I sighed. Time to grab sack and do the talk.
“My plans have changed,” I said, feeling like an asshole. This wasn’t a new sensation for me, but the guilt that came with it was. Not that I ever went out of my way to be a dick—it just came naturally, you know? Melanie frowned, tightening her towel.
Definitely not getting laid. Fucking Gage.
“What’s up?” she asked carefully. “I mean, I know you didn’t make any promises about us, but I kind of thought—”
“No, this is about the club,” I said. “You know how I’ve been traveling for the club? They just called and said I need to head back out. Like, I need to leave in half an hour, and I gotta go pack a bag and shit. So I can’t do the carnival with you.”
Mel cocked her head at me.
“Are you blowing me off?” she asked, her voice very serious. “Because I’d really prefer it if you had the decency to do it directly, rather than leading me on.”
“No, I’m not blowing you off,” I said, wishing I had words to explain how I felt about all this. “Look, I’m a jackass. I get that. But I really have to go and I’m not even sure how long I’ll be gone. I promise I’ll stay in touch and text as much as I can. I’m hoping you’ll wait to make any judgments about us and what happened until I get back. I know that Jess is probably just waiting to fill your head with shit about me, and I’m sure a lot of it will be true. But this is between you and me, nobody else.”
She nodded slowly.
“I can do that,” she said.
The relief I felt was enough to scare me—I’d never cared about anyone like this. Hell, what I’d felt for Em was nothing. Why had I been so obsessed with her?
“I wasn’t in love with Em,” I blurted out.
Smooth, asshole. Real smooth. But I was all in now, so might as well run with it.
“They probably told you I’m an asshole who led Em on for a long time. I did that, and then I lost her. But you should know that I wasn’t in love with her. I think I just liked the idea of marrying into the club. Pic’s been like a dad to me—guess I just wanted it to be official.”
“Okay . . .” she said slowly, obviously confused. Christ, I was botching the hell out of this.
“Look, I know I don’t have any right to ask this, but I want you to stay away from other guys while I’m gone.”
I saw a flash of something cross her face—satisfaction? Hard to tell. “And if I do? What about you?”
Mel rolled her eyes, crossing her arms over her chest. “Will you be dating anyone else?”
“I don’t date,” I said. From the look on her face, I wasn’t helping my cause. “But I won’t fuck anyone, if that’s what you’re asking.”
I thought about Marsh’s sister and our plan. Could I keep that promise? Did it even count, if I did it for the club?
“Okay,” Mel said after a long pause, giving me a shy smile. I fell into her eyes for a moment, and then I was stepping forward and pulling her in for a kiss. Her arms wrapped around my neck as I pushed her down onto the futon. This was more awkward than you’d think, because she was wearing one of those big bath sheets wrapped around her at least three times. I kept trying to reach under it but I couldn’t get through the damned layers—fuckin’ thing was better than a chastity belt.
“This is like trying to bang a burrito,” I said finally, frustrated. Mel burst out laughing, which didn’t help because now she was wiggling around and I couldn’t even find the edge of the damned thing.
“Let me up,” she gasped. “It’ll never work.”
She was right. I let her go, lying back on the bed to watch as she stood. She turned away, peeking over her shoulder at me, which was simultaneously adorable and sexy as hell, a combination that usually doesn’t go together. I mean, I think bunny rabbits are cute, but I don’t want to fuck one. What the hell’s wrong with you? Mellie’s stripping down and you’re thinking about rabbits!
They’d been right—I really did need professional help.
Mel had the towel completely open now, although she still held it loosely around her. She looked like a Harley pinup girl, all teasing curves and dripping water.
“You’re the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen,” I managed to say, and I meant every word. “I have no idea how I’m lucky enough to be here with you right now, but please know you have my eternal appreciation.”
Christ, did I just grow a pussy?
I gave a quick glance to check, because the shit coming out of my mouth sounded like a fucking Hallmark card. Nope, that was definitely my cock down there, and he was saluting Mel’s towel-wrangling skills.
She gave that shy smile again, letting the towel fall slowly to the floor. I waited for her to turn around and come to me—I had plans for that cunt of hers, and while I was in a hurry, I was also fucked for time, too. Might as well take advantage of the moment.
Melanie didn’t turn around, though. Nope. Instead she dropped slowly to her knees, still facing away. I pushed up on my elbows to find her stretching her back and thrusting her ass out toward me. My brain short-circuited. Then she crawled slowly in a circle across the floor toward me. Like Catwoman, but totally naked and much, much hotter.
My knees were hanging off the side of the futon. She rose up, catching her tits and squeezing them together as she licked her lips.