She leaned in and kissed his neck, pressing her lips right over the place where his pulse throbbed.
He pushed open the door, and she looked away from him so that she could take in their new surroundings. Her breath caught in her throat when she saw the size of the bed at the far end of the room. Being with him had been perfect, even in a pile of blankets, in a tent. This, this was a fantasy. A fantasy and a half. One she had never allowed herself, one that she almost ached over not having had before. Because it might have made the moment more poignant. Because it would have been the culmination of a dream, rather than the realization of all the dreams she’d never let herself have. Though this moment needed nothing to be more important. It was impossible for it to be more important. It was everything.
Her heart swelled in her chest as he deposited her on the bed, curling his fingers into the waistband of her pants and taking them down, along with her panties. He positioned himself between her thighs, his dark eyes blazing into hers. “I will take the time to explore you, later.”
They both knew there was every chance there would not be a later. But it didn’t matter. It made for a lovely fantasy, added to all the fantasies she’d never had before. She might as well have one now. In this moment, she might as well believe that anything was possible. In this moment, she might as well believe in the possibility of everything. She shoved aside all of her practicality, all of her cynicism, and simply embraced this moment.
She nodded. “Later.”
He kissed her deeply as he tested the entrance to her body with the blunt head of his arousal, sliding inside of her slowly. She clung to him as he did, as he closed the distance between them. He shifted, gathering her wrists in his hand, and pushing her hands above her head, holding them there, as he continued to kiss her. He flexed his hips, sending a spike of pleasure through her body.
She lost herself in the motions, and the feeling of him inside of her. He broke their kiss, lowering his head and taking one nipple in his mouth, sucking it in deep. He lifted his head as he quickened his movements, as he started to lose himself in his own pleasure. She loved that she could recognize that, that she could feel the control burning away. It was what she wanted, it was what she craved.
He released his hold on her wrists, adjusting his position so that he was holding her hands, his fingers laced through hers, holding them above her head as he continued to thrust deep inside of her. She watched him, watched as the lines of tension in his forehead deepened, before they finally relaxed, as he shook, gave himself up to his orgasm and released his hold on the world. As Surhaadi fell away, as his need to care for everyone but himself fell away.
She watched his face as he became Zayn. Nothing more.
And then she was caught up in the same storm, everything ripped from her as pleasure took over, as she joined with him at the summit, caught in a storm that consumed them both.
She held him close after, listened to him breathe, felt his muscles tremble beneath her fingers.
And with every bit of confidence she had, a confidence that was now placed in herself, in who she really was, and not just in her ability to fool people into thinking she was something they wanted to see, she knew what she wanted. She knew what she needed. She knew how she felt.
“I love you.”
ZAYN STRUGGLED TO catch his breath, the weight of Sophie on his chest suddenly so great he couldn’t breathe.
He pulled away from her, rolling out of the bed, cursing himself in every language he knew, cursing his own weakness. He had sworn not to touch her again, and now he had. And now this. A wave of shame washed over him, a sick feeling that slid through his stomach like tar, coating everything it touched.
If it were only him. If he were all that mattered, he would break his engagement. He would keep her forever. But there was Surhaadi. And Christine. And Leila.
And, most of all, Sophie. Who deserved something better. Something other than him.
“Don’t do this, Sophie. Please.” He didn’t know why he was pleading with her, he should have done all this bargaining with himself, he should have done it before he ever touched her, before he ever touched her for the first time. But he had given in so easily, and then he had given in again.
“Don’t do what?” She sat up, her green eyes rounded.
“You know exactly what. Don’t bring feelings into this. There is no place for them.”
“This is the only place for them. I told you, I’ve spent far too long hiding to start doing it again now.” She flung the covers away from her body, revealing her soft pale skin, skin he had just tasted, just touched. Skin he had no right to look upon, a representation of trust he had no right to.