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Authors: Violet Jackson,Interracial Love

The Love Triangle (BWWM Romance) (4 page)

BOOK: The Love Triangle (BWWM Romance)
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Scared that she would remember it all.

 

When she opened her eyes I sat forward, inching to the edge of my seat. I’d spent most of the night in the damn hospital chair and it hadn’t been comfortable. The nurses had told me I could go home but I didn’t want to leave her. I’d nearly lost her once, I wasn’t letting anything get between us again.

 

“Hello, my darling,” I said softly and she turned her head slowly to me, blinking sleep away from her eyes. The corners of her mouth curled into a smile and it lit up her face. It made the bruise around her eye seem harsher somehow, and something inside me contracted.

 

“How are you feeling?” I asked.

 

“I’m okay,” she said, and pulled a face that made me think she wasn’t okay at all.

 

“Can I get you anything? I can ask one of the nurses, what do you need?”

 

She chuckled without any expressions on her face.

 

“I’m okay, Elijah. Really.”

 

Her calling me by name stung. I knew that she didn’t mean it in a bad way. But before the accident, every time we’d fought she would stop calling me by pet names and call me Elijah. Like my name in itself had become an insult. What was it now? A reminder that she just didn’t know where we’d come to before.

 

That was an insult, too.

 

“The doctor said you’ll be ready to get out of here by tomorrow. Then I can take you home, make sure you have the best of anything.”

 

“Home,” she said softly, like the word was foreign. “That’s not the first time I hear that home is with you now.”

 

I frowned. We hadn’t been living together long, but it had been something.

 

“Come on, honey. It’s going to be just fine. I’m going to get you a nurse and you’ll be taken care of when I need to go out to the meetings.”

 

“You don’t need me there?” she asked. I shook my head. I could deal without her for a while. She looked down at her hands, her brow creased and her lips pursed.

 

“I would really prefer to get back to work. I just need something… normal. Something that I know.”

 

“I don’t know if that’s a good idea,” I started but she shook her head until I kept quiet just so she would stop shaking it. She’d already had a terrible blow to the head.

 

“I just don’t see how it would be better to go home…” she swallowed, like the word was a difficult one to have in her mouth, and continued, “…with you. I don’t know that. That, to me, isn’t home.”

 

I opened my mouth to say something, closed it, opened it again. And I still didn’t know how to say what I was thinking. That if she slipped out of my fingers now, I was scared I would never get her back.

 

“You have nowhere else to go,” I said instead, and my voice sounded hard. She frowned slightly at me, all traces of that first smile gone, and I wanted it back. I didn’t like it when she looked at me that way. I’d seen too much of it.

 

“I can go home,” she said but she made it a question. I shook my head, laced my fingers through each other. I would give anything for a stiff drink right now. The cafeteria didn’t sell whiskey, I checked.

 

“You sold your place just after we moved in. You don’t have anywhere else to stay.”

 

She looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language. I wasn’t sure if she’d heard what I’d said.

 

“Where’s all my stuff?” she finally asked. I took a deep breath and held it for three counts before blowing it out again.

 

“In storage,” I said. “You didn’t want to get rid of all of it.”

 

“I’m surprised I got rid of anything at all.” She frowned again and lifted her fingers to the bandage around her head, like thinking made it hurt. “I didn’t think that was something I would have done.” She closed her eyes, stiff cheeks like she was trying to find something deep inside. Finally she shook her head.

 

“I can’t remember,” she said.

 

She hadn’t agreed to sell her apartment. It had been the first big fight in our relationship. But it was right that she’d come to live with me after she’d chosen me. I arranged the sale, put away her stuff because I knew she was sentimental about it. She’d inherited a lot of it from her grandparents and family was important to her. Her parents were in New York.

 

Her mother had been trying to get a hold of her. I hadn’t known what to say to the woman. I didn’t know anything about her and by definition that scared me. I didn’t like a woman I couldn’t get a handle on.

 

“I don’t want to go home with you,” she said, ripping me away from my own thoughts.

 

“Honey, don’t,” I said. “Just think about it.”

 

She shook her head again. It made me nervous when she did it, like I was the one that was going to sit with the headache. “I don’t want to, Elijah.” She was angry. Her lips pursed in a thin line, her eyes had drained of all life, lids drooping halfway over her eyes. It looked like no one was home. The last time I’d seen her this angry was just before the accident, when she’d sworn at me and gotten in that damn car.

 

“Grace,” I said, using her name inside of a pet name. “I don’t want you to be alone. Where will you go?”

 

“A hotel. One of those with the suite. I can afford it with what you pay me, or has that changed as well?”

Her anger was sudden and fierce and very unlike her. Mood swings, the doctor had said. Personality changes. Hearing it was always easier than dealing with it.

 

“Why are you throwing this back in my face?” I asked. I could feel my own anger push up in my chest, creep up my neck. I’d never been good at backing down. “All I’m doing is trying to take care of you. You were in an accident, dammit. You need help.”

 

That was the wrong thing to say. The anger drained out of her, leaving an empty shell behind.

 

“If you really want to help me then you pay for the hotel and the nurse that can stay there with me. I’m not going home with you. I can’t do it, Elijah. I’ve only lost six months, and I don’t even recognize my life anymore.” She pressed the heels of both hands against her forehead, squeezing her eyes shut like the pain had finally caught up with her.

 

I wanted to argue. I wanted to fight with her. That familiar feeling in my chest was back, where I just couldn’t get rid of it without snapping, without breaking something. My fists balled as if they had a mind of their own. I got up, jammed them into my pockets and left the room. I couldn’t afford to lose it in here. Not now. Not when I’d already been so close to losing her.

 

Chapter  4 -
Grace

I couldn’t do it. As much as Elijah’s face was welcome, as much as I yearned to see him smile when he wasn’t in the room, I just couldn’t get myself to agree to go home with him. A lot had to do with the fact that I just felt so terribly alone. He was the only one that was around. The nurses changed shifts, every time it was a new face changing my bandages.

 

And Justin didn’t come. I waited for him. I wanted him to come, needed him to tell me that everything was going to be okay, because it didn’t feel like it was going to be. And he just didn’t come.

 

I tried phoning Shonda. Elijah knew I was here. Justin knew I was here. I haven’t heard from Shonda at all. She was the only person in this town that I could call my friend. She helped me keep my head clear when some things were hard, she made me laugh when I wanted to cry, and she let me talk. I was lucky that I had a friend like her.

 

Her phone rolled over to voicemail every time. I needed a friend now.

 

By the time night fell, I felt like I was going to explode. Or implode. Or something. I didn’t want to be in the hospital bed anymore. The bandages around my head had been replaced with a bandage just underneath my hairline on my right side, but it itched and every time I picked at it, someone was around to tell me not to do it.

 

And I didn’t have a home. It was gone. Everything was gone. One minute I was drinking coffee with Elijah, the next I woke up in a hospital and I didn’t have a home, a life, a future. I didn’t have Justin.

 

I had a job I wasn’t allowed to do because of my injuries, and a boss that insisted I lived with him now when I couldn’t remember how that had happened, when I was so sure my love for Justin had weighed more than my love for Elijah. It wasn’t like I didn’t love Elijah. There was a time in my life when I’d thought maybe this was it, maybe Elijah was the one. But things had changed.

 

And apparently now they’d changed back and I felt like I hadn’t been around to witness it. I knew it was stupid, of course I was there. I just couldn’t remember. But to me it just felt like it had never happened. The only thing worse than not remembering the last six months was that everyone else around me did.

 

I tried to backtrack. Maybe if I remembered what came first, how it had all happened, who I’d fallen in love with in the beginning, I could remember what had happened after.

***

Fort Atkinson was a town much smaller than any of the places I’d ever been. I was used to travelling. Our family, my parents, my sister and I, had moved around a lot for my dad’s job. That same restlessness had gotten a hold of me, and when they’d settled in New York I’d kept going. Detroit. Chicago. Sacramento. Philadelphia. And back to New York. My mom was there, and there was a time when she’d been so sick we’d all been scared we’d lose her.

 

She’d gotten better, and Mr. Elijah Wilson from Magna Solutions out here in Texas had contacted me with an offer I just couldn’t refuse.

 

Fort Atkinson, Texas was one of the original settler towns. The layout was still exactly the same, with the church in the middle and the rest of it fanning out around it. Main Street had all the shops on it. Church Street that crossed it had all the restaurants. It was simple, a simple small town where everyone knew everyone’s business, and I was claustrophobic from the moment I arrived.

 

There was a certain anonymity to living in the city. It wasn’t here.

 

I parked the car I’d rented in Houston in front of a convenience store and walked in. The air conditioner blasted me from above the door. The lady behind the counter had bottle-blonde hair and nails and lips that had the same shade.

 

“I’m looking for Magna Solutions,” I said to her. She looked me up and down like she was judging me, and I fought the urge to cover up even though I wore a dress suit.

 

“You from outta town, honey?” she asked, forcing a smile that didn’t reach her eyes. I nodded. She didn’t answer me straight away, probably waiting for me to volunteer more information, but I wasn’t going to. Finally she nodded and pointed a scarlet nail toward the back of the store.

 

“You just follow that road on up and over that ridge there. You can’t miss it, plain as day from the top of it.”

 

I nodded and thanked her, and left the store. The heat was overwhelming when I stepped out of the shop again, pressing down on me like a giant hand. I got in the car again, put on my sunglasses and cranked up the A/C until the car was glacial inside.

 

Bottle-Blonde had been right. I couldn’t miss Magna Solutions. As soon as I cleared the ridge I saw it, the road leading up to the large booming entrance, and the white buildings stretching out into the field beyond. At the gate I mentioned my name, and they opened for me. Everyone knew who I was, everyone knew to expect me, and within ten minutes I sat inside Mr. Wilson’s office.

 

The office was huge, the size of a small apartment at least. A mahogany desk sat in the middle, intimidating the rest of the room, and the leather swivel chair behind it was empty. I sat down on a chair opposite, crossed one leg over the other and clutched my purse on my lap. I touched my hair, checking the bun. I’d gotten it done just before I’d left New York, cornrow braids that spiraled around my head until it fastened in a bun at the back of my head. It looked classy and professional.

 

The door behind me opened and Mr. Wilson walked in. I assumed it was Mr. Wilson. He wasn’t a tall man, when I stood up to shake his hand he was exactly my height. At five foot four, that wasn’t very tall for a man, but his presence spilled into the room with him, and I got the idea that he was used to getting his way regardless of his height.

 

He was stocky, but not an inch of fat. His shoulders were broad underneath his suit jacket and his blond hair was shaved short, close to his head. He had a scar across his left cheek, dipping in beneath his eye and stopping just above the corner of his mouth.

 

“Miss Davis,” he said and took my hand. “A firm handshake, I like that.”

 

I forced my eyes away from his scar and onto his eyes, and they were a lot more remarkable. They were the color of winter skies, hard and cold.

 

“Thank you so much for this opportunity, Mr. Wilson,” I said. He still held my hand, longer than was necessary. His skin was warm, a strong contrast to his cold eyes. 

 

BOOK: The Love Triangle (BWWM Romance)
12.95Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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