He held my hand in his, my empty palm faced up. He placed the ring in the middle of my palm, the light shining on it.
"You don't have to wear it. I just want you to have it."
I looked up at him, his eyes glossy, my eyes welled up with tears. I nodded, unable to swallow that lump in my throat.
When I finally managed to cool down, I reached up on my toes to hug him, my arms around his neck. He wrapped his strong arms around my waist and we just stood there, quietly.
"We should go," I whispered, no longer on my tippie-toes as I rested my forehead on his shoulder. "Darcy and Quinn probably have school tomorrow and we don't want to keep them up all night."
He smiled in acknowledgement, holding my face in between his hands and pressing his warm lips to my forehead. "I'll call a cab."
He headed out of the room and descended the stairs. I stood there, turning and twisting the ring in between my fingers. And then I put it on. I was grinning from ear to ear, bouncing off the balls of my feet when I heard a deep voice muffled by hushed ones from the living room.
"Niall?" I called as I entered the living room to see what was going on. "Dad?" I blurted out, astonished.
"Jamie," he acknowledged, striding towards me and gripping my wrist. "We're going home."
I snatched my wrist back and took a big step away from him. "I'm not going anywhere with you. What the hell are you doing here?" I demanded. From the corner of my eye, I could sense Darcy and Quinn tensing up, their eyes switching back and forth, clearly frightened by the loud voices.
I turned to my aunt and hugged her, followed by my sisters whom I gave a peck on the cheek and wished goodnight. I rubbed them on the top of their heads and waved as I signalled Damon to go out the door with me. Niall followed quietly.
The cool night breeze swept my hair into my eyes. But I was too irritated to care. The door shut closed.
"I'll meet you back at the flat," I caught Niall's hand.
He raised an eyebrow. "You sure?"
I nodded once. I was grateful that he always respected my decisions. "Call me once you're on the way back."
"Okay." I pecked him on the lips before he got into the cab that had already been waiting.
"I'm here to take you home."
"I told you," I emphasised. "I'm not going anywhere with you, Damon." I crossed my arms. "You lied to me-"
"To protect you."
I scoffed. "From what? The truth?" I retorted menacingly. "From Sullivan?" His eyes widened then his shoulders slouched.
"I'm your father. That's what fathers do. They keep their children safe from harm."
"Not if it means lying." My blood was boiling. Lying to me or keeping the truth from me in the pretext of keeping me safe was a crap excuse. My thoughts were all jumbled, incoherent. "You didn't even know about me till my mother died. You don't have to pretend that you care about me," I stated monotonously. I'd read my journal.
"I didn't want Niall to be in your life. Or any of the other boys. They make you vulnerable."
I gritted my teeth, my nails digging into my arm. "You...don't have the right. You don't even know them," I hissed.
"And you do?" he questioned. I still couldn't remember much. The last thing I remembered was waking up in the hospital and Damon telling me that I'd been in an accident and that he was my father and he was there to take me home. It was a long story but I believed it at that time. "I know that they're not good for you."
"Stop!" I yelled, loud enough that passers-by were staring at us. "I can't even believe you'd say that...they're the best thing that's ever happened to me." I wanted to punch him. "You should leave."
"I'm bringing you home."
"I AM home," I informed him. He took a step towards me, glaring down at me. "Jamie Smith, I am your father and I am ordering you to come home with me." He was using his authoritative voice, treating me as if I was one of his soldiers, meaning he meant business. But I'd had enough of it.
"F*** you," I cursed, my anger radiating through my skin.
He slapped me hard across the face. His eyes faltered immediately as he realised what he'd done.
My lip burned from where it'd split, my eyes tearing up. He reached towards my cheek but I slapped his hand away and stormed off.
I was watching some football on the telly, munching on a pack of crisps when Jamie exploded into the flat, her face red, her hair everywhere. She saw me sitting on the sofa and threw off her jacket and threw off her boots, hurrying towards me after she slammed the door shut.
Then she grabbed my pack of crisps and threw it to the floor, the crisps scattering everywhere. Then she crawled on top of me and crashed her lips to mine, forcefully, as her hands tried to pry off my shirt.
"Wait. As much as I'd like to do this right now-"
She silenced me with her lips, stubbornly refusing to let me see her face.
I pulled away, tasting a metallic taste in my mouth. I saw her split lip, it was swelling up. And her right cheek was bright red.
"What happened Jamie?" I pushed her away gently, holding her shoulders.
"I don't want to talk about it," she muttered, her eyes refusing to meet mine. She tried to kiss me again. I held her wrists by her side.
"You'll feel better if you do," I murmured against her lips. I wanted to kiss her back badly but she looked like she was in pain. I gently pushed her aside so that I could stand up and get her some ice to reduce the swelling. Her cheeks were flushed red, her eyes glossy with tears. She looked so fragile, so vulnerable...like the day I first met her. "Who did this to you?" My anger was building up. Her sudden 'attack' to kiss me hadn't allowed me to fully assess the situation.
"It's nothing," she shuffled back on the sofa as I tried to touch her red cheek. She winced as I reached over and cautiously pressed the ice wrapped in a towel to her lip. I could hear her gritting her teeth as her phone rung in her pocket. She whipped it out and discarded it onto the floor. Her breathing started to become ragged, her eyes overflowing with tears. I moved over and pulled her body towards me, rubbing her back as her tears soaked through my shirt.
"I have a pretty screwed up life huh," she sobbed, sitting straight to look into my eyes. She reached out to hold one of my hand in hers. "The only thing that seems good in my life right now is you," she whispered, most likely to herself.
She gently laid the ice on the table and leaned in so that we were looking into each other's eyes. She licked her lips and glanced at mine, her lips glistening and redder than usual because of the split.
"Kiss me, Niall," she purred. My mind raced with rational thoughts as to why I shouldn't kiss her although my body didn't seem to agree.
"I shouldn't," I managed to tell her, fighting every instinct. Her eyes dropped. "I don't want to hurt you," I clarified.
"Please? I need you," she begged, looking up at me from under her eyelashes. She was almost too hard to resist.
"Jamie," I whispered softly. My palm cupped her cheek while I lightly stroked her bottom lip with my thumb.
"Make the pain stop," she pleaded, her voice trembling. She leaned in till our lips were inches apart. She peered into my eyes to see if I would push her away again. Then she pressed her lips to mine, her lips warm against mine. She waited for me to reciprocate.
She pulled away, perplexed. Then she kissed me again, this time more desperate. Her fingers tangled in my hair, her other hand under my shirt and on my chest.She curled her fingers and skimmed her fingers lightly from my chest to my abdomen to my lower abdomen. An unrestricted groan escaping my lips, She smiled against my lips, knowing she had won me over, that she was slowly breaking my defenses down. She climbed on top of my lap again and wrapped her legs around my waist, her arms around my neck as her lips moved with passion against mine. I slipped one of my hands into her shirt so that I could feel the bare skin of her back while my other hand gently tugged her hair and pulled her head back so that I could caress her neck with my lips. A soft, pleasant sigh slipped from her lips.
I laid her down on the sofa and looked at her. She tugged the collar of my shirt down towards her so that our lips met once again. She reached over my back to pull my shirt off with one quick slip, her fingernails gently grazing my back.
His eyes - heart-stoppingly blue and beautiful, now filled with passion and hunger that I had put there. His lips, soft and supple, were urgent against mine, eager to explore every inch of my bruised body. And his hands. Oh, his hands. His fingers calloused from plucking the guitar strings that made every part of my body burn whenever he touched me. His breathing was ragged and heavy. I knew he wanted this as much as I did. We'd done this numerous times before but for some reason, it was different this time. I knew he saw me as being fragile and vulnerable but I didn't want to be treated as so.The sting of our lips and the soft throb of my cheek whenever he kissed or touched me there was overcome by the pleasure. He picked me up easily and we stumbled across the room, stopping for a while as he pushed me against the wall, ravenously kissing every part of me. He was driving me insane. He set me on my feet as I led him to the bedroom, removing all particles of clothing till I was clad in my lingerie. He watched me, his eyes burning with desire. I made him stand by the edge of the bed and painfully, slowly, undid the top button of his trousers and unzipped it, my hands lingering there. He held my wrists, jolted by my touch. I smiled up at him, trying to be as sexy as I possibly could. I lay on the bed as he watched carefully and I pulled him on top of me , staring deep into his eyes. His intense eyes bore into mine, his arms by my head. He leaned in, the light pressure of his lips upon mine making my skin burn.
"I love you,Jamie."
My eyes watered. I was unsure of why. Perhaps it was because of how he loved me, despite all I'd put him through. Regardless of all my bruises, he still loved me and wanted me. How was it possible to fall so deeply in love with a stranger so fast? Was our love this consuming in my past life? If so, I don't care - not anymore -if I got to remember who I was before. As long as I was with him.
"I love you too,Niall. So much."