Authors: M. Dauphin
This book is a work of fiction. Any similarities to persons, events, or places are purely coincidental.
No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any way, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, taping, and recording without written permission.
For all of my fellow indie authors who stay up until one am every night, who don’t go to bed with their loved ones, who drink coffee at all hours of the day to stay awake late enough to write. To those who spend every minute they can taking notes, because the voices in their heads don’t stop screaming when they go to their full time jobs. Don’t ever give up on your dream. This one’s for you, loves.
To LW and HP: Red’s cover could not have come alive without you.
Thank you so much!
Go back HOME Eddie. You can’t do this.
The nagging voice in my mind keeps ringing in my ears. FUCK! It’s two in the mother fucking morning and I’m walking the streets of Vegas, without a clue as to what just happened.
You know what happened. You found your father in you. THAT is what happened.
Fuck no I didn’t find him in me! That guy had it coming! He was threatening my Red.
She’s not your Red, Eddie. You left her. You can’t have her. You know what you could do to her. Don’t break your own rules. They were set for a reason. Don’t forget what you can turn into.
I left her. I walked away and didn’t look back when she called for me. What an asshole thing to do. Just like my fucking father. I know what I can turn into, so I shouldn’t have her. I shouldn’t want her. I should put her on the first plane back to Texas.
There’s only one problem with that plan.
I can’t function without her.
I need her. That’s my biggest problem. I need to know she’s happy. I need to know she’s always safe. I need to be the one she comes to. Always. The thought scared the shit out of me, though. I need her, but I don’t want her to know about my past. I can’t tell her. She can’t know. She can’t know what I went through, why I am the way I am. Why I believe with my whole heart that she isn’t safe with me. It fucking sucks I can’t have her, but making her pity me would suck even more. Needing her means nothing when it comes to her safety. I’ll live the rest of my life missing her if it means that she is safe.
“Fuck!” I yell into the night as I sit on the steps of the MGM Grand. How did things get so screwed up so fucking fast? A few weeks ago I was brilliantly happy with my lonely life. Now, when I should be out celebrating my best friend, or back at the hotel fucking my girl, I’m alone in Vegas. What the hell happened?
I know exactly what happened.
Red happened. She stormed into my heart with her spiky hair, perfect body, and feisty attitude. She showed me what I never wanted, and made me the man I never thought I wanted to be. She made me want. She made me need. I need her.
My phone keeps buzzing in my pocket, and has been since about the time I made it out of the hotel front doors, but I haven’t checked it. I know it’s her. I know she’s pissed. Hell, I’d be worried if she isn’t pissed. I was a total tool tonight. Calling her out right after a win, beating the shit out of some guy in front of her, walking out of the room and leaving her. Jesus, just hearing her yell down the hall after me while I was storming my ass out of there hurt. My chest aches and I rub it, so fucking torn. I want to be with her, but I can’t. Shit!
I can’t go five minutes without worrying about her. I’m constantly worrying what she is doing, who she is with, what she’s thinking. Fuck, if I didn’t know any better I would think I was in love. I have more feelings for her than I’ve ever had with any other woman, but honestly I don’t know what it feels like to be in love. Sure I said it on the plane ride, but that was just the amazing fucking orgasm talking. Unfortunately, feelings don’t mean shit when it comes to genetics. She’s not safe with someone like me. Someone who comes from a broken house full of abusers and suicide freaks. She can’t be with me, but I don’t want her anywhere else. How messed up is that?
“Dude! What the hell!?” I hear Tatum’s voice before I see him. It’s dark, and though it’s 2 a.m. there are a shit ton of people out still. Vegas never sleeps.
He comes running towards me, hair insane, shirt untucked, panicked. My heart speeds up immediately and all of my thoughts are focused on her. Oh my god, what if something happened to her because I left her all alone?
“What?” I growl.
“What the hell, man?! Where the FUCK have you been?” His eyebrows push together, he puts his hands on his hips, trying to catch his breath.
“You look terrible, man. Sit down before you keel over on your wedding day.” I scoot over on the step and he sits down next to me, taking a deep breath and staring at the huge crowd of people.
“Ed man, you need to figure your shit out,” he says as he shakes his head. “I see the look you give that girl. I know that look all too well.” He won’t look at me, and I don’t really want that connection anyway.
“I can’t have her, you know that,” I answer, tossing pebbles from the step into the grassy area a few feet away. Fidgeting is something I’ve always done. It used to be a way to calm my nerves while my dad was beating my mom. Later in life it became something to do while hiding from him.
“I hear you. I do. You are my best friend, man. All mushy shit aside, though, you deserve happiness. She’s your light. Can’t you see that?”
I nod my head, agreeing with him on every level. Sure I see it. I also see how easily I can pull rage from me and hurt someone. I can’t put her in that danger.
“I can’t, man.”
“You love her, though. You don’t believe love conquers all?”
I freeze when he says that word. Love? That’s what this feeling is? Doesn’t matter, it doesn’t change the fact that I can’t take things any further than they are with her.
“It’s fucking genes, man. Genetics. DNA shit. I’m bound to turn into one of them.” My voice is starting to crack. “I need to let her go.”
“No need, dude,” Tatum says as he looks over at me. There’s pity in his eyes. I hate fucking pity.
“What does that mean?” My heart speeds up at the thought of losing her. Shit, what did I just do?
“She’s gone dude. Molly is dropping her off at the airport. You fucked up.” He slaps my back then stands up. Holding his hand out to help me up he adds, “Come on. Big day ahead of us. You look like shit, man.”
“What do you mean GONE!?” I yell at him as I stand, ready to fight anyone who crosses me. Shit, all of these fucking feelings are going to make me go insane!
“You walked out on her. She doesn’t know us, doesn’t have any money, doesn’t have any ties here since you dropped her. She asked, I helped.” He shrugs, like he didn’t just shatter my entire world. She can’t be fucking gone.
I need her. I love her.
“Why would you do that to me?” My voice lowers, but still pissed I glare at him. He’s supposed to be on my side, but instead he’s just helping ruin my chances at being with her.
“Eddie, I know you. You don’t keep girls around. Gwynn seemed nice, cute, but really? She’s a fighter, dude. You can’t handle that.”
“You should have let me decide what I can handle,” I growl at him.
“You did. Right when you walked out on her.”
His smile pisses me off, but he is right. I did make that decision. FUCK.
“So she’s really gone?” I ask.
Tatum nods while texting something out on his phone. How can he be so calm in this situation? How can he not care about how I’m feeling right now, right after he sent the one girl that could have possibly fixed me away?
Son of a bitch, she left me. Oh my god, what is that pain in my chest? Fuck, even breathing is hard thinking of being without her. Jesus what is happening to me? I walk backwards until my feet hit the steps, then I sit down and put my head in my hands. She’s gone, and my life will never be the same. Now instead of worrying about the girl I’m fucking, I’m going to spend the rest of my life hating myself for letting the one woman who broke down my walls go. I’m going to live knowing that I was the idiot that pushed her away. I’m going to have to see her in the hallway, potentially with other men, and I’m not going to have one leg to stand on when it comes to being upset about it. All because of my stupid fucking ‘rules’.
Shit, I’ve fucked up. Big time.
“Come on, man, I need more sleep. I plan on not sleeping a wink tonight,” he says, acting like he doesn’t notice my current break down in the middle of Vegas.
Getting up, I storm past him and head back to the hotel.
I can’t let her get away.
He leaves the room so suddenly it takes me a minute to register what happened. He was flipping out, something about rules, then he just walks out! I scramble off the bed and slip my sandals on, ready to catch him and figure out his problem. I know it has to do something with my job, but he hadn’t ever came out and said so. Every time my fighting is brought up he gets an attitude with me and shuts down. Something is going on and I plan on figuring this shit out. He can’t get rid of me that easily.
Heading out into the hallway, I see him turning the corner and heading for the elevators.
“Eddie, STOP!” I yell, but he doesn’t slow down. His head is down, hands in his pockets, and he’s on a mission to get out of here. I run after him, but by the time I get to the elevator doors they are closed and the lights tell me it has started to descend. Shit!
Sliding down the wall next to the elevators I curl up and sit, planning out my next move. He is obviously pissed, but just seconds before he was more than ready to go. How can he change so fast? I don’t know how long I sit here and worry about him. He’s alone, he’s been drinking, and he’s insanely emotional. He shouldn’t be alone right now. Me of all people know that. People can do stupid shit when they are emotional and alone.
Should I leave? If he really wants me here with him, he wouldn’t have walked away from me that easily. It really wasn’t easy, though, I can tell that by how emotional he was right before he left. He has some serious shit going on in his head, which should scare me away, but it really makes me want to get closer to him. To help him. I’m not saying I’m perfect myself, but I feel as if we are like souls, attracted to each other to fill in the missing voids in each other’s lives. Lord knows we both have them.
I grab my phone and shoot Molly a text, telling her to meet me outside the hotel in a half hour. Running back into our room, I throw everything of mine into my bag and stash it in the ice room down the hall, leaving Eddie’s shirt and boxers on the night stand in the room.
I don’t know what I’m going to do, but I do know that Eddie needs to think I’m gone. Whether or not I actually leave is still up in the air. I know that I probably should cut my ties, go on home and keep on with the rest of my life just the way I left it. Thing is, I really don’t want that. I’m not happy with the way my life was heading, and Eddie brought much needed life back into my dull world. Nothing compared to being with him.
Standing outside the hotel, the lights on the Bellagio sign are lit up and the water is dancing to some insane tune. I still can’t believe the money that was spent on this trip, especially for me, a girl that this Tatum guy didn’t even know. According to Eddie, this guy is loaded. Fine with me, it means I get to enjoy all the fun stuff without having to pay a single penny.
Almost thirty minutes on the dot since sending her the text, I see the two of them step out of the car that drove them here, something black and fancy, and look around for me. Waving my arm, they see me and head straight over, worried expressions on their faces.
“What’s wrong, where’s Eddie?” Tatum speaks before Molly can. I wonder if he’s always this serious.
“No clue. He’s not bat shit crazy, right?” Maybe they have some insight as to his insane behavior.
“Uh… what? You don’t know where he is?” He looks perplexed, it’s a funny look for someone as intense and tough looking as him.
“Nope. There was an incident in the alley behind the bar after he stormed out. He beat the shit out of someone threatening me, then we came back here. He was great and calmed down by the time we got back here, but then he mentioned something about rules that I questioned, then he fucking flipped and left.” I shrug like it doesn’t matter to me. I don’t want them to see how much it really hurt me, that he could just walk away that easily. I know he’s hurting from something, but I want to be the one he goes to when he needs to talk. I want to be there for him, and having him shut me out like that just hurt.
“He beat someone up?” Tatum looks at me like I have three heads, and Molly snickers next to him.
“Only because the dude was about to take me right there in the alley. Fucking gross,” I sigh, wondering why they care so much that he protected me.
Tatum sighs and shakes his head while Molly just stands there smiling at me. She hasn’t spoken yet, but she’s looking at me like she knows something I don’t know.
“What?” I snap at her. Her face doesn’t falter. If anything it gets brighter when bitchy Gwynn comes out to play.
“He mentioned his rules to you?” she asks, cocking her head.
“Yea. Something about ‘every fucking rule’. What the fuck was that all about?”
“Gwynn, you need to find him and talk to him. It’s not our place to tell you,” Tatum speaks up, sending his fiancé a look I can’t place.
“Come on, let’s get inside. This wind is picking up and I’m cold. Tatum, we will be right back.” Molly kisses her fiancé on the cheek, then grabs my hand and starts walking in, talking all about the things we have to do before the wedding that night.
On our way back to her room I stop by the ice room to grab my bag. Her eyebrows push in when she notices I’m all packed.
“Are you planning on leaving?” she asks.
I don’t answer, just smile and walk into her room, carrying my bag behind me. When I get in her room, I realize it’s much different from ours. Our room is gentle, not overbearing. There are brown wisps of paint on the wall behind the bed, the window stretches floor to ceiling and looks out on the strip and the mountains. It’s beautiful, but nothing like Molly’s room. Looking around, I notice she has an entire living area aside from the bedroom.
“Jesus this place is huge!” I say, admiring the purple, yellow, and grey design that is painted behind her bed. I’m curious now about the rest of the rooms in the hotel. Are all of them this different and exquisite?
Molly laughs at me, watching me with that look on her face still from earlier as I explore her hotel suite.
“Yea, Tatum has a hard time toning things down with me.” She sets her purse on the table and kicks off her heels, sighing as she tosses them into her fully stocked closet.
“So Gwynn, you never answered my question from earlier. Are you really leaving him here and heading back to Texas without telling him?” Molly looks at me while I think of the answer to that question.
I don’t want to leave. I want Eddie to come back, apologize for being a twatwaffle, then take me back to our room. I
leave. He obviously is broken and has plenty of demons, but I can’t leave him. I have a weird need to know where he is, to be near him, and to kick the asses of any women who try to talk to him. I’ve never felt this for anyone before, and as scary as it is I’m not running away from it. I need him and he needs me. He just needs to realize that.
“What would you do? Molly, I barely know you and Tatum. If he doesn’t want anything to do with me this trip is going to be insanely awkward.”
“I don’t know what I would do. I’d like to say that I would stay, but... I don’t know. That’s your call.” She shrugs and plops down on the couch, turning on the TV to busy herself while I decided whether I’m staying here or going home.
“How did you and Tatum get here, to a Vegas wedding?” I ask, trying to get my mind clear for a moment from all of the crazy shit that won’t stop running through it. I’ve never been so undecided and unclear about anything in my entire life. This is what living in the moment does for me.
She turns the volume down and twists on the couch to face me, the brightest smile on her face.
“I wanted it. He told me I could have the big wedding, but I didn’t want that. I wanted something just us. We have been through a lot in the last year. I wanted something that was just us.” She loves him, that’s evident just from hearing her talk about the wedding. Am I that transparent when it comes to Eddie?
“What about your parents?”
“They don’t know. I’m not even sure they know about the engagement. I’m not very close to them,” she says shortly as she turns back to the TV and turns the volume up. Note to self: don’t talk to Molly about her parents.
I sit there, staring at the screen but not listening to what the person on TV was saying. I want to stay, but I don’t want him to think I just waited for him, so I start devising a plan. A plan that will make him really question if he wants to fight for me, or let me go.
“Can I stay in your room tonight?” I ask Molly during a commercial.
She gasps and claps her hands together, like a giddy school girl.
“Yay! You are staying!!” She hugs me tight as I’m trying to register her joy. “He’s going to be so freaking happy!!!”
“No! No... Just.... No,” I says pulling away from her. “I have something else planned for Eddie. I’m going to need your help, though.”
Her smile tells me everything. She’s willing to go to any extent to make sure her friend is happy. I might have just made a new best friend.
We spend the next hour or so planning out how to drive him absolutely insane, making him pay for being such an asshole. We go as far as getting Tatum involved in our plan, so it seems more believable. Then I make a short run downstairs to the boutique I saw in the lobby. I definitely didn’t pack for something like this, so I need to get a little extra something for Eddie tonight.