A Christmas Kiss

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Chapter 8

I stood in front of Jax and was sure he could tell I was flushed and embarrassed by what Layton said to me.

He scratched the back of his neck before he took a deep breath and sighed. “I’m sorry about what your asshole ex said to you.”

“Thank you.”

“I just feel---ugh. Shit.”

“Spit it out, Jax.”

“Look, I’m grateful for your parents putting me up at their place to stay,” he said. I watched as he struggled to get the next words out of his mouth. “But I think hanging out together. With each other---I don’t think it’s a good idea. At least until I get my head sorted.”

Ugh. I can’t believe him right now. After what he had just witnessed me go through with Layton, I was surprised he decided to spring that on me. We spent one day together.

“What are you talking about?”

“Fuck,” he swore. “I just think we need to stay away from each other. I’m confused and being around you right now, it’s confusing me more. I need time to think,” he admitted.

“Kinda hard since I’ve driven you here, Jax.”

“I mean after tonight.”

“So, after tonight, you’re what. Just going to ignore me?”

“Not ignore,” he replied then lowered his voice to a whisper. “I can’t be around you without wanting to kis-.”

I cut him off. “That’s fine, Jax. I’ll be happy to stay away from you.”

Ugh. Guys are so clueless sometimes.

He swallowed hard and I shook my head then walked away from him to catch up with Anastasia.

“Beth, please,” he called out, but I ignored his attempts to get my attention.

“What did he want?” Anastasia asked.

I hated that Layton and Jax had made me feel like this. Even though I shouldn’t let them, sometimes it’s hard not to.

“I’ll tell you later. Right now, I need a fucking drink.”

“That bad, huh?”

“I’m just confused,” I said. “He’s a confusing guy.”

As I walked through the home, to the yard, I couldn’t help but notice how spacious and large the place was. It never failed to impress me. Ezra’s parents obviously made a crap ton of money to be able to afford a house like that.

“What are you drinking?” Anastasia asked as we reached the bar.

“The strongest thing they serve.”

We both looked at the bartender and he grinned before he reached under the table and pulled out a tall green bottle of---well, I had no idea what the fuck that was.

“What is it?” I asked.

“Absinthe.”

“I’ve heard of that. Doesn’t it give you hallucinations?”

The bartender’s smile widened at me. “No, it will kill you before you get the effects of the drink.”

My attention shifted to my friend who rubbed her hands together as she smiled. “We have to try it.”

“I don’t know. Not really sure I want to get that drunk in this house.”

“Oh, come on.” She turned to Morgan. “What about you?”

“I’ll fucking try anything.”

I shook my head knowing it was going to be a very bad idea. “Fine,” I gave in. “I’ll try it.”

The bartender poured a small amount for the three of us. We raised the shot glasses to each other. “Cheers.”

I kicked my neck back and swallowed the liquid. My face scrunched in disgust. “Tastes like black jelly bean.”

“I like it,” Anastasia admitted.

“Who wants another one?” Morgan asked.

There was no way I wanted to get wasted, but I needed something to take the edge off how I felt. “I’m in.”

“Really?”

“Yep.”

“Are you sure you want more right now?” the bartender asked. The three of us nodded in unison. “Okay, but I’ll be cutting it off after that.”

He poured three new glasses and handed one to each of us. From the corner of my eye, I noticed Jax with Amber. He watched me while she was gazing around.

Pretending not to notice, I took the glass and kicked my neck to down the shot. After placing the empty cup in my hands, I smiled at the bartender. “Vodka.”

“You’ve got tit.”

I tilted my head. “I’m sorry. What did you say?”

“I said you’ve got it.”

The bartender poured my drink and handed it over before my attention shifted to my friend. “You guys can do your own thing if you want. I’m just going to stand here and keep drinking.”

My best friend rolled her eyes, grabbed my arm and dragged me over to the outdoor deck area. I caught sight of Ezra who talked to a few people, including the girl he was with before. My eyes travelled to the other side, and I noticed Jax. His girl was saying something to him, but his eyes were focused on me. I quickly moved my head to avoid his gaze.

He wants to stay away from me then why the hell is he looking at me so damn much?

“God, this place is perfect,” Anastasia beamed as we sat down on the lounge chairs.

I laid back and glanced up at the stars. “That’s perfect.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever paid attention to the stars before,” Morgan said.

“I think the bartender said something about my tits,” I confessed.

Anastasia chuckled lightly which then turned into a laughing fit. “B, I think he’s gay.”

I sat up abruptly. “Wait. Really?”

She nodded her head and covered her mouth to hide her amusement.

“I think---wait. Yep. I think I’m drunk.”

Anastasia smiled. “You were always such a lightweight.”

I nodded and agreed with my friend. Drinking wasn’t my thing, which is why it probably hit me harder than normal.

“So what did he say?”

I shifted my attention to Anastasia. “He said he doesn’t want to be best buddies anymore.”

Her smile faltered before it reappeared. “What are you talking about?”

“He said he doesn’t want to hang out anymore. I mean we hung out for one fucking day. We’re not that close. He said he was confused and needed time to think.”

“Yeah, he’s definitely confused.”

“Confused about what?”

Through my peripheral vision, I noticed Jax still watched me. I swallowed hard but listened to Anastasia.

“He likes you. Clearly.”

“His ex has come here. I mean, he didn’t tell me about her, but apparently, they had broken up and she came here and was all like let me suck your dick and he was like no. Stop. Wait.”

“What are you on about?” Anastasia asked, shaking her head.

“I caught them in a compr---Comprim,” I stuttered, trying to get the right word out. “Coprising potition.”

“Do you mean compromising position?”

I nodded at Anastasia. “Yep.”

“Shit,” Morgan gasped. “You caught them having sex?”

“No, she was on her knees---and.”

“Oh, damn,” Morgan grinned.

“You caught her giving him a BJ at your parents house?”

I shook my head. “He said it wasn’t what it looked like. That she tried, but I bolted out of the room before I could really see what they were doing.”

My head dipped low and I tucked the strands of hair behind my ear.

“You like him, don’t you?” Anastasia asked.

I glanced over at Jax whose girl had his full attention. A tinge of jealousy coursed through me.

It was clear I liked him, but nothing could come between us. Firstly, he was Australian, and probably would leave the country in a year. He had a girlfriend wanting to be with him, though I wasn’t one hundred percent sure he wanted to be with her. What I did know was he didn’t want to be with me. Hell, he didn’t even want to be in the same room with me, so a damn fucking relationship is out of the question.

“It doesn’t matter,” I replied. “I’m not going to be that pathetic girl brooding over someone else.”

“And who are you supposed to be brooding over?”

Fuck.

I turned my head to E, who had a widened grin on his face. “You always come in at the wrong time in a conversation.”

“Actually, I think I come in at the perfect time.” He pointed to the chair next to me. “May I?”

“Of course.”

“Thanks,” he smiled and took his seat. “So, what are you guys talking about?”

My attention shifted to Anastasia and I pleaded with my eyes for her not to say anything.

“Oh, we were just talking about what an asshole her ex was.”

Thank you, Anastasia.

“Yep,” I agreed. “An ass. Thanks for kicking him out by the way.”

“I never liked the guy to be honest.”

“So, where’s the girl you were with before?”

“Not interested in her,” he replied. “Besides, she was using me to make someone else jealous.”

“Oh,” I muttered.

“Did you guys get a drink?” E asked the three of us.

“I think Beth here has already had enough,” Anastasia laughed.

“Really?” he glanced at me with cocked eyebrows. “Interesting.”

“I’m not that bad.”

“She thought the gay bartender was into her,” Anastasia laughed.

“Oh, he’s not gay, so he probably was,” Ezra admitted.

My attention turned to Anastasia and I beamed while her jaw dropped open

Morgan whispered something in her ear, and I could tell they were flirting.

Ezra took this opportunity to lean over. “I lied. He’s totally gay.”

I chuckled as my attention shifted to him. “Thanks. Let’s keep that between us. No need to tell Anastasia.”

“Your secret is safe with me.”

Was it possible to like two guys at the same time? Ezra seemed nice. Funny, sweet, and most likely a womanizer, though I refused to listen to rumours anymore.

Then you have the likes of Jax, who was sweet. By the look of things, he was loyal. He had broken up with his girlfriend before he left, and was confused when she came to the U.S.

Was it bad that I wanted someone to fight for me? To fight for my love as though I was worthy of theirs.

“You’re really beautiful,” he muttered beneath his breath, pulling me from my thoughts.

“Thanks,” I blushed.

“If I asked you out again, what would you say?”

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