I’m standing in front of the mirror, almost like I did a couple of weeks ago. Only, this time I’m getting ready for an event for myself. I wanted to just stay at home tonight, but Tamara told me under no uncertain terms that she expected me to show up. Lizzy and Hunter didn’t help much either, they both insisted that I would go to the party. No matter if I was going to have to face B, I should just have fun with other people from the project and ignore him. Like I even know how to do that, I’ve been constantly aware of where B was, or what he was doing. No matter how much I tried, I can’t.
But I know that they mean well, everyone just wants me to get more involved with my classmates, especially now that B is around. No matter if I feel like it or not. I’ve never really enjoyed parties, but I guess that this is not just about that, but also about getting to know the people I’m going to have to work with for the next months. And that’s actually a good idea. Getting to know the people who I could run into again after all of this, who I could be working with again in the future.
“Show me.” Lizzy knocks on the door, and I open it for her, sighing.
I’m wearing the same thing as I was last time, simple skirt and shirt, nothing fancy. I have no idea what else I could wear, it’s not like my closet has changed in the last weeks.
“No. That’s not going to work. Hunter!” Lizzy yells down the stairs. “How fast are you with that sewing machine of yours?”
“Lizzy,” I whisper at her. “You can’t.”
“Oh yes, we can.” She grabs my wrist. “Let’s go.”
“Wait.” I pull my hand free. “At least let me get my stuff.” Because I have a feeling that it’s not going to be any use to argue with them.
“Fine.” Lizzy taps with her boot on the wooden floor, her arms crossed in front of her.
Hunter also comes up the stairs and reaches my door. “I was called?”
“Tell Lizzy I’m fine like this.” I put my hand on my hip, one last try.
“For the party tonight?” He looks me over. “That’s not going to work.”
I sigh. “You can’t just… magic me a dress just to wear for a stupid party.”
“It’s not magic. It’s called sewing. And yes, I can make you a dress that will wow everyone. Not just for tonight but for any party you’re going to attend in the future. You know that I can, and you know that I never disappoint.” He grins. “Lemme just check in here first.” He opens the door to my closet, and I’m about to protest, but it’s not like there’s anything embarrassing in there that he hasn’t seen before. “Okay. I remember you having really nice heeled shoes, and grab a good bra. I don’t think we’ll need anything else. Oh, and some make-up, of course, I don’t think that Lizzy’s minimal stash will work today.” He looks at me, smiling. “We’re going to make sure that nobody is able to ignore you tonight. All eyes will be on you, on how amazing and flawless you are.”
“You know I hate that.” I let out a sigh. It doesn’t look like I’ll be able to get out of this. And I’m not surprised, Lizzy and Hunter have their ways to get me to do things… even if it scares me. “Fine. Give me a minute.” I push them both out of my room and start stashing some things in my bag.
I don’t like all the attention, but somewhere in me, a fighting strength has been growing, a force that refuses to die down, a force that is making me hold my head up high.
Seeing Blaze again has changed one thing for certain, I can no longer be the little mouse I’ve been these last years.
I’m standing in a closed-off area of Hunter’s workshop in a barn at his parents’ place. The rest of the workshop is dedicated to his metal work, filled with scraps, half-finished projects and machinery I don’t even want to think about, but this little corner is closed off so that dust doesn’t come in and it’s filled with fabrics and patterns and other sewing related items.
Hunter has a knack for designing clothes, something so at odds with the image he usually portrays. In high school, I’ve worn multiple of his dresses and shirts and things, just like Tessa did. We were his perfect excuse to keep making new things, to keep improving his style. And I do mean excuse. His specialties, according to the school, were in metal working and drawing, not in design. But somehow, Hunter, with some help from Blaze, would find any excuse to make Tessa and me something new. Every occasion deserved a new shirt or dress or skirt. If Hunter hadn’t gotten in trouble so often, the school may have let him take design classes too and he may have actually gotten somewhere with this.
But H always got into trouble, and while the metal department put up with it, and the drawing department sort of let him be most of the time, the fashion department didn’t want anything to do with him. He was too rough, he wasn’t the model student that they normally accepted in their classes. It’s a shame, he’s really good.
Although, the last time I wore one of his dresses was during the formal that was held for the class about to graduate high school, before the two weeks study break before the exams. The dress had been so beautiful, shimmery, a close fit and so, so flattering. Tessa had had a similar design, in fire colors, to match her hair, while mine was in blue, to match my eyes. I have no idea where that dress is now, maybe somewhere in a box, hidden away with all the bad memories. It was the happiest time of my life, the happiest night I had. Before everything went bad.
“Lo,” Hunter calls out and holds up a bunch of fabric. “Can you, like, wrap this around yourself for a moment?”
I take the fabric. It’s a lovely heavy and thick fabric in dark blue. I wrap it around myself clumsily and Lizzy quickly helps me.
Hunter looks at me, letting out a sigh. “Nah. Needs more.” He turns back to his shelves with fabric. I’m not even sure how long he’s been collecting all of this, but it must be years and years worth.
“I like the weight though.” I get out of the fabric, folding it as best as I can.
“I know.” He grins my way. “Perfect for winter dresses.” He shrugs a little. “But I’m sure I’ve got something better, color-wise.” He starts pulling all different fabrics from the shelves, putting them on the table, rearranging them a couple of times. Then he takes the fabric I’m still holding, draping it over the rest. “Yeah, that’s going to work.”
I have no idea what ‘that’ is, but I trust that it will be good. Hunter doesn’t disappoint.
He looks me over one last time, and even though I’m standing here in my jeans and a T-shirt, I feel like he’s looking right through them, that calculating look in his eyes that I know means he’s making a mental 3D image of me to work from. Then he smiles. “Okay, if you two lovelies could entertain yourself for an hour, I have a dress to make.” He sits down at the table, his hand going over a piece of paper, sketching something.
“Let’s go.” Lizzy pulls on my arm, smiling. “Have you been to the stables here?”
I have, at some point in the past, but it’s been years. “Don’t we need boots or something for that?” I look at my shoes, but when I look at Lizzy’s feet I realize she’s wearing army boots, so I guess she’s going to be fine.
“Oh. Just grab a pair from the utility room. Everyone does.” She points me in the direction.
I look behind the door and there are boots in all sorts of sizes there. I check for my size and pull on a pair. It feels weird wearing someone else’s boots, but I guess there are often people who need boots at a riding school, so it would be prepared for that.
I follow Lizzy outside, shivering against the cold air, but as soon as we step into one of the stables, it’s warm again. The horses are all making sounds in their own box stalls, it’s so alive, so welcoming. “Won’t I smell like horse after this?”
Lizzy looks at me like I’m saying something crazy. “You’re going to shower before you leave. Don’t worry about all that.” She grabs a jacket. “Wear this, so you don’t get as dirty.” Then she grabs some brushes and things. “Let’s get to work.” She smiles, and I love seeing her happy like this.
The hour Hunter told us to entertain ourselves is over before I even realize it. I almost jump when I find Hunter standing in the door to the box we’re in, looking at us smiling.
“Time for a dress fitting.” He grins. “And then a shower. We’re on a schedule here, ladies. And my mom is asking if you’re eating with us.”
I shake my head. “We’ll have something to eat at the party, as far as I know.”
“Good.” He nods. “Let’s get a move on, then.” He leaves, and as I look at Lizzy, she’s grinning too.
Then she stands up and we close the box stall before making our way to Hunter’s workshop.
Hunter is back in his little nook, sitting on the table, waiting for us, the dress next to him. “Wash your hands first. You’re not getting near this in the state you’re in now.” He pulls the dress a little closer, and I can see the different shades of blue on it, but not much else yet.
I wash my hands thoroughly and then turn to him. “Can I see it now?”
“Sure.” He jumps off, motioning for me to come over.
I stand in front of him as he holds out the dress. Like I thought, it’s got different panels of colors, in different shades of blue, and when he turns it around, I see he’s even added a panel in the back in what looks like the same shade as my formal dress had been. It’s beautiful. I meet his eyes and, he nods, a soft smile on his lips. I swallow away the lump in my throat. It’s been such a long time since I felt like this. Like I could be beautiful, whole, not damaged.
“Put it on.” He hands me the dress and then directs me to a curtain in the corner. “And put the heels on with it.” He hands me the bag I took with me here.
I look up and see Lizzy watch me, her eyes also soft, and she smiles encouragingly. Why am I nervous about putting on a dress?
I walk to the curtain and pull it closed behind me. It’s a dressing room, with mirror and all. After a couple of moments, I slowly undress, still a little awkward, especially since I know that Hunter and Lizzy are waiting for me to come back out.
I hold the dress in front of me, the colors are perfect, but I’m not sure if this really is for me. Still, I take off my jeans and then open the zip on the back of the dress before sliding it over my head and wiggling into it. I meet my eyes in the mirror, and when I look at myself, even with the zipper still undone, I’m surprised by what I see.
“You got it on yet? Need me to zip you up?” Lizzy’s voice is still on the other side of the room.
“Yes, please.” I’m not going to attempt to do that myself right now, too scared to move, to break this magic.
Lizzy’s footsteps come closer, and then she slips behind the curtain. When she looks at me, she immediately grins. Then she steps behind me and closes the zipper. “You look amazing.” Her voice is soft.
“Thanks.” I look in the mirror. The dress is pretty low-cut but not too low, as I like it, though a little on the edgy side for me. The form is tight, but it’s still comfortable to move in, and the skirt is wide and falls just under my knees. The different panels make the dress fit exactly around me and play with the light to give me even more of an hourglass shape than I already have. It’s hard to keep my eyes off myself. It’s strange, to see myself like this, beautiful.
“And?” Hunter calls out.
“Perfect,” Lizzy calls back to him, then she takes my hand. “Come.”
She leads me back to the main area, and Hunter nods appreciatively. “Did I do it right? Not too much, right?”
I shake my head. I’ve never been one to show a lot of skin, something Hunter and I have clashed over in the past, but I’m just not comfortable with it. “It’s beautiful. Thank you.” I go over to him and he takes me in a tight hug. “Thank you.”
“My pleasure.” I hear the smile in his voice. “I can’t have my girlfriend’s sister not looking her best at a party.”
“Your girlfriend’s sister, or your friend?” I don’t know where the words come from, and it immediately forms a ball of anxiety in my stomach.
“My friend.” He lets go of me, nodding at me, his eyes soft. “Now. You go take a shower, I’m going to finish up some of the seams and everything, and then we’ll get you ready for the party.”
“Thank you.” I turn to Lizzy, who is grinning at me. “You too. Thanks.”
For the first time in years, I feel a little like I used to feel. I didn’t always feel broken, I didn’t always feel like I was just boring and the rest of my life was just going to be a bore. For the first time in years, I feel like I could maybe actually keep my head up high and take on anything.
When I get to the art department, there are already a lot of people milling about. And when I reach the front door, I catch a glimpse of Damon, who’s smiling at me appreciatively as he sees the dress I’m wearing.
“Looking good.” He grins. “Trying to catch someone?”
I shake my head. “Trying to banish someone instead.” Banish Blaze from my thoughts forever.
He nods, grinning more. “Well, you’ve got the right look for it. Go slay.” He holds up a cigarette. “I’d come in with you to see everyone’s response. But I’m taking a little break.” He pushes the door open for me. “Go get them.”
When I step through the door, I can already hear the loud voices and music in the classroom. I take a deep breath, trying to steady my nerves, and stalk over to the room. It’s filled with people from the project, all talking with each other. Nobody has seen me yet, and I feel a little over-dressed when I look at some of the other girls.
Tamara is closest to the door and sees me first. “Oh, wow. Lola.” She comes over, smiling broadly. “Looking nice. One of Hunter’s?”
“Yeah.” I can’t help smile too. “He didn’t agree with what I was going to wear.”
“Typical.” She looks around. “Drinks and snacks are in the back. If you need anything else, ask me. Yeah?” She puts her hand on my arm. “I think you’re going to want a drink soon. I’m seeing some jealous looks from the others. That dress looks stunning on you.”
The moment she steps away, some of the girls from our writing group come over to me. Complimenting me and then asking about who made it. I try to divert their questions. Not really wanting to share who made it, especially since I don’t know if H would like word to get out about his skills. It’s fun for a while, the way the girls keep asking questions, giving compliments and just include me in their conversations.
Then there is a gasp behind me, and I spin around. “That’s one of Hunter’s isn’t it?” Blaze’s voice is low, dangerous, and the look in his eyes… Lust, dark, desperate lust, and fury.
The whole world disappears. It’s reduced to just Blaze and me. The way he’s looking at me. The way my body responds to him.
I want him, I want him so badly. My body starts buzzing, getting sensitive against the fabric of my bra and panties, and my breath shallows. I need him. I crave him, his touch.
But then he breaks the spell, turning away from me, leaving the room again. And I stumble back, grabbing for a chair to keep myself up.
I’m surprised by my reaction, surprised by the look in Blaze’s eyes, the desperation and need in them. The desperation and need going through my own body.
Without looking around, without a second thought, I go after him, leaving the room. My eyes search all around, trying to find where he went. Then I find him around the corner to a different hallway.
He looks up at me, surprise flashing across his face, his chest rising and falling quickly.
I walk over to him, not able to resist him anymore. His dark jeans, his tight shirt, the way it stretches over his broad chest… I need to touch him, I need to have him with me.
He reaches out, pulling me close and twisting us around, so I’m with my back against the wall, trapped.
“Lo.” He’s so close, his voice barely above a whisper, but I can still hear him clearly over the music spilling out of the room. Or is it that I can feel the rumble in his chest more than hearing the words? “Lo.” He puts his rough fingers under my chin, making me look up into his darkened eyes, then they dart down, to my lips, before coming up again.
I reach out, steadying myself with my hands on his muscular hips as lust rushes through me and I’m getting a little light-headed. I want him. I want him more than anything. His hands, his mouth… all of him. “B…” I try to push him away, I know this is a bad idea, my brain knows this, but my fingers grip into his shirt, pulling him closer against me instead. I’m burning up inside, a fire that I only have vague memories of, a fire that I nearly forgot even existed inside me.
His lips play over the edge of my ear. “Can I kiss you?” There is nothing in the world I want more right now, and in a moment of weakness, I give in.
I nod, not even able to breathe as he puts his hands on the wall next to me, closing me in, pressing his body closer, his hard panes of body flush against mine. I angle my face up, and he presses his lips against mine. First carefully, but then harder, taking away my breath, taking away my thoughts.
There is nothing in this world but the familiarity of having B back in my arms. I let out a little sound as I tighten my grip on him, pushing back against him.
He opens his lips and the tip of his tongue slips along my lips. Asking, no, begging to be let in, begging to meet me. I open my mouth on a gasp and, as he dips his tongue into my mouth, my senses are plunged into the taste, scent, sense of B. The only boy who could ever keep my attention. The only boy, ever.
He presses closer and I can feel very clearly how he’s been affected by this all too. How I affect him.
I slide my hand from around him down, cupping his dick as he lets out a low moan, pulling back for a moment.
His green eyes have darkened more, filled with lust, but through all of that, I still see that he’s being careful. “Are you sure?”
Am I sure? No. Does every part of me scream for him? Hell yes. My body is bursting and I only know one way to solve this feeling. Only one answer to make my body calm down again. I knead him more, pushing even closer, kissing his jaw.
B looks around for a moment, before he opens the door of a closet next to us. “Let’s get a little more privacy, can’t do that out in the open.” He pushes me into the supplies closet. It would be funny, if this wasn’t a perfect replica of the way we used to sneak around when we were still in high school. And if I didn’t want him as badly as I do, so that I’m willing to do this in a supplies closet instead of insisting on the adult thing and an actual room with bed and all that.
He pulls me closer, running his hands over my back, grabbing my ass. He grinds against me, pushing against parts of me that start to spark. “Fuck. You’re so hot,” He whispers against my neck, putting his lips against my pulse point.
If I were smart, I’d pull away now, I’d not let myself get dragged into this bad idea. But my brain has shut down. Instead, I’m running on instinct and my instinct, my body, it only wants B.
It’s only ever wanted B.
Next chapter is next week! <3
Please, remember, this is just cleaned up, not fully edited, so some errors may be still in here. They will be fixed before publication!