him. “Just like that. Oh fuck, Greer.”
    He started to rock his hips into my hands, and it was the sexiest thing I’d ever felt.
    I tightened my fingers around him, and he made a choking sound.
    Then he suddenly rolled me over on my back and moved on top of me. “Greer. Sweetheart.” He found my mouth in the dark and kissed me, and I opened for him immediately, letting his tongue delve and tease. I still had his erection in my hands, and I kept stroking him as we kissed.
    I’d known Will for a long time, but I’d never known him like this before. All his boundaries and defenses were down. He wasn’t stoic, wasn’t controlled, wasn’t forever holding back.
    Part of my mind knew this was because he’d barely woken up, and this glimmer of knowledge prompted me to ask when he finally broke the kiss, “You’re awake?”
    “Yes.” He was kissing a line down my neck and dragging my T-shirt off over my head at the same time.
    “And you want this?”
    “Fuck, do I want this.” He’d bared my breasts now, and he took one of my nipples between his teeth, giving it a gentle tug.
    I arched up off the bed with a breathless cry.
    He did it again.
    I dug my fingers into the back of his neck and held on. “You’re not going to push me away this time?”
    “No. Never. I’m going to take you just like this. I’m going to make you mine. At last.” The words were soft and hoarse, and he kept teasing my breasts as he spoke.
    I almost came right then and there, just from the pure hotness of it.
    He pulled down my shorts and panties, and I kicked them off over my feet. Then I was completely naked and one of his hands was between my legs.
    He kissed me again as he explored, and I whimpered into his mouth as his fingers grew bolder. I was already wet and so aroused that I couldn’t lie still. I was trying to ride his hand when he penetrated me with two fingers.
    “Shit, you’re already ready for me.” He broke the kiss and ducked his head, panting against my neck. “Shit, sweetheart, I can’t wait much longer. I’ve wanted you for so long.”
    “Then take me now.” I pushed down his pants, relieved when he helped so he could get them off completely. “Please, Will, don’t make me wait any more.”
    He kissed me hard, deep. And as he did, he settled himself between my legs. He used his hand to guide himself into position, and I bent up my knees as he eased himself in. I moaned low and long as he entered me, the size of him forcing my body to stretch around him. My hands were still on the back of his neck, and I dug in my fingernails as he sank deeper.
    “Yes. Fuck, yes, You’re so tight. So sweet. So perfect. Fuck, Greer, tell me how it is for you.” Tension and heat were radiating off his body.
    “It’s so good.” I arched my back and bent my legs up even more, trying to relax around the length of him. The pulsing at my center had intensified. It wanted me to move. It wanted him to move. We needed to answer the pulsing. We needed to move together.
    I rocked up my hips, and both of us gasped.
    “Please, Will. I need… I need it.” I rocked my hips again, compelled by that deep pulsing that was overwhelming everything else.
    He readjusted his weight, moving one hand to hold my bottom as he started to thrust. His motion was steady, and the friction made me groan helplessly.
    “How’s that?” he asked thickly. “Is this what you need, sweetheart?”
    “God, yes. Yes. Oh God.” I was babbling and couldn’t stop as my body was rushing after the pleasure. I clawed at his back as my hips moved shamelessly, trying to match his rhythm. “Take me just like this. Make me come. I need it. I need it so…” My words got swallowed up in a little cry as his motion accelerated.
    “Fuck, you’re close, sweetheart. You’re close already.”
    I was almost sobbing now as he thrust hard and fast. My feet had come up off the bed as I pulled my knees toward my shoulders, and his hand was strong against my bottom, guiding the motion of my hips. “Oh God!” I gasped and froze as all the sensations coiled down tight.
    Will’s motion hadn’t slowed, even as my body clamped down around him. “There you go. Here it comes. Come for me. Come for me now.”
    I choked on the pleasure as my body erupted in a hard climax. I shook through the spasms, making all kinds of helpless sounds as I tried to ride out the pleasure with my hips.
    Will was still talking me through it. “That’s right. So hot. So sweet. So fucking sweet. Ride it out, sweetheart. Take all of it. It’s all for you.”
    There were tears on my face when I finally started to relax, and I could feel the heat and satisfaction through every inch of my body. Will had stopped thrusting as I came down, but he was still hard inside me.
    I could feel him. I could feel all of him.
    He lowered his head to kiss my mouth. Then my cheek. Then the pulse in my throat. “Your heart is racing like crazy,” he murmured over my skin.
    “Well, I just had a really good orgasm. What do you expect?”
    He pressed another little kiss on my pulse point. “It feels like it’s beating just for me.”
    “It is,” I breathed. I stroked his hair, the back of his neck, the line of his spine. When I reached his ass, he gave a little thrust. “Yeah. Like that. Take me again. I need more of you.”
    “You have me. All of me you ever want. Okay, sweetheart. Let’s try it this way this time.” He moved my legs so they were wrapped around him, and I kept holding onto his butt as he started to thrust again. “How’s that?”
    He was deeper now, but I loved it. I arched up and tossed my head on the pillow as I groaned uninhibitedly.
    “Talk to me, sweetheart.” His voice was hoarser than before. More breathless. He wasn’t going to last much longer.
    “It’s good. So good. I want you to let go.”
    “I will.”
    “Now. I want you to let go now. I want…” I lost the train of thought as a jolt of pleasure shot through me. My channel clamped down hard.
    He let out a stifled exclamation, and he motion got even faster, harder. “Fuck. Oh fuck, Greer. You’re gonna—”
    “Come again,” I gasped as I did. This orgasm wasn’t quite as powerful, but it sliced through me in a fast, hot rush. I wasn’t prepared. I cried out loudly as my body shuddered through the release.
    He came right after me, pushing clumsily against my contractions with loud, rough, animalistic grunts.
    He let go exactly as I wanted him to. He wasn’t holding anything back. He banged the bed against the wall with the force of his motion. He let out a loud bellow as he fell over the edge.
    Then we collapsed together on the bed, tangled together, both of us panting raggedly.
    Eventually, I managed to unwind my legs from around his hips, but I still couldn’t move the rest of my body. When he shifted on top of me, I whimpered.
    He finally rolled off me with a groan.
    I was fully awake now. Moisture was spilling down my inner thighs.
    We hadn’t used a condom.
    I was on birth control, but still…
    What happened to us? It was like we were possessed by some carnal, primal force. Both of us.
    Neither one of us was normally like that.
    I was already sore between my legs, and I was terrified about what Will would say once he finally caught his breath.
    He hadn’t wanted to do this.
    He’d said very clearly he hadn’t wanted to do this.
    He hadn’t wanted to be that man.
    And yet…
    He was going to hate himself—and maybe even hate me.
    “Come here, sweetheart,” he rasped.
    He’d rolled over onto his side of the bed, and I moved over to reach him. He pulled me against his body, wrapping one arm around me.
    He kissed my hair. “It’s going to be all right.”
    It was still dark in the room, and I knew there was a conversation waiting for us when the morning finally arrived.
    But Will was holding onto me right now, and he’d said it was going to be all right.
    I let myself relax.

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