Early Thursday morning, I’d just finished eating my breakfast and was watching some T.V. when my brother’s boyfriend barged in the front door.
“What the hell?” I yelled. “This isn’t your house.”
“Sorry,” Alex said. “Knight texted me he was coming home, and I was to meet him here. Aren’t you supposed to be in school?”
“Um like duh...it’s only 7:30. I don’t go to school until 8.”
“Oh,” he said, running his hand through his hair. “Well, I won’t get in your way. I’ve got to work out anyway. The bag is out back. Right?”
I flung myself from the couch. No way was he staying here. I wanted to punch him on sight for how he humiliated me in front of my father. “I think you need to go. I don’t care what my brother says.”
“I won’t bother you. Deal with it.”
That’s all it took. I swung at him.
Swiftly, he dodged my punch. When I took another swing, he expertly caught my arm and twisted, painfully forcing me to the ground. Then he pounced on my back, choking me with his arm. My throat pinched hard, and I gasped for breath.
He hissed, “I’ve had a crappy week and I’m not dealing with your shit.” He clamped down harder. “Got it? Try that again and I’ll really mess you up.”
Struggling for air, I nodded.
He released me. I coughed, spraying spit everywhere.
Rubbing my neck that throbbed in pain, my heart raced. What was my brother dating? A monster? Alex Day was dangerous. I couldn’t understand first of all why my brother would want to date a guy, but secondly, if Alex got angry enough, he could kill someone with his skills. It was scary.
I couldn’t wait to get home. Alex was supposed to be at my house, waiting on me. All I could think about was wrapping my arms around him and getting him alone. The thought was driving me crazy.
When I opened the door, my brother pounced on me. Glaring, he said, “Your boyfriend tried to kill me today. I hope you know you’re dating a potential mass murderer.”
I laughed. “What did you do to piss him off? I’m sure you had it coming.”
“Why don’t you warn someone next time that he’s coming over? He put me in a chokehold. It wasn’t cool.”
I smiled even bigger. “I’d have loved to have seen that. Since you’re not telling me what you did, I know you deserved it. Where’s Alex?”
“Go find him yourself. I’m not your assistant.”
I searched upstairs, but he wasn’t there. Then I realized I should have checked the punching bag out back. Alex was always working out.
When I went to the deck, I grinned. There he was looking great, punching the stuffing out of that bag. His body was so perfect—broad muscular shoulders and tight waist. I was hoping for a sneak attack, but I might catch him off guard and suffer a punch. This thought made me laugh.
“Hey, beautiful,” I said, in between his set.
Turning around, he yelled, “Knight!” and clamped onto me like he hadn’t seen me in weeks.
“Hey...I’m glad to see you, too. Did you miss me?”
“God, you don’t know how much.”
“Aw, baby, well, I’m here and I’m not going anywhere for a while.” I squeezed him, so happy to be back.
Pulling away, he said, “I’ve got so much to tell you, I don’t know where to start.”
I grabbed him close to me. “I’ve got a few things to talk to you about, too. Why don’t we have a picnic? I know of a great place where no one will bother us.”
After he showered and changed, I took his hand and said, “The place is only a little hike away. No one goes there, so it should be very private.” I kissed his cheek and he smiled nervously. I wondered what his jitters were about. Maybe something went down with my dad. Alex probably took the job anyway. I wouldn’t be surprised. It upset me to think he’d be afraid to tell me this though. I didn’t want him to ever be afraid to share anything with me.
Sitting on a picnic blanket, a cool breeze floated over my face. The day was perfect. I decided to help Alex out since he was nervously fiddling with his hair, not saying anything. “Did you take the job for my father? If you did, I won’t be mad.”
Flicking his eyes back and forth, he stammered, “U-Um...y-yeah. I sort of had to. I got behind on my payments and got kicked out of my apartment, losing my job. And...well, Marco kind of talked me into it anyway. He said it was for a noble cause, at least.”
I put my arm around his shoulder. “Well, that depends on how you look at it. My father’s organization is underground. I don’t like it. And I’m going to dissolve it when I get the chance. You see, the governor hires him if they need a case solved that takes muscle and intimidation. The kind that is illegal on the books. That way, no one can come back and point fingers at them politically. My father has protected me from it. I only run our hotels, restaurants, and clubs. Are you sure about this?”
He shook his head. “I don’t know...but I gave him my word I’d do it. How bad can it really be?”
“It would just depend on who you’d be dealing with. I mean, these are really bad guys if they’re asking my father for help. That’s why I didn’t want you involved. But I know you can take care of yourself. Kyle told me you put him in a chokehold.”
He laughed. “Yeah, after he tried to punch me a few times. I sent him a message.”
“He deserved it, the punk.” I took Alex’s hands and laid him on his side so I could see his face. Stroking his back, I said, “You know, we need to talk about something. About our future.”
He swallowed, looking like I’d just landed a bomb on him. “Yeah...um...I need to tell you something, too.”
“Okay,” I said. The frightened look on his face scared me. “But before you do, I really need to get this off my chest.”
Closing his eyes, he nodded.
“You see, the governor’s term is up in a year. That’s when I want to take over. Start fresh. Before my father can use his power to tempt the next governor into using his services. But I can’t take control until I produce an heir.”
Alex’s face turned white. I quickly went on, “Don’t worry, baby, of course we can’t have a child together. While I was on my business trip, I researched surrogates. There are many reputable places we could use for this. I realize starting a family this soon is a lot to ask, but I really want us to be safe. And if you don’t want to do this, I’m telling you now so you can make a decision.”
Tears welled up in his eyes as his frightened look turned to terror.
“Is it that bad for you to think about?” I asked. “Listen, I love you so much, I’d give everything up. If you didn’t want a child, we could move away. Out of my father’s clutches, but we’d have to start over with no money.”
But he wouldn’t say anything. Tears streamed down his face.
I didn’t expect this reaction from him at all. Why did having a child from a surrogate sound so awful to him? I guess it was too much to ask. “Come here,” I whispered. Cradling him in my arms, I said, “Just forget I said anything. Okay?”
Wiping the tears from his face, he sniffed, still silent.
Finally, he asked in a hoarse whisper, “Would it be easier if I were a woman?”
My God. Was that what he thought this was about? My mind spun over and over to the time I rejected him the day I left. I wished I could go back and redo that day, but I couldn’t. “Oh, baby, are you kidding me? I don’t want a woman. I want the man I fell in love with. Don’t you get it? I’ll do anything for you. You’ve changed my life. I want all of you. Every part. I won’t ever desire a woman. You don’t have to worry about that.”
But instead of making him feel better, he only cried harder. His fucking crazy ass mother was still in his head. How could I get through to him that I loved who he was? I didn’t need a woman in my life. He was what I wanted. But no matter what I said, it made him worse. I just held him as he cried, feeling out of control, not knowing what was going through his mind.
Finally, he settled down as I lay on my back, still clutching him. I had this shattered treasure in my arms but I didn’t know how to glue back the pieces. How could I fix the self-loathing his mother had inflicted on him? I hoped we could get through this.