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       Obligation, p.17

         Part #2 of Underground Kings series by Aurora Rose Reynolds
 
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  “Don’t know. I just knew it was a boy.”

  “Strange.” I shrug and begin walking again.

  His arm goes around my shoulders, and we make a quick stop to schedule our next appointment before heading out to the car. We don’t talk on the way back to the house, but our hands stay locked together on my lap, the fingers of my free hand running over his skin.

  “Thank you,” I tell him, looking down at our entwined fingers when he pulls up to the house and puts the car in park.

  “For what?” he questions, confused.

  I lift my head and look at him, thinking about all the things I want to say. “For giving me everything.”

  His eyebrows pinch, and I soften my voice.

  “For marrying me, for loving me, for giving me a child. Even if I was never expecting any of this, I’m still thankful for all of it.”

  “The gods had written you into my destiny a long time ago, makamae,” he says quietly. His face softens as he lifts my hand to his mouth, where he places a kiss on my ring.

  Chapter 14

  Explosion

  “Pika!” I yell from upstairs when I see my friend sitting in the living room, looking out at the ocean.

  His head turns towards me, and I carefully run down the stairs and throw myself into his arms. He catches me on a humph and gives me a squeeze before pulling away and removing his hands from me.

  “How are you?” I smile, happy to see him.

  “Good.” He smiles back then looks me over, his eyes settling on my round stomach for a moment. “You look happy,” he says as his eyes meet mine again.

  “So happy,” I whisper, and he nods as his face softens.

  “Myla.”

  I turn my head to look at Kai and smile, putting a hand on my hip, giving him a mock glare. “You didn’t tell me Pika was coming home.”

  “It slipped me. Can I please see you in my office for a moment?” he asks, and I notice the agitation in his voice as he speaks.

  “Um…” I look at Pika then back at Kai, wondering why the guys are acting so strange. “Sure,” I tell him then turn and give Pika another hug, whispering that I’m glad he’s back before pulling away, but not without noticing the embrace is not shared and his hands stay at his sides. Before Kai came home all those months ago, I would often lean on Pika, so the distance he’s putting between us is slightly unsettling.

  “Myla,” Kai growls.

  I nod then head towards his office, wondering what the hell happened. He’s standing in his doorway when I get there, and all I can do is pray that something bad hasn’t happened. Things have been quiet lately, and I would like them to stay like that. As soon as I cross the threshold, he closes the door behind me and begins pacing back and forth.

  “Is everything okay?” I whisper, sitting down in his chair and watching him.

  “Do not touch Pika again.”

  Of all the things I thought he might want to talk to me about, this was never one of them. I study his face and notice that his jaw is tight and there is a slight tick in his right cheek—the tick he gets when he is pissed off.

  “Can I ask you why?” I question softly, leaning back in the chair.

  “Because I don’t like it.”

  “Kai—”

  “No, Myla. All I need you to say is that you won’t touch him again.”

  “You act as if I tried to make out with him,” I mutter.

  “You threw yourself at him,” he snarls, ripping a hand through his hair, his gaze going out the window.

  “I missed him. He’s my friend,” I say softly, watching him.

  He prowls towards me until his face is inches from mine. “Do not do it again. Got it?”

  I lean back, struck by his words and the intensity in his voice. “Do not tell me what to do, and do not ever get in my face like that again.” I go to stand and his hands go to either side of the chair, caging me in, forcing me to stay seated.

  “You do it again, Myla, and I will send him away. And this time, it will be for good.” His tone is so deadly that a chill slides down my spine.

  I have never, not once, been afraid of Kai, but this guy in front of me right now is not the man I fell in love with. This guy is someone completely different—someone who I don’t like very much. I want to ask him what happened and why he’s acting like this, but instead, I nod and swallow the hurt down so that I can get away from him.

  “I won’t do it again,” I whisper.

  His position in front of me doesn’t change, and he searches my face for a moment then leans in. When I see his intention, I turn my head just in time for his mouth to miss mine and his lips touch my cheek.

  “Myla,” he says softly, and that softness only helps to piss me off further.

  “I don’t feel well. I think I need to go lie down,” I say, looking back into his eyes. Concern transforms his features and guilt settles in my gut, but I don’t let that stop me.

  “Let me help you to bed.” He stands to his full height but doesn’t step back.

  “No. I’ll be fine.” I drag my eyes from him and use the wheels of the chair to scoot back enough to stand. I walk around him and pause when my hand touches the knob.

  I turn my body around and straighten my shoulders, knowing that, if I just leave right now with the things he just said ringing in my ears, I won’t be able to even look at him or myself in the mirror.

  “I don’t know what happened or why you’re acting the way you are, but let me make one thing clear so this doesn’t happen again.” I inhale a deep breath, letting it out slowly, making sure the words are well defined in my head before I spew them out. “I’m not one of your men. I’m not someone you can boss around and tell what to do. I’m your wife by choice, and like all choices in life, they can always be changed. So if you ever talk to me like that again, we will be talking through a lawyer when you’re done.”

  I turn, open the door, and step out, shutting it behind me before taking off to our room. As soon as I reach our door, I notice that Aye is standing in the hall. I give him a wave, walk into the room, close the door behind me, and lean my head back against the wood as tears begin to slide down my cheeks. I know that jealousy was fueling his emotions, but I just don’t understand why.

  Then his words filter into my mind. He said that he would send Pika away for good this time, meaning he had sent him away before. I had never even thought about Pika—or Aye, for that matter—in a sexual way. Kai had consumed my every thought from the moment I’d met him, and he’d continued to do so.

  I step away from the door and begin pulling my clothes off as I step towards the bed. My reflection in the mirror over the dresser catches my attention, and I pause, looking at myself. My hand goes to my stomach and I lay my palm over our son, whispering a silent prayer that his dad and I can find a way to work things out.

  I feel a flutter and press my hand closer to my stomach, trying to feel it again. I have never felt him move before, and a smile spreads across my lips when there’s another flutter, this one stronger than the last. I go to the bed and lie down on my back, placing my hands on my stomach and smiling again when there’s another movement. It feels like butterflies are dancing in my stomach, and I can imagine my tiny baby boy rolling and doing flips.

  “Why are you smiling?”

  “The baby’s moving.” I smile then press my lips together when I realize I have just spoken to Kai when, only moments before, I had plans to give him the silent treatment for a few days at least.

  “You can feel him?” he asks, and I can actually feel him getting closer to me, his energy wrapping around me.

  I don’t want to answer him, but I can’t help it. “I can feel him,” I tell him, not opening my eyes.

  The bed dips, and his hand slides under my palm to settle on my stomach. I place my hand at my side and silently lie there, listening to him breathe. I don’t like feeling uncomfortable around him, but right now, I don’t even want him to touch me.

  “Do not ever threaten
to leave me again.”

  My chest compresses, and I inhale through my nose at his words.

  “I shouldn’t have spoken to you the way I did.”

  Got that right, jerk, I think.

  “Look at me, Myla.”

  I squeeze my eyes tighter in refusal, and his free hand comes up to hold my jaw.

  “He told me he was in love with you,” he snarls, and my eyes fly open. “Do you know how it feels to know that another man is in love with your wife?” His fingers at my jaw move so his thumb can run over my bottom lip. “Knowing that, when you were not around, she accepted comfort from him?”

  “I nev—”

  He cuts me off, pressing his thumb over my lips as his face dips closer to mine. “It doesn’t matter. I’ve tried to tell myself that it didn’t mean anything, that you didn’t feel the same.”

  “Pika is a friend, the same as Aye,” I whisper.

  “I know this, Myla,” he growls.

  I scoot away from him leaning against the headboard.

  “My world is consumed by you and thoughts of you. The idea of someone interested in you makes me fucking homicidal. Knowing that he’s someone I consider a friend, someone I entrust with your well-being, does not make me feel better. Then seeing you happy to see him, watching your face light up when you realized he was back—it was like a fucking knife to my gut.” He moves closer to me, and his body turns so that one hand goes on either side on my hips. “I reacted poorly, makamae,” he says gently, and my heart hurts from the vulnerability I see in his eyes. I hate this.

  “I don’t even know what to say right now. You really scared me.” I close my eyes then feel his arms wrap around my waist and his head lie gently on my stomach. We are going to have to find a way to work this out or it will be something that drives both him and me insane. “I love you and only you,” I tell him, lifting my hands to run through his hair. “You said that I consume you. Well, you have consumed me too, from the moment I wake in the morning until I go to bed at night.”

  I take a breath and tug on his hair until his eyes come to me. “I love you, Kai. When you make me mad enough that I swear I could spit fire or happy enough that I feel like I’m walking on air, I’m always yours and no one else’s.” I whisper the last part.

  His eyes search my face for a moment before he ducks his head, kisses my stomach, and then lifts up, taking my mouth in a kiss I feel throughout my body, one that causes the warmth to seep back in.

  “I don’t know how I will be able to handle your friendship with Pika, but for you, I’ll try,” he tells me, pushing my hair away from my face.

  “If you would have explained to me what was going on without freaking out, I would have respected your feelings,” I assure him, lifting my hands up to run along the underside of his jaw. “You have to learn to talk to me without talking at me.”

  “I’m working on it,” he says, leaning down and pressing another kiss to my lips before rolling to his side and placing his hand on my belly. Then he looks up at me. “Did you really feel him move?” he questions as a look of fascination fills his eyes.

  “I did. It was more of a flutter than anything, but I felt it.”

  “I missed it,” he says, and I can see the disappointment in his eyes.

  I shake my head. “No, you didn’t. I don’t think anyone can feel him moving yet but me,” I tell him, running my hand over his hair.

  “Next time, tell me when it happens so I can try,” he says before he kisses my stomach again.

  Then he rolls to his back and pulls me to lie at his side, being careful of my belly as he adjusts me until my body is draped over his. His hand runs lazily over my back, and before I know it, I fall asleep only to wake hours later to an empty bed.

  I get up, find a shirt and a pair of sweats, and then make my way out of the bedroom. I pad across the house to Kai’s office. His door is slightly ajar, so I walk in, finding him sitting at his desk, looking at the phone.

  “What’s wrong?” I ask him.

  His head lifts and his eyes sweep over me before he takes my hand and gently pulls me into his lap.

  “Kai,” I whisper as his face goes into my neck and he inhales. “Talk to me.”

  “I need to make a phone call.”

  “Okay,” I say, confused.

  “A man I know told me a woman was hurt last night and she’s in bad shape,” he says quietly.

  “What happened?” I ask, wrapping my arms around him.

  He’s quiet for a long time, and I think he’s not going to talk to me. “She was shot at close range,” he says.

  Every muscle in my body goes tight. That is not what I thought he was going to say.

  “Thankfully, she was right outside of the hospital when it happened, and they were able to get to her fast enough. She almost died.” He whispers the last part as his arms go tighter around me. “This wasn’t supposed to happen. The men involved agreed that she was off-limits.”

  “I’m so sorry.”

  “This is why I will fucking work myself to death until we don’t have to worry about this kind of shit. She was innocent, just in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

  I can tell he’s having a hard time keeping it together, so I get as close to him as I can. “What are you going to do?” I ask him softly while watching every emotion cross his face.

  “When Kenton called a while back, he asked if I’d be willing to put in a call for him. I did, and it was agreed upon at that time that she would be off-limits. I set that meeting up.”

  I nod and hold his cheek.

  “My guess is he wants to set up another meeting so that he can figure out what happened and why the order to leave her alone was ignored.”

  “Do you know why?” I ask.

  “She witnessed a hit. She was the only living witness. The man who went after her is known for not always doing what he’s told and going his own way. This time wasn’t any different.”

  “Oh my God,” I whisper as my heart breaks for her. “I know that you’re torn about getting involved, but you should call him.”

  “I know, love.”

  He lays his forehead against mine and his hand over my stomach before lifting his head and kissing me. Then he adjusts me in his lap and picks up the phone, dialing a number then putting the phone to his ear.

  “I was told you need to speak with me,” he says, and I’m surprised by the coldness in his voice after the moment we just had. “I’m sorry about your situation, but—” he replies after a moment then is quiet again for a few seconds.

  “You’re putting me in a very bad position,” he growls. Then his hand around me tightens even further before he snarls, “Kill every single motherfucker who even thought about hurting her.”

  I know he’s talking about me when he says those words.

  “I’ll make the call, but you owe me,” he replies, and I look at him, wondering why he would say that. His voice softens when he says, “I’m very sorry about what happened,” before hanging up. “I have to go to Vegas,” he tells me.

  “I know.”

  His nostrils flare, and he pulls me tighter against his body. “I know this is the place you feel the safest, but I need you to come with me.”

  “Of course,” I assure him, sounding much braver than I feel.

  “Nothing will happen to you. You have my word.”

  “I know,” I whisper, wrapping myself tighter around him.

  “This will not always be our life. I promise you,” he vows.

  “How did this become your life?” I ask softly, pulling away so I can see his face.

  He exhales, lifts me off him to stand, and then takes my hand and begins leading me out of his office. I think he’s taking me to bed, but instead, he leads me outside, down to one of the loungers that is set up near the water, and sits before pulling me to sit down between his legs.

  “My family was involved with the mob since my great-grandfather first moved to America from Fiji. He started a business in Hawaii
and knew that, if he wanted it to expand, then he would need people with money to back him. This was not easy. No one wanted to take a chance on him, and no one believed that his business would take off, but then one day, a man came to him with an offer. He would help him if my great-grandfather would, in return, do him a favor. Every month, he would receive a shipment, and that shipment would contain drugs or other items that would be distributed in the black market in Hawaii. My great-grandfather agreed, thinking his hands were clean and that, if anything ever came to light, he could say he was in no way involved.

  “After a year, he got greedy and decided to begin moving some of his own items. Five years in, he was one of the wealthiest men in Hawaii. It was around that time that he met a young socialite, fell instantly in love with her, and demanded that she marry him.”

  I smile and shake my head.

  “She made him realize what was really important, and he started becoming concerned with his business. He could no longer say that his hands were clean, so he began cutting his supplies down and trimming back on orders.

  “He and my great-grandmother were married in a private ceremony on the beach, and nine months after they said their vows, my grandfather was born. He believed he had everything he could ever want. The day he went to pick up his wife and son from the hospital, his wife was murdered.”

  “No,” I whisper.

  “After that, my great-grandfather lost all hope and began doing everything within his power to take over and get rid of the men involved in killing his wife. He vowed that, one day, he would take control of all of them and then crush them. I ulu no ka lālā i ke kumu.”

  “What does that mean?” I ask as his fingers slide away my tears.

  “The branches grow because of the trunk.” He tilts my head so that our gazes connect. “He died before his wish could be realized. My grandfather, father, and now I have become stronger than they are, and we have been slowly cutting their supplies, making them turn against each other. One day, they will fall, and I will be the only one standing.”

  I pray that he is right, that, when this is all over, we will all be standing. “I’m scared,” I say, vocalizing my fear.

 
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