Skin of the Night

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Chapter 32: Guilty As Charged

When I sauntered into the kitchen the next morning, I was grateful to see that Jason had cleaned everything up after himself last night. Furthermore, I was grateful to see that nobody had decided to crash here. I wasn’t in the frame of mind where I could tolerate facing anyone other than Jason. I was awfully embarrassed. Simply the thought of last night’s drama made me cringe. Wherever I had picked up such a jealous admirer was beyond me. It certainly hadn’t been my intention.

Unlike William Night, I didn’t have a jealous bone in my body. Therefore, I struggled to understand him. And I especially struggled because I was not his to be jealous over. His show last night had been outrageous. While he’d certainly been acting on liquid courage, I wouldn’t allow his intake to excuse his behaviour. I would have to confront him about it, and I dreaded doing it already.

I still hadn’t heard from Robby, but I hadn’t expected anything else. He would reach out to me when he was ready, and I would be patient. After last night, I was reluctant to do anything that might trigger his annoyance. Being a nuisance to him was out of the question.

For three solid years, we’d managed to avoid drama like this. Then came William Night, wreaking havoc all across our harmony. Part of me regretted defending him last night, but another didn’t. He was obviously infatuated with me, and I had been raised to respect people in vulnerable positions. Between Robby and William, the latter was easily more vulnerable whatever regarded me. Robby knew where he had me, which was exactly where he wanted. William didn’t. Therefore, I genuinely believed that Robby should have risen above it. But he’d been drunk as well. We’d all been drunk.

While fetching myself a bowl of cereal, I sighed to myself. A week ago, I hadn’t thought my clusterfuck of a situation could get any worse. Clearly, I’d been mistaken. William had sort of managed to remove one of the obstacles standing in his way, being Jason, and now he was trying to obliterate the next, being Robby.

Worst of all was the fact that I was starting to surrender to him. I was, because I knew that if I only gave him what he wanted, which was I, the people around me wouldn’t have to be dragged into our mess like they were now. Regardless, I was profoundly unimpressed by William’s management last night. He should have acted his age and confronted me about it one-to-one. Not thrown a grand performance in front of everybody present.

But I knew he had only done it because he’d wagered his chances were higher if he terminated those around me. I was his strongest opponent. Not them. One by one, he would eliminate them until only I was left standing. He was treating this like a work-related case of his. As the solicitor that he was, he was slowly but surely shredding my arguments apart.

‘I can’t be with you because of Jason.’ He’d already eliminated that argument.

‘I can’t be with you because you’re my boss.’ He’d already established that he didn’t care about that, and especially not when he were only going to be my chief for the span of three months.

‘I can’t be with you because I have Robby.’ That one was still underway, but thus far, it was weakening in its defence by the second.

Truly, I felt like I was being put to trial. And he drove a ferocious prosecution. If he eventually managed to shred my entire defence apart, he’d look to me and say something along the lines of ‘There’s nothing holding you back now. Accept that you’re guilty of wanting me.’

Guilty as charged.

Fuck.

“Morning,” Jason murmured when he sauntered out of his bedroom. Vigilant in his demeanour, he approached the kitchen where I stood leaning against the counter with my bowl of cereal between my hands.

“Morning,” I quietly replied and stared at the miniature whole-grain donuts that floated around the milk.

While he poured himself a glass of water, he shook his head to himself. “I’m seriously sorry about last night, Cara. I’ve no idea what got into him. I’ve never seen him like that. I barely recognised him. Had I expected him to behave that way, I would have refused to host poker night. He’s a bit obsessed with you, I think. And he was drunk.”

“No shit,” I muttered and glimpsed his figure from the corner of my eye.

“Either way, you’re going to have to make up your mind about him.”

“Jason,” I groaned. “What do you want me to do?”

“Honest opinion?”

I hesitated for a second. Did I want to hear his honest opinion? Could I handle it? “Yes?” I peeped.

“Let him take you out. Get to know him.”

I moaned and rolled my eyes at him, but my heart did contract for a split second. A date with William Night? Would I even survive that?

Jason turned toward me and shrugged his shoulders. “I actually think you might like him. You’re sort of similar in quite a lot of ways; only he’s a bigger dick than you are. But while he can be a bit of a dick, he generally isn’t. He’s got very firm principles laid out for himself. He’s just very assertive about reaching his goals. Always has been. And I’m sorry to say it, but right now, you’re his goal. To make matters worse, he knows you’re attracted to him. Because of that, he isn’t going to relent until you give in to him.”

I shoved another spoonful into my mouth. “Tell me about it. I’m starting to realise that I’m causing more damage by not being with him, which is completely unintuitive. You’d think dating my boss, and my flatmate’s brother, would be enough of a clusterfuck. But he makes that look like paradise compared to this mayhem.”

He sent me a wry smile. “I’m afraid that’s why he’s such a bloody talented solicitor, Cara. He can turn any situation around, and into his favour. It made growing up with him a living hell. Fortunately for me, my father sports the same mind, so he sees straight through it. Provided some justice for my less cunning personality.”

“He really is remarkably cunning,” I agreed with a nod of my head. “That’s a very good word to describe him by.”

“Yep.”

“It’s a gift,” I murmured. I had to give it to him; if I were to overlook all the ruckus he caused, he was one hell of a natural talent. Frankly, I was so impressed that I felt slightly intimidated. A relationship with William Night? I imagined myself feeling constantly walked over. And that wasn’t something that I wanted. But like Jason had said, perhaps he deserved a chance. It had reached the point where rejecting him was proving more bothersome than not doing it. And I already knew I wanted him. So what did I have to lose?

Perhaps my mind, I thought to myself. And my heart, I continued. I worried he’d thrust me into insanity with his overbearing character. But these were mere assumptions, and backed on very little evidence. And I usually wasn’t one to act on mere assumptions. I preferred to keep an open mind.

“If I do agree to go on a date with him, I need to tell Robby,” I eventually said and shoved another spoonful into my mouth.

“Do you reckon he’ll be angry?” he queried somewhat concerned.

I grimaced. “After last night? Yeah, maybe. If William hadn’t made such an arse out of himself, then perhaps not. But we’ll never know now. Truthfully, I reckon he’ll be more disappointed than anything else. And perhaps gutted, because I’m quite sure that if I start seeing your brother, he’ll have no patience for my polygamous tendencies, which means I’ll have to stop sleeping with Robby completely. Hopefully, William will at least allow me to keep him as my mate.”

He cocked his head from side to side. “That’s entirely up to you. Fundamentally, Will isn’t an insecure person. At all. If you reassure him well enough, it’s likely that he won’t have a problem with you and Robby being just mates. But I might be wrong. I mean, I’m seeing entirely new shades to him right now, and I think he is, too. You’re changing him. But I gather he’s only insecure now because you’re not actually his.”

“‘His’,” I quoted. “Sounds so... primitive.”

“You know what I mean.”

I sighed. “Yeah.” I dreaded Robby’s reaction to this, and honestly, I knew I’d be grieving when I lost him. We were so familiar with each other. While there wasn’t romantic love present between us, there was certainly a version of love. I might not have been attached to his cock, but I was attached to him as a person. And severing that tie wasn’t going to be comfortable. Furthermore, the idea of building something new, with somebody else, exhausted me. If at all, it would take years before Will and I reached the point where Robby and I were now.

But William made my blood tickle. He set my heart on fire and made me feel more alive than I ever had. He made me not only want him, but actually crave him.

“Cara, can you honestly say that you’re not even remotely infatuated with my brother?” Jason queried then, bringing me out of my thoughts. I stiffened and directed my eyes to him, slightly glaring.

“I hardly know him, Jason. And I know you tell him what I tell you, so my mouth will remained sealed from now on.”

He folded his arms and arched his left eyebrow. “Don’t be ridiculous, Cara. Do you remember how smitten you were when you came back from his after the first time you met? Because I do. And you were like a puppy on MDMA.”

My nostrils flared at his example. “Interesting simile.”

“Accurate, though.”

I sighed again. “I think I can grow infatuated with him, if I get to know him a little better. Right now, I reckon it’s all just lust. Silly chemicals.”

“Then what’s stopping you? Honestly?” He looked despaired.

I placed my bowl aside. “Nothing’s stopping me right now. What used to be stopping me is the fact that he’s my boss, your brother, and I already had Robby to take care of my libido. But the way things are now, I’d be better off just giving him a bloody chance.”

“Will you tell him tomorrow?” He looked so hopeful that I wanted to tear his shy smile off his face.

“I’ll tell him if he behaves.”

“May I warn him?”

“No!”

“Ugh,” he groaned and turned toward the cupboard.

“Don’t be an idiot, Jason. I’m doing this because I don’t want you to get involved anymore,” I reminded him annoyed.

“Right. Keep me posted, then.”

“Of course.”

“One more thing, and this is going to sound very wrong, but I’m just so curious.”

“What?”

“Is he truly that good in bed?” he asked a little intimidated. I burst out laughing. I hadn’t seen that one coming in a million years.

“Sibling rivalry, Jason?”

“I’m just a bit... impressed. And surprised. He’s always been very secretive, so I’ve never heard much about any women aside from you.”

“Well, it’s been two months since I last shagged him, but if he’s maintained his skills, then yes, he is outstanding.”

He nodded to himself. “Any tips?”

“Why don’t you ask him yourself?” I giggled and opened the dishwasher to stow my bowl away.

“You know, I think I might.”

“Do. Men like William should spread their knowledge. It’s not fair that such a shy amount of women get to experience sex like that. What I can tell you is this: the woman’s pleasure is his only focus. I’ve never met a man more attuned to the female body during sex in my life. Robby’s great, but William’s another level.”

“Hm,” he hummed to himself while I sauntered toward the living room to get settled on the sofa.

“I’m spending the day in today. I have a feeling I’ll require fully charged batteries to face tomorrow. Have you got any plans, or shall we find a TV show to binge-watch?”

“I’m in.”

“Can we still cuddle, or is that a-”

“Hey, I’ve agreed to share you with him. Not give you to him.”

I smiled charmed to myself.

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