Second Best (BWWM)

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Chapter 16

Its been a week since Alonzo whisked me away from Texas and brought me here to Bora Bora, and I’m absolutely loving every second of it. I don’t think I’ll ever be ready to go back home and face whatever shit show that’s waiting for us. For the first time in months I’m not killing my brain cells trying to figure out how I would fit into the equation of my step-sister and her marriage with the man that I’m in love with.

Knowing that the whole engagement was a sham to figure out who’s helping Georgia steal from Alonzo’s company, is just the icing on the freakin’ cake. For once in my life Georgia didn’t have everything, and her perfect world that she created to make me feel less about myself didn’t seem so perfect anymore. The money, the clothes and that shiny engagement ring is all one big fat lie. I laugh quietly under my breath.

I wasn’t graced with the ability to manipulate the way of the world, forcing things go my way. I’m working hard to achieve everything that I want, and although at times I feel as if I can’t go on or I just want to throw in the towel, I’m proud to say that everything that I have is from my own blood, sweat and tears. I can’t say the same for Gia. That woman is a walking pick-me-up special. All she has to do is bat those fake lashes, cast a pretty smile and flip those hair extensions a couple times and she gets whatever she wants.

Seventeen-year-old Kalani always wanted to be like Georgia. From her pretty eyes, to the light brown skin, to her tall curly hair, to the way she carries herself with so much confidence; seeing what she wanted and taking it in stride---I wanted it all, but what we humans fail to realize sometimes is that a pretty book cover doesn’t give you the full story that’s written on the pages inside. You will never truly know who a person is until their true colors starts to reveal itself.

I sigh, shaking my head at my thoughts not wanting to dwell on the topic anymore. Just thinking about all these things made me realize one thing. For the first time in my life, I’m happy to be me.


~~><~~


I lay on one of the sheltered deck chairs on the beach, and I look around all the happy people having the time of their lives with their spouses or their loved ones. It was a little past noon as the bright sun rays cast a breathtaking view of the beach, and I watch everyone around me taking in the benefits of good ole vitamin D. As much as I hated staying here alone when so many happy couples were around me, the humid air made it hard to stay in the hut.

I thought coming out on the beach would provide some sort of entertainment, but it was hard not to be bored when I had nothing to occupy my time with when the blue eyed brute was M.I.A. No books, not entertaining channels on TV, no phone---Nothing. I didn’t even know where my phone was to enjoy the free WIFI, and I don’t think I’m brave enough to wonder on my own again when I didn’t know where the hell to go.

I sigh crossing my legs while leaning back in the chair completely, taking my sunglasses off to look up into the cloudless blue sky that reminded me so much of the man that could get my whole mind on lock down with just one look, the same man who seems to be avoiding me again.

After Alonzo told me what was really going on with him and Gia a week ago, and asked for my help, which, I had no problem offering, he just kind of folded into himself and went back to this game of him being this cold, reserved person and me being the fool that I am, chasing after him. I thought that this would have mended the gap between us, but it seems to be doing the opposite, but It’s not like I’m not trying.

My heart doesn’t want to give up on him, but my mind has had enough. I chose to give my conscience the benefit of the doubt, and tried reaching out to him to tell me what has him so wound up, but the more I push, the more he seems to be slipping through my fingers and I can’t anymore.

Everyone reaches a breaking point somewhere down the line in their lives. Whether it be to pain, hurt, taking someone’s carp for as long as you do, love---it all boils down to a limit.

And I just about reached mine.

A looming shadow above me breaks me out of my inner turmoil, and I push the umbrella up a little to see the person’s face. I’m instantly greeted by the blinding smile of the guy I met on the beach a couple days ago, Max. I’m not even surprised that I remembered his name. With a face like his, it would be hard not to.

My eyes trail from his unkempt, dark hair to his the dimples I didn’t know he had, to that bulky, muscular chest staring back at me, taunting me to reach out and touch it. Damn.

“Hey, Kalani, right?” he says, his eyes raking down my body in the skimpy, dark red bikini I’m wearing. I have to say, Alonzo really out did him self when he bought me these clothes. The dark red color really complimented my smooth, mocha skin beautifully. It was bit too reveling though, well, as revealing as a bikini can be. The triangle designed top barely covered my large, D sized breasts, and the triangle designed bottom could be passed as a thong.

“Yeah,” I said with a confused smile while sitting up and throwing the towel I had brought with me over my body. Max chuckles at my actions and takes a step back, “I was heading down to the Lagoonarium to teach some kids to swim and saw you, and well, thought you might want to come with...” He trails off looking me in the eyes this time.

I fold my hands across my stomach contemplating his offer. Do I go to this Lagoonarium with a ridiculously hot stranger and possibly have some fun since I’ve been here, or stay here and watch everyone around me having the time of their lives like the loner that I am?

Lagoonarium with the hot stranger it is.

I take my white, mesh coverall, putting it on over my bikini and stand, looking up at Max’s charming smile. “I’ll take that as a yes,” he says chuckling. I roll my eyes at him, but the small smile on my face gives me away. We start walking down the beach towards an area that has a lot of palm trees.

I side-eyed Max wondering briefly if he didn’t have a girlfriend to occupy his time other than being here with me---a girl he barely knows. “So, what’s this Lagoonarium?” I ask, trying to make conversation.

Max stuffs his hands in the pockets of his shorts and shrugs his shoulders, “I guess you’ll have to see when you get there.” He winks at me and my cheeks turn crimson. “That’s not very comforting.” I said with a small huff. I hate surprises. Max gasps in mock-horror, his hands on his chest and I had to stifle a laugh at how ridiculous he looks. “Don’t tell me you hate surprises?”

“I do, and it would be wise for you to tell me what’s this all about before we get there.”

Max eyes me for a second, as if he contemplating if I was serious or not, but the look on my face proved otherwise. “We’re going to the smaller part of the island where there’s a natural lagoon for the little kids to go site seeing and swim with the animals. Some of them can’t, and It’s my job to teach them if their up to it.”

I look at him confused, “Your not a tourist?” He shrugs, all traces of humor leaving his face, “Something like that.” I frown at his response and decided to leave it at that. The warning bells in my head were going off, but it was too late to turn back now. He wouldn’t actually hurt me in front of so many people, would he?

Max leads us through a small bundle of vines that hung together in front of a large tree, forming like a small door to the unknown. “You ready?” His playful grin makes it hard for me not to smile, and I nod with an all too eager yes. He pulls the thick vines back, revealing lush, green tall trees, and blue, clear water. I gasp at the beauty of the natural habitat, looking fascinated at the animals I could see swimming in the water. Animals you wouldn’t catch me dead with.

Those sharks do not look friendly.

Max’s laughter tears my gaze away from the sharks and I narrow my eyes at him. “What’s so funny?” He shakes his head at me, as if he was having a private joke with himself, “Come on, the kids are waiting.” That’s when I noticed the excited faces of the little children standing near the bank, gushing about the sting rays, turtles and sharks. There’s about eight of them in total, and they look to be around six or seven, their eyes wide in wonder. It was adorable.

The minute Max made his presence known, the kids all cheered in excitement, ready to go into the water to swim. I watch amused, as the kids all suited up and jumped in before Max could tell them to wait. He looked annoyed, but he reeled it in and seemed to have gained the patience he needed. They all looked to be having fun, and I stand at the bank watching everyone and the interactions between Max and the kids with interest. He seems to have this naturally, chill, easy-going aura that instantly drew the kids to him, to which, I find admirable.

I look around me, feeling a little deflated that Alonzo wasn’t here to take in the lovely scenery with me. I can’t really blame him though. He’s working hard to put a stop to whatever is going on with Georgia, baring in mind that he has the weight of probably over a thousand workers and their wellbeing to think about. Why would he have anytime for me?

“Do you want to go in?”

Startled, I whip around to see Max staring at me intently. I was so deep in my thoughts, I didn’t hear him get out of the water and come up on me. I quickly shake my head with a firm no. There’s no way that I’m going into that water when sharks were in there. It doesn’t help that I can’t swim. Hell no. “Come on, the water is nice and I promise the sharks aren’t going to bite.” I raise an eyebrow at that unconvinced.

“I’m still not going in there.” I fold my arms across my chest standing firm on my decision. Max heaves a heavy sigh, as if me saying no was a huge burden. “Fine...” I sigh in relief, thinking that he had let it go, but the minute I let my guard down, he lunged for me. A half scream half gasp made its way past my lips as Max hoists me up over his shoulder, running full speed ahead for the water.

“Max! No!”

But it was too late. Before I know it, the cool water of the lagoon swallowed me, as I flapped my arms like a headless chicken, trying to get above the surface to breathe. I drown out their laughter as I gasp for air, trying to find my footing in the water to stand. My lungs and throat starts to burn and the more I try to call for help, the more of the water seems to be lodged in my throat, making it hard to speak.

Just when I think that I’m seriously going to drown, muscular arms wrap around me, hoisting me up out of the water as if I weighed nothing. I cling to the strangers broad shoulders, gasping and coughing for air as if I was a new born baby. “Fuck, I’m sorry, Kalani. I didn’t know that you couldn’t swim.” I wipe the water from my eyes, staring into Max’s regretful ones, seeing the sincerity shining down at me. I could barely find my voice to say that it was okay, that it wasn’t his fault. If I had told him that I couldn’t swim, then we wouldn’t be in this mess. I open my mouth to tell him it was fine, when a new powerful voice breaks our stare down.

“Put her down. Now.” The deep, baritone voice of Alonzo has my whole body freezing to the point that I became unbearably stiff in Max’s arms. Max ignores Alonzo’s demands, which, was probably not the best idea, and turns to me with a questionable cocked brow, “That your boyfriend?” I snorted, no doubt giving him the answer, but instead I said, “Yes, so let’s just do what he says to avoid any disagreement.” Max stares at me for a while longer before lifting me completely out the water, and my legs instinctively wraps around his waist.

My cheeks burn when I catch Alonzo’s burning gaze staring at Max as if he wanted to kill him with his bare hands. Max, however, was the epitome of calm, cool and collected. The guy had balls that’s for sure. Once we’re safely on the bank and Max puts me to stand on my own legs, Alonzo was on me, dragging me away as if I was a child. His grip tightens on my arms as I try to wriggle free.

“Alonzo, stop! Your hurting me.” He ignores me, stomping down the beach like a madman. “Alonzo! I said stop! What the hell is wrong with you?” Now I was angry. How dare he come take me away like he was my father that needed to teach their child a lesson?

He stops abruptly, turning to face me with his beautiful face etched into a scowl, “My problem, is that you went off with a complete stranger, not bothering to tell me where the fuck you were. What if something happened to you? Huh?!” His usually bright azure eyes were the color of the night sky, indicating that he was very angry, but I didn’t care. My blood boiled to the point where I wanted to hit him so hard his momma felt it.

“If I had my phone, then maybe I would have told you! I am so sick and tired this hot and cold attitude of yours! One minute we’re cool and the next you’re shutting me out and making me so confused. I can’t be a hundred percent sure with you because I can’t fucking understand where your head is at most of the time and it drives me fucking crazy!” I said, throwing my hands up in exasperation.

“Don’t you get it? I’m trying to protect you! Do you think those guys give a fuck about you? It’s me they want and I’ll fucking kill them if something happens to you. I can’t let that happen, not with you, so I’m sorry if keeping my distance isn’t fucking enough.” His breathing quickens and all I could see is red after that.

How dare he bring me here if it’s not about me? The fucking nerve of the brute! “Why bring me here then? Huh?! Why take me away and bring me here with you if you’re trying to protect me? Why tell me you need my help if you don’t really want it?!” I shout, just about ready to explode in anger. “It’s time you set you priorities straight, Alonzo, because I’m sick of coming in second best.” And with that, I walk away. Ignoring his burning gaze and the curious ones of the bystanders that witnessed our shouting match, leaving everything for him to decide.

Whether he liked it or not, I’m not going to be the next best thing after everything else he built comes crumbling down. That just reminds me of Kemari and I’m more than that, more than the pain and hurt I left behind, and all I can really say is, he has one hell of a decision to make, because I’ve already made mine.

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