The Eye 👁 Of The 🐅 Tiger

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Summary

The Eye 👁 Of The 🐅 Tiger - Book 3 It's hard to be the legacy of a legend... Especially when your heart is broken! Stefan Harronate has everything... Beauty, youth, money, fame, a loyal best friend, countless women throwing themselves at him, and most importantly, a large, amazing family that adores him and would do anything for him. But he has one more thing. A wall around his heart that he built himself when his first love betrayed him in the worst way. Since then, he's lived between work and family, with a few interruptions for fleeting carnal pleasures. He has sworn off love, despite being the product of an epic love himself. He's always wanted to be like his father, the great Jace Harronate, and find a wife like his mother, the sweet Mary Morningstar. But that's so hard ... Almost impossible... Or at least he thinks it is! When the woman of his deepest and wildest dreams walks into his life, everything changes and Stefan is ready to open his heart again and let her show him what love really means ... Will he take that step forward? And if so, will everything turn out for the better or will be fatal? TRIGGER WARNING : THIS BOOK CONTAINS VIRTUAL SEX SCENES, VULGAR LANGUAGE AND USE OF VIOLENCE!

Genre:
Erotica / Romance
Author:
MaryMorningstar81
Status:
Ongoing
Chapters:
65
Rating:
5.0 41 reviews
Age Rating:
18+

8 Years Later ...

And here we are. Eight years later. Winter 2019. A lot has changed since we last saw our beloved family.

What exactly has changed? Patience. We’ll take it one step at a time, starting, of course, with Stefan. The main character of this book, who at this very moment is in his bachelor pad, where he has lived for the last four years after his breakup with Aphrodite - his really big and bad breakup.

Before that, he lived with her in a beautiful studio downtown. They moved there as soon as they turned eighteen, and stayed together for four years until...

Oh, no. Not so fast. We’ll find out what happened back then later. For now, you’ll just have to make do with this...

~ SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 23rd, 2019 ~

~ STEFAN’s BACHELOR PAD ~

~ EARLY AFTERNOON ~

We are in Stefan’s apartment, or more specifically, his bedroom.

Stefan, who is now twenty-four, is grown up enough and, at least outwardly, just like his father. A god.

An earthly god with incredible violet eyes and a body to die for that sends shivers down the spines of the women who stand in his way - and not only that. As his godfather - our beloved Matt - says, he is the same model, but in a much better version. He is... Hey! Hey! Maybe I should just stop here, because if I keep talking about how damn good Stefan is, I’m going to need a lot more words.

Well, he is, uh... He just woke up after a pretty wild night in the Lair. Do you remember the “Lair”? Wolf’s club? Oh, yeah. Sebastian’s (Ah! ). It has become Stefan’s favorite place. You’ll understand why later.

Like I said, he just woke up and is hanging loose in his bed, trying to get rid of the hangover and remember what exactly happened last night and how the hell he got home.

Stefan: Fuck! My head is killing me. How much did I drink last night? What the hell happened? How did I get here? Now who’s gonna make me coffee?

Be careful what you wish for, Stefan. The universe is here, and sometimes it hears. Like now.

Before he can finish his sentence, the bedroom door opens and Cecilia, his sister, enters the room with steam coming out of her ears.

Cecilia: What the hell, Stefan?

Before we go any further, let’s talk about Cecilia for a bit.

She is twenty-two years old and simply stunning. She looks a lot like her mother Mary, but she also inherited something from her father. For example, the brown eyes with the golden highlights in them. She has had many conquests with the opposite sex, but for some reason only she knows, she doesn’t want anyone. She has never had an affair until now, which worries her mother and makes her father quite happy. If anyone asks her, she says she just doesn’t want anyone. But I’m sure there is something else behind it. Maybe something about Jason, Stefan’s best friend, who, as we’ll see below, is still in love with her, but she doesn’t even talk about a relationship with him. A complicated thing, I suppose.

Anyway. Let’s get back to our story now.

Cecilia: What the hell, Stefan? How many times have I told you to put a leash on your stupid friend?

Stefan slowly turns his head and looks at her, running a hand through his hair and snorting.

Stefan: Good morning to you too, Bubblegum.

Cecilia: Good morning? Look around, you dork. It’s the middle of the afternoon.

Stefan: Afternoon? What the hell? What time is it? What day?

Cecilia rolls her eyes.

Cecilia: Unbelievable. What’s wrong with you, Jellybean? This isn’t who you really are. How could you get to be like this? That fucking bitch is responsible for all of this. She broke you. If I ever get my hands on her...

Stefan pounds his fist on the nightstand.

Stefan: Shut up! Don’t talk about her like that.

Cecilia: Oh, really? That bitch hurt my brother. I can say whatever I want about her.

Stefan: Please, Ceci.

He looks at her with his beautiful eyes full of sorrow and her heart melts. She runs to him and hugs him.

Cecilia: I’m sorry, Stef. I shouldn’t have said that. I shouldn’t have said anything at all.

Stefan: It’s ok.

Cecilia: It’s definitely not okay, but now isn’t the time to talk about it either. We need to talk about your stupid friend. I’m going to make you a strong coffee with lots of sugar and something salty to eat. You go take a shower and then join me in the kitchen.

Stefan: Shower? Why? Do I smell bad?

Cecilia: No offense, but you stink. You smell like a liquor store and a tobacco store combined. What the hell did you do last night?

Stefan: I have no idea. All I remember is being in the Lair. Nothing else. I don’t even know how I got here.

Cecilia: Yeah. Let’s not tell Mama about this, ok?

Stefan: Ok.

Laughing, Cecilia goes into the kitchen and Stefan runs into the bathroom.

~ SOME TIME LATER ~

Stefan, who is clean and smells good, enjoys his meal while Cecilia paces grumbling.

Stefan: Since you were kind enough to make me this delicious meal, may I eat it in peace?

Cecilia: You know when I’m angry, I’m not so easy to pin down. I can’t help it.

Stefan: Ok, Bubblegum. Come on, hit me. Why are you mad? You said something about Jason earlier. What did he do to you this time?

She gives him her tablet.

Cecilia: Look at this.

Stefan: What’s it?

Cecilia: An interview with your friend.

Stefan: Did Jason give an interview? And why?

Cecilia: Because he’s the closest person to the most eligible and hottest bachelor in town. That’s why.

Stefan scoffs.

Stefan: That’s not me.

Cecilia: Are you kidding me? Of course, you are. What world do you live in, boy?

Stefan: My own, it seems.

Cecilia: Whatever. Read what this idiot says about me.

Stefan: About you?

Cecilia: Yes. There, at the very end. Just read.

While he drinks his coffee, he reads Jason’s interview.

But before we read the interview with Stefan, let’s talk a little bit about Jason.

Jason Smith, twenty-five years old. Stefan’s best friend of seventeen years. He literally grew up in the family home, and they all love him like he’s their own kid. All of them? Hmm... Not quite, but it’s not the right time to talk about it.

He has been fatherless since that bastard abandoned him and his mother when Jason was only seven years old. That incident has left a deep wound in his heart, but with Stefan’s help he has managed to overcome his depression and become a charming young man who is very successful in his work as a personal trainer.

He has, and not without reason, many affairs and there have been many women in his bed. But that’s about it. Just sex and sex alone. None of them could get into his heart because it’s already occupied by Cecilia. Oh, yeah. He has been in love with her since he first saw her when he was eight and she was six.

Since then, he has stood beside her like a big brother, waiting. Waiting for the big moment when she’ll fall into his arms and make him the happiest man in the world.

Until her teenage years, everything indicated that she had the same feelings for him, but suddenly, when she was fourteen, everything changed, just like her behavior towards him. She began to avoid him and want nothing to do with him. No one knows why and she keeps her lips sealed. Who knows?

But he waits and he’ll wait, as he says, until the end of the world. If he’s not with her, he’ll never be with anyone else. How romantic is that? My poor Jason.

Whatever. Let’s get back to the interview...

Reporter: Let’s talk a little bit about you now, Jason. Is there a special woman in your life?

Jason: Yes, as a matter of fact, there is. Has been for many years.

Reporter: Will you tell us a little bit about her?

Jason: I could talk about her for years. She’s the most beautiful, sweet, kind, and intelligent woman in the world. Her eyes are pure and innocent, but they have the power to drive you crazy when the sunlight reflects in them and they turn golden. When she smiles, two adorable dimples form on her cheeks, and as for the rest, her body is... Objectively speaking, as a personal trainer, she’s so sexy that she could lure a saint straight into the fiery cauldrons of hell.

Reporter: Objectively speaking...

Jason: Always.

Reporter: The way you talk about her, it’s obvious your feelings are strong enough.

Jason: It goes deeper than that. I have loved her since I was a little kid. She’s the woman of my life. If I’m not with her, I’ll never be with anyone else.

Reporter: That’s so sweet. Will you tell us the name of this lucky woman?

Jason: Why not? She already knows... Her name is Cecilia.

Reporter: Wait a minute. Are you talking about Cecilia Harronate? Stefan’s sister?

Jason: That’s right.

Reporter: Does that mean you two are together?

Jason: No. At least not yet. But I’m trying to ...

~

Stefan puts down the tablet and bursts into unrestrained laughter.

Stefan: That son of a bitch! Oh, my god! That’s fucking awesome!

Cecilia: Are you laughing? Stop it! This isn’t funny at all. He said my name. My full name.

Stefan: You’re right. It’s not just funny. It’s fucking hilarious.

Cecilia: Just wait until our dad reads the interview, then you’ll see how funny it’ll be. He’ll bury him alive, at least.

Stefan stops laughing and wipes the tears from his eyes.

Stefan: I really hadn’t thought of that.

At that moment, Stefan’s cell phone starts ringing with the special ringtone he chose for Jace’s calls.

* It’s the eye of the tiger...

It’s the thrill of the fight...

Risin’up to the challenge of our Rival.

And the last known survivor…

stalks his prey in the night...

And he’s watching us all…

with the eye of the tiger. *[1]

Stefan: Speak of the devil!

Cecilia: Shit! Pick it up and do your thing, Tiger. Calm him down before we become the next CSI episode.

Stefan: That’s a bit much, don’t you think?

He grabs his phone and coffee, jumps up on the counter and takes the call.

Stefan: Hello, Dada!

Jace: Oh, no! Don’t Dada me because it’s not going to work this time. I’m not going to calm down until I bury that son of a bitch alive and plant a cypress tree over his grave.

This is Jace, my beautiful readers. The great Jace Harronate. The great Jace Harronate, who even now, in his fifties - fifty-one to be exact - is the same as he was in his youth. A god. An almighty god who’s still head over heels in love with his angel. A god who doesn’t hesitate to hurl his lightning if anyone dares to hurt his family and burn any kind of threat into the ground.

And when Jace is in that state, the only thing that can calm him down is his firstborn son, who has been activating the strange bond between the two since Stefan was still in his mother’s womb. Why do you think Cecilia ran to Stefan for help?

Stefan: Dada! Dada! Listen to me. You really need to calm down. Seriously. Put your shovel down and let’s talk for a little bit.

Jace: Of course, I’ll calm down. I’ll calm down after I kill your friend who dared to slander your sister’s name.

Stefan: Come on. I just read the interview. He didn’t slander her at all. He was just telling the truth, Dada. Your Precious is a real catch.

Jace: Yeah, you’re right, but still...

Stefan: Let me talk to him.

Jace: That’s not good enough for me, Tiger. I want blood. His blood.

Stefan: Ok. I’m gonna kick his ass and make him apologize to Ceci. Is that enough to quench your thirst for blood?

Jace: If you make him bleed, yes.

Stefan: Deal.

Stefan winks at Cecilia with a smile, and she exhales in relief.

Stefan: Well... I’ll keep Ceci here tonight and tomorrow we’ll get together for family dinner.

Jace: She’s there, huh? I knew she would turn to you if she needed help. Whatever. I’m warning you, Tiger. Watch out for my Precious. Don’t leave her alone in a room with that weirdo. Keep him away from her.

Stefan: Yes, sir. Calm down and give Mama a kiss for me.

Jace: I most certainly will, and many, many other things.

Stefan: Ew! Too much information, Dada.

Jace: Bye, Tiger. I’ll see you tomorrow. Love you.

Stefan: To the moon and back. Bye, Dada.

Stefan ends the conversation and looks at Cecilia.

Stefan: Well, I think that’s settled. You owe me, little sister.

Cecilia: I know that very well. Thank you, big brother.

Stefan: Come give me a kiss.

He opens his arms and she sneaks in and kisses his cheek.

Cecilia: Now what?

Stefan: Let me make one more phone call and then we can do whatever you want.

Cecilia: Aren’t you going out tonight?

Stefan: No. I’m not in the mood. I’d rather spend the night with a woman who’s actually worth it.

Cecilia: With who?

Stefan: With you, sweet Bubblegum.

Cecilia: Mmm... What if it’s two women?

Stefan: Even better.

Cecilia: Perfect. I’m gonna call Loucy. The three of us on the couch, a horror movie on the big screen, lights off and a giant popcorn bowl. Just like when we were kids. Do you remember that?

Stefan: Of course, I remember. You both jumped on me for every scary scene.

She elbows him in the ribs.

Stefan: Ouch!

Cecilia: We were just little girls, you idiot.

Stefan: Right.

When Cecilia goes to call Loucida, Stefan puts the phone back to his ear after calling his best friend’s number, who picks it up after the first ring.

Jason: Hey, sunshine. Have you recovered from your bender last night?

Stefan: Cut the crap, you fucking asshole, and tell me what you were thinking when you did that.

Jason: Excuse me? What the fuck are you talking about, you shithead?

Stefan: I’m talking about that stupid interview you gave.

Jason: Did you read it? Well said, right?

Stefan: Oh, yeah. I did, but it wasn’t just me.

Jason: What do you mean? Who else?

Stefan: My dad, you idiot.

Jason: Fuck! I didn’t know he read web magazines.

Stefan: Of course, he does. What do you think he is? Some kind of prehistoric dinosaur?

Jason: Shit! Shit! Shit! How bad is it?

Stefan: I can tell you. I saved you from death’s door once again. He was gonna bury you alive and plant a cypress tree over your grave. You owe me, asshole.

Jason: Your dad is always so nice. Whatever. Thanks, buddy.

Stefan: Cut the thank-yous and get your ass over here.

Jason: Now?

Stefan: Yes, you idiot. Now! Ceci is here and she’s gonna spend the night. You need to apologize if you want to have any chance with her.

Jason: Ok, but... why are you doing this? I mean, usually big brothers don’t want their sisters getting involved with their buddies.

Stefan: Haven’t you noticed after all these years that I’m not like the others? I want the best guy for my sister and who’s better than my brother?

Jason: Oh!

Stefan: Yeah, good. Wipe your tears, princess, and move your fucking ass.

Jason: I’m on my way.

Stefan: Grab some beers.

Jason: Sure.

~

~ A FEW MINUTES LATER ~

Stefan is sitting in his chair fiddling with his phone while Cecilia is in the kitchen making popcorn. The smell of butter is in the air, and Stefan lifts his head and sniffs it.

Stefan: God! I love that smell!

Cecilia pokes her head out the kitchen door.

Cecilia: What did you say?

Stefan: Nothing, Bubblegum. Just that I like having you around.

DING DONG... DING DONG

Cecilia: Open up. Loucy is here.

Stefan: How did she get here so fast? Did she ride a rocket or something?

Cecilia: She was nearby when I called her.

Stefan gets up and opens the door. The beautiful face of Loucida behind it has a wide, wicked smile on it.

Loucida, also twenty-two years old, is an exact likeness of Mary at her age. Her beauty has nothing to do with Cecilia’s beauty. Loucida is sexy and she knows it. Her good looks, stunning violet eyes, and the fact that she’s the daughter of the hottest gay couple in town have made her a desirable bachelorette.

But that’s not all. Her modelling career is at its zenith. She already has countless fashion shoots and commercials under her belt, as well as many appearances on the runways of famous fashion houses.

But her biggest dream is to walk the runway with Daddy Matty, whom she literally adores. Of course, she loves Daddy Alex and has a wonderful relationship with him. But Daddy Matty is something else entirely.

And as for her relationship with Stefan... What can I say? You’ll see and understand.

Loucida: Hi, Mr. Hot CEO.

Stefan makes a face.

Stefan: Are you going to cut the crap?

Loucida: To your utter frustration, no. Come on, give me a kiss. I haven’t seen you in three days. I’ve missed your pretty face.

Stefan hugs her and kisses her on the forehead.

Stefan: I’ve missed you too, Little Thing.

She throws something in the air and Stefan catches it. When he sees what it is, he looks at Loucida in confusion.

Stefan: How is that possible?

Loucida: Negro brought it this morning. Luckily, I saw him before he entered the palace. If Mama Mary found out he had to get your car keys last night and brought you home half asleep and drunk as a skunk, you’d be in big trouble. You owe me, Pretty Boy.

Stefan: Hmm... So, this is how I got home, huh? Lovely. Who else knows about this?

Loucida: Wolf. Negro couldn’t keep it a secret from the Big Boss, but don’t worry. I made him promise not to tell anything to Mama.

Stefan: Shit! Whatever. What about the car? Where is it now?

Loucida: In your garage. Negro gave me a ride to the club and I brought it here. You’re more than welcome to it.

Stefan: Thank you, Little Thing.

Loucida: But don’t think you’re off the hook for a second. You and I are going to have a very serious talk about your erratic life at some point. Whatever. Where’s Ceci?

Stefan: In the kitchen, baby. Popcorn. Can’t you smell it?

Loucida: Great! What are we supposed to be watching? I’m in the mood to scream.

Cecilia comes out of the kitchen holding a huge bowl full of fresh, hot, salty-tasting popcorn.

Cecilia: I hope you mean screaming out of fear and not out of anything other than your usual stuff. You know... Dirty.

Loucida: Yeah, I wish, but right now the only hot guy here happens to have the same mother as me.

Stefan: Very funny, Little Thing.

Cecilia: Hey! Don’t you two start.

Stefan: Don’t tell me. She started it, ok?

Loucida: Come on. You know me. I’m dying to piss off my big brother. It’s my guilty pleasure.

Stefan: I really wonder how Alex’s sperm and my mom’s egg could have created an exact copy of G-man.

Cecilia: You and me both.

Loucida: That, my dear silly teddy bears, not even science can explain.

They all laugh. In a moment, the two girls sit down on the couch and put Stefan between them. He throws his arms over their shoulders.

Loucida: And how are you supposed to eat popcorn without your hands?

Stefan: Simple. I don’t need my hands when I have you two. Come on, women. Feed your man.

Cecilia: Yeah, right. Keep telling yourself that, you spoiled brat.

Stefan: Come on. Mom always feeds Dad.

Loucida: Yeah, but we’re not your chicks, you dork. We are your sisters.

Stefan: And so does Lois.

Cecilia: She feeds Wolf, not her brother.

Stefan: It doesn’t matter.

The doorbell interrupts their argument.

Loucida: Are we expecting anyone else?

Cecilia: As far as I know, no.

Stefan: Go open the door, Ceci.

Cecilia: Why me?

Stefan: Do as I say and don’t ask.

Loucida: What did you do?

Stefan: Nothing bad.

Cecilia: Stef, I swear. If behind that door is... I’ll kick your stupid ass.

Cecilia goes to the door, opens it, sees who’s behind it, and slams it shut again. Jason’s cry of pain rings out just behind it.

Jason: Goddamn it! My nose!

Stefan runs to the door, and Loucida starts laughing.

Stefan: For fuck’s sake, Ceci!

Loucida: Poor John-John!

Cecilia: Why did you do that, Stef?

Stefan opens the door to find his friend holding his bleeding nose with one hand while he has a six pack of beer and a large box in the other. Remember Jace’s desire for blood? Here it is. Poor Jason.

Stefan: Shit, bro. You’re bleeding.

Jason: Come on. It’s nothing. I’ve had worse.

Stefan: Cut the crap and get in here. Loucy, get some ice.

Loucida runs into the kitchen.

Jason: I’d rather not. Give me the ice and I’ll go. Considering the door in my face, I’m unwanted. We’ll talk more later.

Stefan glares at Cecilia, who keeps her head down.

Stefan: This is my fucking house and I decide who’s welcome and who’s not. I said come in. We need to stop the bleeding.

Jason: There’s no need for that. I really don’t. It’ll stop soon. Take these.

Stefan: I don’t give a damn about them. I care about you.

Stefan picks up the beers and the box, ready to throw them on the ground.

Jason: No! Watch the box!

Stefan: What the hell is in there that you care about more than your bleeding nose?

Jason: Ceci’s favorite donuts. I bought them for her. I know how much she likes to eat them with popcorn.

Loucida, who came back with the ice, gives it to Jason.

Loucida: Ah, John-John!

Stefan hands the box to Ceci.

Stefan: Here you go, sister. Bon fucking Appetit. I hope you enjoy your bloody candy.

Cecilia’s bottom lip is trembling and she’s about to cry, but Stefan is too angry to notice. His voice is rough and Cecilia, knowing that her brother is like their father and that you have to stay away from him when he’s in this state, takes the box and takes a step back. But Jason is there, doing what he’s been doing all these years. He stands in her way and defends her, even when it’s really her fault.

Jason: Stop it, Stef. Don’t talk to her like that. You’re scaring her. She’s on the verge of crying. Besides, it’s not her fault. It’s fucking mine. I came here even though I know she doesn’t want to see me.

Stefan: Shut the hell up and come with me. I’m not gonna let you bleed to death on my damn doorstep.

He grabs Jason’s jacket and literally drags him into the bathroom, slamming the door behind him. Cecilia is sitting on the couch holding the box of donuts in her hands. Loucida sits down next to her.

Cecilia: I’ve blown it for good this time, haven’t I?

Loucida: I’m not going to lie to you. Yes. You did. What drove you to slam the door in his face?

Cecilia: I don’t know. I was surprised to see him.

Loucida: Honestly, I don’t understand. He’s been in love with you for so many years. He treats you like a queen. He spoils you and is always on your side, even when you’re in the wrong. Not to mention how incredibly hot he is. Why do you despise him so much?

Cecilia: Who told you I despise him?

Loucida: Then why don’t you give him a chance? Why don’t you want him?

Cecilia: Who told you I don’t want him?

Loucida can’t believe what she just heard and shakes her head in complete confusion.

Loucida: I’m sorry... WHAT ?

Cecilia: Let it go, Loucy. It’s complicated.

Loucida: No way! Spit it out. No matter how complicated it is, we’ll figure something out.

Cecilia opens the box and her eyes get wet with tears. There are all her favorite donuts in there. Not even a fake one. He knows her so damn well. Maybe better than she knows herself. She offers the box to Loucida.

Cecilia: You want one?

Loucida: No, thank you. Save it for later. I’m sure I’ll need something to get over the shock. Now talk!

Cecilia bites into a donut, the one with the chocolate icing and rainbow sprinkles. She enjoys the sweet taste and tears roll down her cheeks.

Cecilia: A while back, you asked me why I’ve never been in a relationship, and I told you that I haven’t found anyone worth having.

Loucida: Yes.

Cecilia: I lied. There’s another reason.

Loucida: Jason?

Cecilia: Yes. It’s him. It’s always been him. In the beginning, I saw it as a game. We were just kids. I couldn’t understand it. But when I first saw him kissing another girl in high school, I suddenly became insanely jealous and realized that what I felt for my brother’s best friend was more than friendship. It was love. I love him, Loucy. I’ve always loved him, but I...

Loucida: Why didn’t you tell him? When you realized your true feelings, I mean.

Cecilia: Because I realized something else besides my love that scared me to death.

Loucida: What?

Cecilia: That if he and I got into a relationship and something went wrong, his friendship with Stefan would be ruined. Jason would turn on his best friend and Stefan would have to choose between me and his buddy. And it’s all because of me, you know? I’d never do that to either of them. They’re too important to each other. I’d never come between them. I couldn’t bear that, so I decided to sacrifice my love to save their friendship.

Cecilia places the box on the coffee table, buries her face in her hands, and breaks into sobs. Loucida hugs her shoulders.

Loucida: Ah, Ceci! How could you do that?

Cecilia: You can’t imagine how hard it was to pretend all those years. To see him with other women... Having him next to me and not being able to touch him. He tells me he loves me, and I have to reject him. Being a bitch to him when all I want to do is give myself to him.

Loucida: I can’t believe it.

Cecilia: At this moment, I’d love to run to the bathroom, fall at his feet, and beg him to forgive me for everything I’ve done to him. I want to sneak into his arms and never leave. Tell me not to do this. Tell me it’s wrong. Tell me I must forget him. Please, Loucy... Tell me!

Loucida stands up, pacing back and forth, running her hands through her hair.

Loucida: I’m sorry, Ceci, but I can’t tell you that.

Cecilia looks at her sister confused and wipes her tears.

Cecilia: What’s that supposed to mean?

Loucida: It means you’re full of shit all the time!

Cecilia: What?

Loucida: What you heard! Goddamn it, Ceci. You’re a fucking idiot. You’re pushing yourself away and torturing a good guy who loves you for something that may or may not happen. You say that you’re afraid that if something goes wrong between you and Jason, it’ll ruin his friendship with Stefan. Maybe you’re right, but what if nothing does go wrong? How can you be sure that something will go wrong? How? What if everything does go right? Why are you passing up the chance to be with someone as good as Jason? Why are you forcing yourself to lose a great man who, who knows? might be the man of your life? You have happiness at your feet and you’re kicking it away, Ceci. Think about it, please!

Loucida’s lecture is interrupted by the return of Stefan and Jason to the living room. One is still angry and the other no longer has blood running from his nose. Stefan turns to Cecilia and points his finger at her.

Stefan: I’ll never forgive you for what happened. Okay, ice queen, you don’t like Jason, I get that. That’s your right, but you have no fucking right to treat him like shit. Apologize to him right now or you’re gonna have to deal with me. You understand me, you little fool?

Jason: Stef, please. Leave her alone. There’s no need to apologize.

Stefan: You stop. I know what I’m doing. Someone should knock some sense into her.

Loucida: Actually, Stef, you better stop. You have no idea what’s really going on here.

Cecilia: Loucy, no!

Stefan: Yes, Loucy. Stay out of it.

Jason: Guys, please. Look at her. She’s about to collapse. Stef, back off! What’s done is done. I’ve already forgotten.

Stefan: Don’t be so easy on her. She’s not made of glass. She’s not gonna break, damn it!

Jason: Look. Let’s just put this behind us, ok? I’m gonna go now, and you’re gonna enjoy the movie like you’d have before I came. We’ll talk tomorrow after your family dinner.

Loucida: Why don’t you stay and watch the movie with us?

Jason: I’d love to, but I probably shouldn’t. I don’t want to put Ceci in an even more difficult position of tolerating my presence. And between you and me, I can’t afford to lose any more blood tonight.

Jason tries to laugh to show everyone he doesn’t care, but he doesn’t succeed very well. His eyes, looking at Cecilia, reveal the truth. A truth that everyone can see. He’s hurt.

Jason: Well, you guys take care and have fun. Give Mama Mary a kiss for me.

Stefan: I’ll call you later, buddy.

Loucida: Take care, John- John.

Jason takes one last look at Cecilia, still hoping she’ll say something, but she doesn’t answer. She doesn’t even look at him. She keeps her head down and her mouth closed. Stefan rolls his eyes in frustration and Loucida looks at her in disappointment. Jason shrugs and walks to the door, but the moment he’s about to touch the knob...

Cecilia: Jason, please don’t go.

He freezes as his hand hangs over the doorknob. He turns his head and looks at Cecilia. He tries to swallow the lump clogging his throat.

Jason: Give me a reason to stay.

Without anyone waiting for it, let alone Jason himself, Cecilia runs and grabs him by the lapels of his jacket. She pushes him against the wall, stands on her tiptoes and puts her mouth on his. Stefan, seeing the scene, squints his eyes and tears open his mouth like a fish. Loucida screams in delight.

Stefan: What the hell is going on here?

Loucida: Are you blind or something? She kisses him. Oh, my god! Finally!

Stefan: What am I supposed to do now? Beat him up? Lock her in the basement? I don’t even have a basement.

Loucida: Just come with me.

Stefan: But...

Loucida: Shut up, Pretty Boy.

Stefan: Shit! Dad’s gonna kill me, that’s for sure.

Loucida: It doesn’t matter. It’ll be worth it.

Stefan: Huh?

Loucida, delighted by Cecilia’s move, takes Stefan’s hand, and pulls him into the kitchen, giving the future couple the privacy they need.

Jason remains absolutely still for the first few minutes, startled by Cecilia’s attack, arms pressed to his sides and lips hermetically sealed. He’s even afraid to breathe lest he startle her and change her mind, but when she insists on gluing her lips to his own, he finds the courage to finally do what he has dreamed of doing since he was eight years old... To kiss her like there’s no tomorrow.

He lifts his hands and places them in her soft hair. His lips open and he slides his tongue in to part hers. He begins to tease her with gentle touches and she reaches for his jacket, pulling him closer. She deepens the kiss, and he wants to scream. Her tongue slides into his mouth, and she feels his deep moan. His hands slide lower, touching the skin between her blouse and her pants. She wraps her arms around his neck and presses her body even tighter against his. Her breasts are pressed against his pecs and she can feel his rapid heartbeat.

The kiss is so deep that neither of them knows whose air they’re breathing anymore. It contains all the love and hunger they’ve felt for each other all these years. They must stop when there’s no oxygen left in their lungs.

Breathing heavily, Cecilia places her cheek against Jason’s chest and he runs his hand through her hair and kisses the top of her head.

Jason: Even if I lose my memory, I swear I’ll never forget our first kiss.

Cecilia: Are you going to stay, huh? You’re not leaving, are you? Tell me you’re going to stay.

Jason: Go where, baby? There’s nothing out there for me. My whole world is here with you. Just you.

Cecilia: I’m sorry, Jason. I’m so sorry for everything. If I explain... I have so much to tell you.

He hugs her even tighter.

Jason: Shh! Not now, baby. We have all the time in the world for this. All I want now is to hold you in my arms so I can believe that what I’m experiencing is real and not just a dream.

She, close to ecstasy in his arms, lightly pinches his incredibly firm ass (!!!) and giggles.

Jason: Hey! Why did you do that?

Cecilia: So you’d believe this wasn’t a dream.

He holds her shoulders and gently pushes her back so he can look at her. His eyes dip into hers.

Jason: You’re making fun of me, aren’t you?

She smiles mischievously and bites her lower lip.

Cecilia: Just a little bit.

He purses his lips.

Jason: Very well. Remember, this is what you wanted.

Cecilia: What?

He grabs her by the butt, lifts her up, turns her around and pushes her against the wall. She cries out because he caught her off guard, but instinctively she wraps her legs around his waist and pulls him even closer. He kisses her again, but this kiss is different. It’s fiercer, more brutal, more demanding, and even much better than the first.

Things between them would definitely be out of control if not for Stefan and Loucida entering the room and forcing them to keep their distance from each other.

Stefan: Okay, horny rabbits. Time to stop.

Loucida: Stefan! You promised!

Stefan: I promised not to blow smoke up their asses. Not to let that pervert deflower my sister on my fucking wall.

Loucida rolls her eyes.

Loucida: That’s like seeing Uncle Jace.

Cecilia: Oh, God! Daddy. What are we going to tell him? He’ll send me straight to the nuns.

Stefan: Now you’re worried about Daddy? When you attacked my buddy, weren’t you thinking about him?

Loucida: For heaven’s sake, Pretty Boy.

Jason: Stefan, buddy, maybe I should explain. I mean...

Stefan glares at Jason, but he can’t hold back for long and smiles broadly.

Stefan: Shut up, you idiot. I’m just kidding. I’m really happy for you two. Shit! I’ve been working towards this for so long.

He walks up to them and hugs them both.

Stefan: But just so you know, I’m going to be making fun of you for the next ten years.

Jason: It’s ok, buddy. Now that I have everything I’ve always wanted, I can handle anything.

Loucida: Even the wrath of the Prince?

Jason: Yeah. Even that.

Stefan: Just leave the Prince to me. I’ll take care of him.

Cecilia: Thank you, Stef. You’re the best brother in the world.

Stefan: I know that, but if I ever see you playing piggyback with him, I’ll spank you. Are we clear, Bubblegum? Even I have my limits.

Cecilia: Crystal, but can you define those limits? Are we talking about the limits Dad has with Lois and Sebastian?

Stefan: Heavens no! Of course not.

Cecilia: God damn it!

They laugh.

Jason: I really like Sebastian. That man - how should I put it? - has a boundless imagination.

Stefan: Yeah. Tell me about it. When they lived in our house, my room was next to theirs, and they had a thing for the balcony, especially on a full moon. If you know what I mean.

Loucida: Of course, we do.

Cecilia: We all do.

Jason: Good times!

They laugh more.

~

~ LATE AT NIGHT ~

The two girls are asleep in Stefan’s bed while the guys hang out in the living room with a bottle of tequila.

Stefan: Well, brother? How are you doing?

Jason: Are you really asking me that? I’m dancing through the woods and I’m deliriously happy. I’ve never been happier than I’m right now, but...

Stefan: But what?

Jason: I’m a little worried.

Stefan: About what?

Jason: What if Ceci is right? What if one wrong step in our relationship ruins my friendship with you? I love her, but I don’t want to lose you.

Stefan pats Jason on the back.

Stefan: Don’t worry about it, buddy. I’m sure your relationship will be perfect, but in the unlikely event that something goes wrong, whoever is to blame, I’m staying out of it. She’ll always be my sister, and you’ll always be my best friend. Nothing in the world can change that.

Jason: Can you promise that?

Stefan: I can. And you know I keep my promises.

Jason: I know.

Stefan: Then stop worrying too much and just enjoy your new relationship.

The two guys raise their glasses and toast.

Stefan: To you and Ceci!

Jason: To all of us!

They drink the potent mixture and wince.

Jason: And now that I’m out of the market, what about you?

Stefan: What about me? What the hell are you talking about?

Jason: You know damn well. About your hot potato.

Stefan: Don’t start, please. I don’t feel like talking about her.

Jason: You never have.

Stefan: Can you blame me?

Jason: No, but I can blame you for wasting your life on a worthless woman. For the sake of a fucking bitch.

Stefan: Don’t talk about her like that.

Jason: Oh, really? That bitch hurt my buddy. I can say whatever the fuck I want about her.

Stefan smiles tiredly.

Jason: Why are you smiling like that?

Stefan: Do you happen to know someone named Cecilia?

Jason: And why is that?

Stefan: Because she said the exact same words at lunchtime.

Jason: Because she thinks right, Stefan, and deep down you know it too.

Stefan: All I know is that I need to get drunk.

He fills his glass once more and drinks the contents in one go. As he goes to take the third drink, Jason puts his hand on the glass and takes the bottle from his hand.

Jason: Ok. That’s enough of that. Drinking won’t help.

Stefan: You’re wrong. It helps me a lot. It helps me not to remember. I don’t want to remember, Jay. It hurts when I remember.

Jason: I know, Stef, but you have to remember. You have to remember to see reality. To realize what a slut she was and to get her out of your head once and for all.

Stefan leans back and throws his head on the back of the couch.

Jason: Listen, buddy. I’m your friend and I love you. It hurts to see you like this, and I want to help you, but when I try, you won’t let me. You have built a fucking wall around your heart and you won’t let anyone get close to you. You don’t even try.

Stefan: Try to do what? What do you want me to do?

Jason: Let your heart love again.

Stefan: I can’t.

Jason: You can, but you won’t. You’re afraid of disappointment. Stop putting up with all the women who are only interested in your huge dick and fat wallet and find that one woman, the woman of your life.

Stefan: And what if that woman was... her?

Jason jumps up angrily and starts screaming.

Jason: Are you fucking kidding me right now? You can’t even pronounce her name and you dare to think she’s the one? Wake up, Stefan. Think about what she did to you!



[1] Eye Of The Tiger – SURVIVOR 1982

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