Vanessa jumped forward, crashing into my body and I stumbled back. Instinctively, I wrapped my arms around her waist, tightening my grip while pulling her away from the mess on the ground. Her breathing quickened and she curled her fingers around the collar of my cut like it was a rope she could cling to.
“Fucking shit fuck!” Vanessa screamed again and looked at her feet. Unknowingly I did the same and whispered my own curses when blood dripped onto the hardwood floor. From where I stood, it looked bad.
“You need to sit down,” I said, swooping low to carry her in my arms. Shrieking, Vanessa’s arms flew around my neck and she pushed into me, her chest pressed against mine. I couldn’t ignore the way her body felt, how lush her curves were and the sweet scent of perfume that clung to her skin.
God, she smelled good.
“Don, put my down,” she demanded, her voice harsh and unwelcoming. Not that I was expecting anything different since we didn’t end of good terms. She left Miami before we could clear the air and now, it was stifling, stale with her anger polluting whatever oxygen we shared. Ignoring her, I found the nearest chair she could sit on.
“Is there anything you can use to clean up?” I asked, scanning the kitchen before meeting her sullen gaze. “Vanessa.”
She didn’t speak. Instead she pointed at something behind me and I followed the direction of her finger. Spinning around, I spotted one closed cupboard and charged towards it. I checked inside, seeing that there were a shit ton of clean towels and grabbed a handful.
“Prop up your leg,” I ordered when I reached her. Scowling, Vanessa followed my orders reluctantly. I took her ankle, pressing the sole of her foot against my jeans before sitting on a chair across from her.
We didn’t say anything. I didn’t look at her while tending to her wound. But her eyes were on me; I could tell. Her glare was as powerful as the Jamaican sun itself. If I were a coward, I’d probably burn, would’ve continued to avoid meeting her eyes. But I wasn’t. I knew what I was doing when I came to her place—when I took the role as her personal bodyguard. The guys knew she was mine. I claimed her even though she ran out of me after the first sign of trouble. Even after all that, I had to protect her. I wanted to. While trying going clean, the MC still had the Serpents to take care of. And because of that, other people were affected. Marcus was the first and he wouldn’t be the last.
I knew it.
“What are you doing here?” she asked, pulling my out of my thoughts and forcing me to meet her dark gaze.
I raised a brow. “Your auntie didn’t tell you?”
“She told that your club was being cautious. I didn’t think it’d require a face to face meeting,” she said and stopped. Her frown deepened. “You’ve got some nerve stepping into my home unwelcomed.”
“You left your door open. Your suitcase and groceries were outside. If it wasn’t me, it’d be some other fool tryna to rob you thinking they’ve got it easy.”
Once again, she fell silent and I knew I won this round. At least for now. I put pressure on the towel before pulling back to check the wound. It wasn’t too deep. Within a week, it’d heal on its own. The only problem she’d have is trying to walk right.
“You’ll be fine,” I said, tying the towel around her foot. “You won’t die.”
“Thank you so much for your input, doctor,” she said with a scoff. Vanessa shifted and her foot fell from my lap.
Her eyes were cast down. Not really down but at my… chest? I glanced down to see nothing on my chest but then remembered her bloodstain on my jeans. Smirking, I lifted my gaze. “For a second, I thought you were staring at my dick.”
She rolled her eyes. “Why would I be doing that?”
Tusking, I shook my head. “I think you know why.”
The corner of her lips tightened in anger and she looked away. She’s acting like nothing happened between us. Worse of all, it seems like she doesn’t want to talk it through. I’m going to have my say, steal that chance she’d denied by leaving Miami.
“Go home, Don,” she said, standing and limping out of the kitchen. I watched as she disappeared through the threshold and didn’t make a move. I waited a while to see if she would come back but she didn’t.
“I’m gonna have my say,” I said, loud enough so she’d be able to hear me. Footsteps echoed through the house and they grew louder. Vanessa appeared by the kitchen door with an annoyed look. I leaned forward, resting my elbows on my knees.
“Don’t make me call the cops,”
I shrugged, unaffected. “Call ’em, then.”
“What do you want from me?”
“For you to listen,”
Rising to my feet, I closed the distance between us. Vanessa tilted her head back to meet my eyes, her chest heaving with the rise and falls of her heavy breaths. I stared into her eyes before moving down to her lips, feeling the urge to kiss them increase the longer we stood like this, saying nothing, letting our bodies communicate with each other. As if she knew what I wanted, her lips parted. She was about to say something but I beat her to it.
“Yeah, I have a daughter. I was gonna tell you but should have done it sooner. I wanted to be ready to introduce you to her and for her to be ready too.”
“I’ve made many mistakes in my life, Vanessa, but Leilani ain’t one of them.”
She paused and frowned before saying. “Leilani…”
I nodded. “Leilani.”
She sighed. “What do you want me to do?”
“Nothing,” I said simply. “But if you think I’m letting you go easy then you don’t know who I am.”
Vanessa folded her arms and lifted a questioning brow. “And who are you, Don? Cause I don’t think I truly understand.”
Go figure. I thought. Funnily enough, she’d asked the same questions I’ve been asking myself. I buried those bitter thoughts.
“I claimed you as my old lady. I didn’t make that claim lightly nor do the men in my club do. Whether you like it or not, you’re one of us. You’re under my protection.”
I challenged her with a raised brow. Is she gonna talk back? Vanessa sighed and unfolded her arms, letting loose her defences.
“What happening that I’m under your protection?”
And just like that, she changed the conversation. I tried to fight off a smile but it was pointless. She knew it was the truth.
“Nothing, it’s just a precaution. After everything that happened last year with you and Marcus…” I paused and her sharp inhales let me know she was still affected by his death. “I ain’t taking any chances.”
Slowly, she nodded her head. “Okay.”
Her response was unexpected. Before, she’d try and push for answers but now… something wasn’t right. “Okay?”
“Yeah, okay,” she said, spreading her arms in a ‘what else do you want’ gesture. Other than her lips on mine, I wanted nothing else. “My auntie’s gonna be back soon. You can’t be here.”
“I’ll be outside,” I pointed at the front door. “While you’re home, I’m watching over you and Melanie. If any of you decide to go to different places, I’ll be with you while one of my men will be with your auntie. If I can’t watch over you, Goliath or Tennessee will take my place. You understand?”
“I understand,” she whispered, turning her eyes away from me. I narrowed mine. She’d been doing that a lot. Yeah, the situation is not ideal—if it went her way, she would’ve avoided me at all cost—but we had to work together if we want to be safe.
With the tips of my fingers, I turned her head my way. I took in her features, taking my time and putting her face to memory. There was something different about her; I didn’t see the innocence in her doe eyes. Like me, she’d changed. She’s become colder and not vibrant with the sunshine that seemed to be a part of her aura.
“We’re gonna talk this out,” I said, rubbing her lips with the pad of my thumb. “When you’re ready, we’re gonna fix this shit between us.”
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