Obligation, p.13
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       Obligation, p.13
 

         Part #2 of Underground Kings series by Aurora Rose Reynolds
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  So, a few days ago, I started getting things separated and put away into a filing cabinet I found, and then I scanned others things that could go straight into the computer. Today, I found a paper with my name on it. I was confused by the wording and didn’t really understand what I was looking at, so I took it over to Kai, who had just gotten off the phone. When he saw the paper in my hand, his face had closed off and my stomach had dropped.

  He sat me down on the desk in front of him to explain. My father had left real estate in my name before he passed away, and Kai’s father—and now Kai himself—held the deeds to those properties. Not only was the land left to me worth millions of dollars, but the casinos that now sit on the land that was once owned by my father produced extra income.

  I swim harder, cutting through the water, and then come up for air, inhaling deeply.

  This whole thing wouldn’t be so bad if I weren’t falling in love with Kai.

  He has done everything within his power to make me feel like he needs me as much as I need him, but this has me doubting his real reasons. Millions of dollars are attached to me, giving me the knowledge of why Thad was attempting to kidnap me. Whoever I married would have access to that property and, in turn, have access to all the money that was now mine.

  And that is why my heart hurts. I married Kai without really questioning his motives. I didn’t question why he would insist that it was the only way for him to keep me safe.

  You’re an idiot, Myla, and your self-preservation is basically nonexistent, I reprimand myself, looking at the horizon. It’s so beautiful, almost as beautiful as the man I just ran out on. The life he has given me has all the makings of the perfect fairytale—a handsome knight saving the day, living in a beautiful castle, and falling in love.

  “Fairytales don’t exist,” I whisper into the salty air then turn around and swim back to shore.

  As I come out of the water, I see Kai sitting on one of the chairs that are closest to the beach. His eyes are covered with his sunglasses, but even through them, I can feel the burn of his gaze on my skin.

  “We’re not done talking, Myla,” he growls, standing up and walking towards me.

  I ignore him and walk into the house, not caring that the clothes I have on are the ones I just dove into the ocean wearing, dripping water everywhere.

  “We need to talk.”

  I round on him and know that, if he would just give me a little bit of time, I would be better adept at understanding how I’m feeling, but like always, when he wants to talk, we must talk, and now isn’t any different. All that does is serve to piss me off further.

  “Stop.” I hold up my hand when he starts towards me.

  He pulls his sunglasses off and his gaze drops to my hand then lifts to meet my eyes again.

  “I never wanted this—any of this.” I wave my hand around. “I didn’t want my parents to die, I didn’t want my childhood to be blackened by someone I had trusted, and I didn’t ask to fall in love with a man I’m not even sure I really know. So if you could just give me five fucking minutes to deal with how I feel, I will get back to you!” I scream and start to storm off again, but this time, I’m stopped when I’m suddenly pinned to the wall by Kai, who is breathing heavily, his face inches from mine.

  “What did you just say to me?” he growls.

  I push against his chest, wanting to get away.

  “What did you just say?!” he roars.

  My body stills, and I lean away from him. “I said I didn’t want any of this,” I whisper, closing my eyes.

  “No, Myla. You said you didn’t ask to fall in love.”

  “I never said that.” I open my eyes and then close them when I realize he is right—I did say that.

  Shit, that was not good. Not good at all.

  “Do you think you’re the only one with shit on the line here? Do you think it’s easy for me to know that the woman I married—the woman I love—has a fucking target on her back? One that gets bigger every fucking day I spend with her? I make that shit worse. Knowing I could be the reason she’s hurt—or worse—but not having the fucking balls to stay away from her because I knew she was meant to be mine from the moment I met her when I was ten years old…” He pauses, taking a breath. “This isn’t fucking easy, Myla, but nothing good ever is.”

  His hand comes to wrap around the back of my neck, and his face dips closer to mine. “I understand that you need me to be honest with you, but I know—I fucking know—there is shit you’re keeping from me as well. Shit that is big. So big that it forced you away from your family.”

  I inhale, feeling my pulse spike.

  “I have let you have that, been waiting for you to figure out when you would be ready to talk to me about it, not wanting to push you too hard.” He pauses again.

  My insides feel like they are going to collapse in on me with the weight of his words.

  “I should have told you about the shit your dad left you, but I didn’t really see the point in doing that. You will never touch the money that comes from that land, even if we’re not together. I won’t allow you to touch it because it’s fucking dirty. The men who want it are not good men, and I mean they are not good men in a way that they will kill you without even thinking twice about it. That is not what I want for you, and that sure as fuck is not what I want for any children we bring into this world.”

  His hand lets me go and he takes a step back. “So you can be mad that we didn’t talk about it, but you need to get over it and trust me.” His jaw ticks and his hands fist before his voice softens to a tone I have never heard from him before. One that makes my insides feel like they have withered up and died. “This is what I was raised to do, and no one—not even you—will stop me from doing that.” He snarls the last words then storms off down the hall.

  I stand there stunned for a moment as tears fall down my cheeks before walking to our room, where I start the shower, pull my wet clothes off, and get in. Then I slide to the floor, letting all of his words sink in. He loves me. He said that he loves me in a way that I know he really meant it, and I have no doubt that it is true.

  I also believe him. He wouldn’t want me to deal with anything that came from the money from the casino, and if I were honest with myself, I wouldn’t want anything to do with that money either. My parents died, and before they did that, they’d sent me away, never wanting what was happening to them to touch me. I hate that I didn’t have them, but for me, the idea of growing up knowing that the things I had around me had been purchased with dirty money didn’t sit well with me.

  I would never want that. And I understand why Kai has been working so hard to get his family out of the business they are in. I wrap my arms around my legs, put my forehead on my arms, and let the tears fall. I don’t know how long I sit on the shower floor, but when I sit up, my body is stiff and the tears have finally started to lessen. I get up and take my time washing myself, not wanting to face the consequences of my actions.

  It’s so hard to trust anyone. And even though Kai has never given me a reason to doubt him, I have. I get out of the shower, go to the bedroom, and crawl under the covers without even drying off. I know I need to go find Kai and apologize for running out on him without giving him a chance to explain, and then I need to apologize for acting like a crazy women. Then I need to tell him that I love him and hope he forgives me.

  More tears begin to fall as I think about the look in his eyes as he spoke his last words to me. I hate that I did that to him. I hate that I’m so screwed up that I didn’t even take a moment to think about what I have learned about Kai over the last few months. I just jumped to the conclusion that he was out to hurt me and road that train all the way to Crazyville. I press my face deeper into the pillow, just wanting to forget everything that has happened.

  I wake up and the room is dark except for the moonlight that is glowing through the window. I roll over and realize that the bed is empty, and my pulse skids at the thought that Kai didn’t come to bed. Sitting u
p, I push my hair out of my face. I gather my courage and get out of bed, walking to the dresser and finding a pair of panties and a top to wear before pulling my hoodie on over my head. I don a pair of sweats and head out of the room.

  “Do you know where Kai is?” I ask Aye as soon as I open the door and step out into the hall.

  “No. He hasn’t been this way yet.” He moves to my side. “What’s up? You feeling okay?” he asks softly.

  I’m sure that I look horrible. I don’t even have to look in the mirror to know that my eyes are red and swollen from crying.

  “I’m fine. I just need to find Kai,” I mumble.

  He starts to say something, but I shake my head and begin walking. I go to Kai’s office first. The door is wide open, and the dark room is empty.

  I continue on my way, and with every empty room, my anxiety begins to grow. Pausing in the main hallway and look out over the ocean at the moonlight that has cast a glow on the water. Inhale a frustrated breath then see Kai standing on the beach with his hands in his pockets. I swear I can feel his pain even from so far away.

  I run down the stairs, out of the house, and onto the beach. I hear Aye yell behind me, but I ignore him and head straight for Kai, whose body has turned to face me. His arms open, and I jump into his embrace, but unlike the movies, where he should have caught me in flight, I knock him down, his body hitting the ground in a harrumph as the air is knocked out of his lungs.

  “I’m sorry,” I tell him, straddling his waist and kissing his face. “I’m so sorry,” I whisper, looking into his eyes. “I promise, from now on, I will try to give you a chance to explain yourself instead of going off half-cocked. I didn’t mean to hurt you. I would never want to hurt you.”

  “I know, love,” he says gruffly, pushing my hair out of my face.

  I close my eyes then open them up slowly, looking down at him. “I love you. I know I haven’t done a good job of showing that, but I do love you.”

  His eyes close and he pulls my head down to his chest. “We both have a lot to learn,” he repeats, something he has said to me a few times in the past.

  “If the gods are smiling down on us, we will have a lifetime to do it in, right?” I question quietly.

  “The gods have been smiling on me since I was ten years old and found a beautiful little girl crying in her tree house.”

  Tears begin to fill my eyes, and I place my chin on his chest so that I can look at him. “You saved me,” I whisper. “I don’t just mean what happened in Seattle. You saved me from myself. You have shown me that sometimes things that are a little scary and new can be the best possible things for you. You have shown me that I can trust again, and you have given me my family back. You saved me from me, and I would be lost without you.” I sob, burying my face in his chest.

  He holds me tighter to him, my tears continuing to fall. I cry until I can’t cry anymore, until Kai shifts me in his arms and carries me inside. Then he lies with me in bed, holding me close to him, letting his warmth and love seep through the years of heartache.

  I roll over, and Kai tightens his arms around me as I turn to face him. Once I’m comfortable, I study his face as he sleeps. It almost seems like all the power he normally has buzzing around him is shut off. I never would have believed I’d end up falling in love with a man like him. I lift my hand and run my finger along the scruff that has taken up residence on his chin.

  “Why are you awake?” his sleepy, rough voice asks as his head tilts down and his eyes meet mine.

  “I just couldn’t sleep.” I snuggle closer to him.

  “Do you miss Seattle?”

  He catches me off guard with his question, and I think for a moment about what I left behind. I miss the few friends I have, and I miss my bakery, but I don’t miss Seattle.

  “I don’t miss it. I miss my bakery and some of my friends, but that’s it,” I say.

  “When things settle, you could open a bakery here,” he says quietly.

  “I could call it ‘Sunshine and Sprinkles.’” I smile at the thought. I have been so caught up in everything that has happened that I haven’t really thought about what I want to do when life goes back to normal.

  “You could. I want you to make a life here with me. I want you to be happy.”

  “I’m happy.” I frown at him.

  “You’re happy now, but I’ve seen you bake. You smile when you’re baking.”

  “My real mom used to bake. I don’t remember much about it, but I know it was something she loved doing, and when I moved, my adoptive dad taught me how to bake. I used to love that quiet time with him. Then, when I left home, it was something that made me feel connected with a time when I felt loved,” I say, whispering the last part.

  “You wanna talk to me yet?” he asks cautiously.

  “Not yet,” I reply just as carefully, hoping that, one day, I will have the courage to open up to him. He’s right. It’s not fair for me to expect so much from him when I haven’t fully been honest.

  He rolls to his side and places his face near mine. “When you’re ready, love, I’m here.”

  “I know.” And I do know that I need to talk to him about it, but I hate myself a little for what was done to me. Even with the counseling I received and knowing that it wasn’t my fault, I still hate that I wasn’t stronger, that I didn’t fight harder.

  His arm slides around my waist, and his hand goes under my neck then up to thread through my hair at the back of my head, pulling my face closer to his chest. I wrap an arm around him in return then drift back to sleep.

  When I wake a couple of hours later, I hear Kai talking to Aye at the door, and when Pika’s name comes up, my ears perk up.

  I have been worried about my friend, and Aye seems to be keeping his lips sealed on where he is, so the only thing I can imagine is that wherever he has gone to is not safe. Kai turns around to face me then says something out the door before walking over to where I’m still lying.

  “What’s going on?” I murmur as he comes to sit down on the side of the bed.

  “Nothing.” He leans over and kisses me, but I can tell that something’s wrong.

  “Please talk to me,” I beg him.

  “I have to go away for a few days.”

  “Why?” I sit up, pulling the blankets up with me, and scoot back to the headboard. I don’t know what I will do if he tells me that we’re over now.

  “There’s some business I need to attend to in Vegas.”

  “Okay,” I say slowly, hoping he will continue. But instead, he looks around the room, anywhere but at me. “What is it?”

  He stretches out his neck then looks at me again. “Pika’s in jail.”

  “He’s in jail?” I feel my eyes get wide. “What did he do?”

  “Don’t know. No one knows. The cops aren’t letting him speak to anyone.”

  “That’s illegal,” I tell him.

  He smiles then frowns. “I really don’t want to leave you.”

  “I can come with you if you want,” I suggest.

  “You’re not coming with me. You’re safest here.”

  He’s right. Here, all the flights and boats that come to the island are monitored, so Kai’s men know if someone shows up. Plus, the house is completely secure. I feel safe here, and I know I wouldn’t be able to say the same thing if I went to Vegas, even with Kai.

  “I’m not sure how long I will be gone, but I need to go and make sure he’s okay.”

  “I understand. I’ll be fine. Is Aye staying with me?”

  “Aye and Frank,” he replies.

  “So, basically, Aye is going to have to watch over Frank and me while you’re gone?”

  “Basically.” He smiles and I giggle. “It makes my uncle feel useful.”

  “I like him a lot, and, your mom’s right. He’s funny, even if he is crazy.”

  “He likes you too. All of my family does,” he says in a tone I have come to crave from him. Something about the way his voice goes soft makes that warmth s
eep into every cell in my body.

  “Who are you taking with you?”

  “My brother. I have my cousin and some men in Vegas, so I know that, once I get there, we’ll be good.

  “I hope Pika’s okay. He didn’t even say goodbye to me before he left,” I whisper.

  “He’ll be fine,” he says gruffly, and I nod.

  I know Kai will make sure Pika is okay. I just wonder why the police are keeping him quiet.

  “When do you need to leave?” I ask.

  “After I get ready. The plane is being prepared as we speak.”

  “Do you want me to do anything? I can pack you up some clothes while you shower if you want.”

  “I have a place in Vegas. I keep clothes there.”

  Of course he has a place in Vegas, I think, and then I gasp as his finger runs over my nipple.

  “There is something you can do though.”

  “What’s that?” I ask.

  “I need you to come shower with me.”

  A smile forms on my mouth and grows wider as his eyes heat. “You want me to come shower with you?” I scoot to my knees on the bed so I can get closer to him.

  “Need,” he rumbles as his hand wraps around the back of my neck, pulling my mouth to his.

  His hands go to my waist and travel up my sides, pushing my tank top up and over my head, his mouth only leaving mine for a brief moment. His hands tug at my pants and he quickly pulls them off, placing his hand between my legs, his fingers zeroing in on my clit.

  “Oh,” I moan, and he pulls me onto his lap.

  My hands go to his shoulders and my head falls back as his mouth leaves mine to trail down my neck. He widens his thighs and opens me up to his touch. His lips lock around my nipple as one finger enters me for a moment before trailing up and over my clit, circling it again. I grab his hair as his mouth trails over to my other nipple and tugs hard.

 
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