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I'm Not Letting Go

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I swallow hard as I shut the door. My date with Cameron had gone well. So well he’d invited me back to his Lassiter’s room for some drinks. And I can’t help being nervous. Could this end with us in his bed?


I turn & walk further into his room, finding him standing by the bar, pouring us drinks.


“Take a seat on the couch,” He says. “I’ll bring these over.”


I sit down & try to calm my nerves before he comes over. He smiles as he hands me my drink, before sitting down next to me.
“Did you enjoy tonight?” He asks.


I nod. “Did you?”


He smirks. “Of course.”


I give him a small smile.


“You don’t have to be so nervous, Aaron,” He says. “I’m not going to hurt you.”


“I know, I just…” I sigh. “I don’t know why I’m so nervous all of a sudden.”


He places his hand on my shoulder. “It’s okay.”


****


I pull her closer & she relaxes against me. I press my lips to her temple, letting my lips linger. She’s sitting between my legs as we sit on one of the deck chairs in my backyard.


“We’re going to make this work,” I say.


“Are we?”


“I’m in love with you.”


“And I’m in love with you,” She replies, holding onto my arms.


I frown. “Why do I feel a ‘but’ coming?”


“Your sister hates me, Ned,” She replies. “That’s going to affect us moving forward.”


“Only if we let it.”


“What if that’s not enough?”


I put my hand under her chin & lift her face to look at me. “I’m not going to give up on us.”


“Am I really worth destroying your relationship with Piper?”


“Elly,” I sigh, resting my forehead against hers.


“I know how much having a family means, & losing them because of your choices.”


She inhales sharply & I can feel she's fighting back tears.


“Hey,” I reply, wrapping my arms around her tighter. “Shhh, it’s okay.”


She shakes her head. “You shouldn’t be forced to choose between her & me.”


“I’m not,” I reply. “I’m choosing both of you. We can find a way for all of us to be happy.”


She shakes her head again. I cup her cheek & she wraps her fingers around my wrist.


“This is only going to go one way,” She says. “Be it now, or a week, or months from now. It’s going to end up in heartbreak &… I… I don’t want to do it.”


“Do what?”


“Struggle to make things work.”


“Isn’t our love worth fighting for?”


She turns around, kneeling between my legs. I raise my hands, cupping her cheeks as she places hers on my chest.


“You should put your family first, while you still can.”


“You’re part of my family.”


She shakes her head.


“Elly,” I plead, my thumbs rubbing over her cheeks.


“This is the wrong time for us,” She replies. She swallows hard. “I love you, but… but I can’t do this. I can’t drive a wedge between you & Piper.”


“Give me a chance to work this out between you two,” I plead.


She shakes her head, tears running down her face. “Maybe down the track we can start over.”


“I don’t want to wait.”


She shakes her head. I pull her in, capturing her lips with mine. And for a minute she reciprocates… & then she slips away.
I sigh, fighting back tears.


****


He shifts closer & I feel like my heart jumped into my throat. His eyes drop to my lips & I can tell he wants to kiss me. His eyes return to mine. He takes my glass & places both glasses down on the table, before turning back to me.


“You want me… I want you,” He says, leaning in. “So why not just go there?”


I open my mouth to reply, cut off by his lips pressing against mine. I’m tense, but when he pulls back, I find myself placing my hand on the back of his head & pulling him back in.


He moans. “That’s more like it,” he says against my mouth.


He unbuttons my shirt as we kiss, his hands sliding under the material & rubs over my chest. He pushes my shirt aside & then kisses down my chest. He undoes my belt & palms my bulge, smirking when I moan.


****


“I’m so sorry,” Susan says as we stand in the kitchen.


“It's for the best,” I reply. “I don't want to be the one to come between him & Piper.”


“Even if it means breaking your heart?”


I’m about to reply when there's a knock at the door.


Susan frowns. “Who could that be so late at night?”


I shrug.


“I’ll get it,” She replies, before crossing to the door.


I take a sip of my tea as she opens the door. I see her surprised look.


“Ned,” She says, surprised.


“Hi Susan,” He replies. “I’m sorry to drop by so late.”


“No, it's fine. Come… Come in.”


I glare at her as she holds the door open wider. Ned steps in, wearing the same jeans & shirt as before, but now with his black leather jacket with red detail- the one I love. His hair is ruffled more than usual. He sees me & smiles.


“I’m… I’ll leave you be,” Susan says.


“You don't have to, Susan,” I reply.


“You two need your privacy,” She replies. “Goodnight.”


“Night, Susan,” Ned replies.


I take the opportunity of him not looking to give Susan a look. She smiles before heading into her bedroom. Ned turns back to me.


“You should go.”


“No.”


I raise an eyebrow. “Excuse me?”


“I’m not leaving,” He replies. “I’m not letting go of another woman I love. We deserve to be happy, & I know you think the way to get that is to not be together, but I’m not okay with it. I’m going to fight for us.”


I sigh.


“I care about you,” He says. “I care deeply for you. Okay? I’m going crazy because I can’t lose you. Yeah, it scares me that I could lose you. I could lose her too. But I believe that you’re worth putting up a fight.” He crosses to me. “I’m crazy for you. I’m so in love with you. More than I have for any woman. You’re trying to be selfless & giving me the chance to have the family I’ve never really had. But…” He sighs. “I don’t see that ever being complete if I don’t have you.” He cups my cheeks, turning me to look at him. “Just know that even if I can’t be with you, I’m going to find a way of you & her to get along. Because that’s how much I love you. I’m not giving up, not giving in. I’ll do anything for you.”


I see the burning desire in his eyes, but also the pain.


“I just wanted you to know how I feel,” He says. “I couldn’t sleep without saying my side.” He gently rubs my cheeks with his thumbs, & I swear he’ll kiss me. He swallows hard, before slowly dropping his hands. He steps back. “It’s your choice now, Miss Conway.”


That’s the stab in my heart, the harsh formality. The way his voice breaks. I feel my breath ripped from my lungs, tears stinging my eyes.


And in the split second as he crosses to the door, I know what my choice is.


****


She grabs my arm as I reach with the other for the security door handle. I turn back to her, heart breaking as I see the tears threatening to fall. She stares at me for what feels like an eternity before placing her hands on the back of my neck as she steps closer & presses her lips to mine. I instinctively wrap my arms around her, pulling her against me as I reciprocate her kiss with the same ferocity.


Then it hits- we’re not together.


“No,” I say, pulling us apart. I’m not letting her break my heart again tonight.


“I’m sorry,” She whispers. “For pushing you away. I thought it was the right thing to do… but I see now how wrong I was.” She looks at the ground. “I didn’t realise how much I felt for you. I thought it was all just sexual attraction.” She lifts her head, meeting my eyes. “Your words made me realise it’s more than that. The amount of pain in your voice when you called me Miss Conway… it hit me hard. It was as if someone was stabbing me in the heart. That’s when I knew…” She smiles a little. “I’m madly in love with you too.”


I grab her hips & pull her in, capturing her lips for a tender kiss. I slide one hand up her back to cup the back of her head. We stop, breathless, & I rest my forehead against hers.


“I want to make this work,” She says. “If you’ll have me.”


I smile. “You’re stuck with me, Elly.”


She smiles.


****


I sigh & roll over as I wake, stretching my arm out… finding his side empty.


“Well, morning sleepy,” Cam says.


I roll onto my back, finding him standing in the ensuite door, a towel wrapped low around his hips. He smirks.


“Fuck, it’s turning me on seeing you lying in bed,” He says.


I smile sheepishly as I sit up. He comes over to me & straddles me.


“Erin was right,” He says. “Introducing us.”


“You don’t… find it… weird?” I ask. “You have basically a brotherly relationship with my sister.”


He shrugs. “Does it bother you?”


I shake my head. He smiles.


“Good,” He replies. “Cause I don’t want you to be weirded out when I do this…”


He kisses me.


****


I gasp as he pulls me back into bed, his other arm wrapping round me as he holds me against his naked form, kissing my neck.


“I’ve got to get up.”


“Not yet,” he says, lips brushing my skin.


“Ned…” I sigh.


“Just five more minutes,” he whispers into my ear before lightly nipping my earlobe.


It takes us an hour before he relinquishes & we dress before heading out to the kitchen. Karl, Susan, Ben & Angus are already having breakfast- Karl & the boys at the table, Susan in the kitchen. We smile at the trio before making our way to the kitchen. Susan smirks.


****


I grab the food I want from the fridge, carefully holding everything in one hand as I push the door shut. I turn & cross to the bench & place the food on it. I pause to tug Jay’s shirt down. With us both free for the day & Felicity still at childcare, we’d had some fun in bed. I’m wearing just my panties & his shirt. I start cutting up the food, eager to get our snack organised & head back to him, knowing he’s waiting in our bed.


With it all organised on our plate, I pack up & dump the knife & cutting board in the sink. I grab the plate & our bottles of water & head towards the bedrooms. Just as I reach the doorway through, there’s a knock at the front door. Sighing, I turn & put it all down. There’s another knock as I tug his shirt down again as I turn towards the door, fully aware of how inappropriate this choice of outfit is to be answering the door in. I reach the door & pull it open, surprised to see a teenage girl, around Piper’s age standing there.


“Hi,” She says, smiling. She looks nervous. “Um… I...” She sighs, & refocuses. “I’m looking for my brother.”


I frown, confused.


“He lives here,” She adds.


I frown. “Uh… My brothers live here & so do I,” I reply. “I think you’re at the wrong house.”


“Mmm no, this is the right place,” She replies.


She fumbles around in her handbag, & that’s when I spot the suitcase behind her. She digs out a piece of paper, unfolds it & holds it up to me.


“See! This address,” She replies.


I take the paper, staring at it. I don’t recognise the writing, & there’s no name on it to indicate who she is. I look up at her, trying to work out who she could be. She smiles.


“What’s taking you so long?” Jay asks.


His hand slides across my back as he steps up beside me, & I hear his breath catches. I tear my eyes away from her in time to see his smile fading as he stares at her. I look at the girl, seeing she’s smiling.


“Hey, stranger,” She says to him.


He swallows. “Milly?”


What?!