Home > Verity(13)

Author: Colleen Hoover

I looked over my shoulder at the car we were leaning against. “Is this really your car?”

He smiled as he reached into his suit pocket and pulled out his key fob. He unlocked the doors to prove it was his, which made me laugh.

He stared down at me, our mouths thisclose, and I could swear he was already imagining what life with me would be like. You can’t look at someone the way he looked at me—with the entirety of his past—without also imagining the future.

He closed his eyes and kissed me. The kiss was full of both desire and respect—two things a lot of men didn’t seem to know could go hand in hand.

His fingers felt good in my hair, and his tongue felt good in my mouth. I felt good to him, too. I could feel how good I felt to him in the way he kissed me. We knew very little about each other in that moment, but it was almost better that way. Sharing a kiss that intimate with a stranger was like saying, “I don’t know you, but I believe I would like you if I did.”

I liked that he believed he could like me. It almost made me believe I was likeable.

When he pulled away from me, I wanted to go with him. I wanted my mouth to follow his, my fingers to stay wrapped around his. It was torture remaining in the passenger seat of his car as we drove. I was burning inside for him. He had lit a fire in me, and I was determined to make sure it didn’t go out.

He fed me before he fucked me.

Took me to a Steak ’n Shake, and we sat on the same side of the booth, eating French fries and sipping chocolate shakes between kisses. The restaurant was mostly empty, so we were in a quiet corner booth, far enough away that no one noticed when Jeremy’s hand slid up my thigh and disappeared between my legs. No one heard me when I moaned. No one cared when he pulled his hand away and whispered that he wasn’t going to give me an orgasm in a Steak ’n Shake.

I wouldn’t have minded.

“Take me to your bed, then,” I said.

He did. His bed was in the middle of a studio apartment in Brooklyn. Jeremy wasn’t rich. He could barely afford the Steak ’n Shake he had bought me. But I didn’t care. I was on his bed, lying on my back, watching him undress, when I realized I was about to make love for the first time. I’d had sex before, but never with more than just my body.

There was so much more of me invested in that moment than my body. My heart felt full—of what, I don’t know. But my heart had felt empty with the men who came before Jeremy.

It was amazing how different sex felt when a person used more than their body. I involved my heart and my gut and my mind and my hope. I fell in that moment. Not in love. I just…fell.

It was as if I’d been standing on the edge of a cliff my whole life, and finally, after meeting Jeremy, I felt confident enough to jump. Because—for the first time in my life—I felt confident that I wouldn’t land. I would keep flying.

Looking back, I realize how crazy it is that I fell for him so fast. But it was only crazy because it never stopped. Had I woken up the next morning and slipped out of his apartment, it would have ended as a fun one-night stand, and I wouldn’t even be recalling any of this all these years later. But I didn’t leave the next morning, so it became more. With every day that passed, that first night with him was further validated. And that’s what love at first sight is. It isn’t really love at first sight until you’ve been with the person long enough for it to become love at first sight.

We didn’t leave his apartment for three days.

We ate Chinese takeout. We fucked. We ordered pizza. We fucked. We watched TV. We fucked.

We both called in sick to work that Monday, and by Tuesday, I was obsessed. I was obsessed with his laugh, with his cock, with his mouth, with his skill, with his stories, with his hands, with his confidence, with his gentleness, with a new and intense need to please him.

I needed to please him.

I needed to be what made him smile, breathe, wake up in the mornings.

And for a while, I was. He loved me more than he loved anything or anyone. I was his sole reason for living.

Until he discovered the one thing that meant more to him than I did.

It’s like I have surpassed opening Verity’s underwear drawer, and now I’m rummaging around among the silk and lace. I am well aware that I shouldn’t be reading this. This is not why I came here. But…

I slide the manuscript onto the couch next to me, and I stare at it. I have so many questions about Verity. Questions I can’t ask her and questions Jeremy probably doesn’t feel like answering. I need to get to know her better to see how her mind works, and you can’t get more answers from any other source like you can from an autobiography. One this brutally honest.

I can see myself getting sidetracked by this, and I really shouldn’t. I’m here to find what I need and get out of this family’s hair. They’ve been through enough and don’t need an intruder touching their underwear.

I walk over to the monster desk and pick up my phone. It’s already after eleven. I arrived around seven this evening, but I didn’t expect it to be this late already. I didn’t even hear anything outside of this office. Like it’s soundproof.

Hell, it probably is. If I could afford to work in a soundproof office, I would.

I’m hungry.

It’s an awkward feeling, being hungry in a house you aren’t familiar with. I know Jeremy said to help myself, so I head for the kitchen.

I don’t make it far. I pause right when I open the office door.

The office is definitely soundproof, or I would have heard this noise. It’s coming from upstairs, and I have to still myself completely to focus on it. To pray it’s not at all what it sounds like.

I move quietly and cautiously to the foot of the stairs, and sure enough, the sound seems to be coming from the direction of Verity’s room. It’s the creaking of a bed. Repetitive creaking, like the sound a bed would make if a man were on top of a woman.

Oh, my God. I cover my mouth with unsteady fingers. No, no, no!

I read an article about this once. A woman was injured in a car wreck and was in a coma. She lived in a nursing facility and her husband came to visit her every day. The staff became suspicious that he was having sex with her despite her being in a coma, so they set up hidden cameras. The man was arrested for rape because his wife was unable to give consent.

Much like Verity.

I should do something. But what?

“It’s noisy, I know.”

I gasp and spin around, coming face to face with Jeremy.

“I can turn it off if it bothers you,” he says.

“You scared me.” My voice is full of breath. I blow out a sigh of relief, knowing that whatever I’m hearing is not at all what I thought it was. Jeremy looks over my shoulder, up at where the noise is coming from.

“It’s her hospital bed. It’s on a timer every two hours to lift different parts of her mattress. Takes weight off her pressure points.”

I can feel the embarrassment creeping up my neck. I pray to God he doesn’t know what I thought that noise was. I cover my chest with my hand to hide the redness I know is there. I’m fair skinned, and anytime I get nervous or worked up or embarrassed, my skin tells on me, erupting in angry red splotches. I wish I could sink into the lush, rich-people carpet and disappear.

I clear my throat. “They make beds like that?” I could have used one when my mother was on hospice. It was hell trying to move her on my own.

“Yeah, but they’re obscenely expensive. Several thousand for a brand new one, and insurance wouldn’t even cover it.”

I choke on that price.

“I’m heating up leftovers,” he says. “You hungry?”

“I was just on my way to the kitchen, actually.”

Jeremy walks backward. “It’s pizza.”

“Perfect.” I hate pizza.

The microwave timer goes off right when Jeremy reaches it. He pulls out a plate of pizza and hands it to me, then makes himself another plate. “How’s it going in there?”

“Good,” I say. I grab a bottle of water out of the fridge and take a seat at the table. “You were right, though. There’s a lot. It’s gonna take me a couple of days.”

He leans against the counter as he waits for his pizza to finish. “Do you work better at night?”

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