“I—I need to talk to my aunt. Excuse me.” I started to walk away when Detective Daniels called my name. I almost didn’t hear him because my mind was racing, and the prickling feeling of being watched wouldn’t go away. Where are you? I discreetly looked around again but didn’t see any sign of Keiran. “Yes?”
“We know you and Masters had some sort of relationship.” I sucked in a breath and stared blankly at the detective. “We don’t want you to make a grave mistake.”
“What mistake could that be?”
“Trusting him. Letting him get close. Guys like him know exactly how to entrap a girl like you. You weren’t made for someone like Masters to corrupt and beguile. Don’t let that happen.”
“If he comes near you or threatens you in any way, call us,” Detective Wilson said. “Immediately. Your life may very well depend on it.” They headed back in the direction they came.
* * *
“Spill,” Sheldon ordered as soon as we were through the door of her house. This was my first time here, and I couldn’t help but admire the grandeur of the monstrosity of a house they lived in. I didn’t have a clue as to how much money Sheldon and Dash’s parents had, but it was apparent they were wealthy when you took in the decor.
“Geez, Sheldon. Your parents are loaded,” Willow interrupted with wide eyes. She spun around in a circle and peered at herself in the polished, wooden floors. “I bet you guys have a tennis court and a movie theater,” she laughed.
“Don’t be a dick, Willow. Of course not. We have a basketball court and a movie theater,” Sheldon answered with a hint of embarrassment in her voice.
“Fucking rich people,” she muttered while looking around longingly. I knew Willow wasn’t upset because of the twins’ wealthy upbringing, but seeing all of the extravagance was probably a reminder of all the things she didn’t have. Willow’s parents were poor, and while they got by, there were a lot of things they had to go without. I looked at Willow, and when she saw my expression, she sent me a reassuring smile. She was okay.
“Anyway, I’m hungry. You guys want something?” Sheldon headed to what I assumed would be the kitchen.
“I’m fine.” My stomach had other ideas, and it wouldn’t welcome food.
Their kitchen was every chef’s dream with state of the art everything. Half of the appliances I didn’t recognize. Everything was sleek, polished, and oversized, but there was warmth too. The refrigerator doors were covered with crafts and pictures clearly made by a young child. There were family portraits on almost every surface and inch of the house. I stopped to admire the picture of an older, attractive couple, who I knew were their parents. I sort of met their dad the morning after my house was broken into, and Keiran had been mistaken for the culprit.
“Where are your parents?”
“It’s date night for them.” Sheldon pulled out sandwich makings and dumped them on the counter. “They usually go into the city and spend time alone being gross.”
“Hmm…” Willow looked around nervously. Being here must have made her uneasy. She confirmed that when she asked, “And your brother?”
Sheldon tossed her hair over her shoulder and huffed. “Why do you care? You don’t want him, remember?”
“That’s not the point, Sheldon. You know he hates me. We can’t even be in the same room without getting into an argument.”
“So fuck him instead,” she retorted.
“Why do you want me with your brother so bad?”
“Because he deserves someone like you.”
Willow’s eyes lowered, and I thought to cut in when I heard the purr and rumble of multiple engines pull up followed by car doors slamming.
“Shit!” Sheldon exclaimed. “He promised!”
She ran over to the window to look outside and whatever she saw made her curse and dash out of the kitchen screaming obscenities. Willow and I looked at each other and shrugged before simultaneously rushing to the window to see what had Sheldon so worked up.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” she yelled and shoved Dash sending him backward, allowing me to see the person standing behind him.
An eternity seemed to pass before I was able to breathe again.
He watched Sheldon push and scream at Dash with a bored expression, and when she turned her anger on him, he barely blinked. Dash looked on with an amused expression, which only made her angrier.
As hard as I fought, my gaze wandered to Keiran repeatedly. I looked him over carefully, but he was still the same. Had it really been almost a month since I last saw him? Not a hair out of place or even the slightest bit different, but I could tell by his stance he was getting impatient. He wanted near me. Considering the last time we were face to face, all I wanted to do was scratch his eyes out, dick-punch him and jump his bones all at once.
“Shit, I knew this was a bad idea,” Willow whined. “Should we go out there?”
There were a million valid reasons why I shouldn’t, but I reminded myself I wasn’t afraid of him any longer. When he turned his steely gaze on me, clearly seeing me through the window, I met his stare dead on. He was challenging me, but this time, I challenged him back. His mouth lifted in a smirk, and he nodded his head once in assent, accepting our silent standoff.
Never again, I vowed. So much had changed inside me in a matter of months. I felt like an entirely different person. Sure, I felt my moments of skepticism. No one really changed overnight, but I had the last ten years to build up immunity to him and it was just only starting to kick in.