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Authors: Tabatha Vargo

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BOOK: Black Sheep
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THREE

Nicole

 

 

 

 

 

“ENJOY YOUR THANKSGIVING!
I’ll see you Sunday,” Amber yelled from the cab window as they drove off.

New York looked good on her. Already, she’d dyed her hair an auburn tone. Her roommate was a bit of a hair and makeup connoisseur, so her eyebrows were done and she had color on her face. Amber was never one to overdo things like that. She looked nice—put together and flawless. Meanwhile, I looked like hot garbage. The flight had been terrible, and the airport had lost one of my bags.

Amber was full of energy, and I was dragging. The only plus side to traveling home with her was we had time to sit and chat while on the plane and in the back of the cab. We thought we’d have time to hang out once we’d settled in New York, but the reality was both of our schedules were packed. We rarely saw each other, and other than a quick phone conversation here and there, we barely talked.

I missed her.

Autumn mums lined the sidewalk to the front door. Mom’s wind chimes played their beautiful music in the November breeze, and the smell of fresh mulch reached my senses as I made my way toward the front door. A cornucopia full of fake fall flowers was hanging on the front door, and the seasonal flag Mom switched out every few weeks waved in the wind, rippling a smiling cartoon turkey.

The front door was unlocked, so I pushed it open and stepped into the warmth of my childhood home.

“I’m home!” I called out as I dropped my heavy bag by the front door with a thump.

Even though we talked almost every day, I hadn’t seen my family since I left for school. I missed them like crazy and suffered the worst case of homesickness ever, which was why I showed up a day early for Thanksgiving to surprise them.

Thanksgiving recess was usually only four days or so, but Amber was leaving earlier, and I wasn’t keen on traveling alone. Thankfully, I’d managed to get away since the faculty was also ready to start their holiday. I snagged a ticket on the same flight to Charleston as Amber, paid for it with the emergency credit card, and was packed and ready in an hour.

The house was silent as I slipped through the foyer taking in the pumpkins and scarecrows Mom decorated with every fall. The smell of pumpkin spice billowed from her tart warmers, reminding me of all the family holidays from years before. The holiday season had always been my favorite.

Each room was empty as I passed it. I had at least expected Brian, my little brother, to be in the living room playing Xbox. After school, that’s usually where you could find him. He’d be on the couch with snacks scattered around him as he yelled into the mic attached to his headphones and lived in a virtual world, but the living room was empty, as well. It seemed the entire house was.  

Then I heard running water in the kitchen, and I smiled with excitement to see my mom. I turned around and started toward the back of the house with a skip in my step, but as soon as I walked into the kitchen, I came to an abrupt stop. I was expecting my mom, but instead, it was Tyson.

He was standing at the kitchen sink washing his hands with his back to me. He was naked from the waist up, his muscled shoulders flexing with his every move. There was motor oil smeared across his shoulder and his body glistened with sweat.

My eyes moved down his spine, taking in the random scars and some new ink, making my mouth water with want. He looked sexier than usual. Probably because I hadn’t seen him in three months. I missed him. I missed his smug grins and sarcastic remarks.

My eyes landed on the small of his back before shifting across his ass. Tyson had an amazing ass. I’d always thought so, but somehow, it looked even better with his loose jeans hanging from it. Secretly, I cursed his belt for holding them up so well.

Then I remembered the last time we were in a room alone together. The embarrassment of throwing myself at him only to have him push me away left a queasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. I couldn’t see him. I couldn’t look him in the eye, knowing how pitiful I’d been, but before I could flee the moment, the water shut off, and he turned around.

His eyes clashed with mine, and I saw the tiny moment when they widened. I’d surprised him.

“Tyson.” His name came out whispered, as if I was praying to him in the silence of my own bedroom.

I swallowed hard, pushing the nerves down to keep them from choking me.

He looked different—older—more weathered. He turned away, breaking the hold on me, and rubbed his hands into the towel to dry them.

“Everyone’s out,” he muttered before tossing the towel onto the counter.

I’d never felt unwelcomed in my home, but the way he spoke to me made me feel that way. It almost made me regret our last meeting … almost. But as hard as I tried, regret wouldn’t move through me. I’d stated what I felt and what I wanted, and while I was embarrassed by the outcome, I wouldn’t take it back because my words and feelings meant too much to me.

He moved toward the door that went out to the garage and snatched his T-shirt from the doorknob. My eyes followed his movements as he covered his beautiful body. I mourned the view.

Tyson had always been beautiful, but he’d grown even more gorgeous over the last three months. Not to mention, I rarely saw him without his shirt on, which made the moment even sweeter.

Over the years, he’d always made sure to stay covered, which made no sense to me since he obviously put in a ton of work to be so toned and tattooed. Sure, he had scars. I’d seen them here and there over the years. But everyone had scars. I guess Tyson’s just ran a little deeper than most.

“You’re here,” I stated the obvious.

Again, his eyes flickered to mine before he looked away. He busied himself, pulling open the closest cabinet and grabbing a glass to fill with water.

“Your dad’s car needed an oil change. So I thought I’d come over and do it real quick.”

He was always doing things like that for my parents. Fixing things they didn’t even realize needed fixing. Oil changes. Tire rotations. Yard work. It was as if he felt like he owed them.

My parents didn’t see it that way, but every time they offered to pay him, he’d shrug it off and leave the money on the kitchen counter. Brian would always scoop it up for more video games.

“That was nice of you.”

The conversation was stale, but even though I was still embarrassed by our last moments together, I still longed to be near him. I wasn’t ready to let him go. We were alone, which rarely happened.

“They’ve done a lot for me. It’s the least I could do.” He shrugged his large shoulders before sucking down the entire glass of water and setting it on the counter with a clink.

He started toward the garage door, and something told me he was going to keep his distance for the entire Thanksgiving holiday.

“Tyson.” His name bounced from my lips before I could even think of a reason to stop him.

He turned, his eyes settling on my forehead and avoiding contact with mine completely.

“Are you coming over for Thanksgiving dinner?” I asked.

It was a lame question, but I wasn’t ready to let him go.

Not yet.

He nodded. “Your mom would kick my ass if I didn’t.”

And then the side of his mouth lifted in a grin, drawing my attention to his luscious lips and making me swallow hard.

“Yeah,” I said around the ball in my throat. “She would.”

Again, he moved toward the door in an attempt to escape me. “I’ll see you then,” he muttered as he pulled the garage door open, letting in the scent of motor oil and burnt rubber.

I panicked.

I didn’t want him to leave yet.

“Tyson,” I blurted once more.

His shoulders stiffened before he slowly turned my way once more. Still, he avoided eye contact, making me feel crazy for him to look me in the eye. 

And then words I hadn’t expected leaped from my tongue, making the room feel even tenser.

“I’ve missed you.”

My words were whispered, but I was sure he’d heard them since his entire body went stiff and his eyes shot to mine. Just as quickly as he looked me in the eye, he turned away.

He shook his head, his long fingers going to his wild strands of hair. He ran his fingers through the locks and sighed before he turned away completely.

“Your parents will be glad you’re here. I know they’ve missed you.”

And then he disappeared into the garage, taking the shards of my heart with him as he shut the door with a click.

 

 

“OH MY GOD,
Mom, this is decadent,” I said around a mouthful of baked spaghetti.

I missed my mom’s cooking almost as much as I missed her. I hadn’t stepped on a scale in months, but I was sure I was losing weight at school. Between the intense dance classes and the healthy foods the school provided, I wouldn’t doubt it.

My head was in the game when it came to keeping the correct body structure for dance, but I couldn’t lie. I missed carbohydrates and chocolate more than I cared to admit.

“Are they not feeding you at your big fancy school?” Dad asked with a smirk.

Rolling my eyes, I shoved another forkful of saucy goodness into my mouth.

“Yes, but nothing as good as this.”

My mom beamed. She loved to cook. Actually, she loved taking care of us. My mom had never worked … at least not that I could remember. Growing up, I was aware of how hard she worked at being a mother and wife. She woke with the sun and made sure everything was taken care of for her family. Only after everything was cleaned and ready for the next day did she go to her room and sleep.

She was amazing, and we, as a family, always made sure she knew how much we appreciated her and everything she did for us.

“You haven’t said much about school. How are you doing? Everything working out?” Mom asked.

I spent the next twenty minutes going over my schedule and telling them about the upcoming winter production. Brian was too busy checking his phone to join the conversation. At fourteen, his life revolved around video games and his friends.

When we were growing up, we were close. He’d always looked like a mini version of me running around with shorter hair. He followed me around with stars in his eyes, but once he got to his teenage years, I was just his annoying older sister.

He and Tyson remained close, though, which only irritated me a little. I think they remained close mostly because Tyson was always buying him video games and crap he didn’t need.

There were times before I left for school when I’d enter a room and find them laughing together. Jealousy wasn’t something I felt often, but it upset me that I didn’t have an easy relationship with Brian anymore and that Tyson never laughed with me the way he did with Brian. If anything, once we were older, Tyson barely spoke to me, much less laughed and played.

The rest of the night was spent helping Mom prepare for Thanksgiving dinner. She cooked a lot of food for our small family, but I think she always cooked too much because she loved donating the rest to the homeless shelter in the city. It was something we did every year. Again, my mother was an amazing woman.

“Have you seen Tyson since you’ve been home?” she asked with a grin.

BOOK: Black Sheep
5.66Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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