Once Zander leaves, I hug myself, knowing I’m the one becoming stupid when it comes to him. I just have to be careful not to let it show. I feel everything he says that he does when we kiss. It’s a draw I have never felt, something I didn’t think existed. A spark that stays burning long after we’ve separated. It’s a spark that I can’t help wanting more of.
Kyle sneaks up on me and begins questioning. “Are you realizing how much you want him?”
“What? No! Leave me alone!”
Kyle jumps with glee. “You are! Oh my God, Murphy you like him. Like, really like.”
“Shut up, Kyle, get out of my way!”
I march right past him, slamming my bedroom door. Oh God, I do like him, probably more than any other man I’ve ever met. What does that say about me? I know, that I’m glutton for punishment. How can I possibly find him, the man who belongs to the family that is holding my life in their hands more attractive, more interesting and more annoying than any other decent guy out there? Maybe because I never truly met a decent guy, and for some reason I think Zander is decent. And the way he makes me feel. I can still feel his hands on me, gently cleaning my injuries.
I can maybe deny him during the day but when I sleep there is no denying in my dreams. Every night since we’ve met, I can see and feel his touch, the way it felt to be in his arms or the way he controlled my body. The orgasms that he gave me, nothing has ever come close to that.
Shit, what am I thinking? I can’t have these feelings. He is nothing to me, or at least that’s what I need to keep telling myself. I will not be like my mother and fall for the wrong man, or any man. So, I’m in like with him, but it’s not love. Love doesn’t truly exist; not for me, it doesn’t.
I’m startled from my thoughts as Kyle barges into the room. “I wasn’t finished with you yet, Murph.”
“Oh yes, you are. I don’t want to talk about Mr. Zander Stern again.”
“Mr. Zander Stern, that’s what we’re calling him now? So professional. Is that a way for you to feel less comfortable with him?”
“What the hell are you talking about now?”
“I’m talking about how that man is sweet on you and you keep pushing him away like you always do. Except this time, I see something different.”
“Really? Do tell, I know you’re dying to.”
“Oh I will. I see the smoldering heat that comes off you two when you’re around each other. I see the desire in your eyes for him.”
“You’re full of shit, Kyle. It’s almost laughable.”
“Except that neither one of us is laughing. Why do this to yourself, Murphy?”
“Do what, Kyle?”
“Why do you try so hard to keep people at bay? Why are you so determined not to let anyone in, especially men? That man cares for you so much that he has his mother waiting to collect from you, and you still push him away.”
I can’t answer, I have no answer for him other than I refuse to be used or hurt. I hang my head, not from shame, but for the time to build my defenses back up. Kyle’s right about me; over the years I let him in, I let him close enough to me that he recognizes my faults, but he has no right to throw them back in my face.
He refuses to stop. “Listen, Murphy, be smart. Even if you don’t want to admit how much Zander gets to you, you should still consider his mother’s offer. I heard everything. I know his mother wants you to marry him. I think you should do it. He can protect you, and you can keep a percentage of the casino. It’s a win-win.”
I’m done, that did it. “What the hell are you talking about? You want me to be forced to marry a man I don’t love to keep a small percentage of a casino I already own? You want me to be tied down to a man who is dangerous, not to mention a womanizer, to just piss away everything that’s mine by right? If that is my choice, I choose to just leave, go back home, let the Sterns have it all, just forget it ever existed. But I’m not. I will find a way to pay them back and keep what is mine without having to sacrifice the rest of my life.”
Kyle’s shaking his head in defeat. “Fine, Murph, do what you have to do, but honey, if you can’t pay them, you will lose everything, including Zander, and you won’t believe me now, but that will hurt more than losing the casino.”
I continue to watch in shock as he disappears into his bedroom. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. I don’t care about Zander, and he definitely isn’t mine, so how could it hurt worse than losing my casino?