Never Again

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Chapter 7

Shopping for Christmas decorations is fun for me, but Seth doesn’t look quite as excited. He’s quiet as I grab a few things, which leaves me to my own thoughts which are extremely dangerous. Ronin’s gruff voice asking me if I was seeing anyone pops in my head, and I realize he never mentioned if he is or not. Crap, what if he’s in a relationship and I was just a quick piece of ass. I know Seth said he isn’t into dating, but maybe not all of Ronin’s life is an open book for everyone to see, and how the hell did he break into Seth’s apartment? At the time, it seemed sort of romantic, but now it’s downright creepy. I shake my head, trying to get the whirling thoughts to fly away, or to settle down into some reasonable sense of order. You’re reading into this too much Treva, calm down.

When we finally get done shopping for Christmas décor, it’s about one o’clock in the afternoon and Seth declares that beer is a much needed necessity. I just wanted to go to an inexpensive shopping mall to buy a few decorations which put us a ways from downtown. Now he hurries me along so that we can go to a pub and have lunch.

We get to the pub and I’m a bit surprised at the non-awe, or allure it has. Actually it’s great. It’s a little dingy and dirty with mismatched chairs, nuts are scattered all over the floor, and men are speaking too loud making it obvious they have already had too much to drink. This is closer to my realm than the restaurant that we had all went to the other night. It makes me feel like home.

“I sent Matt a text. He’ll be here in a minute.”

“OK, but I thought you were trying to keep him away from me?” I laugh.

“Oh, shush.”

We find a booth that is clean and slide in. The waitress gave us a quick wave when she saw us walk in. In a matter of moments after we sit down, she’s at our table. “Is it just the two of you today, Seth?”

“Nope, Matt will be here soon too. Diane, this is my sister, Treva.”

“Hello Treva, nice to meet you.” She politely shakes my hand. “I guess I’ll have to get another silverware setting and menu for Matt. What can I get for you guys to drink?

“I’ll take the Hefeweizen that you have on tap with a lemon, Diane”. Seth answers.

“I think I’ll do the same.”

“Okay sugar, but do you have an ID?” I dig in my wallet and pass her the ID. “Montana aye? And twenty six, alright you’re good.” She hands back my drivers license. I cringe when the waitress says my age out loud—it reminds me of how much longer I have to go to get done with school.

“You come here often, Seth? Seeming how the waitress knows you by your first name.”

“Yeah, I like to come here on an occasion or two.” Seth shrugs his shoulders at me, “Wiseass,” he adds.

Diane is back in a flash with two beers in her hand. “So, are you guys going to wait until Matt gets here to order?”

“Nah, we’ll order now.” Seth says.

“I’d like to try your fish ’n chips” I say. “With a side of ranch for the fries, please.”

“No problem. And you Seth?”

“Make that two.”

“NO, make that three.”

“Actually, why don’t you make that four?”

The second deep male voice catches me completely off guard and I look up to see both Matt, and to my astonishment, Ronin—standing behind the waitress. Diane spins around just as surprised as me by the new voices. She says, “Alright boys, anything to drink with that?”

“I’ll have a jack and coke,” Matt tells her.

“I’ll have whatever they’re having,” Ronin points to the glasses on the table.

I’m excited to see Ronin, but also stunned. I’m not sure what he thinks of me after the other night. I feel a little foolish now, and I look down at my fingers and pick at them nervously. I can’t believe he is here. Ronin looks like the red focal point in a black and white painting—appearing out of place in this dingy tavern in his thousand dollar suit. Damn he is sexy. No matter where he is.

The intense sexual need for him instantly makes me hot. I really haven’t been able to get that volcano like eruption from the other night out of my head, and neither has he based on the way he’s reacting to the site of me. My body wants more, a lot more. Thinking about it makes me perspire a little. Shit how does he do this? Only an hour ago, I doubted everything that happened between us, and here he is causing my insides to get all queasy. Damn, I wish I could figure this mystery man out that’s such a puzzle to me.

“Here, I’ll sit next to Seth, you two can slide in here.” I’m not sure why I did that, but I slide from the booth and scoot in next to Seth. Both Ronin and Matt glare each other down, and I wonder if my idea to leave them sitting next to each other was a safe choice. Finally, they reluctantly sit down next to each other.

Lunch is amazing. The boys tell me stupid stories of crazy things they have all done together and they laugh carefree about it. I try, but I can’t force my eyes to look anywhere else but at Ronin. Every time our eyes meet, I have to squeeze my thighs tightly together to try to calm the tingling sensation. I’m more than grateful that he doesn’t mention the marvelous sexual encounter that we shared the night before last.

“Seth you have to come with me tomorrow. I’m pretty sure I’ve got Global Glass landed. They want to meet tomorrow at eleven o’clock. I need my business partner to help me seal the deal.” Matt pleads.

“Sure no problem, I’m sure Treva can get along without me for a little bit while I’m out making money.”

“Oh Seth, I’m sure I’ll be just fine. I made it this far without you hovering over me day in and day out.” I’m very aware of Ronin’s eyes watching me from across the table. It’s hard for me to keep my words steady as I speak.

Matt is hot, but he has nothing on Ronin. Ronin is a beautiful piece of heaven sent to earth. He even seems to have a glow about him. I should have checked to see if he has wings the other night. I smile to myself and Ronin is amused by my out of the place delight, because I see him smile wickedly when I do. He never releases his eyes from me and I feel them burning into me with desire. I hope he doesn’t hate me for my reactions I portrayed the other night. I slide one of my last French fries into my mouth slowly and provocatively and I see Ronin twist in his seat. A shimmer of hope shifts the current in the air when he squirms from my bold behavior.

Seth interrupts the luncheon, and my day dreaming, by announcing we have more things to do.

“What a cock block.” Ronin says under his breath.

I heard him mutter, but I wasn’t sure if I had heard him right. When I look at him he gives me a wink and I know that I had heard him right.

We all stand from the table and I feel the heat from the light hitting my bare shoulders. Ronin makes an unswerving comment. “Wow Treva you look absolutely stunning. You look like a nice tasty piece of candy, absolutely scrumptious.”

I flush a little and feel that warm tingling sensation between my legs again. How the hell does he do that to me with just a few words?

“Yes Treva, you are beautiful. That dress accents you wonderfully.” Matt has to get a compliment in too.

Ronin’s face twists into a grimace and the saying, “if looks could kill” pops into my mind.

“Lunch is on me.” Ronin reaches down and picks up the ticket with vexation. All of us immediately protest, but Ronin wins. If I had to bet on it, I am sure that when it comes to Ronin as a participant, he always wins. We all walk towards the exit to leave the pub, and Ronin leans into Matt’s ear and whispers, “Not a chance in hell dude … this one’s mine.”

Matt retorts back, “We’ll see about that.”

“You touch her Matt, and I like you as a friend, so it’ll suck to have to kill you.” Ronin isn’t joking around; he has an unnatural calm voice. They don’t know that I can hear them, and I shudder slightly from the eerie deadly tone.

“How about we let her decide, and what the fuck man, you don’t date anyway.”

“Thank you for lunch,” I turn around and break up the testosterone, to thank the beautiful man standing behind me.

“My pleasure, Miss Stone.” I smile at Ronin getting lost in his gaze for a moment. I turn back toward the door and Ronin steps up behind me close enough to extend his arm to touch the small of my back. Electric shocks buzz through me from my back all the way to my finger tips. I stiffen to his touch. He edges even closer, and my hair is right in his face. He inhales deeply. “I think coconut is becoming my new favorite scent,” he says in a low growl.

“I have missed you quite some bit Miss Stone. I need to see you again.” I don’t move away. I just stand completely still feeling Ronin’s breath on my hair.

“Even after the other night?” I ask in almost a whisper.

“Especially after the other night.” Ronin’s phone buzzes, and he pulls it out of his jacket—looking at the screen, he takes a step back from me, “What Charles?” His tone does a 360 and instead of a soft sensitive tone, his words are cold and clear as ice water … chilling me.

“NO! Just because I’m Ronin Hollister, they don’t get to demand a price. Look into this matter further; I’m sure there is a lot more to the story.” Ronin hangs up the phone without saying goodbye.

I know I haven’t yet seen the full power or nature of the man standing in front of me; and right now, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t want to be on his bad side judging his character at this moment.

“And now the true Ronin comes out.” Matt says pushing past Ronin.

Seth interrupts my quiet, personal, inception, probably just at the right time. “Come on sis let’s be tourists.”

Seth tells me he thinks it would be a good time to show me Harbor Boulevard, a perfect tourist spot. Harbor Boulevard is maybe a two mile boardwalk full of tourist attractions; it includes the museum, pirate ship, submarines, a massive aircraft carrier and the inevitable shops I had mentioned—I wanted him to take me to spend money on frivolous touristy things.

We drive from the little pub and I sit in silence thinking about Ronin. Today is my third day in San Diego, and from day one he has been constantly on my mind. I took this trip to get away and relax, and here I am getting all twisted up by a man. I close me eyes and draw the best picture of him that I can in my mind. The light reflects specs of bronze hues in his brown hair, and I imagine running my hands through it feeling each strand brushing against my fingers softly. His beautiful green eyes search my face as I rhythmically pull on tufts of his hair. Oh my … he is so beautiful. Yet, I know there is something very dark about him, the way his tone was so sharp and cold. A shiver prickles my skin. The car stops and I open my eyes.

“Whoa, is that a cruise ship?” I ask.

Seth looks at me and smirks. “This is where cruise liners dock while they gather the next group to drag out to sea,” he tells me.

“That is amazing. I never realized how huge they are.” I stare up at the cruise ship in awe.

I feel like a little kid seeing everything from a new point of view on the harbor. It is a little too late to go tour the museum and ships tonight, but walking around staring at the people and out over the bay is thrilling enough. We walk until the sidewalk comes to an end—at a docking center for trading ships—and then we turn back around. The sun has set and we wander in the evening light. The yachts docked on the water right next to the boardwalk are stunning to look at. We both joke around pretending that we own one of our own … pointing at which one we take out on a regular basis.

“It’s great to see you like this sis. I’ve been worried about you. The last few times I talked to you … well, to be honest you sounded horrible.”

I lean over the railing watching the water hit the sides of the boats and then spray upwards. “You’re right Seth. It’s been awful, school is so straining, my boss has been slyly making passes at me, but I don’t want to say anything because I need my job … mom and dad you know, they still don’t talk to me. I’m so lonely without you.” Tears begin welling up in my eyes while I grab Seth and clinch onto him. “I’m so happy you’re doing so well. Me coming here seeing you like this gives me some renewed strength, I love you so much.”

“Not much longer and you’ll get out of that hell hole too sis’.” We both look back out over the boats letting out a deep sigh. “I think Ronin has a ship out there docked somewhere.”

“What? Are you kidding me?” I glance at Seth, but I can tell he isn’t joking. Even before he said it, I knew or figured that Seth was probably very right … hell, he probably has more than one yacht parked somewhere. “It’s weird that you two are friends. We didn’t exactly come from that life style you know. Some would probably call us trailer trash.”

Seth squeezes his eyebrows together and gives me an accusatory look.

“Oh come on, you know I’m not saying you’re not good enough it’s just that mansions and yachts don’t quite seem to be our material.” I say bluntly.

“Nope, but you know maybe it’s time for our stars to change, and maybe our kids won’t have to grow up like we did. Stop worrying, they say opposites attract so maybe being his friend is right where I am supposed to be. Treva, we’re just good friends. To be perfectly honest, I am more worried about you.”

“Me? Why?” I look at him confused.

“I’m not blind Treva. I’m sure he has eyes for you. Shit he looks at you like you’re some delicious dessert, and he’s not really the man you should umm … try to have a relationship with. He treats women pretty shitty from what I’ve seen. To him they’re only good for one thing, and I don’t want some rich bastard friend of mine to hurt my favorite person in the world … all because he wanted a piece of ass.”

“Thanks Seth, but you should really know me better than that. You know I don’t date either. It might be him that would end up hurt.”

Seth laughs a burly deep laugh, “My hard ass sister. Come on, there is an awesome little Mexican restaurant up here that mixes up a great margarita.”

We walk towards the restaurant in silence, and of course my mind wanders to Ronin Hollister. One second the man is giving me unbelievable orgasms, and the next he’s clipped and guarded with an extremely sharp edge.

I’m vaguely aware when Seth pulls on my arm as he turns to walk between two dark shops. An eerie tingling sensation travels up my spine. Instinctively, I spin my head around and see a man wearing a baseball cap—his head is leaning forward like he’s looking at the ground. He has on a dark jacket, and a pair of jeans. I’m unable to see his face, but something triggers a deep pitted recollection. The way he moves and the scent in the air … panic kicks in and my fight or flight mode hits me like a swift punch in the gut. I stop mid-stride; the guy turns and gets lost in the shadows.

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