Chapter 6

“Thank you.” Chloe’s still looking at Ash

“Thank you.” Ash’s arms around her are tight, safe. He touches her cheek. “You opened your eyes.

“You opened yours.

“I never did that before.

“Never?” Yeah, right.

“Never. I’ve never — I mean. I’m not even going to say it. It’ll just sound dumb. But I’ve never kept my eyes open the whole time, let alone looked into another person’s while it was happening.

Chloe tilts her head at him. “Isn’t that what you do?

He shakes his head. “No. Everyone just retreats into themselves when that happens. You —I don’t know. You didn’t. That’s all.” He looks like he wants to say something else. Ash seems to want to say a lot of things he’s too afraid to put into words, that he’s long ago given up trying to explain to people. He runs his hand down her back. “Do you wanna clean up and take a nap, maybe get some food after?

She nods.

They take turns in the bathroom, then curl up together like the night before. Ash hands her his bear. “He’ll have to work until you have yours.

“He’s a good bear.

Ash nods solemnly. “He is a good bear.” He pulls her close, and Chloe ties her hair up on top of her head. When he fits himself around her, she nestles into him, into all those hard muscles wrapped around her. She stretches and fits herself into him. His cock rests against her ass. Can she get him hard? They could do it all over again.

“Chloe.” She hears the amusement in his voice. “Go to sleep, sweetheart. You’re only keeping us both awake.

“What?” She uses her best innocent voice.

He kisses the back of her neck. “You know what.

But Chloe’s restlessness at having Ash so close must finally dissolve into sleep, because she wakes in darkness. Ash is gone. She blinks a few times.

She lays on her belly, checking her Facebook and Instagram. Chloe looks for Ash’s and doesn’t find any. His twin has them, though. One on every platform: his public accounts are full of pics of him and his girlfriend. One or two of him and Ash, mostly with Ash looking like he really doesn’t want his picture taken.

The door opens. “I thought I heard you wake up.” Ash kisses her on the back of the neck. “What are you hungry for? I feel like I haven’t been feeding you enough.

“You’re not into social media, are you? I tried to find you but the internet thinks you don’t exist.

“Oh, God no, I hate that stuff, mostly.” Ash rolls his eyes. “Please don’t put my picture up there or something. I have accounts I use to talk to fossil dealers, but that’s it. My instagram is all pictures of fossils.

Chloe smiles. “You’re so sweet. You know you can mix the two, right? Like post pictures of yourself and fossils on the same account?

Ash sighs. “Whatever. Like I have any friends who would give a shit, or like I have any friends in the first place. Everyone from high school would just make fun of me for going on digs in the summers, and I spent most of college in a drunken haze or looking for salamanders on the bottom of creek beds. Come on, let’s go get some food.

Chloe’s only got her beach clothes, so they end up sitting on the floor of his living room, eating pizza. Ash asks about her schedule, and she winces. “Class from nine-thirty to either two or two-thirty every day but Friday. Performances or rehearsals every night but Sunday. Sunday’s my day off. I quit my job yesterday.

“So what time does rehearsal start?

“Six or seven.

“What time does it end?

She cringes. “Ten or ten-thirty.

He nods. “Okay. I can manage that. Lots of afternoons, lots of dinners, and lots of sleeping over. Good thing you’re too smart to have to do much homework.” He stuffs another piece of pizza in his mouth. Ash eats so much. He had gotten two pizzas: one for him and one for her. She’s had two pieces. He’s going to finish his.

Chloe sighs. “I do have to do some of it.

“And I have to study for the bar.

“Isn’t that like, something super important you have to do on a near-constant basis? When do you take it, anyway?

“April.” Ash shrugs. “I don’t want to do it. But I know that’s what I’ll end up doing. It just feels like such a cop-out. It means I won’t be the shining partner they want me to be, not like Davis or Thatcher. Davis’s daddy’s favorite — I mean, he wasn’t for a while, but he is again, of-fucking-course — and Thatcher’s Mama’s favorite. Oh, her precious baby, he almost died when he was born. She loves to tell that story. Then there’s me. Whom they seriously could care less about.

Ash drains his beer. “I’m the fuck-up. Thatcher can do whatever he wants, but I’m the real slacker, and when they find out I just want to do enough law to finance digs and scuba diving for fossils, they’ll lose their minds. But whatever. It is what it is.

Chloe raises an eyebrow. He sounds radically different than the guy who held her this morning on the beach, who looked into her eyes while she came, who pieced together a turtle with her for hours. “What do you mean?

“Do you think I wanted to go to law school?

She’s quiet. She studies Ash, then looks at his shelves. “No. So why are you going to be a lawyer?

Ash shrugs. “Because. I’m a Prioleau and we have one of the biggest firms in the Southeast and I get a third share of it if I’m a lawyer.

“Um, you don’t look like you want a third share of a law firm. I seem to recall you telling me you were going to do law until you died of alcoholism and despair.

Ash drains his beer. “Probably.

“Do you want to die of alcoholism and despair?” This is just fucking ridiculous.

“Obviously not, but I don’t have much of a fucking choice.” There’s an edge in Ash’s voice, an angry one.

“You always have a choice.

“No, you fucking don’t. You’re eighteen. Life isn’t that goddamn simple, Chloe.

“What would happen if you refused to be a lawyer?

“I’d get disowned.

“What would that mean?

Ash shrugs. “My parents would cut me off.

“So, no money.

“No, I have plenty of my own money. I’d be fine. I mean, I wouldn’t be buying myself a mansion like I would if I were partner, but I’d be very, very comfortable even if I didn’t work.

“So you’re just doing this lawyer thing why again?” Chloe shakes her head. “You just said your parents don’t like you. Do you think they’d like you better?

“I don’t fucking know!” His voice rises to a shout.

“You’re supposed to be a lawyer?” Chloe’s voice matches his. “I’m supposed to be knocked up and working at the Quik-Stop. Let me tell you a little bit about my family, Ash.

Chloe drains her own beer. “Mama fucking loves my oldest brother, because he’s the oldest. Hunter. Fucking loves my little brothers, because mama always loved babies. Well, one day she turned around and I wasn’t a fucking baby anymore, and she never wanted a daughter anyway.

“And you grew up in a house full of people who read Shakespeare or talk about books or go to the theater or what the fuck ever. I grew up in a house where entertainment meant watching wrestling. Do you know what it’s like to be the kid who likes books in a place like that? Do you know how fucking weird you are? How lost? Oh my god, when I got that acceptance letter to Governor’s School I cried and cried. It was my golden ticket.

“Do you remember when I said you’d been lonely for a long time?

“Yeah.” Ash speaks quietly this time.

“That’s because I recognized it. Can I have another fucking beer now?

Wordlessly, Ash goes to the bar and pours them both shots. They both throw down some Jack. It burns Chloe going down.

“So now I’m in art school. And goddamn if I’ll go back to that hellhole for love or money. I don’t give a fuck what I have to do. I’m not letting someone else plan my fucking life for me.

She isn’t finished, but he cuts her off. “When do I need to take you home?

“I mean …” She trails off.

“What do you have to do next?

“Go to class?” Chloe knots her brows. “But I probably can’t do that in my beach clothes, so I have to change, so I probably should be in my dorm at like nine?

“Perfect. I usually get to the law school to study around nine-thirty. That’ll work out nicely. And yes, I did just ask you to stay over again tonight, if you want to. I can always take you home after we’re done eating, if you want.

She shakes her head. “Can we work on the turtle?

They piece the turtle together for an hour. Then Ash takes out the plastic bag of shark teeth he found that morning, dumps them on the table, and begins teaching her how to tell them apart. He holds up a wicked-looking curved tooth with sharp serrations. “This is a tiger-shark. You found a sand tiger tooth, this sharp skinny one.

“This is what you want.” Chloe shakes her head. “This. This turtle and these teeth.

He ignores her. “You ready for bed? Tides are early.

Chloe can’t help it. He’s so gorgeous and he’s here and he’s basically hers to play with all she wants and she really, really wants to play with him. “Maybe bed. But not sleeping?

“Then doing what?” Ash grins.

“I’ve been good. It’s been —” Chloe checks her phone “—a while?

“Have you been good?” Ash is suddenly across the room, standing directly in front of her, at his full height, crowding into her space, as if he’s daring her to take a step back. He’s smirking. “Have you been a good girl?

Chloe starts to get wet when he says that; her breath quickens and her heart rate picks up. “Mmm-hmm.” She looks up at him from under her lashes. “Very good. I haven’t asked once.

“But you’re asking now.

“But I waited so long! We had dinner and we worked on the turtle, and —”

“Uh-huh.” His hand closes over her wrist. “And you just can’t wait any longer, can you?

“I didn’t say that.

“Oh, so you can wait.” Ash settles back into a chair. “Okay.


He grins again. “You’re fun to play with.

She scowls. “You’re mean fun to tease.

“No, I mean to play games with. But not today. Today let’s go take each other’s clothes off before we have to go back to the real world tomorrow.” He sighs. “Come on. Let’s not think about that. And we want to go to bed soon anyway. Tides are early.

They’re going to Folly again in the morning — he really does this every single morning. Because, as he’s told her, some days, it’s not only shark teeth, it’s bigger fossils. And he wants to find them.

Ash takes her clothes off, like he did in the bathroom. He unzips her hoodie, and smiles when he sees nothing but a bra under it. He pulls her to him by the waistband, unbuttons her jeans, and lets them fall. She undoes his pants at the same time. Black briefs again. Ash pulls off his T-shirt. Chloe drops to her knees and nuzzles his cock. It’s instantly hard. Ash groans.

She flicks her eyes up at him: big innocent eyes.

“Do you know how to suck cock, pretty?

She shakes her head. Because she doesn’t, not really. And it’s much more fun this way.

“Do you need me to teach you how to do it, if you’re going to tease me like this?” He steps out of his briefs. His cock’s big and stiff. Chloe does what she’s always wanted to: she holds his shaft while she laps all the stickiness off his head. Ash groans. “That’s so fucking hot. That good spot you hit when you jerk me off? Suck my whole head in your mouth and rub your tongue there.” Chloe does as she’s told. His head is big and silky-soft, and she instantly finds the rougher part he wants licked. She holds his shaft in her hand and tongues it, then sucks his head hard, takes him out and licks him like and lollipop, runs him over her lips, and does it all again. His fingers tangle in her hair. “Good girl. That’s it.” He lets her keep it up for a while, sucking and licking.

“Now open your mouth wide for me, pretty, and take it all in until it hits the back of your throat. Come on, pretty. That’s it, all in, wrap your lips around me tight.” He gasps once he hits her throat. “Now massage my cock with your lips and lick as much as you can, sweetheart.” Ash plays with her hair. “That’s it. Pull back on it, keep your lips tight, and suck my head again while you jerk me off.

Chloe goes back to sucking and licking while she works him with her hand, until he’s groaning. Then, unbidden, she takes him in again, massaging, then sliding him out. This is what will make him come, and she does it, picking up some speed. “Keep one hand on my thigh and use the other to play with my balls.” Ash’s legs are shaking; he’s close. She slides down the length of his cock again, sucking as hard as she can manage with him being so large. Her lips massage his shaft. When he hits her throat again, she licks and licks his cock, stroking his balls, which start drawing up. He’s going to go fast. She slides forward on him quickly then back again, picking up a quick, hard rhythm instead of playing slowly with him. A deep groan comes from Ash’s chest; his muscles are taut with want and straining until he thrusts his cock once into her mouth, startling her, and spurts come down the back of her throat. She strokes his balls as he keeps coming and coming, so much of it. She sucks at his head softly, kisses him, then swipes at her mouth.

“Now it’s your turn, sweet thing. And I mean every word of that statement.” He picks her up suddenly and sets her on the bed. God, he’s so strong. Ash stretches out next to her. “I bet you taste so good, baby.” His breath is warm in her ear. Oh my God, Chloe has never had a guy go down on her. Not that no one’s offered; she’s just put them off. It’s just so much.

“I’ve never done that.

“I know.” Ash uses that same sexy whisper, “And we’re both going to love every second of it.

“Do you really like to?” Chloe’s heard her brothers; heard how guys talk and what they talk about.

Ash stops, draws away from her ear, and nuzzles into her neck. “Yes.” He whispers like he’s telling a secret. “Yes. I absolutely love it. I love making you feel that good. I love the way it tastes. It’s so fucking hot, I’ll probably be hard again when I finish. But I can’t guarantee I’ll be any good at it. I haven’t done it in years and years.

Chloe knots her brows. “You haven’t?

“No. I haven’t. I generally claim I don’t go down on women and leave it there. I don’t want to just —” Ash pauses. “But I’d really, really like to right now, Chloe. I know you’ve never — but do you want to?


Ash moves between her legs.

“Aren’t you supposed to kiss me first?” Chloe grins at him.

“No. You didn’t kiss me. Only fair. And I want to look at you.” His finger traces her outer lips and she shivers. “I haven’t really had a chance yet.

Chloe lays her head down on the pillow and closes her eyes. Ash kisses just in the middle, right above her clit, and she jumps a little bit. He laughs against her and strokes her thighs. “Shhhhh. It’s only me, honey.” His mouth moves along her outer lips, tracing them in gentle kisses, like he’s trying to get her used to it. Chloe sighs. Then Ash starts licking her. First the same places he kissed, slowly and carefully. Chloe tenses a little bit, but relaxes again as she gets used to it. He starts concentrating on her slit: carefully licking and kissing along her outer lips until she starts to open.

“That’s it. I wanna taste you, sweetheart.” His tongue opens her some more, and when it touches her inner lips, she almost cries out with pleasure. Ash licks her and licks her, unhurriedly, carefully, until she’s open and she must be soaked. Then a finger slides into her and stays still, just pressing against that spot she likes. Chloe whimpers until Ash kisses back where he started, then kisses down. His tongue touches her clit and she almost cries out. He licks her gently, back and forth, up and down, in circles, before he finally fastens his lips around her clit and sucks gently. Chloe arches off the bed at his mouth. Ash laughs against her. He begins moving his finger in and out of her and sucking in a gentle rhythm while she bucks and rocks under him. She’s getting so close. His finger and lips and tongue are amazing, and then suddenly he sucks hard and she shatters, peaking again and again on Ash’s hand and lips and tongue, coming harder as they press on her and help her ride it longer. He keeps sucking softly as she drifts down. Ash sits up. Chloe curls on her side.

“Huh. Guess I’m still decent at it.” Ash grins. “Here.” He pulls the covers up and curls around her. “Did you like that, baby girl?

“That felt so good.

Ash kisses her neck, and she shivers violently. He laughs and hugs her tight. “Sorry. You tasted so good, Chloe. That was fantastic.

Her face reddens.

“Why are girls so insecure about this?” Ash shakes his head. “I don’t curl up and blush after you go down on me. I want a high-five and a nap.

Chloe laughs a little. “I have brothers. I know what they say about girls.

“Then they’re assholes.” Ash says it flatly. “Sorry to disparage your family members, darling.” She snuggles closer. He smells good, like Old Spice and coffee mixed together. “Let’s get to sleep. Tides are early.

They take turns in the bathroom and he hands her his bear. “I’ll wake you up with coffee, okay?

“Okay.” Chloe passes out and doesn’t wake up until Ash is handing her a mug in the dark.

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