Chapter no 31 – Juliette Ella

Defy Me (Shatter Me Book 5)

I wake up with a start.

After we got out of the shower, Aaron and I dried off, climbed into bed without a word, and promptly fell asleep.

I have no idea what time it is.

Aaron’s body is curled around mine, one of his arms under my head, the other wrapped around my waist. His arms are heavy, and the weight of him feels so good—makes me feel so safe—that, on the one hand, I don’t ever want to move. On the other hand—

I know we should probably get out of bed.

I sigh, hating to wake him up—he seems so tired—and I turn around, slowly, in his arms.

He only pulls me tighter.

He shifts so that his chin rests on my head; my face is now pressed gently against his throat, and I breathe him in, running my hands along the strong, deep lines of muscle in his arms. Everything about him feels raw. Powerful. There’s something both wild and terrified about his heart, and somehow, knowing this only makes me love him more. I trace the lines of his shoulder blades, the curve of his spine. He stirs, but only a little, and buries his face in my hair, breathing me in.

“Don’t go,” he says quietly.

I tilt my head, gently kiss the column of his throat. “Aaron,” I whisper, “I’m not going anywhere.”

He sighs. Says, “Good.”

I smile. “But we should probably get out of bed. We have to go to dinner.

Everyone will be waiting for us.”

He shakes his head, barely. Makes a disapproving sound in his throat. “But—”

“No.” And then, deftly, he helps me turn around. He hugs me close again, my back pressed against his chest. His voice is soft, husky with desire when he says. “Let me enjoy you, love. You feel so good.”

And I give in. Melt back into his arms.

The truth is, I love these moments most. The quiet contentment. The

peace. I love the weight of him, the feel of him, his naked body wrapped around mine. I never feel closer to him than I do like this, when there’s nothing between us.

Gently, he kisses my temple. Pulls me, somehow, even tighter. And his lips are at my ear when he says,

“Kenji said I was supposed to get you a ring.”

I stiffen, confused. Try to turn around when I say, “What do you mean?” But Aaron eases my body back down. He rests his chin on my shoulder.

His hands move down my arms, trace the curve of my hips. He kisses my neck once, twice, so softly. “I know I’m doing this wrong,” he says. “I know I’m not good at this sort of thing, love, and I hope you’ll forgive me for it, but I don’t know how else to do it.” A pause. “And I’m starting to think it might kill me if I don’t.”

My body is frozen, even as my heart pounds furiously in my chest. “Aaron,” I say, hardly daring to breathe. “What are you talking about?”

He says nothing.

I turn around again, and this time, he doesn’t stop me. His eyes flare with emotion, and I watch the gentle movement in his throat as he swallows. A muscle jumps in his jaw.

“Marry me,” he whispers.

I stare at him, disbelief and joy colliding. And it’s the look in his eyes— the hopeful, terrified look in his eyes—that nearly kills me.

I’m suddenly crying.

I clap my hands over my face. A sob escapes my mouth. Gently, he pries my hands away from my face.

“Ella?” he says, his words hardly a whisper.

I’m still crying when I throw my arms around his neck, still crying when he says, a little nervously—

“Sweetheart, I really need to know if this means yes or no—”

“Yes,” I cry, slightly hysterical. “Yes. Yes to everything with you. Yes to forever with you. Yes.

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