Series: Heart #5
Forbidden Love…? Definitely not us.
Second Chance…? That one’s confusing…just like our relationship.
Soul Mates…? I’m not sure I believe in that stuff.
Fake Relationship…? Nope. We’re blood, guts, and reality.
Friends to lovers…? At times… yes.
We’re two different people on two different paths, looking for the same thing. The reality of it all is that one of us needs to fix the broken pieces to mend a hopeless mind and the other needs to view the alternate life that calls in order to finally be able to accept what it really is that they want.
Who is Nikki as a woman?
She is determined, focused, business-oriented, and motivated.
Who is Christopher as a man?
Well, he’s a broken one, but he’s determined to fix the pieces.
I open the bathroom door to three sets of eyeballs bulging from the sockets when I step into Sofia’s palatial master bedroom.
“Someone get me an industrial fan.” Sage waves his hand in front of his face.
“You are so getting laid.” Sofia’s animated elation over her choice of a dress cracks me up.
“Holy fuck, can I borrow that next? Luke would salivate over that dress.”
“Blondie, he salivates over you anyway. Peaches, you are a vision of unadulterated sex. That dress is a shot of Viagra to any limp dick you pass.”
“Is it too much though?” I turn and look in Sofia’s hand carved mirror.
“No.” Sage shakes his head.
“Nope.” Jessica pops the P with exaggeration.
“Hell. No!” Sofia’s voice rises with each word.
“Peaches, too much will never be the case with that dress.”
I sit on the edge of my sister’s bed and slip Jessica’s heels over the soles of my two-day old pedicure. I buckle the strap, wiggle my toes, and stand, presenting myself to the three musketeers waiting to see the full onslaught of this scarlet red, very revealing outfit.
“Fuck, you’re gorgeous, peaches.”
“Stunning.” Jessica smiles. “I totally have to borrow that dress.”
“If you do, you better get it dry cleaned before bringing it back. I don’t need Luke’s cum stains coming back with it,” Sofia dictates. “And you my sister, are… Sexy. As. Fuck!”
“She’s got that right!” Sage’s eyes bulge with a jerk of his head and pursed lips. “One more thing.” He hurries across the room, knowing exactly what he’s looking for and exactly where it is. “She needs boob shimmer,” he says over his shoulder, then walks back to me welding a big fluffy brush and a jar of pale gold body shimmer. The brush finds my cleavage and collar bones before he lands a big kiss on my cheek. “You are perfect, peaches.”
The four of us fumble down the stairs, me being the last in line. When I hit the tile to the kitchen, the room falls silent. The only sound is a fierce agonized noise thundering through the kitchen and then Colt wails with a hungry cry breaking the tension when he sees his momma.
My gaze goes directly to where the noise came from. Chris is standing there with his arms hanging at his sides. His face is a sheet of stone. I swallow the tension rising in my throat, the knot forming a ball I can’t seem to speak past.
I smile with a tension-filled twist of my lips.
“Who’s this guy she’s going out with?” Luke questions, looking at Caelan. “I’m gonna have to vet his ass.”
“Already done,” the rumbled words thunder in a low, deep riptide of angry breath from Chris.
Everyone’s head twists in his direction. “You?” Caelan searches his brother’s face.
Chris doesn’t answer. His focus is one hundred percent on me. A beat passes, then the Chris everyone knows appears. I watch the lie of the man form in his changing eyes and personality. The flicker of shutters slamming closed before the storm claims him. He’s the shell of a man sealing the cracks he almost let break open and crumble, but he quickly covers it up with his jokes. The levity alleviating the heaviness in the room, but not in my mind or my heart. And then… my heart shatters with his crude words. I know Chris. Chris knows I know Chris, inside and out. Whatever comes out of his mouth next is to cover for what he’s feeling.
“Hey, make sure you practice sandboxing tonight, yea.” Everyone chuckles. “You don’t need that pretty pussy of yours catching something before you let me fuck you again.”
The laughter extinguishes immediately.
My mouth falls open, to the point I think it becomes unhinged.
“And from what I know, he’s a pretty decent guy,” he continues without breaking his stride. “I just don’t know his dick size, but I guess we’ll know by tomorrow, won’t we?” He finishes his crude sentence and opens the refrigerator and grabs another beer.
Caelan starts to say something but I shake my head. “Let it go,” I mouth, stepping forward and grabbing the clutch from Sofia’s fisted hand. I throw my phone and gloss in it along with some tissues and take a few steps to the bathroom that’s just off the kitchen. I take a deep breath and let his words go. I give myself a once over and open the door just as angry voices are being hushed.
“You’re a fucking asshole,” Caelan fumes.
The alarm goes off for the security system. All eyes turn to the CCTV in the corner of the kitchen. A limo sits at the gate. Caelan hits the intercom and tells him to come through after hitting the gate release button.
“I think it’s best if I meet him outside.” I smiled at everyone, not feeling one bit of the joy stretched across my face. My stride across my sister’s massive kitchen is quick. Murmurs of goodbyes are said. I wave over my shoulder, not wanting to look back.
“Shit.” I hear the clash of glass breaking inside what sounded like the recyclable trash can. “Nikki, wait up.”
I keep walking, my eyes are focused on the security camera, watching how far the limo has gotten down the driveway. The interior door to the mud room is within reach. I grab the handle and push it open. Just before closing it, it’s pushed open with force and closed with even more strength, but it doesn’t latch and swings back open.
“I’m fucking sorry.” He twists my figure, jerking me back to look at him.
“It sounds like it. Have a good night, Chris.” I turn and take a step away from him.
A puff of frustrated, released air hits my back. “I’m sorry, sunflower.”
Those are the words that stop me in my tracks. “Why?” I ask, turning back to him, feeling the hurt of his words.
“I don’t know.” A frustrated hand slides through his hair.
“Yes, you do. You wanted this. I didn’t. You did this. I just made it easier for you, but you changed the path.”
“I’m not good enough for you.” He steps into me.
“You are. The sad and worst part is you don’t believe that you are.” I solemnly gaze up into his regretful eyes.
He closes the door with a careless thud, then pushes me up against the wall, caging me in with his long, lean body. He bends down and ghosts his lips over mine.
“Don’t go,” he pleads, breathing heavily. The slight edge of panic in his voice.
“Tell me why?” I push.
“Because I don’t want you to.”
“That’s not good enough. Tell me why.”
I already know why.
“It has to be,” he growls with frustration.
“But it’s not.” I push at his chest. “Good night, Chris.” I duck under his arm and make my way out the door to a waiting Jaxson who is being occupied by Caelan. He must have known a train wreck was about to happen and cut Jaxson off by going out the front door.