YOU ARE A LIAR JOSH HUTCHERSON.
A big, fat, filthy liar.
"So, there’s nothing else you want to talk about?"
She was fishing for something. I could tell.
"Nuh-uh," I replied, trying my best to sound convincing.
Your nose makes Pinocchio’s look like a fucking stump.
"Nothing at all?"
I cleared my throat. “So, uh…how’s the weather back home? Cold?”
"You should know, Joshua Ryan."
Shit. Fuck. Shitty fucking fuck.
"Uh…why, uh…why do you say that, mom?"
“Did you think I wasn’t going to find out?”
She sighed. “That you were here?”
"And that you haven’t been telling me the truth?”
“I’m…I’m sorry,” I stammered.
There was a brief pause and then, “So am I.”
I swallowed, threading my fingers through my hair. I tried to think of an alibi, some sort of an acceptable excuse or justification–but really, I had none. This whole thing had become a complete clusterfuck, and I’d managed to wound everyone that I had originally set out to protect.
“Mom, listen I–”
She butted in. “Our family does not lie to each other.”
“I just…didn’t want you to be upset. I didn’t want you to worry. I’m sorry.”
“Did she tell you to lie to me?”
"No!" I protested, fervently. "She didn’t know. It was all me.”
"And the airplane? Which everyone, including your grandfather, has read about…was that all you, too?”
"I was just sick, mom, I swear. The rest was made up. Exaggerated. You know how they do that, come on."
Every time you lie, Josh Hutcherson, God kills a kitten.
Sometimes, I really fucking despised my moral compass.
"You’ve never gotten airsick before," she sounded skeptical.
"I drank a little too much. That’s all. Sam was just trying to help. I promise."
At least that’s what my publicist told the tabloids, anyway.
“So, you were drunk…” The tone in her voice told me that she didn’t like this account any better.
"Everything is under control," I tried to assure her. "Please, don’t worry. It’s fine."
"Maybe. For now.”
“This isn’t going to end well, Josh. You…and her.”
I dug my teeth into my tongue and said nothing.
“That isn’t what you want to hear, I know. I just hate to see you get hurt again. When you hurt, I hurt, and–”
This time, I interrupted. “I get it. But it’s not going to be like that. We’re good for each other. We really are. I wish you’d believe me.”
"Do you love her?"
The question was simple, but held the weight of twenty tons.
I exhaled and answered, “Yes.”
There was a sharp intake of breath on the other end.
"And love is all you need.”
"I only wish it were that simple for you, baby," she lamented. "I only wish it were that simple."
I knew it wasn’t worth arguing. She’d said her piece, I’d said mine, and we weren’t going to unearth any new ground. I decided to cut the cord. “Listen, I gotta go.”
"You know, your brother really misses you. I wish you would have found the time to see us.”
"I miss him, too. You’re right. I should have called, should have spent an extra day out there or something. I owe you a visit. Soon, ‘kay?”
"Love you, mom.”
"Be careful." Her tone was slightly ominous.
"Yup. Talk to you later.”
I threw my phone into the couch cushions.
“You’re such a mama’s boy…”
“Why do you allow her to control your life?”
I could hear my ex-girlfriends taunting me.
My mother had very rarely liked any of them. And in the past, I had always taken her side. If she thought it was the right thing to do, I’d cut people out of my life completely–some for the better, some for the worse–and never question it.
I was famous. I worked hard. I was living my dream.
"Don’t let somebody else ruin it for you, Josh." That’s what she’d say.
So, I’d walk away. Walk away like I did from Sam. I’d spent three hellish days locked in my room, hating my mom, hating myself, and hating the world after that.
But finally, when my inhibitions were doused by a bottle of whiskey, I stuck both my middle fingers up and paid a visit to the local tattoo studio.
On a wing and a prayer, I thought, maybe, just maybe, this declaration would be enough to win Sam back. Maybe she’d see that I truly had fallen for her, and that there was nothing that she, or my mother could do, to alter that fact.
Those 30 days were ours. Forever. Even if Sam still chose to let go, I was going to hold fast.
I could easily recall the look on her face when she saw me that night, and how she teared up–but only little. There was sheer bewilderment behind those blue eyes–bewilderment, surprise and…love. I knew then that I had finally broken the barrier.
I decided to plead my case–just one more time–that we could do this, that we could make it work.
And she simply uttered, Yes.
That’s when I vowed that I would fight for her. For us.
My mother may have been right about the others, but she was not right about Sam.
I wouldn’t…couldn’t believe otherwise.
Not this time.
She didn’t think Sam and I were good for each other? Well, she was dead fucking wrong.
I strode into the bedroom and found that Sam was still asleep beneath the comforter. I snapped it off and whisked it to the floor beside the bed, waking her.
She yawned, “I was dreaming about you…” and turned to lie on her back. Through the thin material of her nightshirt, I could just make out the shapes of her breasts. The sight alone made my pants tight. I wanted to trace those curves with my tongue. Suck on those nipples. Bite them. Roll them between my fingers.
“You were my mailman.” She stretched her arms. “You had these cute mailman shorts on, and you kept delivering me things from the Home Shopping Network.”
I just looked at her.
“What?” she asked.
Abruptly, my hands wrapped around her ankles and I yanked her entire body down the length of the mattress.
She squealed with surprise when I carelessly ripped her panties in two, catching her off guard. “Baby, what–”
“Don’t talk,” I growled.
She nodded, licking her lips as my hand wove between her legs and started circling.
This was going to be one of those kinds of fucks–the short, fast, and furious kind–but I didn’t give a damn. I wanted her to show me just how right we were for each other, because this was the one thing we were really, really good at.
My cock was enveloped in under a nanosecond, and I started thrusting right out of the gate. My hips were moving–no–slamming into her with reckless abandon. I became animalistic– snarling, and hissing, and gnashing my teeth.
I was fucking mad. Mad at myself. Mad at whole situation. I wasn’t going to give up. Not after what we’d been through, and how far we’d come. Fuck what anybody else thought.
Sam was groaning, and I could see the teeth marks she’d left on her bottom lip. She was clawing the sheets, searching desperately for something to hold on to. I had probably jarred her whole equilibrium, I was pumping her so relentlessly.
When she orgasmed, it was sudden and I was stunned, because I normally knew exactly when she was going to erupt. Her climax came on like a landslide, all at once she was crumbling and clamping down hard. Her contractions pulsed around my cock, squeezing at just the right intervals that each time I pushed in, she tightened. I was a gonner.
I yelped, loudly, losing myself to the feeling. As though someone had intravenously injected me with pure serotonin–pleasure surged through my nervous system and I released all of the tension I’d been holding.
When I’d finished, Sam whimpered, searching my face for any inclination as to what I was thinking. I kissed the top of her right knee and slid out, flinging myself down onto the mattress.
She crawled up to meet me, brushing my flushed cheek with the back of her hand. “That was infuckingcredible.”
I grinned, turning to lay on my side. “We needed that.”
“Yeah,” she nodded. “We did.”
“The last couple of days have been kind of nuts,” I admitted.
Her eyes flickered away from my gaze. “I’m sorry.”
“Don’t apologize,” I countered, hooking her chin and lifting it gently. “That’s how life is.”
“You regret signing up for this, yet?”
My mouth thinned into a line. “Signing up for what?”
“Me and all my craziness. If you could go back in time, knowing what you know now, would you still ask me to come out here with you?”
“Absolutely,” I replied, somberly. “Do you wish you could rewind, Sam? Honestly?”
She was quiet for a moment, and then said, “No. There’s a lot of things in my life that I regret, but my time with you isn’t one of them.”
A ray of warmth hit me. I sat up and climbed on top of her, straddling her at the waist and resting my weight on my knees. I lifted the frayed fabric of her nightshirt and began to rain tiny kisses over her breasts.
“We’re…” Kiss. “Good…” Kiss. “For…” Kiss. “Each other…” Kiss. “Right?”
Her fingers found my scalp and began massaging, urging me to carry on.
I swiped my tongue over a taut nipple, waiting for her reply. “Right?”
“Right,” she said softly, and I sucked the stiffened bud between my lips. She moaned, arching her back, bringing herself closer to my mouth.
My palm swept across her stomach and up to her other nipple, pinching it between my forefinger and thumb. “Do you think I’m a mama’s boy?”
I immediately stopped and glanced up at her with a raised eyebrow.
Oh no. Not her, too.
She smiled warmly. “But like I told you before, if I had a mother like you do, I’d be the same way.”
I put my chin on her chest. “She’s not real happy with me right now.”
Sam giggled. “No, I wouldn’t imagine so.”
“She was upset that I lied. And that I didn’t see my family while we were there.”
“I’m sorry, baby. That whole trip was a goddamn nightmare.”
I closed my eyes. “She still thinks it’s going to end badly between us.”
Sam sighed, taking her hands from my hair. “And what do you think?”
“I think we’re gonna make this work. I’ll do anything, Sam. I’ll do anything for you.”
The corner of her mouth curled slightly.
“What do you think?” I asked.
“I think that nobody can predict the future.”
I murmured into her skin, capturing her other nipple and spiraling my tongue around it. She tasted so fucking good.
“You want to know the moment I knew I had feelings for you? Really and truly?”
“When you took me out on your motorcycle….”
I could see that day so vividly. Things hadn’t ended well after the wedding, and I’d argued with myself for what seemed like an eternity as to whether or not dropping in on her was a good idea.
“We walked to the middle of that field, do you remember? And you laid those cheesy lines on me about the barn.”
I shot up and I shimmied forward, butting my forehead into hers. “Hey, that was not cheesy! That was a meaningful comparison!”
“You compared me…to a barn, Joshua,” Sam laughed.
I rolled my eyes.
“But that’s when– when I told you to kiss me.”
We stared at each other for a moment, and then I leaned in, just as I had that very day, and kissed her. And when we parted, she was smiling. She was smiling then and she was smiling now.
“I love you,” I whispered. “And I mean it, Sam. I’ll do anything for you. Anything to keep you happy.”
“Anything?” she questioned, her voice rising in pitch.
I know this chapter was a long time coming, and I just want to thank you all, from the bottom of my heart, for sticking with me and urging me to continue. Your notes, hearts, and support make it all worth it. Thank you.