I was content.
Happier than I’d remembered being in a ridiculously long time.
All the pride I’d felt watching my small café grow, and in opening the new one didn’t come close to what I was feeling lying in my bed right now.
Mari was mine.
I wanted to hit my knees and thank every deity that had ever existed, and some that I was willing to make up just so I could thank them.
Last night, Mari had come to me because of a stupid ass prank my brother, Phoenix had pulled. He sent her a note from the family’s property management company telling Mari that she’d have to vacate for two weeks while her small apartment was fumigated. Something about asbestos and mold and shit that had her running scared.
I knew I should probably punch him in the left nut sack for doing that, but it sent her running to me, so I couldn’t be too pissed.
I frowned a moment, still lying in bed with my eyes closed. I hated knowing that Mar and I had kind of stepped away from each other for a minute because of that ass bag biker she was banging. I couldn’t help but feel a little insecure, worried that at some point she would run into him in the streets and her panties would just disappear.
But, I had to trust her. If this was going to work, we would have to be able to trust each other.
I stretched, having decided it was time for my body to catch up with my brain and wake up the rest of the way.
When I rolled over to pull my beautiful woman over to me, my arm felt nothing but sheets.
She must have gotten up to pee again.
I grinned to myself, enjoying that moment of intimate knowledge of her. She seriously had a bladder the size of an acorn.
After last night, I had to say that she was more of everything than I’d thought she’d be.
Okay, I’d waited long enough. I needed to go track down my woman.
A stupid ass grin invaded my face as I got up to find her.
The bathroom door was wide open, and she wasn’t in there. Okay, well, I’d guessed that one incorrectly.
I walked out to the kitchen, and not only was she not there, but the lights were all off.
A weird sinking feeling started creeping in on my happiness. An overwhelming feeling of emptiness, because I was realizing my house was empty. It was just me.
I called out for her, hopeful that she was somewhere in my small apartment somehow unseen. Hiding from me, perhaps. Like, under the couch or in a closet.
Now I was just being dumb as fuck, grasping at straws in hopes that she would miraculously appear.
Maybe she’d gone out for breakfast? Maybe she was going to walk in that door at any second with a bag full of bagels and some cream cheese. Maybe she’d laugh about how stupid the person in line in front of her was, because they took for-fucking-ever to place an order, wanting to know the carb content of the bagel, and if they had a non-dairy cream cheese option.
My eyes caught sight of a piece of paper next to my phone, and my hopes stupidly lifted. I knew I shouldn’t hope. Notes left behind were rarely a good thing. But, maybe this time was different. She said she was going to try to make this work between us, so maybe this was a good note.
Too many maybes. Not enough Mari.
I eyed the piece of paper, not wanting to walk over to it, because if I stayed over here just looking at it, it would remain an innocent piece of paper. If I walked over, it would have the power to possibly tear me to shreds.
I shouldn’t be this wound up, I mean, why would she run? She swore to me last night that she was done running.
I walked over to the counter and picked up the offending note.
My eyes read the words, but it took a bit for my mind to catch up and comprehend what I was reading. For all my struggle, you would have thought I was reading a different language.
You were supposed to be the one guy I could trust.
But you’re just a liar like the rest of them.
I will always love you, but I don’t think I’m strong enough to be in love with you, now that I know I can’t trust you.
Oh, by the way, your brother sent you a few interesting texts. Congrats on the new job.
I picked up my phone and groaned as I read through the messaged that dickhead had sent.
Hey, Bro – I’m thinking you’ll be hearing from that hot little number of yours, I sent her a letter that we’ll be exterminating her apartment and dealing with ‘mold’ and stuff. You can thank me later.
I saw three question marks were sent back in reply. Question marks I hadn’t sent because I had been sleeping off one of the best fucking orgasms of my life.
His response though, holy hell, his response was the nail in the coffin of my fledgling relationship. This was what tore the small, thin fabric of trust that we were working towards in two, threw it on the ground, set it on fire, and then pissed on it to douse the flames.
LOL, dude. I’m sure you haven’t gotten around to telling her that you are now the guy running McClellan, so she won’t put two and two together. Thank me later. Right now, put the phone down and get ready to get back in the saddle. Your epic and ball-shriveling dry spell is about to end. You’re welcome.
Suddenly, all my internal justifications for not telling her the truth about my family and the family business sounded stupid as fuck. I knew she had trust issues. I knew that honesty meant the most to her, and yet I’d willingly withheld information from her.
Mari had dealt with a scary stalker situation in college, one that had resulted in death threats and restraining orders. It was some guy she’d gone on a date or two with, but because she had felt less than zero chemistry between the two of them she had called it off.
I wanted to throw my phone, throw the evidence far away from me that she now saw me as a lying ass because of my stupidity. And yes, I knew this was my fault, but I wanted to fucking kill my twat licker of a brother.
Why the hell didn’t I have a passcode on my phone?
Oh, yeah… I had gotten rid of it because I thought it was too much of a pain in the ass to have to punch it in every time I picked up my phone.
I slumped in one of the stools, resting my head in my arms on the cool, stone surface of my counter.