Chapter 10 ~ Jealousy
“Refills,” he sang as he walked through the door. “Holy shit Ballerina, are you looking to murder men or what? Ddddaaaammmmnnn,” he wolf whistled at the end of his compliment.
I chuckled, I would be lying if I said I didn’t put in a little effort, I did want to be noticed, hopefully, not by Axel, that ship had definitely sailed. Sailed, hit an iceberg and sunk. I saw his face after he kissed me, it was smacked with undeniable regret, he didn’t love me and I was stupid to make myself believe he might. So, as I finished off the last touches to my hair, braiding the top left-hand section into rows just above my left ear, I visually raked over my reflection in the mirror. I had decided on a strappy black singlet with an embroidered back, skin tight, wet look, leather pants and completed my devilish ensemble with chunky heeled ankle boots, I did feel sexy.
“Whose room is this?” I questioned looking around at the emptiness, so clinical and unwelcoming.
“Axel’s master suite,” he replied guiltily.
I rolled my eyes, of course, it was his bedroom, so organised and impersonal. “Doesn’t he need to be in here to get ready?”
“Oh Ballerina, that man is loaded to the teeth. You seriously think this is the only room he has clothes in? He’s always been a preparer, making sure he has everything he needs to survive, I think it’s his way at control from living on the streets, do you really not remember how bad he was if you moved something in his room? OCD, I’m surprised he’s been so lenient with us being here.”
“I remember how bad he was with you guys touching his stuff, he never cared with me.”
“Well that’s because you make him calm, not an uptight asshole – relaxed – the yin to his yang.”
“I think you’re wrong.” As I bent over to slip on my shoes, my shirt lifted, exposing my mid-section and my tattoo – the secret only one other person had ever seen but revealed I had. I felt Marshall’s hand immediately as he lifted it to read the writing forever inked on my skin, his thumb brushing my rib cage as he spoke the words out loud. “Axel Mcknight ~ Till the end of time, through darkness and in light, my heart, my soul, my everything. I am forever yours.”
He looked at me with the saddest eyes I have ever seen, sadness and pity. I smoothed down my shirt and shrugged. There wasn’t anything I could do about it now, that was a long time ago – in a different environment – in a different life. Back when I was in a loving delusional state of mind, I had the truth now and I knew how he felt, even if his actions were confusing.
“His poem about you… and you used his real name?”
“Let’s not think about it, hey? Let’s just go, get sufficiently drunk, make terrible decisions and dance our asses off.” Marshall knew I was diverting, even if he didn’t agree with my decision.
“You have to tell him you still love him.”
“No, I don’t. You saw his face, he regretted that kiss downstairs – you heard his words – we are the past, this… semi-friendship is all that remains of us now.”
“I think you’re wrong Daniella and the longer you continue to will away your feelings, the more you hurt yourself. Get closure at least, confess you love him and if he doesn’t say it back or tells you he doesn’t feel the same – maybe you have a chance at moving on rather than staying in limbo.”
“I did, I did tell him, Marshall. The night before you guys showed up. I told him I loved him and the next day, in front of you guys, I heard his words – he feels nothing now.”
“Yep, I heard too. But after you left, he scaled that town with a fine tooth comb looking for you. I think his heart and his mind are battling with each other. Just think about trying again, because from what I’ve seen over these past seven years… he never let you go – it was never over for him.”
Marshall’s words hung thickly in the air, I had thrown myself out there, I had even made the colossal mistake of melting into his embrace as he kissed me and he regretted it. He didn’t want me. I need to let it go, just forget everything that happened downstairs and just enjoy my night, with my friends. Dad was taken care of, he was now eating and conversing, today was a good day – that’s how it should end.
“C’mon, Reag’s thinks I’ve run away with you.”
I laughed, “problem with that scenario is I have a V where there should be a P.”
He snorted as we exited Axel’s bedroom. “Good thing too, if Axel was into P’s I’d be tossed aside in a second for the sizable bank account Axe has.”
“No, I kid, I’m too good at sucking cock, he’ll never let me go.” I burst into laughter, Marshall was always such a jovial larrikin.
“About time you two, ready to go?” Regan asked as he threw his arm around his man. “Jesus Ballerina, you look amazing.”
“Thanks,” I smiled politely. Axel was just watching me curiously but he said nothing, I said nothing – but there was definitely an elephant in the room and no one was willing to acknowledge it. “Shall we go?”
“Yes let’s,” squealed Rachael, I love that girl.
Thankfully, I had avoided Axel most of the night – despite our close proximity. We were into the second establishment, alcohol flowing nicely through our veins but I always felt his eyes on me – not saying a thing – just examining my every move. I was hoping he would find something else to capture his attention but so far, I had no such luck. Rach needed to go to the loo, so being the dutiful friend I am, I volunteered to take her. As I turned around I bumped into someone.
“I’m so so…” my eyes met the kind smile of a 6ft Adonis, his chocolate alluring orbs glistening under the multi-coloured lights and his dark brown hair was combed back, he wasn’t particularly muscly but he was solid and he sure as shit had me biting my bottom lip.
He leant forward and whispered in my ear, “that’s okay Cinderella, you can bump into me any day.” I dropped my head with a smile and a blush, “can I get you a drink when I refill?”
I had to reach up on the tips of my toes just to reach his ear, “thank you, but no. I should be buying you one for spilling yours.”
“Hello?” Both of us snapped our heads to see who screamed, only to realise I was taking Rach to the toilet. She stood there looking at me incredulously.
The stranger spoke loudly into my ear again, “she belong to you?” I just nodded and he smiled back, “well, I’ll be over near the DJ booth if you feel like buying me that drink.” I sighed and went to walk away when his hand reached out and curled around my wrist, leaning back into my ear. “The names Colton, Colton Charming. Hope to see you soon Cinderella,” he brushed his lips gently across my cheek before disappearing into the crowd.
I tried to move again, only this time I came face to face with one very unhinged looking Axel. His arms were folded across his chest and his striking aquamarines narrowed in on me with precision, his lips pursed in a tight unhappy way. I couldn’t help but scowl. What did he really want from me?
I shrugged with that whole… what? Kind of action, and sidestepped around the sweaty partygoers towards Rachael, collecting her hand and dragging her the rest of the way. As usual, she had not noticed a thing, so when we got back to the boys, she carried on as if nothing at all had occurred. My mood, however, had significantly deflated and I sat down on a vacant stool near the bar where they were hovering.
“Dance with me, Stella?” Rach whined from in between Carl and Marshall.
I sat there in silence and she continued to talk about all the reasons why I needed to dance but Axel had popped my balloon and I was running out of steam. I was itching just to leave and go home – home, home and not back to Axe’s apartment.
“I think I’m going to leave,” I interrupted her.
“Surely not Cinderella?” I turned to see Mr Prince Charming himself, meandering his way over to me.
“Well, let me at least walk you out, a beauty like you can’t be facing these evil streets alone.” I went to accept, after all, I had promised myself a night of bad decisions and someone obviously didn’t want me, so why not.
“No thanks, she already has someone for that.”
Axel’s bulky muscular frame sliding in between Charming and I, his suffocating dominance nearly pushed me from my stool. I ran my tired hand over my face, “what are you doing?” I bit harshly at Axel.
“Yeah, what are you doing?” Axel replied to the stranger, glowering intimidatingly.
“Not him Axel, you?” Charming slipped his arm around Axel and pressed a business card into my hand.
“You call me if you need me Cinderella, I don’t fight, I sue them.” He winked at me as I looked at the card in my hand. Sure enough, it read - Attorney Colton Charming.
Axel grasped my upper arm tightly and yanked me so fast out of the club, “what the fuck are you doing?” I screamed.
“Something I should have done when you showed your bony ass here.”
“Let me go, you asshole,” I spat.
“No,” he yelled back. “You and I need to talk.”
His crushing force on my arm was almost unbearable as he pulled me down the sidewalks and straight to his apartment building, or rather, the pompous five-star hotel he owned the penthouse of. Our friends were struggling to keep up with his maddening pace as he thrust me into the elevator, blocking the doorway so I couldn’t escape as we waited for them to slowly arrive. “Jesus Christ… Axel… how fucking fast… did you just… stride?” Carl questioned through heavy pants.
Axel slipped in the key card he extracted from his pocket and slammed his hand on his floor button. I rubbed my arm, it was sure to show up with severe bruising tomorrow, though, if I had of been thicker, it wouldn’t have been such a problem.
The air became palpable, thick with fury and so uncomfortable. I could see the way his shoulders rose and fell as he leaned up against the doorway like he was really holding in his inevitable explosion. The elevator pinged and everyone else emptied quickly, mumbling a ‘goodnight’ as they hastily retreated. I, however, remained pressed up against the wall as he stood there just eyeing me, waiting for me to move.
“Get in,” he ordered.
“I think I’m just…”
“Get in,” he snapped again, this time with more force than normal.
“Oh, well, when you say it like that Axel, that makes me definitely want to come in.” He was unimpressed by my defiance. Axel stepped forward and grabbed my arm again, “would you stop, you’re hurting me.”
“Good, maybe you’ll be able to understand some of what I felt when you disappeared on me.”
“That’s not fair and you know it,” I seethed as he hauled my ass into his bedroom, slamming the door behind him.
“Give me that fuck-wits business card,” he demanded with his hand out as the other raked through his hair.
I relented and held it up. He snatched it straight away and tore it up, throwing the pieces into a bin in his bathroom. “Why would you…” I began but he cut me off.
“Why do you do this?”
“I didn’t do anything – in case your stupid ass has forgotten, you didn’t want me – remember?”
“How can I trust you?” He screamed. “I’m losing my fucken mind here Danny, I’ve been going over and over everything, it’s like you know how to get past all of my defences. I don’t love women, I fuck them – use them for my pleasure only – but when it comes to you…” I swallowed the large lump that formed in the back of my throat as he kicked off his shoes and slid down the wall.
“Axel… It’s time you heard why I left.”