Posts tagged “argument

Chasing Truth: Chapter 35

Posted on 22/02/2020

Image result for moonlit starry night beach

      Mari opened her eyes when she felt the truck come to a stop. The sun would be rising before too long. She was beyond grateful she didn’t have to worry about going to work.

“Are you awake over there?” Tyler asked as he unbuckled his seatbelt and reached for hers.

“Barely,” she murmured with a smile of contentment.

“Hang tight. I’ll come around and get you.”

“You don’t have to,” she protested, but he was already getting out of the truck.

She blinked up at him sleepily when he opened her door and stuck his head in.

“Wake up, party girl. We have our own private party to get to.”

He took her mouth in a slow kiss that assaulted her senses. When he pulled back a moment later, she blinked far more slowly. He leaned back and looked beyond the truck.

“Hey, man. It’s late. Mari’s not working tomorrow. Why don’t you head over to Raoul and Allie’s for the night?”

Mari’s eyes widened and she swung her legs out of the truck.


“What?” he asked with a glance. “We could use some privacy.”

She shoved him back to give herself some space to get out of the truck. “That is so inappropriate!”

Tyler sighed and kept her boxed in against the truck. “Sweetheart, I haven’t had time alone with you since your dad left. We could use it.”

“Well, maybe we should’ve had that conversation before you tried to kick my guest out on your own.”

Tyler’s eyes narrowed and he turned his head as Reese approached.

“You know, you haven’t said why you’re even still here,” he said to Reese. “You’re not close to Raoul and Allie. You’re definitely not close to Mari. Why are you still here when her dad is gone?”

“Can we not do this right now?” Mari protested.

Besides, Tyler knew why Reese was still there. Then again, he wasn’t supposed to. The whole mess made her head hurt and she wasn’t in the mood to sort through it all after a long night of drinking and dancing.

“No, I think that’s a question that deserves an answer.”

“You’re not in a position to demand answers,” Reese said simply. “Come on, Mari. Let’s get you inside.”

Tyler caught Mari’s arm before she could leave his side. “Answer my question.”

Reese focused on Tyler’s hand around Mari’s arm and she could almost feel him losing his hold on his easy demeanor.

“Answer the question, Reese. Why are you here? It doesn’t make any sense.”

“Let her go.”

Tyler didn’t let go and Mari knew if she didn’t intervene it was going to become a much larger issue. She gently pulled her arm free.

“Seriously. I’m not doing this tonight. You can question Reese another time.”

“You should want to know those answers too, Mari. Something about this doesn’t feel right.”

“The only thing I want to know tonight is how soon I can fall asleep when my head hits the pillow.”

Reese stepped between her and Tyler the moment she passed him. She held onto the railing as she climbed the few steps to the front door.

“Mari,” Reese called warningly when she would have opened the door.

She sighed. He didn’t explain. Just the way he said her name was enough to get his point across. Reese always wanted to look through the house before she went inside. She still wasn’t used to it and he scolded her every time she forgot. She folded her arms across her chest and leaned against the side of the house.

“Why isn’t she allowed to go in the house?” Tyler challenged.

“You need to head home,” Reese told Tyler simply.

“You need to tell me why you’re still here and why my girl isn’t allowed in her own house without you.”

Reese stared at him.

“Tyler, just go please,” Mari asked. “You’re ruining a really good night.”

He held Reese’s gaze a moment longer then looked past him to Mari. “Go on inside, sweetheart. Reese and I are just going to talk a little longer.”

Reese turned on his heel and jogged up the steps to open the door for Mari. “Right inside,” he told her softly even though she could see the anger building in his eyes.

She accepted the dictate wordlessly, standing just inside the house as Reese stood in the doorway and turned back to Tyler who’d followed.

“I’ve asked you to leave. Mari has also asked you to leave. You want to do that. Now. The next request will come from the sheriff.”

“What are you hiding, Reese?”

“Mari, call the sheriff.”

Mari groaned and grabbed Reese’s shoulder to look over his arm where he had the entrance blocked. “Tyler, for goodness sake, just GO.”

Tyler rubbed a hand over his head. “I’m asking questions you know make sense, Mari. The fact that he’s not willing to answer should tell you something, but I’ll leave it alone for tonight.”

“Thank you.”

Reese remained in the doorway, watching until Tyler got back in his truck and pulled out of the yard. Only then did he step inside and close the door. Mari stayed in her spot at the door while he did his customary walkthrough of the house.

When he returned from the bedroom, he checked out the window once more.

“He’s gone,” she confirmed quietly.

He turned back to her with hard eyes.

“Does he make a habit of grabbing you like that? Using his body to prevent you from doing things?”

Mari waved his questions away as she toed off her shoes. “He’s not abusive. He just gets jealous.”

“What happens when he gets jealous, Marielle?”

The way he said her given name teased at something in her.

“Reese, get off it. There’s no issue here. He just doesn’t like you.”

“Why is that?”

“You’re a man I haven’t known since I was four and you’re staying at my place. That’s all it takes for him. Add in he’s asking questions anyone would ask based on what he knows and you’re not answering. Of course he doesn’t like you.”

She stretched her arms above her head as she walked toward her bedroom. “You are going to have to come up with something, by the way. Because he’s not going to let it go. But that’s your problem, not mine. I’m not getting in the middle of it again,” she warned over her shoulder.

“I didn’t ask you to this time,” he reminded her quietly.

She stopped at the door. “He wouldn’t have left without me saying something. What would you have done then?”

“I would have called the sheriff like I said. You asked him to leave and he stayed for a confrontation. I don’t like that aggression.”

“You’re here to protect me from anyone who might use me against Blake, not my boyfriend.”

“I’m here to protect you from threats.”

“Tyler isn’t a threat.”

He said nothing. She threw her hands up in annoyance. “You can’t just not say anything.”

“Go to sleep.”

“Do not start trouble with Tyler,” she said firmly.

“You should be giving Tyler a warning. Not me.”

Her brow wrinkled. He wasn’t entirely wrong.

“Men,” she muttered in annoyance and headed for bed. She would sort them both out later.

<< Chapter 34                                                        Chapter 36 >>

Chasing Truth: Chapter 30

Posted on 17/01/2020

“He’s staying at the house with Raoul and Allie?”

Tyler had shown up with food in tow not long after Reese had left. He claimed he wanted to feed her a home-cooked meal after a long day, but she suspected it had more to do with her hanging up on him.

He seemed calm enough about her news Reese would be staying behind for a few days, but it didn’t take a genius to anticipate how poorly he was going to take the news of exactly where Reese would be staying. She rolled her shoulders as she drew in a breath.  

“Actually he’s staying with me.” 

Tyler stopped stirring. The spoon clanged against the pot as he turned to face her fully. She tried to shrug casually.

“It’s just for a few days and I have a decent couch.”

“Why is he staying here, Mari?”

“Just to keep an eye on me for a little while. That’s all. You know, make sure nobody tries to use me to get to Blake,” she said pointedly. 

There wasn’t a single trace of shame in his expression. “And he has to stay here? They’re staying with Raoul and Allie now. He can keep staying there.”

Mari folded her arms across her chest. “This is what you wanted, isn’t it? You wanted Blake to care about me so you could use that. Well, he cares enough to leave somebody behind for a few days. Get over it.”

“That doesn’t mean he needs to sleep here.”

“How is he supposed to be here for me over there?”

“It’s not exactly across the island, Marielle,” he growled. “Why are you so eager to have him stay here?”

Mari stared at him with her mouth open before she gathered herself, anger sweeping in over the disbelief. “Are you serious? Think about why you’re here, Tyler! He’s already said he has enemies and the vibe I’m getting is that they wouldn’t think twice about using me. You’re using me. So excuse me if I’m okay with having somebody here to help make sure nobody else gets to, especially if they’d plan on doing it by hurting me.”

He held his glare for a moment longer before he sighed and held his arms out. “C’mere.”

“No. Finish dinner. I’m hungry.”

He caught her by the arms and gently tugged her into him. She didn’t unfold her arms or soften her stance at all. 

“I’m sorry,” he murmured against her temple. “I just don’t like the idea of him here with you. I’m a little jealous. Take it easy on me, please?”

“Jealous about what?” she grumbled to his chest with her arms still folded. “I don’t even know the guy and he’s not interested in me. He’s doing a job.”

“A man would have to be dumb and blind not to be interested.” He pressed a kiss to her head. “I get that you’re scared. This is scary. I wouldn’t let anything happen to you.” He leaned back and angled her away so he could look at her face. “You know that, don’t you?”

She stared at his forehead. “Your attention is divided.”

He gripped her chin, demanding her focus. “It’s never that divided. I have a job to do, but I care about you. Your safety is important to me. Blake can leave whoever he wants, but I’ll be seeing to your safety.”

Her arms slowly dropped to her sides. His thumb stroked over her bottom lip.

“I heard what you said. You gave me an in I needed to Blake, yes. I can’t deny that. But I am not using you.” 

The emphasis on his words softened her further. 

“I know it’s hard to separate what I have to do from our relationship, but I need you to do that. I care about you in a way I’ve never cared about another woman in my life,” he confessed on a whisper. “I want you clear of all of this so we can focus on building us, making this permanent.”

Her eyes rounded as she echoed, “Permanent?”

“Permanent,” he confirmed and sealed the word with a deep kiss. “You don’t need to say anything now,” he said when he lifted his head. “I just want you to know where I’m going with this, with us.”

Still in shock, she nodded weakly. His smile widened and he stroked over her bottom lip again.

“Have you thought about getting your dad a gift? Something to mark your first time meeting him, that reminds him of you when he’s not here?”

Her eyes lit up. “That’s a really cute idea. It hadn’t crossed my mind, but I think I will pick up something before he leaves.”

“I have good ideas every now and then. I don’t want to have them too often or you might start expecting things from me.”

With a quick kiss to her forehead, he turned back to the stove. “Now stop being distracting and let me get you fed.”

Instead of backing off, she wrapped her arms around him and leaned into his back with her chin propped on his shoulder. 

“I know this hasn’t been easy. I haven’t been easy. Thanks for sticking with me through this.”

He laid a hand over hers and squeezed. “Trust me, there’s nowhere I’d rather be.”

Content, she held on for a moment longer before she pulled away to get drinks from the fridge. It was after Tyler had bowled soup for both of them and they’d settled at the table that she felt something vibrate. Tyler grabbed his phone and glanced at the screen before lifting it to his ear.

“Hey, man. What’s up? You’re interrupting dinner with my favorite lady,” he said with a wink at Mari.

She rolled her eyes, but the smile was there.

He frowned, moving the phone away from his mouth. “Sorry, give me a minute to take this call, sweetheart. Go ahead and eat.”

She nodded, watching him retreat into her bedroom to finish his conversation. It was all too easy to wonder who was on the other line, what the call was about. He had a job to do, she reminded herself. He wasn’t supposed to have shared about that job either. He would need to check in and get updates. Secretive calls were a part of that. She’d decided to trust him. She needed to do that.

No sooner than she came to that conclusion, he was walking back out of the bedroom. 

“Everything okay?” she couldn’t resist asking.

His crooked smile curved his lips. “Yeah, everything is just fine.”

She mirrored his smile. Yes, things were fine.

<< Chapter 29 Chapter 31 >>

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