I'd barely been away from Chaz since we met, but he was giving me my space. I think it was more out of hurt that I hadn't said it back. Yeah, I loved him by now. That couldn't be helped. Once you got to know Chaz it was hard to not love him.
But in love with him?
I looked down at the bruise on my wrist, it was an imprint of my father's hand. He'd never been gentle in anyway with me. Not with his words, not with his touch. The same for my mother. And though I'd never told Chaz, and probably never would, my father was the kind of man who didn't care when his friends stuck their hands down my pants and shoved their fingers into me.
For granted I'd never actually been raped, but I'd been invaded. I didn't like to think of those times. As if my life wasn't depressing enough, I tried to pretend those horrible times had never happened. I'd been a virgin though, maybe not by the hand, but mostly. I'd been a virgin when I met Chaz.
At least I was going to keep telling myself that until I believed it.
"Please don't do that." Chaz whispered.
I turned to my right to see him there. He looked down at my wrist, took it into his hand, so gently. "I shouldn't have let him touch you. Hell I shouldn't have let him breathe the same air."
"It's not your fault he did those things to me Chaz."
"This is my fault." He murmured as he gently ran his fingers over the bruise. "I'm supposed to protect you. I said I wouldn't let him hurt you again."
"It doesn't hurt." I murmured. "He has to hit hard to make me hurt now."
Chaz pulled me against his chest, held me tight. "He's not going to get that chance, ever again. I'm sorry."
"There's nothing for you to be sorry for." I murmured and closed my eyes as I laid my head against his chest.
"Let's get some sleep, no school tomorrow. Cynthia, Ryan, Mason and Jade will be here. So will Darin, Samuel and Nathan."
"Are we having a party?" I muttered.
Chaz sighed. "They're coming for moral support. You should be around friends." He guided me over to the bed. "Get some sleep."
"I'm not tired." I said and turned to him then kissed him.
He pulled away though. "I don't think now is a good time for that."
"Why not?" I asked.
I looked up into those blue eyes, and saw that I wasn't the only one who was hurting. "Chaz I love you." I murmured.
"Are you in love with me?" he asked.
I sat down on the bed and looked up at him. "Isn't it enough that I love you?"
He kneeled down in front of me, and nodded. "Yes, it is. For now." He pressed his mouth to mine, and reached for the bottom of my shirt. Then he stopped himself. "I'm too thirsty right now. I don't have enough control for sex."
"Go drink." I murmured.
"Not in front of you. You've had enough scaring for one life."
"It's not going to bother me." I assured him.
"It bothers me." He kissed me again, then walked around to his side of the bed and laid down. I laid down too, and took his hand. He pulled me close and held me against him as we both drifted off to sleep.
The next morning I woke up in the same place, in the same bed, but the only difference was that Jade was on the other side of Chaz, and Darin had her under his arm. Since it was a massive bed there was also Cynthia and who I recognized as Philip was holding her close.
Ryan, Mason and Nathan were lying in the bed too, everyone fast asleep. Samuel was the only one who was awake, and he was glaring at Philip, the guy from Spain. Chaz opened his eyes, smiled at me.
I made a face. "Our friends have a strange way of saying that they want to have an orgy." I muttered.
He chuckled and kissed my cheek. "They came early and everyone was still tired. I told them to lay down and get some more sleep."
"Why the hell is the Spanish guy here?" Samuel growled quietly.
"He's here because he's my boyfriend." Cynthia said aloud.
"Ah, Senorita, we promised no tags." Philip said softly as a reminder.
"Please tell me you haven't slept with this asshole." Samuel snapped. "He's just using you."
"What do you care?" Cynthia asked.
"Please, people, no morning drama." Chaz muttered as a reminder.
Samuel pressed his lips together then walked over to the kitchen and started coffee. "I'm going to talk to him." I whispered to Chaz.
He raised an eyebrow at me, but nodded.
"He doesn't need to be coddled." Cynthia snarled. "Whose side are you on anyway?"
I turned and smiled at her. "Cynthia, I wouldn't dream of ever going against you. I'm just going to… assess the situation, alright?"
"Fine." She muttered then turned over and pressed her face into Philip's chest.
I got out of bed, walked over to the kitchen, tapped on Samuel's shoulder. He turned to me with a glare, then his face softened. "How are you feeling?" he pulled me into a hug. "I heard what happened yesterday."
"I'm alright. Chaz took care of me." I whispered to him. I pulled back and looked up at him. "I don't like Philip, at all. And if he hurts her, I'm blaming you. You get rid of that sonofabitch and you get Cynthia back. I know about your brother, and he's being taken care of. Now you need to come out with the truth to Cynthia, you get down on your fucking knees if you have to before she does something stupid like letting Philip get her pregnant and throwing away her future as a doctor."
He stared at me with wariness. "She won't take me back-"
"Then make her take you back, dammit." I hissed. "Don't give her a choice. Neither of you have to hurt anymore. I'll do all I can to convince her, but it's up to you. I'll even make you a deal. I'll get rid of Philip myself… and I'll be happy to do it, he gives me the creeps. I don't know what it is about him, there's just something off about him. I do that and you do the rest."
"How are you going to get rid of him?" he questioned.
"You let me worry about that. Do we have a deal?"
He nodded. "Deal."
"Philip will be gone in a week." I assured him. "Now I have to go take care of something else. Excuse me."
I walked back over to the bed, grabbed Darin's arm and pulled it off Jade, then took her hand and pulled her up and off the bed. Darin threw me a confused look. "What?" he asked.
"She's my friend, and also a virgin, and I intend to keep it that way for a while." I told him.
"Aw hell." Jade murmured. "Ruin all my fun. What are you going to do, watch me twenty-four hours a day?"
"Sure. We'll keep you here, and I can keep an eye on you all the time."
"I'm with Cherie on this." Mason said, yawning loudly, his blonde hair ruffled and messy, his green eyes hazed over with sleep.
"Oh please, like any of you have room to talk." Jade snapped. "I'm the only one who is a virgin out of everyone in this room."
"I was married first." I said in my defense.
"Only because you were drunk." she muttered. "It just happened to be in that order, you didn't care."
I couldn't argue with that. "Jade, virginity is a sacred thing-"
"Sell it somewhere else." She said with a wave of the hand. She pulled away from me. "You got any food?" she asked Chaz as she headed toward the kitchen.
"Yes ma'am." He replied in a bit of a drawl as he sat up. "In the fridge and cabinets. Help yourself."
I'd noticed in the mornings when he wasn't thinking clearly, he had a Texas drawl. I got onto the bed and crawled over Darin, and pressed my mouth to Chaz's. He grabbed me by the waist, and pulled me onto his lap, kissed me back.
The rest of the room broke out into groans and "ew, gross" or "get a room". Chaz laughed. "This is our room." He reminded.
I pressed my forehead to Chaz's and looked at his blue eyes as he looked back into my hazel green-blue ones. As we sat there, I eventually forgot the rest of the room was there, and when I realized I had, it struck me hard. Maybe I was falling in love with him.
It couldn't hurt, falling in love with the guy I was going to spend the rest of my life with. Then again, if I did hand my heart over, it could kill me.
His hands moved to my face, cupping it and holding it there. I smiled at him softly, and he smiled back. It wasn't so cocky this time, it was sweet. He just smiled, and when I laid my hands on his chest, I could feel his heart beating hard. "Are you okay?" I whispered.
"I'm perfect." He murmured in that Texas drawl.
It was hard to think he was stupid for saying it when he said it like that. My brows pushed together in frustration. "I think I'm falling for you." I breathed softly.
His smile widened, and he kissed me again, slowly, carefully, avoiding tongue since we both knew somewhere in our brains that we had an audience. He pulled away, looked around, and I did too. Everyone was staring at us, mostly with shock.
"Okay," Jade spoke up. "You've convinced me." She breathed. "I'm not going to give it up until I find that."
I wanted the same thing for her. It was like it was the most natural thing for me to just be near him, to be in his arms, to let him inside of me. I had no idea what the hell was wrong with me. Was this falling in love?
I shook my head in an attempt to clear my thoughts and change my focus. "Breakfast. Let's all eat."
The nine of us had driven to an empty field which was part of a farm that Chaz owned, and we'd found a river on the property. Chaz had about fifteen horses, and a hired staff to take care of them. He liked to come out here almost every day, he told me, just lately, with all that happened, there wasn't time.
I was thrilled to find out that Philip didn't like horses- what kind of Spanish guy is that- because not only was that a great tactic against him, but also I knew it turned Cynthia off. She might be the doctor girl but she was a Texas doctor girl. She loved horses and cowboys- well who am I trying to kid, we all do.
Chaz brought a radio that was blasting country music, oh yes, I thought, it was going to be a good day. He'd chosen my outfit for me, the white lacey dress his mother had liked, and brown boots. He said there was a reason he'd chosen it for me.
We walked over to the stables, and Chaz led me to a stall, and on the door was a silver, oval plaque with the name "Angel" engraved into it. Standing behind that door was a completely white horse, majestic, strong, beautiful. Chaz opened the door, gestured to her. "She's yours." He told me.
I looked at him with shock. "A horse? You're giving me a horse?" I held up a hand for her to smell, then brushed it along the side of her face.
"For a few reasons. Angel is the mate to my horse, Cowboy. Right here." He said and grinned at a personal joke as I studied the all-black horse. "I chose her for you because she's sweet, she's strong, she's understanding and when she wants to be, she's wild. She'll go easy on you to start out. She's hardly know to do more than anyone can handle, she gets a strong sense about her rider. Why she likes this sonofabitch, I'll never understand." He said and patted Cowboy's cheek.
"This boy's feisty, likes to buck, nasty when he doesn't get his way, stubborn as hell. It's so odd, because she's an Arabian, which are known to be stubborn, but she's so calm. And he's a Tennessee Walker, and they're known to be calmer, and he's stubborn. Such a strange couple. I'd like to breed them with their own kind-" he began, then got a hard nudge from Cowboy. "But as you see, they won't allow it. I tried with him, he wouldn't even get near the mare, and Angel will fight any other male."
He sighed and shrugged, patted Cowboy again. "I always thought they were just the oddest couple," he repeated. Then he looked at me. "I think now I understand."
I nodded. They were so much like he and I, so opposite in so many ways. What did Chaz and I have in common besides that we were both from Texas?
"You ready to ride her?" he asked me.
I looked at Angel, and I saw her studying me. I nodded with a smile. "Oh yeah." I replied. I could have sworn that Angel grinned.
Chaz's face was horrified, mine was red because I couldn't stop laughing. I was on the ground because Cowboy had bucked me off. I'd begged Chaz to ride him, and he'd said no, so I'd climbed on anyway. It had hurt to hit the ground but it was so funny to me. Cowboy, in respect, walked over to me and lowered his head to mine. I took a hold of his reigns and he pulled me onto my feet.
"You like Chaz more than you let on." I murmured to him.
Chaz walked over to me and gave me a worried look. "Are you alright?" he asked, looking me over.
"I'm fine, nothing's broken. I'll just be sore." I replied with a wave of the hand. "He's fun." I added then grinned.
Chaz took my hand and pulled me away from Cowboy. "You're a lunatic." He murmured.
I sat down on the ground and pulled Chaz down with a hard jerk. I pushed him onto his back then straddled him. "You wanna see if you can buck me off?" I whispered.
His eyes widened in surprise and he grinned. "You're feisty today."
I leaned down and started sucking on his neck, and unbuttoning his shirt. I pushed the fabric aside, then ran my hands over his toned and firm chest. Once I was sure I'd left a nice hickey on his neck, I moved my lips to his chest, bit at him. He moved his hands to my thighs, then slipped them under the skirt of my dress. Impatient, I unbuttoned his black jeans, slipped off the pair of white panties from under the dress.
But I didn't let him inside yet. I trailed my fingers over his chest, then leaned down and pressed my lips to his, where his impatient breath came out roughly. We kissed slowly, and during the kiss I heard and felt him groan with impatience. "No cowgirl today." He murmured then turned me over, and pushed into me. "You're the one who needs to be ridden."
As he starting pushing his hips against mine, his mouth pressed against my neck, and he decided to return the favor of a hickey as he sucked on my skin. It was going to be a very good day.