Cracked Open: book 3

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Six

Kaia

I watched from the bar as Kallan walked in. I was already half drunk. I didn’t want to admit it, but I was nervous. It was as simple as that. The anxiety came from many things but it all started with Ciro. I wanted to love him, and I think I did. Or at least I was at that middle ground of liking and loving; that part in the relationship that never got named. I haven’t told Ciro everything yet, but I think he knew. I hope he knew. Sooner or later I know he’s going to have me tell him everything.

He’s going to want to hear the why’s and how’s when it comes to loving him. Why? I think it’s because he doesn’t ask questions. Ciro just feels me out. Knows me. How? I have no idea yet. That’s the hardest one to answer and the hardest one to admit. My heart hasn’t gotten that far yet in our relationship. But I don’t love him yet, and I don’t like him either. I want him though. Just like I want to love him, not only physically but emotionally. When Kallan reached the bar, her figure blurred and I had to lean back, into Ciro, to get her to clear up. Ciro supported me and kissed me on the side of my head. The pressure of his lips were enhanced and felt nice in my hair. I could hear him inhale and knew he was taking in my scent. It’s odd that his action wasn’t creepy.

Not knowing what just happened between us, Kallan pulled my heavy weight into her arms and hugged me. I let my body melt into her arms for a second, and as if it were practiced we both pulled away at the same time.

Kallan grabbed my face between her hands, shorter than we hugged, and studied me long enough to state, “I see you started without me.”

“We s-ssurre did-d, Sis.” Oh gods, was that me speaking?

I looked to Ciro to see if he heard my slurred response. He was trying not to laugh.

I turned away from both of them and attempted to call out to tonight’s bartender. She was a girl was boobs that were pushed as far up as her collarbones. That had to be uncomfortable. Within the time span of one thought, I had already forgotten what I was supposed to be doing. Glancing over at my sister, who was staring at me and then Ciro, I remembered what I was supposed to do. “Hey Sally! Drinks, now.”

The Sally creature glanced my way and just glared with annoyance. Did I get the wrong name? “Tally!”

She huffed and brought over two more and an extra for Kallan. “For the hundredth time its Callie.”

Oh, I must be worse off than I thought. Maybe I should stop drinking. Glancing over at Ciro, I saw that his shot glass was already empty. Kallan downed hers in one gulp and called for another. My eyebrows pulled down uncomfortably. That wasn’t at all like her. She glanced my way nervously. Her skin was already pale under the strobe lights and her eyes were dull. Some of that could be from her lack of sleep.

Downing my own shot, I told myself I'd get her to spill it later.

After Kallan’s third drink she turned sharply to Ciro, who had his hand around my shoulders and was playing with the tip of my braid. His lips were close to my ear and I could feel his warm breath. The position made me aware of every second; waiting for him to speak.

Kallan spat, “And who might you be?”

Ciro took a few seconds to answer, most likely trying to read her like he does me. I could feel his stillness behind me. “Ciro, your sister's lover.”

I immediately got butterflies in my stomach at the way he so confidently stated that. The alcohol was heavy and no longer felt drinkable with the butterflies spasming like they were. Maybe I shouldn’t have drank that much. I should have paced myself. I should tell the butterflies to stop making me feel like I need to throw up.

I giggled at the thought, because there were no butterflies down there. Realizing I laughed out loud, Kallan looked at me in surprise.

I froze and thought through why she was looking at me so weirdly. It wasn’t the butterflies. Oh, she thought I laughed at Ciro’s statement.

“Yeah, Ciro’s m-my lover. But he’sss allsooo my sexx buddy.” The more I talked the less pronounced my words were. Everything was sounding slippery and slow.

Kallan sighed and took another swallow of her concoction. Without looking at him, “Well, Ciro it’s nice to finally meet you. Kaia talks and thinks about you a lot.” She smiles knowingly down at her drink.

“What! No, I do not! You lie!” as soon as I started to protest Ciro butted in.

“You talk about me?”

I couldn’t answer because it wasn’t true. I didn’t think it was.

Kallan answered for me instead. “Yes, she does. She talks to her flowers about you. It always sounds like she’s frustrated though.”

Then my sister cocked her head to the side, and she became extremely protective in that way she does; like a mother. I saw it in the way her body language stiffened and her eyes sharpened. Kallan stood up from her stool and nudged in between Ciro and I’s body’s. “Why is that?”

I can see it now. In a few seconds her finger’s going to be poking his chest, and she'll be demanding everything out of him. For a second, I was proud of having a sister so protective. Then I realized Ciro needed me.

Ciro just stared at her blankly, and then looked at me for help. His questioning face asks, why is she so worried about us? What the hellís going on? Of all the things he’s not afraid of, the one person he hesitated with was my sister.

Coming to his rescue, I inched my way in between both of them like Kallan did. “Ciro isn’t causing any trouble. Unless he wants to.” I smirk and hear Ciro chuckle while he inches his hand up my exposed back.

Kallan’s look immediately changed from protective to worried. Her lips curved around my name, not speaking aloud, “Kaia what about -“

I stopped her quickly by hugging her, and I chose to tell her as much of the truth as I can. Breathing into her ear I whisper, “I know Kallan, but he’s good for me. I think...I think I’m falling in love with him.”

Kallan gasped.

“He’s right for me. I don’t want to say it to soon. But Kallan.” My voice cracked and I could feel her chest cave in with a breath like she couldn’t believe it. Honestly I couldn’t either.

Pulling away I looked into my loving sister's eyes. I immediately saw jealousy. I saw apprehension, but I smile reassuringly at that. Than I saw fear, but I knew it wasn’t fear directed towards me. She was thinking of something else. It’s that same something else that she downed her third drink for. I need to get her to spill it later. Right now I wanted time with my...lover.

“Are you going to be okay?” I’m still intensely worried about her though. A few days ago I had to wake her up with a shocking cold pail of water. She was in one of her visions unknowingly at the time. These strong visions sound dangerous from what Camira told me. We need to go see the not-so-much-of-a-friend witch I know.

Kallan nodded tight lipped and motioned for me to go. Hugging her quickly, I pull Ciro onto the dance floor.

Once we found a spot on the floor, Ciro pulled me into his chest. He knew my legs were too weak for anything else but slow dancing.

But before we took our first step my heart jumped. “Ciro.”

I felt him shake his head, the brush of his chin on my head. He whispered, “I’ve got you.”

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