“Are you sure this is a good idea?”
“I’m positive. You need to be prepared for whatever.”
“But is this necessary?” I cock my head to the side.
“Aren’t you a hippie? Aren’t hippies against violence?”
Marco sighs and readjusts my arms to hold the gun up. We’ve been at the gun range for all fo 15 minutes and I haven’t fired one bullet yet. You’d think with all the times I’ve been almost attacked that I’d be some gun-slinging girl by now, but no. I’ve never even held a gun in my hand let alone thought about shooting on. With all the shit with Ronan, Marco thought it was time to teach me how to defend myself should Ronan become crazier and decide to actually try to attack me or kill me.
“Yes, hippies are against violence, but not protection. There’s nothing wrong with protecting yourself if you need it. I’m not telling you to go out and be some vigilante of the night. I’m just saying that no one should ever feel helpless. You’ve been stressed about Ronan because you feel helpless. You feel as though if help isn’t around then you will be defenseless, but you will not. You will have a weapon and will be prepared to use it if you need to.”
I take a deep breath realizing that Marco is very much right in this situation. I do feel helpless against Ronan. To find out that not only does he have tons of inappropriate pictures of me, but also is threatening me is just unnerving. Why would he do that? Why would he feel the need to take pictures of me when things were going well at the time? There are tons of questions that I don’t have answers to.
“Lina, please focus. You’re holding a dangerous weapon.”
I shake my head and sigh. Behind me, Marco holds my wrists, making sure I’m aiming correctly. When he’s satisfied with my stance and focus, he lets go of my arms and steps aside.
“Okay, now just take a deep breath and pull the trigger. Don’t overthink it or you’ll miss.”
I nod softly and take a deep breath. On the inside, I’m freaking the fuck out about pulling this trigger, but if Ronan was trying to kill me I’d die from nerves. I don’t have time to die at this age just because some older guy can’t handle a little rejection. I was strong enough to leave him so I can be strong enough to shoot him if it comes down to it.
When I’m sure that I’m ready, I let my finger move and before I know it, a bullet is flying out the gun. It happens so fast that I barely had time to shut my eyes. Letting out a breath, I finally hear Marco telling that I did well. I highly doubt that I hit the target.
I set the gun down on the table as Marco grabs the target paper. I look around and see nothing.
“I guess I need some practice. I didn’t even hit the paper.” I force a laugh, trying to keep my fingers from trembling.
“What are you talking about? You did amazing. Look.” Marco points to the targets head and right in the middle is a little hole.
“I shot it in the head?”
“Yeah! You did great, sunshine. See what happens when you get out of that mental bubble.”
I nod, staring at the paper. I actually shot the damn thing. I know I’m no gunslinging marksman, but I think I did okay for my first try.
“Thank you for getting me to do this, Marco. You didn’t have to.”
“I wanted to. I worry about you when I’m not around and I want you to be safe. I care about you, Lina.”
“Thank you.” I smile softly. “Um, so, can I do it again?”
Marco chuckles, setting the paper down to put up a new one.
“Someone has got the bug. We can stay here as long as you want.”
We actually end up staying about two hours just shooting, laughing, and talking. Eventually, we have to stop because our growling stomachs were beginning to distract us. Marco take me to this cool little BBQ spot and after we order, we take our seats. While waiting for our food, Marco sits across from me, looking at me. These past few days I tend to catch him just staring at me in a way that I can’t figure out. Sometimes it looks like he wants to kiss me and other times it just looks like he’s trying to read my mind. Whichever look it is, I tend to get goosebumps from it. It’s hard to stay composed why being stared down by someone as handsome as Marco.
“Can I ask you something?” He asks as I sip my drink, stomach growling for the sweet and savory sauce to hit my tongue.
“How do you feel about me?”
“What do you mean? Like emotionally or just characteristically?
“Well, I don’t think it’s a secret that I do have feelings for you. You’ve been nothing but kind to me with everything going on and I do have great chemistry with you. I enjoy having you around.” I smile softly.
“I feel the same way. It’s hard for me not to want to be your sugar daddy because I see a ton of potential in you. I don’t want you to think that the job offer from this morning is just some way to trap into being my sugar baby. I genuinely would like for you to have a career. Every smart woman deserves to have a career.”
“I agree and I never thought that you’d try to trap me. You’ve been nothing but honest about everything. I trust you, but I don’t really trust myself with trusting you. I trusted Ronan and look what happened. I’m just having a tough time trying to follow my gut when it led me down the wrong path the first time.”
“I understand, but that wrong path led you to me. I can’t be mad at that.”
Damn, he had a point.
“You are correct.” I smirk. “I guess there is a silver lining.”
“Indeed. I have a question for you.” I raise an eyebrow as Marco looks at me.
“Go ahead.” I say as he smiles and leans back in his chair, crossing his fingers together on the table.
“If I were to ask you to be my sugar baby right now, what would you say knowing what you know about me?”
For some reason, I become nervous by the questions. Knowing what he knows, he should assume that I would say no, but knowing what I know, would I even decline? I made up my mind after Ronan that that lifestyle just wasn’t for me. I can’t be what a sugar daddy wants me to be, but Marco is different. He doesn’t demand my time, he earns it. He respects my choice to work and is even trying to help me get a career. Not once has he asked me about quitting my job or going away for the weekend. He’s basically the opposite of what Ronan and many other sugar daddies are. So knowing all of that...I just don’t know what my answer would be.
Tongue tied and nervous, I just stare across the table at Marco. He knows his question has completely taken me off guard and I’m sure he’s waiting for me to start running for the hills, but I know a part of him is wishing I’d say yes. I mean, he is a sugar daddy and can’t resist the urge to be one. No matter how human he is, he craves that dominance. The only difference is, it benefits both parties and not just him.
Sighing hard, I part my lips to speak when suddenly a rack of ribs appear in front of me and my mind goes completely blank with hunger. When I glance up at Marco, his eyes say that this conversation can wait.