“I can’t believe her dad furnished the apartment,” I state to Riley as I load up my truck with boxes of her things to bring to her new apartment.
“I know right. I’m glad, though. Now, I don’t have to lose my bedroom here. There might be times I need to escape the apartment if Collin comes to visit Em, and you don’t get to make it to me.” I know she doesn’t mean for that to sound offensive, but it does. I don’t call her on it though. There may be times Collin can come home and I can’t.
“Why don’t you run inside and get Tink and her stuff, and we’ll get going,” I say shutting the hatch to my truck.
She pecks my lips and runs inside. I’m about to climb inside my truck when an all too familiar motorcycle parks at the side of the road by my mailbox. I turn my head and find Dean looking to Riley’s house and then to me. He smirks. “Remember when I said I realized she belonged to you? I lied. No worries, Parker. I’ll keep her warm while you’re out of state.” He hollers over to me with a taunting gleam in his eyes.
I ball my fist, and I’m walking towards the street prepared to remind him again of whom she belongs to. The door to Riley’s house opens, and she comes walking out with Tink and her things. Her back is turned to lock up when I look over at her. Dean’s tires burn as he zooms off down the street. She turns around and looks down the street with wide eyes. She looks back to me, those same wide eyes holding the question. An internal debate is going on in my head—to tell her what he said, to not? To stay in Texas and not let him have an inch, or go because it’s what I have to do?
“Was that Dean?” She asks, as I walk up to help her grab Tink’s litter box and a bag full of her stuff.
“Probably so,” I say, avoiding her eyes as I turn to walk back to my truck.
What the hell did he mean? Like she would let him near her again. She wouldn’t let him near her again. But he will obviously try, and that in itself is enough to make me crazy mad.
Once in the truck, I feel my irritation growing. Riley notices because she says, “You okay? Your ears are red, and that vein in your neck is pulsing.”
Part of me wants to yell at her. What were you thinking ever dating that prick? Why did you lead him on so long that now he thinks he has an in when I’m gone? Instead, I shake my head, rub behind my neck to soothe the tension, take a deep breath and lie straight through my fucking teeth. “Yeah, I just have a headache coming on. Nothing to worry your pretty little head over.” She stares into my eyes looking for something. I don’t give her much time, because I lean over the console and kiss her lips and then turn back to the front, turning the ignition.
When we get back to the apartment, Riley goes to her bedroom and shows Tink to her new home. I’m in the kitchen fighting against my own instincts and myself. I pull my phone from my pocket and send a text.
Me: I DON’T KNOW WHAT GAME YOU’RE PLAYING BUT LEAVE RILEY ALONE!
It takes a few seconds for him to reply.
Dean: SHAME REALLY – WE WERE MAKING SUCH PROGRESS
Me: BULLSHIT – YOU NEVER CHANGE
Dean: YOUR PANTIES ARE BUNCHED – THINK SHE MIGHT GET LONELY?
Fuck! I hate this guy. I seriously hate him.
Me: YOU THINK THE MOMMA OF YOUR BABY WOULD LIKE YOU TRYING TO SNEAK OUT OF THE HOUSE ALREADY?
He doesn’t reply this time, and I take a moment to calm myself. My phone pings just as Riley walks in the room. I simply place it into my back pocket and clear my throat. Her eyes track my hands and lift in question. She begins fidgeting with her hair like she does when she’s nervous. To distract her, I make small talk.
“Does Tink like her new room?”
Riley shrugs and studies my eyes. She is so damn intuitive. “What’s up, Josh? You’ve been on edge since we left my house.”
“It’s nothing. I just have a headache. I told you. C’mere.” I crook my finger as I pout.
She sighs heavily, and I know she isn’t buying my shit, but for now she lets it go. She wraps her hands around my waist, and I rest my head in her hair. Please, Lord let me keep her. Please.
©Copyright 2014 by Andrea Michelle.