Bed of Roses
Chapter Twenty-Four
Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five
Chapter Six
Chapter Seven
Chapter Eight
Chapter Nine
Chapter Ten
Chapter Eleven
Chapter Twelve
Chapter Thirteen
Chapter Fourteen
Chapter Fifteen
Chapter Sixteen
Chapter Seventeen
Chapter Eighteen
Chapter Nineteen
Chapter Twenty
Chapter Twenty-One
Chapter Twenty-Two
Chapter Twenty-Three
Chapter Twenty-Four
Chapter Twenty-Five
Chapter Twenty-Six
Chapter Twenty-Seven
Chapter Twenty-Eight
Chapter Twenty-Nine
Chapter Thirty
Chapter Thirty-One
Chapter Thirty-Two
Chapter Thirty-Three
Chapter Thirty-Four
Chapter Thirty-Five
Chapter Thirty-Six
Chapter Thirty-Seven
Chapter Thirty-Eight
Chapter Thirty-Nine
Chapter Forty
Chapter Forty-One
Chapter Forty-Two
Chapter Forty-Three
Chapter Forty-Four
Chapter Forty-Five
Chapter Forty-Six
Chapter Forty-Seven

See the stone set in your eyes
See the thorn twist in your side
I wait for you
Slight of hand and twist of fate
On a bed of nails she makes me wait
I wait without you
With or without you

**WARNING:  The following chapter contains very vivid sexual content.  If you are under eighteen, you are discouraged from reading any of the following text.  If you wish to continue the story, you are welcome to email the author at for a clean version of this chapter.  If you are not offended by sexual content and do not feel any need to avert your eyes, continue reading, but you have been warned.  Please do not incriminate the author for the following chapter.  Thank you, and Happy Reading!**

The door closed softly amidst drunken laughter and careless abandon. Fingers blurred together as they fumbled for buttons in between hungry, wet, sloppy kisses that meant nothing and everything. A few short, awkward and tumbling steps led to the bed, where rumpled sheets waited like a laundry closet for the people that were sure to come. The buttons became a mess of color, and a disturbing noise signified the ripping of cotton and set off more drunken squeals and a drunken declaration.

"I love a wil' man. You make me wanna get hot wit you baaaaaby..."

Despite the watercolor child's painting that seemed to be swirling around and around, his finger managed to find her lips.

"No, dontalk..."

There was more laughter, more reckless abandon as her fingers found his pants and worked the zipper until the leather slid from him. Her skirt joined the pants on the floor only moments later, and she tumbled out of her stockings clumsily, ripping his shirt in the process. No need for buttons. He reached behind her as she crawled onto him and deftly unhooked her bra, revealing two peaks of pleasure on which he could feast for the night. Ah, there they were. With a sigh, he buried his face in the valley between them.

Temptation, passion, and lust. Lust most of all. As his tongue snaked out to draw a small trail between her breasts, his heart raced with the anticipation of what was to come. He was drunk, obviously, but he knew the game well enough. Her moan of pleasure was proof of that. Her head fell back and he opened his eyes long enough to smirk at her before appreciatively looking over the body in front of him.

"Beautiful," he mumbled to her, but more to himself. Weren't they all? Heat rose as he tentatively reached out and nipped one rosy bud gently with his teeth.

Her sharp intake of breath was all the encouragement he needed before descending in his full-fledged attack on her left breast. He was licking, biting, teasing like never before, his lips, teeth and tongue working overtime to ease her into the depths of ecstasy. After all, the more pleasure he brought, the more he was sure to receive later.

In the midst of his teasing, her cold hands found his boxers and slid the waistband slowly down his legs until his throbbing erection was exposed. Just as his tongue was swirling around her nipple, her fingers wrapped around his member, and he growled in surprise. She was forward.

He liked the forward women. Less work to do.

He released her breast and reached a hand up to fondle her womanhood, pleased when he found her dripping. Obviously something was going well. His tongue slid up her chest to the nape of her neck, where he began sucking gently, then more aggressively. She moaned again, and he grazed her bud with the pad of his index finger. She trembled beneath him, and he smiled victoriously. He was in control.

"Gooood fucking...oooooh, Carter, do tha again..."

Instead, he traced a path along her abdomen, but his addled head suddenly became clearer.

Dammit, Alli used to call me that...

He slid a hand around her waist and yanked her roughly against his chest until he could feel her nipples hardening against his skin.

He'd be lying to say that he hadn't thought about Alli, but he would've also been lying had he said that he was often sober enough to process any decent thoughts about her. He knew from Amanda's scathing lecture after the hospital incident that she was talking to the girls again, and AJ had managed his own share of biting remarks during practice. He told himself repeatedly that he didn't care until it hurt too much to lie...and then he drank. Drank until every woman in the club looked beautiful and every sensible thought was cast to the wind. After all, he was just having fun. He wasn't supposed to be concerned.

His teeth gently grasped her earlobe and tugged once, twice, three times until she was moaning in his ear. The sound was erotic, and he pressed his hips against her thigh to show her how much he appreciated her efforts of seduction.

Of course, Amanda had said that Alli had cried when Kristin had called to tell her about the hospital.

Her wandering fingers pinched the tip of his throbbing member, and delicious pain shot burning rivers up and down his body. He traced the outline of her ear with his tongue, and she raked her nails along his tip. He trembled beneath her, and his lips rose to meet hers in a steamy kiss while their hands continued to explore.

Why did it bother him so much that Alli had cried over him? After all, like Amanda said, it hadn't been the first time that he'd made his best friend cry. Of course, that bothered him too.

He released her mouth long enough to breathe, and she brought her hands up to rake her nails across his chest, leaving a trail of chill bumps in her wake. She slid her hands back up towards his biceps until she was holding him down on the bed, and her lips crashed into his again.

His vision was blurred in the heat of the moment, but his thoughts were racing. If he had made Alli cry before, she hadn't ever mentioned it. Instead, she had kept it from him, which angered him in the slightest. They were supposed to trust each other. Of course, maybe she had thought she could trust him. Maybe he'd let her down.

His tongue pushed against her lips until they opened, allowing him access to her mouth as he struggled against her hold. She bit down gently on his lower lip, and his hips bucked into her.

He still couldn't forget the pain in Alli's eyes when she'd looked at him last.

Finally furious at having been held down, he broke free of her grip and flipped her over onto the bed, winking at her before gliding down her body with his tongue, using his talented fingers to knead her breasts into swollen mountains of desire. He dipped his tongue in her navel, arching an eyebrow in satisfaction when she gasped in surprise.

He really, really hated the fact that Alli's face was still in his head.

He closed his eyes and continued to tease her navel with his tongue while his hands found her hips and held them gently in place. When he was satisfied with the attention paid to her abdomen, he moved lower and took a deep breath, memorizing the wet womanhood that lay waiting for him beneath a bed of rose-colored curls.

Why had it been so easy for Alli to leave without any promise of returning? She was supposed to care about him. In fact, he had his days where he wondered if she was the only one who still did.

He descended down upon her, and his tongue flicked across her folds, successfully parting her lips and reveling her entrance. He closed his eyes again and his tongue darted inside as his lips closed over her folds.

And then there were the days where he wondered if even Alli could still find it in her heart to care about him. He didn't want to believe that he'd hurt her or that he was at fault, but Amanda's words were slowly starting to take effect.

He sucked gently as his tongue continued to massage her most tender area, releasing his hold on her hips when she began to react to his prodding. Her hips bucked into him, and he found a slow rhythm with which to tease her. When her juices met his tongue, he began to massage more quickly, eliciting a moan from his object of lust. His new victim. Another night would bring another victim.

Damn Amanda. Hell, damn all women.

He flicked his tongue across her bud, and her body rocked with her first orgasm. He kissed her curls gently before releasing her, moving back up along her beautiful body until his lips met hers in another tangle of passion.

Amanda had said that there was no way he could claim to care for Alli by sleeping around and drinking when she was in such an emotionally damaging situation. He had replied that maybe he didn't really care about Alli.

She broke the kiss to smile sexily at him and her fingers found his throbbing member again. He let out a shaky breath at her touch and managed a hopeful but endearing half-smile.

"Your turn," she purred. "Lie down."

It wasn't until she gave him a firm, commanding squeeze that he hissed a breath between his teeth and obeyed. When she rolled over and began to crawl on top of him, the preying, lustful look in her eyes had to have been the sexiest thing he'd ever seen. But, then again, they were all sexy.

It didn't matter. He'd lied before and Amanda had certainly been wrong before. He didn't want to care about Alli because of her indifferent attitude towards him, but he had a feeling that she was just as affected by the abrupt ending to their friendship as he had been. Maybe he just wanted closure.

She loomed over him, gracefully leaning down to trace the line of his collarbone with her tongue. When she arrived back at his neck, she trailed over his Adam's apple, which bobbed as he swallowed forcefully and tried to remain calm. She smiled seductively down at him and leaned into his neck, sucking gently at his Adam's apple while her the nails on her right hand grazed up and down his bicep. He had to grip the bed sheets to keep from crying out.

No, he didn't want closure with Alli. He'd be lying through his teeth if he told her that he was glad for the end of their friendship. Didn't she know that he still needed someone to believe in him? The others had already given up.

"Like that?" she slurred, her hot breath lingering on his dampened neck. He swallowed again and managed to nod, worried about what might escape if he loosed his grip on his bottom lip. His teeth sank more harshly onto his skin, and he closed his eyes when he felt her blowing gently along her tongue's more recent path across his chest. His nipples hardened beneath the burst of cold air.

He wanted to smile at the many times that Alli had had encouraging words amidst the endless sarcasm.

Instead, however, he sucked in a breath as the gentle breeze found the tip of his arousal. A string of obscenities came to mind, but were caught in his throat with a primal growl. His eyes were squeezed tightly shut, and his breathing became more shallow when the tip of her tongue tentatively found the tip of his growing erection. He was pleasantly surprised that he was lasting so long, but the pleasure she evoked was pure torture.

Alli had always liked to joke about his affinity for pain. He'd certainly caused himself enough of it by letting her walk out that door without another word to convince her to come back. Not that he had the words. Truth to tell, he didn't really deserve her, and he knew it.

Her tongue began swirling around his tip gently at first, then more assertively until she was sliding up his shaft. Her lips closed around him just before she bared her teeth, raking them against the tender skin as she traveled his length. The touch left him wanting more, and she complied as her tongue began to explore his growing excitement again.

Knowing, of course, didn't make it hurt any less. Alli had always been his best friend. Her absence was still surreal, even though he felt it on so many levels that he couldn't even begin to acknowledge how much she meant.

Suddenly, she slid up his length and deep-throated him. She began moving up and down his length in long, even strokes, using her tongue to tease him while the warmth of her mouth enticed him. Against his own will, his fingers buried in her reddish curls, and he closed his eyes again, enveloping himself in darkness while she dragged him into his own ecstasy. She began to pump faster until his entire length was throbbing for release. With one final thrust, he shoved her head into his hips and exploded into her mouth as stars danced in the darkness before him.

Maybe he ought to call Alli, just to try and convince her to start caring about him again. He wanted someone to believe in him.

When he recovered from the tremble of his orgasm, his voice was husky as he spoke to her and opened his glassy eyes to look at her in appreciation.

"I wanna be in you now," he slurred, somewhat surprised at the alcohol's effect on his speech. He was still drunk and sedated by lust, but his thoughts ran more clearly than they had in weeks. He slid his hands out of her hair and onto her shoulders, pulling her up for another searing kiss until their arms were wrapped around each other as they tried to get as close as physically possible. She began teasing him again, and he felt his erection beginning to grow again against her thigh.

He felt tears prick the back of his eyes when he realized that, despite the hateful way he'd treated her in his quest for fun, Alli had always believed in him.

He reached over clumsily and grabbed a square-shaped silver package from the drawer of the bedside table. He tore open the foil package with shaky fingers and pulled the condom free, but her cold hand found his, and he looked up at her with eyes full of questions.

"Lemme," she said thickly, taking the lubricated item and raking her nails along him again before sheathing him properly. He guided her to lie on the bed and positioned himself above her with a lustful gaze as the scenery around him blurred at the edges. With a deep breath and a tiny gasp of anticipation, he slid into her, eliciting a moan of his name from the woman beneath him.

She knows my name, but I don't know hers, he realized vaguely. The thought reminded him of something Amanda had said earlier. "Alli knows you so well, Nick, but you don't really know her anymore. Either you don't know her, or you're not friend enough to care about who she's become. Did it ever occur to you that she has a life outside of you? She has a father. She supports you, but you won't take five minutes to call and support her."

He buried himself as far as he could go before sliding out again with an agonizingly slow speed. She whimpered beneath him, begging for more, but he continued to ease in and out almost completely, taking the time to watch the expressions on her face so that he wouldn't acknowledge how much he was tormenting himself as well. When she reached behind and grabbed his backside, slamming him into her, his eyes widened in surprise and pleasure. He began to increase the force of his thrusts, bringing his hands to rest on her two breasts, which he had suddenly acquired a new appreciation for. He smiled a sexy grin when he felt her chest rising and falling with every shallow breath. Her breathing grew labored as he increased his pace ever so slightly.

He wanted to be a good friend to Alli, but he wasn't ready to sacrifice the power he'd gained or the strength he'd acquired with his newfound "tough kid" attitude. The Boys were most certainly exasperated, but the women had never been so willing and the booze had never been so easy to consume. He had wisely chosen to ignore the guilt until Alli arrived, at which point he couldn't help but think that maybe his guilt had arrived in the form of Alli. Of course, maybe she had been there to bring him back down from the cloud of drugs and drinking and sex and parties until dawn. Beneath it all, Alli was still the same person he had befriended years before, and he reveled in the normalcy that she brought to his normally chaotic life.

Even in the heat of the moment, even as he slammed into her walls with excruciating, delicious pain and pleasure, she meant nothing. Even as he twirled her hardened nipples between his thumbs and forefingers, he couldn't remember her name or how he'd met her. And, even as her eyes rolled back in her head and her body shook violently with the force of one orgasm after another, even as he exploded inside the confining rubber tube, the lust meant nothing to him. Even as she cried out his name in pure ecstasy, Alli's name ran though his mind.

Maybe it hadn't been fair of him to change so willingly, to abandon the man that his best friend knew and believed in. Maybe it hadn't been fair of him to snatch normalcy away from her when she still provided for him day after day. Maybe he did owe her more than just an apology.

His own eyes fell closed as his body rocked with the force of his own orgasm, every limb trembling in an erotic dance of lost control and dissipating passion.

He just needed to hear Alli's voice, just needed to know that she was still there for him. And, maybe it wouldn't hurt to let her know that he wanted to be there for her too, jerk or not.

He fell back against the dampened sheets, exhausted in the aftermath of sex and candy. He pulled her close to him and wrapped his arms around her, but she was nothing more than a warm body. She whispered to him in the dark, but he couldn't hear her. He didn't really care what she was saying anyway. For the evening, she had satisfied his addiction, aided him in his attempt at self-destruction. His eyes fluttered closed as his head hit the pillow, and he sighed heavily as a single, solitary tear escaped out of the corner of his eye and slid onto the cotton.

He vowed to call Alli the next morning. First, though, he'd have to get his victim out of his bed. He'd send her home, and then he'd call the one that mattered. If she didn't want to talk, he'd find another victim and wait another day.

After all, she had been on his mind all evening.

"With Or Without You"
lyrics and music by U2