Me please iron fury mc, p.14
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       Me, please. (Iron Fury MC), p.14

           Bella Jewel
 
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  My voice finally cracks, and tears roll down my cheeks. Dammit. I hate that I’m crying. I fucking hate it. Worse, I hate that they’re both seeing it. I swipe my tears away angrily and take a shaky breath.

  “I’m worth it,” I say, holding Boston’s eyes, trying to focus on him through my blurred vision. “I’m so fucking worth it. I shouldn’t have to question that. You did the right thing, but tonight, you fucked up. I deserved, at the very least, a little damned respect. I’m too good for you, Boston. Too damned good. And you’ll look back one day, and you’ll wish to fucking god you kept me. But it’s too late now. Don’t talk to me. Don’t call me. I don’t want your help or involvement in anything that is happening, and I’ll make sure Malakai knows that. As far as I’m concerned, as of this moment, we are nothing to each other. But, don’t worry, there is a man out there who is going to look at me like I’m fucking heaven. There will be no choice.”

  I’m crying now, and he’s slowly moving toward me, but I take a step back. My eyes swing to Penny, and I say softly, “You’re an incredible woman, Penny. I have the upmost respect for you, and I like you, and I hope we can be friends, but it can’t be right now. I wish you all the luck with him, I really do.”

  Then I turn, and I walk off.

  “Chantelle!” Boston barks, but I don’t stop.

  I’ve said what I needed to say.

  There is nothing else.

  ~16~

  NOW – PENELOPE

  I watch Chantelle walk off, and my heart aches. It literally aches for her. That was the most awful moment, and there was nothing I could do or say. She didn’t deserve that. She didn’t, and I’m ashamed that I’m part of her hurt. I turn to look at Boston, and he’s watching her go. The pain in his eyes, makes everything inside of me just come to a standstill. I watch him, watching her, and I know.

  I just know.

  She’s what he wants more.

  I don’t know why it took me so long to realize that, but I can see it now. Almost too clearly. He cares about me, we have a connection, but if you strip it down to basics, I think it’s a warm, comforting connection. Something that bonds two people, but not necessarily as lovers. Sometimes, it makes the best of friends. Maybe that’s all Boston and I were ever destined to be.

  Friends.

  Great friends even.

  But I’ve never seen him look at me the way he’s looking at her right now. The way he’s watching her disappear down the street, fists clenched, jaw tight, eyes not moving off her, not even when she’s out of sight.

  It hurts, but it’s almost as if I knew it all along, too.

  I reach down and pick up my purse, just as Boston turns around. His eyes go to my purse, and he murmurs, “You goin’ to run from me, too?”

  I hold his gaze. “There comes a time in every woman’s life where she sees a certain look in a man’s eyes, tonight, watching you watch her, I see that look. It’s her, Boston, I can see that clearly now.”

  He shakes his head and murmurs a low, “Fuck. Don’t do this to me right now, Penelope. My mind is a fucking mess.”

  “Do you want to go after her?”

  He looks to me. “Penny...”

  “Do you?”

  “Yes.”

  “And if I walked away right now, would you want to go after me?”

  He holds my gaze. “Yes.”

  “Boston,” I say, my voice soft. “You hurt her, and you’re hurting me. I know you’re not trying to, but we’re all caught up in this, and we all have feelings that are going to keep growing, because that’s what feelings do. Staying away from each other, it isn’t going to change anything, it’s only going to make the ache worse. You have to make a choice. Her or me. Or, you have to say neither of us, which means I need to move out of your house, stop caring for your sister, and leave your life completely. Same goes for Chantelle. It’s the only way. And you know it.”

  He stares at me, almost deflated in his appearance. “Never intended on fuckin’ hurtin’ anyone, you gotta know that.”

  “I know that, and so does Chantelle, but you hurt her tonight and right now, I feel more for her than anyone. She cares about you, a great deal. And so do I. Which means, eventually, one of us is going to hurt. Either make it quick and easy by picking one, or let us both go completely by picking neither. But, you have to choose. Because it’s unfair. It’s completely unfair.”

  He rubs a hand down his face, and growls, “I fuckin’ know it is. Fuck!”

  His voice is agitated and frustrated, and I understand that. But nobody is coming out of this unscathed, so he needs to choose which one of us he leaves a mark on. Either way, eventually, his heart will pull him where he needs it to go. But by then, too much damage will have been done. So, for right now, he has to man up and make a choice.

  “Know that we’ll both be okay, no matter which way it goes. Chantelle is strong. I’m strong. If you pick her, I’ll get over it, honestly, I will. I’m not going to say it’s not going to hurt, because it will, a hell of a lot, but I’ll get through it because I’m strong, and so is she. If you choose neither of us, we’ll both be okay, too. But you owe us both an answer.”

  “How the fuck am I meant to choose? I choose one, I lose the other. Can’t fuckin’ be friends with the one left behind, you and I both know that. If I choose neither of you, I’ll lose both, and that fuckin’ terrifies me. I’m fucked.”

  I nod. “Yeah, one way or another, one of us will take a giant step out of your life, or both of us, but that’s the outcome of such a situation and unfortunately there is no other way around it. Maybe, after a while, you’ll be able to be friends with one or both of us, but that can’t be guaranteed. When you make your choice, it has to be knowing you might lose one or both.”

  He makes a low sound and runs his hand through his hair. “Fuck.”

  “I’m sorry it has come to this, I myself really wished it hadn’t, but it has.”

  I walk over, stopping in front of him and glancing up. “You’re a good man, Boston, the best. We wouldn’t care so much if you weren’t, but we deserve the right to not have to struggle. Chantelle is an incredible woman, and so am I. We’ll both move on, if we have to. The question is, who can you deal with being with someone else? Maybe you need to consider that, long and hard. When you think of us with another man, which one hurts more?”

  He stares at me. “Can’t fuckin’ answer these questions, my mind is a fuckin’ mess right now.”

  “Yeah,” I nod. “I know.”

  I lean up on my tiptoes and grab his face in my hands, then I bring my lips to his and kiss him, soft at first, then long and slow. After a few moments, I pull back and hold his eyes. “Make your choice, Boston. For everyone’s sake.”

  Then I too turn and walk away.

  The time has come.

  This has gone on long enough.

  ~*~*~*~

  NOW – PENELOPE

  I knock once, softly, then twice.

  I don’t want to disturb her if she’s asleep, but, I don’t know, I felt like I needed to come here. Mostly because it really did hurt watching how upset she got, and I don’t want anyone to be upset over something that has everything to do with me. Maybe I’m not causing it, but my involvement in it doesn’t help, and I need to make sure she’s okay.

  The door opens, and Chantelle appears, wearing her pajamas, her beautiful long hair down and flowing around her shoulders. She’s gorgeous, but it isn’t just that. She radiates a strong, independent vibe. She’s sassy, and she’s secure, and she lights up a room when she’s in it with her infectious laugh. There are very few people like that out there.

  It’s no wonder Boston is drawn to her. Honestly, I can see why.

  “Penny,” she says, her voice soft. It’s the softest I’ve ever heard her speak. She’s been crying, I can see her eyes are red, and that sucks. It really sucks.

  Saskia came outside and asked me where Chantelle had gone before I left the bar. I didn’t tell her, not because I didn’t
want to, but because I wanted to come myself and see if she was okay, and I wasn’t sure Chantelle would want her to know what happened out there. I figured if she did, she’d call her, it wasn’t up to me to tell her.

  “I know tonight has been long, and crappy, but would you mind if I came in?”

  She steps aside without hesitation. Chantelle, no doubt, feels the same way about me as I do about her. Neither of us have a problem with the other woman, we’ve just been placed in a situation where our hearts are latching on to the same man, and there is nothing that can be done about that. People can’t help the way they feel.

  I walk into Chantelle’s apartment and she closes the door, asking me, “Do you want a drink?”

  “Do you have tea?”

  She nods and walks into the kitchen and starts preparing two cups of tea. No doubt we’ve both had enough alcohol to last us.

  “Listen, Chan, I’m not here to cause problems, I promise you that,” I begin, my voice soft and genuinely concerned for her. “I just wanted to talk to you. Mostly, I just wanted to see if you’re okay.”

  She turns and looks at me while she waits for the water to boil. Her eyes aren’t filled with anything that isn’t genuine. She has no problem with me. I can see that before she even opens her mouth. “I have nothing against you, Penny. Nothing at all. I like you, a whole damned lot. I think you’re a great woman, and the amount of times I’ve told myself I understand why he is interested in you, is insane. Because I do understand why. You’re incredible.”

  “So are you,” I point out, taking a seat at her kitchen stool.

  “I know that,” she nods. “You know,” A smile creeps across her face, but it’s a little sad, “Before Boston, I’ve never, not for a single second, doubted that I’m worth it. I’ve never looked at myself and not seen that I’m incredible and a catch. I’ve never been insecure. The feelings that I’m experiencing now, they’re new to me, and they’re crushing. I don’t like how it makes me feel. It makes me feel like I’m not ... me.”

  I smile at her, and it’s warm. “I know what you mean. Well, not about never having felt those things, the funny thing for me is I have felt those things, so many times over, but not so directly. This feels ... it feels like if I fail, that’s it for me, you know? Like I’m not enough for anyone. That really sucks.”

  Chantelle passes me a cup of tea, and some cream and sugar. I scoop in what I want, and she does, too.

  “The thing is, Penny,” she says, stirring her tea. “We’re both enough. And that’s the problem. It isn’t that one of us is better, or worse, than the other. It’s that we’re both so incredible in our own way. And that, I think, is why this choice is so hard. I’ve thought about it so many times, and Boston, he’s a broken man. He’s had a hard time. With everything that happened with Nerissa, it’s been a long road for him, and I think ... I think sometimes he needs a little of us both.”

  For a moment, I say nothing.

  Not because what she said isn’t a hundred percent right, but because he told her about Nerissa. He told her, and as far as I know, he’s never told anyone. My chest clenches, and I hate the way it makes me feel. I hate all of this. I’m suddenly very happy I said what I said to Boston tonight. And for the first time, I’m right. This isn’t fair on anyone.

  But knowing that he’s confided in Chantelle.

  That’s a burning knife to the chest.

  “You’re right,” I finally say, stirring my tea for a little too long. “We both have a little of what he needs, and he’s managed to get close to us both and confuse himself. Either way, it isn’t fair for anyone anymore.”

  Chantelle shrugs, but she looks defeated. “I’m done, Penny. I meant what I said tonight. I’m worth it. If a man isn’t going to choose me, and me alone, then I mustn’t mean enough to him. While I understand that Boston is confused, I have to protect myself, too. And it hurts. It hurts like hell because ... I think I’m falling in love with him, and that makes this so much more painful.”

  My heart aches for her.

  I have feelings for Boston, strong ones, but love ... that’s a powerful word.

  And I can only imagine how much this sucks.

  “I’m sorry,” I say softly. “I wish I didn’t care about him, I wish I didn’t want him, so I could have just stepped back, and this never would have been a problem...”

  Chantelle looks to me. “No, no, you don’t ever need to be sorry for this. If anyone should be sorry, it should be me. I had a feeling there was something between the two of you, hell, Saskia even warned me someone was going to get hurt, but my stubborn ass did it anyway.”

  I shake my head. “Look, we can both go over this, a million times over, but the truth is you asked me, and back then, I honestly thought I was fine with it, until I started seeing you coming around, and suddenly, I wasn’t okay with it, and that’s not your fault. I told you there was nothing there, if anyone has something to be sorry about it’s me. But in the end, as I said, we can both go over this a million times over. It doesn’t change facts. I told him to make a choice. Or to let us both go. I also said if he lets us go, he needs to let us go for good. We can’t be friends.”

  Chantelle nods, and her eyes look a little sad. “No, we can’t be friends.”

  “I told him I’d move out, and he’d need to find a new carer for Cassie if he decided on you, or neither of us. It’s up to you what you do. But I hope we’ll all finally get some peace, because right now, I feel like I’m hanging by a thread.”

  Chantelle nods.

  “Yeah,” she whispers. “Me too.”

  And I know she means it.

  We’re both done.

  We’ve both just had enough.

  ~17~

  NOW – CHANTELLE

  Banging at my door wakes me up from a very restless sleep.

  I blink and rub my eyes, glancing over at the time. It’s two am. What in the ever-loving hell? With a groan, I push myself up and listen further. More banging. Loud, boisterous banging. Someone wants me. I can take a wild guess at who that someone is, too. I sigh and run a hand down my face.

  Penelope left just before midnight after we were done talking. I appreciated her visit, and her honesty, and I respect the hell out of her for having the courage to do it, but now I’m exhausted and I don’t need round two. But the banging isn’t going to stop, and so I throw my legs out of the bed and walk toward the bedroom door, running my fingers through my hair as I move.

  I’m tired.

  This better be damned good.

  My patience is basically non-existent right now.

  I reach the front door and swing it open to see Boston about to bang again. His hand drops down when he sees me, and one good look at him tells me he’s been drinking. I wouldn’t say he’s completely wasted, he’s steady on his feet, but he’s most certainly indulged in more than a few drinks.

  “Boston, seriously, I’m not in the mood for this,” I murmur, holding the door frame.

  “Yeah, well, neither fuckin’ am I.”

  I close my eyes for calm. “You got yourself into this mess. Now,” I open my eyes and hold his, “I figured I made myself pretty damned clear, so what the hell are you doing here?”

  “Need to talk with you.”

  “About what?” I mutter, my voice impatient. “What exactly is there to discuss. You have a choice to make. You treated me like I didn’t exist tonight. That hurt. I didn’t fucking deserve it. So, I ask again, why in the hell are you here?”

  “You got someone in there?”

  His question startles me, and I jerk my head back, blinking. “Pardon me?”

  “Is that why you want me gone?”

  Good lord.

  “What would it matter?” I throw at him. “I told you I was done, I’m not being a part of this little love triangle anymore. So, why the hell would it matter if I’ve been fucking another man all night long?”

  His eyes flare and he takes a step. I drop my arm without thought, then curse whe
n he strides past me and down the hall. That man has lost it, but damn, he looks so god damned sexy striding down my hall with a purpose. He shoves my door open and flicks the light on, glancing around, then turns back to me. “Why the fuck are you doin’ this to me?”

  His voice sounds pained, and that sucks.

  Even though I shouldn’t feel sorry for him, I do. Because it must suck for him, even if I hate admitting that.

  “I’m doing nothing to you.”

  “Saw you there tonight, talkin’ to Damon, leanin’ against him, didn’t fuckin’ like it.”

  “Ditto, Boston. I saw the same with Penny. But remember, this is on you. You could have had me, all to yourself, but I wasn’t good enough. If I move on, you’re going to have to deal with that, because it’s your choice, it is not mine.”

  “Stop fuckin’ sayin’ you weren’t good enough, you are,” he growls, frustrated, running his hands through his hair.

  “Ah, but I’m not. Or there wouldn’t have been a choice.”

  “You don’t fuckin’ understand,” he barks, tossing his hand out and then curling it into a fist. “Fuck, you don’t fuckin’ get it. I want you so bad I can’t fuckin’ think, I’m here because I can’t stand to be away from you, I want you more than I’ve ever wanted anything in my life.”

  “Oh bullshit,” I finally lose it, because damn him. “Bull-fucking-shit. Don’t you feed me lies!”

  “It’s not a fuckin’ lie,” he bellows.

  I storm forward, slamming my hands on his chest and pushing him back a few steps. “It is a lie! If it wasn’t, you’d be with me and that would be that. But you’re not. You’re attached to Penny, and you can’t let her go. If you couldn’t be without me, you wouldn’t be. So, stop telling me whatever in the hell you think I want to hear, because I don’t, okay. I don’t want to fucking hear it!”

 
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