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Chapter 16 : Madelyn

Chapter 16 : Madelyn
Tuesday, July 20th, 2021

My eyes flutter open, revealing the darkly lit bedroom I’m currently laying in.

Thick, heavy curtains are drawn to my left, and I’m extremely grateful to the person responsible considering how bad my head hurts right now.

My mouth feels dry and my eyes pinch shut as memories of last night come rushing at me.

Aaliyah and I dancing while they watched.

Xavier and Caleb taking over, whispering those dirty promises in my ear. The ones I secretly desired to happen.

The drive home when I fell asleep on Xavier, and then the nightmare about my stepdad.

The kiss.

I kissed Alec.

I pulled him in, kissed him on that balcony and he pulled away.

God, I’m such a fucking idiot.

I want it to happen again, but I know it can’t.

Last night was a mistake; a hot but very stupid mistake.

I haven’t even moved my things out of my ex’s house, and I’m already wondering what it would be like to get into bed with someone else.

Does that make me a bad person?

“Morning, darling.” A voice sounds from right in front of me, nearly giving me a heart attack.

Wincing, I push myself up in bed, turning on the night lamp to my left.

“Caleb?” I say at the sight of him sitting in a chair across from me, a book in hand.

He’s not looking at me, as his ankle rests on his left knee, being used as a prop for the book.

How long has he been sitting there?

“Did you sleep well?” He asks, still not glancing up.

“What are you doing in here?” I counter, pulling the dark blue comforter over my chest.

Only then do I realize my dress is gone, and I’m not wearing any pants.

The only article of clothing on my body is a large black t-shirt that unmistakably belongs to Xavier and my underwear from last night.

When he doesn’t answer, I try again.

“Who dressed me?” I demand, not sure what to think about the possibility of one of them seeing me naked.

At this, Caleb smirks.

Was it him? I changed my mind, the thought of any one of them seeing me is enough to freak me out.

“Caleb?” I say again, wanting an answer.

Finally looking up from his book, he sees that I’m serious.

“Don’t worry. We got one of the maids to do it.” He assures, “I’m guessing you don’t remember then?”

“Not really.”

I remember Alec.

I remember walking back into an empty kitchen with Caleb and Xavier nowhere to be seen.

I remember Alec getting me some water, lifting me off of my feet, and carrying me to bed.

That’s where my memory ends.

Caleb can’t be lying though, because all of my makeup has been removed and I can’t imagine any one of them taking it off themselves.

“Do you think you could get me a pair of pants?” I ask, and my words cause him to fully abandon his book.

He looks like he wants to make some sort of flirty remark, but ultimately keeps quiet.

Reaching behind him, Caleb retrieves a pair of sweatpants from his chair before tossing them at me.

They were grey and no doubt too big for me, but I’ll manage.

I’m honestly a little surprised they even own lounge clothes considering how dressed up they always are.

Even now, Caleb’s in jeans and a black button down shirt, the sleeves rolled to his elbows.

It was tight enough to make his muscles more prominent, but I forced myself to look away before he noticed my ogling.

“Are you going to leave, so I can get dressed?” I ask when he doesn’t move.

He only leans forward in his seat and props his elbows on his knees.

“What do you remember from last night?” Caleb questions, those icy blue eyes of his commanding me to answer.

Looking at the clock to my right, I see that it’s 9:25 am.

How is he even functioning right now?

“Is there something in particular you’re wanting to hear?” I counter, not sure of what part he’s talking about.

A lot of things happened yesterday that both made me press my thighs together at the memory and blush from embarrassment.

“Do you remember your little show with Aaliyah?” He asks, and I very much do.

“Yes.” Is all I say.

“And how about with us?” He continues, “Do you remember the way my leg felt pressed in between yours?” My heart instantly speeds up.

Of course I do.

“Do you have any Advil for my headache?” I try instead; an attempt at getting him to leave so I don’t have to relive all of those memories with him.

It was much easier when I was drunk.

“Do you remember when I asked you—”

“I remember,” I cut him off, needing him to stop talking. “I remember everything up until Alec placed me here and left the room.”

Nodding at this, a smile formed on his face as his eyes dropped down to my lips.

I’m not sure I want to know what he’s thinking right now though.

“Caleb, the pants.” I say, indirectly telling him to leave.

“Answer one more question, and I’ll go.” He promises, standing and walking over to where I am.

He brings his book with him, holding it behind his back so I can’t see the cover.

“Did you like it?” He asks, looking down at me, waiting for my response.

“Did I like what?”

Despite having very little clothes on, I’m starting to feel extremely hot.

“Kissing Alec? Did you like it?”

Oh god.

“We saw you, you know, Xavier and I.” He continues, and I can’t bring myself to respond. Caleb pauses for a brief moment, looking right at me. “You should hate us.”

I should; I don’t.

I can’t think of a response, and with a final glance, Caleb simply leaves, not waiting for the answer to his original question.

The click of my door closing behind him sounds, and I’m left a hot mess all over again.

What was that even about?

Groaning at my aching head, I shrug it off for now, and move to pull on the mens sweatpants.

As predicted, they’re a little big on me. I have to tie the waist and roll the bottoms, but I manage to make it look half decent.

I could faintly smell a whiff of bacon coming from downstairs, and as if on cue, my stomach let out an angry growl.

I need food and Advil.

Opening my door, I step out into a long hallway, multiple doors lining on each side.

Considering to my left was a dead end, I carefully walked the other way, soon finding myself standing upon a massive platform.

It looked down into the living room and the kitchen.

Taking in the sight, what I’d failed to notice last night was that their house is a fucking mansion.

Almost every wall is painted white, with the exception of the odd accent wall that is black and marbled. The hardwood flooring was a light brown colour, contrasting the dark grey and black furnishing.

The one thing I couldn’t help but make note of is how while the house is decorated with artwork, bookshelves, and fancy spherical lights, there isn’t a single trace of personalization.

No family photos, no indication that they’re the ones that live here.

Just space.

Seeing a staircase to my right, I take a step towards it.

At the same time, a door opens and closes from downstairs, the sound of hushed conversation instantly filling the house.

“Do you think it was one of Marcus’s men?” Alec’s voice asks, and he sounds slightly out of breath.

“I doubt it,” Caleb responds, and I hear the sound of keys being dropped on a table. “What could he possibly gain from doing that?”

I decide to make my presence known then, feeling guilty for listening in on a conversation that has nothing to do with me.

“Madelyn.” Xavier says at the sight of me moving downstairs, causing the others to end their conversation.

“Morning.” I say to all three, stopping at the bottom of the steps.

They’re all looking at me, and memories of last night continue to swarm inside my head.

I wonder if they regretted any of it?

A lot of things happened between the dancing, the nightmare, and the kiss, and I don’t have the slightest clue as to what they think about it.

Alec’s words reappear in my head, reminding me of his promise from last night.

“Do that again when you’re sober, and I’m all yours.”

Based on the look on his face, he’s thinking about it too.

“Do you know where my phone ended up last night?” I ask, thinking I should probably let Hailey know I’m alright.

As if my voice broke them out of their frozen state, Xavier moved into the kitchen, shrugging his coat off and placing it on the counter.

“Your bag’s hanging by the elevator if you want to check there.” Caleb offers, motioning to behind him. “Why don’t you get Xavier to make you something to eat first though?” He says, winking to his friend in the kitchen before moving to sit at the long island.

Xavier makes no comment, looking at me as if he’s waiting for me to ask for something.

“Do you have yogurt and some fruit I could mix together?” I ask, not wanting him to have to actually cook me something.

Giving a short nod, he goes into the fridge and fetches out two plastic containers of strawberries and raspberries, placing them in front of the sink.

Alec goes to make a pot of coffee, leaving me at the staircase on my own.

I feel a little out of place in this fancy ass house of theirs.

Xavier notices my discomfort as he places a glass jar of yogurt down on the counter.

“I can do it.” I say as he rolls the sleeves of his shirt and begins to pick through the fruit.

“Sit.” He motions to one of six chairs next to Caleb’s, dismissing my words.

It feels weird watching him do something so... normal, but I soon find myself lost at the sight of his hands washing the fruit.

Is it weird to say that I find his hands to be attractive? Probably, I don’t know.

When I see he truly won’t let me do it myself, I move from my spot, taking a seat two chairs apart from where Caleb’s sitting.

My choice of distance causes a faint smirk to appear on his face, but he makes no comment.

“Do you want some coffee?” Alec offers, the smell of the fresh pot filling my senses.

“That would be amazing.” I say, and a second later, Xavier placed down a bowl of fruit and vanilla yogurt before me, a spoon on the side.

“Thank you.”

He merely nods in response.

Xavier really doesn’t talk much, but I’ve noticed his gestures speak for him in replacement.

Picking up my spoon, I stir the contents until the red berries are all fully submerged.

“Where’d you guys go this morning?” I ask, thoughts of who Marcus was and why the men seemed so tense about him running through my mind.

All three turn their heads to me instantly, but only Alec responds.

“Eat first, then we’ll tell you.” He says, placing a steaming hot cup of coffee next to my bowl.

The rich smell of it is enough for me to drop my question, but I still watch as Xavier cleans up the kitchen and Alec slides me some creamer for my drink.

“Thanks.” I mutter, pouring some in and stirring.

“How’d you sleep?” Caleb asks, watching me as I take a spoonful of vanilla yogurt into my mouth.

“Good thanks.” I say once I’m done chewing. “I didn’t know a mattress could be that comfortable.”

Caleb just chuckles and says, “I’m glad,” before walking away to a distant room.

He returns seconds later with a small bottle of Advil in his hand.

I thank him, instantly unscrewing the lid and grabbing one of the blue pills when it gets to me.

After taking it, I went back to eating my food, managing to take a few bites before I saw that all three men were once again looking at me.

“What?” I ask, wiping the corner of my mouth to see if there was food there. Nothing.

Xavier smirks at my question and when I ask again, Alec comes up from behind me, toying with the sleeve of the shirt I’m wearing.

“You look good in our clothes.” Is all he says before stealing the bottle of Advil for himself.

With a small blush, I look at Caleb and then Xavier. It seems my attire truly is the reason for their looks.

Even though I had knotted Xavier’s shirt, it was still bagging off of me and the fact that I had no bra didn’t help my case.

They were making me nervous under their gaze, and they knew it too— found amusement in it.

Assholes.

Xavier seemed to know exactly what I was thinking, when a small smile appeared on his face.

An actual smile and not the kind that made my blood chill, but instead the kind that made it heat.

Needing a break from the intensity, I hopped off the stool and moved towards my purse hanging on the wall.

I could feel Xavier’s eyes on my back, but I ignored it as I dug out my phone from the bag.

Powering it on, I see only two new messages on the screen.

From Hailey: Hey girl. I don’t want to freak you out, but something was a little off in the house when I got home this morning.

From Hailey: It’s nothing to worry about, but I thought I’d let you know.

My eyes narrow as I read her messages, confused by what ′a little off’ entailed exactly.

“Hey, have you guys spoken to Hailey recently?” I ask, but when I look up, it’s only Alec standing there.

I didn’t even hear the other two leave.

“Are you done eating?” He avoids, not answering my question.

Looking at my mostly empty bowl and my half drank cup of coffee, I nod my head, moving to clean up my mess.

I rinse off my bowl and spoon with warm water, and when I open the dishwasher, I see that everything is organized in a certain way.

Raising my eyebrow at Alec, he just smiles.

“That would be Caleb.” He says. “He likes things organized and can be a bit of a control freak.”

“Seems like it.” I mutter, looking at the dishes once again.

Trying to follow a similar pattern, I put the bowl in line with the others and do the same with the spoon.

It should be fine.

“Who’s a control freak?” Caleb asks, walking back into the room with my now folded dress in hand.

“Apparently you.” I give a small smile, taking the clean clothes from him.

Leaning to close the dishwasher door, Caleb laughs, “Only in the best ways, darling.”

When I turn to ask him what that means, he’s already moving into the living room with the same book from this morning in hand.

The title reads, How to Get Away with Murder.

How very funny.

Not commenting on it, I lean against the counter and look at Alec, “What’s going on?”

Just as he goes to open his mouth, Xavier walks in the room from upstairs and my attention goes completely to him.

He’s changed out of his previous clothes and into a business suit like the one he wore to the wedding.

The jacket and pants were black, and he left multiple buttons undone at the top of the white undershirt.

For the first time since I’ve met him, he’s wearing rings on each of his scarred knuckles and I have to admit that everything about him right now screams power.

Realizing I’m practically staring at him, I snap back into reality just to find Xavier looking at me with a smug expression on his face.

“Hailey came home to the house smelling like men’s cologne, and it wasn’t one she recognized.” Xavier says, confusing the shit out of me. “But... there was no sign of a break in and nothing was damaged or stolen inside the house.”

“Someone went inside, sprayed cologne, and left?” I verify, this not being even close to what I imagined they were going to say.

“It appears so.” Alec cuts in, before looking at Xavier. “It makes no sense, which is why Hailey called us this morning to check it out. That’s why we were gone.”

I want to go back to make sure nothing of mine was stolen, because there’s no logic behind this.

Then, I remember the name they mentioned this morning.

“Who’s Marcus?” I ask and watch as all three men stiffen at the question.

“Where’d you hear that name?” Caleb says from the couch, finally looking up from his book.

“I heard one of you say it when I was walking down the stairs.” I explain, even more curious as to who this mystery man is considering their reactions.

They all stay silent for a moment, looking between each other as if they were having some silent argument.

“Who’s Marcus?” I ask again.

If they think he was the person who went into the house, I think I have a right to know.

“He’s someone who’s been on our radar for years.” Xavier explains and when I give him a blank stare, he continues, “He stole from us and is currently trying to steal more, so we thought it could be a possibility.”

“But, the odds of it being him are highly unlikely.” Caleb cuts in. “He has no motive, no clue who you are, and believe me when I say he has higher priorities than walking into someone’s house and spraying cologne in it.”

“Okay...” I say, not exactly sure what to say to that.

I think going home is probably best for now.

“Do you think one of you could drive me back?” I ask, “I just want to make sure that all of my things are in place.”

“Of course. Caleb can take you over now.” Alec says, and the blond shoots his head up, not to him or me, but to Xavier.

His eyes narrow in question, but Xavier reveals nothing.

“I’ll see you tomorrow at work.” Xavier says to me before walking away without another word.

It’s clear something else is going on that I don’t know about, but it’s not any of my business.

Rising from the couch, Caleb tosses his book down on the table before turning to me.

“I’m ready when you are.” He says, and I give him a quick nod.

Moving away from the counter, my hold tightens ever so slightly around my dress to ensure it doesn’t fall.

I find my shoes nicely placed together to the left of the elevator doors, and I take a step towards them.

I don’t get far though when Alec comes up from behind me and wraps his hand snugly around my waist.

Caleb leans against the wall and watches as his friend gathers my hair, pushing it to rest on my right shoulder.

Leaning down to my left, I remain completely frozen as Alec’s mouth sits right below my ear.

“Thank you...” He says, his lips brushing ever so slightly against my skin, “For last night.”

A tingle passes down my spine at his touch, but before I can find the words to respond, he lets me go and walks off in the same direction Xavier did only minutes ago.

Remembering Caleb’s there, I look at him utterly speechless.

Something that looks a lot like lust passes through those blue eyes of his, but he doesn’t comment on it.

Instead he reaches over to beside him and presses the button to the elevator.

The doors open almost instantly and he motions with his hand, “After you.”

______

Talking with Caleb was surprisingly a lot easier than I thought it’d be.

Not once during the drive back did he mention last night, or this morning with Alec, and I appreciated it.

Instead, we listened to music and laughed together for almost twenty minutes until he was pulling up to the driveway.

Like earlier when we first left, he opened the car door for me and offered me a hand out.

Our arms were interlinked as we walked up the sidewalk and to the front door.

Finding it already unlocked, we let ourselves in, but I instantly ripped my hand away at the smell filling the entire house.

It’s not possible.

“Madelyn?” I subconsciously hear Caleb say, Hailey’s voice following soon after.

It’s not possible.

I can already feel wet hot tears beginning to fall down my face, but I ignore them.

Moving quickly into my room, I find that the same scent fills the entire space.

“Hey,” Caleb says, shaking my shoulders slightly and getting me to look at him.

Concern and confusion is expressed on his face.

“What’s going on?” He asks, wiping away a tear currently falling down my cheek.

Hailey’s leaning against my door frame and they both look surprised as the biggest smile appears across my face.

“My dad.” I say through my tears of overwhelming happiness and relief.

“My dad was here. He’s alive.”


- End of Chapter 16 -

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