Never Again

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Chapter 14

It is extremely hard to keep myself restrained while I watch Matt get dressed. He’s putting on his tux pants and his white oxford shirt. He doesn’t seem to mind me watching or the fact that he’s putting on the same clothes from last night. He keeps smiling at me as he rolls the sleeves of his shirt up and then buttoning the front of it … leaving the last few undone. I’m pretty sure him getting dressed is just as sexy as him getting un-dressed, “I should maybe go get in the shower real quick,” I stutter.

“You know you could have come and joined me,” he winks. “It’s more energy efficient that way,” he adds.

“Not if we stay in the shower for a long time.” I say boldly.

My comment must take him aback slightly by the way his eyebrows furrow, “Well, I can join you and we can see how well Seth’s water heater can keep up with a steady stream.” He steps ahead closing the gap between us, and my lungs struggle with each shallow breath that I take. His cologne not quite as strong, but I can still smell it on his shirt.

“What kind of cologne do you wear?” I murmur in a daze.

“Gio Armani.” His breathe escaping over my face as he softly speaks.

“Mmm it smells so good.”

“I’m glad you like it.” Very, very slowly Matt leans forward and presses his lips to mine. His kiss is gentle. I give way like an ice cube melting on hot pavement. Somehow it is perfect, yet something feels off. His minty mouth tastes delicious and his smooth movements are so tender and caring. The thought of where he had got the toothpaste flickers in the back of my mind; it quickly dissolves as he moves his tongue passionately.

The complexity of the situation hits me; like I am traveling two hundred miles an hour on a motorcycle and suddenly hit a concrete wall. I push back and gasp for air—taking long deep breaths of oxygen to bring life back into my seemingly lifeless body. “Matt,” his name slipping off my tongue between my gasps.

“It’s okay, Treva.” He says as he pulls me closer. I’m so relieved that he doesn’t push, and he seems to completely understand the unspoken words that I’m unable to say. I wish I had no conscience and could find the will to do this, even if it’s just to use him to push my thoughts of Ronin away. I want to be free of him, but this isn’t the way to do it.

I watch the buildings as we pass by—sitting crammed next to Matt in the back seat of Seth’s small Toyota truck. I suppose we were all lucky that Seth has the pickup, since we all wouldn’t have fit in his Nissan sports car. Misty is in the front seat and I notice the light smiles exchanging between her and Seth. It gives me hope that maybe something will come out of this for my brother. From what I have seen so far … I like Misty. I can feel Matt watching me, and I turn to look at him. I smile at him to let him know that his not prying is much appreciated, and he returns a carefree look. I don’t contest him grabbing my hand, and we continue to grasp onto each other until Seth pulls into a parking lot.

I giggle watching Matt trying to wiggle out of the tight backseat, since he’s not exactly what I would call small. When he’s free, I twirl around to see a beach maybe only fifty yards away. I haven’t had the pleasure to get to the actual ocean yet; all of the worries that have been on my mind are forgotten as the waves push up onto the beach. The weather is perfect—warm sun rays beaming down on us, and the fresh ocean scent is so crisp. I could get totally lost for hours just staring out at the waves swirling and crashing. It’s like they have their own dance, pushing and pulling at each other in what seems like perfect harmony. I’m pulled from my daydreaming when a light touch at the small of my back reminds me that I’m not alone. I turn around and look up at Matt, the man that has comforted me since last night.

“We’re going up there.” He says as he points to a pier stretching out over the water. All of us hike up the wood stairs that lead up to the top; Seth talks about the breakfast that the restaurant serves on the pier.

“There’s a restaurant out there?” I ask in disbelief—looking out at the small square building that seems to be hanging five hundred feet in the air. I know that I do tend to over exaggerate, but worse case scenarios fill my imagination … tsunamis, earthquakes, wind. What would we do if something like that happened? It’s a bit frightening. I try to calm my nerves so that I can have a good time. This place is awesome—it will be something to remember. I keep up with everyone else, but still try to watch all of the bobbing surfers below trying to catch a good wave. At the restaurant, I make sure that I get a window seat. I want to keep the horizon in view. It keeps me form getting motion sickness when I can see out. I can already feel the movement swaying back and forth as the wave’s crash against the pylons.

Seth was right to boast about the food, it’s delicious and no one can complain about the view. We’re all having a good time when Seth’s phone rings. His eyes flash up to me when he looks at his caller ID. I can tell by the way he looks down at his phone that he doesn’t want us to know who called … but he’s not sly enough. I’m sure it’s Ronin by the concern etched on his face. I appreciate how much Seth worries about me, and I appreciate it more when he silences his phone and tucks it into his pocket. I’m not ready to face that drama yet. For now, I just want to enjoy the day with the people I’m with.

Misty and Seth walk in front of me and Matt, as the four of us walk down the sidewalk near the beach. The overall feeling I get from the people on the busy street is one of fun and good times. The area is filled with unique gift shops, and nooks and crannies filled with all sorts of things. I notice that there are a few people carrying surf boards heading toward the beach. When I peer through the windows, I can see that many of the shops are filled with surfing paraphernalia. A man with no shirt on and a towel wrapped around his waist brushes past me. He has the longest, and thickest dreadlocks I have ever seen. I don’t feel out of place at all here. This would be a fun place to live. I think to myself. “I think I must have been a hippy in my past life.” I blurt out, loud enough for Seth to hear. He stops and turns back around to look at me … rolling his eyes.

“What?” I laugh.

The day in the sun was a blast and just the right amount of busy to keep my mind off of that one guy … Ronin Hollister. We drop Misty and Matt off before we head back to Seth’s apartment. “I like her.” I say once Misty is gone.

“Oh I’m glad you approve,” he winks at me, “but who knows if it will ever go anywhere.” Seth chuckles nervously.

“You know that you don’t have to be a bachelor for the rest of your life, right?” I pat his shoulder as he shifts his truck.

“I know, but if I got married and had kids and all that stuff, then who’d take care of you? I’m not sure that my wife would be too fond of the sister–in-law living with us forever.”

No more playing nice, I punch him in the arm. “Oh don’t you dare use me as an excuse, Seth.” I pause, “Seth,” I cut through the silence in the car, “can we just maybe get some pizza delivered and grab a few movies and hang together tonight?”

Seth looks at me and gives me a warm deep smile that lights up his whole face. “Of course sis”

٭٭٭

I slide into my comfy sweat shorts and a T-shirt—getting ready for a relaxing night with movies and carbohydrates. After getting back to the apartment, Seth ordered our pizza and now he’s sprawled out on the couch with a beer in his hand. I find my favorite place to perch. “Hey I want one of those.” I pipe up eyeing the beer.

“In the fridge, and if you want a frosty cold glass they’re in the freezer.” Seth says.

I opt just for a cold beer, because I don’t want to wash a glass later. I notice the new laptop, and try to get it out of my mind. I don’t want any reminders of where it came from. I hadn’t thought about it until now, but I hadn’t even checked to see if he had tried to call or message me. I had purposely left my phone here all day. A fierce burning in my gut wants to fight against my emotions to see if he had, and of course my stupid emotions win. I go back to my room to grab my phone.

Instantly, I recognize the icons across the screen telling me that I have missed calls, voice messages and texts. My thumb lingers on the screen for a moment before I push open the unread texts.

I missed you last night I hope

You had a wonderful time

-R-

I tried calling, is everything alright?

-R-

Treva I hope your brother is keeping you

Tied up from your phone

I am not doing well with not knowing

Where you are

-R-

Treva I am going to send out a search

Party for you if I don’t hear

From you very, very soon

-R-

This is getting serious where are you?

Are you ignoring me?

Treva contact me ASAP

Ronin

He sent multiple messages, each one getting more frantic. Serves him right … arrogant, prideful, bastard thinking he can play me. I’m not his. He can’t demand to know where I am. A devious smirk pulls at my lips as an idea pops in my head, Well, I can play too.

I type a quick message back to Ronin:

No need for a search party

I’m fine–actually great!

I had a delightful time last night

Matt and I danced so much my feet hurt

My phone was dead I wasn’t able to charge it

Today we all went and hung out by the beach

It was beautiful

We can talk later hanging with Seth

Treva

Send

I figure that will make his brain work a little—not knowing what I was up to. I want to make him sweat and see how it feels to be tossed aside for someone else. Instead of waiting for a response, I drop the phone on the night stand and go to join Seth … feeling liberated and for the first time today, I have a real smile.

The credits are still playing when the pizza arrives. “Awesome, Hawaiian and Taco … perfect my two favorites.” I exclaim.

The movie is about over when a knock comes from the door. The two of us are so engrossed in the suspense of the scary horror film we are watching it makes us jump. I look at Seth and laugh as he gets up to answer the door, but I’m not about to move—I’m glued to the TV watching a crucial, nail-biting scene in the movie, not caring who is knocking.

“Hey, what’s up guys? Come in, Treva and I are just watching that new Wolf movie.”

“Oh, sorry we interrupted.” A male voice says.

“Nah, don’t worry about it. Want a beer?” Seth offers as he swings the door open for his new visitors.

I take a second to glance up and see Matt, Travis and her walk in. “Oh great, just who I wanted to see”, I say mumbling to myself as I roll my eyes.

Matt slips past Seth and heads straight for the couch after he see’s me sitting on it. He sits down very close to me and reaches out and grabs a beer from the coffee table.

“Hey sexy girl, how you doing?” Matt asks as he pulls the tab open and sits back making himself comfortable.

I smile at his relaxed style around me, “Not too bad. What are you guys up to?” Matt is so hot, but he doesn’t act arrogant about it. I remember our interactions from last night and this morning—it makes me blush a little. I really do enjoy his company.

“Well, we’re going out and we thought we’d swing by and ask you two if you’d like to come along,” he leans in closer “… and personally, I missed seeing your beautiful face. I needed to see you again.” He says quietly.

I roll my eyes at him, “are you trying to flatter me, Matt?”

“Is it working?” he furrows his brows.

“Hmm, how about you keep trying and I’ll let you know later.”

Matt’s grin tells me that he welcomes the challenge and is all ready to lay it on thick. Out of the corner of my eye I notice Amy’s evil eyes throwing daggers in my direction. It makes me smile simply knowing I can get under her skin so easily. “Stupid bitch … she doesn’t even know me and she already hates me.” I hum under my breath.

“So you want to hit the town with them sis?”

It feels good hanging on the couch with Seth. Besides that, the lack of sleep last night has me exhausted. I glimpse at Matt and see his hopeful eyes; then I look at Seth with his apologetic eyes, but the daggers from Amy, is all the push I need … “SURE”! Amy’s face looks as if it might explode with fury right in Seth’s living room, and it gives me a twinge of enjoyment.

I look down at my wardrobe, “I need to change real quick.”

“I think you look great just the way you are.” Matt says laying it on deep.

“Yeah right.” I laugh.

I jump up and Matt surprises the hell out of me by giving me a light slap on my ass. I squeal and run into my room. Quickly, I take a few things from my suitcase. I throw on a jean skirt and put on a black and silver cotton shirt with sparkly sequins over my tank top … letting the over shirt fall off my shoulder. I put on a little eye shadow, mascara, blush, and lip gloss. And then I pull a few pieces of my hair free from my ponytail and grab a pair of earrings. It takes me exactly seven minutes to get myself together. I grab my phone and toss it in my purse without even looking at it.

“Alright, all ready to go.”

“Holy shit, I didn’t know a woman could get ready that fast.” Travis teases. I give a bow and Seth shakes his head.

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