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Complicate me, p.1
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       Complicate Me, p.1

           M. Robinson
 
Complicate Me


  Table of Contents

  Copyright

  Dedication

  Acknowledgements

  Prologue

  One

  Two

  Three

  Four

  Five

  Six

  Seven

  Eight

  Nine

  Ten

  Eleven

  Twelve

  Thirteen

  Fourteen

  Fifteen

  Sixteen

  Seventeen

  Eighteen

  Nineteen

  Twenty

  Twenty-One

  Twenty-Two

  Twenty-Three

  Twenty-Four

  Twenty-Five

  Twenty-Six

  Twenty-Seven

  Twenty-Eight

  Twenty-Nine

  Thirty

  Thirty-One

  Thirty-Two

  Thirty-Three

  Thirty-Four

  Thirty-Five

  Thirty-Six

  Thirty-Seven

  Thirty-Eight

  Thirty-Nine

  Forty

  Epilogue

  Connect with M. Robinson

  Copyright © 2015 M. Robinson

  All rights Reserved.

  No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission of the author.

  This book is a work of fiction. References to real people, events, establishments, organizations, or locations are intended only to provide a sense of authenticity, and are used fictitiously. All other characters, dead or alive are a figment of my imagination and all incidents and dialogue, are drawn from the author’s mind's eye and are not to be interpreted as real.

  Boss man. My husband. Best friend.

  Thank you for always supporting me in everything I do. I love you.

  Dad: Thank you for always showing me what hard work is and what it can accomplish. For always telling me that I can do anything I put my mind to.

  Mom: Thank you for ALWAYS being there for me no matter what. You are my best friend.

  Julissa Rios: I love you and I am proud of you. Thank you for being a pain in my ass and for being my sister. I know you are always there for me when I need you.

  Ysabelle & Gianna: Love you my babies.

  Rebecca Marie: THANK YOU for an AMAZING cover. I wouldn’t know what to do without you and your fabulous creativity.

  Heather Moss: Thank you for everything that you do!! XO

  Silla Webb: Thank you so much for your edits and formatting! I love it and you!

  Michelle Tan: Best beta ever! Jen Dirty Girl: I love your voice! And you. Tammy McGowan: Thank you for all your support and boo boo’s you find! You love to give me heart attacks. Michele Henderson McMullen: LOVE LOVE LOVE you!! Dee Montoya: We’re are some sexy bitches. Just saying… Roxie Madar: Thank you for your honesty and your friendship. Jessica Winstead: You’re amazing!! Thank you! Rebeka Christine Perales: You always make me smile. Adrian Culbreth Perkins: Your feedback means so much to me!! Mary Jo Toth: Your boo-boos are always great! Argie Sokoli: Thank you for coming in like a boss and getting it done! Ella Gram: You’re such a sweet and amazing person! Thank you for your kindness. Michelle Kubik Follis: You always make me laugh!! Kimmie Kim: Your friendship means everything to me. Tricia Bartley: Your comments and voice always make me smile!! Isabel Montes: Thank you so much for helping me find a title for this book! I appreciate it so much!

  To all my author buddies: T.M. Frazier: I love you, you Ginger. Jettie Woodruff: You’re my sister from another mister. K. Webster: I love your face! Stevie J. Cole: You’re a whore. The end.

  The C.O.P.A Cabana Girls: I love you!!

  To all the blogs A HUGE THANK YOU for all the love and support you have shown me. I have made some amazing friendships with you that I hold dear to my heart. I know that without you I would be nothing!! I cannot THANK YOU enough!! Special thanks to Totally Booked for sharing my exclusive prologue reveal and Like A Boss Book Promotions for hosting my tours!

  Last, but most definitely not least, to my VIP GROUP. Oh my God ladies…words cannot describe how much I love and appreciate every last one of you. The friendships and relationships that I have made with you are one of the best things that have ever happened to me. I wish I could name each one of you but it would take forever, just please know that you hold a very special place in my heart. You VIPs make my day, every single day. THANK YOU!!!

  “You look beautiful, Alex,” Lucas whispered from behind me, his voice broken and torn. The errors of his ways finally catching up with him, it was evident in his tone. It pained me to hear him sound like that, no longer the carefree boy I grew up with.

  “I’m sorry you had to see that,” I replied, trying to keep my own voice from breaking. The physical ache surrounding and consuming me in ways I never thought possible. The gravitational pull we had toward each other wreaking havoc on our souls.

  This wasn’t supposed to be this hard. Today was supposed to be one of the happiest days of my life. I should be celebrating, not wallowing in the memories that I hold so deeply in my heart and soul. I hadn’t seen him all night and then he just appeared out of nowhere.

  I blinked and he was there.

  I felt him from across the room before I even found his stare. I didn’t think he would show up, I should have known better. He always did what he wanted, since we were kids there was no telling him what to do. It’s one of the things I hated the most about him.

  “I’m not,” he simply stated, the fervor of his voice radiating from behind me and burning a hole in my back.

  “Are you happy?” he added.

  I closed my eyes as a single tear fell down the side of my face. I had spent endless nights crying over him.

  Over us.

  “I just want you to be happy, Half-Pint.” He hadn’t called me that in years. Not since we were kids.

  “Are you happy, Bo?” I countered, throwing his question and nickname back at him, knowing it would have the same effect as it had on me.

  “Only you would be standing out on the sand in a dress like that,” he brushed me off, changing the subject.

  “I was never afraid to get dirty,” I reminded him, digging my feet into the sand and dragging my dress along with it.

  “Always trying to be like one of the boys. What are you doing out here on the beach? You looked so happy until you saw me. What took away your happiness?”

  I scoffed. “Do you even have to ask me that? Does it make it easier for you? To be here? To see me like this? Is that why you’re here?”

  “It’s never been easy,” he softly spoke.

  “What did you expect from me? What did you want me to do, Lucas?”

  “You know what I wanted. You’ve known since we were kids and I carried you around on the handlebars of my bike. It hasn’t changed, it never changes between us. You know that as much as I do.”

  I wrapped my arms around my torso in a comforting gesture, it didn’t help. Nothing was more comforting than his arms around me.

  “Why didn’t you use the abandoned house, Alex?” he quickly followed.

  I hated that he knew so much about me, our childhood entwined together like the weaving of a tight rope. Our names being synonyms of each other, there was no Half-Pint without Bo. Except now we weren’t kids, we were just Alex and Lucas.

  “You know why,” I softly hinted, my voice catching in the wind and the waves of the ocean.

  It was a soothing calm to the chaos all around me, everywhere he went he brought his hurricane with him. He was always the eye of the storm. When we were kids I loved it, I wanted to be pulled into his winds and let him take me wherever he wanted to go. I'd follow him anywhere. But as we got older I realiz
ed it was too late for me to seek refuge. He was already my destruction and there was no way to get past the heavy gusts of our complicated love.

  “Tell me anyway.”

  I shook my head. That was Lucas, true to his nature, wanting what he wanted when he wanted it. “It’s ours,” I admitted, giving in to what he needed to hear from me. I could never lie to him.

  “Damn, you look so beautiful. So damn beautiful,” he murmured into my ear, engulfing me with his scent. I couldn’t move if I wanted to and he didn’t falter. “I know, Alex, I have to live with the fact that I messed up. I lost you.”

  “It’s not your fault.”

  “You’re lying, Half-Pint. I know you, so stop pretending like I don’t. Do you love him?”

  I took in a deep reassuring breath and nodded, not being able to say the words.

  “More than me?”

  “That’s not fair,” I argued, trying to control the emotions that were threatening to take over by hugging myself harder.

  “I never said life was fair.” He brushed my hair to the side of my neck and softly kissed my bare shoulder. I tried not to shudder from the feel of his lips on me.

  “You should get back in there, Alex.”

  “I know.”

  “You know I can’t go in there before you. I can’t walk away from you again. I’ve done that too many times and it nearly killed me the last time.”

  “And what makes you think that I can, Lucas? What makes you think that it’s any different for me?”

  He turned me to face him and his hand immediately grazed my cheek, gently easing my chin up to look at him. There it was…

  Our connection.

  Along with all our stolen moments placed in between us.

  Then came a cold, distant allure in his eyes when he said…

  “I wasn’t the one that said ‘Yes.’”

  I love her.

  I debated for weeks on whether to attend her engagement party or not. I looked at the invitation so many damn times I had memorized every word.

  I sat in my truck for hours, debating on going inside or driving back home. It was near 10 PM when I finally managed to pull myself together enough to walk through the doors and into her future.

  A future that didn’t include me.

  At least not in the way that I had once hoped it would. We would always be best friends though, over the last few years our conversations and interactions became less frequent, shorter and almost non-existent. I knew every time she looked at me that I had broken her heart. I had hurt her in the worst ways possible and I had to live with knowing I did that. My hand was firmly placed in my pocket, holding the necklace that I had bought her after our first kiss. She wore it for years, until one day she didn’t.

  It produced a false illusion that she was still mine.

  The second I walked inside I saw her. I stopped dead in my tracks just to take her in, she was a vision. There was no beauty in this world like Alex. She was wrapped around her fiancé, his hands firmly locked in place on the woman that belonged to me. I claimed her a long time ago. She looked breathtaking, smiling at everyone with her long brown hair framing her mousy face and her big brown eyes that always made my heart skip a beat. She wore a long white dress that hung loosely on her body, always a tomboy at heart but still managing to make it look sexy. I remembered a time when she hated dresses, fighting with her mom because she kept buying them for her.

  I couldn’t take my eyes off her, it took everything inside me not to make a scene. I couldn't control the internal battle that surfaced in the forefront of my mind, it was a tsunami of emotions. I loved her, I knew I loved her, I always have and I always will. She owned every part of me. My heart was hers since before I knew what her having it even meant. But she deserved to be happy, so I had to let her go.

  It wasn’t fair to either of us.

  Especially her.

  She suddenly looked down at the ground as if she felt me. The look on her face exposed the girl I grew up with, the same girl that couldn’t hide her emotions from me. Her face frowned and her mouth parted, instinctively pulling away from her fiancé who didn’t pay her any mind. I didn’t know if she did it for my benefit or hers. Then she looked up and right at me. There was no wandering in her stare as she found mine from the corner of the room. We stood on the dance floor gazing at one another like there was no one else around us, like the room wasn’t filled with our friends and family. I didn’t care if anyone saw us. We had spent over two and a half decades worrying about everyone else’s feelings.

  I saw nothing but pure unadulterated fear as she placed her hand on her heart, as if she were trying to hold it together. Slowly breaking her gaze from mine, our connection was broken. It mirrored our love. My feet moved of their own accord as I followed her out to the beach.

  Our beach.

  Grasping the necklace tighter in my pocket.

  We exchanged words that will forever haunt me, adding to the pile of endless confessions, secrets, and betrayals. I inhaled the sweet and tantalizing smell of Alex, the lingering scent of her vanilla shampoo and the sunscreen that I knew she still put on every morning. The smell of her cherry lip-gloss brought me right back to childhood when she used to be mine.

  I kissed her because I couldn’t not kiss her.

  I pecked my lips on the only spot I knew wouldn’t be crossing the line, even though a line was never drawn.

  She belonged to me.

  Plain and simple.

  Our emotions were running wild, trying to accept the bond our hearts will forever have. We laid our love out for each other years ago. I fought a battle I knew I could never win. The emotional turmoil ate away at me the closer we got to saying goodbye. That’s what happened when two halves of a heart come together and become one.

  We would always be linked.

  We were destined to be soul mates.

  Star-crossed lovers.

  When I spun her to look at me, the little girl with pigtails wearing boy clothes was gone and all that was left was…

  The woman getting married to a man that wasn’t me.

  “Guys, this isn’t fair!” I shouted from below.

  “Life’s not fair, Half-Pint,” Lucas called out.

  “But I want to play in the tree house, too.”

  “Can’t you read?” Jacob yelled, pointing to the crappy sign that looked like it was drawn with women’s lipstick. The bright red, boy handwriting clearly stated, “No Girls Allowed.”

  “That’s a stupid rule if I ever heard one. I’m not a girl, I’m one of the boys, exactly how I’ve always been. I’m one of you.”

  I put on my best boy stance, as they peered down at me, leaning all my weight on one leg and crossing my arms, giving them one hell of a standoff. If they didn’t let me up there, I would find my own way. Even if that meant I had to climb the tree all by myself. By the look on all four of their faces, they knew it, too.

  We grew up in the small town of Oak Island, North Carolina. Our families had all been friends growing up in this Southern beach town. My parents, Nathanial, and Jana owned a restaurant right on the water where I spent most of my childhood along with my four best friends, who all happened to be boys.

  Jacob Foster was the oldest. He took on the "Big Brother" role before all of us could even walk. He was thirteen and tall for his age, nearly six foot. He was still a gangly kid, all skin and bones, but with the sweetest smile and vibrant green eyes. He always had a ball cap permanently glued on his head. He was like the poster child for surfing, always wearing all kinds of different surf brands. He protected me fearlessly, but I didn’t need any protection, I could carry my own weight and I often reminded him of that. His parents, Ginger and Lee owned a grocery store up the road, where they sold all kinds of tourist crap and food. They preserved a farm on his grandparent’s old plantation in South Port that they only opened on Sundays. The church folk would gather together and go to town just to get the freshest produce near us. He had two younger sisters, Jessie
, and Amanda, who bored me to no wits end.

  Why would I want to play with dolls when I could be climbing trees and building forts?

  Dylan McGraw was thirteen, just a few months shy of Jacob. They were always the closest to one another. I think it’s because their personalities were somewhat the same, both acting as if we owned the beach whenever kids passed through town on vacation. He was also tall, almost the same height as Jacob, with hazel eyes and skin that tanned like the best of them. He had long blonde hair that went past his ears. His mom was always on his butt to get it trimmed but he refused, saying it was his style. During the summer the sun and salt water would bleach his hair almost white. His parents, McKenzie and Steve mostly worked from home. They had an act for refurbishing old furniture and turning it into something modern, new, and unique. Some of the items were sold in local shops, some from their online store, and some were loaded up and hauled to flea markets, where tourists flocked and overpaid for the quality work. Dylan and I both had the only child syndrome.

  Austin Taylor was eleven and the shortest among the boys, although he would punch you in the face if you ever told him that. He was a rambunctious kid that was always trying to make up for the fact that the other boys were bigger than him. He was a cute kid with red hair and green eyes. His mom said he had some Scottish bloodline, hence the red hair. He hated it growing up, but once we reached high school, it had its perks. The freckles on his face became more prominent, which were very enticing to the girls at Oak Island high school. They fawned over him because he looked so different from the other boys around here. He had a baby brother named Hunter, who was five years younger than him.

  Last, but definitely not least was Lucas Ryder or Bo, as I called him. It meant commander and that was him to a T— born to lead, not to follow. He was twelve, almost thirteen, and had a temper like no one else I had ever met before though he was always the sweetest boy to me. No one could tell him no and if you did, he would do it anyway just to spite you. We’re the closest to one another. He always looked out for me and defended me when the boys called me a girl. I hated when they pointed out I couldn't do something they could do, just because I didn't have something dangling between my legs.

 
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