Confide, p.1
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       Confide, p.1
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           Debbie Civil

  By Debbie Civil

  Edited by Riva Davis

  Copyright 2014 by Debbie Civil

  Names, characters and incidents depicted in this book are products of the

  author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual

  events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely

  coincidental and beyond the intent of the author.

  No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any

  means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by

  any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing

  from the author.

  Chapter 1


  A loud knock on the door makes me curse. What now? I can’t sit here for two minutes without being disturbed? This house is way too crowded for my taste. Back at my apartment, it’s quiet. Because the banging isn’t stopping, I walk over to the door and pull it open. My sister Eli stands in the doorway. Technically, she’s my half-sister, but the amount of DNA we share is irrelevant. Blood is blood.

  “What?” My words are short and straight to the point. Eli is impulsive and likes to hear the sound of her voice. That’s probably one of the reasons why she speaks so loudly.

  “Jake, we need to talk,” she says, her blue eyes filling with caution. I may be grumpy, but it isn’t like I’m going to bite her. And what could she possibly have to tell me? She’s uninvited and despite being related, Eli and I don’t hang out spontaneously. I move aside and gesture for her to come in. The room that Mrs. Philips assigned to me is decent. It is painted a burgundy color with a king- sized bed which is always made with black sheets. All of my furniture, from the couch to the leather recliner, is dark. Maybe she designed the room based on my personality. I’m not offended by that. Eli plops down on my bed, which makes me wince. She’s wearing a sundress and heels. To make matters worse, she has the nerve to sit Indian style, which means her shoes are on my fresh sheets and I have an unpleasant view of her pink underwear. I’m positive that she’s been out to eat with Olivia. She sat in the chair of a public restaurant and is now sitting on my bed. The thought begins to give me a migraine. So I remind myself that I can just change the sheets. There’s no point in telling her to move. The damage has already been done. Eli stares at me as if she expects me to start the conversation. It takes everything not to leave the room. When people annoy me, that’s the best method to use.

  “What do you want?” I finally ask after an awkward silence.

  She clenches and unclenches her fists.

  “You and Carmen get along well,” Eli hedges. I’m not sure why we’re talking about Carmen, but I nod. Maybe this will go by faster. Then, I can get back to editing Kailey’s romance novel. Next year, my sister is not picking her birthday present. I’ll just get her something shiny. “Jake, Look… I know that Dom isn’t your favorite person. But he and Nate have become good friends. Carmen is obsessed with Dom. He’s coming by to do some last minute things with Nate. I was hoping that you would keep an eye on Carmen for me,” she says, her face filling with hope. Carmen is an adult with ears. If Eli told her to back down, she would. Or maybe not. The girl does have the nasty habit of snooping. If I get close to her, she’ll naturally start touching my things. Just think of the hands that would be looking through my belongings. My skin itches at the thought.

  “What do you mean?” I ask slowly, trying not to be annoyed. Girls are silly. If you want Carmen to back off of Dom, tell her to or tell Dom to stop giving her signals.

  “Maybe you could distract her. Since Peter and Chelsea are busy with working for Justin, they can’t do it. Olivia and Matt are giving it a go and Tia has Alec. Dom and his girlfriend Bridget will be here in an hour. Take Carmen out to dinner. Whatever you do, don’t tell her about Dom just yet. Maybe that can give him a moment of peace,” Eli suggests, her shoulders slumping. I want to tell Eli that Dom probably told Carmen he was coming just so she would chase after him. But I don’t bother. Instead, I rub my neck and nod. Whatever I can do to discourage an innocent girl like her from getting caught up with Dom. He’s a charmer. Something about the easy way he treats people makes me not trust him. I also can’t forget about how he called Chelsea a monster. He disrespected one of my good friends just because he could. Peter isn’t aggressive. He’s the type that ends conflicts, not starts them. So he wasn’t going to beat the tar out of Dom. But I wanted to.

  “She likes Silver's,” Eli tells me before leaving. I sigh and sit at the desk to save the work that I already did. I don’t mind editing novels. Believe it or not, I like the logic behind it. Correcting grammatical errors and pointing out discrepancies and character inconsistencies is relaxing. It gets me lost for a while. Anything is better than thinking about Adriana. Someone else knocks on my door. It’s locked, so I open the door for Danny. She smiles up at me, and I glare at her.


  “Carmen is downstairs in the foyer. Eli sent her to get some snacks. Go waylay her,” she orders. Life is short. Wasting even a second of it is reckless. But wasting someone else’s time is simply unforgivable. The girl can be annoying at times, but she’s kind and gentle. My sisters seems to have forgotten that she’s been through a lot and could use their support. I let out an aggravated sigh and head to the elevator without locking the door. There’s no point. Danny knows better than to snoop. My sister and I have an understanding.

  Danny lied to get me to the foyer early, I realize after two minutes. I glance around, suddenly hating being exposed. It reminds me too much of what happened five years ago. Suddenly, this memory pisses me off. It haunts me every time I go to sleep. Why do I have to think about it during my waking hours? I clear my head and focus on the face that makes everything make sense. I think of brown eyes, honey brown skin, black hair that curls into ringlets. I’m not in love with Carmen, exactly. She just fascinates me. If only I could get inside her head, I wonder what I would find. The sound of the door banging against the wall puts me out of my misery. Carmen storms into the foyer clutching a box of doughnuts to her chest. Her eyes are filled with aggravation.

  “Where is she? Has she left yet?” I know exactly who she’s talking about. And it looks like I’m the bearer of bad news. But I don’t want to be. I pluck the box from her arms and smile at her. She frowns. “Eli sent me for doughnuts. When I called to tell her that I finally got them, she told me that she’s going out to dinner with Nathan. I spent an hour waiting for these stupid things,” Carmen hisses. It’s nice to see Carmen all keyed up. But I know the reason she suddenly has a shorter fuse. Carmen got shot almost two months ago. Since then, she has been a bit irritable, not that her family and friends have noticed. I smile at her.

  “I’m hungry,” I say. Her dark eyes flash.

  “So. I don’t…” Suddenly, she looks horrified. Carmen usually doesn’t lash out at people. She takes a deep breath then blows it out. “I’m sorry. She’s probably busy. I’ll…”

  “I’m hungry. Let’s go out to dinner,” I blurt out, feeling like an idiot. I’ve never been good with words. Carmen studies me as if considering the prospect.

  “That sounds fun. Silver's?” she asks. I smile.

  “Nope, I was thinking of a steakhouse that I found,” I respond. Carmen looks interested. I hold up a finger, telling her that I’ll be a minute, then, I go to the kitchen and put the box down on the granite countertop. No one bothers to ask me what to do with it. The staff knows by now not to toss out anything I put in the kitchen. I’m walking back to the foyer when I hear voices. Carmen’s talking to her father. No problem, I’ll stand out of sight and wait until he leaves.

I’m going out to dinner with Jake,” she reports.

  “Did he invite you?” Mr. Philips asks. His question pisses me off. Carmen may be forceful, but I wouldn’t give into that.

  “No, he invited me,” she says defensively.

  “Okay. I was just making sure. Do you need money?”

  “I have plenty,” Carmen assures him and the man leaves the mansion. I walk over to Carmen and glance at the front door meaningfully.

  “Should I change?” she asks. Carmen is dressed in a loose fitting coral top and skinny jeans that accentuate her long legs. She also has high heels that… Never mind Jake, don’t even think about it.

  “It’s casual,” I say and Carmen nods and follows me out into the warm afternoon breeze.

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