The S Word

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Meeting the Ex

Damn it.

“Hi Nicole,” he speaks with a grin.

Alexander takes a step forward, standing between Justin and me. His body trying to hide me from my ex while his eyes don’t move from the younger ones, and for a few seconds, I start to grow worried. Not for Alexander but Justin, because as his gaze lingers on me and I feel Alexander starting to go stiff.

Justin, however, doesn’t seem affected by it, holding a red plastic cup and smiling.

“Hey Justin,” I speak, trying not to make a big deal out of it. “Wasn’t expecting you to come.”

“Yeah, it was a last-minute thing,” he replies, taking a sip from his beer.

“I bet,” I glance at Alexander as he speaks and swallow by the deepness of his baritone.

“You remember Alexander, my boyfriend.”

Justin frowns as if this was new information but extends his hand anyway. Alexander takes it, and I see as they squeeze each other so tightly the veins pop out.

“Yes,” Alexander speaks. “You are her ex, right?”

Alexander’s deep voice makes both of us turn to him before his eyes sparkle with dare, matching Justin’s, and I decide it’s better to leave.

The testosterone levels are to high tight now.

“Great to see you then,” I say, pulling Alexander along with me on the hallway and leaving Justin behind.

My boyfriend makes noises of disapproval but follows me nevertheless. This was different, they were about to face each other with just a stare, and I got scared that it was enough before blows started to go out. It’s only when we are safely outside of the house that I stop, feeling Alexander huffing behind me.

“That guy annoys me, I don’t know how he does it, but when I look at his face I just want to punch him.”

“Alex, calm down,” I speak, putting my hands on his chest.

He runs a hand through his cherry hair, sighing in frustration. I never dated someone like him. He’s not like this, Alexander doesn’t react like this to anyone, it’s mostly to Justin. Probably because he is my ex, and we had sex not that long ago.

Yes, that’s the reason.

But either with all of that, I don’t want him to get to this point. I don’t want him to lose control.

“It’s fine,” he speaks, letting go of a long breath. “I just see him and start remembering he saw you naked, and then- You do realize he was waiting outside the door to talk to you?”

My lips crush on his, and that makes his attention drift. Alexander lets me lead the slow kiss, as I pull him closer to me, clasping my hands on his shirt only to take his mind from the guest inside the house.

“I love you,” I say into his lips. “You, no one else but you. Justin is my past, and even if I see him from time to time, there won’t be anything else than small talk.”

His gaze softens as Alexander lets his finger caress my cheek.

“I know, I’m sorry gorgeous it’s just-”

He doesn’t finish speaking, taking my hair away from my face and smiling down at me. We walk to the bar and I order water. The moment from minutes ago behind us, everything would be perfect, sweet and loveable, if it wasn’t for Justin interrupting us for the second time.

“Nicky, can I talk to you for a second?”

Seriously, he has a death wish. I tiptoe to glance over Alexander’s shoulder and spot Justin standing there. His hands inside his jeans, his white shirt clinging to his chest, his eyes on us. Good thing Alexander isn’t facing him, or this wouldn’t end well.

“Do you trust me?” I whisper with my eyes locked on Alexander’s.

“With my life.”

He kisses me, more deeply than before, letting the kiss grow longer as well and making Justin wait before I am finally able to walk away. Justin walks a few feet away from where he was, and I stop in front of him.

“Yes?”

“I was hoping to catch you alone here, but it seems you and this Alexonder dude are serious.”

“Alexander,” I say, slowly correcting him. “Yes, we are very serious.”

Justin frowns for the second time tonight, and I start to grow nervous. He wants something.

“I got in the police,” he speaks, swirling the cup of beer in his hands before taking a long sip from it.

“That’s great,” I say visibly happy for him. “But why the police?”

Justin shrugs, and I narrow my eyes.

“I just want to do something for the city.”

Small talk, that’s what this is, he’s stalling until getting the courage to ask me something. I know Justin for years; I know how his dirty mind works, or how he can be clingy when he wants to.

“I’m proud you did that. Now I-”

“Are you happy with him?”

The question startles me, and I stare at the man in front of me for a few seconds before deciding to reply.

“I am.”

“More than with me?”

“Different than with you.”

I can’t say I’m happier, even if I am. I won’t hurt him like that. I can’t hurt him like that, not since I still care about him. My heart hurts for my ex, as I see him pondering the words. He isn’t sad, Justin never lets anyone see him sad. When he starts to feel down, his walls come up, and he attacks. And it’s now that I realize that’s what this is. He is hurt, and I’m the target.

“Different? That means better.”

“Justin, I think you had enough to drink-”

He huffs, taking a long sip from the cup and staring at me next. His eyes darker than usual I no longer see the man I once loved.

“Now you worry, ” he says with a snort. “So he is better than me. Is that why you were fucking him in Layla’s bedroom?”

“That’s none of your business, Justin.”

I glance over my shoulder to notice Alexander leaning against the bar watching us. I can’t seem upset, or he will come here, and by where this conversation is going if he appears it won’t end well.

“It may not be, but you could at least be more sensible and think that I was around.”

He has to be kidding me.

“Justin, I didn’t even know where the hell you were, and it’s not like I had sex with my boyfriend in front of you.” The mention of the word makes him wince, but I ignore it. “I needed time alone with Alexander, and what happened behind that door is none of your business.”

His tongue pokes inside his cheek as his gaze is set on me and unmoving. The man is trying to intimidate me, but he knows it won’t work. It never did.

“It’s not my business if you act like a little hooker?”

“You’re crossing a line, Justin.”

He takes a step closer, and I hold my breath. Justin’s eyes always say more than what he means, and right now they are filled with anger. He is hurt, I can see that, but am I not allowed to have someone in my life? He knows about Alexander for weeks now.

Yes, we shouldn’t have done it at a party with people outside, but as I said, it wasn’t planned.

“Am I? You didn’t mind me crossing lines a couple of months ago, or when I used to do everything I wanted to you. You didn’t mind me crossing a line every night that I fucked you senseless.”

I swallow hard and stare at him, not letting him comprehend how the words affect me. Because they do, and not in a good way.

“Justin, you better stop before you say something you regret.”

He is close, too close. I can smell the alcohol coming from his shirt. I know Alexander is watching and I try to glance over my shoulder but Justin’s voice stops me.

“Like what? How you always begged for me, but you were never fully pleased. You said you didn’t want to get back together, and now you have someone. I guess I wasn’t enough right? I guess no man is enough.”

“Justin-”

Tears threaten to crawl from my eyes as I listen to the rancor dripping from his lips. It’s not him; it’s the alcohol I know, but it still hurts. Besides Layla, Justin is the only person that knows about my past, and still he is doing this.

“Do you enjoy having him taking care of you Nicole, having a rich guy walking you around?” He asks, taking the last step. The look in his eyes pure evil. He knows he is hurting me, and yet he doesn’t stop. “Do you enjoy having him doing what your daddy couldn’t?”

I throw the water at him and watch as his face drops into a dumbfounded stare. Not even caring, I turn around and pass by a couple people, brushing off the tears rolling down my cheeks before a steady hand grabs me.

Alexander turns me around and pulls me to his chest. He was coming for me. The comfort I needed fills me as I let myself feel the pain from the words used against me. He pecks the top of my head, taking a deep breath.

“Do you want to leave?”

I nod at him but don’t dare to look up. He never saw me like this. He never saw me going back to the teenager who lost her family.

“Can I punch him first?”

“No,” I reply, and he pecks the top of my head once more.

“Then let’s go gorgeous,” Alexander says turning around and putting one arm around my waist.

He walks fast, dragging me along with him between the guests. When we are about to leave the garden, Alexander sees Justin, he walks straight at him, bumping shoulders and making the latter yell.

“What’s your problem?”

Alexander turns around to stare at him so intently that my knees fail.

“You,” my boyfriend snarls. “You are my problem.”

“Alex, please.”

I grab his arm, pulling him along, and that seems to make him snap from his anger. Tears stain my face, and both men see it, the one I love softens his features, and my ex seems to realize the consequence of his words. Alexander nods, taking my hand once again and walking out of Layla’s front garden. I clutch his hand, whispering between my cries while we walk to the car, ignoring as Justin yells behind us.

Ignoring the drunk man who is sorry for his actions and letting the one I love take me away instead.

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