Real

By: Katy Evans


Austin



In Austin we’re staying in a six-bedroom home with a barn included, and that fabulously crafted old-fashioned red barn is where Remington trains. He’s been pushing tractor tires all day. Running up the outside stairs with cement bags atop both his shoulders. He’s climbed ropes slung up from the barn rafters, swung from the rafters and then ran with me around the property. He’s training like a beast, and moody as a mad gorilla, as well. Although he seems to be especially moody with the other members of his team and I seem to be the only one who calms him, so Riley and Coach keep begging me to go stretch him when he starts getting upset about something like the fit of his “damned-for-shit gloves nobody can fight with.”

It’s been torture for me, these frequent stretches. Sliding my hands along his sweaty chest. Austin is hot in July, and he takes off his shirt and the skin-to-skin contact unsettles every little and big part of me, flashing me back to every sensation of being naked in bed with him.

Every night since the egg incident a week ago, I’ve lain in bed staring at my door. I know I should touch myself just to find some relief, but what I want from him is so far beyond sex now, I don’t even want to put a name to it. Though I know perfectly well what it is.

On our flight here, we exchanged music, and I find I’m always breathless waiting to see the song he will play for me. I tried to keep my selection unromantic for him, and actually got a private thrill when he scowled at all the girl power songs I handed over.

He, on the other hand, played me the most romantic song I’d ever heard in my growing-up years, which was featured in a chick flick in the end, where a guy plays the song to the love of his life on his boom box. The movie is called Say Anything, but the song is called “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel.

I wanted, seriously, to melt into the leather of the plane bench when it started playing for me, with his somber blue eyes intently watching me as I soaked up the lyrics about finding the light in her eyes…

Damn.

Him.

He hasn’t touched me since the night we showered together. But the things he said … the way he kissed me … I want him so bad, sometimes I just want to hit him in the head and haul him into my woman’s cave, where nobody’s opinion matters but mine. And I say we go at it all night long and that’s that.

Today I’m inside the house, retrieving some elastic bands from my suitcase which I might use to stretch him in the end of the afternoon session. This is just a tactic so I don’t have to touch him skin to skin anymore, and spare myself another sleepless night of arousal. I pass through the front door with the band dangling from between my fingers, and I spot Pete there, holding it partly closed as he speaks to someone on the other side.

As I pass through, I see a silver-haired man and a woman through the corner of my eye, and suddenly they call me.

“Young girl! Please, won’t you let us talk to him?”

The feminine voice stops me in my tracks, since I’m the only young girl in the house, unless someone started cross-dressing here, and I don’t think Coach is into that.

When I step forward, the tall, slender, frail-looking woman rushes to tell me, her face pale and her sullen eyes a dark chocolate, “We didn’t know what to do. He felt abandoned but he was too strong and nobody could control him, least of all me.”

My brain processes her words in silence, and while it does, I stare at them and remain standing behind Pete.

“Again, I’m really sorry,” Pete formally replies. “But even if he weren’t busy, there’s no way I can get him to see you. But please rest assured I will make contact if that ever changes.”

He slams the door shut a little harder than called for, and releases a long, pent-up sigh.

And finally my mind speaks to me. “Are those Remy’s parents?” I ask, bewildered and shocked.

Suddenly I realize his father’s blue eyes are unmistakable in color, and although white-haired, the man had incredibly large and healthy bone structure.

Pete nods and rubs his forehead, appearing extremely agitated. “Yeah. They’re the folks, all right.”

“Why won’t Remy see them?”

“Because the bastards locked him up in a psych ward at thirteen and left him there until he was old enough to sign himself out.”

An awful sensation settles in my gut, and for a moment, the only thing I do is gape. “A psych ward? For what? Remy’s not crazy,” I say, instantly outraged on his behalf as I follow Pete across the living room.

“Don’t even look at me. It’s one of the most frustrating injustices I’ve ever had to witness in my life.”

Chest wound tight, I ask, “Pete, were you with him when he was kicked out of boxing?”

He shakes his head in a negative, his stride not breaking. “Remy has a short fuse. You light it, he blows up. His competition wanted him out. Picked on him out of the ring. He bit the bait. Was kicked out. End of story.”

“Well, is he still angry about it?”

He opens the terrace doors that lead across the garden and to the barn, and I follow, shielding my eyes from the glare of the sun with my hand.

“He’s angry, all right, but not specifically about that,” Pete says. “Fighting is all he knows. It’s all he’s had that he can control in his life. Growing up, it was pure rejection for Rem. It’s damn near impossible to get him to open up. Even with those who’ve been with him so long.”

“How do you think his parents knew where we were? I thought this house was to keep the press away since the egg incident?”

“Because this is Rem’s house,” Pete says as I spot the charming red barn looming ahead across the lawns. “After he got out, he made money fighting, then he got this house, trying to prove to the old folks that he could be someone … The folks still didn’t want anything to do with him. He got stuck with the house and now only uses it when we’re in the city to keep the press from hounding him at the hotels. He has a lot of fans in Austin.”

I feel shot at from all sides with this information. Pure undiluted outrage for young Remy fills me to my core, making me sound breathless. “What kind of parents abandon their child like they did, Pete? And why on earth would they look for him now?”

Pete sighs. “Why indeed.” He shakes his head ruefully, then we spot Remington inside the open barn, hitting a speedball Coach has hung from the rafters. Looking slightly panicked, Pete instantly snatches me up by the elbow and draws me closer. “Don’t let on that you know anything about this, I beg you. He’s been in a pissed-off mood ever since he knew we were coming here. His parents drive him totally speedy too, and his temper is for shit these days.”

I nod and squeeze back his elbow. “I won’t. Thanks for the confidence.”

“Hey, B, you might try stretching him, his form’s not ideal. Coach thinks it’s a lower back knot,” Riley calls.

Nodding, I walk over, and I hear, rather than see, Remington punching the bag harder and faster with each step I take closer to him. Frankly, I’m surprised that he doesn’t stop when I stand right next to him.

“Coach isn’t happy with your form and Riley thinks I can help,” I say, and as I watch this lean, mesmerizing creature keep slamming the speedball with both rolling fists, a deep, concentrated frown on his face, I can’t help but admire what Remington has made with himself despite the rejection he faced when he was younger.

“Remy?” I prod.

He doesn’t answer, and instead shifts sideways and pounds one fist after the other in a matter of nanoseconds, making that poor bag fly.

“Will you let me stretch you?” I go on.

He tilts his body yet again and gives me all his gorgeous back, and keeps on hitting like mad. I want to touch him, especially after everything Pete told me, so I drop the elastic band at my feet, for now the last thing I want is anything between him and me.

“Are you going to answer me, Remy?” My voice drops as I step closer, reaching out with one arm.

Whack, whack, whack…

I touch his back. He stiffens, drops his head, and whips around, removes his boxing gloves, and tosses them aside. “Do you like him?” His whisper is low, his touch gentle as he reaches out and puts his taped hand right where Pete touched me. “Do you like it when he touches you?” But his eyes, dear god. They blaze into me. His hand is double the size of Pete’s and doing all things to my body.

I stare into him, butterflies exploding in my belly, and whatever it is we’re playing, I want it to go on endlessly, but I want it to stop. There’s something incredibly animal about the way he acts around me that brings out the deep-rooted instincts from within.

“You have no right to me,” I say in breathless anger.

His hand clenches. “You gave me rights when you came on my thigh.”

My cheeks burn red at the reminder. “I’m still not yours,” I shoot back. “Maybe you’re afraid I’m too much of a woman for you?”

“I asked you a question, and I want an answer. Do you fucking like it when other men touch you?” he demands.

“No, you jerkwad, I like it when you touch me!”

After my lashing outburst, he stares at my mouth as his thumb dips into the crease of my elbow. His tone goes gruff. “How much do you like my touch?”

”More than I want to,” I snap back, panting and breathless because of him.

”Do you like it enough to let me caress you in bed tonight?” he asks tersely. My skin tingles, and between my legs, I’m growing incredibly warm. His pupils are completely enlarged with hunger.

“I like it enough to let you make love to me.”

“No. Not make love.” He tightens his jaw and stares at me with tormented blue eyes. “Just touching. In bed. Tonight. You and me. I want to make you come again.” He watches me, a question in his expression. I feel his dark temper roiling underneath the surface in frustration. There’s a need in me that wants to appease it … but I can’t follow it.

I want to touch him so bad, I just can’t understand why he can resist the call and not take me. I can’t stand a night in his arms without going all the way.

Pulling free, I harden my voice. “Look, I don’t know what you’re waiting for, but I won’t be your plaything.”

He grabs me again and brings me close, ducking his head to me. “You’re not a game. But I need to do this my way. My way.” He buries his face in my neck and scents me, and his tongue flashes out to lick my ear. He groans and jerks my chin up so our eyes meet. “I’m taking it slow for you. Not me.”

My knees threaten to fold, but I somehow manage to shake my head in disagreement.

“This is growing old, and I’m quickly losing interest. Let’s just stretch you.” I go to his back, and he jerks free as if I’d sliced him with a knife.

“Don’t fucking bother. Go stretch Pete.”

He grabs his towel, swipes it over his front, then goes to punch the speed bag with his bare knuckles.

Marching out with a fierce scowl, I tell Riley, “He doesn’t want me.”

“Understatement of the century, girl,” he says, rolling his sad surfer-boy eyes.

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