Authors: Shantel Tessier
“I know.” She bites her bottom lip.
“Do you want to talk about—”
“No,” she interrupts me, obviously not wanting to
rehash what happened downstairs.
I grit my teeth at her refusal to tell me about her
stepdad and Tate. I want to know about their past and why Tate all of a sudden
wants to explain his actions.
She pulls away from me, heading to her closet.
“What are you doing?” I ask.
“I’m getting dressed and going back downstairs.”
“Angel,” I whisper as I walk over to her. “You
don’t have to. They all understand what you’re going through and that you need
some time alone.”
She takes a few deep breaths, keeping her back to
me. I can’t help but let my eyes rake over her high-heels, her bare legs, and
her ass in only a black lace thong, her hair falling down her back. I am so
fucking hard and craving her that I actually contemplate throwing her onto the bed
and taking what is mine.
Then she turns around and I see tears running down
her cheeks. I mentally slap myself. What the fuck am I thinking? She just had
two men trying to upset her. Her mother has died. She has no one left, no one
but me. I walk up to her and her body sags against mine as she hugs me. Her frame
shakes as she cries into my chest. I pick her up and carry her to the bed. We
lie down and I hold her.
“I love you, Angel,” I whisper as I kiss her head.
“I love,” she says between hiccups, “you too,
It breaks my heart. I squeeze her to me as tightly
as I can, holding on for dear life, because she is my life.
She peers up at me, and I gently wipe the tears
from her face. “Why are you with me?”
My fingers pause over her cheeks and I frown. “Because
I love you.”
She pulls my hands away. “No one can love someone
as selfish as me,” she whispers as she moves to get out of bed.
I grab her arm and pull her back, rolling myself on
top of her.
“Let me up, Slade,” she cries as she tries to push
me off. I grab her hands, pinning them down by her head.
“Stop.” I hate how she sees herself. She is still
that caring, loving, passionate woman that I am madly in love with.
“You don’t love me.” She shakes her head.
“I do. I am in love with you, Angel.”
love me,” she screams.
“Why not?” I yell back.
She flinches and stops shaking her head as her
green eyes land on mine.
“Why not, Angel?” I demand. Maybe this is what I
need to do. Maybe I need to get her mad and then she will tell me what she is
“Because everyone who loves me will leave me.”
Tears slide down the side of her face as she closes her eyes.
Letting go of her wrists, I cradle her face in my
hands. “Look at me.”
She opens her eyes slowly, blinking the tears away.
“I love you,” I whisper, bringing my lips down to hers. “I’m not going to leave
you. I promise, Angel. You are my forever,” I remind her as she lets out a sob.
“Please leave,” she whispers.
She closes her eyes tightly. “Please leave,” she
repeats, “I don’t want you in here right now.”
“No. I’m not going to leave you,” I rasp out.
She tries to speak but I lean down and place my
lips on hers. I kiss her sweetly, slowly coaxing her tongue to meet mine. She
needs to physically feel something right now besides heartache. She needs to
know that I love her. What are words without the actions to prove one’s self?
She kisses me back slowly. I place a hand in her hair, pulling her head back
for me. I place my lips on her neck and trail a path up to her jaw. I make my
way back to her lips and she kisses me back this time with as much force as I
kiss her with.
I pull away and roll over, lifting her on top of
me. I pick up her hand and place it on my chest. “Do you feel that, Angel?” I
ask as she quietly weeps.
She nods her head once.
“That is my heartbeat. It only beats for you,
Angel. It has always only ever beat for you. I only breathe for you. All I
think about is my forever with you. Believe me, I am not going anywhere. You
can push me away as much as you want. It won’t matter, I’ll push back.” I will
too, it doesn’t fucking matter that she doesn’t want me to see her like this.
She lays her head on my chest and takes a deep breath
as I smooth her hair down her back.
It doesn’t take more than a few minutes for her to
fall asleep. I let go of her and move out from underneath her. I take off her
heels one at a time and place the blanket over her.
I head down to find out what’s going on. I see my
mother as I get to the bottom of the stairs. “Hey Mom, where is everyone?”
“The family is in the kitchen eating. Everyone else
has left,” she responds sadly.
“They left already?”
She nods. “They could hear Samantha arguing with
someone and figured it was time to go. They know she is having a hard time.”
I sigh, running my hand over my face. “That was me.
She was yelling at me. It wasn’t her fault.” How could I have been so
inconsiderate to the people who had shown up to pay their respects to Marie?
“I know, hun.” She puts her arm in the crook of
mine. “Come on, let’s go eat.”
We walk into the kitchen and my eyes catch sight of
Courtney by the coffee pot. She is leaning against the counter giving me a
“Where’s Sam?” she asks, voice hard.
“She cried herself to sleep,” I respond flatly, not
happy with her tone.
“What were you doing to piss her off?”
“Courtney drop it,” Josh says before I can reply.
“I would have done the same thing if someone who kept a horrible secret about
you was making things worse.”
“Drop it,” Josh snaps at her.
I try to hide my surprise that he just snapped at
her in front of everyone. Courtney, on the other hand, looks pissed. I can tell
everyone is anxious and upset. I look around the room and see Holly quietly
crying while Micah rubs her back. My mom and dad are sitting across from them
at the dining table silently drinking coffee. My dad doesn’t look like he just
beat the shit out of another man.
He’s always been that way. Once he beats the shit
out of someone, he walks away in a good mood. I, however, take a little longer
to calm down.
I look down at my watch and see it’s almost six in
the evening. I’m so glad this day is almost over with. I am ready to get back
home, where it is just me and Angel.
“What time are we leaving tonight?” Josh asks once
he knows Courtney is going to keep her mouth shut.
“Once Angel wakes up from her nap.” I run a hand
through my hair. “I want her home in our house, away from here. I think things
will be easier on her that way.”
The room falls silent for a few minutes as I think
about her moving in with me. I hate that she still has to worry about the move.
I wish she already lived with me because it fucking sucks to move.
“I have an idea.” I look up at the guys. “Will you
guys help me tomorrow with moving her stuff into my house?”
Josh and Micah start nodding their heads. “I just
know that if I wait until next weekend then she will start trying to move
herself on Monday. I don’t want her doing any of that on her own.”
“No worries, we will help you,” Josh says, coming
over to me. He surprises me by pulling me into a man hug. “I’m so happy for you
“Thanks.” I pat his back. Josh and I have always
been as close as Micah and I, but we have probably hugged only a handful of
“We need to get going to the airport,” my mom
finally says, standing. “Will you tell Samantha to call me tomorrow?”
“Yeah.” Maybe she can go over to my parents’ house.
That will give her something to do while I move her belongings to mine.
“Where are the keys to your rental cars?” my dad
asks as he approaches. “We will drive them back.”
“Hadn’t thought of that.” I’m trying my hardest to
think of everything so Angel doesn’t stress. I know her mind is full of
unwanted memories and things she has to get done. I need to stay one step ahead
of her, so I can get her the hell out of this state.
The guys and I help load up my parents’ bags into
the cars and tell them goodbye. We walk back into the house and make our way to
“Did you get Courtney’s things packed?” I don’t
know how long she intends to stay, but if she’s anything like Angel, she has
three closets full of clothes and shoes.
“We have Courtney’s things packed and are ready to
roll.” He sits back down at the kitchen table next to her.
“How long are you going to be staying in St. Louis,
She gives me a shy smile then looks over at Josh.
“Well, I plan on moving there.”
“Like for good?” I lean up, placing my elbows on
“What about your job?”
“I quit.” She grins. “I’ll get a new one there.”
Micah and I stare at her with a dumbfounded look on
our faces while Josh leans over and kisses her. Damn, they are moving awfully
fast. I keep my mouth shut though. Josh never said anything to me about falling
for Angel so quickly.
“Are you all packed?” I ask Micah, changing the
“Yeah, we can go ahead and load the last few boxes
up in Sam’s truck.”
I stand up to follow him out to the garage. We had
already placed all of the boxes out there. I was actually very surprised with
how few boxes Angel ended up packing to take back with us. She didn’t keep as
many things as I thought she would. I know it was very hard for her to give all
those things away. I’m sure if she really thought about it, everything was
“Do you think Sam is going to be okay?” Micah asks
lifting a box into the back of the Tahoe.
I give those words some thought. “Do I think she
will be okay?” I repeat slowly.“No,” I answer honestly. Not after the outburst
she had up in her bedroom. “Do I think she’ll learn to get over the loss? Yes,
eventually.” I don’t know what hurt will linger longer; the loss of her mother,
or the fact that she thought her mom was pushing her away. Either way, it is
going to affect her.
Micah and I load the last box and close the hatch
as Holly enters the garage. “Sam is up from her nap.” The sad look on Holly’s her
face tugs at my heart. I nod my head and walk back into the house, heading for
“Where is she?” I ask, but Josh doesn’t hear me as
he is speaking with Courtney. “Josh. Where is Angel?”
“Oh,” he says, turning around to look at me with a
smile on his face, “she went back upstairs.”
I walk up to her room and slowly open her door.
She’s in the bathroom, shoving stuff into a bag. I
approach her from behind and turn her to face me. “Are you okay?” Her green
eyes look soft and happy.
“Yes.” She frowns, and then asks, “Are you okay? Is
something wrong, Slade?” She reaches up, cupping my face with her hands.
Why would she be worried about me? I’m fine.
“I know you didn’t sleep well last night. Do you
want to talk about something? Is it work? I want you to know you can talk to
I shake my head, kind of at a loss over what is
happening. How can it be that she is worried about me? And if she knows I
didn’t sleep well last night, that means she didn’t sleep well last night
either. I take in a deep breath and pull her hand away from my face to kiss her
knuckles. “You know you don’t have to pretend, right? It’s okay to be upset.”
She yanks her hand away from mine and spins around
to finish packing.
“I know, Slade,” she says with a bite to her words.
“Let’s just get out of here.” She picks up her now full bag and walks out of
the bathroom. I sigh, running a hand through my hair, trailing after her once
again. Maybe she just wants to ignore what happened earlier with Marie’s ex,
and the entire Tate situation.
I close my eyes tightly
trying to ignore the pounding headache that I’m pretty sure I got from taking
that God awful nap earlier. I sit in the passenger seat of the Tahoe, staring
out the window. I watch the kids in the backseat of passing cars laugh and push
one another. Every family we pass seems to be happy. I wish I could be happy. I
feel as if every time I think of something to be happy about, Slade makes me
reconsider. I don’t know what he wants from me. Does he not want me to move on
from my mother’s passing? Does he expect me to live the rest of my life mad at
myself for never making the effort to come home? Should I feel that way?
I sigh because I don’t know what the fuck to think
or how to act. We have been on the road for over two hours now and have said
maybe five words. Slade tried to talk to me several times but I mostly
responded by just shaking or nodding my head. I bet he thinks I have fallen
All I can think about is what Greg said to me
earlier today. My mom admitted she had cheated on my father. She had been so
ashamed about that confession I cannot imagine her doing that to someone else
she loved. But he had a point, I was never home. I wasn’t out whoring around
like he so colorfully stated, but I was still not there.