Make it a double, p.26
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       Make It a Double, p.26

         Part #2 of Last Call series by Sawyer Bennett
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Page 26

  “See,” I say with a huge smile on my face. “I can take care of myself. ”

  Gabby starts laughing and after Casey gets over her pique at being smacked, she joins in. Then we are all three laughing our asses off until Babs yells at us to be quiet, and then we snicker for a while.

  “Sooooo,” Casey drawls out to get our attention. “We didn’t get a chance to really dish last week when we found out you were banging my brother…”

  I wince, because of the way she says it. I am banging her brother, but it is so much more than that. When they came to Last Call after getting Hunter’s picture of us kissing, there was much hugging and celebrating the fact we were together, mostly because it signified a huge leap for Brody. We never did get to discuss the girlie details because Brody didn’t give me the fifteen minutes I had asked for, plopping his butt down beside me after only five. So thereafter, it was just general chitchat over a few beers before Brody took me home and had me screaming down the ceiling.

  “Don’t be so crude,” Gabby says as she glares at Casey. Then she turns to me. “But you have to tell me… is the sex smokin’ hot, or what? I mean, just from a purely scientific angle… you know… me having a twin, you having a twin. ”

  I stare at Gabby with my mouth hanging open, a forkful of potatoes paused halfway there. A quick glance at Casey shows her jaw hanging low as well. Gabby looks at me, looks over at Casey, and then back to me.

  “What?” she says defensively. “Don’t tell me you haven’t thought about it. At some point, you didn’t fantasize about having both Markham twins in a mind-blowing threesome?”

  Oh, I had so imagined that, starting about the time I turned seventeen and had become sexually active. But there was no way in hell I was ever going to admit that, especially now that Gabby was with Hunter.

  So I just roll my eyes at her and eat my potatoes.

  “Seriously, though,” Gabby says as she leans forward a bit. “I have to say I’m surprised. I never would have pictured the two of you together. ”

  “And why’s that?” I snap, while leveling a glare at her. I’m tired of Brody’s doubts about our compatibility; I don’t need it from my best friend.

  “Easy there, tiger,” Gabby laughs good-naturedly. “It’s just because Brody was such an ass to you in the bar that one day. I figured the only interaction you’d ever have with him would be a swift kick to the balls, which he’d have deserved. No offense, Casey, seeing as he’s your brother and all. ”

  “None taken,” Casey chimes in.

  Setting my fork down, I give an apologetic smile. “I’m sorry for snapping. It’s just… Brody thought at first that he wasn’t good enough to be with me because I’m rich as hell, and he’s a—”

  “Felon,” Casey supplies sadly.

  “Right,” I confirm. “That’s what he thought. He was also comparing me to Stacy. Thought that all rich women were like her. ”

  “How did you convince him you weren’t like that?” Gabby asks curiously.

  Shrugging my shoulders, I push my plate away and pick up my coffee cup. Sitting back in the booth, I tell her, “I didn’t try. He helped me out at The Haven, saw I wasn’t a princess in a tower, and realized he’d misjudged me. ”

  “So what… then did he like ask you out or something?” This from Casey, who looks like she can’t believe her reclusive brother would go so far as to ask me out on a date.

  “Not exactly,” I hedge.

  Both Gabby and Casey stare at me, and their message is clear. Spill the good stuff and spill it now.

  “I got really buzzed one night and kissed him,” I admit with an impish grin.

  “Sleazy girl,” Casey says in admiration, because that is a trick she would so employ on an unsuspecting male.

  “Then he kissed me… at Hunter’s party. And it was so freakin’ hot. ”

  Gabby sighs and looks at me dreamily. “Hunter’s a hot kisser too. Must be in the DNA. ”

  “So, then you two hooked up and made wild monkey love?” Casey guesses, pointing her finger at me. “Right?”

  “Wrong,” I correct her. “Brody stopped the kiss. Spouting same old shit… that we were too different. ”

  “Dumbass,” Casey says. “And I can say that about him since he’s family. ”

  I take a sip of coffee and put my cup back down. Running my finger over the rim, I say, “I understood. Brody has a lot of reasons to be closed off. ”

  “How did you break him down?” Gabby asks.

  “We found out we have something in common,” I say vaguely.

  “What?” Gabby and Casey both say at the same time.

  There’s no way I can tell them we share his secret… that is what bonded us. It’s something I’ll take to my grave. “I can’t tell you… it’s very private, but it’s special. ”

  Casey sits back against the back of the booth in a huff, crossing her arms over her chest. “I don’t know whether to sigh with the romantic nature of what you said or beat the shit out of you for the information. ”

  She’s joking, of course. They’re my besties and I tell them mostly everything, but they love me enough to respect my boundaries.

  “Well, if you aren’t going to tell us what threw you two together, at least fill us in on the sex,” Gabby demands.

  I know my eyes take on a dreamy look, because Casey and Gabby give me simultaneous eye rolls. I ignore that and give them a little bit of information to appease. “I’m not giving you any details, only because I can’t. There are no words to describe what he does to me. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in my life. ”

  “Damn, that’s hot,” Gabby says, slapping her hand on the table.

  “It’s not just the sex,” I continue. “Brody is just… well, he’s attentive, he worries about me, he’s noble, he loves The Haven and all the animals, and he’s got this romantic streak in him. You’d never guess it, right? Because he’s so moody? But last Friday, before he had to leave for work, he packed a picnic basket for our dinner and took me down to the beach to eat. He’s just…”

  My words fail, because I could go on and on about Brody and yet, I don’t think I’m adequately conveying the greatness of him. I can’t really form the words that would do him justice.

  “He’s just the most special man I’ve ever known in my life,” I say quietly.

  “Do you love him?” Casey asks tentatively. “Because it sounds an awful lot like love. ”

  I keep my eyes focused on the table because if I raise them, Casey will see the truth. Why I’m afraid to share it, I don’t know. Maybe because it will make it real, and I’m afraid that may be the one limit Brody has. He may not be able to love me in return.

  When I don’t say anything, Gabby reaches across the table and pats my hand. “Love is hard, Alyssa. It takes work and sometimes it’s one-sided for a while. But I watched Brody with you last night while we were all at your house… and that man cares for you a great deal. You two have something very special. ”

  Looking up at Gabby, I give her a smile. I turn my gaze over to Casey. “Yeah… I love your brother. He’s kind of hard not to. ”

  Casey’s eyes fill with tears, and she brings her hand to her mouth. Taking in a stuttering breath, she says, “All I want is for Brody to be happy… to be able to let the darkness of the past go. I think you’re the one that will make that happen for him. ”

  “I hope so, Case,” I tell her honestly. “I really hope so. ”

  Casey blinks once and the tears spill out, sliding down her cheeks. It makes my eyes go misty. Both of us take our napkins and dab the wetness away.

  “Okay,” Gabby says with resilience. “Let’s change the subject. I want to revisit this shit with Chad. ”

  “I’m not having full-time babysitters,” I reiterate to her.

  “I get it,” Gabby says. “I just want to figure out what makes this guy tick. Why is he doing this to you?”

/>   “I don’t know,” I say with frustration. “We didn’t date all that long. Maybe three months max, and it was so casual. He was possessive and controlling when we were dating, which is the main reason I ended it. But he never gave any indication that he would obsess over me. ”

  “You were pretty tight lipped about him when you were dating,” Casey muses, “and I just assumed because he really wasn’t worth the effort to even talk about. ”

  “Exactly,” I admit. “I certainly wasn’t sad to end it. We just had nothing in common, and he really wanted me to be the rich heiress on his arm that he could show off. ”

  “You never saw anything?” Gabby asks in disbelief. “I mean, how does someone hide that creep factor?”

  “Not at first,” I tell her. “But I started seeing it once when he took me to that old, abandoned lifeguard station across from Tar Hole Inlet. Remember that place?”

  “Yeah, we used to poke around there when we were kids, but they boarded and locked it up. ”

  “Well, Chad thought it would be dangerously romantic to break into it and have sex there one night. I mean, it’s off such a barren stretch of road, chances of someone being there at night were nil. I guess the excitement of the possibility of getting caught turned him on. ”

  “So you went?” Casey asks with interest, and I can see her filing this place away in her memory bank. My little kink monster.

  “Yeah… I mean, it sounded fun and frankly, Chad didn’t have much game in bed so I thought it would spice it up a bit. ”

  “How did it turn creepy?”

  My face gets red as I remember that night. Things were well… getting hot, and I was in the moment. Then Chad started doing some really weird things.

  “He wanted me to be loud… I guess so someone could possibly hear. Then he got a little rough, which was okay… I thought we were playing. Then he put his hand around my throat and started squeezing hard, and that freaked me out. I yelled at him to stop, and he did immediately and was apologetic, but it certainly killed the mood. ”

  “Ick,” Gabby says, wrinkling her nose. “Nothing wrong with a little rough stuff, but choking is not cool. ”

  “Not the only time he did it to me,” I tell her with no small level of embarrassment.

  “What?” she exclaims.

  “The day I broke it off with him, he tried to choke me. He was so angry that he put his hand around my throat and pinned me to a wall. He stopped pretty quickly and said he was sorry. ”

  “Why didn’t you tell us?” Casey demanded.

  “What’s to tell? I wasn’t serious about him, and I wasn’t heartbroken about breaking it off. It was pretty much dinner dates and some mediocre sex. Nothing to tell. ”

  “He tried to choke you… twice!” she hisses at me.

  “Chill out,” Gabby admonishes her, and then turns to me. “So, he clearly has a screw loose. ”

  “I guess,” I say reluctantly. “I just thought it was an anger thing. I thought he’d get over it. ”

  “Well, he hasn’t,” Casey snaps, “and I’m thinking he still wants to get his mitts around your neck. ”

  “You don’t think I don’t worry about that, Casey? I’m scared, but I’m not going to have him disrupt my life. I have to trust that this will work out. Otherwise, I’ll drive myself crazy. ”

  “Fine,” she pouts. “I won’t push you on that again. I know you’ll be careful, but I can’t help worrying. ”

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