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Fueled (Page 95)

I cross my arms and lay my head down on my desk, groaning when I realize I’ve laid my head on top of the schedule his office has sent over to me. Of the events that I’ve been contracted to attend. With him. What the fuck did I do to myself? How could I have been so damn stupid agreeing to go along with this? Because it’s him, the small voice in my head reiterates. And because it’s for the boys. I pick up the schedule, crumple it up, and throw it across the room hoping for a thump at least, but the soft sound of it hitting the wall does nothing to assuage the pain in my chest.

Within moments, sobs rack my body. Fuck me. Fuck him. Fuck love. I knew this was going to happen. Bastard.

I wake Saturday morning still feeling like shit but with a renewed purpose. I get up and force myself to go for a run, telling myself it will make me feel better. It will give me a fresh outlook on things. I take the run and pound my feet into the pavement at a relentless pace to relieve some of my heartache. I arrive home, out of breath, body tired, and still feeling the ache deep in my soul. I guess I lied to myself there.

I take a shower and tell myself no more tears today and definitely no more ice cream.

I am scooping the last of the mint chocolate chip out of the carton when my cell phone rings. I glance at the unknown number, curiosity getting the best of me. “Hello?”

“Rylee?” I try to place the feminine voice on the other end of the line but can’t.

“Yes? Who is―”

“What the hell happened?” the voice demands of me in a clipped and obviously annoyed tone.

“What? Who―”

“It’s Quinlan.” A small breath squeaks past my lips in shock. “I just left Colton’s house. What the hell happened?”

“Wh-what do you mean?” I stammer because I can answer that question in so many different ways.

“God!” She sighs in frustration and impatience on the other end of the line. “Will you two get your shit together and pull your heads out of your asses? Fucking Christ. Maybe then you’d realize you two have got something real. Something that’s undeniable. It would take an idiot not to see that spark between you guys.” I remain silent on the other end of the line. The tears I told myself I couldn’t cry, leak out of the corners of my eyes. “Rylee? You there?”

“I told him I loved him,” I tell her softly, wanting to confide in her for some reason. Maybe needing some kind of validation about his response from someone that’s closest to him so I don’t keep replaying it over in my head endlessly.

“Oh shit.” She breathes in shock.

“Yeah…” I laugh anxiously “…that about sums it up in a nutshell.”

“How’d he take it?” she asks cautiously. I tell her his reaction and how he’s been since then. “Sounds like what I’d expect from him.” She sighs. “He’s such an ass!”

I remain silent at her comment, dashing away my tears with the back of my hand. “How is he?” I ask, my voice breaking.

“Moody. Grouchy. Surly as hell.” She laughs. “And from the number of his friends Jim and Jack, empty and lining his kitchen counter, I’d say he’s trying to drink himself into oblivion to either help forget his demons or so he can push down the fear he has in regards to his feelings for you.” I exhale the breath I’m holding, a part of me reveling in the fact that he’s hurting too. That he’s affected by what’s happened between us. “And because he’s missing you terribly.”

My heart wrenches at her final words. I feel like I’ve been in a world without light for the past couple of days, so it’s welcome to know that he’s drowning in darkness too. And then the part of me that acknowledges that notion doesn’t want him to hurt, feels sorry for causing all of this pain with those stupid words, and just wants to make everything right again.

My voice is thick with tears and wavers when I speak again. “I really fucked up by saying it, Quinlan.”

“No you didn’t!” she scolds. “Ugh!” She groans. “God, I love him and hate him so much sometimes! He’s never opened himself up to this possibility before, Rylee…he’s never been in this predicament. I can only guess how he’ll react.”

“Please,” I plead. “I’m at a loss for what to do. I just don’t want to screw up and push him away further.”

She is silent for a few moments as she contemplates things. “Give him a little time, Rylee,” she murmurs, “but not too much time or he might do something stupid on purpose, and risk fucking up the one good girl he’s ever truly cared about.”

“Not Tawny…” The words are out before I can stop them. I cringe, knowing I’ve just openly insulted a family friend.

“Don’t get me started on her.” Quinlan sneers in contempt, causing a small part of me deep down to smile at the knowledge that it’s not just me who detests her. I laugh through my tears. “Hang in there, Rylee,” she says, sincerity flooding her voice. “Colton is a wonderful yet complicated man…worthy of your love, even if he is unable to accept that concept yet.” The lump in my throat prevents me from responding, so I just murmur an agreement. “He needs a lot of patience, a strong sense of loyalty, unrelenting trust, and a person to tell him when he steps out of line. All of that is going to take time for him to realize and accept…in the end though, he’s worth the wait. I just hope he knows it.”

“I know,” I whisper.

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