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Because of Low (Chapter Twenty-Five)

Marcus

Larissa kicked happily in the pool as she bobbed in the shallow end with a life jacket on. Dad had called to let me know they were at the condo for the week and Larissa would like to see me. I wanted to see her too. He and Tawny went out shopping and left me alone with Larissa, since I still didn't care to see Larissa's mother. I didn't like Tawny. I never would. She hadn't just been the cause of my mother and sister's pain but she'd mistreated Low all her life. I'd disliked her before I'd known her for that reason alone.

"My lowlow," Larissa squealed slapping at the water. I followed her worshipful gaze to see Will ow walking out of the house in a royal blue bikini. Woah.

"hello sweet girl. I've missed you too," Will ow replied, grinning down at Larissa as she continued to squeal and slap at the water. Will ow glanced shyly over at me and I was pretty sure I'd swallowed my tongue.

"hello, Marcus."

"Low," I managed to reply.

"I hope you don't mind. Tawny called and said Larissa had woke up asking for me, and that you had her at the pool today if I wanted to come swim with her a little." She was here.

She was talking to me.

She was in a bikini.

"Uh, No, I don't mind at all."

There was nothing in her hands. She wasn't brining back the shirt I'd left her three nights ago. She was keeping it. I couldn't help but smile.

"My lowlow," Larissa squealed as Low lowered herself into the water and made her way over to Larissa.

"Look at you swimming all around like a big girl," Low cooed at her. Larissa ate it up and started spinning in circles anxious to show off her new trick.

"Wow! And you can do tricks."

"Martus ticks," Larissa pointed a little finger at me.

"I bet Marcus can do tricks," Will ow agreed. I wanted to show her just how many tricks I could do. Especially with her in that bikini.

A frisbee zoomed close to Will ow's head and before I could open my mouth to warn her she had grabbed it.

"Hey nice catch," a guy with a buzz cut and way more muscles than was normal jogged up grinning at Will ow like he'd just hit the jack pot.

"Yes well be careful next time. You could've hit her in the head," Will ow chided him politely nodding her head toward Larissa.

"Oh, yeah, sorry about that. The wind caught it. I'll just move out further."

Will ow shot him that heart stopping smile of hers and he looked a little shaken. I completely understood how he felt.

But he needed to walk away. Now.

"Martus ticks," Larissa demanded.

Will ow cut her eyes at me smirking, " I do believe you're going to have to show us your tricks. The queen has spoken."

Standing up, I walked over to the diving board. I jumped up on it. I felt like a teenager again. I was excited about showing off in front of a girl. Will ow's appreciative gaze was traveling down my body. Well damn. Now I couldn't concentrate and I was going to get a boner which would be obvious in these swim trunks. I needed to hurry up. I ran out and did a back flip and dove into the water.

When my head broke through the top of the water both Will ow and Larissa were clapping. "Bravo. I'm impressed. I wasn't aware country club boys new any tricks," Will ow teased. She started to swim toward the ladder but stopped beside me.

"Thanks for the shirt. I love it," she said in a soft whisper then darted off for the ladder. She loved my shirt. She wasn't going to give back my gift. My heart sped up at the thought of her wearing it.

I watched in fascination as she climbed out of the pool. Her bottoms were hugging her butt like a second skin. The water running down her body glistened as the sun hit it.

When she turned around to give me a front view, I was really glad to be underwater.

"Let's see if I can't one up that. I didn't grow up jumping off diving boards. I grew up jumping off bridge pilings into the gulf." She winked. She actually winked. Was Will ow flirting with me? Her hips swayed as she walked and I forgot everything but her almost naked body.

"Lowlow ticks," Larissa declared.

"Yep, Low is gonna do some tricks," I murmured unable to think coherently. Shit. She was going to bounce. All my school boy fantasies came rushing back and I wondered if drool was trickling out of my mouth. She ran and jumped into a toe touch then tucked her legs and flipped backwards and broke the water with a perfect dive.

Dear God that image was going to come in handy later.

Tonight. In my shower.

Larissa was cheering as Will ow swam back to us. I managed to shake myself out of my lustful thoughts and clapped.

"I don't think I can beat that. But by all means you go right ahead and show us some tricks," I shot her a wicked grin and she blushed.

I closed the distance between us and leaned down until my lips were inches from her ear.

"I love you," I whispered then without looking to see her reaction I swam away. I needed some distance. Because I was real close to grabbing her and kissing her until I was at least minimally sated. Which might be impossible.

Willow

"I love you"

Those three words Marcus whispered in my ear repeated themselves all evening. Long after I kissed Larissa goodbye and left Marcus with a wave. Would it ever get easy? We would always be in each other's lives. I wanted to prove we could be around each other and Larissa and it not be awkward. All I'd proven is that I wasn't over Marcus Hardy. Not by a land slide.

"What's up with the frown?" Cage asked walking into the kitchen and jumping up to take a seat on the bar right beside where I was chopping vegetable for my salad.

"Just thinking, move your butt over," I nudged his leg with the back of my hand.

"Talked to Marcus lately?"

What kind of question was that?

"Yes."

"When?"

"Today"

"He make you frown?"

"No. He was nice. We were nice."

"Nice, huh. So you thinking about that not trusting him thing?

Decided yet if you might can take one more chance?" I put the knife down and looked up at him.

"Cage, what's this about?"

Cage rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "I think you're making a mistake."

Me too.

"Why?"

"Marcus did leave you. BUT he came back. He wanted to come back. Everyone else who left you didn't want to come back, Low. They left because they wanted to. Marcus didn't want to leave. It completely tore him up." I gripped the edge of the counter with both hands. He'd come back.

"He did," I whispered.

Cage reached down and squeezed my shoulder.

"Yeah, he did."

"Do you think he'll leave me again?"

Cage let out a long heavy sigh, "Well, things happen in life, Low. Hell, I could die tomorrow then I'll have left you. We can't control the future. But I can promise you that Marcus Hardy loves you more than anyone else is ever going to love you. Other than me of course."

I chuckled, "Of course."

"Nobody loves you like I love ya baby," he teased, Jumping back down off the counter he pulled me into a hug.

"Take a chance, Low."

"What do I do? I told him no," I mumbled into Cage's shoulder.

"I've seen the guy, Low. Walk up to him and say you love him. You changed your mind. You want to give it another go.

I can promise you he won't argue with you." I leaned back and stared up at Cage. "You think?"

"I know."

"Okay. I guess I'll text him to meet me somewhere."

"That sounds like a really good idea."

Cage started to turn around and walk away but I reached out and grabbed his arm to stop him. "Cage?" He let me pull him back with his trademark wicked grin firmly in place, "Yes?"

"Why're you doing this?"

"Doing what?"

I put one hand on my hip and cocked an eyebrow. He knew good and well what I was talking about. "Why're you all for me talking to Marcus, giving him another chance? Weren't you planning on marrying me eventually? I'd think this screws up your ten year plan."

Cage chuckled and draped an arm over my shoulders, "I guess it does kinda mess up my well thought out future but the thing is, Marcus makes you happy. He can love you in ways I can't. I'm all kinds of fucked up, Low. You and I both know I'd never make a good husband," he grimaced at the word and I couldn't help but giggle.

"Oh, I'm well aware you'd make a horrible husband but I'm just a little surprised you think someone else is good enough for me."

"I never said Marcus was good enough for you. Don't go getting all carried away. All I said was he made you happy and I think if anyone could love you as much as I do it'd be Marcus. He's so love sick when it comes to you baby it's kinda pathetic to watch."

I hoped he was right.

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