Ethan observed Chloe as she walked toward the house, he couldn’t take his eyes off of her, but it seemed the feeling wasn’t mutual because not once did she turn toward him. She just walked into the house followed by Emma who sent him a deadly glare before closing the door behind her. Ethan stayed in front of the house for a few more seconds lost in his thoughts.
He knew he had feelings for her, somehow Chloe was affecting him. Ethan had never cared for anyone beyond family. He had never cared for a woman, he saw them as nothing more than bed mates. He had tried, he had stayed with the same woman for two months once, her name was Elena. But as much as he had tried he hadn’t developed any feelings for her, of course she was beautiful, there was no denying that, but she was shallow and Ethan couldn’t develop anything else than lust for her. And now there was Chloe, and he was finally developing feelings for a woman, he couldn’t let that go, could he? Chloe had awakened something in his heart.
At some point Ethan had thought that it was simply not one of his capacities, we can’t be good at everything after all. He had talked about it to Lana once while being drunk, it had been a mistake because after that she had made it her mission to find a woman who would provoke a reaction in him but she had given up after ending up with all of her friends crying on her shoulder with broken hearts. Ethan looked back at the house in which the woman who had finally provoked a reaction in him was and a small smile appeared on his lips. She was in for ride and she didn’t even know it.
Chloe entered the house and as soon as she was inside she took her high heels off and tossed them aside without a care in the world. She wanted to change as soon as possible, she wasn’t comfortable in those clothes, she just wanted to put one of her large sweatshirts on and one of her yoga pants before throwing herself in her bed or in the couch and watch TV while eating chocolate.
“How was your appointment?” Emma asked from behind her.
Chloe turned around to face her and nodded to say that is went well and Emma seemed to understand.
“I see that you and Ethan are getting cozy with each other,” Emma pointed out raising an eyebrow.
Chloe scoffed rolling her eyes.
“I saw that kiss,” Emma continued. “And I see the way you look at him.”
Chloe looked elsewhere, of course Emma would notice the way she looked at Ethan. Yes, she had feelings for him, who wouldn’t? But she doubted the feeling was mutual and even if it was she wouldn’t act on it. She had other things to deal with, she couldn’t throw herself in a relationship, look where it had brought her with Steven. She wasn’t ready to give everything she had to make it work and end up being dumped in the end.
Emma didn’t have anything to worry about. Because she was worrying it was obvious, it even sounded like she was accusing her. It wasn’t her fault, she couldn’t control who she had feelings for.
“If you want my opinion, I think you should be careful, I’ve heard from his brothers and Lana that Ethan is the kind of man to play with women and throw them away once he’s done, many have ended up with a broken heart, Lana said she doesn’t have enough fingers to count how many of her friends ended up crying on her shoulder,” Emma related wanting to protect her best friend. Chloe had enough on her plate for now, a complicated relationship that could end up with a broken heart wouldn’t help her.
“But I also think that if it makes you happy you should give it a chance, because you always smile when he’s around and I love to see you smile. Because even though he likes to think he’s heartless, Ethan has a heart and I see the way his smile grows bigger every time he manages to make you smile, I see the way he frowns when you seem in a bad mood, sad or angry, the way he looks at you when he thinks no one will notice,” Emma continued with a small smile.
Chloe looked back up at Emma. Was she serious? Was it true? She hadn’t noticed the way he looked at her, for her he looked at her like he would look at anyone else. What was Emma talking about? How was he looking at her?
“But, Ethan? Seriously? Of all the men on this planet it had to be the one I don’t get along with, Ethan? Ugh!” Emma exclaimed breaking Chloe thoughts. “I need a drink but I’ll settle for a coffee,” she said before walking toward the kitchen.
Once Emma was gone Chloe smiled. She knew Emma didn’t really hate Ethan just like Ethan didn’t really hate Emma. Of course, they weren’t the best of friends but still, they were family since Jason and Emma were married.
After that Chloe hurried upstairs. Once in her bedroom she quickly took her clothes off and put a large sweatshirt and her yoga pants on. Oh God it felt good. She went in the bathroom and cleaned her face off of make-up.
The whole day had passed and Chloe, Jason and Emma were now seated around the table eating dinner. Chloe looked next to her where Ethan usually sat during dinners. It was weird to not have him here bothering her or telling her something that would make her angry. She had been here for over two weeks now and during all this time he had been around, now it felt empty, as if something was missing. And Chloe realized that she missed him already.
She looked away not wanting Jason and Emma to notice her. He had said earlier that he had appointments to visit flats because he was planning on getting his own place. But if he moved out it would always be like this, it would always be empty, he wouldn’t be here to bother her or make her smile anymore. An idea came to Chloe’s mind, he had proposed for her to accompany him to visit apartments, she would accompany him and she would always find something that wasn’t right about it, that way he would have to stay here, with her.
She frowned, what was she talking about? She couldn’t do that, he had a right to settle in his own place, he wouldn’t forever live with Jason and Emma, it was temporary. She wouldn’t forever live with them either, it was temporary as well, so maybe she could make him stay here until she left? Yes, she could try to do that. But it wasn’t right, what if it meant he would miss a good opportunity because of her though? Chloe wasn’t someone selfish, or was she? Her thoughts were broken when she heard Jason mention Ethan in his conversation with Emma.
“I think you shouldn’t have gone as far as telling, Ethan not to come back here tonight,” Jason said looking straight at Emma.
“It’s my house, if I don’t want him here tonight then he won’t be here tonight,” Emma said, anger clear in her voice.
Chloe looked between the two a little uncomfortable. Were they going to fight or something? She had never seen them fight before, it was so awkward. Should she sneak out of the table and go in her room? She felt like a child witnessing her parents fighting.
“It’s my house as well and Ethan is my brother. I invited him in our home and when I did so I wasn’t expecting you to just kick him out,” Jason said seriously.
“I didn’t kick him out, I said it would be better if he would spend the night somewhere else, it’s just for one night, he’s not gonna die I’m sure he is at Ian’s,” Emma exclaimed. “I know he is your brother but you can’t always take his defense, I’m your wife.”
“I invited him in, I’m just saying that you shouldn’t have told him not to come here tonight without talking about it with me beforehand,” Jason said calmly.
“You’re still defending him.” Emma dropped her fork on the table. “And if I remember well you invited him into our home without talking about it with me beforehand.”
“Of course I take his defense, he is my little brother,” Jason said doing his best to keep his calm but he really wanted to explode which was really unlike him.
“I’m your wife for God’s sake. He is not so little anymore he can take care of himself,” Emma exclaimed. Jason stood up without a word and started to walk away from the table. If only Emma knew, but he had promised Ethan he would never talk about this to anyone. “Jason, don’t you dare leave this room! I thought you would support my choice, he was disrespectful toward me.”
“You have a tendency to overreact so excuse me if I doubt he really was disrespectful toward you.” Jason turned back toward Emma who was standing up as well now.
“Excuse me?” Emma took a step back, hurt. He would have stabbed her and it would have been the same.
“You don’t understand, Emma. My brother and I have a past you are not aware of, I’ve never protected him, I’ve never been there when he needed me, his big brother, I always closed my eyes and acted as if it wasn’t real, but it was real, he needed me,” Jason exclaimed his eyes filling with tears. The memories were still painful, the guilt overwhelming.
Emma didn’t know what to say. She had never seen Jason like this, she had never seen her husband like that. What was he talking about? What was real? What had happened? It broke her heart to see Jason like this, she had never seen him so emotional.
Chloe stayed in her seat observing Jason astounded. Guilt, she would recognize the feeling among any other. She knew this feeling all too well. Maybe she had a lot more in common with Jason than she thought. It wasn’t long for Chloe to understand that Ethan had been through something and that Jason could have had protected him but hadn’t done anything. Like Chloe could have stopped screaming and Will would have still been alive. She wanted to know, what had happened?
Jason turned around and left the room hurriedly and Emma stayed frozen for a few seconds before following after him.
Chloe looked around the room and released the breath she had been holding. She was praying for things between them to get better. Emma and Ethan had fought about her in the first place and Jason and Emma had fought because Emma had asked, or rather ordered, Ethan to spend the night elsewhere. But it wasn’t her fault, it seemed Jason was keeping things from Emma and it also looked like it was really personal so she also understood Jason, sometimes it was just more difficult than just saying everything to the person you love.
Chloe stood up and went upstairs in her bedroom. She didn’t know where Emma and Jason were, she had the impression they were outside in the garden because she couldn’t hear anything in the house. Jason had surely went outside to breathe some fresh air and Emma had followed him. Chloe turned on her TV and settled in her bed under the covers trying to warm herself up. She was glad she couldn’t hear Emma and Jason, she had no idea if they were still fighting or if they were just talking now but she didn’t want to hear any of it, she felt like she was intruding on their privacy. Of course she wouldn’t have been there Emma would have related the whole thing to her but seeing it and hearing it wasn’t the same.
Then her mind drifted back to Ethan. Jason had made it clear that something had happened to him, but what? She had no idea. She wanted to know but she wouldn’t ask anyone, she could tell when someone wanted to keep things secret. She had her secrets too. Of course she would love to know but since it concerned Ethan she would rather hear it from him.
Chloe decided to stop thinking about those things, it was none of her business. She extended her arm to the side and grabbed her phone that was on her nightstand. She looked through her phone and a small smile appeared on her lips when she came across the name ‘My Man’. Was it how Ethan had named himself in her phone? She decided she would change his name in her phone later, for now she just clicked on it to send him a message. Chloe typed her message and hesitated a few seconds before hitting the send button.
Chloe: Where r u?
She put her phone aside as soon as she had pressed send. He wouldn’t answer right away anyway, she had never seen him using his phone so she guessed he didn’t use it much. Once it was sent she realized that he had put his number in her phone but he didn’t have her phone number so he wouldn’t even know it was her sending him a message. She thought about sending him another message to tell him that it was her but unfortunately her phone buzzed before indicating that she had received a message. Chloe picked it up and opened the message right away.
My Man: Is it my girl?
Chloe frowned, his girl? Maybe Ethan had a girlfriend and she didn’t even know about it. It was true, maybe no one knew because it was something recent. It didn’t even cross her mind that if it would have been his girlfriend he would have had her phone number in his phone. Maybe it was her sudden jealousy that was keeping her brain from working well.
Chloe: Depends, what does she look like?
There, she would play along and see where this was going. She didn’t even have time to think about it that she received another text.
My Man: Blonde, blue eyes.
Chloe felt anger coursing through her veins, here, she knew it, the bastard had a girlfriend and acted as if he didn’t have one all the time. She hated herself for starting to feel something for that jerk, that asshole, that son of a bitch. Chloe went through her contacts and changed his name in her phone. Oh yeah and there was that, she doubted that blonde with blue eyes would appreciate seeing that he had called himself Chloe’s man in her phone. She put her phone aside deciding not to answer and turned back toward the TV. After only five minutes Chloe received another text.
ASSHOLE: Chloe? You’re still there?
Chloe frowned, he knew it was her? That bastard. She jumped when her phone rang once more in her hands.
ASSHOLE: Oh come on, it was a joke, love, you’re my girl, answer.
Chloe: Just so you know, I changed your name to ASSHOLE.
ASSHOLE: I’ll change it back tomorrow. And to answer your question I’m at Ian’s. Why? Miss me already?
Chloe rolled her eyes as she read the message. Of course she missed him a little but she wasn’t just going to tell him that.
Chloe: No, Emma and Jason are having a fight.
ASSHOLE: And I care because?
Chloe: Way to make me understand that I’m bothering. Have a good night and good luck with your blonde.
Chloe tossed her phone aside and turned around in her bed. She should have known he wouldn’t want her to send a message. He had said it was in case she had a problem someday. She heard her phone buzzing which meant she had a text but decided to ignore it, she wouldn’t read it, she knew that if she read it she wouldn’t be able to resist and she would answer. She heard her phone buzz a second time and turned back toward it. Maybe she could look and not answer.
ASSHOLE: No, it’s not what I meant. I just don’t want to talk about them. I want to talk about you.
Chloe scoffed and rolled her eyes.
ASSHOLE: All right then, if it’s the only conversation you’re willing to have I’ll take that. Why are they fighting?
A small smile appeared on her lips, it seemed she wasn’t bothering him after all and he wanted to talk to her. She received a third message her phone still in her hands.
ASSHOLE: Chloe, please. Answer the message or I come over.
Chloe frowned, wow, authoritative. But she decided to call his bluff, he wouldn’t come over just because she refused to answer his text. Her phone buzzed again in her hand.
ASSHOLE: I’m in my car.
Chloe’s eyes widened, was he serious? No surely he wasn’t.
Chloe: They’re fighting because Emma kicked you out. Are you really in your car?
ASSHOLE: Finally, I really thought I would have to come over. Yes, I was in my car. They’re fighting because of me?
Chloe: You’re crazy. Yep, Jason isn’t happy because Emma kicked you out, something about being your big brother and having to take care of you.
ASSHOLE: Crazy about you. I’ll have a conversation with my brother. Can we talk about you now?
Chloe: Pfff! I’m tired, good night, Ethan.
ASSHOLE: Fine, sweet dreams, good night, Chloe.
Chloe turned off her TV and lied down on her bed facing the roof keeping her phone in her hand. It was weird, having a conversation with Ethan. Usually he was the only one talking and there was no come back coming from her but when they messaged each other they both talked and it was weird. Chloe wanted to ask him why he had kissed her earlier today. Because he had wanted to or because he had wanted to annoy Emma? She wanted to know so badly. And before she knew what she was doing she had sent him a message. Once it was done she closed her eyes tightly, what had she done? She shouldn’t have sent that. If only she could un-send it.
Chloe: Did you kiss me to bother Emma?
Only a few seconds later her phone buzzed and Chloe hesitated. Should she read his answer? She was scared of what his answer would be. She felt like a stupid teenager talking to her crush and she hated it. She wasn’t a teenager anymore, she was a grown up woman. She opened his message and read it.
ASSHOLE: What makes you think that?
Chloe: You did it just after noticing she was watching us. Please next time you want to annoy Emma I would appreciate if you would let me out of it.
ASSHOLE: It wasn’t to bother her. I wanted to do it. Next time I’ll make sure it’s just the two of us, sweetheart.
Chloe: There won’t be a next time, Ethan.
ASSHOLE: We’ll see, love. My lips are already burning at the idea of touching your skin.
Chloe: What about your cheek? Isn’t it already burning at the idea of me slapping you?
ASSHOLE: No, I can’t feel anything, I’m more worried about your glorious ass. Isn’t it burning already from the spank you’ll get?
Chloe: GOOD NIGHT, Ethan.
ASSHOLE: I know you’re blushing.
Chloe: I’m not. Shut up!
ASSHOLE: Good night, love.
Chloe put her phone on her nightstand and turned around in her bed. God he was right she was blushing, she could feel her cheeks burning. What an arrogant bastard. How many times had she mentally called him a bastard already? She couldn’t remember. It was unbelievable how he could affect her even when he wasn’t physically present.
She didn’t want to be tomorrow, she would have to face him after that conversation. Really, sometimes it was just better that she couldn’t have conversations anymore, at least she didn’t say things she regretted later on, like asking people why they kissed her. That had been completely stupid.
But as much as Chloe didn’t want to be tomorrow and face him, she knew tomorrow would come, and rather quickly, might she add. She would just act as if this conversation had never happened, yes, she would do that. Surely Ethan would forget about it, he wouldn’t remember her asking if he had kissed her just to bother Emma, and he would surely not remember telling her he would kiss her again. Oh come on Chloe, be a grown up!! It’s just a kiss on the cheek, how old are you?
Little did she know, Ethan wouldn’t forget any of it.
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