Mending Heart

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Chapter 6


About Last Night

“Sometimes you have to lose yourself to discover who you might be. Sometimes what feels like breaking down is really just breaking free.” – Cristen Rodgers


Who the hell does he think he is to call me lonely?

I am not lonely. I am finally independent for the first time in what feels like forever and I can finally do whatever the hell I want without having to worry about what Justin will think of it, or how Justin will factor into that decision.

While Justin never once told me what I can and cannot do, marriage is about communicating. That meant that if I wanted to go on a girls’ trip with Megan, I couldn’t just pack a bag in the middle of the night and leave without saying anything. No, I had to get his input on it because it was the right thing to do. But quite frankly – I was tired of getting other people’s input on things.

I wanted to live my life how I wanted and when I wanted.

Getting married so young, I never got to experience my rebellious twenties and that’s one of my biggest regrets. It’s stupid, I know. I just never felt like I could be myself around Justin, so I was always reserved – playing the role of a perfect wife.

I couldn’t help but think that if maybe I went through that phase already, I wouldn’t have been so quick to throw away six years with Justin. Guess we’ll never know now, I thought as I tilted my head back and allowed the alcohol to burn down my throat. Setting the glass back on the counter, I motioned to the bartender for another one.

I don’t know how much time had passed since I had come back into the restaurant after my little run-in with Ethan, but I do know that I was pretty wasted. The guy in front of me droning on about his beach house in the Hamptons was beginning to look a little blurry, and I had to squint a couple of times so that he no longer looked like he had three heads.

“You know... what.” I hiccupped as I grabbed Blondie’s arm for support. He had probably told me his name at some point during our conversation, but it went in one ear and out the other. “Let’s get out of here.”

Blondie looked more than happy to oblige as he threw some cash on the bar and stood up. I had to grab onto the back of my stool because the ground looked a little wobbly. However, even once I had steadied myself, I didn’t get too far.

“McKenzie.” Ethan came out of nowhere to block Blondie and I’s path.

“Sorry buddy,” Blondie smirked. “But she’s going home with me tonight.”

“Like hell she is.” Ethan’s eyes flared in anger as he grabbed my wrist and pulled me to him.

Gosh, everything was so blurry.

“Fuck off, man.” Blondie took a step towards Ethan in an attempt to be intimidating, but Ethan was taller than him and stood his ground.

“I’m going to give you five seconds to get the fuck out of my face, man.” Ethan deadpanned, as he continued to glare at him.

It seemed Blondie was considering another comeback before he finally gave up and shot his hands up in surrender. “You know what, she’s all yours. She’s not even that hot.”

Well then. I may be beyond my alcohol limit for the night, but that still hurt.

Ethan’s hold on me tightened as he muttered something under his breath. “Come on.” He looked down at me.

“Who the... hell... do you think... you are?” I slurred, trying to take his arm off my waist. My resistance only made him tighten hold on me as he led us through the crowd and outside.

“McKenzie.” He scolded as if he was talking to a petulant child. He looked visibly annoyed as he was buckling me into the passenger seat of his car, which had been conveniently parked in front of the restaurant.

Once he was in the driver’s seat, he turned towards me. “What’s your address.”

“I’m not... telling you.” I folded my arms in defiance, looking straight ahead.

“McKenzie... I swear to god.” He let out a frustrated groan.

“You could be... a serial killer.”

“I can guarantee you, I am not a serial killer.”

“You... can never be... too careful.”

“You either give me your address or I’m calling Terry from HR and getting the address from him.”

My head whipped in his direction and shot him a glare. Terry was the department head for HR. “You wouldn’t dare.”

His glare matched my own. “You wanna find out?” Ethan challenged.

“Asshole,” I muttered under my breath as I took Ethan’s phone and punched in the address. When I handed it back to him, he glanced at it and arched an eyebrow. “Am I supposed to understand what this says?” He asked, amusement seeping through.

Afterwards, Ethan made me verbally recite my address because apparently, I had typed in gibberish. Once my address was in the GPS, he started the car and began driving.

..........

“McKenzie.” I heard someone call out my name and gently shake my shoulder. When my eyes sprang open, the car was no longer moving and we were parked in front of my apartment building. After living with my mother for about a month after the divorce, I could no longer take her worried side glances and began renting the top floor of a townhouse in Lincoln Park.

“We’re here.” Ethan snapped me out of my thoughts.

“Thanks for the ride,” I mumbled as I fumbled with the door handle before finally getting it to open. Once I stepped out of the car, my stomach began rolling with nausea and I could feel the bile rising.

Before I even had time to think, I was hunched over on the sidewalk emptying my stomach.

“Fuck, McKenzie.” I heard Ethan come up behind me as he took hold of my hair so that it was out of my face. Once I was sure that there was nothing else for me to throw up, I finally allowed myself to stand up straight again. Ethan was at the ready with a box of tissues he had presumably gotten out of his car.

Could this night can any more embarrassing?

“Lead the way.” Ethan gestured as he continued to hold me steady.

“I’m fine.” I snapped. My voice was still raspy from having just emptied the contents of my stomach, and I no doubt looked even worse. “I can get upstairs on my own.”

He gave me a knowing look before bending to pick me up. I let out a yelp when I felt my feet leave the ground. “What the hell are you doing?” I hissed as my arms automatically wrapped themselves around his neck.

“It’s one in the morning, McKenzie. I’m not going to sit here and argue with you.” Ethan gritted out as he stalked up the stairs to the entrance. “Keys.” He demanded. I figure now was not the time to test my luck, so I took out the keys from my purse and handed them to him.

He briefly set me down to unlock the front entrance, before scooping me in his arms once again. By the time we reached my front door on the third floor, I was surprised to see Ethan wasn’t even out of breath at all.

Is he even human?

I’m usually huffing and puffing by the time I reach the second floor – and I climb these stairs every day.

Ethan had finally set me down for good when we reached my door. I was expecting him to say goodbye and leave right after, but it seems he had other plans. Following me inside, he looked at me expectantly. “What?” I asked as I kicked off my shoes and threw my blazer on the couch.

“Bed. Now.” Well someone was being very pissy tonight, I thought to myself. I opened my mouth to say something in return, but he cut me off. “McKenzie.”

I watched him shake his head before he stalked over to my kitchen and began opening the various cabinet doors until he found the glasses.

Well, looks like he can find his way around.

Turning on the bedroom top light, I walked over to the dresser and pulled out a pair of pajama bottom shorts and an old t-shirt, setting them on the bed next to me.

After putting on the shorts, I lifted the blouse over my head, only for the zipper to get stuck to one of my earrings - leaving me with my head covered while trying to get the damn earring out without breaking it or ripping the blouse. In my deep concentrated state, I hadn’t heard anyone come into the room so when I felt a second pair of hands on my skin, I immediately tensed.

“It’s just me,” Ethan muttered, helping me unhook the earring and lifting the blouse over my head. My body betrayed me by visibly relaxing under his warm touch. Although he kept his eyes trained on my face, I became all too aware of the fact that I was standing in front of him in nothing but a flimsy pair of shorts and a black bra.

“It’s nothing I haven’t seen before, McKenzie.” He said in a matter of fact tone. Rolling my eyes, I grabbed the t-shirt off the bed and threw it over my head, unhooking the bra afterwards.

Lifting the covers, I climbed into bed and quirked an eyebrow at Ethan who was still standing in the middle of the room – watching me. “Happy?” I glared.

“Very.” He nodded sarcastically as he pointed to the glass of water and bottle of Tylenol that was now on my nightstand. “Take two in the morning when you wake up.”

“Yes, sir!” I mocked stubbornly which only caused him to let out a deep sigh.

“Just go to bed.” He pulled the covers over me. Ethan also looked like he was having an inner battle with himself, before shaking his head and smiling down at me. “Goodnight, Cupcake.”

Cupcake – I like that.

As I watched his figure retreat towards the door in my half-drunk half-asleep state, I whispered, “Don’t go.”

I thought I saw Ethan pause for a second, but my eyes fluttered shut and I allowed myself to scum to the darkness.

........

When I woke up the next morning, my mouth felt like sandpaper and it felt like my bladder was about to explode. Darting out of bed – which ultimately proved to be a huge mistake as I immediately sat back down once I saw black dots – I made my way to the bathroom to do my business.

Looking at myself in the mirror in the harsh yellow light, I looked like absolute crap. My make-up was smudged in every which way, and my lips were chapped. Splashing some cold water on my face, I let myself enjoy the refreshing feeling – wishing I could wash away the hangover as well.

When I entered the dimly lit room again, I decided to leave the curtains closed because I could already see the bright morning sun peeking through at the corners. As I picked up my phone from the nightstand, I saw that there was a glass of water and a bottle of Tylenol there as well.

I must have put those there last night - things were a bit hazy.

Swallowing two pills, I took a couple of deep breaths to motivate myself to get out of bed. Reluctantly, I stood up and began navigating through my bedroom where my clothes from last night were flung all over the room. Shaking my head, I continued towards the kitchen where I heard banging and the smell of bacon became increasingly stronger.

Did Zoey say she was coming over this morning?

Turning the corner, I stopped dead in my tracks. “Um...” I stared at a half-naked Ethan who was hovering over the stove. His jeans were hanging low on his hips and he seemed to have misplaced his shirt, giving me a perfect view of his chiseled chest and the V-shape trailing down. “What the hell are you doing here?”

“What does it look like?” He bit back, slicing an avocado. “I’m making breakfast.”

At the mention of breakfast, my stomach dropped. “No thanks.” I shook my head, heading straight towards the coffee pot which luckily contained freshly brewed caffeine.

“How are you feeling?” Ethan asked as he continued to stir some scrambled eggs together.

“Fan-fucking-tastic.” I grumbled, lifting the mug to my lips. I glanced up to see him fighting a smile.

The real question is, what the actual fuck happened last night?_____________________________________________

How cute is Ethan? ☺️❤️

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