Love Stripped

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Chapter 18

“WHAT?” It had been Kimberly, instead of Jake, having that reaction. Jake looked at her. She then, excused herself, “I ah… I mean, your mom is here, with him and I… I’m like this… your brother is with a hangover, Aiden is like walking through the house half dressed and you look like shit, and the house is a mess.” Kimberly said quickly, in just one breath.

“You didn’t know she was coming? I thought we were going to her house!” Jake said, “What the fuck is wrong with that woman? Let me pass, Eric. Let me resolve this for once and for all, right now.”

“WAIT!” Kimberly yelled out of the blue. That caused Jake and Eric to look at her again, “Let me just change my clothes.”

“Ok, so we leave and you change!”

“NO! WAIT!”

“Fuck, Kim, you know I was fucking waiting for this!”

“She knows?” Eric asked suddenly.

“She knows what?” Jake interrupted.

While the two brothers looked with hate at each other, Kimberly started to put clothes over her. Jeans, a long sleeved shirt and no neckline, she made her hair in a ponytail, grabbed a hat, and put on some glasses.

“She knows what you don’t know. Kimberly knows what you fucking don’t know! She knows what mom told me that day, before I leave the house, you…” Jake’s voice disappeared as he stared at Kimberly, “Where are you going like that? It doesn’t even look like it’s you.”

That was what Kimberly wanted. “Well, I ah… I have to go and pick up Sidney and… hum… I’m cold-”

“Jake? Eric?” A woman asked from outside Kimberly’s room.

“Open the door, Eric. Open the fucking door now!” Kimberly watched the anger growing in Jake’s dark green eyes. This was the moment he was waiting for. Eric looked at Kimberly like if he was asking if she was ready. Kimberly waved slightly with her head. And slowly… Eric opened the door.

Oh, Kimberly saw right away, the portrait of Jake in a feminine form. The older lady walked in the room, and she was only looking at Jake. The same green eyes, the same hair color, the same skin color, the same cockiness, arrogance stamped on her face. But when she spoke, it showed no arrogance. “Hello, Jake.”

And right after, Kimberly’s worst fear came in her own bedroom where she slept. He was equal. Peterson looked like a dog behind his lady. “Eric, Jake.” He said, with his head lowered.

Suddenly, Jake walked with fury settled in his eyes, as he raised his fist and punched Peterson right across the face, making him fall on the floor. “JAKE!” Eric’s mom yelled as she bent down, to check on her husband. “Are you mad?”

“I’M MAD? I’M MAD? HE HASN’T TOLD YOU, HAS HE? HE FUCKING CHEATED ON YOU, MOM! HE WAS GOING TO STRIP CLUBS WHILE YOU WERE IN PARIS! HE HAS BEEN SPENDING YOUR OWN MONEY! I FUCKING WARN YOU ABOUT HIM!” Jake yelled out, completely out of control. Eric walked towards his brother.

“Jake, calm down, you don’t need to-”

“Don’t fucking say what I need to do. That bastard deserved that!” He pointed at Peterson, who was bleeding from his lip and said, “Admit it, you son of a bitch! Admit what you did to my mom! Or I fucking swear I’ll go get myself the stripper you harassed, you fucking pervert!” Eric might not understand the anger that Jake was showing, but Kimberly understood. It had been because of that man that Jake had left his house.

“JAKE!” His mother yelled, “I will not tolerate this type of language!”

“Really? I’m trying to show what he did to you and you yell at me? I fucking warn you, mom, but you didn’t listen to me, you-”

Kimberly stepped towards Jake and whispered swiftly in his ear. “Jake, maybe you’re overreacting. You’re not going to get anything, if you keep talking like that to your mother.” That made him shut up for a minute.

After Jake’s mother helped Peterson getting up, she asked, “Who are you?”

Jake burned his mother and started saying, “She’s my… She’s Ki-”

“I’m a friend. I live here.” It came out as a whisper.

His mother didn’t introduced herself, “Eric would you mind of helping Peterson?”

Eric stepped back. “He beat me, mom.” Although Eric had almost the same fury than Jake, he talked in a more calm way, “He beat me, when I confronted him with the strip club thing, mom. I had to come to Jake’s house; otherwise, god knows what he would have done to me.”

Their mother turned to Peterson and asked, “You beat on Eric?”

“He deserved it!” Peterson cried out, “He wanted to tell…” When he started saying that, he shut up. “He-”

“Is this true? What… they are saying?”

“No! I-”

“DON’T YOU DARE SAYING IT’S NOT TRUE, YOU FUCKING PERVERT!” Jake gave two steps towards him.

Kimberly stopped him from walking more, but that didn’t stop him from yelling, “IF YOU FUCKING DENY IT, I’LL SEND ERIC TO PICK UP THE HOOKER, SLUT, STRIPPER, WHATEVER THE FUCK SHE WAS, AND SHE WILL ADMIT WHAT YOU DID TO HER!” His words hurt Kimberly. Even if Jake didn’t know he was talking about her, it hurt her. She wanted to slap him and tell him that she was no hooker, no slut, and that Peterson had harassed her, ending up that fight, but that would ruin what she had been trying to hide since the very beginning.

For a while, Peterson didn’t say anything. “Say it,” Eric said, “Say you’re being sued by the strip club, because you harassed the stripper and told lies to the police about the strip club. Tell mom you called them, saying you would catch the stripper and hurt her, tell her.”

He didn’t say it.

“JUST FUCKING SAY IT!” Jake grabbed Kimberly’s hand. Her will was to let him go, because of the things he said, but something inside her, tell her to not let him go, to keep holding his hand. He needed her support right now. “I SWEAR TO GOD, I’LL FUCKING SMACK YOU AGAIN IF YOU DON’T-”

“Yes!”

Silence.

Jake’s mother looked at him. “You… you admit it? You went to strip clubs while I was out? You’re being sued? You harassed a stripper?”

“YES!”

“But… but why?” Her green eyes were cutting him. “I gave you everything.” The same anger Jake was showing, Kimberly already could see it on his mother’s eyes too. And although she was furious, her voice remained calm.

“No, you didn’t!” Peterson said, as he started laughing, “You didn’t give me the sex I wanted! God, you don’t even have a body! I wanted you for your…” Kimberly didn’t hear his words; she focused on Jake. Was Peterson looking for a death sentence or what?

For the second time, Jake ran towards him, yelled, “DON’T YOU DARE TALKING TO MY MOTHER LIKE THAT!” He raised his fist for the second time, and Peterson got a broken nose.

“Jake, that’s enough.” Kimberly spoke out loud, and her voice caught Peterson’s attention.

“He deserves so much more, Kimmy.”

“Jake, stop.”

“You…” Peterson said, “It can’t be…” Kimberly gazed at Peterson, who had his eyes running through her body. Before she could say or think anything else, Jake yelled first.

“What the fuck are you trying to say, you sick retarded?”

Whatever was going on in Peterson’s mind, Kimberly knew he knew. But it would be so much better for him if he didn’t say a word, and he knew that. “Fuck you!” He yelled suddenly.

“Oh you sick fuck…” Jake whispered. He didn’t even bother to hit him; he just dragged him along Kimberly’s room, the hall and threw him out of his own house. “If I ever see you again, near my mom, or my house, you will wish you have never met my mother.” He closed the door and headed back for Kimberly’s room.

Now, Kimberly could finally breathe and take off that hat and the sunglasses. She finally looked into his mother and said, “I… I’m Kimberly Roberts.” She felt her hands shaking, her voice nervous. God, Peterson had been there!

She looked at Kimberly and said, “I am… Angeline Dekker.” She turned at Eric and said, “Could you… give me a glass of fresh water? Because, I surely need to refresh this mind.”

“Sure, mom.” Eric grabbed her arm and led her out of Kimberly’s room, but not before he sent her a smile. When he closed the door leaving Jake and Kimberly alone, again, Jake looked at Kimberly.

“I’m sorry you had to assist this.”

“It’s ok. Now I know what it’s like to really piss you off.”

“I would never hurt you, like I hurt him.”

Kimberly tried to smile and sat down, “I know.”

“She didn’t even thank me. Great mom I have. She’s in my house and she didn’t even ask me to give her the glass of water. She totally despises me.” Jake sat down next to Kimberly, “I so fucking hate this. She didn’t apologize for what she said to me…”

“Give her time, Jake. She’s shocked.” Just like Kimberly was with Peterson. Now, he knew where she lived. But at least, she lived with Jake. And despite all the shit she knew about him, she still, felt secure in his arms. Maybe Peterson would think that she was Jake’s girlfriend… the way he had grabbed her… maybe even his mother had thought that.

“Yeah, right…” He lay down, and touched her arm, making her look at him, “You know… I think I need to forget this problem… Would you-”

“Oh, fuck you, Jake.” Kimberly laughed bitterly. “We’re not going to have sex anymore, so get used to the idea.” She lay down beside him. “Your eyes are so like your mother’s eyes. They are completely equal.”

“My dad used to say the same thing. And then he would add that my eyes scared him a lot. He was so afraid of my mother.” Jake laughed, “I mean, he respected her, you know? He would do whatever she wanted. If he didn’t do what she wanted, it was enough for her to look at him and he would just lower his head and do whatever the hell she wanted.”

“I love your eyes, they-” Kimberly started, only to be cut off by Jake.

“Do you love me?”

“…are like, they kind of like show your mood.” Kimberly said ignoring Jake’s question. She knew he was playing with her, “Its like when they seem to be lighter, you’re like ok. But when they are this dark green… I can already see you’re not ok, or we’re gonna have a fight.” She reminded the fight after they had sex the last time, “When you discovered I was like… using you… remember?”

“Yea, I remember.”

“Your eyes… they were this dark green…”

“Eyes don’t change color, Kimmy.”

“By the way…” Kimberly looked at Jake, “You called me Kimmy in front of everybody.”

“So? Can’t I-”

“Jake?” It was his mother again, outside the room. “Can I come in?”

He looked at Kimberly but it was she who spoke, “She’s going to apologize now, Jake. Don’t ruin everything.” They both got up, “Come in.”

Angeline walked in Kimberly’s room and finally looked around her. Then, she put her eyes on Jake, “Can I speak with you?” At her side was Eric. “Alone?” Her eyes were on Kimberly now, waiting for her to get out of her own room.

“OH, I ah… I’ll go get Sid now-”

“No. I want her to stay.”

That earned him a questioning look from all three. “May I know why? She’s not family.”

“Well, Eric is family, and he doesn’t know what we talked. Kimberly knows what you said to me. She knows what you didn’t bother to tell Eric. My own brother,” He pointed at Eric, who was watching him carefully, “He thinks I just decided to get out of the house, because I just couldn’t stand Peterson. But, we know that isn’t entirely true, is it mom?”

“What is he saying?” Eric looked at his mother, “What did you hide from me?” He walked frontwards, so he could then look at his mother. She didn’t answer; she just glared at Jake, “Whatever you said to him, I have the right to know.”

“You’re too embarrassed to admit what you said mom?”

“Jake, I’m sorry.” She finally said. Kimberly didn’t know what the hell she was doing there. She wasn’t even family, didn’t dated one of the brothers nor knew their mother. But now that Angeline had finally said she was sorry, Kimberly decided Jake didn’t need her support anymore.

“Well, I should seriously go get-”

“I want you here with me.” What the hell was going on with him? It’s not like Jake needed her for something.

“Jake, I need to-”

“Sid can wait.” He was gazing at his mother, “I want you to admit what you told me, mom. Because it fucking hurt me! And I want Eric to hear the real reason that made me get out of the house, because I would have stayed there, supporting you, if you hadn’t told me that.”

“Mom. I want to know.” Eric was serious.

“Is she your girlfriend?” Their mother asked, ignoring her younger son’s words.

“No.” Kimberly said right away.

“She’s my… ah…”

“Friend.” Kimberly completed Jake’s sentence.

“Don’t change the subject, mom. Who she is doesn’t matter right now.” Jake declared, “Does it matter if I say I went to bed with her or something? Does it matter if I say she’s got me? Does it matter if I say she can be really annoying sometimes?” That caused her to smile, although Jake shouldn’t have said that. But Jake had said she had gotten him, but right now that didn’t matter.

“Mom, just say it. Or I’ll find out myself.”

“Fine.” She walked towards Kimberly’s desk and sat down in her chair, “When your brother confronted me about Peterson-”

“I told you I had confronted her, you moron.” Jake said, with no smile at all.

“Then why did you leave the house?” He asked, but Jake only pointed at his mother.

“We had a fight…”

“Yes…”

“And in that fight…” She took a really deep breath, “I told your brother that he was no longer my son, that he would get out of the house and I would never want to see him again. You’re happy?”

Eric was surprised. He had no idea his mother had said that to his own brother. He looked at Jake and said, “I’m sorry. For all the fights we had on the phone and face to face, I’m sorry. I didn’t know. You know that if I knew, I-”

“It’s ok, Eric.” He looked again at his mother. “You don’t know how that hurt me so much, mom.” His green eyes glared. “I fucking warned you and you said that, I-” He couldn’t help but to stop. Emotions were getting on his way.

“Jake-” His mother was going to hug him, but he put a hand in front of her and said, “No, don’t touch me. I don’t want your touch.”

“But, I’m sorry! I know I shouldn’t have said that Jake! You’re my son! Do you think I don’t regret what I said afterwards? Do you think a mother likes to see her son getting out of the house because she said so? I’m sorry, Jake!”

Jake turned around to hide his face from his mother and faced Kimberly. He wasn’t crying… but his eyes were glaring. Kimberly just felt gravity pulling her into his arms. And then felt Eric’s hurt look and Jake’s mother’s eyes on hers. Inside him, Jake was a baby. He appeared to be strong, cocky and arrogant, but when confronted with his own emotions…

“I’m sorry, Jake. I’m really regretted about what I said. I’m willing to forget all of that, give whatever you want, for you to forgive me and get back to the house.”

He turned around right away, “I don’t want to come back to the house. I wanna stay here.”

“Why? This is nothing compared to your house, why don’t you-”

“I don’t want to, mom.”

“Ok, ok… But… please forgive me, Jake.” Kimberly looked at Jake’s mother. She really wanted him to forgive her. Her eyes, her expression, she was begging. “I don’t want to lose you again, I miss you so much.”

For a while nobody said anything, waiting for Jake’s reaction. But finally, he walked towards his mother and hugged her, whispering, “I missed you too, mom.” Jake was way too taller. His mother was really short, so she had her head way bellow his neck. Kimberly saw her smiling.

“Great!” Kimberly said suddenly, “Now that mother and son are ok again, I’m no longer needed here! I’m going to get my sister! I’ll see you in a bit…” She touched Jake’s arm and smiled. She walked out of her room and went to pick up her sister.

Five minutes later, she had parked her car in front of Mary’s house and then she saw her sister, getting out of her friend’s house. Kimberly waved at Mary and then saw Sidney getting in the car. “Hello, sunshine.”

“Hi, Kim.”

“When we get home, you’re going to met Jake’s mother. She’s there.” Kimberly said as she started to get back home.

“Really? How is she?”

“Like Jake.” She paused for a while, “The same arrogance and cockiness on her voice, the same arrogant look. It’s not that I don’t like her, but I just hope I won’t have to look at two pairs of eyes that completely cut me.”

“What the hell are you saying?”

“Forget it Sid.” Kimberly took a deep breath, wondering of how the rest of her weekend was going to turn out. A few minutes later, Kimberly and Sidney were already walking inside the house. While Sidney had gone to the kitchen, Kimberly walked in the living room only to find Eric packing his things again. “You’re leaving?”

“Yes.” Eric didn’t look into her eyes.

“Oh…” They stayed quiet, as Eric put his clothes in a suitcase. “Eric…” Kimberly touched his arm and made him look at her. They were alone. “I don’t want you to leave just like this.”

“Did you manage to get him?”

“Yes.” She couldn’t help but to smile.

“Great. Maybe it will earn him a lesson and he’ll stop acting like a boy of eighteen years old.” No more words.

Kimberly stayed by his side, till he was done with the packing thing. For a while they stayed there looking at each other. “Kim…”

“Don’t say anything, Eric.” Suddenly, Aiden’s words crossed her thoughts. Eric was in love with her. She couldn’t help but to hug him. Oh, if Eric had been the one in Jake’s place right on the first on that house, would everything turn out differently? Would she fall for him? Or would she feel attacked for Jake when he appeared in her life? “I hoped things had turned out differently between us… If I had met you first-”

“Don’t say it, Kim. You’ll just end up making me suffer even more.”

“I’m sorry for everything. I didn’t intend to make you fall for me and I surely didn’t intend to have sex with your brother nor…”

“… Nor like him.” Eric said. Since Kimberly didn’t dare to look at him, so he tried a different approach, “I see Aiden as told you what happened with me last night. Kim, I’m sorry, you know you can trust Aiden, he won’t tell anyone. Besides, Aiden can help you in my place if you need.” Kimberly and Eric both knew he was talking about Peterson, “I’m sure he won’t do anything. Jake has already beaten him and the police know about him because of the treats he made to the strip club, so, I think you don’t need to worry.

“I sure hope so.”

“And I don’t hate my brother…” Eric said right away, drastically changing the theme of their conversation, “I just… I just envy him for having the only girl I really like.”

“He doesn’t have me, Eric.”

“Yes, he does, Kimberly.” The way he had pronounced her name reminded her of Jake. The times he had called her Kimberly with arrogance or with anger. “You just didn’t get it, yet. I can notice the difference in him since you came into his life. Damn, I knew right away there was something between you two. During the whole time I was here, not once he brought a girl to the house, expect for Joanne and you know he brought her just to make you jealous.”

“But everything would be so much easier if he could be like you…”

“You know that’s not true.” Eric caressed her cheeks with his fingers, “If you like him, you know that’s not true, because if you do like him, it’s because of his way of be, not because he can be like me.” Eric was right, and Kimberly knew she couldn’t deny it. It was just hard; she didn’t want Eric to go. Eric supported her when she needed; he didn’t give her sex like Jake, he gave her real support. “Kim.”

She had the courage to look into his eyes, “What?”

“Don’t lie to me now.”

“What-”

“Do you like him?”

Did she like him? She didn’t need to think. She didn’t need to count the times she had said to herself that she didn’t like him. She hated him for that; she hated Jake for making her like him. In his way, he had made her fall for him. She tried hard to not ran into him and give him what he wanted. Kimberly didn’t want to date him, because as Eric had said, she would end up getting hurt. But she had to give Eric the truth now. She didn’t want to lie to him, but she didn’t want to admit what she felt. She let out a really long breath and finally revealed, “Yes. He’s not indifferent to me. I can’t stop the way I feel when he touches me, when he kisses me, when he caresses me… when we have… when… I… I just wish he wasn’t such a jerk sometimes, you know? If he wasn’t like that-”

“If he weren’t like that you wouldn’t like him.” Eric tried to smile, “Because you know you love the way he makes things hard for you. You like to fight for his attention, you like to call his attention, you like to seduce him and make him want you. Just like I’m sure he feels the same way.”

“You think he likes me?” Did she have a hint of hope in her voice?

“I don’t know. I’m his brother, but he makes things hard for me and everyone around him. I can’t read his thoughts, Kim. But, I’m sure that at least he feels something for you.”

"At least.” Kimberly repeated. “I don’t what an at least, Eric. I wanted to make sure he liked me. Maybe if liked me, we… No.” Reality came to her mind. Jake was like the perverts of her strip club, wasn’t it? “We’re different. He’s everything that I don’t want in a man.” She suddenly felt tired and stupid. Just yesterday she had said she didn’t want anything with him, that she hated him, and now she was thinking on what could happen if he could be different?

“I don’t think so, Kim.”

“You don’t think what, little brother?” Jake was leaned on the doorframe, watching them close. “You can keep going. Or am I interrupting something?”

“No, you’re not.” Kimberly said in a tired voice.

“You’ve been talking with mom?”

“Yeah.”

“About what?”

“About the house. She asked me again if I wanted to come back.” Jake replied.

“And? You want?” It was Kimberly who was asking that.

“No.” Jake finally walked in the living room, stopping behind Kimberly, “But I promised her I would pass some days there once in a while. In fact,” Kimberly saw his bright smile, “I think I’m going there the next weekend. You can come if you want, Kimmy.” Jake said, and he noticed the looks that both Eric and Kimberly gave him. He had called her Kimmy just like that. Maybe that meant something. He had called her that when he was fighting with Peterson and his mother, but not in a quiet atmosphere like that. “What?”

“Nothing.” Eric answered, putting his eyes on Kimberly, “I would love if you went there with Jake. We could see each other.”

“Yes, but-”

“Don’t say you can’t, Kimmy.” Jake said, “Sidney can go, too! My mother doesn’t care! Besides, she says she wants to get to know you. She thinks we’re a couple.”

She smiled to that, “Yeah, but I can’t… because of my work…”

It was Jake who spoke first, “Don’t you have two nights off every week? You could like ask your boss or something. He could give you the weekend off.”

The weekend was when she earned real money. Was when the perverts came all to her, “I can’t, really.”

“Come on, Kim. Please.” Eric begged, “I don’t know when I can see you again… Please... Just for me.” The tone Eric was using, melted her heart, He could be so sweet… Maybe, she would do that for him. Besides, a weekend out of that house… The problem was that she had to face Jake every single hour.

“I’ll try. It’s not like I can decide for my boss…” She smiled and Eric hugged her. Suddenly the doorbell rang. “Who can it be?” They didn’t see who opened the door, but they knew who was coming, when that person stepped in the living room.

“You!” Joanne yelled. She looked like a mess. Her eyes were puffy and red from crying, her clothes weren’t her best and her hair was in a mess. She still had some make up from the night before. “You broke up with me on the phone? You were kidding, right?” She had yelled.

The all were speechless, looking at Joanne in her worse. Kimberly knew that Eric knew why Joanne was acting like this. Kimberly had gotten him and she wouldn’t let him still have her. “It was because of her wasn’t it?” She pointed at Kimberly.

“Why don’t you calm down?” Jake said with a very calm voice, although he was not enjoying the fact that a girl had just walked in his house just like that, with a loud tone of voice. Jake reached for her to make her sat down, but she stepped back.

“It was because of her, wasn’t it?”

“Yes.” Jake didn’t even bother to deny it. Kimberly was enjoying herself. Now, Joanne was going to have to deal with the truth. Kimberly had to handle with her presence because of Jake, but now, Joanne was going to have to handle with the fact that Jake was over with her because of Kimberly.

“She doesn’t give a shit about you!” Joanne cried out loud and that made Mrs. Dekker, Aiden, Sidney and Tom (with a clearly hangover) walk in the living room, curious to know the source of those screams.

“What’s going on?” Ms. Dekker asked quietly, but Joanne didn’t bother to turn around and answer.

“Tell me why!”

“You want to know why?” Jake asked with no smile for her now. His eyes had this dark green and they were gazing at Joanne. If Kimberly were in her place, she would have shut up right now and spare herself from the impact of Jake’s crushing words.

“Yes! I want! I want to know why the fuck you want her!”

“Young lady!” Ms. Dekker said behind Joanne, “Behave yourself!”

Joanne turned around coldly and yelled, “You! Shut up!”

“Don’t talk to my mother like that.” Both Eric and Jake said in a very serious tone of voice.

“Joanne, I just don’t like you.” Wow, Kimberly was amazed, he was being nice. If Joanne were Kimberly, Jake would just start spilling out harsh words to put her down. When they both fight, it was almost always like that.

If you didn’t like me, then why did you f-”

“You should have been quiet by now. Now, you’ll have to handle the truth.” It had been Aiden to speak. Since he was Jake’s best friend, maybe he knew what was coming next. Kimberly was sure that Aiden had seen a lot of girls making the same old questions to Jake.

“Joanne, I just didn’t like you. I just screw you because I wanted her. Because I needed to let go off my fury in somebody, you were willing to do it.” He gave her his usual amused smile. “I just put up with you because of Kimberly.”

Kimberly noticed his mother putting the same green eyes over her.

“I knew it.”

“Because I wanted to provoke her, because of something that is none of your business.”

“You like her, I know you do. I should have seen it.” Her eyes held tears now. “I loved you!”

Wow. Just wow. She loved him? Wow.

“Come on. I don’t even like you; I don’t even care about you, so cut the crap. Why don’t you do all of us a favor and leave me alone for the rest of your life?” He pointed the way out of the living room.

“You better do what he says.” Tom said, his hands holding his head. “I’m sick of hearing you right now.”

“But-”

“Seriously Joanne, you should go.” Aiden warned her.

Kimberly felt sorry for Joanne right now. It’s like; everybody was treating her so bad… It wasn’t even her fault, it was Jake’s. This was one of the reasons why Kimberly would never date Jake. He just treated girls like a dog when he didn’t want them no more. Kimberly needed to do something.

“Guys that’s enough. I think Jo-”

“Cut the fucking act with me, bitch.” Joanne said in a nervous tone. “You pretend you’re a saint, but you’re like hell. You just burn people when you don’t want them. I don’t know what the hell he sees in you but-”

“He must see something really good, since he just broke up with you yesterday because of me.” Kimberly didn’t intend to make things harder for Joanne, but the bitch was really a bitch. She was like, trying to help her, but still, Joanne was acting like a stupid child.

“Shut up.”

“It’s the truth.” Jake said. “I just wanted you because I couldn’t have her.” Kimberly tried to avoid everybody’s eyes, looking at her in that precise moment. It was uncomfortable.

“I don’t know what girls see in you… I don’t know what I saw in you.”

Jake laughed bitterly, “That’s an easy one. Money, good-looks and sex, babe.”

His mother chocked.

“You’re the worse guy I’ve ever met.” Funny, Kimberly was sure that she had said something to him like that.

“Great, now would you please leave my house?”

“Gladly.” Joanne stood before their eyes. She looked to one person before she left the house forever, thankfully. She put her eyes on Kimberly and said, “I just hope you have the greatest sex ever with him.”

Everybody’s jaw dropped.

“What-”

“So that next you’ll want more and he won’t give you.” A dramatic pause, “Just because he wants some other girl because he’s tired of you.” With that said, Joanne left the house, leaving Kimberly thinking about her words.

She hadn’t noticed that everyone was talking about what had just happened, when she heard him whisper in her ear, “Don’t worry about that she said. You don’t even want me.” She turned around only to find Jake’s clear green eyes staring at her. “I’m glad I’m done with her. I was so getting sick of that bitch.”

He was so fucking cold with the girls he didn’t want. Kimberly despised him for that in that moment. She gave him one look and left the living room, to lock herself on her own bedroom.

Why?

Not even she knew. Or maybe she knew.

Maybe she wanted to plant this seed in her head, saying that she didn’t like Jake, that if she liked him, he would hurt her and she would end up being another Joanne, another heartbroken Joanne that had been crushed by Jake’s cold and few words. And it had been because of her. Who knows if some other girl wouldn’t do that to Kimberly if she actually ended up being hurt by Jake?

Kimberly didn’t notice the time passing. It was almost 5PM when someone started calling from outside. “Kim! It’s Eric… Come on…” She didn’t answer. “I’m going home now. I want to say goodbye to you.” That made her get up slowly and unlock her door.

Yes, she had done that in case someone, for example Jake, tried to break her silence and thoughts. She sighted Eric looking at her when she opened the door.

“So…” She let him in the room. “It’s now.” Kimberly suddenly hugged him and tried hard not to cry. She didn’t want Eric to leave. Eric was the one person that knew everything about her, that had helped her with her problems that had deciphered her feelings that knew exactly what she was thinking. She didn’t want him to leave her. “I don’t want you to go. You’re the one who supports me when I need. You’re not just some guy.”

“Look at me, Kim.” She didn’t move. “Look at me.” Eric lifted her head smoothly. “You mean all of that to me, too. I don’t want to leave you too. Hell I like you, but I can’t have you, and that’s even harder for me than it is for you. Why? Because I know my brother can have you, but I can’t.”

“He will never have me, Eric. I don’t want him to talk to me just like he talked to Joanne.”

“He would never talk to you like that.” Eric smirked, “He just couldn’t. You wanna know why? Because you burned him with your eyes, because you make him shut up when you want, because you proved that he can’t defend himself from you. He knows he’s vulnerable to you.”

“I wish that was true.”

“I really need to go, Kim. I can’t keep talking to you. I would love to, but I can’t.” Kimberly turned her eyes away from his. But he pushed her face again, making her look at him. “You’re breathtaking, Kim, you’re way too fine for him, you have to be treated like one of a kind, don’t let him think that you’re just a dime for him. I can’t take seeing you with him, the way you guys look at each other,” He hugged her, squeezed her against his body and Kimberly heard him speaking what he really felt, “It’s just not fair and it’s tearing me apart. That is also why I want to leave. You deserve so much more, Kim… You’re a masterpiece, I just hope he can appreciate your beauty, beautiful not just for show, but to take care and love… I wish I were him. I wish I could touch you all the times like he did.”

They didn’t break apart until someone called their attention minutes later. They slowly let go of each other and looked at Jake watching them. “I didn’t know you liked my brother so much.”

“Yeah, well, he isn’t a bastard and a jerk like you.”

“Wow, why are talking to me like that?”

“Because I can’t stand jerks.” She put her stormy gray eyes over Eric and said, “I ah… I’ll let you two say goodbye to each other.” She tried not to look at his green eyes piercing her body when she got out of her won room.

She ran into Ms. Dekker in the hall. Great, just great. She had run away from his green eyes to find other ones even worse. Ms. Dekker stayed there looking at Kimberly, like if she was trying to read her, “So, Jake has already told you that you’re invited to go to my house next weekend?”

“Yes, Ms. Dekker.”

“And you’re going?”

“I don’t know.”

“Well, you have to know.” Although her eyes were hard, her voice was ok and her light smile made contrast with her hard and sharp look, “I hope you go. I would love to meet you. I would love to see what made Jake stand up for you.”

“He-”

“I never saw my son standing up for anyone, unless for his family.” Ms. Dekker said nicely, although her green eyes seemed to watch every move she made, “You must have given him some headaches.”

“What do you mean?”

“You must have taught him how to behave. I mean, you two are a couple, right?”

“Oh no, ma’am.” Kimberly revealed. She tried to smile but it simply didn’t come out, “I would prefer dating Eric than Jake.”

“I understand. Eric is nicer than Jake, steadier than Jake, right?”

“No, it’s not what you think.”

“Then what?”

“I’m ready.” Kimberly suddenly heard behind her. Eric was there with Jake standing at his side. Jake clearly was the better good-looking, but… seeing Eric… comparing Eric to Jake… Jake was nothing. But something had changed in Jake’s green eyes.

“Well, then, let’s go.” Ms. Dekker said, stretching her arms towards her younger son. “We have a lot to talk in our way back.” Eric walked to his mother, and his brother also accompanied them to the door.

Kimberly saw them hugging each other.

“Well, I’ll be expecting you this weekend, Jake.”

“Sure, mom.” Jake smiled and hugged her. He turned at Eric. “I’ll see you next weekend, Eric.”

Eric had no smile when he hugged his brother. When they broke apart, before Eric leave the house, Kimberly heard him saying to Jake, “Don’t forget what I told you.”

“I won’t.”

Eric gave Kimberly one last smile and then, he walked out of the house, leaving her alone with Jake in the hall… and in the house till god knows when. She didn’t bother to say something; she just walked by him and went to the kitchen. Although it was early, she wanted to be busy with something. The problem was that Jake followed her into the kitchen. He just stayed there staring at her, until Aiden came into the kitchen.

“Great show with Joanne.”

“It’s the same every time.” If that was the way he wanted to prove her he could be different, he was wrong. That meant he always does that when he breaks up with girls? Fucking jerk. He would never have her.

“I know, but this time you did it because of her.” She felt Aiden pointing at her.

“Sometimes I can be good.”

“You just did it because you felt good?”

“Yes. I can be nice when I want.” Kimberly saw Jake walking to the door, “You know what? I need to get some fucking fresh air. I fucking hate the smell of bitches.” He turned around, and Kimberly heard him opening the door and walking away.

“What the fuck was that?” Aiden asked.

“I don’t wanna know.”

“Why? Because he could be talking about you?”

Kimberly turned around and yelled, “Listen Aiden, I’m tired of everything, so why don’t you do me a favor and get the hell out of here? I’m sick of having people around me today. I’m sick of every fucking bastard in this world! They are all a bunch of fucking jerks that don’t deserve any fucking thing!”

Aiden didn’t move. “Something happened between you and Jake?”

“No!” Kimberly answered aggressively, “Nothing happened! It’s just that I can’t fucking handle him or stand him!” Kimberly let go of the tomato she had on her hand and also got out of the kitchen. But instead of getting out of the house, she just went to her room.

It hadn’t even passed an hour and Kimberly already missed Eric. If Eric was there, she knew he would talk to her, listen to her, even if he would just say something that she didn’t want to hear. And why the fuck had Jake meant with that thing? What the fuck was wrong with him? She hadn’t done anything to him today, had she?

She was sure Jake wasn’t mad about her because of yesterday, because today he was ok with her, so why the sudden change?

Thank god she had work tonight. At least she didn’t have to face him tonight and she was hoping that Aiden would go away and that he would never step again in Kimberly’s strip club.

Kimberly stayed locked in her bedroom until she had to get out to go to work. She grabbed an apple before she left and headed off to work, noticing that Jake wasn’t home yet. She had noticed that Tom was alone in the living room and that Sidney was happily talking on the phone with her boyfriend. Kimberly missed those times where she didn’t have to do anything, except for studying to keep her parents happy. As for the rest… hell, it was great to go out at night and especially have a boyfriend to whom she could call at every hour of the day and night. And luckily for her, Aiden had also gone home too; Kimberly didn’t feel like face him, although she had to treat him good, since he knew her secret, because of Eric…

The night went fine. She wanted to talk with Sandy, but the girl wasn’t there since it was her night off. She also had talked plenty of times with Bob, but not once she had asked him to give her the free weekend. Right now, she didn’t want to spend a weekend in Jake’s territory. And about the girl that had done the lap dance to Jake… she had seen her a couple of times tonight, but she didn’t direct one word to her. Kimberly just gave her dirty looks. Flirt with a costumer… At least Jake hadn’t paid her the attention she wanted. Suck that, Sue. Since she had walked in and out of the strip club she saw no signs of Peterson, which she was grateful for. He had recognized her, but he had understood that it was better for him if he kept quiet. Kimberly seriously hoped that.

Besides, Bob had given her the Monday’s and Wednesday’s nights off, so she had nothing to worry the next day about Peterson, expect for Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and the weekend. Just great.

And if luck was on her side… Today had been the last day that she had seen Peterson.

Kimberly arrived at her house at the same time than her previous nights: 5AM. She did the same old routine… When she got out of the bathroom to go to bed, she bumped into Jake in the darkness of the hall and almost jumped two feet away. “Jesus, Jake! You scared me!”

He didn’t speak.

Kimberly walked in her bedroom and turn on the light. The guy was fucking scaring her. “Stop looking at me like that.”

No word.

“What the hell is wrong with you?”

Not even a breath.

“Do you need anything?” The way he was carefully watching her, made her nervous. It seemed that if he was getting ready for the right moment to harm her. What the fuck was wrong with him?

Jake followed her into her bedroom. “Do you already miss Eric?”

“What the hell are you saying? What’s wrong with you?”

“There’s nothing wrong with me.”

“Oh really? You look like a fucking serial killer.” Kimberly replied with no patient at all in her voice. She didn’t want to talk to Jake right now. Since he didn’t answer to her comment, she answered to his question, “Yes, I miss Eric.”

“You like him?”

“You know I don’t.”

“Do I?”

“You’re stupid if you don’t know that. In case you haven’t noticed it was with you that I went to bed three times, it was with you that I’ve slept with, it was with you that I spent the day at a hotel with-”

“Really?” A few more steps and his body touched hers; his dark and scary green eyes locked hers, and his fury and anger froze her, “Then why the fuck do you prefer Eric?”

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