Below Deck

Page 56

We squeeze together on the tiny bottom bunk in his room, neither of us saying a word as we slowly undress each other, easily laughing when Declan hits his head on the bottom of the top bunk and when I slam my elbow against the wall trying to remove his shirt.

He rolls on top of me and I wrap my legs around his hips and my arms around his shoulders. His hands slide under my back and he pulls my body as close to his as possible, kissing me softly as he enters me slowly. Our arms stay locked around each other as we move together, neither of us in a hurry for this to end.

There are no dirty words whispered in my ear this time, no quick and frenzied fucking, just slow and steady and more powerful than anything I’ve felt before.

I press my hands to either side of his face as my hips move against him, taking him deeper and loving the way he moans my name. His forehead rests against mine and I close my eyes as he rocks his body into me, the slow push and pull of his cock in and out of me lighting my body on fire and making me ramble in French. It’s easy to say the words, to tell him everything I wish I had the guts to say, when he has no idea what they mean.

“Demande-moi de rester. Je ne veux jamais te quitter. S’il te plait, demande-moi de rester,” I whisper with my eyes still tightly closed and our foreheads pressed together.

My softly spoken words do exactly what I expected them to. Declan groans my name and starts moving his hips faster, taking me harder, slamming into me rougher. It doesn’t matter that I want this to last forever, it’s impossible to slow down my release when he’s so deep inside me, swiveling his hips in a slow circle and hitting just the right spot over and over, holding me tight. His eyes never leave mine as my orgasm works its way up my body and explodes out of me. I tighten my legs around him and bury my face in the side of his neck as I come, my voice muffled as I whisper his name.

Declan’s hands slide down to my ass and he tips my hips up, pumping into me faster as he follows right behind me, quickly finding his own release with my name on his lips before collapsing on top of me.

I lose track of time as we stay locked together. Our arms are still around each other, and Declan is still inside of me. I know I will never feel as safe and secure and whole as I do right now, with the heavy weight of his body on top of mine, and I keep my face pressed against the side of his neck so he won’t see my tears.

He can deny it all he wants, make flippant comments, and pretend like light and easy is all he wants from me now, and make me second-guess everything that happened between us, but I know he’s lying. I know he feels something more for me, and I know he wants me to change his plans, even if he won’t say the words again. I have no idea what happened to make him act like this, and I’m too much of a coward to question him.

I just want him to ask me to stay, but he never does.



Watching Mackenzie and her family say good-bye to the crew, letting her walk off the ship without saying anything was the hardest fucking thing I’ve ever done. Standing in a line next to the rest of the crew, I had to remain stoic and professional when Mackenzie, her father, and Brooke walked down the line, shaking each of our hands and thanking us for a wonderful trip, when all I wanted to do was pull her away from everyone and tell her I fucked up. Tell her I didn’t care about not being good enough for her because I’d spend the rest of my life making sure I got there and gave her everything she deserved.

Allyson and Arianna were absent from the good-bye, and according to Zoe, they got off before everyone else woke up, probably because they didn’t give a shit about pleasantries and thank you’s. I didn’t care where they were, I didn’t care about anything but the fact that I let the best thing that’s ever happened to me just fucking walk away.

I almost dropped to my knees when her small hand slid into mine. I almost cried like a fucking baby when she looked up at me with a sad smile on her face and told me it was fun, but it was time for her to get back to the good life she left behind.

The good fucking life that I wouldn’t be a part of and it was my own damn fault. I knew she didn’t care about money. I knew she didn’t care about whatever guys were waiting for her back home, ready to give her whatever she wanted. I knew she wasn’t the type of woman who gave a shit about what someone had as long as they were a decent human being and treated her with respect.

I treated her like shit. I took everything I knew about her, let her bitch of a stepmother poison me with lies and make me believe things that weren’t true, and I hurt her in the worst way possible. She’d opened up to me and told me she was miserable working for her father, and I threw it right back in her face, made a joke out of it, and made a demeaning comment about how she didn’t really need to work.

I stopped trying to convince her to stay, and pushed her away instead.

For the last two days, ever since I watched her walk off this ship, I’ve spent my time in the bottom of a bottle when I’m not working to get ready for the next charter. I’ve tried drinking away all the shitty things I said to her, wishing it would erase them from my mind and make them not true, but it hasn’t worked. Nothing works. Nothing will erase what I did to her, nothing will erase the smell of her from my pillows and my sheets from our last night together, nothing will erase her smile, or her laugh, or her touch, or the sound of my name on her lips.

I let her slip right out of my hands, and I have no one to blame but myself.

“You look like shit,” Zoe announces, walking into the crew mess and flopping down on the bench seat next to me, Ben following behind her and taking a seat on the other side of me.

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