I didn’t know how much time passed or whether or not Tennessee was still my cover.
He mentioned that someone would take his place halfway through the day. Assuming it was Goliath, I didn’t ask any questions.
Instead, I basked under the sunlight, drinking in all its warmth. Damn was it so warm.
I hoped, somehow, that focusing my energy on nature would clear my mind I’d learned hours ago. It worked. Well, kinda. I was distracted and Alex knew. He didn’t ask any questions, didn’t even make another comment of my off mood. His looks said it all but I pretended to not notice.
I felt guilty for ruining his time. I felt guilty for even allowing Don to take up most of my time but god damn. My mind wanted one thing but my body wanted another.
“Fuck, I’m starving,” Alex muttered, glancing around the beach mindlessly.
“I could eat something,” I said, staring at the sea, and welcomed the cool evening chill against my cheeks. A soft snort sounded from Alex and I sense, rather than saw, him standing to his full height.
“There’s bound to be something interesting here. You want anything?”
“I’m not picky,”
As he walked away, his heat by my side faded into the cool air. Sighing, I rubbed my eyes with the heels with my hands before remembering I had makeup on. Fuck.
I stopped and searched through my bag more my handheld mirror. I put it in front of me. Nothing was too out of place. Only black spots from my mascara surrounded my eyes. Dusting them away, I put my mirror back in my bag and almost screamed when an unfamiliar man plopped down beside me.
“Jesus,” I hissed, placing a hand over my racing chest. Scanning the man’s appearance, I frowned at him confusion. “Do I know you?”
He was light skinned with dark eyes and a blonde beard. He probably dyed it. He smiled. I tried to smile back but couldn’t shake off the sense discomfort. As a woman, you know when you’re being hit on, especially from a man you had no interest in. This was no exception.
“No,” he said, and a long awkward pause passed between us. “But I want to. Saw a lonely lady and thought I’d keep her company.”
Frowning, I searched the beach, seeing a couple of guys watching us before turning to the man in front of me. I didn’t think twice as I gathered my belongings and carried Alex’s too.
“I’m good thanks,” I said, shifting my body away from him. I tried to stand but then he caught my wrist. “Let me go.”
“But I ain’t done yet,” he responded, gripping me tighter. Panic settled in me and once again, my eyes darted around the beach, searching for Alex or anyone to help me, before returning to the man. He continued saying. “You didn’t even give me a chance.”
A shadow fell over us. I looked us to find Alex with food in his hands. Seeing the fear in my eyes, his face contorted into pure rage.
“Get your hands off her dick-face,” he growled, his eyes drilling holes to the stranger beside me.
Scoffing, the stranger released me but didn’t let go of the grin stretching across his face. “Or what, white boy? Whatcha gonna do?”
“Why don’t you stand up and I’ll show you?” Alex said, not letting his eyes sway from his. “And back away from my girl.”
As if on cue, the stranger turned his accusatory eyes to me. “You sticking with this white motherfucker? Really?”
Instead of responding, I jumped to my feet so quickly you’d think the sand was on fire. Rushing to Alex, I stood behind him, taking note of the guys from earlier moving our way. I didn’t know if Alex took note of them but I really didn’t want him to get into a fight, especially if he was going to be outnumbered.
“Got a problem?”
“Yeah, because your white dick ain’t satisfying her. She should be with a real man,”
This was nothing new to me; I didn’t blink an eye. In back in Texas, people made comments on Alex’s and I’s ‘supposed’ relationship. Mostly from black men. I’d gotten crap left and right, comments that I was ‘ugly’ and every other word to try and justify why I was with a white man. Twenty-first century and people still had a problem with interracial relationships.
Honestly, it was disgusting.
“Like I said he’s mine.”
“No, she’s mine.”
Suddenly, all eyes shifted to the figure standing behind me. I recognised the voice all too well and every muscle in my body relaxed at his close proximity. So much so I had to stop myself from falling into him.
Alex glanced over his shoulder and his eyes widened more out of curiosity rather than fear. The other guys on the other hand? Well, you’d think they’d seen the Grim Reaper with their looks.
Slowly, I turned around and came face to face with the man himself. I could see why they would be afraid of him. He was bigger than most of them, height and width wise. Plus, if the Angel’s Demons insignia was good for something, it was to instil fear of those around them.
Don wore shades so I could really tell his emotions. The slight ticking of his jaw was the only indicator that he was pissed. He watched the guy behind me, then Alex before turning his eyes to me. My breath stalled in my lungs.
“Let’s go,” Don said, taking my hand and leading me away from the beach.
“Don, I can’t leave him,”
“Who is he to you?”
“What?” I asked, confused. He stopped in his tracks and spun around so fast I felt dizzy just watching him.
“He said you’re his,” he continued through gritted teeth, his veins popping through his skin. Anger shaped the edges of his eyes and I knew there was more to his emotions than he was revealing. “Who is he to you?”
“He’s my friend from college, he came to visit. He only said I was his to get the guys to back off. Look, I came with my car and I need to drop him off at my place.”
For the longest time, he didn’t say anything. He didn’t even make a move. I waited for his answer, frantically searching his face for some sort of answer. He blew out a low breath.
“Okay,” he said but I couldn’t detect any emotion in his tone. Did he not believe me? Did he not care? Sucking in a deep breath, I walked backwards, unable to take my eyes off him until I was a few feet away from him.
Spinning on my heels, I rushed to Alex who stood a good distance away, arms folded and a curious look. His blue eyes shifted from me to Don and back to me to them. They were somewhat questioning but I pretended I couldn’t read his unspoken question.
“Come on, let’s go,” I whispered, taking his arm and leading him away from the beach. The douchebags from earlier disappeared to god knows where. I didn’t care, I was glad they were gone.
Alex didn’t say anything when we walked to my auntie’s car. Unlike his friendly approach to Tennessee, he didn’t say anything to Don. Don didn’t seem too bothered about it either; his brooding silence spoke volumes.
“I’ll be following,” Don said before walking to his bike. Alex and I walked in the opposite direction and soon, we were in the car.
I felt Alex’s eyes on my profile when I pulled onto the main road. Again, I pretended that I was clueless, like as if the shit storm that whirled my way wasn’t a big deal, like pretending didn’t just trip in front of a massive crowd.
We didn’t say anything for the whole ride. Switching the ignition, the car stilled into silence. Alex grabbed his things and got out of the car.
“Wait,” I called and he stopped. “Here are the keys. I’ll be right behind you.”
Without saying anything, he nodded and headed for the front door. I watched until he disappeared through the threshold before walking Don’s way. He was on his bike, leaning back a little, his shades off and watching me with in unreadable expression. When I was at hearing distance, he said. “He’s staying with you?”
“He’s my guest, Don,”
“Alright, then I’m staying too.”
My eyes nearly bugged out of its sockets. “No!”
“I can’t stay out all night looking after you,” he said, nodding at the front door. “And your auntie likes me. I’m sure she doesn’t mine.”
Tilting my head to the side, I lifted a brow. He grinned, leaned down and kissed my forehead. I welcomed his touch, welcomed the way it made me feel. Caught up in it all, I almost forgot that we may or may not have an audience. When I glanced over my shoulder, Alex was already inside.
“Come on, let’s go inside,” Don said, spinning me around and pushing me toward the front door.
I didn’t know how things would turn with Don and Alex being under the same roof. Don’s hands tightened around mine as if he could read my thoughts.
I could only hope it wouldn’t be torture.
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