“You two are dating?” Leeza hissed, looking at me with a pissed expression. “You have got to be joking.”
“Why?” I questioned her, wishing she would just go away. “Did Lucky not tell you about our marathon sessions in the bedroom? I think we nearly broke her bed the other evening.” I felt Lucky’s body freeze next to mine, and I held her closer to me.
“Zane.” She laughed as she looked up at me with mirth in her eyes and then hit me in the arm. “Leeza’s my roommate.”
“Well, darn it. It was worth a try.” I grinned at her and brought my face down to hers. I wanted to kiss her so badly, but instead I let my nose graze hers as I stared into her eyes. It was an even more intimate gesture than I had thought it would be, and stars exploded around me as I realized how right it felt holding her in my arms.
“It was good seeing you, Lucky. Have a good evening.” I pulled away from her quickly, and uncertainly. It wasn’t meant to feel this deep. I had wanted to get to know her better so I could work her out of my system. I didn’t want to feel closer to her. I walked away from her quickly, and in a daze. I needed to go and think, and I needed a drink. All I had wanted was to get Lucky to this party, but now I was wondering if it had been a bigger mistake.
I grabbed a beer, and watched as Leeza dragged Lucky up the stairs. I was about to go and follow them when I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around and saw Angelique, and pasted a smile on my face.
“Hey,” I gave her a kiss on the cheek, and she kissed me on the lips in her old familiar way.
“Zane, I didn’t know you were coming tonight.” She pouted as she pressed against me, her beautiful face showing me how happy she was to see me.
“I wasn’t sure I was coming.”
“You haven’t even returned many of my calls.” Her fingers traced down my chest. “I’ve missed you.”
“I’ve been busy, Angelique.”
“Too busy for me?”
“I’m sorry.” I sighed and tried to take a step back. I looked back to the stairs and tried to think of a way to get away from her.
“I’ve been thinking about Noah a lot recently.” Her eyes welled up with tears, and I paused and gave her a hug.
“I know you miss him.” I held her to me close, this time not as her ex-lover, but as the brother of her ex-boyfriend.
“I just wish I would have known how much he loved me.”
“It wasn’t your fault.” I stroked her hair. “We both loved him. He wasn’t in his right mind that night.”
“I just wish this wouldn’t come between us.” She pushed herself against me and whispered against my lips. “I want us to…”
“Angelique, no.” I pulled away from her with a sigh. I didn’t want to have this conversation with her again. “I’m sorry.” I said softer this time. “I need to go upstairs.”
“Let me come with you. Evan and Braydon are upstairs with some of the gang.”
“Braydon’s here?” I felt my body go cold.
“Of course he’s here.” Angelique gave me an odd look, and grabbed my hand, and pulled me towards the stairs. “Let’s go and see what they’re up to.” I followed her up the stairs slowly, and bit my lip. I prayed that Leeza hadn’t taken Lucky to the room with Evan and Braydon. That was the last thing I needed to happen.
“Hey, y’all. We’re here.” Angelique sauntered into the room, giggling, and I followed behind her slowly.
“What’s up, Angelique?” Evan whistled at her, and she giggled again.
“Nada. Zane and I want to get this party started.” She ran over to him, and gave him a kiss on the cheek. I stood there in the doorway with a beer in my hand, and a worried feeling in my heart.
“Yo, bro, what up?” Evan jumped up and fist-bumped me, while nodding his head slightly to the corner with a grin. I knew he was trying to tell me Lucky was here. He couldn’t contain the joy on his face, now that he thought I was going to hook him up with some big role via my dad.
“Not much. What’s happening, Evan?” I didn’t smile, and I avoided looking over in the corner.
“Come on, Zane.” Angelique grabbed my arm and pulled me into the room. I looked over and saw Lucky sitting on a couch with Braydon, who had his arm around her possessively. I wanted to go over and hit him across the face, but instead I just stared at Lucky, willing her to look at me.
“Braydon Eagle, you sly dog.” Angelique ran over to the couch and placed herself on Braydon’s lap. “I didn’t know you were here.” She gave him a kiss on the cheek.
“Hi, Angelique.” He smiled and rolled his eyes, while avoiding looking at me.
“Why didn’t you call me back? I wanted you to come pregame with us.” Angelique whined at him, and I stood there watching Lucky as she sat there looking uncomfortable.
“I’m here now.”
“Didn’t you miss me?” Angelique pouted and ran her finger across his cheek.
“Angelique, you’re making Lucky uncomfortable.” Braydon pushed her off of his lap, and Angelique looked at him in shock.
“I’m okay.” Lucky attempted a smile, but Angelique flicked her hair and walked over to me.
“Zane, Braydon’s being rude.” She made a sad face.
“I’m sure he is.” I stared at Braydon hard, and placed an arm around her shoulder.
“Yes, he was,” she pouted. “Do something about it.”
“Don’t worry, I’m trying to,” I mumbled under my breath and turned to look at Lucky. I hoped she wasn’t falling under his spell. I frowned as I realized that my plan was going horribly. Not only was I not getting to spend quality time with her, but she was now cozied up to the man I hated most in the world.“Do you two know each other?” Braydon looked back and forth at us with an odd tone in his voice.
“No,” I said at the same time that Lucky said, “Yes.” I sighed as I saw the hurt feelings on her face, but I didn’t want Braydon to know I knew Lucky. I didn’t want him to try and go after her, because of her connection to me. I knew Lucky was upset, because she gave me a hurt look before turning away from me. I wanted to grab her arm, and beg her to just give me time, and some understanding.
“Hello, Braydon.” My voice was brusque as I acknowledged Braydon.
“Zane.” Braydon nodded, and he gave me a slightly worried look.
“Zane. Let’s go in the hot tub. Braydon, why don’t you join us?” Angelique interrupted us, and ran her hands through her hair.
“I’m having a conversation, Angelique.” Braydon spoke to Angelique, but he looked at me.
“I’m sure she won’t mind.” Angelique’s voice sounded sharp as she looked at Lucky dismissively. I felt a surge of anger as I saw Braydon grab hold of Lucky’s hand, and noticed she didn’t pull away.
“Angelique, why don’t you and Zane go?” Braydon looked at me with a smirk.
“Don’t want me to interrupt your conversation with Lucky?” My voice was harsh as I stared at him.
“What do you care?” Braydon gave him a challenging look.
“I don’t.” My voice was sharp and I took a deep breath. I could not allow Braydon to see how much this situation was affecting me.
“We met at the restaurant I work at,” Lucky interjected into the conversation. I wanted to tell her to shut up. I didn’t want Braydon getting personal information about Lucky.
“You work at a restaurant?” Angelique stared at Lucky with a smirk, and I knew that she thought Lucky was beneath her.
“Come on, Angelique.” I pulled her away from the small group we were in. I gave Lucky one last stare before turning away. I didn’t want this conversation to go any further. I was scared that a fight would break out, or that I would say something that I would regret. I had to be very careful with what I said to Braydon right now, but I knew that I wouldn’t be able to control myself if I thought that Lucky was being disrespected. Angelique and I walked to the door, and I didn’t turn back around to say goodbye, even though I felt Lucky’s eyes on me.
“Let’s go in the hot tub.” Angelique gave me a sexy look. “I knew you wanted me alone.”
“I’m going to have to take a pass, I’m afraid.” I walked away from her.
“I’m sorry, Angelique, but not tonight.” I ran down the stairs quickly and disappeared into the crowds, wondering what to do. I’d screwed up by leaving Lucky with Leeza, and letting her take her up to the room. I should have stayed with Lucky, and told Leeza to leave us alone. But instead I had panicked and now everything was going wrong. I positioned myself near the stairs. I was going to have to watch Lucky and Braydon for the rest of the night to make sure she didn’t go home with him. I didn’t care about the case. If Braydon tried to take Lucky home, I would beat him up. No questions asked.
The rest of the night went by in a blur. Lucky and Braydon danced the night away and each time she smiled up at him, I felt a new wave of jealousy course through me. There were so many times we made eye contact, and I wanted to ask her to dance with me, but I knew I couldn’t draw Braydon’s attention to me. Not now. I had missed my chance with Lucky, but at least I could make sure she was protected. I hid behind a group of people as Lucky tried to leave, and Braydon kept asking her to stay. I was proud of Lucky for saying no, but felt like shooting someone when I saw her give him her number. In my mind, I was already trying to figure out what I was going to tell Special Agent Waldron, because there was no way I was going to go to Los Angeles if Braydon was trying to pursue Lucky. There was no way in hell.
I watched as Lucky got into her clunker of a car, and then gave the valet a $100 note so that he would get my car next. I felt a bit shady as I followed Lucky onto the interstate, but I wanted to make sure she got home safely. I didn’t trust Braydon, and I didn’t trust her car, and if anything happened, I wanted to be the one to take care of her. I didn’t want her calling anyone else.
I thought everything was going to be fine, until I saw a burst of smoke, and then saw Lucky’s car pull over to the side of the road.
“What the fuck,” I yelled as the car stopped abruptly. “Why the f**k would she drive knowing her car is a piece of junk.” I was pissed as I pulled up behind her. What would she have done if I hadn’t been here? I had thought Lucky was smart, but now I wasn’t so sure.
I couldn’t quite believe that Lucky had agreed to come home with me. She hadn’t been happy about it, and had been a lot feistier that I had figured she would be, but both of us had been pretty emotional. And now she was here, in my home, in my spare bed, in my clothes, and all I could think about was having her here in my bed. She was so close, but yet so far. I groaned as I sat up in the bed. I couldn’t sleep, not now. Not knowing that she was in my home. I pulled on a pair of trunks and went downstairs. I needed to go in the hot tub. The hot water would make me sleepy. I’d rather have real dreams of Lucky in bed than daydreams.
Especially now that I knew she wanted me to kiss her. I’d been shocked when she had asked me why I didn’t kiss her. If only she knew how badly I wanted her. But I knew that she was a good girl. A better girl than I deserved. I had second thoughts about sleeping with her to get her out of my system. A guilty part of me thought that it was wrong. Another part of me thought that it wouldn’t work anyway. Kissing her would make me want her more, not less. I walked down the stairs quickly, and smiled to myself as I saw a figure behind the fridge. I guess Lucky hadn’t been able to sleep either. I touched her lightly on the shoulder and she screamed.
“Hey, sorry.” I tried not to laugh, as I looked over at her body. “I didn’t mean to scare you.”
“I was just coming to get some water,” she muttered. “I was feeling sexy—I mean, thirsty,” she corrected herself, blushing furiously.
“I don’t see why you can’t have been feeling both ways.” I laughed and opened a cabinet. “I think I’ll join you in a glass.” I think you are looking very sexy and making me very thirsty.
“Did I wake you up?” I saw her gulp as she looked at my bare chest.
“No, I couldn’t sleep.”
“I was about to go in the hot tub.” I rambled on, not wanting her to know she was the reason I was in the kitchen at 4 a.m.
“Oh.” She looked down at my swimming trunks.
“You’re welcome to join me if you’d like.” Though I’m not sure I’ll be able to keep my hands off of you.
“I don’t have a swimsuit.” You don’t need a swimsuit.
“We can skinny- dip.” I winked, and laughed at her mortified expression. “I’m joking, Lucky.” Not really.
“I knew that.” She finished her water and turned away. “I should just go to bed.” I felt disappointed at her words, but also happy. She really wasn’t like the other girls I knew. Other girls would be na**d and in my arms by now.
“Or we can just talk?” I smiled at her, not wanting to lose her company just yet. “If that would help.”
“You don’t want to talk.” She gave me a knowing smile.
“How little you trust me, Lucky.” I cocked my head and smiled. How well she knew me already. “But actually, yes, I would love to talk.” If we can’t make love, then talking is good enough.