Crossroads: Book 1

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Chapter 66


It’s possible that I might have consumed that Bahama Mama way too fast. Mike’s stare was too much for me to handle - I needed the distraction from his gaze. I’m being thrown for a loop; he needs to make up his mind. This back and forth is giving me whiplash, and it’s so frustrating.

Swaying my body to the music, I feel so carefree – some of that feeling may be from the booze. The buzz is running through my veins, and the beat from the loud country music is vibrating in my chest. I close my eyes and just let the atmosphere take me away.

I feel a hand on the small of my bare back; it causes my eyes to shoot open. I thought perhaps I ran into someone so, I apologize. It turns out I didn’t bump into anyone at all; I turn and face a very handsome man.

“Mind if I dance with you?” The man’s deep southern drawl is enough to cause my insides to hop. The man is tall, blond, and has blue eyes. A force of some sort causes me to glance at Mike; he’s smoldering...

“I would love to dance with you,” I accept the blue-eyed man’s request.

With a wide white smile, he wraps his arms around my waist. My hands connect behind his neck, and our foreheads touch as he hugs me close to his hard body. With a peek over at the bar, I see Rachel and Paul still flirting – I’m happy for them. I haven’t seen her laugh like that in a really long time.

My sights dart a tad to the left to sneak a look at Mike, and he doesn’t look happy at all. My eyes stay on his as I feel soft lips whisper against my ear, it tickles so I involuntarily let out a soft giggle. I can feel the man smile against my neck. This is getting under Mike’s skin - my buzzed self is kind of liking that fact; that’s the only reason why I don’t stop my dancing partner. The blond pushes me away just enough to twirl me around. As soon as I complete my twirl, my smile dissipates in thin air when I see Mike get in my dance partner’s face.

“You’re done dancing with her,” he growls at the Mr. Blue Eyes; before he has a chance to say anything, Mike grabs my arm to lead me towards the exit.

“Stop! Mike! What are you doing?” I fight him.

“Taking you home,” he grumbles.

I plant my feet and yank my arm free before he’s able to open the door for the outside world. “The hell you are! I am here with my friends, and the last time I checked – I’m not yours,” I shout with an involuntary slur.

“Elena, you are drunk; you need to go home,” he tells me.

“I’m not drunk!” I overreact. “I’m buzzed.” My eyes felt a little droopy with that last word. Hopefully he didn’t notice.

“Elena, come with me.” He calmly tries to take my hand, but I dramatically pull it away.

When I turn around to flee, strong arms wrap around my middle to hoist me up. Before I know it, I’m over Mike’s shoulder. His large arm is wrapped around the back of my bare legs; my hair is blocking my view from anything other than his leather back and his annoyingly cute butt.

Swatting at his back as he marches out the door, I yell at him. “Put me down! Stop manhandling me!” He doesn’t answer. I kick my legs, but he quickly puts a stop to that with a hand when he grabs my ankles to hold them together.

I can see the gravel he’s walking on, and I can hear the stones crinkle under his boots. The air outside has a bit of a chill to it, but it isn’t that bad of a feeling. My body is hot from dancing, and it’s getting warmer the more annoyed I’m becoming over this man’s broad shoulder.

There’s a moment where he quickly let’s go of my ankles to open a car door. I’m suddenly spun from being upside down to being right side up on the ground; my head is spinning. I grab my head with my hands.

“Oh...that hurts,” I groan.

“Get in the car,” Mike commands with a soft, stern tone holding the door open.

“What’s going on?” Rachel appears from the building to investigate.

“I’m taking her home,” Mike states as though there is no room for argument.

“I can take her home. I feel completely fine,” Rachel finds a spot to counter Mike’s plan.

Mike places a hand over his chest. “I insist. We have some... things to discuss.” He won’t take ‘no’ for an answer. “Besides, you and Paul look like you’re hitting it off quite well. He can take you back. He’s a good man, you can trust him.”

Rachel turns to look at me. “Are you going to be okay?” She reaches for my arm.

“I’m not going home with him,” I tell her.

Rachel turns back to Mike. “She doesn’t want to leave with you. I’ll take her.”

“Rachel.” Mike’s voice drops. “Let Paul bring you back in a little bit. Please? I need to talk to her.”

I watch as Rachel’s gaze shifts between my begging eyes and Mike’s face. She lets out a sigh as Paul emerges to join our group.

“What’s going on? Elena, are you okay?” Paul asks with concern.

I open my mouth to respond but get cut off. “She’s fine,” Mike answers for me. I glare up at him. First, he manhandles me, and now he’s speaking for me. He is infuriating.

Paul looks at me, and I can see he’s worried, so I assure him by giving him a single nod that I really am okay.

“Rachel, I can take you back. It sounds like they need some time alone to figure some shit out.” Paul rubs Rachel’s back with his hand.

“Are you going to be okay?” Rachel checks with me.

I roll my eyes. I wouldn’t say I like this situation, but there doesn’t seem to be much I can do about it. “I’ll be fine.”

“Get in the car,” Mike orders once again. This time, I comply and get in the car; he shuts the door in my face.

Rachel looks over her shoulder at me as Paul walks her back inside. Mike climbs in behind the wheel of my car. I don’t remember him taking my keys...

The whole ride back, my radio fills the cab full of songs with the words I wish I could say to the man in the driver’s seat.

We pull up to my driveway, and dad is, unfortunately, not home – if he was home, he could help me kick Mike out. Once he puts my car in park, I ask for the keys. He drops them in my hand. I push open the car door to crawl out and stomp up to my front door. I insert and turn the key then quickly step inside; I try to slam the door shut, but Mike catches it with his boot. I really wanted the satisfaction of slamming the door in his face.

With anger rising, I run to my room and slam the door – it meets my satisfaction. I push myself against it with my back, hoping my body weight will be enough to keep him out. The sound of his boots coming down the hall is getting closer.

“Elena!” Mike shouts from the hall with a pound on my door -it’s not an angry pound, but it’s enough to vibrate through me.

“Elena, open the door. Please open the door, Elena,” Mike pleads from behind the wood.

Maybe I should hear him out...if he’s going through all this trouble for trying to get me alone to talk, then perhaps, he has a good reason...

I close my eyes and exhale as I push myself away from the door, then pad my way to the bed and take a seat. The door opens with a small creak—Mike steps inside, making the small room feel even smaller.

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