"I could come with you..."
I grinned at my hot boyfriend, his smirk playful, dark eyes holding secrets only for me.
I shook my head. "It's a girl's party - no boys, remember?"
"We'll see about that."
I laughed, laying on his toned thighs, his hands supporting my head as he gazed down at me. "Planning to crash my bestie's party?"
"Lydia's party will be freezing without a hot guy," Josh murmured in an attractive, mellow tone.
"Better take a fleece then," I giggled back.
Josh's eyes flamed with desire. "You'd look sexy in a fleece."
My heart melted.
I ran my hands up his muscled chest, loving the feel of his hardness - it made me feel safe...cherished. "Or would you prefer me without clothes?"
He thinned his eyes as if in deep thought. "Mmm...I don't know, Kellie. We wouldn't want to ruin your goody two-shoes rep, would we?"
I leaned up and kissed him on the lips. "I'd break all the rules for you," I murmured against his seductive mouth.
"Best thing I've heard..." he whispered back, plunging into another lake of fierily passion.
Heat blasted through me with an overwhelming fervour, and I gripped his arms, holding on, riding our wave.
He broke off abruptly, eyes distant.
The spell broke, but his eyes told me everything: The other girl.
I wasn't his first.
About a couple of years ago, one of his girlfriends, Aurora, had died. Josh had never gotten over her.
I didn't know much, but this: Once she'd died, he'd been afraid of the flames. He'd been afriad of getting burnt, hurt, again.
I sat up, staddling his hips, gazing into Josh's eyes. "Josh, you okay?"
He smiled mischeviously. "I'd be better if I came with you."
I jumped up, off the bed, racing for my stuff. "Lydia will harass me with texts all year long if I'm late."
I gripped my backpack's strap, swinging it over my shoulder. Josh's hand gripped my shoulder, and he gently kissed my neck. "Enjoy the party."
Ten months later
I started down the alleyway, barely able to keep warm.
Dark and desolate. Not exactly good if one is attacked. My phone buzzed, crying out Taylor Swift's Red.
I fished for it in my purse, seeing Josh's contact picture, his face scrunched up in a laugh as I kissed him on the cheek.
My heart ached. It'd been two months since I'd broken up with Josh; I should've deleted this photo, along with all my memories of him.
But I just couldn't. Without Josh, my whole life seemed prosy and grey, and every night I was constantly haunted by him.
Like Taylor put it, losing him was blue; loving him was red.
Burning, burning red, I agreed with the last line of the first chorus.
I knew that answering wouldn't improve the situation. But I couldn't help myself; I'd starved myself of Josh for so long, and the temptation; the mellow fruit was right and tantalisingly before my eyes.
I tapped the green 'Answer' button, raising the phone to my ears, nearly tripping over something in the darkness, turning onto a main street.
My breath caught, his voice like a fresh, cool shower on a humid, hot day. Tears erupted up, brimming in my eyes.
I cursed myself, my voice croaky. Josh couldn't know I was weak, that I was regretting my choice.
"Are you okay?"
Now that he had brought it up, no. I wasn't okay. I wanted him; I needed Josh. I wanted him to hold me, to kiss me, to smash past his history and walls and just love me.
"I'm fine." My reply was a strained whisper.
I heard him sigh. "No baby, you're not. Where are you?"
"Califo--" My teeth imprisoned my willing tongue.
"California Road? Baby, I'm coming to get you."
"Josh, you don't need to do that."
All was quiet, and I heard footsteps. I started to turn, but hands pulled mine behind me, one on my mouth.
Lips at my ear, my shock and fear too much for screaming. My phone clattered to the ground; stupid 4S's screen cracked on impact.
I'm going to be raped. Hurt. Assaulted. Murdered.
"Oh, baby, I'm already here."
Josh spun me around, his gaze glinting in the lamplight.
Immediately, my ex shoved me against a brick wall, holding me prisoner for his own will and use. His mouth instantly attacked mine, desperate, ruthless kiss, flames engulfing me.
His hands gripped my face, taking all he wanted. My hands instantly gripped him.
I panted into his mouth, giving him an opening. His tongue slid in, caressing mine gently.
The world narrowed down to this one moment, Josh feeding off me like a starved man at a buffet. He wanted me, that was certain.
But I too, was afraid, like he was. I didn't want to be hurt by his abrupt rejections and bails, too scared to overcome his fear. Yet, in this moment, all his walls seemed to burn and crash by a flaming wreaking ball.
Finally, Josh pulled away, breath low and husky. "I need you back, Kellie. I can't do this without you."
I pushed on his chest, wanting space. He complied reluctantly, and it seemed that all the cold in the world rushed back in, freezing my core. All I ever wanted, needed, was right here, in front of me.
So why couldn't I just reach out and grab it?
"Josh, how can I - " My voice caught, strained with frustrated anger and tears.
I met his gaze fiercely. "How can I know that every time we kiss, you don't think of a girl that died years ago?" I shouted, suddenly pissed.
He opened his mouth to speak, hurt in his eyes, but I cut Josh off.
"She died, okay? Aurora - "Josh winced slightly at the name, and I pointed my finger accusingly at him. "There, see?! You still hold onto her like a toddler to a teddy bear!"
"Baby - "
"No! Don't 'baby' me, Josh! I walked away because you wouldn't let me give; someone bit the dust and you bailed, leaving me hanging in the cold, alone."
He clenched his jaw, angry, his black orbs staring into my soul. "I wanted to keep you safe."
I frowned. What kind of excuse was that?
His lips tightened, like he was failing to keep something held back, something that he so desperately wanted to tell me; but couldn't...wouldn't.
"Tell me, Josh, or its down the drain! I'm tired of disappointments."
"Disappointments?" He snarled.
"I have to stay on my toes every dammned day to make sure you safe! Aurora died because I wasn't careful; because I thought we were safe!"
I stepped back against the wall. "Excuse me?"
He continued his insane rant. "They're afraid I'll fornicate with a human!" He glared at the sky.
Now, I was well and truly freaked 'n' creeped. "Josh, what the F are you talking about?"
He growled - an actual growl, like a wolf snarling.
And my eyes widened, as slowly, with the moonlight behind him, two lengths of pitch-black, feathered, slick wings expanded...