The Arrangement 13

By: H.M. Ward

The Arrangement

Vol. 13



No matter what the glint means, it’s bad. My mind races through semi-coherent thoughts—images—of what Avery saw, but my mind is sluggish and lust ridden. She’s finally coming out of her shell, finally denying that mundane version of her sexual being. I have her naked body pressed firmly to the cold window. I can only imagine how hot she must look from the other side of the pane, but the fact that she even does it astounds me. I put her on display as if I own every inch of her, and she lets me. It’s almost as if she likes it, and I hope to God that she does.

The way her body fits against mine is perfect. I slip my palm over the swell of her hips and cup her breasts while kissing the side of her neck. There’s a spot that makes her weak. When I find it, she gives in and does anything and everything. Sometimes I think she’s guarding that area, trying to keep me away. Other times, like now, I think she wants me there, kissing her senseless and doing anything I need.

Avery breathes in and pushes back against me, so I pin her harder. She gasps. The small sound always pulls my lips into a smile. I manage to undo my jeans and press my hard length to her back. That sound purrs from deep within her again. God, I love it when she does that. That little breath sounds like ecstasy, shock, and desire all wrapped into one tiny perfect noise.

I grab her hips, angling them so I can take her. I planned on waiting and teasing her more, but I can’t. Not when she’s like this. Avery presses back into me and tells me how much she wants me inside of her.

Her words undo me.

Pressing my hands firmly to the sides of her hips, I move until we line up perfectly and push into her. Avery gasps again and claws at the window. Arching her back, she presses her hips toward me, taking my cock in deeper.

She’s so fucking wet that I can’t think beyond the moment, which is rare. I’m always ten steps ahead of everyone. It’s part of who I am, but here—in this second—I’m lost. A lifetime of pain vanishes with every thrust into her hot, slick core. The past vanishes and I feel alive.

I tangle our fingers together and don’t want to stop. Pushing harder and deeper with every thrust, Avery takes me and begs for more. I didn’t think I’d have this chance.

For years I’ve walked around feeling nothing, to the point that I’d become a monster. I’m not some dipshit who can’t admit what he is—what he’s become. I know damn well that I’m a lost cause, that there’s nothing left to save, and yet, this woman brings me back to life. I was a corpse, and completely apathetic, and now my heart is racing and my body is covered in sweat, shaking, because I can’t get enough of her.

I want more, she always makes me want more, and it’s not just her body—it’s her—it’s Avery. There’s something about the quirky smile on her sinful lips and the way she speaks. It’s the flash of her eyes when she sees something commonplace and finds joy in it. The woman is bursting with life, even though when I met her, I wasn’t sure she wanted to be.

The darkness within her called to me. It’s been my destruction and my savior, because it brought me to this woman and kept me coming back for more.

Every inch of my body is tense and I can’t stand it anymore. I need to hear her lose it, and call out my name. Dropping my hands to her hips, I pummel into her harder and faster until she melts into me. At least that’s my plan.

I want Avery to forget all the shit that’s bothering her, I want those nightmares to abate for just one night, and I want to be the reason.

I hope to God she needs me as much as I need her. Avery’s become my air, sunlight, and darkness—everything I need. Life without her would be unimaginable.

That’s when Avery mentions the light—the glint in the darkness. Before I have a chance to sate her, I pull us to the floor. I’m not sure if paparazzi found us or if it’s something worse because I didn’t see it. Either way, I’m not chancing it.

A second later, there’s a loud cracking noise, followed by the window blowing to bits. Glass fragments blast past us. I try to cover Avery, but I can’t look up to see how much of her skin is exposed. My jeans save my legs from the shards, but not my arms and back. A searing, hot pain shoots through my shoulder and down my arm.

Avery shakes beneath me, as her nails bite into my shoulders. I know she’s trying to wrap her arms around me, but I pin her to the floor, not allowing her to move.

The moment lasts forever, giving enough time for ancient worries to reseed themselves in my mind. They spring up like weeds and vine faster than I can uproot them and toss them into the fire.

That dreadful thought whispers in my mind, What if you can’t protect her? What if she dies?

That’s what does it. No matter how hard I fight it, I’m pulled into the past, into that goddamn memory that I try so hard to forget. Images flash through my mind like a slideshow: Amanda’s limp hand and curled fingers, pale and cold with dark blood pooled under her snow-white skin. I stand there seeing myself from above as if trapped in a nightmare.

Then I’m there, sucked into the past, standing in the doorway to our old room, and the emotions come surging back. The insides of my body feel like they’re being crushed. Amanda called me and begged for help, but I didn’t come.

This is my fault.



I stand there shaking from guilt, rage, and grief. I know my wife is gone, but I refuse to accept it. I race to her side and pick up her cold, stiff hand, and that’s when I notice the baby covered in blood, lifeless and silent. My daughter is so tiny and the way she lies silently by Amanda, with those tiny fingers and toes, kills me.

Jaw trembling, my throat tightens and I try to force the anguish back, but it’s consuming me. Piece by piece, I feel my mind slip away.

That moment destroyed me and it was my fault.

When I blink, I feel Avery beneath my body, but the ghosts won’t release me. I choke and realize the room is silent—like before. Images from that night long ago continue to bombard me, flashing in and out of my mind, clouding the present with the past. I can’t stop it.

“Avery?” I ask her, shaking her slightly because she’s so still. “Are you all right?” My voice is far from steady, and as I pull back to look at her, I see that she’s lying in a pool of scarlet. A shiver takes hold of my soul and won’t release me. Incoherently, I stutter something else, but she doesn’t speak.

My mind fractures. I feel it coming apart as if it were a puzzle lifted from a table. One by one, rationality falls away. I want to go after whoever did this to us, but I can’t leave Avery. I call her name over and over again, before lifting her still body from the glass.

Pieces of the window glitter like diamonds on the floor. I walk her over to the far side of the house, out of sight of the window, and lay her on the couch. Her dark lashes flutter and she looks up at me with those eyes. “Sean?” her voice is scratchy, like she’s going to cry. Her arm has a long gash and is bleeding. She reaches for it and pulls her hand away.

Avery examines her bright red fingers and then looks up at me. Ignoring her own injury, she asks, “Are you hurt?” I can’t speak. There’s no way to answer that question and confess what this did to me. I don’t want to lie, so I say nothing.

Working quickly, I grab my shirt and bandage her arm. I don’t see any glass lodged under the skin, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there. Images of Amanda flicker behind my eyes and mix with the present until I don’t know which reality is genuine.

I caused this. The thought races through my mind, replaying over and over again.

Breathe, Sean. Hold it together. I say these things inside my head, but can’t manage to find words for Avery. She lets me wrap up her wound and look her over quickly. When I decide she isn’t going to hemorrhage, everything snaps back to the present and my attention shifts to the fucker who did this.

“Stay.” It’s the only word I can manage. Turning quickly, I race across the room and find the spot in the corner, where the stairs would have been. I pull the molding free and yank out the gun that brought me so much misery, and load it. I grab my jacket and pull it on before walking over to her.

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