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Cursed ecstasy cursed se.., p.9
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       Cursed Ecstasy (Cursed Series), p.9

           t. h. snyder
 
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  “I can see that, asshole, I’m just making sure before we hand in her keys.”

  Propping myself up against the wall, I cross my arms while watching him shift through the drawers in the kitchen.

  “Ya know, I still can’t believe she’s letting you do all of this without her being here. The Jo I know would be putting up a fight for her independence.”

  “She doesn’t have much of a choice now, does she? I told her I was going to take care of her when she got out of the hospital and that’s exactly what I’m going to do.”

  “Linc, I don’t think that meant moving her out of her apartment and into the house.”

  He stops walking around the kitchen and comes out to the living space, turning to stare at me.

  “You don’t think she’ll be mad, do you?” he asks, his eyes bugging out in panic.

  I start to laugh so hard that I have to grab on to the wall to support myself from toppling over.

  “What the fuck is so funny?” he asks, glaring at me.

  “Your face is priceless. Of course she’s going to be pissed at you. Well, at least for a few minutes and then she’ll get over it. You guys make me fucking sick with all your happy shit, but I’m glad the two of you figured your shit out.”

  “Thanks, I guess. You know, if you changed your shitty-ass male whore ways, you might be able to find a chick or….”

  “Don’t even say it, Linc. Can we go now? I have some shit I have to take care of when I get home.”

  “Yeah?” he asks with a raised brow.

  “Yeah, so get whatever shit you need and let’s go.”

  I watch as Linc takes one final look around the apartment and then leads us out to the car.

  Knowing all too well what he was about to say, I had to stop him. He thinks he knows me and what’s best for me, but trying to push Etty and me together is a bad idea…a really bad idea.

  At least that’s what I’ll continue to tell myself so that she can move on.

  The girl gets under my skin and not in a good way.

  Every time I’m near her I can feel my blood begin to boil, especially when that clown is attached to her hip. He’s always around—it’s kind of annoying. I’m not sure what the hell is going on between the two of them, but I doubt he has a chance with her. She’s way too good for him; at least I think she is.

  I know Linc wants to see me happy, and I get that…I appreciate him trying to help me as much as I’m helping him, but he needs to focus on himself and Jo.

  Things are going good for them and I couldn’t be happier for my two best friends.

  I guess it really does take a life or death situation to wake someone up and realize what they really have…before it’s really gone.

  Chapter 14

  The sun is just about to set along the horizon as Christian drives me home from our night of dinner and a movie.

  With the car window down, the wind blowing freely through my hair, I stare into the dimly lit sky.

  My mind wanders, as it has for the past two weeks. I can’t seem to concentrate. Things are still a vivid blur and the choices I’ve made fight my subconscious every day.

  Do I stay or do I go? Should I plant my feet or should I run?

  The choices are something that weigh on me day and night. I’ve put the Cursed crew through a lot. It took me days to realize what had happened with Rick wasn’t really my fault at all…just a horrid coincidence.

  Now he’s dead and his cousin Michael is behind bars…both exactly where they belong. The fears and nightmares of Rick finding me can finally be put to rest; I’m free of him and safe to know that he can never hurt me again. My life should be able to go back to normal, if I’d just let it.

  I’ve decided to stay in Birmingham, although it was a difficult decision. I didn’t know what my next move would be if I were to leave, but after debating things with Linc, I realized that being here is the only place for me to continue my life. His strength and drive is an inspiration to me. As much as I want to run from it all, Linc is the one person that can talk some sense into me and help me find myself. I can finally become the person I want to be.

  Even though some parts of my life are starting to settle, it still hurts to know that Dault won’t talk to me. Well, he won’t unless he has to. We’ve crossed paths a few times at the house and the hospital, but it’s never been more than a glare in my direction or a snide comment about Christian being at the house…again.

  I miss his presence, the way he used to look at me, and the memories of our bodies united as one. It hurts more than I thought it would, but Dault is who he is and I know he’ll stay as far away from me as he can. No matter how much I try to deny it, I miss him in my life. He holds a curse over me that I can’t move past, even though I know very well that I should.

  Linc encourages me to let Dault vent out his frustrations, to give him more time. I laugh to myself at the thought…time… it’s all I really have and it kills me that the one person I want to be close to me is still pushing me away.

  I wish I could let it all go, forget about the night Dault and I shared, but it’s just too hard. There’s an incredible man sitting beside me that wants me…for me. Christian is the one that’s here and wants me to give myself to him, yet I can’t. My heart and soul are buried deeply into another man, and for the life of me, I can’t dig my way out of the trance Dault has put me in.

  Christian’s body shifts in the driver’s seat as I glance in his direction. He turns to face me with a smile and a wink of his deep chocolate brown eyes. I can’t help but smile back at him, yet I still feel no physical attraction toward him. I’m not sure where this friendship of ours is going, but for now I know I have someone with me that wants me for me and nothing more. He’s expressed his feelings toward me on more than one occasion; I just can’t share them. I’m trying, but something is pulling me in another direction…I can’t let it go, no matter how hard I try.

  This man, that was a complete stranger, came into my life when I least expected it. For the past few weeks, he’s been my rock through the struggles I’ve been facing. The guilt, the pain of my past mistakes, and the battle I’ve been in to remove Dault from my memories.

  In the hospital, he told me he would be here for me and he wasn’t kidding. Christian has been by my side every day. Before work, after work, and even during his shifts, he makes sure that I’m okay and that I have everything I need to be comfortable.

  He’s helped me to realize that I have to move on from the flashbacks of that night. Christian has done everything he can to keep me busy—pulling me from the depression I’ve felt. I really don’t know what I would’ve done without his help and support.

  When and if he’s not around, Linc is checking in on me, too. I’ve witnessed him trying to rebuild the movement and strength in his arm. His world has been crushed by all of this, not to mention the hurt he feels knowing that Jo is still in the hospital and there’s nothing we can do to help her heal faster.

  Nothing sucks more than having no control over the wellbeing of those closest to you. She’s been a fighter this whole time, never blaming me for anything. Between the two of them, I don’t know who is more understanding and kind. They’re two of the same and I can’t wait until their lives get back to normal and they can start fresh from all of this.

  I want to rid my mind of everything that has gone down, it’s just hard to forget. I’ve kept to myself for the most part, even with the constant revolving door through my house.

  After sitting like a lump on a log on my couch for far too long, I finally gave in to Christian’s request to get out of the house and have some fun. The pain from my fall has gone away, the headaches are now almost completely faded, and all of the other symptoms of the concussion are a distant memory. I’m feeling so much better and I’m ready to get my life back.

  Tonight is exactly what I’ve needed—time away from my day to day routine and the company of a good friend. Even if we were only a few hours away, it was great to be ou
t of the house. Dinner was amazing, much better than the quick meals I’ve been eating at the house. The movie was an absolute five star, one that I’ll have to see again.

  My eyes focus on the street ahead as Christian pulls his car in behind Dault’s along the curb.

  The same nerves I feel when I’m near Dault pick up and my stomach turns into a giant knot. Reaching for the door, I pause as I see two figures walking along the sidewalk, down to the car parked in front of us.

  There’s a smile on Dault’s face that quickly changes to a scowl as I our eyes connect.

  Christian opens the door for me and I step out to be greeted by Linc’s soothing voice.

  “Hey, Etty, glad to see you got out of the house. You’re looking pretty damn good tonight, too. Was this a date?” he asks with a laugh.

  Ignoring his comment, I move along the sidewalk toward the house.

  Christian grabs my arm and holds me next to his side.

  “Linc, how’s the arm?” Christian asks.

  Feeling like an invisible object, I stand motionless while the guys shoot the shit.

  “Good, thanks for asking. So what were you two up to tonight?” Linc asks, moving toward the back of Dault’s car.

  I look up to Christian who has a huge smile plastered across his face.

  “I finally got Etty out of the house.”

  Linc turns to look at both of us with a confused look on his face.

  “Yeah, I can see that, what did you do?”

  Hating the inquisition, I choose to speak up so that we can avoid this conversation and I can get back into the house.

  “It’s not a big deal, guys. Christian suggested we do something so we went for dinner and a movie.”

  “Sounds like a date to me,” Dault says.

  My eyes shift to his, the look on his face one that could be that of a man on a death mission or maybe just a hint of jealousy.

  “What’s it to you?” Christian chimes in.

  Pulling my arm from his, I start to walk up the concrete path.

  “Where you going?” Linc asks, holding a large box with his good arm.

  “Can someone help him with that? He only has one arm…come on, guys.”

  I move to step closer to Linc and grab a side of the box for him.

  “I’m good, Etty, relax,” Linc says, trying to pull the box from me.

  Dault moves alongside of us, his arm brushing against mine.

  A chill runs through my body and goose bumps sprout along my arms and legs. I hate the way he makes me feel; I want it to just go away.

  “I got it,” he says, taking the box from Linc and standing next to us.

  With all three men now staring at me, I feel like I’m in a scene from The Twilight Zone. I have my best friend with his arm in a sling, Christian wanting me to take him inside, and the man I can’t let go looking at me…waiting for me to do or say something.

  “You know what, I’m really tired and think I’m going to call it a night. Thanks again for getting me out of the house, I really needed it,” I say in Christian’s direction.

  “I can come in if you want,” he replies, wrapping his arm around my shoulders.

  “She said she’s tired, bro, let her have some time alone,” Dault states, the look on his face more stern than before.

  “I think she can make that decision on her own, don’t you?” Christian asks, removing his arm from me and taking a step forward.

  “Seriously, guys, this isn’t a pissing contest and I’m ready to call it a night.”

  Turing my body to face Christian, I take his hand and walk him back to his car.

  “You know I hate the way he treats you, Etty. It’s as though you’re his property, no one else can have you,” he whispers.

  I stop in my tracks in front of his car and give him a pissed off smirk.

  “That was uncalled for, Christian. Things are complicated and you know it. Just go home and I’ll call you tomorrow, okay?”

  “Fine, but make sure you get some rest.”

  He leans down and places a gentle kiss to my forehead.

  “Goodnight, Christian, and thank you again for tonight, I did have a lot of fun.”

  Shrugging his shoulders, he walks to the driver’s side of his car without another word.

  It kills me inside to know his feelings for me are growing and there’s nothing I can give him back.

  With a wave of my hand, I watch as he pulls away and down the street.

  Something has to give here and I just don’t know what. As I stare at the street, I feel lost with no idea which direction I should go. Rather than making a decision, I turn back toward the house to see Linc and Dault carrying more boxes.

  Walking along the sidewalk, I stop in front of the man I can’t get over.

  “You don’t need to be such a prick, ya know. He’s a friend, and if he wants to be here then you need to butt the fuck out. I’m tired of your attitude and the way you talk to him. Who the hell do you think you are, anyway? Time to grow up, Dault, and think about the way you treat people. It’s getting old, really old.”

  As I stare into his blue eyes, my body now shaking, I hear a snicker from behind me.

  “Guess she told you,” Linc says.

  “Ugh, I’m done. Goodnight, Linc, I’ll see you in the morning.”

  “Night, Etty, sweet dreams.”

  Rushing past Dault, I feel a sense of pride that I’ve finally said something. It may not have been much, but it was enough for him to realize that I’m sick of his shit.

  If he wants to be a lonely asshat for the rest of his life that’s his choice, but I’m done with him and everything he’s thrown at me these last few weeks.

  Chapter 15

  After bringing in the last of the boxes from Jo’s apartment and sorting her shit throughout the house, I’ve finally made it to my room. Falling onto the mattress, I let out a loud groan. I’m feeling exhausted, not just physically, but emotionally as well.

  My mind is a puddle of shit, my thoughts shattered and feelings all over the place. I don’t know how to decipher how I’m reacting to everything I saw and heard tonight.

  I’m pissed as hell after what I witnessed tonight—seeing Christian’s arm wrapped around her shoulders, his hand touching her skin, and his lips kissing her forehead. It makes my skin crawl to know that another man is doing exactly what I should be doing.

  Regardless if she says they are just friends, I know what I saw and I don’t buy it. He cares for her, there’s no doubt in my mind about that now. I see the way he looks at her, the desire that floods his eyes when she smiles, laughs, and leans her body in close to his. Even if they’re just friends, like she says, it still drives me insane to know he’s there with her when I’m not.

  I’ve been an ass, an unbearable man to be around, and I hate that it’s hurt her the way it has. I judged her when I should’ve been the one to pick her up as she was falling. I want to be the man that’s there for her, the one that she can lean on when she’s hurting, but all I seem to do is bring her more pain—Linc made that very clear to me tonight.

  He gave me a hardcore heart to heart smack down after Etty went inside the house. I know he cares about us both and only wants us to be happy, but shit, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen him so pissed off at me before tonight. He really laid into me and made me feel like a piece of shit for treating her the way I did.

  I’ve been blinded by so much lately that I haven’t even noticed the ways in which I’ve been acting toward her. I mean, yeah, I’m a dick to just about everyone, but I have good reason. It’s just that with her, things should be different; I should be better to her…for her.

  Linc insists that I’m holding back from Etty, hiding from what he and I both know I need to let go of before I lose her all together. I really listened as he was chewing me a new ass tonight. It’s not hard to understand what he sees and what he wants for me, but I need to do it on my own, not because he’s telling me to.

  Do I have feeling
s for her?

  Do I need to let go of my past once and for all and finally let her in?

  Do I want to be a better man for the woman I know can change me forever?

  Lying in bed, my eyes tightly shut, a million thoughts flash through my mind, all revolving around a petite blue-haired spitfire.

  She fucking yelled at me tonight—those green eyes filled with so much anger, pain, and hatred.

  As much as I don’t want to admit it, I feel bad…really fucking bad.

  My chest aches and my fists clinch along the bed sheets. Etty makes me feel things I’ve never felt before.

  I’m not the guy that wants to be good for a chick, but with Etty, I want to scoop her up and hold on to her, never letting her go.

  It’s all becoming clear to me.

  The ways in which I’ve treated her since she got here are really bad. I don’t know what it is about her, but something won’t let her out of my mind; she’s buried too deep.

  No matter how much I want to hate her for what went down with her ex, I realize now how wrong I really was. I should’ve let her in, allowed her to talk to me and explain everything. Never giving her a chance is my biggest regret.

  Fucking hell, what am I saying?

  Opening my eyes and sitting up in bed, I stare ahead at the darkness of my room.

  I’m so torn and I don’t know what it is that I want, but what I can rationalize is that she’s in my head, her touch against my skin and her voice playing through my thoughts.

  I hate that the douchebag is around her. He’s not good enough for her and she deserves better…better than both of us.

  No matter what I’ve done to her in the past few weeks, she needs to know that I was just an ass. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to her; it’s the way I am and everyone knows it.

  If I’ve learned anything from this whole mess, it’s that I can’t let a day go by without letting people know what I’m thinking, how I’m feeling, and why I am the way I am. Yeah, I'm an asshole, but I have my reasons. This way they’ll know the whys and the what fors. I need to man up.

  She was brought into our lives for a reason, even if it was when I least expected it. I can’t let her go; I need to talk to her, to tell her everything. The only one that has ever been a part of my painful past is Linc. I’m scared to open up, to let anyone in and see the real me.

 
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