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Elias(West Bend Saints #1)(14) by Sabrina Paige
The early morning sunlight streamed through the windows, illuminating everything inside in its cool glow. I ran my fingers lightly across Elias' chest, watching it rise and fall as he breathed in deeply, dead to the world. I glanced over at the clock on the desk - seven in the morning. I couldn't remember the last time I'd been awake this early when I hadn't pulled an all-nighter partying or touring with Viper's band a couple years ago.
I slipped out of bed and padded quietly across the floor to the bathroom, trying to be as silent as I could when I ran the water to brush my teeth. When I came out, Elias was awake. "Sorry," I said, suddenly feeling self-conscious, standing there na**d in front of him. "I tried to be quiet. I didn't mean to wake you."
"It's all right," he said. "I usually don't sleep this much at all, actually." I watched him slip on his leg and stand up, hearing it click into place. He walked by me to the bathroom, his c**k hard, and slapped me lightly on the ass as he passed me. "But seeing you na**d is waking me up now."
When he came out of the bathroom, he took off his prosthetic again and laid down beside me on the bed, pulling my head against his chest. He didn't say anything, but I could hear his heart beating, rapid, underneath my ear.
"How did you lose it?" I asked.
"IED - Improvised Explosive Device," he said. "I'm - I was - EOD." He paused, looked at me before explaining. "Explosive ordnance disposal. We clear bombs. Cleared, I mean. I used to clear bombs. Obviously, I cleared one with my leg. That's not how you're supposed to do it." He laughed, then cleared his throat. "Sorry. Gallows humor."
I rolled over onto my side, rested my hand lightly against his chest. "Where were you deployed?"
"Afghanistan," he said.
"You're not in the EOD anymore?" I asked. For someone who wasn't in the military, he sure had a military look about him. I'd thought that when I first saw him, with the buzzed haircut and the tattoos and his general demeanor.
He shook his head. "Medically retired," he said. His words had a tinge of disgust.
"You don't want to be retired?" I asked.
"Hell no," he said. "I could do my job just fine with the leg. I wanted to deploy again."
"So what happened?"
Elias rolled his eyes. "Retired because of PTSD, which is bullshit," he said.
"Because you don't have it?"
"Hell no, I don't," he said. "That’s just what they called it. Got medically retired instead of getting administratively discharged for a repeated pattern of insubordination.” He emphasized the last phrase and rolled his eyes, but continued talking. “I was on limited duty because of my leg. Couldn’t f**king deal with all the bullshit paper pushers I got assigned to. Fucking caused more problems than when I was in EOD. Ended up getting into it with my lieutenant, this douchebag who’d never deployed, gone outside the wire ever.”
“Outside the wire?”
“So you've got a base or a camp when you’re deployed, right?” he asked. “The perimeter is the wire. Fobbits like him, they stay inside the wire during deployment. Don’t f**king understand how the real world operates.”
“You got kicked out because you got into it with your lieutenant?” I asked. “That seems like a pretty harsh response.”
Elias shrugged. “I guess it was a little more than just getting into it. I punched him in the face. Went to captain’s mast for it.” He must have seen the confused look on my face, because he elaborated. “That’s when you have to go up to see the old man - the commanding officer- he decides your punishment, knocks you down in rank and that kind of shit.”
“So he kicked you out,” I said.
Elias shook his head. “No,” he said. “That has to go through a legal process. He knocked me down in rank and I had to forfeit my pay, but I wasn’t charged with assault. I should have been, but they cut me some slack or whatever. Captain said he thought I needed to see a shrink or something.”
“Did it help?” I asked.
"I’m not broken,” he said. “Just cause I lost my leg doesn’t mean I can’t take care of my own shit.”
"Obviously," I said. It came out more sarcastic sounding than I intended.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
I shrugged. “Nothing," I said. "You just seem like the kind of guy who doesn't rely on anyone."
He narrowed his eyes but didn't say anything. I deliberately left out what I was going to say, which was that anger management didn't seem like the worst idea in the world for someone who got so easily irritated.
"It's not really my thing, relying on people," he said.
He was quiet for a while, but I could see the gears turning in his head. "I do get irritable," he said. "In the parking lot of the store, I didn't mean to jump your shit for looking at my leg."
"No worries," I said. "I figure it's a sore spot."
"It's not, though," he said. "Not really. Doesn't bother me, I mean. I'm luckier than a lot of other guys. It's just a leg, anyway. I'm f**king bionic and shit now."
I trailed my hand down his trim abdomen, then lower, watching his c**k respond to my touch. "You might as well be bionic here, too," I said, my attempt to lighten the mood.
He grinned, making the sides of his blue eyes crinkle. I didn't know what exactly he was carrying with him, but it looked like the weight of the world on his shoulders- until he smiled. Then it was like everything melted away.
"You want me to show you bionic?" he asked, his voice low. I wrapped my hand around the base of his cock, felt it harden at my touch.
"Is that a promise?" I asked. I ran my hand lightly up his c**k and down again, rubbed my thumb over the bead of pr**cum already glistening on the head.
"Come here and I'll show you," he said. He pulled me against him, his hardness pressing against me, and kissed me. When he slipped his hand between my legs, it made me gasp. "I guess you like bionic."
"Just a little," I said. I was starting to think I liked it a lot more than a little.
Afterward, his fingers traced their way lazily down my arm. "I was thinking you probably needed help with getting a rental car this morning," he said. "Right?"
"That would be nice," I said, clearing my throat. "If you wanted to. There's also probably a store open now."
"Fuck, yeah," he said. "I made you a promise last night."
I felt my face flush warm at the thought of what I wanted him to do to me.
"You know how long you're staying?"
"I haven't thought about it," I said. That much was true. None of this had been planned. I had no idea what I was doing here, in West Bend or with him. The entire thing was insane. It was insane to even think about staying here for a few days. I should go back to my life. I needed to go back to my life. Running from a film set was crazy. It wasn't something you did. I couldn't imagine the shitstorm that was going to happen.
I felt his hand over my chest. "Your heart is racing," he said, his voice soft. "And you're all tense."
"I don't know what I'm going to do," I said. "How long I'll stay." That's not true. I knew I couldn't stay long.
"And that's why you're tense?"
"No," I admitted. "It's the thought of what is waiting for me when I go back- the questions, the decisions I need to make..."
"About Viper," he said.
"About everything." I already knew what I wanted to do about Viper. That wasn't even a decision. I wanted him gone, out of my life completely. It was everything else I didn't know how to handle - my family, my career- those were the big questions. Those were the things I couldn't explain- didn't want to explain to a stranger. How could I explain how f**ked up it was, the fact that my mother was who she was, that I kept supporting her after everything she'd done to me, that she still did to me? It was this weird, dysfunctional thing, my relationship with my family.
It was embarrassing.
I couldn't explain it to an outsider.
He didn't ask me to elaborate. "Are you starving?" he asked. "I'm hungry."
I was grateful he changed the subject. "Absolutely."
"You sure you want to eat outside?" June asked. "I only have this small table out here, so you'll have to do some balancing with your plates, especially on these rocking chairs."
"I think we're okay," I said. "It's so beautiful out here. I don't get the chance to do this kind of thing very often." Sitting outside on the front porch like this, enjoying the crisp Colorado air, away from smog-infested Los Angeles, made me almost feel like a regular person. June's border collie, Bailey, curled up a few feet away, basking in the sunlight.
June looked back and forth from Elias to me. "I hope you had a good night's sleep," she said, as she bent down to set a basket of muffins and a bowl of fruit on the small table between our chairs. When she stood up, her expression looked innocent, but her eyes twinkled.
"Great night's sleep," Elias said. "Best night of sleep I've ever had, actually."
Cade walked across the meadow between the houses, Stan perched on his hip. He set him down, and Stan toddled around the front porch, exploring. "Hey, babe." Cade kissed June on the cheek. "Good morning."
"He's so cute," I said, as Stan put his little arms around Bailey and Bailey sighed.
"Cute and a handful," Cade said. "Since he started walking, he's on the move all the time. Came by to see if you needed anything in town, babe."
"I'll go inside and get my list for you," June said. "Keep an eye on Stan for a minute?"
"Did you need that rental?" Cade turned toward me.
"I'll take her into town to get it." Elias spoke quickly. "If you want, I mean."
I nodded. "That would be nice."
June walked out, and slid her arms around Cade. He took the paper from her hand. "I won't be home until lunch," he said. "I've got a piece I'm working on for Randall Edwards, and then I'll grab the stuff you need from the store."
June shook her head. "I don't like that guy," she said. "He's not good for this town."
Cade shrugged. "Can't choose your customers," he said. He kissed her on the cheek, and then walked over to little Stan, kissing him on the forehead. "See you later, buddy."
June's expression was dark, as she watched Cade walked back to the house and get on his motorcycle.
Elias had a funny look on his face. "Trouble in West Bend?" he asked.
June didn't look at him when she answered. She shook her head. "Just small town politics," she said. "It would probably seem silly to you, being from the big city and all. Cade is doing a custom job for this guy, works with this company, wants to set up shop in West Bend."
"Doesn't sound like you think that's a good idea," Elias said. I wondered why he was interested in small town politics in a town he didn't seem to want to even be in again. But I guess he was probably still tied to his hometown. I didn't have the same interest in mine. My hometown could burn, for all I cared.
June exhaled. "A lot of people are for it," she said. "This company, it would mean jobs for a lot of people locally. Some of the locals here are in favor of it. I'm not a fan of it. Don't like the idea of some company coming in here and drilling away at West Bend."
"An oil company?" I asked. "Do they drill for oil in Colorado?"
June shook her head. "Minerals," she said. "Mining. A lot of people here are getting offers on their land."
Elias cleared his throat, and June looked over at Stan. "Excuse me while I grab my child, before he eats Bailey's fur. We're going to leave you two alone now, give you some space. Just wanted to drop off some breakfast, make sure you didn't need anything."
"Thank you, June," I said.
After June left, Elias appeared to be deep in thought. I wasn't sure what that was about, but something June had said was bothering him.
I didn't ask what.
"Well," I said, changing the subject, "do you want to go get cleaned up, and take me into town?"
Elias smiled, but he still stared off into the distance as he answered, and I could tell his thoughts were someplace else. "Depends," he said.
"On what?" I asked.
"On whether you want to get dirty with me later."
"There is a convenience store in this town of yours, right?" I asked, thinking of the condoms.
Elias nodded. "Sure is."
"I would definitely like to get dirty with you," I said, my heart racing at the thought. In fact, it was the only thing I could think about.