Bossman by Vi Keeland

Chapter 37

Reese

I’d pushed him too far.

Seeing the empty steps across the street when I turned the corner, sadness washed over me. My heart lumped in my throat, leaving my chest to feel hollow. Last week I’d given Chase an ultimatum and threatened to move on without him. I’d hoped planting the visual of my sleeping with another man might jolt him. If he really cared about me, felt a fraction of what I felt for him, there’s no way that wouldn’t affect him.

When another week went by and he still sat across the street with no sign of coming back to me, I thought perhaps reality might set in if he saw me go out on a date in person. Which is why when Owen asked me out to dinner and a movie again tonight, I saw it as the perfect opportunity. Chase had no idea the tall, handsome thirty year old was my brother.

Unfortunately, my plan seemed to have backfired. My guard was gone.

For the entire walk down my street, I couldn’t stop staring at the steps. When he was there, I had hope. Now vacant, that light of hope had been extinguished. The stairs were a metaphor for how I felt—empty.

The thought of going back to my apartment, sleeping in the bed where we’d spent nights making love, made me dread going home.

I looped my arm through my brother’s as we walked the rest of the way. He was still wearing his Access glasses from the movie we’d gone to after dinner. When the IMAX theater started to show movies that could be enjoyed by the deaf with special closed-captioned glasses that projected the dialogue from the movie ten feet in front of the wearer, I had to buy him his own pair. The spectacles looked like a cross between typical plastic 3-D movie glasses and old-school BluBlockers. Yet no one looked twice as we walked down the street at midnight in New York.

I didn’t bother to tell Owen it wasn’t necessary to walk me up. He’d always done it, and he’d cover the interior inspection for me, too. Chase was the only other person who’d figured out it was so important to me and insisted on handling it. I sighed audibly in the elevator at the thought. Tonight was not going to be easy. It felt like losing Chase all over again now that he was gone.

I exited the elevator with heavy footsteps and Owen close behind me. But I froze as soon as I turned toward my door, leaving my brother to walk right into me.

The heart that was stuck in my throat slid down to my chest and started beating again. And it seemed to be making up for lost time because it was hammering away.

“Chase?”

He was leaning against the wall next to my apartment door, looking down. When he looked up, I had to take a deep breath to steady myself. Even worn and tired, he was still the most beautiful man I’d ever seen. His eyes were glassy, and I wondered if he was drunk. Is that what he’s here for? Showing up at my apartment only because he’s been drinking?

I’d forgotten Owen was behind me until I felt the hand on my shoulder squeeze. Apparently Chase noticed the man behind me for the first time because I watched his eyes rise over my shoulder and his jaw clench.

“What are you doing here?” I asked. I still hadn’t moved, leaving an awkward fifteen feet between us.

“Can we talk?” Chase asked.

“Umm…sure.” It took another few seconds before I could figure out how to make my feet move. Then, hesitantly, I took a few steps.

When I reached the door, Chase caught my eye.

“Alone,” he clarified.

Reaching into my purse, I took out my keys and offered them to him, tilting my head toward the door. “Go ahead in. Give me a few minutes.”

For a second, he glared at Owen, and I thought something ugly was going to happen. But eventually he nodded, unlocked the door, and went inside.

It took a few minutes to assure my big brother that I would be fine. I’d already told him about Chase, but being overprotective, he found it difficult to walk away. I kissed him on the cheek and promised to text him within an hour. Otherwise, he assured me, he’d be back at my door.

When I was finally alone in the hallway, I took some time to gather myself. Eventually, I smoothed my dress, summoned my courage, and walked into my apartment.

Chase was sitting on the couch when I walked in. A creature of habit, I immediately turned to the coat closet and slipped off my sweater, even though I didn’t keep it there.

“I already did it. Twice.” He offered a smile, but I could see the sadness looming behind it.

God, please don’t break my heart. Again.

“Would you like a glass of wine?” I walked to the kitchen to pour myself some. To the brim. Maybe even drink from the bottle.

“No, thanks.”

I felt his eyes on me as I maneuvered my way through the kitchen. When I was done, I stuttered before choosing a seat. Deciding on the chair, rather than the couch next to Chase, I sat and sipped my wine.

He waited patiently until I gave him my attention. “Come here.”

I closed my eyes. There was nowhere I’d rather be than right next to him, but I needed to know what he was here for. What this was.

“Why?” I sipped my wine again so I had an excuse to look away.

“Because I need you near me.”

I looked at him. Still debating, still unsure.

“Because I miss you. I miss you so goddamn much, Reese.”

I had to swallow because tears of happiness were starting to threaten. Yet I was still afraid. There was something he still needed to do. I couldn’t allow myself to get sucked back in unless he gave me everything. He was an all-or-nothing for me.

I moved to the couch, and Chase took the wine from my hand, setting it on the table. He wrapped his arms around me and pulled my body close against his. I could barely breathe, he held me so tight. Yet it felt so good to be back in his arms. So right.

“I’m so sorry, Reese. So sorry I hurt you,” he mumbled into my hair.

After a long time, he pulled back so we could face each other. His eyes searched mine, looking for something. Assurance, maybe?

Finding whatever he needed, he cleared his throat and spoke softly. “When I was twelve, I bought an old Swiss Army knife at a garage sale. Carried the thing with me for years.” He paused and looked down. Taking my right hand in his, he ran his thumb over my scar repeatedly. When he looked back up at me, there were tears in his eyes. “I gave it to Eddie. The homeless guy Peyton was trying to help.” His voice broke. “I thought he could use it to defend himself in an emergency.”

The pain in his voice was unbearable. I wanted to do something to soothe him, bring him comfort. But I knew he needed to get it out. It wasn’t just a hurdle for our relationship; it was a monumental step for his healing. And I wanted that more than anything. I squeezed his hand and gave him a small nod.

“All these years, we thought it was a group of teenagers beating up on homeless people who killed Peyton, that she was caught in the crossfire of an attack on Eddie.” He took a deep breath in and released it with a whoosh. “It wasn’t. It was Eddie who killed her.” He looked down and squeezed my hand, then his eyes came back to mine. “With the knife I gave him. It was my knife that killed her.”

I might not have been the one cut, but I felt gutted nonetheless. Tears streamed down my face. “I left the door open, and my brother can’t hear.”

Chase wiped my tears with his thumbs as he took my face in his hands. “It’s not your fault.”

I looked into his eyes. “It’s not yours either.”

Hours later, I was physically and emotionally exhausted. Once the cork had come out of the bottle, Chase completely opened up. We talked more about Peyton and Eddie, and I told him details of the night Owen and I had walked in on our home being robbed. I admitted things to him that I’d barely even admitted to myself—how the guilt had affected me, and how I’d gone through bouts of depression growing up. It was important for him to know he wasn’t alone, and I didn’t expect him to heal overnight.

I’d just gone to the bathroom, answered a concerned FaceConnect video call from my brother—whom I’d forgotten to text—and come back to sit on the couch. Before my ass hit the pillow, Chase grabbed me and pulled me into his lap. The smile on his face was beautiful and real.

He pressed his lips together, then leaned his forehead against mine. “Would you really have gone to Chicago?”

“Chicago? For what?”

“Pink Cosmetics. The job you applied for?”

I furrowed my brow. “I have no idea what you’re talking about. I didn’t apply for a job with Pink. Actually, I haven’t applied anywhere. I have money saved and decided to take a little time off before making any career decisions. I’m kicking around starting my own small marketing firm with my friend Jules, who you met. We talked about it last year before I left Fresh Look, and I wasn’t ready. But it sort of feels right now.” I paused. “What made you think I was going to move to Chicago?”

“They called for a reference.”

“That’s odd.”

Chase closed his eyes and chuckled, shaking his head. “Sam.”

“Sam?”

“I never actually spoke to them. Sam told me they’d called for a reference as I was getting ready to leave the other day.”

“I don’t understand.”

“She was lighting a fire under my ass. Knew it would push me to get over my issues.”

“Oooh…and here I thought it was my hot date that pushed you over the edge.”

“I almost lost it at the Italian place, watching him put his hands all over your face.”

My eyes widened. “You followed me?”

“Just tonight. I was going crazy watching you go out with that guy again. Do you remember what you told me last week before you stopped speaking to me?”

Of course I do. “What?”

“That you were going to bring some guy home and open the window so I could listen.” He swatted my ass playfully. “You have a cruel streak in you, Buttercup.”

I started to crack up and quickly found myself lifted into the air and then flat on my back. Chase hovered over me, grabbing my hands and pinning them above my head. “You think this is funny?”

“I do, actually.”

He rubbed his nose against mine and whispered, “You wouldn’t really have slept with him, would you?”

“Most definitely not. But that has nothing to do with you.”

Chase pulled his head back and pouted. It was adorable. “It’s not because you’re so into me, you couldn’t possibly touch another man?”

“Well, that’s true in general. But my date tonight was my brother, Owen.”

Chase dropped his head and laughed. “Are you serious?”

“I am. What you saw in the Italian restaurant? Him touching my face? I was humming a song to him.”

“Well, then I guess I had nothing to worry about after all,” Chase whispered against my lips. “Although you never know. You’re about to get fucked by your favorite cousin.”

“Oh, am I?”

Chase’s normal cocky confidence had been back, but it suddenly faltered.

“Can you forgive me?” he asked. “I promise not to push you away again and to do everything in my power to protect you.”

“There’s only one thing I need you to guard for me.”

“Name it.”

“You have my heart. Promise me you’ll keep it safe.”

“Only if you promise never to give mine back.”

My heart had been beating his name since that first night at the restaurant. He’d never have to worry about me giving his heart back, because I’d realized that somewhere down deep, it was mine to keep—even when he hadn’t figured it out yet.

“Make love to me, Chase.”

He reached back with one hand and tugged his shirt over his head. “I’m going to, but not now. I promise, slow and sweet making love to you later. Showing you how I feel with my body. But right now, all this talk about you leaving me and being with another man has me feeling territorial.”

He raised up on his knees and looked down at me. The way his eyes raked over my body was really all the foreplay I needed.

“I want to come inside of you. Can I do that, Reese?”

I swallowed. “Yes, I’m on the pill.”

“Good. I don’t want anything between us anymore. Not our pasts, our secrets, or even a damn piece of latex.”

“Okay.”

He trailed his knuckles down the side of my body over my dress, following my curves languidly. “First I’m going to bury my face in that pussy that I’ve missed so much until you come all over my face.”

He reached the bare skin of my thighs, and his hand disappeared under the skirt of my dress. I gasped when I felt him cup me between the legs.

“Then I’m going to fuck you hard and fast, bury myself so deep inside of you, that my come won’t come out for days.”

He lifted the skirt of my dress, pushed my panties to the side, and ran two fingers down the length of me. He groaned. “So wet.”

I watched him as he stared, mesmerized as one finger slipped inside of me. After a few strokes, he added a second finger and pumped harder and faster. I nearly came when he licked his lips.

“I can’t take it anymore.”

When his fingers left me, and he brought them to his mouth, licking and sucking, my body began to hum. “Chase…”

Suddenly, he lowered himself, and his mouth was on me. Guiding my legs over his shoulders, he lifted my ass to position me where he wanted. I moaned when he flattened his tongue and licked his way up to my clit. When he sucked hard and nearly made me finish—even though we’d barely started—I wriggled around, trying to move him from that spot.

Chase gripped my thighs, holding me in place as he devoured me, taking me at his own pace, alternating between his tongue inside of me and sucking hard on my clit. My orgasm hit so hard, I saw nothing but black as it washed over me.

By the time my vision cleared, Chase was back on his knees as he undid his pants. His cock was so swollen, it bulged against the material, making it difficult to pull down the zipper. It was my turn to lick my lips.

He buried his head in my neck and began to suck hard on the sensitive skin below my ear, mimicking what he’d just done to my clit.

“I’m going to apologize now because this isn’t going to be easy,” he said. “I have no restraint left when it comes to you.”

“Do it. I want it that way. All I’ve ever wanted was you. As is.”

Chase didn’t have to be asked twice. He aligned his incredibly swollen head with my opening and covered my mouth with his as he pushed himself inside. Kissing me like I was the air he needed to breathe, he seated himself deep inside of me. I could feel his body shake as he waited for my muscles to relax around him. Then he began to move. Really move—pulling almost all the way out and slamming back in, over and over again.

My nails dug into his back as my body greedily clenched down around him. Each time he withdrew made me want him more and more, until my body was begging for climax.

“Fuck, Reese.” He pulled back enough to look at me. “I want to fill your body with my come. Every part of you. Your pussy, your mouth, your ass. I want to own it all.”

I was helpless as pleasure crashed through me. I heard myself calling his name, but it was more like an out-of-body experience as I throbbed all around him. Distantly, I heard Chase grumble a string of curses as he sank into me deep. Then I felt his amazing body shudder as he released.

Later, my head rested on his chest while I listened to his heartbeat. He stroked my hair as we lay content and sated.

“I really am sorry for the last few weeks,” he said. “I acted like a total asshole.”

I looked up at him, resting my chin on my hand above his heart. “You did. But it’s okay. I forgive you. Well, you’ll be making it up to me for a long time. But my heart has already absolved your sins.”

I was joking, of course, but Chase responded seriously. “Thank you.”

I yawned. “So it was good, old-fashioned jealousy that made you come to your senses, huh? If I’d known that, I would’ve taken Owen out on a hot date weeks ago and saved us both a headache.”

“Actually, seeing you with another man might have pushed me over the edge, but it was something else that made me realize what you meant to me.”

“Oh? What was that?”

“It was a poster. It said Don’t focus on the what ifs. Focus on what is.”

“Meaning focus on what you have and not what could have been?”

He nodded. “Exactly.”

I dropped a kiss directly over his heart, nervous to ask the question, but needing to know the answer. “What do we have, Chase?”

He pulled me up so we were eye to eye. “Everything.”

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