Addy liked Bryce. He was funny. She could see the apprehension in his eyes when he met her. Addy couldn’t blame him. It wasn’t every day someone took a homeless person off the streets. For all he knew, she could be a drug addict or something. She could knock Pierce out and run away with his wallet. Pierce was wealthy. She questioned him about his wealth which he said he was born into. Pierce claimed his father Delta was a business tycoon. Halton Inc. as they were called owned hotel chains around the world. The business was passed from Delta’s father to him and now to Victor. Delta made the business more successful than it had been under his father. After his death, Victor took over. Victor, of course, didn’t like all the spotlight, glitz and glamour, so he left their mother in charge and settled for a quiet life with his wife and brothers.
Pierce told her that he and Bryce ran things from time to time but the business was safer in their mother’s hands. Addy sighed, some people were born with everything. Pierce was one of those people. He was handsome, rich, and probably the bane of every man’s existence. Addy wondered if women threw themselves at the brothers because of their lifestyle. If a nobody like her came along and dated Pierce, would they hate her? Would they send her threatening messages written in blood? Would they call her a gold digger? Addy sighed again. What was she thinking? Sid was the only man she loved. She was going to marry Sid. Addy winced. Sid wasn’t around anymore. He was gone. Still, she couldn’t help herself. She cared for him.
“I better take off,” Bryce said. “Vic’s probably waiting for me.”
Addy glanced at him. They looked so much alike. Bryce had the same dark eyes but his hair was blond. Their face shapes were the same along with their noses. Addy looked away when Bryce turned his attention to her.
“It was nice meeting you, Addy,” he said. “I’ll see you around.”
“Sure,” Addy said although she didn’t mean it.
As Pierce got up to let him out, Addy retreated back upstairs to her room. She didn’t belong here. Pierce’s world would never welcome someone like her. She was a nobody. Bryce’s apprehension proved that along with the conversation she heard earlier between him and Pierce. According to Bryce, Victor wouldn’t like her. She didn’t catch all the details as she wanted. He and Pierce started talking low where she couldn’t hear a single word. There was no point in staying here with him. She didn’t want to get him into any kind of trouble. Maybe his brother wasn’t the charitable type but Addy understood. People could take advantage of you. She knew it all too well. She was a moocher, a panhandler, a stain on his perfect life. Addy laid on the bed. Why was she so concerned about what she meant to him?
Addy couldn’t explain it. She couldn’t explain why it bothered her so much. She didn’t want to wreck Pierce’s life. Maybe because he was the only one to care for her as much as Sid. Maybe it had something to do with him being there in her time of need, but Addy believed the main and most terrifying reason for her was maybe her feelings for Sid weren’t genuine. Sid was there and he was in the same boat as her. It was easy to love him. She was selfish like that. Sid was there. He cared. Now, he was gone and Pierce replaced him in a sense. With Pierce, in only a few days, she started to feel more for him.
Her feelings for Sid, no matter how she tried to be the good guy and hold on to them, diminished little by little when it was clear he wasn’t coming back to rescue her. She would no longer hear his voice or share nights under the stars with him. When reality sunk in that he was truly gone, her feelings for Pierce surfaced. Pierce was kind, genuine, there. She told herself, Sid, was the most important person in her life but now Pierce was. Pierce who cared for her and offered her his home. Addy couldn’t stay. It was wrong to Sid and it was wrong to Pierce. She couldn’t stay because if she did, her feelings for Pierce would make her do something that might cost him everything. Addy jumped at the loud knock on her door.
“Addison?” Pierce’s muffled voice came through. “Are you alright?”
“I’m fine,” she called. “Just a little tired.”
Pierce didn’t say anything else. Addy hid her face on the pillow. Tomorrow, she’d disappear from his life and never return again.
Addy didn’t know what to say. She hadn’t talked to Pierce all that much since meeting his brother Bryce. When he tried to talk with her, she’d give him a short answer, a nod here, and a smile there. She sat at the dinner table with him. She wasn’t really hungry so she pushed her food around. She caught Pierce trying to meet her gaze from time to time but she wouldn’t look at him. What was she doing? Why was she still here? Tomorrow came and she didn’t go anywhere. Addy was scared. Danag might still be looking for her not to mention, she felt safe here. She was kidding herself. She couldn’t leave even if she wanted to. Fear and her growing feelings for Pierce stopped her.
“I’m done,” Pierce said, throwing his napkin onto the plate.
Addy glanced at his plate and then him. “You didn’t eat much.
“Really, I didn’t think you noticed,” Pierce said his anger getting the better of him. “You know meals are pleasant with conversation. I don’t approve of this awkward silence between us. I thought we should be used to each other now after a few days-no, let me rephrase that, I thought you’d be used to me after a few days. I did nothing to hurt nor harm you and yet you’re acting withdrawn.”
Feeling wary, Addy placed her fork down. “I’m sorry, Pierce. It’s just that…”
Addy shrugged. “I feel like I’m a stain in your life. You’re a caring person and I’m grateful but- I feel like me being here may put you at odds with your family.”
“What are you talking about?” Pierce asked, his brow crinkled with frustration.
“I mean… I heard Bryce say Victor wouldn’t like me.”
Addy caught the way Pierce stiffened. It was true then. She pretended it didn’t bother her and continued. “I didn’t mean to eavesdrop on your conversation the other day. I don’t know if he thinks we have something more going on or if he means he doesn’t want you entangled with people like me.”
“Can you tell your brothers they have nothing to worry about? I won’t pursue you or anything. I know you’re out of my league,” Addy said with a nervous laugh. “Besides, I already have someone I love and-"
Pierce’s growl ended her words in a mid sentence. A dark look displayed across his handsome face. Addy felt the temperature in the room change. She shivered. For a reason unknown to her, her mouth went dry and it was hard to breathe. She cleared her throat and reached for the glass of water on the table. She took a few sips. Addy tried to smile but she couldn’t. Pierce seemed to be glaring daggers at her. She lowered her gaze as he shot up from the table. He took their plates to the sink with a move so swift, she didn’t even see him reach for them. He turned on the tap. Addy watched the rigidness of his posture. He was angry at her. He washed the dishes in silence. Addy wished like hell he’d say something.
“You must be tired,” he said with a dark tone. “You can go to your room and rest.”
“Pierce, I didn’t mean-"
“Addison, please! I want to be alone now if you don’t mind!”
Addy jumped at his tone. She got up from the table and pushed her chair in. Addy swallowed and glanced at him. His shoulders slumped in defeat. Addy didn’t understand what made him so angry. Could it be, he had feelings for her too?