Chloe paused, key card in her hand, and turned to him. Tyler met her eyes, trying to look innocent and friendly.
“I’m not ready to turn in yet, it’s way too early for me,” he said. “Let’s just have a drink and talk.”
Still she hesitated.
“Come on, Chloe,” he said softly. “Just talk.”
Without saying a word, she nodded jerkily, slipped the card in and out of the lock on the door, then pushed into her room. She flicked the light switch and a lamp on the table across the room lit up.
Chloe dropped her little purse on the desk and went to the minibar. “What would you like?” she asked, surveying the contents. He followed her to the fridge.
“Nothing from here,” he said after a brief look. “Let’s see what we can get from room service.” He perused the leather-bound room service menu, then picked up the phone and ordered an expensive bottle of wine.
Chloe shook her head, smiling. “Tyler, we’ll never drink the whole bottle. You’re spoiling me.”
Oh yeah. That’s what he wanted to do.
While they waited for the wine he wandered over to the sliding doors onto the balcony. Their rooms overlooked the lush hotel gardens. On the left, the swimming pool glowed aqua in the darkness and little white lights twinkled in the trees. It was a mild evening, warm enough to sit outside, so when the wine arrived Tyler brought it and two glasses outside.
“This is so beautiful,” Chloe murmured.
Tyler deftly uncorked the bottle and poured a small quantity into a glass. “Do you want to try it?” She took it from him and pronounced it fine, so he poured more into her glass then some into his. He lifted his goblet and held it out to touch hers with a gentle clink.
“Thanks for coming with me tonight,” he said. “It wouldn't have been nearly as much fun having dinner by myself.”
She smiled but shook her head in the dusky light. “Like you’d ever have to eat alone, Tyler. You have women panting after you everywhere.”
“Yeah, but I’m not interested in them,” he said with a long sigh.
She was looking at him and he knew she wouldn’t ask.
“Tell me about your mother now,” he said. “You started to earlier.”
Her face changed slightly, her mouth tightening. She took a breath and her breasts lifted under the silky dress. “Why do you want to know about that?”
He met her eyes. “I want to know you, Chloe. I feel like I don’t really know you. You don’t show a lot of yourself.”
Her eyes clung to his, full of questions and uncertainty.
He wanted to reassure her. “It’s okay, Chloe,” he said gently. “We can talk...right?”
She nodded slowly and sipped her wine. “My mother was bipolar,” she said finally. “She had episodes where she was up, manic, hyper...sometimes it was fun, but sometimes it was scary because she’d get so hyper. She’d be scrubbing the toilets at three in the morning. But worse was when she got depressed.” Her eyes were shadowed. “She’d get so down and it was so...frustrating. I felt so helpless to help her. When she was manic, I got pretty good at calming her down. To a point. But when she was depressed I couldn’t do a damn thing.”
“Didn’t she take medication?” He didn’t know a whole hell of a lot about manic-depression but he thought it was treatable with drugs.
Chloe nodded. “She did, but it was the usual story...when she felt good, she’d stop taking it. She’d say she didn’t need it any more, she was better.” She grimaced. “But you don’t get better. You have to keep taking the medication and she didn’t.” She paused. “She committed suicide.”
Tyler swallowed a groan. “Shit,” he muttered. “I’m sorry, Chloe.”
He’d had no idea that such tragedy lurked in her past. She was so even and calm and tranquil, giving the impression that she’d had a perfect, happy life. A fist squeezed his heart at how much she’d suffered. Christ, why had he insisted on talking about this? It must be tearing her up to spit this all out.
“My little sister found her,” she continued. “She hung herself in the bathroom.”
“Oh my God.”
“I always wished it had been me that found her. Carly was too young, too fragile...I could have saved her from that.”
“How would you have saved yourself, though?” He reached out and took her hand, small and soft in his, and he rubbed the back of her hand with his thumb.
She looked at him uncomprehendingly.
“You always look after everybody else,” Tyler said. “What about you, Chloe?”
Her eyes, blue and shadowy, stared back at him silently.
“I suppose you think that’s why Carly ended up running away?”
One shoulder hitched. “I don’t know why she ran away. She acted out all the time, got in trouble at school, got into drugs and booze and boys. I was at my wit’s end trying to keep her safe. But I couldn’t.”
“You feel guilty about that, don’t you?”
“Of course.” She met his eyes again and frowned. “Of course I do! It was my fault! I was responsible for her and I wasn’t good enough...”
“Oh bullshit,” he said forcefully. “Chloe, that is bullshit. You did the best you could.”
“You don’t know anything about it,” she murmured. “You have no idea how messed up everything was. I was in charge, and I screwed up and now Carly’s God knows where, doing God knows what.” She swiped a finger under her eye. “And the worst thing is, I worry that Carly may be bi-polar, too.”
Tyler considered that and the implications. “If she is and she hasn’t gotten treatment...”
Chloe nodded, wiping another tear. Now Tyler put his glass of wine on the table, and took both her hands in his, pulling her out of her chair on onto his lap. She resisted only a little, and when he got her on his lap he tucked her head under his chin and stroked her hair. For the first time, he was stroking her hair to provide comfort to her instead of him. He held her close to him, feeling the tension vibrating in her, pissed off at himself for starting this, but more pissed off at life for the tough breaks she’d had.
“Chloe, I wasn’t there but I know you well enough to know that you give one hundred percent of yourself all the time. You always do your best, you work hard. I know whatever happened to Carly was not your fault. If you hadn’t been there for her, things might have been worse. She might not have finished high school, she could have gotten caught up in all kinds of shit long before that...”
He desperately hoped his words were helping her. For a change, he was looking after Chloe. It was a strange and moving turn of events.
“Thank you for telling me about it,” he murmured, his lips pressed against her silky head.
She was silent then she gave a huge, shuddering sigh and drew back to look at him.
“It actually feels good to talk about it,” she said, seeming surprised by that. “I never have before.”
“Never?” He paused. He wouldn’t ask...but he had to. “Not even with Michael?”
“Uh, no.” She shook her head.
That was weird. She and Michael had been going out for months now. Tyler would have thought they’d shared a lot in that time. He stroked her bare shoulder and arm, slowly, enjoying the feel of her warm skin, tantalizingly soft...like a peach.
He felt something that, to him, felt like hunger, a deep ravenous hunger, and he knew it was for her.
His cock hardened under her thighs and her body changed as she felt it. Instead of soft and sad, she now hummed with tension and awareness.
He lifted a hand to her chin to turn her face up to his and he saw the confusion and fear in her eyes. “It’s okay, Chloe,” he said, soothingly, reassuringly. “I won’t hurt you.”
He leaned forward and took her mouth.
She was sweet and he was fascinated with the taste of her. He licked his way into her mouth, tasting her, eating at her mouth, opening her lips further with that hunger that craved her, had to have her.
She tasted delicious, sweet and hot. His tongue stroked hers, licked her lips, thrust back into her mouth in long, deep, devouring kisses like nothing he had ever experienced.
“Tyler...” she whispered, her small hands resting on his chest.
He pushed his hands into her long hair, wrapped it around his fists and tugged so her head fell back and he could taste the smooth skin of her throat. He licked and nibbled and sucked on her flesh, wanting to devour her. His mouth moved lower, over her chest to the ruffle at the top of her dress. He craved the taste of her breasts again and his mouth pushed at the fabric of her dress, trying to move it lower.
“Tyler, we can’t do this,” she whispered. She pushed against his chest, but not hard, not like she meant it, so he ignored her. His lips were on the top curve of her luscious breast, but the dress was still in the way of getting a complete taste of her. Releasing her hair with one hand, he gently pulled the fabric out of the way with his fingertips, then slid the strap off her shoulder so the top of her dress fell down, revealing a perfect peach of a breast, tipped with a pale pink nipple.
“Oh, God, Chloe, you’re beautiful,” he groaned. He had to sample her nipple and he took it in his mouth. His tongue tasted it, then he sucked and felt her body give a little jolt against his. “Delicious,” he whispered, licking and sucking, eating at her flesh with gentle nibbles and tugs.
His cock was so hard he was in danger of bursting and he could feel Chloe’s thighs pressing against him, torturing him. He cupped the breast in his hand, squeezing gently, his other hand in her hair, holding her in place. His body craved her, was desperate for her, had been ever since that day she’d given him the lap dance of his life.
He kissed her again with all the passion and repressed craving he’d felt since that day, his hand on her breast, loving the feel of that tight little nipple pressed into his palm. His fingers tightened in her hair - that hair! - and she gasped.
“I’m sorry,” he muttered. “Did I hurt you?”
She shook her head. “You’re scaring me, Tyler,” she said, pushing harder against his chest.
He drew back, panting, trying to make sense of her words.
“Huh?” Scaring her?
Her eyes were huge and glittering, her mouth all swollen and red and lusciously kissable.
He shook his head, still dazed with lust and hunger.
“You’re scaring me,” she repeated. “You’re so intense. This wasn’t supposed to happen. You said we’d just talk.”
He swallowed hard. “Uh...I guess I got carried away. I was just trying to comfort you, Chloe, like you always do for me...”
She bowed her head, her long hair curtaining her face from him.
“I’m sorry,” he growled softly. The last thing he wanted to do was make Chloe sadder. He’d been so sure she felt the same way about him...he’d felt her response, and while it hadn’t gone as far as last time, he recognized her arousal, her excitement, her heat. And this wasn’t the first time. How was he going to get past this with her, goddamn it?
“Chloe, why? Why are you denying what you’re feeling for me?” he asked urgently, pushing the hair away from her face. “I know you’re feeling it too, I know it! Why can’t we have this?”
She kept her head down, taking in deep breaths. Then she looked up and met his eyes. Her eyes were cooler now but still sparkled with unshed tears. “You tell me why you think you want this,” she said tightly.
He stared at her, at a loss. “How can I explain that? You’re beautiful, gorgeous, sexy...you’re sweet and caring and smart...you turn me on like I’ve never been turned on before...” She made a rude noise at that and his hands tightened on her waist. She tugged her dress up to cover her breast. “What?” he demanded again. “You know I’m turned on! I’m so fucking hard I could pound nails. I’m losing it here, Chloe, I need you...”
She shook her head. “Tyler, I know you. We’ve had this conversation before. You have women hanging on you all the time. You could have anyone. Why do you think you want me?”
He was speechless, stunned, frustrated to the point of wanting to punch something.
“Chloe,” he said finally, “have you seen any other women around lately?”
“Uh...no.” She was silent for a moment. Then she said, a little desperately, “But you seem to keep forgetting that I’m with someone else.”
Her words sent him over the edge and he lost it.
“Yeah?” he said tightly. “Well, sweetheart, you seem to keep forgetting it too.” And he yanked her against him hard. This time his kiss was demanding, desperate, and out of control as his mouth crushed hers, opened hers beneath his, their tongues sliding together. Rapacious need exploded inside him and fire streaked through his senses.
Insatiable Part 12