Ugly Love
Page 20

 Colleen Hoover

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He repeats his movements.
Hes grunting with every thrust, and Im making noises I didnt even know I could make. Ive never experienced anything like this before.
I didnt know it could be this intense. This raw. This animalistic.
I lower my face and press my cheek against the table.
I squeeze my eyes shut.
I let him f**k me.
Its quiet.
Its so quiet, and I dont know if its because we were both so loud just a few seconds ago or if he just needs a minute to recover.
Hes still inside me, but hes finished. Hes just not moving. One of his hands is still covering my mouth, the other still squeezing my fingers. His face is still buried against my neck.
But hes so incredibly still Im afraid to move. I dont even feel him breathing.
The first thing to move is his hand, away from my mouth. He unlocks his fingers from mine and straightens them, pulling them slowly apart from mine. He presses both palms against the table and lifts his face away from my neck. He pulls out of me without a sound.
Its still too quiet, so I dont move.
I hear him as he pulls his pants back into position and zips them.
I hear his footsteps as he walks away.
Hes walking away.
His bedroom door slams shut, and I flinch. My cheek and palms and stomach are still flat against his table, but now so are my tears.
Theyre falling.
Falling, falling, falling, and I cant stop them.
Im embarrassed. Im ashamed. I dont have a clue what the hell is wrong with him, but I have too much pride and too little courage to go find out.
This felt like an end. Im not sure I was ready for this to be the end. Im not sure I was ready for there ever to be an end, and I hate myself for allowing my feelings to get to that point.
Im also angry because here I am, standing in his apartment, looking for my pants, trying to stop my ridiculous tears, still feeling the remnants of him sliding down my leg, and I have no f**king clue why he had to ruin it.
Ruin me.
I finish getting dressed, and I leave.
Chapter twenty
Six years earlier
Youre getting an outie, I tell her. I run my fingers over her
bare stomach, and I kiss it. Its cute.
I press my ear to her skin and close my eyes. I bet hes lonely
in there, I say. Are you lonely in there, buddy?
Rachel laughs. You keep calling him a boy. What if hes a girl?
I tell Rachel whatever he is, Ill love him the same. I already
love him.
Or her.
Our parents are out of town. Were playing house again, except
this time, we arent really playing. Its kind of serious.
So what happens if he really does propose to her this time?
she asks.
I tell her not to worry. I tell her hes not proposing. He would
ask me first before he did it. I know that much about him.
We have to tell them, I say to her.
She nods. She knows we have to tell them. Its been three
months. We graduate in two. Shes starting to show.
Shes getting an outie. Its cute.
We should tell them tomorrow, I say.
She says okay.
I move away from her stomach and lie beside her. I pull her
against me. I touch her face.
I love you, Rachel, I tell her.
Shes not as scared now. She tells me she loves me, too.
Youre doing a good job, I say. She doesnt know what Im
talking about, so I grin and touch her stomach. Youre doing a
good job growing him. Im pretty sure youre gonna grow the
best baby any woman has ever grown.
She laughs at my silliness.
You love me so much, Rachel.
I look at herat the girl I gave my heart toand I wonder
how I got so lucky.
I wonder why she loves me just as much as I love her.
I wonder what my dad is going to say when he finds out about
I wonder if Lisa will hate me. I wonder if shell want to take
Rachel back to Phoenix.
I wonder how I can convince them that weve got this.
What are we going to name him? I ask her.
Shes excited when I ask her this. She likes talking about names.
She says if its a girl, she wants to name her Claire. After her
I tell her I wish I knew her grandmother. I want to know the
woman my daughter will be named after. She tells me her
grandmother would have loved me. I tell her I love the name
What if hes a boy? I ask.
You can pick the boy name, she says.
I tell her thats a lot of pressure. I tell her hell have to live with
his name the rest of his life. She says, Then youd better pick
a good one.
Id better pick a good one.
One that means something to you, she says.
One that means something to me.
I tell her I have the perfect name for him.
She wants to know what it is. I tell her Im not telling her. Ill
tell her his name after it becomes his name.
After hes born.
She tells me Im insane. She says she refuses to give birth to
our baby until she knows his name.
I laugh. I tell her she has no choice.
She tells me Im crazy.
You love that about me, Rachel.
Chapter twenty-one
I worked all weekend, so I havent seen or spoken to Miles since Thursday night. I keep telling myself its for the best, but it sure as hell doesnt feel like it with the way Ive been letting it eat at me. Tonight is Monday, and its the first of three days when Corbin wont be home and Miles will be. I know he knows Corbin is gone, but based on the way he left things Thursday, I doubt he cares much. I half expected that he would eventually explain if I did something wrong or at least tell me what upset him so much, but the last I got from him was the slam of his bedroom door after he walked away.
I can see why he hasnt been in a relationship for six years. Hes obviously clueless when it comes to how a guy should treat a girl, which surprises me, because I get these vibes from him that hes really a decent guy. However, his actions during and after sex seem to contradict his character. Its as if pieces of the guy he used to be bleed over into the guy hes trying to be.
If any other man ever treated me like he did, it would be the one and only time. I dont put up with the things Ive seen a lot of my friends put up with. However, I find myself continuing to make excuses for him, like something could actually justify his actions last week.
Im beginning to fear that maybe Im not so tough after all.
That fear is immediately confirmed with the skip of my heart as soon as I step off the elevator. Theres a note taped to my apartment door, so I rush to it and pull it down. Its just a folded piece of paper without anything written on the outside of it. I open it: I need to run an errand. Ill stop by at seven if you want to come with me. I read the note several times. Its obviously from him, and its obviously for me, but the note reads so incredibly casual that for a second, I begin to doubt that Thursday even happened.
He was there, though. He knows how that night ended between us. He knows I must be upset or angry, but nothing in his note reveals that at all.
I unlock my door and walk inside before I can work myself up to the point of beating on his door to scream at him.
I drop my things once Im inside my apartment and read the note one more time, dissecting everything from his handwriting down to his selection of words. I wad it up in my hands and throw it toward the kitchen, completely pissed off.
Im pissed because I already know Ill be going with him.
I dont know how not to.
Theres a soft knock on the door at exactly seven oclock. His punctuality pisses me off, and theres no reason for it. I have nothing against punctuality. I have a feeling every single thing Miles does tonight is going to piss me off.
I walk to the front door and open it.
Hes standing in the hallway, several feet away. Hes probably closer to his door than to mine, actually. Hes looking down at his feet when I open the door, but he eventually lifts his eyes to meet mine. His hands are tucked away in his jacket pockets again, and he doesnt lift his head all the way up. I take this as a sign of submission from him, even though its more than likely not.
Want to come?
His voice invades me. Weakens me. Turns me into liquid again. I nod as I step out into the hall and close the door behind me. I lock it and turn around to face him. He nods his head toward the elevators, silently telling me hell follow behind me. I try to read the expression in his eyes, but I should know better.
I walk toward the elevator and press the down button.
He stands next to me, but neither of us speaks. It takes the elevator what seems like years to get to us. When it finally opens, we both breathe a quiet sigh of relief, but as soon as were inside and the doors close, neither of us can breathe again.
I can feel him watching me, but I dont look at him.
I cant.
I feel stupid. I feel like I want to cry again. Now that Im here and I have no idea where were going, I feel like a fool for allowing him to even get me this far.
Im sorry. His voice is weak, but its also surprisingly sincere.
I dont look at him. I dont even respond.
He takes three steps across the elevator, and then he reaches down beside me and presses the emergency stop button. His finger lingers on the button as he watches me, but I keep my eyes down. My face is level with his chest, but my jaw is tense, and I wont look up at him.
I wont.
Tate, Im sorry, he repeats. Hes still not touching me, but hes invading again. Hes standing so close to me I can feel his breath and him and how much he really is sorry, but I dont even know what Im supposed to be forgiving him for. He never promised anything other than sex, and thats exactly what he gave me.
Nothing less and definitely nothing more.
Im sorry, he says again. You didnt deserve that.
This time, he touches my chin, lifting my eyes to meet his. The feel of his fingers on my face causes my jaw to grow even more tense. Im doing everything I can to keep up my armor, because Im finding it hard to fight back my tears.
The same thing I saw in his eyes when he kissed me at his door Thursday night is back. Something unspoken that he wishes he could say, but the only words that come out of his mouth are his apologies.
He winces as though hes experiencing actual physical pain, and he presses his forehead to mine. Im sorry.
He presses his palms against the elevator wall and leans into me until our chests are touching. My arms are at my sides, and my eyes are closed, and as much as I feel like crying right now, I refuse to do it in front of him. Im still not sure what hes apologizing for specifically, but it doesnt matter, because it sounds like hes apologizing for everything. For starting something with me that we knew wouldnt end well. For not being able to open up about his past. For not being able to open up about his future. For ruining me when he walked into his bedroom and slammed his door.
One of his hands wraps around the side of my head, and he pulls me against him. His other hand drops to my back, and he squeezes me, pressing his cheek against the top of my head. I dont know what this is, Tate, he confesses. But I swear, I didnt mean to hurt you. I just dont know what the hell Im doing.
The apology in his voice is enough to make my arms want to hold him. I bring them up and grab the sleeves of his shirt, then press my face into his chest. We stand like this for several minutes, both of us completely lost. Completely new to this.
Completely confused.
He eventually releases me and hits the button to take us to the ground floor. I still havent spoken, because Im not even sure what words to use in this situation. When the elevator doors open, he takes my hand in his and holds it all the way to his car. He opens my door and waits for me to climb inside, then closes it and walks around to his side.
Ive never been inside his car before.
Im surprised by the simplicity of it. I know Corbin makes a decent amount of money and usually likes to spend it on nice things.
This car is understated, just like Miles.
He exits the parking garage, and we drive in silence for several miles. Im tired of the quiet and tired of the curiosity, so the first thing I say to him since he ruined me is, Where are we going?
Its as if my voice makes the awkwardness completely disintegrate, because he exhales like hes relieved to hear it.
To the airport, he says. Not for work, though. I go there sometimes to watch the planes take off.
He reaches across the console and takes my hand in his. Its comforting and scary all at once. His hands are warm, and it makes me want him to hold my entire body in them, but it scares me how much I want that.
Its completely quiet again until we reach the airport. There are restricted-access signs, but he passes them like he knows exactly where hes going. We finally pull into a parking lot overlooking the runway.
Several jets are lined up, waiting to take off. He points to the left, and I look, just as one of the planes begins to accelerate. His car fills with the sound of the engines as it zooms past us. We both watch it make its ascent, until the landing gear disappears and the plane is swallowed up by the night.
You come here a lot? I ask him while I continue to stare out my window.
He laughs, so naturally, I turn to face him.
That sounded like a pickup line, he says, smiling.
His smile makes me smile. His eyes drop to my mouth, and my smile makes his smile disappear.
Yeah, I do, he says as he looks out his window again to watch the next jet prepare for takeoff.
I realize in this moment that things arent the same between us. Something huge changed, and I cant tell if its good or bad. He brought me here because he wants to talk.