Nobody's Hero
she
gasped, trying to fill her aching lungs.
    Throwing her head back, she gave him access
to her neck, and he pressed kisses against the throbbing pulse
there. His whiskers scratched and tickled at the same time. Her
clit throbbed in response. As a teenager, she hadn’t imagined him
with whiskers. She stifled a giggle. What a giddy feeling. At last,
Adam was kissing her, loving her.
    Well, maybe love was too strong a word. He
wasn’t ready for that. But she definitely hoped he would make love
to her. Again. Slowly. With great feeling.
    His lips nuzzled into the hollow of her
throat, and she felt her girly bits growing wet. Her entire body
tingled at the awareness he awoke inside her. More . Dragging
her hands from around his neck, she touched his chest with
trembling hands, wishing he wasn’t wearing a t-shirt now. She
wanted to see his chest in the light coming from her bathroom door.
She hadn’t been able to see much of him before in the darkness of
his room.
    Adam’s hand moved from her breast and grasped
her wrists, pressing her hands against his chest. Confused, she
lifted her head and watched him close his eyes as he leaned forward
until his forehead pressed against hers. He took several raspy
breaths, apparently having as much trouble breathing as she
was.
    Don’t pull away from me, Adam. Not
again.
    He sat up and opened his eyes, a look of pain
on his face. No! Karla felt her heart squeezing tight before
he even spoke.
    “I can’t do this to you, hon.”
    “I want you to do this with me, not to me.”
    “You deserve better than me.”
    Her voice sounded hoarse when she spoke.
“Adam, they don’t come any better than you.”
    “You don’t know anything about me.”
    “Bullshit. I know you’re a good and honorable
man. I know you would lay down your life for someone you love.” Yes, including me. “And I know you have a lot of hurts
buried deep inside you that are fucking with your brain.” When his
eyes grew round at her second f-bomb, she continued. “When are you
going to stop thinking of me as a child? I’m not sixteen anymore,
Adam. And I’m not crushing on you like I did back then. I came to
you this summer because I needed you to help me deal with Ian’s
death. Then I realized how much I’ve loved you all these years. But
when you were lying in that hospital bed, I realized how much you
need me, too. Please don’t shut me out. I can help slay your
dragons.”
    Adam pulled away as if she’d struck him.
“What are you talking about? I don’t have any dragons left. I’ve
slayed them already.”
    “ I’ll be good. Don’t lock me in there,
Mommy!”
    Karla remembered Adam lying in the hospital
bed, feverish from infection, and screaming those words out in a
high-pitched child’s voice. She reached up to stroke his cheek,
wondering how to get him to open up to her about the pain buried so
deep inside he didn’t even know it was there.
    “I want to know you better. Tell me about
yourself, Adam. Where did you grow up?”
    He seemed wary, as if uncertain of her
motives. “Minneapolis.”
    “Any siblings?”
    “No.”
    This was going to be like pulling teeth. She
needed to ask open-ended questions that would elicit more than
one-word responses. Karla tried to stifle a grin. “What was school
like for you?”
    “Fine.”
    She sighed. “Which subjects did you like—and why ?”
    “History and math.”
    When he didn’t continue, she coaxed,
“Why?”
    He drew a deep breath. “History because I
liked reading about wars and military campaigns. I figured even as
a teenager it was good to learn from past mistakes and not repeat
them. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done.” He paused a
moment, lost in thought, then blinked himself back to the present.
“Math because it’s like a puzzle, a challenge. I like finding ways
to solve problems using predictable mathematical rules that don’t
change on a whim. The way to the answer is the same yesterday and
today as it will be

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