I wasn’t sure how to react to Dash pushing me out of the shower after fucking my brains out, so I didn’t react at all. I wasn’t the typical girl who would get their feelings hurt for an act like that, as that was the kind of relationship I was used to with men. But when Dash did it, it cut me. I wouldn’t dwell on it but I wouldn’t soon forget it either.
I found Dane in the kitchen cleaning up lunch and felt bad for ditching out on him while he made us all food.
“Did it help his sour mood?” Dane asked as I entered the kitchen.
I just shrugged, not sure if it had or not. “He still seemed pissy when I left.”
Dane sighed and shook his head. “He’ll eventually break out of it. But until then, do you want something to drink? I have fresh sun tea if you’re interested.”
“Sun tea? Seriously? I haven’t had that since I was a kid!” I sauntered up to the counter as Dane poured us both a glass. We went and sat out on the back porch and overlooked the scenery. It was a beautiful day and not nearly as hot as it had been. I noticed the large barn set off to the side of the house and didn’t remember seeing it last night, but to be fair, it was dark out and I couldn’t see much further than the reach of the headlights. And I didn’t realize how beautiful their property was. “What’s in the barn?” I asked, nodding in that direction.
“We mostly use it for storage for the company, but that’s where Dash usually hangs out when he’s having a mood. He’s got a punching bag out there and when he’s out there, I know to leave him alone.” Dane sipped from his tea, staring out from the porch and keeping his eyes from me.
I only nodded, still staring at the barn. I couldn’t stop thinking about the punching bag and why Dash had needed it. Was he that angry of a person? I really didn’t know much about them and my interests were piqued.
“Tell me about yourselves, please...” I turned my attention back to Dane. “I feel like I don’t really know either of you.”
Dane let out a small laugh as he looked over at me. “I’ll share something if you share something.”
“That’s fair,” I replied softly, hoping my fear wasn’t showing through. What could I share with him that wouldn’t make him run for the hills? “Um, well, when I was five... I went to live with my grandma because my parents were in trouble with the law a lot. I didn’t understand it back then but I always loved going to my grandma’s house so it didn’t bother me. But when I got older, I found out who my parents really were. They were drug addicts and could barely take care of themselves, let alone a toddler.” That was where my dark life began and all I was willing to share today.
Dane studied my face before looking back out at the land. “That’s really horrible. I’m sorry you went through that. But I’m also glad your grandma was there to take you in versus being put into a foster home with strangers.”
I nodded because I couldn’t agree with him more. “Thanks. So, what about you two? What were your childhoods like?”
Dane sighed. “It was honestly a pretty normal childhood. Well, for me it was anyways,” he paused and I wondered what he meant by that, and then he continued, “I was the golden boy, I could never do anything wrong in our parents’ eyes, but for Dash...well, he wasn’t so lucky...”
I whipped my head around and found Dash standing in the doorway, throwing daggers at Dane as a challenging expression crossed his features. Now I want to know more. Perhaps they would open up to me more if I opened up more, but was I ready for that?
Dane cleared his throat and laughed nervously. “Maybe we can do some more sharing later on, huh?”
I nodded while watching Dash come farther out onto the porch before taking a seat next to me. “So...” I began nervously, looking between the two brothers. It was funny how I wasn’t shy around them when it came to sex, but talking was a whole other story. What did we talk about if they couldn’t discuss their pasts? How were we supposed to get to know each other if we all couldn’t talk?
“I need to head back into town. I can give you a ride home, Adrena.” This came from Dash and his voice was flat and emotionless and I hated how it sounded. It was as if he was done with me and ready to bring me home so they could move on with their lives.
“Right now? I thought we could all go for a swim in the lake and then have a nice dinner,” Dane chimed in, sounding a bit panicked.
I noticed Dash glare in Dane’s direction with a tight jaw. “I’m going into town now. I don’t want to get back out later.”
“I can bring...” Dane began but I cut him off.
“No, now is fine.” It was clear that Dash didn’t want me here anymore and I didn’t want to stay if I wasn’t welcome, even if one of the brothers wanted me to stay, it made me uncomfortable. “I’ll get dressed.′
I set my tea down and stood up from my chair, but not before I noticed how Dane was staring at Dash. If looks could kill, he’d be dead right now.
After stepping back into the air-conditioned house, I grabbed my clothes from the living room floor and headed into Dane’s room for some privacy as I started to get dress again. The door opened slightly as I turned to find Dane standing there watching me.
“I’m sorry,” he stated, looking a bit lost.
I laughed. “It’s not a big deal; really.” I slid my feet into my heels and smiled up at him. “You two have been complete gentleman compared to what I’m used to, so thank you for a lovely night.” I walked over and lightly kissed his cheek.
“I’m not sure if I like the sound of that, Adrena. What you’re used to? Did you date Neanderthals before us? Because that’s the only thing that comes close to how Dash has treated you.” Dane was clearly upset with his brother and I didn’t want to be the reason the two were fighting. They were family, there were business partners, I didn’t want to be the one who pushed them apart and I never would be. If that meant letting them both go, then I would do it, no matter how much it would hurt me in the end.
I lightly laughed again. “Thank you again for a lovely night and thank you for being so sweet this morning.” I walked passed him and into the living room where I found Dash standing near the front door watching me and the look he was giving me wasn’t pleasant. He looked downright pissed off but I wasn’t going to tear that wound open.
Dash held the door open for me as we left the cottage and headed towards his truck. The first couple of miles were spent in silence and I hated it. I had felt so close to Dash the last few days and the connection we shared during sex was undeniable. So, why was he being like this now?
“Did I do something wrong?” I finally asked, looking at Dash as he gripped the steering wheel tightly; his knuckles turning white. “Because the last time I checked, we were all doing fine and you couldn’t keep your hands off of me and now you can’t even look at me without throwing daggers in my direction. Seriously, what the fuck gives?”
“Listen,” he began but paused, gripping the steering wheel tighter as he looked out his window and cursed under his breath before continuing, “what we’ve all shared the last few days was pretty amazing, there’s no denying that, but I’ve had my fill. If you want to continue with Dane, that’s just fine with me, but count me out.”
I was completely flabbergasted by his words. He was done with me? Just like that? “Well, I guess... thanks for the good fuck?” I was confused on what to say and that was the first thing that popped into my mind.
He laughed incredulously. “Good? Baby, that was the best fucking we’ve all had and you know it.”
“Well, obviously it wasn’t that great if you’re done with me and have had your fill in just a few short days,” I snapped back, crossing my arms over my chest.
“This is what we do, babe. We fuck women and then send them packing when they get too close,” he replied through clenched teeth.
“Too close. Oh, so you didn’t like me snooping around your personal life this morning, is that it?” I was poking the bear and I didn’t care. I wanted him to explode, maybe then would he finally tell me what was truly on his mind.
“That’s not it. You can know whatever you want about us. You want to hear that Dane was spoiled and my parents loved him, all while they whipped me and locked me in closets until I apologized for something I didn’t do? You want to hear that Dane got everything while I got scraps? You want to know that everyone chooses Dane over me? Nah, babe, you don’t want to hear all of that and I don’t want your pity.” He put the truck in park and I looked to see we were parked in front of my apartment building. We were already here? Damn.
“Dash...” I began, trying to find the right words but none were coming.
He shook his head. “Like I said... I don’t want your pity. I do, however, want you to get out of my truck so I can go run my errands.” I couldn’t help but notice the flash of regret that quickly flew over his face before he hid it back inside.
If this is what he really wanted, I wasn’t going to fight him. This is what I wanted deep down, right? I had wanted to push them both away from the beginning and now he was pushing me away, so I should feel victorious, right? So, how come I don’t?
I opened the truck door and slowly slid out, but before closing the door I turned and stared at Dash, biting my bottom lip and waited for him to look at me. And when he finally did, I said, “Tell Dane I’m sorry I can’t continue on. Oh...and don’t be a stranger down at Midnight Ink. I won’t make it weird if you don’t.” Then I slammed his truck door after seeing his surprised face and headed inside the building and away from Dash McCarthy.
I heard Dash pull back in an hour later and was glad he was home so I could rip him a new asshole. I was beyond pissed off at Dash and we were going to resolve this shit tonight even if it meant fists were swung and blood was shed.
I didn’t even let Dash take his boots off before I bombarded him with a tongue lashing.
“What the fuck is your problem, Dash?” I watched Dash sigh and shake his head.
“I’m in no mood for your shit right now, Dane, so back off.” Dash walked past me and I followed him.
“You’re never in the right mood for anything! Hell, you can’t even fuck a woman without letting your anger show!” This clearly didn’t sit well with Dash because he spun and grabbed me by the neck and slammed me up against the wall, making me cough against the pressure on my throat. “She was... the best thing to...happen to us in a long... time and you fucked it up... again.” My words were choppy as I tried to swallow.
“I fucked it up?! Are you even hearing yourself?! I was playing along just fine and then you come into the picture and you’re the one who fucked it up. Did it ever occur to you that I didn’t want to share this one?” Dash barked as he released me and stepped back.
“Then why didn’t you say so?!” I asked, feeling the anger rise up again. “Why didn’t you tell me to back off?”
“Because you never do! I knew the second I found you upstairs kissing her in her apartment that she wasn’t going to be just mine, that she was going to be ours, and ultimately yours...” Dash seemed to choke up at the end and I almost felt bad for him.
“You could have had any of those women we’ve slept with if you had just turned your assholeness down a notch, but nooo, let’s not let anyone get too close.” I was mocking him and clearly poking the bear. “Don’t you dare point the finger at me, asshole.”
“No, let’s never point the finger at precious Dane.” Dash snorted and went to walk away from me but I wasn’t giving up and followed him into the kitchen.
“Don’t you dare call me that. It isn’t my fault Mom and Dad treated you like shit and treated me good. What was I supposed to do?” I pleaded.
And Dash spun on his heel, rage filling his tear filled eyes. “You could have helped me! You could have unlocked that closet door. You could have brought me some fucking food. You could have tried to stand up for me!” Dash was screaming, his body shaking.
I just stood there, staring at him. His words hit me like a brick wall and it was then that I realized that Dash had never forgiven me for their childhood. He was right though, I could have done all of those things to help him out but I was afraid of our dad. If I did help Dash, would I be right there next to him in that tiny closet? Would I also go hungry? Call me selfish, but I was too afraid to find out, so I kept my mouth shut and went on with my own life.
“Dash...” I started, but Dash threw his hand up to silence me.
“Don’t... I don’t need your pity, or anyone’s for that matter. I’m done with all of it. You ultimately got everything, including the girl, so she’s yours for the taking. I knew the minute I got home this morning and heard you two fucking in your room that I had lost her. So you win, Dane...you fucking win.”
I cocked my eyebrow at him. “This morning?”
“Yeah,” Dash snapped. “When I got home from fixing the stairs with Joey, I heard her moaning through the door... I’m not an idiot.”
I shook my head. “I know you’re not an idiot, but you should know that we weren’t fucking.” I laughed lightly. Of course he would assume that. “It wasn’t like I didn’t try, because boy did I ever... Nah, she turned me down hardcore and settled for a back rub. That was the only way that girl was letting me touch her. You haven’t seen it have you?”
Dash looked completely confused and I could only laugh at him. “Haven’t seen what?”
Of course he hasn’t. “That she reacts to your touch far more than she does to mine. That when you enter the room she lights up and smiles. When we’re fucking, whether I’m joining in or not, it’s like the two of you are the only ones in the room. Don’t act like you haven’t noticed that, Dash. That girl chose you way before I even came into the picture.” I shook my head at him.′ It’s a damn shame for my sake, but you’re a lucky man. Aren’t you happy now? The one we both actually want more than anything chose you?”
Dash cleared his throat, looking completely surprised. “You don’t know that. She didn’t choose either of us, Dane. She got out of my truck tonight with no bother in the world. Most women cry or beg for a second chance with us...but she... she just jumped out and told me not to be a stranger at the shop... like we were all old buddies.”This confused me, knowing that Adrena definitely wasn’t acting normal. Dash was right, most of the women we ended things with went crazy at the idea of losing us, but it seemed that Adrena didn’t mind at all. Was she using us? Surely not, right? Well, whatever was going on, I was going to get to the bottom of it. I was super pissed at Dash right now and was actually jealous of his connection with Adrena, but I was going to do everything in my power to get her back for Dash’s sake. Wherever that left us as brothers didn’t matter, all the mattered was Dash’s happiness. For the first time in our lives, I was going to do right by my brother.