Authors: Rachel Ellis
©2014 by Rachel Ellis
Hot Tree Editing
My phone's alarm rang for the third time that morning.
I couldn't bring myself to wake up, not when last night left me completely exhausted, both physically and emotionally. It was one of those lazy days. The kind where I wanted to lie in my bed, shuffle between the sheets and not do anything.
After I cried in the bathroom last night—it was long, good, and exactly what I needed—I took a cold shower and walked out of the bathroom. The twins leapt to my attention, treating me like a delicate flower. I told them that I couldn't sleep in the same bed as them after the whole ordeal. They were disappointed, but understanding, and kind enough to lend me one of their guest rooms.
I was saved from having to sleep next to them, but I didn't get enough rest all the same.
The stupid alarm from my phone wouldn't stop. I groaned and grabbed my phone, tapping on the screen to turn it off. I should have set the damn thing to fifteen-minute intervals instead of five.
I slid my hand over the red button to shut the alarm up. Maybe it was this stupid sound that caused me to wake up with a bad headache. Hugging my blanket tighter to my chest and going back to bed felt so tempting today, but I had to get up. I didn't want the twins to go hungry without breakfast. Ever since I moved over, they instructed the part-timers not to put food into the refrigerator for them to microwave in the morning.
I threw the blanket off and sat up in one sweeping motion. Bad idea. Waking myself up like that usually put me in a slightly more energetic mood, but this time, all it did was cause my head to throb between my ears.
I did the usual morning stuff—brush my teeth, wash my face, pee—and then I walked down the stairs, thinking about what the hell I should poison the twins with.
Feeling spiteful, I actually considered putting laxatives into their breakfast. I wasn't
mean, but thinking about it and smiling to myself didn't harm anyone.
As I moved down the stairs, I saw Riley lying on the sofa while reading a book. I couldn't read the title from so far away, but it was probably some non-fiction novel about business or finance. I usually caught him with those in his spare time, while Ryan preoccupied himself with mysteries or thrillers.
He didn't wear a shirt, as the twins always preferred not to.
Looking at him half-naked sent images from last night flooding back into my mind. It made my gut wrench. I padded past him to move to the kitchen. Why the hell was I even making breakfast for them? I considered cooking just my share, and leaving the two of them hungry.
He shot to attention the moment he noticed me. "Hey, how was your sleep?"
"Great, thank you," I lied. I woke up at least three times in the middle of the night.
"I don't want to talk about it." Turning my back to him, I opened the lower cupboard to pick out a saucepan. I decided to make instant soup today. They could dip some bread in and have some commoner breakfast. I wasn't in the mood to please their taste buds, or eat.
He pulled up a chair at the counter and sat down. "Sure. That's fine. We don't have to talk about it. But we will have to eventually, Scarlet. We can't have you being mad at us forever."
I put the pan onto the stove more violently than I should have. "We're not talking about it. Period."
"Shut up. I can't cook with you sounding like a yapping puppy behind me."
He sighed. "You're being difficult."
Now hearing him say that
rubbed off on me the wrong way. "I'm the one being difficult?" I muttered to myself, suppressing a yell.
"Tell us how to make it up to you."
"Dig a hole and bury yourself in it."
"I'll wait for you to cool down."
"I don't need any cooling down."
Riley went silent after that, doing as he said, letting me cool down.
The soup needed more water. The twins didn't deserve good soup today, instant or not. I'd give them diluted crap, and if they didn't eat it, they'd be hungry until they got to the office.
Ryan joined his brother at the counter. "Good morning; how was your sleep?"
I turned around and saw Riley nudging his brother's shoulders, saying, "Don't talk to her yet; she's still really pissed at us. I don't think anything you say to her will get to her head."
I served the soup in porcelain bowls. They clanked against the counter, louder than they should have.
Ryan looked down and curled up his lip. "What the hell is this?" He dragged the spoon over the surface of my concoction. "It's so watery."
"It's your fucking breakfast. Take it or leave it." I grabbed some bread from a cabinet and dumped it next to Ryan. "This might make it marginally better."
Before I could withdraw my arm, Ryan grabbed it.
"Let me go," I said.
His eyes searched mine. "We don't want to fight. If you'd just let us talk, and accept our apology, it'll make things easier. Do you want to spend the rest of this week feeling bad and throwing tantrums?"
I tried to wiggle my wrists out of his grasp, but it was too strong. "Yes, I do. Now get your hands off me. The both of you have tied me down long enough," I scolded, alluding to what happened last night.
He ran his fingers through his hair, giving me the urge to wrap my fingers in his hair, too. But I wasn't in the mood to succumb to any of that just yet. "We enjoy doing that...
immensely, but if you don't want to, we'll stop. We're sorry, and we'll do anything to make you forgive us."
I enjoyed it too, but I let them have too much control and they abused it. "You should have clarified whether I liked it or not before the both of you went apeshit."
"We gave you a safe word."
"And then fucking gagged me. How the hell was I supposed to say it after you gagged me?”
"We didn't consider that," Ryan said under his breath. "We were stupid, I know. We'll tell you what we're going to do next time. I promise."
I sucked in a breath. "I'll think about it."
Their faces brightened up at the mild prospect of forgiveness. I wanted to slap them to erase whatever hope they had. I was in a mood that let me sadistically enjoy their misery.
As I walked away, not feeling like talking to them any longer, I said, "Drink your soup. It's getting cold."
When I climbed up the stairs, I glanced to the side. I was surprised to find them reluctantly forcing my horrible mixture down their throats, gingerly dipping the mass-produced bread into the soup as they did.
I wanted to skip my day at work, not because of the twins, but because I felt like I had been stuck on a ship for a thousand years. I was feeling nauseous the whole morning. I retched into the toilet soon after leaving the twins to their horrendous breakfast. They should have been the ones puking, not me. Life always ends up becoming unfair.
It could have been the after effects of yesterday. This morning was a horrendous episode of lightheadedness and swollen eyes.
I entered Tyrone's car anyway—too much work at the office to complete. The twins and I travelled in separate cars when heading to work, so the paparazzi didn't get any shots of us together. I was thankful for this arrangement today. I didn't want to be sandwiched in between them again. It would make me feel disgusted, angry, and perhaps, hot and bothered, which would disgust me even further.
The car ride made my head spin even more. I paid attention to the turns and corners, eager for the ride to end.
We stopped at the basement's entrance in front of a few paparazzi. It had been a struggle to get past them in the beginning, but the twins and I soon became old news. They had found some other celebrity to bother. What used to be a horde had dispersed into a light scatter, which wasn’t too much trouble in comparison.
My fingers still massaging my forehead, I stepped out of the car. Tyrone was gentlemanly enough to open the door for me.
"Scarlet!" a voice shouted.
I looked down, and covered my face, not in the mood to deal with those pesky reporters.
"It's me, Damien; don't ignore me!" the same voice shouted over a number of disrespectful comments.
My head shot up. What in the world was he doing in front of my workplace? I'd had enough of that idiot, and I definitely didn't have it in me to deal with his nonsense today.
He was dressed in a plain tee and jeans. Waving his hands as he moved forward, he beamed at me, as if he was a welcome audience. Seeing him tempted me to once again cover my face and act as if he were another one of the paparazzi. I didn't want them catching my back-story. "What is it Damien?"
"I really need to talk to you."
I tapped my company card onto the sensor and slipped into the lift lobby. The stupid bastard dared to trespass and slipped in along with me.
He grabbed my shoulder. The paparazzi were furiously clicking away at their cameras, taking as many pictures as they could, no doubt with the intention to splay them onto their magazine pages and web articles.
"You're not allowed in here," I said, narrowing my eyes.
He pursed his lips. "But I really need to talk to you. It's not about our relationship, I swear." He held up three fingers, and then crossed his heart.
"Stop bothering me." I pressed the lift button. They were still on the fifteenth and twentieth floors.
"After this, I won't anymore. I swear. I just need you to lend me five thousand dollars. Kelly is in debt, and I need to bail her out. I told her not to gamble, so many times. But she didn't listen to me. The loan sharks are at her doorstep every day. She can't sleep in peace, and neither can I, knowing she's undergoing so much pressure..."
As his rambling went on, all I could think was
. This son-of-a-bitch honestly expected me to give—and I meant give, because he certainly wasn't going to return the money—him five thousand dollars after he slept with that slut, whom I now know as Kelly?
My jaw hardened. I tapped my foot on the floor, aching for the elevator to arrive. "I don't have that kind of money."
He laughed, "Sure you do, Scarlet. I know the twins are loading up your bank account."
"They don't give me any of their money."
"Then why sleep with them?"
And now he's accusing me of being a hooker?
I looked outside and saw Tyrone watching over me. I waved for him to come in.
Damien grabbed my shoulders. "Please, Scarlet. It's been horrible for us, and you can help."
I shoved his hands aside. I didn't want his filthy fingers on me. "I've never seen anyone as moronic as you are. Why the fuck did I even date you?"
"Is there anything I can help you with, ma'am?" Tyrone said as he came in. He had a deep and gravelly voice.
"Please show this man out of the building."
"Yes, ma'am." He bowed his head.
Damien pawed his hands to get closer to me. The elevator dinged as he was thrown out by my driver. I briefly glanced back to see his desperate look. "C'mon, Scarlet," he pleaded. "For fuck's sake." He tried to fight against Tyrone to get past him, but Damien never had much fight in him, so it wasn't difficult for Tyrone to escort him out.