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We flew business class to Miami. It was a first for me. I always thought business class flights were a waste of money. But Ryder has a lot of money to burn.
He checked us in a suite in a five star resort. When I stepped into the room and realized that there was only one bed, I instantly became nervous.
He must have sensed my discomfort because he looked at me wearily and said, “It’s only right that we stay in the same room if we want to make this believable. But I’ll stay in the couch, don’t worry.”
“I can stay in the couch, Ryder.” I said. “I’m smaller. I’d be more comfortable sleeping on it.”
“I’ll be damned if I let a woman take the couch while I sleep comfortably in the bed.” He said evenly.
“Okay. Whatever you say.” I murmured.
He turned away from me and headed towards the door.
“We have two hours before we meet Janis and Jake. I will come back for you. Meanwhile, you can continue your sleep if you want to.”
He stalked out of the room. As much as I hate to admit it, I felt guilty. Ryder’s been trying his best to be nice to me. To make the mood lighter. All I did was throw sarcastic remarks his way, and made the morning miserable for him. He was wonderful when I asked him to pretend to be besotted with me. He played his part wonderfully. Maybe I should do the same.
I lied on the luxurious bed. I only had a couple of hours sleep last night and now I’m really sleepy.
I slept for about an hour and a half. I was still alone in the room when I woke up. I took a shower and prepared for the whole masquerade. I decided to do this for Ryder. I’ll be everything he needs me to be and then my debt will be paid. I will not owe him anything anymore.
I slipped into a floral printed white sleeveless dress. It was simple and chic. I tied my hair in a bun and left some strands to curl on either sides of my face. I put on powder and lip gloss. Then I put on my favorite perfume.
When I came out of the bathroom, Ryder was already waiting at the balcony.
“Should we go?” I asked behind him.
He turned around. He looked at me for a full minute, until I was blushing to the roots of my hair and then he smiled. He stepped closer towards me. “You’re beautiful.” I realized that if he was angry when he left me, he had somehow decided not to ruin his plans, as I had decided to do my part in this charade as well as I can.
I smiled. “Wouldn’t want your friends to worry about your… taste.”
“I’m sure they will be fairly happy.”
Ryder took my hand in his and led me out of the suite and into the restaurants on the ground floor.
We approached a table where a beautiful blonde woman and a handsome guy with blond hair are having their lunch. The minute they saw us walking towards them, they froze. They stared at us with shocked expressions on their faces and it was obvious that they could not believe what they were seeing.
I instantly realized who they were. Janis and Jake… Ryder’s best friends.
I squeezed Ryder’s hand, hoping to get some courage. He looked at me and smiled reassuringly. Then he released my hand and put an arm around my shoulder. He leaned forward and gave me a kiss on the forehead.
“You look beautiful, love.” He whispered to me. “You can do this.”
I smiled at him. “I will do this, Ryder. For you.” I whispered back before we reached Janis and Jake.
He smiled back at me. In his eyes, I can see sincere gratitude. I knew he was happy and somehow, my heart warmed and I knew it was not going to be difficult to pretend to feel affectionate for him.
His friends were still dumbfounded when I was introduced to them.
It took a minute for Jake to recover and longer for Janis.
“I’m sorry.” Jake said. “We don’t mean to freak you out. It’s just that… this is a surprise! Right, honey?”
Jake had to pat Janis lightly on the back to bring her back to Earth.
“Oh, yeah. Yeah. Quite a surprise! We… didn’t expect Ryder to have a… guest. You know… he… he usually comes alone.” Janis smiled. Then she took a deep breath and leaned forward to give me a hug. “It’s lovely to meet you. I hope we didn’t freak you out.”
“It’s okay.” I hugged her back and then I smiled at her. “It’s actually… good to know that he rarely brings girls to your gatherings.”
Ryder chuckled, “Oh, sweetheart! You have nothing to worry about, you were the first!” He stared at me with dancing eyes and I knew that the charade has begun. Ryder is not a stranger to me from now on. He’s supposed to be my boyfriend. It’s time to resume the play we started in Bryan’s and Geena’s wedding.
I smiled at Janis and Jake shyly. I knew I was blushing. Ryder put an arm around my shoulders and gave me a kiss on the temple. Then he pulled out a chair for me.
“So, how did you two meet?” Janis asked.
We spun the same tale. I met Ryder through a common friend and he fell in love with me at first sight, as if love at first sight is possible at all. He pursued me but I was careful since I just came out of a serious relationship and so on and so forth.
His friends were amazed but I could tell that Janis was sizing me up. Trying to see if I genuinely liked her friend and not his money. Jake was trying to measure Ryder’s reactions to me. Maybe trying to determine if Ryder was not just after the sex.
It was easy to smile and look in love with Ryder. He was sweet and funny. I can almost immediately tell what his punch line was going to be before the words are out of his mouth, and so I find myself giggling ahead of Janis and Jake.
By the end of lunch, I think I almost had Janis convinced that I didn’t want Ryder’s money. She was surprised that I didn’t know all the names of Ryder’s businesses and I didn’t really show interest. Instead, I was genuinely concerned about how he’s going to fit me in his busy life
Janis was fascinated about what I do. I told her about the concepts I have done for the weddings and she was impressed. I knew from the look on Jake’s face that he was going to propose to her soon… give it a year or less. I might have a potential customer here. Although, I don’t know if they will hire me if they find out that I was just pretending to be Ryder’s girlfriend just so he’ll win his wager with them.
We spent the whole afternoon together, all four of us. I discovered that Janis and Jake, although both coming from rich, powerful families are both down to earth. They do not have that heir or heiress syndrome, they don’t feel that everybody should bow down to them.
It was easy enough to laugh with them and joke with them. They felt like… normal people, and so did Ryder.
I realized that for the whole afternoon that we are together, I forgot that I didn’t know him. He felt like the Ryder I was with at the wedding. I felt like I didn’t know he was filthy rich. Like I thought he was just the bartender that I can laugh with and talk to. Like he was not out of my league at all.
We swam in the beach. Ryder had a mischievous grin on his face that I instantly knew he was planning something.
I started running away from him but he was too fast for me. He caught up with me after barely five steps. He carried me in his arms towards the water until we landed with a splash.
I was shrieking. When we emerged from the water together, he was roaring in laughter and I was punching him by the shoulders with a pout on my face.
Then his face descended towards mine and he gave me a thorough kiss on the lips, which I welcomed… and enjoyed.
We played charades. Janis and Jake, who claimed they’ve been together for almost all of their lives, couldn’t get each other’s clues.
Ryder and I on the other hand, just had this connection… like we could read each other’s minds. He would give me a simple clue, a simple gesture, and the right word would come to my mind.
One time, Ryder acted out a clue. He pointed a finger at himself, and then gestured an imaginary cap being put on his head.
“Bartender?” I guessed.
He nodded. I shouted and jumped for joy. He came to take me in his arms, and lifted me off my feet. I gave a little hop in the air and wrapped both my legs around his waist. We were both laughing, then I leaned forward and gave him a kiss.
We were still laughing when he put me back on my feet.
They decided to kick it up a notch by moving on to phrases.
“Are you sure, guys?” Ryder asked them teasingly. “You can’t even get the words ‘pancakes’ and ‘lions’.”
We annihilated them. It was like Ryder and I had known each other for a long time and our minds were totally connected.
The last word we did was the most difficult one and Janis and Jake were quite confident that we wouldn’t be able to get it.
I stood in front of Ryder and showed my ring finger.
“Ring?” He asked.
I nodded. I pointed at myself and then at him, I made a hugging gesture, and I ran my finger from my eyes down my cheeks.
“A fake diamond ring!” He guessed.
I shrieked and ran to him again. He caught me in his arms and spun me around. He was laughing. I felt like crying, remembering my fake engagement ring for the first time in months. I stared up at Ryder and he was smiling apologetically at me. But I felt like it all happened in another life time.
Ryder leaned forward and kissed me passionately. I wrapped my arms around his neck and kissed him back. We only stopped kissing when Jake not-so-subtly coughed at us.
Ryder chuckled and kissed my forehead before finally releasing me.
“How long have you guys really known each other?” Janis asked in amazement. “I wouldn’t make that one out for a fake diamond ring!”
“Neither would I if it didn’t have a story behind it.” Ryder said.
“Okay, tell us the story this time.” Janis said.
We sat on the benches. Ryder pulled me so I can sit on his lap. He wound his arms around me.
“The very first time I saw her was when she was walking out a jewelry shop.” Ryder said. “I was picking up a jewelry for my mother. As I walked into the shop, she ran into me. She wasn’t looking at where she was going. Her eyes were… blinded by tears.” I leaned my head against Ryder’s shoulder as I listened to his story. “We collided with each other and I had to hold her steady to prevent her from falling on her bum…
“But instead of pulling away from me, she held on to me and leaned her cheek on my shoulder and she… cried. She wept in my arms, without looking up to see who I was. It was as if she had received such terrible news and she was desperate for some comfort. When she ran into me, she took her chance. She held on to me. I didn’t know why she was crying, but somehow, I felt for her. So I held her for a while. I… provided the comfort that she needed at the time. And she… smelled so good, and felt so soft in my arms, I couldn’t help it either.”
“Why were you crying?” Janis asked curiously.
I took a deep breath. And then, with courage, I said quietly, “The guy at the jewelry shop told me that my ex-fiancé gave me a fake diamond ring.”
There was silence. I stared at Janis and Jake and they were looking at me apologetically.
“I’m sorry.” Janis said.
I smiled at them. “It’s okay now, guys. I’m over it. I’m lucky I ran into Ryder that day. And I’m lucky to find him again shortly after that.”
It's true. I was lucky I ran into him that day. I was also lucky that I found him again. At the time when I needed him the most. And it didn’t matter whether he was the bartender or the owner of the bar… he was my savior. My knight in shining armor. When I looked into Ryder’s eyes, I know he knows that I meant those words too. He gently leaned forward and gave me a kiss on the lips. And then he leaned his head towards mine and breathed in the scent of me.
I sighed. I wanted to cry. I realized that he is the same Ryder that was with me at Bryan and Geena’s wedding, back when I thought he was just a mere bartender. Nothing changed except for the fact that I know who he really is now. But other than the rich birthright, he seemed like the same amazing guy who helped me show Bryan and Geena that I was better off without both of them! The same guy who helped me get over my broken engagement with flair. It wasn’t until that moment that I realized how much I missed him. Just how much I had wanted to be with him without the pain I feel for Bryan and Geena.
As I leaned into his shoulder, I realized that the time is now. Now, I am completely over Bryan and Geena. I’m still angry at them, but I guess that will not change for a long time. Now, I have Ryder with me again. He’s just so sweet and perfect. But I know his life is complicated and I may not be able to keep up with it. And besides, being over your previous relationship doesn’t mean you have to jump into a new one immediately.
But I have this weekend. He’s mine again.
After this… I’m just not yet ready to be heartbroken again. I could have fun. But I can’t hope for forever. Not yet. I’m still too vulnerable.
So maybe for now, I should just enjoy the moment while this lasts. For this weekend only…. Ryder Van Woodsen is mine
The minute I stopped pretending, I started welcoming all his gestures. I started responding positively and that encouraged him to do more. I didn’t care. I only have this weekend when he belonged to me. Outside of this time and place, this fairy tale couldn’t be real. I’m not yet ready for a relationship. And I doubt I’ll ever be ready to have a relationship with Ryder Van Woodsen.
We partied after dinner in a bonfire by the beach. Janis and I are becoming more comfortable with each other. She’s great. She’s chatty and she seems real. Some thought that heiresses are airheads. Janis looked like she’s got a good head on her shoulders.
“So you were engaged once.” She said when Jake and Ryder went to get our drinks.
I nodded. “He was my best friend for years before we started dating.”
“Why did it end? Because he gave you a fake engagement ring?”
I shook my head. “No. It was over long before that.” I sighed. “I was planning our wedding when I caught him having an argument with my cousin over whether or not they should keep their baby.”
Janis’s eyes widened. “You did not!” Her tone was abhorred, as if she couldn’t believe what she was hearing.
“Did too.” I giggled humorlessly.
“And you called off the whole wedding?”
I nodded. “But I made the big mistake of not canceling all the arrangements myself. I threw all the contacts and receipts in his face and asked him to make the cancellations himself, if he wanted his money back.”
I sighed. “He didn’t cancel. Probably figured it would be easier and much cheaper for him to push through with the wedding than call it off. So… my dream wedding happened. From the invitations, down to the honeymoon suite! It happened exactly how I wanted it to be. The only difference was, I wasn’t the bride anymore!”
“He didn’t!” Janis had her hands on her mouth. “That is disgusting! How… how could your cousin do that to you?”
I shrugged. “Beats me. But I think I’ve had a bit of my revenge already.”
“I attended the wedding.
Janis’s jaw dropped and I had to smile at that.
“I went there with Ryder. I showed all my relatives how better off I was! I looked pretty and sexy, with an even sexier man in my arms!”
Janis laughed. “I’ll bet Ryder tried his best to impress your relatives!”
I nodded. “He wasn’t able to resist. He knew everybody was going to feel sorry for me because… I was supposed to be the bride that day. He tried his best to help me keep my head up high.” I stared over at Ryder who was approaching me with my drink in his hand. “A pretty thing like that? Even the bride wished she was me.”
Janis laughed again. “How wonderful! What a great way to get even! But still… what they did to you was… unthinkable.”
“Well, heartbreaks can go as far as that. I lost my job after that because I couldn’t believe in ‘ever afters’ anymore. I was telling bride-to-bes that green was the color of vomit, instead of the color of fresh harmony.”
“Wow! That’s severe bitterness.”
I nodded. “That was before Ryder came into my life..” By that time, Ryder sat beside me and handed me my drink.
“What about me?” He asked
I smiled up at him. “I was just telling Janis how much you helped me get over my breakup. Well, you helped me get even with my ex-fiancé and my cousin first. I don’t think I would have done it if it weren’t for you.”
“When did you find out that your engagement ring was a fake?” Janis asked.
“After I received their invitation and found that everything was how I wanted it to be. I thought I should cash in on my bad luck. I was broke then anyway. I didn’t have a job and was living with my cousin’s half brother. At the jewelry shop, the guy told me that he won’t even pay a hundred dollars for my ring.”
“That’s cheap!” Jake said shaking his head.
“Yeah. He’s cheap.” I smiled. “But I’m over it now. That whole chapter of my life is over.” I looked up at Ryder. “I’m so much better now.” I said.
I wanted him to know that had he not been the Ryder Van Woodsen, I would keep my promise to him… that I would come to him when I finally get better. So he could get to know the real me. I know, that although I look happy in front of Janis and Jake, I couldn’t hide the trace of regret in my expression… and I’m afraid Ryder can see through me by now.
He stared back at me evenly, raising a brow. As if he knew… that I’ve kept two of my promises already. But I don’t have any intention of keeping the third.
I looked away, not able to bear the weight of his stare. I knew I was blushing when I looked back at Janis, who mistook the meaning of my blush for something else.
Janis beamed at me. “I’m happy for both of you.” She said. “I think you are what each other needs.”
Jake nodded beside her in agreement. He raised his bottle to us for a toast.
I was still thinking about the look on Ryder’s face when I went to the ladies’ room with Janis. She was still beaming at me.
“I am so happy Ryder found you.” She said.
“He’s happy.” She replied. “You make him happy. You two are like… soul mates. You have this connection that looks cosmic in some way. You… complete each other’s sentences, you fit together like pieces of a puzzle. I couldn’t believe that Ryder will finally find his match!”
“Come on! I won’t really say that I’m his match.”
“You are. You’re the one for him, I can tell.” She said. “Jake, Ryder and I… we grew up together. And in high school, Jake and I started hooking up. We felt guilty that we left Ryder behind. We started getting serious when we were in college. And somehow we felt that Ryder feels out of place with us, especially if we plan our future or if we become affectionate with each other. We… wanted Ryder to find his girl. So we’re sure that he’ll be as happy as we are.”
“And you believe he’s happy with me?”
Janis nodded. “Yes. Ryder didn’t seem interested in women, or dating. He didn’t care much about romance. We thought he was not interested in having a relationship at all. We tried hooking him up with women before. He’s just not interested. He was always busy with work. We didn’t think he’s ready to commit to any woman. We didn’t even think he was capable of being romantic. He didn’t show previous signs. That is why I was dumbfounded when he introduced you to us this morning. I was not expecting you.”
“I hope… I didn’t disappoint you.” I said shyly.
“Are you kidding me? You’re absolutely perfect!” She laughed. “You’re absolutely gorgeous. I can see why he’s taken with you, and I can tell you are not interested in his…” She trailed off, and then she turned red. I can tell she was embarrassed about what she was about to say next that she stopped herself.
“It’s okay. I know what you mean. I’m not interested in his money.” I giggled. “When I first… eh… started dating him, I didn’t know he was rich! I mistook him to be something else.”
“Oh my God!” She said. “You were the girl who thought he was a bartender?”
I stared back at her. How did she know that? “You know?”
She giggled. “I received a weird call from him one day. And he asked me, do I look like a damned bartender? I told him that technically, he is. He just owns his own bar. He said he met a girl, and she had mistaken him to be a bartender and she…liked him nevertheless.”
I blushed. That was true. I liked him better when I thought he was… normal like the rest of us.
“So when he finally came clean about owning the bar, what did you do?”
“I slapped him.”
Janis laughed. “Oh my God! No wonder he’s so enchanted with you! Jake thought that Ryder had always been afraid of women who would only want him because he’s rich. We thought maybe that was the reason why he was so aloof with women, and why he wasn’t interested. He was too cautious. He’s allergic to girls who would want his money more than him.”
I smiled at Janis. As we approached our table and I looked into Ryder’s eyes, I realized glumly that I liked everything about him… except for his money.
“Something wrong?” He asked me.
I shook my head as I sat beside him. Janis took out her camera and placed it on a tripod. Then she and Jake went closer to us and told us to smile. Ryder laughed and squeezed me tightly. I leaned my head on his shoulder and I smiled happily.
I only have forty-eight hours. During this time, Ryder would want me as much as I want him. We belong together and the issue of his A-list status is beyond us. Here, now, it feels like I’m ready to be in a relationship again, and Ryder is not the complicated man he is.
We sat by the bonfire as we watch Janis and Jake dance.
“She’s buying it.” I told Ryder
“Us.” I replied. “She didn’t think we were pretending.
Ryder raised a brow. He pulled me to him so I can sit on his lap. Then he gave me a tight hug.
“Is that what we’re doing, love?” He whispered.
I stared back at him, my heart pounding hard in my chest.
“None of this is real, Ryder.” I reminded him.
He smiled, before leaning forward to kiss me on the lips. “But it looks real. It feels real.”
I blushed. How could I be that transparent?
I looked at him seriously. “It’s all for the show. This doesn't change anything,Ryder.” I told him. “I’m only doing this because I owe you.”
He narrowed his eyes. He looked like he wanted to say something but chose not to. Instead he leaned forward and gave me a gentle kiss on the lips and said, “But here, we belong together.”
I nodded. “Only here. Only this weekend.”
He took a deep breath. “Then let’s make the most of it, shall we?” And he kissed me thoroughly.
I felt wanted. I felt woman. The kiss that Ryder gave me made me feel a myriad of sensations all rolled into one. Heat emanated from his skin to mine. I never wanted him to stop. But we have to stop. Because we are sitting by the fire in the beach with people dancing and partying all around us.
He stared back at me. His eyes filled with desire. My heart kept pounding in my chest as I struggle to catch my breath. I wanted him. I know from the look on his face that he wanted me too. I tried to think of reasons to stop falling into the edge of passion, but I can feel reason drifting away.
Finally, he stopped kissing me. He stared at me deeply. His eyes were drunk with passion and I can tell that he’s trying to water the fire inside him. Because we both know where this is leading, and it was not part of the deal. We only need to put on a show in front of Janis and Jake. But inside our hotel suite, we’re two strangers who happened to share the same room and some acquaintance.
“Let’s dance, shall we?” He asked.
I nodded. We both know that dancing would distract both of us.
When we got to the dance floor, Janis was beaming at me. A slow love song played. Ryder took me in his arms. I leaned my head on his shoulder. He wound his arms around me and enclosed me in a hug.
“Janis said you were afraid of relationships, because you were afraid women will only want you for what you’re worth.” I said.
He sighed. “It’s only partly that. The bigger part of it is that I have been focused with my goals all my life. I didn’t really have time to stop and commit to get to know one girl.”
“You didn’t believe in ‘ever after’ too.”
He didn’t say anything for a while. I felt a kiss on my temple. “Do you believe in ‘ever after’ now?”
I sighed. “I have to. It’s what I do, but I believe that ‘ever after’ may be subjective. It can happen to a whole bunch of my clients. It doesn’t have to happen to me. Maybe it doesn’t happen to everybody.”
“It should happen to you.” He said. “You deserve it, Astrid.”
“You don’t believe in it.” I said looking up at him. “Why do you wish it for me?”
“Because I know that you believed in it, and you make it happen for everybody else. You deserve it more than anyone.”
I giggled. “Yeah! I wonder how I’ll top Bryan’s and Geena’s wedding.”
He gave me a crooked smile. “You can. As long as you open up your heart again and find a man who can share with you what Bryan has with Geena.”
I laughed. “Then I can marry you in the simplest Vegas ceremony and I would still top that! Because honestly, I have more affection for you than Bryan has for Geena!”
“Seriously?” He asked chuckling.
“And I don’t think I like you all that much, Ryder Van Woodsen.” I teased.
He laughed. “Let me change your mind about that, Astrid Jacobson.” And he leaned forward and gave me a thorough kiss on the lips. I don’t know how long that kiss lasted, but I know that somehow it started a whole rollercoaster ride. We couldn’t get our hands off each other. I think we were still kissing even when we went up to our suite. We couldn’t even wait to get inside. We were at it even on the corridors.
When he closed the door behind us and we were finally alone in our room, we both know it was time for us to stop pretending. No need to convince anyone within the confines of this room.
He stared back at me and smiled sheepishly. I smiled back at him shyly. He reached forward and pushed a lock of stray hair away from my face.
“Jake told me that I was a lucky bastard!”
“Because you’re very beautiful, and you’re smart, funny, and you’re grounded. You seem aware of the people around you, and you… care about what they say, how they feel. You’re sensitive to others, keen on making others feel good. He said you’re an angel and the devil that I am, I’m lucky to have you.”
I laughed. “How could he say all that?”
“Because Jake is a shrink.” He replied. “He makes thousands of dollars reading people’s personalities, deciphering the messages they do not say verbally.”
My eyes widened. “And you had the nerve to ask me to pretend I was your girlfriend? Didn’t you think he would be able to guess that?”
He laughed. “That’s why I didn’t tell you what he was. So you wouldn’t feel conscious or scared. But you’re a natural.”
“We’re both naturals.” I said. “I guess we both have a knack for acting.”
“We both have talents for acting in love with each other.” He whispered. Then he stared at me deeply, which made my knees go weak. “I wasn’t acting all the time, Astrid.” He leaned his face slowly towards mine. “A lot of the things I did today were actually… real.” And he brushed his lips to mine gently.
Instantly, my blood stirred. Desire flooded through my veins. I couldn’t help myself. I couldn’t help showing him that I wasn’t acting all the time too. I kissed him back. Fiercely. I kissed him more passionately than he was kissing me. He lifted me off my feet. I wrapped my arms around his neck and wound both my legs around his waist.
He kissed me back, hungrily, passionately. He started walking towards the bed. I landed on my back and he landed on top of me. I was matching his kisses. I was as hungry as he is. It was like I’ve been set on fire. Had I been like this the night of Geena’s wedding? No wonder I lost my virginity by the end of the night!
I didn’t know I was capable of feeling all these emotions… all this passion. Heat radiated from my skin. I couldn’t stop kissing Ryder. I wanted to give him everything that I can give.
However, suddenly I can feel him slowly putting his guard on. He was controlling his kisses. He was trying to put out the fire within him. But I didn’t want him to. I wanted him to devour on me, as I’m devouring on him. I wanted him to give in to the passion. I needed him to take what I was offering him.
“Ryder!” I screamed his name and I kissed him hungrily again. He kissed me passionately, but then he began to pull away.
“No!” I begged in a low, hoarse voice, and then I pulled him by the neck and kissed him again.
“Stop it, Astrid.” He whispered softly but he kissed me again.
“No.” I whispered.
He pulled away from me gently. “I’m on the edge, Astrid! Don’t push me!” He warned me.
Ahhh! So I wasn’t the only one on the edge. But he was trying to get a grip of himself. Trying to be the gentleman.
I smiled at him mischievously, and I pulled his head to me again. I kissed him hungrily… jumping in to the brink of passion and pulling him with me.
I heard him curse softly. “Damn it!” Then he became completely unrestrained. He let go of my lips only to nuzzle my neck.
“Ryder…” I whispered.
“Astrid…” He whispered back. And he kissed me on the lips again hungrily.
I felt his hands all over me. I feel myself slowly losing consciousness, giving in to the tide of passion. Ryder was not thinking any more than I was. He was touching me in places I wouldn’t let anyone touch me before. He removed my clothes and kissed every bit of skin he exposed.
I was matching his passion with mine. I showed him that he was not the only one lost in desire. I’m there too! I’m with him. Because I know, I only have this weekend, this place, where we belong together, where I can fantasize that he can belong to me forever, where I can believe that forever exists.
“I want this, Astrid.” He said to me.
I smiled at him and kissed him. “I want to be sure that you want it too.” He whispered hoarsely.
He sat up from the bed and pulled me with him, so that I was on top of him, mounting him.
I wrapped my arms around his neck, aware that we’re both completely naked now.
“Ryder!” I screamed. Desire envelops me in magnitudes I cannot describe. He wrapped his arms around my waist.
He kissed me thoroughly.
“Ryder, please.” I silently begged. I was inexperienced in this. I don’t know what I want.
“How could you be like this with me and then completely ignore me in the morning?” He asked suddenly.
I pulled away from him. “What do you mean?”
“You were like this the last time. You wanted me like this. Yet when you woke up in the morning and realized what we did, you felt ashamed of yourself. That… pissed me off.” He said.
I laughed. I realized now what he meant. I was a completely different person in bed with him. But that was the last time. I didn’t know what I wanted then. I know that I want him now… without the hope of forever.
I leaned down and kissed him again. I smiled. “I’m sure now, Ryder.” I said to him. “I want this… but only tonight.”
He shook his head. “What if I want this beyond tonight?”
I shook my head. “I can’t.” I said.
“Why?” He asked.
“Because you’re the Ryder Van Woodsen.” I replied. “You’re far too complex, too complicated. I know you won’t fall in love with me. And I’m not ready to have a relationship yet either. You’re being cautious about your status. I’m being cautious with my heart. We’re both guarded. So this won’t work. But… I want you.”
“And God knows I want you, Astrid!” He whispered and kissed me passionately.
“Then we have this night, Ryder.” I said. “It can’t go beyond this.”
He shook his head. “Give me this weekend, at least.” He said.
I stared back at him. He was devilishly handsome. He was everything I would want and more. But he was also everything I know I wouldn’t have… forever. But the thought of the weekend sounded good. Very good.
I smiled at him. I nodded. “Deal.” I whispered and then I kissed him hungrily again. He didn’t break the kiss but I felt him reach for the drawer of the bedside table.
I felt his hands trembling, fumbling with something behind my back. He cursed breathily as he struggled with the unseen obstacle. Pretty soon, I heard a ripping sound of a plastic. I smiled to myself as I realized what he was doing.
Ryder held me by the waist and slowly guided my movements above him. He thrust his hips upward and guided my waist so I could meet his thrust. My arms and legs wrapped around him, I wanted to consume him! I wanted to feel as if we were one and nothing could separate us. Ryder's hot hands framed my face and he stared into my eyes with an intensity bordering on painful. Our movements were synchronized, fluid and graceful
The pleasure stung me in little sparks throughout my body, a kind of indescribable sensation. My breath shook and faltered, little gasps catching my throat. Ryder panted roughly, his breath caressed my lips and chin. My hair fell about us like a curtain, and we were in our own word
There was nothing else that existed except for Ryder and I. His pupils were contracted with desire, the green of the iris swirling in tiny whirlpools of lust. With each of our movements his eyes got darker and darker, until they were a dark forest green
“Ryder…” I whispered. “Ryder… Ryder…” His name echoed in time with our movements.
His eyes fluttered closed, and his head tilted back. The muscles in his neck were tense and bulging. Through his parted lips I could see him gritting his teeth; straining for control. Sweet feeling enveloped me, and I sobbed his named. Just like that, reason completely abandoned me and I let myself be drowned in the ocean of our passion.
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