An hour later and I’m walking in the door of my apartment, throwing my bag, cuffs and badge on the kitchen counter. I no longer have either of my guns and as of thirty minutes ago, I have no job to go to either.
“This is fucking bullshit,” I say as I pour myself a large scotch. Throwing it back in one go, I glance at my phone, which is lying beside my keys. Picking it up, I reopen Erin’s message.
Erin: I’d really love that, Ryan. But if it’s easier, I can always come to you xx
The weekend is only two days away, but as of now, I have nowhere I need to be between now and then. Knowing there’s really only one place I want to be anyway, and only one person who can make all of this shit go away, I walk into my room and quickly throw some clothes into a bag. I ditch the sling before taking a quick shower so I can wash off the sweat and blood from tonight. I then pull on a long-sleeved t-shirt and a pair of worn jeans, before locking up my apartment and walking to my truck.
Forty-five minutes later and I’m pulling into Erin’s drive. I got a good run up considering it’s two o’clock in the morning on a Thursday. I didn’t bother telling her I was coming and as I kill the ignition, I hope she’s left her spare key under the mat, even though I’ve told her a hundred times not to.
I walk quietly up the path and sure enough, when I lift the mat, there’s her key. But this time there’s a note too and as I lift it to the streetlight, I smile at what she’s written.
Keep the key Ryan, then I won’t need to leave it for you.
Shaking my head, I quietly unlock her front door and walk inside. The house is silent, so I dump my bag in the hall and strip off my clothes, leaving them in a pile by the front door. I walk naked down to her bedroom, quietly sliding into the bed and pulling her gorgeously warm body against mine.
Erin stirs in my arms before freezing as she registers that someone else is in bed with her. “Shhh, baby,” I whisper, pressing a kiss to her head. “It’s just me.”
“Ryan,” she says, her voice husky from sleep. “What are you doing here?”
I exhale, wondering how the fuck I’m supposed to explain this to her. I’m about to try when she feels the bandage on my arm. I can’t help sucking in a breath as she runs her fingers over the fresh wound. “Fuck,” she says, sitting up now and turning on a light.
I blink in the sudden brightness before registering Erin, who’s wearing my Red Sox t-shirt and staring at me with a look of concern. “What the fuck happened?” she says, her fingers hovering over the bandage.
“It’s nothing,” I say, reaching for her. “Come here, baby.”
“Ryan,” she says, her voice firm. “You’ve just shown up here in the middle of the night. You have a bandage on your arm and your hands are shaking. What the fuck’s going on?”
I let out a deep breath knowing I owe her the truth, regardless of whether I want to burden her with it. “Remember that job I told you about?” I ask. She nods at me. “Well, it went down tonight, I went straight there after I left you at the school. Turned out to be a bit of a shitfight,” I say, my eyes still on her, watching, waiting for her reaction. “Shots were fired, that’s how I got this,” I say, gesturing to my arm.
“Oh, god, Ryan,” Erin cries, scooting closer as she wraps her arms around me.
“It’s okay, baby,” I tell her, running a hand up and down her back. “It’s just a scratch, nothing serious.”
“It must be serious if you’re here,” she says, her voice shaking now. “How can you be here when you have to be back at work in a couple of hours?”
I gently push her back so I can look at her. A lone tear falls down her cheek and it breaks my heart to think she’s worried about me like this. I gently brush it away with my thumb. “I’m on leave, so I don’t have to go to work.”
“Leave?” she says. “For a scratch?”
I sigh. “It’s not for this,” I say.
“What for then?” she whispers and I can see the fear on her face.
I take a deep breath as the events of tonight flash before me. It’s the first time I’ve actually stopped to think about what happened tonight, how close things came to going in a very different direction. The whole drive up here, I’d been so pissed off about being off the case after all the time I’d put into it, that I hadn’t stopped to think about what would have happened if Joe hadn’t distracted the guy and allowed me to get the shot.
Would I have caught a bullet instead?
The thought suddenly scares the shit out of me as I lie here staring at Erin and try to imagine never being able to see her again. My heart starts pounding in my chest at the thought, my fingers shaking more violently as I swallow hard, forcing down the bile that’s now rising in my throat.
“Ryan,” she whispers again, her fingers tracing my jaw as she sees the change in me.
I reach out and pull her against me, wrapping my arms around her. “I shot two guys tonight,” I whisper against her hair. “Killed them both.”
“Oh, baby,” Erin breathes out as her arms wrap around my waist and squeeze me tight. “I’m so sorry.”
Ryan’s body is trembling in my arms and it takes everything in me not to start crying. A myriad of thoughts fill my head, but I don’t dare say them out loud. Fear and worry and concern grip me as I wonder about what could have happened, what’s to come and what will happen if I should be faced with losing Ryan.
Up until this point, I never gave too much thought about how extremely dangerous his job really is and it wasn’t because I didn’t care about him; it was more about the fact that if I dwelled on it, the worry would consume me. It’s hard enough letting him go back to Boston each time, but couple that with the dangerousness of his job and I’m not sure I could sleep at night.
Before I can stop it, a small stuttered cry escapes my mouth and Ryan pulls away from me.
“Babe,” he says, his voice laced with sympathy. “I’m okay. No worries. Got it?”
He’s not supposed to be comforting me and I can tell he’s trying his best not to lose it, but he’s failing. His hands shake even more as he tucks my hair behind my ears and when I place my hand on his chest, I can feel the fast rhythm of his heartbeat and it does me in.
“Ryan,” I choke out as the tears fall. Knowing I could have lost him forever makes me climb onto his lap, my legs straddling his hips as I press my lips to his in a needy, pleading way.
I kiss his face all over, grateful for the fact that he’s sitting here with me right now, but also angry with him for putting himself in harm’s way.
“Don’t ever do this to me again,” I whisper against his mouth before I place another kiss on his lips.
Ryan’s heart is still pounding beneath my hand; I lean back as I slide my mouth down his chest until my lips reach that exact spot. Stopping, I press my lips to his heart and kiss gently three times, with each kiss, my mind whispers, I love you, I love you, I love you.
I hear his breath catch in his throat and he levels my face with his, before saying, “I need to be inside you, Erin. I need to fucking forget.”
“Anything, baby,” I whisper back as I pull my shirt off.
Right now I would do anything to have my hard ass detective back. His pale white face and his wide eyes are a side of Ryan I have never seen; he looks lost and it breaks my heart.
My breasts fall heavy against my chest and Ryan’s hands cup both of them as the look in his eyes changes from stressed to longing.
Without speaking his lips suck my already taut nipple into his mouth and his teeth bite down harder than I expect causing me to cry out.
“Sorry,” he whispers against my breast as his tongue licks where his teeth just left a mark. Soothing the ache and making wetness form between my thighs, I don’t want to hold back with him tonight. He needs me in every way possible and I’ll give him everything I can.
“Take me, Ryan,” I whimper, needing him as badly as he needs me.
“Erin, I need you,” he moans with desperation in his voice and it nearly breaks me.
Fisting his hard cock in my warm hand, I stroke up and down until I feel him grow firmer and ready. I run my thumb over the drop of moisture that has formed on the head of his cock, sucking my thumb into my mouth, tasting him before I position myself over him.
Ryan watches as my dripping pussy slips easily over his huge cock; his head falling back as he groans out, “You feel so fucking good. I love the way your pussy feels wrapped around my cock.” He groans again loudly while his hands take hold of my hips.
Ryan lifts me up, withdrawing an inch and before I can protest he rams his hips upward, his fingers digging into my hips. My body welcomes the intrusion and I clutch his shoulders as he pumps his cock into my aching pussy, feeling all of him.
There’s an edge of pain mixed with pleasure coursing though my veins as he fucks me ruthlessly and hard.
I wrap my legs around his waist as Ryan’s hips continue thrusting upward, each time his pubic bone pressing into my clit. Taking me with him, his cock still inside me, Ryan stands and forces us against the wall, continuing to fuck me as my pussy clenches and sucks his cock deeper.
Ryan tenses against me, letting out a groaning sound as he growls, “Red, your fucking pussy is like nothing I’ve ever felt before. I love being bare inside you.” Ryan’s body is thrusting desperately into mine until I can’t take anymore.
My orgasm flares wildly and I moan his name, my hands tangling in his hair as his mouth sucks and bites at my breasts and neck, painfully.
Slamming into me, relentless and punishing, Ryan continues fucking me, but he grows distant, his eyes closed and his head thrown back. I pull his mouth to mine, trying to get him to see me as I press my lips softly against his, but he fights the intimateness of my kisses and forces my head to the side.
I feel his teeth bite down on my neck, as he sucks hard, drawing a cry from my lips. “Ryan,” I call out, but in that instant he explodes inside me, thrusting upward roughly, his hands clutched around my upper arms, his fingers cutting into my skin.
I feel hot tears burn my eyes as Ryan releases my arms, my legs slipping from his hips; I stand between his body and the wall. He steps back and exhales loudly, running his hand through his hair as he leaves me rattled and confused.
I follow him into the bathroom and run my hands along his back as bends down to wash his face in the sink, but he shudders at my touch.
“Ryan,” I whisper, my voice gravelly with tears. “Let me help you.”
“No, Erin,” he says muffled by the towel he has covering his face. “There’s nothing wrong. I’ll be fine.”
“You’re not,” I demand and he turns around with fire in his eyes and I back away. But his eyes grow wide and he sucks in a breath that seems almost painful as he raises a trembling hand to cup my cheek. His beautiful blue eyes fearful as he takes in my body.
“Look what I did to you,” he says, his words shaky and full of sadness as I see my refection in the mirror. My arms are already bruising from the force of his hands, my breasts and neck riddled with red welts, and scratch marks mar my stomach and hips. I nearly gasp out loud at the trauma that Ryan inflicted on my body until I see his face. I know he’s hurting and I know no matter what happens I need to help him cope with all of this.
Before I can say a word, Ryan drops to his knees, his cheek pressed to my stomach, his arms wrapped tightly around my hips. I feel the wetness from his tears run down my body as he presses his lips to each of the scratches, making his way up, kissing me as he goes, each one wet with tears.
He pulls me against him in a hug that screams desperation, whispering in my ear, “Erin, I’m so sorry. I’m so fucking sorry, baby.”
His vulnerability shows through as I hold him against me, shushing and running my fingers up and down his back. I want to tell him that I love him and I won’t ever leave, because I know right now he needs me.
“We’re going to do this together,” I tell him and he pulls away from me, a look of confusion on his face. I smile as I take his face in my hands. “I’m not going anywhere.”
“Really?” he asks, almost shocked that I would even consider sticking around.
“Absolutely,” I respond instantly. “Clearly you need someone like me to be the badass in this situation. Get your shit together, Detective,” I say sarcastically and Ryan smiles the first real smile I’ve seen since he crawled into my bed.
“Erin, I don’t know what I did to deserve you, but I’m pretty sure I owe someone big time.”
I nod and wink at him as I take his hand in mine and lead him back to the bedroom.
Climbing into the bed, the sheets cold are in the darkness, and I shiver as they fall over my naked body. Ryan pulls me into his warm body, his hands soothing me as his fingers glide up and down my back.
I love the feel of his bare skin against mine, his breathing slow and even now and his heart beat steady, as we lay in each other arms. My lips brush against his chest as he lets out a long breath. I finally feel him begin to relax and although I know he’s calming, this isn’t over.
“Do you want to talk about it?” I ask him quietly.
He sighs hard and tightens his arms around my body. “Not right now. I just want to hold you and forget this day ever happened.”
I don’t protest, but I know it isn’t that easy. I can’t even begin to comprehend what he’s been through, but I do know, it isn’t just going to disappear. Looking up into his eyes, I press my lips to his in a soft, comforting kiss. I need him to know I care, that I’m here no matter what and I do it the only way I know how.
My tongue slides into his mouth, my hands taking his face as my fingers caress his cheeks. “Go to sleep, baby,” I whisper into his mouth and he smiles.
I wake up an hour later, the bed cold where Ryan should be and I think for just a second that maybe I dreamt it all. That he was never here and he didn’t kill two men last night, but then I see his watch on the nightstand and the reality hits me hard all over again.
I crawl out of bed feeling around in the darkness for my t-shirt, I slip it over my head and pad out into the living room, searching for Ryan.
The back door is open and I see a waft of smoke float up from the deck. Opening the screen door, I find Ryan sitting in a lounge chair looking out onto the water with a cigarette in one hand and glass of scotch in the other, a blanket covering his legs.
“Baby,” I say, pulling the blanket from his legs as I wrap it around me and crawl up the length of his body. I settle myself between his legs, my head resting on his chest. “Please talk to me,” I plead.
He shakes his head and whispers, “No,” into my hair before pressing his lips to the top of my head.
“I need you to. I can’t watch you like this. It’s breaking my heart.” My voice shakes and I feel the tears form once again.
“What do you want me to say, Erin?” he responds back, but his tone is even, almost callous.
I shrug against him and he puts the cigarette to his lips taking a long drag, exhaling hard as I feel him stiffen against me.
“It might help to talk about it,” I answer back, hoping he relaxes, but it seems to make the situation worse.
I look up at him, his jaw is clenched and his body tense as he looks me in the eyes and repeats, “What do you want me to say?” His voice grows louder and firmer as he speaks. “Do you want me to say that I don’t care that I killed these men? That they deserved to die? That I was just doing my job?” His tone is fierce and his eyes grow dark as he continues, spitting out harshly, “I killed someone’s son today, someone’s dad, someone’s brother. Someone loved these people and I took them away. I didn’t even think about it, Erin. I didn’t even stop and think about it.”
Ryan sucks in a deep breath and launches his glass of scotch out towards the water. His hands wrap around the arms of the chair, squeezing until his knuckles turn white and his hands stop shaking.
“But the worst thing of all, the thing that I can’t stop thinking about, what is killing me inside, is that I almost lost you. What if one of those fuckers had shot me? What if I hadn’t reacted the way I did?” He swallows hard and stops short of continuing.
I don’t know what to say to him and I’d be lying if I said the thought hadn’t been burned into my brain since he told me what happened. What would I do if I lost him? I can’t even begin to process it.
“But it didn’t happen,” I whisper.
“I know,” he says back. “But it still doesn’t mean I’m okay with any of it.”
“That’s why you need to talk to someone,” I say, running my fingers along his chest, causing him to shiver at my touch.
“I have to make an appointment with the shrink my captain says I have to see before I can return to work.”
I cringe at his words; the thought of him returning to a job that almost took him from me and after all we’ve just been through, it is too much to bear. But I know the part of him that I was drawn to in the first place, won’t let him walk away. The part that makes him determined, strong and loyal, and I love him even more for it.
“Come on, baby. Let’s go back to bed,” Ryan says, sitting up and pulling me into his arms. He lifts me from the chair, carrying me back into the bedroom as he places me on the bed.
Looming over me, his eyes focused on mine, he opens his mouth to speak, but says nothing, just places a kiss on my forehead before climbing into bed next to me.
I lean over and turn off the light and when the room falls dark and silent, I ask, “Can I go with you to see the psychiatrist?”
“You’d do that?” he asks, quietly.
“Of course, Ryan,” I answer with complete honesty. “I’ll take the next few days off of work and then I’m on winter break after that. I’m all yours,” I say, hearing the happiness in my voice as I think about spending time with him even if the circumstances aren’t the best.
I feel him exhale hard into my hair before answering back with, “Thank you.”
As we are drifting off to sleep for the second time, I swear I hear Ryan whisper, “I love you.”