Crossroads: Book 1

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Chapter 14

Elena


I am already awake when my alarm was scheduled to go off. The rock n’ roll music blaring out of the speakers from my neighbor's garage kept me awake. The thumping beats leak into my room while he works on his bike. I did not have one wink of sleep. Of course, I may have been shamelessly watching him from my window.

His tattered light blue jeans hang very low on those narrow hips, hugging him perfectly in all the right places, taunting and teasing but never revealing. With no shirt on - I can see all the tattoos on his sculpted shoulders, chest, hips, along with what looks like some scarring on his strong, smooth, very defined back.

He does look exquisite as he gets up from a stool, sits on the stool, and walks around tinkering with his bike over and over. I have been trying to memorize how his muscles contract causing his glistening inked, tan skin to move in sync. All good things must come to an end, though. Sighing, I peel my eyes away and turn off my alarm. I need to start getting ready.

The steam from the shower did what I hoped it would, and my royal blue, beautiful dress is now wrinkle-free. I curl my hair and apply a little bit more makeup than usual: blush, thin eyeliner, and two coats of mascara for a more “dramatic effect” – requested by Rachel. It’s a compromise after refusing her suggestion of light blue eyeshadow. I take a picture of myself and send it to her; she sends back fire emojis.

Once in the kitchen, I sit down on a chair and slip on my new black satin heels when there’s a knock at the door. Looking over at the clock on the stove, I see it’s only 5:40 pm. Declan is a little early. I stand up to brush my dress down with my hands – a nervous habit I developed from my mother – then open the door.

Air gets caught in my throat. I’m pretty sure my jaw drops, but I’m not the only one in shock. Standing before me is the beautiful creature that is my neighbor. He is still shirtless, greasy, sweaty, raw, and all man staring at me with those emerald irises.

The man clears his throat. “Wow,” he rasps. Mike drops his eyes from mine to travel the length of my body, to my feet, then drags them back up again slowly. “You’re...stunning,” he grins in appreciation of the sight.

I Look down at my feet then tuck my hair behind my ear. “T-thank you.” I smile back at him, though, I’m still confused as to why he’s acting this way if he’s not interested in me.

“Do you need something, or?” I ask. There has to be a reason why he’s over here.

“No, not really,” he snaps while pushing his way past me. Just like that, the rude boy is back.

“Well...why are you here then?” I sigh. “My date will be here soon, and –”

He cuts me off, “Dickwad?” He smirks, reaching into the cupboard for a glass.

“Declan,” I remind him while resting my hands on my hips. “You don’t have water at your place?” Can he hear how annoyed I am?

With water filling up his glass from the faucet, he says, “No, I do.” Turning back around to face me, he leans against the counter to drink my water.

Crossing arms over my chest, I tap my foot from impatience for his behavior. He has the audacity to chuckle at me.

“What?” I demand, really wanting to slap that smile off his face...or kiss him. I’m so confused.

“You’re cute when you’re pissed off.” His voice is hoarse. Mike has some nerve. He twists his upper body to place the now empty glass in the sink. Crossing his legs while leaning against the counter, he rests his palms behind him on the countertop.

I huff, “I am not pissed off.” Real convincing Elena.

He gives a wide grin. “Yeah, you are.” I am beginning to hate that dimple.

“Fine. Yes, I am pissed off,” I admit.

“What are you pissed off about?” he taunts as he removes himself from the counter to stalk in my direction. I’m a little startled; his face is serious. I’m not sure what his plan is, so I begin to back up around the table towards the kitchen where he was. He follows me around the table.

As I walk backward, I try not to let my voice shake. “I don’t have to tell you.” He should know why I’m pissed off. He has to know; he’s just egging me on to get a rise out of me. If only Wednesday’s mud bogging incident never happened, I would not be so angry towards him right now. If I tell him why I am angry at him, it will only further humiliate me. I can’t handle that.

He stalks closer like I’m his prey. “Come on. It’ll make you feel better if you just let it out. I know you want to tell me off. Go for it.” His voice is so calm and cavernous like a still river beckoning me to dive into the darkness it possesses. My bottom hits the counter, and I let out a squeak. I thought the kitchen was bigger than this.

My heart races at what feels like inhuman speed. Thoughts scramble together as he inches closer and closer, boxing me into the counter. His hands rest on the countertop on either side of my body – caging me in like the helpless bunny that I am. I briefly forget why I’m so mad at him. My eyes close just for a moment - thinking that if I can’t see him, then maybe I can find my mind again. Feeling his breath over my face, the familiar smell of pine and spice takes over my thoughts. I’ve missed that smell. Opening my eyes, I see him smoldering at me, no through me, like he’s searching for my soul. I think I forgot how to breathe...

Lifting his hand, he finds a curl resting just above my breast, then twirls it in his long fingers. With those hooded dark eyes on me he orders ever so quietly, so deep, “Tell me, Elena. Tell me what’s got you all hot and bothered.”

“I-I...uhm...” Where is my brain? How did he get that scar on the center of his chest? My dad has a similar scar... near the scars, on the right side is a tattoo. It’s a black cross with a skull that has red horns and wings behind it. I’ll have to ask him about that one too.

I pull my eyes up to meet his, which are gazing at my lips – my brain has officially taken a walk. Have I lost all functionality to speak?

Tell him you’re pissed at him for acting like he’s all into you one minute, then not in the next. That he goes from being sour, then sweet. Tell him he needs to put his roller coaster of emotions in check. He can’t keep acting like this to tease you, it’s unfair, and it hurts.

“Tell me, Elena,” his lips are now a breath away from mine. My pulse is pounding in my ears.

Tell him that you want to kiss him. Tell him you’re mad at him for disappearing for two days after you almost kissed. Tell him you can’t keep doing this - your poor heart can’t take it. Tell him how you feel, Elena, tell him that he drives you crazy, tell him ...

Knock, Knock

I’m saved from further shame. The knocks on the door are just enough to jolt me out of his spell. “I need to get that.” My words come out breathier than I hoped they would. Mike drops his head and removes himself from me, so I can pull myself together and reach for the door.

“Declan, hi,” I greet my date happily, anxious to get away from my predator.

“Hi...” Declan glances behind me at Mike. Following his eyes, I see that the Broody McBrooster glares at me with a warning.

“Is everything okay? Are you ready to go?” Declan asks; I turn back to Declan then nod my head.

Looking over my shoulder once more, I say, “Everything is fine; he was just leaving.” Before I close the door behind me, I address Mike, “Lock up when you leave.”

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