His hands move to my waist and he pulls me against him, digging his fingers deeper into my hips with each frantic, rhythmic movement against me. I grab hold of his arms and relax my body, allowing him to guide me in whatever way can help him right now. His mouth breaks away and he opens his eyes at the same time I open mine. His eyes are still fresh with tears, so I let go of him and bring my hands to his face, attempting to sooth his pained features with my touch. He continues looking at me, but he moves his mouth to the inside of my palm and kisses it, then drops himself on top of me, stopping suddenly.

We’re both panting for air and I can feel him inside of me, still needing me. He keeps his eyes locked with mine as he slides his arms underneath my back and pulls me to him, lifting us both up. We never separate as he turns us around and slides himself down to the floor with his back against the bed, me straddling his lap. He slowly pulls me in for a kiss. A gentle kiss this time.

The way he’s holding me against him protectively now, trailing kisses along my lips and jaw—it’s almost as if he’s a different Holder than the one I had just thirty seconds ago, yet still wholly passionate. One minute he’s frantic and heated…the next minute he’s gentle and coaxing. I’m beginning to appreciate and love the unexpectedness in him.

I can feel him wanting me to take control now, but I’m nervous. I’m not sure that I even know how. He senses my unease and he moves his hands to my waist, slowly guiding me, barely moving me on top of him. He’s watching me earnestly, making sure I’m still here with him.

I am. I’m so completely here with him right now I can think of nothing else.

He brings one of his hands to my face, still guiding me with his other hand on my waist. “You know how I feel about you, baby,” he says. “You know how much I love you. You know I would do whatever I could to take away your pain, right?”

I nod, because I do know. And looking into his eyes right now, seeing the raw honesty in them, I know he’s felt this way about me long before this moment.

“I need that from you so fucking bad right now, Sky. I need to know you love me like that.”

Everything about him, from his voice to the look on his face, becomes tortured. I would do whatever it took to take that away from him. I lace our fingers together and cover both of our hearts with our hands, working up the courage to show him how incredibly much I love him. I stare him straight in the eyes as I lift up slightly, then slowly lower myself back down on top of him.

He groans heavily, then closes his eyes and leans his head back, letting it fall against the mattress behind him.

“Open your eyes,” I whisper. “I want you to watch me.”

He raises his head, looking at me through hooded eyes. I continue to slowly take control, wanting nothing more than for him to hear and feel and see just how much he means to me. Being in control is a completely different sensation, but it’s a good one. The way he’s watching me makes me feel needed like no one’s ever been able to make me feel. In a way, he makes me feel necessary. Like my existence alone is necessary for his survival.

“Don’t look away again,” I say, easing myself up. When I lower myself back onto him, his head sways slightly from the intensity of the sensation and a moan escapes my throat, but he keeps his tortured eyes locked firmly on mine. I’m no longer in need of his guidance, and my body becomes a rhythmic reflection of his.

“The first time you kissed me?” I say. “That moment when your lips touched mine? You stole a piece of my heart that night.” I continue my rhythm as he watches me fervently. “The first time you told me you lived me because you weren’t ready to tell me you loved me yet?” I press my hand harder against his chest and move myself in closer to him, wanting him to feel every part of me. “Those words stole another piece of my heart.”

He opens his hand that I have pressed over my heart until his palm is flat against my skin. I do the same to him. “The night I found out I was Hope? I told you I wanted to be alone in my room. When I woke up and saw you in my bed I wanted to cry, Holder. I wanted to cry because I needed you there with me so bad. I knew in that moment that I was in love with you. I was in love with the way you loved me. When you wrapped your arms around me and held me, I knew that no matter what happened with my life, you were my home. You stole the biggest piece of my heart that night.”

I lower my mouth to his and kiss him softly. He closes his eyes and begins to ease his head against the bed again. “Keep them open,” I whisper, pulling away from his lips. He opens them, regarding me with an intensity that penetrates straight to my core. “I want you to keep them open…because I need you to watch me give you the very last piece of my heart.”

He releases a vast breath and it’s almost as if I can see the pain literally escaping him. His hands tighten around mine as the look in his eyes instantly changes from an intense hopelessness to a fiery need. He begins moving with me as we hold each other’s gaze. The two of us gradually become one as we silently express with our bodies and our hands and our eyes what our words are unable to convey.

We remain in a connected cadence until the very last moment when his eyes grow heavy. He drops his head back, consumed by the shudders that are taking over his release. When his heart rate begins to calm against my palm and he’s able to connect with my eyes again, he pulls his hands from mine and grips the back of my head, kissing me with an unforgiving passion. He leans forward as he lowers my back to the floor, trading dominance with me, kissing me with abandon.

We spend the rest of the night taking turns expressing how we feel without uttering a single word. By the time we finally reach the point of exhaustion, wrapped up in each other’s arms, I begin to fall asleep in a wave of disbelief. We have just wholly fallen into each other, heart and soul. I never thought I would ever be able to trust a man enough to share my heart, much less hand it over completely.

Monday, October 29th, 2012 11:35 p.m.

Holder isn’t next to me when I roll over and feel for him. I sit up on the bed and it’s dark outside, so I reach over and turn on the lamp. His shoes aren’t where they were when he took them off, so I pull on my clothes and make my way outside to find him.

I walk past the courtyard, not spotting him sitting in any of the cabanas. Just as I’m about to turn around and head back, I see him lying on the concrete next to the pool with his hands locked behind his head, looking up at the stars. He looks so incredibly peaceful right now, so I choose to walk back to one of the cabanas and leave him undisturbed.

I curl up into the seat and pull my arms into my sweater, leaning my head back as I watch him. There’s a full moon out, so everything about him is illuminated in a soft bask of light, making him appear almost angelic. He’s lost in the sky with a look of serenity across his face, making me grateful that he’s able to find enough peace within himself to get through today. I know how much Lesslie meant to him and I know what his heart is going through today. I know exactly what he’s feeling, because our pain is shared now. Whatever he goes through, I feel. Whatever I go through, he feels. It’s what happens when two people become one: they no longer only share love. They also share all of the pain, heartache, sorrow, and grief.

Despite the calamity that is my life right now, there’s a warm sense of comfort surrounding me after being with him tonight. No matter what happens, I know for a fact that Holder will see me through every second of it, maybe even carrying me through at times. He’s proven to me that I’ll never feel completely hopeless again, so long as he’s in my life.

“Come lay with me,” he says, never taking his eyes off of the sky above him. I smile and ease out of my seat, then walk toward him. When I reach him, he removes his jacket and places it over me as I ease down onto the cold concrete and curl up against his chest. He strokes my hair as we both stare up at the sky, silently regarding the stars.

Pieces of a memory begin to flash in my mind and I close my eyes, actually wanting to recall it this time. It feels like a happy one, and I’ll take as many of those as I can get. I hug him tightly and allow myself to fall openly into the memory.

Monday, June 14th, 1999 7:00 p.m.

“Why don’t you have a TV?” I ask her. I’ve been with her for lots of days now. She’s really nice and I like it here, but I miss watching TV. Not as bad as I miss Dean and Lesslie, though.

“I don’t have a TV because people have become dependent on technology and it makes them lazy,” Karen says. I don’t know what she means, but I pretend I do. I really like it at her house and I don’t want to say anything that will make her want to take me back home to my daddy yet. I’m not ready to go back.

“Hope, do you remember a few days ago I told you I had something really important to talk to you about?”

I don’t really remember, but I nod my head and pretend I do. She scoots her chair closer to mine at the table to get closer to me. “I want you to pay attention to me, okay? This is very important.”

I nod my head. I hope she’s not telling me she’s taking me home now. I’m not ready to go home. I do miss Dean and Lesslie, but I really don’t want to go back home with my daddy.

“Do you know what adoption means?” she asks.

I shake my head because I’ve never heard of that word.

“Adoption is when someone loves a child so much, that they want them to be their son or daughter. So they adopt them in order to become their mommy or daddy.” She takes my hand and squeezes it. “I love you so much, that I’m going to adopt you so you can be my daughter.”

I smile at her, but I really don’t understand what she means. “Are you coming to live with me and my daddy?”

She shakes her head. “No, sweetie. Your daddy loves you very, very much, but he can’t take care of you anymore. He needs for me to take care of you now, because he wants to make sure you’re happy. So now, instead of living with your daddy, you’re going to live with me and I’ll get to be your mommy.”

It feels like I want to cry, but I don’t know why. I like Karen a lot, but I love my daddy, too. I like her house and I like her cooking and I like my room. I really want to stay here really bad, but I can’t smile because my tummy hurts. It started hurting when she said my daddy couldn’t take care of me anymore. I wonder if I made him mad? I don’t ask if I made him mad, though. I’m scared if she thinks I still want to live with my daddy, that she’ll take me back to live with him. I do love him, but I’m too scared to go back and live with him.

“Are you excited about me adopting you? Do you want to live with me?”

I do want to live with her but I feel sad because it took us lots of minutes or hours to drive here. That means we’re far away from Dean and Lesslie.

“What about my friends? Will I get to see my friends again?”

Karen moves her head to the side and smiles at me, then tucks my hair behind my ear. “Sweetie, you’re going to make a lot of new friends.”

I smile back at her, but my tummy hurts. I don’t want new friends. I want Dean and Lesslie. I miss them. I can feel my eyes burning and I try not to cry. I don’t want her to think I’m not happy about her adopting me, because I am.

Tags: Colleen Hoover Hopeless Romance
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