Never underestimate the power of readers!! I gave you a goal and you all kicked my ass. :)
I'm so excited for everyone to read it!!
*If you haven't read Breaking the Wrong or Every Which Way, I wouldn't read this. Might spoil some things for you. Okay... a lot of things. :) *
The skirt of my dress blows with the wind. I hold it against the back of my thighs as Macsen and I walk up the porch.
Nervously, I smooth a hand down my yellow, short-sleeved sweaterdress as Macsen rings the doorbell.
Looking down at me, Macsen smiles. “Why are you so nervous? You’ve met them before.”
Owen and Macsen’s step-mom, Jayni, came to visit in March to see Macsen and Thayer. The whole time I was a nervous wreck. And now that I’m here for Easter, I'm somehow, even more nervous. Maybe it was the fact that it was a holiday, a time that you spend only with your family. And people you love.
I smile nervously. “I know but I’ve never been to their home!”
“It’ll be fine,” he says confidently.
The red door creaks open and Macsen’s step-mom smiles widely at Macsen and I. “Hello!”
She reaches over and hugs me tightly. “It’s so nice to see you again, Emilia!”
I smile widely. “You, too.”
Jayni looks over at Macsen and gives him a warm smile. “Macsen, it’s good to see you.”
The two of them hug briefly and I know that it’s a positive sign.
Since I’ve been with Macsen, I know he’s worked hard to have a relationship with his dad and Jayni. There have been bumps, but the fact that he willingly travels to Missouri and openly hugs Jayni is a step toward the positive.
“Come in. Come in.” Jayni urges. She opens the door wider and Macsen lets me step through the door way first. Their home is rustic, with worn wooden floors, a staircase that leads to the second floor on the left and open windows letting in fresh air.
“Where is everyone?” Macsen asks.
“In the dining room. We’re getting ready to start dessert.” Jayni leads us through the living room and to her open dining room, with a large oak table in the middle. Severine sees us firsts and immediately perks up. She walks over and hugs me tightly.
It turns out my roommate had more good than I could imagine. It was just hidden by the many layers of confidence and sarcasm. But I see it, and now that I do, I consider her a close friend.
Thayer nods his head and smiles at us before goes back to the pie in front of him.
Owen stands up from his chair and makes small talk. His hair is dark like Macsen’s. A few pieces of gray are starting to creep through. But he has the bright green eyes that Macsen has. He speaks bluntly like Macsen and if I wasn’t used to it, I would probably be afraid. But Owen just makes me smile widely.
Before he walks back to his seat, he gives us both tight hugs. This family hugs. A lot. But I think when it comes to Macsen and his dad it’s almost a necessity—to make up for lost time.
“Emilia, have you met Mathias?” Jayni asks as she cuts another pie.
I shake my head and look over at the guy sitting next to Thayer. Mathias has the same dirty blonde hair and gray eyes as Thayer but all similarities stop there.
Every single Sloan brother has a rough, dangerous quality to them. But there’s something to this Mathias. He stares me straight in the eye boldly, without caring how uncomfortable it makes me. I stare back, but I shift an inch toward Macsen.
There is a harshness to Mathias’s features. He lifts his brows at me and I think that’s his greeting. I don’t know Mathais’s story but, if it was anything like Macsen’s, I don’t blame him for being angry.
“Hello,” I say quietly.
“Hi.” His voice is deep, making every word practically rumble out of his chest.
Macsen and I sit down and talk as we eat dessert. The conversation is light and friendly between all of us. Except for Mathias. He sits back and just watches everyone.
After an hour and one empty pie pan later, Owen and Jayni go into the kitchen to start cleaning up.
“I need to go the bathroom,” Severine gets up from the table and my eyes instantly zoom in on Thayer.
Thayer has been silent and fidgeting in his seat every few seconds the entire time we’ve been here. A few times I thought he was going to vomit.
I take Severine’s absence as an opportunity and lean closer. “Are you feeling okay, Thayer?”
His gray eyes bulge wide before he nods his head. “Yeah. I’m great.”
“No, you’re not,” Mathias says solemnly.
I nod my head at Mathias anxiously, glad that someone is seeing the same thing I am. “Seriously, you look like you might throw up,” I comment with concern.
“Don’t be blunt or anything, Emilia.” Macsen murmurs next to me.
My hand settles on Macsen’s shoulder and I rub the muscles there gently. “I’m not. Thayer’s been like that the whole dinner!”
An exhausted sigh escapes Thayer. He slumps against back against his chair and stares up at the ceiling before he looks at the three of us. We’re all staring at him curiously. “Okay. I’ll tell you guys what’s up, but keep your mouths shut.”
We all respond by nodding our heads.
He opens up his blue blazer and pulls out a black velvet box. My heart speeds up when he reveals a large diamond ring.
I gasp loudly, and practically jump across the table to get a better look. “You’re going to propose to Severine?”
Thayer nods. “Yes.”
Macsen stands and leans over the table with me. He peers at the ring. “Are you serious?” He sounds shocked.
I look at him over my shoulder. “It’s sweet,” I argue.
“It’s strange,” Mathias says with a raised brow.
Thayer snaps the box shut and looks over at Mathias. “How is it strange?”
“You’re twenty-two. Kind of young,” he comments.
“Not young at all," Thayer bites out. "But you’re right…guy who has slept with his student… who is seven years younger than him. Please, tell me about age.”
My eyes widen. I glance at Macsen and he looks just as shocked as me. Mathias’s face turns pale instantly. He quickly hides it with a dark smile but I saw everything in that expression. And so did Macsen and Thayer.
There’s still something between this mystery girl and Mathias.
Macsen speaks up. “When was this?”
Thayer smiles widely. “A year ago?” He looks at Mathias, completely ignoring his brother’s dark glare. “He was her piano instructor.”
“You play the piano?” I ask Mathias.
He shakes his head. “Used to.”
There’s so much about this oldest Sloan brother that I don’t know. And I really don’t think I want to know.
“Wait…” Macsen interjects. “What’s her name? Where did this happen?”
Mathias’s jaw clenches tightly. “Her name is Katia. I taught her in Füssen.”
Macsen sits in his chair with a frown on his face. “In Germany?”
“No….” Mathias drawls out. “The Füssen in Africa.” Everyone stares at him dully and he smirks. “Yes in Germany.”
“And she lives in the states now?” I ask.
Our questions are starting to annoy Mathias. He looks at me sharply. “She’s here in the states. I saw her a few days ago.”
Thayer slaps his hand on the table and grins. “So that’s why you’re more of a dick than usual!”
“Look, I don’t know why I’m talking to any of you about this. It’s none of your fucking business. So let’s drop it,” he demands.
“What’s going on?” Severine asks from the entryway.
Everyone freezes and slowly looks at Severine. She shifts awkwardly. “What?”
I pull my eyes away, knowing I’m a few seconds away from smiling widely and giving everything away.
Macsen shrugs. “Mathias is just going through nicotine withdrawl.”
Mathias sighs and stands up. “He’s right. I need to rectify that right now.” He walks past Severine and gives her a cryptic smile.
Before Severine can say anything Thayer stands up and walks over to her. “I’m ready to get out of here.”
He pulls her out of the room before she can say anything. She gives me a questioning glance over her shoulder and I shrug, trying to look clueless.
When they walk out of the front door. I stand up quickly. “I want to go outside.”
“You do know that he’s not going to propose in front of everyone, right?”
I stare at Macsen skeptically. “How do you know?”
“Because it’s Thayer…and he’s private,” he shrugs.
“Well….” I drag out and tug on Macsen’s arm. “I still want to go out.”
The patio door slams behind us, and I inhale in the clean air and walk to the white railing in front of me.
Macsen’s wraps his arms around my shoulders and guides me to rest against his chest.
“So much for fresh air,” Macsen says close to my ear.
I glance across the porch and see Mathias smoking a cigarette. His arms are braced against the railing and it looks like he’s ready to kill something.
“He’s…scary,” I admit.
Macsen shrugs. “Not really. Just a lot of bark—no bite.”
Nodding my head, I look at the scenery in front of me. Thayer drives down the driveway and I practically shake over what’s in store for the two of them.
But my excitement burns out a bit when I glance at Mathias. There’s more torture to him, more confusion than I’ve ever seen in one person.
I love trying to guess someone’s story, but I don’t want to know Mathias’. Whoever Katia is and whatever happened to them might be darker than my mind can handle...