Slow Play (The Rules 3) - Page 71

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“I wanted to hear your voice.” She hesitates. “I only just got them. I was out with Kelli.”

Fucking Kelli. Always messing with my game.

More like my lack of game.

“We went to dinner and exchanged Christmas presents. She leaves tomorrow morning,” she continues.

Damn it, my girl is by herself for fucking Christmas. I can’t stand it. I should hop on a plane tomorrow and go to her.

“You’re spending Christmas alone then.” I take a deep breath. Tomorrow is the twenty-second. I can make it in time as long as the weather cooperates and I can find a plane seat.

“Conrad is here with me.” That’s little consolation. “And we’re going to Steven’s for Christmas dinner.”

Fucking Steven. Though I don’t hate him. He’s good to Alexandria. And he’s halfway in love with Kelli so I don’t have to worry about him. “I’m glad you have somewhere to go.”

“Tristan, did you mean what you said in your texts?”

My throat goes dry. “I meant every fucking word.”

She’s quiet for a moment. “I’m sorry I wasn’t honest with you.”

“I’m sorry I was such a dick to you that night,” I counter.

“I should’ve told you the truth from the very beginning.”

“I should’ve kicked Marc’s ass. He deserved it.” Just thinking about him makes my hand curl into a fist.

She bursts out laughing. “I miss you.”

“I miss you too. So fucking much it’s killing me.”

“Where are you?” she asks.

I tell her about my parents’ so-called cabin in Vail. She tells me she’s been there before—of course. Alexandria and I have more in common than we originally thought. We make small talk for a while until finally I ask her a question, curious to see how she answers.

“Angel, tell me what you want for Christmas,” I whisper.

“I don’t want anything. I already have everything I want,” she whispers back.

“There’s gotta be something you want. A new car?”


“New shoes.”

“Absolutely not.”

“A new purse.”

“Now you’re just teasing me.”

I smile. I am. “Tell me, angel. What do you want for Christmas that only I can give you?”

She sighs, the sound going straight to my dick. I want her here, naked and wrapped all around me. “Are you sure you want to hear this?”

Now my curiosity is piqued. “Definitely.”

“I want—love. Real, ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming, can’t-live-without-each-other love,” she admits, her soft voice reaching right inside my chest and putting a stranglehold on my heart.

But I recognize those words. Wasn’t that long ago when I heard them either. “Did you just quote Carrie Bradshaw to me?” I ask.

She’s laughing again. I think she might be crying too. “Yes. Oh my God. That you even recognize the words confirms what I’ve been thinking all along.”

“What’s that?”

“That we were made for each other.”

The world has ended. Make the announcements. I’m playing Call of Duty with Conrad. Clearly, I’m beyond bored.

It’s Christmas Eve and it’s just the two of us in the house. We ordered three pizzas around lunchtime so we’d have something to eat for dinner too, since the kitchen is pretty much devoid of food. Conrad told me he planned on playing an all-night Call of Duty fest so he wouldn’t be inclined to wake up early on Christmas morning and get depressed because he wasn’t with his family. He couldn’t afford a ticket home so that’s why he’s stuck here. I feel bad for him but hey, at least we’re in this together.

I don’t feel so depressed over Christmas anymore. Tristan is coming back on the twenty-sixth. We’ve been talking regularly since the night I got his texts, though I haven’t heard much from him today. He did mention family obligations so I figure he’s off at some fancy restaurant eating a fancy meal that probably costs as much as my entire grocery budget for two months.

I’m just glad that Tristan and I are communicating again. We’re being completely open with each other too. Long phone conversations late into the night, confessing our past, our secrets to each other. I told him about my parents. He told me about his. There are moments where our lives could’ve possibly intersected but somehow they didn’t. We have a lot in common what with the way we were raised, Tristan and I.

But not anymore. I’m the poor girl and he’s the rich boy. And that’s okay. I can ease right into his life if I need to, though—whoa, I’m thinking way too far ahead but I can’t help it. Now that Tristan and I have cleared the air, I can see a future with him, and I think he can see one too.

Our relationship isn’t perfect, but it’s ours. We’re working on it together. He’s all in. I know he is. And I’m all in too.

I end up playing with Conrad for over two hours and he decimates me. To the point where my vision is blurry and my head is spinning. I stagger back to my dark bedroom with a bad case of motion sickness and I collapse on top of my bed, closing my eyes to ward off the dizziness.

I’m so tired. I should brush my teeth. Wash my face. I shrug out of my sweater and toss it on the floor. Shimmy out of my leggings and kick them onto the floor too. I turn over on my side, drifting off into sleep when I hear a tiny ping.

Another one.

Then another.

I sit straight up, pushing my hair out of my face. The ping comes again, the sound of something hitting glass. Like my window.

Scrambling out of bed, I go to my window and pull the blinds back, peeking outside. There standing on the other side of the rosebush is Tristan, his arm back as he throws a piece of bark at the glass.


Yanking up the blinds, I stand in front of the window, smiling at him as I open it. “What are you doing here?” I ask.

He flicks his chin at me. Oh, he looks so good. Clad in a thick navy blue sweatshirt he likes to wear and jeans, he tosses the rest of the bark he was clutching onto the ground. “I’m here to see you.”

I lean against the windowsill, giddiness threatening to take over and make me act ridiculous. He came home early for me. He missed Christmas with his parents for me. “Why didn’t you knock on the door like a normal person?”

“I thought this was more romantic.” He shrugs.

My heart threatens to pound out of my chest. “Are you calling yourself a romantic?”

His expression goes serious. “I’m a romantic only for you.”

Oh. Wow. He needs to get in my bedroom. Now. “Want me to let you in?”

“Whatever it takes to get to you, angel. I’ve been stuck in an airport for hours trying to make my way back here. If I have to hack through this fucking rosebush and crawl through your window to get you in my arms, I’ll do it.”

He’s said those words to me before. I love hearing them again. “Meet me at the front door.” I shut the window and drop the blinds, then run to the door. I undo the locks, open the door and throw myself at Tristan. He catches me, his arms going around me, his mouth pressed against my forehead as he hugs me tight.

Tags: Monica Murphy The Rules Romance