I whirl around at the familiar shitty voice saying my name, narrowing my gaze when I see Tristan standing in front of me. Alone.
“Go away.” I turn my back on him and continue leaning against the counter, ignoring the way my heart bounces around in my chest.
“I thought you already left.” I can feel him approach and I stiffen my spine, hoping he can read my don’t touch vibes.
“We’re leaving now.” I cross my arms in front of me, keeping my gaze straight ahead. I refuse to look at him.
“Me and Kelli.” He needs to go. Like, right now. I send him a quick glance before I look away. “Where’s your friend?”
I did not mean to ask that. I sound like a jealous shrew.
“If you’re talking about Toni, she left. Shep and Jade are helping her load up her car.” He moves so he’s standing directly in front of me and I tear my gaze away from his. I don’t want to look at him, stare into his pretty eyes, hear his pretty words. They’re meaningless. “You’re mad at me.”
He’s so infuriating. Why can’t he not speak his mind for once in his life? “I’m nothing at you. I wouldn’t care if you started fucking her in front of us in the living room. You can do whatever you want. I don’t own you.” I dare to look at his face just in time to see pain flash in his eyes.
“I don’t owe you anything.” His words are like a knife to my heart and I start to walk away but he grabs my arm, keeping me from leaving. I keep my head bent, trying to ignore the way my skin sizzles from his touch. “Yet I feel like an asshole for what I did.”
“You should.” I look into his eyes again, searching for the lies, the arrogance, the mocking. But none of it is there. The mask has dropped. He looks downright tortured.
He nods. “I do. I don’t understand why. What are you doing to me, Alexandria?” He says those last words in a harsh whisper and my resistance starts to crack.
“Oh, no you don’t.” Kelli’s voice startles us both and we spring away from each other, Tristan releasing his hold on me. “Let’s go, Alex.” She takes my arm and starts to tug me away from him. I let her.
“We need to talk,” he says.
“You had your chance,” Kelli tells him.
“Wait.” I stop her from dragging me to the door by digging in my heels. “I want to hear what he has to say.”
Kelli sends me an incredulous look. “What are you saying? You’re insane,” she whispers.
“You’re right. I am.” Oh God, I really hope I don’t regret what I’m about to do. “I know I shouldn’t, but I want to hear what he has to say. I’m curious.” How can I explain that I’m so drawn to him I can’t help but agree to whatever he requests? If I admit that I’ll sound like an idiot. One of those submissive girls who’ll do whatever the big macho man says.
It’s not about that with Tristan and I. There’s more here. I think we’re just scratching the surface. And though it might be a mistake and I might be setting myself up for a lot of pain later, I need to hear him explain his actions.
I need to figure out if he’s with me or if I’m alone in this…mess.
She glares at him for a long, tense moment before returning her gaze to mine. “You shouldn’t,” she says loudly. “He’s not worth your time.”
“You’re right. I know,” I whisper. “Just give me—ten minutes. Text me and I’ll meet you out at the car.” I reach out and grab her hand, giving it a squeeze. “Please?”
“Everything is telling me I should just shove you into my bug and get us the hell out of here,” she says, her voice low. “But whatever. It’s your funeral. You’ve got ten minutes and then I’m gone.”
With that, she walks away.
Leaving me alone with Tristan.
I’ve got her where I want her. I can’t even believe she’s going to listen to me. My biggest problem?
I have no idea what I’m going to say.
“So.” Alexandria crosses her arms in front of her, all defensive bristly girl. Not that I can blame her. I asked for this. “Talk.”
I glance around the short hall that’s just off the kitchen. “I can’t talk to you here.”
“You have nine minutes,” she reminds me as I hook my arm around hers and start walking. She follows, her body snug against my side and I pull her in as close as I can. “Where are we going?”
“My room,” I tell her as I lead her up the stairs. I’m determined to get her alone, beg her for…what? Forgiveness? I don’t say I’m sorry. Ever. I’m not sorry for what I’ve done, what I’ve said, who I am. This is me, flaws and all. If whoever’s in my life can’t accept me, then I don’t need them.
Seeing Alexandria sitting on that couch rendered me stupid. So fucking beautiful with her hair falling past her shoulders in gentle waves, cheeks rosy, eyes so fucking blue, like the sky on a perfect spring day. Wearing a white oversized sweater that somehow made her look virginal—like an angel.
Not for me. Those are the three words that ran on a continuous loop inside my head. She’s not for me. I’m not worthy. I wouldn’t treat her right, no matter how hard I tried. So I went for the one I knew I was worthy of—that horny chick Toni. She was all over me. I could’ve invited her to stay and she would’ve said yes. Would’ve guaranteed myself a blowjob at the minimum, a night of heavy duty fucking at the absolute maximum.
But all I could see and feel was Alexandria watching me the entire time I halfheartedly flirted with Toni. The disappointment on Alexandria’s face was clear. The disgust. Kelli was shooting daggers at me with her eyes and I could feel every single one of them piercing my skin, reminding me that I’m an asshole. A cold hearted, careless dick who doesn’t deserve a good girl.
No matter how badly I want that good girl.
I hated myself at that moment. Had opened my mouth to let Toni know she needed to go on her merry way when Shep broke us up and practically shoved Toni out the door, Jade following after them. It saved me from having to tell her no and I appreciated that. But I figured I’d be in trouble with Shep and Jade later.
What else is new?
“I really don’t want to go to your room,” Alexandria says, yanking her arm out of my grip. We’re only halfway up the stairs and I turn to look at her, fear swirling in my gut when I realize she’s headed back down. As if she’s going to walk right out of my life and never return.
“Shit,” I mutter, chasing after her. I snag onto the hem of her sweater, grabbing a handful of soft fabric as we both land on the bottom of the steps. I scoop her up into my arms—though seriously, I have no right—and pin her against the wall, the both of us breathing hard, our chests rising and falling in tandem. Together. “Hear me out.”
She shakes her head, keeping her face averted. “I should go.”
“I’m a dick.”
“Yes, you are.” She still won’t look at me.
“I’m also drunk.”
“That doesn’t excuse your behavior.”