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Cursed ecstasy cursed se.., p.12
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       Cursed Ecstasy (Cursed Series), p.12

           t. h. snyder
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  “Don’t say another word. I can’t believe this is happening.”

  He pushes himself back against the cushion of the booth and runs his fingers through his shaggy brown hair.

  Shaking his head, he looks up to the ceiling, down at the table, and then meets my gaze, eyes filled with regret and sorrow.

  “I should’ve known this would happen. It was just a matter of time before he got to you.”

  “Christian, it’s not like that. Dault and I have known one another since I got here; it’s not like he came out of nowhere.”

  “No, Etty, he didn’t come out of nowhere. He’s treated you like shit from the start, and now…now that he sees you’re happy with me he wants you all for himself.”

  “That’s not fair,” I retort.

  “None of this is fair, Etty. I’ve been by your side since you were brought into the ER that night. I’ve wanted to do whatever I could to make you happy, but it just wasn’t enough.”

  A tear begins to fall from my eye.

  “I’m sorry, Christian. Things have always been complicated with Dault. I just can’t drag you along while I’m not sure what could be between Dault and me. It wouldn’t be fair to you.”

  Sliding to the edge of the booth, he leans his head into his hands and pauses for a moment.

  “I get it. Like I said, I knew this was coming, I just didn’t think you’d be stupid enough to fall for his shit again.”

  “Christian,” I gasp.

  “No, don’t even. I’m not the right guy for you and I won’t sit back and watch him hurt you. It’s been fun while it lasted, Etty, but I’m done. Have a nice life and don’t call me when he breaks your heart. I won’t have the courage to tell you I told you so.”

  My mouth is gaped wide open, a dryness forming along my tongue.

  I’ve hurt him and there’s nothing I can do to stop the pain I feel from it all. Sitting motionless, I watch as my perfect stranger walks out of the diner and into the parking lot to his car.

  Just when I thought things are going well for me, something like this reminds me of what an awful person I really am inside.

  Chapter 19

  For the past few hours, I feel like I’ve been moving through the motions in a daze. Knowing that Etty was planning to meet Christian has my mind going a million miles a minute.

  There have been three clients that have come and gone with tattoos, but for the life of me, I can’t remember actually doing the work.

  I need to focus but I can’t.

  Getting up from my chair, I walk out into the hallway, the buzzing of multiple ink guns resonates loudly through the shop. Moving down past Steve and Cliff’s room, I stop short in front of Linc’s office.

  “Hey man, I’m heading out for a smoke. Wanna join me?”

  “You okay, Dault?” he asks, moving from behind the desk and walking toward me.

  “I can’t focus; it’s driving me nuts not knowing what’s going on. She should’ve been back by now.”

  “Maybe she’s still talking to him. You gotta figure he wasn’t going to take this lightly.”

  Shuffling my feet along the tile floor, I feel like a five-year-old wanting to throw a fucking temper tantrum.

  I’ve never felt this invested in a chick before; hell, chick isn’t even a good enough term to use for Etty. No matter how much I’d wanted to pull her from my thoughts and hate her for the way things had been, I can’t. I want to be near her, touching her, holding her and making her mine.

  There’s nothing I want more than to know she’s mine for good.

  Walking into the waiting area, my eyes dart to Ashley sitting behind the desk on the phone. I can only hear a part of the conversation, but could swear I heard her say Etty’s name.

  “Dault, aren’t you coming out for a smoke?” Linc asks, pausing in front of the door.

  I lift my hand, pointing my finger for him to wait a second.

  Ashley sets the phone down and looks in our direction.

  “Perfect timing, guys, that was Etty. She said she’s not feeling well and I should tell you she’s heading home.”

  Oh shit, that can’t be good.

  “Thanks, Ash, I’ll call her later to make sure she’s okay,” Linc says, pushing open the door and stepping out onto the sidewalk.

  I follow him outside, lost in thought. Why wouldn’t she come back? We’re all here. She shouldn’t be alone right now, especially if she’s upset.

  “I need to go see her,” I say, pulling my smokes out of my pocket.

  “Relax, Dault, she’s a big girl and will be fine ‘til we get home. Maybe she just needed a breather for a bit.”

  “Or maybe she’s upset and needs me to be there for her.”

  “Don’t push her, Dault,” he says with a stern tone. “The last thing you want is to push her away before you even know where you two stand.”

  “This fucking blows, man, I can’t concentrate.”

  “Welcome to the club, bro,” he says, slapping his hand on my shoulder. “It feels pretty damn good to see you this worked up over a girl. I don’t think it’s ever happened before.”

  “No shit, Linc, I’ve never acted or felt this way about anyone like I do with Etty. I’m telling you it’s different, she’s different. I’m not going to screw this up. I’m sick of being a waste of space; with her I’m going to change.”

  “I’m happy for you, man, just take it slow.”

  “Day by day is all we want right now. We’ll figure it out as we go.”

  “Good plan, now get your ass back to work and don’t fuck up anyone’s tattoos.”

  “Nah, man, never,” I reply, tossing the empty filter onto the street and making my way back into the shop.

  I make it through the rest of the day focused and determined to pay closer attention to my work. It would kill me to know that I didn’t do my best ink on my clients. They’re paying good money for my skills and there’s no way I want to mess it up.

  As Steve’s last client walks out the door, we all start to clean up so we can get the hell out of here. It’s been a long day—one too many lectures from Linc, and a pounding headache that won’t go away—I’m more than ready to get home.

  The lights are shut down and the four of us walk out the door of Cursed Magic. Looking ahead of me as I follow my three brothers, I realize there’s a lot to change with who I am. These guys are my family—the ones that I work with day in and day out—and it’s time I start to pay more attention to those around me.

  I’ve been hiding behind a mask, a shell of a man with no direction. All I’ve ever done is follow the motions of my best friend and hope for the best. It’s time now for me to try and live for myself, help those that mean the most to me and become a man.

  Parting ways, Steve and Cliff get into their cars while Linc and I slide into mine.

  The entire car ride is left in silence. Driving down the highway, my thoughts are set on seeing Etty. I don’t know what happened between her and Christian; I can only hope that she’s okay.

  As I pull my car up along the curb, I glance over to the house. The sun went down hours ago and no lights are lit. She wouldn’t have gone to bed before we got home, would she?

  Getting out of the car, I follow Linc up the concrete path to the front door. My gut tells me to check on her, but the words of Linc from earlier echo through my mind. He’s right, I don’t want to push her away, but at the same time I need to know that she’s okay.

  “Don’t you think we should check on her?” I ask, pausing before stepping into the house.

  He turns from the doorway and looks to me, his brows raised.

  “I’ve been texting with her all night, she’s fine.”


  He cuts me off before I can finish my thought.

  “Dault, if you feel you have to go in there, then go. Just remember, she needs her space, don’t invade it.”

  I slouch my shoulders and sigh in defeat.

  “Fine,” I reply, pushing my way
past him and into the house.

  This whole situation fucking sucks. I want to be with her, comfort her if she’s upset, and try to show her that I’m in this for good.

  Stomping my feet up the stairs like a child, I swing open my bedroom door and fall onto the mattress. I know I won’t be able to get her out of my head, especially knowing she’s right next door.

  With frustration building inside of my chest, I pull my hat off my head and tightly shut my eyes.

  Mulling over the million thoughts going through my head, I start to count backwards from one hundred, taking long breaths between each ten counts. Before I know it, my body is completely relaxed and I start dozing off into sleep.

  “I can’t believe we’re fucking here, man,” I say, hopping out of the car and firmly planting my feet on the grounds of my new town.

  “Hell yeah, believe it, Dault. We did it. We’re out of that hell hole and ready to start fresh.”

  The drive totally sucked ass, but it was so worth it. All the planning to get here and it’s really happening. Thankfully, I just turned eighteen a few months ago and was able to hook us up with a cheap ass place until we can find something better.

  Looking around, I stand in front of an old two story home covered in crumbling brick and dilapidated shutters. This house may look like hell, but it’s home to me. Being in a new place, new town, and starting a new life was a dream for us and now we are finally here.

  “What should we do first?” I ask, looking around.

  “Beats me. We need to get things settled with the new landlord in about an hour. Other than that, we can check out the town.”

  Nodding my head, I walk around the car and take a seat on the curb.

  My body is hyped with adrenaline and I feel like I can take on the world.

  Between the two of us, we have enough cash to get us by for a while, but reality will soon set in and we’re gonna have to find jobs.

  That blows.

  Coming over next to me, Linc takes a seat and pulls out a pack of smokes. Together, we sit for the next hour and shoot the shit ‘til our landlord shows up. With keys in hand, we move into our empty apartment. We are finally on our own, free to live and make choices as we please. I never thought this day would come.

  “We should celebrate, man,” I say, lying on the floor and sprawling out.

  “What do you suggest we do? It’s not like we can go to bar and get wasted.”

  “Says who? We don’t know until we try. You up for it?” “Let’s do it. The worst they can do is kick us out…right?”

  “Fucking A, that’s right. Let’s go!” I shout, jumping to my feet and heading toward the door.

  The buzzing sensation of my phone wakes me. With a smile on my face, I open my eyes at the memories of the first night Linc and I crashed in Birmingham, Alabama.

  It was a night to remember for sure between the drinks and chicks we brought home. We definitely took the town by storm and created so many memories together. I don’t know where I’d be without my best friend. We’ve been through so much together; he’s the one person I can really count on to always be there for me.

  My phone vibrates again from my pocket and I slide it out, looking at the name on the screen. It’s Etty and the smile on my face never fades. Sliding my finger across the screen, I answer her call.

  “Hey Etty, you okay?” I ask, sitting up in my bed.

  “Yeah, I was hoping you’d answer. Did I wake you up?”

  “Yeah, but it’s okay. What’s up?”

  Silence fills the space between the phone lines. I don’t know what to say, how to act, or what to do. Linc’s words continue to play throughout my mind. I don’t want to push her.

  “Umm, well, I just wanted to say hi,” she says.



  “Look, I don’t want to be a nag or push you over the edge, but this is all so new to me. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. I feel like a fucking moron.”

  A giggle sounds from the other end of the phone and I slap myself on the forehead.

  “Don’t feel stupid, Dault, come over.”

  “Are you sure?”

  “Yes, I’m sure,” she replies with another giggle.

  Ending the call, I slide my phone back in my pocket and pull my cap back onto my head.

  With a smile on my face, I make my way down the stairs and over to Etty’s. Before I can open the door, she swings it open and stands before me.

  She really is breathtaking; I don’t know how I’ve let myself fall blind to the woman standing before me.

  With her blue hair pulled high on top of her head and her bright green eyes, she smiles at me and moves to the side to let me in.

  Closing the door behind me, she takes my hand and pulls me into the living room. I never know what to expect with her; she’s a challenge that I’ll never stop fighting for. As of right now, in this moment, this girl is mine and I’ll do whatever I have to so that she knows I’ll always be here for her.

  Chapter 20

  Standing in the center of the living room, Dault and I just stare at one another. His eyes have me in a trance, making it hard to look away from his gaze. After what feels like forever, he pulls me closer to his body and wraps his strong arms around me.

  “I was worried about you,” he remarks, nuzzling his face into the side of my neck.

  Goose bumps take over my arms and legs, while a chill races through my body. I don’t know that I’ll ever stop feeling the way I do when I’m near him. My body takes over and there’s nothing I can do to stop it.

  “I’m fine, Dault, promise.”

  Still holding me in his arms, he squeezes me ever so gently.

  “Do you want to talk about it?”

  I can’t help but laugh.

  Pulling himself away from me, he looks down at me with a puzzled smirk on his face.

  “What’s so funny?”

  “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t laugh, but this is all just too cute. Seeing you concerned and asking me if I’m okay is just a bit out of character for you. Well, it is for the Dault I’ve dealt with over the past few weeks.

  Shaking his head, he lets his arms fall from me and to his side. With a scowl on his face, he moves to the couch and falls back onto it.

  “Don’t let it upset you, it’s just different,” I say, walking toward him.

  “I told you this is all new to me, Etty, I’m really trying. I’ve never had to be good for someone else before.”

  Taking a seat right next of him, I reach for his hands and intertwine my fingers with his.

  “Dault, I’m not expecting you to change who you are overnight. I liked you from the first moment I met you in the diner. Even though you may act a certain way, it doesn’t mean you have to do a complete personality makeover.”

  “I just want to…hell, I don’t even know. My entire life I’ve been a fuckup and I don’t want to do that with you.”

  “I get it, I really do. Just don’t change who you are, okay?”

  “Yeah, okay,” he replies, pulling me in closer to him.

  I adore the fact that he’s been trying so hard over the last few hours. He wants to make this work and I have no doubts about that. It’s going to take time and it’s only been twenty-four hours since he confessed his feelings. I can’t expect him to change with the snap of a finger, no matter how much he wants it.

  “Well, if you don’t want to talk about what happened tonight, let me just hold you for a while.”

  “Mmm, I’d like that much better.”

  Removing my hands from his, I turn my back to his chest and curl into his warm body.

  Nothing could ruin this perfect moment as silence fills the room. My body is completely relaxed against his as the steady beat of his heart causes me to close my eyes.

  “I have an idea,” he whispers.

  My eyes dart open, “Yeah, what’s that?”

  “My schedule isn’t jam packed tomorrow, so I was thinking we could actually
go out and do something, just the two of us.”

  Lifting myself off of his chest, I turn and look at him. His eyes are set against mine and a smile spreads across his face; his dimples popping out just make me want to lick him, but I can’t.

  “What’s wrong?”

  “You…you’re just too much, Dault.”

  With a laugh he pulls me against him, the warmth of his body radiating against mine.

  “You have no idea what you’re getting yourself into with me, Etty. You sure you want in on this ride?”

  Moving onto my side, I wrap my arms around his waist and rest my head on his chest.

  “Of course I do, no matter how bumpy or smooth this thing is going to be for us, I want it.”

  “Day by day, babe,” he says, kissing my forehead. “I’m going to do this right, no matter how much it kills me.”

  “Sounds good to me, now talk, Dault. Tell me everything. I want to know you, understand you, and be a part of whatever it was that made you who you are.”

  His chest rises and falls as he inhales and exhales a deep breath.

  “I’m not sure where to start but the beginning.”

  “Start wherever you want, I’m here to listen.”

  “I need you to know that I haven’t told anyone this story—not even Steve and Cliff know the truth of my childhood. Linc is really the only one that knows everything about me. I’ve preferred to keep it that way in fear that anyone that knew would run.”

  “I’m not running, Dault. If you haven’t scared me off by now, you need to know I’m not going anywhere. If you don’t want to tell me or talk about it, I’ll respect that. I don’t want to push you into doing anything you don’t want to do.”

  “No, babe, that’s not it at all. It’s just difficult to bring up some of this shit. Thinking about it is one thing, but having to tell the story is like drilling a nail into my chest.”

  “Then take your time, there’s no rush. You can tell me as much or as little as you want. It’s all up to you.”

  “Okay, Etty, here we go,” he says, pulling me closer and running his fingers through the loose strands of hair that have fallen from my messy bun.

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