C H A P T E R T W E N T Y - T W O
Once inside and door is closed firmly behind us and locked, Ryker wraps me back up in his big muscular arms.
His hugs make me feel so safe, and his delicious scent of pine and fresh air helps to calm me tremendously.
The tingles and sparks I feel from our embrace zip through my body and send a tantalizing shudder up my spine.
Ryker pulls me closer when he feels me shiver, and places his head on my shoulder. His nose is in my hair and I hear him take in a deep breath. He is taking in my scent too.
I can feel both our heartbeats begin to slow, and I cuddle him closer in to me, pressing my palms flat against his back. My fingertips dig hard into his strong back muscles. I never want to release him.
We stand there for what seems like hours, exactly like that, still, without saying a word. Just holding each other tight. Breathing each other in. I would be perfectly content with staying like this for the rest of my life.
Unfortunately, my mother and sister will soon be home. Ugh.
With great reluctance, I begin to pull away from Ryker, and he remorsefully releases me. A grimace appears on his face letting me know we feel the same about having to part.
Soon we will be able to hold each other whenever and wherever we want without having to hide or worry about others.
I just have to keep telling myself that. Chanting it repeatedly in my head. We are almost there. We will soon be able to be with each other freely and finally begin living our lives as mates.
“Ryker, I would love nothing more than to spend what little time is left of today in your arms, but mom and Chloe will be home soon. We can’t risk being caught now. In a few days, we’ll get to spend every day all day together if we so choose.”
“Ryyyyyyyyleeeeeeeee” he drags my name out in a whiny fashion, “I just want to hold and love on you. Is that too much to ask?”
I chuckle and give him a light, playful slap on the shoulder, using it to push him back a step. He smiles back at me so I know he’s just playing.
“Yes, it is too much to ask right now. I need to go pack, and you need to find something to keep yourself busy.” I say giggling, walking backwards away from him so that I am still looking into his warm golden brown eyes as I move away.
I flash him my best playful grin.
Ryker quickly grabs me around the waist before I make it too far, causing me to squeal, and pulls me flush against him in one rapid move.
He wiggles his eyebrows at me suggestively.
“I know a few things I could do to keep myself busy.”
He pushes his lips hard against mine but kisses me gently as a feel his hardness begin to grow and push against my stomach.
I slap his chest and push him away again, a little harder this time.
“RYKER! You dirty dog!”
I chastise him, but based off his lopsided grin, I’m sure he can tell by my smirk that I’m not really scolding him.
“I’m going upstairs to pack,” I say, turning around and sauntering towards the steps.
“I can help if you’d like?”
“No, that’s ok. I’m just going to pack essentials right now and my laptop and camera equipment. I can buy whatever I need when I get there, and ship the rest of my belongings later.”
I need to remember to call the realtor and let him know I’m longer looking for a studio space. Maybe I will open a studio in Colorado instead.
“Ok. I’ll come up and watch you pack then.”
He smirks at me.
“Yeah, that’s not a good idea.”
I give him a stern look that I’m sure conveys ‘You know why’.
“Stay down here and watch tv.”
I hear Ryker groan as I turn back around and continue towards the steps. Feeling his eyes still on me, I raise my hand and wave bye over my shoulder by opening and closing my fist.
A few seconds later, as I reach to top of the stairs, I hear the tv turn on. Sports. I roll my eyes. Go figure. Men.
About an hour later, everything I plan on taking with me tomorrow is stuffed into two large rolling suitcases, and a small duffle bag.
I leave my bags in my room for now. I do not want my family questioning me about them before I get the chance to tell them about my trip. I plan to tell them tonight at dinner.
I walk back down the stairs, and as I reach the bottom, I look over to the living room to see Ryker sitting on the couch, hunched over his phone.
“What are you up to?” I ask him, being nosey.
“I’m texting Carter. I confirmed when he’s to pick you up from the airport tomorrow, and I filled him in on everything Carla told us today. He’s going to look into your parents murders and see if he can find anything.”
I nod my head as I sit down right beside him. Our outer thighs press up against each other’s tightly.
“Anything for you, gorgeous.”
He takes my hand in his, intertwines our fingers, bringing my hand up to his lips, and kisses the back of my hand.
I visibly swoon and physically melt off the couch and into the carpet. This man is so sweet and sensual, all he has to do is look at me and I am a goner.
He lowers our conjoined hands to his lap and I lean my head on his shoulder. He positions his head down to rest it on top of mine. Then he finds us a movie to watch on tv. Thank goodness because I didn’t want to watch sports. However, he picks a scary movie, and I am thinking it was intentional so that I would cuddle up closer to him. Not that I mind.
We sit like that for a few minutes before I hear mom’s car turn the corner and amble up our road.
I give Ryker a quick kiss on the cheek and jump up, intending to run into the kitchen.
He pulls me back down into his lap so that I am straddling him, roughly meeting my lips with his. I squirm, trying to get up and he grips my hips tightly, holding me still.
“Don’t move like that,” Ryker says with a sigh, his lips still attached to mine.
“Ryker,” I mumble against his lips “they’ll be coming inside in a minute. Let me up.”
I push away, but I put no real strength into it. I rather stay where I am.
Ryker pecks a little kiss on the tip of my nose and begrudgingly releases me. I stand up and dash into the kitchen. I go to the fridge a pull a bottle of water out. The second it hits my lips, the front door opens.
I let out a long, low, sad sigh that only Ryker and I would be able to hear.
In through the door steps Chloe, followed closely by mom.
Chloe is talking animatedly about her luncheon she had with her friends. I just roll my eyes and turn to the cabinets, searching for food.
“Hi sweetie, what are doing?” Mom asks me as soon as she walks into the kitchen.
“Looking for something to eat. I’ve been busy and missed lunch. How was your luncheon with your friends?” I ask my mom, turning around to face her just in time to see Chloe lean over the back of the couch and give Ryker a hug around his shoulders.
Thank goodness mom and Chloe didn’t hear me growl.
I try to relax and pretend that I’m interested in what mom is saying, but it’s hard. My eyes never leave Chloe as she finally turns away from Ryker and walks towards the stairs, not once acknowledging my presence.
“…..can you believe Helen said that? Tammy was just as shocked as I was.”
“Wow mom. That’s crazy.” I say feigning interest in her story and pretending I heard what she said.
Just then, Ryker walks in to the kitchen and gives my mom a kiss on the cheek.
“Hi Sandy. Have a good time?” He asks politely.
“Hello, sweetheart.” Mom says patting Ryker’s cheek. “It was good. Thank you for asking. I am a little tired though. I’m going upstairs to cleanup and rest for a bit. I’ll be back down in a little while to start supper.”
“Ok mom” I say and she turns and goes upstairs.
Ryker turns to me. “Did you say food?” He flashes me his brilliant smile.
“Yeah. I’m hungry. What would you like? I was thinking something simple like a sandwich and chips.”
“That sounds good to me. I can help you make them if you like?”
“No, that’s fine. Could you just grab a bag of chips out of the cupboard over there and yourself a drink please?” I ask nodding to the cupboard a couple down from the one Ryker’s head is near.
“Yes ma’am.” Ryker says, saluting me with a shitty ass grin on his face. Smart ass.
I make the sandwiches, grab my water, tucking it below my arm, sit down at the table across from Ryker, and slide his plate over to him.
We play footsies as we eat and I can’t help but giggle. Ryker smiles like he’s enjoying himself as well.
After we finish eating, we both work together to clean up our mess and go back into the living room to watch another movie. This time, however, we sit on opposite ends of the couch in case anyone walks in.
“I wonder what Chloe is doing?” I mummer to myself.
Ryker answers, “She said she was going to take a nap.”
“Good” I sigh with relief and Ryker chuckles.
We find a movie and sit there watching it and then another. Before I know it, a couple hours have passed.
Ryker and I’s legs and feet are overlapping each other’s as we relax on the couch, and he mindlessly begins rubbing me feet. I sigh in content, and apparently, we are both enjoying it so much that neither of us hear my dad’s car pull up to the house and park in the driveway, or him getting out of the car, walking into the house and moving to stand behind us. I do not know he is even there until he loudly clears his throat.
I swear I jump 2 feet straight up out of the couch and Ryker flinches as well.
I slowly turn around to see my dad staring at us, an eyebrow cocked.
“Uh, hi dad.” I say nervously.
Ryker looks sheepish but doesn’t say anything.
“Uh huh. What are you kids doing?” He asks suspiciously.
“We are just sitting here watching movies.” I answer matter of factly.
“It looked like a little more than that.” He says, cocking his eyebrow again as if he is questioning me.
“Dad, I…” I stop. I’m not sure what to say. Dad just stands there and crosses his arms. He looks sternly at Ryker before looking back at me.
“Where’s your mom and Chloe?”
“They’re upstairs, resting.”
“So you thought it was ok to cuddle up with your sister’s fiancé on the couch?” Dad raises his voice at me, which he never does, causing me to startle a little bit.
I look down as tears well up in my eyes.
Ryker and I say at the same time. I sound pleading and Ryker speaks in warning.
I jump up to my feet quickly.
“Dad I need to talk to you. It is really important. Can we talk right now?”
His eyebrows climb up into his hairline as he lets his arms drop down to his sides. Then he scratches the stubble on his chin with his right hand and nods towards his office.
“Come on kiddo. Let’s go talk in my office. Ryker, you come too. I have a feeling this will involve you as well.”
Without another world, dad turns and walks down the hallway towards his home office.
Ryker and I look at each before following my dad.
He grabs my hand for a few seconds and squeezes it reassuringly as my dad disappears into the room.
He then whispers in my ear so only I can hear, “It’s going to be ok.”
Ryker releases my hand right before I walk into the office. He follows closely behind me.
Time for more answers.