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Playing Solitaire Chapter One

January 21, 2013

It was like my world was going to go dark again. Tomorrow, I would turn freakish and skinny, my eyes turning dull and my smile fading. The people around me would throw glances at my hollowed face and ugly body. I would feel possessed with my evilness; that soul that lingers in you and suddenly pops out to shield you from the world. Why was I so filled with fear to do something I thought I would always love? It may sound tedious, but going back to college was like a dog being chained up in a cage to me. School meant being stressed, being surrounded by hoards of people, and being forgotten in the crowd with no one to talk to or lean on. Yo, Arianna! Get your ass in gear and help me pack will you! The shrill laugh broke through my dazed mind, and I smiled as I looked into the heart-shaped face of my crazy friend Charlene. We had been best friends since high school, and she had helped me through my anxiety and reservation by showing me the good in people. But that was before; she had always wanted to teach English overseas and she had finally gotten her chance this year. I raced over to her perfectly made bed and flopped onto it with a grin, causing folded clothes and books to fly everywhere. You little ferret! She said with a smirk, and she suddenly flipped over her suitcase and ignored the flying clothing as she jumped on top of me and pretended to hold a knife in her right hand. Prepare to die! she cried, and suddenly her fake knife was thrust into my rib and I instantly flipped over and was on top of her. Bringing down my hand as if I was grasping a weapon, I stabbed her continuously with a selfish grin on my face. Oh tis just a scratch! Tis not so deep as a well or as wide as a church door! Charlene cried in sheer delight. I stopped stabbing her and rolled my eyes. Wow, you have to turn everything into Shakespeare dont you? I said as a chuckle escaped me. At least I have a job miss soon-to-be-medical-doctor! Charlene smirked as she grabbed a pillow from the floor and began flinging it in my face. Well at least Ill be able to afford my own place and I wont need to live with my parents for the rest of my life! I attempted to yell back, but I was now hiccupping and laughing so hard that my stomach hurt. Oh miss perfect! Well you dont even have a boyfriend! I will find the perfect man!

Whats perfect to you my friend? A royal wedding with a horse carriage and a prince charming? Dream on sister! Charlene rolled off the bed in a fit of giggles, and her bedside lamp came crashing to the floor as her long legs swept the table clear of everything. Suddenly, the sound of herding footsteps came from the landing, and moments later, the bedroom door swung open and revealed the wide-eyed faces of Charlenes parents. What in the hell girls? Jesus help me. I thought someone was hurt! She let out a sigh of relief and shook her head. Were heading out in 20 minutes and dont forget a taxi will be here to take you to the city Arianna. Thanks Mrs. Hoffman. Well be ready. I said politely, exchanging smiles with Charlene. Within seconds, the two faces disappeared and we were sitting alone in the quite little room. Charlene lived just outside of New York City, and her small bedroom was still a burgundy red with low ceilings and posters of her favourite bands covering every wall. She had jewellery and stuffed animals lining her table and her mirror was still covered with pictures from high school; barbeques, dances, fundraisers, and prom. I smiled at the thought of being a kid again and how much Charlene made me feel like one when I was around her. Before long, Charlene realized she had little to no time to pack, and together we rammed in all of the clothes, books, technology, and crap we could fit in her suitcase before it was time to leave. As we rushed down the stairs, I peered out the wide front window and could clearly see a yellow taxi waiting by the curb of Charlenes green lawn. Youd better get out of here Arianna. Dont want to miss your first day back! Charlene giggled as we reached the bottom of the stairs and opened her arms wide for a hug. I held her tightly and could feel tears coming as I realized that summer was over. I wouldnt be seeing Charlene until the Christmas holidays. Ill miss you baby girl Charlene whispered, a tang of sadness in her voice. But remember that Ill have my laptop and my phone on when Im not working and well be able to reach each other pronto. Charlene had always treated me like the little sister she had never had, and I had grown extremely close to her. I was surprised when she pulled out a little purple box tied with a flowing ribbon from her back pocket.

Its not much, but I thought it would help you feel better since you wont be with me. She smiled as she placed the little box in my hand and I slipped it into my purse. I would miss Charlene so much. Just then, the clicking of heels came down the long hallway that led into the kitchen and we turned to see Charlenes mom and dad coming towards the door. Alright girls, wed better scramble! She said as she flipped on her black jacket. I admired how alike Charlene and her mother looked. They both had the same athletic build, long blonde hair, and heart shaped faces. But she even had her fathers bright blue eyes that made her look like an angel. Turning to Mrs. Hoffman, I smiled at her. Thank you so much for letting me stay with you this summer. I dont know how Ill ever repay you. Since I was 3, my parents had been divorced and living their separate ways for many years. I had become very reserved as I went from apartment to apartment in the big city and both of my parents struggled with money. Even today, I barely knew them that well and saw them once a year if I was lucky. I had always wondered what love from a family would feel like and Charlenes parents were the closest thing I had to one. Well, its always a pleasure to have you Ms. Dawson, and we invite you back anytime. I know its always been hard for you and your fa-family. She barely finished her sentence as she knew it was a touchy subject for me. Family seemed so distant and I loved that the Hoffmans always welcomed me. You should get out the door now unless you want that fool to drive away. She said with a laugh, and soon enough, I was out the door. It was a humid day, and as I loaded my luggage into the trunk of the taxi, my eyes caught a glimpse of the horizon; the dark silhouettes of tall skyscrapers could be made out against the setting sun. I smiled at the beauty of the big city. Yes, I may not be a city girl, but anyone would have to be a fool to not believe the city was beautiful at sunset. Chapter 2 The athletics building was completely empty. It was ready for another year of college students to smell up the place and dirty it with snow and mud in the winter. Being the newest building on campus, it was busy every morning, afternoon, evening, and well into the nights. People swimming, exercising on the indoor track, and playing squash or tennis. Suddenly, the large lights overhanging the Olympic-sized pool flickered on. Someones shoeless feet could be heard padding across the tile lining the pool. Putting down their towel, they suddenly ran forward, and with little effort dived into the deep end. Their pointed feet hit the

water perfectly, barely sending up a splash. Moments later, a mans head appeared above the water as he looked around to see if anyone was there. Like a fish, he slipped under the water unnoticed and undisturbed. He began swimming laps and no one could mistake his expertise as he glided through the deep water, barely penetrating the surface until he came up for air or switched to a breast stroke. Barely 20 minutes later, a door squeaked open and a shirtless man came onto the pool deck, a crowbar clenched in his two hands. Whos in here? Why are you here? He cried in a cracking voice filled with tension. The pool was silent, and seeing no one, he began walking forward towards the water. If you can hear me come out! No ones supposed to be in here! He called again, but his attention was turned away to the moving figure under the water. All that could be heard was the padding of his shoes over the wet tiled floor as sweat began forming on the mans face. I wont hurt you if you dont hurt me! He called out across the water. He barely caught his breath as a penguin like figure suddenly swooped out of the clear water and dove straight back down to the bottom of the pool again. His chest heaving, the man didnt take his eyes off the now obvious man swimming in the pool. Get out of there! You cant be in there! He yelled, now taking control of his quivering voice. He took a few steps towards the pool to see if the man underwater would notice him. Growing impatient, he came up to the waters edge so he could see who was underwater, but the strong sent of chlorine suddenly hit his nose and his feet faltered. Backing up while trying to rub his nose, the man suddenly tripped on the slippery surface around the pool and went head first into the clear, once untouched water. Within seconds, the gentle waves of the still pool turned to a huge tidal wave. The crowbar sank to the bottom of the pool, and as the shirtless man with shoes still on tried to reach the top in a panic, he struggled to find where he was going. Falling into the pool, he had taken a mouthful of water as he had gone to the bottom, and he knew he wouldnt be able to hold his breath for very long. Suddenly, the deathly weight of the water around him seemed to disappear and he almost instantly broke through the surface of the water. Heaving for breath, he looked down to see a tall, well-built man about his age with fogged-up goggles holding him up out of the water. Before he could even think about what he was doing, he flayed his feet in all directions to try and escape the fish-like person and rushed to the edge of the

water. Hauling himself out before the shark could bite him again, he kneeled on the firm ground and coughed up all of the water he had swallowed. Air was his new best friend as he heaved for breath. Excuse me sir, are you okay? A deep voice suddenly came from behind him, and he turned to see the foggy-eyed figure exiting the pool. He also noticed the wet crowbar he carried in his hand. Please dont hurt me! The man on the ground suddenly stood up, and intimidated by the swimmers height and massive, muscular build, he sprang to his feet and held his hands in front of his face as if he was going to get tortured. Hey, its okay! Im not going to hurt you! The swimmer said in a calm voice, and he suddenly took off his goggles to reveal his gleaming blue eyes and muscled, angled face. He set down the crow bar and stood where he was. Oh my! Its only you Dr. Holmes. The man stammered uneasily and suddenly stood up straight as if he was embarrassed. I thought a student or someone had br-broken in or something. He said apologetically, not meeting the mans steady gaze. Nothing to be ashamed of Casey. Come and dry off. The swimmer walked in the direction of where he put his towel. Then, he handed it over to Casey who was now shivering and soaked to the bone. Thank you Dr. Holmes for you know saving me Casey whispered in embarrassment, his head looking to the tiled floor. He wrapped the towel around his frail body and set to work at drying himself off. Look, its fine Casey. You can still call me Leo you know The man looked down at the shivering figure and knelt down to untie Caseys soaking shoes. Why dont we go grab a coffee at the cafeteria? Leo asked casually as if nothing had happened between them. Sure. I guess we can do that. Casey still sounded embarrassed and tense, but Leo pushed the manner to the side. They trusted each other too much to let something this stupid come between them. In college, Casey had met Leo while playing tennis and ever since they had formed a strong relationship. It just so happened that Casey, working as an athletics coordinator, and Leo, working as a human anatomy prof and a doctor, had ended up at the same college in the middle of New York City. Minutes later, the two men were now dry and dressed in proper clothing. As they excited the mens change room, the two of them began talking up a storm as they exchanged stories about their summer.

Hows your wife doing? Still sick? Leo asked, turning to look at Caseys solemn eyes at the thought of his wife who had been diagnosed with leukemia just before the summer had started. Shes doing as well as she can. Got her good days and her bad days. He said with a sigh, playing with the collar on his polo shirt. How about you; have you found yourself a girl yet? Leo shook his head in embarrassment as he watched the grin forming on his friends face. Ive gone out for a drink with a few, but none of them really stick to me. His face turned slightly red as he remembered how hard he had tried over the summer to find a girl his own age who he really liked. Dude seriously! Youre a 6 foot 2, 35 year old doctor with a 6 pack and you havent found a girl friend yet? Casey whistled and shook his head as if he was filled with disappointment. Leo could only grin at his friends strong sense of humour, but deep down he felt a pang of regret as he realized how old he was really getting. Would he be one of those fathers that were in their late 60s when their kids were just going to college? He shivered at the very thought of being a grandfathers age but still having teenagers as kids. With that, the two men walked through campus as the sun was just peaking over the horizon, and shared their stories as they sat in peace sharing coffee with each other well into the night of the big city. Chapter 3 I stared out the taxis cold windows and watched as circles of steam appeared on the glass when I breathed on them. It was growing dark, and we were almost in the city limits. On the car ride down, I had chatted with the driver for 20 minutes about college and my future plans, but when we had run out of small talk and things to say to each other, we had gone silent. Now the radio was playing in the background with lousy country music. Who could listen to such crap? Just then, I remembered the little wrapped gift Charlene had given to me just before I had left. Reaching into my purse, I could feel the little box in the bottom and took it out. Pulling off the purple ribbon, I caressed the smooth box and opened the top. Inside, there was a small piece of paper and a pack of cards. Not just any cards; the exact playing cards that Charlene and I had used on the many long days over the summer. I had never learned how to play cards, and she had taught me everything

from black jacks to solitaire, and even 52 pickup. Smiling at the many memories of the deck, I picked up the little note. It was written in Charlenes beautiful calligraphy that could have passed for artwork or even the work of a computer. The small words read, My dear Arianna, This summer was the best holiday I have ever had and Im so glad you could be part of it. Out of all of the things we did, I think playing cards was our favourite past-time. I know you cant do 2-player card games, but I thought if you played a few games of solitaire each day, you might be able to relax. Even though youre playing solo you can still think of me baby sis. Ill always be there for you! All my love, Charlene <3 I could feel tears pricking at the back of my eyes. Im not sure if they were happy tears or sad; or both. Looking down at the wearing pack of cards, I opened the flap and pulled out the deck. Many of the cards edges were beginning to fray, and some of the numbers were almost illegible. I held them as if they were a pair of diamond ear rings, and I carefully returned them to their box. Placing the beautifully written note into the container, I sealed it and replaced the ribbon. I silently thanked Charlene for giving me something that meant a lot to her. Miss, are you getting out? The driver suddenly called back to me. Coming back to the present, I quickly pulled out my wallet but the driver held up his hand for me to stop. Its alright Miss, the women up at the house already paid me. Have a good day now. I smiled at the polite man and quickly scrambled for my bag in the trunk. Making sure I had everything, I stepped onto the wide side walk still hoarded with people. The cool, night air suddenly prickled my skin, and I thought to myself that it was such a stupid idea to wear a sundress on my first day back when it was barely summer anymore. Excusing my thoughts, my eyes drifted up to the large university that stood before me right in the middle of downtown New York City. People began bumping into me and I quickly walked towards the edge of the side walk where nobody was standing.

I just stood there for a moment, looking out at the pitch black street of one of the greatest cities in the world. Taxis and cars honked and swerved on the filled roads, and the great street lights illuminated the entire block as if it were in an underground city. To my left was a small coffee stop where many of the students went before morning classes; me included. At least some things were familiar in this place. The smell of tar and gasoline filled my nose, and I stopped myself from making a face. People were walking in all directions; some talking or texting on phones, some carrying brief cases and walking at a fast pace, and some just strolling along. There were actually people in the city that were aware of life itself. They were almost watching life go by as they looked up at the lit city and ignored the many people barging into them and telling them to move. It was hard to believe that many people lived like this every day. I knew deep down that I could get used to it if I let myself, but I never wanted to be a real city girl. Suddenly, flashing lights and loud sirens pierced through the air, and two fire trucks came charging down the wide street, manoeuvring around traffic like a pin ball game. Scared by the sudden noises, I backed towards the entrance of the universitys parking lot, tripping over people on my way. The cold air seemed to engulf me now and the peoples loud footsteps and irritating voices went through my head like a sonic wave. I couldnt see because of the dark; my stupid heels were making me wobble and just as I turned and picked up my feet to go up through the universitys parking lot, blaring white lights were suddenly staring me in the face like hell itself! Was I dying; maybe I was going unconscious. But then, I felt a terrible impact on my chest and something unbearably heavy pushed me to the ground. I cant really remember what happened, but I know my things were gone; they just seemed to float away. My entire body felt separate; no longer living or part of me. My legs were numb and I couldnt feel anything. The impact of the car bumper suddenly ceased and before I knew it the driver door opened and someone came running towards me. The vehicles engine had been cut and the lights were no longer blinding my eyes. Someone seemed to be talking to me but I couldnt understand what they were saying. Its alright! Im a doctor and Im going to help you! The voice wasnt clear. Not over the commotion of the city around me. Maybe the noises were just all in my head, but I thought they were all real. Reality suddenly hit me as warm hands picked up my frail body and lifted me. The man holding me brought me close to his body, and I could feel his heart racing.

Was it racing with fear, anxiety, adrenaline? His warmth comforted me and I could feel his massive frame; he was tall and muscular, and incredibly warm. I was suddenly put in the back passenger seat of the car, and the man tried to move me into a lying position. As his grasp loosened, searing pain going over my entire body suddenly overwhelmed me and I let out a shriek. I didnt mean to; I didnt want to show whoever was helping me that I was scared or in pain. I had never known what pain really felt like, but now I did. Easy. Im going to bring you to the hospital on campus, okay? Do you go to this college? His deep voice boomed in my head and although it was comforting, I could barely distinguish what he was saying. I nodded my head in agreement somehow but pain seared down my neck and without intending too, I tightened my grip on the mans massive arms. He seemed to understand; I dont know how, but he seemed to know that I was in a lot of pain. Youre going to be okay. I know youre in pain but just try and relax. He whispered into my ear and I pulled away from the sudden sound. Someone else suddenly got into the drivers seat and ordered the man with me to stay back there and make sure I was alright. Pain suddenly flew down my spine and down my legs; unbearable bite-like sensations. I moaned from the overwhelming feeling, and I knew something wasnt right. I felt my neck beginning to slacken and my entire body to wash away again. I tried to say something. Help was I managed and the world became a blur. I panicked; I could feel the engine roar to life below me and the man carefully lifted me onto his lap and supported my neck. What was happening to me? Where was the pain coming from? I burst into tears and squirmed in his lap. Why couldnt the pain go away? I think I screamed but I couldnt really remember. I felt the tires spinning beneath us and I moaned in pain; I didnt know how to stop it! My head was dizzy and uncomforting, but a warm hand stroked the hair out of my face and a chill went down my spine. The man sensed my discomfort and brought me closer to his body. The slow, methodical breathing soothed me as we passed under street lights and veered around corners. I could hear a voice in my ear but I wasnt sure who it was. The pain was there, but it wasnt. I tried to reach for the mans warm hand to comfort me and he laid it on my stomach very gently. I felt how cold my fingers were against his, and he cupped them in his massive hand and tried to warm me. But the pain was gone. Almost gone. I couldnt hear anything anymore and my throat felt dry like a desert. No questions wafted through my head, and I seemed to

be fading. My body was separate. My soul was elsewhere; on vacation. Fearing the pain. The last thing I remembered was the engine being cut and the silence. The slow movement of warm hands over my body and the silence. The floating feeling and the blackness. It was a silent, black night with no feeling or sensation. I was elsewhere. Chapter 4 Casey! Im taking her to the emerge! Leo was beginning to panic himself in the darkness of the night, but he knew he couldnt; not when there was a young women lying unconscious in his car. Shes not conscious Casey! Was all he could say. Leo, settle down. Take her to the emerge and Ill wait out here. He helped Leo carefully cup the fragile girl into his arms and then shooed him off. The night was becoming cold, and the frail body he held wasnt doing much better. He slowed his heart rate. He could not panic. The only way to keep focused on what he was doing was think of the fragile life that he held in his arms. He could feel her chest rising and falling and she felt so delicate; like a china doll. Leo couldnt help but wonder how old she was. Her frame was flawless and slim feeling, and she was quite tall. He hadnt seen her face because of the darkness, but Leo could feel her glossy hair falling over his now freezing arm. Nearing the hospital, he told himself to stay calm. He slowed his walking pace and controlled his breathing. But he couldnt help remembering when the girl had screamed. He had never heard someone scream with such pain and meaning; it was not a fearful scream. She had been in so much pain, and for some reason Leo almost felt it too; he wanted the pain to stop. The light of the emerge blinded his eyes as they adjusted, but Leo wasted no time and went straight to the back where the beds were. He felt like she was more vulnerable with more people around her, so he held her tighter to his body and protected the fragile girl he held. Why was being like this? Why was he so panicked? Suddenly, nurses and doctors were surrounding him. Casey called us, Dr. Holmes, and weve prepared a bed for her in the emerge. We will monitor her vitals straight away and have her given oxygen. Leo wasnt sure who was talking but he pushed through the crowd of people and gently placed her on a bed. He began fiddling with machines and he suddenly realized that his hands were shaking. But he needed to help her; he had no choice. He stopped for a second.

This was the first time he had seen the girl in a lit area. Her face was pale and she had straight, honey coloured hair that fell over her shoulders. Leo thought she looked athletic and extremely young. She was tall and looked elegant in her flowing sundress. She looked at peace and the features on her rounded face looked like they had been carved to perfection. Leo thought she looked like a strong young women; yet as delicate as a fawn. He didnt notice the nurses gathering around and watching him silently. No one exchanged looks or words as they watched their colleague look deeply into the young girls eyes. They were green. Just like his. But it was a more delicate green that showed youthfulness and pride. Leo wasnt aware that tears were forming in his eyes as he went back to hooking up the monitors. His hands were shaking and his throat felt hollow; but he had to do it to relieve her pain. A doctor stepped forward. Dr. Holmes, you are not in the condition to be seeing to a patient. We will take care of her sir. He said calmly, placing a gentle hand over Leos quivering arm. You will not! I work in this hospital and I will help her! I cant see her in pain! Leo cried, backing towards the small girl. She needs me to help her! I caused her the pain and I cant see her like this! Leo began to pound his fists on the bedside table but he realized he was becoming weaker. Without noticing, two nurses escorted him outside the emerge and reassured him that the girl would be taken care of by the rest of the team. They told him that he was in no condition to help her. Leo began to feel weak again. He had never felt this away about someone; was it because of how innocent she looked? Or maybe it was because he was the one who caused her the pain in the first place. What the hell was I thinking! he cried into the dark night as he exited the hospital. Why did I have to be such a fucken ass hole! He suddenly collapsed to the ground and tears came to his eyes. Why was he like this? Was it because he had never actually hurt someone before? He couldnt bear to see her in so much pain. Suddenly, a figure in the dark was sprinting towards him and as he came into the light, Leo saw that is was Casey. He didnt care what his friend thought of him; he didnt care if Casey thought he was a lunatic. But there they sat comforting one another in the dark, silent, night with no feeling or sensation.

Chapter 5 The world was at peace with me once again. I felt comforted and nestled my head further into the cushiony pillow I was lying on. Was I floating? Was I dreaming? I slowly opened my eyes and saw the monitors and the bed. I could hear the rhythmic beeping and I smiled slightly. Then I noticed something amazing; the pain was gone. Turning my head around, I suddenly saw someone sitting in a chair near my bed. He was staring at one of the monitors and he had this desperate look on his face; so desperate that it almost worried me that something wasnt right. I wondered if he had noticed me. Then I remembered something; the headlights. The car. The man. I thought it might have been him. He was a tall, muscular built-man that looked young and his face was toned with a sharp jaw line and high cheek bones. His eyes seemed dull; lacking life and hope that a man like him should have. I rolled over onto my back and could feel the pain returning again. Without meaning it, an almost silent moan escaped me. But it seemed to be enough for the man to turn his head. His eyes suddenly came back to life and his frame seemed to relax as if he had been waiting for something. Almost as if he had been holding his breath underwater for someone else. The figure walked cautiously towards me, but he kept his distance. His face looked old; lacking life and filled with worry. Maybe he hadnt slept in a while. How do you feel? That voice boomed in my ears. That low voice that had comforted me. Its you, I said hoarsely, and I tried to smile but my face seemed numb. I looked into his eyes and he returned my gaze. His eyes were green like mine, and they showed his power. They were a deep, thick green that made it hard to read his feelings. What happened? I managed to say, my voice cracking even though I was almost whispering. It felt like I hadnt talked in years. It was dark I didnt see you coming up University Avenue- and I- I hit you. The man suddenly looked to the floor and his cheeks flushed red like a child would do. I silently begged that he wouldnt feel so bad.

You shouldnt feel ashamed. You helped me sir. I was beginning to get a grasp on what I was saying now, even though tubes and wires were sticking to me and hooked all over me. Looking at my body, I could also see I was wearing a hospital gown and my dress had been taken away. But you were in pain and I couldnt help you His voice had gone quite and hoarse. Why was he so uncomfortable around me? He should feel amazing that he helped me. Dont say that! I said to him as I felt my voice coming back stronger, my pain is gone now and Im going to be fine. There was a long pause between us but I watched as he looked into my eyes again. A shiver went down my spine with his almost-intimidating gaze. Somehow, he sensed I was uncomfortable and he pretended to fiddle with the monitors. I silently laughed at how childish this massive and handsome man was acting and I let out a chuckle. He glanced over at me, and I could see a grin playing at the corners of his mouth. Do you feel okay? Is there still pain? He gazed into my eyes again but I didnt flinch this time; I wanted him to feel like he did all the right things for him since he had done everything he could. I feel fine. I only feel the pain when I move quickly. I smiled through my wires and he suddenly appeared more relaxed and grinned back at me. He took a step towards me and wrapped my frail fingers in his large, warm hands. He knew I liked it. Did I break anything? I couldnt help but asking, and he looked up at me with that same uncomfortable look. You have two cracked ribs and your upper leg was fractured. He hesitated and pointed slowly towards my leg that was in a large cast and supported with a sling. I wasnt sure what to say. I pulled my hand from his and stared at his deep, forgiving eyes but I forced my face to go blank; unreadable. Deep down, I knew I shouldnt blame him; but I had never had a broken bone in my life and now that I was in university and I had to get around places and get where I needed to be, I couldnt help but feel slightly reserved towards the guy that stood before me, asking for my forgiveness. Im sorry. I tried to help you, but I could only do so much! He was almost pleading now and I turned my gaze from him. It was too soon to accept his apology; this was a life changing event that could change my college years forever!

The tall man turned to leave and he sulked out of the room as if he was trying to make me feel guilty. What was up with this guy? First hes acting sincere and kind and then he turns on me and tries to make me feel like the bad guy? What did I learn from my weeks in the hospital on campus? That men are completely weird and you should never try and form relationships with them. Chapter 6 He couldnt believe it. The women he had cared about so much was against him now. Leo knew he wouldnt even be able to go near her without making her uncomfortable. As he walked towards the science building where he had to give a lecture in 20 minutes, he couldnt help but think of the girl again. Leo had done a background check on her by looking through the students papers, and he had found that her name was Arianna, she was 26 years old, and she was here for the health sciences. Now he realized he had to get over how much he cared for her. Just because he ran over this girl, he shouldnt be the one worrying about it. Leo knew he sounded terribly selfish, but in some cases it was true. Opening the door to the large lecture hall, he began hooking up his laptop to the projector and preparing the slides he would show during his class on human anatomy. Minutes later, students began filing in and seating themselves where they pleased. He knew some were there just because they had nothing better to do, and he also knew there were some serious students listening too. Leo tried to give the lecture to the best of his abilities, but he realized he felt blinded by something; he couldnt show all of his true colours to his students. Was it Arianna that was blocking his clear view of the world? He couldnt understand why he could never focus anymore. Why couldnt the crash have just never happened? Chapter 7 Weeks seemed to pass in the hospital. Flowers and cards arrived daily from various friends and faraway family. I loved the smell of the flowers that Mrs. Hoffman would bring for me when she visited. Not only would she visit, but she helped me catch up on all of my course work. I had asked the nurse if I could use crutches to go around campus so I could go to classes, but she insisted I stay in the hospital because it was a serious break and she didnt want me wobbling around outside with a bunch of lunatics pushing me and shoving me in all directions.

Alternatively, I would read all of the required material in my textbooks, complete all needed homework that my profs assigned, and study my ass off. Not being at the lectures meant trying to teach myself just about everything in the textbook, and I filled my mind with anatomy and other health sciences. I couldnt explain how excited I was to get back to real classes. I would finally be able to meet my dorm mate and live like a normal college girl. When I wasnt studying, reading notes from people, visiting, or smelling flowers, I would think about that guy that confused me so much. I wasnt even sure if I would ever see him again and I didnt even know his name. I wanted to forgive him but I couldnt bring myself to do such a thing when I was being put through this misery. One night, when Mrs. Hoffman brought over her laptop, I was allowed to go to the waiting room and talk to Charlene. I told her about getting hit by a car and how I had been in the hospital for so long. She told me how teaching English overseas was the best thing she had ever done; the kids were amazing, the scenery was flawless compared to America, and she had been learning so much. I couldnt come to my senses and tell her about the guy who had tried to help me. Why wouldnt I though? Did I feel guilty and selfish like I should for just letting him float out there? Or was I afraid and embarrassed to admit how a man that was probably 20 years older than me had touched my heart in some way? But I told myself that that was before. Now he was just another person walking amongst the New Yorkers around the city. Maybe he worked in a big business building and he was a man that didnt waste any time or money. But then, I remembered something: The man had told me he was a doctor when he had tried to help me. Did that mean he worked at this very hospital and he was here right now? I would have seen him over the weeks I was here though. Maybe he had just told me he was a doctor so I would feel more comfortable? No one knew, and no one inside of me would ever know. Finally, after many weeks of practicing walking without my cast and crutches, the nurses concluded that my ribs and my lower leg were healed and I could return to the regular semester. The nurses told me a strict schedule for checkups and that if I experienced even the slightest pain, I would come to the emerge right away. I was thrilled to escape the sterile jail environment and as I stepped outside with Mrs. Hoffman taking me by the arm, I breathed in the fresh, earthy smell of the now snow-covered campus. Are you alright to go to your lecture now Arianna? She asked in a sweet voice, handing over my pile of books. She smiled at me and I knew she was relieved that I was out of the hospital now.

Nodding my head, I was about to turn away when Mrs. Hoffman put her hand over my shoulder. The nurses mentioned that youve been working hard, but she says that you should consider taking your major over again next semester since this term is almost finished. And dear, we will also help pay the extra tuition. She explained with a smile on her face. I looked at her in bewilderment; she would help me pay for tuition to take a course over again just because I was in the hospital? Glancing around at the snow under my feet and feeling the chill of the New York air, I concluded that the semester was coming to a draw and that I would finish human anatomy this semester but retake it next term. With a hug and a few good-bye kisses, Mrs. Hoffman told me she couldnt wait to see me Christmas break, and Charlene was overjoyed that she would get to see her best friend again. Before going to my human anatomy class, I quickly made my way to the girls dorms building and walked to the third floor where my room was: 337. Using my key, I opened up the door and peered inside. It was a simple flat with a small kitchen off to the side, 2 simple beds on either side of the main room, and a full washroom coming off of the bedroom. I stepped inside and a strong smell of perfume hit me. It appeared that the pink sheets, make up kits, and massive piles of hair products proved that my roommate was a Barbie girl. With a sigh, I turned towards my still plane half side of the room. To my surprise, on top of my bed sat my black suitcase and my purse. I wondered who had found them and brought them up here. I just hoped with all my heart that no one had stolen anything or used anything that belonged to me while I had been on my little vacation away. Then I remembered something: the pack of playing cards from Charlene! Rummaging through my purse, I tried to feel for the little box. I remembered its smooth feeling and how perfectly it had fit into the palm of my hand. After a few minutes of emptying out both my purse and my luggage bag, I concluded that the two things gone missing were my wallet and the pack of playing cards. I could feel tears pricking at the back of my eyes when I realized I had lost the one thing Charlene loved the most. What would she say when I told her I lost it? How would I feel without it when my anxiety started to kick in with school and I wouldnt have anything to remind me of Charlene? With a sigh, I glanced at the little clock beside my bed. There was exactly 4 minutes until the human anatomy lecture began and I was on the complete opposite side of campus.

Throwing on my coat, and grabbing my keys, I quickly headed out the door with a slam. I sprinted through the snow to get across campus, all the while ignoring the throbbing pain in my leg.

Chapter 8 He had forgotten the girl. Yes, the image of her round face and the sound of her painful scream were still deep inside his head somewhere; but Leo had not thought about the girl named Arianna at all. Never during lectures, never when he passed the hospital, or never when he went to work in the ICU. It was drawing towards the end of the semester, and Leo was glad he was back to himself and that the girl was probably gone home with her parents for the remainder of the year. But he would never forget that scream or those eyes. With not a though of Arianna, Leo began hooking up his laptop to the projector as usual and he pulled up the slides he would need to refer too. With exams nearing, Leo had to cram as much information into each lecture as possible. This morning was no different, and glancing up at the students that were seated, he noticed that there were not as many as there had been at the beginning of term. Leo shrugged his shoulders and found it hard to show his enthusiasm as he started jabbering on about the human systems. Suddenly, he was interrupted by the sound of the lecture hall door flinging opening. Never this year had he had a late student. His one rule in the classroom was either show up on time or dont show up at all. Get out of this lecture h - Leo turned towards the door and could only stare at what was there. Walking towards a front row seat, Arianna sat down in the chair and quietly got her books out. The students were confused as Dr. Holmes stared in mock silence at the girl taking out her notebook. Had she even noticed him yet? The girl brushed her hair back from her face and looking up, she suddenly noticed the man standing at the front of the room. They stared at each other for what seemed hours, and chuckles from the rest of the confused students became audible. Why were they just staring at each other?

Leo wanted to care for the girl again, but he knew that after what had happened, he would never have a chance. He must hate the girl. He must do nothing more than hate the girl. Arianna began writing notes in her book, and Dr. Holmes continued on with the lecture as if nothing had happened. But he wasnt the same or nearly as comfortable as he usually was. He stumbled over words that would normally fly out of his mouth, he felt his forehead become coated with sweat, and he couldnt make eye contact with anyone especially the girl. The girl even noticed how uneasy he was. He was jittery and his hands would shake constantly. She tried to ignore it. She had to hate this man for what he did. Hate this man for what he had done to her life. Just like that, the lecture was over, and the students began to rise and file out of the hall just like any other day. Leo felt like he had just ran a marathon and Arianna couldnt help but role her eyes at him. Miss Dawson! Could I please see you before you leave? He no longer used a worried tone, or even a casual tone. He was using his professional, teacher talk and the girl knew he was hiding his true feelings deep within him. It made her want to hate the man even more. I didnt know you were going to be my prof. The girl was trying hard to mask her feelings too, and both of them knew who was hiding what within them. They could read each other too well. Excusing Ariannas remark, Leo suddenly stood up from where he was sitting and cowered over the women in front of him. What the hell is the matter with you? Why do you have to make me feel so dam uncomfortable all the time? He almost yelled in her face, and surprised, Arianna backed away from him. He could see the whites of her eyes and her look became defensive. I play solo dude! What I do with my life is my own business you fucken bastard! She suddenly turned and ran for the door. A few seconds later, Leo could only watch and stare as the girl who he thought totally defenceless disappeared out of the lecture hall and slammed the door behind her. Leo felt mixed emotions; He felt stupid for blowing up in her face but he also felt scared of what might happen. The girl did have strength and he would have to battle her the entire way. He had to hate her. He had no choice. Picking up his textbooks and his laptop, he quickly left the empty lecture hall and ignored the bitter winter breeze that hit him square in the face. If he could survive a girl screaming in his face, he could survive anything.

Chapter 9 Walking back to my dorm room in the blistering cold, I couldnt believe what had just happened. The same guy who had hit me with a car and who had tried to help me all the way hated my guts now. He hated my guts so much that he had yelled right in my face. With an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach, I felt relieved when the heat of the residence building engulfed me. This was just like my home; away from the people who hated me and away from the city people that bumped into me on their way to work. As I jiggled the key to my dorm room, I suddenly stopped for a minute. Inside, I could hear voices; laughter, sarcasm, and high-pitched girly whispers. I quietly opened the door, but the voices suddenly died off and became distant. Four girls sitting cross-legged on the bed were now staring at me like I was an intruder. Can we help you? The brunet looked at my red, winded face like I had just appeared out of a magic lantern. Uh- this is my dorm room I managed to say, my voice shallow and small. The one thing I hated the most was groups of girls that ganged up on me, and I had a feeling that once these girls knew what I was like, they would do the same. Im sorry if I walked in on something. The foursome suddenly chuckled as if on cue, and they effortlessly drifted back into an easy conversation like the only thing that had entered the room was a flea. Shrugging my shoulders, I went to my side of the room and began unpacking my bag, all the while eavesdropping on the girly conversation. Hes so hot! Did you see the way he looked at you Michelle? The girls giggled and began whispering under their breath as if they didnt want me to hear anything. I could feel their laser like eyes glaring at me every few seconds, and just as I was putting the last of my clothes in my dresser, the room suddenly went silent. The brunet looked up at me again, clearing her throat as if she was making a grand speech, Are you the same girl that walked into anatomy late? She chuckled as she recalled the moments of silence when I had entered the hall. Nodding me head, I went back to sorting through my belongings and making trips to the bathroom to deliver my things. On the vanity were even more makeup kits and brushes and bottles of this and that. I rolled my eyes at the disgusting smell of strong perfume in the washroom, and I quickly placed my toothbrush and hair dryer in the bottom cupboard where I hoped the girls would never find it.

Suddenly, I could hear the same voice coming from the bedroom again. So do you two know each other or something? She asked quickly, and her face was all excited when I peered out of the washroom door. Know who? I asked, playing dumb to try and avoid the oncoming conversation. The girls exchanged stupid glances, but I had become used to this over the years. Dr. Holmes the person that you were staring at for like ten minutes when you barged in on the class? All four of them suddenly laughed and fell onto their backs at the memory of the awkward silence. Then they glanced up at me with huge eyes as they waited for my answer. Yeah weve met I shrugged my shoulders and went back to my suitcase to start pulling out the remainder of my belongings. Without warning, the brunet came up behind me with a fake smile and held out her hand for me to shake, Im your new roommate. My names Lindsay and these are my girlfriends. She said, motioning towards the three girls now deep in conversation on her bed. With a faint smile, I shook her hand, but I avoided her dreadful gaze. They were going to use me like all the other girls; be fake to me to pry information out of my mind and use it against me. Just like high school. The overwhelming smell of her perfume unsettled me and I quickly backed away and turned to finish my unpacking. As the girls chatted on about this boy and that teacher, I tuned them out as I emptied the last of my things into my drawer. Just then, I came across my black speedo and a thought came to me; why not get away from all this hell and go swimming? Charlene and I have been competitive swimmers through high school and it had been one other thing that kept my mind off of my anxiety and crumbling world. Grabbing my swimming goggles, I went to the bathroom to grab a towel. Without even a glance towards the giggling group of Barbie girls, I threw open the door and slammed it behind me as if to give them a clear message; leave me the hell alone! Holding my jacket tight against me, I walked towards the large athletics center. I smiled at the thought of feeling the warm water seep over me as I dove to the bottom. Water had always been my friend, and it had bought Charlene and I even closer.

With nothing more than a bathing suit, towel, and swimming goggles in my bag, I vanished into the girls change room and could barely hold my excitement together at the thought of jumping into the huge college pool again. Chapter 10 Thoughts whirled around in his mind. He would have to see this girl everyday; the girl he had hit with his car. She hated him, and he could feel it. It was almost like there was a brick wall between them, and each time they saw each other it only grew thicker. How would he break through this barrier; he did not know. Leo! Lets do some laps dude! Caseys voice rang out from behind him and Leo suddenly realized he had just been wading in the water for over ten minutes. Nodding his head, he swam towards Casey and together they began swimming laps around the pool. How could he get that stupid girl off of his mind? He disliked her, and she thought he was a fucken bastard, so there was no way in hell he was ever going to get through to her again. The rhythmic motion of his hands skimming over the water began to relax him, but he couldnt get the image of her wild eyes out of his head. He would have to see her every day until the end of the semester; would he be able to bear it? He suddenly felt tired and stopped in his lane. Casey hadnt noticed and continued to inch away from Leo, but he could only stare at the pool deck. His eyes widened. Of all the things in the world, there was that Arianna again; always showing up at the perfect fucken time. She had just come out of the change room and was making her way to the diving board. Leo admired how at ease she looked; he wondered if she was a good swimmer or not. As the girl stepped onto the diving board and examined the water, Leo couldnt help but feel queasy at how beautiful she looked. Her bathing suit showed her perfect lines and how tall and slim she was. She was all leg, and flowing blonde hair. To his dismay, he could feel himself becoming hot-headed at the thought of running his body over her. Brushing the thought from his mind, he snuck a glance up at the girl for a moment. He smiled for a second and stared in awe as the figure leapt into the air and performed a perfect 360 before breaking through the water with barely a splash. Leos jaw dropped and his eyes followed the figure at the bottom of the pool. She was wearing swimming goggles and he couldnt make out her eyes as she broke through the waters surface again. Suddenly, he realized she might notice him, and he quickly vanished under water to go to the opposite end of the pool. Not many people were swimming this week because of upcoming exams, and he was surprised to see her here so late after her first day back to classes. Didnt she need time to settle in and study?

He could just make out Caseys feet in the shallow end where he had finished his laps, and Leo made his way over to him. Casey was surprised when his colleague popped out from the water. Dude, I thought I lost you! He snickered and splashed water in Leos face. Leo tried to smile but he was thinking about that stupid girl again. Whos that chick? She knows how to swim man! Casey whistled as Arianna came speeding down a lane. Clearing his throat, he told Casey it was the girl he had run over. And the girl that was his new student. And the girl who had called him a fucken bastard and made it perfectly clear she wanted nothing to do with him. She was stubborn and Leo loved stubborn girls. Holy shit man! Thats the girl that broke her leg and now shes swimming like a frigin dolphin? Casey chuckled and didnt help ease the situation at all. Leo couldnt take his eyes off of her delicate body, and he thought she would turn to make another lap, but she unexpectedly broke through the surface of the pool and choked up a mouthful of water. Leo held his breath and hoped that she wouldnt turn her head towards them. But, she quickly submerged into the water again and with a flick of her feet, she was off down the lane again. Just like a frigin dolphin. Leo hated how uncomfortable that girl made him feel. He hated how beautiful she was. He hated how dam fucken stubborn she was! To distract his mind, he went off on another lane and began swimming back and forth again. He was forgetting that she was there, and he was forgetting about what he was doing. Leo was starting to swim in random directions, and he began to pick up his speed. Whatever he had to do to get the girl out of his head, he knew he would do. Leo swam faster, and he concentrated on the swift motions his hands made as he flew through the water. He was a shark and he was going to find his kill! Suddenly, just as Leo was drifting off to another world, something collided head on with him. He felt winded for a moment and he lost sense of where he was. His mind began to spin. Water began filling his lungs as he lost sense of time and space. Just then, gentle hands grabbed him by the chest and hauled him to the surface. He gasped for air as he tried to focus on what was going on but nothing came to him. Someone lifted off Leos swimming goggles to reveal his stunned face and wide eyes. The person still holding on to him and supporting him tried to brush the water off of his face with delicate hands. Leo could feel the quick breathing of a body pressed up against him, and it still took him a few moments to figure out

what was going on. As his eyes adjusted, he noticed the dark sky outside of the windows and the almost completely empty pool. He felt bewildered and since he couldnt make an effort to keep himself above the surface of the water, he leaned his weight onto the body beside him. Leo let out a sigh as a hand brushed down his back to calm him. He could feel his breathing beginning to slow, but water still seemed to be choking him as he gasped for more air. Was he going to drift away? He didnt want to, and he could feel the body beside him struggling to keep him up now. Come on! Breathe! The girls voice seemed to break the barrier of his confusion. Yes, he was at the pool. Something had bumped into him. Turning his head, he saw the worried face of Arianna. The girl he had run over. The girl who was now his student. The girl that had admitted he hated him. Im sorry I hurt you! She said, tears forming in her already wet eyes. The girl had pulled back her goggles to reveal her green eyes, and Leo felt a tingle go down his back at how beautiful they were. He knew the girl had felt it too as she strengthened her grip around his lower body for fear that he would drift off again. At the feel of her slim body against his, he felt himself becoming aroused. Dont even think about it shit face, he thought to himself. Please be okay! Arianna whispered into the mans ear, and his entire body suddenly relaxed. Leos mind began racing again and he wondered why the girl was doing this. He thought she hated him. He thought she was distant from him. Leo felt tired and drained all of a sudden, and he rested his head on her rounded shoulder. Her smooth skin felt delicate against his rough, whiskery face, but she didnt seem to mind. Her hand caressed his head of hair, and she could feel that he had nothing left in him. With all of her effort, Arianna held Leo above the surface and brought him to the pools edge. She suddenly saw the figure of a running man coming to help her, and she felt relieved when he helped her lift Leo from the water. The girl hulled herself out afterwards and knelt down beside the weak person lying on the pool deck. Hell be okay. Hes just winded honey. The voice came from the shorter man, and she tried smiling up at his unsure face. Gently, Arianna placed her hand over Leos heaving chest and watched as his massive figure rose and fell. She admired his toned body and couldnt help but notice the thin line of hair that travelled down his chest. We need to help him up Arianna knew he wouldnt be able to gain his strength back until he was standing and aware of where he was.

Casey and the girl each lifted an arm as the lines on Leos face became hollowed. With hesitation, Arianna lifted her hand to support his tall frame with the help of Casey. His wet skin was cold and thick; it no longer carried the warmth that it used to. Grab him a towel please! The girls voice was weak and hoarse but she tried to stay strong for the man she was holding up. As she began to fold under his weight, the man suddenly straightened his back and tried to regain his balance on his own. Arianna supported his waist while he straightened his legs with effort, and his once blank eyes were filled with colour again. Leo was somewhat aware of what was going on, and he looked to his right to see Casey running to him with a bleached-white towel. As the girl began drying his face, the smell of the clean fabric made him feel relaxed. Arianna smiled as he began to stand on his own and she let him dry the rest of himself off. Although he was still weak and shivering, Arianna could see he was trying to hide it. For a big man he was certainly a big baby, the girl thought as a smirk appeared on her reddening face. What are you smirking at?Leo suddenly said with a grin. He watched as the girls eyes brightened at the sound of his voice, and she took the soaking towel from him. They looked into each others eyes, but Leo felt beaten when the girl broke away from his gaze. She needed time, he thought. She had a delicate soul like him. Im sorry Mr - she tried to talk through her embarrassment, but Leo could only chuckle at her attempt. Call me Leo, he said down to her, and this is Casey; hes the athletics coordinator. He watched as a smile appeared on her red, winded face. Leo looked down at her beautiful eyes as they drifted over his body. With a chill running down his back, he felt butterflies forming in his stomach. The girl was checking him out; and he couldnt help but look down to the tiled floor to hide his blushing cheeks. Casey suddenly cleared his throat. Its after ten. We need to close up now. He sounded uncomfortable and Arianna immediately handed the towel over to Leo and smiled up at him. It wasnt fake or stubborn looking; it was a sincere smile. Finding it hard to lift his gaze from Arianna, he said good night to her and followed Casey in the opposite direction to the change room. Less than 20 minutes later, the lights overhanging the now still pool were shut off, and the campus became quite as the last of the stragglers found their ways to their dorms. It was a clear night and as Leo got in his vehicle to drive home, he couldnt

help but feel light headed. He had never felt that way under a persons gaze; but he loved it. Chapter 11 As I walked towards the residence building in the darkness of the night, I began to feel anxious. The snow crunching under my boots reminded me of how alone I was and I huddled closer into my coat. Why did I help Leo? I could have just left and avoided his gaze. But I knew I felt comfortable around him; he understood me like no one else ever had. Now, as I looked up in the clear sky and watched my breath escape me in clouds of smoke, I could feel my heart racing as embarrassment swept over me. Why had he been there? Why had he almost passed out in my arms? I knew I would never look at him the same ever again, and I had to get the image of his half naked body out of my mind. Why did I have to be the one to collide with him yet again? As soon as I entered my dorm room, I found the lights were already off, and my exhausted, chilled body fell to my bed with a thump. I considered getting out my books to study with a reading light, but almost as soon as my wet hair hit the pillow, I drifted off into a peaceful sleep.

Something was happening. A loud blaring noise was breaking up my sleep. Suddenly, my eyes flew open and I realized I was in my dorm room. I was no longer at Charlenes anymore. Lindsay was beginning to roll over in her bed and she mumbled in her sleep for the sound to stop. With a yawn, I leaned over and saw my cell phone going off on my bedside table. Looking at the caller, I saw that is was Mrs. Hoffman. With a confused, half-sleepy mind, I picked up the phone and tip-toed to the washroom where I closed the door and turned on the light before answering it. On the other line, Charlenes mom didnt sound the same. She sounded worried. Extremely worried. I was awake all of a sudden and told her to calm down. To just breathe. She had called so late, and I knew something was wrong. Arianna something has happened! Mrs. Hoffmans wails came through the breaking connection, and I could hear how hard she was trying to not cry. Molly, just settle down. You know you can tell me anything. I tried to sound calm when I talked to her but I could only do so well. By the sound of her panicked voice, I could almost see her wide eyes and red face staring at me. But its something bad Arianna you will never forgive me for telling you this! She was almost screaming now and I could only hold my breath. Charlene she

she- The connection was beginning to break and I held the phone closer to my reddening face as Molly became weakened on the other end. She was flying back home for the holidays but the plane never came back! There were no survivors that they could find! I tried to absorb what she was saying. What did she mean? Shes gone Arianna! Im so sorry baby! My heart stopped for more than a beat. I could feel my breath get caught in my throat and I suddenly fell to the floor, tears now falling from my reddened face. I tripped on cords as I fell and bottles and makeup spilled all over the floor with a crash. Dropping my phone, I stared at myself in the mirror: the horror of what had just happened had hit me full on and I couldnt even recognize myself. Just 2 days ago I had messaged Charlene happy holidays big girl. That was the last fucken thing I had said to her! No love or good-byes. I could still hear Molly screaming on the other end to see if I was alright, but I blocked it from my ears. I screamed to let the world know how fucken mad I was at it. How fucken messed up the world was. Smacking the back of my head against the sink, my heart rate began to accelerate as the pain of my best friends death hovered over me and the stinging on my head sent a pain down my lower back. I wasnt sure what was happening but I heard footsteps and screams and people calling and banging. Someone suddenly barged into the bathroom and found me lying there; like a little child surrounded by a broken hair dryer and make up. Pushing myself into a corner, I screamed for them to away; leave me alone. I hid my face and could barely make out what was going on through my watering eyes. Was someone trying to grab me; talk to me? I just kicked and huddled closer to the wall. Now more people were in the room and I wanted them to leave. Couldnt they understand? The only person I had ever trusted and who had loved me back was dead. Never coming back type of dead. I grew overwhelmed as many pairs of forceful hands grabbed onto me and pulled me out of the bathroom. My voice was gone and my throat felt numb. Why were they doing this? They needed to understand! Something hurt me; someone put a prick in my arm and I tried to back away but I couldnt. I kicked and tried to scream but I wasnt sure if I could or not. My head began to spin more. Panic mode seemed distant. I think the world became darker than the pitch black room and I suddenly lost all thought and drifted off to some faraway land. Peaceful. Quite. Left alone. Chapter 12

He was jolted out of his sleep and he suddenly sat up in his bed. Something didnt feel right; something felt wrong. Quickly, Leo threw the sheets off of himself and glanced over at the clock. It was almost four in the morning and he wasnt even sure why he was waking up so suddenly. Confused, he hurried to the washroom and stared at his face in the mirror. He looked old and tired. Maybe he was just weak from yesterday. Then, Leo remembered the girl from the pool; the way she had looked over his handsome figure and the way he had felt comfortable under her gaze. Leo wondered whether he was falling for this girl or if it was just something that was never meant to be. The image in the mirror shook its head; he knew he was almost 10 years older than her and she was nothing more than a delicate angel. Reluctantly, Leo jumped in the shower and tried not to wander through his mind. He smiled as he remembered her remarkable name: Arianna. It was like a beautiful song bird melody playing in his head. A melody that no one but he could feel the true meaning of. Trying not to think of the young women, he dried himself off and put on his work clothes. Taking a last minute glance into the mirror, he persuaded himself to undo the top buttons of his polo. He smirked at his handsome reflection and ran a comb through his hair. By the time he had gotten himself downstairs and into his garage, it was nearly five and Leo had no idea what his intentions were this morning. All he knew was that something in the back of his head wouldnt go away; it was something that had to be fixed before he could go on with his life again. He took his time winding through downtown New York. Street lights half blinded him and the early morning drivers swerved to random lanes and barely stopped at red lights. Leo glanced through the front window and caught a glimpse of the sun peaking up over the horizon. The surrounding sky was a shallow blue that turned to blackness once again. With a sigh, he drove his car down University Avenue and caught a glimpse of where he had hit the girl. Guilt showered over him and he closed his eyes to block out the images and the pain. Why was it that the girl seemed to follow him around every corner; peering into his mind and corrupting his thinking patterns? Or was this what happened to men? Leo wasnt sure if this was love or not; he feared it was because he didnt want to hurt Arianna. Never. She was already hurt enough from what he had done to her. She was much too delicate to be hurt anymore.

Turning into the college parking lot, Leo parked in his usual spot and cut the engine of the car. As the cold of the early morning wafted into the vehicle, Leo zipped up his jacket and breathed warm air into his hands. Why was he here? The sun was beginning to rise slowly, and he watched as a few cars pulled into the parking lot and people quickly went off in all directions to do what they needed to do. He had never really watched the world go by; especially this early in the morning. He thought it odd how everyone was rushing in every which direction and no one stopped to think or to do up their undone shoes. Not a single person stopped to take in the sun rise or to double check they had all of their things. Slowly, Leo rose from the now cold seat of his vehicle and he closed the door behind him. Fresh air wafted in his direction and a smile lit up his face as he watched the sun steeling the moons darkness for yet another day. People in the city never realized how beautiful the world really was. Looking at his watch, he saw that it was close to six thirty and he thought he wouldnt mind the extra time to prepare for his last classes. In a couple of days, exams would begin and Leo wanted to have his students were prepared. Especially Arianna. He thought it would be difficult for her because of the many weeks she had missed, but he had hope in her; as stubborn as she was, Leo knew she would push herself to be ready for the exam. As he walked towards the science building to go to his office, he wondered why he hadnt been able to sleep. Was something wrong with Arianna, or had he forgotten to do something yesterday? He forced himself to keep walking towards his office and told himself he would have to wait until class to see her beautiful eyes again. Leo began drifting off as usual and he remembered the night when he had first seen her delicate body lying on the ground in front of his SUV. He remembered how light she had felt in his arms and the feeling of her squeezing his arm in pain. She was brave; he had seen that. But there was something that didnt seem right about her; something seemed to be missing from her. Ever since she had started rebelling against Leo, he remembered how distant she sometimes appeared from the world. Was there anyone here with her that she knew? Was she only drawing away from him because she couldnt trust people? Maybe that was it, Leo thought; she had no one to love and could not put her trust in another human being. Not yet anyway. Leo opened the door to his office and with a sigh set down his brief case and sat in his swerving chair. He leaned back into the cushioned seat and pulled out his day planner. This was the second last day of the term, he reminded himself.

Jotting down random things that he needed to remember, Leo got caught up in his work and planned out everything for the next two days. He looked down at his messy, unorganized notes and sighed. He would never be that perfect man that every girl wanted; he may be a doctor and have a handsome build, but he didnt have fatherly skills and the ability to organize his life. What came to him was all he ever worried about. Even paying his own bills could get him confused. Maybe he was the type of person that was meant to be alone: to play solo. Chapter 13 I wanted to die: right here and right now. If I needed something, I would have no one to turn to, and I would continue to lose my trust in people all together. Not one person on this earth had my complete trust. There was no one I could tell my secrets too. Not my mom or my dad. Not Charlene. Although Charlenes family treated me well, I didnt trust them enough to let them care of me or show me the rights and wrongs in the world. Maybe I was destined to play this game of life on my own and figure it all out for myself. I would play this game solo. As reluctant as ever, I rose out of my bed and realized that it was almost time for class. When I got into the washroom, I saw that everything had been cleaned and straightened up. I couldnt even remember what had happened: First I had fallen in the bathroom, and then the nurses had come to sedate me and put me back in my bed. I thought it was funny that they had put their trust in Lindsay to watch me through the night. Looking over to her bed, I saw that she was still fast asleep in her thick pile of blankets. Seeing my face in the mirror, I realized how much I hated myself. How much I hated other people. How much I hated the world! My eyes were watering again, and I quickly turned on the hot shower so the mirror steamed up and I could no longer distinguish my ugly face. Almost half an hour later, I grabbed my books and sauntered out the door, my feet dragging behind me like they couldnt quite keep up. Why the hell was I even going to class? Why the fuck didnt I just kill myself now? I was taking the same course next term and I knew I wouldnt be able to face Leo. I remembered what happened last night; we had collided head to head and I had helped him out of the pool. Maybe I had seen something in him last night that allowed me to trust him, but now it had all disappeared. My evil little soul that shielded me from the world had come out from hiding and my anxiety was building as the sedation began to wear off. At the tiniest sound, I would flinch or be tempted to bolt. I had simply taught myself to fear the world, the people in this world, and myself. No one could be trusted. Should I just give up?

Thinking back to my childhood, I remembered watching my father beat up my mother with the pans in the kitchen. She would plead him to stop as her blood poured onto the floor. I would watch in mortal fear and then vanish into my closet. There, the little fort I had made kept me safe. My father had always been a drunk and yelled to me that I would never know true love. Now, I had no idea where he was, and my mother was in prison on the other side of the world for attempting suicide many times. Fuck those bastards for making me who I am today. Fuck my fucken life! My family was messed up, so maybe I was supposed to be messed up too. Charlene was gone, and I had nothing to remind me of her. Even the small purple box would never be found. I could have remembered her and played my game of solitaire every morning. I could have played the game by myself and kept calm; I could have played the game solo. Fuck this game. Chapter 14 Leo couldnt take his eyes off the door as he watched the random students filing in as usual. Some appeared tired, others stressed, and some only half there. He watched as the back rows in the lecture hall filled up, and was surprised when Arianna hadnt walked through the doors yet. Maybe he had been right; something terrible had happened. He should have taken her back to her dorm and not let her walk around campus so late at night. Someone could have injured her; killed her. How could he be such a fucken ass hole, again? His mind began wandering and creating a fantasy in his head about what could have happened to her. Maybe she was just late like yesterday. It was time to start, and he slowly wandered over to the door to close it shut. He couldnt help but peer out to see if she was coming, but he saw nothing but the wind carrying the snow over the path outside the science building. He closed the door but left it slightly ajar in case she came late. Turning towards the screen where slides of the human body were posted, he began running through the review of everything they had done. He tried his hardest to stay in the present and not wander away like a lost puppy. The clock was ticking and she wasnt here. In the very back, he saw a student had raised their hand, but he pretended not to notice and kept jabbering on about the systems of the body and the advanced levels of muscles and tissues. Suddenly, the door quietly opened and someone walked to the back of the lecture hall. Leo let his voice fade away as he watched his Arianna going towards the back with her head held in shame. He was suddenly confused and he peered up at her.

When their eyes met, Leo was taken aback; something had happened to her. Her face was lifeless, pale and her hair was not the glossy colour it usually was. He wanted to help her and find out what had happened to her, but he had to finish the lecture. He continued through the slides as he had planned but then he realized he couldnt carry on. With 23 slides left, he gave up. Everyone can leave now please Leo said solemnly, all the while looking at the young woman in the back; she was no longer beautiful and lively. She appeared so much older than 26. Arianna sensed that he wanted to see her, and she felt her stomach starting to churn as she neared the front of the lecture hall. She could no longer look into his beautiful eyes; they were too full of life to bear. Suddenly, Arianna stopped a few inches in front of Leo and he asked her quietly to have a seat, but she didnt. To his astonishment, she dropped her books on the floor and backed away from him. Wide eyed, Leo couldnt bear to see Arianna like this and he asked her to stay for a moment. I cant trust you! I will never trust you you fucken piece of work! She screamed and finally met Leos eyes. Bewildered by the hate and reservation that lie deep in her eyes, Leo stepped back towards his desk. Let me help you Arianna. He said it slowly; soothingly. Leo was worried he would never find out what had happened to the astonishing women at the pool last night. No one can help me! No one is left! I want my fucken life to end now! The words lingered painfully in Leos ears: what he had thought was fiction was reality. This fine young woman had no one to go to. He wanted to help her, but he was afraid she would bolt if he stepped too near her delicate body. Who are you staying with over the holidays then? Leo stayed his distance and waited patiently to see if she would answer. He hated seeing the growing pain and fear in her eyes. No one you son of a bitch! No one! She screamed at the top of her lungs and fell to the floor. Tears streamed down her face and Leo rushed over to help her. He had never seen a single human being like this. Never in his life had he seen such hatred and pain in a single person. Leo knew he had to help her. Shh. Youre going to be fine Arianna. He motioned closer to her and when he saw that she was too weak to run from him, he sank down to the ground beside her. Gently, he curled up the frail body into his arms and placed her in his lap.

The warmth comforted her and she no longer wailed. Tears fell, but they were empty; meaningless. Leo stroked the hair out her eyes and just sat there looking at her. She was so lost in life. He could just see it in the way she walked. Easy Arianna. Im going to help you if you promise to try and trust me. Whispering into her ear, the girl melted at the sound of his voice. She did not nod her head in agreement; she simply pressed her body closer to his and Leo understood that she was giving him a chance. A chance that could change her life forever. If he gained this poor womans trust, he would be able to help her find her way through life. He never wanted to leave her, and he wrapped his legs around her body like a cocoon. The body he held became limp, and he breathed out a sigh of relief. He could do no more than rock her back and forth in his lap, all the while whispering reassuring words into her ear. She would come around, he thought; she just had to open her heart and gain my trust. It seemed like hours, but eventually the woman he held had drifted off into a peaceful sleep, and he quietly lifted her in his arms and slowly went towards her residence building. He had looked up her file a few days ago and knew she was room 337. As he carried her out of the science building, the cool winter breeze hit him and he stopped with a start. The beautiful girl he carried began to stir in his arms form the sudden cold, and he held her tighter against his chest. He ran his nose over her delicate face and breathed in her beautiful scent; vanilla and freshness. Leo closed his eyes as he felt her rhythmic breathing against his chest and the thought of losing her again or having her become hurt was too dreadful for him to take in. Holding her close with his massive arms, he strutted towards the large residence building and shielded his head over her body to block the wind from her reddening face. He felt awkward walking into the heated building because he knew he did not have permission to be here. Wary looks were shot their way as girls stared at the passing doctor carrying his student as if it were his child. Leo did not mind; he cared for Arianna too much to be affected by little school girls. Leo finally reached the room, and he lightly knocked on the door. A few moments later, a brunet opened the door and her eyes suddenly seemed to bulge out of her head as she looked up at her visitor. Wasnt it every girls dream to have their handsome anatomy prof come strolling up to their dorm room and knock on their door?

Are you Ariannas roommate? Leo asked quietly, motioning to the bundle in his arms. Lindsays expression suddenly changed when she saw her roommate curled up in his arms. Uh yeah She sounded uncertain and confused but Leo quickly explained that she had just needed someone to take her up here. Lindsay motioned for him to come in and showed her where her bed was. Looking at the plane sheets and organized look of her stuff, Leo smiled. He placed her gently onto her bed and Lindsay helped him cover her with extra sheets and blankets. He didnt want to leave her and had the strong temptation to wrap his body around her and keep her warm. He shook himself back to reality as he realized the four girls in the room were almost drooling as they looked up into his dreamy face. Then, with one last look at the Arianna he knew, Leo left the room and walked towards the office building. What the fuck was he doing? Chapter 15 When I opened my eyes, I felt refreshed and somehow less panicky and miserable. The last thing I had remembered was the soothing words in my ear and the warmth of Leos body around me. Maybe I could let him trust me. Suddenly, reality hit me and I noticed how dark it was outside. The clock read 11:34 on my bedside table, and I was surprised to still see Lindsays light on. Looking to the opposite side of the room, I saw her huddled in a group of her friends. They were giggling and whispering as they shared their stories and gossip. When I rolled over again, the little group suddenly went silent and turned my way. My body became tense and I pretended to be asleep, but somehow the girls knew I was awake.Hey miss Dawson! They all said at once, chuckling their little annoying laughs. Did someone have a rough couple of days? That was Lindsay. I turned around to look her in the eyes and I smirked at her. Quite fine actually. Everything worked out in the end. I tried to sound strong and hide my fear, but the girls only laughed harder. So you think every time you walk into a class crying that your hot teacher will carry you to bed and tuck you in, baby? One of the blonde girls laughed at her own remark and they began to stand up and move closer to my side of the room. Throwing the sheets off of myself, I sat up straight in my bed and told them to back off. He was just helping me okay? I never asked him to escort me up to my dorm room! I was beginning to lose my temper again, and my eyes began to widen with hatred.

Come on sissy! How about you get your little ass out of bed and show us your little bathroom routine from last night? One of the girls called, and I jumped up onto my feet and stood my ground. Did your little Charlene not come to save you from heaven? Their laughter was viscous now and I couldnt help but thinking of a cartoon witch brewing a poison. Fuck these bitches. I snarled at the girls and raised my fists in defense. Dont you dare talk about my friend like that! I stepped closer to them and they suddenly stopped in their tracks. Exchanging their own looks, evil smirks suddenly broke out on their faces and they leapt on me with no warning. I was suddenly panicking and couldnt figure out what was going on. My arms were buried under someones weight. My legs were trapped from people grabbing on to them. I screamed; loudly. I needed help, and I began to feel anxious and claustrophobic. So you want to try and defend your little friend do you miss stuck up? Lindsays evil face suddenly appeared over me and I saw nothing but her fist come swinging down to my face. As the pain seared through me like a knife, she aimed another punch directly at my nose. Tears streamed down my face and I started to struggle as I felt blood dripping over me. Guess someone wont be writing exams tomorrow, fucker! Evil laughter was all I heard as the girls suddenly went full out on me. I was kicked, shoved, punched, hit, and swung in all directions. When I screamed, Lindsay would grab my lamp and throw it square in my face. My heart rate was picking up. I could feel my breathing quickening. I was panicking and didnt know what to do. Suddenly, one of the girls kicked me in the ass and threw me up against a wall. The framed picture came right off its hook and shattered to pieces all over me. The glass shards pierced through my skin and my breath caught in my throat. It only escalated as Lindsay threw the lamp down on my crippled body again, and the blonde dived right onto my chest and took a hold of my throat. My eyes widened with fear and suddenly I couldnt take the pain anymore. Struggling, the two other girls started shoving me up against the wall as the blonde choked me. Lindsay threw books down on me and I saw the blood everywhere. My blood splattered on the wall. The broken glass still piercing into me. My breath becoming short. My face turning red. Why could no one help me? I felt dizzy, and my head was spinning. I needed help. With my last burst of strength, I jabbed my knee into the girls ass, and as she flew off me with a shriek, I somehow managed to get up and find my balance. It was like slow motion; Lindsay was screaming and diving to catch my leg as I sprinted towards the door. The other three could only watch as I dragged their

friend across the bloody carpet and they stared into my scarred face and distorted eyes. I almost sensed fear in them. I reached for the door, and flinging it open, I tried screaming for help but something wouldnt let me. Slamming the door on Lindsays face, I ran down the stairs, tripping and falling with pain as my open cuts began bleeding again. Leaving a trail of fresh blood for the girls to track me, I had no choice but to sprint outside in the cold, city winter night. The bitter wind hit me like a tidal wave and my open wounds stung with agony. My breathing was laboured and my heart rate was jumping. I could barely make out the world. Darkness engulfed me. Fear was the only feeling I felt. Attempting to stay alive, I ran down University Avenue and tried to escape the gang. Just get away, I thought, run away from the nasty fuckers! Lightheaded and dehydrated, I suddenly tripped and felt the burning of the cement on one side of my body. I couldnt lay there! I had to get up! I tried yelling out for help but my breathing was too laboured and I was suddenly losing sense of where I was. The cold snow around me; the brutal winter air; the blood dripping from my body. There was darkness around me and the last thing I saw were my playing cards the little purple box with my last memory of Charlene. There I floated away, once again reminding myself that this game was played by myself; the whole fucken game was played solo. Chapter 16 It was nearly midnight and the bitter wind was starting to pick up. Small snowflakes welcomed the holidays and promised a white Christmas. Many of the shops on Main Street were decorated with glowing lights that welcomed shoppers and wreaths that smelt of fresh evergreen. Leo loved walking through the city at night during the holidays. The lights made him feel lively and excited, and the happy families passing by him gave him hope that one day he would be able to share Christmas with someone special too. The wind was strong against his numb face, but he welcomed it. As he passed the different windows, he would stop and look into the displays. Some of them were surrounded with colours of Christmas, others had Happy Holiday signs. Inside one display were beautiful, hand-carved toys under a fake Christmas tree that was glowing with bright white lights. In the background, he could hear soft holiday music playing and smiled at himself. Maybe someday he would have a child and he would be able to buy them something special for Christmas. Maybe someday.

With a sigh, Leo began walking towards University Avenue where his vehicle was still parked. He could just make out a few stars through the break in the buildings, and he loved watching the way they twinkled. It made him feel like someone was always watching over him and that he was never really alone. Not a holy spirit, but a real person. As the large stores were left behind him and the holiday music faded away, Leo began listening to the crunching of the snow under his feet. He was now walking into the wind and large, fluffy snowflakes were flying into his face. Huddling closer to his coat, he could barely see ahead of him as the weather blinded him. Eventually, he saw the obvious sign leading up University Avenue and he turned up the road. Suddenly, he stopped for a moment. This was the first time he had walked right where Arianna had been when he had hit her. Leo wasnt sure why, but he looked around the snow as if he was looking for any evidence of the accident. And there was something. Bending down, Leo could see a small purple box wrapped in ribbon on the ground, and he picked it up carefully. Brushing the snow off the top, he easily slipped off the ribbon and looked to see what was inside. There, he found a small piece of paper and a pack of old cards. He became confused, but he suddenly made out Ariannas name on the note in beautiful writing. But, he couldnt read the remainder of the message in the dark, so he put everything back in the box and slipped it inside his pocket. Turning the corner onto University Avenue, Leo suddenly stopped in his tracks again. His heart skipped a beat as he saw who was lying unconscious in the snow bank. Bending down in panic, he made out the girls peaceful face; except it was scratched and caked with dried blood. Holy fuck Arianna! Why the hell do you always have to be the one thats hurt? Taking off his coat, he quickly folded it over the girls bare arms and tried not to panic. He wasnt sure whether or not to rush her to the hospital on campus, but he decided otherwise. The only person helping this crippled woman would be him. Sticking to his word, Leo once again picked up Arianna and he held her as close to him as he could. He began worrying how long she had been out here and still wondered if he should take her to the hospital. Closing off his mind, he told himself that the only thing he needed to focus on was Arianna. It only took him 10 minutes to get to the college parking lot where he put Arianna in the back seat of his black SUV and covered her with his spare blankets in the back. Quickly getting into the drivers seat and cranking up the heat, Leo ignored the stinging of his thawing arms.

He drove quickly but carefully back down Main Street and all the way through downtown until he reached his place just outside the city limits. Before Leo could even think, he took Arianna in his arms and carried her up to his house. He fumbled with the key and realized his hands were shaking again; and it wasnt from the cold. Even his breathing was quickening, but he realized he had to stay strong. He had to stay strong for his Arianna. He opened the front door and rushed inside. Placing the bundle he had in his arms on his sofa, he flipped on a light and simply stared at the scarred up face of the beautiful women. She had dried blood stains running down her left side and he was surprised to see pieces of glass still sticking out of her skin. But worst of all was her face; covered with frozen blood and flesh showing on her cheekbones. Who had done this to her? Whoever the hell had done this was going to get a beating! Without another thought, Leo ran upstairs to grab his first aid kit and he went right to work on his patient by checking her vitals. Well into the morning, Leo stitched up her open wounds and prodded any invasive objects out of her skin. When he was done, he was relieved that she hadnt broken anything and that no internal injuries had been present. Now, all Leo could do was wait. He brought her up to his bedroom and used a warm cloth to wipe off the excess blood he had missed on her face. Then, he tucked her into his large bed and laid beside her. He was growing cold again, and he quietly lifted the sheets over himself too and pushed his body up against Arianna. Leo still thought she felt very frail and cold. He wrapped his legs around her skinny frame and brought his nose to her neck. Her hair still smelled of vanilla even though she had been in a snow bank for who knows how long. Before long, Leo had fallen into a peaceful sleep and had unconsciously wrapped himself around Arianna. Dawn slowly came and turned to morning, but both of them slept in peace as the blue sky engulfed the city. No one was playing solo anymore; they were both playing as a single team.

Chapter 17 It felt like I was in the hospital again and I breathed in the smell of freshly cleaned sheets. It was like paradise; my head was comfortable, and I was extremely warm. Just then, I realized I could feel the rhythmic breathing of someone lying tight against me. I thought I even recognized the feeling of the persons chest rising and falling. Thinking back to the night of the accident, I clearly remembered the feeling of Leos breathing calming me when I was in so much pain. Now I was here again, but I felt no pain.

I could remember last night; the girls throwing me against the wall and the shattering glass piercing through my skin. I felt my hip where a shard had dug deeply into me, but there was nothing there but a closed wound. The only thing I could do was smile at the thought of Leo somehow rescuing me from the snow bank and stitching me all up. Maybe I could actually put my trust in him. I loved the way he cared for me so much, and I reached behind me and placed my arm around him. Rolling around so I was facing him, I stared into his peaceful face; there were no lines of stress and worry, only a beautiful, manly face. I smiled to myself and couldnt help but press myself up against his chest and place my arm around his back. His methodical breathing made me doze off again, even in the light of the day. Something was happening again. A blaring sound was waking me up. My body suddenly tensed as I realized it was the phone and I jolted upright in the bed. My eyes wide, I suddenly took in the enormous room around me. We were in a king bed and a dresser and book shelves lined the walls. Even a small fireplace was set opposite the bed, and it made me feel welcome. Leo had just woken up from my sudden movement, and he reached over me to answer the phone. Dr. Holmes he said with a screwed up face. Shit, Im sorry. There was an emergency. Those worry lines were etched on his face again as he talked into the phone. Within a few minutes, he placed it back on the receiver and looked down into my eyes. Just work wondering where I was he said, and his natural voiced soothed me. He brought me closer to his chest and breathed in the smell of my hair. I knew I could trust this man. You look much better this morning. How do you feel? he looked down into my green eyes. For a moment, I didnt reply as I held his deep gaze. I had never seen his eyes so close up before and they were so beautiful and serene. He ran his fingers down the side of my rounded face and I felt my back tense at the feel of him. Leo obviously felt it too and stopped. Im sorry I youre probably not used to this. He whispered, placing my delicate head against his chest. He was right; never before had I slept with someone or been caressed by anyone. But I had to admit that it made me feel comfortable and wanted by someone. I smiled up at his whiskery face and listened to the rhythmic beating of his heart. How would you like to spend the holidays here? But only if you want to. Leo looked down at me with passionate eyes and I could only nod my head in agreement. Chapter 18

As he rose from the bed, he couldnt help but look down at Ariannas beautiful body stretched out across his bed. She was wearing another flowing sundress from the day before, and even though it was caked in blood stains and it had rips, she looked like an angel. Leo suddenly felt attracted to this young woman and he realized that he was falling in love with her. Madly in love. He wondering what Arianna thought of him. Maybe he would just wait. Im going to shower. Help yourself to any of my clothes if you want; you look cold. Leo vanished into the washroom but left the door ajar slightly. As he undressed himself and turned on the hot water, he watched Arianna carefully. She had found a baggy sweater and a pair of sweat pants in his drawer and was analyzing how they would look on her. Leo watched in astonishment as she pulled off her sun dress and revealed her beautiful features. He had never seen a woman with such long, athletic legs and such an amazing body. Without noticing, Leo felt his insides churning and realized that he wanted to make love to her. He wanted that woman. He was almost desperate for her. As Arianna pulled on his clothes, Leo stepped into the shower and thought of nothing but the womans amazing lines. When he was finished, and he walked out of the room wrapped in a towel, Arianna was lying on the bed looking up at Leo with enormous eyes. Leo couldnt help but wonder if Arianna was attracted to him or not, but judging by what she had gone through, he didnt expect her to be. She had never known love from anyone else. As Leo sifted through his drawers for his clothes, his towel suddenly slipped off and fell to the floor to reveal his manliness. Oh Jesus! he muttered, and he quickly covered himself up again. Turning to look at Arianna, he felt a pang of guilt as he saw her huddled in a little ball on the side of the bed. She wasnt looking at Leo anymore and he slowly walked over to her. Im sorry Arianna. I didnt mean for you - He couldnt finish his sentence and he didnt dare touch her tense body. Leo sat on the bed beside Arianna, who was still wrapped up in a ball. She slowly uncurled herself and looked in his direction; but she felt too embarrassed to meet his gaze. Looking into her eyes, Leo could see really how hurt she had been in her lifetime. She wasnt used to this and he had to understand that. Easy Arianna; you have nothing to be ashamed about. He tried soothing her and brought his hand down to stroke her back. Almost instantly, she tensed and stood up from the bed.

Leo thought her eyes were filled with more than fear; they were filled with anxiety and emptiness. How could he comfort her if he could not even touch her without her tensing up? Although he hated to admit, he would just have to wait and gain her trust. But he was desperate for her, and it took all of his strength even to just not rip off all of her clothes that very instant. Arianna looked back into his eyes and seemed to read exactly what he was thinking. She quickly stepped back and covered up her body even though she was dressed. How the hell does she know what Im thinking, Leo thought to himself in astonishment. Arianna, please trust me. Im never going to hurt you or make you do anything you dont feel comfortable doing. Just tell me. He used the most soothing voice he could, and to his relief, Arianna returned his gaze with a slight smile. Just then, he remembered the box he had found of the sidewalk turning onto University Avenue. Reaching into his coat pocket, he pulled it out and handed it to Arianna. Suddenly, the young woman standing before him ran forward and embraced him tightly. He felt chills run down his spine at the very touch of her. It took all he had to not turn hot-headed and he was forced to control himself. Leo returned her embrace and felt his body melt as he realized he would eventually be able to gain her trust. These are Charlenes cards. She pa- passed away a few days ago, and - as Arianna paused to catch her breath, Leo suddenly realized what she had said. Everything was starting to make sense now. We would play cards a lot over the summer and she showed me how to play solitaire and black jacks. She stopped and Leo could only look down at her with sad eyes. Then, Arianna took the old pack of cards and spread them out along the bed. Leo noticed some of them were wearing, but when she flipped them over, he saw that the backs had been coloured in by hand and were still in good condition. He noticed that the backs of three cards had hearts on them and the rest had circles. The cards with hearts represent people we have grown close to Arianna explained quietly. That way we will always remember them. She smiled as she picked up the heart-backed cards. Michael was Charlenes boyfriend and hes the King of Hearts. Charlene is the Queen of Hearts, and I am the Ace of Hearts She gazed down at the wearing cards and Leo felt a sudden sadness towards the young woman. All she had to remind her of trust and friendship were three cards with hearts etched on the back. She needed help, and Leo intended to change her life.

Thank you for finding these Leo. Arianna looked up into Leos eyes and he could see tears suddenly forming in them. Bringing his hand slowly to her cheek, he gently brushed away the single tear that was falling from her gorgeous eyes. Leo smiled when she didnt flinch; she only held his passionate gaze. Why dont you have a shower while I make breakfast? he said softly to her, all the while looking deeply into her eyes. She gazed up at him uncertainly, but he motioned towards the washroom. Trust me Arianna. Slowly, she watched as his beautiful woman walked towards the washroom and shut the door behind her. With a smirk, he finally dressed himself and didnt leave the bedroom until he heard the sound of small feet step into his shower. Never before had anyone else ever used that very shower. Making his way downstairs, Leo pictured the cards with the hearts on the backs. Arianna had packed them away safely and put them back in the purple box. They were obviously extremely important to her, and he silently hoped one day that he would have his own card with a heart on it too. Chapter 19 As I dried myself and put on Leos clothes, I couldnt help but laugh at how small they made me look. The sweat pants dragged on the floor and the waist was too big. Even the hoodie hung low on me and made me look like a boy. Looking into the mirror, I put my hair up in a pony tail and washed my face with warm water. Then, I suddenly realized that I had no toothbrush, clothes, or things of my own for the holidays. As I walked down the large, winding steps I couldnt help but admire Leos enormous house. The walls were painted greens and browns, and each room was fit with its own modern style. I glanced into the largest room where a huge bare tree stood almost as high as the ceiling. Leo motioned for me to come into the kitchen. I hadnt realized it was open concept, and you could easily make out the entire living from standing in the kitchen. As I watched Leo bending over a frying pan, the strong smell of bacon, eggs, and pancakes hit me all in one. I licked my lips as I watched him expertly handling all three food items at once. Where are the plates and cutlery? I asked, looking around at the stainless steel appliances and hardwood cupboards. Dont worry about them babe. Leo turned and smiled at me but I looked at him oddly. Whats the matter? He looked confused and stopped what he was doing to come over to me. I looked down to avoid his gaze. No ones ever called me - I felt too embarrassed to finish my sentence. Judging by the way Leo had looked passionately at me

upstairs, I could tell he wanted me. Like he really wanted me. I wasnt sure if I felt the same way about him; I wasnt ready for that type of affection and relationship. Oh my god Im sorry Arianna! I didnt realize you werent used to that! Leo walked slowly over to me and looked down at me with sincere eyes. I slowly looked up at him and I couldnt help but smile at his big puppy eyes. Then, he took my hand and brought me over to the frying pan. He grasped the spatula with me and through laughs and giggles we flipped the bacon, the pancakes, and the eggs which were all in separate pans. Did you know your laugh is the cutest thing Ive ever heard? He grinned at me and I pretended to smack him in the face as I burst out laughing. So you play rough do you my lady? his grin widened and his bellowing laugh erupted from his belly. He threw an extra spatula in my hand and he challenged me to a duel. As the last of the bacon cooked, we whacked each other in the sides and wailed with laughter as we pretended to stab each other. Suddenly, Leo brought the spatula up to my face and lighted whacked my cheek. But remembering the events from the previous night, I suddenly bolted backwards to escape the pain that was to come and I cowered in the corner by the fridge where I held up my hands for defence. Leo quickly dropped the spatula and quietly knelt down beside me. He didnt touch me. He just waited as I slowly felt my heart rate returning to normal and I uncurled to look up at him. His eyes were filled with guilt again but he didnt say anything. I have to adjust to this too Arianna. Ive never had be so careful around someone before. Leo backed up slightly to see if I was still uncomfortable, but I suddenly hopped up onto my feet and blew up at him. Well if you dont like it then drive me back there Leo! Drive me back so my roommates can beat me up again! Let them draw my blood again as they laugh at my dying body! Let them choke me as they watch my eyes bulge from my head! You ass hole! I dont know where it had come from, but I was simply defending myself. We stood there for a moment, and I slowly backed out of the kitchen to catch my breath. Maybe I was being too selfish and unfair towards him. I jumped when he came up behind me, Have you ever had a real relationship before missy? You have to trust the other partner! You have to step outside your comfort zone and accept their feelings sometimes too! I had never heard his voice so harsh and I scrambled away from his grasp, heading for the front door. Dont you run away! I cant see you in pain anymore you bitch! Stop feeling so sorry for yourself! Suddenly, Leo grabbed me by the shoulder and slapped me in the face. Not hard, but enough to set me off. The stinging pain was the same as it had been before.

I ran for the door but Leo got there before me and forced me away from it. I looked up at him for just a millisecond and was surprised to see tears falling down his face. I just stood there watching him. I didnt mean it I was unfair Arianna and I hurt you! Im such an ass hole! Please dont leave! He was begging me to stay, but how could I trust a man that was much larger than me and could easily hurt me? Should I give him another chance? I realized it wasnt entirely his fault and that I had been unfair too. Hesitating, I stepped forward and embraced his warm body. I would never want to sacrifice this comfort. I could feel Leo relax and I found it funny how aroused that big man got from just me touching him. A little chuckle escaped me and he grinned at me. Whats so funny Miss? he said sarcastically, and I just looked up at him with laughing eyes. Minutes later, we were sitting at the enormous table eating the most delicious breakfast I had eaten in a long time. Leo had promised that he would never hurt me again because he couldnt bear to see me in pain, and I trusted him. I didnt trust him completely but I told him I would try harder and be braver. To help him. And to help me. Chapter 20 The roads were clear of snow as he drove up University Avenue. He was here to get Ariannas belongings in her room. She had stayed back to clean up from breakfast and to start decorating the tree. Leo had exempted her from the exam when he realized she was taking the same course next semester, which he was also glad about. He pulled the SUV right up in front of the four story residence building and tried to look casual as he entered the girls building. On his way in, he got glances from the girls in the lounge and in the main lobby. Some gave little waves and batted their eyelashes and others giggled amongst themselves. Leo was beginning to see why Arianna felt so uncomfortable around these girly-girls. As he reached the third floor once again, he walked quietly down the hall way to avoid any unwanted attention. He had gotten the extra key from Arianna before he had left, and he jiggled the lock when he got to the right room. For a second, he stopped and listened. He heard voices inside; at least 3 or 4. Those must be the girls that beat up my Arianna, he thought to himself. Anger boiled up in him as he slowly opened the door. Preparing for a bunch of girly screams, Leo braced himself as he stepped casually into the room. It wasnt screams that welcomed him; it was silence and the laser eyes of the little huddle of teenagers. Leo could now see why Arianna wanted nothing to do this place. Before he moved towards her side of the room, he walked

over to the huddle of teenagers and intimidated them with his booming voice. So which one of you bitches beat the shit out of her? His eyes glared down at each one of them and there was a continuous silence. Before he knew what he was doing, he punched the closet girl square in the ribs and she let out a loud whimper. Stay the fuck away from her! Leo watched as all four girls ran from the room screaming, their voices fading away as they left the building. With a smirk on his face, he began gathering up all of Ariannas belongings. He was astonished at the amount of damage done in the room: he could see that the girls had tried to clear the shattered picture frame and clean the blood-stained walls and carpet. Seeing all of this made him want to puke; how could they do this to such an amazing, normal person? Leo thought it so unfair and he was furious as he packed everything into her suitcase. Making sure no one was still watching him, he couldnt help but smell Ariannas clothes. They smelled of her vanilla hair and lavender perfume. Realizing how childish he was being, he packed up the last of her things from the bathroom and before leaving he locked the door. Just as he was going down the first flight of stairs, he heard the voices of the four girls growing louder. Its him! Thats the bastard that beat me up! cried the blonde who Leo had smoked in the ribs. Following behind them was one of the many police officers that roamed campus. Sir, you need to come with me. The women said commonly before she was at the top of the stairs. Im sorry, have I done something wrong? I was just packing my girlfriends belongings and she gave me her key. Leo looked at the police officer with a confused look in his eyes. Sir, arent you a little old to be dating a college student? The police officer was at eye level with him now and she seemed very unconvinced. Shrugging his shoulders, Leo walked down the flight of stairs and shot a nasty grin at the blond on his way down. He walked out the front door casually and sped up when he was out of view. He quickly got into the SUV and started up the engine. Deep down, he knew he could get in a lot of trouble for what he had did. The lightest punishment might be losing his job if anyone actually found out that believed those four snobs. He smiled as he realized Arianna was the complete opposite of those girls even though they were very close to the same age.

On his drive through downtown, he suddenly recalled when he had said he was packing his girlfriends belongings. Is that what Arianna was to him? Maybe in time he would be able to get through to her and make love to her; but in the meantime he would have to accept the fact that he needed to gain her trust first. A thought suddenly came to his mind: was this girl the love of his life? He had never in his life felt this way towards someone and even though she was a very reserved person with a troubled past, he saw something in her that he had never seen in anyone else. He wasnt sure what it was exactly but he loved it. Leo thought back to when Casey had teased him about being a man well into his thirties that didnt even have a girlfriend. Could Arianna someday be this person? His wife? The bearer of his children? He shook the thought out of his head: of course not. Not only was she almost ten years younger than him, but Leo hadnt even earned her trust as a true friend yet. He still had hope though. Pulling into his dive way, he could see Arianna decorating the sparkling tree in the living room. She hadnt seen Leo pull in yet and as he cut the engine, he couldnt help but watch her through the window. She looked very petite next to the tall tree, but he watched in amazement as she jumped up with ease to hang the ornaments up higher. Leo couldnt help but chuckle as some of her attempts resulted in a branch in the face or a fallen ornament. Casually walking towards the front door, Leo snuck inside and made his way quietly into the living room. Arianna hadnt noticed him yet, and she was still reaching to hang the ornaments up high. With a grin on his face, Leo leaned against the wall and watched as she reached for a higher branch and she struggled to hang the ornament. Tip toeing towards her, he reached his arm around her and helped her reach the branch. Arianna turned around with a huge grin and wrapped her arms around Leo. He was surprised at how happy she was to see him, and he couldnt help but run his hand down her back. He smirked when he felt that she had no bra on, and he could feel her back relaxing under his touch. Arianna loved his huge, warm hands and she pressed herself closer to his body. Im glad to see you; I was worried you wouldnt be safe. She whispered into his ear with her sweet voice, and Leo suddenly loved her even more. He had never met a girl that actually worried about him.

Was this the only girl in the world that recognized his own delicate and sentimental personality underneath his massive build? He smiled at the thought and was glad when she peered up into his eyes. Lets finish the tree Arianna. Leo said softy as he ran his nose through her vanilla-scented hair. For the next hour, Leo lifted her up to help her reach the higher branches and they both put the angel on together. After they were done, Leo whipped up some hot chocolate and watched as Arianna drank it slowly. Then he wondered something; would this be his first Christmas with someone special? Chapter 21 It was growing dark again. I asked Leo if we could light candles around the house and together we went around with matches and took turns bringing each room to life. I love the smell of burning candles I said to him as he lit the last one. We had turned off all of the lights and I could just make out the grin forming on Leos face. I do too Arianna. He replied softy, wrapping me in his arms. I rested my head against his chest and let my weight fall in to his thick arms. Has someone had a long day or what? I could feel his belly rumble with laughter as he held me closer and ran his hand down my back. I could feel his heart beat picking up again, and I found it amazing how I could have this effect on a man; A man that was much older than me. All of a sudden, he effortlessly lifted me into his arms and carried me upstairs. I felt like I could fall asleep right there. Go clean up for bed. Youre luggage is by the fireplace He put me down gently on the bed, and I walked over to my bag where I found my toothbrush lying neatly on top of everything. Turning on the bathroom light and closing the door, I peered at my face. I was not scared of who looked back at me tonight; the evil soul had gone into hiding again. As I brushed my teeth, I suddenly wondered if I had any feelings towards Leo. I thought it was possible that I did, but I still hadnt gained his complete trust. Then, I remembered the reality; he was my prof and although I didnt know his exact age, I was guessing he was at least 15 years older than me. Oh well, I thought, we could be close friends. After washing my face and smiling at myself in the mirror one last time, I shut off the bathroom light and walked into the dark, candlelit bedroom. I was surprised to

see Leo sitting shirtless by the fire, and he was holding something. The room was warm with candlelight, and I walked slowly over to him. Sitting gracefully down beside him, he wrapped me in his warm arms and welcomed me to sit closer to him. I shuffled my bare legs closer to his, and we sat there in a relaxing silence for a long time. I was wearing a short nightdress, and Leo ran his huge hand down my bare legs. At first, I flinched and he lifted his hand away, but then I pushed my legs against his and welcomed his touch. Looking down at his other hand, I saw he was holding Charlenes cards. I wanted to ask him why, but I didnt want to ruin the silence. As if he had read my mind, he opened the small pack of cards and began shuffling the deck very carefully. Then, he placed the cards out like a solitaire game would look and motioned for me to make the first move. After I placed my first card, then Leo made his move. I watched his fleshy hands carefully in the glow of the firelight as he manoeuvred the cards. In silence, we finished the game and he quietly put the cards back in the box. He turned to my ear and whispered something to me in his deep, soothing voice, Solitaire doesnt have to be played alone Arianna. It can be played with a pair. His meaningful words went straight to my heart, and I suddenly felt tears running down my cheeks. Leo suddenly felt a drop fall into his hand, and he gently brushed the tears from my face. Im sorry if I made you upset. Easy now He slowly lifted me into his lap and coaxed me to lean my head into his warm arm. Looking up at him with a tearful face I said, You didnt make me upset. Its just that you made me realize how selfish Ive been to you Leo. All youve done for me is protect me from the start, and Ive blocked you out. Will you play the game of life with me Leo? Will you help me win it? I looked into his watering eyes and he looked down at me with a passionate look in his eyes. Arianna, I will gladly play the game of life with you. A hopeful smile appeared on his tired face, and I brushed my hand over his whiskers. He closed his eyes at my touch, and I a smile grew on my face. We sat there for a long time, just looking at each other in front of the crackling fire. He brought me closer to his chest and I breathed in the soothing smell of his aftershave. Then, I stroked his bare chest and felt how warm he was. His eyes went all dreamy at my touch, and I knew he liked it. I sat in his lap stroking his chest and feeling the heat radiating off of him. He was incredibly muscular, and I ran my hand down his toned abs. I twirled my fingers

through the single line of hair that ran down his lower chest, and I could feel him quivering under my touch. Tiredness suddenly flushed over me and Leo took my hands in his and he rocked me to sleep by the warm, crackling fire. Chapter 22 Dawn had stolen the night away and day hold stolen away the cool morning. It was Christmas day, and families in neighbouring households had been up long before as their children ran downstairs to check that Santa had ate his cookies and drank all of his milk. Flickering awake, Leo wondered if it was a work day but remembered it was just the bare beginnings of the holidays he would get to spend with Arianna, who was still fast asleep beside him. He smiled down at the beautiful girl who had curled up against his warm chest. Last night had been amazing, and he felt as if he had not only fallen in love more with her, but she had gained more trust in him. It was the beginning of their breakthrough and possibly the first step to creating a flourishing relationship. Leo brushed the hair out of Ariannas healing face. He would soon remove the stitches, and he could see the scabs beginning to heal and reveal her beautiful features. He ran his eyes down her body and wished he could make love to her right here, right now. But, he had promised her that he wouldnt do anything that made her feel uncomfortable. Dam hormones, Leo thought. Closing his eyes against the bright sunlight and wrapping Arianna closer to his body, the memory of her angelic fingers running through his thin line of hair and over his chest made him feel aroused. He wanted her so much. He wanted to be able to love her. Just then, Leo was brought back to reality when he suddenly felt Arianna move away from him. She began to whimper like a frightened child and she tossed and turned in the bed. Leo wasnt sure what to do; he couldnt bear to see her go through any more pain and he tried waking her gently but she was frantically reaching for something. Arianna! Youre okay! he tried whispering into her ear but he could now see sweat forming on her face. Her whimpering was growing louder and Leo couldnt stand the pain of watching her anymore. Hauling himself over her, he prodded her shoulder to see if she would wake. Then, her movement suddenly ceased and her wide eyes flew open. Leo saw fear and loneliness in them again. Tears began forming in the young womans eyes, and to Leos surprise, she reached for his arm to comfort her.

He suddenly felt her body come tight against his chest again, and he ran his hand soothingly down her back. She didnt flinch at all this time; she needed his comfort. As Leo tried to calm her, he could feel her quick intakes of breaths and her fast beating heart against him. He killed her she suddenly muttered in a fearful voice, and Leo instantly whispered soothing words to her. He wasnt sure what she had dreamt about, but it surely hadnt been pleasant. Tell me Arianna. He needed to get it out of her so she could settle down. Tell me what happened. He needed to this so he didnt have to see her in pain. She looked up into Leos eyes, and he was taken aback by the fear in them. My father beat my mother to death and I was hiding under the table waiting...waiting for someone to come and help me! Tears suddenly welled up in her eyes again and although he was astonished, Leo brought her closer to him. He needed to comfort her. Will you help me Leo? Please! I have these dreams almost every night! Leo felt a pang of sadness flush over him as he looked at the innocent young women curled up beside him that wanted; no, needed; nothing more than someone to be there for her. Someone that she could tell her secrets too. Someone that would hold her hand and show her the way through life. I am always here for you Arianna. I will help you. I promise He suddenly felt himself hold her tighter as if he was afraid of losing her, and he knew he would have to hide his fear in order to stay strong for her. They lay there pushed against each other for some time until Ariannas tears subsided and Leo felt his heart rate return to normal. Its Christmas Arianna Leo whispered into her little ear, and at the sound of his voice, her entire body went limp and fell into his grasp. Leo smiled and helped her sit up in bed. She still wore her night dress, and her red eyes made it look extremely depressed. Go wash up Arianna. Then we can go open presents. Minutes later, the pair of them walked hand in hand down the winding stairs and into the living room where they stood in front of the Christmas tree and watched the tiny snowflakes falling from the sky. Arianna looked up into Leos glistening eyes, and they exchanged bright smiles. Youre the most amazing person Ive ever met Leo. She said softly, blushing slightly. Looking down at her beautiful figure, Leo thought he was once again one step closer to breaking through Ariannas barrier. Merry Christmas my sweet Arianna he pulled out a small box for her to open. Arianna looked up at him with a surprised expression. But I never got you - But before she could finish, Leo hushed her and told her to open her gift. The box was

slightly bigger than the one the cards had come in and opening it up, a glittering necklace with an Ace of Hearts card dangling from it stared her in face. Leo! Oh my god! Its beautiful! Tears fell over her cheeks again and she looked up at Leo with enormous eyes. He grinned at her and held her gaze as she ran her hand over his face. Leo pulled her close to him, and her eyes made him melt all over. Without thinking, Leo leaned over Arianna and kissed her passionately as he held her against his bare chest. He looked into her eyes and was taken aback when all he saw was nothing but fear. Pulling away from his tight grasp on her, Ariannas face suddenly fell. Seeing those eyes hurt Leo so much and he opened his mouth to say something but she only stepped farther away. What the hell Leo! You cant do that to me! Her gaze fell to the floor as she waited for him to say something through the heavy silence. I I thought you had feelings for my Arianna. Im sorry. I got ahead of myself. His voice sounded reserved and held back. This upset Arianna and she looked into his pain stricken face straight on. Leo I do have feelings for you! Im not ready for that type of physical relationship though! Im sorry if I caught you off guard. Sad tears formed in her eyes, and she tried to step towards Leo, but he took a step back. I think Im starting to really like you Arianna. Im sorry Leo ran his hands through his hair and his stress lines had returned to his handsome face. Arianna suddenly thought the man before her looked tired and old; like fifty-years old. She was taken aback and could only stand there in mock silence. Leo, I want you to comfort me but not like that. I need someone to support me or hold me tight when I feel alone and panicked. Thats what you did for me Leo. Her pleading eyes met Leos, and he took a step towards her again. Im sorry Arianna I didnt know you only wanted that. Come here. He tried to wear a smile on his face, and Arianna suddenly stepped into his comforting arms again like nothing had happened between them. I need you because I trust you Leo. Ill tell you when Im ready for that type of relationship. She whispered this promise in his ear, and those words made his heart sore. Leo knew she had feelings for him somewhere in her, and he would just have to wait. But how long? The little boy inside of him jumped up and down with glee at the thought of one day being in love with Arianna and making love to her in bed. But for now, he watched happily as his amazing girl picked up the necklace again.

Will you put it on for me? she asked shyly as she turned her back to Leo and passed him the glittering necklace. With a grin, Leo brushed aside her long honeycoloured hair and stroked her neck with his hands. She could feel her body quiver and allowed her to sink her weight into his shoulder. Then, he gently took the end of the necklace and fastened it onto the beautiful woman that was lying in his arms. You know what my Christmas present was Arianna? Leo looked down at her beautiful face with a smirk. You. A smile broke out on Ariannas tear-stained face and she pushed Leo gently to the floor so he was lying on his back. You little liar. She teased, twirling her fingers over his thin line of hair again. Arianna watched in delight as the man below her quivered under her touch, and leaning over top of his warm chest, she softly let her weight come down on his and relaxed as Leos hands grasped her tightly. The pair sat there in front of the glinting Christmas tree as snow fell slowly outside for what seemed hours. They had both joined in on the solitaire game together. Chapter 23 Over the week, an enormous amount of snow had fallen over the city, and each morning Leo and I would wake to see plow after plow driving by in the early morning and watch as parents went out to shovel the snow as their children built snow forts, snow men, had snowball fights, and make snow angels. Leo had told me that every Christmas holiday he would always go up north to visit his family where he had grown up. This year, he had invited me to come up to the farm and I was more than happy to come. Growing up in the city, I had never really had a taste of what farming was like. Leo would tell me that as a kid, he would always wake up before the sun every morning with his parents and help them feed the horses, milk the cows, and fix anything that needed a mending job. He had learned how to operate the tractors as a young boy and had gotten his own snowmobile when he turned 16. I loved watching him as he talked about the farm; his face would light up and his eyes would sparkle with happiness. There was this one hot summer day, Leo began, choking on his breakfast as he began to chuckle, When I had decided to go for an adventure in the 50 acre corn field. I wasnt keeping track of where I was going and ended up being stuck in there for a day and a half until my father followed my tracks and found me buried knee-dip in mud right in the center of the corn field! I looked up into his sparkling eyes across from the table as he bellowed his big laugh and spilt milk all over his toast like a little boy. As I went to wet a cloth over the sink, I glanced out the window and saw the neighbours children playing in their backyard. There was a little girl and a boy and

they were helping each other roll a huge snowball around the yard that was coming close to twice their size. I smiled. Both Leo and I had been single children and it had sometimes been difficult growing up for him when his only friends lived an hour away. As I headed back to the table to clean up Leos spilt milk, I suddenly felt his gaze wander over me. He didnt notice as I peered into his eyes, but I could see that dreamy look in him again as his eyes swept over my every line. Feeling a chill go down my spine, I suddenly took the jug of cold water and poured half of it down Leos shirt. Instantly, he came back to reality and leapt from his chair as I dropped the cloth on him and almost lost my balance as a spout of laughter escaped me. Were you checking me out mister? I looked up at his momentarily confused expression and watched as his face suddenly went from stunned to wearing a huge grin. You little teaser! He cried, and taking the remainder of the water, he poured it directly above my head and I barely felt the cold sensation through my uncontrollable laughter. Taking his wet toast, I shoved it down Leos shirt and watched playfully as he started chasing me with my glass of orange juice that was still more than half full. With a little scream, I ran into the living room and cowered behind the Christmas tree as he poured the sticky substance down my shirt and I hollered out laughing again. Before I could feel the full affects of the orange juice, I suddenly ran to the kitchen where I refilled the empty jug with freezing cold water and turned to see Leo having a fit of laughter and leaning his head onto the counter. He looked up at me with passionate, sparkling eyes, and with a grin on my face I chased after him. As he ran up to the bedroom, I suddenly grabbed a hold of his shirt going up the stairs and he turned to pick me up like a child. He pretended to be cross at me and told me I would never be forgiven. Then, without even noticing, I spilled half the jug of freezing water right down his crotch. I laughed even harder as I looked up into Leos stunned face as he gave a little yelp. My eyes were watering with happy tears, and getting down from Leos arms, it looked as if he was almost in pain from the cold water. Running to the bathroom, I grabbed my towel and motioned him to sit on the bed. I started drying the spot where it looked like he had pissed his pants, and I was surprised when I looked up into his face. It was no longer a stunned look; he wore those dreamy eyes again. But this time, he looked like he was in a real dream. Looking down, I returned to drying his crotch; then it hit me; I had got him all-hot headed and turned on from trying to dry him. I quickly pulled away.

Im sorry I totally didnt see what I was doing so - I tried looking up into his eyes again and he had this happy-go-lucky grin on his face. Holy shit woman. Youre more amazing than I thought He said in a deep, dreamy voice. Then a smirk suddenly played at my face. Going to grab more fresh towels, I wiped his pants clean in the same spot until they were almost completely dry. I loved watching the expression on his face as he became aroused, and when I had just about dried his pants, I suddenly burst out laughing. Who knew I could do such a thing to a man without even taking my clothes off! As dreamy as he was, he grasped me with his arms and pulled me tight against his still wet chest. He ran his nose through my hair, and he slowly inhaled my vanilla smell from the shampoo I used every day. I knew this man was deeply in love with me, but I wasnt ready to give myself to him in that way yet. Youre a little playful child, you know? I could feel his belly rumble with laughter and without thinking I slowly took off his wet shirt, all the while peering into his far off eyes. I felt his cold skin, and I tried wrapping him in a towel, but he only brought my closer instead. He cradled me like a newborn and played with my wet hair. He ran his hand down my sticky, wet front, and I quivered at his warm touch. You like that dont you Arianna? A wide grin played at the corners of his mouth and I could tell he was turned on. I let me just sit there and stroke me as I ran my fingers over his wet chest. As his eyes were returning to their usual bright colour, I looked up at him and whispered that I should have a shower before they left for his parents. To my surprise, Leo lifted me from the bed and carried me into the washroom where he set me down on the vanity and peered deeply into my eyes. Youre beautiful Arianna he said, and I suddenly felt all warm and filled with butterflies. I felt flattered at his comment, and I rested my head in his warm shoulder. He breathed down my next and stroked my back, and I could have just sat there forever. Glancing at the clock, I saw it was nearly noon, and I slowly broke away from his grasp. I was cold all of a sudden, but I didnt show it to Leo. With a grin, he ran his hand over my stitch-free face and left the washroom before quietly closing the door. As I washed the sticky orange juice out of my hair and off of my body, all I could think about were those big, dreamy eyes following me desperately. I realized that I was started to feel closer to him, but I stopped washing myself for a moment and let the hot water run down my cold body.

He was so much older than me; how could this possibly work? I decided that I would have to back away from him. With a pang of guilt, I got out of the shower and dressed into my fresh clothes that I had laid out in the washroom the night before. As I quietly opened the door of the washroom, I stared as I saw Leo standing naked over his dresser with his back to me. He was still looking for a change of clothes and realized he hadnt noticed me come out of the washroom yet. Slowly, as not to embarrass him, I tried closing the door shut again, but it creaked just as I was about to close it shut. Leo suddenly turned around, and seeing me, a worried look fell over his face. But it was weird; I didnt feel uncomfortable even as he turned in my direction; even though I could see all of him. I stepped out of the washroom and slowly walked towards him. Stopping close to him, I couldnt help but feel my eyes wander over every inch of his handsome body. I could see his chest was heaving when he realized that I was looking him over; just like that night at the pool. I followed the thin line of hair that ran done his chest and looked down in amazement at his beautiful body. Looking up, I saw that Leo was looking at me contently. Im sorry for walking in on you. I suddenly muttered, and his face washed over with worry as I backed away from him and I hid my face. Arianna; you dont need to hide from me He said quietly, taking a slow step towards me. When he saw that I was growing uncomfortable from him standing so close, he quickly pulled on his clothes and buttoned up his shirt. As he was reaching behind himself to put on his belt, I suddenly stepped towards him. Gently grasping the tanned leather through my hands, I ran the belt around his body and buckled it slowly at the front. Then, I took his shirt and tucked it into his jeans; I could feel his spine tingling again and smirked. You little! He suddenly looked down at me with a huge grin, you know what you do to me dont you Arianna? He whispered into my ear and slowly wrapped his arms around me. Pulling me tight towards his body, I couldnt help but close my eyes in comfort as his warmth fell over me. Now I knew what he looked like; and he certainly looked amazing. Deep down, I felt a pang of guilt as I knew I should stop myself from growing any closer to him. I didnt want to feel that way about him because of how much older I thought he was compared to me. Shouldnt I be feeling this way towards guys my own age? Brushing the thought away, we walked hand in hand down the winding stairs and as we entered the spacious mudroom, I suddenly felt cold and tried to warm myself. Without noticing, I felt Leo gently sliding my arms threw my coat, and he

slowly came around to my front to do my zipper up. When his passionate gaze met my eyes, I couldnt help but feel attracted towards him. Then I stopped myself. As we walked out to his black SUV together, I realized that I would have to distract myself with someone else my own age. How could I possibly do this? I was beginning to grow extremely close to this man; I trusted him more than anyone I had ever known. Thats why I didnt want to hurt him. If we fell madly in love and I opened my heart completely to him, he might see our huge age difference as a problem and really notice how young I was. I was still a little college girl. Then, he would close me away from him as he realized the mistake he had made and he would leave me to play the game of life alone. I would have to play solo again. Chapter 24 Thoughts ran through Leos head as he drove the vehicle carefully over the snowcovered roads. Occasionally, he would glance over at Arianna who was fast asleep in the front passenger seat. At the end of last week, he had removed her stitches and now she looked like her beautiful self again. He still couldnt believe how much he loved her; the way her hair gently washed over her face as she slept. The way her chest would rise and fall methodically, and how soft her skin felt compared to his thick hide. Less than an hour later, they pulled into the long drive of his family farm where Leo had planned to stay for one night before the holidays ended. As he parked the car in front of the small white farmhouse, he cut the engine and reached over to undo Ariannas seat belt. He quietly closed the driver door and went around to her side. She was still fast asleep in the warm vehicle, and he planted a light kiss on her red cheeks. Arianna, were here he whispered into her ear. She began stirring awake, and to his delight she nestled her head into his warm chest. He smiled down at the little bundle and stroked her back to try and wake her up. Moments later, her eyes flickered open and she looked up with confusion at Leo. Were here. He said into her ear as he lifted her from the seat and set her in the snow. She suddenly wrapped her arms around his body, and together they stood there looking at the snow covered farm and breathing in the fresh air around them. Beyond the little white and green farmhouse was an old, crumbling cattle barn. Directly behind the little house was a newer looking stable, and Arianna could smell the drifts of horses and hay coming in her direction. Its beautiful she said, and Leo held her tighter against him. He never wanted her to leave him.

Breaking the silence, they suddenly turned at the sound of the farmhouse door creaking open, and out came a plump women with short hair and rosy cheeks followed by a tall man with graying hair and a well built frame. Arianna smiled as Leos face lit up and he ran to embrace his parents. Not wanting to make her feel uncomfortable, Leo quickly motioned Arianna to come and meet them. This is Arianna. He said proudly, And these are my parents; Ray and Cassie He looked down at Arianna with a smile as she exchanged greetings with his family. Maybe she could be part of this family some day, Leo thought happily. As they filed into the warm house, the smell of fresh bread and turkey cooking in the kitchen suddenly hit their noses and Arianna smiled. Your family loves to cook! She said proudly, looking up into Leos big eyes. She could tell that he was happy to be home. They were soon stripped of their winter clothing and walked into the cozy little kitchen. As Cassie went to show Arianna to her bedroom, Ray looked up at Leo with a smirk on his wrinkled face. Nice girl youve got there, he said with a wink. Then, he carefully put down his mug of tea and looked his son straight in the face. She looks awfully young Leo. Have a you guys actually - He raised his eyebrows in question and Leo suddenly felt offended. Did his father think he was taking advantage of a young, beautiful female? Leo lowered his voice and talked seriously towards his father, We met at the college and shes had some trouble with her roommates so shes spending the holidays at my place. He stopped half way through his little speech, And no, we havent actually done it. Leos voice faded away and his father looked into his sons reserved eyes. Shes living with you? And you guys are sleeping together? He shifted his position and somehow made Leo feel uncomfortable. With a bang on the counter, Leo suddenly felt anger boiling in him and he blew up. Yeah ok! Were sleeping together! He stopped midsentence to catch his breath, But she was left unconscious in a snow bank by her fucken roommates! She was covered in blood, half frozen and had shards of glass sticking out her! Dammit! She has no one dad! She hasnt talked to her parents in over two decades and her last close friend just frigin died two weeks ago! He whammed his fist onto the counter, causing the China to stir in the overhanging cabinets. To his dismay, he could see two figures peering into the kitchen out of the corner of his eye. His father had turned away, and he could feel the heat radiating from his red face. His breathing was quick, and Arianna could see the stress marks returning to his face as he ran both of his hands through his hair.

To his relief, Arianna slowly walked towards him and ran her hands down his burning face. Like a child, Leo rested his head onto the beautiful girls shoulder and felt tears pricking at the back of his eyes. The parents left the two in peace and quietly walked into the other room and Leo brought Arianna closer to his body and breathed in her scent. Tears fell down his face and she stroked his chest and spoke soft words to him. Youre okay Leo. He just didnt understand. You know how young I am. Arianna turned to look up him, and he managed a weak smile. She cares about me so dam much, Leo thought, and understands me almost better than I do. He caressed her face and watched quietly as her hands wiped the tears from his burning cheeks. Now he felt like the baby. Slipping away from his embrace, Arianna took him by the hand and motioned towards the other room. Leo admired how strong she was being for him. As they turned the corner into the spacious living room lined with hardwood flooring, Leo nodded towards his father with a weak smile as he ran his hand through his hair. Im sorry dad I was just defending her. His father returned his sons gaze with a smile and no stress marks remained on his face. Looking down at Arianna, he saw that she had a stunned look on her face with wide eyes. Leo grabbed her gently by the arm and pulled her back into the kitchen. Looking down at his girl, he asked what was wrong. I was just surprised when you said that you were were defending me She looked down to the kitchen floor and Leo could see Ariannas cheeks flushing. He ran a hand down her back and gave her a smile. To his relief, she looked back at him and without another word they walked back into the living room where they settled down on the couch. Cassie had made a pot of tea and offered us each a cup. The warm mug felt reassuring against Leos shaky hands, and he moved closer against Arianna, who was leaning against his shoulder with her arm wrapped around his back. Leo thought it funny that his parents, who had always loved each other with passion, exchanged childish smiles as they watched his son falling in love. Cassie suddenly looked up from her mug. So, how long have you two love birds been dating? She asked with a smile, and she was taken aback when the pair on the couch glanced into each others eyes and didnt reply. Mom, were not exactly um together. Leos voice sounded insecure and he felt stronger when Arianna squeezed his arm to remind him that she was still there. He loved how quickly she could read him.

Ray and Cassie looked at each other and shrugged, but Leo could almost see his father chuckling at the thought of their massive son sleeping with this little school girl because they were good friends. Leo tried to hide his scowl but Arianna could feel his back tense and she looked up in his face. Her eyes were pleading him to stay calm, and in return he wrapped his arm around her body and held her tight against him. Just the feeling of her sides pressed up to him made him feel better. After the awkward silence had passed, the family began chatting up a storm with laughs and voices growing louder. Almost an hour later, when Ray was talking about the repairs he had done on the barn, he suddenly felt Ariannas body stiffen up. He loosened his grip on her and wondered why she was tense all of a sudden. Then it heard it; just over the sound of his father talking, he could hear far off gun shots. Why was she so scared? Her eyes were wide and each time the gun shot, she pushed up against him in fear. He tried to soothe her by stroking her back and whispering in her ear, but she was growing restless. He could see her cheeks were turning red with embarrassment as the parents looked at her in confusion. Leo coaxed her to lay her head in his lap so he could muffle the sound of the gun shots. Looking up into his eyes, Arianna quickly relaxed and nuzzled her head close to his steaming chest. She just reacts to things sometimes. She had a hard life growing up and shes never gotten over her fears. Im trying to help her. He looked down at Arianna, who wad curled up in his lap and was beginning to fall asleep. Ray looked at her with a worried glance. Is she always that skittish? Leo nodded slowly as he stroked her hair and coaxed into a peaceful sleep. She just needs time. She needs someone to show her that its alright. Looking from his parents to Ariannas peaceful face, he realized he was right. She needed time before she could build a true relationship with anyone. Cassie and Ray both seemed to understand all of a sudden and they moved their chairs closer to shield the small bundle from the frightening world. Youre doing a great job son. His father nodded down at the girl who was now in peace and gave him a pat on his knee. Leo looked into her moms eyes and saw that they were filled with tears. I knew I I raised a good son she said through sniffles, and she smiled up at her baby boy. Suddenly, a beep sounded from the kitchen and rising from her chair, Leos mother cleared her throat and blew her nose into a tissue. Ray followed his wife into the other room to help prepare the meal and on the way out gave his son a pat on the shoulder.

When the two were alone, he looked down at the beautiful sleeping woman in his arms. She seemed to sense his presence as she moved closer his chest and nestled her head into his lap. He loved the feeling of her just lying there, actually wanting his physical touch. Realizing how far she had come with trusting someone, Leo smiled and placed a kiss on Ariannas forehead. As he sat there looking at her, he suddenly noticed a scar running down the front of her. Her shirt had fallen off of her shoulder slightly, and Leo brushed his hand over the mark. What had happened to her? It didnt look like something recent that could have been from her roommates; No, it was definitely a scar from the past that had never healed. Then he noticed the necklace she was wearing; the one with the Ace of Hearts dangling from it. It looked beautiful around her tanned neck, and taking it his fingers, he held it tightly. Cassie suddenly peered around the corner of the kitchen and motioned for him to come when he was ready. The smell of warm turkey and vegetables wafted into the room, and he whispered into Ariannas ear that it was dinner. As she struggled awake, he noticed her eyes were at peace again and he smiled down out her. Imagine waking up to that beautiful face every morning, Leo thought to himself. As they were passing delicious food around the table and exchanging pleasant conversation, Leo couldnt get the image of the scar he had seen on Ariannas chest out of his head. There were so many mysteries buried in her past and he was going to have to pry them out of her eventually; it was the only way she would ever have a chance at trusting the world. He would kill himself for her if she needed him that much. He would never let Arianna play the game solitaire alone again, and to make sure he kept his promise, he smiled over at her beautifully twinkling face to remind him of what he could lose from his life. He could lose the most beautiful woman that had stepped onto this planet. The love of his life.

Chapter 25 It was well after dinner, but the sun was still above the horizon. I had very much enjoyed the freshly cooked meal in the comfort of Leos welcoming family. Cassie was sweet and charming, and although Ray was slightly reserved, he could crack a good joke or tell a good story if he really wanted to. During dinner, I had looked back and forth from Ray and Leo. They were nearly the same height with very alike thick builds and toned muscles. Leo even had the same green eyes and sharp, angled face that Ray had. I secretly thanked Ray for giving Leo many of his handsome physical features. Although his father had lost some

muscle tone, I couldnt help but imagine how attracted the girls would have been to him in high school. Now we were all squished in the cool mudroom; limbs flew in every direction as we struggled to get on coats, splash pants, hats, and mitts. I giggled as Leo towered over me and leaned against my ass so he could reach his coat. Whats so funny missy? he looked down at me with a wide, knowing grin. What a man, I thought, what a man. Ray and Cassie walked out the front door deep conversation, and as soon as they were out of earshot, I snuck around and slapped Leo in the ass with a little giggle. Turning around, Leo pushed me up against the wall with his massive build, and I could feel his chest bellow with laughter. Turning to look him in the face, our eyes suddenly met and we peered deeply into one another. I could see right through him; The desire creeping through his eyes. Even just standing there pressed up against him, I could feel how hard he was trying not to just rip off my shirt. I could feel his harsh breathing and his erection pushing into my belly. What a doctor. You really need to work on hiding your desires big man I said through a smirk, and I could see a wicked grin form on his face. He suddenly took me in his arms and pushed open the door. You need to watch your mouth little miss. He said in his husky voice as his eyes laughed at me. Without warning he suddenly launched me into the snow, and with a little yelp, I landed into the fluffy substance beneath me. Leo threw snow into my face and I could just make out his grin through my white, blurry vision. Quickly getting up from the cold, bitter snow, I ran at Leo and held him in a huge embrace. Suddenly, his feet faltered from the sudden impact and he went head over heels as he fell into the snow with me on top of him. We broke out into a fit of laughter and sitting up in the snow bank, he brushed the flakes off of my red, frostbitten face with a warm hand. We locked eyes and could only smile at each other as the snow melted down our faces. Just then, we could hear the sound of footsteps crunching in the snow and the sound of voices approaching us. Come on you two love birds! Help us hook up the horses to the sled! We could see Cassie and Ray coming down the drive all bundled up in their winter gear with huge smiles lighting up their faces. Leo held out his hand for me to take, and with grin I allowed him to haul me up. The cold, bitter wind suddenly hit me, and I huddled closer to my coat with a shiver. I dont know how Leo read me so quickly, but without a word, he wrapped his long-fingered hands around my hips and pulled me towards him. Feeling his radiant energy and his warmth, I let out a sigh and breathed in his familiar scent; his after shave mixed with leather and that smell that doctors always carried around with them.

As we approached the high-ceilinged barn, my heart suddenly skipped a beat as I saw two huge horse heads sticking out of box stalls. They were massive draft horses; their chin hairs had grown long from the winter weather, and their bright eyes twinkled in the overhanging lights. Gently leaving Leos grasp, I quickened my pace into the barn and stopped in my tracks as the two identical looking animals pinned their ears towards me in almost complete unison. Puffs of cloudy air escaped their enormous nostrils, and I slowly walked closer to examine their sturdy structures. Both of them had long, thick boned legs, massive barrels, and huge feet. I cringed at the thought of their colossal, shod feet stepping on my toes. Suddenly, I felt a warm arm wrap around my back, and I flinched but relaxed as I looked back to see Leos winded face and messy, tousled hair. For an anatomy prof, he was pretty dam handsome. I couldnt hide my smirk, and I could feel Leos eyes gazing down at me. What are you smirking at? He asked, his mouth twitching at the corners. Suddenly, I remembered my proposed plan to distance myself from him and only see him as a trusted friend; if I ever let him take advantage of me... Chills went down my back and I tensed at the thought of this beautiful man, who just so happened to be my human anatomy prof, physically touching me in ways which I never imagined possible. I wasnt ready for something like that. Maybe it was because I didnt trust him enough; or myself for that matter. Then there was our age difference; I didnt know how much older he was than me, and who knew what problems that could bring up in the future? Leo suddenly looked down at me with a confused look. I almost disliked how he could read me so easily and look right through me. Are you okay Arianna? he whispered in a low voice. I nodded; my jaw tensed and I pulled away from him slightly. Dont get too attached to him, I thought to myself. I could feel the muscles somewhere deep within me churning, but I couldnt understand why. It was the oddest feeling in the world; but it was new and interesting. What was my body trying to tell me? Fearing what Leo was thinking, I couldnt bear to look into his eyes. To distract myself, I wandered over to the huge draft on the left. He brought his nose down to my hand, and I suddenly backed away from the stall. I wasnt used to these big animals. But, I could then hear Leo slowly walking up behind me and taking my hand gently, he brought me towards the huge-headed horse and I watched in disbelief as he brought his nose down once again and brushed his whiskers over our embraced hands. Leo could feel me flinch, and he squeezed my hand to remind me he was

there. He really was an amazing man. How could I do such a thing too him and try to block him out of my life? Minutes later, Ray walked into the barn with two gigantic halters and one by one led the horses out of the barn and into the cold of the evening. I watched with delight as Leo ran to help his father throw the horses harnesses on and hitch them to a newly painted white wagon. Watching from a distance, I couldnt help but notice how relaxed and natural Leo looked with his family. As he harnessed the second horse, I watched him effortlessly fly over the horses body, doing up straps and securing the horse to the wagon with little effort. Anyone could tell he had done all this farm stuff before, and soon enough, Leo motioned for me to join him. He hauled himself into the back and then offered me his long-fingered hand as I stepped towards the wagon. Hoisting me up, he lifted me into his arms with a grin and put down on one of the many hay bales that were still in the back. Before long, Ray and Cassie had taken over the front with Ray holding the long reins. I watched in delight as he signaled the horses forward and the hitch-wagon began slowly moving down the drive. Looking over at Leo, I smiled, and he looked deeply into my eyes with that passionate gaze again. I could feel tingles go down my spine even though I was already frozen, and I could almost read his mind. He wanted me. My handsome human anatomy prof that was probably 20 years older than me and made all of the college girls around him blush wanted to fuck one person: me. As we sat there, being pulled by horses into the fading daylight, I couldnt help but wonder why he was so attracted to me. I was a fucked-up college student he was barely getting through life and out of all the girls he had chosen, he had picked me. With regret burning in my eyes, I wished with all my heart that that crash hadnt happened. I knew that if we grew too close, Leo would leave me or I would leave him. We just werent meant to be. Since he was the only person left in my life that I could trust, I promised myself that deep down I would only see him as a close friend that would should me the rights and the wrongs of the world. He could lead me through his game of solitaire until I was ready to find someone else to love; my own age. Chapter 26 The sun had set long ago, and the entire family was gathered comfortably in the living enjoying warm, freshly-made biscuits and tea. Everyone was beginning to grow tired after the long evening outdoors, but Cassie stimulated the room with her usual care-free talking frenzy. I remember your dad would put you up on Buck before you could even walk, and I would stare out the kitchen window in dismay. I would scold the crap out of the minute he came into the house saying it was too dangerous for you. She ended with a sigh at the memories of her little boy.

As quickly as she had started the conversation, Cassie suddenly rose from her chair with a yawn and announced she was retiring for the night. She planted kisses on each Ariannas cheeks and headed through the kitchen towards the stairs. The family sat in silence as they listened to the creaking of the wooden stairs above their heads and sat there for some time, just gazing at each other and sipping from their tea. Ray slowly lifted his chin to look into Ariannas eyes, who was comfortably lying in his sons lap with a dreamy look in her eyes. He watched with a steady gaze as Leo ran his hands over the girls long legs and up around her nasal. Youre the first girl Leos every brought here Arianna, and were very glad you joined us. Ray said softly, and Arianna looked up at Leo in surprise. Youve never actually brought a - She couldnt finish as an astonished look feel over her face. Leo shook his head slowly, watching Arianna with an intense gaze as she leaned her head into his lap once again and curled up against his body. He smiled and ran his large hands down her back. Ray then stood, and with a sincere smile, he left towards the stairs and they listened once again in silence as feet clambered up the wooden steps, over the landing, and into the far background. As soon as Leo heard his parents door creak shut, his eyes fell over Ariannas body once more. Oh how much he wanted to rip her clothes off right there on the couch and make love to her. Leo respected that she wasnt ready yet; he never wanted to see her in pain again and only wished to do things she felt comfortable with. Trying to ignore the growing desire he had, Leo stroked his long fingers over the base of her neck. He was surprised when her body suddenly tightened and she moved away from his gentle touch. He had been confused all night with her; one minute Arianna had been giggling in the snow with him, and the next she had refused his touch. He wanted dearly to be able to read her every thoughts. Im sorry Leo. Arianna said shyly, looking down at her fidgeting hands in embarrassment. Then Leo suddenly remembered her scars; of course she would flinch if I touched her there, he thought to himself with a pang of sadness towards the innocent girl that lay in his lap. Cupping her chin in his hand, he looked down into her tired eyes. Its okay. You just need time Arianna. He gave his girl a soft smile before gently caressing her long legs again. Leo suddenly shifted his position and Arianna followed course as he stretched out along the couch and pushed his hips against her body with a sweet sigh of contentment. Arianna couldnt suppress a grin as she felt his growing erection, and forgetting about the promise she made to herself, she playfully pushed up against him and in turn herd a low moan in Leos throat. She rolled her eyes amusingly and was amazed at how easily he could get this man aroused.

She rolled herself over so that she was nose to nose with Leo, and she could see the growing desire in his sparkling eyes. Arianna could feel her insides melt as she felt his erection still digging into her belly. Without any notion of speaking, Leo took Ariannas hand in his and brought it to his thigh. Slowly inching his way up, she knew what he wanted and gently pushed his hand away. Never in her life had she pleasured anyone before, and it was beginning to almost make her feel aroused too. She circled her fingers up his thigh and she grinned as Leo quivered and inhaled sharply. Arianna teased the big man lying around her and moved her hand between his thighs. Feeling his erection, she held him in her hands and began stroking him slowly. Leo suddenly moaned and moved his hips with Ariannas slow hand movements. Out of curiosity to see how mellow she could make him, she suddenly grabbed a hold of him tightly and could just barely hear his sharp intake of breath. She smiled wildly and lovingly pushed her body tighter against his. Looking up at his eyes, she could still see they were closed with the almost unbearable sensation of Arianna stroking him. Suddenly, Arianna felt very tired and snuggled up against his warm chest. Leo returned to reality and slowly brought his long-fingered hands between her thighs. Feeling her suddenly tense yet again, he quickly pulled his hand away and ran it through her hair. Easy Arianna. Im sorry. He whispered quietly. They were nose to nose and Leo leaned in to give her a soft kiss. She smiled at him and Leo suddenly saw how tired she was. He picked her ever so gently into his arms and pressed her amazing body tight against his chest. Just having her against his body was enough to make him melt inside. As they creaked up the stairs, Arianna suddenly realized with a hint of anger that she had made Leo feel pleasure from herself. She didnt want to encourage him or herself for the risk of them getting too close. Just friends, she reminded her insides; Just friends! Leo suddenly stopped in the middle of the landing between the two bedroom doors. With a pang of sadness, he realized that his mother had put all of Ariannas things in the bedroom across from his. Did she not want them to sleep together? He clenched his teeth at the thought of his sweet mother doing such a thing. He decided it was up to Arianna; not Cassie. Where would you like to sleep darling? He asked her gently, grazing his nose through her hair. When Arianna pointed towards the opposite room, his face suddenly fell into a frown. What was wrong? They had been sleeping together for the past week and half and now she wanted to be alone?

Knowing she was tired, he tried to hide his disappointment and gently set her down in her bed. Leo pulled the sheets up to her head and kissed her softy before leaving the room and quietly shutting the door behind him. As he stood on the dark landing alone, he suddenly realized how much he almost needed Arianna. He had never felt this way about any woman before; the way she got him aroused with the slightest touch and the determination he had to protect her was nothing he had ever experienced in his life time. A pang of sadness went through him as he thought of how open Arianna was being with stepping outside of her comfort zone; both physically and emotionally. He knew he wanted more from her; a lot more; but he was willing to wait and as he slowly undid his shirt, he remembered the way she had stroked him. Leo knew she had been a bit uncomfortable doing it, but Leo loved how she could get him aroused without even seeing her naked. Undoing his belt and slipping his low-hanging jeans off, he crawled into bed thinking once again of the scars he had seen over her chest. Did she have other scars too? How had she gotten them? Who would do such a thing to a beautiful woman like her? At the very thought, Leo felt anger flare through him at the thought of someone else touching her. He laughed at himself as he realized he was becoming very overprotective of her. Maybe too much for his own good. He knew he wanted Arianna as his very own. It was like a game at the fair; you had to find the secret trick to climb the ladder without flipping it over. Leo knew he was slowly falling in love with his student. Smiling, and while wondering how Arianna felt about him, he drifted off into a very peaceful sleep.

There was something wrong again. Why did everything have to go wrong when he was fast asleep and dreaming of making love to Arianna? Suddenly opening his eyes and coming to reality, he realized he was sweating. His eyes slowly adjusted to the room and it took a second to remember he was at his parents place. Sleeping alone in his own bedroom. A painful moan hit his ears bang on like a sonic boom. It was coming from Ariannas room. Jolting upright in bed, he could feel his heart beating faster in his chest. Slipping on his boxer shorts, he quickly opened his door, tiptoed across the landed, and put his ear up against the opposite door. To his dismay, he could hear a scared, helpless moan escape from his girl. His heart skipped a beat as he could hear her rolling around in bed, likely filled with discomfort.

Opening the door and closing it behind him, he walked slowly to the bed and gazed down at the shifting silhouette of the girl he was beginning to fall in love with. Running his hand through his mane of greying hair, he knew that he couldnt watch his beautiful Arianna going through this pain. Quietly taking up the covers, he slipped his almost naked body into the bed and gently took Arianna in his arms. She squirmed for a moment but then seemed to unconsciously feel the warmth of his body. Leo suddenly realized that she needed this; she had always needed someone to be there for her, but no one had ever been there. He grinned happily as his Arianna pushed closer to his stomach and nestled her nose in his chest hair. Her breathing was still quick, but within a few minutes, Leo could feel methodical breaths washing over his chest. Suddenly, he realized that Arianna had stripped and was only in her bra and panties. Would she be mad at him in the morning for crawling into her bed without permission? Leo pushed the thought out of his mind and reminded himself that she needed him here. His Arianna needed his comfort no matter what the occasion was. Although he was tempted to feel all over her uncovered body, he knew he would just have to be satisfied with the feel of her soft skin against his body. And boy did it feel good. With a smirk on his face, and the methodical little clouds of air reverberating through his chest air, he quickly wandered off into one of the most peaceful sleeps he had had in a long time. Chapter 27 It was so warm and comforting; almost too warm. I could feel a being beside me, their hands wrapped around my slim build as I slowly opened my eyes to welcome the daylight. Peering around the room, I saw that it was simple and comforting; everything was a pale white and nothing more than a nightstand, book shelf, and drawers stood in the aging room. Suddenly, reality hit me as I turned to see no one other than Leo entangled around me, embracing my bare body tight against his chest. Without thinking, I let out a yelp and squirmed out of his grasp. Why would he touch me? Im almost completely naked. His eyes suddenly shot open and all I saw was utter confusion in them. It took him a second to clue into what was going on, and he quickly sat up in the double bed as I looked into his eyes with horror. Leo tried to quietly reach for me, but I felt panicked and vulnerable almost completely underdressed in front of him. I tried to shut my eyes and kick him away, but I suddenly felt the bed disappear from under me. My head hit something hard, and as pain seared through me and my feeble body fell to the cold hardwood floor, the room suddenly went dull and the sensation of pain quickly escaped from me. I was elsewhere. In peace.

Im filled with confusion as my eyes flicker open. The light in the room is intense and I quickly close them. I open them again and take in my surroundings. Im in the same room; the same white bed. But I cant help but notice that Im alone this time. My insides churn as I remember the feel of Leos toned muscles tight against my pale skin. I had just reacted too quickly. As I turned my head, I suddenly felt pain in my neck and let out a loud, audible growan. My eyes snapped shut, and when I opened them again, I could see Leo quickly rising from a chair in the corner and slowly approaching me. He face was very red and his eyes filled with emotion. He was now dressed in lowhanging jeans and an unbuttoned shirt. Looking down at me, he searched my eyes and I could have sworn I saw them watering. How do you feel? he asked nervously, kneeling down in front of the bed. I could feel my cheeks burning red at the memory of him sleeping next to me. Ignoring his question, I blurted out the stupidest thing that came to my mind. We didnt do it did we? I immediately regretted saying it when I saw the look of pain wash through his huge green eyes. This big sexy man was such a sentimental baby, and I couldnt help but grin inside. No Arianna, hes not sexy; just a good looking friend. I tried calming myself as I looked over his worried face again, but I kept feel my breathing quickening. There was some sort of invisible, electric tension growing between us and it was almost unsettling. I think Leo felt it too as he shifted suddenly and lost my eyes for a second. No Arianna, we didnt. He said softly, meeting my steady gaze again. Feeling relief flush through me, I could feel my lips pressing into a hard line. Then why were sleeping in my bed naked? I heard you moaning in the night Arianna. You were having a nightmare and I couldnt bear to see you in pain. His eyes looked filled with guilt. For a doctor he certainly struggled with hiding his emotions. For a split second I felt angry at him; maybe because he had scared me so much? Or maybe because I had just been nervous with him pressed up against my bare body. Other than my father beating me, no one had ever touched my sensitive skin. Just stay away from me! I replied with a quick breath, and I watched his eyes heat with pain. I pulled the sheets over myself even though I was now wearing a night gown that Leo must have put on me. As I turned to face the other way, searing pain suddenly went down my neck again and I let out a cry. Why was I always hurting so much? It was always when Leo was around me. Leo came closer to my side, and he pulled the sheets away from my body. I tried pulling them back, and suddenly his massive arms curled around me to pick me

up. Let go of me! Put me down! I cried into his face, and I tried kicking him and squirming but it hurt too much. Tears were now streaming down my face, and to my dismay, I could see two figures standing by the door and watching with horror as I tried to escape Leos grasp with pain-filled screams. I caught a glimpse of his eyes and saw the hurt in them and a pang of guilt suddenly ran through me. Why was I being so selfish to him and trying to block him away when it was almost a need for him to protect me? I realized that was my way of living; I blocked everyone away. Leo! Listen to her and put her down! I suddenly heard Rays booming voice over my screams and could tell he was angry; extremely angry. Leo pulled me to his chest and I could feel his heart pounding. He shoved his father out of the way and slid through the door without even acknowledging his mother. I cried out for him to let me go, but to my horror he almost picked up to a run as Ray came raging down the hallway after his son, his face red and fuming. The image of Rays face suddenly brought back memories of my father. The way he would screw up his sweaty face as he beat my mother with anything he could pick up. Her screams. Her pleads and wails. His face would grow red and his eyes would heat up with anger. I suddenly muted my screams and cowered closer to Leos warm chest at the memory, and for some reason he scurried into the bathroom and locked the door behind him. I could feel his heaving chest as he fell to the floor with me tightly grasped in his arms. We sat there in silence, trying to calm our breathing as we listened to Rays stamping feet and cries that echoed through the house. You leave that girl alone Leo! She wants to be left alone! He pounded against the door and my flight response suddenly took control as I ran from Leos arms and cowered in the corner with my hands held over my head. Memories of my father banging against the doors, throwing the table, and screaming. I would hide in my closet with my stuffed animals and my little fort until he would come looking for me. Sometimes with a kitchen knife or a chair, and he would pound on the closet door and say in his horrid, drunk voice, I know youre in there sunshine! I wailed as I waited for the pain and all I heard was Leo running towards the door of the washroom and banging it with his fist. Shut the fuck up dad! Shes in here scared as shit in the corner! Your fucking screaming and banging around the fucking house is making her think youre going to come in here with a fucking weapon and scar her all up again! You go away you son of a bitch! The house went completely silent. I could hear Leo heaving for breath, and slowly looking up at him, I saw the anger in his eyes; an anger I had never seen before. His hands were shaking and his face a flaming red. He really understood me. He wanted to protect me. How did he know about my scars and about my past? Other then telling him about my fucked up family, I had never said anything about the scars covering my body that forced me to remember my past each and every day.

It seemed like an eternity as the house stayed silent and Leo slowly fell to the floor and came over to me. Im sorry. Im sorry I was such a fucking ass hole! He whispered in my ear when he was close enough. Looking up into his sweating face, I could see a single tear falling from his cheek. My heart went out to him; I knew he couldnt bear seeing me in pain. Please dont cry. Youre the one whos supposed to be comforting me, not making me more depressed. I said slowly with a slight grin twisting onto my face. His hands still shaking, he took me in his arms and cradled me in his lap. I felt a pang of sadness as I felt his whole body quivering. This man really did care about me. But I never wanted to hurt him in the future. Just friends, I told myself, always just trusting friends. I reached my hand up to his steaming, red face and brushed the tear from his cheek. Im sorry Arianna. I was such a son of a bitch and - I put a finger over his tender lips and signaled for him to shush; enjoy the peace. I fearfully looked up into his gaze again, but I was relieved when I saw a hint of care-free, lively Leo coming back to his eyes. You were hurt when you fell and couldnt stand to see you in pain. Please say - He began again, but I widened my eyes and ran my finger over his lower lip to silence him. Leo had beautiful, thick lips. Just friends, I reminded my insides, just friends. Even though we were sitting, curled up together between the toilet and the bathtub in the empty silence of Leos old house, it was strangely comforting. He pulled my closer to his chest and rested his head on mine. There was nothing more comforting to me than being held in his arms. The deep, intoxicating scent he carried, and the unusual comfort his body gave me somehow made my slowly drift off into a peaceful sleep. The last thing I saw was Leo gazing deeply into my eyes and running his warm hand through my mangled, greasy hair. Chapter 28 When the sun was beginning to fall back towards the horizon and afternoon was slowly swallowed by evening, Leo walked out of the bathroom holding Arianna to find a worried look on Rays face and a crying mother. Leo tried desperately to ignore them and could feel their eyes burning through him as he carried Arianna towards his bedroom, her head now pressed against his chest in a deep sleep. Rays of dim evening light filled the bedroom, and he set the little bundle he held onto his unmade bed. With a worried expression, Leo watched her sleep; her cheeks were pale and she squirmed on the bed as she searched for his body. He rubbed his hands over her sides and down her beautiful legs, remembering the feeling of her soft skin against his last night. Looking over at the clock, Leo saw it was nearing five, and he knew they had to get back before college resumed tomorrow; back to reality. He rose from the bed and began packing all of his things, not taking his eyes off of the curled up woman on his bed. She looked like a child left alone in a huge world and Leo felt a pang of sadness as he thought of her as a small girl cowered in a corner, wondering if she would even live for another day.

Leo desperately wanted to believe she would someday trust him, but he was becoming unsure of himself again. Over the past few days, he had noticed she had been keeping her distance from him, her eyes filled with something unreadable; fear, worry, loneliness? He was never sure. With a sigh, he threw the last of the things in his bag and zipped up the large travelling case. Going to Ariannas room, he silently packed her bag and kept thinking about their future; if they even had one. He was feeling a growing connection towards her, but did she feel nearly the same? That cold gaze she had given him this morning; her fear, anxiety, and pain had slapped him in the face at once. He wondered if she was only refusing him because she couldnt help it with her past, or if she was purposely becoming more distant from him for some unnameable reason. Leo hated that she never talked about her feelings towards him; he could never understand what she wanted and what she felt comfortable with. Did she even trust at all? With all of the luggage packed, he sauntered downstairs, through the old-style kitchen and into the mudroom where he placed the matching suitcases on the mat with a sigh. Suddenly, he heard a loud yelp come from his bedroom and something falling to the floor. His heart now pounding in his chest, he raced up the stairs and ignored the cold stares from his parents in the living room. It looked as if they were going to follow him up, but they decided against it as they watched their son make a mad dash over the landing. Flinging open the door, he saw Arianna huddled on the floor beside the bed, her eyes wide and her hands grasping her knees as she tried to come back to reality. It was unsettling to see her in such confusion and pain, and as Leo cautiously approached, he suddenly saw blood streaming down the side of her face and a gash on her left arm. Shit, Arianna, he whispered under his breath, and without seeing if she would refuse his touch or not, Leo kneeled down on the hardwood floor and brought her into his lap. He felt stunned when her pain-filled eyes didnt meet his, but he ran his long finger down the side of her tear-stained face and could feel her body shift at his sudden touch. Easy, he whispered into her ear, stroking a hand through her blonde hair that ran over her back. She didnt squirm in his grasp, but she didnt seem relaxed either. Slowly standing with a sigh, he held Arianna closer to his chest and went about cleaning the blood off of her as she whispered soothing words to her. As the sun disappeared from the sky and dusk turned to night, Leo carried the bags out to the car and watched in pain as Arianna stormed past him and opened the front passenger door of the SUV. As soon as he had cleared the blood from her face, she had refused his touch for the remainder of the evening and was now staring blankly out into the world. Leo felt hurt, but he didnt understand why. He was caring for the girl, trying to protect her, and all she gave him in return was a cold stare. With a frown, he wondered why he cared for her so much; should he even worry about her anymore? She was only his student anyway. Shaking his head, Leo knew he needed to care for her. Arianna had no one else, and after that accident Leo felt the need to protect her from everything and everyone.

He waved to his parents as he got into the black SUV and forced a smile as the engine sputtered to life. As they backed out of the driveway in the growing darkness, Leo watched Arianna in dismay as she stared out the window into the black night. Would he ever be able to break through her wall? Or should he just give up? The two of them flew down the road and drove through the empty night in silence. Leo knew that two could play this game of solitaire; if Arianna wasnt going to play her turn, he would just continue on without her. Was it time for him to go solo? Chapter 29 I was at peace for a short time; the heat of the car washed all of the days uncomforting events from my mind as I fell into a deep, untouched sleep. No handsome men trying to protect me, no people that I have to somehow just be friends with. If we grew too close The soothing rumbling of the engine suddenly cut out, and my eyes flickered open and were hit with nothing but darkness from the clouded sky and the porch lights on Leos gigantic house: dam doctors and their pay checks. I could see Leo carrying the bags in and placing them just inside the front door. When he turned back towards the car, I was struck as I took in his once beautiful face; he was staring to the ground, a hurt expression in his eyes, and his posture sagged as he dragged his feet back to the car. As he approached my side of the SUV, I snapped my eyes shut again and let my body go limp against the cold window. The door slowly opened, and I felt a shutter go down my spine as the cool breeze hit me. Massive arms then curled around me and warmed my body, my soul. I let my head rest against his lean chest as he held me tight against his body and rocked me in his comforting arms. No one had ever held me like this before and it was utterly the best feeling in the world; his warm hands stroking my back and long fingers running down my face. I had expected him to walk up to the house, but I was surprised when he sat down in the passenger seat and closed the car door again to block out the cold. We sat there in silence as his warmth soothed me and calmed my thoughts. What am I doing wrong baby? the sound of his voice hit me as I pretended to be asleep in his arms; it was filled with pain and it made me shutter. Instinctively, he brought me closer to his body and I drank in his scent; aftershave, clean fabric, and Leo. Why wont you trust me? His voice broke the silence again and I felt a pang of guilt wash over me as I felt a lone tear fall onto my neck. He was crying. What have I done to this poor, innocent man? He slowly curled me up against him and I could feel his nose brush through my hair and over my face. I opened my eyes suddenly and was looking him dead straight in the eyes. They were dull and filled with pain. I flinched as I saw the tears falling down his face, and I brushed them away with my free hand. I could feel Leos arm relax around me at my touch and he closed his eyes. My gaze drifted over his features and I felt pain go through me as I took in stress lines on his beautiful face. He looked so much older and troubled. Why the fuck have I been

such a bitch? Was I scared that he would leave me because my past is so fuckedup? This is the first person in my entire life that has actually noticed me and cared for me. What the fuck is my problem? The pain in his eyes. His tears; oh the tears caused my fuckedupness that took away his beauty. Guilt flew through me like a knife and without thinking, I suddenly took his delicate face in my hands and leaned in to kiss him; his lips so soft from his pain-filled tears. I pushed my tongue into his mouth and watched as his eyes flew open in surprise. To my relief, desire suddenly overtook his gaze, and he in return explored my mouth. I could feel longing, passion, and a needed desire as he pushed me up against the dash board and leaned into me. A low moan suddenly escaped from his throat and I could feel my insides turning as desire suddenly flew through me. His breath was quickening and his skilled hands suddenly ran down my legs and he leaned into me harder. I gazed up into his eyes for just a second and holy fuck; his beautiful eyes were heated with longing, passion. He needed this. Heaving for breath, he suddenly broke away from me but held me in his embrace. His tear-stained face was etched free of his lines and he looked so young again; but fragile. Gazing over my body, fire suddenly washed over his eyes, and as he pushed me against the car window, his mouth reached for mine again and he moaned as his tongue invaded me almost forcefully. My body was limp in his strong hold, and I wrapped my long legs around his waist as he pushed to lean into me. His smell was so intoxicating and the feel of his hands running down my thighs went straight to my groin; I had never felt this in my entire life but holy hell did it feel good. Somehow, he sensed my body reacting to his touch, and he pushed his hips into me as he groaned with pleasure. I could feel his growing erection pushing into my tender spot, and as my eyes lit with a new desire, I grinded myself against him. His mouth suddenly separated from mine and he through his head back with a sharp intake of breath as he felt the friction against him. Fuck! That feels good baby! A smirk appeared on my face as I realized how much of an effect I could have on this beautiful, sexy man. Without warning, he threw his hands around my waist and shoved me tight against the cold car window and his erection pressed against my hips as he found my mouth again and kissed me. Hard. I. Want. You he said through gasps in a husky, seducing voice. His hands found the buttons of my peach coloured blouse and he quickly unbuttoned them as he reared into me against the window with gasps. I shrugged my shoulders to let the shirt fall to the cars floor, and I suddenly brought my hands to his hair with a moan and kneaded my fingers over his head. Expertly, his hands unhooked my bra and he threw it off of me greedily. He momentarily broke away from me as his eyes ran freely over my slim, delicate figure. Fuck, you are beautiful, his husky voice was enough to send chills through my entire body and I let out a gasp as his warm hands cupped my breasts.

Easy babe he said, massaging my breasts as he suddenly brought his mouth down over my trapped body and ran his tongue down my sternum. He could feel me shiver in pleasure beneath him, and he smirked as his burning eyes locked with mine once again. He pushed up harder against the cars dashboard and traced his hands down around my naval and to my hips. Ah! I cried as he circled his tongue over my waistland and a husky laugh escaped him as he felt my body responding. My heart raced as his hands undid the zipper of my skinny jeans. I lifted my feet from around him and watched in amazement as he threw first my flats off and then my jeans in one quick motion. Then, he ran his hands up my thighs and he pulled down my panties, trashing them in the backseat of the vehicle. With a greedy look in his fiery eyes, he suddenly leaned into me again and kissed me passionately. I could feel his long-fingered hands running through my pubic hair and I let a moan deep in my throat. Holy fuck that felt good. You like that baby? he asked as he leaned into me harder with a grin on his face. Kissing me hard again, pleasure overwhelmed me as I felt his erection rub against my hip, and I reached to undo the buttons on his shirt. He quickly through it off behind him and let me undo his fly. Taking his weight off me but not letting me go, he kicked his jeans and boxers to the floor, letting his erection loose. He watched with a grin as my eyes went wide in amazement at his length. I could feel my innerself tensing and wanting him suddenly and I could feel that delicious feeling deep within me again. Responding quickly, he threw his body back against mine and I marveled at the feeling of his entire lean frame leaning over me. His muscles, the feeling of his erection digging into my belly, his toned chest pressing against my bare skin. Suddenly, he brought his warm hand down to my sex again and slowly eased one of his long fingers into me. Inside of me. Fuck. I gasped at the intense feeling and suddenly broke away from his mouth and felt my breath quickening. His finger twirled around in me and his thumb stroked my clitoris; it was too much. The sensations centered at this one point in my body; fuck it was almost painful! I yelped without knowing it and suddenly squirmed beneath him, trying to get the feeling away. It was too intense; too much for me to bear. His hips were trapping me against the dashboard and it took him a second to measure the fear in my eyes. I was trapped. I panicked and my instinct took over as my hand suddenly broke away from him and I pushed against his chest. I wanted away. Where could I escape? He tried holding me in his embrace and soothing me, but my pupils dilated in fear and without thinking I kicked him in the groin. My heart was pounding heavily as the weight of his body suddenly fell away from me and his eyes filled with shock and pain. Refusing the impulse to surrender to his need, I threw open the door of the vehicle and quickly wrapped Leos huge coat around my bare body.

Before Leo could recover and find out what was going on, my instinct took over and I made a mad dash into the darkness. The howling wind bit at my uncovered legs and the snow made the pads of my feet go numb. But it didnt matter; the world seemed to tilt in slow motion as I ran towards the darkness. My eyes tried to adjust, and I saw a wooded area head. Increasing my stride, my eyes began to burn suddenly as tears filled them. My vision impaired, I began gasping for breath as my whole body went numb. I couldnt feel anything; fuck I couldnt see either. My feet felt like nothing, and I gasped as my quickening stride faltered and my head struck what felt like the rough bark of a tree. I yelped as the pain, cold, misery, regret hit me all at once. A slap in the face. I thought I heard a voice; maybe it was a wolf, my imagination, a ghost. I had no time to think as my entire body fell to the ground in a heap and felt numb, hurt. I could feel the pain searing through me, and felt nothing at all as the world turned blacker than the sky itself and I was gone. I was elsewhere; again... Chapter 30 Fuck! Searing pain travelled over his entire body, and his jaw clenched as the world passed by in slow motion. He was becoming cold and he could feel every single hair on his body now alert. What the hell was going on? It took a minute for the pain to pass, and when he had enough of a heart to flick open his eyes, reality hit him again. The look in her eyes; the fear of him in her. Fuck you! he whispered under his breath at himself. How much of a jackass could he be? He had let his stupid hot-headedness get the fucken better of him and had gone too far. Did he not know how sensitive and delicate Arianna was? Suddenly realizing that the delicate woman that he so wanted to fuck right now was gone, his mind seemed to change gears and he quickly pulled on his jeans and shirt without even doing up the buttons. He squirmed out of the car, leaving the door fully ajar, and stopped to stare into the silent, cloudy night. Leo grinned at the memory of her grinding against him and how aroused he had become. Focus ass hole! Coming out of his dreamy state, he knew he needed to find his Arianna. He saw the tracks in the snow leading away from the car, and slowly followed them into the darkness. How far had she gone? Was she hurt, blood everywhere, or was she far into the brush now? Leo desperately wanted to sprint and find her, but his feet were becoming numb against the snow and he dreaded what would be at the end of the trail. His heart racing, his breathing cut short, he suddenly stopped dead. A shadowy figure lay feet in front of him, and he could make out the irregular position the body was in. Running over to the crippled body, Leos eyes became brimmed with fear and the thought of his Arianna being Shaking the thought from his head, he knelt down beside the cold, numb looking body huddled in an oversized coat; his coat. Leo let out a gasp of relief as he saw little clouds escaping her mouth, and he brought his face down to her side and ran

his numb fingers over her body.Im sorry baby! I was such a fucking retard and He couldnt finish, and the woods went silent again. It was just the snow around them, the oncoming wind, and the silence. The brooding silence. With quick, shaky movements Leo scooped Arianna into his arms and began pacing quickly towards the house. He could not feel any part of himself from the cold; he could only feel the fresh blood running over the girl he held delicately in his arms. Why had he been such an idiot? As he neared the house and the light came into view, he shuddered as he could now see the red, frost-bitten face of the woman he held and the blood oozing from her open wounds. He quickly bolted through the door, and without switching on any lights he vanished up to the second floor. The floorboards creaked beneath their weight as Leo reached the landing, holding Arianna tight against his heaving chest. He was beginning to thaw in the heated house, but ignored the burning sensation as he put all of his attention to the crippled body he held. With tears running down his face; maybe from pain or regret; he turned the faucet over the Jacuzzi tub in the master bath while holding Arianna against his hip. As the steam began rising from the heating water, Leo took a glance down at her face; blood and gashes over her cheeks made him shudder, and he could just make out the lines of fear and distress over her features. Turning the tap off, the bathroom became silent again and he took a moment to glance in the mirror; his fucked up appearance startled him. His hair seemed thinner, his eyes were still watering with tears, and he looked very old; middle aged and stressed out. Ignoring his face, he gently unravelled the coat from Ariannas body and held her in his lap as he sank to the tiled floor. She was beautiful; even covered with blood and gashes, she resembled a peaceful angel. It calmed him as he lowered his head to her chest and felt her delicate body rising and falling with each breath. Rising up to his knees, he slowly placed her bare, cold body into the bath and watched in agony as she squirmed from the heat but did not open her eyes. Where was she at this moment? Seeking death, or just camping out somewhere to get away from the pain? Please come back baby, he whispered into her ear, but there was no response. Watching her carefully, he lathered soap in his numb hands and gently began washing her body from top to bottom. She was gorgeous, and Leo couldnt help it as his hands brushed over her fine lines and over her breasts. Then he stopped with a shudder. His hand was right over one of the many scars that lined her beautiful body, and he inhaled sharply at the look of them. Leo desperately wanted to know how she had gotten these burn marks, but he knew she was not yet ready to share her past with him. Not after what youve just done to her you fucken sick bastard, he thought to himself with a pang. How could he get so carried away?

Suddenly, as his hand brushed over her chest, he could feel her moving beneath him. His eyes raced to her face, and to his relief he could see her eyes beginning to flicker open. The light seemed to confuse her as she came back, and he could see how weak she was. He had washed the blood from her face, and only small, yet cleaned gashes remained on her cheeks from when she had scraped against the rough bark of the tree. Leo a faint sound escaped her mouth, and he was suddenly on hyper alert mode as the frail body began squirming. Easy, baby. Im here and youre okay, Leo watched in pain as he saw how confused and bewildered she was. The hurt and fear were now gone from her eyes, and he could feel his body relax slightly. He ran his hand gently through her hair and she reached up and took his arm in her hands. Leo shivered at the sudden touch of her soft skin against his cold arm. I need you Leo, she whispered, and he suspected she was not quite aware of what was going on. She tugged his arm closer and ran her hands up to his biceps. He loved the feel of her skin over his, and he closed his eyes as her long fingers ran over him. To his surprise, she gently pulled his hand down to one of the scars on her chest and rested his hand there. Leo, she whispered again, and he could see the sudden tiredness fall over her eyes as she fell silent beside him once again and her body went limp in the warm bath water. Silence filled the bathroom once again except for the continuous humming of the lights, and Leo stared in awe at the hand she had placed over her scar. He felt her breathing beneath him and suddenly realized how much she needed someone. Regardless of how she had gotten these scars, he knew she needed help. She needed him. Was that what she had been trying to tell him all this time? She just needed someone that she could trust? Maybe she wasnt looking for someone to love. The thought of her eyes widening flashed through his mind again and it made him shudder. The frail body beneath him was in need of care; not fucking. Why the fuck did it take you so long to realize that you ass? He yelled at himself, scolding the little horny teenage deep within him. Fuck, he was a jackass! Love would come later for her. She barely trusted the world now, and Leo breathed a sigh of relief as he realized this. He was much too old and powerful for her anyway; he could take advantage of her just as he did in the SUV anytime he wanted. She needed someone to show her the way before leaving for the world. He hated the thought of not being able to love this beautiful woman that had touched his heart in a way no one else ever had. It was hard for him to take this into realization.

Just friends, he told himself. She is beautiful and highly fuckable, but just friends. She cant play the game of life by herself; she needs someone by her side. Chapter 31 I had forgotten everything as usual. It was like my life had this reset button that my mind presses without my permission and then I run into trouble, get hurt, and somehow end up safe with no pain within the hour. What an enjoyable, messed up life. Flickering open my eyes, I realize Im in a familiar place; in Leos huge, warm bed. My body instantly relaxes as I realize Im not in a hospital bed this time, and turning on my side, I grin as Im looking into the shinning green eyes of my big man. You seem happy baby, Leo says softly, his hand running down my side. I realize that Im dressed in a short nightgown and Leo is only wearing his boxer shorts. With a content sigh, I nestle my head against his lean chest and breathe in his heavenly smell. My body melts and I pull tightly against his beautiful body. I smirk as I hear him inhale sharply at my touch and his warm hand runs through my hair. Im sorry about last night. I wasnt thinking and - he begins in a nervous tone, but then my body tenses and he stops. Fuck. Last night in the SUV. His hands running over my body, his finger inside of me. My body shudders at the thought and I quickly pull away from him. I take a quick glance into his eyes and see pain in them. Why is everything so confusing between us all the time? I know he tries to understand my needs, but at the same time I want to please him too and feed his needs. Like having sex. How long has it been since youve fucked a girl, Leo? The question flies out of my mouth before I can stop it and he seems taken aback as he looks me dead straight in the eyes. His face goes cold and his eyes are unreadable. Sometimes I think this big, beautiful man is pretty fucked up. Why doesnt he just answer? Ummm.... I guess over a year now, his voice is tense and as he says it he cant look me in the eye. My mouth drops open in astonishment. Before I can stop myself, I look him in the eye. Sorry, youre a handsome, single doctor that every single passing female drools at and you havent had sex in over a fucken year? I dont know why but I suddenly burst out laughing and obviously take Leo by surprise as he backs away from me. You are pretty fucked up arent you? One minute youre all beaten up and asking for help and the next youre asking someone how many girls theyve fucked, huh? The room suddenly goes silent, and I turn to look into his eyes. I cringe as his cold, blank stare hits me and it sends a shiver over my entire body. I suddenly feel uncomfortably cold. Instinctively, I move away from him and without thinking I toss the covers on his side and jump out of the bed. I can see hes about to say something as his eyes begin to fill with regret again, but I turn my back to him as I slip on fresh clothes

that he obviously set out for me last night. I purposefully undress right in front of him and glance over at him to see his eyes beginning to go all hot again. What an ass hole. He just wants to fuck me and throw me out. Before Im fully dressed, the anger suddenly shoots through me like an arrow, and turning on my heel I stare him dead straight in his now burning eyes. Yeah, I am pretty fucked-up Leo! But did you ever consider how much of a fucker you are? I throw my hands in the air in disgust and roll my eyes as I do up the buttons on my shirt. I can feel my face heating up, and I know Im not done yet. I dont need you in my fucken life! Youve almost killed me several times and its always the same bloody thing every time! My eyes are fuming and I can see the hurt in his eyes. Hes about to open his smart mouth at me but I yell back at him before he can say anything. Ever since you ran me over with your fucking driving skills, my life has been a mess. I mean it already was but now a man that wants to fuck me just appears out of nowhere to try and brighten my day, huh? Excuse me! Who was the one that got us started, huh? Youre such an ass sometimes! Dont start something you dont want to do bitch! Hes now flinging himself off the bed and coming closer to me, his face beat red and his mouth almost in a snarl. Fuck you bastard! I cant help it if you were moping about me not trusting you! Maybe I need to fill your fucken needs sometimes too, right? I take a step away from him as he slowly walks towards me but I dont let him intimidate me. You know, this relationship has actually boosted my confidence ass! Now I am able to not only avoid getting fucked by a sick bastard, but I can even stand up to jackasses and tell them to fuck off! Never in a million years did I believe I would be able to do such a thing! I dont even wait for him to make a remark and shoving him out of the way, I grab my already packed suitcase, fling my purse over my shoulder, and turn towards the door before Leo can stop me. Without another word, I stomp out of the room, my eyes fuming with anger. I can feel my chest heaving and my heart pounding as I scamper down the stairs, my purse over one shoulder, and my luggage bag in my hands. I roll my eyes as I hear Leo running after me, like he always does, but I only go down the spiraling case faster until Im at the front door. Dont go you, you - He says behind me in furry as I reach for the door knob, and I suddenly turn to look at him again. Say it you fucker! Call me a bitch! Yell it in my fucken face! Call me a mother fucking bitch! I yell in his face and I watch as he backs away from me in horror. Whats this guys problem? He tries recouping and a smirk crawls onto my face as I can see how uncomfortable Im making him. You cant go anywhere Arianna! You have nowhere to go! His voice is calm and he suddenly reaches for my arm and ranks me close to him, forcing me to let go of my bag. Look! Im sorry about last night,okay. Youre pretty fucken attractive and I couldnt help it! But I want to help you Arianna. You have no one to run too and for now Im all you have. We stand there for a moment

listening to our heavy breathing and I can only look into his eyes; there is so much pain in them. But why? Because Im leaving? Because I called him a fucker? The truth suddenly dawns on me. I do have no one to go to, and thats why hes been so possessive of me. Heres this wonderful, handsome man trying to protect me. What do I do? Be a bitch, cry for help, and suck up to him. Im such a fucking loser. Without thinking, I trash my purse on the floor and fling my arms around Leos still bare chest. This man cares about me but Ive just been blocking him out this whole time. I didnt want to get hurt. My eyes fill with tears and even though I can feel his confusion, Leo wraps his arms around me and pulls me closer to him. Youre okay Arianna. His voice is soft and my body relaxes as I cower closer to him and breathe in his soothing scent. Through my tears I try to explain. Im sorry Leo! Ive been such a bitch to you! All youve done is care for me, and Ive just closed you off. I was just so afraid you would would I cant finish and I know Leo understands as he pulls me tighter and his lean body relaxes against me. He quietly leads me to the couch in the living room where he lets me lie in his lap. We sit there in silence, my sobs slowly becoming choked as I relax against his warm chest. Running his hands down my back, I feel my breathing begin to slow as I push myself closer to him. I realized I wasnt being fair to you when I did all of those things Arianna. Im so sorry. He whispers, brushing his nose through my hair. I squeeze his arm to tell him I understand, and his body instantly relaxes around me. I cant help but smile. But I have a proposition to make, now his voice is more serious, and I sit up to look him in the eye, urging him to continue with his proposition. I try not to show the confusion on my face, but I know this man can see right through me. I know you are trying to fulfill my needs as much as I am yours, but I dont think you can do that for me, he stops for a minute and soothes me as my body tenses. What is he suggesting? I never see him again? I know you are not ready for what I need, but I know you still need someone to look after you. I dont know what hes hinting at, but I quickly look away from him. No, you dont understand baby! He gently turns my chin so I am looking into his caring, bright eyes again. We dont need to try and get a relationship out of this Arianna. As much as I would love that, I know you are uncomfortable with the thought as you can not fulfill my sexual desires I can feel the blood draining from my face and I know hes going to let me go. So I was just hoping you would agree to a close friendship so that I can support you and help you, baby. Then we can think about a relationship down the road when you are ready. His searches my eyes to see what my reaction is and is taken aback when my eyes fill with tears. Climbing back into his lap, I throw my arms around him gently and look into his relieved eyes. You are one caring man Leo. Thank you for giving me another chance. A smirk lights up on my face and he grins back down at me. Of course last night was quite fun - I tease, but before I can finish hes tickling me and I roll over laughing as he plants kisses all along my belly.

You little thing! Dont you tease me! Leo smirks at me and I can see his eyes are dancing. Of course, we can still be cuddly, kissy friends. Im just not expecting you to try a full on relationship with me yet Ms. Dawson He runs his hands through my hair and I turn on my back to look up in into his laughing eyes. Someday? I ask him, putting on my best puppy face as I look into his gleeful eyes. Yes baby, someday. He grins at me, and I realize Ive never been this happy in my life. Knowing that someone cares about me so much makes my heart melt. Maybe someday I will be ready for a relationship with this man. Maybe someday he can have his own heart on the back of one of the solitaire cards. Chapter 32 He didnt know how long they sat there for. But he didnt care. As they sat cuddling on the couch, talking up a storm, and laughing their way through their day, Leo realized he had never felt this happy in his entire life before. Okay, except for last night in the SUV before Arianna ran away from him. Deep down, he knew he had strong feelings for Arianna, but for now he knew he would have to stow them away until she was ready. He wondered how Arianna saw him. Did she see him as a friend? A brotherly figure? Someone she could share the rest of her life with? Leo pushed the thoughts from his mind and focused solely on the woman sitting in his lap. He had showered and was now dressed in jeans but still boar no shirt. He couldnt get over how happy Arianna was; for the first time Leo could see the twinkle in her eyes as she giggled and looked deeply into his own eyes. Do you remember the look on Cassies face when you told her we werent dating? Arianna looked up into Leos eyes with a dreamy gaze and she giggled at the memory. She was expecting him to say something, but he only looked down at her with a strange look in his eye. Suddenly, a worried expression washed over Ariannas face and she sat up in Leos lap. Did I say something Leo? Im sorry if- But he raised a finger over her mouth to silence her and a grin played at his lips. No baby, I just love your laugh. Its very amusing, Leo whispered in her ear with a husky voice and he trailed his finger over her tender lips. She looked deep into his burning eyes and reached up to stroke her hand over his whiskery face. Enjoying the feeling of her soft skin against his, he closed his eyes and leaned into her hand. Sensing his bodys response, Arianna grinned as she crawled into his lap and wrapped his legs around his hips. She stroked his sideburns and ran her hand down his throat. You like that dont you? She asked playfully, brushing her thumb over his lips. If you keep doing that youre going to be on the floor and underneath me in about thirty seconds. He whispered into her ear with a low, seducing voice. It sent chills down her back and she suddenly pried her hand away from his face with a haunted look in her eyes. I was kidding baby. Just dont get me too aroused though, or this

friendship thing wont work for me too well He let out a husky laugh and pulled Arianna closer to his face. I know you need some physical touch baby. But you know you dont trust me enough to do it. Arianna ran her fingers down the front of his chest again and then snuggled into his lap. Okay! She said sarcastically, and she looked up into Leos playful eyes. They were dancing and a bright, vibrant green. Why are you so playful and teasy all of a sudden baby? He asked as a smirk appeared on his face. But then his eyes turned more serious and he looked down at Arianna for an answer. I was trying so hard to find a way to accommodate your needs in whatever was between us. But then, when you lifted that weight off of my shoulders, it made me realize how much you care about me Leo, she stopped for a second and breathed in his beautiful, comforting scent. You knew what I felt like, and that makes me trust you so much more. Ive never felt this comfortable or happy around a person before. She smiled up to the handsome man she called her friend, and to her surprise she could see his eyes watering. No, no. Please dont cry Leo! Tears fell onto Ariannas neck and she brushed her hand over his cheek to wash over the droplets still streaming down his face. Ive just never been this happy before or felt this way about a person Arianna. You mean the world to me, and thats why I just want to take it one step at a time. I would never want to lose you. He smiled down at her through his watering eyes and stroked her face gently. They sat there as the sun set and losing track of time, they soon found themselves stifling yawns until Arianna fell asleep in Leos arms. He loved watching her sleep; Her chest rising and falling, the way her eye lashes brushes over her flushed cheeks and how she would unconsciously curl up tighter against his body. He had gained her trust, and now their friendship would only get better. Leo had never seen her this happy and playful before, and he knew she would be ready someday. She would be up to the challenge of playing the game of life with him. Chapter 33 Before I even opened my eyes, I could feel the smile lighting up my face. I was here, somewhere in the world, wrapped in Leos arms. It wouldnt matter if I was at the mouth of a volcano, in the middle of a hurricane; I was with the one man I trusted. Opening my eyes, I took in the living room and all of the happy memories flashed back from yesterday. I could still feel the gashes stinging my face from the tree bark, but somehow that seemed like a century ago; like it had never happened. The sun was beaming through the large front windows and it enveloped the tall Christmas tree that still stood there. I stretched my body and looked up at Leos beautiful face; every stress mark gone, and his young lively self showing again. Not wanting to wake him, I slowly rose from where I had been sleeping and grinned as his body stirred at the sudden absence of me. I glanced up at the ticking grandfather clock that stood just across from the open bar in the kitchen, and my heart stopped as I read the time: 7:40.

A frown suppressed my happy smile as I ran up the stairs to get ready for college: I knew we had only 30 minutes to get ready and be at the university. Throwing off my clothes on the still untouched bed, I grabbed my towel and slammed the bathroom door behind me. I took a second to look in the mirror and was surprised when I saw how much colour my cheeks had, how bright my eyes were. Turning the faucet, steaming water instantly fell from the showerhead and I breathed out a sigh of contentment as the almost too-hot water fell over my body. The sound of the water hitting the glass interior relaxed me as I began lathering soap in my hands and cleaning my entire body. Had I ever been this relaxed and comfortable in someone elses own home before? Without noticing, I began humming my favourite melody: Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Charlene and I would always listen to it when we played cards, and she had even played it on the piano for me. The warm water, the feel of the soap running over my soft skin; it was like heaven. I began singing the lyrics to my favourite melody and was trapped in my own little world; everything but the image of Leo was somewhere else in my mind. Suddenly, my breathing became choked as someones hand ran over my body and I felt the presence of another being. I stopped singing and turned my head to see Leo, completely naked, lathering soap over my shoulders as he looked down at my with that dreamy look in his green eyes. They were so alive. Whered you come from? I asked willingly, a playful look washing over my eyes as I savoured the look of his beautiful body. You have a beautiful voice. He ignored my question and he gave my soaking hair a little tug. His hands were now running over my chest but I noticed how careful he was being around my burns; how did he know? Why didnt you wake me? He asked quietly, skimming his hands down my back. You looked so at peace, I grinned into his face and in turn began rubbing my soapy hands down the front of his chest. He stepped closer to me and I could tell he loved my touch; his eyes seemed so distant with pleasure. Running his long-fingered hands through my hair, he planted a kiss on my scalp. Man, at the rate were going, I dont think this friendship things going to work for very long. He barely managed to suppress his rumbling laughter as his thumb stroked my lower lip. I looked up at him with pleading eyes as I massaged his chest.Im sorry beautiful, sexy man. I just need time so I can trust you and figure this all out. Then - He raised his finger to my lips as he always does, and I rolled my eyes at him in teasing manner. Hush baby. Now if you dont get out of this shower and dry off your beautiful body, we wont be making it to the college anytime soon. He smirked at me and gave my behind a quick swat with his huge hand. You dont want me to get any ideas do you? His husky voice sent chills down my back, and I giggled as he raised his eyebrows at me.

I ran my hand down his happy trail, and then I stepped out the shower. Barely holding back my grin, I wrapped a towel around myself and skipped over to the mirror where I began drying myself off and doing my morning routine. Minutes later, a still naked Leo came walking behind me and our eyes locked in the mirror; he was so vibrant and happy looking. I turned to look at him and couldnt help but let my eyes run down his lean frame. He was tall, broad shouldered, and his muscular chest still gleamed from the shower. Massive arms, a slim waist, and thick, toned legs. How much more good looking could he get? I think he could sense my wandering eyes and I quickly turned back to the mirror. He stepped closer to me and a grin lit up his face as he saw me blushing. Pushing up against him, I could feel his arousal brush my hip, and my blush deepened. I quickly walked out of the room and grinned as his now burning eyes followed my every step. As soon as I was done drying my hair, I headed to my suitcase and pulled out casual jeans and a low-cut top. Leo followed me out with a towel now wrapped around his waist and he began sifting through his drawers. You know, there is still room in my closet. He turned to my grinning face and I shrugged my shoulders. I thought I was going back to the dorm with my, umm - I stopped as my voice faded and his eyes grew wide with fear. He slowly came towards me and placed a hand over my shoulder. Baby, you know you never have to go back there. Youre safe here with me and youre welcome to move in. He ran his nose through my now dry hair and looked down at the clothes I was wearing. We could also get you a new wardrobe if you wanted. He snickered at me and my jaw fell to the floor. What was he trying to tell me? You dont agree with what Im wearing? I pouted, exaggerating my frown as I eyed the clothes I was wearing. What was wrong with them? Not revealing enough? He grinned at me and ran his hand down the side of my face. Since you have such a beautiful body, his eyes ran down my figure and it sent a chill down my back, we could always get you something a little more sexy. His voice had gone all husky all of a sudden and I rolled my big eyes up at him. Throwing a playful punch at him, I suddenly chuckled. Whatever you want handsome man. I turned around before he could bother me anymore, and I motioned for him to get dressed. Were already late Mr. Oh-my-god-wear-sexyclothes-will-ya. I giggled and was suddenly pulled towards Leo as his arm wrapped around my waist. Pulling me close, he looked down into my laughing eyes. Are you teasing me? He quickly glanced at the clock and rolled his eyes. I guess we should get a move on. Stop bothering me or youll be on the floor soon with nothing on. He added playfully as he turned to pull on his jeans and his polo.

My eyes went wide again, but I had to admit I loved the way he teased me. Quickly putting on my necklace from Christmas, I grabbed my purse and the books I needed as an image of Leos beautiful body appeared in my mind. As I skipped down the stairs, I suddenly wondered if I was falling for Leo; I had never been loved by anyone or really felt this queasy about someone else. Was it possible that this was my perfect man? Charlenes words flashed through my head again, Whats perfect to you my friend? A royal wedding with a horse carriage and a prince charming? Dream on sister! I felt my eyes beginning to water as my feet hit the last step, and I stop at the bottom of the stairs. Just then, warm arms wrapped around me and my body suddenly relaxed as I leaned my weight into them. Hey, whats wrong? Leo held me closer to his chest and turned my chin so I was looking him in the eye. How could tell from looking at the back of my head that something was wrong? Nothing. I couldnt meet his worried gaze and I could feel my breathing quickening as I thought of Charlene again. I couldnt cry in front of him. He turned my body so I was facing him and he ran his hand down my chin. Baby, you can tell me anything. Thats what trust is. His words went straight to my heart and I suddenly burst into tears. Shh, its okay Arianna. He quickly brought me close to him and I rested my reddening face into his arm. Running his hand over my back, I began to feel more comfortable. I was thinking of my- my friend. It was barely audible but it was enough for Leo to understand. He brought his head down over mine and the radiant heat from his body seemed to calm me somehow. Soothing words, a slow rhythmic heart beat. This is the type of person I needed. I slowly looked up at him as my tears ceased, and he ran his finger over my steaming cheeks. Youre okay baby. He squeezed my hand to remind me he was there for me, and I managed to smile up at him. I dont remember how long we stood there, but all I could remember was his smell, his hand running down my back, the warmth of his chest. He slowly backed away from our embrace and looked down at me with soulful eyes. This is for you. He pulled a cell phone from his pocket and wrapped it in the palm of my hand. If you need anything, you can call me. I looked up into his eyes and I was taken aback when I saw the concern in them; why was he always so worried about me? Thank you. I ran my hand down his lean chest, down to his naval. As I brushed my hand over his hips I could hear his sharp intake of breath. I immediately pulled away my hand and turned towards the door. Dont Arianna. His voice sounded almost forceful, and I filled with confusion as I turned towards him. Dont what? He looked down at me, and I think he was trying to search for the right words. Never in my entire life has a girl affected me like you do, his voice seemed restrained and confused, so please dont feel embarrassed around me Arianna.

You can help me too. I stepped towards him and looked deeply into his saddening eyes. Just give me time. I took his hand in mind and motioned towards the door. He followed behind me and before we broke our hands apart he looked down at me. It was that gaze again; those eyes that sent chills down my back. His hand ran down the side of my face and then the moment was over. Releasing my hand, he got into the SUV and I followed suit. As we pulled out of the drive way and headed into the city, I couldnt help but thinking of how much this man cared for me. And how much I cared for him. Chapter 34 As they pulled into the university parking lot and Leo cut the engine, Arianna looked down at her watch. Fuck- it was already close to nine. She didnt know how he seemed to read her mind but he looked over at her with a smirk on his face. Dont worry babe lecture doesnt start until 10:00. No meetings today and other shit because its the first day back from holidays. A relieved look washed over her face and without another word, they both exited the vehicle and he put his hand out to hers. Arianna reached for it, and he pulled her close to his side as if he was worried some vampire would jump out of nowhere and snatch her from his grasp. Why do you worry about me so much? The question was instantly out of her mouth, and she quickly regretted it. Leo looked down at her momentarily, but his confusion vanished as quickly as it had come. Ever since I ran into you, She was taken aback by the pain in his voice but he continued, I cant bear to see you in pain. He looked down at her with hurt eyes and pulled her into his chest. It hurts me as much as it hurts you. Arianna looked up into Leos watering eyes and she squeezed his hand. Thank you for everything youve done for me She whispered into his ear, and they slowly began walking towards the science building hand in hand. Where are we going? Arianna asked, leaning against Leo as they walked through the lobby of the science building. He suddenly looked confused but kept walking. My office. His tone was bland, and Arianna wondered what was on his mind but she silently followed him to the elevator. They stood hand in hand as the elevator slower rose, the steady ping filling the awkward silence. Leo could feel that sensation again; that feeling of anticipation. Almost an electric force binding the two together. Do you feel that? Arianna giggled as the elevator slowly climbed, and nothing but cheesy music filled the background. Leo couldnt suppress his chuckle as he squeezed her hand as thoughts whirled through his mind. The elevator doors suddenly opened, and they came out of their daze as Leo led them off and motioned towards his office. Without thinking, he wrapped his arm

around Arianna and breathed in her beautiful scent; vanilla, flowers, joy. Was he falling in love with her? I didnt know you had an office too. Arianna giggled in Leos ear as he came out of his daze and shut the door behind them. The morning sunlight was pouring through the open window and made the mahogany desk shimmer. Without thinking, he pushed Arianna against the wall and trapped her between his hips. Desire burned in his eyes and he ran his hand over her soft skin. How much I would love to fuck you over that desk. His husky voice rang through her ears and sent a chill down her back. Feeling her response, Leo suddenly leaned in closer and titled her chin so her eyes were locked on his. He was taken aback by the fear in them and felt his hand beginning to shake. Stop it Leo! The sharp tang in her voice brought him back to reality and he instantly backed away from her and let out a sigh as if the world had just smacked him right in the face. Im sorry, I wasnt thinking. His voice was shallow, almost scared. Arianna looked at him with those eyes again; like on the night when she had pulled him out of the swimming pool. Come on, dont look at me like that. You said we were just friends Leo! I cant have that type of relationship with you! Her eyes began to water and Leo stepped towards her, his hand cautiously wiping the drop from her cheek. Easing her into a gentle embrace, Leo soothed her and ran his hand down her back. What the fuck was he doing? He could feel her heart racing; he could feel his own heart going a mile a minute. Just give her time, he thought, just time. Chapter 35 He was already running through the slides; all of the same boring shit I had studied in the hospital. His voice seemed distant and I realized how uncomfortable I suddenly felt. Leos eyes would gaze up at me for just seconds, but it would be enough to make me squirm in my seat. Then there was that dam smirk that would play at his mouth as he saw me from the corner of his eyes. He knew how much of an effect he had on me, but I knew I wasnt ready to open up to him yet; would I ever be? I felt my cheeks suddenly burning as the thought of falling in love with that handsome man ran through my already blazing mind. For now, I would just have to find a distraction; maybe find someone else. I tried to shield my face from the students around me and began playing with my pen. My eyes scanned over the blank page in front of me, and I unconsciously scribbled something onto it with my pen. Love. What the fuck was happening to me? What the fuck was Leo doing to me? I couldnt bring myself to look to the front of the classroom again, and I let my eyes wander to the side of the lecture hall. Suddenly, I was staring into the eyes of another man; a fucking hot man. Not as hot as Leo, but pretty dam hot.

He suddenly looked away from me and a wild, seducing grin appeared on his face as he looked to the front of the room again. My mind began racing, and thoughts flew through my head. He was almost as tall as Leo with the same slim frame, and his hair was whipped to the side with a mob of gel. Was I checking this man out? But he was my age; a student like me. I batted my eye lashes at him as he snuck a peak at me and he flashed that big grin at me again. My stomach went queasy as his eyes burned right through me; they were a dreamy blue. I squirmed in my seat and suddenly realized how messed up I was becoming; Leo had taught me how to trust people again, and how to fucking feel attracted to someone. I loved his sharp angled face, his young lines outlining his blue eyes. He was almost as good looking as Leo; if he was just taller, with broader shoulders, with a sexier smile. Reality suddenly hit me as the lights in the lecture hall flickered back on and my gaze instantly looked down at Leos. I was taken aback by the confusion, almost anger in his eyes. He was drifting from me to the man who had been looking at me. Was he sizing him up? Was my Leo fucking jealous of this man? I could barely suppress a giggle of delight as I saw Leos eyes burning again. Chatter and noise quickly filled the large hall and swarms of people pushed passed me as I was still lost in my daze. Men were actually wanting me; actually attracted to me. Without noticing, I began walking towards the blue-eyed man that had been checking me out, a smirk playing at my face. He was packing up his books, and I quickly sized up his frame; He had a muscular build under his plaid shirt, and he wore his pants low on his hips. I could feel my insides turning and realized my cheeks were burning up again as I saw Leo slowly making his way towards me, a confused look washing over his face. The man suddenly turned and his eyes flared with surprise as he saw me; closer this time. A smirk played at his mouth; his juicy, playful lips. Reaching out his hand, I was shocked as his long fingers brushed over my arm. Something ran over me as his skin touched mine; the feeling I sometimes felt when Leo reached out to me. Im Chad Chad Welles His booming voice reached my ears, and I met his gaze again. I suddenly felt shy and reached my hand out to his. He had a firm shake and I suddenly felt queasy all over; what the hell was I supposed to say? Before I could even think, I could feel Leo towering over me and Chad instantly took back his hand as his gaze returned to the floor. Dr. Holmes, sir. He nodded briskly, his jaw clenched as I took in the aggression in Leos eyes. My inner self smirked as I realized how very over-protective Leo was of me. Chad tried to ignore the amazingly handsome, sexy man standing behind me and quickly looked up at me. Would you like to go for a a coffee? His voice was more shallow, but I quickly nodded. I really didnt know how to do this. Talking to hot men was not my thing.

It was like Chad was suddenly melting under Leos hot gaze, and he quickly wrote something on a piece of paper and placed it in my palm. Without another word, he quickly turned on his feet and flew through the door. My mind whirled with thoughts and I suddenly felt queasy. Where was I going my feet began to lose where they were and my head felt heavy and dazed. What the fuck? Warm arms wrapped around me and I leaned my weight against Leos familiar frame. Such a comforting, electrifying touch he had. Easy baby. He brushed his hand over my cheek and let me lean against him. His touch; his embrace; it was even more electrifying than Chads. Why the fuck couldnt I just accept this mans love? Maybe I just didnt deserve it. You okay? Youre awfully shaky. His warm voice echoed in my ears and I let out a sigh as my body gave in to his warm embrace. I could stand by this mans side forever; it was the most amazing feeling in the world. Leo shifted his weight and he wrapped his long legs around me as he breathed in my scent again. Electrifying impulses ran down my back at the feel of his arousal and my legs went all shaky again. What the fuck were men doing to me? I could feel his bellowing laugh as he ran his nose through my hair, and he slowly took the piece of paper from my hand. The image of Chad flew through my mind but nothing could distract me from the towering figure embracing me. Do you want to see this man? His voice was warm, but I could hear his hesitation. It wasnt protective; it was almost jealous sounding. I turned slowly to pear into his now cloudy eyes; always so unreadable. I think so. I wasnt really thinking, but reality came back to me as I looked at the scribbled number on the piece of crumpled paper. Maybe this would be the best for me; I could meet someone my own age and put my trust into another human being. It could distract me from this man that stood before me. Yes, this was for the best. Hadnt it been my plan from the beginning? Chapter 36 He could do this. He had to do this for his girl. Leos eyes went dreamy as he took in her beautiful frame. She was wearing a short cut dress, her slender legs and curved body sending chills down his back. Looks umm... amazing. He could barely hear his own voice as he watched Arianna peer into the mirror again, a quizzical look appearing on her face. Is it me? Her gaze locked with his in the mirror and he could only shrug. Of course it wasnt her, but how else was she going to win a man over? Surely not by hiding her sexiness. She twirled around and a smile appeared as she met Leos eyes again. You need something sexy; something thats going to reveal you but not make you look like a slut. His voice was returning and he smirked as Arianna slipped on the high heels again and peered into the mirror. She looked amazing; so beautiful and flawless. He could feel his cock suddenly twitching with anticipation and he tried to hide his flaring cheeks.

Thanks for helping me Leo I dont know what I would have done. She giggled as she took in her new look and strutted to the front of the store and back towards him. Youre a great friend. He felt hurt at her sudden words even though he shouldnt; Leo wished that the women before him would accept his love and return it. He sighed as she vanished into the change room again and she hummed a recognizable melody. Maybe this was the best for her; another man her own age could fuck her and date her and pretend to love her. Yeah. He looked at his scowling face in the mirror but hid his frustration as Arianna appeared from the change room again, her sparkling new clothes draped over her arm as she strutted towards the cash; a new spring in her step. What was he doing to this girl? Leo pulled out his credit card and laughed as Arianna scowled playfully at him but he raised his eyebrows and she willingly took the card. The least he could do was pay for her new life. Or whatever the hell this was. She had gotten beautiful highlights in her hair, a thick layer of makeup now hid her old scars and blemishes, and a new confidence was visible in her step as they stepped outside of the store. You look happy, baby He brushed his hand down her back but she looked up at him with those puppy eyes again. You cant do that Leo Im going out with someone now. The words struck him like a knife and he could feel his usually flawless stride falter as he instinctively took his hand away from her and slipped it into his pocket. As they walked down the street, Leo stared at the ground and tried to hide the pain in his eyes. What the fuck was wrong with him; this girl was almost young enough that she could be his fucking daughter. He knew he had to get over himself and feel lucky enough to just be in the presence of this girl; this beautiful, yet damaged girl. They reached the SUV, and Arianna placed the last of her many shopping bags into the vehicle. New wardrobe, makeup, jewellery, and a bunch of other beauty products and girl crap. Leo hid his smirk as he climbed into the drivers seat and watched Arianna with a dreamy gaze as she got into the car and their eyes met for an instant. Stop looking at me like that you sicko! She giggled and playfully swatted his leg, a grin appearing on his face. She was so happy all of a sudden; maybe this new dating thing was just what she needed. He almost hated it, but if it was what she wanted, then he would go with it. With a sigh, he quickly pulled into the busy street and locked his eyes on the road as whirling thoughts flew through his head. The coffee date had gone well, and now Arianna had her first real date; like going out for dinner kind of date. Are you sure youre ready for this? He couldnt help but blurt out, and her eyes quickly peered over at his. I dont know, but I guess Ill have to find out. She shrugged and Leo suddenly felt another pang run through him; he hadnt even gone to dinner with Arianna before. Why the fuck did this Chad dude get to go on a real date with his girl?

Arianna suddenly got out her cell phone and went silent as she pecked in a number and brought it to her ear. The dam phone that he had given to her; and now she was using it to call her boyfriend. Leo rolled his eyes but instantly turned his gaze back to the road and listened intently to the ringing of the phone. A voice suddenly sounded on the other end, and Ariannas face instantly went red. Hey are you still, you know, okay for tonight? She didnt sound like herself at all; so shy and innocent. A smile appeared on her face and she confirmed the time with Chad and quickly hung up the phone. Six hes picking me up at six. She squirmed in her seat and Leo could feel the tension building between them again. Can you help me get ready? He nodded briefly, but stayed silent as they turned down his road and that dead feeling fell over him again; Why the hell did Chad get her? He was a fucking moron that was probably was man hoar that just wanted to stick his cock in her. As soon as they pulled into the drive way, Arianna scurried into the house with bags hauled over her shoulders and in her sweaty palms. Dont be so nervous baby! Leo laughed as he watched her disappear into the house and followed suit. But she suddenly stopped and turned to look up at him with a cold look in her eyes. Stop calling me that friends dont call each other that. Her voice was shallow, almost hesitant, and Leo opened his mouth but nothing came out. Before he could say anything, she flew up the stairs, onto the landing, and vanished into the master bedroom. The same bedroom where they slept together every single night, where Leo would wrap his arms around her flawless, slim body. Let me know if you need any help, was all he could manage and he was surprised at how reserved his voice sounded. Why the fuck couldnt he just accept the fact that his student would never actually be in a real relationship with him?

Twenty minutes had passed. He sat there, dazed and uncomfortable, as the seconds slowly ticked past like hours and the light in the living room began to fade. His palms were sweaty; he kept squirming in his chair. What the fuck was wrong with him? He distracted himself by staring out the vast front window where the Christmas tree had stood several weeks ago, and he watched as the drifting snow fell to the ground. Memories of them on the family farm flashed through his mind. Memories of him sleeping by her side and filling her with warmth. Her lips on his. Her slender fingers running through his hair. He felt his insides go queasy and began to relax as he watched the sun setting over the horizon once again. Leo could see images of the beautiful women in his mind; her fearful face, her painful face. Oh, how many scars she carried inside of her. Could only he understand the true beast within her? Maybe he didnt even really know her.

Suddenly, he was brought back to reality as the sound of clicking heels from the stairs echoed through his ears and his gaze quickly turned to the front foyer, where he waited for her to appear. Had he ever felt this way about a woman before? His heart stopped for a beat as Arianna swiftly entered the room, and as he slowly rose from the chair, his jaw fell open: his eyes widened in amazement as he took in the beautiful woman before him. Leos gaze travelled over her elegant lines; her delicate, scared body. Her eyes glistened with a new found confidence, and her flushed cheeks made her look so young and fresh. She wore a strapless green dress that hung just over her thighs, and her long legs looked flawless. Loopy earrings dangled from her ears and her flowing hair was done up in a bun, a few strands hanging down over her heart shaped face. She stopped a few feet from him and smirked as she felt his eyes taking in her new figure. You look really, really amazing. Arianna giggled as she looked up at a gawking Leo and he could feel his insides turning again. She looked so astonishing, so different and fresh. Are you ready for this Arianna? He reached for her hand and to his dismay, she lightly brushed it away as if it was so normal. I dont know about the talking part, but I think I can do this. Her voice was suddenly weak, and sounding like the real damaged her again as she suddenly wobbled in her high heels. What the fuck am I supposed to do? Her voice suddenly cracked as tears formed in her eyes and she tried to balance herself. Ignoring her refusing gestures, Leo wrapped her in a tight embrace and walked with her towards the couch, the chill of her frail body shocking him. Dont cry Arianna. You are strong. You can do this. He brought her slowly onto the couch and soothed her until the room became silent again, her makeup now smeared on her tear-stained face. Taking a tissue from his jean pocket, he didnt leave her steady, pain filled gaze as he wiped away the pain from her face. She sighed and her body went limp in his grasp when he was finished washing her tears away. What the fuck am I supposed to do? She repeated, her voice now hollow, filled with pain. Stand up. Let me help you. Leo helped her to her feet and he let her smooth out her dress and fiddle with her hair. Look at me Arianna. Her eyes were still filled with pain as they locked with his, but he tried to ignore it as he stepped closer to her. Please help me. She whispered, her tone now pleading. Leo tried to sound optimistic and gave her a playful grin. Im going to teach you how to flirt. What? I cant do that! She suddenly sounded scared but Leo raised his eyebrows at her and waved a finger in her face playfully.

Stick your tits out a little and lean one hip to the side. His voice was all husky, and Ariannas jaw dropped to the floor as she followed his command almost unwillingly. Now make yourself look all desirable sexy grin, and hot eyes. I dont want to be a slut!She called out as she stuck her hand on her hip. No youve just got to be desirable, baby. He chuckled as her eyes flared with anger again and she pretended to pout. Yeah, like that. Now what, doctor? Leo was surprised by her sudden change of tone but he continued , Youve got to make it look like Im not good enough for you pretend Im just an okay looking guy and you could find better. She raised her eyebrows and placed a hand on her hip again . What up decent man? Leo playfully rolled his eyes and stepped closer to her. Youve got to be innocent but deadly on the outside and have this sexy diva just waiting to come out. Bring it on She waved a long-fingered hand in her direction and stepped towards him, her heals clicking on the hardwood floor. He could feel himself stiffening as desire suddenly shot threw her eyes; like a devil had been unleashed within her damaged soul. Look into my eyes and be this teasing, sexy women. He chuckled as he shifted his weight. At your service doctor, her voice was playful and Leo felt an electrifying sensation run between them as she suddenly stepped closer. Just then, she pressed her body up against his and ran a finger down his chest. It was so unexpected; so sudden yet arousing, and Arianna smirked playfully as she heard his sharp intake of breath. Stop that. Leo whispered. What, does this turn you on? She whispered with a seducing voice into his ear as her finger trailed over his abs and down between his hips. Maybe, he whispered as his eyes shut quickly. He could hear an eager, playful laugh escape her as she reached her hand down the front of his jeans. She loved the power she now felt; and she suddenly noticed how his jeans hung in that sexy way. So low on his hips, and she reached to undo his belt buckle. Teasingly, she suddenly pulled her hands away and stepped back. Ha, sucker. She flicked her hair with confidence as his eyes flew open and his jaw suddenly fell open. You little you were seducing, me werent you? He scowled into her playful eyes, so filled with new found confidence and power.

A smirk played at his face and burning desire suddenly ran through him. How much he wanted to fuck this woman this fucking confusing, card-playing woman. He stepped slowly towards her, his hands reaching for her as his cheeks burned and he felt his arousal. Suddenly, the door bell rang through the entire room, and the two of them suddenly went wide eyed as reality hit them in the face. Fuck, Im not ready for this! Arianna began pacing on the spot but Leo could only roll his eyes. Go! Nows your chance, so just go! He motioned for her to walk to the door, and suddenly remembered something. Put this in your ear follow my every command and do as I say. He stuck an earpiece in her and then wacked her on the ass. She let out a squeal and rolled her eyes. Because you know a lot about dating! She giggled, and throwing her purse over her shoulder she motioned for Leo to hide in the kitchen. Moments later, Arianna opened the door and was face to face with Chad. She suddenly went cold; not from the bristling wind, but from the man standing in front of her. What the fuck was she supposed to say? Chapter 37 Uh, hey, his voice was casual, and his hand was stuck in his jean pocket. Its like he knew how sexy he was; he knew just how much he affected the girls around him. How are you? Good? Im great! I tried to hide the nervousness in my voice, but I couldnt help but huddle closer to my little jacket as his playful grin swept over his irresistible face again. Dam. Shrugging, he held out his hand. I made reservations at The Olympia. But thats thats so expensive, we dont have to go there. I forced a nervous laugh as I shut the door behind me and willingly took Chads hand. He pulled me tight against his body and I cleared my throat as I pulled my jacket closer to me. No babe, dont worry about the money, his voice was already casual and sexy, and a tingle went down my back; from the cold, from him? He motioned towards his car and my face suddenly seemed to fall off; this man had a fucking Mercedes Benz! Nice thing, isnt she? His grin widened and I shuttered. I nodded and silently got into the passenger seat, letting out a sigh as the blaring heat hit me square in the face. The seat was so comfy, just so relaxing. I seemed to fade away as a soft voice sang in the background and we drove into the darkness of the night, snow beginning to fall heavily onto the road. Stay awake Dawson! Some random, sharp voice suddenly sounded from somewhere, and I suddenly jolted up right in my seat. What? I cried, my head turning from side to side.

You okay Arianna? Chad locked eyes with me and I could barely make out his beaming blue gaze. Suddenly , I remembered the ear piece and told Chad everything was fine. Im following you. Let me guess; hes going to some fancy place? I could almost see Leos eyes rolling and quickly glanced in the rear view mirror to see a familiar black SUV behind us in the dark night. So, where do you work? Chad suddenly broke the silence as he turned onto another busy street. Oh work? I dont work! I wanted to laugh all of a sudden but I held it back. Why couldnt I talk to this man? Leos voice suddenly broke through my head. No baby! Say you work at a a bar. What the fuck? He could hear me? Dont call me that! I could feel my face going red as Chads eyes suddenly locked with mine again, a confused look washing over his face. Did I do something wrong? Oh, I work at a drug store; no I work at a bar. Just a bar! I squirmed in my seat and could hear Leo laughing through the ear piece. Would Chad notice it? Thats nice. His tone had gone flat and I could feel my inner self grumbling. Why the fuck did Leo have to ruin this evening? I was saved as Chad parallel parked the car on a side street and he cut the engine. As soon as he shut the door, I whispered to the invisible man inside of my head. Will he see it? The earpiece? I winced as his laughter broke through my thoughts again and I could picture him smiling as his SUV parked a few spaces down. No its very small, he wont see it. Stay calm baby. Why did he have to call me that? Wasnt Chad supposed to call me that? Before I could do anything, he suddenly opened the passenger door and took my hand. Its cold, stay close to me. Nodding my head, I allowed him to help me out of the car and the feel of the sudden bristling wind pushed me off balance. Faltering in my heels, my hands were suddenly going towards the ground and the cold pavement felt rough against my skin. I scowled as I heard Leos laugh rupture through my pounding head, but warm hands wrapped around my waist. So warm and comforting. Hey, its okay! He tried to hide his laughter as he helped me to my feet and he instantly brought me tight against his chest. If only he was a little taller. His eyes were unreadable in the darkness but I loved the feel of his radiating heat washing over my feeble body. What a moment this was. Okay, cut the romance so you guys cant get inside. This fucker might not even make it in the restaurant

before he rips off all your clothes. Leos voice startled me and once again he was laughing at me. Was this all just a joke to him? We should get inside! I suddenly pulled away from his too-tight embrace and was surprised when Chad only stood there. He recovered quickly and wrapped his arm around mine. Yeah, Im starving. His voice was so shallow but I ignored it. We finally reached the enormous restaurant and I was astonished at the beauty of it as we walked through the doors. The heat engulfed me, and the romantic music playing in the background soothed me. I could feel Chads hands running down my back and I relaxed into his grasp on me. Chad casually smiled as a waitress with really tall heels and too much makeup helped us to our table. She sat us down and seemed to look at Chad just a little bit too long; and I scowled as she batted her eyelashes at him. High Heel Lady ordered our drinks and quickly turned away, her tight skirt riding up her thighs as she made an effort to make her ass look bigger. Waitresses, right? I laughed out loud and the only voice I got in return was Leos comforting laugh. Chad only looked at me with a confused grin and I tried to look casual. Im sitting directly behind you, so just try to stay calm. His voice had gone all serious and warm again, and I pictured myself wrapped up in his arms in the living room, romantic music playing in the background, his long-fingered hand running over my body. So what does your family do? The forced voice broke through my thoughts and I quickly straightened my posture and cleared my throat. This was so fucked up. Say your dads a banker and your moms a model a porn model Leos voice rang through my head again and I winced at his laugh. What the fuck? Chad looked at me all weird again, his pupils dilating in confusion. Oh, my dads a banker and my moms a model. Like a model that is naked that type of model. I forced an uncomfortable laugh and couldnt help but look past Chads shoulder to see Leo dressed in an overcoat. His tall frame, his spiky hair, his angled face. I could see him laughing at my response and I rolled my eyes at him. Like a porn model? He asked, his hands inching closer to my end of the table. I shifted in my seat and nodded my head, relieved as High Heels strutted towards us with a bottle of wine. Fuck, wine? I dont drink! She smiled at Chad and her white teeth blinded me as she walked away again, this time venturing off to Leos table. Cheers to getting into med school! I turned his way and forced a grin as he raised his glass to me and I shakily clinked mine against his.

His huge hand suddenly stroked the side of my arm and it startled me. What the fuck? Time slowed down as I squirmed away from his touch and red wine poured right into Chads lap. Leos laugh followed as he heard me yelp but I quickly returned the glass to the table and looked at the stunned expression on his face. We need to make a quick recovery do your little sexy eye thing and run your thumb over your lips. I ignored Leos commands and without thinking I grabbed the napkins underneath my cutlery and nervously walked over to Chads side of the table. Kneeling down, I rubbed the spot on his lap where I had spilt the wine. I am so sorry Im just such a clumsy girl. I expected him to say it was alright but a groan suddenly escaped from deep in his throat and he shifted in his seat. I got all panicky and suddenly started rubbing faster, trying to dry the little puddle. Fuck, what was going on? His eyes suddenly went all lost and dreamy and I looked away as he threw his head back as if he was in pain. What was he doing? Arianna youre kind of like rubbing his crotch all over. Leos laugh erupted in my head and it suddenly clued into me. I quickly stopped rubbing the wet spot on his crotch and I could feel my cheeks turning a red a very bright red. Im sorry like Im really sorry! I quickly stood up and was stunned as I saw the whole restaurants eyes on me. On me. Leo was trying to muffle laughter, and if it was possible my cheeks went even redder. I quickly found my way to my seat and could barely meet Chads eyes, which were back to normal again. Oh no, baby. That was nice, very nice. He whipped back his hair and seemed out of breath as he shifted in his seat again . What the fuck was wrong with me? Could this date be going any worse? Chapter 38 The car in front of him pulled into his driveway and he followed it as he turned off his head lights. Parking by the curb, he slowly exited the SUV and watched as Chad got out of the drivers side. Hiding behind a bush in his yard, he listened intently to the ear piece as Chad scurried over to the passengers side. Hey, wake up baby! He heard the faint voice as the car door opened and Leo suddenly felt like falling over laughing had she been sleeping? Oh my god! Im so sorry its just been a long night and everything. Chuckling into the little microphone, Leo could almost see the look on Ariannas face as Chad lifted her into his arms. Why couldnt that be him? They slowly made their way to the front door, Arianna now on her feet. Nice house by the way very big. Chad sounded amused as the girl beside him leaned into his body, and he willingly wrapped his arm around her. Leo could feel his

brow creasing with furry as he watched another mans arms stroking his girl; his Arianna. Im so sorry about tonight I mean I totally embarrassed you and Im just a really messed up person. Leo could hear her forced laugh but Chad only pulled her tighter against him. Baby, I really enjoyed tonight. His tone had gone all sexy, and Leo shuttered. What was he trying to do? Oh, well Im just an embarrassing person I guess. No, youre spontaneous. I need a girl like that in my life. Leo chuckled as memories of the real Arianna flew through his mind; spontaneous? More like damaged, control freak, dont touch me type of person. Leo scowled as Chad leaned Arianna against the door and kissed her; hard. He wanted to go and save her, but it suddenly occurred to him that this was her moment; maybe she was even enjoying it. Her purse dropped to the ground and she ran her hands through his hair, her tongue exploring his mouth. Leo tried to ignore the groan that erupted in Chads throat as he leaned into her harder. Why the fuck couldnt that be him right there? Leo peeled his eyes away from the scene and sat in silence as he listened to the harsh breathing over the ear piece. So weird. The two suddenly broke apart, their chests heaving and grins lighting up their faces. Thank you for tonight Arianna. His voice was full of desire as he pulled her close again, but she reached for the front door and picked up her purse from the ground. Yeah, thanks Chad. Ill see you tomorrow. Leo smirked at the sound of her now cold voice and he could feel the power running through him as a scowling Chad retreated to his car. Leo knew exactly what type of person he was; a fucker that wanted nothing more than to make love to every girl he saw. Maybe not make love, just fuck; fuck hard. He sat there chuckling in the bush as the Mercedes reversed out of the drive way and went flying down the darkened street, snow now coating the black pavement. Quickly running towards the single light on his porch, he could see Arianna huddling close to herself in the cold. Oh how vulnerable she looked; how damaged and needing. Hey, you cold? Leo slowed to a gentle walk as he reached the beautiful woman and he wrapped her into a tight embrace, smiling at the fact that she was all his now; not Chads. Lets go to bed. He looked down into her dying eyes and with a gentle smile, he picked her up in his arms and quietly opened the front door. Inside, he threw off his shoes and made his way up the stairs to the master suite. Her body felt so frail and cold

against his, and he brought her closer to his chest. He would never let this woman go; never. Not even bothering to flick on the light, Leo gently placed Arianna onto the bed and began slowly undressing her, his hands running over her cold skin and his words soothing her as she fell asleep in his arms. Throwing her shoes to the ground, he massaged her numb feet and he could feel her limp body crawling closer to his. He smiled in the darkness as he undid her dress and gently let it slip from her body. Then he removed her ear rings, the ear piece, and watched her carefully as she tried to find his warm arms again. He loved this woman. He gently helped her into a nightgown and ran his hands down her long legs, over her chest, and into her hair. You were good today baby. He whispered into her ear as he took in her comforting scent. The little bundle lying beside him on the bed somehow sensed his presence and she nestled her body against his. Leo gently put her under the covers, and watched in silence for a few moments as the sleeping girl searched for something, silently pleading for the one man she needed. He smirked as he pulled off his jeans and threw his shirt to the ground. Crawling in beside her, Leo pulled her tight against his body and he winced at how cold she was. She was so beautiful yet so scarred and damaged on the inside. It seemed only moments before he faded off into a peaceful sleep beside the woman he was falling in love with. Chapter 39 The alarm blared into my ears and I moaned as reality hit me again. My eyes flew open and once again, the morning light was flooding into the room through the gigantic windows and I could only sit there, drinking in the scent of the man beside me. He was so peaceful when he slept. I smiled as his warm body hovered over me and he reached to turn off the alarm. Letting my hands run over his happy trail, I could feel his arousal against my hip. Are you teasing me again missy? His sexy voice echoed in my ears and I was surprised when he stayed hovering over me and our eyes locked. They were such a lively green; filled with pride and wanting. He grinned down at me as he leaned into my body, and a low moan escaped his throat as my hand reached his erection. Teasing him, I watched as his eyes shut quickly and his hot body leaned into me further. Okay baby, its time to get ready. I would really enjoy making love to you right now, but we must go. His voice suddenly disappointed me and the delicious feeling deep within my groin disappeared. I had to remind myself; I was going out with someone, and I couldnt be getting all physical with my prof. Dont call me that. I said coldly, and even I was surprised at my sudden change of tone as I made my way out of bed and towards the bathroom.

I snuck a glance back at him and could see the confusion, almost hurt running through his eyes; I had to make up my mind here! Throwing off my night gown, a chill suddenly ran over my body as my skin became cool again. No men to offer me warmth and comfort this time. I sighed as I stepped into the warm water of the shower, and I just stood there for a moment; memories of last night flaring through my head like wild fire. The look on Chads face at the restaurant, the way he held me close. His amazing, infectious kiss. I shuttered at the thought and slowly lathered soap over my body. Which man should I choose? Everything about Leo made me go queasy, but deep down I knew he was too old for me; too powerful and handsome. He could easily take advantage of me and even though it wasnt who he was, it scared me. As I stepped out from the running water, I was suddenly face to face with Leo, who was now naked and leaning over the vanity as he shaved. He turned my way and a grin lit up his face as I quickly wrapped a towel around my cold body. I could feel the colour draining from my skin and I scowled at him as I brushed past him and tried to exit the washroom. But before I even got passed him, I could feel his arms engulf me as he pulled me tight against his chest. The sudden gesture panicked me and without thinking, I wiggled in his grasp and became horrified as the towel fell from my body and completely exposed me. With a yelp, I turned towards Leo and could see the sudden surprise in his eyes. Stop it you bastard! Youre supposed to be my friend, not my fucking lover! Im dating someone if you havent noticed! I was even surprised with what came out of my mouth and I silently picked up my towel and stomped into the larger master, almost scared to look back at Leo. What was I doing to him?

I had dressed myself in casual jeans and a low cut shirt before dashing downstairs, where I now sat in silence. Eggs and bacon eyed me greedily but I just didnt feel hungry. Thoughts ran through my head and the entire world seemed to be turning at the speed of light. What was I supposed to do; hang on for dear life? I instinctively rose from my seat as Leo walked into the kitchen, and I caught a glimpse of his scowl as I trashed the rest of my untouched food and wandered towards the open bar again. Leo wandered over to the fridge and I took a glance up at me as he turned his back to me. He was wearing a polo, the first few buttons undone and his chest hair poking out from beneath it. Then there were his pants; they way they hung so lowly on his sexy hips. I could feel my insides going queasy as he turned to look at me, and our eyes suddenly met. No words were spoken, but it seemed like the world had faltered; stopped dead. For some reason, I had this sudden burning desire to go rip off his clothes and I could see his eyes going all hot again. But I couldnt do this; not with Chad lurking in the back of my mind. With all my will, I got up from my seat and vanished into the mudroom where I waited to leave. As I stood there and fumbled with phone, tears suddenly pricked in my eyes. I unconsciously dialed Chads number and was

surprised at how worried his tone was when he picked up the phone. Hey baby, is everything alright? Yeah, I think so. Do you do you think you could come and pick me up? My voice sounded hollow and I was relieved when Chad said he would be there in a few minutes. What the fuck was I doing? Moments later, Leo walked into the front room and was startled to see tears running down my face. Hey, whats wrong? He stepped towards me cautiously, and I could see the stress marks on his face again. They made him look so old; so needing of someone to take care of him. I quickly stepped back into the corner and let me eyes wander over his body as he stopped in his tracks. Just leave me alone. Without another word, I burst into tears and fell to the floor, the cold hardwood startling me as I knocked my head against the wall. This is all so fucking confusing Leo! Just be a friend for a second and leave me alone! Go away! The shock on his face was overwhelming; but it was clouded with worry and regret too. For the first time since I had ever met him, it seemed like he didnt know what to do. He had no idea what to do with the damaged little girl crying in the corner of his house. As if the morning couldnt get any worse, the front door suddenly opened and Chads hot eyes quickly took in the scene. Holy shit Dr. Holmes. Umm, hi. His face fell as he took in the crying bundle in the corner and without another glance at his prof, he hunched over me and brushed the hair from my face. What the hell did he do to you? I could only shake my head and without another word he lifted me into his arms and vanished out of the house, confusion etched over his face. Wasnt Leo usually my prince in shining armour? Chad gently placed me in the passenger seat and sat in silence as he wiped the tears from my cheeks. Yes, it was comforting; but not as comforting as Leos touch. I shuttered at the feeling of the cold wind, and Chad quickly shut the passenger door and ran around to the drivers side. The car was already on with the heat cranked up and I watched in dismay as Leo came running out of the house, his worried eyes searching the yard. As we pulled out of the driveway, our eyes locked for a moment and I was taken aback by the hurt in them. What was I doing to this poor man? Chapter 40 Sweat poured down his face. His words were coming out all confused and mumbled. What the fuck was happening to him? There they were at the back of the lecture hall; Arianna with her head looking down at her books and Chad whispering something to her with what Leo thought was confusion. Leo was relieved as he turned to the final slide and the students began squirming in their chairs and filling the room with chatter once again. The lights flickered on,

and to Leos dismay, he could already see Arianna and Chad vanishing from the classroom and out the doors. He stood there in mock silence, unsure of what to do for the first time in his life; unsure of himself and the world around him. He absentmindedly began packing up his laptop and tried to block all of the whirling thoughts from his mind; had he lost Arianna for good? Would she ever sleep by his side again or trust him? He silently thanked Chad for being there for her, but then again he hated the fucker; the way he looked at Arianna with flaring desire in his eyes. It sent a chill down his back and as reality hit him, he suddenly realized he was alone in the lecture hall again; no girl by his side, no woman making him laugh, no woman to fight for. What was the point of life anyway? As he packed his computer into his briefcase, he suddenly noticed his swimming goggles buried in the bottom. He remembered his earlier plan of wanting to surprise Arianna with going to the pool. His face fell again as he remembered putting her swimming suit in her bag. Could this day possibly get any worse?

The Olympic-sized pool was filled with students; everyone had been eager to get back to swimming with the holidays now over, and Leo quickly threw on his goggles to hide the sadness in his eyes. The last time he had been here, Arianna had looked over his manliness, held his body with her frail hands. He shuttered at the memories but pushed them aside as he found an empty spot in the deep end and dived in. The familiar feel of the water rushing over his skin soothed him and he quickly forgot his worries as he dove to the very depths of the pool. No voices, no people; just the feeling of the water around him. Glancing around, he saw legs dangling into the water, people doing laps in the lanes on the far side of the pool, and a few couples under water. If only Arianna had been here today. Blocking the thoughts from his mind, he quickly retreated to the top of the water and waded in the deep end as people slowly exited the pool. It was already growing dark out, the day coming to a close again, and Leo wondered if Arianna was waiting back at his place again or not. Would she even come home tonight? The thought made a shiver run down his spine and he quickly flew into the water again. The pool was almost empty and as he did laps down the far lane, his goggles began to fog up. His arms were sour from lack of exercise, and he silently wondered if Arianna had caused him to lose track of his schedule. Shaking the thought out of his mind yet again, he focused on doing laps of the pool. He wanted to almost drown himself; maybe he could? Then Arianna wouldnt be of his worries anymore and he would be fine in his own little world. He kept swimming, the colour draining from his cheeks as conscious thoughts faded from his mind. How long could he stay under the water? Could he manage just long enough to escape the world? He couldnt do this and suddenly he

retreated to the surface and let out a gasp as oxygen swept into his lungs once again. But something startled him; wading directly in front of him was the fucker he loathed. Chad was staring into his foggy eyes and he could barely make out his expression. Before he could even catch his breath, Chads fist collided with his face, and the impact sent him headlong into the water. The taste of chlorine overwhelmed him and his goggles suddenly flew off his face as a fist flew into his face yet again. Trying to find where he was, he struggled to reach the surface and was soon face to face with Chad; his face fuming with anger. What the fuck was he doing? What did you do to her, you ass hole? He swung a fist at Leo again and this time hit him square in the nose. Why the fuck were you in her house? His tone was overpowering, mocking. Leo could feel his breathing beginning to quicken as he struggled to keep his tired body above the water. When he didnt answer, Chad kneed him in the groin and sent him wailing as he threw his head back in pain. The world was fading, the water overtaking his eyes with pain and tiredness; the voice flew through his head like an atomic bomb. He was kicked again but barely felt the pain as firm hands suddenly pushed him under the surface and the weight of a fully grown man was thrown onto his shoulders. His eyes were fading, his mind wandering. What the fuck was going on? He was suddenly jabbed in the stomach and the sudden impact made him gasp; but it was only water. The weight, the blackness. The whirling thoughts and the searing, endless pain. There was nothing to do; nothing to fight for, and he let himself go. The water overtook him and felt heavier than before as he sank to the bottom, no awareness of what was going on. The world was slowly fading and it seemed there was no need for breathing; no room for a heartbeat. It was disappearing. Suddenly, delicate hands brought him back to reality and the weight was suddenly thrown off his shoulders. He had no awareness; no time to think as his own mass dragged him to the bottom. A body quickly leaned up against him and he felt the familiar soft skin; his Arianna. He tried to bring himself back, to fight for her, but nothing was left. Leo could feel her struggling feet propelling them to the surface, and her hand stroked his chest in reassurance. Suddenly, they broke through the water, and Ariannas eyes were alight with fear, her goggles gone from her eyes. Without a word, she ran her delicate hand over his wet face, and searched his eyes for signs of consciousness. Blood was etched over her beautiful skin, but Leo could barely think as he leaned his weight onto the slim figure beside him. Why had she done it? She brought his body closer to her and breathed in his scent which was now masked with chlorine. Her hand slowly ran down his chest, between his hips and

over his naval. Stay with me Leo! Please baby! Her soothing voice went straight to his heart and he instantly relaxed in her grasp, his body going limp in her arms. The effect that this woman had on him was unreal. As the world slowly came back into view, he pressed his half naked body closer to Arianna and she sighed with contentment at his response. Her hands brushed over his arousal and he ran his nose through her drenched hair. Vanilla and chorine. Could this moment ever end? Suddenly, the embrace was broken by a blow to his head and all he could hear was Arianna gasping with fear. You fucking bastard! Dont touch him! Ariannas voice was filled with something he had never heard from her before, but it sent chills down his spine. Was she defending him? Her grip tightened around his heaving chest and he was suddenly looking square in the face of a fuming Chad. What did you do to her now? Chad cried, his teeth clenched as he raised his fist once more to attack. I said leave him alone Chad! Chads eyes went wide as he turned to Arianna, and he took in the scene before him; his girlfriend tightly embracing his anatomy prof. What? I thought he hurt you? Hes just a friend, okay. We need to go now. Her voice had gone cold again, so reserved with no giving. She motioned for Chad to go dry off and the pool was silent as they listened to the padding of feet and the swinging of the change room door. It was just them in silence. Before he could even say anything, Arianna suddenly leaned into him and met his lips, her tongue invading his mouth almost forcefully. He went wide eyed but instantly reciprocated as his arousal brushed over her hip. He tugged at her hair and pushed all of his weight into her body. With the same desire, Arianna wrapped her long legs around his waist and she pushed against his erection, her hands running down his soaked back. Leo let out a low moan deep in his throat as she rubbed up against him, and as they began sinking under the surface of the water, he slowly made his way to the edge of the pool, his goggles nowhere to be found and Ariannas somewhere on the bottom of the pool. They broke away from one another as they reached the edge, and Leo could feel her gasping chest pressed against his. Fuck Arianna! His voice broke the silence from the gentle waves of the water, and she broke away from his embrace. His stress lines had returned and as he leaned on the side of the pool, he ran his hand through his soaked hair, confusion washing over his eyes. Whats wrong with you Leo? Why am I always the problem? She hurriedly threw her hair back and with one stealthy heave was up onto the pool deck, her entire body soaking wet.

Your just so... I dont know, confusing! He climbed out after her and watched in horror as she shriveled up in front of him; her eyes filled with pain, longing. Just like the girl he had first seen in the hospital bed with no one to run to. No one to show her the right path through this messed up world. There was no one there to love her or show her how to love. His stupidity hit him and he suddenly reached for her arm. No, forget I said that! Please! Stay with me Arianna! Her eyes frightened him; they were filled with horror and emptiness as she retreated from his grasp and ran across the pool deck, never once looking back at him. Leave me alone Leo! Go to hell you bastard!Her voice echoed over the water and it was like the ending to a terrible love story; the handsome man who was supposed to be the strong one left alone to fend for himself. Would he ever learn to truly love? Chapter 41 I couldnt stop them; they just came. As I ran across the soaked pool deck, tears began streaming down my face and my world went cloudy. What was the point of living anymore when the man you loved hated you? I could hear him running after me, his shadow looming over me and his voice echoing through my ears. That voice that comforted me in times of trouble, that same voice that took my breath away, and that same voice that broke my heart. Go away! My voice wasnt filled with anger; just hatred and confusion. Hatred for the whole world around me. Leave me alone you freak! Arianna please forgive me! Im sorry baby! That dam voice ran through my head again and this time it was filled with need. My heart stopped and I suddenly slipped over the wet tiles and fell to the floor, blood now smearing my bathing suit. Leos blood from the pool and now my blood. It was caked all over me, the smell overwhelming and putrid. Dont call me that! I shouted at him as he halted in front of me, his eyes filled with worry and concern. It was like the world was disappearing, and it was the two of us for eternity. The need he held in his eyes, the way he reached for my hand but I snatched it away. It was all so confusing and so fast. Forcefully, he kneeled down beside me and held his warm hands over mine, memories of the night of the accident flashing through my head. Baby, calm down. Easy. His words were like warm water rushing over my chilling body, and my sobs continued as he slowly picked me up in his arms. My hatred slowly disappearing, the feel of his massive arms encircling me; holding my life together. Tears poured from my eyes and I tried to fight him as he nestled me in his lap, his eyes scanning my bloody face for signs of hurt, pain.Leave me be! I shouted through my tears, but deep down I knew I needed him; my entire life depended on him. The feel of his hands running over my chilled back, over my legs, and through my hair made me think about nothing more. Letting out a sigh, I stopped struggling and allowed Leo to hold me tight against his chest, my tears slowly turning to silence. The warmth from his body engulfed me like a burning fire, taking with it

my hatred for the world. I love you Arianna, the voice seemed faint and distant in our little bubble, but I heard it. It made me tremble. I dont know what happened; was he waiting for me to answer him? Did I have the effort to speak even? But suddenly, something happened so fast. He squeezed me tight against his chest and I breathed in his beautiful, manly smell. Then it was gone, like waking from a dream. Reality hit me as arms pulled me from my man and the world appeared once again; the bubble was gone. We were by the pool, but now more people were appearing. Everyone was panicking and as my eyes filled with fearful tears and I was ripped away from Leo, awareness was gone. I could see Casey, officers, and Chad. What the hell was going on? Through my cloudy eyes, I saw Leo being strangled by people; people who should not be touching my man. Voices floated through me, but they all seemed distant. I could see nothing but the outline of Leo; struggling against people and not taking his desperate eyes off of me; the pain, the sorrow. Why hadnt I loved him before? Suddenly, as arms held me in place and shielded me from my man, I let out a scream; a scream that I could barely hear. The world crumbled before me as Chad took me in his arms and stole me from my dream; my dream with my man. Fresh tears of regret and pain fell over my already drenched face and it seemed like the emotions from the last few days just fell from me; right there in his arms. He felt so cold against my wet body and I called out Leos name; I wanted nothing more than him. Just the two of us together for eternity. The feel of his arms, his warm skin pressed against me. He was the only man in this entire planet I truly trusted, and as the world clouded around me once again, the thought of us sitting by the fire, the thought of the cards flashed through my head. He deserved to love me, but did I deserve his love with everything I had put him through? I heard Leo calling, Chad saying my name, but everything was disappearing and whirling around in my head like death. Darkness and lights flashing over my face, someone draping me in a towel and warm hands embracing me; but not Leos hands. The comfort was not there, and as panic overwhelmed me and my soul faded, I felt alone in the world. Maybe I was just meant to play the game alone. And like that, I was gone. The voices vanished, the cold gone, the feeling of pain and hurt left somewhere in the open air. Love was so painful. Chapter 42 He was blinded, confused; why were all these people holding him back? Struggling against someones weight, Leo called out for Arianna, but she was gone. What did you do with her? His voice echoed over the walls but the only thing that answered him was a scream. Kicking out his legs, Leo got to his feet and was stunned when someone nailed him up against the wall, his heart pounding in his chest. For just a second he took in their faces; there was Casey, a few supervisors, and that dam police officer. What did they want with him? Easy man, dont fight us! It was Casey, what the fuck was he doing here?

Where did you take her? His bare chest was heaving, and his face was coated with sweat and the smell of chlorine. Arianna! Someone kicked him in the groin and he was suddenly knocked to the ground, his knees shattering with the impact. Throwing his head back, Leo groaned as the pain pierced through his body, all sensation and awareness leaving his mind. He was suddenly pinned to the ground and he finally noticed the blood dripping over his side. What the hell were they doing with him? Heavy breathing, frightened whispering, the pool beyond him; thats all he heard. They held him there, waiting for him to calm as he tried to process what was going on, and he finally gave in to their pressure. Why wasnt anyone talking to him, telling him what the fuck was going on? His body went limp against the cold ground and all he saw was the officers eyeing one another. For one moment, he caught a glimpse of Casey who was holding down his leg, and the fear in his eyes was unmistakable. His own friend that he had grown up with? Suddenly, a loud scream came from beyond the auditorium, and Leo instinctively jolted upwards. He knocked the officers off balance, and with a groan got to his feet. Leo! Just settle down! You need to come with us! The voice was distant from his mind; he needed to find Arianna. What the hell were they doing with her? The scream rang out over the pool again, and it was filled with fear, need. Leo barely felt his feet as he ran over the tiled surface, several people just inches behind him. He was almost there, he could now see Chad restraining Ariannau and heading for the change room door. Let her go you ass! But shadows loomed over him and he was knocked to his feet once more, too bewildered to understand what was going on. Water was thrown over his face, the smell of chlorine overpowering him as he was trapped to the ground yet again. He couldnt feel his body as he heard Arianna calling out his name, and the world went black from someones hand. What the fuck was happening to him? What had he done to deserve this? Youre coming with us buddy. The voice was filled with power; mocking and fearless as he was dragged across the floor; unable to talk or to have awareness of the world. He tried to fight their hold, but his body had gone frail. Why him? The last thing he remembered was a sharp sting running through his body, the cold and the earth beneath him disappearing as if he was being awaken from a nightmare. Silence followed, darkness, and consciousness seemed adrift.

His eyes snapped open, and he couldnt understand what was going on. As his eyes adjusted to the light, he suddenly felt queasy, weak, and disoriented. A headache came over him, he could feel his knees beginning to throb, and he moaned from the pain. It hurt everywhere, but he had no idea why.

His eyes finally became acquainted with the light, and he quickly scanned the room and tried to figure out where he was. It was small, but somehow he recognized it. The walls were a fading white, and all that stood in the room was a makeshift bed that squeaked under his weight. What the fuck was this? Leos eyes widened as the notion of where he was popped up in his mind; all of the staff had nicknamed it the jail cell where students were taken after trauma occurred until they were calm enough to exit the premise. His cheeks reddened in embarrassment; he wasnt a student, and what had he even do wrong? The events of the night flashed through his mind in quick snap shots; Chad attacking him, Ariannas hands bringing him back to consciousness. He closed his eyes and imagined her soft skin brushing over his chilled frame, the way she had pressed her body against his and kissed him with passion. Her tongue, circling in his mouth, her hands tugging at his hair. He could feel his insides turning as he fell back against the bed, suddenly feeling tired and thirsty. How long did he have to stay in here for? Rising from the bed, he saw that someone had thrown a nightgown over him and he was now dry. Fuck, this wasnt a hospital! He suddenly felt childish as he walked towards the door, not far from the bed. Peering out the small window, he could see the chubby police officer from the pool. He growled as he realized it was also the security guard that walked through campus every evening and he had last seen her in the girls dorm building after being accused of attacking the blonde girl. Pounding on the door with his fist, he called out to see if the officer would turn his way. Hey bitch! Let me out! His voice was more aggressive than he planned, but the woman instantly turned on her heel and flashed her eyes through the window. She looked in with flushed cheeks, her eyes dancing back at Leo. Was she laughing at him? He snarled, and the officer playfully waved a finger in his face through the glass. Then, she silently got a key from her pocket and moments later Leo heard the lock click and the door squeaked open. He knew she would pull him down if he tried to bolt, but he stood his ground as the lady entered the room with a pair of cuffs in her hands. Fuck! You have no right to put those on me! He squirmed as she grabbed his arm, and the lady raised her eyebrows in mock surprise. Suddenly, the woman jabbed his arm with the end of the cuff and Leo threw his head in the air, his eyes wincing as the pain crawled up his back. When he came back to his senses, Leo huffed as he realized the puffy-cheeked officer had already fastened his hands together.Come on fool, the Dean wants to see you, Puff Cheeks grinned, her meaty face going all wrinkly. Reluctantly, Leo followed suit and let Puff Cheeks lead him out of the room and down a long corridor. He felt stupid being tugged along by a chubby woman with pepper spray in her back pocket. She was barely half the size of him and here she was dragging him around like a dog in a nightgown. Why the fuck did he deserve all this?

They turned down another hallway, this one lined with doors and various offices. A few curious faces that he recognized peered out of the frosted windows, and when he caught their eyes, they broke his gaze and went back to work. Why did he feel like such a child right now? Ill fuck you in the storage closet if you let me go, his voice was timid and he barely realized what had just come out of his mouth. Puff Cheeks suddenly stopped in her tracks, momentarily tightening his grip around Leos wrists, and he let out a yelp. You say that one more time and you wont be seeing a pussy for 20 years big man! Youll be in prison the rest of your life! She didnt even look him up at his face, and she stomped forward, Leo having no choice but to follow. His cheeks had gone red and for the first time in his life, he wished he could just time travel back a few days when it was just him and his girl. Arianna sleeping by his side, her vanilla smell overwhelming him as he fell into a deep sleep. The way her hair fell over her scars, and how much he wished to kiss them all and take away the pain. Would he ever have a chance to cure her? Would he ever see his girl again? Was this what love did to a grown man? Suddenly, Leo was pulled from his day dream as he was escorted into the Deans office, the large wooden doors slamming behind him. He quickly scanned the surroundings and momentarily thought of when he had been here last. Leo smirked when he remembered he had been given a promotion in this very room a few short months ago. Now what? Sit down son, the Deans voice was haunted sounded, gruff and cold as he motioned with his aging hand to a chair across from his large mahogany desk. Leos heart was pounding in his chest, sweat now covering his face. How stupid he felt standing there in a nightgown, his hair still ruffled from the pool, and handcuffs already leaving blood marks around his wrists as Puff Cheeks scowled up at him. Standing around him were two gigantic men in suits, their bellies puffing out and their faces unreadable. Who the fuck were they; new escorts for the Dean? Leo inwardly smirked at himself but instantly brushed away the thought as the man in front of him stared cheatingly into his eyes. His face unreadable, Leo waited for him to say something but the deadly silence dragged on. He could feel his eyes bulging and growing dry as the Dean finally sat down in his chair and turned to a folder filled with papers. All of his papers. Leo felt as if he was being suffocated; all of these eyes glaring down at him, drilling little wholes into his skull. Doctor, you have been reported for sexual harassment of a student and -,Leo stood up in the chair, his chest heaving for breath as the Dean looked up at him with wary eyes. And acts of violence.

The Deans face was now etched with lines, and he motioned for Leo to sit down. Puff Cheeks tugged at his wrists and giving into the pain, Leo sank into his chair. Youre fired Dr. Holmes. His pupils dilated and his mouth stretched into a fine line. Leo suddenly fell from the chair, his feel for the ground below him disappearing as he took in his bosss words. Sir, you dont understand! It was all Chad! He was now on his knees, the security guards edging their way towards him. Enough sir! You are to exit the premises immediately! His hand shot towards the door, his eyes blazing as he took in the scene playing out before him. I was in love with her! It wasnt sexual assault! Tears suddenly sprang into Leos eyes as his emotions from the past few weeks finally escaped from his inner self. I loved her! He inhaled sharply as he felt the truth of the words sinking in. You are to exit the state of New York for 2 years! Your act of violence and sexual harassment almost put you into prison, so youre pretty dam lucky! He pounded his fist on the desk, rattling the computer monitor and sending a stack of papers to the floor. Violence! Violence! What proof do you have, ass hole? Leos voice was dying as he took in the reality. Why was he being blamed for all of this? That language will not be used in my presence! Do you want to go to court sir? Maybe I would fucking ass hole! Leo suddenly stood up, his hands still locked behind his back. You tell me why I shouldnt you son of a bitch! He began striding towards the snarling man in front of him, but a firm hand suddenly grabbed him around each arm. Swinging his head around, Leo saw Puff Cheeks and the two security guards pulling him to the ground. His eyes watering, he could barely see what was happening as the increasing pressure sent jolts of pain through his entire body. Let me go! He swung his legs from beneath him and felt them hit something hard and firm as he fell to the ground once again. Put him out! Put him out now! The Deans voice rang in his head again, but it became distant as more weight pinned him to the ground. He struggled, his throat closing and air becoming distant as his sight weakened even further. I love her! I love her! He yelled with the last of his effort as his face went red. Suddenly, he felt a prick go through his arm and the weight was suddenly lifted from his body as the world turned to whiteness. It was a peaceful, carefree whiteness that offered hope, brightness for the future. A new beginning, like Heaven itself.

Two Years Later Part 2?

Chapter 43 It was like wild fire; the colours swirling around me as graduation caps flew into the sky above us. Cheers and laughs followed, my heart quickening as I realized something; I was a doctor now! I was a doctor! I pictured myself in my scrubs as an intern in the York Street Emerge, a stethoscope draped around my neck and a smile beaming on my face. The thought of being able to scrub in on surgeries, watching the true surgeons at work, and finding my place. Suddenly, I was swept out of my day dream by a sudden hand running up my back; that hot, delicious feeling running through me as I felt someone hovering over me. Hey baby! Congratulations! Spinning on my heel, I turned and looked up into the sparkling eyes of Chad; his hair ruffled from the hot afternoon, and a wide grin sweeping over his beautiful face. We did it! Were doctors! I swung my arms around his enormous frame, and he pulled me into a tight embrace, his hands running through my hair. Oh what big, mighty hands this man had. My stomach began churning as I felt his toned muscles beneath his gown, and it felt like the most amazing thing in the world; his heat radiating over me like fireworks, and an invisible electric current running through us as he leaned into me and kissed me hard. The students around us giggled and cheered, but I felt as if I was in my own time and space; it was just me and this man as his tongue invaded my mouth, his hands running down my leg as he leaned his weight into me. What a passionate kisser he was. Desire rippled through me as he picked me up in his arms. I have a special treat for you tonight, doctor. I trembled under his hold as his seducing voice echoed through my ears. How could just his words do this to me? We were the center of attention as Chad nestled me against his chest and walked straight through the crowd; eager glances casted our way and giggles erupting as we headed across the football field. Chad suddenly broke out into a run as we eased away from the crowd of people dressed in black gowns, and cheers suddenly broke the silence of the beautiful afternoon. As I looked up into his glowing eyes, he gently planted a kiss on my cheek and didnt stop running until we reached his Mercedes. Looking over his shoulder, I smirked as I saw all of our friends throwing their caps into the air one last time as we drove away into the busy streets of downtown New York. I was happy in my place and time; sitting beside this amazing, sexy man.

Taking a final glance into the mirror, I quickly pinched my cheeks to try and bring more colour to them. With a sigh, I slipped on my heels and wobbled into the open concept kitchen, Chad peering over a glass of wine from the bar. He let out a whistle as he stood from his chair and let his eyes wander over me. That delicious feeling washed through me again, and with I giggle, I strode towards him. Stopping a few feet in front of him, I took in his image. His dark hair was stuck to one side with a mob of gel, and not a wrinkle lined his beautiful face. He was dressed in a suite with his collar still popped and his cuffs undone. Then my eyes drifted to his midsection; his pants hung low on his hips with his belt was still undone. My eyes drifted over his waist and down his legs as I felt a trembling feeling coming deep within me. I eased my way towards him, my heart thumping as his greedy eyes locked with mine. His pure blue eyes, lively and needing. I pulled off my heels and reached around his neck, slowly undoing his tie as I pressed my body up against his. Woah baby, do you want to be late for dinner? He smirked down at me and his white teeth flashed at me. Cant dinner wait? I asked eagerly, putting on my puppy dog eyes and biting my lip. The feel of his hand running over my back suddenly calmed me as I pressed my body up against his. You look beautiful, baby. He whispered into my ear, and even though I couldnt see his face I knew he was smiling. Reaching for my chin, he leaned into me and kissed me; hard. He was so much taller, and his cowering frame suddenly pushed me up against the wall as a low moan escaped from his throat. I reached for the buttons on his shirt as he leaned into me harder, his growing erection pushing into my belly. Throwing off his shirt and tie, I eagerly ran my hands over his heaving chest and closed my eyes as he reached behind me to unzip my dress. I ran my hands through his air and took in his scent as my dress dropped to the floor beneath my feet. He motioned towards the island in the middle of the kitchen and with a greedy smile lifted me onto the cold surface. I eagerly reached for his fly, but he quickly pushed me against the island and slipped off my panties. I unhooked my bra and let it fall to the floor as his long-fingered hands trailed over my body, the warm feel of them sending an impulse straight to my groin. With a moan, I pushed my hips against his pants and could feel his erection bulging against the material. His eyes momentarily closed as I reached for his belt and slowly slid it off of him. Opening his eyes, I was surprised to suddenly see the fire in them as he threw off his pants and quickly reached into his pocket and pulled out a foil packet. It only took him a few seconds to slip it on himself, and without a single warning, he was suddenly easing into me.

He threw his head back and closed his eyes as he drew slowly inside of me, my heart pounding as his burning eyes locked with mine. Fuck, Arianna! His words sent a tremble through me and my muscles clenched around him. I could hear his sharp intake of breath and he suddenly thrust into me, pushing my body farther onto the island as he reared over me. A gasp escaped my mouth as he thrust into me again, and my hands grabbed onto his massive arms. Please Chad! Please! I called out, moaning loudly as he thrust farther into me. Leaning his body over me, he suddenly thrust into me faster and moaned loudly as he reached his head down to kiss me. His tongue circled in my mouth and I could feel his passion and desire as he ran his hands over my body. Come Arianna! Come baby! His voice suddenly sent me spiralling and I melted beneath him as I let out a moan and reached my climax. He suddenly thrust into me once more and joined me. Moments later, all of his weight fell on top of me. Time seemed to stop as his heaving chest sent warm chills over my limp body, still pressed against the granite counter top. Chad let out a sigh of contentment as he slowly eased his weight off of me and went to find his pants. It took me a second to catch my breath, but I slowly wandered over to where my dress was and began slipping on my clothing as I felt Chad hovering over me once again. Youve come a long way Ana. He whispered deeply into my ear, sending chills down my back as I heard him do up his belt. Both of us were breathless as we walked hand in hand out of the apartment door and got into the elevator. Chad hit the main floor button he did up his cuffs as we listened in silence to the cheesy elevator music playing in the background. Just then, my thoughts suddenly drifted to the time I had been in an elevator with another man; Leo. That music, the electrical force binding the two of us together. The chills it had sent down my back and the feel of Leos hands easing down my back and his nose running down my hair. You okay, baby? I suddenly looked up at Chad to see a worried expression wash over his face and I simply nodded. As we slowly descended, I silently wondered why that feeling wasnt there with Chad; why didnt we have that electric force zapping through us? That anticipation. To my relief, the door binged and opened to reveal the enormous lobby of our apartment building. I quickly stepped out with not a single glance back at Chad, but I could hear him striding at my heels as he suddenly took his hand in mine. I tried to hide my disappointment as we exited the building and nothing but the sound of clicking heels against the pavement went through my head. The city sounds, the people, Chad talking up a storm; it all seemed like a distant universe to me. Only one thing was on my mind; Leo. It had been how long? Maybe it had been a year now? No, it had been an entire year since I had seen him, heard from him, taken in his beautiful manly smell. Taller

than Chad, his muscles more toned, and his hands somehow more comforting and warming. But how? The uncomfortable part was I hadnt even thought about him for over a year. I had mourned for my lost friend for so many months, Chad ever so distant. He had just disappeared; no letters, no telling why. Just gone. And reality had hit me long ago that I would never see him again. Anger boiled in me as I thought of all of the girls eyeing him; he had probably gone off with another bitch to escape me. The damaged, fucked-up one. Somehow, I felt he had helped me though; maybe he had given me the courage to love, to have hope, and to trust. Was that even what I felt towards Chad? I was suddenly jolted out of my thoughts when the summer breeze hit my face, and I instantly pulled closer to Chad. He looked down at me with a soft smile and brushed a piece of loose hair from my face. You look beautiful Ana. His voice was soft, and he ran his hand down the base of my neck. Why did he have to call me Ana? What was wrong with my actual name? The only person in the entire world who had called me Ana had been my mother; she had been the one person I completely trusted. But now here I was, somehow in love with the world and beginning a new life. Maybe because of Leo? Chad ushered me into his Mercedes and we silently backed out of the parking lot and veered into the bustling streets of New York. Where are we going? I asked curiously, looking up at the horizon as the dying sun set beyond the enormous rays of buildings. Its a surprise. He said with a sheepish grin, and I suddenly felt confused. What type of surprise was it when your boyfriend looks at you that way? I forced a smile and silently turned to look out the window as we slowly made our way through winding streets. Drifting away, an image of Leo appeared in my mind and I tried to remember all of his features; his sharp angled face with those fiery green eyes, his broad-shouldered frame. A sigh of contentment escaped me as I pictured his naked midsection; his happy trail, and his beautiful body. What are you thinking about over there Ana? Chad suddenly poked me in the shoulder and I turned to look his way. Nothing. My voice faded as a concerned look etched over his face, but he instantly turned back to the road. Leo would have pushed me harder; He would have wanted to actually know what was wrong! For some odd reason, maybe almost by instinct, my hand reached for the necklace draped around my neck. The one Leo had given to me on Christmas; the ace of spades. My throat tightened at the thought of him again and as my eyes began watering in the darkness of the car, I turned my head to the side so Chad wouldnt notice. What the hell was wrong with me? It was like this invisible bubble had suddenly popped around me and reminded me that Leo was still out there in the world; maybe alone or with another woman.

The thought sent a chill down my back and I was relieved when Chad parallel parked along a busy street. He silently got out of the car without a word and I followed suit, barely aware that cars were still rushing past as I exited the vehicle. Fuck Arianna! Get off the road! Chads hand was suddenly around my arm as he pulled me to the sidewalk just as a 4 wheeler zoomed by, sending chills down my back. Baby, whats up with you tonight? He almost sounded annoyed and not the least bit concerned. Whats his problem? I silently followed him towards a restaurant and I quickly came back to the present as I realized where we were; we were standing outside of Le Bernardin. My jaw fell open and Chad looked down at me with a smirk. Surprised? I couldnt speak as he almost dragged me through the front doors and up the elevator. But its so expensive, and how how did you get a reservation here? My voice cracked as we walked into the romantic restaurant; a pianist played in the background, the windows showed the beautiful bustling city below, and the tables were lined with roses, wine glasses, and glowing candles. How? Lets just say I know a friend who knew a friend, baba. He ran his nose through my hair and I suddenly stopped dead in my tracks. Whats wrong? Dont do that. My voice had gone cold; only Leo did that; only Leo ran his nose through my hair. Chad seemed taken aback but he pushed it aside as a waiter came to take us to our seat; he was a nice looking guy. As the waiter sat me down, he seemed to take just an extra second to look at me with his playful grin and I could sense Chads scowl from across the table. My name is Bertrand and I will be your server tonight. His French accent suited him perfectly, and I playfully batted my eye lashes at him as he set a menu in front of me. You both look beautiful tonight. He added shyly, all the while looking deeply into my eyes. Could I really have that effect on more than man in the world? I giggled as Chad shifted in his seat across from me and scowled up at the hot waiter. His eyes were burning as he locked onto mine. Holy shit did he look mad! From underneath the table, I could feel him kick me in the shin and I instantly let out a yelp. Clearing my throat, I silently looked through the menu and gaped at all of the prices. Sexy was soon back with our drinks, and I silently drank the white wine as Chad looked through his phone. I rolled my eyes at him but was stunned when he quickly looked up him; fuck this controlling man. Come with me. He said almost furiously, and he quickly took my hand and dragged me away from the table. What was his problem? What a control freak he was. What are you doing Chad? Were in a restaurant; a really nice one if I might add! I searched his cold face for something, but it was completely unreadable. God, Leo was so much more simple than this ass hole.

He suddenly dragged me into the womans washroom and I was shocked when he bashed me up against the wall, locking me in with his hips. The anger had returned to his eyes and I instinctively cowered against the wall, shielding my face with my hands. I could feel Chads heaving chest against me and the sweat forming on his skin. Suddenly, he brought up his huge hand and slapped me in the face. Trying to back away from the stinging pain, I quickly panicked and slammed my head against the wall, the impact momentarily making my body go weak. Thats for playing with that ass of a waiter, he muttered into my ear. Then he slapped me across the face again, the pain more intense this time as tears came into my eyes. And thats for rolling your eyes at me, bitch! He snarled at me and his hovering frame pressed me harder against the bathroom wall. Pain whirled through me but I made no effort to defend myself. This wasnt the first time he had done this, and I knew what was coming next. His breathing still heavy, Chad undid his pants and let them fall to the floor with his boxers. Take off your panties and swing your legs around me, he ordered, his eyes now burning with something I had never seen before. My heart quickened as I let my panties fall to the floor and Chad eased my up around his hips. I could feel his growing erection pressing against me and could feel my throat tightening as he looked deeply into my eyes, all the rage still there. This is for me, not you. Got it? I nodded nervously and was taken aback as he suddenly whammed into me, his eyes closing at the suddenly feel of me around him. He pushed me up harder against the wall and thrust into me farther. My eyes had gone wide and I had tightened my grip around his shoulders as the big man before me suddenly let out a low moan. He began going in faster, heaving up my skirt as he thrust into me. I could feel my muscles clenching around him as the feeling became almost painful and he groaned loudly at the feel of me. Fuck Arianna, stop that! He threw his head back and thrust into me once more; hard. I could feel him falling apart inside of me and I shivered as his body suddenly went limp and he fell against me into the wall. It was almost suffocating as his weight bore into me, his chest heaving as he looked up me. I was taken aback by the change in his eyes; the anger had vanished and been replaced with something unreadable; maybe dominance, power? Did you finish, baby? He asked me as he pulled his weight off of me and looked over my body. This happened every time he got mad at me; he would punish me and then fuck the shit out of me, never letting me finish. I nodded silently, not daring to meet his eyes as I pulled my dress down and watched him due up his pants. What the fuck was wrong with this control freak guy? Why did I even stay with him; for the sex? I sighed as he strutted out of the washroom as if nothing had happened and I was relieved when I heard the door shut behind him. Taking a moment to look in the mirror, I could see sweat forming on my face and I looked so old, stressed.

I tried fixing my hair and makeup quickly but was interrupted by the opening of the washroom door. Walking out as if nothing had happened, I headed back to the table to find Chad sitting there, staring at the table as if in boredom. Slowly sitting down, I avoided his eye contact as I saw Sexy coming our direction with plates of steaming food. He smiled down at me and I couldnt help but give a little wave. Shit; Chads eyes flashed over at me and I could see the tension building in his eyes. As he walked away, I simply looked down at my food and waited for Chad to say something. Suddenly, a sharp pain ran up my leg all the way to my groin as the impact of Chads knee against my leg startled me. I instantly locked eyes with his blazing gaze, and no words had to be spoken. I thought I could feel blood running down my leg, but I thought nothing of it; Chad had never hurt me enough to leave scars or cause permanent damage. He was just a control freak; my fucked-up control freak. Play nice baby. A smirk played at his cheeks as he watched me dreamily and he began eating his food. I had to admit; he looked pretty sexy eating his steak with his just-fucked hair and some distant look in his eyes. We went silent and the tension evaporated from around us as we ate our food slowly, savouring every bite. As I got lost in my thoughts, the image of Leo popped into my head again. I tried to block it out, but it was almost like on this day something was supposed to happen. Would he come and find me? I was suddenly taken aback as Chad rose from his chair and came over to my side of the table. The people dining around us turned their heads and went silent as he kneeled in front of me, his hand reaching into his suit pocket for a small box. I could feel the colour draining from my cheeks as he revealed a glistening diamond ring, the look on his face unrecognizable as he took my hand in his. Ana, you are the one woman in my life that makes my heart race, that takes my breath away. You are the only woman in my life who means more to me then love. That is why I want you to be with me for the rest of my life. Tears had formed in my eyes, and my mind had gone blank. Arianna Rose Dawson, will you marry me? His eyes twinkled as the words suddenly escaped him. I sat motionless in my chair, no feeling or sensation running through my body as tears streamed down my cheeks. Gasps and cheers suddenly erupted around us as I slowly nodded my head, my reddening eyes locking on Chads. It was as if a weight had been lifted off of his shoulder and as people around us stood up and chanted our names, Chad lifted me into his arms and kissed me; hard. His tongue twisted with mine and I could feel the love, the passion. The lights in the restaurant suddenly dimmed and the music was changed to a slow, majestic, piece. Chad slid me down his body and pressed me against his chest as his feet began moving in time with the music. It felt like it was just the two of us; the two young lovers. I followed his feet and rested my head gently on his shoulder, taking in his beautiful smell. It was one of those moments again.

Suddenly, for some odd reason, the thought of Leo popped into my mind at that very moment; what would he think of this? Me, marrying a man that punished me and fucked me for his own will? The smell of Leo rang through my memory like a shower of sprinkles, and I pressed against the body embracing me. Was I dancing with Leo? My eyes had gone all dreamy and I was finally dragged back to the present as Chad twirled me around and looked deeply into my eyes. They werent the same; there wasnt the passion and love that Leo had always held, but a girl would have to be insane not to love the man before me. Chapter 44 There it was. He was here. Leos heart was racing as he slowly got out of the SUV and shut the door behind him. The night was stealing the last of the daylight as he looked up at the enormous apartment building. Would he be with her in the next few minutes? After two years, would he get to see the love of his life, return to his normal state? As he walked slowly towards the building, thoughts raced through his head like wild fire; would she be with someone else, would she have kids already? The thought of another human being running their hands over his beautiful Arianna his Arianna. With a new determination, Leo loosened the buttons at the front of his shirt and threw on his shades as he strutted into the main lobby. The eyes of another woman at the front desk washed over his frame as he walked towards her, and he couldnt help but smirk as she batted her eyelashes at him. The woman really did like him; but the only one he cared for was Arianna. Resting his arm across the front counter, he looked up at the woman with a seducing grin. Could I have a key to room 537 please? He leaned his massive frame against the counter and watched as she trembled to speak. Im sorry sir. You you cant just come and go in any room. She looked away from his gaze and pretended to fumble with the laptop in front of her. Could you tell me if that is where Arianna Dawson lives? He brushed his thumb across his lower lip and smirked as her gaze travelled over his face. She shifted uncomfortably in front of him and tapped her manicured finger nails across the desk. They went out sir. To Le Bernardin. She looked down at her laptop again and fidgeted with the keys. Leo was taken aback; they? Umm, does she live with someone else? His voice was suddenly weak and he straightened his posture to try and regain his power. Chad Welles. Her voice went all dreamy as the words came slowly from her mouth, but she quickly returned to the gaze of Leo. To her surprise, a scowl now lined his beautiful face and she watched in horror as Leo whammed his fist against the counter, sending a vase flying off the counter.

She stepped back in horror at the sound of the glass shattering, but Leo immediately turned on his heel and strutted towards the front door, his face now etched with stress marks. Her voice rang through his head once more; Le Bernardin. Almost running towards his car, Leo quickly jumped into the SUV and without thinking twice about the cars around him, swerved onto the street and stepped on the gas. As he went flying down the road, thoughts whirled around in his head. The last time he had seen Chad had been two years ago; when he had smoked him right in public. A scowl broke out over his face as he pictured him making love to Arianna, kissing her for the first time in front of his doorstep. His hands running over his girl, his eyes burning through her. What the fuck was that dudes problem anyway? As he went skidding around yet another corner, his cell phone suddenly began ringing and he absentmindedly answered it with a cold hello. Hey baby! Its getting late, and I was worried about you! the bright happy voice made Leo clench his teeth and he felt like throwing the phone to the floor but he answered calmly. Something with work came up honey, sorry. Its going to be a few days but Ill see you soon. He tried to hide his panic but he could almost hear his wifes confusion on the other end. Oh, I thought you quit yesterday. She sounded confused, almost hurt. But Leo was distracted and he whispered a good bye to her and threw the phone towards the other seat. There it was; Le Bernardin. His eyes began burning with fury as he saw Chads Mercedes parked outside on the street and he instantly swerved into an open spot. Cars honked at him as he pulled it into park, but he seemed to be in his own little world as only one thing floated through his mind: Arianna. Picking up to a run, he threw off his shades and entered the restaurant lobby. He casually entered the elevator beside a couple and stared towards the ground as the elevator music filled the awkward silence. He heard whispers in the background, the occasional giggle. How the hell did people ride elevators all the time? He thumped his foot anxiously across the floor and was taken aback as the elevator door binged and opened before him. Sweat now pouring over his face, he stepped out and began walking towards the main dining area; he knew this place well. He was suddenly stopped in his tracks by what he saw in front of him; in the dimmed light of the restaurant was Arianna. She wore a beautiful dress, heels, and her hair her hair seemed longer and a lighter colour. Her face was flushed as she looked up into the eyes of that man; that fucker. Leo could feel his mouth dropping open as Chad ran his hands down her back, and he suddenly picked her up in his arms and watched her as she giggled happily. But

something was missing from her eyes; the brightness she used to carry had disappeared and it was replaced with something else; uncertainty? His heart stopped. His breath fell short. As Chad turned and stopped, Ariannas eyes suddenly locked with his. Those green eyes, those sparkling green eyes. To his shock, Ariannas expression fell instantly and something happened.

Chapter 45 Fuck. Fuck. Was that him? The mans eyes bore into mine, and I instantly knew it was him; those green, lively eyes. What was I supposed to do now? I suddenly felt messed; my eyes began to water and a weird sensation ran through my stomach. Feeling the colour draining from my cheeks, I slipped down from Chads arms and didnt even look back at him to see if he knew what was going on at this very moment. It all happened so fast; the world seemed to spin as I tried to steady my feet, but the ground below me was disappearing. That feeling ran through my stomach again as I fell to the floor on my knees, all the while locking eyes with Leo. He was slowly making his way over to me and I shuttered in his presence as he stopped feet from where I was. I could hear a distant voice as my world became blurred; was it Chad? I tried looking around again for Leo, my eyes burring as tears suddenly fell down my stained face. Voices boomed around me as I saw my man closing the gap between us. My stomach churned in an odd way as I reached up for him to stop. I opened my mouth as he peered down at me with those big eyes again.Dont come go away. Suddenly, my throat clenched as vomit and the taste of bile fell overwhelmed me. My cheeks reddened as Leo rushed over to my side and held my hair out of my face. The taste was unwelcoming, and I quickly backed away from the pile of my undigested dinner. I could now see Chad looming over me and looking towards Leo, my vision cloudy as I collapsed on my hands. What were they doing? Bickering? As I fell towards the floor and the voices around me faded, I could just make out Chad throwing Leo to the ground and kicking him in the groin. My eyes widened in the last of my effort to stay conscious; this couldnt happen now! Tears stung my face as I reached for Leos hand on the floor. Leave him Chad! It was all I could manage but it was enough to make the two of them turn to me. I could see the looks on their faces as my head fell to the hard ground, the lights above me blurring as the taste of bile once again rose in my throat. I choked, maybe coughed, and the voices were gone. The lights had disappeared, and I no longer felt the cold ground beneath me, the taste of bile in my throat. I no longer saw Leos huge eyes glaring down at me. All that remained was peace.

The feeling of warm hands running over my back slowly brought me back to my senses. Someones deep voice echoed through my ears and comforted me as memories flashed through my head; the night of the car crash. Instinctively, I nestled my head closer into the body that was holding me. Long-fingered hands soothed my back, and a nose ran through my hair. As I slowly opened my eyes to let in the world once again, a slow smile rose onto my face. This was the most amazing place to be in the entire world; this mans heat radiating onto me and the methodical beating of his heart making my own body go limp in his firm grasp. Those massive arms, the toned muscles beneath his shirt. It was all slowly coming back to me. Flickering open my eyes, I was suddenly looking up at my beautiful man. His hand ran over my cheek as I looked over his features; oh how long it had been since I had seen those beautiful eyes. I gazed up at him for what seemed hours and it was just the two us; there in our own romantic bubble. Lovely necklace Arianna. He whispered into my ear as he brushed over my neck and took the ace of spades in his huge hand. I blushed up at him and was rewarded with a small smile. How are you feeling? His voice made my body shutter in his arms, and without thinking I pressed myself closer to his body and took in his scent; although different, the same comfort was there. I could suddenly hear his sharp intake of breath as I ran my hand over his chest and he slowly brought me tighter against his chest and whispered soothing words into my ear. Suddenly, our little world seemed to disappear as my mind centered on reality once again. Turning my head away from my mans beautiful body, I looked over to see a completely empty restaurant staring me in the face; not a body or soul around the dimly lit dining area. Then my eyes wandered over to a single man sitting at a table, his head in his hands and his foot tapping impatiently on the floor. It was Chad. My fianc. I barely noticed as my body suddenly tensed at the sight of him, but somehow Leo sensed it. Somehow, this fucking beautiful man knew me better than I knew myself. His head came down over mine and he looked directly into my eyes, his handsome face just inches from me. I could feel him breathing and relaxed as his hand caressed my cheek and he whispered soothing words into my ear. Dont be afraid, he said, dont worry about the world around you. The only thing I wanted to do was drift away in this mans arms. Go to a place by ourselves and forget the rest of the world. But to my dismay, Chad turned his head and a scowl suddenly appeared on his face as he took in Leo holding me in his arms. He quickly rose from his chair, sending it furling to the ground as he strutted over to us, rolling up his sleeves and staring Leo directly in the face. Instantly, Leo

brought my tighter against his body and he wrapped his arm around my legs. Put her down, you ass hole! Chads words boomed through the empty room. To my dismay, Leo slowly let my body slide down his and he held me tight against him as my feet found the ground. A chill went down my back as I felt his hand run over me, his tall frame hovering over my body as Chad stopped feet in front of us. Suddenly, Chad threw his hands over my shoulders and shoved me aside, sending me to the floor. Pain whirled through me as he sent a flaying kick in my direction and smoked me in the chest. I suddenly hurled up blood as his foot impacted my chest again with more force. Then, it all happened so fast. Stop it! Leave her alone! Leo came charging towards me, blood now covering my dress as I lay stranded on the floor, no hand to hold, no one to trust. But Chad suddenly threw a fist at my man and hit him square in the face. Moments later, Leo was up against the wall and kneed in the grown. He yelped; his face creasing with pain as he slowly fell to the floor and Chad threw a fist in his face again. This was more than a cat fight. Suddenly, Leo yelped loudly as the pain took over him, and it was enough to send me to my feet. Through my own blood and pain, I charged at Chad and sent the two of us to the ground. The look in his eyes, the heaving of his chest, the silence in the room. Leave him the fuck alone! Leave him alone, you son of a bitch! I yelled at him square in the face, forcing his arms to the floor with my own shaking hands as he tried to get up. I held my place and watched as sweat formed on his brow. Now look who had the power! Like a cat, I quickly pounded up on to my bare feet and kicked him in the nuts. I watched in delight as his pupils dilated and he curled up in a ball on the floor. Taking the ring from my finger, I knelt down and stuck it in his back pocket. The answer is no ass hole! Get the hell away from me! My voice was filled with horror as I instinctively sent another fist at his face. He instantly rebounded and got to his feet, barely finding his balance as he ran for the elevator door. His breathing ceased as the doors closed and he was gone; gone from life and gone from Leo. I stared breathless at the exit to the restaurant and was suddenly greeted by warm hands running over my back and the feel of a man hovering over me; my beautiful, sexy man. Turning to face Leo, I looked deeply into his eyes and could see the pain disappearing from them as he brought me close to his body. It sent a tremble down my back, but he in turn ran his hand through my hair and let me lean my weight into him. Are you hurt, baby? His voice was welcoming; I had longed for it for so long without knowing it. Ignoring his question, tears suddenly pooled into my eyes and he instantly picked me up into his arms and cradled me against his chest. Easy Arianna. Everythings alright, baby. His head was close to mine and my spine shivered as I felt his face brush over my tear-stained chin.

To make sure the moment was real, I reached my hands up and ran them through his hair. He was there; all of him in one piece. My Leo was here for me and would always be there for me. You left me Leo. My voice was weak and the words surprised him as he gazed down into my tear-filled eyes. No baby! No! He said softly, brushing away my tears with a long finger. I was sent away for 2 years out of the state. But today, I was able to come back. His face became etched with stress marks and he gently set me down on my feet. Ive been living in Seattle for the past 2 years Arianna. He had gone serious and I quickly backed away from him, my arms suddenly longing for his touch again. Why did they send you away? His big eyes burned through me. They thought I had committed violence and sexual assault. Oh, my voice was bland, hurt sounding as I backed away from him. Easy, Arianna. I know its a lot to digest but you are the reason I came back. He slowly reached a hand out to me but I turned my head away from him. Fresh tears began falling from my eyes as I looked up at him. I thought I could trust this man. Anger shot through me like wild fire as I glared up at his tall figure. You had no right to come back! I was getting married to that man! He was not right for you Arianna. There was no way in hell you trusted that man! He stepped towards me and tried to calm his breathing as he watched me fall apart in front of him. I was getting married to him you ass hole! He taught me to love! My tone was now harsh, but filled with something else that I couldnt even recognize. Leo ran his hands through his hair and suddenly yelled straight into my face. No Arianna! That man taught you to fuck! I taught you to love! He stepped closer to me and forcefully grabbed my shoulders as I fell to the floor in front of him. How do you know - My voice went short as I fell to the floor and choked on my tears. How did he know? The way that bastard looks at you Arianna I can almost guarantee youre no virgin anymore! The words struck me like a gunshot as I stared into his eyes. He was now kneeling beside me and holding me still as I fought against his tightening grip. I never loved you! I didnt expect to say anything, but Leos mouth fell into a hard line as he looked down at my struggling body with concern. That look; oh my god. He hurt you Arianna. That is not love. That is nothing but power. The room went silent.

Realization suddenly dawned on me and my face fell to the floor as tears streamed down my cheeks. How fucked-up was this? Couldnt I live a normal life in a harmless, emotionless world for one day? Without another word, I could feel Leo wrapping his arms gently around my frail body and he pulled me into his lap. I tried to kick away his grasp and yell out for someone to help me, but as soon as I felt his warm chest against me, my tears stopped. His single hand running over my face was enough to let my body go limp. We sat there in silence as the city went quite beneath us and I seemed to vanish away into my own dreamy world as thoughts of Leo corrupted my mind. Was he right? Did I love him? Chapter 45 She was so beautiful. Her hair draped over her shoulders, her face still young and filled with hope. Leo sighed peacefully as he stroked his hand over her sleeping body, the feel of her rising chest against him calming him as he held her tightly to himself. Her smell had changed; the vanilla scent was gone but something about her hair still remained the same; maybe the youthfulness? Gently stroking her neck, his hand suddenly brushed over one of the scars on her body, making her wince. He quickly lifted his hand from her but was surprised when her sleeping body pushed tighter against him; almost as if she needed him. He looked down at her beautiful eyelashes, her rounded nose; she was like an angel. An angel with a horrible past, a damaged past. Glancing back down at the scar showing from under her dress, anger suddenly flew through Leo. Who in their right mind would do something like this to such a beautiful, innocent creature? Had Chad noticed the scars, or had he been too engrossed in fucking her to actually gloat at how immaculate she was? Slowly getting to his feet, he headed towards the elevator and gently held Arianna against his body, breathing in her scent as they descended from the restaurant. So many nights he had dreamed of seeing her. So many nights had he dreamed of sleeping beside her, making love to her. The elevator doors binged and opened to reveal the deserted lobby, and Leo slowly walked towards the door, taking in every sound from around him. All he heard was his shoes against the granite floor and the ticking of a giant clock above the front entrance. The sound of his breathing echoed through his body as he carefully opened the door and he instinctively brought Arianna closer to his body. What was wrong with him? Why was he being so jittery all of a sudden? To his surprise, Arianna suddenly stirred in his arms and he stopped in his tracks just as they exited the building. She turned around in his grasp and flickered open her eyes, her expression unreadable in the darkness of the night. Leo? Her voice was needing, almost desperate, as she reached for his hand.

Im here, baby, he calmed himself as his precious bundle suddenly looked up into his shinning eyes. I love you. Leo looked deeply into her eyes as his heart stopped. He ran his nose through her hair and watched as she fell into a dreamy sleep once again. She was soon fast asleep in his grasp again, nestling her almost bare body into his chest against the cool summer breeze. Making his way towards the car, her words echoed through his head again. Had she really meant them, or had it been a fluke? Maybe she hadnt realized what she was saying, or thought that she had been in Chads arms. Shaking the thoughts from his mind, he grabbed his keys from his pocket and unlocked the vehicle. He quietly opened the front passenger door and was about to slip Arianna into the seat when he noticed his phone still sitting there. Picking it up, he saw he had four missed calls from Avery; his wife. Clenching his jaw and tensing, he threw the phone into the back and gently lay Arianna into the front seat, resting her head against the arm rest as he did up her seat belt. She began stirring in her sitting position and moaned as she looked for something; searching for the warmth of Leos chest. Easy, baby. Leo ran his hand down her cheek and marveled at how soft her pale skin was. Quickly making his way to the other side of the vehicle, he climbed in and took a moment to look over at the beautiful woman in his car; the most delicate person he had ever met. He sighed deeply as he pulled into reverse and wondered what would happen with them; would Arianna give him another chance, or would she close him out again? The thought of her closing him out from her life again made his throat clench and his eyes began to water as he turned down the busy street towards his house. Would she leave him for Chad? No, he told himself, never. He had hurt her, punished her. Arianna had made it perfectly clear that she wanted nothing more to do with him. Leo tried to calm his breathing as he turned the car down a tight street. Suddenly, his eyes glanced over at the necklace around her neck; she had remembered him, kept a piece of him with her even when he hadnt been there for her. Did that mean she would forgive him? Before long, he reached his drive and slowly cut the engine. The summer breeze was all he heard as he got out of the car and went around to the passenger side. Ariannas eyes began flickering as the summer breeze hit her again, but Leo carefully draped his jacket around her limp shoulders and picked her up in his arms. He felt so calm with her sleeping by his body; he felt like he belonged to someone. Slowly making his way to the front porch, he suddenly stopped in his tracks. Sitting in front of the door were Ariannas suitcases and her purse with a piece of paper hooked to the handle. Who had done that? Were they even alone?

Chapter 46 It was so peaceful; like I was cooped up in a cocoon. The world could not harm me while I was in his arms. The world had no business disturbing me or him. Thoughts were erased from my mind, reality long gone as I felt his hands moving over my chilling body. The breeze was blocked by his immense frame, his heat radiating over me like a beam of sunlight. Barely awake, I could feel his breathing against me; the slow rise and fall of his chest. It was so comforting. Images of him holding my bare body tight against him in bed made shivers go down my back. His abs, his happy trail, those eyes. I moaned deeply in my throat and a welcoming hand over my hips calmed me. Suddenly, the body around me tensed as we inched towards the light of the front porch. I was beginning to come back to my senses and felt awake as I flickered open my eyes and was hit with the summer breeze once again. I could feel Leos coat draped around me and I inhaled slowly and sighed as his intoxicating sent filled my nostrils. Baby, are you awake? Leos voice was quiet and shallow as he ran a comforting hand over my cheeks, seeing if my eyes were opening. His gaze fell over me and I locked eyes with him; his so green and pure like a meadow, a dream, a rainbow. Im here. Whats going on?my voice cracked at my throat suddenly felt dry as the wind blew my hair out of my face. Were back at my house. I could feel him walking up the porch and opening the front door. Had he not been here for over 2 years? But I need to go back to the apartment. My mind was foggy as the words escaped my mouth. What about Chad, my things, my life? Leo stopped in his tracks and tensed around me. You cant go back there Arianna! I suddenly jerked awake at his quick change in tone; it was defensive, filled with life again. Why not? My eyes searched his in the dark but they were filled with need and nothing more. Did you see what he did to you Arianna? You have no right to be treated that way! Was it just me or were his eyes beginning to water? I sat upright in his hold but his hands gripped me tighter as I pulled away from him. I know you care about me Leo, but I have a life. I was going to marry that man. To my dismay, a tear fell from Leos face as he held something up to me. Well read this. Chad left it here with your luggage. His tone was cold and weak, and my body tensed against his tightening hold around my frail body. I squinted in the dark and could make out writing on a small piece of paper. What was it?

Read it Arianna! He squeezed my arm tightly and tears fell from his face as his emotions escaped him. Using the porch light, I could just make out messy writing; Chads writing. Squinting, I read the fine print:

My dear Arianna, I know you didnt mean what you said tonight: you love me. Leo was what came between us, that fucking bastard. Tell that man a message directly from me: You havent won the war yet - Im coming back to fight for her. Your sex god and fianc, Chad
My eyes widened; my breath caught in my throat. What the fuck was this? Without knowing it, I let out a yelp as my stomach clenched and pulled myself tighter against Leo. Hey, its alright! Leos now soft voice echoed through my ears and sent a shiver down my back as tears streamed down my face, all of my emotions of the night escaping me. Shh.. Everythings going to be fine. Ill keep you safe Arianna! He quickly cradled me against his broad shoulder and his heat calmed me as he slowly opened the door and stepped into the untouched house. The thought of the note ran through my head again and I suddenly panicked; he would hurt someone, I knew it. Why did I have to put Leo in between this? None of this was his fault. I couldnt stay here and put my baby in danger. The love of my life. As realization dawned on me, I suddenly began struggling from his grip and he was taken aback as I fell to the floor in a heap, the sound echoing through the halls of the huge house. Easy baby! He kneeled down by my side, his hand on my back as I vomited over his carpet. He didnt flinch and only pressed my body against his and held my hair to the side. I cant put you through this Leo! No! I screamed as I backed away from him, knocking myself off balance and colliding with the wall. You need to stay here Arianna, its for both of our safety. He inched towards me. Stay away! Hes going to kill you because of me! Hell kill you Leo! I backed towards the door and slowly got to my feet as he reached his hand slowly towards me. I will do anything for you Arianna. I care about you so much! His voice was weakening as he watched me backing towards the door.

I love you Leo! I love you so much! I cant put you in danger like this! My voice cracked as fresh tears streamed down my face; how much did I have to cry tonight? Leo went silent; the room went silent. My voice echoed through the mudroom as his eyes locked on mine; his pupils dilating as he took in what I said. I loved him. I dont know what it was; the alcohol, the running emotions, the image of Leo kneeling in my vomit. I suddenly burst out laughing and fell to the floor, surprising both of us as I choked on my tears and my vision went blurry. What the fuck was wrong with me? Instantly, Leo regained himself and picked me up into his arms, confusion obvious on his face as he hauled me upstairs, my feet kicking all the way as I tried to fight against his tightening grasp. He dragged me into the darkened bedroom and he rested me on the bed. I dont know how long it was, but he just stood there gazing up into my tear stained face until my laughing died, my tears faded. My mind began to clear as he slowly undid my dress and slipped it off of me. I could feel his needy eyes taking a quick glance over my body, and I suddenly curled up in a ball on his bed, wincing as his warm hand ran over my cold skin. He slowly slipped off my shoes, washed my face, and helped me slide on a nightgown. What was I, his damaged, fucked-up child? I dont want you to sleep with me. I said automatically as he tucked me under the covers. I know baby. I left you. He planted a gentle kiss on my cheek and gazed down at me in the darkness. Why was he so perfect, so caring, so so honest? I couldnt help it as I wrapped my hands around his neck and brought his face close to mine. The smell of his aftershave calmed me as I felt his body slowly climb over me until he was hovering over me in the darkness. I felt his heat radiate over me, his chest lowering onto mine as he laid his hand over my heart. I love you Arianna, and I would never hurt you. His voice sent chills down my back, and I pulled him closer to my body. I longed for his touch, his comfort. This man was like the front seat driver of my life. I moaned quietly as his body fell over mine, his strong build sending delicious feelings straight to my groin. I love you, Leo. His hand brushed over my chest and his tongue suddenly circled over my sternum. I inhaled sharply at the sudden warm feeling, but he began kissing my lower neck and playfully nipping as his body inched down mine, the only thing separating us being my clothing. Chad had never pleasured me like this before and I closed my eyes and squirmed beneath him as he slowly took off my nightgown, revealing my pale skin. Without a word, he trailed kisses down my chest, cupping my breasts and making me shiver as the pleasure intensified. I brought my hands up to his muscled chest and sent them running down to his happy trail. His perfect body, his beautiful body.

I moaned as his long-fingered hand suddenly reached my panties and he slowly pulled them off. He was so gentle, so caring as he slowly separated my legs. You okay baby? The sudden sound of his voice made me shiver, and I nodded slowly as he ran his hand up my leg, the feeling going straight to my happy place. My heart was pounding in my chest as his hands suddenly cupped my sex, and in response I squeezed his arms and held him close to me. With quickening breath, I let him explore me as he ran his finger over my clitoris and sent chills up my back. All that pleasure directed in that one spot. I moaned as he suddenly eased his long finger into me, the feeling intensifying as I moved my hips against him. He circled inside of me and slowly eased two fingers in as I gripped his arms tighter. Ah, Leo! My voice was distant as his tongue circled around my sex. He could sense my distress and slowly eased his fingers out of me as his tongue trailed around my clitoris. You smell so good baby. So ready for me. His seducing voice sent chills down my back as my hands reached for his hair, and I kneaded my hands against his scalp as the pleasure intensified yet again. Teasingly, he rose from between my legs and trailed his tongue across my midsection as his fingers followed. Please, Leo! I said with needing in my voice, squirming beneath his immense build. To my dismay, the feeling suddenly stopped and Leo looked up at me teasingly. What? His breathing slowed as he peered into my eyes, and I could see the desire flooding through his gaze as he rose above me and motioned towards his boxers. With a new feeling running through me, I suddenly turned my body over until my man was underneath me, his eyes going hot as he looked up at me. The feel of his heaving chest beneath me was soothing as I ran my hands over his massive frame, his muscles rippling under my touch with the pleasure. A low moan escaped from his throat as I reached his happy trail, and I grinned as I teasingly circled my hands over his rising chest. Bringing my hands to the lining of his boxer briefs, I could feel his growing erection pressing into me as he peered up at me with fiery eyes. Teasingly, I slowly pulled off his boxer shorts and slid them done his thigh, grinning as I felt his large frame squirming beneath me. I suddenly went wide-eyed at his length and peering into his eyes. You like, babe? He grinned up at me and inhaled sharply as I looked over his entire, immaculate body. What are you doing to do with Ah! He threw his head back as I took his length into my mouth, and he exhaled slowly through his clenched teeth as I circled around his tip. Holy shit, Arianna! What did Chad teach you? I loved to make my man feel pleasure; intense pleasure. Playfully, I sucked on him hard as he closed his eyes and tried to slow his heaving chest. Ah! Arianna! He cried out as I dug my teeth into him.

Looking into his burning eyes, he suddenly started moving his hips with my rhythm and pushed harder into my mouth. Oh god! Moving faster over his length, he threw his head back again and sweat a loud moan escaped him as I twirled my tongue over him. Im gonna come in your mouth baby! He cried through gritted teeth, and he thrust hard in my mouth and exploded in me as he reached my throat. Oh, Arianna! He hissed under his breath and fell flat on his back as he caught his breath. His chest heaving, the room went silent as he recovered. The taste of him overwhelmed me as I swallowed, and I slowly collapsed onto his stomach. Just as I was relaxing against his warm chest, he suddenly flipped over so I was underneath of him. Delicious feelings ran deep within me as his erection brushed against my hip and he leaned into me and kisses me; hard. He moaned as I fought his tongue and I ran my fingers through his hair as he spread my legs. My turn baby, he said playfully as he broke away from our kiss and ran his hand over my sternum. I closed my eyes and relished the feeling of his body hovering over mine, the feel of his erection against me. But suddenly, his hand brushed over one of my scars and my eyes jolted open as I winced against his chest. Arianna, whats wrong? Leos voice was filled with concern and the playfulness quickly died from his eyes as he cupped my chin in his hands. Oh, how could my man be so caring and beautiful at the same time? No baggage came with this person, just perfection.

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