Posts from the “Seeking Metropolis” Category

Chasing Truth: Chapter 13

Posted on 12/09/2014


            Mari took a long sip of lemonade from the straw and blindly reached out to set it on the end table next to the hammock.

“This is the life.” She sighed in pleasure.

Her eyes closed behind the sunglasses resting on her face. Raoul laughed and turned the ribs over on the grill.

“My spoiled, spoiled girl.”

“You made me that way.”

“That I did,” he admitted turning to look at her. “Where’s Tyler?”

“Trying to see if he can best Devil’s Mountain without me.”

“You’ve been spending a lot of time with him.”

“It’s been awhile, but I’m pretty sure that’s what you do when you’re dating someone,” she drawled searching for her glass again.

“So it’s serious then?”

She stopped feeling for the glass and lifted her shades to stare at him. “What is it, Papa?”

“There’s just something about him, Mari Belle. Just don’t sit right.”

She sat up in the hammock at the improper grammar. “He treats me like a princess. What’s not to like?”

He shrugged and turned back to the food. “That’s why I didn’t say anything. It’s not anything he’s said or done. I just don’t feel…settled when he’s around.”

She frowned and propped the glasses up on her head. “What do you want me to say? I like him, the way he treats me, how he acts, all of it. There’s nothing that makes me not want to see him.”

Allison walked out the back door with a bowl of baked beans and another with coleslaw. Her smile slipped at their expressions.

“You told her then?”

“So you’ve talked about it?” Mari asked looking between the two of them.

She set the Saran-wrapped bowls on the table. “Raoul was concerned. I suggested he wait a little while to see if his feelings changed before he worried you unnecessarily.”

“And what do you think?”

“Honestly? I like him. I definitely like how happy you’ve been since the two of you got together. I don’t discount Raoul’s feelings though.”

“All we’re saying is be careful.”

An echo of Keon’s words. Mari frowned. Life was good. Her time with Tyler was great. She didn’t want anything encroaching on that, not even Raoul’s vague feelings of concern.

Raoul turned to her. “You’re old enough to make your own decisions. Have been for a while now.” He paused and scratched at his head, making her grin. “I told you what I think. What you do is up to you.”

“I know and I promise I’ll be careful.”

“That’s all I can ask for.”

She settled back into the hammock, more than ready to let the subject rest. She just reached for her glass when Raoul looked toward the house.

“Why don’t you head up to the front of the house, Mari? Got a surprise for you.”

“A surprise?” she echoed curiously, rising from the hammock.

He didn’t say anything more so she crossed the grass toward the gate. That’s when she heard him.

“Something smells good back here.”

She laughed with surprise and delight when she heard that warm booming voice. The gate to the backyard swung open to reveal a tall chocolate-skinned man with jade green eyes that shone as bright as his smile. The second the gate opened she ran to him. He met her halfway with muscled arms opened wide.

“Well if it isn’t Ellie girl! I heard you finally made your way back.”

She slammed into him and wrapped her arms tight. “They didn’t even tell me you were coming! I missed you the last few times you were here. How long are you staying this time? I’ve missed you!”

Gage was a long-time family friend. Raoul and Mari took him on a tour shortly after her mother’s death and every time he visited the island, he made sure to come spend time with them. It wasn’t long before she regarded him as an uncle and she always looked forward to his visits. The last time she saw him was her graduation and she’d been equally pleased with that surprise.

They both kept an arm locked around each other as they came back to Raoul and Allison.

“Long enough to get a good look at you. That’s for sure. You’ve been growing up on me.”

Raoul snorted and eyed the ribs. “You? I watched the entire process and it still caught me by surprise.”

Gage chuckled and patted Raoul on the back. “It’s good to see you, old man. Allie, you’re just as beautiful as always.”

“And you’re still a charmer.” Allison smiled with the words.

He leaned in to hug her without releasing Mari. Only when he moved to settle into a chair did he finally let go.

“How does it feel, graduate?”

Mari dropped into a chair beside him and smiled. “It feels the same as always. I didn’t need a degree to do this. That was just…for fun I guess.”

“I’ve been thinking about letting you take over the books,” Raoul slid in easily.

Her brows jumped in surprise. “If you need me to, you know I will.”

He smiled as if he anticipated the answer as he stacked the ribs on a plate in the center of the table.

“We’ll talk about it.”

Allison unwrapped the bowls while Mari passed out the plates. She had a rib in hand with coleslaw and beans on her plate before Raoul settled at the table. Gage laughed watching her.

“I see you still pack it away.”

“I learned from the best,” Mari assured around the delicious meat. “So where’ve you been? Anywhere exciting?”

“I spent some time down in Costa Rica. Beautiful place. You’d love it. I ventured down to Colombia too. Maybe now that you’ve graduated you can come on a trip or two.”

The rib clattered to the plate and Mari’s eyes lit up. “Seriously? You better not be playing with me.”

“I wouldn’t dare.”

“I’m so holding you to that.”

He just smiled as he continued eating.

Mari refilled Allison’s glass as she reached for another rib after clearing her plate. Gage shook his head. He leaned back in his seat and rested his hands on his stomach. “So what’s this I hear about a man sniffing around my girl?”

There was no confusion about his source. She shot a look at Raoul. “Yes, I’m dating.”

“Well where’s the brave little boy?”

“It’s amazing you caught her without him. He’s been monopolizing her time.”

“That’s a strong word, Papa.”

“So you like him, huh? Tell me about him.”

“He’s…great.” She propped her chin up on her hand and sucked barbecue sauce from her pinky. “He makes me laugh even when I don’t want to. He’s sweet and thoughtful. He’s fun. He makes me happy.”

“All that? So what’s the problem, Raoul?”

“Call it Dad senses. They go off when he’s around.”

He frowned. “Well I can’t argue with that. I want to meet the young man while I’m hanging around, you hear?”

Mari smiled. “Yes sir. Maybe you can put Dad’s senses to rest.”

“Yeah,” Gage said with a faint smile. “Let’s hope I can.”


 << Chapter 12 |Chapter 14 >>

Chasing Truth: Chapter 12

Posted on 05/09/2014

“Who is he?”

Mari didn’t have to guess who Tyler demanded to know more about. She bit back a smile as she swung her bare feet from her perch on the marble counter in his kitchen.

“You know about as much as I do. His name’s Damon. He’s nice. He likes the outdoors and thinks Sakina is beautiful.”

His hand brushed over her thigh, but didn’t linger as he grabbed seasoning and sprinkled it into the pot.

“He tell you anything else?”

His words were short, clipped. She swallowed a laugh and the desire to kiss him. He hadn’t said much since they left the shop and it didn’t take much to pinpoint the problem. It made him all the more adorable.

“He’s on vacation with a couple of friends. He thinks I’m a great guide and probably wants to go on another tour.”

“Yeah, I’ll bet he does.”

His hand tightened around the spoon he used to put rice on her plate and her smile almost slipped free. She only withheld it because he chose that moment to look at her. The slow lengthy perusal made something tighten within her and it became harder to hide her smile.

“How long is he here for?”

She shrugged carelessly. “He didn’t say, just said they might hang around for a while and if they did, they wanted another tour.”

“Nothing else?”

“No, Tyler. It was a hiking trip, not an interrogation. Card night?” she asked hopping down from the counter and pulling open one of the drawers to grab the deck of cards.

“Whatever you want,” he muttered.

“Lemonade or grape Crush?”

The lemonade he started stocking for her and as much as she wanted to, it wasn’t the right moment to tease him about it.

“Whatever you want.”

Since her back to was to him she grinned and carried two sodas into the living room. Once she settled on the floor he handed her plate to her and sat down across from her.

He seemed lost in his own thoughts as she dealt the cards. Even as they ate and played through the first hand of the game, he was distant, his mind obvious elsewhere.

“You’re not paying attention. Again,” Mari pointed out around the rice in her mouth as she picked up the Phase Ten card. She laid it on top of the cards spread out in front of her before dropping another onto the stack. “I’m going to trounce you. Again.”

“That’s because you cheat. You’ve been playing this game since you could hold cards.” He frowned and picked up another card.

She set her plate off to the side, a smile lighting up her face that had him watching her warily. “You know what I think?”

“No.” His smile was small and lazy. “But you’re going to tell me.”

She crawled over the cards to rest on her knees in front of him. “I think you, Tyler Ross, are jealous and it’s been eating at you since you picked me up.”

“Is that what it is?” He dropped his cards and leaned into her until their noses touched.

“Yep. Your nose,” she nuzzled hers against his as she spoke, “is all bent out of shape because Damon liked me just a little too much for you.”

“He was drooling over you.”

“I’m drool-worthy. You do it all the time.”

“I’m allowed to.”

“So is he as long as he doesn’t touch. And he didn’t. So get your nose back in place.” She brushed her nose against his again. “And remember how very lucky you are that you’re the one sitting in front of me right now instead of him.”

“You’re a hard woman, Ms. Drake.”

“You wouldn’t have me any other way.” She nipped his lips.


He muttered it against her lips as he leaned back and pulled her with him, kissing her softly.

“Sorry for being a jerk.”

“It was cute for about the first five minutes. Then it started getting old pretty quick.”

She rested her head in the crook of his neck and nestled in. His hand stroked over her back in a lazy motion. She could get used to nights like this. Who was she kidding? She was used to nights like this.

“I think you just might be good for me, Marielle Drake.”

She smiled against his skin. “You’re just now figuring that out?”

“No, I was worried about it from the beginning,” he returned quietly. “From the very beginning.”


  << Chapter 11 || Chapter 13 >>

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