Posts tagged “crooning

Her Champion: Chapter 13

Posted on 25/06/2013

metropolis“So what’s up?” Tonio demanded once the door shut behind the women.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Dylan said hanging his jacket back up.

Tonio shoved him in the back. “C’mon man. Spit it out.”

Dylan just laughed. “We’re good. We talked. We’re gonna see where it goes. I’ve been making it clear I won’t deal with people badmouthing her. Put a call in to Chris and shut things down on that front.”

Tonio nodded. “Started that on my end too.”

Somehow Dylan had known that was the case. The man had been his best friend for years and even when he hadn’t said a whole lot, Tonio knew where his mind was. “Appreciate that.”

“So…her kissing you at the Hub isn’t a rumor.”

Dylan raised a brow. “That went fast.”

“We run with the people who care enough to talk about it. It didn’t take long to reach me. Or for Neecy to come around.”

Dylan’s jaw tightened as he dropped down on his bed. She was next on his list. “What’d she have to say?”

“She wanted me to talk some sense into you before Tamar ‘ruined’ you.”

He shook his head in disbelief but didn’t bother asking what Tonio’s response had been. “I’ll get to her. Thanks for the heads up.”

“For what it’s worth, I like Tamar. Haven’t seen you like this about a girl in a long time. I had my doubts at first but she stands up.”

“It’s worth,” Dylan assured quietly, smiling at the thought of the woman who had stolen his attention.

Tamar and Bekah approached the Underwood residence building and Tamar’s hand fell to her side, Bekah looking down at her. She sighed. “Don’t worry, Neecy and her crew already left for another night out… I checked before coming to get you.”

Her little cousin gave her a gentle smile and nodded. “Thank you. I know this must be hard for you…”

Bekah nudged her lightly. “Don’t even mention it. You’re the closest thing to a sister to me. I protect my kind, even if I have to tear out that wench’s peroxide tresses.” She and Tamar giggled as they entered the building, taking the stairwell to Tamar’s floor. “So… what do you think?”

Tamar pulled out her key, knowing where her cousin’s thoughts were at. “I like him.”

Bekah grinned widely. “Of course I could’ve told you that. I mean, do you think you can handle this? The attention, the animosity?”

Tamar paused from opening the door, mulling over the question and the possible doubts that it would invoke in her. Then she turned to face Bekah and shook her head. “I’m not that innocent or weak. Neecy, I’ll deal with her.” She smiled when Bekah’s brows lifted. “Besides, if he continues being this… cute, I can handle anything.” She laughed when Bekah crooned in teasing and pushed the door open. “Goodnight, Beks. Thanks again.”

“Goodnight Tammy…”

Tamar closed the door, smile in place as she crossed the room to perch on her bed. She pulled out her phone and stared at the screen before shaking her head. Something in her head told her everything was happening too fast, but she felt good. Happy.

Tamar curled against her pillow, her eyes closing shortly afterwards into a dreamless sleep.

Tamar stifled a yawn as she pulled her slingback plaid purse over her shoulders and strolled toward the front of the room.

“Ms. Malek,” Professor Winham stopped her by the door, standing to her feet. Her brow was furrowed as she approached the young woman, holding a stapled document in her hands.

“Is there a problem?” Tamar turned to face the woman.

Winham smiled patiently, extending the document. “I know you heard my announcement about the writing and debate team?”

Tamar frowned, staring down at the document before looking back at the middle-aged, kind-faced woman. “Yeah, I heard you… But I’m not interested.” She started for the door, frowning. How did the professor know about her high school days?

Winham poked the document against Tamar’s arm. “Maybe not now, but later? I think you have the skills and the wit for it.” She waited until Tamar reluctantly accepted the document. “See you next week, Malek.”

“Yeah…” Tamar answered softly, tucking the document under her arm as she exited the building, heading back to her dorm room. She stopped at the end of the street and pulled out the document, reading the bolded title on the front page. Debate team? When was the last time she’d stood in front of a full room of people, and to argue her points with finesse? She shook her head, rolling the document in her free hand as she strode across the street toward the residence hall.

Dylan smiled as he watched Tamar cut across the grass toward the street and casually started after her. It was good to surprise a girl every now and then, he thought. He eased up behind her, peering over her shoulder at the paper she was looking at. “What you reading, pretty girl?”

Tamar felt the warm shiver skitter up her spine at his baritone voice and she peered up to look at him standing over her. “Nothing interesting, trust me.” She tucked the document under her arm before turning to face him, scanning him from head to toe. “How was your day?” she asked, returning her eyes back to his face. He was a sight for sore eyes.

If she had any clue what it did to him every time she ran those wide blue eyes over him he doubted she’d do it as often. “Much better now that I’m about to take my favorite girl out. Debate team sounds interesting to me. Tell me about it while we head to the car.” He smiled at her. He hadn’t been able to make out much more than those words at the top of the page.

She laughed even as she followed him toward the parking lot across the street. “Favorite girl? I wonder what your sister would think about that…” Tamar sighed. “Debate team is something I let go a long time ago. It’s kinda out of my system now.” She raised a brow at him. “I don’t need a ride to my dorm, Dylan. It’s only a block away.”

“Crys doesn’t need to hear everything I say, does she?” he asked innocently. “You let it go, why not pick it back up again? Maybe if you did, you wouldn’t argue with me as much.” He smiled as he said it, pulling his keys from his pocket.

Tamar snorted softly, placing her free hand on her hip. “Now wait a minute. I was under the impression you liked me arguing with you. Now you tell me you rather I argue with someone else?” she rolled her eyes in mock annoyance. “Make up your mind, Sinatra.”

“You can argue with me about which song you want me to sing but save stuff like whether a cardigan is a sweater for the debate team,” he suggested unlocking the car and swinging the door open for her.

Tamar’s blue eyes skimmed over his mouth before lifting to his gray eyes, the corner of her lips tugging in a knowing smile. “Cardigans are sweaters. Any one, debate team or no, will agree with me.” She ducked into the car and drew her legs before her.

“Ask any man and he’ll tell you that’s not true.” He shut the door behind her and rounded the car to slide in. “Seriously, what’s wrong with picking it back up? You’d probably beat an entire team by yourself.”

She frowned slightly, pulling the seatbelt over her. “I didn’t even give joining a debate a second thought… Standing in front of people, arguing about things I could care less about now…” Tamar shrugged her shoulders and leaned back in the chair. “It’s not important to me anymore.” She glanced over at him. “Where are you taking me, Sinatra? I know it’s not my dorm room.”

He looked over at her and smiled. “You’re too observant. It’s a surprise. Sit back and enjoy it. If debate isn’t your thing anymore, what is?”

Her eyes scanned his face, mulling over his question. She wasn’t sure he was ready to hear any of the answers that popped up in her head. Tamar pushed them back into the dark corners of her mind and smiled. “Finding out where we’re going.” She poked him in his side. “Spill. I’m not good with surprises.”

He reached out to capture her hand with his free one, squeezing lightly. “You’ll learn. It’s an acquired thing or so they say. Now be fair. You already know sports is my thing. What’s yours?”

Tamar twisted her mouth in thought. “Old movies… Country music sang by the school’s most popular guy,” she grinned impishly, tugging her hand from his.

“Now you’re just playing dirty. I’m gonna have fun getting my payback.”

“Tell me where we’re going first,” she insisted, cheeks warming.

“Do you know the definition of the word ‘surprise’?”

“Sorry, no. I’m afraid it’s not in my vocabulary,” she answered easily, peering out the window for a clue.

“It means an event Dylan planned that Tamar will not know about until the planned time.” He laughed as he pulled into the parking lot of a plaza. “I should have blindfolded you.”

Tamar wrinkled her nose. “Sounds lame,” she teased, scanning the front of the plaza building. “You’re taking me shopping?” She peered up at him, eyes dancing with mirth. “Like a sugar daddy?”

“Sometimes I can’t believe the stuff that comes out of your mouth. Focus more on the left side,” he instructed as he drove closer to the end of the plaza where the Coldstone Creamery was located.

Tamar’s eyes fell on the ice-cream shop and she smiled softly. Cute. “You know you like that I’m unpredictable…” She unbuckled her seatbelt.

“As much as you like that I’m sweet,” he assured getting out to open her door.

“Sinatra,” Tamar peered up at him from her seat. “I can get out of the car by myself, you know…” She shook her head, stepping out to stand beside him. “But thanks, all the same.”

“I know you can, smartie. I just like to spoil you a little. Enjoy it.” He turned for the shop to keep from bending down and kissing her. He didn’t know what was worse; that it had been two days since he’d kissed her or if he knew it had been two days.

“I’m trying…” she mumbled, entering the building. The sweet smell of caramel and candy assailed her nostrils and she smiled inwardly, recalling the last time she’d had an ice-cream cone. Her eyes scanned the front of the counter, spotting the waffle cones stacked high and her stomach twisted in anticipation for the sweet crunchy taste.

“Since I’m the sugar daddy I guess I’m supposed to tell you that you can have whatever you want.”

Tamar tapped her lips in thought and nodded. “Waffle cone and caramel ice-cream… Thank you, sugar.

She kept him on his toes and always laughing. He’d grown addicted to her company and for once, didn’t mind it. “Caramel ice cream in a waffle cone for the outrageous lady over here and a love it sized cake batter with yellow cake,” he told the young woman behind the counter. “You don’t want anything else on it, pretty girl?”

The woman behind the counter raised a brow, no doubt recognizing the college football star. Tamar noted this but ignored it to smile at Dylan. “Just that, plain and simple.”

“Whatever makes you happy. You want it outside or in here?”

“It’s a decent day outside… Besides, I think Ms. Stare-A-Lot would appreciate us staying out.” She shoved her hands in her baggy jean pockets, eying the young woman as she scooped their orders quickly.

Dylan turned to look at the woman, frowning. “I don’t mind taking you somewhere else if there’s a problem.”

“It’s not a big deal, Dylan. Outside is fine,” Tamar turned to glance outside, spotting a low hill surrounded with young oak trees, a few feet away from the plaza.

It was a big deal and he was beginning to get seriously pissed off with the way people treated her. “I think I want to run my own article,” he grumbled, taking the cone from the woman to hand to Tamar before grabbing his own and handing off his card.

Tamar smirked wryly at his furrowed brow, feeling a bit sorry for the unassuming girl behind the counter. “Relax…” She reached up with her free hand and rubbed at his back. “Getting worked up over something silly won’t do any good. They’ll find a way to blame me for it, good or bad, remember?”

His frown softened at her touch and he turned his head to her, his focus shifting immediately. “That’s seriously starting to annoy me. I chased you. Not the other way around. It’s not like I have any money for you to be gold digging for.”

Her brows lifted, a teasing smile tugging at her lips. “How would you know that?”

“You did get all excited about me being your sugar daddy. You planning on using me for my money?”

Tamar could feel the girl’s wide eyes darting from her to Dylan. She could already feel the newspress machines warming up but teasing Dylan was worth it. The look in his eyes encouraged her, made her smile wider. “Now you get it, Sinatra.” She tapped him lightly in his chest. “So get back your money card and come with me. I have grand plans for you now and later…” She took one step back, her fingers pinching the fabric of his shirt to pull him with her.

Dylan plucked his card from the stunned cashier and let Tamar draw him away, a grin splitting his face. “Mhmm, I love it when you take control like that. You’re gonna get me in trouble.”

“We’re both in trouble, Sinatra,” she said, releasing his shirt once they stepped out of the shop. Her eyes danced over his face before peering out past the parking lot. “Let’s eat there,” she pointed toward the lone hill shaded by trees.

“You started it. Lead the way. I’m just following you and all your little plans.”

“I’m used to the consequences that come with it,” Tamar said over her shoulder. “Can you handle?” She licked at the corner of her waffle cone, leading the way across the parking lot to the grassy hill circled with slender oak trees.

Dylan lost use of his tongue for several seconds, following wordlessly behind her. She could drive him insane and he wasn’t even sure she realized she had that power. He spooned ice cream in his mouth and after a moment, regained his voice. “She’s my kinda rain. Like love from a drunken sky. Confetti fallin’ down all night. She’s my kinda rain.”

Tamar’s lips stilled over the cream, her eyes flicking over to Dylan’s face. Then she gave him a slow smile as she leaned back, studying him openly. “Now you’re just showing off…”

“And you like it. Pay up,” he said quietly, eyes sparkling as he grinned at her.

She bit her bottom lip even as she conceded silently, leaning forward to meet him halfway. Pursing her lips, she closed her eyes and waited for him to take the kiss this time.

Just the trust and openness in that simple action threatened to send him reeling. He stepped into her, taking her lips in a slow kiss that re-acquainted him with the feel and taste of her. Any leftover annoyance faded as all of his focus went to her and the crazy warmth she shot through his body. One hand rested loosely against her side as he fought the urge to draw her in tighter.

Her fingers resting on the grass curled in, nails digging into the dirt as Dylan’s lips beckoned her in. A slow burn rose from within and Tamar inclined her head, pushing her mouth against his own, parting her lips to pull at his own. For that brief moment, she forgot all about them being out in the open.

He groaned into her mouth when she took the kiss deeper and his hand left her side to frame her jaw as he met her hunger with his own. At the moment, everything around him fell to the wayside until all he heard, felt, and saw was her. Only when he felt the push to move more firmly over did he find the strength to draw back, reducing the kiss to brief fleeting ones.

“You’re… cheating,” Tamar said softly in between the light kisses, still trying to catch her breath. She didn’t try to lean back, not wanting to even as she warned him for taking more than one kiss for one song. “You owe me.”

“I pay with interest,” he promised and stole one last kiss before pulling back completely. “We gotta talk about these wages.”

Tamar lifted the melting ice-cream to cool the tingling of her mouth. “Negotiation time?” She smiled behind the waffle cone, eyes skimming over his lips before looking back at his gray eyes. “Name your conditions then…” she bit into the soft cone drenched with cream.

“One kiss per line sounds fair.” He rolled over to rest on an elbow and brought his spoon to his mouth with a choir boy expression on his face.

She laughed. “Cute… But my conditions sound much better. That way, my kisses are more valuable to you.” Her eyes danced with mischief, rubbing the cream along her lips when the tingling wouldn’t stop. Goodness, this man could kiss.

His spoon dropped back into the cup as his eyes fixed on her ice cream covered lips. “Pretty girl, if they get anymore valuable I’m gonna die the next time I kiss you,” he croaked.

Tamar drew in her lips, licking off the cream as she nodded. “Good point. I’ll behave.”

“I like it better when we misbehave together. Let me do that for you next time.”

Her cheeks warmed visibly and she lowered her eyes for a brief moment, picturing the thought clearly. She smiled coyly as she peeked up at him from lowered lashes. “Promise?”

He groaned long and soft, letting his head drop as he tried to banish the vision his own words had created. “You’re trying to kill me. You don’t play fair.”

Tamar only laughed airily, taking another bite of her waffle cone. It was still surreal that someone like him could even want her, but every heated glance, every persuasive nudge of his lips told her he did. Shaking her head slowly incredulously, she worked on finishing the ice-cream.

“Evil, evil woman.” He picked his spoon back up and tried to focus on his ice cream. “I’m never buying you ice cream again.”

She glanced at him from the corner of her eye and smirked at him. “Yes you will,” she said knowingly, imagining many ice-cream kisses together with him.

He couldn’t deny it. He’d be tempted to buy her more just to coax her into another kiss like the one he’d imagined; licking the rich cream from her lips. He closed his eyes. “Behave and finish your ice cream.”

She chuckled lightly and did just that, nibbling at the softened waffle cookie until she was satisfied. Cleaning her sticky fingers with the napkin that came with her waffle, Tamar risked a glance at Dylan and laughed softly. He had such long, dark lashes that curled against his skin and she wanted to touch them. “You can open your eyes now.”

“Are you done trying to tempt me?”

“Not nearly, but this will do. I’m ready to go now,” Tamar said matter-of-factly, though there was a hint of laughter in her voice.

He opened one eye and then the other once he realized her cone was gone. “You need to be arrested.” Scooping the last of the ice cream into his mouth, he glared at her.

She laughed, pulling herself to her feet. “Arrested for what?”

“All that temptation is illegal somewhere. I deserve another gold star.”

Tamar smiled softly. “Let me make it up to you… Have dinner with me tomorrow. My place.” She held her breath, waiting for his reply.

His teasing disappeared beneath a surprised smile. He was used to planning things for them, surprising her. This time she’d caught him off guard. “That sounds good. Real good.”

She nodded. “Good, wouldn’t want to take away all your gold stars,” she said sternly though her eyes danced with unrestrained excitement. She would have to recruit Bekah of course but mostly, this would be all of her work. She couldn’t wait. “After you’re done with class and practice, come over. Seven good?”

“Make it seven-thirty in case practice runs long.” He pushed onto his feet, holding out his cup for her to drop her napkin in.

“No problem,” Tamar shrugged, dropping the soiled napkin in the cup even as she smiled at him. “Thanks for the dessert.”

“You’re welcome. Thought you might like it.”

Her eyes moved over his lips before tugging up to his gaze. “Yeah, I did.” Then biting back a smile, Tamar started back to the parking lot, already drafting her plans for dinner the next day.

<<Chapter 12 || Chapter 14>>

Her Champion: Chapter 12

Posted on 23/06/2013

campusdormA warm shiver ran up her back and wrapped around her shoulders at his last words. Tamar reached for the wrap and bit into it. ”Oh definitely better.” She smirked up at him. ”I think I’ll keep you for a while longer.” She took another bite.

“Lucky me,” he echoed and forced himself not to watch her take another bite. He stole her fork and stabbed a piece of enchilada to pop in his mouth. “I’ll have to make sure I feed you more often.”

Tamar tilted her head to look at him curiously. ”Trying to fatten me up?” She then drew her legs out from under her and shifted to rise from the bed, eyes catching a pair of iPod speakers at his desk. ”What music are you into?”

“Trying to convince you to keep me around.” He stretched out on the bed, eyes following her as she walked. “I listen to a little bit of everything but mostly country. Don’t you dare laugh.”

Her eyes widened as she turned to look at Dylan, a smile tugging at her lips. ”Country huh? Would’ve never guessed that.” She placed her hands on her hips, smile morphing to a full grin. ”Well now you got me all interested. Play me something.”

“Do I even want to know what you would’ve guessed? I gave you a front row seat to my concert when we first met and you didn’t appreciate it. You’re not getting anything else out of me.”

Tamar laughed, recalling his one-man show. Could he pull off a smoky Southern drawl? ”I wasn’t prepared for it that time.” She walked back to the bed and grabbed his sleeve. ”Come, you can’t tell me something like that and not give me a taste of it.”

“I can. I know when my musical talents aren’t appreciated.”

Tamar rolled her eyes. ”You want your ego stroked. Is that it?”

He laughed and slid off the bed, using one finger to coax her to look at him. He cleared his throat and softly began to sing. “I got a funny feeling the moment that your lips touched mine. Something shot right through me. My heart skipped a beat in time. There’s a different feel about you tonight. It’s got me thinkin’ lots of crazy things. I even think I saw a flash of light, felt like electricity.” He stopped then and cleared his throat once more. “Good enough, Your Highness?”

Tamar stared up at him as he crooned his own rendition of Toby Keith, a song that made her smile whenever it came on the radio. She lowered her gaze to his lips before slowly lifting them to his eyes again. ”Decent enough…” The corner of her lips lifted in a gentle smile. ”Bravo.”

“Give me my props, woman,” he demanded softly as he searched her eyes, unsure of what he was looking for but looking all the same. Not for the first time, the desire to kiss her struck him but he was a man of his word and she had yet to give permission.

Tamar stepped forward, the melody now ringing in her ears as she kept her eyes on his. Her hands moved from her side to rest on his arms. ”Just one. Y’know, to congratulate you on your singing…” She said in warning, tugging at his sleeves to bring his head closer to hers. Her gaze moved to his well-shaped mouth, remembering how warm and firm it was on hers. ”Just one,” she said and closed the distance, planting her lips on his own. Her eyes closed instantly.

His hands slid up to cup her face and draw her further into the kiss. He couldn’t explain why any tension left his body as if he’d only been waiting for this or why she drew him in like no other woman had. All he knew was that she was giving him one kiss and he wanted it to last. She felt and tasted like sunshine. He wanted to swallow her whole but he held back. He wouldn’t risk spooking her, not now when she was finally coming to him. Slowly, reluctantly he pulled back, lashes still lowered. “One more?” he whispered against her lips.

Tamar blinked at her heavy eyelids, her fingers splayed along the lengths of his toned arms. She could feel her entire face tingling underneath his palms pressed against her cheeks, could feel the warmth from her shoulders all the way down to her toes that had stretched up to meet him halfway. His warm breath tickled her lips and it took everything in her to pull her mouth away. She traced his face leisurely with her eyes. ”One song, one kiss…”

“You’re violating some kind of labor law, I’m sure. That’s not even minimum wage.” He was already searching for another song.

Tamar smirked, lifting her hands to cover his own still cupping her warm cheeks. She pulled his hands down. ”I only can afford one… for now. Save your song for another day, Sinatra. I should get going.” One quick glance out the window at the darkening sky told her it was time to take her exit.

He smiled at her choice of words. It was good to know she was planning to kiss him again in the future. “You’re not walking across campus alone. You should already know that.” He reached behind her into the closet for his football jacket.

Tamar eyed his jacket and for a brief moment, was reminded of the stark difference between them. ”I could always call Bekah,” she answered as she stepped back to the bed to put on her shoes. ”No need to walk with me,” she answered, reaching for the empty food containers.

“I’m not real happy with the idea of the two of you walking alone either.”

Tamar paused at stacking the plates and smirked at him. He was being protective…already. Cute. ”Relax, we’ve done it countless of times.” She shrugged her shoulders, straightening up. ”Besides, darlin’, these shoes ain’t just made for walkin’.” Tamar bit back a laugh as she stuck out a booted foot.

He laughed, just barely resisting the urge to pull her into his arms for a hug. “They’re certainly made for something, sweetheart. Stop trying to distract me. I wasn’t there to protest before. At least wait until she gets here if you’re going to be stubborn.”

Tamar smiled, lingering again over the crooked smile on his lips. ”I can do that. Let me throw these out and then I’ll call her.” She started for his door.

He reached around her and grabbed the styrofoam boxes from her hand. “I got that. You call Bekah.”

She released her hold and tugged her phone from her cardigan pocket. Dialing the number, Tamar walked back to Dylan’s bed and perched there just as Bekah picked up the call. ”Come walk home with me. Sinatra won’t let me leave except if you come.” After giving her amused cousin directions to Dylan’s dorm, she disconnected the call and shook her head, though a smile played at her lips. Bekah would never let her live this down.

“Way to make me sound like an awful guy.” He tossed his jacket on the bed beside her. “Wear that when you go out.”

Tamar eyed the football jacket before looking up at him, brow cocked questioningly. ”I have a sweater on. It’s not that cold, Sinatra.”

“You and Crystal both.” He groaned. “That flimsy thing is not a sweater. It’s too thin.”

”I’m the one wearing it and it’s not thin,” Tamar insisted softly. ”Wearing your jacket on top of it’ll only make me burn up.”

“If you get sick I’m not going to be happy,” he warned frowning at her.

“Hey, Crys is he–” Tonio broke off mid-sentence as he entered the room. He spotted Tamar seated on the bed and smiled. He shut the door behind him, discreetly shooting Dylan a look. “Hey Tamar, it’s nice to finally meet you. I’m Tonio.”

Tamar quickly glanced at Dylan before looking back at Tonio. ”Hello Tonio…” she said hesitantly, not sure what this man had heard about her; from the rumors or from Dylan. Either way, she tensed slightly as he approached her. ”Whatever you’ve heard about me, more than half probably isn’t true,” she said with a soft smile.

Tonio laughed and looked at Dylan again. “I don’t know. Ramsey’s a pretty trustworthy guy.”

Dylan rolled his eyes. “Thanks a lot, Tonio.”

Tamar smiled despite the surprising bout of nerves that hit her. ”Well, I guess I’ll have to trust him too then.” She peeked up at Dylan, wondering just how much she could let her guard down with this man.

“So I take it you two got everything all patched up?” Tonio asked looking at the two of them.

Dylan made a show of turning his back to his roommate and looking at Tamar. Seeing those beautiful blue eyes focused on him was still like a shock to his system but he tried to keep it together. “Please excuse my nosey so-called best friend. He forgets his sense when he gets around women.”

Tonio just chuckled. “Just remember who helped you out this morning. I know where you sleep, bro.”

Before Tamar could ask about the favor Tonio had done for Dylan, a soft knock sounded on the door. ”That’s probably Bekah…” She rose to her feet and shuffled to the door, pulling it open. She rolled eyes at her cousin’s Cheshire grin. ”Behave,” she warned quietly, pulling it open for her to enter.

”Oh so you’re answering his door now too,” Bekah teased softly as she entered, lifting a hand to wave. ”Hey Dylan…and friend.”

“Hey Bekah,” Dylan greeted, pushing Tonio playfully after hearing his whispered comment about Tamar’s comfortability in their room. “That’s Tonio, friend and overall pain in the butt.”

Tonio nudged him before grinning at Bekah. “Nice to meet you, Bekah.”

Bekah grinned back. ”Looks like you’re in good company, Tonio. My cousin thinks I’m also a pain in her caboose. We should leave them alone one day and hang out, y’know, plot our revenge against this ungrateful bunch.”

Tamar rolled her eyes again and grabbed Bekah’s arm, pulling her toward the door. ”Time to go.”

“Hey, hold on Tamar! I’m liking the sound of this, Bekah. I know an ungrateful person myself,” he said purposely looking at Dylan. “Revenge is always good.”

Tamar laughed, tugging Bekah with her out to the hallway. ”Don’t let her influence your good judgment. Goodnight Tonio.” She nudged Bekah’s leg with her knee. “Dylan, later.”

”Tonio, we’ll talk soon,” Bekah called over her shoulder as Tamar practically dragged her out of the room. ”What no goodbye kiss for Sinatra?” She asked in teasing as they approached the stairwell.

Tamar’s cheeks warmed, pushing the door open. ”Shush… Besides, I wouldn’t dare in front of you, or I won’t live it down for days.”

“Weeks,” Bekah countered as she hooked one arm under Tamar’s, grinning from ear to ear as they strolled down the stairs.

<<Chapter 11 || Chapter 13>>


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