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They Don't Know About Us (You & I #1)

 

THEY DONT KNOW ABOUT US

Copyright © 2016 by Bella Madison

All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof

may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever

without the express written permission of the publisher

except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

Also published as Complicated.

WARNING

Strong language, graphic sex scenes, drug use. If these subjects make you uncomfortable please do not read any further. Suggested reading level 18+ 

This is a work of fan fiction. 

Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. 

Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

They Dont Know About Us

by One Direction

[
**]

People say we shouldn’t be together

We’re too young to know about forever

But I say they don’t know what they’re talk-talk-talkin’ about (talk-talk-talkin’ about)

[
__]

‘Cause this love is only getting stronger

So I don’t wanna wait any longer

I just wanna tell the world that you’re mine, girl

Oh

[
__]

They don’t know about the things we do

They don’t know about the “I love you”’s

But I bet you if they only knew (they don’t know)

They would just be jealous of us,

They don’t know about the up all nights

They don’t know I’ve waited all my life

Just to find a love that feels this right

Baby they don’t know about, they don’t know about us

[
__]

One touch and I was a believer

Every kiss it gets a little sweeter

It’s getting better

Keeps getting better all the time, girl

[
__]

They don’t know about the things we do

They don’t know about the “I love you”’s

But I bet you if they only knew (they don’t know)

They would just be jealous of us,

They don’t know about the up all nights

They don’t know I’ve waited all my life

Just to find a love that feels this right

Baby they don’t know about, they don’t know about us

[
__]

They don’t know how special you are

They don’t know what you’ve done to my heart

They can say anything they want

‘Cause they don’t know us

[
__]

They don’t know what we do best

It’s between me and you, our little secret

But I wanna tell ‘em

I wanna tell the world that you’re mine, girl

[
__]

They don’t know about the things we do

They don’t know about the “I love you”’s (I love you)

But I bet you if they only knew (if they only knew)

They would just be jealous of us (they would just be jealous of us),

They don’t know about the up all nights

They don’t know I’ve waited all my life

Just to find a love that feels this right (feels so right)

Baby they don’t know about, they don’t know about us

[
__]

They don’t know about the things we do

They don’t know about the “I love you”’s

But I bet you if they only knew

They would just be jealous of us,

They don’t know about the up all nights

They don’t know I’ve waited all my life

Just to find a love that feels this right

Baby they don’t know about, they don’t know about us

[
__]

They don’t know about us

They don’t know about us

Table of Contents

INTRO

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Intro

“What?!” I shriek, my mouth agape, my mind spinning as I look up at my Art History professor. “But…but I thought…I thought you said that I was—”

“Miss Wilson, I’m sorry, I overestimated the amount of space we had on the dig. We really don’t need four graduate students on this assignment.”

My face has to be one of shock and confusion. He hasn’t called me Miss Wilson since my freshman year. He looks down at me, a glint of satisfaction in his eye and I know this has nothing to do with available space, and everything to do with me not sucking his dick in his office last week.

“There’ll be other trips,” he continues, placing a hand on my shoulder, and I want to slap it away.

“But, sir…” I respond, trying to keep my voice calm. “These are the Grecian ruins. You of all people know how seldom the government lets you—”

“Yes Scarlett, I know,” he replies impatiently, running a hand through his graying comb-over. “But it cannot be helped. You’re young still, well over a year ahead of other graduates your age.”

I scowl, glaring at the ground. Never once did I think my ambition and drive would hinder me in college. Then again, I never thought I’d have to fight off my professor’s advances either.

“But Greek art is my concentration. You [_know _]this. Why not one of the other graduate students?” I ask, a little less than pleadingly, but I already know the answer. I just want to hear him say it, or at least watch him uncomfortably skate around it.

“As I said, you are young and there will be other trips,” he says with a finality that suggests our discussion is over. He has a voice that sinks in and wraps you up, vibrating with power and command. “However, I know how important it was to you to get your internship out of the way this summer, so I took the liberty of securing you a position as a tutor.”

“A tutor?” I scoff, my voice nearly echoing in the empty classroom. “Sir, you know tutoring isn’t—”

“I’ve been asked by a former student of mine,” he says over me and I stop speaking with a loud sigh, “to teach a young musician who’s touring this summer. Obviously I can’t go because I have this assignment.”

I scoff again.

“But I promised her I would send my best graduate student. Scarlett…” he says and I glance up at him, his eyes so dark I feel like I’m looking into a endless stretch of midnight sky. “You [_are _]my best graduate student.”

I purse my lips. Damn right I’m his best graduate student. I grade his papers. I draw up some of his undergrad quizzes. Of course I’m the best graduate student, which is the reason I should be going on this fucking trip.

“Sir,” I whine a little and look away from his dark gaze. He knows that I hate tutoring so this is obviously some form of corporal punishment.

“It’s good money, more than you’d make on the dig and you’ll be traveling the country. It will also give you ample time to work on your thesis.”

“How old is this kid?” I finally ask, and he smiles.

“Seventeen.”

I can’t help but roll my eyes. [_Great, _]a fucking teenager.

“You’d be doing me a huge favor here, Scarlett.”

Sure, now we’re back to first names. I curse inwardly and I know I’m going to give in. Even after the stunt he pulled last week, I still somehow seek his approval.

“It will be good for you,” he continues and I look at him again. “You’ll have time to work on that thesis.”

I sigh. “Fine…I’ll do it.”

1

Upon entering the Bridgestone Arena in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, I’m immediately taken aback by the grandeur of it all. The hustle and bustle of various carts being zoomed back and forth across the large empty floor of the stadium, the booming sounds of instruments being checked. It’s all so big.

I scowl. It’s still not Greece. It’s not Mycenaean ruins. It’s not history at my fingertips. What it is, is a boy band. A boy band on tour. It’s me teaching some whiny, pampered brat the bare minimum about sculpture and painting. It’s condensing roughly twenty-six thousand years of architecture and six years of my college education into three trivial months. It’s fucking torture.

A large, dark man approaches me and gives me lip about not being allowed to be here. I show him my backstage pass and miserably explain to him that I’m here to teach Harry Styles art history. He lightens up considerably and offers to show me back to the dressing rooms.

I follow him, looking around, a little stunned by it all but still ultimately unimpressed. I should be digging in the dirt right now; I should be uncovering the mysteries of ancient civilizations.

I’m jarred out of my thoughts by the large man stopping abruptly in front of a door appropriately marked One Direction. The door opens and an explosion of laughter and chatter greets me, the room obscured by the large form of the bodyguard.

“Harry, your tutor is here,” he announces and then steps out of the way, allowing me entrance to the room.

I step inside and all conversation stops. Five teenage boys are lying across couches, a television blaring MTV in the background. I’ve seen them before, each of their faces plastered on the front of the magazines I surveyed while waiting in line at the gas station or desperately searching for the latest issue of the American Journal of Archaeology. They just stare at me and I give them a tight lipped smile. Nice welcome.

A dark haired woman emerges from the side of the room, reaching out to shake my hand. “Hello, I’m Anne Styles, Harry’s mother,” she says with the slightest hint of a Southern drawl, smiling warmly.

“Pleasure to meet you,” I reply. “Scarlett Wilson.”

“The pleasure is all mine,” she says, and turns her head to the guys on the couches. “Harry, come over here and introduce yourself.”

The boy on the end of the couch closest to me sighs and pulls himself up, trudging over. He’s tall, taller than me with a boyish face and golden brown curls. He really is kind of adorable in a sullen, bratty way. He gives me a tight lipped smile, standing obediently next to his mother, looking very bored. Oh, this is going to be just fucking great.

“I’m sorry Scarlett, this is my son Harry,” she introduces, pinching his arm as she says his name and he scowls at her before turning to me.

“Hi,” he replies curtly, before turning away to go back to his seat.

“Harry Edward Styles, get your butt back over here!” the woman exclaims and I watch him cringe as the boys still on the couches snicker quietly. “I’m so sorry,” she apologizes to me again and I shake my head, smiling tightly. Harry is standing next to her again, looking weary and forlorn. She grips his ear and he winces. “You are going into the other room and you are going to listen to this nice young woman and you are going to pass this, do you understand me?”

“Yes, ma’am,” he grits, leaning down to relieve the pressure on his ear. I try not to laugh. This is priceless.

“Good,” Anna says, releasing him. “Now gimme a kiss,” she adds, turning her cheek to him and he gives her a light peck before looking at me, scowling.

“Let’s go into the dressing room,” he mutters, and we both move to walk through the door at the same time. I pause and he rolls his eyes, walking ahead of me. Oh yeah, this is gonna be a real pleasure.

He takes me a few doors down and falls into a swivel chair next to a large rack of clothing. He glances in the mirror next to him, and then does a double take, squinting his eyes at his reflection as he picks at his hair, moving a curl over a little before turning to look at me.

This cannot be happening to me.

I sigh, slipping my book bag from my shoulder, unzipping the main compartment. Might as well get down to business. “Okay, so I figured we’d start with—”

“Look, let’s get something straight,” he interrupts and I stop all movement, my hands buried deep in my bag. “The only reason you’re here is because my mother is pissed that I was more interested in the European club scene than all the museums and architecture and bullshit.” He gives a wave of his hand and my jaw drops. Did he just call the Lourve, the Pantheon, the Zwinger Palace bullshit? “I already have a 4.0 with my other tutor that’s teaching me the important stuff, so if you could just—”

“Just what?” I say, and he looks at me astonished, like he’s never been interrupted before. “Just float you by? I’m sorry but I can’t do that. Well, I guess I could, but I’m not.”

His thick brow furrows and he swivels a little in his chair, his long legs jittering slightly against the floor. Then a slow smile creeps over his face. He pulls his bottom lip between his white teeth and tilts his head to the side. Jesus Christ, he’s trying to [_charm _]me.

“I think we got off on the wrong foot,” he says smoothly and I roll my eyes, laughing a little as I pull a textbook out of my bag.

“Yes, I think we did,” I say, dropping the heavy manual on the table next to him. He eyes it.

“That’s my textbook?” he asks, raising an eyebrow at me. “That? It’s fucking huge.”

“It’s not that bad. It’s a lot of images,” I tell him, pulling out a folder.

“Jesus, it’s heavy,” he comments, picking it up and flipping through. “And it has tiny print. Great.”

I roll my eyes, fighting the scathing comment that is bubbling in my throat. I pull out a syllabus and hold it out to him. He takes it, surveying it and pursing his lips.

“You’re to have the first reading done by tomorrow and we’ll discuss these works and terms,” I order, giving him a handout with a list of art pieces and vocabulary words. “It’s pretty straight forward.”

“You want me to have the first chapter read by tomorrow?” he asks, his eyebrows raised, and I grit my teeth, nodding. “That’s like thirty pages!” he exclaims, flipping through. “Look, I don’t know if you realize, but this tour is kicking off in two days and—”

“You’ll read it and you’ll know it,” I tell him with a sigh and he scowls at me again. “You’ll make time for it.”

“You’ve obviously never been on tour before,” he grumbles, looking down at the book in his lap and I just can’t take it anymore.

“Look!” I say harshly and his head snaps up. I take a deep breath, calming myself. “Let’s just try and get through this as painlessly as possible, okay? You don’t have to have anything memorized, just read the damn chapter.”

“Wait, I’m going to have to [_memorize _]stuff?” he questions suspiciously and it takes all of my will power not to slap the shit out of this kid.

“Yes, the sheet that I gave you for chapter one, on Prehistoric and Neolithic Art and Architecture, you’ll need to be able to identify all of the images and give their location and date range for your test.”

“I have to remember dates!” he whines, falling back in his chair and scowling and I want to slap him even harder.

“Yes, Harry,” I say, gritting my teeth. “This is Art History. You need to know when stuff happened. It won’t be so bad, though. Most of the dates are circa in this chapter so if you’re close you’ll still get credit.”

“This is so bogus,” he mutters after a moment, tucking his papers inside before closing the book. “Can I go now?”

“Yes,” I respond, rubbing my temples, “Please.”

He makes his way out of the room and I sigh, falling into the chair he’d just occupied. Ugh. It’s going to be a long three months.

2

I’m running late. I never run late but for some reason I just couldn’t muster up the stamina to drag myself from my fluffy hotel room this morning, misery and frustration willing me to hide away under the covers.

I had gotten a very brief call on my cell last night from my friend Marta, fellow graduate student and one of the lucky three to make it to the trip in Greece. She had quickly described the landscape and the living quarters and the expansive plains just waiting to be dug into. I had gone to bed dreaming of Grecian temples and bronze statues and instead woke up to my alarm clock glaring 8:45.

Great.

I breeze past security, flashing my nifty little lanyard and stagger my way into the arena. Fuck, I need some coffee. It’s pretty dark and I stumble a little over cords, squinting at the five figures on the stage.

“So now we’re sitting on the steps for the acapella section of What Makes You Beautiful?” one of them asks a man on the floor, his voice booming loudly through his microphone.

“Yes,” the man responds and all five figures plop onto the large steps leading up to the section of the stage where the band is set up. “Okay guys, let’s try this again.”

I yawn, bringing myself forward, the darkness of the room not helping my sleepiness at all. My foot catches on a thick cable and suddenly I’m going down. I close my eyes, waiting for my body to hit the concrete but instead I feel strong arms under my ribs, holding me up. I open one eye and look up, finding myself in the arms of a very handsome guy, looking down at me amusedly from under long thick lashes.

“Whoa there,” he says, his voice slightly raised because the group has started singing. I snap out of it, pulling my feet under myself and gaining some composure.

“I’m so sorry,” I stammer, situating my book bag more firmly on my shoulders and he just grins at me. Shit, he’s good looking. His eyes are the color of milk chocolate edged with a deep forest-green, and the two colors seem to swirl together like moss creeping over rich soil. And when he smiles both colors ignite with a glow, nearly dazzling me. 

“No worries,” he says and grabs a Styrofoam cup from the ledge of the sound booth we’re standing next to. “Looks like you need this more than me.”

He hands me the steaming cup of coffee and I smile appreciatively, holding out my free hand. “Scarlett,” I say, taking a sip, but keeping my eyes on him as he reaches out to grip my hand firmly. I love a man with a good handshake.

“Khefren,” he responds and my eyes widen a little, bringing the cup down from my lips.

Khefren?” I ask, smiling at him. “As in the Egyptian pharaoh?”

His eyes widen and he laughs a little, nodding. “Yes,” he says, his smile expanding, crinkling the corners around his eyes.  “Not many people know that. They just think I have a weird name.”

“Well, they went back to the original Egyptian name for him several years back,” I inform, sipping my coffee again.

“You’re the Art History tutor, aren’t you?” he asks.

I laugh. “That obvious, huh?”

He says something but I can’t quite hear him as the band kicks in behind the vocals and I have to lean forward as he repeats what he said into my ear.

“A little,” he shouts and then leans back, smiling at me and I smile back, noticing a slight dimple in his cheek.

“So what do you do?” I ask and he quirks an eyebrow, leaning in again and I repeat my question.

“Oh, I’m a front of house engineer,” he says, turning to say the words into my ear, his cheek slightly brushing mine. I have to fight my giddy smile. “I’m responsible for what the audience hears, and my buddy Dale back there…” He points to a man standing behind the soundboards, who waves when he sees us looking, “is the monitor engineer. He deals with all the mics and in-ear monitors.”

I nod my head enthusiastically, smiling widely, trying to convey interest and he laughs. God, he has a great laugh. It really just lights up his face.

“You don’t care about any of this, do you?”

“No, it’s good to know what’s going on!” I exclaim and he gives me a smile that says he doesn’t believe me. Shit, I don’t care if he believes me or not, he’s smiling at me again.

“So would you maybe wanna go get some lunch later?!” he yells, but the music cuts off as soon as he starts speaking so his words echo into the arena.

All eyes are on us and I laugh a little, turning towards the back of the arena in embarrassment. He chuckles discomfited and whispers, “Smooth, Khefren” and I literally laugh out loud, smiling at him. Maybe this summer isn’t going to be a complete drag after all.

“Okay guys, let’s take a break. Meet again in an hour,” the man on the floor is saying and I watch the five bandmates make their way off the stage.

“Time for me to go to work,” I announce and smile back at him. “Nice meeting you, Khefren.”

He gives me a bashful, closed lipped smile, waving goodbye to me as he turns to Dale. I turn away, grinning softly to myself. Yes, this could be a very nice reprieve from the hell of babysitting that boy band brat.

Speaking of which, I’m walking down the hallway, finding my way back to the room that I had met Harry in the day before, loud laughter guiding me. I stand in front of the familiar closed door marked One Direction and knock gently. A muffled “come in!” bids me enter and I open the door on a scene very similar to yesterday.

“Well, well, well,” one of the boys says, pulling himself from the couch. He’s taller than me with spiky dark hair and a warm smile. “You’re Harry’s teacher?”

“Yes, I am,” I respond, smiling slowly as he smoothly takes my hand in his, stepping close to me.

“I’m Zayn, Single, Capricorn,” he introduces, grinning cheekily at me and I can’t help but giggle at his charm. “What’s your sign, darlin’?” he asks and I hear the guys behind him snicker.

I smile sweetly at him and reply, “No entry.”

A chorus of “ooooh” follows my response and he laughs good naturedly, ushering me into the room.

“Allow me to introduce Mr. Liam Payne, Virgo, also single,” Zayn announces, and a tall, sleepy looking boy with high cheekbones and brown eyes gives Zayn a condescending look and me a small wave.

“How’s it going?” he says and I smile back at him, giving him a nod.

“Mr. Louis Tomlinson, Capricorn, and you guessed it, also single,” Zayn tells me, gesturing to a boy with dark stubble and shaggy brown hair, who waves at me enthusiastically and I laugh a little, waving back.

“Mr. Niall Horan, Virgo, wait for it…” Zayn says covering his eyes with his hand and I can’t help but laugh, and neither can the stocky young man with the baby face and sleek blonde hair as he gives me a tight lipped smile, “Single!”

Zayn plops himself down next to Harry, who’s leaning tiredly against the arm of one of the couches. He throws an arm around him and Harry just rolls his eyes.

“And you know our wittle Harry,” Zayn says pinching his cheek. Harry scowls and slaps his hand away. “Aquarius and—”

“Let me guess,” I say cutting him off and smiling wryly. “Single?”

“Well, I was gonna say virgin, but single works too,” he replies, hooking Harry’s head under his arm and giving him a noogie.

“Fuckin’ stop, Zayn!” Harry exclaims, pushing the other boy’s hands away from him. His own hands fly to his head and manically mess with his curly hair as he grumbles, “And I am [_not _]a virgin.”

“Hey, Harry?” Niall calls with a sly glance at the other boys around him. “Curl number 734 is out of place.”

“Shut up, asshole,” he scowls, flattening his hand over his head nervously.

I giggle along with the rest of the chuckling boys and Harry reddens considerably before crossing his arms over his chest and huffing a perturbed sigh.

“Come on, Harry,” I say, tilting my head towards the door. “Let’s get started.”

“Are you fucking kidding me?” he responds and the smile immediately slips from my face. There goes my sunny disposition. “I just spent the last two hours dancing my ass off and now I have to [_study _]during my break?!”

“Yes,” I say flatly and point toward the door, vowing to hold my temper in check and keep a firm grip on my good mood, Khefren’s smiling face floating through my mind.

“This is fucking bullshit,” I hear him mutter, pulling himself off the couch.

“Don’t forget your book, man,” Zayn says, lifting the heavy volume off the table with one hand and passing it to him. “Jeez, that’s heavy.”

“I fucking know!” Harry exclaims, snatching it from him and walking with me to the door. We both make a move to go through and just like yesterday, he rolls his eyes and brushes past me, leading me down the hall and into the dressing room. He drops the book loudly on the vanity, bending over it to fix his hair in the mirror, his bottom lip sticking out as he fluffs at his golden brown curls with his fingers.

“Okay Harry, prehistoric art,” I say, pulling up a swivel chair and dropping my book bag to the floor before plopping into it, balancing my coffee cup on my knee. “Tell me a little about it.”

“Uh…” he begins, glancing at me briefly before going back to the mirror. “It was prehistoric…and there was art at the time.”

“Astute observation,” I reply dryly, pulling my folder with my notes from my bag and fighting the urge to roll my eyes. This kid is not ruining my day. “What is significant about this time period?”

“Significant?” he asks, finally falling into the chair with a sigh and looking at me blankly. There isn’t a single peice of hair on his head that doesn’t seem to loop up and curl around another one, creating a whole thick bundle of curls. “Um…it was prehistoric.” He pauses, thinking. “Were there dinosaurs?”

I stare at him blankly and try my best to remain calm. The trip races through my mind again and I can see the Grecian plain, see the pile of artifacts in my head. I can fucking see it. And here I am, trying to talk to a kid who thinks that there were dinosaurs in the prehistoric period.

Good mood, gone.

“No Harry, there were not dinosaurs,” I tell him, sighing and he crosses his arms over his chest, pursing his lips. “Just tell me something from the reading,” I continue, draining the rest of my coffee and tossing the empty cup into the trashcan.

“Look, I already told you. I don’t have time to read thirty pages on some stupid paintings and shit. This tour is kicking off tonight. Our first big American tour. This could make or break us. I’m sorry, but I don’t give a flying fuck about this bullshit.”

And I can’t help it, all the rage that I have over being stuck here with him, over missing possibly the biggest archaeological dig that will occur in my lifetime, just boils over and I snap. I drop my folder to the floor and propel myself from my seat. I lean forward, gripping the arms of his chair and his eyes widen, pressing himself back into the seat and as far away from me as he can.

“You listen to me you pampered little brat. I don’t care [_who _]you are or [_what _]you want. I don’t want to be doing this anymore than you want to do it, so why don’t you just shut the hell up and do the work and make this as painless as possible for the both of us.”

As soon as the words leave my mouth I know that I’m gone, done, fired. There’s no way that this kid is gonna not tell his mother, or his handler, or whoever the hell is signing my paychecks. I wait for him to scowl at me, to rage and call for security.

Instead he just swallows hard, his bluish green eyes large. “Okay.”

I step back, my brows furrowing, regarding him suspiciously. He situates himself more firmly in his chair, his hand going down to adjust himself as inconspicuously as possible as he looks away from me.  He grabs the textbook from the vanity and flips it open.

“Just gimme a minute,” he tells me, surveying the first page. “Prehistoric art, is prehistory,” he says, his finger pointing to a sentence in the book, “which means it predates the written word.”

He looks up at me expectantly and I nod, smiling a little. He grins back at me and I breathe out slowly, falling back into my chair as he dips his head to read on. Apparently all you had to do was show this kid who’s boss.

He continues to spout random facts at me, waiting for my nod of approval before going back to reading, a small smile playing across his lips. He steals glances at me every once and awhile, stopping to listen patiently when I expound on a fact from the text.

He’s reading along slowly, fingers flipping the page when his head suddenly snaps up. He whispers [_“holy shit” _]and I lean forward to survey the page.

“Ah, the Woman of Willendorf,” I say, smiling at him as he stares wide-eyed down at the statue. “Tell me about her.”

“T-tell you about her?” he asks, swallowing hard.

“Yes,” I respond, relishing in his shock a little. “You’ll be required to analyze pieces of art for your tests. So…tell me about her. Tell me what you see.”

“Um,” he murmurs, shifting in his seat, pressing the book more firmly into his lap. “She has no face.”

“Good…and what of her form?” I say, smiling inwardly, watching as an uncomfortable look crosses his face.

“What do you mean?” he asks, glancing at me quickly and I bite my lip to keep the amused smile from my face.

“Is she clothed?” I question and he swallows hard. I probably shouldn’t push him like this but I’m still slightly bitter—okay [_a lot _]bitter—and making him squirm is the perfect payback for his shitty attitude.

“No.”

“And what does that tell you?” God, I am such a bitch sometimes.

“That she’s naked.”

“Yes, Harry,” I reply, sighing. “What does that tell you about her, about the culture this piece was carved in?”

“Um…women were naked?” he asks and I sigh again.

“Describe her form,” I order and he looks at me pleadingly. “Its okay,” I tell him, smiling a little. “You can state the obvious.”

“She has huge…” He pauses, glancing at me and then at the floor, shifting uncomfortably.

“Breasts,” I offer, smiling as I nod my head at him, finally letting him off the hook. “And very pronounced genitalia. Good job.”

He smiles weakly at me and I go on about how she is possibly a fertility goddess or some kind of doll for little girls to play with, which he scoffs at slightly, eyeing the statue’s voluptuous form.

“Hey, Harry,” I hear from behind me and I crane my neck around to see Zayn standing in the doorway. “Time to get to work, man.”

A pained look comes across Harry’s face but he nods at his bandmate and just sits there for a minute, not really moving. He sighs, finally standing and quickly holding his book to his front and I realize—oh my God—he’s hard. It takes everything in me not to just fall out of my chair laughing. Teenage boys; they have a hair trigger. He shimmies past me, making sure to keep his book firmly in front of him as he walks to the door.

“Are you…” he begins, trailing as he pauses in the doorway and I look at him over my shoulder. “Are you gonna watch the rehearsal?” he asks and I just look at him blankly.

“I wasn’t planning on it,” I say because I was actually planning on finding Khefren again.

“Oh,” he responds, his voice a little disappointed. “You should,” he adds, giving me a small smile before making his way out of the room.

I shake my head in amusement. The little brat just needs some discipline. I can handle that.

3

Okay, so I’ll admit that I grievously overestimated the amount of time that Harry would have available on this tour. The schedule had them performing three nights in a row with a one to two day break in between. I figured that this would give me ample time to work with him and get him prepared for his first test, which I had planned for two weeks after our first meeting. I was wrong. Very, very wrong.

What I had failed to understand was that the group got up at five every morning to do radio interviews until about eight and then they have personal appearances and charity work that takes them through lunch. My days were spent just trying to keep up: car rides, bus trips and a lot of hurry up and wait. It was enough to make me dizzy. After lunch it’s sound check and rehearsal before the Meet and Greet and then the show which doesn’t have them back at the hotel until about eleven. And then they have to hit the club scene.

But Anna put a stop to Harry’s late night activities most directly, her fingers gripping her son’s ear painfully and dragging him to my hotel room door after a show in Camden, New Jersey, telling me he was ready to study. He had pecked her cheek obediently but scowled at her retreating form, looking at me wearily and rubbing the feeling back into his ear.

I found out quickly that trying to get him to focus after a show was virtually impossible. He is a ball of adrenaline, tapping his pencil manically against his paper while I’m speaking, legs fidgeting all over the place. After the third night of him standing up mid-discussion to stretch and dance across the room I called it quits, resigning instead to try and teach him whenever he had a free moment. Usually on long bus rides or after sound checks.

Two weeks had passed and we were behind already but Harry was a quick learner and he never again came to me unprepared. After that first lesson he was eager to please, almost polite in a petulant kind of way. He would whine occasionally but all it took was a weary glance from me and he straightened up, the memory of my outburst enough to keep his bitching in check. In fact, he was usually [_over _]prepared for our sessions, having a lot of the things from his handouts memorized. He was very smart and often had eloquent things to say on the subject, his smile beaming bright whenever I praised him.

The passing of those two weeks also showed me a lot more of Khefren, his charming smile and “Well, well, if it isn’t Scarlett the Scholar” being one of the high points of my day. Morning coffee became our ritual, me retrieving the cups from the catering room before making my way to the front of the house booth. He would greet me warmly and take the cup from me, his fingers brushing mine, whether accidentally or deliberately I couldn’t quite tell, but regardless, the shiver up my spine was the same. We would, of course, flirt shamelessly and we had even had lunch a few times. I’d spend most of my mornings learning about the sound equipment and swapping stories with him, and while it was no dig for Mycenaean ruins, it was still not as bad as I had anticipated.

Today was no exception, joking and laughing with Khefren and Dale, waiting for Harry to get off the stage so we could go over the next section on near eastern art. I can’t even explain the feelings that I have for Khefren, watching him give Dale a soft punch on the shoulder, tugging his plush bottom lip between his teeth. His eyes catch mine, softening a little and ugh, my insides turn to mush. I really like him. Like, I [_really _]like him.

“Scarlett, tell him I’m a prince!” Khefren says, standing next to me and crossing his arms over his chest, glaring at Dale who is laughing.

“Well…” I trail, biting my lip and he looks over at me, raising an eyebrow. “He was named after one.”

“See, I told you,” he says, clapping his hands and pointing at Dale but throwing an arm around my shoulder.

I giggle a little as heat floods through me, the dry, spicy scent of him making me a little dizzy. I bring my hand up to lace through his fingers and I look up at him with a smile, his lips so close to mine. He looks at me, his eyes—deep brown with the seductive green dancing around its edge—glittering in the dimly lit arena.

“Hey Scarlett!” Harry suddenly greets, bounding up to me and the spell is broken. He’s smiling and a little out of breath and when I turn my head to him I notice his grin immediately fade as he eyes Khefren, his brow furrowing in suspicion.

“Hey Little Man,” Khefren says, slipping his arm from around my shoulder and I have to fight my frown.

Harry scowls at him before turning back to me. “Did you see the sound check?” he asks me a little eagerly and I nod, smiling at him.

“Yeah, it was nice,” I respond even though I hadn’t even been paying attention.

He beams back at me. “You ready to study?” His eyes cut to Khefren before settling back on me.

“Yeah, you go ahead and get set up and I’ll be back in a sec,” I tell him and he waits a beat before nodding and walking back toward the dressing rooms.

“Someone has a crush,” Khefren says, laughing a little as he watches Harry’s retreating form.

“Oh, he does not,” I respond, chuckling.

“Did you see the daggers he was shooting at me?” Khefren asks and I roll my eyes. “He’s smitten.”

“Oh shut up.” I push at his chest a little and he smiles warmly down at me. Our eyes lock and I bite my lip. God, I just want him to [_kiss _]me. We’ve been dancing around in this little flirtation for nearly two weeks now. It’s about time one of us made a move.

He leans in a little and I hold my breath but he must have lost his nerve because he backs away, smiling wryly at me. Or he could just be a tease. 

“Better not keep lover boy waiting.” He grins, wiggling his eyebrows.

I just roll my eyes, turning away from him, but I throw a smile over my shoulder as I leave.

Harry is sitting at the table in the dressing room, his book open in front of him, reading along silently. He really is kind of adorable in a boyish way, and I’m not the only one that thinks so. I made the mistake of walking to the bus with him one morning and nearly lost my hearing. The girls [_love _]him. Absolutely fucking adore the kid. They scream and cry and claw at him and he just smiles and signs autographs, thanking them politely for their marriage proposals and offers of bearing his children.

He glances up and sees me, his face breaking into a grin as he turns his body towards me, leg jiggling slightly. If he had been a puppy I’d expect his tail to be wagging or something. Jeez, maybe Khefren was right. He has a chair pulled up next to his and I grab it, dragging it a few feet over. He frowns a little and shit, maybe he really does have a crush on me.

Great, just fucking great.

“Okay, Harry, first things first,” I say and he holds up his finger, turning away from me to grab a cup on the other side of him.

“Here, I got this for you,” he offers, handing it to me. I look at it wearily. “It’s hot chocolate.”

I can’t help but laugh, shaking my head at him as I take it, feeling a little flustered. I jump a little when I grip the cup and his fingers move down and out of their way to brush mine intentionally. I never know how to act when guys have a crush on me. It just gets awkward and tense and I really don’t need that with a student.

I move to pull back, and he lets go of the cup, the backs of his fingers brushing mine, and I give him an astonished look because this time I have no doubt that it was intentional.

Yeah, awkward and tense. Fucking perfect.

He smiles widely at me, watching me until I take a sip and then looking down at his book. God, Khefren is never gonna let me live this down.

“Okay,” I start, setting the cup down and he looks at me attentively. “First, how’s your paper coming?”

His face falls a little and he looks away. Not a good sign.

“Harry,” I say slowly and he looks at me. “You [_have _]started your paper, haven’t you?”

“Um…” he trails, biting his bottom lip.

I sigh.

“I’m sorry!” he exclaims. “I’m just…we’ve just had so much stuff and…I’ll start it tonight…um…wait… tomorrow.” He flinches a little, looking at me, his green eyes large and apprehensive. He tugs his bottom lip between his teeth and I sigh again. He wants to please me, worried I’ll be disappointed in him, and I am slightly, but I know the feeling. I’ve spent my entire life trying to please my instructors, striving to be the best, and it’s practically torture when you fall short of their expectations.

“Harry, it’s due the day after tomorrow,” I say gently but sternly, and he sighs, nodding. “I don’t accept late work. You get it done by midnight the day of or it’s a zero, okay?”

“Okay, I definitely will,” he assures me. “Do you like the hot chocolate?”

“What?” I ask and then I realize. “Oh…” I reach over and pick up the cup again, bringing it to my lips. “Yes, thank you.”

“Sooo…” he says, and I quirk an eyebrow at him. “You and Khefren are friends?”

Jesus Christ. “Yes.”

“You…like him?”

I nearly spray hot chocolate all over him. I swallow before saying, “What’s it to you?”

“I dunno,” he shrugs indifferently, eyes searching mine. “You just…you’re always with him.”

“No, I’m always with you,” I say flatly, rolling my eyes slightly but he doesn’t seem to notice, and I watch him inflate a little, biting his bottom lip to keep from smiling. I smile a bit too because he really is cute sometimes.

He flips the pages in his book a little and jitters his leg. Okay, he has a crush on me. But it may not be so bad. He’s doing the work, he’s quit being such a whiny bitch. What’s an innocent, little crush gonna hurt?

4

This…this could be it. Seriously, it really could be. I can’t help but giggle a little as Khefren and I make our way back to my hotel room. He wants to know more about himself, as in the Egyptian pharaoh he’s named after. I’ve told him there isn’t much. He says he wants to see for himself.

This…this could be it. The butterflies in my stomach feel like they’re the size of mack trucks as I slip my key in the lock and allow him entry. His lanky frame slides past me, his chest lightly brushing mine as he passes.

“Nice room,” he comments, looking around and then kicking his legs out and falling onto the bed.

“Make yourself at home,” I laugh and he smiles brilliantly up at me, resting his hands behind his head.

His eyes fall on the table, piled with books and papers. He quirks an eyebrow at me, pulling himself up to look through the pile of notes and research. 

“What’s all this?” he asks, grabbing a book and flipping through the pages.

I sigh, stress creeping its way up my back and tensing my shoulders. “My thesis paper. On the regional art and history of ancient Greece and Macedonia.”

“Thesis?” he asks, snapping the book shut and examining the cover. “Sounds…interesting.”

I laugh a little at him and his throwback to our very first meeting. He grins at me, setting the book back down on the table and falling onto the bed again. I bite my bottom lip, eyes roving over his body all laid out across my bed. Long, denim clad legs, brown leather belt, and just a hint of olive skin peeking from under his soft cotton polo.

“Come here,” he says softly, tugging his head back in a beckoning gesture.

I smile, dragging my feet a little and climb onto the bed, resting on my knees next to him, my palms flat on my jean-covered thighs. His hand reaches for mine, lacing our fingers together.

“Dinner was good,” he says, his hazel eyes watching his long fingers intertwine with mine. “Well, I guess it wasn’t really dinner. Midnight snack?”

I laugh. “Yeah, your job kinda prevents the traditional dinner date, doesn’t it?” I bite my lip. “It was good though,” I say softly, watching his face. God, he’s gorgeous.

“Would…” He trails, biting his lip, and then taking a deep breath to start again. “Would it be forward of me to kiss you right now?”

My stomach does a somersault as I bite my own lip and shake my head no. He grins slowly, propping himself up on his hand, locking his arm to come face to face with me. His nose brushes mine and I nuzzle back, both of us laughing a little, his breath warm against my lips. My tongue snakes out to wet my bottom lip and he mimics me, both of us grinning. His head tilts and I close my eyes, waiting for the contact and then…

There’s a fucking knock at the door.

He pulls back, tucking his chin to his chest and sighing. I hang my head back and the knock comes again. I growl, pulling myself from the bed and stomping to the door.

I swing it open and there’s Harry, notebook tucked under his arm. He smiles brightly at me and I fight the urge to glare at him.

“Hey,” he says a little breathlessly, and I force a smile.

“Hey,” I respond and he moves to walk in the door but I put out my arm, grabbing the door frame, preventing his entry. “What do you need?”

His face falls. “Um, well this paper…you said it had to be in…” He pauses, looking down at his assignment sheet, “Emlah.” He looks back at me expectantly.

I raise an eyebrow at him. “Excuse me?” What the fuck is he talking about?

“Right here,” he says, pointing to the assignment sheet and I lean in, tucking my blonde hair behind my ear as I survey it. “Emlah.” His voice is soft, right next to my ear as he leans in as well, his shoulder pressing into mine.

I sigh. “Harry, that’s MLA. It stands for Modern Language Association.”

He opens his mouth in a silent [_“oh” _]of comprehension and shakes his head. “Oh…I…I get it.” He chuckles at himself a little and the look on his face tells me that he had it all along.

“Uh huh,” I say, looking at him skeptically and he grins kind of sheepishly.

“Yeah…it was…confusing.” He smiles at me boyishly and even though I’m annoyed, I smile back at him. As much as I hate to admit it, he is cute sometimes.

“Who is it, Scarlett?” Khefren’s voice calls from inside the room and Harry’s smile slides off his face immediately. He looks at me, his eyes showing hurt and confusion. “Oh, hey little man!” Khefren greets and I feel him step up behind me.

“Don’t call me that,” Harry scowls, hand going to his hair and adjusting it nervously. Khefren’s own hand slides across my lower back and hugs me to his side.

“Was that all you needed?” I ask, feeling a little bad for him.

“Yeah, that was all,” he says dejectedly, turning to leave.

“Bye Harry,” I say, watching him trudge away, feeling a small pang of guilt in my chest.

“He [_so _]has a thing for you.” Khefren laughs, his nose nuzzling my ear, breath fanning against my hair. “Then again… so do I,” he whispers, swinging the door shut.

5

I can’t stop grinning. I’m practically skipping to the coffee cart in the catering room. He likes me! He really does actually [_like _]me.

Yes, we kissed last night. For hours we just kissed and kissed and kissed like we were fucking teenagers. And then we talked. God, we talked and he told me about how he grew up in Michigan, raised by his grandmother, how he had three sisters but wasn’t sure where they were anymore. How he played trombone in middle school and how he always loved music, he was just shit at it. But he had a good ear. How he loved his job. How he was really glad that I was here.

And I told him about how I was an only child of parents still married. I told him about growing up in West Virginia and my father’s job as a pharmaceutical drug rep, my mother’s life as a housewife. About my passion for history and art, how I love the steadfastness of dates and the timelessness of the whole subject. How I can’t draw to save my life. How I initially hated being stuck on this stupid tour, but now not so much.

And then we kissed some more. He didn’t leave my room until four o’clock in the morning, kissing me sweetly and chastely, making me wish he wasn’t leaving. Wanting him to stay, for us to go further. But I knew we should take it slow. We need to not rush this. We need to savor it.

I woke up this morning, or should I say this afternoon, his taste still on my lips along with a smile, his face creeping into my mind. I remembered the way his hands skimmed up my body, touching and feeling tentatively, learning me as I did the same to him.

Yeah, we need to savor this, but not for too long…

I’m practically dancing into the arena of the Hershey Park Stadium as I scuttle my way to the front of the house booth. I can’t wait to see him. I walk up, setting his coffee on the side of the booth, fully prepared to smile cheekily at him.

But he’s nowhere around. The booth is empty. I check my watch. 1:36. He’s usually back from lunch by now…

“Hey Scarlett,” Dale greets, brushing past me. He looks harassed and disgruntled.

“Hey Dale,” I reply, watching him fiddle with knobs and buttons, doing what Khefren usually does. “Where’s Khefren?”

Dale sighs, turning to look wearily at me. “He was fired this morning,” he says with a sigh and it’s all I can do to not let my Styrofoam cup of coffee fall to the floor.

“W-what?” I stutter, my mind jamming, not understanding

“Yeah,” Dale replies, sighing tiredly. “They sent him home this morning.”

“I-I-I don’t understand,” I stutter, my breath coming in pants. “Fired?

“Apparently,” he says bitterly, “one of the guys had a serious issue with the way the show sounded last night.”

What?” I ask, astounded. This doesn’t make any sense. Khefren was good at his job and strove for perfection at every show. It was absurd to think that one of the group members was…

Wait a minute.

“Which one of the guys had the issue?” I ask, rage already starting to bubble inside me.

“I dunno. Their manager was waiting here when we got in this morning. Said he had to let him go,” Dale replies. “Look, I’m sorry Scarlett, I gotta go. I’m doing his and my work both for this show.”

I watch him make his way across the arena, disappearing backstage, anger rooting me to the spot. Oh, I know [_exactly _]which one of the guys it was that had him fired. And it has nothing to do with how the show sounded last night and everything to do with a so-called innocent crush. I’m so mad I’m shaking all over as I stomp back to the dressing rooms.

I tear down the hallway, breezing past security as I storm towards the room I know he’s in. I stop in the doorway, chest heaving with repressed anger. He’s sitting at the vanity, book open in front of him, cutting out photocopied images of art pieces and architecture and pasting them to index cards. He looks up at me and once seeing me in the doorway, peers back down to what he’s doing, throwing out a distracted “Hey.”

“Did you fire Khefren?” I ask angrily, hands fisting at my sides.

He glances up at me again, his jaw clenched, eyes triumphant. He does a poor job of repressing smile as he looks back down at the scissors in his hands. “Who said it was me?” he asks, and I clench my teeth.

“I [_know _]it was you, Harry,” I growl. “Why the hell would you do that? He was good at what he did. The shows sounded great—”

“And how would [_you _]know?” he asks, looking up at me, eyes cold. “It’s not like you’ve ever been to one.”

My jaw drops a little. I had indeed never attended a show, but Khefren was such a perfectionist, and the sound checks always sounded amazing.

“What does that have to do with anything?” I yell, but its weak and even he can see that.

He gives a perturbed sigh before looking up at me and condescendingly replying, “Look, Scarlett, it was business, okay? I’m sorry you lost your little boyfriend but this tour isn’t about your love life.” He gives a wave of his hand, sighing irritatingly and rage boils in me. This whiny little bitch is treating me like some lovesick teenager, like one of his stupid fans. I grind my teeth and step inside, slamming the door behind me. He looks up at me startled.

“Put your stuff away,” I growl and he looks at me perplexed.

“Why?” he asks suspiciously.

“Because you’re taking your test right now.”

His eyes widen and his jaw drops. “What?” he asks, his voice jumping an octave. “You said it wasn’t until next week!”

“Well, you’re taking it now. Take out some notebook paper and a pencil and put your other shit away.”

I’m so livid I can barely even see straight. He scoffs, frozen in his seat. “That’s not fair!” he whines. “You haven’t even given me any time to study! I don’t know any of the dates!”

“Put your stuff away now or you get an automatic zero.”

He scowls deeply, dropping all his things to the floor and kicking it violently under the vanity, pulling out a pencil and a page of notebook paper.

“Your test will consist of four essay questions—”

“Essay questions?!” he exclaims and I give him a menacing look and he shuts up immediately.

“You will need to have an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. Spelling and grammar will be taken into account.”

“Scarlett, you can’t be—”

“Question number one!” I yell over him and he sighs, defeated. “Describe in detail the function, iconography, symbolism, religious meaning, and explain the significance of the Ancient Egyptian Shawabti. Be sure to cite specific pieces. “

“Wait…what?” he asks, looking at me confused. “We didn’t cover that—”

“Names, dates, and locations are required,” I command, falling into a chair and he looks at me, completely lost.

“Wait, so—”

“This is an exam, Harry,” I reply coldly. “There’s no need to talk.”

He sighs, putting his pencil to paper and writing, brow furrowed in confusion. I almost feel bad for him as I spout out three more graduate level essay questions, watching his scowl deepen, feeling the satisfaction of revenge. Everything was going so well. I was finally not hating this stupid job. I was finally dating a guy who respected me and had his act together. And Harry just had to screw all of that up. He’s gritting his teeth the entire time and I can tell he’s holding back his smart ass remarks, forcing down his whines of protest.

“Times up,” I speak, looking down at my watch, having given him only twenty minutes on his last essay, and I can tell that he just can’t take it anymore.

“Are you fucking serious?” he exclaims and I walk over and snatch up his papers before going back over to my chair.

“You forgot your name,” I say, pulling my red pen out of my bag. “That’s ten points off.”

His eyes widen. “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me!”

“And you didn’t indent your paragraphs, that’s another five points.”

“Scarlett!” he exclaims, his eyes pleading with me and I feel a small pang of guilt. “Goddammit this is fucking stupid. You can’t be [_that _]pissed off about losing some stupid guy. I mean damn, I heard girls went batshit crazy after giving a guy some pussy but this is ridiculous.”

Guilt. Gone.

“You selfish, spoiled prick. What the hell would you know about it? You’re a fucking virgin!” I spit and he scowls deeply at me, opening his mouth to retort but I lean forward, dropping my voice to a throaty whisper, “And you [_wish _]you could get a taste of this pussy.”

I watch his eyes widen and he sucks in his breath as he scans my face.

“That’s the reason you fired Khefren, right? You figured with him out of the way you’d get this little snatch all to yourself. Well three words, Harry,” I say relishing in the shocked look on his face, falling back against my chair again, “Never. Gonna. Happen.”

“You are such a cold hearted bitch,” he grits out, clenching his fists that are resting on the vanity and I sigh in satisfaction.

“And keeping with that theme,” I respond, “You are to write me a ten page research paper on the Apollo of Veii, Italy.”

“Ten pages?!” he exclaims, jaw dropping.

“Due in one week.”

“One week?!”

“You need five sources aside from your book.”

“Where am I going to get the time to—”

“You wanted my attention, Harry!” I say, cutting him off harshly. “Well, you got it. I’m gonna ride you so hard you’ll feel it for days. And I’m not talking in a way you might enjoy.”

6

I miss Khefren. I miss him so much. I have spent the last three days meandering about in a dazed state, sort of at a loss as to what to do with myself. I guess I hadn’t really realized how much time we had spent together because now my life consisted of nothing but my thesis paper and arguing with Harry over his school work. I miss his laugh. I miss his smile. I miss the way he kissed me.

Which is part of the reason for my pilgrimage to the library today. I need a distraction. I need to clear my mind and get centered. There’s just something about a university library that settles my emotions and brings a small ounce of peace to my mind. This trip to the library, while still thesis oriented, brings me back to what I’m good at. It lets me forget that I’m babysitting instead of searching for relics of the ancient world. The quiet allows me to focus, to—

Tap

Tap

Tap

I grit my teeth and do my best to ignore Harry’s fidgeting. I glance up at him and find him gazing glassily down at the book in front of him, mouth slightly open, pencil tapping slowly against the table.

He hasn’t really spoken to me in days, just sneering at me and refusing to answer questions as we glare moodily at each other during lessons. He’s pouting, which really just makes me want to strangle him. I want to strangle him anyway, but when he’s so damn obstinate the urge becomes almost unbearable.

He threw a fit when I told him he would be spending his day off in the library. He whined and bitched the entire way here, not to me, but to the bodyguard that was taking us to the library, making pointed references to me without actually looking at me or speaking to me. He really is very mature sometimes.

TapTapTap.

“Harry, will you fucking stop?!” I exclaim suddenly and he snaps out of his trance, glaring at me moodily, and silence descends on us again.

Okay, so maybe I’m a little on edge. But this trip to the library wasn’t strictly a research mission. It was a way for my professor to fax me the latest draft of my thesis, which I had left with him before even starting the tour. I’ve been anxious to hear his thoughts on my research and on my arguments. Parts of it are direct quotes from his lectures, things he’s taught me over my college career. I can’t wait to see what he thinks.

“This is bullshit,” Harry says finally, leaning back in his chair and crossing his arms over his chest. He sighs defeatedly and I almost feel bad for him. Almost. “It’s impossible. There’s not enough information for ten pages.”

“There’s enough,” I say simply, going back to taking notes. “You just aren’t looking hard enough.”

“I’ve looked all over this goddamned library,” he replies, gesturing towards the bookshelves around us. “There’s not enough. I have seven pages.” He’s looking at me pointedly.

“Only three more to go then,” I respond, not looking up at him and I hear his scoff of indignation.

“You’re being fucking ridiculous, Scarlett,” he sighs, falling back against his chair.

“And you’re being a whiny little bitch,” I say and he gives me a condescending smile.

“You can’t talk to me that way,” he says smarmily. “You have to be professional and polite.”

“What are you gonna do?” I ask, laughing. He narrows his eyes at me and I look back down at my paper before adding, “Tell your mommy?”

“Hey!” His voice is so forceful that I look up at him astonished. His gaze locks on mine and I see fire smoldering in his eyes, eyes the same color as the ocean on a stormy day, green with tinges of blue, grey and silver. “You can be a bitch to me all you want but don’t say shit about my mother. Do you understand?”

His intensity shocks me, the serious look on his face so much more than a pout. Harry is very close with his mother. The guys tease him about it but it isn’t really until this moment that I realize that he just brushes it off, instead of violently opposing it and whining about it like he usually does when they make fun of him for something. His eyes are still locked on mine, glaring at me sternly and I nod to him in concession. I can respect this in him. It’s the one thing about him that I can really tolerate at this moment in time.

He gives me a slight nod back before sighing and turning back to his research. “What are you working on?” he asks, somewhat grudgingly.

I look up at him and find him looking at me guardedly, like he wants to know but he doesn’t want me to think he really cares.

“My thesis,” I respond simply, looking back down to my paper, somewhat on edge myself.

“What’s that?” he asks, and I look up at him about to respond but he cuts me off, a cocky smirk on his face. “A really long paper that has no purpose whatsoever except to torture you?”

I give him a condescending smile, setting my pencil down. “Something you’ll never get far enough in your academic career to write.”

“I don’t need to go to college,” he says, stretching his arms over his head and then sighing. “Which you would know if you came to the show.”

“You’re an idiot if you think this boy band thing is gonna last forever,” I respon, crossing my arms over my chest and leaning back in my chair. We’re sparring now. This could take hours, but it’s a nice respite from studying.

He grins at me. “I’ve got leverage,” he says, shrugging his shoulders. “I’m versatile.”

“No, you’re a sparkly dance boy,” I laugh and he narrows his eyes at me. He opens his mouth to retort but then I hear the fax machine going off.

I practically bolt from my chair, zigzagging through bookshelves before getting to the small table holding the public fax machine. I bounce on the balls of my feet when I see it’s my paper and I turn away, waiting for it to finish coming through before looking. The suspense is killing me. I want to know what he thinks. I want to know if I did well. More than anything I want him to [_tell _]me I did well.

After what seems like an eternity, I finally hear the machine stop and I turn around, gripping the long roll of paper that is coming out of the device. I hold the paper in my hands, trying to find the beginning but I stop when I see all the little scribbles of writing in the margins.

I furrow my brow as the words [“ill-thought” _]and [“rambling here”_] jump out at me. I run the long paper through my hands, reading more of the scribbled criticism, none of it as praising as I was sure it would be. My entire body is tense, my heart racing as a panic settles in my chest. I make it to the first page, going through the entire thing, reading every harsh word, every scathing remark. I’m panting by the time I get to the end, where the following words are jotted below my final paragraph

This is unacceptable work. Your sources are weak and your language is sub-par. I suggest starting over. Send me your improved draft ASAP – Prof H.

I stand in shocked silence, my mouth slightly open, my breath coming in short pants. And it all just hits me then: being kicked off the trip of my dreams, losing a man who was perfect for me, and now…now my paper, this thesis that I have poured my heart and soul into, all of it just decimated, blown to bits right before my eyes.

And I just can’t take it anymore. I can’t do it. All this disappointment is just too much as I slide down the bookshelf, tears stinging my eyes. Why does everything always have to be so hard? Why can’t for just once in my life things work out and not require a constant struggle for attention and excellence?

My breathing is hitching now and my fingers are fisting in the paper, crumpling my professor’s criticism in my palms as I pull my knees to my chest and sob bitterly. Every pent up emotion just [_pours _]from me as I rest my elbows on my knees and cradle my head in my hands.

“Okay, Scarlett…seriously I can’t make this into ten pages—” Harry appears from around one of the shelves of books and stops dead in his tracks at the sight of my crumpled, sniveling form. He just stands there, frozen and I turn my face away from him, ashamed of my emotion but still unable to stop the flow of tears. [_Great, _]just fucking great. This is all I need, for the pop prince to see me this way, to give him the opportunity to kick me when I’m down.

“Oh,” he says, shifting awkwardly and I feel him crouch next to me, his large hand resting hesitantly on my shoulder. “Um…it’s okay. What’s wrong?”

His voice is strained and his touch is clumsy and it almost makes me laugh. He tries so hard sometimes. His fingers pry my hands from around the long ream of paper, the shreds of my former thesis, and he looks over it briefly. I watch his brow furrow deeper and deeper as he reads along and I cover my face with my hands in embarrassment, hiccuping as I begin to sob harder.

“Scarlett,” he whispers, his voice soft and I just can’t stop, pressing my hands to my face and shaking my head at him. This is fucking horrible.

I gasp slightly when I feel his arm slide under my knees, pulling my body over and into his lap. Before I can fully understand what is happening to me, I’m cradled in his arms, my face tucked into his neck. He’s rocking me slowly, shushing me gently as one of his large hands holds my hip while the other combs through my hair. My nose is pressed against his pulse point and my senses are overwhelmed with the deep, woodsy scent of him.

I’m astounded at his compassion. After all that I have done to him over the past three days, all the scathing remarks, all the bitch work I had him do. It all just crashes down on me and I feel terrible. I’m not used to this. I’m not used to guys being there for me when I’m freaking out. I’m not used to guys taking care of me.

“Don’t listen to him,” he whispers into my hair, his breath stirring the hair at my temple, and my hand fists in his shirt. “He’s a dick and he wouldn’t know art history if it bit him in the ass.”

I cough out a laugh because really my professor is one of the greatest in his field, but Harry doesn’t know this. He’s just trying to comfort me. This realization causes me to gasp and then a new flow of tears works its way through my body, shaking my frame with the force of it. I’ve been a complete bitch to him and here he is, holding me, taking care of me.

He’s shushing me, rocking me slowly, humming in my ear and I finally calm down a little, pulling my face from his neck to meet his eyes. He smiles softly at me, one of his hands smoothing across my cheekbone, wiping my wet face. His bluish green eyes are soft and deep and I feel like I can see forever just looking at him. I shift my head and my nose nuzzles his a little and he smiles more, nuzzling back.

My breath hitches as I look at his lips, plush and pink and all I want to do is…

His lips suddenly descend on mine and it’s all I can do to keep from moaning into his mouth. His hand slides down my cheek to hold my jaw gently, his lips ever so gently touching mine, and suddenly I feel everything stirring inside me grow wings, let loose, and fly. I’m shocked, not only by the kiss but by how sweet he tastes, how [_good _]he tastes. I don’t even realize I’ve gasped until his tongue slides in, mingling with mine, tasting me thoroughly before retreating and I find myself almost whining at the loss. 

I want that, the way I feel when he  kisses me. Just having it makes all the bad things better.

He pulls back just slightly, nuzzling my nose with his again and grinning at me. And that’s when I snap back to reality. My eyes widen and I scramble from his lap, pressing my back against the bookshelf across from him and I just look at him, panting. What the hell did we just do?

What the hell did I just do?

7

After the week that I’ve had I need a fucking drink. I need ten drinks. I need to not be Scarlett the Scholar for the night. I need to not be the one with the answers. I need to not be the tutor that kissed her seventeen year old student. Ugh.

After the incident in the library I had successfully avoided any contact with Harry that didn’t involve me giving him a handout. He had stopped coming by my room to ask me questions and as far as I know is just as embarrassed about the whole thing as I am.

I’m not used to guys taking care of me. I was perfectly content to just sit there against the bookshelf and sob for awhile before going back out but no, he had to swoop in and be all knight in shining armor. And his lips, God, the way he kissed me. But I have to stop. I have to fucking stop. He’s seventeen years old. And he’s my student. And he’s a brat. A spoiled, pampered, little…good kisser, holy shit!

I slam my mascara on the counter of the bathroom, closing my eyes and trying to compose myself. When did he go from being the whiny, annoying little douchebag to someone one that I can’t get out of my head? What happened to my intense loathing for him? I have to stop this. I can’t keep thinking about how soft his lips were, his long slender fingers threading through my hair, brushing my cheek, and God, the way he tasted.

Like I said, I need a fucking drink. Some of the wardrobe girls are hitting a few local clubs and agreed to let me tag along. They all knew how close Khefren and I were, and they figured I just needed to get him off my brain, but honestly ever since…

Well, let’s just say Khefren’s lips weren’t the ones I was thinking about.

We left the lobby of the hotel about twenty after eleven, three girls dressed like whores. Like I said, I don’t want to be a teacher tonight. I want to be twenty-three years old, a college student. I want to get fucking wasted.

And I do. Mixed drinks and shots for the first hour and I feel warm and bubbly and good. For the first time all week I just feel good. Well, maybe not the first time. Ugh, I throw back another shot.

“Damn Scarlett!” It’s Megan, one of the girls I came here with, leaning over my shoulder to hand her money to the bartender. “Who knew you were such a heavyweight?”

“I’m not,” I say thickly, the alcohol burning in my stomach. “I just am tonight.”

She squeals, throwing back her shot and grabbing my arm to pull me to the dance floor. The place is completely packed, bodies pressing against each other and it’s hot and sweaty but it’s nice. Men are swarming around us, copping a feel and I usually would glare at them but my tipsy brain just soaks it all in, letting me smile flirtily back at them.

Megan turns away from me, backing her ass into me as she sways to the music and I let my head fall back, letting the thumping bass roll through me. It isn’t long before we both have male partners, guys just sliding up to us, grinding against us.

My current partner is tall and lean and he has good rhythm, hips working steadily against me. God, I need to get laid. My mind is fuzzy and unclear and all I can think about is the ache in my stomach, the want. I wanna get fucked tonight.

“Oh my God!” Megan exclaims, but it’s barely audible over the pounding music. “Look, its Zayn!”

She’s pointing to the platform and I see Zayn smiling down onto the floor, glass in his hand, dark hair spiked up. Megan is jumping up and down, waving at him, her huge breasts threatening to bounce right out of her top. Zayn spots her and waves back, grinning wildly at her. He turns back and hollers at someone and my eyes widen when I see Harry’s smiling face peering around someone, pushing his way to the railing. Our eyes lock and his smile fades. I turn away abruptly, pushing my way through the crowd back to the bar. It’s time for another drink, or maybe three.

I lean against the bar, waiting for the bartender to come back by. My vision is a little blurred and my head is swimming. I really shouldn’t drink anymore for awhile. I really shouldn’t have let him kiss me in the library.

“Three shots of Patron,” I yell over the music and the bartender quirks an eyebrow at me but obliges, lining me up. I hand him a wad of cash, not really caring how much I give him and throw them back—one, two, three—my head spinning like a top, my insides churning.

I open my eyes when I feel a hand on the small of my back and a low voice whispers in my ear, “Can I buy you a drink?”

I smile, that burning in my stomach coming back and it’s not the alcohol. I wanna get fucked tonight. I turn, a smile pulling at my lips but it immediately fades when I see Harry, smiling down at me.

“Get away from me, Harry,” I hiss, stumbling a little as I try to make my way around him.

His face registers shock and a little hurt, but I don’t care. I’m on a mission. Scarlett the Scholar is getting fucked tonight. I just need to find the right guy.

I make the rounds, dancing with a few guys, flirting and just letting myself go. But every time I get close to asking one back to my room, I see him, grinding up on some random girl, his eyes flitting to me every once in awhile, jealousy and concern marking his features. And I move on, trying to put as much space between us as possible.

I’m feeling a little woozy now, dancing with a short muscular guy that has his hands all over me. My skin is on fire as I grind against his crotch, wanting to feel him, actually trying to get him hard. His hands are slipping under my tank top, inching the hem higher, and I want this. I want to just shut my brain off and do this. I don’t care who it is.

“Mind if I cut in?”

I barely hear the words, my eyes sliding open lazily and it’s Harry again, standing next to us.

“Yeah actually I do, kid,” the guy behind me says and Harry reaches into his pocket and pulls out a few bills, holding them between his fingers, raising an eyebrow at the guy.

My eyes narrow but it takes me a moment to realize what’s happening and in that moment the money is exchanged and my wobbly body is shifted into Harry’s, his arms wrapping around my waist. My eyes close as the spicy, woodsy scent of him invades my senses and I let my head fall to his shoulder, hands wrapping around his elbows.

“Come on, Scarlett,” he says softly into my ear. “Maybe you should sit down.”

“No,” I moan, gripping his arms, lifting my head to look at him through half lidded eyes. God, he’s gorgeous. His boyish face shows uncertainty and concern, his slender fingers brushing the hair away from my cheek. I tilt my head to the side, running my hands up his arms and he watches me, his face still unsure. He jumps a little when my fingers brush his neck, hands flattening to slide down his chest and feeling the hard muscle underneath his shirt.

This is wrong on so many levels. Wrong, wrong, wrong, my brain screams but my hands don’t stop, smoothing around to clutch his back, swishing my hips against his.

He’s slow in reciprocation but eventually he’s grinding against me, his body moving effortlessly with the music. He moves like nothing I’ve ever seen, his motion flowing and graceful. His hands smooth down across my hips, guiding me a little, pressing me harder against him.

I spin, pressing my ass against his crotch. My mind chants over and over that this is wrong, but I’m not his tutor tonight. I’m a drunk girl at a club and he’s not my student. He’s just a guy I’m dancing with, my arms back around his neck and his head dipping to nuzzle my neck.

His hands are still guiding my body against his, his hips rolling into me with the beat of the music and I feel him, solid and wanting, trapped beneath the fabric of his jeans. I bite my lip, working that bulge, my mind hazily telling me that I shouldn’t be doing this. Not with him.

But I [_want _]this with him. I’ve been pushing the thought from my mind all week, the thought of him touching me, needing me like I need him right now. I’d kept it at bay, my logic and morals keeping a firm hold on my desires. But tonight alcohol has dropped my inhibitions and all I feel for him is want.

I spin again to face him, finding him flushed and panting. He quickly pulls my body against his, not wanting to lose the friction. I bring my arms up around his neck, pressing myself harder against him and his eyelids flutter. A low moan vibrates in his chest but the music drowns it out. This is so wrong.

“I know this is wrong,” I slur and he’s looking at me, eyes penetrating me, pleading a little. “But I really fucking want you right now.” I laugh a little, dropping my head to his shoulder and this time I hear him groan, because his mouth is right next to my ear. God, I’m so fucking wasted.

“You wanna go back to the hotel?” He says it with a slight tremor in his voice, and I pull back to look him in the face.

His green eyes are dark, lights dancing across his face from the strobes. We’re close to the entrance and it wouldn’t take much to just slip out unnoticed. I feel him hard against my leg and I want it, I want it so bad, the burning in my stomach so intense, the ache between my legs almost unbearable. I look up at him and bite my bottom lip, nodding my head slightly.

He grins at me, hands slipping from around my waist to grab one of my own hands, pulling me deeper into the club. I’m confused, tugging his arm but he stops after a few feet and he’s talking to Joe, the bodyguard that had led me backstage my very first day on the tour. The man just nods to whatever Harry is saying, stepping past both of us and leading us out of the club.

Its balmy outside, a warm summer breeze ruffling my hair as Harry helps me stumble to the parking lot. Alcohol has made me giggly and stumbly and it’s all I can do to stay upright. He’s laughing with me, his arm tight around my waist as we walk to the car and then helping me in to the backseat of the SUV.

I slide in, laying a little across the seat, and grin down my body at him. He smiles back at me and hauls himself inside. I sit up a little and kiss him. I kiss him and stars explode behind my eyes. I kiss him and it’s like everything else falls away.

I clutch at his shirt, pulling his body close to mine, my tongue probing against his lips before he allows me entry to his mouth. His kisses make me feel like I’m dancing. He tastes so good, so clean and young and that voice in my head tells me I should stop this but I ignore it because his hands are on my stomach, sliding up my ribcage, pressing up under my breasts. I take his hands and place them on my breasts, not only giving him permission but asking for it.

He moans a little into my mouth, hands massaging a little roughly. I grab at his waist, pulling him closer to me and tugging my mouth from his, trailing kisses along his smooth jaw back to his ear. I flick the lobe before sucking his earring into my mouth, rolling the diamond stud against my tongue, feeling him pant against my neck. My hands are roaming his chest as my lips slide down his neck, fingers slipping under the hem of his shirt and feeling his stomach tremble.

His skin is so smooth as I skim my hand under his shirt, tweaking his nipples a little before sliding back down, finger circling his belly button. I’m sucking on his throat now, feeling his Adam’s apple bob as he swallows hard. I run a finger down the fly of his jeans and feel him jump under me, his hands moving to cup the back of my head, my lips sliding over his chin.

My lips claim his again as I rub the heel of my hand against the bulge in his jeans, feeling him gasp into my mouth. He kisses me hard and I kiss him back harder, like it’s the end of an era that has lasted all of my life. His fingers are fisting my hair as I work himrough, wanting him. His hands grip my wrist suddenly, pulling me away from him and I pull back, looking at him questioningly. I peer around and realize we’re back at the hotel. When the hell did that happen?

He slips out of the car, helping me to the ground and takes my hand, guiding me as we follow Joe into the back entrance. My vision is still a little hazy and I trip over my own feet. He stops, pulling me up to him, his arm going around my waist again, his body warm against mine.

“You know,” I slur a little as we walk through the kitchens, “This is probably a really bad idea.”

He stops briefly, just looking at me.

“Oh, I don’t wanna stop,” I continue and he laughs a little, starting up again, making our way to the elevator. Joe presses the button before giving Harry a weary look and walking away into the depths of the kitchen. “No, this is going to be a great end to a shitty week. First you fired Khefren, you’re an asshole for that by the way…”

I can’t stop myself. All this stuff just keeps pouring from my mouth as we wait for the elevator to come and he’s fidgeting a little, watching the numbers descend on the digital indicator above the elevator doors.

“And then that thing with my thesis,” I laugh as we step onto the elevator. “I mean, I don’t know why I care what that asshole professor thinks.”

“Me either,” he replies absently, jabbing the 7 button, taking us up to his floor.

“I mean, he kicked me off the trip, which by the way was total bullshit! Greek art is my fucking concentration. It’s all because I wouldn’t suck his dick.”

“Yeah,” he says and then looks at me. “Wait…what?” he asks, looking slightly alarmed, and I nod animatedly.

“Oh yeah! He was all ‘Scarlett you’re not like the other girls’ and feeling up on me,” I say, shaking my head and Harry eyes me, his face showing slight concern. “I don’t know why I care so much about what he thinks.” I pause for a moment and the elevator doors ding open. “You know, he kind of reminds me of my dad,” I continue as we stumble out of the elevator.

Shit, I haven’t thought about my dad in forever. Why am I saying this shit to him?

“My dad was a drug rep for some pharmaceutical company. Well, he still is.” I’m rambling now and I can’t stop the words just bubbling from me as we make our way down the hall, stopping at the door, him fumbling for his key. “He was never around, is never around. When I was a kid I would always wait for him on the porch when Mom said he would be coming home. Like some kind of damn dog or something,” I say, laughing as we trip into the room. “I would always beg him to stay.” I sigh, falling back onto the bed, stretching a little against the sheets.

Harry is at the foot of the bed, kicking off his shoes eagerly before plopping down next to me. He’s lying on his side, head propped on one hand while the other skims lusciously down my body. But I can’t stop, and I just keep jabbering on.

“He never would…stay I mean. He always had to be somewhere, sell something, meet someone. I always thought that if I was good, if I did well in school, or was president of all these clubs, or if I got into the right school, maybe he would stick around for longer than a couple days. That if I was perfect I could make him stay. But he never did.”

What the hell am I talking about? I open my eyes and Harry is looking down at me, his eyes soft. His hand that had been wandering my body is now brushing the unruly hair away from my face. I shake my head a little, trying to snap out of it and the room spins.

“We don’t have to do this,” he says, his voice a little strained but soft, and I look at him.

“No, I waaaaant to,” I moan, throwing my leg over his hip and rolling him to his back. I’m perched on top of him, grinding my hips into his lap but he’s not hard anymore. I pout a little as his hands slide up my thighs, around the curve of my waist and goes to cup my face. I lean down to kiss him again, just wanting to taste him. He tastes so fucking good.

“Scarlett,” he whispers, wrenching his mouth from mine. And then with a sigh he grits out, “You’re drunk. We shouldn’t do this.”

Noooooo,” I whine as he rolls me off him. “I want to. Harry, please,” I beg, my eyes heavy.

“You’re tired,” he whispers, leaning down to pull my heels from my feet. “Come on, why don’t we just sleep.”

“Noooooo,” I plead again but it’s cut off by a yawn, and I feel him moving to tug the covers back. “I wanna fuck you.”

I hear him gasp a little, all his movements stopping. I roll onto my side and look at him, finding his face pained, indecision painting his boyish features. I crawl up onto my knees and wrap my arms around his shoulders, nuzzling my nose with his.

“Come on, Harry,” I whisper, reaching my tongue out to run along his bottom lip. “Just…just this once. Please. I need it.”

His hands tremble as they reach back to pull my arms from around his neck and I pout at him, watching him heave a shaky sigh. He nuzzles his nose with mine again and he shakes his head. I whine a little, tugging at his shirt, but he just nudges my shoulder and in my inebriated state I tumble backwards. He slips under the covers, fully clothed and a nod of his head beckons me to do the same.

I scowl a little but oblige, laying there next to him. He turns to me, his hand reaching for my hip, and I scoot close to him, burying my face in his chest. I slide one leg between his thighs, bringing it up to press against him and he hums a little, one hand running through my hair, the other holding me at my lower back for a moment before sliding down to rest on my ass.

And that is how I fall asleep…lying against him, my ear over his heart.

8

My head is fucking killing me. This is the only thought in my mind upon waking. That, and I just want to die. Seriously, who am I? [_Where _]am I? What the fuck did I do to make my brain want to scrape its way out of my skull?

I keep my eyes closed but I can still see the morning light through my lids. I don’t dare crack them open. Even though I think the pain can’t get worse, I know it will if I even so much as [_peek _]from under my eyelashes. I shift my head a little and it’s now that I panic as I realize I’m laying against someone, a male someone, my ear resting on his chest.

I think back to last night and everything is a blurry haze. I remember being at the club. I remember ordering a shit ton of drinks. I remember dancing…dancing with…

My eyes fly open and I’m completely blinded, my head seeming to split open as I try to sit up. I let out a frustrated moan as I fall back against the blankets, snapping my eyes shut as my stomach lurches.

“Whoa, slow down there Scarlett.” I feel his hands clutch at my shoulders as his voice, low and raspy from lack of use, filters into my pounding brain.

One of my hands clutch my head, shielding my eyes as the other pushes against his chest, feeling the solid muscle beneath my fingers, the thin fabric of his shirt barely masking the heat of his skin. Holy shit, what the fuck did we do?

“Hang on,” he says and I feel his body shift, the bed rising as he pulls away and then dipping again as he leans back in. He’s cradling me against him, one arm wrapping around my shoulders, while his other hand is pressing a glass of liquid into mine. I’m panting as the ache in my head intensifies and I squeeze my eyes shut tight, just willing it to go away. I jerk back when I feel something pressing against my lips.

“Calm down, it’s an Advil,” he tells me, his voice still soft. “Open your mouth.”

I do as he says. Something about the way he’s holding me, the way he’s speaking to me, makes my defenses go down. He aides me in bringing the glass to my lips and takes it back from me, pulling away to set it on the bedside table. He sighs as he settles back against the pillows, hugging me to his side. And I wonder…

What the fuck did we do?

He’s humming to me softly, his long fingers combing through my hair, fingers massaging my scalp and I swear I could fall asleep again. I [_want _]to fall asleep again. He’s so warm and comforting. His heart is thudding steadily against my cheek, the rhythm hypnotizing me into a dozy state.

My eyes fly open as I feel his lips press against my temple, sweet and chaste, just a demonstration of affection. I scramble away from him, forcing my eyes open and the bile from my throat as the pain intensifies. I feel my hip slide off the edge of my bed and I yelp as I collide with the floor. I squint up at the edge of the bed and Harry’s worried face comes into view.

“Are you okay?” he asks, his voice slightly alarmed and I rest my forehead against the side table, willing the room to stop spinning. “Dude,” he says, and I take deep breaths, trying not to flip the fuck out.

What the hell did we do?

“Dude…” he says again. “You’re not gonna barf, are you?”

“What…” I begin, panting slightly, cracking my eyes open, “What the fuck did we do?”

The events of last night are quickly coming back to me. My hands on his chest, my ass grinding against him at the club…fuck! _]My hands massaging him through his pants in the car…[_shit! _]Asking him to fuck me…[_Jesus fucking Christ!

“Oh God,” I groan softly, when the movie reel in my head cuts off and I can’t remember what happened next. Holy fucking shit, I’m in so much trouble. “Harry, what the fuck did we do?!”

“Calm down,” he whispers urgently as I start to panic, my chest heaving. “We didn’t do anything. I mean we made out but we didn’t…I mean…we weren’t like…”

“Jesus fucking Christ, I’m going to get fired,” I sigh, rubbing my hands over my face. My stomach turns and it’s not from the hangover. He says my name but I continue on, ignoring him. “I’m so fucking screwed. God, what we did was illegal!”

He says my name again but I’m too busy panicking to notice.

“Shit, you’re only seventeen years old!”

“Scarlett!” he barks and the pain stabbing in my head is enough to shut me up. “Nothing happened. We’re both fully clothed.”

I look down at myself and find that I am indeed still wearing my little tank top and jeans from last night. I squint up at him and all I see of him are his face, looking down at me amusedly and his shoulders, clad in the loose graphic tank he was wearing at the club.

“Oh…” I say quietly and he chuckles a little, my stomach flipping and this time it’s not from nausea or nerves.

Holy shit.

“So, um…I should go…” I say the words quickly as I clamber to my feet. I nearly lose my balance, the room spinning and I stumble a little, my hand going to my head, trying to stop the jackhammer in my skull. I feel myself teetering forward, my balance gone, and I await my collision with the floor. But I feel strong arms tuck under mine and my face falls into his chest, the scent of his cologne still lingering, but his natural scent dominating my senses.

“Whoa there,” he says softly, and I feel his voice vibrating in his chest, just like his groan did the night before.

God…

I push myself off of him and put a few feet of space between us. He’s looking at me, a small, shy smile creeping across his face and he tugs his bottom lip between his teeth. We both look away at the same time, both of us shifting awkwardly.

“I’m…I’m gonna go,” I say finally, walking forward and he’s directly in front of me. I step to the right at the same time he steps left and we’re suddenly face to face again. We both let out a nervous chuckle as he steps aside, holding out his arm in a guiding gesture, allowing me to pass. My shoulder brushes his chest a little and I find my mind spinning, his hands suddenly clutching my biceps as he pulls me to him. Before I have a chance to think about it his mouth is crushed to mine and I fucking panic.

I shove his chest hard, peddling backwards until I run into the small table. He looks at me astonished, his eyes showing confusion and hurt.

“Don’t ever do that again,” I say lowly, pointing my finger at him and I watch his face fall, wounded and sad. “Harry, we can never do this again. We can’t. Do you know what kind of trouble I can get in?”

“I won’t tell anyone,” he says, stepping forward, reaching out for me, his voice eager. I hold up a hand, warding him off. “Scarlett…come on…”

“No, Harry,” I say slowly, and he sighs, eyeing me defeated. “I am your teacher. You are my student. You’re seventeen years old. This can never ever happen again.”

And with that I rush past him and out of the room.

9

When I get scared, my default emotion is anger. Like when everything just gets to be too much and I can’t handle all the thoughts going through my head, I just…I snap. At everyone. Okay, it’s a serious character flaw, I get that. I don’t know why I’m this way. It’s like something inside me just can’t deal and I cover up that insecurity with a sour disposition.

A week and a half after the horrible morning after, sour was a delicate way of describing my disposition. I rarely spoke to anyone and spent most of my time by myself, trying to resurrect the ghost of my thesis and of course doing everything in my power to avoid Harry. Lessons were strained—his sad, pleading eyes looking at me from across the room because I’m sure as hell not sitting anywhere near him, and my nervous fidgeting as I try to avoid his gaze. As I try to forget how soft his lips are…

Jesus.

He had come to my room several times, pleading with me, hands reaching out to touch me, but I never let him. I was cold and mean and fuck if I didn’t want to just grab him by his shirt and pull him in my room. But I have to say no. I can’t do this with him. I can’t. He’s seventeen years old. God, I’m going to hell.

But all that ends today. I decided as we pulled in to Columbus, Ohio that I wasn’t going to play this fucking game anymore. I spent all morning going over the next lesson and preparing for it and fuck if I was going to be nervous, or scared, or thinking about how hard his dick was…

Ugh.

I’m waiting in the dressing room when I see Joe walk past. I call out to him and he stops, telling me the guys are just getting back from interviews and will be in shortly. I see several members of their staff pass by and a few of the boys pop their head in and say hello, and now my short temper has reached its breaking point. Where the fuck is he?

I get up and start to make my way out to the parking lot where there are a few people milling around, anger pulsing in my veins. I nearly run smack into Zayn as I walk around a row of cars and he grabs onto my arms to steady me.

“Whoa there, girl,” he says, taking a step back and smiling at me. “Where’s the fire?”

“I’m just looking for Harry,” I snap and he looks at me strangely, his face going a little tight.

“Um…just go inside and wait for him,” he says. I just roll my eyes.

“I’ve been waiting for him for ten minutes,” I respond, trying to keep calm because really it’s not his fault that Harry is a fucking brat. “Where is he?”

Zayn shifts his feet uncomfortably. “Um…he’s on the bus, but—”

I cut him off with a curt “thanks” and stomp off toward the bus.

“Seriously Scarlett,” Zayn calls after me. “Just…just give him a minute!”

“I’m not giving him anything,” I mutter under my breath as I step onto the bus.

It’s relatively quiet as I make my way to the back of the bus, passing the tables and couches and going back into the area with the bunks. The door is closed and I can hear muffled sounds from behind the thin wood. I sigh. He’s just fucking screwing around, watching TV back there or something. I grab the knob, not even knocking, and call out, “Harry, we have shit to do. I don’t know wha—”

My flow of words stop and my breathing hitches as I take in the scene in front of me. Harry is sitting back on the couch, a blonde girl kneeling between his open knees. Her head whips back to look at me and she scowls deeply. I gasp as I see it, hard and ready, poking out of the fly of his pants, glistening in the dim lighting from the girl’s saliva. My mouth is hanging open and my eyes immediately snap away, looking at the ground, at the television, at anything but Harry’s hard dick.

“Just give us like five minutes.” His voice is deep and raspy and my eyes snap to him. His hand is wrapping in the girl’s hair, guiding her mouth back to his aching cock, letting his head fall back against the couch. My breathing hitches again as I hear him hum and I shake my head to clear it, turning away, my face flaming pink. “And close the door behind you.”

His parting words are a breathy, pleasured sigh and I nearly moan as I slam the door behind me, leaning against it on trembling legs. I did [_not _]just see that. I did not just walk in on him getting his…

[_Shit. _]I jump when I hear his soft moan wafting through the door, and I press my thighs together as heat coils in my belly and rushes between my legs. Fuck, this is bad. I shake my head again and make my way quickly off the bus, trying to pull air into my lungs and forget that sound…the sound of his pleasure. Holy God, I’m going to hell.

As I make my way back into the venue, my panic is slowly replaced by another emotion, an emotion that shocks and scares me to no end.

Hurt.

Why, I have no idea. Maybe because he’d spent the past week and a half chasing after me, telling me he wanted me, practically begging. I had spent it avoiding him, avoiding the very thought of him, something I hadn’t quite accomplished. Okay, I hadn’t accomplished it at all in any way, shape, or form.

I sit dejectedly at the vanity, tapping my pencil against my book, waiting. Waiting like I should have just done in the first place. Why do I have to be so stubborn? Why couldn’t I have just let well enough alone? Why in the name of God do I have to want him? I gasp as the thought flits through my brain. I [_want _]him. I really, really fucking want—

“Hey Scarlett.”

I nearly jump out of my chair as he jogs into the room. His face is flushed and he’s slightly breathless but I know it’s not from running. My stomach trembles slightly as the image of him on the couch passes through my mind. I can’t think about this now.

“Sorry I’m late.” He sighs as he falls into a chair and pulls close to me.

I fight the urge to shut my eyes as the woodsy scent of him surrounds me, him leaning close over the book. I sputter a little, scooting further back and away from him, suddenly nervous and shaky.

“You okay?” he asks me and I glance at him quickly, just enough time to take in his quizzical and slightly amused expression.

“Yes…” I say, swallowing hard and clearing my throat, still pushing away from him. “Let’s get started.”

He nods, eyeing me wearily as I turn to the book.

“Okay,” I take a deep breath. “Hagia Sophia, erected in—” I stutter slightly. Fuck, why did I say that? “Um…I mean, constructed in 532 c.e. Hagia Sophia’s most unique feature is it’s dome…which was very hard…” My breath hitches again, my face growing hot. What am I saying?!

“Yes?” Harry says, looking at me perplexed, nodding encouragingly at me. I run a hand over my face.

“Its most unique feature is it’s floating dome, which was an architectural marvel,” I say quickly, heaving a sigh at the end of my sentence.

“Whoa, hold up,” he says, pen flying across his page. “It was hard—”

“It was an architectural marvel,” I spit, my face pinkening.

“Yeah, but why was it hard—”

“It wasn’t hard!” I exclaim, suddenly, and I swear my ears are going to burn off. Why is this happening to me? He’s looking at me a little uneasily. “It was difficult…”

“Okay,” he says slowly, quirking an eyebrow at me. “Why was it difficult?

“Because…because…” I can’t get the image of his dick out of my head. God fucking dammit all to hell. “Because it was. Didn’t you do the reading?”

“Um, yeah,” he says, looking down into the book. “Uh…”

“Harry, how many times have I told you,” I snap, my temper flaring suddenly. “You need to come prepared to these lessons!”

“Calm down,” he says, his brow furrowing, his voice defensive, glaring at me. “I did read it, I can’t remember fucking everything from [_one _]read though.”

“Well,” I seethe, unable to argue with his logic, “you need to focus.”

He scowls at me. “I [_am _]focused.”

“Right,” I say, glaring back at him. “Just…just keep it that way.”

Shit, maybe [_I _]should be the one keeping it that way.

10

The more I thought about the events of the day the more and more pissed off I became. Sure, he says he likes me, claims he wants to be with me but then he shoves his dick in the mouth of the first available groupie? What the hell?!

And why am I so pissed off by it? He’s my student. I’m his teacher. We’ve made out…I’ve asked him to fuck me…God, this is so fucking ridiculous. I turn on the TV and try to zone out, just lay across the bed and let the hotel cable burn my brain cells. But I can’t. The image of his head tilted slightly back, lips parted, face screwed up in pleasure is burned in my mind.

I hate him. I fucking [_hate _]him for doing this to me. For being so fucking gorgeous when he’s so young and so off limits. For making me think that he liked me, for making me want him.

My thoughts are jarred back to the present by a knock on my door. I sigh, flicking off the television as I stomp to the door. I swing it open and there he is, textbook tucked under his arm. But I barely notice that because he’s panting a little, body covered in sweat, making his white wifebeater almost transparent against his skin.

“Hey,” he says, slipping past me to walk into the room, his bare arm brushing mine, leaving the slickness of his sweat on my skin. “I had a question about the diagram you were talking about…”

But I’m not listening. I’m watching a bead of sweat trail from his curly head, down the side of his face, over his jaw and down his neck, disappearing into the neckline of his tank top.

“Scarlett,” he says and I snap out of it, looking into his eyes. He’s grinning uncertainly at me. “Are you listening?”

“Yes, what?” I ask a little harshly and he quirks an eyebrow before opening his book.

“You said I had to know the church plan,” he tells me, pointing to the diagram on the page. “But there are two.”

A bead of perspiration rolls off his face and falls right onto the middle of the page, and I just snap, all the events of the day crashing down on me. “Harry!” I exclaim, snatching the book from him. “You’re sweating all over my book!”

“Oh, I’m [_so _]sorry,” he replies sarcastically, running a hand over his face. “I was at the gym.”

“You need to sit and concentrate on this stuff instead of gallivanting around. No wonder you’ve been slipping,” I scold, slamming the book on the table and he scowls at me.

“Maybe the reason I’m not doing so well is because the only thing I can think about is the teacher grabbing my—”

“Harry!” I exclaim and he cuts off, crossing his arms over his chest and looking away, pouting. His stance extenuates his biceps and tightens his chest. Damn. “I’m just saying that maybe if you paid a little bit more attention to what you were reading and a little less time chasing groupies then maybe you wouldn’t always be in here asking me asinine questions!”

He doesn’t say anything, just looks at me and I can feel my face color a little. I shift uncomfortably as a slow smirk tugs at his lips and he laughs a little. I nearly groan at the sound bubbling from his chest, low and throaty.

“You’re…you’re jealous,” he says, chuckling.

“Oh, please!” I exclaim, crossing my arms over my chest defensively.

“You are,” he grins. “You wish it was you on your knees with my dick in your mouth.”

I hear the slap before I actually feel it sting my hand. His head is turned to the side, his arms falling to his sides in shock. I’m breathing heavy, my face red, humiliated. It was one thing to have the thought plaguing me from the back of my mind, it was an entirely different thing to have it spit in my face by him.

His head turns slowly back to face me, green eyes on fire with rage. We just stare at each other for a moment and then it happens. His large hands clamp around my biceps, pushing me back up against the closed door, pressing his body flush against mine. He’s warm, almost hot to the touch and he smells of sweat and spice. His face is millimeters from mine, his breath hot on my face. I struggle against him and he just grips me tighter, not saying anything.

“What are you gonna do, Harry?” I pant, fighting the urge to wriggle my hips against his.

“Give you what you want,” he whispers, his voice low and seductive but there’s a slight tremor in it. And when I laugh in his face his eyes darken a little, scowling.

You?” I say, all of my anger over not being able to have him coming to a boiling point. “Little sparkly dance boy? Probably couldn’t even get it up.”

He growls and I gasp when his hands slide down my arms to grip my wrists and pin them up over my head against the door. He presses his hips hard into me and I feel him stirring beneath his basketball shorts. This is going too far. I’m not drunk anymore and I know what this will mean if I give in to this desire. This is wrong.

“Harry, let me go,” I order and his hands tighten around my wrists, pressing them back harder into the door behind me, grinding his hips slowly against mine. He’s almost completely hard now and I want him so fucking bad.

“Feels pretty hard to me,” he pants, and I moan a little, my hips grinding back against his. Shit, this is so fucking wrong.

“Harry,” I sigh, struggling lightly against him. “We can’t…you’re my…”

But my breathing is hitching, because he has buried his face in my neck, the sweat from his forehead slicking against my skin as he rolls his hips hard into mine. I fist my hands, nails digging into my palms as I feel a rush of pleasure between my legs. His lips brush my neck lightly, not really kissing, just rubbing against my skin.

And I can’t take it anymore. I’m sick of always doing the right thing, of being the good  little girl who always does her homework and never takes the shortcut to get ahead. I’m tired of being the responsible one. God, I just want to [_feel _]him, skin on skin, mouth to mouth, inside me.

His grip has loosened since he started grinding against me, concentrating on his pleasure and I’m easily able to push him off me. He looks at me surprised as he trips backwards. I charge forward, gripping his shoulders with my hands and his eyes are wide when I push him back onto the bed. I think his eyes are going to explode from their sockets when I rip my shirt over my head and bring my hands down to unbutton my pants.

“Take your clothes off,” I order and he scrambles to remove his shoes and socks.

I figure that if I do this quick, just get it out of my system, that I’ll be okay. I’ll be better and I won’t want him anymore. Maybe it will be horrible. He tugs his wifebeater over his head and tosses it aside, and shit, there’s no way this is going to be horrible. I push my jeans down my hips and push his shoulders so that he falls back onto the bed, still clad in his loose fitting shorts, erection straining against the fabric.

I straddle his waist and his hands immediately go to my hips, pressing me hard against him, his breath coming in pants. And God, he’s so fucking hard pressed against my center and all I want is our clothes gone and him inside me. I reach behind me and flick my bra open, sliding it down my arms and his eyes are big as saucers, glued to my chest. His hands loosen on my hips and skim, trembling up my stomach, eyes looking into mine for permission, and I nod.

He takes my breasts in his large hands, massaging and molding them, his palms teasing my nipples. I moan a little and feel him jump, his movements stopping for a moment before continuing again. My hips are still rolling steady into him and fuck, I need these clothes off now.

I slide back and he whines a little. Whether it’s from loosing his grip on my chest or losing my weight from his lap I’m not sure but he gasps when my fingers grip the elastic of his shorts, tugging them down with his boxers. His length falls back against his stomach and all my movement stops as I just stare for a minute. Holy. Fucking. Shit. Yeah, there’s no way in hell this is going to be horrible.

I push my panties down my hips in a swift motion and his eyes are locked on my body as I climb over him, hovering over his straining cock. He’s panting hard now, hands back on my hips, fingers digging in painfully, trying to tug me down against him.

“Um…Scarlett?” he says quietly, as I reach between us and position him at my entrance.

“What?” I pant. God, I just wanna…

“We should…like, we need…a…a…condom…right? Do you have one? ‘Cause, I mean, I don’t have one…”

Fuck, he’s rambling. I remember what happened the last time one of us started rambling.

“Shut up, I’m on the pill,” I say, the feeling of him pulsing in my hand, so close to touching me, making me impatient. He swallows hard.

“But I mean…we should still use one, right?” he asks, his voice shaking, his hands gripping my hips so hard I’m sure I’m going to have bruises in the morning.

“Harry, I’m getting ready to fuck you. Are you trying to talk me out of it?” I ask and he shuts up immediately, his eyes sliding shut as I lower a little, feeling the silken head slide against my entrance.

His mouth falls open in a silent “oh” of pleasure as I slide down onto him and I swear to God I could cum right then, just from the feeling of him stretching me so completely, seeing him lying out under me, his beautiful face contorted in pleasure.

He’s shaking hard, eyes staring glassily at where our bodies are connected and I come back to myself a little. His hands are still gripping my hips but they tremble against my skin and his breathing is hitching hard, almost as if he were sobbing. A horrible thought crosses my mind…

“Harry,” I say slowly, and it takes him a moment to meet my eyes, swallowing. “You…you aren’t…you’re not really a virgin, are you?” I ask, the words tasting bitter in my mouth. This is so fucking wrong.

“No!” he exclaims quickly and I close my eyes, pursing my lips.

“Oh really? How many times have you done it?” I ask and he looks away, shifting a little beneath me and my eyelids flutter as pleasure ripples through me.

“Once…” he says, quietly. “And my mom kinda walked in on it and made us stop…”

“Oh God,” I groan, covering my face with my hands, feeling more and more like a sick pervert by the second.

“But it counts!” he exclaims, hands pressing on my hips. “It totally still counts.”

“You never even came, Harry,” I say, hanging my head back. “Fuck, this is so wrong. What the hell am I doing?”

“No!” he practically screams as I try to pull away from him and before I know it, I’m on my back and he’s on top of me, still inside me, pulsing. “Please, Scarlett,” he moans, hips rocking against mine slightly and oh my God, I need this so bad. “Don’t make me stop…” He breathes the last part into my neck, lips brushing my skin before placing a small peck there and I let my eyes slide shut, head falling back against the pillows. My hands move to his hips, holding them in my hands for a moment. He’s still just nudging inside me slightly, rocking just enough to get a little friction but it’s not enough. No, I want to feel him move.

I give his hips a squeeze before running my hands up his back, smooth and warm under my touch. I cup my hand around the back of his neck, fingers fisting in the curls at the base of his skull, tugging slightly. He pulls his head back, his nose bumping mine and I press my mouth to his, tongue reaching out to taste him.

“You wanna do it,” I whisper against his lips, bringing my legs up, shifting my hips to give him better penetration, “then do it.”

He moans against me, raising himself higher on his elbows, pulling out a little before sliding back in and his arms tremble, his body shaking violently, pressing his forehead hard into mine. I look at his face, eyes squeezed shut, jaw clenched. He’s trying so hard.

“Calm down,” I whisper soothingly, fingertips massaging the back of his head slowly and his face relaxes a little, pulling back and nudging back in again.

“Oh my God,” he mutters, burying his face in my neck and he feels so good, his body a contradiction of velvet skin stretched over hard sinewy muscle. I need this so bad. I need him to hang on.

“Harry,” I say, hands sliding down his back, feeling the muscles tight and rigid. “Aulus Metellus.”

“Huh?” he asks and I can feel his brow furrowing against my neck.

“When and where,” I say, pushing my hips needily up into his. “Tell me, Harry.”

“Um,” he breathes, pulling out and then sliding back in again. “Roman, right?”

“Yesssss,” I hiss lowly as he bumps that spot inside me it usually takes men twenty minutes to find, if they find it at all. “Oh God…”

“E-early first century,” he breathes as he pulls out, pausing again to grit his teeth.

“Made of?” I moan. He doesn’t move and his hips twitch hard against me and I groan deep in my throat.

“Bronze?” he questions and I nod against him.

“Good…” I whimper as he gives me another slow thrust. “So good…”

“Scarlett,” he breathes, nuzzling his nose against me and he’s starting to speed up a little.

“Ara Pacis Augustae,” I whisper in his ear, pressing kisses against the lobe and on the side of his face.

“Ugh,” he groans, hips rolling steady. “Scarlett…”

“Tell me, Harry,” I whisper, my nails raking down his back, leaving goosebumps in their wake.

“Shit,” he pants, raising himself on his hands, giving himself leverage to slam into me and I see stars. I haven’t been fucked like this maybe ever. Jesus, my body is on fucking fire. “Thirteen to nine…B.C.E.?”

“Oh God, Harry,” I moan, wrapping my hands around his forearms, my body burning around him, his dick massaging me in just the right way. “Yes…please.”

“Holy…” His sentence is cut off with a grunt as he settles himself more on his hands and rolls his hips so fast that it makes me dizzy.

His breathing hitches when my body sucks at him and I tell him I’m close. I ask him to hang on, just a few more seconds and he pulls his face from my neck to press his mouth to mine, tongue sliding in sloppily and that one taste of him is enough to have me moaning, my pussy clamping him in a vice that causes him to choke on his breath and his back to go rigid. My orgasm is intensified by his, feeling him shoot into me with a sob of pleasure that is so primal it almost sends me into another wave of pleasure.

He collapses against me, face burying into my shoulder, pressing his hips hard into me, trying to push himself as deep as possible as he rides his wave. He’s moaning softly as my body still sucks at him, hissing against me when it becomes too much. I hold him close to me and let him just feel this. I tell myself it’s for him; he deserves his first real sexual experience to be loving and gentle. But I know it’s not just for him.

It’s for me, too.

11

The infamous morning after. I’ve had a few of them in the past but none like that. Waking up at three thirty in the morning, his body curled tightly around mine, face buried in my hair, arms clamped in a death grip around my stomach. There was no way of sneaking out of it. And really, if it had been possible, I don’t think I could have done that to him. Not after last night.

I laid there panicking for a few moments, wondering what the hell I was going to do, stuck somewhere between revulsion at my own weakness and satisfied giddiness. God, that was amazing. I had stretched a little, relishing in the soreness of my muscles and he stirred behind me, whining a little. We can’t stay this way, _]my mind chanted at me over and over again, along with things like: [_You’re going to get caught and What the hell were you thinking?

I had rolled over, causing him to huff, and he growled at me when I pushed his shoulder, waking him up. “Harry, you have to go,” I had said and he moaned, holding me close, burying his face in my neck. “Harry, you have to go,” I said again, shivering at the heat of his breath sighing against my skin.

“Noooo,” he whined, arms clutching at me and I steeled myself for what I had to say.

“Harry, you have to get out of here,” I said as harshly as I could considering he was cuddled against me like I was some fucking security blanket. What was wrong with me? I had never had problems telling his ass what to do before. “Your mother wakes you up at four.”

“Just…just five more minutes,” he sighed, nuzzling his nose against my throat, lips kissing me softly. I pushed hard at his chest, sliding away from him, glad I couldn’t see his face in the dark because I didn’t think I could bear to see the hurt in his eyes.

What the fuck was wrong with me? This was just…I was just trying to get him out of my system. This…this was not…it was just sex. Nothing more.

Then why the hell did I feel so guilty?

“Harry…go,” I had said, turning away from him and curling into myself, hating myself when I heard his shaky sigh as he pulled himself from the bed and gathered his clothes, slipping out without another word.

Guilt eats at me as the memory replays itself over and over while I look around my hotel room, making sure I have everything I need before I head out for the day. My eyes fall on the bed, the rumpled sheets a testament to the act that was performed in them the night before. I turn away but the soreness in my legs won’t let me forget. [_Nothing _]can make me forget.

I close the door gently behind me, walking out into the dimly lit hallway. It isn’t even light out yet, and I stagger somewhat sleepily towards the elevator, my mind running rampant. What we did was wrong. It was illegal and wrong and so fucking good. Jesus Christ, the mere memory of it is enough to set my body on fire. And it wasn’t even anything that spectacular. I mean, it was amazing—God, was it ever amazing—but he didn’t, like, hang me from the rafters or anything. It was…simple…probably the only simple thing we are ever going to have. What the fuck am I saying? We aren’t going to have anything! This has to stop.

My entire body tenses when I feel a pair of hands grab my biceps and I nearly scream as my body spins and I’m pressed against the hallway wall. Harry grins down at me, pressing his body to mine and I heave a sigh of relief before slapping at his chest. “What the fuck are you doing? You scared the shit out of me!” I exclaim and his grin widens before he dips his head, pressing his lips to mine.

I push at his chest a little before eventually giving in. Soft and sweet, and burning like fire all at once, his lips cling to mine desperately. His large hand cups the back of my head, pulling me even closer, and my arms wrap around his neck, holding him close. I don’t know what it is about his lips but he always tastes so fucking good. It’s like they devour me and leave me aching for more. There’s no describing it, it’s just him. His hips press into mine and I can feel him stirring in his pants. I wrench my mouth away from his, but he doesn’t stop, trailing kisses down my jaw. We can’t do this. Not here. Not anywhere. We can’t fucking do this.

“Harry,” I sigh, fighting the urge to wrap my arms around him, to feel his body against mine. “Harry…what are we doing?”

“Nothing,” he mumbles, nibbling at the side of my neck and I can feel him smile as he adds, “Yet.”

I gasp, a little shocked at his candor and I feel him chuckle against me. I push at his shoulders and his lips finally detach from my neck and he looks down at me adoringly. God, no man has ever looked at me that way before. I shake my head. 

“Harry…we can’t do this…”

“Oh save it, Scarlett,” he says, cutting me off, and I look up at him slightly bewildered. “You want me. I want you.” He shrugs, grinning. “Seems pretty simple to me.”

I look at him, my mouth hanging open. “Are you fucking stupid?” I ask and he pouts a little. “This is the furthest thing from simple—”

“No,” he argues, “no, its not. You’re just making it really fucking complicated.”

“Harry, do you know how much trouble I can get in?” I ask him, trying to keep my voice down, suddenly aware we are in a very public place. “What we did was illegal!”

He hums, his head dipping to kiss me again. He presses his hips harder against mine as he whispers, “So that’s why it felt so fucking good.”

I moan a little as that familiar tingle spreads through my body directly to my center. Damn, the things he does to me. I shake my head again, trying to clear it and I push him away. He sighs, annoyed.

“Scarlett, I don’t fucking get it,” he says. “I mean, what…what we did last night…” His eyes go soft and I swallow hard. “That was amazing. And not just the orgasm.”

I laugh a little and he looks at me slightly confused for a second before breaking into a grin himself. I place my hands on his shoulders, sighing, trying not to look him in the face because I know the way he’s looking at me is going to melt my resolve instantly. I really have no clue what’s going on with me. I’ve never been this affected by sex before. Usually it’s just…okay…that was nice…done. But this…this is different. This is almost primal. God, I just wanna rip his clothes off right now and all he’s doing is standing there, his hands warm on my hips, lips so close to mine.

“Scarlett,” he says softly and I’m brought back to the moment, looking up into his eyes, which is a really bad idea. “You want this…I want this…why are you fighting it?”

I eye him skeptically and the way he’s looking at me…Jesus, like he’s never seen anything like me before. Like he’s never going to stop looking at me this way. Like he [_adores _]me. Like I’m the only person in the entire fucking world. And God, the way his body is pressed against mine…

I have a decision to make. Right here, right now. I can do the right thing. I can tell him that what happened last night was a fluke, a mistake, something that can never [_ever _]under any circumstances happen again. I can tell him that he is my student and am I am his teacher and we are to maintain a certain degree of decorum with each other. Or…

“We can’t tell anyone,” I say shakily and the smile that breaks out over his face is so dazzling I nearly melt into a puddle on the floor. Jesus Christ, there is something seriously wrong with me.

“Yeah, I get that,” he says, nodding his head eagerly, his hands coming up to curl tightly around my arms, tugging me closer to him.

“I mean not anyone, Harry,” I say slowly, my insides turning. Maybe this is a bad idea…

“I get it,” he says, nodding, his head dipping down. I pull back a little, looking at him wide eyed.

“Seriously, Harry, no one…not the guys, not your little friend from home, what’s his name—”

“Trace.”

“Yeah, him. Not your mom…fuck, [_especially _]not your mom…not even your fucking dog—”

“Scarlett!” he says, and I jump at the loudness of his voice. He grins, laughing a little as he says, “I fucking get it, okay?”

“Okay…” I say, looking at him skeptically and he just smiles giddily down at me.

“Okay then,” he whispers, his breath fanning my face as he bends down to kiss me again.

“Harry,” I say, placing a hand on his chest, holding him back reluctantly. “Not here…”

“What?” he asks, cocking his head to the side, grinning innocently at me. “I just wanna kiss you…”

He nuzzles his nose with mine and I look around uneasily, just waiting for one of the doors around us to open. This is such a bad idea. We really shouldn’t be doing this.

But all thought is cut off when his mouth claims mine, tongue dipping in to taste me and there’s no way I can turn back now. Even if this ruins us, I can’t quit him. He feels too good and I know that after last night I could never deny him again. As simple as the act was it was probably one of the best I’ve had. No, I’m in this…right or wrong…

I’m in this.

12

This is not how I planned on spending the day. When the guys invited me to go on yet another “adventure” with them I figured it would be to a record store or something else equally as mediocre to the normal person but a huge ordeal for them. So imagine my surprise when we pulled up to a tattoo parlor in downtown Atlanta, all the members of the group cheering and grinning as they piled out of the car. Well…all except for Louis, who’s hesitation was ridiculed by the rest of the group.

“I have this thing…” he had said, swallowing hard. “I have this thing with needles…they…they just kinda freak me out.”

Harry had offered me his hand as I had climbed out of the car and I had taken it, his fingers clutching at mine, reluctant to let go when I was safely on the ground. It had been three days since our agreement in the hallway, three nights since we…and my mind always stutters there. Saying we ‘had sex’ sounds so technical, ‘made love’ implies that it was something intimate, which it was but not that way, and saying we ‘fucked’ doesn’t give it the credit it deserves.

While my admonitions about secrecy and caution were met with his promise of compliance, he seems to be doing little to conceal his affections. He is constantly touching me, fingers brushing mine, placing a hand on my lower back, or resting his chin on my shoulder. And don’t even get me started on the giddy grin he has on his face when he looks at me. I’d roll my eyes if I didn’t find it so fucking adorable.

I hug my stomach as I meander around the parlor, surveying the art on the walls. This is definitely not my scene but I can appreciate the work as an art connoisseur; the colors, the designs, all reminiscent of art from all over the world. I see ghosts of Picasso, Mondrian, Da Vinci, and Van Gogh in all of these works covering these walls, a modern testament to classic art.

The guys are dispersed around the room, emotions varying from bouncing excitement: Harry practically jumping up and down, to freaking the fuck out; Louis sitting in the corner, white as a sheet, trying not to look at Liam or Niall, both of whom are laying across padded tables; Zayn watching as the artists tattoo the [_1D _]flame around his bandmates’ ankles.

“You okay there, Louis?” I ask, stepping up next to him. He looks at me glassily, swallowing hard.

“Yeah…yeah, I’m…” He swallows again, wiping the sweat from his upper lip. “I’m cool.”

“Dude,” Niall says, glancing up from the tattoo artist working on his leg. “You are the farthest thing from cool right now.”

Louis just swallows hard, shifting uneasily in his seat. I turn to find Niall shaking his head, laughing a little as he goes back to watching the needle work on his leg.

“So…Scarlett,” Zayn says, sidling up to me, draping an arm around my shoulders. I sigh and try to contain my grin. “What are you getting today?”

I look at him a little shocked. “Oh, I’m not getting anything,” I say, shaking my head, and Zayn flicks his eyes back at Niall, both of them laughing.

“You should get a little something,” Zayn insists and I shake my head at him again, scrunching up my nose.

“You’re getting one too?” Harry asks, stepping up behind me and I have to fight the urge to close my eyes as his scent encloses around me.

“No,” I say, turning a little towards him and then stepping away when I see how close he is to me. He has to stop doing that.

“Oh come on,” Zayn encourages, poking my arm. “Live a little, Scar.”

“I’m living perfectly fine without a tattoo,” I say huffily, crossing my arms over my chest defensively and they all laugh. Except for Harry, who looks at the floor, not wanting to   be a part of this argument. “And what would I possibly get, anyway?”

“A textbook,” Zayn grins and I purse my lips at him, narrowing my eyes.

“My name,” Harry says, grinning at me cheekily I give him a menacing stare that wipes the smile right off his face.

“Yeah fucking right, dude,” Zayn replies, giving Harry a playful shove, oblivious to Harry and mines silent innuendo.

“You could get a heart,” Harry suggests and I glare at him again. He smiles innocently at me and I crack a smile in return, both of us looking immediately at the floor. We have to stop doing this…

“You could get five music notes to remember us by,” Liam suggests, coming up behind us. “Harry, you’re up,” he adds, gesturing to the table with a nod of his head.

“Sweet!” Harry exclaims, bouncing his way over to the table and I peer over at Louis, who is watching apprehensively as Harry settles onto the table.

“I’m not getting anything!” I exclaim, annoyed. This is ridiculous, but everyone ignores me.

“You’re totally getting something,” Zayn insists, poking me in the side. I glare at him a little but his smile is so contagious that I’m smiling back at him in a matter of seconds.

“You alright, man?” Harry asks as he settles back onto the table, nodding his head at Louis, watching as the tattoo artist pulls on his gloves.

“Yeah…I’m…I’m fine,” Louis responds, and then as if snapping back to himself, “Hey, how are you doing this? There’s no way your mom signed a consent form.”

Harry clears his throat and shakes his head. “Don’t worry about it, man.”

“But you’re only seventeen,” Louis says and I wince. I hate it when people mention how old he is.

“Don’t fucking worry about it,” Harry says harshly, scowling deeply. He knows this too.

“Okay, okay,” Louis says, eyeing him. “No need to get all hostile.”

I walk over between the two tables, watching as the large tattooed man pulls out a razor and begins to shave halfway up Harry’s calf. I giggle a little, crossing my arms over my chest and he gazes up at me, his green eyes dancing happily.

“What are you laughing at?” he asks, his eyes softening as he looks at me.

“He’s shaving your leg,” I chuckle. “That’s a really sexy look for you.”

“Oh you think so,” he teases back, his eyes darkening slightly. I tense a little, realizing what I’ve said. “So, what are you gonna get?”

“I’m not getting anything!” I exclaim again, watching as the tattoo artist applies the stencil to Harry’s leg.

“Oh come on!” he says, smiling. “You know you want something.”

Oh I want something alright, but it’s not a tattoo. I sigh, irritated. Why does he have such an effect on me?

“You ready?” the tattoo artist asks and Harry looks at him, nodding and steeling himself a little.

“You wanna hold Scarlett’s hand, Harry?” Niall teases and Harry looks up at me, trying to conceal his smile by biting his bottom lip. I nearly moan. Damn, the shit he does to me without even knowing it.

“I’m sure he’s fine,” I reply stiffly, watching as the artist brings the needle to his skin.

Harry winces before relaxing a little but I can tell he’s on edge. Without really thinking, I reach out and place a hand on his shoulder. His head snaps to mine and he gives me a small smile which fades when I pull back, looking around the room as if nothing happened.

“Alright, you’re done,” the other tattoo artist behind me says and I turn to look at Niall, who’s examining his leg.

“Nice, huh?” Niall asks me and I nod. “So…” he says, swinging his legs over the side and standing, moving out of the way so Zayn can have his turn. “What are you getting?”

“I’m not getting anything,” I practically yell for the hundredth time, shaking my head adamantly.

“Oh come on, Scar!” Zayn exclaims again. “Don’t be such a pussy.”

“I am [_not _]a pussy,” I say defensively and I try to ignore the way Harry shivers. “I’m just not getting a tattoo on a whim. Its tacky,” I state and then, looking at the heavily tattooed man working on Harry’s leg, I add, “No offense.”

“None taken,” the guy says, grinning up at me and Harry eyes him, his bottom lip protruding a little, moving his hand from his lap to the edge of the table, the back of his hand brushing my thigh. I ignore it, continuing on my rant.

“And it’s so permanent.

“You’ve never even thought about what you would get if you ever got one?” Liam asks, sitting next to Louis, who’s eyeing his tattooed leg.

“They…they wrap it in saran wrap?” Louis asks, still looking at Liam’s leg, and Liam nods.

“Yeah, he said it was to fight infection,” Liam replies, stretching out. “Its still kinda bloody.”

Louis’s face blanches and he jumps to his feet. “I’m gonna get some air.”

“You have to have thought about it a little,” Zayn continues, watching as Louis makes his way hastily to the door.

“Well…” I say, looking from one handsome boy to the next. The truth is I had thought about it, but not seriously.

“So you have thought about it?” Niall asks. “And what would it be, Scarlett? The Mona Lisa down your arm? Water Lillies across your stomach?”

“The Last Supper across your ass?” Zayn adds and the rest of the guys snicker.

“No!” I say defensively. And finally giving in a little I add, “I’ve thought about getting something in ancient Greek…”

“Get it!” Zayn says and his exclamation is echoed in various ways from the rest of the group.

“I don’t know,” I say noncommittally, my stomach tying in knots. This is not me. I am not the kind of person that just decides to get a tattoo.

“You got time for one more?” Harry asks, looking at the man working on his leg. The guy looks up at me, his piercing dark eyes roving over me.

“Harry…seriously,” I say, shaking my head at him.

“Where do you want it?” the guy asks, his tongue snaking out to lick his lips and Harry looks from me to him, narrowing his eyes suspiciously.

“I don’t want it anywhere! I am not getting a tattoo!”

“Okay,” the man says, smiling. “If you [_were _]to get one…where would it be?”

I shift uncomfortably. All eyes are on me now and I really, really don’t want to say it. “Um…” I trail and I know my response is going to get catcalls from the rest of the group. “Here,” I sigh, pointing to where my hipbone dips to my stomach.

“Scar!” Zayn exclaims, and my cheeks redden as laughter fills the room. “You little vixen you!”

“It was hypothetical!” I exclaim, feeling my ears burn. “I’m not doing it!”

“You have to do it,” Liam insists matter of factly, the lowness of his voice giving his words a certain finality that melts my reserve. I can’t believe I’m about to do this.

“Yeah,” the man says, grinning, looking back at Harry’s leg. “I definitely got time for that.”

Harry is glaring at him and I’m pretty sure if the guy hadn’t been putting something permanent on his body, he would have said something to him. Instead he sits back, pouting slightly, never taking his eyes off the buff tattoo artist who keeps glancing at me every once and awhile.

I feel Harry’s hand slide around the edge of the table, knuckles brushing against my hipbone and I lean forward a little, trapping his hand against the table for a second, pressing hard, and then pulling back. His eyes flick to mine and I give him an inconspicuous shake of my head. He can’t keep doing this. He pulls his hand back, watching the tattoo artist moodily.

“Does it hurt?” I ask after a moment and Harry looks up at me.

“Not really,” he says nonchalantly, shrugging his shoulders and then wincing, the tattoo guy moving around the back of his leg.

“Oh you’re such a badass,” I chuckle and he scowls at me, shifting a little.

“You’re almost done, kid,” the guy tells him and Harry’s face pinkens a little.

“I’m fine,” he insists, pouting a little and I rest my hand on the chair, the side of my hand pressing against his hip slightly. Okay, so sometimes I’m a hypocrite…

He doesn’t look at me this time but his face relaxes a little, waiting for the man to put the final touches of ink in before allowing him to look at it.

“Done,” the guy says, setting the gun down and Harry cocks his head to the side, a dimpled grin spreading wide across his face.

“Pretty cool, huh?” he asks me and I nod, smiling a little at his enthusiasm, watching as his leg gets wrapped in saran wrap.

“Okay,” the man finally announces, pulling off his gloves and grabbing another pair. “You’re next.”

“What?” I ask, my eyes widening a little. “What…no…no, seriously. Like, no!

“Scarlett,” Niall says, sighing. “Just do it. For once in your life don’t think. Just do it.”

And I can’t help but glance at Harry when he says this. Spontaneity seems be a theme for me as of late. Harry just grins at me as he says, “It wouldn’t be the first time.”

My eyes widen and the guys all turn to look at him quizzically. The smile slides off his face when he realizes what he has said and he stutters slightly, trying to explain himself.

“I mean…um…you know…like—”

“Okay, I’ll do it,” I interrupt and all eyes snap from Harry to me in an instant. Victorious cheers fill the room and I feel hands patting me on the back and shoulders.

“Alright, let’s get you set up,” the man grins.

“The other guy can do her,” Harry says harshly, glaring at him but the man seems undeterred.

“Yeah, I can do her,” the other tattoo artist offers.

Harry’s head whips towards him, his eyes wide. I can’t help but giggle, covering my mouth with my hand, a little embarrassed. Harry scowls deeply, whether from the loss of my touch against his hip or from the guy’s racy comment, I’m not sure. He opens his mouth to say something but I drop my hand from my mouth, leaning hard onto his wrist.

“Oh, sorry,” I say when he yelps and I pull away from him, eyes lingering on his, admonishing him silently before looking away again.

“Nah, Scott’s still workin’ on your friend,” the first guys tells Harry and I can’t help but smile a little at his obvious flirtation. “I got this.”

Harry is sitting back now, arms crossed over his chest, obviously sulking. I fight the urge to roll my eyes, but part of me likes his possessiveness. No man I’ve ever been with has ever been so protective of me. It’s kind of endearing in an annoying sort of way.

“What do I have to do?” I ask, my stomach flipping, and the guys leans over, pulling out a clipboard. I can’t believe I’m fucking doing this.

“Just sign on the dotted line.”

I eye the paper, skimming the legal agreement before signing my name at the bottom, my stomach flipping again as I hand it back to him. I seriously can not believe I’m doing this.

“Okay…Scarlett,” the man says, smiling at me and holding out his hand, “I’m Dom.” I shake his hand and smile back nervously, ignoring Harry’s huff of displeasure. “What can I do for you today?”

“Well…” I say with a sigh, “I guess something in ancient Greek.”

Dom nods his head. “Do you have a sample or something? I don’t know any ancient Greek.”

“Oh, I do,” I say, nodding. “Do you have a pen and paper?”

He raises his eyebrows, surprised. “I do.”

“Wait…” It’s Zayn, who’s still laying across the table. I turn to find him laying back with his hand over his eyes. “You know Greek?”

“Ancient Greek,” I say, taking the pen and paper that Dom is offering me, my hands shaking a little. This is insane.

“Oh,” Niall says smarmily, sharing a look with Liam and Zayn, “Ancient Greek.”

“There’s a difference!” I say defensively as I look at the paper and try and think of a good word to get branded on my body for the rest of my life. “I don’t know what it should say.”

“What about ‘art’?” Liam suggests.

“Scholar!” Niall exclaims. “Khefren used to call you Scarlett the Scholar!”

“That’s stupid,” Harry mutters and the guys look at him a little bewildered. He peers at the floor, his ears pinkening.

“What’s your problem, Curly?” Zayn asks, eyeing him, his voice suggesting that he can’t hold back the question any longer. “You’ve been a pissy bitch today.”

“Yeah,” Niall agrees, smiling. “Your hair frizzing more than usual?”

“Fuck you,” Harry replies, scowling, his pout deepening as he flattens a hand over his hair nervously.

“Confucius say that a cranky virgin doesn’t get laid,” Niall teases, poking Harry in the ribs. Harry smacks his hands away impatiently.

“Wisdom!” I suddenly announce, leaning over the table to write out the word.

“What the hell is that?” Zayn asks, snatching the paper from me.

“That’s sigma, omicron, psi, iota, chi,” I say, pointing to each symbol as I read it. “You just—”

“Don’t,” Liam says, putting his hand on my arm and shaking his head. “Don’t try to explain it. Zayn’s head will explode.”

Zayn gives Liam a condescending smile as I hand the paper to Dom, who eyes it approvingly. I bite my lip, my stomach flipping over. I’m going to have this on my body for the rest of my life…the rest of my life.

“Very cool,” Dom says after a moment. “Just gimme a sec to trace this up and we’ll be ready to go.”

I shift nervously, sitting on the edge of the padded table. I can’t believe I’m doing this. I’m never this spontaneous.

Harry is standing in front of me, glaring at Dom’s retreating form and then he looks down at me. Yeah, spontaneity seems to be my new thing. “You don’t have to do this,” he tells me, reaching out for me and I give an inconspicuous shake of my head that has him snatching his hand back.

“I’m fine,” I say stiffly, tucking my hair behind my ear nervously.

Harry shifts his feet and steps closer to me, his leg pressing into my knee. I sigh. We really need to stop doing this.

“Heyyyy!” Niall exclaims as Louis makes his way cautiously into the door again, face still tense. “You ready for yours?”

Scott, who had been cleaning up his area, grins and revs his tattoo gun. Louis’s face blanches completely and he sways ominously, swallowing hard.

“Um…I think…I think I’m gonna pass,” he says shakily and the rest of the group moans in protest.

“Come on you big pussy!” Zayn exclaims, throwing his arm around him, jostling him roughly. “Even Scarlett’s getting a little ink.”

Louis looks at me a little bewildered and I smile weakly back at him. I suddenly feel Harry settle on the table next to me, his knee leaning against mine, his hip pressed against me. I feel his chin rest on my shoulder and I fight the urge to let my eyes slide shut. I shouldn’t let him do this but his body is so warm and fuck if I don’t want him right now. I jump when I feel his hand on my thigh and I elbow him lightly in the ribs.

“Watch your hands there, Harry.” It’s Louis that says it and we both look up startled.

Harry sits up reluctantly and I shift away from him a little and try to look anywhere but at Louis’s piercing gaze. This is why I didn’t want to do this…

“Okay Scarlett,” Dom finally says, coming back and holding a thin strip of tracing paper. I stand from the table to look at him and he grins at me playfully as he says, “Drop your pants.”

My jaw drops instead and the guys burst into laughter…all except Harry, who looks like he could kill Dom with his bare hands. But Dom doesn’t seem to notice, wiggling his eyebrows at me suggestively.

“We can take it in the back if you don’t want an audience,” Dom adds, his eyes flitting to the five other guys in the room.

“No, she can do it here,” Harry says flatly and my head whips towards him, finding him staring coldly at Dom.

“What the fuck is your problem, man?” Zayn asks for the second time and Harry crosses his arms over his chest, not responding.

“No, its fine,” I say quickly and all eyes are on me again. Shit.

“Alright then,” Dom says before I have a chance to change my mind and he’s grinning at me. “Drop em.”

I purse my lips at him, glaring playfully as my hands go down to the button on my jeans. Zayn and Niall catcall me a little and I give them a cheeky smile over my shoulder. I see Harry move to stand next to them, crossing his arms over his chest in a scowl.

“Aw girl, you’re gonna have to push ‘em down lower than that,” Dom grins, as he pops on his latex gloves.

I feel my face burn a little as the guys snigger, Harry still glaring, but his eyes trained on my waist as I shimmy a little, pushing my jeans down low on my hips, revealing my underwear…shit…my lacy-I-may-be-getting-some-later underwear. Dom holds my hand as I hop up on the table, laying back. Then Zayn and Niall burst into laughter and Harry shifts uncomfortably, glancing from my exposed flesh to the floor and back again. My face reddens even more. Laughter is [_not _]something you want to hear from guys when you’re laying on a table in your underwear.

“Check it out, Harry,” Zayn teases, nudging him. “She’s wearing your favorite color.”

I look down at myself as Dom lays the stencil against my skin and I see my underwear, a lacy scrap of baby blue fabric peeking out from my open jeans. My eyes flit to Harry and he’s staring glassily at my exposed flesh, his tongue snaking out to wet his bottom lip. Shit, maybe I’m not the only one who gets unintentionally turned on these days.

“S-s-shut up,” Harry stutters.

“May I?” Dom asks, his fingers reaching for the waistband of my panties and my head snaps to him, alarmed. “I’m just gonna roll the band down a little,” he adds gently, pulling his hands back and opening his palms to me, “If that’s okay, I mean this was where you pointed to earlier…”

“No, its fine,” I say, nodding my head nervously and I feel his gloved fingers roll the waistband over itself, exposing more of my flesh. Fuck, maybe I should have gone in the backroom.

“Whats the matter, Curly?” Niall teases and I look to find Harry staring resolutely at the ground. “Oh yeah, you’ve never seen girly parts like these before, huh?”

I do my best to mask my blush and I try to concentrate on Dom wiping my lower stomach with antiseptic, the coolness causing goosebumps to ripple out over my body. I can’t believe I’m doing this.

“Shut the fuck up, dude,” Harry grumbles and I chance a look at him, finding his face flushed, looking at the ground, eyes flitting to my face every once and awhile as he shifts uncomfortably.

“Okay, how’s that?” Dom asks, leaning back so I can look down my body at myself.

And there it is. Wisdom in ancient Greek, just below my panty line. It will probably be half obscured by my underwear when it’s done, only viewable to me and—I chance a look at Harry—those I’m intimate with. It’s actually kind of cute. Some of my anxiety quells for a moment before coming back full force. This is going to be here for the rest of my life.

“We can reposition it if you want,” Dom says and I snap out of my daze.

“What do you guys think?” I ask uneasily, seriously considering calling this ridiculous thing off.

“I like it,” Zayn says, cocking his head to the side.

“Me too,” Niall adds, mimicking Zane’s pose.

“It is very cool,” Liam says, nodding.

“Yeah it is,” Louis agrees, craning his neck to see.

Everyone’s eyes fall on Harry who is looking at the floor, forcing himself not to look at me, hands still crossed in front of himself.

“What do you think, Curly?” Niall asks, nudging him lightly with his elbow and Harry jumps.

“Its…nice…I like it,” he says, clearing his throat, his eyes watching his shoes scuff the tiled floor.

“You didn’t even look at it,” Zayn says, doing his best to hide his smile.

“I fucking saw it and it’s cool,” Harry spits, shifting from one foot to the other.

“Okay,” I say, taking a deep breath, “Let’s do this.”

“You sure?” Dom asks, pulling over a stool and getting settled.

“Yes,” I say after a moment and he nods, reaching for his tattoo gun, checking the needle before dipping it in the ink.

“Okay, it’s gonna be a little sting,” he says, leaning over me, resting his forearms against me as he poises the gun at my skin.

I gasp a little as the needle digs in and I tense immediately, yelping a little. Okay, so apparently I’m a big fucking wuss because this is not a little sting. This is a big, searing pain. I pant a little, my hand moving to grip the edge of the table and that’s when I feel it, Harry’s hand covering mine warmly. He pries my fingers away from the edge, holding my fingers in his as he crouches down next to me and my thumb wraps around his hand, squeezing hard.

“Aw, poor Scar,” Liam says, patting my knee before moving to sit down, Louis following him because now he has a front row view and from the looks of it, Louis does not want to be anywhere near that needle.

“Take care of her, Harry,” Zayn says, patting his shoulder as he and Niall move to survey the art around the walls.

“You doing okay?” Dom asks, pulling back to wipe at my skin with a towel, smearing black ink across my skin.

“Yeah,” I breathe, swallowing hard, “I’m…I’m okay.”

I feel Harry’s thumb rub soothingly across my knuckles and I breathe out slow, sucking in deep when the needle comes back down. I squeeze his hand tight and his grip tightens on mine, dipping his head to rub my fingers against his cheek, seemingly scratching an itch but I know that’s not the case. I look at him and give him a small smile, which he returns widely, glancing around, assessing that the other guys are occupied before reaching up to brush my hair back from my forehead. I squeeze his hand, this time out of warning and he winks at me. I narrow my eyes at him playfully before chuckling a little to myself.

“Quiz me,” he says when I wince again, and I look back at him glassily.

“Huh?” I ask, a little dazed. God, I never realized what a fucking pussy I am.

“Quiz me,” he says again, his thumb rubbing over my knuckles. “Like, ask me art questions.”

“Oh, um…” I say, trying to think.

“Or…” he grins evilly, “How bout I quiz you?

I purse my lips at him. “Harry, I’m your teacher. I know everything you know.”

Sure,” he says, mockingly. “When you have your notes in front of you.”

Indignation rises in me and his grin tells me that this is just the reaction he was looking for. Well, at least I’m distracted. “Fine!” I hiss. “Quiz me.”

He screws his face up in thought, pulling his bottom lip between his straight white teeth and I fight the quiver in my stomach as he lets its slide slowly out. His eyes lock on mine, bluish green orbs dancing giddily. “Temple of Athena,” he says, grinning at me.

“That’s not on your sheet,” I say, a little shocked and he beams at me triumphantly, thinking he’s won.

“Yeah but it’s in the chapter,” he replies slickly. “If you don’t know that’s okay—”

“The Temple of Athena is part of the Pantheon complex. Its architect was Kilikrates and it was constructed in 425 BC. It is done in the ionic style and is amphiprostyle, meaning it has a porch on each end. There is no entrance to the cella—”

“Okay, okay,” Harry grumbles, eyeing me slightly disappointed. “I get it. You know everything.

I smile triumphantly at him. And then he grins back at me and my mind goes blank. I definitely know one thing, that’s for sure…

There is no stopping this.

13

“The Gemma Auguste, made sometime in the early first century of the current era, is made of onyx. Why do you think they used onyx?”

I look up and find Harry gazing at me from across the room, much the same way he has been for the past twenty minutes. This is the rule that I’ve set. No messing around during lessons. Period. But just to be safe I always sit at least an arms length away. I hate that I can’t resist him sometimes. I can hold him off for awhile but all it takes is one kiss, or a touch, or hell, sometimes even just a look and I give in completely. Tonight is looking like one of those nights, him laying sprawled out across the bed in my hotel room and me in a chair across the room. Sometimes an arms length isn’t enough space. Sometimes we need the entire room.

The past week has been a whirlwind of heated kisses in deserted corridors and quick fondling behind closed doors. It’s been five days since we first…

It’s been five days. It seems like there’s always an excuse not to—there’s never enough time, there are too many people around, something. Or maybe we’re just nervous. Okay, maybe I’m just nervous. Once is one thing. A slip of resolve, a momentary lapse of judgment, but a repeat occurrence of us…God, I need to think of what to call this thing between us.

[Wrong _]works well[._]

I fight the urge to smack myself in the head. I still feel guilt. Still feel shame, for being weak, for not having the willpower to fight him on this. It’s inappropriate, and illegal, and just wrong. I should know better. I’m his teacher, I’m older but damn if every time he presses his mouth to mine, I don’t forget all that. He has this way of making me not care. I’ve never not cared about anything before. It’s kind of…refreshing. In a gut wrenching, I-could-go-to-jail-for-this kind of way.

“Harry,” I say after a moment of him not answering me, shifting slightly under the heat of his gaze. “Can you tell me why you think they used onyx?”

He’s lying on his side, his cheek propped on his palm, dressed in loose fitting basketball shorts and a wife beater, seemingly ready for bed, his book open next to him. His eyes lick up and down my frame, the heat of his gaze smoldering even from all the way across the room. Yeah, there’s nothing stopping this tonight, except…

“They used onyx because it was readily available,” he sighs, rolling onto his stomach, shoving his book out of the way, irritated, still watching me, his chin resting on his folded arms. “And it was expensive. So it was used for royal stuff.”

“Yes, very good,” I say, flipping the page in my notes. “There are two registers, the top of which shows Augustus and his court and the bottom—”

“Scarlett,” he says and I look up to see him wiggling a little in the bed, eyes dancing mischievously. “Are we almost done?”

“Um…” I say, flipping through several pages of notes, “No, actually we’re not.”

He groans, rolling onto his back and heaving a sigh as he stares up at the ceiling. I do my best to ignore the rather prominent bulge in the front of his shorts. I swallow hard, looking down at my notes.

“The lower register shows—”

“Will you come over here?” he asks, rolling onto his side. I look up to find him with his curly head propped on his hand again, his other hand smoothing over the empty space next to him.

“Harry,” I say, giving him a weary look. We have to get through the section. We’re already behind.

“Come on, Scarlett.” He sighs, reaching down to adjust himself in his shorts and this is in no way sexual but Christ if it doesn’t turn me on anyway. “You can teach me just as well from here as you can from over there.”

“Actually, I think having the room between us makes for a more productive learning environment,” I say, smiling a little as he pouts.

“Scarrrrrr,” he groans, and I shake my head at him, looking down at my notes again.

“The lower register shows barbarians being taken captive by roman soldiers. How do we know they’re barbarians?”

When he doesn’t respond right away I look up and find him once again staring intently at me, his smoldering green eyes visible even from across the room. A shiver runs through me as I shift in my chair, crossing my legs trying to quell the ache between my thighs. Yeah, sometimes an entire room isn’t even enough space.

“Harry,” I call and he sighs, glancing down at his book.

“They have bushy hair and cork necklaces,” he says flatly, rolling onto his back again, rubbing at the crotch of his shorts a little. I have to drop my eyes back to my notes before I’m tempted to simply run over there and ravage him.

Torque necklaces,” I correct him, clearing my throat. He makes a sound of indifference.

“Whatever,” he mutters and rolls on his side again, propping himself up on an elbow, surveying me from under his long dark lashes. “You sure you don’t wanna come over here and lay with me?”

“Harry,” I warn again, eyeing him sternly but my resolve crumbles when he lets his head fall to the side and he pulls his bottom lip between his teeth and all it takes is one word, uttered innocently…

Please?”

I sigh, a little irritated as I haul myself out of my chair and close the gap between us. He’s grinning giddily up at me, scooting back to allow more room for me, pulling his book up to lay above his head. He may have won this battle, but we are going to get through this section tonight. I drop my notes between us as I lay down next to him, mimicking his pose, propping my head on my hand and looking down at the folder between us.

Before I even get one word out of my mouth, one of his large hands is smoothing over my hip, the heat of his skin searing me through my sweatpants. I sigh as his hand slides higher, fingers brushing the small exposed strip of skin between the top of my pants and the hem of my tank top. I try to ignore him and continue on.

“In the top register we have Augustus seated with his feet on a shield. The shield is the only thing breaking the two registers. Seated next to him is Roma, the goddess of…Harry, would you stop!”

His finger, that was slowly stroking the exposed skin of my hip had dipped down, wrapping in the thin ribbon of my drawstring, and he is now tugging slightly, undoing the bow and I can feel them loosen around my waist. He pouts at me as I shove his hands away, huffing a little before going back to my notes.

“Would you focus, please?” I say, doing my best to keep my breathing steady. I don’t know much longer I can.

“Yes,” he replies, his voice deep, his face contorted in mock seriousness. “Focus.”

As he says this, he moves to pull his hand to his chest, palm brushing my breast as he does and there is no way in hell that shit was unintentional. I huff, fighting the shudder that’s threatening to quake through me and I grab my notebook, rolling until my back is to him.

“Now, where was I…” I say, ignoring his arm that is snaking around my waist, tugging me closer to him. I nearly moan as I feel him hard and wanting, hands pressing into my ass. His hips wiggle impatiently, his face burying in my hair. His hand slides up my stomach to cup my breast in his large hand, squeezing a little and I can practically feel him twitch in his pants, a slow hiss stirring my hair. God, he’s pressing his hips into me like some kind of horny teenager…which…he is…shit.

I shake my head, trying to ignore him as I go on, covering the rest of the Gemma Augustae and the Forum of Trajan, the Coliseum, and the pantheon. He’s really restless now, rocking his hips into me steadily and I can barely fucking breathe his arms are wrapped so tight around me.

“Are we done yet?” he whines as I tell him the very last fact on the pantheon.

I flip through my notes, counting that we have three more pieces to go. Just three more pieces, but the way he’s pressing into me, the way his breath is coming in pants against my ear, he can’t wait three more pieces. Fuck, I can’t wait three more pieces.

“Yeah,” I sigh, hating myself as I toss the notebook onto the floor. “We’re done for the night.”

“Finally!” Harry exclaims brightly, jumping off the bed. “Are you ready? I’m ready. Let’s do it.”

My eyes widen as I watch him tear his wifebeater over his head, thumbs hooking in the waistband of his basketball shorts. “Harry, calm down,” I giggle slightly, watching him reach down to try and pull his sock from his foot.

“Its been five days,” he pants, stumbling a little as he pulls off his other sock, nearly falling but he catches himself on the bed.

“You okay there?” I ask, giggling, but it turns into a moan as he pushes his boxers to the floor. Five days is a long fucking time.

“I’m fine. Let’s do this,” he breathes excitedly. He practically pounces on me and I have to laugh at his enthusiasm. His mouth is on mine instantly, tongue sliding in, hips pressing needily against mine, fingers tugging clumsily at my clothes. 

I hold myself back, not afraid, but wanting to feel everything slowly as I lean in, tasting him, feeling the warmth of his body pressing into mine, breathing in our scents that are mingling and changing with the warmth. My hands rise to find his hair, and I relax into him as the curly strands brush through my fingers. I want more, and I lean into him as our lips move against each other.

I giggle again, pushing at his shoulder a little so I can tug my tank top over my head. He sits back and watches me, mouth slightly open as my body is revealed to him. I reach back to undo my bra, looking anywhere but at him, slightly uncomfortable under his predatory stare. He makes a strangled sound in his throat when my breasts are revealed to him and his hands reach out to cover them instantly, fondling roughly.

I wince. “Easy, Harry,” I breathe and he looks at my face, his touch instantly softening, slowly stroking my skin.

“Sorry…is this better?” he pants and I nod, reaching down to push my pants and panties down my hips, kicking them off my legs.

He climbs on top of me instantly, his mouth pressing to mine and I giggle again, feeling him pressing into my belly so hard, so needy. I wrap my arms around him, hands smoothing around his back, one going up to fist in the curls at the base of his skull. I pull his mouth from mine and he whines a little, looking down at me.

“Slow. Down. Harry,” I order slowly, laughing at his earnestness and he smiles sheepishly.

“Sorry.” He grins, tugging his bottom lip between his teeth and a wave of heat flows through me, settling in my center.

He dips his head, kissing me slow and passionate, his tongue sliding in and massaging mine. I moan into his mouth, shifting my hips impatiently. He knows now (after five days of quick makeout sessions) just how to make me moan, how to make me press harder into him, how to drive me fucking insane. I swear to God this boy’s mouth…

“Oh!” he exclaims, pulling back suddenly and bounding off the bed. I’m dizzied slightly by his movement, watching him grab his basketball shorts, turning them over and over in his hands, searching for the pockets. I watch him for a moment, sitting up a little when he produces a small foil square, dropping his shorts to the floor again. “I remembered the condom!”

He’s grinning proudly at me, as if waiting to be patted on the head and I smile back at him, nodding. I fight the urge to say “very good” because while I am his teacher and he’s my student, we are not bringing that into this. I’m guilty enough as it is.

But shit, he’s like fucking Adonis or something else equally as poetic and ridiculous. His body is perfect. Angelic face, curly hair, broad shoulders, rippled abdomen, small waist, and his dick…standing at attention. I feel another rush of pleasure and I can feel myself practically dripping on the sheets.

“Now, I just have to figure out how to use it,” he mumbles and my attention is snapped back to his face again.

His brow is furrowed and he’s holding the condom close to his nose, reading something on the package. Oh my God. 

“Harry,” I say, closing my eyes, the guilt washing over me again. “What…what are you doing?”

“Reading the directions,” he says absently, chewing on the inside of his cheek.

I run a hand over my face, trying to remain calm. He’s reading the directions. He doesn’t know how to put on a condom. [_He’s seventeen years old, _]my conscience screams at me and I wince a little before shoving it down.

“Harry, I know how to put on a fucking condom,” I say quickly and his eyes snap to mine, widening, and I can practically see his cock twitch. And he’s back on the bed in half a second, settling in front of me, panting, shoving the condom into my hand. I fight the urge to roll my eyes as I kneel in front of him. I can’t believe I’m doing this.

“Okay, first you open the package…with your hands, not your teeth. Just tear along the edge,” I instruct as I tear into the foil and he nods, his eyes trained on my hands as I pull the condom out. “You’re gonna hold the end,” I tell him as I pinch the tip, “so you don’t get air or anything in there when you put it on. You don’t want it to break.” He nods his head at me, his eyes still watching my hands. “And then you just roll it on,” I order as I begin to roll it down his shaft and he shivers. “Oh, and make sure the roll is on the outside,” I add as I roll it all the way to the base.

Our eyes meet and we both just stare at each other for a moment. Okay, so I swore I would never be his teacher in bed but hell, who am I kidding. It seems that rules are just meant to be broken when it comes to him, even the ones I’ve made for myself. After a moment we burst into giggles, him blushing a little. I place my hands on his shoulders and kiss him, feeling my body heat up again at the mere taste of him. How can he just do this to me with one kiss?

I press him back and his legs slide out straight as he settles underneath me, gazing up at me in anticipation. His hands move to grip my hips and he pauses, reaching out to brush his thumb over the black ink on my lower belly. I hiss a little because it stings and he moves to brush under it instead, studying my face intently.

“Still healing?” he asks, licking his lips and I nod, looking down my body at it. I still can’t believe I have a fucking tattoo. “Scarlett,” he breathes and I see that his face is contorted in want.

He’s looking down at the space where our bodies are about to be connected and I watch as one of his hands leaves my hip to reach between us tentatively. His eyes flit to mine, asking permission and I nod to him, my eyelids fluttering as he rubs the tip of his dick along my folds, sending jolts of pleasure through me. He’s panting as he places himself at my entrance and nudges his hips up a little, piercing me slightly and I moan, beginning my descent down, taking him in slowly inch by inch.

His head is pressed back hard into the mattress, eyes squeezed shut and I lean forward a little, bracing myself on his chest as I get ready to roll my hips into him. His nails dig hard into my waist and he grits his teeth. God, he’s so fucking gorgeous.

I begin to roll hard against him, my eyes sliding shut, working my hips slowly. I’m panting now, concentrating on the feel of him stretching me completely, filling me up. Five days is just too damn long.

“This is amazing,” he breathes and my eyes open to find him staring up at me, his gaze glassy. I can’t help but grin.

“Yeah,” I breathe, leaning back a little and I feel him slide deeper, my mouth falling open in a groan.

I’m rocking hard against him, my palms flat against his chest, his heart thudding under my hand. He’s pressing hard on my hips and his breath is coming in short, manic pants. I peek down at him, finding his face contorted in pleasure, and I lean down, pressing my mouth to his. He kisses me back hungrily, his hands smoothing up my back, nails clutching at my spine.

“God, Scar,” he pants, his hands skimming up and down my back, and I’m too caught up in the feeling of him inside me to even respond.

I lean back again, pushing my hair out of my face, my fingers lining up with his ribs. He’s pressing against that spot inside of me and my hips roll faster, my knees sliding further apart trying to take him deeper and I can feel myself clutch at him involuntarily. I’m close already. God, I’m so fucking close.

“Scarlett,” he moans, his hips pressing up into me and I’m practically there if he would just… “Scarlett I’m gonna…” He swallows hard and my nails dig into his chest because I’m so… “Scarlett, don’t…”

And then he groans deep in his chest, the muscles in his stomach tightening and his hips twitch hard up into me and I know what just happened. I roll my hips harder but I know it’s over. I hang my head back, groaning low in my chest, my body still pulsing and tears sting my eyes. I was so fucking close.

“God, Scar… I’m… I’m sorry,” he pants and I look down at him and his face is red, whether it’s from his release or embarrassment I’m not sure.

“It’s… it’s fine,” I grit out, pulling off of him, running my hands through my hair. My body is still on fire, the ache in my stomach so intense, and I’m fighting the urge to just finish myself off right in front of him.

“No,” he says, sitting up, growling as he rips the condom off and tosses it in the trashcan. “I can fix this.”

I chuckle. “Fix it?” I reply disbelievingly. “Harry…it’s…” I sigh, closing my eyes and swallowing hard. “It’s okay.”

“No,” he says quickly and I feel him climb on top of me, my body falling back against the bed, my head hitting the pillow with a plop. “I got this.”

He kisses my neck and I pant, pressing my hips up against him, trying to get some type of friction but he’s soft against my hip and I groan. There’s no way…but his lips are sliding down to my collarbone, his hands palming my breasts in the gentle way I had admonished him into. When his lips find one peak I groan loud, wrapping my legs around his waist and rocking against him. I just…I need it…I can’t even think anymore.

His mouth is moving down my stomach, his tongue leaving a wet trail in the dim light. His hands are sliding warmly up the outside of my thighs as he moves to settle between my legs. He grins up at me sheepishly and I feel one of his hands move from my thigh. When he touches me I arch my back, tingles rushing down to my toes.

I yelp when he slides his fingers in, reaching down to grip his shoulders. 

“Easy there, Harry,” I breathe and he cringes a little.

“Sorry,” he whispers, pulling out and then thrusting back in gently and I let my head fall back. “Scarlett?” he calls and I can feel his breath against me, goosebumps prickling my flesh. Shit, the things he does to me. The way he says my name.

“Hmmm,” I respond, wiggling my hips a little because his fingers have stopped.

“Can I…” he trails, and I look down at him and he gestures down and licks his lips, grinning a little uncertainly, and my eyes widen at his suggestion.

I nod slowly and he dips his head, nothing visible but golden brown curls nestled between my legs. I groan low as I feel his tongue reach out to tentatively lick my folds, my hands moving to wrap in his hair. He’s slow and cautious, his tongue laving me gently, his fingers moving slowly. He stumbles across my clit and I moan loudly, feeling him jump a little at the sound, looking up at me before grinning and dipping his head again. His tongue rolls right next to my clit and if he would just move over a little…

I sigh, frustrated, tugging one hand from his hair and he stops. “Here,” I say, making a “v” of my middle and forefinger, framing my clit for him and he leans down, flattening his tongue between my fingers and I moan loudly, my hips rising up against him.

Fire is coiling in my belly and his fingers massage in and out of me, his tongue working against me. My breathing is hitching, soft whimpers and low groans escaping my lips at the sensations that are rolling through my body, my hand in his hair scraping his scalp.

“Am I doing this right?” he asks, looking up at me and I tug hard on his curls.

“Don’t stop,” I growl, and he immediately starts again, his lips smudging against my clit, staying within the confines of my fingers.

I can feel myself start to tremble, the pleasure building in me and I tug at his hair, my hips bucking into his face, chasing that feeling that’s coiling in me. I feel my toes start to tingle and my breathing hitches when he wraps his lips around my clit and sucks, throwing me over the edge abruptly. I shout out, my hips arching off the bed and I can feel him growl a little, using his free hand to hold me down so he can keep his lips firmly in place.

I collapse back against the sheets, my body limp, my breathing ragged. I whimper a little when I feel him slide his fingers out, gasping as I watch him lick them clean. I pull my own hand from my folds and he catches my wrist, sucking my fingers into his mouth and I let my head fall back against the pillow, eyes closing. He amazes me sometimes.

“That was cool,” he says breathlessly as he climbs up my body and plops down next to me. I chuckle a little at the enthusiasm in his voice. “I mean I could [_feel _]you cu—”

“Harry,” I cut him off, sighing, and he stops abruptly.

“Sorry, am I ruining your post coital thing?” he asks and I feel him stretch out next to me, pressing his front against my side.

“A little,” I breathe and he nuzzles his nose into my neck.

“Sorry,” he says, placing a soft kiss on my pulse point before burying his face in my neck, his arm snaking across my stomach, tugging me closer and curling his body around mine.

“Harry,” I say after a moment and shiver when I feel his hum of acknowledgement vibrate against my skin. “You should go.”

The words taste bitter in my mouth but I have a rule about him sleeping here. His mom wakes him up in the morning. I’m pretty sure she would freak the fuck out if he wasn’t there. And the first door she would knock on would most likely be mine because I was the one who saw him last. That’s all we need. So he absolutely, cannot, under any circumstances—

“Scar, just let me stay a little while,” he begs softly, placing soft, dry kisses along the column of my neck. “I’ll get up and leave early. I promise.”

“Harry,” I sigh, but his tongue darts out, flicking against my neck and I know I’m done for. “Just this once.”

But as he hugs me tight against him I know it’s not just this once. It never is with us.

14

My eyelids are drooping as we make our way through the fading daylight, the headlights of the passing cars being the only thing that’s keeping me from drifting into a peaceful slumber. My forehead rests against the cool window, my bleary eyes watching the lines on the road as we twist and turn our way through downtown Los Angeles. Harry is in the seat next to me, his hand resting between us, not quite close enough to touch me but a constant reminder that he’s there, willing to hold my hand if I reach for him, which he knows I won’t but he still does it anyway.

This is his idea, wherever it is we’re going tonight. Even though its only 7:30, I’d be perfectly happy to be in my hotel room, getting ready for bed. The switch from East Coast to West Coast has taken its toll on my body, but Harry insisted. We’re in town for some award show tomorrow night and today is the group’s only day off for another week, and Harry does what he wants on his day off. And today he wants to take me somewhere and he wants it to be a surprise.

The last two weeks have been…well, they’ve been something, that’s for sure. The tour has really picked up: long bus rides (made even longer by the close quarters), lessons full of discrete touches and shared smiles. Then the shows: the waiting in my room, feebly working on my thesis, watching the clock until that knock on my door. Maybe jet-lag isn’t the only thing that’s got me exhausted…

My eyes flit to Joe, the large bodyguard sitting shotgun, and then the driver in front of me, that ridiculous fleeting fear that they could be mind readers gnawing at me, just like the guilt, wondering where the hell we’re going as we drive along. I sit up, craning my neck as we come to a gate. Harry is fidgeting in his seat, trying to suppress his smile. The driver pays the parking fee and I’m looking everywhere for a sign, some indication of where the hell we are.

“Harry—”

“Just wait,” he says, slightly bouncing as the driver pulls into the parking garage.

The driver drops us off by the elevators and we all climb out and I see it—a huge mural on the wall. The Getty. As in the J. Paul Getty Museum, one of the largest collections of European paintings and sculpture in the United States. I’m so shocked I stop walking and Harry and Joe look back at me as I stare dumbly at the wall.

“Come on, Scar,” Harry says, chuckling slightly, “We haven’t even gotten to the real art yet.”

I’m completely speechless as we ride up and get on the tram, starstruck as we climb high above Los Angeles. The setting sun is on my back, the 405 beneath me, Bel-Air looming in front of me, and the city lights twinkling to my right. I’m wrapped up in it, anticipation causing me to shift impatiently in my seat. The Getty collection is one of the most priceless and extensive in the country and ever since I knew what classical art was, I’ve wanted to see it. This desire strengthened when two years ago they moved the collection from the small home gallery to the center we’re ascending toward now.

It takes all of my willpower not to run towards the main building as we step off the tram, taking in the marble walkways, smiling at the man who greets us and hands us maps.

“Where do you wanna go first?” Harry asks me softly as we lean into each other, looking over the map.

I look back at him and he smiles widely at me, his ball cap casting a shadow onto his boyish face, and now I can’t speak for a different reason.

“Why don’t we start at the North Pavilion,” he suggests, pointing to the little building on the map. “That has the oldest stuff.”

I just nod dumbly, slowly following him, Joe trailing behind us. We step in and the first thing I see is a Greek relief and it takes every ounce of resolve not to squeal like one of Harry’s fans. I run up to it, leaning in close, taking in the detail of the horses, ranging from low relief to high relief, giving the piece incredible depth.

“Tell me about it.” It’s Harry, his voice right next to my ear. He’s leaning in close too, his arm pressed against mine, and I stare at him for a moment, still slightly dumbstruck.

“It’s, um…” I stutter, finally finding my voice. “It’s Achilles and his mother, Thetis and they’re on a chariot coming up on worshipers, I would assume.” I lean in again, surveying it closely. “There’s only seven in this piece but I would imagine there were about ten originally. It was probably a religious votive for the Achilleides cult.”

“Bingo,” Harry says, reading the little plaque underneath the relief. “How do you do that?”

“What?” I ask, moving excitedly into the first room, taking in the various pieces of pottery.

“Know all this crap,” he says, studying me curiously and then his attention turns to what I’m looking at. “Hey, red form pottery!”

“Very good, Harry!” I exclaim, bouncing slightly. I turn, fighting the urge to hug him and nearly smack right into Joe, gasping in shock.

“Sorry,” Joe says, his deep voice vibrating with laughter. “I was just looking.”

“Be careful in here, man,” Harry tells him, walking around the room, glancing at things with slight interest. “You break it, you buy it.”

“There are priceless!” I gush as I examine some stone sculptures and I’m sure I’m grinning like a fool.

“Oh I’m sure they’d price it for us if this oaf knocked it over,” Harry quips, grinning cheekily up at Joe who glares back at him before shaking his head and chuckling.

“I can’t believe you did this!” I exclaim, barely containing my excitement as we move to the next room.

“Well, you know…” he says, hands in his pockets, swaggering behind me. “It’s about time I took you on a date.”

And I nearly break my neck turning to look at him. Joe is standing right next to him and the panic curling in me is enough to nearly knock me over. He’s smiling at me, unaffected, and Joe is looking at a chalice in a glass case.

“Harry…” I say slowly, my eyes flitting to Joe, giving him a warning look.

“Oh, he knows,” Harry tells me, waving his hand dismissively. Joe glances at me, nodding hesitantly before looking away again.

I feel my knees go weak and my entire body flushes, my breath coming in pants. Harry looks at me concerned and I’m sure my face is completely white. He steps forward, one large hand cupping my shoulder, the other moving to hold my chin, his eyes looking into mine. I slap his hands away, looking at him horrified. I’m done. This is it. I’m fired and probably going to jail. Goodbye to my dreams of being a curator of someplace like this. Goodbye to my masters and to my doctorate and every other ambition I ever had. Hello to a three by nine cell and an orange jumpsuit.

“Scarlett, calm down,” Harry laughs easily. “It’s Joe! He was there at the club that night. Remember? He took us back to the hotel.”

I close my eyes, wincing slightly at the memory. My heart is thudding hard in my chest and my stomach is turning over and over. Joe is still avoiding my gaze, reading the plaque for the chalice.

[_This _]is why this was a bad idea. I’ve never been good at keeping secrets. My father knew when I had one more popsicle than I was allowed because I left the stick on the counter. My mother knew that I was still seeing that boy she told me I wasn’t allowed to date because I wore his jacket home from school one day. And Joe know I’m having sex with my underage student because I couldn’t keep my hands to myself. I close my eyes again, and for what seems like the millionth time, I hate myself for what I’m doing.

“He’s cool, Scar,” Harry says and I open my eyes to find him looking at me steadily, assuredly. “He didn’t tell the first time your drunk ass tried to seduce me. Why would he bring it up now?”

I gasp and he smiles cockily at me. I reach out and hit him with the back of my hand, pursing my lips to suppress my smile. He dodges me, grinning and I sigh, turning back to the art around me. “You are a brat,” I say, and he follows me as I walk along the wall, surveying the small pieces of jewelry and purse covers behind the glass. “And I did not seduce you,” I add lowly, not wanting the other patrons to hear.

“Excuse me?” he exclaims softly, scurrying up behind me after he had stopped from the shock of my statement. “I seem to remember someone backing her ass up on me on the dance floor.”

“That was not seduction,” I reply, doing my best to contain my smile as we move down the hall toward the next room. “That was just dancing.”

“Oh, okay,” he says sarcastically and then he comes up behind me, his arms wrapping around me, pulling me snugly against him, his breath warm on my ear. “What do you call your hand on my dick in the backseat of the car?”

I gasp slightly, and I can feel him grin, his lips pressed to my earlobe. I shake him off, casting nervous glances at the people around us.

“Okay, maybe that was…” My voice trails as the hall opens up and in front of me is a large statue of a woman, completely nude aside from a small scrap of cloth she’s reaching for to shield herself. I’m in awe because this…this is a replica of my favorite piece of Greek art. It’s not the exact same, but it’s one of the only surviving Roman replicas of the Aphrodite of Cnidus.

“Hey!” Harry exclaims, pushing past me to stand close to the statue. He cocks his head to the side. “Isn’t this that statue from the book?”

“Yes,” I reply, finding my voice again, and stepping forward to stand next to him.

“Aphrodite of Cider,” he says, nodding.

I roll my eyes, laughing a little. “Cnidus, Harry,” I correct and he shrugs indifferently.

“This is kinda cool,” he says, gazing up at her intently. “You know…seeing a piece from the book in real life.”

“Yeah,” I reply absently and he’s moving on, heading out the door. I linger a little, taking in the folds of the cloth and the delicate features of her face.

“You ready?” he calls to me and I turn fully towards him, following him and Joe back out of the room. We head up the stairs and view a few paintings and the illuminated manuscripts before moving on to the East Pavilion, taking our time in surveying the 17th century Baroque paintings. Harry questions me on various works and I pester him with school work, forcing him to analyze at least one piece from each room.

It’s starting to get darker and darker as we step out into the courtyard again, the warm summer air laying against my skin like a blanket. Harry is walking ahead of me, chatting with Joe about basketball. I watch him tug his cap lower over his eyes as a group of young women pass, his gaze following them briefly before turning back to his conversation. My blood heats up a little but I push it down. This thing with he and I, it’s…it’s…God, what is it about us that defies my grasp of the English language? We fuck. There, that wasn’t so hard. It’s what we do, no strings, no emotions…well, for me anyway. I eye him, watching his head fall back as he laughs. Being with him isn’t easy, but well, I’ve tried the alternative. That worked out just great.

“Hey Scar,” Harry says, turning to me and I snap out of my daze. “Want an ice cream?”

I glance ahead and see an old man with a cart set up in the middle of the courtyard, handing ice cream cones to a middle aged couple. Harry nods his head at me, gesturing for me to come with him and I do, striding up next to him to stand at the cart.

“Hey, can I get two please?” Harry says, holding up two fingers as his other hand digs into his pocket. He’s buying me [_ice cream. _]Seriously, is he for real?

“Enjoying the museum?” the man asks as he scoops vanilla ice cream into cones for us. I nod animatedly.

“Oh yes, it’s amazing!” I can’t help but exclaim, taking my cone from him as he begins to make Harry’s.

“What’s been your favorite piece so far?” he asks, handing a cone to Harry. I open my mouth to speak but Harry cuts me off.

“You don’t wanna ask her that, man,” he says, handing the man a few bills. “You’ll be stuck here for days.”

“Hey!” I say, nudging him gently. He laughs, that deep, throaty laugh from his chest and I can’t fight the shiver that runs through me.

We turn to sit on a bench near the fountain, Joe moving to sit across the way, giving us some privacy. I watch Joe take his seat, taking in his surroundings, keeping his eye on a few of the younger women milling around. My stomach turns a little because he knows. [_He knows! _]Someone besides Harry and I [_knows _]and this could be the end of everything. Harry was right, Joe had never said anything from the incident before, but that was different. I was drunk and it was late and it hadn’t been happening every night for the past two weeks.

Oh my God, I’m going to hell.

“Having fun?” Harry’s voice startles me out of my thoughts and I realize that he’s been watching me all along.

“What?” I respond and then his words register in my brain and my spirits lift again. “Yes! Oh my God, this is fabulous!” I tell him and he runs his tongue along his bottom lip as I run mine along the outside of my ice cream cone.

We’re quiet for a moment, just listening to the water flow into the fountain, me watching the few people that are bustling through the courtyard, him watching me, eyes trained on my mouth, and I know what he’s thinking. God, he’s such a perv sometimes.

“You’re dripping there, Harry,” I say, smiling slightly. He looks down, seeing his ice cream melting down over his hand.

“Oh…yeah,” he chuckles, bringing his hand up, his tongue lapping up the liquid around his fingers.

Heat flushes through me as I watch him flatten his tongue along the side of the cone, licking in one long sweep, his Adam’s apple bobbing as he swallows, licking his lips before going in for another. Okay, so apparently I’m a perv, too.

“So…” he says slowly, not looking at me for what seems like the first time all night. “Have you ever had a serious boyfriend?”

I nearly choke, coughing, my ice cream grazing my chin, and before I can get a hand up to wipe it away, Harry’s own hand is cupping my jaw, his thumb brushing the stickiness away. He brings his thumb to his mouth and sucks it clean and I swear there is no way that I am not going to hell for this.

“W-what’s it to you?” I stutter, nervously wiping at my chin with the back of my hand. He shrugs.

“Nothing really. I just never have,” he says and then he tenses a little. “Well, there was this one girl…”

“Oh really?” I grin at him and he smiles weakly back at me. “The one your mom caught you with?”

“Oh no, that was a different one,” he says, waving his hand dismissively, and I laugh a little. “No…no, I really liked this other girl. She was on this TV show I did for awhile. We had really hit it off and then the show ended…and I went home,” he says, sighing and then grinning at me. “And that’s when I met the girl my mom caught me with.”

“You’re such a playboy,” I tease lightly, and he chuckles.

“[_Two _]girls,” he says, looking at me pointedly. “Oh yeah, I’m big pimpin’ baby. Well…three girls now.” He smiles softly at me and I feel my stomach flip.

“We are not dating,” I say after I get a hold of my senses, and he frowns at me.

“Yes, we are,” he responds, nodding.

“No…no, we aren’t.”

“We’re here together, aren’t we?”

“This is not a date, Harry,” I say sternly, and he shakes his head.

“No, see, I took you here and I bought you food. It’s a date. We are on a date, therefore we are dating.”

I scoff. “No,” I reply, searching for something to rebut with. “Just…no!”

He chuckles. “Good argument,” he replies, and licks at his ice cream again and I have to look away.

“Harry…seriously,” I continue, the guilt rising in me. This is a strictly physical thing. He has to know that. He has to believe it and live it because we cannot…we are not dating.

“Scar, seriously,” he mocks and I purse my lips, huffing quietly. “Answer my question. Have you dated anyone seriously?”

I shift uncomfortably. “Not really,” I responds and he eyes me skeptically.

“You’re lying,” he says and I sigh, glaring at him.

“Why the sudden interest in my past love life?” I question, and he grins.

“Just curious.”

“Well, get over it,” I tell him, a little too harshly to be just simply annoyed. His eyes soften a little.

“Was he an asshole?” he asks, licking at his ice cream cone and I can’t believe we’re talking about this.

“Yeah, he was,” I say flatly, and he places a comforting hand on my knee.

“He break up with you?” he pries gently. I sigh, rolling my eyes.

“Yeah, Harry, he did…after he got my best friend pregnant,” I say and his eyes widen, whether it’s from the news I delivered or the venom in my voice I’m not sure. “Why are we talking about this?” I ask, turning away from him slightly so that his hand falls from my knee. Shit, I haven’t thought about that in forever.

“He’s a moron,” Harry says softly, his hand running smoothly up and down my back as the hurt that I buried inside me so long ago surfaces again. “Seriously, baby. He’d have to be to let you get away from him.”

I cringe slightly at the term of endearment. He usually only calls me that when he’s joking, his voice light and teasing or when we’re in bed, his voice soft and gentle. He’s not teasing me. I’m just about to reply when a man in a suit approaches us.

“I’m sorry,” he says, his Italian accent light and apologetic. “Its nine o’clock and the museum is closing.”

My heart constricts. We’ve only been through two of the buildings! We can’t go yet! There’s still so much to see! The 18th century European paintings, the furnished and paneled rooms, the Italian paintings and sculpture ranging from the 1700s through the 1900s! We can’t go yet!

“Oh yeah, um, I called about that,” Harry says, fidgeting with the hat on his head, glancing around before pulling it up quickly, revealing his mess of golden brown curls underneath and then replacing it nervously.

“Yes, I thought it was you,” the man says, smiling, and I nearly fall off the bench. “I’m John Giurini, director of Public Affairs. I’ll be accompanying you through the museum after hours.”

“Thanks for doing this,” Harry says, extending his hand, and John shakes it enthusiastically.

“It’s not a problem at all! You’re my daughter’s favorite,” John enthuses and Harry drops his head, smiling as he nods a little.

“Well, tell her thank you for me. I’d be happy to sign something for her.”

I trail along behind them as John goes on and on about his daughter, Harry nodding and laughing politely. Joe strides up next to me and I glance at him briefly as we make our way into the South Pavilion.

“You know,” Joe tells me, and I look up at him, finding him peering down at me hesitantly, “It’s not my job to tell him what to do. It’s not my job to tell his mother what he does. In fact, doing that greatly impedes my job. If he doesn’t trust me then he tries to ditch me and that’s how people get hurt. It’s my job to protect him. I’ve known this kid since he was fourteen years old. I [_know _]him. I know how he thinks. I know how he works. I’m not surprised that he was able to get to you.”

I cringe, looking away but he continues on.

“I’m not surprised you gave in.”

My eyes meet his again and he’s looking at me steadily.

“I’ll keep your secret, Scarlett. But I’m telling you now, nothing good can come of this.”

I look up at him, slightly shocked. I think that this is the most Joe has ever said to me in the entire two months we’ve been together on this tour. He’s looking down at me sympathetically…well…sympathetically for him. He glares. It’s his constant expression but you just have to learn to read his glares.

It takes a few moments for what he’s said to register and the overwhelming guilt consumes me again. I look at the ground and then at Harry, who’s still nodding politely to John. I know Joe is right. I know my conscience is right. I know this, but…there’s no stopping this. We’ve opened Pandora’s Box and it can’t be closed again, no matter how much I wish I had the willpower to do it.

Joe is still looking at me, his black eyes imploring, begging for my understanding. I give him a slight nod and he returns it, the look on his face saying he knows nothing has changed. I’ll be in Harry’s bed again, or he’ll be in mine, but this is going to continue. As much as I hate it, I’m in this.

“Scar,” Harry calls, and I look up to find him standing in front of a large canvas, John having melted into the background. “Tell me about this one!”

I move forward, taking in the large painting of Pluto and Proserpine. Harry leans in close to me, pretending to be looking at the painting as he whispers, “Sorry about that.”

I shake my head at him before beginning to explain the piece and he listens intently, following me along as we move through the South Pavilion and then the West, John and Joe trailing behind us in a quiet sentinel.

“You’re not even thinking critically, Harry!” I exclaim as we make our way out of the West Pavilion.

“Scar! It’s a fucking landscape!” he shoots back and John clears his throat, causing us to turn our attention to him

“The changing exhibit is last,” he informs us, an amused expression on his face as he opens the door to the building. “It’s a small exhibition celebrating nudity in art.” He ushers us inside and waits at the doorway of the exhibit, gesturing us to walk in. He and Joe wait at the entrance, allowing us to go in unchaperoned.

“Still,” I say, picking up our conversation as I make my way into the room, “I’ve told you before, ‘pretty’ is not a critique!”

“Ugh, it was a grove of trees, Scarlett! How the hell am I supposed to—holy shit!”

It seems that now he’s finally noticed the large painting on the wall in front of us. I look at him and it takes all of my willpower not to burst out laughing. His eyes are large as saucers, his mouth hanging open in shock as he takes in the large painting of a woman’s spread legs.

“Amazing, isn’t it?” I say, leaning forward to survey the brush strokes and I swear I can hear him swallow the lump in his throat. I glance back at him and he’s standing with his arms crossed over his front. I playfully roll my eyes, moving back from the painting and grinning at him. “Jesus, Harry, do you ever not think about sex?”

I shake my head at him as I turn my back, moving along to the next painting. I hear him scurry up behind me, his voice quiet and tense as he says, “Scar, that is a ten by twelve foot [_vagina _]on the wall!”

“And here’s its companion,” I say, barely containing my smile as he looks from me to the painting in front of us.

“Oh, Jesus,” he says, cringing and throwing his hands up in front of his face. “Dick is not my thing.”

I hum in response, the risqué retort bounding around inside my head. And then I think, to hell with it. If I’m going to hell I want a first class ticket. “No, you like pussy don’t you?” I probe, giggling a little when he moans.

“You can’t say stuff like that to me,” he whines, his hands moving to my hips as we stand in front of a portrait of two bodies erotically entwined. “God, Scar, what the hell is this shit?”

“Art,” I reply simply, leaning back into him, feeling him pressing into me.

“Why don’t we study this stuff?” he breathes into my ear and I laugh slightly, as he hugs me tight against him.

“We do,” I say, ignoring his hand that is inching up my stomach. “The Greeks were all about nudity in art.”

“But not like this,” he says, his large hand giving my breast a squeeze as his lips nibble at my neck. I allow my head to loll to the side, my eyes closing, pushing the guilt down. God, I just can’t get enough of him.

“Can we go back to the hotel?” he whispers in my ear.

My eyes open, my body on fire as I shiver, his mouth opening against my neck, tongue reaching out to flick at my pulse point. Joe’s words echo in my head and I know I should say no. I know when we get back I shouldn’t tell him to come to my room to “study.” I know I should tell him that we need to stop this crazy thing before we both go up in flames. I should tell him no…

“Yes,” I say, turning in his arms to look into his handsome face, resolve no where in sight. “Let’s get out of here.”

15

My heart is thundering in my chest as I make my way back to my hotel room. My ears are ringing and my throat is sore and for the millionth time I think why the hell did I wait so long to go to one of these concerts.

He had begged me to go tonight. He’d taken my hands in his and listened as I gave him excuse after excuse not to go: my thesis, I was tired, I had to get his next lesson ready. And he stood there, nodding along and when I was finished he leaned in and kissed me, tongue sliding in slowly, giving me a little taste before pulling back. Then he sighed and cocked his head to one side, green eyes sparkling as he said, “Please baby.” The smile that exploded onto his features when I reluctantly agreed was enough to dazzle me into actually being on time.

Once I got over the initial lameness of it all and really just concentrated on him, the way he moved, the sound of his voice, I was entranced. I was fucking mesmerized by him. The way he could stand in the middle of that stage, just stand there, a smoldering look on his face, so much like the one he gives me when he’s ready to rip my clothes off and I’m taking too long to let him. And the crowd just screams for him, the way I scream for him when he does it just right.

My body is still tingling from it all as I fall back onto my bed and wait…wait for him to get back from the arena, wait to throw him down on this bed and tear his clothes off. My eyes flick to the clock and it reads 10:47. He should be back any minute. I wonder briefly if I have time to shave my legs. I want this to be fucking fantastic. I decide against it because seriously, he’ll be here any second now and I don’t want him coming in then having to wait. I don’t want to wait one second.

The phone rings and I reach for it, sighing slightly as I answer. My stomach tightens when I hear his voice. “I’m gonna be a little longer than I thought,” he says, his words low and soft and I know he can’t really talk, voices chattering in the background.

“Harry,” I whine, drawing out his name as a flash of heat travels through me, my want for him intensifying to an almost unbearable level.

“I know,” he growls and I can tell he’s not pleased either. “Chris has us doing this thing in this club. It’s just an appearance. I’ll be there in half an hour, forty-five minutes tops.”

I sigh, my eyes falling closed as the ache between my legs intensifies. I need him right now, not in an hour.

“Can you do something for me?” he asks and his voice is low, but this time I know it’s not from trying to be unheard. “Will you wait for me in my room?”

“I guess I could do that,” I reply, sighing and the line is quiet for a moment.

“Will you wait for me naked?”

I nearly groan out loud. I can tell he’s grinning just from the sound of his voice and I bet he’s chewing on his bottom lip, like he always does when he asks me to do something risqué or sexy.

“Harry…” I say, uneasiness in my voice. His mother has been known to just go into his room. The mere thought of a scenario in which she walks in to find me naked on her underage son’s bed… Let’s just say jail would be the least of my worries at that point.

“Please, Scarlett,” he begs, a slight whine in his voice, and I sigh again.

“What if your mother—”

“Mom’s with me. She always comes to the aftershow club things we do and she’ll go to her room when I come back. Please, Scar.”

“Ugh,” I moan slightly, running a hand over my face. I can’t believe I’m agreeing to this. “Alright…”

“Yes!” he hisses quietly and I know he just did a victory dance. I grin at the visual.

“Just hurry, okay?” I say, barely containing the slight whine in my voice.

“Oh trust me,” he responds with a snort of laughter, “I’m trying.”

I sigh as I hang up and begin peeling off my clothes slowly, eyeing myself in the mirror on the back of the bathroom door for a moment before pulling on my fluffy hotel robe. I grab a clip, twisting my long hair up on my head because he likes taking it down and running his hands through it. I snatch the two room keys off the bedside table (one mine, the other Harry’s) and head down the hall. I’m looking over my shoulder as I slip the key in and let myself into his room.

He has clothes everywhere, CDs piled on the table, a basketball sitting in a chair, and I shift awkwardly in the doorway. This room is a testament to its occupant, a seventeen year old boy…who I’m waiting for…naked.

Maybe this has gone on for too long. Maybe I need to just go back to my room and put my clothes on and fall asleep to Leno on TV. I shift again, my thighs slick from the concert earlier and my calves slide against each other, the prickling hairs scratching against my skin. I really need to shave my legs.

The clock on the bedside table says 11:07. Harry should be back in about 30 minutes. I chew my bottom lip, debating what to do. It will take me ten minutes to shave my legs, one or two to dry off, one or two to get back here, a few to position myself on the bed. It would cut it too close. I sigh, my eyes falling on the bathroom door, and I have an idea.

I step inside and look around the counter, searching for his razor. Oh God, what if he doesn’t have a razor? What if he doesn’t need to shave yet? Panic floods me for a moment, the guilt gnawing at my insides but my common sense kicks in, remembering a few times when he would kiss me goodbye in the morning, the soft hairs on his upper lip tickling my cheek. I tug the shower curtain back and find it lying on the soap holder.

I sigh again, turning the knobs and water pours from the shower head. I let my robe fall to the floor, stepping under the spray. I allow the water to caress over me for a moment before reaching for the small soap wrapped in paper that’s sitting on the side of the tub.

As I begin to shave, my mind wanders back to an hour or so ago. I just can’t get the way he moved out of my head. He was different up there on that stage, less bumbling and shy, his voice confident and strong. I was amazed at how he could sing and dance in front of twenty thousand people and not even blink over it, but so often he’s fidgeting and nervous sitting in front of me just analyzing a piece of art.

God, the way he moved. His body seemed to just glide across the stage, hips rolling and shimmying and the crowd fucking loved him. And he took it all in, smiling and laughing and pointing when someone did something he liked. And this thing he did with his mouth, holding the microphone to his lips and moving his body, pulsing beats coming through the speakers. And I stood amazed, wondering how the hell he did that. I’d have to ask him about that later…

But his voice! God, it gives me chills just thinking about it. His voice caressed those notes like his hands caress my body behind closed doors. And at one point during their performance, his eyes met mine and he gave me that small smile before cocking his head to the side and bringing the microphone to his mouth and the sound that came out was so…God, I can’t even describe it. And he brought his hand above his head, just like the four other guys on stage, and he let it fall, his finger pointing at me, a smile tugging at his mouth before looking away and scanning the arena, the crowd going wild.

By the time I’m finish shaving I’m so hot I can barely breathe. I lay his razor back in place and turn the warm hot water down, the spray instantly chilling my skin and my nipples tightening almost painfully. My eyes close as I run my hand down my neck, in between my breasts and down over my hip, just trying to breathe. God, the shit he does to me and he’s not even here.

My eyes fly open and I nearly scream when I hear the curtain pull back and someone steps in behind me. But my body instantly relaxes when I feel his familiar hands slide around my stomach.

“You know, when I told you to wait for me naked I was just thinking you’d lay across the bed or something,” Harry chuckles, his breath tickling my ear. “But this is so much better.”

I moan a little, leaning back into him and he hugs me close, my hands sliding over his arms, feeling the goose bumps prickling his skin.

“Whew, baby…” he comments and I feel the shiver shake through him. “Why’s the water so cold?” He leans down, reaching out to twirl the hot water knob and the water warms instantly and so does my skin because I can feel him pressing into me. I just want to devour him. I spin in his arms and capture his lips, taking him a little by surprise as I press my body fully against his. He moans into my mouth, his hands sliding down to grip my ass in his hands.

I nibble at his bottom lip, my hands roaming up and down his chest, nails skittering over his abs, feeling his stomach tremble under my fingers. He continues to moan into my mouth as my hands hold his hips, fingers pressing into his skin.

“What’s gotten into you?” he breathes, his mouth wrenching away from mine.

“I saw the show,” I pant breathlessly and he laughs, his head falling back and I take the opportunity to lick at his neck, his laugh melting into a moan.

“Liked it, did ya?” he grins, tilting his head back down to look at my face, his bottom lip tucked between his teeth.

“Oh yeah,” I tease, a finger trailing down his chest. “Especially that thing you did…with your mouth.”

He cocks an eyebrow at me, looking at me curiously. “My mouth?”

“Yeah,” I say, nuzzling his nose with mine. “It was…” I trail, not even knowing how to make the sounds he made. “It was like drums.”

“What, this?” he asks, and presses his lips together and this sound, like nothing I’d ever heard before, comes out. I nod, mesmerized, my fingers going up to brush his lips, feeling them vibrate before he stops, licking his lips. “That’s beat boxing,” he tells me, nodding his head assuredly and I smile at him. “It started with Doug E Fresh and Biz Markie in the 80s and—”

“Do it again,” I say softly, cutting him off, and he smiles widely at me before licking his lips.

He presses his lips together again, setting a beat that has my heart pulsing, my hips itching to swish. I bring my hand up again to touch his lips, completely intrigued. He pulls back a little, laughing. “It’s hard to do when you press on my mouth, babe,” he grins, licking his lips again, and I can’t take it.

My mouth crushes to his as my hand finds his dick, hard and ready, giving him a slow stroke. His mouth opens against mine in a silent gasp of pleasure as my thumb swipes over the head. He drops his face to my shoulder, whimpering softly as I work him slow, his hands sliding up my back to cup my shoulders. I grip him tighter, the water pouring onto us making my hands slippery as I peck kisses along his ear.

“St-stop,” he pants softly, his fingers gripping my wrist and tugging my hand away from him.

I pout at him slightly as he pulls his head up, his heavy breath fanning my lips and he kisses me hard, his hands moving around my stomach and down, parting my folds with his long fingers. I reach to grip his shoulders but he’s sliding down to his knees, grinning up at me. He grips my ankle softly, tugging a little and I reach one arm out to steady myself on the tiled wall of the shower as he slips my leg over his shoulder.

“You know…” he whispers, taking my free hand and pressing it to myself, nudging it with his nose and I make a “V” of my fingers for him, receiving a grin in return. “I’ve always kinda wanted to try this.”

I give him a confused look but he just licks his lips before dipping his head and I wait for his tongue to touch me. I moan loudly when I feel his lips vibrate against me, the beat he’s setting slow and deep and I feel my knees tremble. His hand slides slickly up my outer thigh that’s resting on his shoulder, caressing me softly as his lips work between my fingers, vibrating and shivering against my clit. My entire body is trembling and shaking and I whine when he pulls back, smacking his lips as he looks up at me, grinning before dipping his head again.

I let my head fall back and I hiss when I feel his fingers pressing into me, stretching me open and his beat stutters for a moment as he moans. 

“Fuck, babe,” he pants, watching his fingers work in and out slowly. “God, you’re soaked.”

My free hand wraps in his wet curls as he brings his lips to me again, pulsing and vibrating against my clit and I can feel it building in me. My fingers pull from his hair as I reach out to grab onto the shower rod, my knees threatening to give way any second as the pleasure pulses through me. I moan his name and I feel him growl against me, his mouth becoming more furious as his fingers work me harder, and I cry out, my body clutching at his fingers, my voice echoing off the tiled walls.

I’m shaking hard as he slides up again and I grip onto his shoulders for support, my eyes still closed. His hands are turning me around slowly and he moves us so I’m under the spray, the water beating soothingly down onto my breasts. His fingers come up, and I feel the clip release my hair, sending it tumbling down over my shoulders and he hums softly as it tickles across his chest and neck. He clasps the clip around the shower rod, his arms circling around to hold me. I lay my head back on his shoulder and he presses his lips to my temple, softly humming, swaying me slowly.

My skin is tingling and my body is buzzing, feeling him pressed up against me, his arms holding me tight. His hand is pressed flat against my stomach, rubbing slowly in a soothing way, his hips wiggling against me as his lips slide down my neck, sucking the skin softly. I can’t wait anymore. I need him inside me now. I reach out bracing myself on the wall in front of me and lean forward, water cascading down my back, chewing on my lip, waiting.

When nothing happens I glance over my shoulder and find him staring at my ass, his mouth slightly agape. His hands are massaging over the rounded flesh of my bottom, just staring, his tongue snaking out to wet his bottom lip. I giggle a little, biting my lip as I shimmy my hips against him. 

“Come on, Harry,” I tease, and his eyes meet mine. “You know how this works.”

He chuckles softly, hands still rolling my flesh, and I feel him press intimately against me. “We’ve never done it this way before,” he pants breathlessly and before I can even respond he nudges in slowly.

I hang my head forward as he pushes completely in, his hands holding my hips steady, a low groan tearing from his throat. I feel him shiver hard, fingernails biting into my skin, and I’m panting already.

“Fuck… it’s so…” He gasps lowly. “Tight.”

I grin, licking my lips, bracing myself against the wall as he pulls out slow and slides back in, a low moan rumbling from his chest and I need him to do this. His hands are moving from my hips, slipping wetly up my back, sliding down over my shoulder blades and down, cupping my breasts. He gives a gentle squeeze as he pulls out again, sliding back in smoothly, his hands slicking down my stomach and gripping my waist again.

The pace he’s setting is slow but deep and I’m moaning with every stroke, body tingling with pleasure, hands scratching at the tile wall. I’m so into it that I guess I don’t hear the hotel room door open and close. He must be too because the way he’s working me. Shit, I could just…

“Harry, baby!” his mother’s voice suddenly floats in from the other room.

We both freeze and I gasp as I hear the creak of the bathroom door as its pushed open. Harry’s hand moves quickly, covering my mouth to suppress the sound, and my entire body tenses. My entire fucking body. I feel him shiver against me, the hand still on my hip gripping almost painfully.

“Mom…” he says, his voice slightly strangled. “What…what are you doing in here?”

I’m panicking, completely and utterly falling apart but I’m paralyzed by fear, unable to move. I knew…I knew this would happen. Why didn’t I listen to myself? Why didn’t I listen to Joe? I’m going to be fired. I’m going to jail! All for what? Some sex? Why…why didn’t I listen! But then I know why when Harry shifts nervously behind me, his dick, still buried deep inside me, nudging that spot and a small strangled sound comes from my throat. His hand tightens over my mouth, his fingers digging into my cheeks hard enough to bruise.

“Just getting your dirty clothes. The show was great tonight, honey. You did a good job,” she says and I hear her rustling around just outside the dark curtain. This is not happening right now.

“Uh…thanks,” Harry replies, swallowing hard and it feels like he isn’t breathing.

“I know you think you messed up during Little Things but I think you’re wrong,” Anne goes on and this is so not happening to me right now.

“Yeah,” he responds shortly and I’m wondering how the hell is he still hard. But he is. The miracle of a teenage boy’s body. I nearly sob at the thought. This is too much right now.

“You know, I was talking to Trace’s mother earlier today,” Anne continues and I hate my life. I hate my entire existence. Why didn’t I listen?

Harry hums an uninterested response and I know he’s just trying to get her to shut up. His hips wiggle a little and I bite at his fingers. He can’t do that right now. He just can’t. I know this has to be torture for him because I’m still tense but God, he can’t fucking do that right now.

“She had just gotten some film developed and one of the rolls was those pictures of you and Trace in Rachel’s homecoming dresses,” Anne continues, the laughter evident in her voice. “You and that glitter eye shadow. You made a very pretty girl, Harry,” she chuckles to herself.

I’m done. It’s over… wait… what? My brain jams at Anne’s words. Harry? In a dress? I turn my head, trying to look at him but the grip he has on my face is holding my head steady. My panic slowly begins to ebb as the visual of Harry dressed as a girl floats into my brain. Harry, the kid who does everything in his power to seem as manly as possible at all times, wearing a pretty pink dress. And something happens that can only be explained by blind panic.

I get the horrifying urge to laugh.

“Mom!” Harry exclaims and I’m fighting the giggles that are bubbling in my throat. “That…that was a long time ago. We were just playing around,” he adds and I know that is more for me than for her.

“Oh honey, that was just six months ago. Remember because Rachel was gonna wear the purple one to the prom and Trace ripped the zipper out,” she says and my body is shaking with repressed laughter.

“Yeah, well…” Harry trails and I’m pretty sure he’s blushing.

“And you and that purse, Harry,” she exclaims laughing. “I swear I have never laughed so hard in my life as when you walked down those stairs in high heels—”

“Mother, please!” Harry exclaims finally, the hand on my hip releasing me, and I know he’s covering his face. It is taking every ounce of willpower I have not to just fall over laughing, the image of Harry in a pink evening gown playing over and over in my mind.

“Harry…” Anne trails, and I can hear the discomfort in her voice. “Am I interrupting you or something?”

My entire body seizes again and he gasps, his hand coming back down to grab my hip roughly. She knows. She knows I’m in here and she’s going to rip me out of this shower by my hair and kill me, and then I’ll be sent to prison.

“What?” he asks, panting slightly, his fingers digging hard into my flesh.

There’s an uncomfortable silence and then, her voice soft, “You know…” Her trailing sentence lingers in the air and it takes me a minute to realize what she’s implying. I don’t know whether to sigh in relief or laugh out loud. Harry’s hand moves from my hip again and I hear the smack of skin on skin as he hits himself in the forehead.

“Oh my God,” he breathes. “No, Mom…God…”

“Because that one time…”

MOM!” Harry practically screams, his voice jumping an octave and I bite his fingers again to keep from laughing.

“Honey, are you alright?” she asks with an exasperated sigh. “You sound stressed.”

“Mom!” he cries again and I can tell he’s almost to his breaking point. “I’m in the shower…naked…can we please just talk about this later!”

I can hear her huff slightly. “Alright, alright,” she sighs and I can hear her shoes smacking against the tile as she turns to leave, muttering all the while. “Seen you naked since the day you were born… you act like its something I haven’t seen before…”

We wait to hear the snap of the door as Anne leaves his hotel room and both of us heave a sigh of relief, Harry’s hand trembling as he pulls it away from my mouth. And I just can’t hold it in anymore, giggles bubbling up from my throat.

“Shut. Up,” he says breathlessly. I look over my shoulder at him and his face is flushed and he’s digging the heels of his hands into his forehead.

“A prom dress, Harry? Glitter eye shadow?” I can barely breathe as I say the words, the laughter just rumbling from me, the relieved tension making me a little slap happy.

But my laughter is abruptly cut short when his hand comes down hard on my ass and I gasp, half from shock and half from pleasure. I can feel his body lean over mine, his chest slick from the water. His voice is right next to my ear as he whispers, “I said, Shut. Up.”

I moan slightly as his lips press against my ear and I feel him grin, straightening back up again before pulling out and sliding back in. I hang my head forward, bracing my hands against the wall, just letting him work me. I should probably tell him to stop. I should probably be a lot more freaked out right now than I really am.

That was close…

And that’s when it hits me. I don’t feel as guilty anymore. I mean I have my moments, but now… right now, him fucking me is the only thing on my mind. Not getting caught, not the moral ramifications. Just his dick inside me. He’s torturously slow, his cock massaging in and out of me sensually and each time he pushes in he nudges that spot inside me that makes my knees tremble and pulls the air from my lungs. If he would just go a little faster…

“Is that good for you, baby?” he asks lowly and pleasure tremors through me at the husky sound of his voice. He’s taken to talking to me lately, whispering questions breathlessly, growling instructions. It still amazes me how much he’s changed sexually since that first time. He’s less inhibited, more vocal, less afraid of doing something wrong, more adventurous. But he still has that eagerness to please and the look on his face every time I tell him yes. God, it’s enough to set my skin on fire.

“Please…Harry, please,” I moan, my nails trying to dig into the slick tile, and I say something I’ve never said to him before. “Fuck me.”

I hear him gasp and his rhythm falters slightly before a deep groan is pulled from his chest and his hips slam into mine. I cry out, staggering forward a little, the side of my face pressing into the tile wall as he works me hard and fast. I use my arms for leverage, pressing back against him needily, gritting my teeth as I feel it build inside me.

He’s grunting with the force of his thrusts, one hand holding my hip while the other reaches up to grab my shoulder, trying to tug me back harder against him. I whimper his name as pleasure shoots through me and I can’t fucking breathe, small sounds of pleasure falling from my lips. And I can’t stop it. I can’t stop from whining and moaning and breathing his name, my hands clawing at the wall just trying to hang on, the water beating down onto my back, caressing its way down my body. My back arches as the first waves hit me and he groans loud, my body sucking at him and I can tell I’m going to scream. He just feels too good not to.

“Scarlett,” he whimpers, and by the sound of his voice I know he’s practically there. “Please…”

And with that my entire body convulses and I open my mouth to cry out but no sound comes, every last ounce of energy being used to clamp down on him. He falls forward against me, the hand on my shoulder moving up to press over one of mine against the wall as he cums hard, hips twitching violently against mine.

We hold steady like this for a moment, my face pressed against the tile wall. His hand that’s covering mine is trembling, his fingers curling to wrap through mine as he rests his cheek against my shoulder, his breath fanning my skin.

My legs are shaking as he straightens and I try and do the same, my body weak and unstable. His hands grip my upper arms, guiding me back against him. I close my eyes as we stand under the spray together, trying to just breathe. He holds me close, pressing kisses to the side of my face, his arms wrapping around me.

We let the water run over us for what seems like days, his fingers caressing my skin softly, my head resting back on his shoulder. I whimper when he leans down to turn off the water, shivering from the loss of its warmth. He shushes me gently and I gasp when he hooks his hand behind my knees and lifts me, holding me against his chest as he steps out of the tub.

He sets me down and I place a hand on the counter to steady myself, my eyes still closed, exhaustion making my limbs heavy and my mind slow. I hum as I feel the soft terrycloth of a towel on my legs and his hands on my thigh as he works his way up, drying me off. I peek at him through heavy lids as he dries himself quickly and when he pulls me to him again I just let them close, letting him take care of me.

I wrap my arms around his neck as he picks me up again and carries me into the bedroom, laying me softly on the bed, before climbing in with me, cuddling against me. He rests his head on my shoulder, his face burying in my neck and his arm draping over my waist. I struggle a little and his head snaps up, looking down at me confused as I try and wriggle my arm free. I wrap my arm around his shoulder and he smiles, settling back in again. I let my other hand cup his elbow, fingertips reaching to brush the soft skin of his bicep.

I’m fighting sleep, my brain fading and then snapping back into the moment when I remember I should be leaving. I cannot stay here.

“I need to go,” I breathe hazily, my voice weak from exhaustion.

“Nooo,” he whines, snuggling closer to me, holding me tight, and it’s the first night all over again.

“Harry, your mom wakes you up in the morning,” I rationalize, and shudder as I continue. “Being almost caught by her once is enough.”

“No she doesn’t.” He sighs and I shiver as his breath tickles my skin. “Not anymore.” He gives me a squeeze and I can feel him grin as he adds, “I told her I wanted to be more responsible.”

I laugh at this, and I feel his head lift and I open my eyes to find him pouting down at me.

“What?” he asks.

“Getting yourself up in the morning…big responsibility.”

He grumbles softly, laying his hand back on my shoulder and I sigh, the hand on his shoulder sliding up to run through his damp curls. He moans softly as my nails scratch at his scalp and he yawns, his nose nuzzling me softly.

My body relaxes completely against him, my cheek resting against the top of his head as I let myself succumb to sleep…but it doesn’t come. My mind is completely blank but alert. Fuck, with the way he worked me I should be sleeping for days, but I just can’t.

My eyes snap open when I realize that my mind is completely blank. The guilt, that bone-crushing, mind-numbing guilt that plagues and consumes me after every tryst is gone. I panic, wriggling nervously and he groans, holding me tighter, trying to still my movements. I settle again, rubbing my cheek against his curls softly and I know I should be happy. Who wouldn’t be if gnawing guilt was finally absolved? But it isn’t absolved, only merely pushed down so far that I don’t even feel it anymore.

And for the millionth time I wonder what the hell I’m doing with him. What am I risking my entire future for?

And then he shifts, his lips resting against my collarbone as he sighs, his breath fanning my skin. And that’s when I know, and I let my eyes close, eventually succumbing to dreamland.

Author’s Note

Thank you so much for reading They Dont Know About Us! If you enjoyed this book, please take a few moments to write a review of it, preferably on Goodreads. I would love to hear your feedback (good or bad) so I can know how to improve the rest of the series. This is the first part of the You & I Trilogy. If you’re interested in recieving the second and third book (FREE) in exchange for a review, please e-mail me at [email protected] I’d be happy to send you a copy of the book in the format of your choice: Mobi, Epub, or PDF


They Don't Know About Us (You & I #1)

  • ISBN: 9781370512782
  • Author: Bella Madison
  • Published: 2017-01-08 02:35:15
  • Words: 41618
They Don't Know About Us (You & I #1) They Don't Know About Us (You & I #1)