Did I Mention I Need You? by Estelle Maskame

  It’s rather messy, the two of us. We always are. Messy situations are all we ever get ourselves into, and this is no exception. Tyler’s so focused on kissing me that he spends a good while fumbling with the clasp of my bra, struggling so much that I end up laughing as I momentarily pull away from him and do it myself. He looks a little sheepish as he steps out of his jeans at the same time, and once I’ve tossed my bra over his shoulder, he places both hands on my waist and pulls my body back against his. He runs his hands over me, his thumbs softly skimming the skin just below my breasts as he trails his lips down my neck to my shoulder and to my collarbone. I bite back a sigh of pleasure and focus on kicking off my Chucks and stepping out of my shorts.

  His lips capture mine once more as he drops one hand to my ass and I move my hands to the buttons of his flannel shirt, trying my best to undo them as fast as I can all while kissing him. In the end, I’m just as useless as he is with clasps, so he undoes his shirt himself. The moment he slips it off his back and drops it to the floor, I run both my hands down his chest. His skin is hot and I can feel his heart pounding hard against his ribcage. Mine is too, and where Tyler’s hand is on my body right now, I’m pretty sure he can feel it.

  Gently, but with a sense of eagerness, Tyler pushes me onto the bed and I allow myself to fall back, landing softly on the mattress. He doesn’t join me at first, though. He turns back around, grabbing his jeans and fishing around inside the pockets for his wallet, growing more panicked the longer he searches. I know what he’s searching for, but I call him back over with a nervous laugh, and I inform him that he’s got nothing to worry about. I’ve got that side of things under control. Mom insisted.

  I can see the relief on Tyler’s face as he throws his jeans and his wallet back onto the floor, biting his lip as he comes over to join me. My skin feels like it’s on fire and I can’t tell if it’s the sunburn or his touch, but either way, I don’t mind. I grab Tyler’s hair, tightening my grip as he runs both his hands down my body without leaving a single inch of my skin untouched. He moves his lips to the edge of my jaw as he slips his hand inside my panties, and I close my eyes and focus on my breathing. I can’t help but tug on his hair as I throw my head back into the pillows, my back arching.

  He stops after a while, glancing up at me with wide eyes as though to ask if I’m ready, and so I nod.

  I couldn’t remember the way he moved and the way he felt until now. I couldn’t remember the way our hips rolled together. I couldn’t remember the way our breathing was never in sync, but rapid and uneven. I couldn’t remember any of those things until right now, now that it’s happening again. Only this time, Tyler’s not afraid to be rougher than I recall him being the first time. Alternating between rhythms, one hand squeezing mine and the other gripping my hip, his body sweats against mine. It takes my breath away and it’s so sensational that I think I might smile the entire time, even when I’m letting out soft moans. I can’t help it. It’s all just so . . . so Tyler. That’s the best part about it.

  It feels so scandalous, so wrong, which only makes it all the more exhilarating. It’s a complete adrenaline rush. The worst thing is that I know it shouldn’t be happening. Not yet. Not while I’m still with Dean. Tyler, on the other hand, has accepted the fact that Dean’s going to get hurt at the end of this. He’s accepted the fact that we’re going to tell our parents the truth when we get home. I, however, haven’t quite. I like to believe that I have. I try to convince myself that I’m ready to tackle it all, to deal with everything straight on, but there’s still that panic and apprehension inside of me somewhere. I still feel guilty for loving Tyler. I still feel ashamed. It doesn’t feel fair.

  I think we’ll forever be each other’s biggest secret.


  I don’t call Dean at all the next week. I can’t bring myself to hear his voice. Every time he tries to call, I let it go to voicemail as I stare at the screen, gnawing at my lip and feeling like the worst human being to ever walk this earth. It’s not solely because of Saturday night, either. It’s also because of Sunday afternoon, and Tuesday morning, and last night.

  Tyler and I had to a lot to catch up on. Two years’ worth. Each time both Snake and Emily were out of the apartment, we might have taken advantage of the privacy. So much advantage, in fact, that Tyler’s been making jokes about whether or not we should tell the two of them to avoid the couch on the left of the coffee table. He receives nothing but a glare from me each time he brings it up.

  It’s not that we plan it or anything. It just keeps happening. I’m not complaining about it, either.

  It’s the middle of the night when Tyler wakes me up. I’m completely bare, wrapped up in his comforter and feeling completely exhausted from the workout we shared only a few hours ago. I’m perfectly happy basking in the warmth of his sheets, but I force my eyes open anyway. Tyler’s standing by the side of the bed, hovering over me in the darkness, and I’m a little surprised to discover that he’s pulled on clothes, a pair of jeans and a navy hoodie.

  “What time is it?” I groan, squeezing my eyes shut again and burying my face into the pillows. I can hear sirens outside, but that’s nothing unusual. New York never shuts the hell up. Ever.

  “Three,” Tyler says quietly. I sense him shift away from me and I wonder if he might possibly be sleepwalking or something, but the second he starts tossing my clothes at me, I realize he’s not. “Get dressed.”

  I roll back over and prop my body up on my elbows, squinting down at the clothes Tyler’s thrown at me. The exact same as his, jeans and a hoodie. He even tosses my bra over, and it promptly hits me in the face.

  “Shit, sorry,” he says, but he’s holding back a laugh as he approaches me again. I only roll my eyes. “I’ve got a surprise for you.”

  “A surprise?” I murmur wearily. Something about his tone makes me feel rather alarmed. Surprises are never good. It could be anything. And at 3AM? That’s even more worrying. Rubbing at my eyes, I sit up even further, and I don’t even bother to cover myself with the comforter. By now, it feels like Tyler sees me naked more often than he sees me in clothes.

  He leans over to flick on one of the bedside lamps and as it lights up his face, I see that he’s smiling smugly. Bending down by the edge of the bed, his eyes are level with mine as his lips pull up into a wide grin, and he reaches into his pocket for something before holding it up in front of my face. It’s the keys to his car. “All yours.”

  I part my lips, blinking in surprise. Being offered the chance to drive an Audi R8 in the middle of the night was the last thing I expected. I study the car keys and the Audi keyring shines in the light. Gently, I reach out to grasp them, a small smile growing on my lips. “Even though you don’t trust me?”

  “I must be crazy, right?” he says quietly, smirking. He gets to his feet, reaches for my free hand and pulls me out of the bed. He steadies me on my feet and looks down at me. “But it’s New York. We don’t do anything less than crazy in this city.”

  Now wide awake, excitement rushes over me. The thought of driving Tyler’s car, the possibilities of what that engine can do, fills me with euphoria. I’ve never been all that into cars, but Tyler’s is an exception. Quickly, I reach for my clothes and pull them on, rummaging around the room for my Chucks afterward. The same Chucks I’ve worn for four weeks straight now. They seem to be the only shoes I ever wear now, and they’re not as white as they were to begin with.

  “One scratch on my baby and you’re gonna get it,” Tyler says once I’m dressed, but he’s smiling. He throws an arm over my shoulder and leads me over to the door, opening it without a single sound and walking me through the living room.

  Through the darkness, I can make out Snake’s outline on the couch. His couch, thankfully. He’s fast asleep and snoring softly, so Tyler and I creep our way over to the apartment door as silently as we can. We make it out into the lobby without waking him, and Tyler lets go of me while he locks up.

  The building is silent a
nd neither of us talk in fear of waking people up as we pass their apartments and head into the elevator. I jingle the keys in my hand and I sense Tyler watching me from the corner of his eye. I hope I don’t get arrested for this.

  Once we leave the building and step outside onto Seventy-fourth Street, I realize New York is still busy. Admittedly, the traffic and flow of people on the sidewalks is substantially less hectic than during the day, but for 3AM there are still a lot of cars on the roads. Cabs, mostly. It’s hardly warm out, but it’s not cold.

  Parked against the curb on the other side of the street, Tyler’s car awaits me. I eye it with excitement building up inside of me again and swiftly unlock it. To my surprise, however, Tyler snatches the keys from my hand and darts across the road. He throws open the driver’s door and looks back at me with a glint his eyes. My eyebrows are raised, demanding an explanation.

  “What, you thought I was gonna let you drive around Manhattan?” Tyler laughs into the night air as he slides into the vehicle, and just before he shuts the door behind him, he adds, “No way in hell.”

  Folding my arms across my chest in irritation, I force myself over to the car and slip into the passenger seat. I glare at him, disgruntled. “Where can I drive it then?”

  “Jersey City,” Tyler shoots back as he starts up the engine. It purrs smoothly to life and a chill runs down my spine.

  “Jersey City?”

  “Yeah,” he says. “The Target parking lot.”

  The dashboard glows orange in the darkness, the numbers on the speedometer lighting up. The music and climate controls ahead of the center console also light up, and I lean forward to adjust the heating before sinking back into my seat, and as Tyler edges out of his confined parking spot, I pull on my seatbelt.

  It’s a good thing I do, because the moment we pull around the corner onto Second Avenue, he floors it straight until we hit a set of traffic lights. I listen as he revs up the engine, waiting. Glancing sideways at me, he smiles, clenching his jaw before narrowing his eyes on the road ahead. We’re the first at the lights. In front of us, the road is clear. Tyler’s fingers tighten around the gearshift, his other hand firmly gripping the steering wheel. The red flashes to amber, and as he slams his foot down on the gas, there’s a tremendous screeching of tires as the car catapults down the avenue. The speed is so forceful that it throws my body back against the seat. The engine roars behind us, the exhaust pipe sputtering fumes in our wake. Usually I would rebuke reckless driving, but right now, at 3AM in the middle of Manhattan, I’m loving it.

  As Tyler shoves the gearshift toward sixth, his eyes flicker at me and there’s a mischievous smirk playing on his lips. His eyes zero back in on the road, and as the car continues to increase in speed, I find myself gripping onto the seat with one hand and my seatbelt with the other. I glance over at the speedometer and find that we’re flying along at double the speed limit, and Tyler only slows down when we reach the end of the traffic flow ahead of us, caught up in more traffic lights.

  No more opportunities open up for reckless driving after that, only because the streets aren’t clear enough for it. We’re stuck trailing along behind a truck, and we only get away from it when we turn right onto Houston Street. We continue to head west across Manhattan until we enter a tunnel, just like the Lincoln Tunnel I crossed the first day I arrived in the city, only this time Tyler tells me this is the Holland Tunnel.

  We’re out of it within a couple of minutes though, and only moments after entering Jersey City, Tyler’s pulling into the Target parking lot. The store is closed, and not only is the lot huge, it’s also empty. It’s perfect.

  Cutting off the engine right in the center of the parking lot, Tyler exhales into the sudden silence, his eyes scouring the area through the windshield. It seems to meet with his approval and he turns to face me. “Knock yourself out.”

  We both push open our doors and step outside the car at the same time. Nervously, I glance down at the asphalt as I walk around it, my body brushing against Tyler’s as we pass each other. Now that the time is here to actually drive his car, I feel a little anxious. I’m worried I’ll wreck it, but at the same time I’m eager to show Tyler what I’ve got.

  I slide into the driver’s side as Tyler slips into the passenger seat, and I swallow as I adjust the seat, pulling myself closer to the steering wheel so that my feet can actually reach the pedals. As Tyler watches me contentedly, I start up the engine again. I study the lot quickly once more, getting my bearings and figuring out how much room I have as we pull on our seatbelts.

  I haven’t driven stick shift in a while, and I’m so used to driving automatic that to begin with it takes me a short while to get back into the habit of not only using my left foot to operate the clutch pedal but also working with gears. The car jolts forward and stalls on my first attempt at starting it up.

  “You’re right,” Tyler says, laughing from my side. “You’re amazing at driving manual.”

  “Shut up,” I mutter, but I don’t even glance at him. I’m so focused on starting up the engine again that I totally tune out the sound of his laughter. He can mock my driving skills all he wants. I’ll prove him wrong.

  This time, I ensure I’m in my manual mindset. I put the car into first, my foot pressed down on the clutch pedal as I slowly begin to rev up the engine, and once I’m satisfied with how loud it’s roaring I slam my foot on the gas. The vehicle bursts forward, hurtling down the asphalt across the lot. It’s so powerful that it momentarily scares the crap out of me, but I only grip the steering wheel tighter and step on the gas even more. Within a matter of seconds the car’s already flying at sixty, and from the corner of my eye, I see Tyler’s eyebrows rising as he glances between me and the road. Braking and changing down a couple gears as we approach the edge of the lot, I spin the wheel around to the right and the car swerves, tires screeching.

  I race back across the lot again, even faster this time as I work my way back up to sixth gear, and there’s something so enthralling about driving stick shift that I end up grinning the entire time. It gives me so much more control.

  “How fast does this thing go?” I yell over the noise of the engine. My eyes never leave the road, and I promptly fly around the corner of the store, forgetting to change gear. The car almost spins straight across the sidewalk, but thankfully it holds its grip, as do both Tyler and I inside the car. Tyler grabs onto the handle above the door and I can do nothing but squeeze the steering wheel even tighter until my knuckles turn white.

  “Don’t push it!” he warns me. “You don’t have enough space to build up to anything faster than ninety!”

  “Ninety it is then.” I flash him a smirk before setting my eyes back ahead, and I come to a halt by the far edge of the lot once I’ve turned the car back around to face the opposite direction. There’s quite a bit a distance between here and the other end of the lot. I’ll be able to make it.

  “Fuck,” Tyler murmurs as he listens to me rev up the engine once again. He knows exactly what I’m doing. “Baby, if it’s the last thing you do, don’t fucking forget to brake.”

  “If you don’t trust me,” I fire back, smirking, “you can get outta the car.” I nod to the door and rev the engine even more, so loud that it vibrates in my ears.

  Tyler’s eyebrows quirk up, but he doesn’t even flinch, doesn’t even think about getting out. Instead, he tightens one hand around his seatbelt, places the other on my thigh, and in his husky voice, he demands, “Floor it.”

  So I do. I slam on the accelerator and the car takes off so fast that both our bodies fly back against the seats, and Tyler starts laughing again as the speed continues to increase. He squeezes my thigh and it’s so distracting that I have to quite literally force myself to ignore him as I glance rapidly between the parking lot and the speedometer. Sixty. I press the gas straight down until my foot’s touching the floor. Seventy. Eighty. Ninety.

  But I don’t stop. That’s what Tyler’s expecting me to do. Stopping is the e
asy way out. I like the risks, so I do the opposite of what I should do. I keep my foot on the gas. A hundred.

  “Eden,” Tyler says warily, firmly. His grip on his seatbelt tightens. A hundred and ten. “Eden.”

  The second I hit that mark, I move my foot to the brake pedal, depressing it as fast and as hard as I can as the tires tear across the asphalt. I lock my arms tight against the wheel as my body flies forward, and I suddenly start to panic as I realize how little room there is left between here and the edge of the lot, so I squeeze my eyes shut. It feels like it takes forever for the car to finally skid to a halt. I’m breathing heavily by the time it does, and once I establish that we’ve stopped, I slowly open my eyes and glance out the windshield. We’re only inches from the sidewalk.

  When I glance to my right, Tyler’s staring at me in disbelief. His eyes are wide and his lips are parted, and the only thing he can bring himself to say is, “Damn, Eden.”

  “I’m not finished yet,” I point out with a smile, and now he really does look panicked. Letting go of my thigh, he sinks back against the seat and heaves a sigh of relief that he’s still alive.

  I pull off the hair tie on my wrist and gather my hair up into a high ponytail, out of my way. And, feeling fueled by adrenaline, I pull off my hoodie and my shirt. The car’s heated up by now, anyway. I toss them onto Tyler’s lap and I roll my eyes as he smirks back at me. It’s like he’s never seen me in my bra before.

  I reach back for the wheel and, calmly and slowly, I drive back to the center of the lot and come to a complete stop. Breathing deeply, I concentrate hard. I’ve only successfully done this once before. I’m adamant I’m going to do it again, to impress Tyler, but I know there’s a high risk that it’ll go pathetically wrong and I’ll end up looking like a fool. But it’s worth a shot.

  Tyler’s focusing on me hard as he tries to figure out what I’m doing, and as I slowly rev up the engine for the final time, I turn the wheel completely around to full lock, and I hold it there.

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