I was completely dumbfounded and had no idea what I had done wrong. I wasn’t insinuating that she give me a piece of ass, I just can’t help myself when I’m around her. She is completely beautiful and when she turned and looked at me, I lost my words and couldn’t take my eyes off of her. And now she was acting like a crazy person.
I left the bathroom to search for her and get some answers, but she wasn’t anywhere to be found. Then I saw her neighboring artist as he watched me with a sorrowful look.
“Where did she go?” I asked and the guy simply pointed to the back door. So I spun on my heel and headed out the back door into the alley.
The heat blasted me in the face as I left the building and searched for Adrena, finding her leaning up against the brick wall and crying. My heart clenched at the sight in front of me and I desperately wanted to wrap her in my arms and never let her go, but I had a feeling that she didn’t want that and needed her space. So I approached her slowly and cautiously.
Her head whipped up as she glared at me.
“Jesus, don’t you get the hint? What are you doing out here?” She wiped at her tears, stood up straight, and took a few deep breaths as she eyed me curiously.
“Are you okay? Did I do something wrong in there?” I had racked my brain for that answer but was coming up empty handed. I honestly didn’t know what I did wrong.
She let out an annoyed laugh. “If you don’t know the answer to that then that’s the problem. You can’t just go around asking for sexual favors because you’re Dash McCarthy and expect women to drop at your feet.” She sounded disgusted and it wounded me. Is this what she really thought of me?
“What are you talking about? I didn’t want any sexual favors! Well, I do... but not in the way that you’re insinuating! Jesus, Adrena! I would never do that to you.” I kept my distance but damn did I want to go to her.
She eyed me speculatively. “Let’s just forget about this okay?”
But I shook my head. “No, I can’t forget about this. You’re acting like I’m some sick pervert when I’m not. I’ll still do the favor for you if you want me to.”
She shook her head. “Don’t worry about it.”
“Adrena,” I began, stepping closer to her now and glad when she didn’t step away from me. “I’m sorry, okay? If I made you uncomfortable in any way, I’m sorry.”
Her bottom lip trembled as she wrapped her arms around herself and I couldn’t help but wonder what this woman had been through to make her so guarded and look so broken. I was now beginning to understand my need to want to protect her, a feeling I had from the moment I met her, but I still had so many unanswered questions.
I watched her struggle with something in her mind and then she spoke. “That isn’t the only favor I need.”
I could tell she was having a hard time with whatever was going on but I wasn’t about to pry just yet.
“Okay? What else is there?”
She sighed, looking completely uncomfortable. “I need a place to stay. A place out of the city. I wouldn’t ask but I have nobody else.” She was talking fast and looked nervous but I left that alone; for now.
“This doesn’t have anything to do with that guy that came looking for you at your apartment last weekend, does it?” I never mentioned it before because I was having a bit of a crisis myself and didn’t think too much about it. But now seeing her so afraid and asking me to retrieve a bag of money and now need a place to stay out of the city was hitting me like a tornado and I want to know everything. And if I saw that guy again, I would personally make sure he never came near Adrena, whoever he may be.
Her eyes got huge and she stared at me. “What guy?” Her voice was weak and shaky.
“I don’t know. A guy came asking about you last weekend when I was helping Joey out with the stairs in the building. He was tattooed everywhere that I could see skin, had longer dirty blonde hair, and looked mean as hell. Who is he Adrena?”
She visibly gulped. “That was Karl.” Then she started looking around in a paranoid way, “Can we go back inside now?”
“Who is he?” I asked again, getting a bit impatient.
“My ex.” She kept looking around and then gave me a scared look. I didn’t like that one bit. “I’ll tell you anything you want, but I need you to get me out of here.”
I didn’t like the sound of that at all and now I was afraid for her. Who the hell was this guy and why was she so frightened?
I opened the back door and motioned for her to go back inside with me before I turned to her. “I’ll go get that bag for you. Do you need me to grab anything else?”
She shook her head but then nodded. “Clothes. Just grab a bunch of clothes for me, okay? I’ll wait here for you.”
I watched her go back to her station and hide behind the partition that blocked her from the front of the store. I desperately wanted to wrap my arms around her and tell her that I wouldn’t let anything happen to her, but I had a feeling that I also shouldn’t do that. We weren’t exactly on touching terms after I ended things and now I was kicking himself more than ever right now.
“Alright, I’ll be back as soon as I can and then we’ll get out of here.” She nodded as she took a seat and looked up at me with scared eyes and my heart clenched. “I’ll take care of you, Adrena.” Her bottom lip trembled then as she slowly nodded and I took off back towards the front of the shop and out the front door as I ignored weird glances from Kristina, and jumped in my truck that was parked right out front.
Once I got to the apartment building I began looking around to make sure there wasn’t anything out of sorts before jumping out and heading inside. I didn’t know who this guy was and didn’t know what he was capable of, so I was going to keep an eye out for anything suspicious.
I took two steps at a time until I was on Adrena’s floor and headed towards her door. And that’s when I noticed that her door had been kicked in and was now closed as much as it could be. Was the guy in there right now? I wasn’t sure and realized I had nothing to protect myself with. But I was a strong guy and knew how to fight, thanks to my teen years, and wouldn’t let this guy get the upper hand on me. Now I just hoped that the guy didn’t have a gun or this show would be over before it even began.
I slowly opened the door and listened for any noises but was greeted by silence. Then I slowly entered, quietly shutting the door behind me as I took a peek around the apartment. I noticed that all of Adrena’s stuff had been scattered about and that the guy had gone through every cupboard, drawer, and couch cushion. The place looked like it had been hit by a tsunami.
I went towards the bathroom first, peeked in, and saw that it was empty. Next I went towards the bedroom and found that it was empty, but not before I noticed the room was just as destroyed as the rest of the apartment.
Now that I realized I was alone, I grabbed a bag and started shoving clothes into it, not caring what I was grabbing, just that I was grabbing whatever I could. Then I went back over to the bathroom and threw in her toiletries before making my way towards the toilet and relieved to find that it was untouched as I slowly removed the lid and found a ziploc bag taped to the side of the tank. I grabbed it and shook off the water before shoving it into the bag with all the clothes and headed back out of her apartment.
As I descended the stairs, I couldn’t help but feel anger towards this stranger that was coming after my girl. Yeah, she was my girl, and I was going to protect her until this was resolved, and then afterwards I was going to finally tell her how I felt. At least it sounded good in my head, I thought, and continued out to my truck and headed back to the tattoo shop.
Kristina wasn’t at the front desk when I walked in but I didn’t care as I pushed my way through the curtain and headed back in Adrena’s direction. Kristina was there sitting with her and they both froze when I appeared.
“I have all of it. You ready to go?”
Adrena slowly nodded and stood from her spot.
“Wait,” Kristina started and walked over to a locker across from Adrena’s stall and rummaged around before turning back to Adrena with a wig and small leather jacket. “Put this on just in case he’s watching. We don’t want him to follow you away from here.”
Damn, that was a good idea, I thought. I watched Adrena put on the blonde wig and toss the jacket around her shoulders to hide her tattooed skin before she turned towards me.
“I’m ready,” she stated.
“Let’s go then.” I instinctively wrapped an arm around her waist and walked us towards the front of the shop. Kristina was right behind us as we entered the lobby. I looked around outside and didn’t notice anything strange. “Alright, we’ll leave now and just remember to act completely normal. Don’t act like someone is watching you or could be, it might give you away. Can you do that?” Adrena nodded vigorously and looked up into my eyes as my heart clenched. Then I placed a hand on her cheek, rubbing my thumb over her cheekbone. “I’ve got you, babe.”
Her face contorted into something I had never seen from her before and I wondered what it meant. She almost looked like she was going to cry but at the same time, she looked as if that was the only thing she ever wanted to hear from me as if it protected her. And I smiled.
“We’ll keep in touch, Kris,” I said over my shoulder as me and Adrena made our way out of the store and towards my truck.
I couldn’t and didn’t say a word the whole drive back to the brothers’ cottage. I felt awkward that I was in this situation and will have to eventually come clean on what’s going on. And to make things worse, Dash had ended things between the three of us a week ago and now I was basically moving in with them for my own safety.
my feelings for Dash haven’t changed and that was going to make it difficult to live with the brothers. Obviously Dane had feelings for me too, yet I wasn’t connected to him like I was with Dash and after he ended things, I figured he didn’t have those kinds of feelings for me and the whole thing would be awkward.
I mentally told myself that I would just stay a few days until I could figure out my next move. I had plenty of money to start over again someplace else, but I needed a plan this time because obviously running away and parking my ass in the first city I stayed the night in wasn’t going to work. I needed to find a place where Karl would truly never be able to find me.
Dane stepped out onto the front porch with a confused expression on his face as Dash and I got out of his truck.
“Adrena. Wh-what are... Did Dash apologize and make you realize where you belong?”
I looked nervously between the two brothers and noticed Dash was throwing daggers at Dane.
“Leave it alone, brother,” Dash warned and Dane seemed to get the message. “She’s staying with us for a while. Adrena, you can stay in my room.”
My heart started pounding and my nerves were getting the best of me. Did he just say I could stay in his room? No. That was a very bad idea. If I stayed with him, there was no way I was going to be able to keep my head on straight and stay out of his arms. I needed a clear mind to think about my next move, not be in the arms of the man I secretly wanted more than anything.
“Um, in your...”
Dash laughed. “Relax, darling. I stay out in the barn now, my room is open for you. Privately.” Dash walked past me and onto the porch to stand next to Dane. “Dane, show her where she can put her stuff, I’m heading back into the barn for a while.” Then he turned and looked at me. “Don’t think I won’t be back in tonight to talk. We all need to talk.” He gave me a pointed look before leaving the porch and headed towards the barn.
I was half relieved and half bummed out that I wasn’t going to be sharing the room with Dash after all.
“Well, I’m confused as hell,” Dane started, staring at me as I looked at him nervously.
“Mind if I take a shower before we start the interrogation process?” I asked and Dane slightly nodded, watching me with careful eyes.
I walked passed him into the house and climbed the stairs where I knew Dash’s room was. When I was here last weekend, I had only been in his room for a small amount of time when I surprised him in the shower. A shower that proved to be damning because he ended things and brought me home shortly after. Now it was the shower I was going to wash in and probably cry to myself.
Dash’s room was nice and bright from the sunshine and I could see that he was a very neat person. A queen sized bed with a metal headboard sported the center of the room with a dark grey comforter and comfortable looking pillows that I couldn’t wait to sleep on tonight. But what made this room almost unbearable to stay in was the scent that surrounded me. It smelled of Dash and I wished more than ever that we would be sharing the large bed in the room tonight, but knowing it wasn’t a good idea.
Why couldn’t things be less complicated for me? I almost regretted getting into any type of relationship with the brothers because now I wasn’t with either of them and the one that I wanted had no idea how I felt. But perhaps that was a good thing because I was going to be leaving once I had a plan set into place. I couldn’t very well get into a relationship with Dash if I was just going to leave, it wouldn’t be fair to him. And I wouldn’t let my emotions win this fight; I would just steer clear of Dash until I left. He deserved better than me anyways, no matter how much the truth hurt.
My mind was spinning out of control trying to put things into place but failing miserably. I promised myself that I would give her a little space before I started demanding answers, but another part of me wanted to storm back inside and lock her in my room until she told me everything.
Things had seriously gone wrong and I didn’t know how to fix it. Here I was, living in the barn because I couldn’t be around my brother, and now the woman who had finished wedging us apart and who had totally sent my heart and mind on overdrive was living in my bedroom; where I couldn’t touch her. Damn, did I want to touch her. But I was a stubborn son of a bitch and wouldn’t make the first move. I was the one who pushed her away, I wasn’t going to look like a jackass and pretend like I hadn’t.
“Fuck!” I cursed, walking up to my punching bag and giving it a good solid hit. My nerves were all over the place lately and I felt like My world was about to slip between my fingers.
“What the fuck is going on?”
Dane’s voice startled me as I spun around and found my brother standing in the barn with a stern look on his face. I sighed and replied, “I’m not entirely sure. All I know is that she’s running from her ex who’s in town and she needed a place to stay.”
“Her ex? She’s running from him? Why does she need to stay here? Is he dangerous?” Dane was spewing out every question that I had myself, but no answers to.
“I don’t have a fucking clue, Dane. I’m hoping she’ll give us those answers tonight though.” I turned around and punched the bag again. “Fuck!”
Dane didn’t say anything for the longest time, allowing me a little bit of space, but then he started again, “Did you apologize to her?”
I laughed sarcastically. “I’m not sorry for what I did.”
This time Dane snorted and I spun to stare at my brother with a warning glare. “You can’t lie to me, brother,” Dane began, “look how miserable you’ve been since she left our lives.”
“I haven’t been miserable because of her, Dane. I’m miserable because I realized my brother is a giant prick and now I’m stuck trying to figure out what to do next. I moved out of the house to get away from you but I can’t get away that easily because we own a fucking business together. So, no, I’m not miserable because of her, she has nothing to do with my sour mood and everything to do with you.” I hissed out, not in the mood for my brother’s poking demeanor at the moment.
“So, it’s all about me and nothing to do with Adrena?” Dane asked.
“Are you deaf? I. Don’t. Care. About. Adrena.” I bit out. “Now get out of my fucking barn.”
“So you won’t mind if I try to mend things with her? Maybe take her on a few dates, spoil her with gifts, and eventually get her into my bed?” Dane was clearly trying to poke the bear but I wasn’t going to fall for his tricks.
“Go ahead, I don’t give a shit.” I snarled, walking away from the punching bag and my brother before heading up the back stairs to the small apartment we had built when we were fixing up the cottage.
Then I watched out the window as I saw Dane leave the barn and head back towards the house and inevitably to Adrena. Which only pissed me off even more. Of course I didn’t want my brother to go after Adrena, but I also couldn’t let Dane know how much Adrena actually meant to me. No, I was going to bite my tongue and let things happen how they were going to happen. And if she fell for Dane’s advances then so be it, I thought. If she wanted Dane it wouldn’t be the first woman who had chosen him. I would just disappear if that ever happened.After a few gulps of my beer, I spun on my heel and headed back down the stairs. I couldn’t wait any longer to get the answers I needed and if Adrena fought me on it, then I’d make it the biggest fight she’d ever seen. Either way, she was going to tell me what was going on.