Read Delinquent (Devil's Fighters MC Book 2) Online
Authors: Evelyn Glass
to help you,” Lynn said. “I can’t just turn my back, Lyssa. Don’t ask me to do that.”
Alyssa stared at her. She saw a kind of fierce determination in Lynn’s eyes that she recognized as similar to her own. She realized then that her friend hated the Devil’s Fighters almost as much as she did—if not more.
“OK,” she agreed finally, relenting. “But you’ll stay as out of the line of fire as possible.”
Lynn laughed. “Believe me, I intend to. And we’d best work to make it so that
also don’t get hurt.”
“And Xavier,” Alyssa said. “I don’t want him getting hurt either.”
“I can’t believe it. While we’re sitting here enjoying burgers and fries, he’s out there fighting.”
Lynn gave her a sympathetic smile. “If it’s any consolation,” she said, “I hear he’s the best fighter the Devil’s Fighters have ever had amongst their ranks.”
Alyssa grimaced, feeling a tightening of the all-too-familiar hold that anxiety had on her stomach. “No,” she said, “that really doesn’t console me at all.”
And it really,
She was still thinking about what Lynn had said when she got into her car and drove home. She took the long route, so she could think some more. Idly, she considered that her head might explode really soon, what with all the thinking (or rather, overthinking) that she was doing. Still, she couldn’t help it. No one in her predicament would be able to push certain thoughts out of their head.
“I hear he’s the best fighter the Devil’s Fighters have ever had amongst their ranks.”
Alyssa’s hands tightened around the wheel so much so that her knuckles turned white.
It angered her beyond words that Xavier would be so highly valued for his fighting abilities. It meant that he had worked at it—which was understandable; the man needed to stay alive after all. But it was just one more testament to how awful his life had been for the past eight years. Alyssa shuddered to think of what he might have had to do in order to hone his skills like that. How many times had he gotten hurt? How many times had he almost died, even?
Alyssa remembered the scars she had spotted on Xavier’s body the time they had sex in her parents’ kitchen—it was the only unpleasant memory of the experience. The scars had not been many, but they had been deep. She had wanted to ask him, but she knew better.
And yet, she knew that one day she would have to ask him about his physical scars and about his emotional ones, and she was already very, very afraid to hear the answers.
Alyssa did not expect Xavier to show up that night, but against all odds, he did.
It was well past midnight, and even though she suspected that it might be him knocking at the back door of her parents’ house, Alyssa’s heart still galloped within her chest as she went to open it. Even though it could be no one but Xavier who came to her in the middle of the night, she still made a quick stop on her way to the kitchen to retrieve the baseball bat her dad kept in the studio.
Because even though she tried not to be afraid, the truth was that it could very well be anybody who was coming to her in the middle of the night. For all she knew, it could be Bennie Lenday, waiting to teach her a lesson on what happened to those who ignored his warnings.
As it turned out, however, it really was Xavier knocking at her door at such an ungodly hour. Alyssa’s relief at the discovery must have been palpable, because he arched a brown eyebrow at her and gave her an amused grin. “Is that a baseball bat in your hand or are you just happy to see me?”
Alyssa flushed, suddenly feeling foolish. “A little of both.”
Xavier shook his head with a fond smile. “Who did you think it was at this hour?”
“I don’t know,” Alyssa said. “Hence the bat.”
Once she had stepped aside to let him in and he stepped into the light of the kitchen, she could take a good look at him. There was an angry red bruise blossoming on his left cheekbone and a cut on his bottom lip. His knuckles were raw and bloodied, and she could spot cuts and abrasions past the V-neck of his t-shirt.
Alyssa couldn’t help sucking in a breath.
“I’m fine,” Xavier said immediately.
“Are you sure?” Alyssa retorted. “You don’t look fine.”
“Well, thanks,” he said, his tone dripping with sarcasm. He walked up to her, close enough that their hips were touching and their faces were only one inch apart. “Because you look good enough to eat,” he said, his voice dropping to a husky whisper, as his hand reached out to caress her cheek.
Alyssa pulled back. It was one of the hardest things she had ever done, but she just couldn’t focus on sex when he was all cuts and bruises. “Xavier,” she said warningly.
Xavier huffed and pulled away. “Fine,” he said, relenting. “Do you have any beer?”
“In the fridge,” Alyssa said, once again grateful beyond words to Lynn for having stocked up her pantry and refrigerator while she was away.
Xavier walked to the fridge and took out a bottle, opening it with practiced ease. He took a long swig and then looked over at her.
is fine,” he said when he caught her still staring apprehensively at him. “I’ve looked much worse.”
Alyssa cringed, unwilling to even imagine the state in which he must emerge from certain fights. “At least let me clean the cuts?” she offered.
“No need. I can do it.”
There was a determined glint in his green eyes that told her she’d better back off.
. She did, albeit reluctantly. She knew he had been taking care of himself for eight years and that there was probably no way he would ever let her do it. His self-sufficiency was too ingrained a habit to ever be changed.
“I’m glad you came over,” she said after a moment, walking uncertainly up to him.
She wasn’t quite sure of how to act around him right now. She had not expected a romantic reunion in which they would throw themselves into each other’s arms, but she still had expected
. A hug, a kiss…some form of physical contact that stemmed from his actual joy of seeing her and not from an attempt to defuse the tension with sex.
Instead, Xavier felt distant to her—almost as if he was consciously trying to stay as far away from her as possible, both physically and emotionally. He was even standing behind the kitchen’s island, effectively putting a barrier between them.
“I’m glad I stopped by too,” he said, in a curt voice that threw her. “I wanted to see you.”
Alyssa arched a dark eyebrow. “Really?” She couldn’t help the skeptical note in her voice.
At the very least, it made Xavier pause. “Of course.”
“Because you don’t seem too thrilled.”
Xavier put down his beer and stared at her. “I am,” he said. “I’m glad you’re here.”
Alyssa looked at him dubiously, and that was when he finally acted. He reached across the island dividing them and cupped her nape, pulling her in for a passionate but somehow gentle kiss. Alyssa could taste a hint of blood from the cut on his bottom lip, but it didn’t bother her, and he didn’t seem to be in any pain or discomfort from it.
When he finally released her, there was a smirk on his lips and a glint in his eyes. “Did that convince you?”
“Maybe,” Alyssa conceded with a grin of her own.
They moved to the couch in the living room where they spent the next half hour making out and talking about nothing and everything in-between. Xavier progressively loosened up and came back to her, so much so that Alyssa began to wonder if the distance that had been there when he first showed up was a consequence of the fight. Perhaps he had simply been in the zone and he only needed some time to shake it off and come out of it.
you doing here?”
The question came unexpectedly—right after yet another session of breathless kissing—and Alyssa found herself caught completely off guard by it.
“What do you mean?” she asked cautiously.
“I mean just what I said,” he said. “What are you doing here?”
“You know what I’m doing; I’m taking care of my parents’ affairs.”
She had not shared her intentions with Xavier yet. She had the feeling it may be best to first reconnect a little more with the guy before she sprung an action plan on him. He was watching her intently now, and his green-eyed scrutiny made her uncomfortable.
“I don’t think that’s all you’re doing,” he finally said.
Alyssa let out an exasperated sigh that did not convince even herself. “Of course that’s all I’m doing. Why else would I still be in Pinebrook? You know I hate this place.”
“I know.” Xavier paused, his eyes still staring at Alyssa like they were trying to see into her. “But I think maybe you’re here for me.”
There was nothing fake about Alyssa rolling her eyes then. Even though that was exactly the case, it still annoyed her that he would have the nerve to assume.
“Somebody’s full of herself.”
“Maybe,” Xavier conceded. “Or maybe not. You tell me.”
Alyssa stood, needing to move around in order to expel some of the tension she could feel building up within her.
“I’m not here for you,” she said, but she knew that her nervous movements had already given her away.
Xavier set the beer bottle he was still nursing down on the coffee table and stood as well. He walked up to her and reached out to take her by the shoulders, effectively forcing her to stop her pacing and look him in the eye.
“I don’t believe you, Alyssa.”
Curiously, there was no trace of arrogance in his words. His green eyes were alive with what seemed to be a mixture of worry and displeasure, and there was an intensity to his gaze that made Alyssa weak at the knees.
“Fine,” she finally relented. “Maybe I
here for you, but it’s not what you think.”
Xavier’s face fell. He heaved a deep, suffering sigh, and he slowly let go of her. “I’m sorry, Aly.”
Alyssa felt a pang of dread in the pit of her stomach. The last time Xavier had told her he was sorry they ended up parting ways for eight years. “What are you sorry for?”
“I can’t give you what you want. I wish I could, but I can’t.”
Alyssa frowned, her anxiety quickly turning into confusion. “What is it that you think I want?”
Xavier hesitated. “A relationship.”
Alyssa couldn’t help a small smile. Was he really that dense? And did he think she was really that stupid? “Really?” she said. “That’s what you think I want?”
“Well, isn’t it?”
And it really wasn’t. Sure, she had toyed with the idea at first, and she would be lying if she said she didn’t still think about it from time to time. But she wasn’t so naïve as to believe that was an actual possibility. Right now, her priority was to get Xavier out of his dead-end life in Pinebrook. Whatever came next, whether his new life was with or without her, Alyssa could not say—and she didn’t want to obsess over it.
Xavier looked at her in surprise. “It’s not?”
“No, it’s not,” Alyssa repeated firmly. “I’m not that stupid, Xavier.”
“Then, what do you want?”
Alyssa stared at him. Did he really not get it? Could he really not figure it out? “I want to get you out of here.”
Xavier recoiled as if he had just been burned. “No.”
Alyssa blinked. “What do you mean, ‘
“You heard me,” he said, his features and voice hardening. “Stay out of it.”
Alyssa stared at him in shock. She had imagined Xavier wouldn’t be happy about her interference, of course, but this harsh and startled reaction threw her more than she could have guessed.
“Are you really telling me you want to keep living like this?” she asked.
“No, I don’t
to,” Xavier spat, his green eyes ablaze. “I never
to. But it is what it is, and it’s always going to be this way.”
“It doesn’t have to always be this way though.”
“Yes, goddamn it, it does!”
Alyssa flinched, appalled at his outburst and at the fury she could feel radiating from him.
Xavier took a deep, calming breath and ran a hand over his bruised face. “Listen,” he said, his voice calmer but still tense and steely. “It took me a very long time to accept my life for what it is. I’m not going to build up fantasies for myself now.”
“They aren’t fantasies, Xavier,” Alyssa said, as gently as she could. “I know we can’t just up and leave tomorrow, but there must be a way. We can figure it out together.”
“No,” Xavier said again. “I want you to stay out of it. If this is why you’re here, you can go back to Vancouver right now.”
He was being unbelievably harsh, but Alyssa fought against her first instincts of being hurt and lashing out right back. Instead, she took a moment to really look at him. She studied him carefully in the silence that followed his words, and she didn’t like what she saw. Xavier was afraid. More than that, he was terrified. She wasn’t sure whether he was afraid for her or for himself—perhaps it was a little of both.
“It doesn’t have to end badly,” she finally said, choosing her words carefully. “I know Bennie Lenday and the gang are a force to be reckoned with, but—”
“You don’t know anything, Alyssa,” Xavier hissed. “You’re a smart woman, surely you’re not stupid enough to fool yourself into thinking that you might have a clue about what it’s like to deal with any of this.”
“I…that’s not what I meant. I just meant—”
“I don’t want your help,” Xavier cut her off sharply. “I didn’t ask for it and I don’t want it. What I want is for you to stay out of it.”