Page 54

“Just thought I’d surprise you. You said last week you were up for some company and I got a few days off.”

“Come on in,” Hawke says as he pulls the door open even farther and motions for Michelle to cross his threshold.

This is the last straw for me. No way in hell is he going to have me, tell me he wants to move forward, and have a piece on the side to fill in the gaps. And I’m most certainly not going to stand here and watch this happen.

As I spin for the stairs, I immediately start believing in my heart that Hawke is doing this to punish me. While he says things are forgiven and that we only have the future ahead, that can’t be true based on the way he just invited her in. How she felt comfortable enough to come here and surprise him.

I make it halfway up the stairs when I hear Hawke say something like, “Just have a seat. I’ll be back down.”

I hasten my pace, bounding up the stairs quicker, hearing Hawke come after me. I jet down the hallway, make it through his bedroom door, and turn to slam it in his face, hopefully with engagement of the lock to keep him out.

Except the minute I start shutting the door, he’s there with his shoulder pushing it in on me. I give up on the thought of keeping him out while I gather my clothes and my dignity, and immediately turn toward the bathroom to get my underwear, bra, and T-shirt that were discarded there.

Said intention is completely foiled with his arm around my waist, one large stride to the bed, and a toss of my body onto it unceremoniously. The towel comes loose and I squawk again in outrage as I grab the ends and try to pull them over me for some modesty.

Hawke doesn’t care. He’s not looking at my body or my feeble attempts to get the towel wrapped back around me, instead advancing my way. In just moments, his big body is over mine, straddling me where he sits his full weight down on my pelvis, effectively pinning me to the mattress. Both his powerful thighs rest alongside my ribs and the towel around his waist opens up over his left thigh, threatening to reveal more to me.

Ordinarily, this would be a mouthwatering temptation. Now I want to nut punch him, so he’d be wise to keep the towel as is.

“What in the hell is your problem?” he asks me incredulously.

“Isn’t it kind of obvious?” I level a death glare at him.

“All evidence to the contrary, it’s actually not obvious to me,” he says with what sounds like honest confusion.

“Well, let’s see…maybe that another woman showed up at your house with the intention of having sex with you while I was still here,” I grit out with fury.

Hawke shakes his head as if what I said saddens him. He looks at me with almost pitying eyes. “Poor Vale,” he practically coos at me, and it’s not done in a comforting manner.

He’s fucking mocking me.

I buck up, trying to dislodge his body and push at his legs with my hands. He doesn’t budge an inch. “I don’t get why you’re so mad.”

“Because there’s a woman down in your living room that wants to have sex with you,” I snarl at him.

“I don’t want to have sex with her, though,” he says simply.

I wasn’t expecting this and it actually takes a little bit of the wind out of my sails. But it doesn’t remove the anger I’m feeling. The fall from joyous elation as I came down those stairs just a few moments ago to utter disappointment stings badly.

“And I didn’t invite her here tonight,” Hawke adds.

“She said you talked about it last week,” I point out triumphantly.

“That’s right,” he admits without reservation. “Before you and I ever got intimate with each other.”

My anger suddenly deflates out of me. I suspect this is not only because with just a few simple explanations from Hawke I’m feeling a little off base in my assumptions, but probably more due to the fact that tonight has just been exhausting all around. Fighting with Hawke. Revealing truths to Hawke. Watching Hawke get angry in one breath and grieving in another. Having him fuck me…twice, and then finding another woman in his house. It’s really probably more than one person should have to endure in one night.

“You know, Vale,” Hawke says, and his tone is censuring as he looks down at me. “You sort of did the same thing just now that you did all those years ago.”

I gasp in shock. “Pardon me?”

“You just thought you had it all figured out. Let your emotions rule your actions. You were on your way up here without a real clue as to what was going on, going to get your clothes and cut me out again.”

“No,” I deny that adamantly. “I was not going to cut you out again.”

“Looked that way to me,” he counters.

“Looked to me like you manhandled me on your bed and sat on me so I couldn’t cut you out again,” I tell him petulantly.

“You should have just asked what was going on down there. I introduced you to her for God’s sake; shouldn’t that have been a clue that I felt comfortable enough with the two of you in the same room?”

“That was totally awkward,” I argue.

“Well, fuck yeah it was,” he says in exasperation. “But had you given me a few minutes, I could have explained it all without you childishly stomping away.”

And, he almost had me. Had me feeling small and on the verge of levying the world’s biggest and most shamefaced apology, when he had to go and call me childish.

So as not to deny him what he truly thinks about me, my hand shoots out, pinches his inner thigh where I take a hunk of skin and hair, and twist it viciously. Hawke yelps and flies off of me, his hand going to down to rub at the injury I just inflicted.

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