JD surprised me by staying the night. I mean, technically he stayed the night we went dark, but this time we left our phones and the AI on. And he held me while we slept. After we’d cleaned up the dining room table and reinstated the one way glass on the windows looking into the living room, of course.
Feeling his arms around me as we drifted off, I had to wonder if Dad was right. Did I fall fast and hard? And if I did, then was this time, with JD Richter going to turn out better than all the other times?
We woke up to my phone ringing. Groaning against the light of morning, peeking through my windows, I rolled toward the bedside table holding my charging phone. Too blurry eyed to check the ID, I answered with a yawn.
“Ani?” Dad? I thought, blinking through the fog of first waking. “Ani, honey, are you there?”
“Yeah,” I muttered, smiling as JD’s arms reached out to tug me back into his chest. “Why are you calling me at the buttcrack of dawn?”
Dad chuckled, and even in my sleep addled mind I could see him shaking his head. “Still not a morning person, I see.” I was snuggling into JD’s warmth, and really wanted the call to be over, but he kept talking. “I guess that means you haven’t seen the viral video yet.” The way he said it made my skin crawl, it was the same tone he’d used when we found out about Jason. “Ani, it appears that Roger-”
Shit, I knew, with a flash just what Roger had done, and it was ALL my fucking fault. “Where did he post it?” Dad told me the site that he’d been sent, but I knew, from the way he said it, that it had been picked up by EVERYONE. Shit shit shit.
“How did he-” he stopped and I heard him suck in a breath at the realization of what I’d done. Me, his darling only child, and he sighed. “Anilea,” he breathed, and I could feel the judgement rolling over me. Damn it.
“I wanted him to get the fucking picture that we were over, Dad,” I had my eyes closed, JD’s fingers were sliding down my arm and his lips were on my temple. Damn it, would this fucking ruin everything? “I have to go, I think I need to tell JD-”
“He was included in the list of the email I was sent,” Dad offered, but hearing my sigh he stopped. “I suspect he hasn’t had a chance to check his messages.” More guilt, really Dad? “Call me later, Ani, we’ll talk about damage control.”
“Bye.” I hung up and had to stop myself from throwing the phone across the room. I knew Dad was only the first call I’d be getting today, since I had no doubt whatsoever that Roger would have CCd every single one of my professional contacts. Shit. I sighed, and JD held me closer.
“Do I want to know?” He asked, and I forced myself to look up at him. His eyes were the light color that they always started at, and I wanted nothing more than to see them go dark and make me forget about everything, but that was what got us into this mess.
Letting my thumb trace his lower lip I sighed again. “Probably not, but I think forewarned is best.” I hoped, as I considered how to say it, that he wouldn’t hate me for what Roger had done with my stupid need to prove to him that JD and I were a couple. “Roger took the opportunity while we were on the table performing to record us.” I watched his face, but saw no change, he was waiting to hear the rest. “And he uploaded it and sent the video to every single person he thought would judge me- us for it.” I bit my lip and waited for the anger at my spontaneous act causing a huge fucking embarassing mess. Nothing came. “JD? Did you hear me?”
His eyes, much to my shock seemed to twinkle, and then his dimples came out and then a fucking laugh escaped him. I knew I looked surprised because I was, but him kissing me through his chuckles and pulling back to kiss my nose had me stumped.
“Ani, I swear, you look so fucking cute blushing.” I raised an eyebrow. “I was all over the news not long ago being called a terrorist, sweetheart, having a sex tape released seems pretty fucking tame by those standards.” Shit, I’d forgotten. “It might hurt you though, huh?” I hadn’t really thought of the backlash for me, only how it would affect JD and I, so I shrugged. “Do you need to get on top of it?”
I smiled at the words he’d chosen and rolled him onto his back. “Now that you mention it, Mr. Richter, I do think there’s someone I need to get on top of.” And I did, straddling him and letting our bodies make me forget that my dad and God knew who else had seen the very act I was performing on him now.
Eventually my phone blew up with ringing. JD’s stayed mostly silent and I shot him a look wondering if he shut if off without telling me. I was on the phone with my publisher, who oddly enough, like every other person who called was more or less amused by Roger’s attempts to make me look like a bad person. Most of them wanted to know who the hot as fuck guy I was screwing was, and they all assured me that not only were they on my side, but they hoped that I planned on suing the fuck out of my ex for revenge porn.
“Why is your phone completely silent?” I asked, as I hung up on another well wisher, which was weird in and of itself. “Usually by now it’s ringing its ringer off and pulling you away from me.” He pulled me onto his lap where he’d been watching me from his chair. “Did you cheat and turn the damn thing off?”
He chuckled, causing the vibrations to rush through me. “No, Ani, but I did put in for a vacation of sorts.” I stared down at him, wondering who this man was that had replaced the workaholic I knew. “Kelsey’s due date is coming on fast, AND I wanted time to get you under my spell.” His lips brushed mine and I felt them curve into a smile. “I didn’t think I’d have the help of a leaked sex tape, but hell, I’ll take any help I can get.”
I smiled and pulled away. “Like you need spells or a sex tape to ‘trap me’.” My fingers were playing with the hair at the nape of his neck. “I wanted you when I was too drunk to actually see you fully, JD, I think I want you more now that I see AND know you.”
“You do?” A small nod of affirmation and his smile grew. “Want to get out of here before the audience Roger started grows?” I hadn’t thought of the possibility that- shit. “Pack a bag, come home with me, Ani.”
Biting my lip I was worrying about Kelsey and he noticed. “She came in while you were in the kitchen during the fifth call. I told her going to Dorothy’s might be a good idea and she agreed. She told me to tell you to call her when you get a chance.” I smiled at his taking care of my worries before I even realized I should have them. “Now, go pack.” Pushing me off his lap with a smile. “I’ll make sure everything is secure before we leave.”
I packed for a few days, unsure of how long my house might end up being the site of lookie loos, once the video gawkers online figured out where I lived. JD was right, because Pandi mentioned that the road along the house was getting more traffic by the minute. Tossing in my toiletry stuff, along with some books and my laptop, I was still thinking about leaving the phone behind when he came into the bedroom.
“Not to rush you, but they’re getting closer to the driveway.” Shit. I zipped up my bags and he took them from me. “We’ll take my truck, leave your cars in the garage.” I started to ask why, but he smiled. “If he was outside filming, Ani, we can’t be sure he didn’t put another tracker on your cars.”
“What about yours?” I mean, if Roger was so hellbent on ruining us, or trying to, why would JD’s property be safe.
His smile was breathtaking. “Oh, I really fucking hope Roger put one on mine, Ani, because I seriously want him to step one toe on my porch.” I laughed as he took my bags from me and we started through the house to his truck. “Kelsey left a while ago, we’ll call her from the truck to tell her where you’ll be.” I nodded as we locked up and he put my things into the backseat before helping me up into the passenger side of his Jeep. We were just leaving when the first car started to turn into my driveway and I was about to ask if he worried they’d follow us when he reminded me of his ‘skills’ as a driver.
I managed to call Kelsey while her father was driving like a complete maniac even though I saw no one pursuing us. She was laughing as I threatened to throw up all over JD’s upholstery. Letting her know that I was going home with JD, while also threatening him seemed to amuse her.
“Dad, go slower, if Ani throws up then she keeps throwing up,” I watched him look at the phone in disbelief. “Trust me, she hates vomiting, the sound, the smell, it makes her go on and on and on.” She would know, the one time she got morning sickness or whatever, I joined her.
I felt the truck’s speed decrease marginally, and the turns weren’t nearly as jerking. “Thank you,” I offered to them both, my eyes closing in relief. “Now, I’m taking a few days off, to pretend that my ex isn’t as big of a rancid cunt as he clearly is.” She laughed and JD joined in. “I’ll take calls from you, Dad, and hell, Dororthy, but no one else.”
“Not even-” Kelsey knew that I worked as hard as her dad, even if mine was mostly stationary.
“Not even work,” I confirmed. “Let me know if you need me, ok?” She agreed, and then made her dad promise to keep me safe from Roger’s horrible ass, she told us both goodbye.
“All to myself, Ani?” I turned and caught his eyes focused on me and not the fucking road. “I think I’ve died and-”
“If your eyes don’t get back on the fucking road, we’ll both be dead,” I offered, and he laughed, but returned his attention where I felt it was more needed. “But yes, you’ll have me all to yourself, JD, as long as you get me home alive.” More laughter, but slightly less frightening driving.