Sweet oblivion (sweet se.., p.50
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       Sweet Oblivion (Sweet Series #1), p.50

           Bailey Ardisone


  “Mycah,” I breathed. “What are you doing here?” Somebody pinch me please…

  “I’m sorry to disappoint,” he quipped. “Here, I won this for you.” He handed me a brown teddy bear with purple eyes. I stared at the bear, then to Mycah, then back to the bear, stunned.

  He walked closer and pulled me into his arms, burying his face into my neck. His skin was hot against the coldness of mine. Warmth poured through me, and this strange sensation radiated from the top of my head to the tips of my toes. I felt…whole again. Like that missing piece of my soul had been returned to its rightful place, and an unexplainable deep satiation now wholly consumed me.

  “I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t leave.” His lips grazed my skin as he whispered into my neck, making me tremble.

  “I’m glad,” I admitted shakily. I couldn’t wrap my head around what was happening or what I was actually feeling, but I knew I was more than glad—I was ecstatic. I practically soared. Someone please tie a string around my finger before I got too high and was lost forever...

  “The bear reminded me of you.” He pulled away and softly stroked the bear’s head. “It matches your silky chocolate hair and beautiful violet eyes.” He looked at me from under his lashes and chuckled. His British accent clicked over each word, reminding me how sexy it was. I didn’t know what to say. I was so shocked that he was actually standing before me, and then when I looked to the bear I was overcome with memories of Teddy. They didn’t look exactly the same, but they were very similar.

  “If only you matched his size so I could put you in my backpack,” he chuckled again. He was obviously in a great mood, dressed in dark jeans and black leather jacket with the collar turned up. I had the urge to call him James Dean.

  “Thank you. She’s wonderful.” I finally found my words but desperate to hold back the unshed tears. The bear looked like a girl and could never replace Teddy in my heart, but I now loved this one too for different reasons.

  “What are you doing here?” Rydan snarled from behind. My scalp prickled from anticipation and my hands started to sweat as I turned around to face him. I guessed this wasn’t a dream after all.

  “Ry, please don’t cause a scene,” I pleaded in a half whisper. Zaylie, Desmond, and Liam all looked at Rydan with confusion before greeting Mycah, who returned the gesture with a smile and nod of his head.

  “I didn’t need to bring an invitation to join did I? I’m afraid mine got lost in the mail,” Mycah joked, looking Rydan straight in the eye. Rydan took a step closer, challenging him.

  “I’ve got your invitation right here,” Rydan mimicked his British accent perfectly and a lot better than I was able to do as he pulled out a pen from his pocket and wrote something in his tiny pad of paper he always kept with him for writing down music notes. He ripped out the piece of paper a second later and handed it to Mycah.

  “I formally invite you to please leave,” Mycah read the note aloud, amused. He laughed, a good hearty laugh.

  “Wait, what’s going on here? Do you two hate each other or something?” Liam interjected. “Is this about Nari? Because believe me, getting that girl is hopeless,” he teased.

  “Liam!” I shrieked. “Will you just…shhh! You’re not helping!” I gritted my teeth, embarrassed at his accusation.

  “I don’t hate Rydan,” Mycah scoffed. “I didn’t have a problem with the bloke until he punched me in the mouth,” he said to Zaylie, pointing to his lip and pouting, milking it. She turned to Rydan, shocked.

  “What?! Why did you do that?” she asked him, but Rydan kept his cool, calm gaze on Mycah. Desmond and Liam held fists to their mouths, trying not to laugh, but were pleasantly surprised. They both patted Rydan on the back, as if to say "Well done."

  “Okay, time-out. It doesn’t matter why he did it. Can we just all be civil, please?” I demanded with exasperation. I’d die if they found out the reason Rydan punched Mycah was because he was lying in bed with me after I’d been missing for days.

  I looked back and forth between Rydan and Mycah. They both stayed silent, staring each other down. Rydan walked over to me and put an arm around my shoulders, never taking his eyes off Mycah’s. He started pulling me away from the group and bent down to whisper in my ear.

  “You didn’t tell me he was coming,” he accused.

  “I didn’t know he was! I swear,” I defended myself, matching his whisper.

  “He’ll listen to you if you ask him to leave.” His voice was stern, but hopeful.

  “I…I’m not sure I want to…” Actually, I knew I didn’t want to, but it was really hard explaining that to him right now. I couldn’t understand what fueled Rydan’s distaste for Mycah, and in order to change his mind about him I had to play a careful game. It wasn't that Rydan would be jealous—that was the least of my worries. But I first had to figure out what the problem was so I could proceed accordingly.

  “Come on, Rydan. It was just a spat.” Mycah caught up to us, interrupting our discussion. “I’m sure we can find a way to be friends. Or maybe even more than that.” Rydan stopped walking, eyebrows raised in question toward Mycah.

  “I didn’t know you were gay. Unfortunately for you, I don’t swing that way.” Rydan winked, then resumed walking with me still under his arm. Mycah laughed, walking with us.

  “I meant, maybe like brothers,” he clarified, sounding serious. I looked at Mycah, wondering if he was being sarcastic, because that seemed about as realistic as time traveling. You could suggest it, but didn’t mean it was gonna happen. Rydan laughed, shaking his head.

  “You’ve got to be kidding me,” he replied, not believing for a second that would ever happen.

  “We shall see, won’t we?” Mycah narrowed his eyes as he grabbed my arm and pulled me away from Rydan. He kept steering me away from the group as he walked backward, staring into my eyes.

  “Where are you going?” Zaylie called out as they all stopped walking to watch us.

  A few feet away, Mycah eventually came to a stop and bent down to whisper to me. “I have to go. They’re here.” He spoke with urgency, but kept his voice extremely low that I had a hard time hearing him.

  “Who? Secret Agents??” I asked, matching his volume. I knew if I could see myself in this moment, I’d look whiter than a ghost.

  “I don’t have time to explain. I don’t want there to be a scene. I’ll see you later, I promise.” He kissed my head then walked away, not even acknowledging anyone else.

  “Where is he going?” Desmond asked with his Aussie accent strong once I got closer to them. I couldn’t get over feeling completely dazed and confused.

  “He…” I tried to think of a good excuse. “He um…just…had something to do.” There. That should be good enough.

  “Will he be back? Should we wait for him?” Zaylie questioned, looping her arm with mine.

  “Oh, no, no. I don’t think so. Let’s keep going.” I tried to sound cheerful. I still wasn’t over my shock, feeling like I was stuck in a dream and not able to wake up.

  “What a shame…” I heard Rydan say sarcastically under his breath. I chose to ignore him.

  “Hey, so tell me about the game last night,” I said quietly to Zaylie once we started walking again with our arms still linked together, desperate to distract my racing mind.

  “Oh right!” She beamed with excitement.

  She then went on to tell me all about her night and the fun she had at the first home game of the school’s football season, which our team won. Next she told me how Seth finally asked her to the dance, which she was extremely excited about, and what she planned on wearing. I noticed every now and then Liam rolled his eyes, then clenched and unclenched his fists, making me wonder if he could be jealous. It made me smile, and a new idea I had of playing matchmaker planted firmer in my mind.

  I listened attentively and laughed and responded at all the right places, but I couldn’t keep my thoughts from drifting back to Mycah every few seconds.

; We stayed until the carnival closed up shop. They dropped Rydan and me off back at my house, calling it a night.

  “See you at the Willow Monday?” Rydan asked as I hugged him goodbye. I stared over his shoulder at my dark house. Ray wouldn’t be back until tomorrow, and it gave me the creeps thinking about having to go inside alone. I thought to ask Rydan to stay but knew he couldn’t. His parents enforced a strict curfew.

  “Yep,” I answered, not wanting to let go. This would be the first time being by myself while it was dark without Mycah. Last night didn’t count because I fell asleep early and didn’t wake up until morning. Now I actually had to be brave. I hated the dark.

  “What is it?” Rydan asked, sensing my reluctance.

  “Nothing, don’t worry about it. I’m fine. Go home before you get in trouble and won’t be able to see me later.” I could be brave. I had to be.

  “Call or text if you need anything,” he said as he got on his motorcycle.

  “You know I will.” I waved goodbye and watched him as he finally turned on to the main street, then out of sight.

  I slowly walked up to my house hugging the teddy bear Mycah gave me. I decided to fight my fears by remembering the great night I had. I hadn't thought I would've been able to have any fun at all. I had been downright miserable when the day started, even if I hadn't wanted to admit it. But my friends (which was weird for me to say still) were amazing. I loved them all. I never thought I would feel that way about a person other than Rydan, and now I actually had several people who I could call true friends. My day had a rough start, but awesome company followed by Mycah’s return made it one of the best days of my life.

  Lost in thought, I went to unlock the door but froze upon finding it already cracked open.

  “Hello?” I called tentatively, not really sure I wanted anyone to answer. Scratch that. I prayed that no one would answer. I slowly opened the door while every skin cell I owned pricked to attention. Just as I stepped inside, a large body slammed me into the wall across the way, making me drop the teddy bear, and held me in place with a knife to my neck.

  “Where is Ray Miller?” a burly man demanded, wearing sunglasses despite the late hour.

  “He’s on vacation, but I don’t know where,” I immediately answered, terrified out of my mind.

  “Well, well, well. Isn’t that just wonderful for him?” he mused sarcastically. “So, instead of paying off his debts, he chooses to run off and play.”

  “I don’t know what you're talking about,” I explained, hoping he’d understand.

  “Mr. Miller owes a substantial amount of money. My boss is not a patient man. Ray’s gambling days are over if he doesn’t pay up. Oh, but don’t you worry your pretty little head. We’ll find a way to collect every penny soon enough. Maybe I should give him a warning, hmm?” he threatened by digging the knife deeper into my throat.

  “He’ll be back tomorrow, okay? And don’t bother with a warning. He couldn’t care less what you do to me,” I spat, knowing every word was true. He’d be doing Ray a favor in all honesty.

  He let go, removing the knife as he stepped back. I breathed a sigh of relief, but it was premature. He hit me across the face with an iron fist, knocking me to the floor.

  “I’ll take my chances; you understand.” He smiled, knowing full well I didn’t. “Tell Mr. Miller there is more where that came from if he doesn’t take care of his debts by tomorrow night.”

  At that, he stormed out of the house as I stayed crouched on the floor. My life was becoming one living nightmare after another. There really was only so much a person could take, and I was quickly filling my quota. I looked around the dark, empty house, loathing every second I spent there. This house was pure hell.

  I ran outside, not even bothering to lock it. It was chilly, so I numbly stuffed my hands in the pockets of my coat. It must've been midnight, and I had to walk in the dark, but I was too angry for it to bother me. I knew exactly where I wanted to go—who I needed to see. My pace quickened at the thought of him wrapping his arms around me, calming my frightened heart.

  Stupid Ray. I hated him. Just as much as he hated me. My eyes stung with unshed emotion, dreading the moment I had to be near him again when he came home tomorrow. He better have the money he owed or I was afraid I’d be feeling the brunt of it if that man returned looking for him.

  After about a thirty-minute walk, I finally made it to O’Malley’s Bed & Breakfast and couldn’t feel more relieved. I quietly walked up to the front door, ready to go inside. But in my haste, I forgot to think about if Mycah was still staying here or if he was even in the same room. What was I thinking? He had left town…he could be staying anywhere or in any room. Could I risk disturbing whoever was in the room he had before?

  I slowly turned around with my eyes closed and sat down on the porch steps, tears threatening to surface as I contemplated what to do.


  I jerked my head up at the sound of Mycah’s silky voice. God, was he ravishing in the moonlight as it reflected off his midnight blue hair, all ruffled and stuck up in random spots. My throat immediately closed from forcing back tears.

  “What’s wrong?” he rasped as he quickly walked up to me.

  I didn’t say anything as he pulled me up tightly against his muscular body, wrapping me in a warm embrace. I couldn’t hold back my tears any longer and began sobbing in his chest. He started rubbing the back of my head, trying to comfort me.

  All of a sudden, he bent down slightly and effortlessly picked me up off the ground, still holding me tightly against his body. Like the time he carried me before, I buried my face in his neck and knotted my fingers through his hair. I inhaled his sweet smell, using it like a balm.

  His soft skin warmed my cold face as he quietly carried me through the B&B and into his room, not turning on any lights. He sat down in the chair by the window, never letting go or loosening his hold.

  I was pathetic. A total drama queen. I couldn’t stand myself these last few weeks. But I wasn't only upset over what happened just moments ago. I vented about everything. I cried about the crappy things that had happened recently, the fact that I was terrified to be at home now—and not just because of Ray like the reason used to be. Now it was the fact I had more than just Ray threatening my life every time I was there. I was torn up about Mycah leaving and that he came back. I was a mess.

  “I’m such a mess,” I grimaced, echoing my thoughts. “I’m sorry for coming here in the middle of the night like this,” I sniffed.

  “Nariella,” he whispered in my ear, causing my heart to do a cartwheel. “Don’t ever be sorry for coming to me. Ever.” He wiped my hot tears away, making me flinch and pull away. His touch was gentle, but it stung my bruised face where that hideous man hit me. “Where did you get that?” he questioned with alarm as he tipped my wounded face into the moonlight. He put his fingers against the bruise and healed it immediately.

  “Thanks.” I laid my face back against his neck where it belonged. “A man was inside my house when I got home. He was looking for Ray, who seems to owe lots of money.”

  “You can’t be serious.” He sighed. “That worthless prat.” I felt his jaw tighten against my face and had the strongest urge to kiss it.

  “Why were you outside already?” I asked, rubbing my nose. I needed to distract myself. And it was a legitimate question since it was in the middle of the night; there wasn’t much to do here in this small town.

  “I…was out. Taking a walk. I didn’t feel like sleeping and then time got away from me,” he stated rather suspiciously. He didn’t sound very convincing.

  “Earlier you said, "They’re here”—who were you talking about?” I interrogated, feeling a new wave of worry hit me in my stomach. I looked up into his deep blue eyes, demanding an honest answer.

  “I want to tell you, I do. But I don’t think you can handle it just yet.” He searched my eyes, wanting me to understand.

  “Was it the men who took me before?” My voi
ce shook, betraying the brave face I tried to put on.

  “No. No, it wasn’t. This was worse. Much worse.” He stared with great intensity into my eyes and tried to convey the gravity of his words. And it worked. I shuddered, realizing I had no idea what I’d gotten myself into and wasn’t sure I wanted to know. I mean, what could be worse?

  “What does this mean?” I pointed to his tattoo then gently touched it, finally able to admire the intricacy up close.

  “Hmmm,” he mused with a smirk and narrowed his eyes at me like he was trying to decipher whether to tell me or not. “I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.”

  “Psh…whatever. That is such a cliché,” I laughed.

  “Ah well, sometimes I love a good cliché.” He winked at me, smiling. It was so charming and alluring, I had a hard time concentrating on anything else. “Truthfully, it’s just something that has been passed down in my family for a long time. A very long time.” I watched his face as he spoke and noticed a change in his expression and demeanor. He seemed solemn, maybe even sad. I wanted to ask more about it but something told me not to, just like the other time he mentioned his family.

  After a few minutes, I desperately needed a tissue. I unwillingly forced myself to unmold from his arms and made my way to the bathroom. I could feel him watching me, and my pulse quickened in response. I pulled off my coat now that I was warm and hung it on a hook, then took care of my nose, splashed some water on my face, and padded my way back to him.

  He stood up, never taking his eyes away from mine. The moonlight was filtering in through the antique curtains of the window and fell on his dazzling features, making him look incredibly stunning. I lost my breath from the way he gazed at me, and I once again wondered if the devil or maybe an angel stood before me. I couldn’t decide which one.

  My heart—oh, my poor heart—raced and swelled, threatening to burst right out of its cavity as he reached up and caressed both of my arms with his soft, gentle hands.

  I forced myself to swallow and felt a million butterflies plunge in my stomach. He had to be able to hear my pulse because it felt like it was zooming so fast in my veins and was thumping in my own ears – there was no way he could miss it. I felt my cheeks grow hot at the thought and then realized my whole body grew hot.

  My skin had to be on fire, begging to be snuffed by his touch. Seeming to know what I wanted, or needed, he reached up and tucked my hair behind my ear before holding his palm to my cheek, caressing my skin with his thumb.

  My heart, body, and soul all seemed to dance within me in triumph as he pulled me close to him, slipping a hand underneath my shirt. He gently grazed the small of my back with his soft fingers, and I finally knew my resolve against men was officially broken.

  He slipped both his hands down to the back of my thighs then lifted me up, moving my legs around his waist. He kept his eyes locked onto mine as he pushed me roughly against the wall with his warm body, and suddenly his lips were on mine. He kissed me with intense hunger, like his life depended on this one kiss.

  I kissed him back with equal desperation, feeling as if I too would die without him. A fire exploded around us, engulfing every inch our bodies touched in hot flames, and I thought for sure at any moment I would combust into a pile of ash. He kissed me passionately, knotting his hand in my hair and pulling my head back to kiss my jawline, ear, neck, collarbone, giving me a moment to breathe, but then was right back to my mouth with even more fervor, as if that time away had been torture.

  I wrapped my legs around his waist even tighter and pulled him closer to my body, never feeling that he was actually close enough. This was heaven. I was sure of it. I died somewhere back there and this was heaven, it was the only explanation. We were one, completely in sync, souls now forever united and intertwined with one another. I never wanted to part from this angel from this day forward.

  Chapter Thirty-One

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