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Authors: J.D. Lowrance

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BOOK: Caged In
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CHAPTER FIVE

 

Charlie

What
the hell was I thinking?

My
self-preservation took a long walk off a short pier. The one man who could
completely undo me from the inside out was leading me away from the party
because I said I wanted him.

And
I did!

Everything
single inch of him I wanted around me, on me . . . hell . . . in me. I wanted
to bare his weight as he drove into me, hear him whisper my name as he came,
and feel his arms around me as I fell asleep.

I
could do this.

NO!
I could not.

Yes!
I! Could!

My
inner turmoil about whether or not I could do this continued until Cage stopped
outside a closed double door.


Are
you sure?

His whispered
question took me aback. There was a quiet vulnerability about him right now
that he had never allowed anyone to see since he made it big. Cage only showed
the world why he was the most sought-after bachelor on the planet. At first I
read every article and looked at every picture until the women started to
invade the storylines and images.  Then the drugs and alcohol, the weight loss,
and the aloofness appeared that broke my heart even more. I finally took a step
back from cyber-stalking him when my modeling career really took off. I still
kept track of the band and the music, but nothing about him. It just hurt too much,
and I finally convinced myself I needed the break in order to move on.

Then
the scene at the music awards got a life of its own. Someone recorded it and
next thing you know I was linked to Cage once again. But that was hardly the
truth. I saw him one other time at the rehab facility. Locke was afraid he
would check himself out and called me to come talk to him. Cage was too out of
it to even know I was there, but I sat with him all night on what Locke said
was his worst night. That same vulnerability was now staring back at me in this
darkened hallway. How could I say no?

I
slowly nodded answering his quiet question. Without another word, Cage turned
the knob and opened the door, pulling me in behind him. One step in the room
had me in his arms. His soft lips brushed mine as I heard the door click shut.
Cage

s
eyes told me everything I did not want to know. He was looking for something
real and was trying to figure out if I could give it to him.

Shit!

When
I had first told him I wanted him, I thought I could do one night. In and out;
get the closure I sought and then disappear like he did. Or maybe I thought I
could play his game, keeping who I was to myself and just enjoy him as everyone
had since he left me.  I figured one night of crazy, forbidden sex would
finally show me that it was time to walk away, that he was really the man-whore
I knew him to be. But this? I saw my best friend in that expression. I saw
everything I had been missing in the last ten years.

I
could not do this and walk away if he kept staring at me like that.


Only
for the night,

I whispered.
That

s
right!
If I set the ground rules now there would be no
confusion in my head or his about what would come after the amazing sex I knew
he could give me.
Yeah right!


I

m
willing to start there,

Cage
said as his lips closed the distance. His kiss undid me, like always. Tears
sprung to my eyes as the gentle press of his lips and glide of his hand up my
arm to my neck proved he was looking for more.

My
hands fisted his costume as I pulled him against me rather abruptly. I could
not handle gentle and slow. Hard and fast was what I needed to survive this
night. My tongue pressed against his soft lips seeking entrance and when he
granted it I did not hesitate to pick up the pace.

Immediately
Cage pulled back,

Slow down baby. We got
all night and I plan to use every second to worship you like you deserve.

Was
that a line or was he serious? A semi-hysterical laugh escaped from deep within
me. The disbelief that my Cage was staring back at me warred with all the
images that graced the cover of every tabloid. I shook my head trying to clear
it.

What

s
wrong?

Cage
asked as he took a step to me as I took a step back from him.


Stop,

I
begged. His pleading blue eyes, his gentle kiss, his warm touch were just too
much.

I
was wrong.

My whisper too
loud in the silent room.

I can

t.


Why
not?

His
voice held an edge that broke my heart, because I knew that I had put it there.


I

m
sorry.

My
own voice cracked from the pressure that was building within me. The pain that
I knew would come caught an earlier train as it railroaded into me.


Why
are you sorry?

The tears that I
thought had all dried up came springing back to life. Cage went to reach for
me, but I was too quick for him as I turned and ran out of the room. 

Stop,

he
called out. My feet did just the opposite as I picked up the pace. The word
please had me looking over my shoulder to find him standing in the doorway.
This image would forever be burned into my mind, because I knew this would be
the last time I could ever see him; it just hurt too much. At that very moment
I lost my battle with my tears as I fled.

 

Cage

My
heart pounded in my chest as I watched her run from the room Linc always let me
use when I crashed at his place. This mysterious girl was literally running
away from me like the gates of hell had opened and I was the devil himself.

Stop,

I
yelled, but that only seemed to make her go faster.

Please,

I
begged. It was something I never did, but prayed it worked this time. Her
haunted, cat-like eyes appeared over her shoulder as her feet continued to lead
her away from me. The tears that threatened earlier now spilled down her
cheeks, before she turned, taking the stairs at a record pace. A protectiveness
to save her from whatever she ran from welled up inside of me as she
disappeared from my sight.

I
dug the heel of hands into my eyes as a million questions ran through my mind.
What was wrong with this girl? Why did I care? Was I really going to chase
after someone who didn

t want me? Why was I
still standing here?

Lyrics
drifted up from below.

Give it to me, I

m
worth it. Baby I

m worth it. Uh huh I

m
worth it.

 
I took off after
her. No girl ever said no, let alone ran from me. I would find her and make her
tell me why. And I already knew she was worth it!

I
came to the top of the landing and looked down to find twice as many people on
the dance floor while Fifth Harmony

s

Worth
It

played
over the mayhem. And there was Catwoman in the arms of Nate Fucking Maxwell.
She took a step back as he looked right up at me. His disapproval in the shake
of his head told me more than the murderous look in his eyes.
Well no shit
buddy!
Catwoman followed his gaze and found me staring back at them. Her
yellow eyes widened a fraction before she was pulling Nate through the crowd.

Nate

s
eyes never left mine as he followed behind her. A head nod from me and then a
returned one from Nate told me he knew this was not over. Hell, if it were up
to me we would just be getting started. My night may have been cut short with
her, but there would definitely be more to this story and I was bound and
determined to make sure of it.

With
only one thought in mind I leisurely went down the stairs and entered the party
once again. It was time to see who knew where Nate Maxwell lived.

 

CHAPTER SIX

 

Charlie

What
the hell was I thinking?

Even
the next morning I could not fathom why in the hell I let myself be alone with
Cage. Why would I do that to myself? Just the thought of him pressed up against
me. The feel of his lips. The beat of his heart against mine.


AAAHHH!

I
yelled. I was in a tailspin with questions I could not answer. Feelings I could
not acknowledge all vied for attention.

Fuck
it,

I
said as I jumped out of bed and went to my iPhone. Thumbing through my music, I
selected Pink

s

Walk
of Shame.

I loved this song
and felt like I had done a walk of shame last night by just being alone with
Cage.


Please
God, don

t
let anybody see me. Please God, I

ll
do anything you ask of me. I promise no more walks of shame. So walk this way,

I
sang as I strutted into the bathroom and started the shower.  I belted out the
lyrics as I washed the previous night off and tucked the feelings they inspired
away like I always did; my own coping mechanism that I learned long ago from a
darker time.


Welcome
to the living.

Nate greeted me as
I came into his kitchen.


It

s
not that late.


Yeah.
It

s
only lunchtime, but not late. Not at all,

he
teased as he started pulling things out of the fridge.

Hungry?

His
look told me there was only one answer.


A
smoothie would be nice,

I
answered plastering on an over-the-top fake smile and nod. Nate laughed in
response, but pulled out the mixer.

After
a few minutes of silence as he worked and I watched, Nate asked,

Are
we going to talk about last night?


Nothing
to really talk about,

I
shrugged.

I made a huge mistake and it will
never happen again.


And
what mistake was that?

I
gave him a duh look.


Trusting
myself to be alone with Cage. I thought I could play this game where I came out
on top or unaffected, but I was wrong. Not only do I feel lower than low, I am
completely and utterly still just in . . . AAAWWW . . . of him.


Then
maybe you should be alone with him.

I
was shocked.

What? Hell no.


Why?


Because!


Not
an answer.


Because
there were moments last night where I saw the old Cage, not the lead singer of
Caged In, not the drug addict. No one but who I needed him to be and that
scares me, because I know he is not that person. He wasn

t
it then and he sure as hell isn

t it now.  It

s
just my hopes that I was placing in a look that he isn

t
really giving; just one I was wishing was there.


All
that before a cup of coffee,

joked
Nate.

I
snorted.

I didn

t
sleep much.


I
can see that. Well I think . . .

A
knock at the door stopped Nate from finishing his sentence.

One
sec,

he
added before walking out of the kitchen. A few seconds later I heard the front
door open and a few murmured words. I turned towards the hallway as Nate
reappeared with a perplexed look on his face.

It

s
for you. A delivery.

Now
I was the one giving him a puzzled look. Nate just shrugged his shoulders as I
passed.

The
only sound in the hallway was my bare footsteps as I walked to the front door
to find a very large and absolutely breathtaking bouquet of navy blue irises.
My
favorite!
They always reminded me of another pair of navy blue irises.

They

re
beautiful,

I said as the
flowers slowly lowered and that exact pair of navy blue irises stared back at
me.

 

Cage

That
voice! I lowered the flowers as Charlie whispered my name. Shock, sharp and
severe, rode me as I continued to stare. I asked Nate if Catwoman was still
here when he answered the door and if he would send her out.

But
it

s
Charlie,

my
mind screamed. The yellow eyes from the night before were replaced with the
most breathtaking, deep fields of green I had ever seen. As if on auto-pilot, I
woodenly handed her the flowers. My heart raced as my mouth went dry. I tried
to speak, but ended up just opening and closing my mouth a few times as I
continued to take all of her in.

Her
beauty was beyond compare as she stood before me in cut-offs making her mile
high legs look endless. She still had a lean body with the just right amount of
boob and ass, or at least for me. Scenes of worshiping that body for hours came
flooding back as I imaged her throwing her head back in the throes of passion.
Her long, dark brown hair whispering across my chest as she rode me reverse
cowgirl.

I
opened my eyes at the onslaught of images my mind was throwing at me. 

What
are you doing here?

I
croaked, trying to stay in the moment with her. Now she closed her eyes cutting
me off from reading them as they had darkened to forest green with some untold
emotion.


I
could ask you the same thing,

countered
Charlie.


Was
that really you last night?

The
question hung between us as her eyes continued to dart around, looking at
everything but me. I took one step towards her; scared to move too quickly and
frighten her away. Charlie was so skittish last night and seemed even more so
now.


Yes,

she
answered as she made eye contact again. Unshed tears made her emerald eyes
sparkle. My hands itched to pull her to me and comfort her.


Why
didn

t
you tell me?

Another step.


I
. . . I couldn

t. I thought I could just do what you
do, but I couldn

t.

She
fidgeted with the flowers, breaking eye contact again.


And
what do I do?

Another step.

She
snorted in disgust.

Love them and leave them.

When
Charlie looked at me again her eyes held the same shadows of pain they did when
we were younger, but this time I knew I had put them there.


No.

I
refused to let her believe that. I still loved her and I would never leave her
again.


Yes,

she
seethed, swiping at her eyes. The hostility was warranted, and an angry Charlie
was better than a crying one any day of the week.


Just
give me a chance to explain.

Another
step.


No.
You should go.

Charlie went to
turn away from me, but I could not let that happen . . . EVER AGAIN. Without
thinking, I grabbed Charlie by her shoulders and pulled her into me. Smashing
my lips to hers, I wrapped my arms around her, holding her there. A soft sigh
from Charlie allowed my tongue to slip into her warm, wet mouth. I moaned in
response to her sweet taste, deepening the kiss. Her arms found their way
around me eliminating any space between us.

A
throat clearing had Charlie pushing herself away from me, but I would not allow
it. I loosened my hold, but kept her within my arms as we both looked at Nate.


Want
me to take those for you?

he
asked pointing to the now slightly smashed bouquet.


Yes,
please.

Charlie

s
pink cheeks turned red as she stole a quick glance at me. Her now red lips
glistened from my earlier assault. I stood up straight, moving my arm to around
her shoulders as I extended the other to Nate.


Good
to see you again, man. Thanks for getting Charlie to come out and talk to me.

He
took my hand in a firm shake, as he took the flowers from Charlie.

You
ok?

The
question solely directed to her. A slight nod had Nate turning back from where
he came.


I really think you should go,

she said as Nate disappeared
around the corner. My hand shot out, turning her back towards me.

We need to talk.

When I saw uncertainty float across
those gorgeous green eyes, I begged,

please.


Cage . . . I should just . . . I
don

t
know.


Are you with him?

I prayed to God that she said no.
That question pissed her off, telling me exactly what I needed to know - they
were not together. I asked myself that same question last night of Catwoman,
but now knowing it was Charlie I knew she never would have gone with me if she
were. Her reaction only confirmed it.


That is really none of your
business.

She
attempted to side step me and the question.


I have been waiting to talk to you
for
ten years Charlie.

I said as I stepped back in front
of her.


Whose fault is that Matthews?

Her body stiffened ready to
fight or flee. Something she always did when confronted. Charlie hated
confrontation of any sort, and apparently still did.


Charlie, please.


It

s Charlotte now. Ever since you
left it

s
only Charlotte.

What
was the saying - if looks could kill - then I would definitely be six-feet
under right now.

You
have everything you could possibly want. Please just leave . . .


Not everything,

I interrupted.

Just give me five minutes. Please,
Charlie.


Is there a problem?

Nate Maxwell was definitely trying
to get on my shit list. His perfect dirty blonde hair and light grey eyes and
perfect fucking teeth that I was going to knock the fuck out even if he was
twice my size.


There will be if you don

t give me a
fucking second to talk to her.

I
turned to him, but Charlie was too fast and got between us.


Cage was just leaving.

She started to turn from me, but I
grabbed her wrist.


Then come with me,

I demanded.

Charlie, please.

I stepped into her space so only
she could hear what I said next.

I
need to explain. I need you to understand. Please, Charlie I am begging,

and then added the real
kicker,

for old time
sake.

I knew I hit the mark when she
dropped her head heaving a big sigh.

Fine
Cage. Let

s
get this over with.

She
turned to Nate.

I

ll be outside.

BOOK: Caged In
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