Sugar & Spice

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Chapter 29

During the quick tour of Marco’s condo, we sit down on his balcony with a glass of wine while talking about all the things Marco wants to do with his place.

“So what kind of vibe do you want to go for?”

Marco shrugs a little.

“I’m not sure yet. I’ll probably just keep it simple since I’ll still travel a lot. I just really needed a place with some roots so when I want to relax, I know I have a home and hopefully someone to hang out with.” Marco looks at me and I smile, softly, licking the wine from my lips.

“It’s always nice to have somewhere or someone to call home.” I nod.

“Who do you call home?” He asks and the question stumps me a bit. Who do I call home?

“I don’t know. No one I guess. I am my own home. Just me.”

“What about your parents?”

“What about them?”

“Where are they?”

“Washington. Things with my parents aren’t great. I love them and they love me, but choices they made in the past cause me to not trust them. They went through rough times when I was younger and lost custody of me. I was partly raised by my grandmother who made it her mission to keep me from them no matter how hard I fought her on it. it created conflict. My parents thought I was choosing when in reality, I never had a choice.”

“That’s terribly unfortunate, Lina. It seems like there were a lot of misunderstandings.”

“Pretty much. By the time I was old enough to make my own choices, it was too late. My relationship with my parents had suffered beyond repair. They didn’t know me any longer and didn’t try to get to know me. They just accepted everything that had happened.”

“And your grandmother?”

“All those years spent trying to make me hate my parents eventually killed her. Her hate turned to cancer and I was there to watch her die. She never even apologized. So the people who were supposed to be home for me were anything but that.”

One would expect me to have venom in my veins over my childhood, but I know. I was a very understanding kid. I knew what was going on so I adjusted accordingly and decided not to hold a grudge against anyone. I speak of my past as if it’s just an everyday thing. I may have some underlying issues, but I don’t know about them. I’ve never had them pointed out to me so I like to think I’m fine.

“I’m very sorry about all of that, Lina.”

“No need to be. I’m not. It’s molded me into the person I am today.”

“And who are you today?”

“Just busting with questions tonight, aren’t you?” I laugh, but Marco holds his semi-serious gaze, his eyes burning straight through my soul as if he knows the answers before I can even say them.

“Don’t change the subject.”

Sighing, I roll my eyes and drink more of the amazing wine Marco had provided. I could down the bottle in one night if I were home alone.

“Today, I am a woman who is content being alone but doesn’t mind having company. I’m headstrong, but not set in my ways. I’m open to new things. I’m a kickass bartender with a soft heart for drunken sobs stories. Sometimes I think I’m unlovable because I’ve never been in love. I’m normal. Nothing out of the ordinary about me.”

“If you really think you’re ordinary then I’m going to assume you’re also crazy.” Marco smirks as he picks the wine bottle up, tilting it over to refill his glass.

“And if you think otherwise then you are clearly just trying to get in my pants.” I look over at Marco, giving him a wink and he chuckles.

“I would never lie to get into your pants. I’m a pretty straightforward guy.”

“Hmm.” I take the wine bottle and refill my glass quickly, sensing that this conversation was about to take an interesting turn.

I’m about to say something when my phone vibrates on the little table separating us. When I grab it and flip it over, I frown.

“Who is it?” Marco asks.

I turn the phone around and show him Ronan’s name on the screen and the middle of his eyebrows creases. I silently question whether or not I want to answer, but the fact that Ronan hasn’t talked to me since cutting me off, I am curious as to what the hell he wants. I answer it and hold the phone to my ear.

“Hello?”

“Malina, how are you?”

“I’m great.”

“That’s good to hear. I was calling to see if you wanted to have dinner with me. I don’t like how we ended things.”

“How we ended things? You mean you completely cutting me off because you couldn’t have all of my time and attention? I don’t think that was a mutual decision.”

“You’re right and I was to apologize for my actions.”

“That won’t be necessary. No hard feelings, but I don’t think dinner would be a good idea. I’m not comfortable with how you acted.”

Silence falls over the phone for a moment and when I look over at Marco, he seems genuinely impressed with how I’m handling myself. While I’m waiting for Ronan to find his words, I lock eyes with Marco and we begin this sensual staring contest. This is the first staring contest that has ever turned me on.

“Lina.”

“What? Yes?”

“I said, I would really like the chance to apologize in person if that’s okay with you.”

“Ronan, I’m going to have to think about it, but I’ll...hello?”

I hold the phone back and see that he’s hung up on me. So much for wanting to apologize.

“He hung up on me.” I roll my eyes.

“Typical Ronan.” Marco laughs, but honestly, I don’t find any of it funny.

“Is this acceptable behavior in your lifestyle? When you can’t have your way, you just treat the girl like crap?” I frown, standing up and marching back into his condo.

It’s not my intention to take out my anger on Marco, but the fact that Ronan really tried to play mister nice guy to get what he wants just infuriates me and the fact that Marco just laughs off his behavior is worse. Even if he doesn’t act the same, he condones it and that’s just as bad. I don’t want to associate myself with someone who thinks it’s funny for a grown man to act like a child.

“Wait, Lina.”

“I think I should go, Marco.” I reach for my things before realizing that he’s my ride. Crap.

“Lina, please, let me explain.”

I turn around and cross my arms, generously giving him the benefit of doubt for one minute before getting an Uber.

“I don’t think Ronan’s behavior is acceptable. I laughed because Ronan has realized that he’s lost a good thing. I find it amusing how you’re the first girl he’s had that isn’t falling for his nice guy act anymore. You’re smarter than that and it’s honestly very attractive.” He steps forward and I let my body relax slightly.

“Oh.” I mumble, unclenching my arms a bit as he steps into my personal space.

He doesn’t say anything, but his body is saying way more than his mouth ever could. Reaching out, his hand wraps around my waist, pulling me to him until our bodies are touching and our faces are inches apart. The smell of wine of his breath hits my nose and makes me a little dizzy. Or maybe I’m just a little buzzed. Either way, he’s having some sort of effect on me. The small feeling I felt when I first met him was not just about his looks like I thought. It’s his whole aura. It just pulls you in.

With the other hand, he reaches up and cups the side of my neck. When he leans in to kiss me, his lips are soft and welcoming. The kiss his gentle as if he’s letting me know that he’s not eager. The kiss is perfect.

I want this moment to be amazing and alluring, but even as I’m kissing him, I can’t stop the nagging thought in the back of my head.

Another sugar daddy.

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