Hopelessly Devoted

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Chapter Fourteen: There are boundaries, you know!

“WHAT THE FLAGNOG ARE YOU DOING IN MY LIVING ROOM?” I yelled, when I finally gathered my senses.

Tex was standing by the window. I noticed his tie was off and on the couch. The top buttons on his shirt were unbuttoned and he looked a little disheveled. His hands were at his waist. This was not a good thing. Anytime Tex was truly getting ticked off, his hands went to his waist. I swallowed, but made myself stay fierce. He was in my home after all.

“That’s the reason why you haven’t been returning any of my calls, emails, or allowing me to contact you except to thank you for the article?” he asked me, narrowing his eyes.

I groaned out loud, flung down my purse, and turned to stomp into the kitchen. I could hear Tex stomping after me.

“Do not turn your back on me Selena. I want to talk to you.”

“Apparently so,” I snorted, “So much so you break into my freaking house!”

“I didn’t break in. The spare key was in the fake rock by the steps, just like the one your parents have.”

I mentally kicked myself. Honestly, in all my efforts to forget this man, I had actually made myself forget things that I needed to remember. Like how much he knew about me for example.

I got a glass of water, took a long drink and turned. This time he was standing in the doorframe to the kitchen. His hands were still on his waist. I shook my head in irritation.

“He doesn’t even know about me, about us, does he?” Tex asked me.

“No.” I admitted, leaning against the counter.

“How long have you been seeing him?”

“Eight months.”

Tex let out a whistle, “Eight months,” he said as well. “That’s a long time Selena. Why haven’t you told him?”

I looked at Tex. He had his head cocked to the side, awaiting my answer.

“Why should I?” I snapped at him. “You and I were years ago, we were young…in high school even. Everyone has a boyfriend or girlfriend from their past. It’s irrelevant.”

“You know very well that you and I were more than just a typical high school relationship.”

“Were we?” I asked hatefully, “Because no matter what it had seemed like to me, it obviously wasn’t the same for you.”

I pushed past him into the hall and stomped up the stairs. My purpose was to shut him out somehow or find some way to discourage him from bothering me anymore. I made it into my room and turned; now he was in that doorway. I threw up my hands.

“Why are you here Tex? I mean, what do you want from me? You said you tried to find me but you couldn’t. You said you wanted forgiveness and I told you it didn’t matter. You see I am in a relationship with someone else, that I have a career, and that I have clearly moved on. You don’t need to feel guilty. It’s fine. I’m fine.”

My chest was heaving. I had ended my rant with a little hysterical laughter of sorts, and even though I had said all of that, Tex still stood there, just watching me.

He looked down for a moment, then removed his hands from his waist and leaned against my wardrobe. I watched him as he found interest in his fingers.

“Do you love him?” He asked me finally.

When I didn’t answer he looked at me and waited. I licked my lips and looked away. “I care so very much for Ryan.” I told him. “He loves me and is a wonderful man.”

“You didn’t answer the question.”

“Everything about Ryan is perfect. He makes me feel good about myself, and does everything he can to…”

“Answer the question.”

“I AM ANSWERING THE QUESTION!” I yelled.

“YOU’RE AVOIDING IT!” he spat back at me. “JUST TELL ME, DO…YOU… LOVE…”

“HE’LL NEVER HURT ME!!” I screamed out at him, throwing the stuffed pig from atop my bed at him as hard as I could.

Tex dodged the pig, then straightened and glared at me. I took two heavy breaths before composing myself enough to speak again.

“He will never betray me.” I said

Tex stepped toward me, I watched as he twisted his class ring around on his finger. “So,” he said, “in other words, you are telling me he’s safe?”

My strength was waning. I moved back to lean against the wall. “What do you want from me?” I asked him, “I mean…are you just upset that Elizabeth married someone else…and so you want to reclaim something from that time? Why are you haunting me?”

Tex walked closer to me. There was barely three feet between us now. He held out his hand to me. I gave him a quizzical look.

“Trust me.” He said, “Just come and sit down. I need to tell you something.”

I held out my hand to him, letting him lead me around in front of corner chair.

“Sit down Selena,” he told me, then added “please.”

I sat down. He moved over to my bed and sat on the end of it. It was quiet in the room as he picked up another of my stuffed pigs and fidgeted with it. I waited patiently.

Finally he said, “You remember when things first started to mess up with us? When I came over to your house and just wanted to hold you?”

“I remember.” I said.

He nodded his head a couple of times. “That was one week after my father had brought Mr. Ewing and Elizabeth to the house. At first I thought mother and I were just meeting new people, possible business partners…but then after they left, dad called me into his office.”

Tex paused and pinched his nose between his eyes. “Father, as you know, was petrified that the new businesses wouldn’t make black in time…”

“Tex,” I interrupted, “I know all this. You told me all this before…”

“Please.” He said, “Let me finish.”

I flung out my hands, shook my head, and leaned back in the chair. “Go on.” I told him.

“Thank you. I know I told you father’s plan for the merger, but what you don’t know…what you haven’t been told…is what Elizabeth and I found out from each other.”

“I really don’t want to hear…”

“Selena…you said you’d let me finish.”

I shrugged my shoulders, but closed my mouth all the same.

“After I saw your face through that window, after I watched you drive away and I knew I had lost you…I finally snapped. What was going on, what my father was doing…it finally just clicked.” Tex stood up and started to pace, “I defied my father and left the house. I searched for you, as you know…I was out until the next morning before I finally came home. Mother and I talked for a long time, she supported me completely when I told her I was coming clean with Elizabeth and I was going to do whatever it took to right this wrong.”

Now Tex was at the other end of my bed. He sat down again. “I took Elizabeth out that evening and told her all about you, about us, and how I truly felt.

I explained that my father wanted me to build a relationship with her in order to guarantee this merger happened, and that I stupidly allowed myself to be guilt into helping this along. I told her she was a beautiful girl, a wonderful girl…”

“Is there a…”

“Selena…”

I got up and went back to leaning against the wall. Tex stood up as well, watching me.

“I’m listening.” I said.

“I told her that I was in love with you.” He said, and then he laughed a little. “She started to cry and at first I was apologizing for leading her on, but then she waved her hand at me before looking up and telling me she knew exactly how I felt, because she was in the exact same situation, only with her…it was her mother.”

“What?” I asked him, clearly confused.

“You see. Her mother knew how badly Jackson Ewing wanted to get in the oil and gas business, but he wasn’t having any luck at all. After that, when father and Jackson first met up, her mother found out about me. She

pressured Elizabeth to make a go with me, at least until her father was

Set up business wise. That night…neither she nor I wanted it to happen, but it did because neither of us said no. I had you, and she had Evan…but we both went along with it. We were both cowards.”

Tex moved over to my vanity and picked up a lipstick. “We forgave each other and I drove her home. Since she was a lady, and more worried about her career with modeling and everything, I didn’t force her to make any more confessions. Instead I went in to Mr. Ewing and told him that Elizabeth and I have decided we have a great friendship, but feel that’s as far as it will go. I then told him my father was more than eager to make this merger happen and that I would be willing to do all that I could to assist where needed.”

“What about your father?” I asked hatefully.

Tex looked up at me. “I walked into his office with the signed contract papers and tossed them on the desk. When he was grinning and looking them over, I informed him that Elizabeth and I would not be happening, and then proceeded to tell him everything I had done from dinner with her to talking with her father.”

He put down the lipstick. “He was furious of course, but I stood my ground and told him I would never again be used in such a way and the fact that he was my father was the only thing that kept me from shutting him out of my life completely. In his anger he refused to help me find you, stating that while things may be good for business, he still believed I was too young and in over my head when it came to you. From that day on, mother and I have barely spoken to him. They basically live apart, as mother stays on one side of the house, and dad is either in his office, at the office, or staying in the beach house.”

“Poor man,” I said sarcastically.

Tex smirked, “Yes well, here lately we have noticed what seems to be a slight change in him. Little Jackson the third is around the office a lot and my dad enjoys his visits. I’ve noticed father has bought him a football and what not. In this past month he has shown up at a couple of dinners. There isn’t much conversation between the three of us, but it’s the first time he’s eaten at the table in years.”

“Well,” I said, walking past him to stand against the wardrobe this time. “You’ve told me everything I suppose. So what now? What do you want me to do with this information? Forgive you, as Evan obviously forgave her?”

“Evan doesn’t know.” He admitted.

I barked a laugh. “Really, well…that explains a lot then.”

He moved in front of me. “Yes.” He agreed. “Evan has never known anything, and therefore they got their happily ever after.”

“But I do know Texas.” I told him bitterly, fresh tears forming in my eyes. “I saw you getting dressed after sleeping with her…in the very bed where I gave myself to you.”

I noticed he had moved closer to me. I stiffened a little. His eyes were haunted and searching mine.

“And it is this very thing that continues to destroy me day in and day out.” He told me, “Every call you refuse, every message you decline…kills me. I’ve waited so long to see you again, and I was truly afraid I never would…but here you are.

Goodness Selena, ever since you walked into my office I have been trying to reach out to you, to get you to just let me show you that I know I made a mistake, that I know I can’t undo it, but I want to do right by you. I was mad with making sure I was not being too pushy and understanding your feelings, but now I realize…”

“What?” I asked, “What do you realize?”

“I realize that Mr. James is in your life and more than likely being very good to you. Because of his presence I am going to have to do so much more to win you back.”

“Because of Ryan?”

Tex nodded. “As we established…he’s safe. His being around makes it easier for you to deny me.”

I frowned at him. “Ryan has nothing to do with my feelings for you. I didn’t even know him when you and I happened, and I didn’t know him the years after. He has nothing to do with how much I can’t stand you.”

“He has everything to do with it. You admitted earlier that you aren’t in love with him, but yet you stay with him. Now why would someone do something like that? Unless, they were still in love with someone else and were just too afraid to give them a second chance.”

Now I was getting angry, I stood up straighter and pointed at him. “My relationship with Ryan has absolutely nothing to do with you. I never said I didn’t love him…”

“You never said you did…”

“Regardless, you don’t get to come into my house after what you did to me and tell me how you can’t understand why I won’t have anything to do with you. What on God’s green earth makes you think you deserve for me to? I mean, are you kidding me? Why would I want to EVER give you another chance to do that to me again?”

“Because you still love me.”

That did it. That flipped the switch. Forget moving on; forget the years and the past and the possible future. I was eighteen again and I had just seen Texas Conrad cheat on me. All the rage, hurt, fury, pain, and disgust roared like a dragon from the depths of my soul. I flew at him, slinging my fists anywhere I could hit him and yelling like a banshee in the process.

“I HATE YOU!!” I bellowed, “I hate everything about you. I hate that I ever met you on the beach” punch,

“I hate that I ever kissed your lips,” slap, “I hate that you ever touched me and made me fall in love with you.” Punch again. “I hate that I made love to you and was so certain you’d be my forever!” I pushed him hard and moved to punch him again, “I hate that I saw you after you made love to someone else and I hate that you’ve hurt me and it still hurts!”

He easily swatted aside my final pushing attempts. The last was when he grabbed my arms and pulled me into him. I sobbed into his chest, reciting ’I hate you’ over and over again. He kissed the top of my head and held me tight, repeatedly apologizing for everything. When I could bear it no longer, I tried to shove away from him, but he snapped me back, holding my wrists up between us and staring at my tear soaked face.

“I love you, Selena.” He said, “I have always loved you, and I will always love you. When I left your home that first day we saw one another again, I told you I would find a way and I meant it. I still mean it. I know you still love me.”

“No I don’t” I argued, “…I…”

But I didn’t get to finish. In a swift motion Tex had slung me into him using the very wrists he had been holding. Our lips were together and he was kissing me. I feebly punched at his arm, but his he parted my lips and the place I had holed up inside me opened making me free fall back into it.

There were frenzied hands, roaming lips, and tears. My body was on fire, in ways that it had never been before. I was so enraptured in passion and hurt that I couldn’t tell you how long these moments lasted. When all was said and done, I remembered one last kiss to my face and his whispered voice telling me that he loved me and I would be his again. Another tear slid out of my eye as I drifted off into sleep still wearing the dress I had worn to the party.

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