Hard Working Hero (Hard Working Hero 1)

Page 29

“That's terrible,” I say, rubbing my thumb across her knuckles. “Kids can be real jerks.”
“It really was horrible. Not only did I learn my friends weren't really my friends, but they locked me in that house, and I ended up having a panic attack. I never got over it. After that night, I just kept to myself. How could I ever trust anyone again? So, all my friends now are actually people I've never met in person. They're all online. I've grown to like it that way. It feels safer, I guess.” Her eyes gloss over with tears. Sniffling softly, she runs her finger under her eye, catching a loose tear. “I don't know, maybe I deserved what I got.”
I can feel the pain and hurt in her voice. It stabs me in the chest to know she went through something so awful, and it was caused by people who she trusted. It guts me to see her so vulnerable right now.
She doesn't deserve this type of hurt. She doesn't deserve to keep herself locked up and removed from the rest of the world because a few people broke her trust. And I'm going to prove that to her.
“You're wrong, you didn't deserve any of that. No one deserves to be treated that way. Narissa, I'm so sorry you carry this around with you, but it's time to let it go.” I squeeze her hand, forcing her to look up at me. “No one is going to hurt you ever again, because I won't let that happen. I won't ever let anyone treat you that way, and you won't either. You're stronger than you realize. You're too beautiful to be so sad. I want to make you happy.”
Under hooded lids, her eyes go still, steadying on mine. “What do you mean?” she asks.
“I mean, I'm going to show you how you should always be treated. I'll put you on a pedestal. I'll always show you how special you are. I just need you to let me in.”
Narissa smiles, nudging me with her shoulder and braiding her fingers around mine. “I let you in, even if you can't see it. I just tried to fight it every step of the way. You broke down my walls, Oliver. Can't you see that? Look where you are right now. You're here, I invited you in. I never thought I'd ever trust anyone again, but you've proven me wrong.”
“You could have fooled me. The other day when you went off, I thought you hated me.”
“No, I didn't hate you. I hated myself for trying to pretend what I was feeling was wrong. I was angry at myself for panicking that day at the house, and not being able to tell you the truth.” Her eyes well up again as she says, “You didn't deserve that.” She drops her chin to her chest as she tries not to cry.
“It's okay, Narissa, you didn't do anything wrong.” I lift her chin, holding her head high. Keeping it right where it belongs. She should always hold her head high, because who she is inside is more beautiful than any person I've ever met in my life.
I want to take her pain away. I only ever want her to feel happiness. I want her to know her own worth and never put herself beneath someone else.
My eyes hold hers as I wipe away the tears that are streaming down her face. She leans her head against my palm, reaching up with her other hand and placing it over mine. I watch her lick her lips slow and methodically. They glisten, shining and begging to be kissed.
Driving my face forward, I kiss her hard. I kiss her hoping to infuse her soul with enough power to erase the girl who saw herself as nothing, and replace her with the woman I've been seeing all along.
She exhales, cooing quietly as she tilts her head and closes her eyes. My fingers grip her face tightly, pulling her in closer. I need her right against me. I want to feel her breathing. I want to feel her heartbeat. I want to feel her pulse kick and her body melt in my hands.
“You're so special and you don't even realize it,” I say into our kiss as I slip my tongue inside her mouth.
Narissa moans, pushing her fingers through my hair and kissing me back with just as much passion. Her tongue sweeps across mine, swirling and licking. Her lips push back harder, fiercer, and more unhinged as I wrap my arm around her lower back and tug her against my chest.
“You deserve the sun.” I kiss her deeper. “You deserve the sky.” My lips slip off hers and move down the curve of her jaw. “You deserve the moon and all the stars, and I want to be the one to give them to you.”