My eyes flutter open to a dark room and a body wrapped around mine. Maddox is so tangled around me I can’t tell where half my limbs are. It’s like he’s trying to make sure I don’t go anywhere. If it wasn’t so cold in here I’d likely be sweating from the body heat. There is a soft dick pressed against my ass and a hand holding onto my boob like a stress toy. Warm air fans my neck every time he breathes, and his wide chest expands against my back in a hypnotic rhythm.
I feel the heaviness of my muscles with every movement, confirming I’m going to be sore for a few days. Well worth it. I have no idea what time it is, but somewhere during our reunion sex marathon I think we literally just passed out. I know he said they’re leaving tomorrow, or today, depending on the time. I feel wide awake, rejuvenated even, regardless of the fact that I just woke up, and that probably has something to do with the adrenaline over us finally getting our second chance.
I just want to get there and start our lives together. I’ll start looking for a job the second I’m in Florida territory. The one perk to not buying expensive shit is that I’ve saved a nest egg. I’ll call my boss and explain before I cross the state line. I need to pack my shit and load up my car. I want to be ready the second he wakes up. It’s time to ditch this place. The bad memories outweigh the good.
The secret to not waking Maddox is slow and steady. Sudden movement wakes him up, or at least it used to. I pull my legs from between his slowly, careful not to startle him, and once they’re free, I slide my bottom half off the bed and stop. He doesn’t move. I relax a little. I don’t want to wake him up. He needs the sleep, because when I told him I want to drive so I can take my car, despite his offer to pay to ship it all, he decided to make the trip with me and drive instead of flying with everyone else, which means we need to leave much earlier.
I grab the back of his hand and carefully lift it off my body, before resting it on the mattress where I was laying as I get out of bed. I freeze when he starts moving, but instead of opening his eyes, he mumbles, “I love you, Gabby,” and rolls onto his stomach, before settling back into a deep sleep.
My heart swells. “I love you too,” I whisper. “More than you’ll ever understand.” I’ve got to hurry. I want to come back and get in bed with him for a little while. I haven’t gotten morning snuggles with him in forever, and the few times I did required me lying about where I was to stay with him overnight when his parents was at their camp on the river. I pull my blue jean shorts on, bypassing panties since I can’t see them and they aren’t appearing with a sweep of my hand. I put my bra on as I tiptoe to the door, my shirt after it.
Since he never shut it, I don’t have to worry about it making noise. Within minutes I’m pulling the front door to, locking it before easing it completely shut, and then hurriedly jog to my car. There is a crisp feeling in the air, and even though it’s still hot in the south, it’s a feeling that confirms it’s fall. I try to be quiet shutting my car door, wasting no time before starting it up and backing out of his driveway.
After a twenty minute drive across town, away from the better subdivisions and nicer houses, I pull into the short driveway of the small three-bedroom rental house I share with Autumn. She went to New Orleans for the weekend; some festival, which means lots of alcohol and partying. I think they got a room with a balcony on Bourbon Street.
The security light comes on as I walk within range of the sensor, giving me enough light to shuffle through the few keys on my key ring to find the house key before shoving it into the hole and unlocking it. Turning on every light on the way to my room, I walk inside and grab the first suitcase I find. I barely have it unzipped and open on my bed before grabbing shit left and right and throwing it inside.
I don’t really have that much. I left anything of real value at my dad’s house. Most of the clothes I have here I’ve bought since I moved out on my own. And if it’s easily replaceable, like toiletries, it’s staying here. The less I take the sooner I can get back to Maddox.
The day I got my high school diploma I said I’d stand on my own two feet. That way my dad can’t control my life anymore. In less than thirty minutes I have a large rolling suitcase full and zipped and a duffle bag with the rest, both side by side on top of my bed. I walk around to the opposite side and lift the mattress, reaching between it and the box spring to grab the zipper pouch that stays here, moving it to the front pocket of my suitcase.
The frame on my nightstand catches my attention. I grab it and hold it in front of me—the two of us in our swimsuits on his dad’s boat. He had his shades on with a big-ass grin on his face. His arm was wrapped around my tiny waist while I snapped the photo. His parents went out of town for their anniversary, so Maddox wanted to go stay at the camp for the weekend and spend it on the river. I told my dad I was going with Mandy, my best friend, and her family to Orange Beach for the weekend so he wouldn’t drive by her house. Lying came easily during the time I was with Maddox, but I wouldn’t take back a second, even knowing it was wrong in ways.
A pinched feeling at the back of my neck causes me to slap at the skin in case it was a mosquito or gnat biting me. Those damn things find their way inside in the south regardless of what you do. Maybe I should have left my hair down earlier at Maddox’s, but with sex comes sweat, and it was starting to stick, so I put it up in a loose top knot bun.
I drop the frame as I sway on my feet. “Shit.” When I bend down to get it I nearly fall over. Dizziness washes over me. What the hell? I close my eyes, trying to make it go away. I force myself upright and turn around to sit on my bed for a second, my eyes landing on a dark suit I’d recognize anywhere. He comes toward me. “No.”
But before I can fight or run, everything goes black.