Chapter 30: Falling for Julia
My senses go numb and I am unable to gauge Red’s state, scattering back, I ignore the repeated buzzing in my back pocket. My vision blurs and I draw my knees up, attempting to gain some sort of comfort. Looking down at my hands, all I see is blood. Clutching my hair between my fingers, I scream silently into my knees.
In my mindless state, I’m unaware of the company creeping in behind me. Without warning, the length of my hair is gripped and I’m yanked backwards. Choking on a startled scream, I claw forward, back to Red… the effort is futile.
“Don’t scream, Julia… it’s me.” The voice sends a chill down my spine.
Reaching up to free my hair, I groan out in pain. “Please, don’t,” I cry out. Simon’s hold is relentless; I feel him crouch down behind me. His breath fans the exposed skin along my shoulder. “What do you want?” I manage to speak through the throbbing at my scalp.
He twists my head to face his, eyes wide and diluted he replies, “you, Julia.”
“W-what?” I stutter out, confused.
All of a sudden, there’s a loud clutter behind us. I hear the sound of boots and several shouts. Using everything in me, I shout out. Almost instantly, there’s a bruising pain along the side of my face. Simon glares down at me, “why’d you have to go and do that, sweetie!” A wild look takes over his already aggravated expression. He releases my hair but in turn, slams my head down against the concrete.
I moan out as the strike goes straight through, blinking back the black spots I watch as Simon begins to gather items. Pushing him to the back of my mind, I scramble dizzily to Red. Dropping down, next to him, I’m vaguely aware of movement around us.
In a dream-like state, I am conscious of the paramedics checking over Red and I, he’s rolled out of the basement first. I’m on a stretcher behind him. A woman continues to speak above me, but her words are a muted mess. I’m lifted into the back of an ambulance but all I can think about is finding Red.
I don’t know how much time passes, but I find myself waking in a white room, turning to my side I zero in on Daryl. There’s an aching pain in my skull and my jaw feels quite stiff, I refuse to acknowledge the pain. Instead, I swing my legs over the beg and sit up, blood rushes from my head and I grab onto the sides of the bed.
“Where’s Red?” I mutter, coughing and then repeating the question.
Daryl turns to face me, his expression is grim and that’s about all I need to know. “Simon’s being trialled, they found enough evidence against him to have him locked up. But, Julia… the man was infatuated. He created a whole life with you in his head, they found your personal belongings and many photos at his home.” He approaches me, “you noticed him when no one else did… Either way, the department asked me to keep an eye on you, we don’t know who else is working with him.”
“I don’t give two shits about why he did it, Daryl. I want to know how he took down Red?”
Daryl takes a seat beside me, he places his hand over mine. “Gas through the vents, directly into Red’s office. The fucker beat him while he was still unconscious, Jules.”
I nod. “He’s out, isn’t he,” I mutter. Daryl nods. I roll my lower lip between my teeth, “I-I need to tell his family, don’t I…” Once again, he nods.
Two weeks later…
“Push it back, I don’t care if it’s a breach of contract!” I snap through the intercom. Frowning at the laptop in front of my screen, I begin to pull out of several business deals Red had left open. Standing up, I crack my neck and tidy my desk. Glancing over at Red’s office, I sigh. Shaking the thoughts away, I make my way out of the office and down the hallway towards the elevators.
Smiling at the employees, I make my way to my vehicle parked along the street, Dyson trails behind me. “Surely, you’ve something more important to tend to!” I cock my head to the side. The large security detail simply shakes his head, no. I roll my eyes and allow him to help me inside the passenger’s seat. Crossing my arms, I wait for him to settle into the driver’s seat. “This is getting old, real quick,” I grumble.
“Buckle up, Julia.” Dyson holds back his smirk.
I purse my lips, but never the less click my seatbelt into its holder. Dyson indicates out of the parking space and drives me home.
We park outside the building and I grab my bag, stepping out of the car before Dyson can open the door for me, I smile. “Thank you,” he returns the expression. “I should charge you for stalking,” I call out as he begins to move around the side to where his vehicle is parked. He shrugs in response.
I make my way inside and head up for a shower. Dropping my bag on the bed, I glare at the empty space. Biting the side of my cheek, I strip out of my clothes and take a quick shower. Leaving my hair out too dry, I pull on some panties and a long, silky robe. Tying it at the waist, my feet carry me down to the kitchen.
With leisurely actions, I work to make dinner. The place is completely dark, the only light coming from four pendants lining the kitchen island. I place a plate on the counter and round to the barstool after pouring myself a glass of wine. Silently, I eat.
Halfway through my meal, I hear the front door open. Keeping my eyes lowered, I place one leg over the other, my robe parts and exposes my bare thigh. Slowly, I look up and glare at the man across from me. Releasing my fork, I cross my arms and raise an eyebrow, “you’re going to fall, sneaking in like that.”
“Babe, fuck! Give a man a heart attack,” his striking eyes cut into mine. “You’re home, early?” It almost sounds like he’s accusing me.
I grind my molars, “you’re not in bed.” I watch him as he removes his shoes and loosens the top three buttons of his shirt. Making his way across the loft-like house, Red stops in front of me. He reaches out with one hand and places it on my thigh, while the other takes hold of my glass of wine.
“Open,” he commands, lifting the glass up to my lips. My body automatically responds, “I went to see my brothers.” He explains as I swallow the chilled liquid. He takes his own sip, before placing the glass back down.
I uncross my legs, planning to head back upstairs. “Doctor says at least a two weeks of rest, Red.” I go to slip off the stool, but Red simply parts my thighs, effectively halting my actions. I keep my arms crossed and lean back. “Move,” I refuse to budge.
The man had just been released from the hospital last week, the audacity he has to be prancing around like he hadn’t been hacked at with a crowbar. Dammit, the man tests my patience. “Give me a kiss first,” he bargains. Mentally, I know I can’t give him what he wants, despite his seduction. He’s still hurt, after all. Liar, my subconscious snaps.
“I’m not playing around, Red. I’m tired. Benedict’s being stubborn after being transferred to the hospital here, I need to recharge before dealing with him tomorrow.” It’s an excuse. My brother has been anything but stubborn, in fact, he’s all too willing to undergo surgery. I’m quite positive it has something to do with a certain nurse, he’s been flirting with. But that’s another story, right now, I’m angry with Red. Angry that all he can think about is having sex, rather than resting!
Of course, Red doesn’t buy it. “You smell good, babe.” I turn my head away when he leans in, “come on, baby… I’m hungry.” He groans.
“Your food’s in the microwave.” I deadpan. He sighs and I use this opportunity to slip out from under his hold.
I gain all of two steps; Red bands his arms just below my breasts. “Don’t walk away from me, Julia. Not tonight, I’ve had enough of this shit.” Red’s voice is a lot more serious, his teasing manner has all but vanished.
I’m not backing down, though. “Don’t piss me off, Red.”
Despite his obvious annoyance with my behaviour, his body reacts much differently. I feel his hardening member poke against the middle of my back, his curious hands work to untie the silk belt around my waist. In the back of my mind, I’m glad I’d not opened any curtains and we were completely alone.
“Don’t test me, baby.” Red’s mouth drops to the curve of my neck, his breath tickles the pulse there.
I shiver within his hold, my body weak under his control. Pressing my thighs together, I close my eyes and try to block him off. I need to stand my ground; he is still injured. Although he’s recovering and by my side, I can’t help but feel scared. The moment I saw him lifeless, a fear like no other settle deep in my core and it hadn’t left since. “I’m not in the mood,” I pull at his arms.
A deep sound comes from the back of his throat, imitating a growl of sorts. Turning me in one quick move, Red’s hands clamp down on my hips. “What’s gotten into you. Fuck, I went to see my brothers, Julia. Not jump off a cliff.” He grunts out.
My eyes widen at his tone, “oh, fuck off.” I snap. He wouldn’t understand, how can he possibly grasp the extent of my feelings for him. I scared to love the damn brute… I push at his arms, mindful of not touching his chest and torso. His hands remain locked like steel. Tears brim under my eyelids, frustration and fear send me on a downwards spiral.
“Shit, baby!” Red softens his bruising grip.
Without thinking, the large man lifts me, “put me down, idiot! You’re injured.” He ignores my protests. Cradling me against his chest, Red carries me over to the couch and takes a seat. The silk around my waist opens and exposes the inner curves of my breasts.
“Something’s going on in that head of yours, Julia… What’s got you on edge?” Red pulls me close.
I look down, unable to meet his gaze. “You’re still hurt and all I need is for you to rest and get better, Red. It scares me. Losing you is terrifying.” I mutter and bite my lip. “Loving you, Red, makes me weak.” I finally lay it out for him.
At first, he doesn’t answer. Then he reaches between us and begins to undo the rest of his buttons. It’s the first time I’ve seen his torso since the incident, I’d been unable to face him after it. Looking away, I close my eyes. “Don’t hide from me, baby. Look,” Red pinches my chin and draws my attention. “There’s only scarring left, Julia. You know he didn’t get me deep, your emotions were running wild that night. The gas is what kept me unconscious. You know all this, babe. Stop avoiding my touch.”
I want to tell him I’m not avoiding him, but he’s right. I’ve been too scared to touch him, too scared to see the damage Simon had done. He forces my gaze to lower to his chest, I release a breath, reaching out I trace the scars. “There was so much blood-”
“I’m fine, Julia.” He presses a kiss to my forehead, “I’ll give you time and space to breath, but don’t avoid me, don’t push me out.” Red’s tone is gravel-like, completely raw. “It drives me insane when you run from me.”
I nod, wrapping my head around his words becomes a challenge. “I’m sorry…” I finally cave. “I don’t know how to handle this, Red. I had some really fucked up thoughts when I saw you in that hospital room. It’s not healthy, my feelings for you...”
“Sweetheart, look at me.” He brings my face up to his, “Not healthy? Fuck it, I’m addicted to you, trust me when I say I’ve fallen for you. I love you, babe. Don’t use that incident as an excuse to run from your emotions, Julia.” He places his hand at the base of my throat, running it down he parts my robe and exposes my breasts and torso. “Because, this is mine. You’re mine. I won’t let you go.”
My heart beats hard against my ribcage, “you love me?”
“No. I’m just this crazy addicted and possessive for no reason,” he rolls his eyes.
I slap his chest, lightly. “Red!”
“Julia,” the corner of his mouth lifts, “fuck yeah, baby. Since day one, I knew you’d be doing a lot more than tending to my paperwork…” as he says this, his calloused fingers dip under the waistband of my panties, “I want your juice,” Red’s finger plunges deep within my core.
I arch against him and groan out, “dirty man.”
“Your dirty man,” he adds a second finger.
Moaning my body jerks under his pleasurable assault, “always,” I mumble.
“I’ll take that as a yes,” he leans down to place kisses along my jaw.
Confused, I question, “a yes?”
“Si. To my proposal.” He nips my earlobe and cuts off any sensible thought, by flipping us on the couch and lowering down between my parted legs…