Chapter 59

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December 2014

Being at the hotel with Jared is like taking a vacation from reality. I've only stayed in a hotel once before, and that was more of a motel, and was nothing compared to this with its spacious king size bed, sunken Jacuzzi tub, and separate glass shower. I kick off my boots and jump on the bed, scrambling up next to Jared. He laughs at me and pulls me close.

"You're like a kid in a candy store!"

"I can't help it." I nuzzle into him, trying to tone down my enthusiasm. "This place is great. Free cable, tiny shampoos and soaps, fluffy white robe, what's not to like?"

"Even a mini fridge for your snowball. How's it doing anyway?" he asks. I had just put the cooler inside the fridge; the snowball was starting to feel the effects of the day and had shrunk a bit.

"Not so good," I report gloomily. Jared takes my hand.

"It'll survive. I have faith." I wish his faith was enough for the two of us. He flips through the channels, sitting up against the headboard with his long legs stretched in front of him. "So you'll try to find out more information about Tyler's mom when we get home?"

"Somehow," I answer distractedly as my hand plays against his hard chest, feeling the shape of his muscles through the fabric of his blue cotton shirt. He puts his hand on mine, stopping me.

"Even if Sarah Eden was Sarah Craig, you still have to find out if she was actually your mother. Are you going to DNA test Tyler?" He puts the remote down, leaving it on some music channel, and turns his body to me.

"I've thought about it," I admit, that would confirm things once and for all, "but that feels so invasive, especially without him knowing why I'm doing it."

"Looks to me like you only have two choices, take it without telling him why, or be honest with him and ask for a sample. Who knows he probably has questions about his mom too. Maybe you two could help each other." I get lost in his eyes for a moment.

"What would you do?" I murmur, slipping into the storm. His laugh snaps me out of my trance.

"Uh-uh. I'm not telling you what I'd do."

"Why not?"

"Because." He puts his hand out and runs it down the slope of my waist, resting it on the arch of my hip bone. "If I tell you what I'd do and you do it, and for some reason it doesn't work out...I don't want to shoulder that blame. I'm not going to tell you what to do Ellie, but I promise I'll support you in whatever you end up choosing."

He couldn't have said it more perfectly. I don't deserve him, not after the night with Max, the lies, the broken promises, the past. I cast my eyes down at the bedspread and away from him, awash with guilt that he mistakes is over Tyler.

"You'll do the right thing Ellie, you always do." I stretch out next to him, looking up at the ceiling so he can't read my face. He's wrong. I don't do the right thing, I never do.

"I wish we could stay here with you forever. Inside these four walls we have total freedom. No Coco barging in, no curfew from your dad, no fake relationships or break-ups, just you and me." I sigh happily. "It'd be perfect." Jared frowns and I instantly regret bringing all our baggage into the room with us.

"And how is your boyfriend?" he asks, more enviously then I'm sure he intended. I lean over him and kiss the tip of his nose.

"He's away and currently I'm shacking up with my secret lover in an out-of-the-way hotel." His smile returns and he begins to play along with me.

"Secret lover, huh?"

He brings me around to him, scooping my rear up in his palms and pulling me against his body. All thoughts dissolve as his lips scorch down onto mine. Taking his time, he teases me with his tongue, making me thirst for more of his taste. My hands come alive and dive into his thick hair, pulling him deeper towards me. Jared slides his hand up under my black sweater, and with one swift movement, unhooks my bra. I wrap my legs around him crushing myself against his strong body and yet I still need more.

A slow burn begins to blaze inside of me as I find my way under his shirt. My hands alight against his broiling skin, as I softly rake my nails down his chest. I feel him shiver in response and he lets out a muffled noise as he starts kissing his way down my neck. Lifting my shirt over my head, I toss my bra to the side. His eyes grow as he runs his hand over my naked torso like he's memorizing every bit of me.

"You're so perfect," he murmurs. I blush under his inspection. I'm far from perfect; he just hasn't realized it yet.

Grabbing his shirt, I pull him towards me and tug it off of his body. His naked chest closes down on me, branding us together as one solid force. I never want to let go. Jared lays a web of kisses down my ribcage, tugging my pants off as he goes. I lay back, losing myself in my pull towards him as he takes me to the place that only he can, the one where all my lifetimes collide together and they all exist with me again for one brief, perfect moment.

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