Calder received a call from Remy at his office on Friday. Marla sounded odd, saying Remy was line four. She understood Remy to be Astrid’s boyfriend, curious about how the men met. He thanked her, then took a steady breath before picking up the phone. His day had started off shitty, and he needed the patience to handle the asshole.
He leaned back in his leather chair, “Remy! What can I do for you?”
“Cut the shit,” Remy growled over the line, “You can stay away from my girl for starters.”
He grinned but replied seriously, “Astrid’s dating us both. It’s a decision I’m fine with.”
“Well, I’m not,” Remy’s tone turned cold, “If you continue seeing her bad things can happen to prissy little law boys.”
Calder sat forward, “Are you threatening me? I hope you’re not stupid enough to do that.”
“Astrid loves me. Not you. You were a revenge fuck. I saw those earrings. She didn’t need to tell me you gave them to her. Shame you have to give gifts for attention.”
“Look, she’s a great girl,” he rolled his eyes, “but you’re acting like a little boy. Just let her live her life without your dramatics. Maybe you should break up.”
“You’d like that, wouldn’t you?” Remy sneered, “Hell no. Astrid was my girlfriend first, prick. We had a deal. Don’t answer her calls. Don’t fuck her on dance floors. DON’T piss me off any more than you have Calder Lewis.”
Remy hung up, and he slowly replaced the receiver, stunned.
How had Remy found out about their dirty act last week? He was sure Astrid wouldn’t have told him. He remembered Remy’s creepy way of watching her. Had he broken their date to see what she’d do? The scenario wasn’t above the freaks sneaky plotting.
Calder dialed the private detective on retainer for the firm. He asked the man to meet him for a personal matter and they met for lunch an hour later. Afterward, he called Astrid. She answered, sounding pleased to hear from him.
“Would you do something for me?”
“What?” she rasped, “Is it kinky?”
He chuckled, “I don’t think so. Will you take a taxi to the fitness center down the block from my building at five? Once inside, use the rear exit and walk to the Ice Scream Flavors?”
She was silent for a beat. “Why? Sounds as if I’m avoiding being followed, like in a movie.”
“I believe Remy has been following you. He just called me with some accurate accusations.”
She cursed, “All right, I’ll do it.”
“Don’t tell him my suspicions,” he quickly warned, “I’ll take care of the issue. It’s between us.”
Astrid snorted over the line, “Actually, it’s not. Later.”
She hung up on him too.
Was he an idiot for wanting to protect her? He swiveled in his chair to stare out the window, mentally planning what he needed to do next.
* Later That Night *
Astrid took a shuttering breath when Calder let up on his passionate kiss.
The last half-hour locked in his embrace made her feel fortunate he was such a good person. There were events in her past he hadn’t learned of yet but held on to the hope he’d continue to show her kindness.
She gazed around the galley of the boat he took her to. It surprised her Calder owned a yacht since the water-front was further away from the city. In fact, they’d driven forty-five minutes to Lake Sunshine. The sleek craft was comfortable and stocked with necessities. Astrid wondered if he planned to stick around.
“You smell great,” he groaned in her ear.
She snuggled closer. He had pulled her onto his lap when they came below. The elongated couch was perfect for cuddling. She gave a contented sigh, causing Calder to issue one of his own.
On the trip up, Calder explained about Remy’s odd stalking habit. At first, she hadn’t believed him then remembered how they tricked her. Remy had witnessed their first kiss! When he’d hinted Remy seemed obsessed, she turned defensive, and Calder shut down. She pondered the rest of the drive what his intentions were. If he truly loved her, sure, he wouldn’t want Calder in the picture. She understood his point of view. Yet, he did sleep with other women. Canceled their dates for other people. She should stalk him, not the other way around. Why did Calder make her go to so many places before meeting if he wasn’t serious?
“You’re frowning,” Calder observed, “What’s on your mind?”
Astrid entwined their fingers, “I’m thinking about you-know-who.”
“Ah,” he brushed her hair out of her face, “I’m sorry to upset you. Remy’s really fond of you.”
Her doe eyes widened in bewilderment, “Why would you say that?”
“Maybe because I am too. Only, he’s correct about a couple of issues,” he said grimly.
She sighed with impatience, “What?”
Calder removed her hold, shifting until they faced each other. His expression remained solemn, “Astrid, you’ve been with him how long?”
“A few months.”
“Right. I’ve known you what, three weeks almost? He understands you better than I do. You resisted my advances because of him, remember? You’re his girlfriend. Not mine.”
She stared at him with mixed emotions. “Calder, you are so sweet. How can I sit here with you then return to him?” she became teary-eyed, blinking rapidly to keep them in, “I’m not being fair to either of you. Is this wrong?”
“No,” Calder lifted her trembling chin, so she had to look into his amazing eyes, “It’s not. If adults choose not to be monogamous, it’s nobody’s business. You chose to see me. I chose you.”
“But why?” she cried, “I’m just some unemployed chick who owns a house left by her grandparents. Fuck, what are we doing?”
He chuckled, gazing into her eyes. She once again thought those beautiful green orbs were reading her soul. He made her believe they had a future together.
“Astrid,” he murmured, stroking her flushed cheek so tenderly, she nuzzled into it, “You are so much more than that. You make me laugh and consider others before myself. The courage it took to face Chris was astounding in my book! Also, the fact you continue to see a man who hits you isn’t right,” she cringed in shame, “He shouldn’t be with you. I… want you but won’t force you to change or ask anything more than you’re willing to give. It’s how I feel.”
She swallowed hard. His candid feelings stirred her own. Calder came from stock she never been comfortable with. The rich, charming, power executive sort who doted on his lover instead of ignoring her. Remy had seemed so wonderful until Calder interfered. Astrid had a good thing going with both men. How could she choose?
“Hey,” he tugged her hand, “Why don’t we let the serious stuff go for now? Want to take the boat out?”
She had a hard time switching gears, “Calder, stop. It’s not so simple. I assume-”
“Don’t,” he hushed her, “This isn’t your fault. I pursued you after you told me to back off, only I kept pushing. What can I say? You’re special, buddy,” he beamed to get her to smile, “Your little red panties set me off at first. You flashed me when you were up on that ladder.”
“I knew it!” she playfully slapped his chest, “I wondered if you looked up my skirt that day! So, you are a pervert!”
He cupped her breasts, “Hopelessly. I like asses and yours is mouthwatering.”
“Your eyes caught my attention. Also, you have one of the finest cocks I’ve ever had. The way you use it really matters to girls.”
“Oh, yeah?” his eyes became heavy-lidded, his hands roaming over her body, “What else matters?”
Suddenly, a THUMP sounded above their heads. Astrid gasped, and he quickly slid her off of his lap. He stood, glaring at the door which he’d left unlocked.
“What is it?” she anxiously whispered, standing next to him.
Calder waved an irritated hand for her to be quiet and stay still. The yacht had rocked when the noise transpired. Curtains on the window blocked the visibility outside. He strode to the ladder which led to to the small door leading up to the deck. His face tightened aggressively, listening for another disturbance.
Did he expect her boyfriend to burst through the entrance? The concept of him following her to the lake shocked her. An uneasy tingle slithered down her spine when before it never occurred to her to fear Remy. Maybe Calder was right.
For the first time, she considered dumping Remy before he hurt her in ways that didn’t turn her on.
* Meanwhile *
Remy groaned, peering down at the beautiful redhead licking his cock like a lolly-pop. He grinned, his fist tangled in her hair as he jerked her head up and down, forcing more of his length into her small mouth. The blonde, tied up in the room’s corner made a low, desperate sound when he bared his teeth in her direction. Sweat dotted her forehead, and she obediently remained on her knees where he’d placed her twenty minutes ago.
Roughly, he pulled the woman away, “Enough. Go eat her pussy until I tell you to stop. If you do, I’ll give her three strikes with the cane.”
Red crawled over to her girlfriend. They were new clients Remy found fun. He watched them for a while but grew agitated. Astrid had given Arlo the slip. He didn’t understand how. Arlo bitched him out, calling him creepy. Remy needed to know what she did when he wasn’t around, but sensed she was off with Calder.
The fucker couldn’t stay away from Astrid anymore than he could.
It was late, but he played with the couple a while longer before swiping the cash left on the kitchen table and leaving his card. He hoped they requested him again. He rarely entertained customers who didn’t mind if he went off-script.
After he jumped in his car, idled the engine while calling Astrid. She answered, sounding breathless. He checked the time, surprised she was awake at one in the morning. His dick ached from not coming. He had caught the women’s curious expressions when he’d held back, but it felt weird coming for another woman who wasn’t his girlfriend. If Teena heard about his little issue, she’d take it out on his pay and give him shit clients.
He put his phone through the Bluetooth system while he drove, “Where are you, baby?”
“Really?” he blew through a red light, “I need to see you. I’ll be there in thirty minutes.”
“Oh,” she sounded unsure, pissing him off, “Maybe you should wait until tomorrow.”
“Why?” he demanded, tightening his hands on the wheel, “Did you meet Calder?”
“Don’t do this Remy.” she pleaded, fueling his resentment.
“Unlock the door,” he snapped, disconnecting the call.
No way was Astrid falling for that prissy law boy. Was she? She had never told him to wait before. The thought of her enjoying Calder more than him made his jaw lock in fury.
Remy reached his place in minutes, bounding upstairs. He wanted to shower and change so Astrid did not smell other women’s juices on him. Hell, he’d worked his ass off all week, deserving a break and with the next two days off planned on spending every minute with his sweet girl.
Arlo watched Remy hurry to his room without so much as a hello and followed him. “Man, you’ve got to chill,” he warned, “Astrid’s got you acting crazy, dude. No girl is worth all the shit you’re making me do. I’m done.”
Remy glared at his friend while grabbing clean clothes, “I see how it is. After all the favors I’ve done for you?”
“Dude, I’ve repaid those favors,” Arlo glared back, “Don’t you see she’s not the woman for you?”
“Fuck off,” Remy pushed him, “The only girls you go out with are fucking whores.”
“And Astrid acts any better?” Arlo shot back.
Remy stopped his trek to the bathroom, fury coursing through his veins. “Never speak about Astrid like that again. You know nothing. How she grew up an orphan, living with unfeeling grandparents who knew their neighbor molested her under the guise of getting ice cream but did jack shit except blame her for being too trusting. Astrid’s overcome a lot, and she’s stronger for it. I love her.”
Arlo swallowed, holding up his palms in defeat, “Sorry, man. I’m worried you might get into trouble. Just… take care of yourself. She ain’t the only one who’s been through shit around here, and what kind of friend would I be if I didn’t bust your balls?”
He scowled, heading for the shower, “I won’t ask for help again. Thanks.”
Remy was back in the car ten minutes later. He hoped Calder kept his mouth shut about their conversation. The way she sounded on the phone had him thinking the selfish idiot spilled the beans.
Arlo struck a nerve. Was he becoming overly possessive towards Astrid?
No, he had every right to worry, and even though Calder made him angry, having an extra pair of eyes on his girl wasn’t a bad thing. It didn’t matter how many times he threatened the rich prick, he wasn’t going anywhere and could use it to his advantage until able to shake the asshole for good.
Remy began a different plan in his head. One that would break or make his relationship with Astrid.