MoboReader> Romance > Wildflower

   Chapter 4 Four

Wildflower By Aubrey Wolfe Characters: 33191

Updated: 2019-10-21 22:03


"Do you think he's going to show up tonight?" I ask Summer, staring at her through my vanity mirror as I apply my make-up for the night. We're back at our frat house, where we both share a room in the five-bedroom manor we rent as a fraternity.

"Who are you talking about?" she asks, flipping through our walk-in closet for a dress to wear. She stops and gives me a flirty smile.

"Oh, I know who you're talking about. You're wondering if Mr. Tall, Dark and Mysterious is going to be there tonight." She wiggles her eyebrows.

"What, no– shut up." I toss a pillow at her, which she easily dodges.

"Don't even try and play coy with me, I saw the two of you yesterday at the beach. Even I could see the sparks flying, and I did not miss the way he was looking at you, " she says and winks, sauntering out in a tight, black mini dress.

"He wasn't looking at me in anyway, we were just talking and getting to know each other."

Summer rolls her eyes. "He was looking at you like you were his lifeline, like he would've laid down his live to fight a shark for you in that moment, if it had come to it."

I give her an incredulous look. "Where the hell did that come from?" I ask, trying not to laugh.

She shrugs. "I don't know, I'm tired, alright? But I'm still right either way, Tristan definitely has the hots for you, and I feel like you might feel the same."

"I don't feel the same, because I love Everett. I have no reason or right to feel any way towards another man."

Summer gives me a sympathetic look. "Do you really think Everett is the guy you're going to spend the rest of your life with? Are you sure he wants that, too?" she asks.

We have had this conversation a million times, but she never gives me a reason as to why she feels that Everett and I aren't meant to be together. She just claims that he isn't faithful, and that he doesn't love me the same way, but he has never shown me that, and I have never caught him being unfaithful.

I have no reason not to trust him, even if it's my best friend making these claims. Everett was there before Summer was, and he even helped push me to become friends with her, since I was never very good at meeting new people.

If it wasn't for Everett, there's a chance Summer and I wouldn't be the best friends we are today. Even though she harped on him a few times when they first met, he was always supportive of my friendship with her.

"I'm not having this conversation again. Everett is faithful, and he loves me just as much as I love him. End of story." I turn back to the mirror and try to avoid her gaze.

I hear her heave a sigh, but she doesn't say anything else. We continue getting ready in silence, then walk a block over to Everett's frat house, where they're hosting the party.

The place is in full swing by the time we get there, the front lawn already littered with red and blue solo cups, people scattered about smoking cigarettes and joints. We make our way through the clouds of smoke and duck into the house, the music hitting our hears instantly.

We have to squeeze our way through packed bodies to get to the kitchen and grab some drinks. Summer hands me an empty red cup and grabs herself one, before going over to the cooler and grabbing us each a closed beer.

Even though we have gone to school with most of the people here, especially the owners of the house, Summer's mother has drilled into her head to never drink from an open cup, from anything that has been offered to you unless you see where it came from, and never leave your drink unattended.

Her mother was a big party girl back in the day, and she said she had her fair share of experiences herself, and from friends of having their drinks spiked and drugged. Thankfully, nothing horrible has ever happened to her mother, other than being drugged unconscious, and then being robbed.

Since then, she has warned Summer every time she goes to a party, and has since we first started attending them in our early teens.

With our drinks, we wander around the party. I mainly keep my eyes peeled for Everett, but in the back of my mind I know I'm also secretly searching for a sign of Tristan.

It's a terrible idea, but I miss his presence, as much as I don't want to admit it. He has taken over my every waking thought since the night at the club. I can't get those deep eyes and that soft touch of his off my mind, I have craved it every night since.

I have never felt this way, not about Everett or anyone else. I also haven't exactly dated anyone other than Everett, if you count silly elementary school flings. I don't, which means in reality, Everett is the only person I have felt any strong feelings towards.

I was hoping with some time, these feelings for Tristan would pass, but they've just grown stronger every day instead.

Last night at the beach just made it worst. He was so close to me when we were building the sand castle, I had to fight the urge not to wrap my arms around his strong biceps, to feel the bulging muscles underneath my fingertips.

Hell, for the first time ever, I had the urge to lick someone's abs.

Tristan's extremely chiseled and delicious looking abs, for that matter. The urge came to me the moment he walked out of the bathroom hut, and walked towards me, the muscles in his stomach contorting with every step he took, making the butterflies in my stomach dance wildly.

The thoughts of sitting on top of him, running my hands down his toned stomach and devouring his soft looking lips with mine were all too tempting last night, they practically drove me insane.

Again, I found it strange that I've never had those sexual urges or desires with Everett. I'm not turned off by his body or when he kisses me, but I've never had the overpowering desire to make-out with him, especially in public, like two teenaged lovers.

I've always be strongly against PDA, and making out in public is a big no-no for me, though Everett keeps pestering me after five years of being this way with him.

Last night at the beach, however, felt different. When he wrapped his arms around me or tried to kiss me, it felt more like he was asserting himself, claiming me in front of Tristan. He has never acted this way around Parker, and that might be because they're cousins, but if I wanted to cheat on him, would that really stop me?

He only got that way, when Tristan was around. Even though, Tristan spent the entire time with me, right behind Everett's back.

Although we weren't doing anything wrong, knowing the thoughts I was having, and still have, about Tristan made me feel somewhat guilty. I was afraid Everett was getting jealous and protective, because he sensed my slight attraction for Tristan.

Slight my ass. You want to devour that man.

I silence the voice in the back of my head, the one that mostly urges me to give into my temptations with Tristan, ruining everything Everett and I have built together.

I stop when I notice a familiar face, but it isn't Tristan.

"What is Parker doing here? I thought he said he was working tonight, since he took last night off?" I ask Summer, but she doesn't seem to hear me over the music.

I walk away from her and make my way over to Parker, who is ducking into the bathroom in the corner. I catch him just before he opens the door, clinging onto his arm and dragging him back.

"Hey, what are you doing here?" I ask, the corner a little quieter than the middle of the room.

"Everett said he ran out of beer, so he asked if I could run him over some more. I was just going to use the bathroom, then rush back over to the club. I closed the bar down for 20 minutes, but it's going to be a bit longer than that if I don't rush, " he says and darts into the bathroom, slamming the door shut and locking it.

I wanted to also ask him if he has seen Everett, and by the sounds of it, he has. Having no other choice but to look for him myself, I turn back around and weave my way through the crowd back towards the kitchen.

I stop again when I see Andrew, one of Everett's fraternity brothers and ask him if he's seen Everett.

"I think I saw him go upstairs a little bit ago, " he says and rushes off, much like Everett did.

What the hell?

I try to ignore it and walk over to the stairs, wondering why he would have gone upstairs, and still be up there. I know there isn't another cooler or fridge anywhere else other than the kitchen, and maybe the basement.

I walk up to the room I know he shares with Andrew and knock on the door, but it's already open. I peek inside but there's nobody. Thinking he might have already went back downstairs, I turn away from the door, but stop dead when I hear what sounds like moans coming from the room across the hall.

Carefully sneaking over, I listen through the door, and confirm that I am hearing moans. I shiver in disgust, only imagining who is behind the door, and what they're doing.

"Oh, god, Everett."

My heart drops to the pit of my stomach and my chest clenches painfully.

Please, tell me I didn't hear that.

I know I did, but I still want to believe when I open this door, it won't be him. I squeeze the handle and I'm surprised to see it's unlocked; twisting is with shaking hands. I push the door open, and feel my heart lunge out of my chest.

Everett is laying on the bed, with some strange girl straddling him. I watch as she bounces up and down on top of him, moaning out his name. I don't know whether to scream, or run out of the room.

I chose to freak out.

"Are you fucking kidding me?!" I cry, feeling searing tears stream down my face. Everett and the girl scream and scramble away from each other, fighting over the blanket to cover themselves.

"Don't bother, I saw more than enough!" I turn away and rush out of the room, ignoring Everett's cries behind me. I faintly hear the girl yell, "you have a girlfriend, seriously?"

I guess I'm not the only one who has been deceived today. I run down the stairs, tears blinding my vision, and run straight into Andrew.

"Whoa, Emily, are you alright–" he stops in his tracks when he sees my red, tear stained cheeks. His face falls and he frowns. "You found out?"

"Does everyone know already?" I ask, but tear away from him before he has the chance to answer. Thankfully, he doesn't call after me. I spot Summer in the crowd, and she instantly sees my face, whipping her phone out.

I make a move towards her, but hear Everett's voice right behind me. He is dressed in just his pants and socks, running down the stairs calling after me. I have no time to make it to Summer, so I dart the other way towards the front door, just wanting to get away from Everett.

I don't want to hear what he has to say right now, or maybe ever. I saw more than I needed to see, or wanted to. I should have listened to Summer, or at least taken her words into consideration instead of blindly having faith in Everett all these years.

Still blinded by tears, I manage to find the open front door and push through the crowd of smokers until I reach the front lawn. I break out and try to catch some air, my breath coming out in heaves.

"Emily?"

His voice comes to me like a dream, but when I look up and meet those warm, soft brown eyes, I know it's real.

I run towards Tristan without thinking, crashing into his solid chest. The heat of his body envelopes me, and I feel myself calming down almost instantly. I feel him hesitate, then wrap his arms around me and squeeze me lightly to him.

He doesn't ask me what's wrong, instead he just holds me, running a soothing hand through my hair and pressing my face to his warm chest, allowing me to hear how fast his heart is beating.

The moment is soon broken by the cry of Everett, as he comes barreling out of the house.

"Get the hell away from her!" he screams and comes charging at Tristan and I.

Tristan quickly but gently shoves me to the side, and pushes Everett in his chest when he comes at him, the shove enough to send him stumbling backwards a bit.

"I'm not fighting you, Everett, " Tristan says, his voice surprisingly calm. A crowd starts to form around them, and I see him start to lose his cool a little. I want to reach out and touch his hand, lead us both away from here and calm him down, but I know better than to get in between a fight.

Everett has always threatened in the past to fight someone, but has never followed through. I don't doubt the same this time, but that isn't to say if not provoked enough, Tristan will throw the first punch. Everett has been lucky so far, but something tells me that Tristan has a bit of hidden anger hiding under that calm demeanor and trembling shadows in his eyes.

"I didn't say you had a choice, " Everett says, positioning himself into a sloppy fighting stance.

Tristan remains still. "I think I do, and I also think you need to go back inside, and cool off."

That just pisses Everett off more, and he charges at Tristan once again. I see Tristan quickly but still calm as a deer prancing through the meadows, roll up one of his shirt sleeves.

Then, as swift and quiet as the wind, he cocks his fist back and punches Everett square in the face, knocking him out instantly. He catches his body before he hits the ground, laying him down gently.

A hushed silence falls over the large crowd that has now gathered. They don't know whether to be shocked, or disappointed that there won't be a big brawl fight.

It's already over. Tristan has definitely won, if you even want to call that a fight. Everett didn't get one hit on him, didn't even touch him.

Summer picks the opportune moment to come rushing out of the house as well, her eyes immediately landing on the unconscious Everett at Tristan's feet.

"What the hell happened?"

***

After Andrew came out and carried Everett back inside, Summer takes her phone out to call Parker, to come and pick us up. I'm still not over the shock of discovering another girl riding my now ex-boyfriend, and also the shock of then seeing him get knocked out.

I stand off to the side as Summer talks to Parker, completely aware of Tristan's concerned gaze on me the entire time. I respect that he doesn't invade my space, but at the same time I want so desperately to be back in his arms, where I felt safe from all this heartbreak.

Without being completely aware, Summer leads me over to Parker's truck when he gets there, but she surprises me when she climbs into the front after leading me into the back.

I look next to me and my heart jumps when Tristan slides onto the bench next to me, sitting so close his leg is touching mine. I feel jolts run through my exposed skin from the warmth seeping through his jeans.

So wrapped up in my depression, I don't fight back the urge to wrap my arm around his and rest my head against his shoulder, welcoming the waves of comfort that wash over me when I slip my hand into his, feeling his strong fingers entwine with mine.

I know I should feel guilty, for clinging on to another man just minutes after breaking up with my cheating boyfriend, but I need the comfort that I feel only Tristan can offer right now.

Before I can fight it, the exhaustion of tonight's drama finally hits me, and I drift to sleep comfortably nestled up to Tristan.

I wake up in a foreign bed, and instantly start panicking, trying to remember the events of last night. It comes rushing back to me in painful waves; the frat party, finding Everett cheating, then being comforted by Tristan.

Tristan.

Without thinking, I drop back against the plush pillows, and breath in the familiar, musky scent that he always seems to carry. A smell I have come to secretly love. It's covering the pillows and sheets beneath me, giving me a pretty good hint of where I am.

My heart starts beating frantically.

I'm in Tristan's bed.

I look down under the covers, breathing a sigh of relief to see I'm still dressed in the same club dress from last night, but my shoes and jewelry have been removed. I look on the night stand next to me, and see it all laid out there for me, with my heels sitting on the floor in front of it.

A smile touches my lips, and the urge to see him overwhelms me, making me hop out of the bed and rush towards the door. I walk out of the bedroom, just as Tristan is exiting the bathroom, the steam billowing out from the shower he just took.

I stop dead when I see he his shirtless, wearing only jeans. He is drying his hair with a towel, his face momentarily covered

, giving me the chance to marvel at his delicious body.

Water is still glistening on his stomach and chest, causing the temptation to run my fingers and tongue down it so great, I can barely fight it. He removes the towel from his face, and I reel back a little in shock when I see he has shaved most of his beard off, leaving just a little scruff in its place, and has cut his long dark hair to a short cut.

He looks even hotter than before, which I didn't think was possible. I feel my mouth drop open at the sight of him, now not being able to believe that I just woke up in this sex gods bed.

I don't even want to think about how many people he has possibly slept with. With a face and body like that, I can imagine half a dozen girls throw themselves at him every day.

The same thing happened to Everett, some girls would even give him their phone number right in front of me, but he had always turned them down, or ripped the number up for me to see.

I was so blind. How could I have been?

"Are you alright?" Tristan asks, breaking my thoughts apart. He walks closer to me, my eyes falling to his toned abs.

"Uh, yeah, everything's fine. You can have your bedroom now, if you need it, " I say and shuffle away from the door, not able to look him in the eye. I can feel how red my face is, I don't want him to see, or it will be a dead giveaway to what I'm thinking.

"Your face looks a little red, are you sure that you're feeling alright?" he asks and moves closer, placing his hand on my forehead. My cheeks become enflamed even more, and I'm afraid he will feel the heat and think it's a fever.

I'm become very aware of how close we are, his chest brushing against mine, the thin fabric of my dress barely doing justice. I feel myself lean into him self-consciously, wanting to be closer to him.

My eyes meets his, and I'm taken back by the lust filling his deep brown eyes, telling me he wants me just as much as I want him. The thought excites me and makes me nervous at the same time.

I've never had these urges, and I already suspect that Tristan is experienced. Thinking that Everett isn't as experienced as it seems he is, it was easier to think about having my first time with him.

With someone like Tristan, it goes both ways. I imagine having sex with Tristan in general will be mind-blowing, which then leads me to be fearful that I won't be, because I lack any experience in that department.

That doesn't stop the urge to want to kiss him right now, however. It doesn't even help me fight it.

His face inches closer to mine, stopping just a breath away.

"I really want to kiss you, " he whispers, his arms coming around to trap me against the wall I didn't notice I backed myself up to.

"Why don't you?" I ask, practically giving him permission. But he doesn't move, his eyes searching mine.

"Because I know it's wrong, I don't want to take advantage of you in a possibly vulnerable state. Though I've wanted to kiss you for a long time."

My heart jumps in my throat at his confession. Just how long has he wanted to kiss me? As long as I've wanted to kiss him? Since the moment we first met?

"Everett didn't seem to care, why should I?" I say, hoping that is enough to convince him that I want this just as much, if not more.

His eyes still search mine, seemingly unconvinced.

I make the bold move to press myself up against him, feeling his racing heart in his chest, and lift my lips to his ear. I've never acted this wat, and it thrills me.

"Kiss me, Tristan, " I whisper in his ear, my hand trembling from the adrenaline of the moment.

Needing no further permission, Tristan wraps a hand around the back of my neck and dips his head down for our lips to meet. It feels like a blaze of fire breaks out between our mouths, setting fire to my skin.

It's as if there was a ball of tension and frustration, building in my stomach, that is finally released with the touch of his lips.

My fingers soon find their way into his silky hair, tugging lightly on the strands and erupting soft grunts and moans from him. The sounds just add to my already building excitement, the kiss growing hungrier.

Tristan presses me into the wall more, allowing me to feel his toned chest against mine. I trail my hands down his neck, towards his chest, allowing myself to relish the feeling of his hard muscles under my fingertips.

I have fantasized this moment since the first time I saw him shirtless, and it is just as amazing as I imagined. I run my fingers down the ripples of his abs, the hands trembling from the lust that is driving through my body.

Is this what I've been missing out on all this time?

No. This feeling of pure lust and hunger, is all because of Tristan. I have made out with Everett before, and we have done a few sexual things in the bedroom, never going too far.

This is barely anything compared to that, and I'm already extremely hot and bothered. I can't imagine if Tristan were to tease me in anyway right now, even running his hand over the thin fabric of my breast would drive me more insane than I have ever felt with Everett.

Tristan pulls away suddenly, but rests his head on mine, both of us breathing heavy. I realize then I'm clinging to his arm, that is now firmly wrapped around me, the other still leaning against the wall for support. I take my hand away, and see I've left nail marks in his skin.

"Shit, I'm so sorry, " I say, running my fingers lightly over the marks, which are now turning red around them.

Tristan chuckles, moving back to kiss my forehead. Warmth spread from my toes through my body from the gesture, and I'm reminded of something my mother once told me.

A forehead kiss is a sign of affection, meant to show someone that they are precious to them. I never found out if that is actually true, but the gesture despite the thought, still makes me feel warm and fuzzy.

"Would you like breakfast?" he asks, moving away from me, taking his warmth with him. I walk towards the kitchen and sit on the counter next to the stove, watching as he digs through the fridge.

He produces a carton of eggs and some bread, giving me a small shrug, as if to say sorry that he doesn't have more.

"I loved scrambled eggs, " I say, offering him a small smile.

He nods and takes out a few eggs. "Scrambled it is, then."

I sit on the counter, as he moves about cooking the eggs. I notice how he will brush his arm against my leg, even if it's out of the way. He will lean to the left side more while cooking, so his arm has to be in contact with my leg. I smile at the fact that he is finding any excuse he can to touch me in some way, even the slightest brush of skin.

I love knowing that he craves my touch, that it has some power over him, and not for the fact that it has power, it just makes me feel special. I hope, deep down, that I'm the only one who has this effect on him, but I can't be certain.

I still know hardly anything about Tristan, and I still get the sense that he holds a darker secret to him, but I can't quite figure out what.

He puts the scrambled eggs on a plate and puts a stack of toast with butter on another, setting them on the small two-seater table off to the side of his shared kitchen and living room.

We eat in silence. The entire time, I want to ask him questions, to find out more about him. But for some reason, I want to keep the mysterious allusion that seems to surround him. It's one of the many things that has captivated me about him.

"Do you work today?" I ask instead.

Tristan shakes his head. "Parker closes the club on Sunday's."

"Oh, you work at Parker's club?" That means I have more of an excuse to see him more often. Summer loves going to his club, mainly because she gets free drinks, in exchange for helping Parker tend the bar when he needs a smoke break or something, or just a day off.

"He hired me to take the morning shift, Summer has been training me this week, " he says. Jealousy flares in my stomach at the thought of them spending time alone together.

Summer openly expressed her attraction to him, and unlike me, she hasn't just got out of a long-term relationship.

That didn't stop him from attacking you against the wall.

I have to agree with the voice in the back of my head this time. The way he kissed me just confirms how much experience I suspect he has. He kissed like an animal, but a tamed one, driving my senses wild.

"I could always help you out if you want, " I offer, before I have the chance to even think it over. I barely know anything about bartending, let alone the many different drink mixes I'm sure Parker has memorized, same with Summer.

Tristan smirks. "Is that an excuse to spend more time with me?" he quirks an eyebrow, setting my cheeks aflame.

"W-what, not at all, " I mutter, ducking my head.

He chuckles lightly. "I would appreciate the help. Are you bust tomorrow morning? My shifts start at 8."

I perk up at the offer and nod my head. I finish off my food and hand Tristan my plate to take to the sink. I take the opportunity to admire his chiseled back, watching the way the muscles move and contort as he rinses off the dishes.

I can feel the drool trailing down the side of my mouth and quickly look away before he catches me. My hormones are going insane just looking at his naked torso.

Tristan turns and walks over to me, offering a hand to help me up. He lifts me up a little harder than expected, causing me to crash into his chest. My hands fall against his chest, trapped between us.

I look up, my breath catching at the haunted look overtaking his eyes. I have seen this look a few times now, at the club and beach, but my touch has always made it disappear.

This time, it isn't.

"What are you doing to me?" he whispers, so faintly I'm not sure I hear him correctly, despite how close we are.

He dips his head down and pecks me lightly, letting his lips linger a second before he pulls away and moves towards the bedroom.

"Do you want me to ask Parker to give you a ride home?" he asks, not turning back to me. I can help but feel a little defeated, and like I might have done something wrong.

Why did he look so scared a second ago? Was it because of me?

"Uh, no, I can ask him myself. Thank you, " I mutter and brush past him to grab my shoes from the bedroom. When I turn back around, he is standing a few inches away from me, crowding me against the side of the bed.

"Don't think I want you to leave, that is the last thing I want right now, " he says, leaning closer.

My heart racing again, both from his words and our closeness. In a matter of seconds, he has switched my mood from disappointment to very hot, my insides practically melting from how incredibly sweet he can be.

"If you don't leave now, I'm never going to let you, " he adds, his voice almost a growl.

Biting my lip, I suddenly feel bold again. I reach out and touch a hand to his chest, feeling his pounding heart.

"What if I don't want to leave?" I ask, trying to drop my tone to sound sexy. I see from the way his eyes glaze over, that it's working.

"Maybe that isn't good for you."

I left a little speechless after he says that.

What in the world does that mean? I open my mouth to ask, but I'm cut off by someone knocking loudly at the front door. Tristan grumbles and moves towards the door.

"Is Emily still here?" I hear Parker ask. That's my cue to leave.

I slip my heels back on and walk out into the front area, smiling tensely at Parker, hoping he can't sense the situation that just occurred between Tristan and I.

I'm not sure how he would feel knowing I just heavily made out with his best friend, after breaking up with his cousin last night. I know he didn't exactly like Everett, but they're still family.

"I'm here to give you a ride home. You ready?" he asks. I nod and turn to Tristan. Parker senses my silent request for him to leave. "I'll wait in the truck downstairs, " he says and backs out the door.

"See you tomorrow morning?" I ask, cursing myself for how desperate my voice sounds.

Tristan nods, reaching a hand out towards me. I take it and allow him to pull me against him, welcoming his warmth and the comfort of his arms once more, before I have to go another night without it.

I'm becoming dangerously attached to this man, and very quickly.

I feel him press a kiss to the side of my head, turning my insides to mush. I'm thankful for his arms wrapped around me, or else I would be a puddle at his feet. This man never ceases to take my breath away.

"Looking forward to it, " he whispers in my ear. I turn my head and press a quick kiss to his lips, not being able to help myself and giving in to the temptation. He is surprised, but quickly responds, his hand cupping the side of my face to bring me closer.

I break away and rush out the door, before I do never leave. I faintly hear Tristan chuckle behind me as I swing the door open and rush down the stairs, meeting Parker at the bottom. We climb into his truck and start the drive back to campus.

It's silent the entire way, but I can tell there is something he wants to tell me. I know there's no way he can't sense the attraction between Tristan and I, like Summer did. She didn't just see it because she's a girl, and she can spot these things easier.

There is no denying the connection Tristan and I have had since the first time we laid eyes on each other. I don't want to deny it anymore. Now that I've realized the person, I've been wasting my time with, I don't ever want to go through that again.

I want to be with someone I have a genuine spark with, and so far, Tristan is the first and only person I have felt that with. The feeling I have with him is exhilarating, and I don't want to pass it up.

Not after what I just went through with Everett. I should have known something wasn't right with our relationship, the minute I felt this connection with Tristan, and realized I haven't ever felt the same way with Everett, not once in the five years we spent together.

Parker stops the truck and turns to me, preparing himself to say whatever it is he has been contemplating and struggling with the entire ride.

"Emily, I just want to say I'm sorry about what happened with Everett, but at the same time, I'm kind of glad you finally found out. I didn't want what we were saying to be true, but they were, and you deserve better than that, " he says, giving me a hesitant smile.

"Thanks for always looking out for me, regardless." I give him a smile back and lightly squeeze his hand.

He nods, but his face turns grim. "With that said, I also want to warn you. About Tristan, " he pauses, gauging my reaction.

"Warn me about what?" I ask.

He fiddles with his fingers, looking nervous. "I don't really know how to put this, but Tristan isn't like other guys. He's been through a lot of shit, and it isn't my story to tell, but it's a pretty messed up story. There's a lot he needs to figure out, and shit he hasn't experienced that normal people his age would have gone through by now."

That just confuses me more. "I don't understand what you mean."

Parker heaves a sigh, looking very conflicted with himself now.

"If I tell you, you have to promise that it won't change your view of him, and that you will never spill a word to Summer, " he says and points a finger at me, then turns his pinky towards me.

I nod and pinky promise him.

He takes another deep breath. "I haven't seen Tristan in the last 10 years, and he thinks I don't know where he's been, but if you read the newspaper back then or even a few years after, you would know exactly where he went."

"Where was he?"

"Like I said, it isn't my story to tell, but wherever he has been, he struggled to keep his sanity, and he didn't walk out of it the same care-free person I knew him to be. If you want to involve yourself with him, all I'm saying is be careful, and not for yourself, but for his sake."

For his sake? Parker isn't making any sense, but something tells me I already know what he is talking about.

The haunted look, shadows in his eyes, uncontrollable shaking in large crowds and constant anxiety around noise. I have always known there was something different about him, but I still can't figure out what.

It seems like there is a much bigger story behind just who Tristan is, than I originally thought.

The way Parker is making it sound, I might not want to know the story after all.

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