18. Camping and birthdays
"This fight needs to end. It's been a month already. I can't keep running between the two of you trying to make sure plans don't conflict just so you don't have to be around each other" Zander's voice came through the phone.
We have had the same conversation for weeks now. It's getting on my last damn nerve.
"What do you expect me to do, Zander? Your girlfriend hates me. I'm just trying to move on." I rolled my eyes at my obvious lie.
I've tried. I went to my usual spots to get a buzz and pick someone up, but I couldn't go through with it. The one time I really tried hard I took a sexy little brunette into the bathroom of a club. I had her on the sinks kissing her neck while her nails ran down my back, but once she went to unbuckle my pants I jumped back like a fucking virgin and told her I couldn't go through with it. I ran out of there so fast you would think she asked to have my babies.
Zander and Lennix are official now. He finally asked her and after explaining to her that it's just a label and nothing between them would change, she agreed. They were already exclusive, if you don't count all the times we almost had shit happen between us before our fight. They just never said it. Well, congratu-fucking-lations to the happy couple.
I shook my head.
I'm happy for my best friend. I really am. But it doesn't take away the fact that I still want her and she won't even return a fucking text, call, or answer the damn door when I've tried to reach out last week.
"We both know you haven't moved on, Jaxon." His voice snapped me out of my thoughts. "You're in love with her. Just as I am. That doesn't just go away." I heard him sigh through the phone. "Look man, she doesn't hate you, but she might hate me after this." I waited for him to continue. Lennix would never hate him. He was perfect to her. Treated her like a god damn queen and never makes her doubt him like I have just because of my past.
"It's her birthday tomorrow. We're going camping for the long weekend. It was supposed to be just the two of us, but if you can keep your mouth in check, pack a bag and be at my place at 5am."
I looked down at my phone surprised. "You're right. She will hate you. I can't do that to you... or her."
"Jaxon! I swear to god. You will be here at 5am, help me pack with a smile on your fucking face, and keep your mouth shut unless she brings up the fight on her own. I'm tired of this shit. I can't stand seeing that look from both of you!" He shouts at me like he's scolding a child for misbehaving.
"She's not going to go for it, Zan. She won't go if she knows I'm going."
"I'm not telling her until I pick her up and by that time she will have been looking forward to this trip too much to back out. If she thinks she can go the whole weekend not saying a word to you she will go." He laughs to himself "but knowing both of you she won't make it a day with you around without saying something. Just bite your tongue. She's going to be pissed when she sees you."
I huff out a breath "fine. I'll go, but this is the last time I try to reach out. After this, I'm done."
5am came too soon. We loaded up the truck and made our way to pick up Lennix.
My leg was bouncing up and down as we pulled up. I'm nervous. On edge. I don't want to fight with her this early in the morning. I'm going to have to watch myself. I know me, I can be crass and to the point and that just sets her off.
She loaded her bag into the back of the truck and opened the door to hop in. Zander has dark tint on his windows and she wasn't really paying attention so she didn't see me until she opened the door.
Her eyes met mine as I watched surprise, sadness, and anger pass by in a flash.
I got out to let her climb into the middle.
"Zander? Why is HE here?" She stressed 'he' as if it were a dirty word and I had to clench my jaw tight to keep from my usual behavior of lashing out.
"Get in the truck, baby." Zander said softly.
"No!" She turned to walk back to her apartment, but Zander was right there.
"You don't have to say anything to each other. I know you want to go on this trip." He brushed her hair from her face as she stood with her arms crossed over her chest. "Don't tell me you don't want to lay under the stars with me. See that beautiful waterfall you have circled on our hiking map. You'd miss the smells of nature. Don't make me go alone."
He played on her feelings. Though it's wrong and he doesn't do it often, it will always work. "Do this for me, please? And I'll make sure you have the best birthday." He ran his thumb down her throat. I watched as she bit her bottom lip thinking it over. A blush creeping over her cheeks. Her only response was a short nod before she jumped into the truck sliding into the middle.
"But I'm not talking to him!" She mumbled.
"We're off to a great start." I told him sarcastically.
"She's coming isn't she? Get in the truck and shut up." He shook his head smiling to himself, obviously pleased with the results.
The drive to the campsite was excruciatingly long and was made longer by the quiet that filled the air.
We weren't crushed into the cab of the truck, we had space to be comfortable, but two men over 6 feet tall with a tiny curvy woman... there wasn't enough space to not be touching and that's what finally made her talk to me.
And by talk I mean bite out a response out of nowhere.
My hands were resting on my legs. Zander has finally turned on music to fill the silence. I wasn't paying much attention while I tapped my fingers on my legs to the beat and looking out the window when I heard her.
"Could you possibly keep your hands to yourself. Do you have to touch me?"
Surprised not only by her voice, but by what she said I look in her eyes which seemed like she was uncomfortable. She looked down pointedly and I saw my hand was on her upper thigh. Inches away from the apex of her legs. I was touching her where society would deem an inappropriate place for a taken woman to be touched by another.
I removed my hand from her skin surprised by my own actions. But me being me I had to say something back, "you used to like when I touched you, princess."
She rolled her eyes glaring back at me.
"It's just a joke, not a dick, Nix. Don't take it so hard." I smiled at my own joke.
Zander hates my sarcastic jokes, but Lennix has the same humor so I was hoping she would see it as an attempt to get us back to where we were. I held a breath while Zander looked at me in warning before Lennix laughed.
She laughed, thank god.
I released the breath I was holding.
We can move past our fight.
"You really are an asshole sometimes." She gives me a playful shove.
I shrug. Her change in mood putting me at ease. "Yeah, but you love me so I can't be all that bad." The words were out of my mouth unable to stop them.
Her eyes grew wide. She bit down on that sweet, plump lip and looked away.
Zander smirked seeing her reaction.
After a moment she spoke up again "Hey, Jax... do you think... when we get back... you might want to go paint balling like we planned before?" She asked quietly. She's extending an olive branch and I'm going to take it.
"We could, but I brought my gear with me just in case it was going to take beating me up with paintballs to get you to talk to me." I gave her a smile while she giggled. I love that sound.
"You know me too well. Maybe I should have stayed quiet the whole drive." She laughed.
"Nope! You two are talking again. You can't go back now." Zander joked and immediately the air was lighter. I didn't realize how tense I was until this moment when I finally relaxed.
"Wait! One tent?" Lennix asked after we had all worked to set up.
Zander rubbed the back of his neck "it will be fine. There's a divider so you can change without anyone seeing you" he kissed the side of her neck whispering something in her ear making her blush.
"I-I'm gunna go get firewood." She stumbled over her words and started to rush off.
"I'll go with her." I grabbed my backpack and rushed after her.
We found a dead tree laying on the forest floor. It would make perfect firewood. I took an axe from my backpack and got to work.
Lennix watched me like I was prey. It made me want to flip her over and show her who the real predator is.
"You really need to stop looking at me like that, princess." My voice was low. I could fuck her right here, right now. Let nature swallow up her moans as I burry myself inside her and make her scream for me.
I saw the blush creep over her cheeks and down her neck to the top of her breasts. I licked my lips wanting to run my tongue over her skin instead.
She feigned innocence "I don't know what you're talking about." She clears her throat to try to compose herself "how was I looking at you?"
I dropped the axe seeing her bite her bottom lip and stood to my full height. My fingers itch to touch her. I took slow calculating steps as she took one back and found herself against a large tree. My eyes didn't leave hers as I approached.
She wanted to play a little game, but she didn't know who she was playing with.
One hand on the tree beside her head I ran my other from her knee up to her upper thigh and grabbed her hip tightly. The stubble of my cheek ran across her jaw. Her breathing picked up. Her pulse was elevated. "Princess, you were having wicked thoughts watching me, but remember your place." I nipped her ear lobe. "I'm always the predator. You are always my prey. When I catch you, you will be mine..." I nipped her jaw " and I can't wait to eat you all up." I finished looking in her eyes and licking my lips.
Her eyes were begging me to take her right now. Her nipples hard against her shirt. I reached out rubbing my thumb against the tight little bud.
"Jaxon." She sighed.
"Yes, princess?" I couldn't help the cocky smirk playing on my lips.
"JAXON, WAKE UP! WERE HERE!"
Fuck my life! I groaned. Couldn't let me just enjoy that for a little bit longer?