C H A P T E R S I X T E E N
We are all sitting around the table, chowing down on pizza and chips, as everyone talks about their days. I ignore most of it as it does not really pertain to me, nor do I have any input to offer.
I really need to find a good time to call Carter tomorrow. I need to fill him in on all that has happened the last two days. Talk about a crazy whirlwind. I think a good phrase for it would be the ‘perfect storm’. The situation I am in is so messy, you would think the heavens did it on purpose just to fuck with me. I am dreading breaking things off with Chloe. I have never gone through a breakup before, whether being the broken or the breaker, but I can imagine it is definitely not going to be a grand time.
Then again, my situation is beautiful in its own right. I cannot believe it has only been two days since I found Rylee. I seriously feel like I have known her my whole life. We get along great. There is terrific chemistry. The conversation flows freely. It is just so easy being with her. She makes me so happy. There is no denying we were made specifically for each other.
I am still stunned that I finally found my mate, and she is absolutely perfect to me in every way. I wish we could have found each other years ago, but we will definitely be making up for lost time once Chloe is out of the picture. I smirk to myself at all the ideas I have floating through my mind on that topic. If Rylee knew what I was thinking, she would be the color of a cherry tomato.
I decide to tune back in to the conversation before I get myself into trouble.
“So why were you shopping so long today? I would be so exhausted from shopping all day. You know that is not my thing. I am glad that is something you two enjoy with each other.” Rylee chuckles, speaking to Sandy and Chloe.
“Well, Chloe kept running into old school mates and getting caught up in conversation. So that took up a good chunk of our time.” Sandy stated.
“Oh really, who did you see?” Rylee probes.
“You know, the old squad, and few others. It was nice seeing them after such a long time away.” Chloe says with a faraway look in her eye. No doubt reminiscing about old times. “We actually agreed to meet up tomorrow for lunch to catch up more. I hope you do not mind, Ryker. It really has been a long time since I hung out with my old friends and chit chatted. You can come with if you want, but it will just be the girls and I. If you would like to stay home, that is also fine with me also.” Chloe declares.
Fine by me. Rylee and I can go talk to her wolf mentor, Carla. I really want to speak with her, and this will most likely be the best opportunity to do so. I do not know how much more free time I am going to get away from Chloe this trip, and I feel like my luck is probably running out on that front.
“Yeah, that is perfectly fine with me. I know it has been awhile since you have seen any of your friends here. I can find something to get into for a few hours tomorrow while you are away.” I give her a smile and she squints at me for a few seconds before looking away. She is probably thinking she should drag me with instead. Hahaha. No way am I going near that group. I have heard stories. No thank you.
“So what did you two do all day while the rest of us were out?” Chloe asks, changing the subject, raising an eyebrow and looking between Rylee and myself.
“Not a whole lot. Rylee showed me around town. Then we came back here. I sat in the living room watching tv. Not sure what Rylee was doing upstairs.” I falsely explain.
“Oh I was editing some client’s pictures I took the other day.” Rylee answers back. Chloe nods her head in acceptance to our answers and everyone goes back to eating and chatting some more.
“So,” Sandy starts, clapping once then rubbing her hands together, “let’s talk about this wedding!” Rylee starts chocking, and Chloe glares at her. Sandy, Mike, and myself all ignore Chloe and ask Rylee if she is ok. “I’m good” Rylee coughs out, taking a drink of her water.
Chloe jumps in answering her mom’s question as Rylee composes herself. “We were thinking of having the wedding next spring, probably at the end of May, in Colorado”.
Not anymore, I think to myself as my shoulders drop. The only person I will ever marry now is Rylee, my gorgeous mate who I spent my whole life longing for. However, we have not discussed anything related to that yet. Poor Chloe can believe the falsehoods a little longer though. Only a couple more days. Ugh. These are going to be some of the roughest days of my life.
Rylee suddenly stands up, her chair screeching against the floor as it slides backwards. She has an anguished look on her face, and my heart shatters into a million little pieces. I know this has been extremely difficult for her. Not only does she have to see her mate with her sister, but we also have to ignore the mate bond and pretend we are not each other’s soul mates and try to keep our distance from one another.
“I am kind of tired. It was a long day. I think I am going to head up to my room and work on editing pictures until I pass out. Good night everyone.” She says, looking at each of us in turn. Her gaze lingers on me probably a little longer than it should considering the circumstances. Thankfully, no one else seems to notice.
This is so unbelievably more difficult than I was expecting. I just want to run to her and wrap her in my arms. I wish I could just hold her and never let go. A few more days, I keep telling myself. We can do this. We will get through this. It will be our first hurdle in our new life together. A few more days, then we get to spend the rest of our lives with each other. I cannot wait.
I shoot her an apologetic look. I still feel awful that I am engaged to my mate’s sister, and I know this conversation must be hard for Rylee to hear. I do not blame her for not wanting to sit around and listen to it, even if it is irrelevant now. I cannot wait until Chloe and I’s trip is over so we can travel back to Colorado and I can break this off with her. Not that I am looking forward to the act itself. More like the after effects of it.
“Ok, good night dear” Sandy says. Mike follows up with “good night sweet pea.”
“Good night, Rylee” I call out and give her a small smile. She returns it with a half smile of her own.
“Whatever. See you tomorrow,” Chloe grumbles. She is really starting to work on my nerves with her attitude.
Rylee just rolls her eyes at her sister’s reaction and clears her dirty dishes before bounding up the stairs to go to her bedroom.
As Rylee is going upstairs, Chloe leans back in her chair, crosses her arms over her chest, and gripes, “I do not know what her problem is. She must be jealous her little sister is getting married before her.” I roll my eyes and slightly shake my head. Yeah, that is what it is. Jeez Chloe, get over yourself. How did I not see how Chloe acted before now? Is there a whole other side to her that I do not know? I have never seen her like this before, and I really do not like it.
Mike and Sandy do not reply to Chloe’s comment. They just look at her and then share a silent look between them before their glances slyly shift to me then back to Chloe.
I can tell Chloe’s remark pisses Rylee off. Her footsteps get heavier and then she slams her bedroom door closed. I sigh in frustration. I am so sorry, Rylee, I think to myself. It is more like I do not know what Chloe’s problem is. I am certain it is jealousy, but I thought Rylee and I have been subtle about everything. Therefore, I do not know what Chloe would have picked up on to be jealous about. She has been acting like this since we first arrived yesterday though. If I did not know any better, I would think this is how she always acted towards Rylee, but they always seemed to have a good relationship.
I sigh. Hopefully Chloe will not be acting like this all week. There is only so much I can take before I say something to her about it. I can only hold back so long. Acting like a bitch is not something I tolerate well, and once that is behavior is directed towards my mate, all bets are off.
After a short while later, the conversation slows and everyone helps to clean up from dinner before walking up the stairs. We all agree it is time to retire to our bedrooms for the evening. Everyone had a long day, and we are all exhausted and ready to go to sleep.
I am honestly dreading bedtime though. I do not want to be alone with Chloe nor do I want to share a bed with her. Especially during the most intimate part of the day that a couple can share. Night time is for lovers. Added to that is the fact that Rylee is right across the hall from us, which makes this even worse. I am so close yet so far away, and she can also hear everything Chloe and I say to each other. I have nothing to hide though. Not from Rylee. There will never be any secrets between us.
I slowly trudge up the stairs behind everyone else, delaying the inevitable as long as possible. I am in no hurry to make it to bed. At least last night I was able to pretend I was asleep when Chloe came in so she did not try talking to me or anything else. Then this morning I got up before her, avoiding the awkwardness that would no doubt ensue from my avoidance. Unfortunately, I will not be able to escape that tonight.
The only thing keeping me going right now is knowing that in a few more nights, it will be my mate in my bed, not my soon to be ex fiancée / future sister in law.
Gross. That thought literally just made me cringe and now I feel nauseous. I wish there was a way to physically scrub thoughts from my brain.
This is honestly the most fucked up situation I have ever found myself in. I just hope we will all be able to move past this one day. That we will all be happy.
As I reach the top of the stairs, I reluctantly turn left into Chloe’s bedroom after briefly glancing right and seeing Rylee’s closed door. I know she is still awake though. I can see the light shining out from under the door, and I can hear the clicking from her typing on her laptop.
I take in a deep breath and release it slowly before walking into Chloe’s bedroom with my head down, looking at the floor as I shut the door. I turn around and look up only to see Chloe laying on the bed suggestively in her very seductive underwear. She is giving me her best come-hither eyes, and I simultaneously close my eyes, sigh, and pinch the bridge of my nose. I turn around, find her robe and toss it onto the bed without looking at her. “Put that on” I say in exasperation.
I hear Chloe huff, and then rustling around on the bed. “Better?” Chloe spits bitterly.
I slowly turn around to see that she is now covered with the robe. “Thank you” I say in return. “Chloe, we need to talk.” She rolls her eyes before pinning me with a glare that could make the devil himself recoil, but she does not say anything. I know she is pissed, but I can also tell she is hurt as well.
I do not want to hurt her. I need to let her down gently, but without causing suspicion. I am no longer comfortable with her in this manner, and given the fact that Rylee is only 20 feet away makes it worse. She can hear everything, and I am sure she is not very happy right now either. There is no way around it, Chloe and I need to set some ground rules that I know she is not going be happy about, but it needs to be done.
“Chloe,” I sigh again, but I soften my gaze, never once removing my eyes from hers, “I do not want to disrespect your family. I am not going to do anything sexual in your parents’ house. I am sorry if that hurts your feelings, that is not my intention. However, I do not feel comfortable being with you in that manner here. I truly am sorry, but that is how I feel. Please try to understand and see where I am coming from.”
“Seriously, Ryker? I am your fiancée! Engaged couples have SEX! It is not uncommon. My parents will not care. What is your problem? Ever since we arrived here yesterday, I feel like you are avoiding me and giving me the cold shoulder. It is like you slammed the preverbal door in my face, and I do not know why. Did I do something to piss you off? What is going on with you? With us?” Chloe is screaming at me. I have no doubt there is not a single person in this house, and possibly the whole block, that did not hear what she just shouted at me.
“Chloe,” I drawl out in frustration as I walk around the bed to her, attempting to put my hands on her shoulders to calm her, “I-“.
“DO NOT FUCKING TOUCH ME!” She bellows. Her face is now bright red and she is snarling at me.
I back away slowly with my hands up in the air. Through clenched teeth, I grit out, “You know what, Chloe? I do not need this shit! I am trying to have a civil conversation with you, and you are acting ridiculous. I am sure your whole family just heard you screaming like a lunatic and now knows our business. So thank you for that. I am not sleeping in this room with you tonight. You need to calm the fuck down, and then after that, maybe we will talk.” I am seething.
With that, I grab my pajamas and storm out of the room, slamming the door behind me. I march over to the spare bedroom that is located beside Rylee’s room and is across the hall from the bathroom. I change into my night clothes and flop down onto the bed.
What a fucking mess. I never saw Chloe act like this before. I am glad she is finally showing her true colors instead of hiding behind the façade she has apparently hid behind for the last four years though. Thank fuck we are not already married. Moreover, thank the heavens that I found my mate and I will no longer have to deal with Chloe in this magnitude soon. I have never been happier that we are not getting married than I am right now. Talk about dodging a bullet.
“I am sorry,” I apologize, hoping it was loud enough for Rylee to hear me. With that, I turn on to my side, facing the wall that separates me from Rylee, willing my mind to relax. After calming down somewhat, I eventually feel myself slipping into darkness.