Sweet oblivion (sweet se.., p.65
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       Sweet Oblivion (Sweet Series #1), p.65

           Bailey Ardisone


  I watched the room gradually lighten with the rising sun. I could now clearly make out the ducks illustrated in the few paintings that hung around the walls.

  I had expected to walk into a nursery made for adults once I saw the cute duck keychain. I had thought for sure there would be matching rubber ducky wallpaper, curtains, and comforter set. And I especially had expected the walls to at least be bright yellow.

  But I had been surprised to find that the room looked nothing like I had imagined. It was simple, elegant, with an antique cream bedspread and soft grey walls. The only thing that told me it was the "Duck Room" was the duck-shaped knocker on the front of the door and the three small duck paintings that made up the décor.

  Even though I’d been to the B&B with Rydan many times, I’d never actually stayed here or been in any of the rooms. This was my first time ever as a guest, and it was very exciting. I’ve always wanted to travel and stay in hotels and have adventures away from my "home." Sure, I was still in Kennebunkport, but I was still excited nonetheless.

  The sun now streamed in through the slits of the beige blinds but wasn’t yet strong enough to warm my skin.

  I didn’t sleep a wink all night. My lips had ached for Mycah’s again hour after hour, and as hard as I tried, I could not stop feeling his hands on my skin and in my hair. Combined with that was the fact that he was only some feet away from me, sleeping right below and only seconds from being able to wrap myself up in his strong arms.

  It was extremely unsettling. I had been on edge the entire time, tossing and turning, and it took everything I had to keep from running out my door and barging into his room. Eventually I had calmed down, sort of, at least enough to stay lying still. But it had not been enough to allow me sleep.

  I sat up in the squeaky bed and stretched my arms above my head, yawning. This was going to be a long day. I needed coffee, big time.

  I put yesterday’s clothes back on, since I didn’t have anything else, and made my way to the shared bathroom down the hall that all the upstairs guests used. Only Mycah’s room had an on-suite bathroom attached, since it technically was the "Master-suite" of the large house turned into a B&B.

  After rinsing my mouth out and splashing some water on my face, I went downstairs hoping Mycah was ready to take me to my, I mean—Ray’s—house, so I could officially get ready for the day.

  I quietly stepped down the stairs, not wanting to disturb other guests, if there were any, this early in the morning. I was suddenly anxious, excited even, at the prospect of laying eyes on Mycah again. On being enveloped in his woodsy scent. The way my soul felt complete and whole again that only his presence alone could accomplish. Were we really just friends?

  And then there he was.

  As I took the last stair, his eyes found mine from the "Greeting Room" he quietly sat in, drinking from an antique teacup.

  He watched me carefully as he slowly put the cup to his alluring lips and took a sip. My heart danced wildly in my chest with every step I took, drawing closer and closer.

  I waved at him, not able to speak just yet.

  “Morning, beautiful,” he whispered. His English accent made the words sound musical. Or maybe it was his silky voice that did it. Or it could have been the combination of the two, I really didn’t know. Either way, my stomach did a flip.

  And then I thought it must have been the way he was looking at me, not even trying to hide the desire that flooded his aqua eyes as soon as they locked onto mine.

  The sun played with his eyes, bringing out the unique colors and making them more vivid. Even though the streaming sun that shone brightly through the large bay window illuminated him, he never looked more dangerous.

  And he never looked more sexy.

  Well, that could be debatable.

  I mean, if you wanted to count the time he was dripping wet and practically naked, well then, one really couldn’t say.

  But this moment was definitely a top contender for first place.

  He stood up, keeping perfect posture and foreign demeanor exquisitely intact, and came over to me.

  “You alright?” he asked, lips pulling up in a side smile. I nodded, half hating the spell he always put me under, half totally loving it.

  He reached out and slowly slid his hand into mine and intertwined our fingers together, pulling me toward the front door. He chuckled and slightly shook his head at the ground.

  As we walked to his car, I couldn’t focus on anything else but the way his thumb sweetly caressed my hand. It was so charming; it made whatever these feelings I had for him grow deeper, and I couldn’t wipe the smile from my face even if I wanted to.

  I had kept my eyes on the ground, so was surprised when he stopped walking and looked up to find us at his car already. He opened the passenger door for me, as usual, so I tucked my hair behind my ear and got in, working very hard to behave like normal.

  We pulled up to Port High just as the first bell sounded. We had gone to Ray’s house first so I could shower, get my books, and pack some things, but now I was running late.

  “I hope you have a lovely evening,” he offered politely without a smile, referring to my trip to Portland with Rydan. His eyes were dark as they searched for something I couldn’t define in mine.

  “Mycah!” Sabrina Holloway called from outside, tapping on his window. He lowered it, looking confused. “Hey, handsome. You coming inside? I’ve missed you,” she crooned, sticking out her bottom lip. She reached in the car and caressed his shoulder.

  It took all my strength not to vomit.

  I jumped out of the car, unable to stand another second as she flipped her perfect golden blonde hair over her shoulder and leaned down in front of his window, displaying her perfect cleavage.

  Double barf.

  I walked as fast as I could into the school, not bothering to look back. It was pointless trying to compete with that. Mycah could kiss me all he wanted, but that didn’t mean he wouldn’t move on to better things. By better things, I meant better-looking girls resembling Barbie, as long as they continuously flaunted themselves in front of him.

  And I couldn’t blame him. He was a guy, and guys were weak against anything with boobs and a heartbeat. And this was my exact reason for swearing off men from the beginning. They couldn’t be trusted. Not a single one of them. And even if he wasn’t into her, it didn’t matter. I didn’t know anything about him really. Who knew how much he was actually keeping from me. It could be a huge dark secret that would devastate me if I found out. So until he said otherwise, I refused to get any closer to him.

  I fell into my desk chair and dropped my head onto my arms just as the final bell rang. I felt like I was on an emotional roller coaster that had no end in sight. Couldn’t I at least have a pit stop to throw up?

  Three classes later, I started feeling elated by the time I got my food and sat down at the lunch table next to Zaylie, along with Desmond and Liam.

  “It feels so good to be with you guys,” I sighed, followed by a long drink of water. If I didn’t constantly move or have something in my mouth, I’d fall asleep.

  Like I did several times in all my morning classes.

  Ugh, I would give anything to crawl back into bed and get the sleep that cruelly escaped me.

  “Glad to hear it, because you’re stuck with us, babe,” Liam said overdramatically, like he was a game show host or something and they were a prize I had just won.

  “What does that mean?” I laughed skeptically.

  “Rydan didn’t tell you? We’re all going with you tonight.” Zaylie beamed, exuding the excitement I once felt before I lacked sleep. But I was quickly getting every ounce back as her words set in.

  “Are you serious? Oh, my god. That is the best news I have heard all day!” I grabbed her hands, and we both squealed like little girls.

  “Oh, crikey, shoot me now,” Desmond moaned as he dropped his head in his hands.

  “Whoa, whoa, whoa,” Liam let out, looking
completely disgusted. “What the heck was that?” he asked exasperatedly as he shook his head.

  “Don’t you start with me!” Zaylie retorted, full of vigor and vim.

  “Listen, Blondie. Don’t make me come over there and really give you something to squeal about,” Liam threatened her.

  “Oy! That’s my sister, dillhead,” Desmond scolded as he punched Liam in the arm.

  “Thank yo—”

  “So I’ll show her who’s boss!” Desmond stood up, interrupting Zaylie, and punched the palm of his hand. Liam barked a laugh and clapped loudly.

  “Des!” both Zaylie and I yelled, thinking he was going to defend his sister.

  “You’re supposed to be on my side against dags like him. What good are you, anyway?” Zaylie huffed and crossed her arms. Desmond and Liam grinned at each other and did a fist bump.

  “Bros before hoes!” they hollered at the same time, then knocked their heads together like battering rams.

  “Oh for goodness sakes,” Zaylie rolled her eyes.

  “Yes, spare us the make out session, please,” I teased the boys and stuffed food in my mouth to keep from laughing.

  Liam slammed his fist on the table, saying, “Zip your lid, cookie monster,” and pointed a finger at me, trying to act serious. I stopped mid-chew and looked down at the half-eaten giant chocolate chip cookie in my hand. We all busted out laughing.

  I thought the time to leave for Portland would never come. But come it did as the group of us stepped outside into the chilly autumn air. The cool breeze blew through my hair and picked it up playfully as we walked toward Rydan’s parents' pearly white SUV. I tugged on my simple white sundress to keep it from blowing up in the wind. We had all changed into nicer, "symphony-appropriate" attire after our last class ended. I didn’t have very many fancy clothes, but I knew as long as it was a dress it would be fine.

  I could see Rydan’s dad and mom up front smiling, so I waved to them. His mom rolled down her window once we approached.

  “Hello, Nari,” she greeted me with a warm smile.

  “Hi, Anna!” I chirped back, my excitement getting the best of me.

  “Hello,” she said to everyone else.

  Rydan stepped out of the SUV and began the introductions.

  “Mom, Dad, this is Liam, Desmond, and Zaylie. Guys, these are my parents Anna and Darren.” As soon as he was finished, he stepped back in the car. Everyone greeted each other politely and respectfully.

  “Okay, welcome aboard! Let’s go watch some magic tonight!” Darren called out Anna’s window, obviously proud of his son’s piano skills. We all got in one by one. Rydan was in the very back, so I sat by him, and Zaylie followed to sit by me. Desmond and Liam claimed the two seats in the middle.

  “Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. O’Malley for letting us join you,” Zaylie called gratefully from the back seat to Rydan’s parents up front as we made our way from the school. Here we come, Portland!

  “Yes, we’re all so excited!” I added in agreement.

  “Oh, no need to thank us,” Anna replied, slightly turning around in her seat to look at us.

  Darren nodded and looked to his rearview mirror so he could see everyone. “The more the merrier,” he said with a smile.

  It was a forty-minute drive so I settled in next to Rydan, appreciating his warmth.

  “Rydan, are you nervous?” Zaylie asked sweetly, her Aussie accent a little thicker sounding. Rydan chuckled and shook his head.

  “No, I don’t get nervous. Not when it comes to music,” he answered her question confidently. I looped my arm through his and took his hand, relishing his comfort, and laid my head on his shoulder.

  My eyes were extremely heavy from not sleeping last night, and being near Rydan like this was always relaxing. It was a real struggle to keep awake and stay included in the group conversation that I knew would go on without me, but it felt so good to give in. Rydan was nice and warm, and I could hear his heart beating slow and steady, like a soothing lullaby, begging me to drift away into sweet oblivion. So I did.

  The last thing I heard before going under was Desmond yelling and laughing, “Oy! What do you think you’re doing, you batty crease?!”

  “What? Nothing!” Liam laughed, sounding guilty. Everyone else except for me laughed along with their silly antics. I smiled and then let myself fall asleep.

  “Nari, we’re here,” Rydan whispered as he squeezed my hand. I swore only forty seconds went by, not forty minutes, as I tried to open my eyes.

  I stumbled out of the SUV feeling worse than I did before. It wasn’t enough sleep, and now my head felt like it was full of sand. Perfect.

  “Wake up, sleepy head,” Liam teased and mussed up my hair on top of my head.

  “I can wake her up,” Desmond challenged deviously, and I had to wonder what he meant. But a half second later, I found out as he bent down and threw me over his shoulder and started running toward where we needed to go.

  I screamed and hit his back with my hands.

  “Des! Oh my g—put me down!” I laughed and screamed at the same time. Despite being startled at first, it was actually quite fun, and I couldn’t stop laughing hysterically.

  I heard Zaylie scream just after I had and noticed Liam had done the same thing to her and was running right behind us.

  “You cretin! You’re gonna pay for this!” I heard Zaylie yell at him.

  “Ooo, somebody save me please from the ninety-pound blonde I can easily put over my shoulder,” Liam scoffed playfully with amusement, pretending to sound afraid. He had a point.

  They finally put us down in front of the doors to the music hall.

  “Don’t ever do that to me again!” Zaylie growled, punching Liam in the chest. I noticed the tiny bit of amusement in her voice and her brown eyes sparkling. Both Liam and Desmond just laughed, and I did too, feeling completely revived and windblown.

  Rydan caught up to us, and that was when I noticed his parents were missing.

  “Where are your mom and dad?” I asked, hoping they didn’t just witness what happened.

  “They left the car right away while we stayed to wake you up. They had to go sign me in and take care of whatever parental business they’re responsible for. You know the drill,” Rydan explained, winking at me.

  “Oh yeah. I remember now.” Usually I went to our reserved seats while Rydan went back stage and Darren and Anna went to speak to the instructors.

  “I have to go set up. Catch you guys later,” Rydan said to everyone. “Enjoy the show.”

  “Break a leg!” Zaylie replied as Desmond and Liam said their goodbyes too.

  “Rydan!” I called for him, making him turn around. “Have fun.” I gave him a kiss on the cheek.

  “I will.” He smiled at me. I watched him walk away, knowing he was right. He was about to have a blast.

  “This way, guys,” I instructed, already familiar with where we needed to go. They followed me as I took them to our seats.

  Chapter Forty-Three

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