Sweet oblivion (sweet se.., p.63
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       Sweet Oblivion (Sweet Series #1), p.63

           Bailey Ardisone


  “I’m really sorry. Please forgive me.” I regretted my words immediately. Rydan didn’t like to be pushed when it came to talking about his past. I couldn’t imagine what it was he was hiding and didn’t want to tell me, but I knew better than to say all that. It wasn’t fair to him.

  “It’s fine,” he sighed, relaxing in my arms. He moved away and went back to shooting arrows into several trees. I sighed too and just like that, it was forgotten between us. I then walked over to the pond and sat down.

  I watched as Rydan expertly shot arrow after arrow, many obliterating an arrow that was already stuck there, which I knew to be called a "Robinhood" shot, because he did it all the time. That meant he would shoot one arrow into another one, splitting apart the first one.

  It always amazed me to see, but he had said that it wasn't really that big of deal. I had said he was just being modest, because he was freakin' awesome with that bow. If there was ever a medieval war to break out, I’d feel perfectly safe with Rydan by my side.

  It was beautiful to watch, really. Once in a while he’d set up targets attached to the trees deep into the forest—too far in for me to see—then make it look effortless as he got a bull’s-eye in every one. He’d even do a few "Robinhood" shots just to make me happy. I honestly had no idea how he did it. How did the arrows not get stuck in the trees on their way down? If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes a hundred times, I never would have believed it could've been done.

  Eventually, he was done practicing, so he rode me to the B&B his parents own. His family was quite wealthy—they owned an entire chain of hotels and several bed & breakfasts throughout New England and along the east coast.

  They didn’t always act it, but once in a while they could be a little too upper class for my tastes. They hated that Rydan had to go to a small public school like Port High. Once a special private school for the musically gifted opened up, they didn’t hesitate to make him transfer.

  Rydan didn’t care either way. At first he was frustrated that we wouldn’t be going to school together, but he somehow managed to get over it, and a lot better and sooner than I did. Typical.

  “Watch your step,” he warned me as he pulled up to the curb outside O’Malley’s Bed & Breakfast. I carefully swung off his bike, being mindful not to trip.

  “And what do we have here? Coming to visit me? Rydan, you shouldn’t have,” Mycah’s familiar accent called playfully across the lawn, humor igniting his eyes. Rydan scoffed at his sarcasm. I stiffened. One tended to do that when their heart stopped and then jump-started into racing mode. I hadn’t seen him since he dropped me off at home early yesterday morning, and it felt like ages ago.

  “Oh, you wish, don’t you, lover boy?” Rydan joined in the game by grabbing my hand and pulling me toward the entrance of the B&B. Mycah narrowed his eyes at the possessive gesture, and I knew Rydan was doing it just to get a reaction out of him. I, on the other hand, didn’t want to play this stupid testosterone game. I yanked my hand away from Rydan’s and walked faster to pass him.

  I could feel both boys following me close on my heels as I made my way up the porch steps.

  “Nariella, what are you doing here?” Mycah asked with happy curiosity from behind. He probably wanted to know if I was here for him. Which didn’t sound like a bad idea to me…

  “Nothing that you need to be concerned with, that’s what,” Rydan answered right away for me before I could say anything.

  “Really? So you two just happened to be here, doing what exactly?” Mycah’s British accent was perfectly crisp and clicked over each consonant as he spoke with frustration, trying to keep his cool.

  I whirled around as I got to the door, causing Rydan to run into me, and noticed Mycah’s jaw clench in anticipation. I couldn’t figure out what he was worried about. Did he think I was coming here for a quickie with Rydan?

  I busted out laughing at the idea, and both boys turned to stare at me shocked, furrowing their eyebrows, not understanding my silent amusement.

  “Well, I’m glad at least one of us is entertained,” Rydan said under his breath.

  “What? This doesn’t happen all the time with you, lad? I was positive this must be a frequent occurrence of hers. You know, from having to be subjected to looking at your face and all. I’m sure the girl can’t help it,” Mycah’s sarcastic humor continued, egging Rydan on.

  “It is actually. I make her laugh all the time. Can you say the same?” Rydan retaliated, playing upon Mycah’s interest in me once again.

  I regained my composure, but barely, and tried to set things straight.

  “Rydan, please, you do not all the time. And Mycah, I’ll be staying here now. At least temporarily,” I clarified, feeling a little embarrassed all of a sudden.

  Could I handle staying under the same roof as Mycah, night after night? I flushed and could feel every inch of my skin growing hot from the idea. Mycah narrowed his eyes at me then smirked in his incredibly sexy way, and I knew right then he could feel my emotions. Dang it!

  Rydan took Mycah’s expression the wrong way and grabbed him by his shirt collar, violently throwing him against the wall.

  “The only reason I am allowing you to do this is because I’m a nice guy. But twice is the limit. You will never put your hands on me again,” Mycah spoke quietly, menacingly, and if I didn’t know any better I would be frightened. Unfortunately, his warning only fueled Rydan’s rage even more, making him take a swing at Mycah’s face to take up the challenge.

  But Mycah was lightning fast, easily blocking Rydan’s fist by grabbing it in the air with his left hand and holding it in place. Mycah threw Rydan backward, then took a step toward him. I didn’t like where this was going and immediately stepped in between them.

  I faced Mycah, hoping I could appeal to him more easily, and put my palms against his chest.

  “What in the world are you doing? Rydan is my absolute best friend. If you hurt him, you hurt me. I would never forgive you,” I promised, believing every word. Mycah glanced down into my eyes as he towered over me and instantly softened.

  “Come on, tough guy. She’s got you whipped already? I didn’t take you for the submissive type,” Rydan provoked Mycah, taunting him.

  “You have no idea what you’re talking about,” Mycah responded as he intertwined his fingers with mine. My heart stuttered then raced with abnormal speed at his touch.

  “Enlighten me,” Rydan replied with attitude, like he was bored with this conversation already.

  “Oh, I would, mate, but I’m afraid your head might explode.” Mycah smiled sarcastically.

  “I hate to interrupt again, guys, but it’s now dark, I’m freezing, and I’m going inside.” I rolled my eyes and stalked through the front door of the B&B, already missing Mycah’s hand.

  Once I was inside, I had nowhere else to go since I wasn’t given a room yet, so I had to just stand there and wait.

  Rydan came through the door a few seconds later and moved behind the front desk to start typing in the computer.

  “He is completely ridiculous. I have no idea what you see in him, Nari,” he said to me without taking his eyes off the screen. I bristled at his accusation, offended.

  “That’s because you refuse to see it. If you’d only give him a chance, Rydan. Why do you hate him so much? Your reservations are completely unfounded and you know it,” I defended Mycah and myself, although I wasn’t exactly sure why. We were only friends. Right? And Rydan was being just as ridiculous and just as guilty with the immature fighting.

  “Whatever. Here’s your room key. You’re upstairs in the Duck Room.”

  “The Duck Room?” I repeated, finding it endearing. I smiled at the cutest tiny yellow duck dangling from the key. He rolled his eyes at me.

  “Yes, I’m sure you can figure it out. I have to go. I was supposed to be home five minutes ago. By the way, Marie is out doing the shopping for tomorrow so text me if you have questions. I’ll let her know you’re here, tho
ugh.” He walked over to leave, but I stopped him.

  “Thank you so much for this.” I stretched up to give him a kiss on the cheek, hoping he’d forgive me for going against his instincts about Mycah.

  Mycah came in just then, tensing up once he saw us.

  “See you tomorrow. Be ready immediately after school. We’ll pick you up there, okay? But bring a dress to change into,” Rydan instructed me in a low voice, ignoring the company.

  “I’ll be ready. Careful going home,” I answered as he rushed past Mycah and out the door.

  “What’s going on tomorrow?” Mycah asked lightly, feigning disinterest.

  “I’m going with Rydan to Portland. He’s a brilliant pianist and will be performing on stage. It’s really awesome! I love when I get to go with. I’m so excited!” I clasped my hands together and bobbed up and down.

  Mycah smiled, eyes twinkling as he watched me. “Brilliant.” He nodded as his smile dropped slightly. “So why is it you have to stay here now? Not that I’m complaining.” He winked, signature smirk returning to his face. His hands were in his pockets, and even though I was becoming more familiar with him, his demeanor still screamed foreign.

  “Ray kicked me out. Well, technically, I have until my birthday, but I hate him so much. I can’t stand the idea of going back there. Rydan said I could stay here for a while,” I explained.

  Mycah looked away, clenching his jaw and fists, fuming. “I’m going to kill him.”

  “Mycah, no! Don’t be silly. I couldn’t be happier at the idea of finally being able to get away. Trust me. This is a good thing.” I nodded enthusiastically, agreeing with myself. He turned back to me, searching for any truth to my words in my eyes. He must have found it, because he smiled after a moment.

  “Oh, and you’ll never believe what happened. I don’t understand it at all. It’s super weird,” I lured him into my story, distracting him from feeling angry. “Apparently that bookie Ray owed a ton of money to was magically paid off, and not a penny of it was from Ray. He full on interrogated me today thinking I did it,” I scoffed dramatically.

  “Huh. Imagine that,” Mycah responded as he walked past me, looking down at me through his eyelashes.

  I spun around after him, realization hitting me in the face.

  “You did it!” I breathed, barely believing it. “Why would you do that?”

  “Don’t be absurd,” he snickered, not looking back as he continued to walk to his room. I followed him.

  “Please, tell me why you did it,” I begged, grabbing onto the bottom of his shirt to prevent him from going in. He stopped at the door and dropped his head, sighing. He slowly turned around, matching my gaze and looking defeated.

  “For you. I did it for you,” he confessed as he reached up to caress my cheekbone with his thumb.

  “For me?” I asked, confused. I didn’t understand. It was helping Ray, not me.

  “I didn’t like the idea of strange men putting their grubby hands on you because of Ray’s stupidity. And if he didn’t have the money, then who knows what would have happened to you. Either he could have taken his anger out on you himself, or you could have gotten caught up in the mess again and ended up really hurt by the other guys. I couldn’t take that chance. Not when it comes to you.” His voice was so earnest and sweet; it brought tears to my eyes.

  “Don’t cry, love.” He half-smiled, noticing my emotion, and moved his thumb to my bottom lip. “You’re so beautiful,” he breathed as he moved his gaze from my lips back to my eyes, making my heart jump. I stared up at him, dazed and in awe at this creature before me, wondering if this was just my imagination.

  “So are you,” I replied, feeling out of breath. He chuckled, looking down at the floor then back up to me, stretching his fingers behind my ear while keeping his thumb to my lips.

  “Is that right?” he teased, grinning. I nodded slowly as he caressed my bottom lip again. What was he doing to me? I felt mesmerized, like I was in a trance. “Listen, darling. It’s getting late, and I don’t want to keep you up any longer. School and all that jazz.” His accent…Oh god his accent…Each word he spoke sounded so dang sexy, I didn’t even care what he was saying.

  “Right,” I forced myself to say, since I hadn’t spoken in a while.

  “Um, where are all your things?” he questioned with his eyebrows pulled together and looking around me like maybe he had missed something. He was so incredibly hot it hurt. It was so not fair!

  “Oh…I forgot. I don’t have anything. Shoot.” Hello! I felt so dumb…What was I thinking?

  “Don’t fret. I can take you over to the house in the morning after Ray leaves.”

  “Really? Thank you so much.” I felt guilty for having to depend on other people so much. I wished I could just take care of myself.

  “Would you like me to walk you to your room?”

  “No, that won’t be necessary. I’m just upstairs in the ‘Duck Room.’” I held up my key, letting the little duck on the end jiggle. “Oh, wait a second.” That reminded me…“Please stop provoking Rydan. It’s not helping anything. I need him to like you, and all you’re doing is making things worse,” I tried to explain seriously but couldn’t stop the blush I felt creeping on my neck and cheeks.

  “And why’s that exactly?” he asked seductively, leaning in closer. I stood there gazing up at him, mentally waving goodbye to any proper thought.

  “Um, what?” I shook my head. “Why’s what exactly?” I asked again in a small voice, wanting to clarify my question. Was he asking why I thought he was making things worse…?

  “Why do you need him to like me?” His voice was just above a whisper, making my skin tingle.

  Oh. That.

  He leaned in closer still, if that were possible, and now that he was just inches from me, my heart completely stopped beating. I could feel electricity running between us, begging me to close the tiny gap that had unforgivably been left open.

  “He’s my best friend,” I choked out, struggling to swallow.

  “That doesn’t answer my question,” he breathed. He stared into my eyes, and I could feel myself getting lost in the ocean depths that resembled the Pacific. I tried to focus, not understanding his statement. I felt like my answer had been perfectly adequate.

  “It doesn’t?” I asked, puzzled.

  “No, it doesn’t,” he practically moaned. And then before I could realize what was going on, his mouth was on mine and his hands were tangled in my hair.

  Stars, planets, galaxies, all exploded around me. Around us.

  I surrendered to him immediately, opening my mouth to his fervent hunger. His hands left a burning trail of flames as they slid down my back to my waist.

  He kissed me, long and hard, but it wasn’t enough. I could never possibly get enough.

  He moved his lips to my neck, letting me breathe, just as he splayed his fingers across the small of my back and pulled me against his body. I ran my own hands along his broad shoulders and up his neck, clinging to him with all my might, trying to steady myself. I felt dizzy as soon as he ran his tongue along my collarbone and then planted kisses all along the same line as he moved back over it. He returned to my mouth—


  I jumped back away from Mycah as far as I could, hitting the wall behind me at the sound of someone dramatically clearing their throat. Mycah was left reaching for me and staring with wild eyes, completely consumed with passion and desire just for me. He wasn’t bothered or embarrassed in the slightest by the sudden interruption.

  I turned to look at Marie, the culprit who abruptly cut us off, and felt the color in my face deepen further with the way she was eying me in that motherly way.

  You know, the "caught you red-handed, tsk tsk" look that only concerned parents who were disappointed in your behavior gave.

  “Good night, Nari,” Marie pointedly reprimanded me through her tone, instructing me to leave and go to bed with those three little words.

  “Good night,” I mumb
led, not able to takes my eyes off the floor. I felt Mycah staring at me, not even removing his eyes from my face for a second, watching me as I walked away toward the stairs that led to the "Duck Room."

  Chapter Forty-One

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