“Please don’t go.” Leo brushed his fingers across my back. “Just…spend the night.”
“Absolutely not,” I coldly responded. I pressed the button on my phone and squinted as it lit up the dark room. “You’re a mess and I don’t need to still be here when you sober up and fall into your morning routine of regret.”
“Danny,” he whined, “I need you. Here. With me.” I felt the bed move under his weight as Leo moved closer to me.
“Just stop,” I said setting my phone face down on the nightstand rising to my feet. I muttered a curse when my feet hit the cold tiled floor. I don’t know what I was thinking picking those stupid slabs of icy torture for Leo’s apartment. Then again, I’d never thought I’d be my best friend’s regular one night stand, but here I was feeling my way through the dark to find my clothes at 3am on a Wednesday. Again.
“Danny,” he continued to whine, “come lay down with me. Just for an hour.”
I knew better than to fall for that again. I thought I could slip away after he fell asleep, but he had this crazy tight grip on me and I had to lay there until he woke up. He’d made me late for work and, somehow, guilty for spending the night.
When I didn’t answer him, he huffed, “You never wanna sleep together anyone.”
I rolled my eyes at his stupid comment. So what if we’d had sleepovers every night for 7 years? We were kids. We didn’t know that one of us would get so used to it that we’d have trouble sleeping in separate beds, let alone separate countries. He’d moved to England for 15 years without so much as a goodbye, then I found him when I moved into the apartment next door to him.
What made it worse was that he’d heard me gagging in my bathroom at 6am; a side effect of my new anti-anxiety meds not mixing well with my sleeping pills. He broke down my front door trying to get to me…well, he would have if I hadn’t been rushing for the bathroom as soon as I got off the elevator and ended up leaving my front door wide open. I’d suffered major mental issues because he’d left and now he knew it.
He tried to give me my space in exchange for dinner once a week at his place, and it was working out just fine until his bitch of a girlfriend dumped him and he begged me to go out drinking with him.
The thing with Leo Harper is that he may look fancy in his Armani suits and his gold Rolex, but it’s ridiculous that the CEO of one of the biggest fashion magazines in the world is shit when it comes to holding his liquor.
The poor bastard was red in the face after 2 shots of Jack. It was just sad, but of course that didn’t stop me from buying him multiple rum and cokes. It was the first chance I had to see him drunk. If only I’d realized how good a smooth talker he was before I did. It’d taken him all of 5 minutes to convince me to get in his bed. And I was sober!
“You’re not listening to me,” Leo breathed on my neck, scaring the crap out of me.
“Fucking christ, Leo! Don’t sneak up on me like that!” I turned to face him and instantly mentally smacked myself for doing so.
He was standing there, still fully naked, staring at me with the look of lust that had started us off earlier that night.
“You’re so fucking hot when you’re angry,” he whispered.
“Thanks,” I muttered pulling on my jeans. “I think my shirt’s in the living room. I’m gonna grab it then I’m leaving. I’ll lock the door on my way out.” I walked back to the bed to grab my phone, feeling his burning gaze watching me as I moved.
I expected him to say something as I grabbed my shoes on my way out his bedroom door, but he stayed silent. Standing in the doorway, I turned around and found him still staring at me.
“Goodnight, jackass,” I said, using his nickname that I affectionately gifted him a few months ago.
“Don’t call me that,” he growled. I could see he was pissed, so I tried to calm him down.
“I’m just kidding, dude. Relax and get some rest. You’re wasted and I know you have an early meeting later.”
“You’re a fucking tease.”
I know I’d mentioned a work thing, but somewhere in his drunken brain, he must have thought I was flirting with him. “Okay…go to bed, Leo.”
“You act like you’re my friend, pretending to be concerned about me, but you’re just another selfish bitch. Just like Jenna.”
“Okay, what the fuck is your problem?” He just had the nerve to compare me to his slutty ex and seriously thought I was gonna stand there and take it? He had clearly lost his shit.
“You are! You come here every other night to have sex and then the minute we’re done you up and leave! Who the fuck does that?”
“I do when the only other option is waking up to your whiny, pathetic ass in a freezing cold apartment.”
“Oh please. You’re just afraid of confrontation.”
He was seriously starting to piss me off. “First of all, I am not afraid of confrontation, and you of all people should know that. And second, you’re the one who calls me at all hours of the night demanding that I come be your little fuck toy so you don’t have to spend money on a professional. And three, I don’t stay the night because you don’t understand how degrading it feels when the person you just slept with apologizes to you twenty thousand times and then repeatedly tells himself that what happened was a mistake and it can never happen again!”
My yelling caused him to look away from me and mutter something about not wanting a prostitute.
“I’m sorry, I can’t hear you when you mumble to yourself. I believe you were trying to tell me off, like you’ve gone completely mental.”
He huffed. “I don’t want to pay someone else for sex. I want you.”
He wasn’t making his case any better, but then again it was my fault for arguing with a drunk. I’d learned not to do that when my dad would yell at me.
“Thanks. It’s nice to know that I’m not even good enough for you to pay me to sleep with you,” I bitterly said. “Go fuck yourself, Leo because I sure as hell won’t be.” I stormed into the living room, angrily looking for my shirt.
“What? Wait!” he yelled from his room. I heard something fall, followed by, “Shit.”
I pulled my burgundy tank top from under the couch, half wondering how it ended up there, half judging how much longer I had until Leo successfully made it out his room, and considering I heard his bare footsteps quickly moving down the hall, I knew I needed to leave. Like 2 minutes ago.
I slipped my shirt over my head and hurried to the door. Clicking the last lock out of place, I pulled the door open, only to have it slammed shut from behind me.
“Let. Go,” I hissed.
I felt his muscular frame pressed against my back and his breath on my shoulder as he panted. I refused to turn and look at him, so instead I optioned looking at his hands pressed against the door.
“No,” he eventually said. “You’re not running away from me this time.”
I opened my mouth to respond when his arms lowered and held me to his chest.
“Get the fuck off me,” I said through my gritted teeth.
He squeezed me tighter and buried his face in my hair. He let out a muffled sigh, followed by silence.
I struggled to break free of his hold, but it was no use. He was stronger than me, and we both knew it. Quietly, I waited for him to say or do anything, but he never moved. I swear, if this son of a bitch fell asleep standing up–
“It’s you,” he whispered.
“Yes. I’m me. Now let me go,” I responded.
I felt him shake his head, and then lift it. “It was always supposed to be you.”
“What are you talking about?” He’d gone off the deep end again, completely changing the conversation out of nowhere.
“It wasn’t Ashlynn, Morgan, Tatiana, Rachael, Lana, Rosita, Anastasia, and sure as hell not Jenna.”
Hearing him list his previous sex bunnies made me feel even less at ease. “Look, I don’t care about who you slept with. I’m sure there were problems with all of them. Just–”
“They all had the same problem.”
“Good. At least you know what to avoid. Now let me–”
“They weren’t you.”
His matter of fact statement made me fall silent.
“I thought I could use them to get over you, but no replacement was ever as good as the original.”
“I-if you tried hard enough you could’ve made a new best friend.” I almost didn’t recognize my voice as it slipped out in a shaky whisper.
“I don’t want a new best friend. I want you. As my girlfriend.”
His declaration completely floored me, so all I could come up with was an almost inaudible, “Oh.”
Leo clearly knew what he did to my head just then because he began kissing my neck. I closed my eyes as one of his hands slipped under my shirt and found its way to my chest. I let out a small whimper as he gently nibbled my ear. Leave it to him to hit all my weak spots at once to make me compliant.
“Danielle.” The seductive way he said my name sent a shiver throughout my body.
“Y-yes?” I moaned.
“Say you’ll be mine.”
I almost did as he commanded, when his phone rang from on the coffee table. The loud vibration on the glass surface caught his attention for only a second, but it was enough for me to compose myself and slip out of his hands.
“Goodbye,” I said quickly walking to the door.
He reaction time was still hindered from the several beers he downed earlier, so by the time he looked in my direction, I was already out his door and on my way into mine.
As I went to close my door, I could see him rushing to his, shock written all over his face. I quickly closed and locked the door, and leaned against it for support as he banged on it, repeatedly calling my name.
Leo Harper knew how to get to someone. It was his job as a businessman. He knew what to say and do to get what he wanted. And at that moment all he wanted was me to satisfy the bulge in his pants. I knew that. So why did I feel like he truly meant it when he said he wanted me to be his girlfriend? And why did I so desperately want to say yes?
He’d messed me up for life once and he was starting to do it again. I already could barely handle waking up at 2am with a splitting headache or spewing my guts out all night and being forced to work on a half hour of sleep, if I was lucky enough to even get any sleep. I thought having him back in my life would’ve made things better, not worse. It damn near killed me to find out he was engaged to that whore when we first reunited. Now it killed me to know all he wanted was to get in my pants…and that I actually wanted him to.
I couldn’t deny the small tingle I got every time my phone buzzed late in the night when he told me to come over. It felt good to have him touch my skin the way he did. When we had sex, it was like a missing part of me came back and made me feel whole again. Leo was what I was missing. He’d always been part of who I was, and when he left, that part of me went with him.
I deserved to feel guilty because I’d done the same thing he had–trying to replace him with someone else. There was a Michael, a Tony, a Richard, and even another Danny, but none of them even came close to making me feel like Leo did, so I eventually gave up. Sure, I’d still go home with someone every now and then, but I’d come to terms that I’d never find someone to love.
I slid to the floor as Leo’s persistence faded out. He’d pushed his way back into my life and I’d let him. It was my fault that I was hiding out in my apartment instead of dealing with him head on. He knew too much about me, and I knew too little about him, for it to be a fair fight. What made it worse was that he might have been lying when he said he wanted me, but if I’d told him I was his, I would have meant it. I was madly in love with him.