Mending Heart

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Chapter 13

Everything’s Gonna be Okay

“I like to think that I’ve got determination, and I’m fiercely protective of the people I love.” – Andrew Lincoln


Zoey POV

“Hey babe,” Colette, my best friend since kindergarten, said as she fell into step with me after eight period. “Some of us are going out for ice cream after the game today, you wanna come?”

I’d love to come, but I have to go home and make sure my sister hasn’t resorted to more drastic measures of coping other than weed and alcohol.

Instead, what I said is, “I can’t. I have to finish my history paper.”

Lie. I finished it Saturday night after Kenzie went to bed.

Colette cocked a questioning eyebrow, staring up at me. Despite being significantly shorter than me, her piercing blue eyes and fiery curly red hair made her quite intimidating. “Didn’t you say you were going to finish it this weekend?”

“I was.” I nodded, continuing to lie through my teeth. “But I got into it with my mom so I ended up spending the weekend at my sister’s.”

Well – technically the last part was true.

“Matt is going to be there.” She wiggled her eyebrows suggestively.

“And?” I tried to sound as unbothered as possible. “All we did was make out at a party once when we both had a little too much to drink – it didn’t mean anything.”

“Oh please! You haven’t stopped texting each other since!” Colette snorted. “And don’t think I don’t see the way you try to not-so-discretely look at him in class.”

Oh god! Was I that obvious?

“I don’t know what you’re talking about!” I said, closing my locker and avoiding her curious gaze.

.......

When I unlocked the apartment door, it was dead silent and everything appeared to be in the same exact place as when I had left this morning. Throwing my backpack on the couch, I walked over to Kenzie’s bedroom door.

Dead silent.

“Kenzie?” I knocked gently.

“Go away!” Her muffled voice cracked through the door. “I’m trying to nap.”

I couldn’t help but roll my eyes, even though I know she couldn’t see me through the door. “It’s 4 PM! Don’t you think you’ve napped enough?”

“No!”

I let out a frustrated sigh as I made my way into the kitchen. There was some frozen Trader Joe’s pasta in the freezer I’ve had my eye on for a while.

Over the past three years, I watched the life slowly get sucked out of my sister. Of course, it didn’t register with me until it was a little too late, and by then Kenzie had already become a whole new person.

Buzz! Buzz! Buzz!

I thought her leaving Justin would help her come back from this state she’s dug herself it, but no such luck.

Buzz! Buzz! Buzz!

“Kenzie!” I shouted. “Your phone is ringing – again!”

Buzz! Buzz! Buzz!

For fucks sake!

“Hello?” I snapped. At this point, I didn’t care if it was the fucking Queen of England, as long as they stopped calling.

“McKenzie?” A male voice on the other line asked.

“Erm... no. Kenzie is... unavailable at the moment.” The voice sounded oddly familiar. “Can I take a message?”

“Tell her Ethan is calling, and I’d like to know why she isn’t on a flight to San Diego right now.” Duh. Of course it’s Ethan. Who else could sound so attractive, yet irritated over the phone?

“Ethan!” I immediately perked. “Um... I’d love to tell you why she isn’t where she’s supposed to be, but she’s kinda been locked in her room all weekend so...” Probably shouldn’t be telling her boss this, but I know damn well that Kenzie’s relationship with Ethan extends far beyond any employee-boss relationship should.

She let him meet mom, for crying out loud! She didn’t even let Justin meet her until a week before their wedding!

“Is she okay?” He asked, concern evident in his voice.

“I think?” And that was the truth – I didn’t know if she was okay. I don’t know if this is just a phase she needs to go through before she gets better, or if I should be seriously concerned.

All I know is that I miss my sister, I thought.

“Have her call me.” He sighed. “And if you need anything, just reach out Zoey.”

.....

I was sitting on the couch half watching an episode of The Walking Dead, and half paying attention to my calculus homework when there was a knock on the door. Glancing at the wall clock hanging in the hallway, it was just past seven.

Maybe Kenzie finally decided she was hungry and ordered food.

Yanking the door open, instead of a delivery person, I came face to face with Ethan. Well his chest, cause this dude is tall.

“Ethan?” I asked confused.

“Hi.” He replied, his voice echoing confidence. He was wearing a pair of black slacks and a white button-up with his tie hanging loosely around his neck. The long sleeves of the button-up were rolled up to his elbow, exposing his muscular arms.

“I’m here to see your sister.” He flashed me a smile. “If that’s okay with you.”

“By all means.” I motioned for him to come inside. “She’s in her room.” I pointed to the white door at the end of the hall. He nodded and headed straight in the direction I pointed to.

“Maybe you can get through to her,” I mumbled under my breath before returning to my seat on the couch.

..........

Ethan’s POV

“I understand that there was supposed to be a supervisor on-site Mr. Covaci,” I spoke into the phone. “But unfortunately there was a family emergency and Ms. Anderson could not be there. I guarantee you that the rest of the team is more than qualified to handle the audit.”

“That is beside the point, Ethan.” The voice on the other end huffed. “I am paying you for top-notch services. I expect the best of the best to be handing the future of my company.”

“I’ll tell you what,” I took a deep breath. Client retention Ethan, client retention. “If there is anything you’re not satisfied with, you can call me personally. How does that sound?”

“I’m holding you to that!” With that, the line went dead.

Dumbass.

McKenzie skipping out on this business trip really pissed off the head of Covaci Industries.

Speaking of McKenzie. She was and still is, an enigma from the moment I met her.

There was something about her that night at the bar that pulled me in, and I haven’t been able to pull back since then. I probably should have kept it in my pants knowing who she was, but there was something about her that just kept drawing me closer, and not to mention she’s incredibly sexy.

When she got up to leave the bar, I thought that was the end of it. But then I saw her outside my room, and it took everything in my power not to push her up against that door and have my way with her. I may have been horny, but she was clearly out of it and I don’t get off on pressuring drunk women.

She surprised me when she showed up at my door an hour later barely wearing any clothing, and more sober than before. I took it as a sign from above that I wasn’t meant to stay away from her.

Rules be damned – I knew I couldn’t resist her from that point onward.

I gently knocked on the bedroom door before quietly turning the doorknob. It was pitch black in the room, except for the yellow light illuminating in from the hallway. Before I could get a word out, a muffled voice came from somewhere under the covers. “I told you to leave me alone Zoey.”

“It’s not Zoey.” I gently replied, switching on the closet light so that I could see where I was going.

At the sound of my voice, McKenzie immediately shot out from under the covers. “What are you doing here?” She asked, her voice breaking.

“I thought I’d come to check in on you.” I took a seat on the edge of the bed next to her. As my eyes roamed her face, she was clearly exhausted.

Physically and mentally.

Purple bags were forming under her red and puffy eyes, and the streaks of wet tears had yet to dry.

Something inside of me broke seeing her like this.

“What’s going on, Cupcake?” My hand reached up on its own, gently cupping her cheek. Searching for any indication of what might have upset her, I asked, “What happened?”

“Nothing.” She mumbled, pulling back and out of my reach. “Go home, Ethan. It’s late, and I’m not in the mood for sex.”

“Come on, don’t do that.”

“Don’t do what?”

It was time to take a new approach.

“You were supposed to be in San Diego right now.” I quirked an eyebrow at her.

“What?” Her eyes snapped in my direction.

“Covaci Industries?” I replied, continuing to hold her gaze.

“Fuck.” She began shuffling on the bed, trying to get up. “I’ll ... I’ll go right now! It’s not too la –”

She only got as far as standing up before she had to reach for the headboard to steady herself. “McKenzie,” I growled rushing to her side.

“What?” She narrowed her eyes up at me.

“You’re not going anywhere.” I placed my hands on her hips. “It’s been taken care of.”

“What do you mea –”

“When was the last time you had anything to eat?”

“Ethan!”

“McKenzie.”

“Can you just... go away?” She removed my hands from her body and crawled back into bed. Once she was settled in the middle of the bed, her head leaning against the headboard, she looked at me expectantly.

“No,” I stated. This only fueled her frustration.

“Ethan!” She let out a frustrated groan, burying her face in her hands. “Please. Just leave me alone.”

“As much as I love the way you say my name,” I bit back a smirk. “I’m not going anywhere until you tell me what is going on. Then maybe, I’ll reconsider it.”

She continued to rest her face in her hands, and for a moment I thought she was trying to calm herself down. However, where I heard the quiet sobbing, I knew she was crying.

Okay – so maybe I pushed her too hard.

Damn it.

“Hey,” I kneeled now beside her. “It’s okay. I’m sorry I pushed you – you don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to.”

Crying women are not my strong suit.

What was I supposed to do – do I give her a hug or space?

“I have always done what was expected of me.” Her voice cracked as a fresh batch of tears continued to come down. ”Always.”

“Come here.” I climbed into bed beside her and wrapped my arm around her shoulder. She immediately buried her face in the crook of my neck and continued to sob uncontrollably.

“Sometimes, what’s expected isn’t what youneed.” I continued to hold her, rubbing soothing circles on her back as she cried.

__________________________________________________________________________

Just a glimpse into how others view Kenzie👀☺️.

Also, this chapter had me🥺😢

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