Page 22 of Leo

I stare at him for a several seconds and then exhale as well. "I'm fine, Jake… Leo. Please, let's get this over with." I pinch my nose, massaging away a headache that hasn't even started yet.

He moves closer to me now and suddenly it is all just too much for me. The smell of him, the look on his face, my emotions, and I bring my hands to my face and I sob. Jake/Leo doesn't say a word but I hear him moving closer and suddenly I am on his lap, being cradled in his arms and his face is buried in my hair.

My hands come away from my face and I choke out, "I waited for you! I waited and waited and you just disappeared. I didn't know if you were dead or alive. I didn't know if you had just decided to start a new life and written me off or what! And still I waited. And truthfully, even though I didn't even admit it to myself, I was still waiting until the day you walked back into my life, calling yourself by another name! I never stopped waiting for a boy who threw me away like I was nothing!"

I'm sobbing and choking and practically hyperventilating now, but Jake/Leo just pulls me tight against his big body and rocks me, whispering sounds of comfort against my hair.

And how is it that this man can comfort me for any of this? He's the cause of these tears. And yet, I cling to him anyway.

After a few minutes, my sobs subside and I turn my face up to his. There are silent tears running down his cheeks as well. I take my thumbs and I wipe them off. Then my hands are on his face, my thumbs sweeping across his brow, his strong jaw, his cheekbones, down his nose, my eyes sweeping along with my fingers, taking in every part of his manly face, but finally seeing the boy that was there once too, letting myself see the boy that maybe I knew was there all along.

My hands still and I gaze into his deep brown eyes and then suddenly, somehow, we're kissing. His tongue is in my mouth and we're moaning and when he drags my sweater over my head and pulls my bra down and teases my ni**les with licks of his tongue, I gasp out his name, "Leo!" A deep, satisfied growl comes from his throat and suddenly I'm on my back and he's over me, demanding, "Say it again."

"Leo, Leo, Leo," I moan out, reaching for him and wrapping my legs around him. "Make love to me, Leo."

I don't know what he's going to tell me about why he broke his promise to me, why he's been lying to me, I don't know whether I'm going to be able to forgive him or not. But, whatever happens, I want this, I want him, my Leo, with me crying out his name, at least one time.

He goes back to my br**sts, pressing reverent kisses around my puckered ni**les before suckling them one by one into his mouth. I am writhing and rubbing myself against the hard erection I feel through his pants. I am on fire, every nerve ending strumming with my desire for this man.

"Please," I beg. "I need you."

"My Evie," he breathes, leaning to the side and dipping his hand between my thighs, moving his finger against my swollen nub, and returning his mouth to my breast.

He begins moving his finger in matching rhythm to the suction at my nipple and I bend one knee, letting it fall against the side of the couch, giving him more access.

I breathe his name, "Leo," as he replaces his finger with his thumb on my swollen bundle of nerves and slips one finger inside me and slowly moves it in and out, adding to the sweet pleasure. He's playing my body like an instrument and I'm drunk with arousal, heady with need. All rational thought is gone.

I open my eyes, my lids feeling heavy and I gasp out another moan. Leo has come up off my breast and is watching my face. His jaw is clenched with the effort to retain his control as he puts off his own pleasure to give me mine.

His fingers rub and thrust, constantly changing tempo, keeping me on the edge until I'm crazy with the need to come. "Leo!" I beg, my h*ps surging upwards to claim my own satisfaction from his hand.

He adds another finger and picks up the pace, rubbing and thrusting rhythmically now. I moan loudly, and breath out, "Yes."

Leo moans too and then the only sounds in the room are my panting breaths and the slick noises of his fingers pumping in and out of me.

"Come for me, Evie," he growls. And just like that, my body tenses and I arch up off the couch, intense waves of ecstasy flowing through me. I cry out his name and hear his zipper and then he is flipping me over and his hands are on my h*ps as he drags me up so that my ass is in the air and he plunges into my dripping sex on one loud moan. I'm not sure if it's his or mine or both.

Up on his knees behind me, he begins thrusting his hips, moaning my name again and again and I answer him, "Leo, Leo, Leo." My brain is cloudy with passion but somewhere at the back of my mind, I understand that even though we have made love dozens of times, we are reuniting here and now as Evie and Leo and I want to cry with the intensity of it.

He continues to thrust rhythmically, holding my h*ps steady so that he can pound into me and it's primal and almost rough, his c**k hitting my cervix with every drive. I feel another orgasm building in my core as I listen to the rhythmic sound of his thighs slapping against my ass.

His breathing becomes labored as he continues to pant out my name, his thrusts becoming harder and faster, the scent of our combined sex filling the room.

He reaches around my hip and presses his finger to my cl*t and I spiral straight into another cl**ax, throwing my head back and thrusting my ass back to meet his thrusting cock. He growls and moans and his strokes become slower as he glides in and out of me leisurely, drawing out his own orgasm.

He stops and lays his head against my back as our breathing slows.

We stay this way for long minutes, until my legs give out and I start sinking to the couch. He pulls out and catches me around the waist, turning me over. We cling to each other. He is leaned slightly to the side of me so that I can take his weight. Finally as our breathing returns to normal, he sits up, pulling me with him and placing me back on his lap again. He leans back against the couch and takes my face in his hands, looking deeply into my eyes. "I love you, Evie," he says quietly. "Whatever you think about what I'm about to tell you, you have to know that. I've always loved you. I've never stopped. Not for one second in eight years."

I nod at him, closing my eyes against the tears that threaten again. "Let me go clean up and then we'll talk, okay?"

He nods, pulling the zipper closed on his jeans and leaning forward on his thighs.

I pull on my sweater and go into the bathroom to clean up. When I get back, I sit on the couch next to Leo. He's still sitting with his elbows on his thighs, his head down, but as I sit, he sits back. He doesn't look at me for a minute and then, "I guess the best place to start is my arrival in San Diego."

CHAPTER 27

"Okay, but first, why did you change your name?"

He sighs, "Lauren asked me if it would help me to get a new start if I started going by my middle name, and of course, my new last name. I said no at first, but after that first week, I agreed. I wanted to become someone else - truthfully, I wanted to escape myself. Of course, a name change can't do that, but it seemed like a start at the time. I registered for school as Jake Madsen and no one has called me Leo until now."

I nod. I can't pretend I don't understand this. At many times during my life, if someone had offered me the chance to become someone other than Evie Cruise, it would have been a very tempting offer.

"You have to know that when I left you here, I meant every word I said up on that roof that night. I meant it to my soul. I knew there would never be anyone else for me, and I was right. There never has been." He looks at me searchingly.

"You told me there were lots of women, Leo," I whisper, turning my head away from him to gaze out the window for a minute. I can't lie, it hurts now that I know who he really is.

"None of them meant anything to me. Not one. Not even close. I'm not proud of that, in fact, I'm ashamed of it. But it was never anyone except you. I was f**ked up, Evie. But I've never loved anyone except you. You have to believe that, even if you don't understand."

He sighs, dropping his head. When he looks back up, he says, "I arrived in San Diego on a Sunday night. On Monday morning, I started my letter to you. I wrote a little bit on Tuesday, and on Wednesday. I intended to write to you every day of the week until Friday and then put the letter in the mail on Saturday. I stopped writing on Thursday."

"Why? What happened on Thursday," I ask quietly, looking back at him but almost afraid to know.

He's silent for a minute and then, "On Thursday afternoon, I was down in the finished basement trying to learn how to play pool. We had this big pool table with red felt and … Anyway, I was just messing around. My new dad, Phil, was at work. My new mom, Lauren, as you know… he pauses, grimacing a little… she came down wearing this little nightie thing. I was uncomfortable but I had never really had any kind of normal home life. I thought maybe that was what moms did, walk around in their bed clothes. Or at least that's what I tried to tell myself."

My eyes are wide now because I'm pretty sure I know what's coming and I don't know if I want to hear him say the words.

"She poured herself a drink and then she poured me one too and I took it, even though all kinds of warning bells were going off now. I just didn't know what to do.

"We played pool for a little bit and I finished my first drink and she poured me another. She was making all these shots, bending over the pool table and it was weird, but the alcohol started numbing me and so it was easier to pretend it was normal." He lets out a humorless laugh and then looks down.

He sighs and he's still looking away from me but continues his story, "After a little while, she started rubbing up against me, touching me. I was a young, horny kid with two drinks in me and I was confused and struggling with what was happening with this woman who I thought had taken me into her home to mother me."

He sighs again, "Shit, this is hard."

I want to touch him in some way, but I instinctively know that that's not the right thing to do so I remain silent and still.

Finally, he continues. "Finally she just got completely na**d and bent over the pool table and started begging me to take her. She seduced me, but I didn't resist very fervently. I f**ked my new mom over the pool table in the basement while my new dad was at work. How f**king sick is that?"

Tears are rolling freely down my cheeks now and I choke back a little sob.

He continues staring ahead when he says, "We ate dinner that night as a family and my dad toasted to their 'new son!' I could barely keep the food down. I f**king hated myself and all I could think about was how I had done it once again. I had let down someone who loved and trusted me. Again."

He pauses for several minutes. "They had tried for several years but never could have kids. Phil made it clear to me that he was thrilled to have a son now who could one day take over his company. We had talked a lot before that day, and he made me feel good about myself, like he thought I was smart."

I manage to ask, "I thought you told me your adoptive father worked in a hospital here."

"He did. The x-ray technology that's now used by Homeland Security, started out as medical equipment."

I nod. "Sorry, go on, Leo," I say quietly.

A look of pain crosses his face when he hears me say his name, but he continues.

"Anyway, that afternoon in the basement was all it took to make me realize that once again, people only wanted to use me. First, my birth parents to take care of my brother and to take their anger at the world out on, and now these two people. My new mom for obvious reasons, but then it was also easy to twist my new dad's interest in having a son just to use as a work horse, someone to train and mold into what he wanted me to be.

"No one ever cared about who I was, just what I could do for them, except you, Evie, and my brother, Seth. And now I had destroyed both of you. I had promised Seth I would take care of him and now he was rotting in some state run facility somewhere and I had no idea where, and I had promised you I would save myself for you, be true to you, and it only took less than a week for me to betray you. I honestly thought about slitting my own wrists I hated myself so much."

I grab a tissue from the box on the table next to my couch and blot my cheeks. "Leo, surely you know now that she took advantage of you, right?" I say quietly.

His face gets hard. "I know what all the psychology books would say about it and yeah, she was wrong. But I could have resisted more. I could have run. I could have… I don't know. But I could have done more than I did. And not only that, Evie, but it didn't stop that day. It happened regularly until the day I moved out and went to college. Even then, she tried to continue things, but I could successfully avoid her then. She claims she's in love with me and that she knew it the minute she saw me at the foster home. How twisted is that? Jesus. I was 15." He scrubs his hand down his face.

I cringe. "You didn't think you could trust me enough to tell me?" I ask softly, a sob making my voice hitch.

"A million times I thought about how I could explain to you what happened. I needed you so desperately, I thought I would die of the longing. But what was I supposed to say? I couldn't even make sense of it myself, much less try to explain it to you. I was just so deeply ashamed.

"And eventually, I considered the longing my penance for being me, someone who destroyed the people he loved. The thing I couldn't get around was what my silence must be doing to you."

He stares straight ahead, stoic. "Eventually though, I convinced myself that being apart, you had a fighting chance. I figured I was broken and that some people can't be fixed, or if they can, it's only by love so big it destroys the fixer. I couldn't destroy you any more than I thought I already had, Evie. I convinced myself that knowing the truth about me would have hurt you more than leaving you alone.

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