Fallen Too Far, Page 2Abbi Glines
I was trying hard not to get pissed off. I needed this guy to have mercy on me. Forcing the snide comment that was on the tip of my tongue back, I smiled. “Yes. Really.”
Rush grinned and shrugged. “Sorry. You just look younger.” He stopped and his eyes trailed down my body and back up again slowly. The sudden heat in my cheeks was embarrassing. “I take that back. Your body looks every bit of nineteen. It’s that face of yours that looks so fresh and young. You don’t wear makeup?”
Was that a question? What was he doing? I wanted to know what my immediate future held, not discuss the fact that wearing makeup was a luxury that I couldn’t afford. Besides, Cain, my exboyfriend and current best friend, had always said I didn’t need to add to my looks any. Whatever that meant.
“I’m out of gas. I have twenty dollars to my name. My father has run off and left me after telling me he’d help me get back on my feet. Trust me; he was the LAST person I wanted to ask for help. No, I don’t wear makeup. I have bigger problems than looking pretty. Now, are you going to call the police or a tow truck? I prefer the police in case I get a choice.” I snapped my mouth closed ending my rant. He’d pushed me too far and I hadn’t been able to control my mouth. Now, I’d stupidly given him the stupid notion of a tow truck. Dangit.
Rush tilted his head and studied me. The silence was almost more than I could handle. I’d just shared a little too much information with this guy. He could make my life harder if he wanted to.
“I don’t like your father and from the tone in your voice, neither do you,” he said thoughtfully. “There is one room that is empty tonight. It will be until my mom gets home. I don’t keep her maid around when she isn’t here. Mrs. Henrietta only stops by to clean once a week while Mom is on vacation. You can have her bedroom under the stairs. It’s small but it’s got a bed.”
He was offering me a room. I would not burst into tears. I could do that later tonight. I wasn’t going to jail. Thank God.
“My only other option is this truck. I can assure you that what you’re offering is much better. Thank you.”
Rush frowned a moment, then it vanished quickly and he had an easy smile on his face again. “Where’s your suitcase?” he asked.
I closed the truck door and walked over to the back of the truck to get it out. Before I could reach for it, a warm body that smelled foreign and delicious reached over me. I froze as Rush grabbed my luggage and pulled it out.
Turning around I looked up at him. He winked at me. “I can carry your bag. I’m not that big of an ass.”
“Thank you, again,” I stuttered, unable to look away from his gaze. Those eyes of his were incredible. The thick black lashes that framed them almost looked like eyeliner. He had an all-natural highlighter around his eyes. It was completely unfair. My lashes were blonde. What I wouldn’t give for lashes like his.
“Ah, good, you stopped her. I was giving you five minutes and then coming out here to make sure you hadn’t completely run her off.” Grant’s familiar voice snapped me out of my daze and I spun around thankful for an interruption. I had been gazing up at Rush like an idiot. I’m surprised he hadn’t sent me packing again.
“She’s gonna take Henrietta’s room until I can get in touch with her father and figure something out.” Rush sounded annoyed. He stepped around me and handed Grant the suitcase. “Here, you take her to her room. I have company to get back to.”
Rush walked off without a backwards glance. It took all my willpower not to watch him walk away. Especially since his backside in a pair of jeans was extremely tempting. He was not someone I needed to be attracted to.
“He is one moody sonuvabitch,” Grant said, shaking his head and looking back at me. I couldn’t disagree with him.
“You don’t have to carry my suitcase inside again,” I said reaching for it.
Grant moved it back out of my reach. “I happen to be the charming brother. I’m not about to let you carry this suitcase when I have two very strong not to mention pretty damn impressive arms to carry them with.”
I would have smiled if not for the one word that had just thrown me for a loop. “Brother?” I replied.
Grant smiled but the smile didn’t reach his eyes. “I guess I forgot to mention that I’m the kid of Georgianna’s husband number two. She stayed married to my dad from the time I was three years old and Rush was four until I was fifteen. By then, Rush and I were brothers. Just because my dad divorced his mom didn’t change anything for us. We went to college together and even joined the same frat.”
Oh. Okay. I hadn’t been expecting that. “How many husbands has Georgianna had?”
Grant let out a short hard laugh then started walking toward the door. “Your dad is husband number four.”
My dad was an idiot. This woman sounded like she went through husbands like she did panties. How long before she got rid of him and moved on?
Grant walked back up the steps and didn’t say anything else to me while we headed toward the kitchen. It was massive with black marble countertops and elaborate appliances. It reminded me of something out of a home decorating magazine. Then he opened a door that looked like a large walk in pantry. Confused I looked around then followed him inside. He walked to the back of it and opened another door.
He had enough room to walk inside and put my suitcase on the bed. I followed him in and scooted around the twin size bed that left only a few inches between it and the door. It was obvious I was under the stairs. A small nightstand fit tightly between the bed and the wall. Other than that, there was nothing.
“I have no idea where you are supposed to keep your luggage. This room is small. I’ve never actually been back here.” Grant shook his head and then sighed. “Listen, if you want to come to my apartment with me you can. I’ll at least give you a bedroom that you can move around in.”
As nice as Grant was I wasn’t about to take him up on that offer. He didn’t need an unwanted houseguest taking up one of his bedrooms. At least here I was tucked away so no one would see me. I could clean up around the house and get a job somewhere. Maybe Rush would let me sleep in this small unused room until I had enough money to move out. I didn’t feel like I was imposing so badly back here. I’d find a grocery story tomorrow and use my twenty dollars for some food. Peanut butter and bread should get me through a week or so.
“This is perfect. I’m out of the way back here. Besides, Rush is calling my dad tomorrow and finding out when he will be home. Maybe my father has a plan. I don’t know. Thank you though, I really appreciate the offer.”
Grant looked around the room one more time and scowled. He wasn’t happy about this room but I was relieved. It was sweet of him to care.
“I hate leaving you back here. It feels wrong.” He looked back at me this time with a pleading sound to his voice.
“This is great. Much better than my truck would have been.”
Grant frowned. “Truck? You were gonna sleep in your truck?”
“Yes. I was. This, however, gives me a little time to figure out what I’m gonna do next.”
Grant ran a hand through his shaggy hair. “Will you promise me something?” he asked.
I wasn’t one to make promises. What I knew of promises was that they were easily broken. I shrugged. It was the best I could do.
“If Rush makes you leave, call me.”
I started to agree and realized I didn’t have his phone number.
“Where’s your phone so I can put my number in it?” he asked.
This was going to make me sound even more pathetic. “I don’t have one.”
Grant gaped at me, “You don’t have a cell phone? No wonder you carry a damn gun.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out what looked like a receipt. “You got a pen?”
I pulled one out of my purse and handed it to him.
He quickly scribbled his number down and then handed the paper and the pen to me. “Call me. I mean it.”
I would never call him but it was nice that he was offering.
I nodded. I hadn’t promised anything.
“I hope you sleep okay in here.” He looked around the small room with concern in his eyes. I would sleep wonderfully.
“I will,” I assured him.
He nodded and stepped out of the room closing the door behind him. I waited until I heard him close the pantry door as well before I sat down on the bed beside my suitcase. This was good. I could work with this.
Even with no windows in the room to tell me if the sun was up, I knew I’d slept late. I had been exhausted but a long eight-hour drive and footsteps on the stairs for hours after I’d laid down kept me from sleeping. Stretching, I sat up and reached for the light switch on the wall. The small bulb lit the room and I reached under the bed to pull out my suitcase.
I needed a shower and I needed to use the restroom. Maybe everyone would still be asleep and I could sneak in and out of a bathroom without anyone noticing. Grant hadn’t shown me where one was last night. This was all I’d been offered. Hopefully a quick shower wouldn’t be pushing the limit.
I grabbed clean panties and a pair of black shorts with a sleeveless white top. If I was lucky, I’d get in and out of the shower and be cleaning up before Rush made his way downstairs.
I opened the door leading into the pantry then walked through the rows of shelves that held more food than anyone could possibly need. I slowly turned the doorknob on the door and eased it open. The kitchen light was off and the only light was the bright sun streaming in through the large windows overlooking the ocean. If I didn’t need to pee so badly I would go enjoy the view a moment. But nature was calling and I had to go. The house was silent. Empty drinks littered the place, along with leftover food and some pieces of clothing. I could clean this up. If I proved to be useful I might get to stay until I could get a job and a paycheck or two.
I slowly opened the first door I came to, afraid it could be a bedroom. It was a walk-in closet. Closing it, back I made my way down the hall toward the stairs. If the only bathrooms were attached to bedrooms I was screwed. Except… maybe there was one that people used outside after being in the beach all day. Henrietta had to take showers and use the restroom too. Turning around I headed back to the kitchen and the two glass doors that had been standing open last night. Glancing around, I noticed a set of steps going down and underneath the house. I followed them.
At the bottom were two doors. I opened one and life jackets, surfboards and floats covered the walls. I went and opened the other one. Bingo.
A toilet was on one side and a small shower took up the other side of the room. Shampoo, conditioner and soap along with a fresh washcloth and a towel was on the small stool beside it. How convenient.
Once I was clean and dressed I hung the towel and bath cloth over the shower rod. This bathroom wasn’t used often. I could use the same towel and washcloth all week and then wash them on the weekends. If I was here that long.
I closed the door behind me and headed back up the steps. The ocean air smelled wonderful. Once I got to the top, I stood at the railing and looked out over the water. Waves crashed onto the white sandy beach. It was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen.
Mom and I had talked about seeing the ocean together one day. She’d seen it as a little girl and her memories weren’t that great but she’d told me stories about it all my life. Every winter when it was cold, we would sit inside by the fire and plan our summer trip to the beach. We never were able to take it. First mom hadn’t been able to afford it and then she’d been too sick. We still planned them anyway. It helped to dream big.
Now, here I stood staring at the waves we’d only dreamed about. It wasn’t the fairytale vacation we’d planned but I was here seeing it for both of us.
“That view never gets old.” Rush’s deep drawl startled me. I spun around to see Rush leaning against the open door. Shirtless. Oh. My.
I couldn’t form words. The only naked male chest I’d ever seen was Cain’s. And that had been back before my mom got sick when I’d had time for dates and fun. Cain’s sixteen-year-old chest had nothing on the broad, cut muscles in front of me. He had actual ripples in his stomach.
“Are you enjoying the view?” His amused tone didn’t escape me. I blinked and lifted my eyes back up to see the smirk on his lips. Dangit. He’d caught me ogling him.
“Don’t let me interrupt you. I was enjoying it myself,” he replied, then took a sip from the coffee cup in his hand.
My face heated and I knew I was three kinds of red. Turning back around, I stared out at the ocean. How embarrassing. I was trying to get this guy to let me stay for a little while. Drooling was not the best move.
A low chuckle from behind me only made it worse. He was laughing at me. Fantastic.
“There you are. I missed you in bed this morning.” A soft female coo came from behind me. Curiosity got the better of me and I turned around. A girl in nothing but her bra and panties was snuggling up to Rush’s side and running a long pink fingernail down his chest. I couldn’t blame her for wanting to touch that. I was pretty tempted myself.
“It’s time for you to go,” he replied taking her hand off his chest and stepping away from her. I watched as he pointed in the direction of the front door.
“What?” she replied. The confused expression on her face said she hadn’t been expecting this.
“You got what you came here for, babe. You wanted me between your legs. You got it. Now I’m done.”
The cold hard flatness in his voice startled me. Was he serious?
“You’re kidding me!” the girl snapped and stomped her foot.
Rush shook his head and took another drink from his cup.
“You are not going to do this to me. Last night was amazing. You know it.” The girl reached out for his arm and he quickly moved it out of the way.
“I warned you last night when you came to me begging and taking off your clothes that all it would ever be was one night of sex. Nothing more.”
I shifted my attention back to the girl. Her face was in an angry snarl and she opened her mouth to argue but shut it again. With another stomp of her foot she stalked back inside the house.
I couldn’t believe what I’d just seen. Was that the way people like this behaved? The only experience I’d had with relationships was with Cain. Although we’d never actually slept together he’d been careful and sweet with me. This was hard and cruel.
“So, how did you sleep last night?” Rush asked as if nothing had happened.
I tore my gaze off the door the girl had gone through and studied him. What had possessed that girl to sleep with someone who had told her it would be nothing more than sex? Sure, he had a body that underwear models were jealous of and those eyes of his could make a girl do crazy things. But still. He was so cruel.
“Do you do that often?” I asked before I could stop myself.
Rush cocked an eyebrow. “What? Ask people if they slept well?”
He knew what I was asking. He was avoiding it. It wasn’t my business. I needed to stay out of the way so he would let me stay. Opening my mouth to scold him wasn’t a good idea.
“Have sex with girls and then throw them out like trash?” I retorted. I closed my mouth, horrified as the words I’d just said echoed in my head. What was I doing? Trying to get tossed out?
Rush put his cup on the table beside him and sat down. He leaned back stretching out his long legs. Then he stared back up at me. “Do you always stick your nose where it doesn’t belong?” he replied.
I wanted to get mad at him. But I couldn’t. He was right. Who was I to point fingers? I didn’t know the guy.
“Not normally, no. I’m sorry,” I said and hurried inside. I didn’t want to give him a chance to throw me out too. I needed that bed under the stairs for at least two weeks.
I got busy picking up the empty glasses and bottles of beer. This place needed a cleaning and I could do that before I headed out to find a job. I just hoped he didn’t throw parties lik
e this every night. If he did, I wouldn’t complain and who knows, after a few nights I might be able to sleep through anything.
“You don’t have to do that. Henrietta will be here tomorrow.”
I dropped the bottles I’d collected into the trash and then looked over at him. He was standing at the door again watching me.
“I just thought I’d help out.”
Rush smirked. “I already have a housekeeper. I’m not looking to hire another one if that is what you’re thinking.”
I shook my head. “No. I know that. I was just trying to be helpful. You let me sleep in your house last night.”
Rush walked over and stood in front of the counter crossing his arms over his chest. “About that. We need to talk.”
Oh, crap. Here it goes. One night was all I was getting.
“Okay,” I replied.
Rush frowned at me and I felt my heart rate increase. He wasn’t about to bestow happy news.
“I don’t like your father. He’s a mooch. My mother always tends to find men like him. It’s her talent. But I’m thinking you may already know this about him. Which makes me curious, why did you come to him for help if you knew what he was like?”
I’d like to tell him it was none of his business. Except the fact I’d needed his help made it his business. I couldn’t expect him to let me sleep in his house and not explain things to him. He deserved to know why he was helping me. I didn’t want him to think I was a mooch too.
“My mother just passed away. She had cancer. Three years’ worth of treatments add up. The only thing we owned was the house my grandmother left us. I had to sell the house everything else to pay off all my mother’s medical bills. I haven’t seen my dad since he walked out on us five years ago. But he’s the only family I have left. I had no one else to ask for help. I need a place to stay until I can find a job and get a few paychecks. Then I’ll get my own place. I never intended to be around long. I knew my dad wouldn’t want me here.” I let out a hard laugh that I didn’t feel. “Although I never expected him to run off before I arrived.”