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"Hi, Daddy. Hi, Uncle Joe," I say in my sweetest voice. My dad knows my game because he's glaring at me and Uncle Joe is shaking his head but his lips are twitching. Then I hear Asher chuckle and both Uncle Joe and my dad look at him like he has a death sentence.
"Oh, geez," I say, leaning my head back in exasperation. "I'm going to be twenty-five soon so I'm way past the stage of my dad trying to run men off." I pin my dad with a glare of my own.
"You're never too old for me to look out for you and to make sure that every guy knows that if he tries to screw you over, I will shoot him."
"Okay," I say, looking up at Asher. "If you screw me over, my dad will shoot you." Asher looks down at me and I can see that he wants to smile but he's fighting it.
"Go inside and pack, baby," he says, running his knuckles down my jaw. I glare at him.
"I'm not staying with you." Geez, what is so hard to understand? We had one semi date. It's way too soon to start nightly sleepovers.
"You are," he says in a tone that I'm sure would work on someone but that someone is not me.
"I'm not," I say, my voice getting louder. I look at my dad for support but I see that he is now fighting a smile. Then, I look to Uncle Joe and he's straight out smiling. What the heck?
"Baby girl," my dad calls and I look at him. "I think it would be best if you stayed somewhere at night until I can get a security system put in. But I agree that maybe Asher isn't the best bet. What if you went to stay with your uncle tonight?" Now I know I'm going to end up at Asher's. My uncle is a hardcore biker and always has some biker babe staying at his place. Me and my grandma stopped by his house one day and there were two random women, both basically naked, wandering around his house.
Besides, he doesn't really have room for me. His sons are both older so he turned one of their rooms into a work out space and the other room into an office. He has a couch but I would rather not sleep on it knowing that some woman could come out of his room at any point.
Uncle Joe was married for eighteen years. From the time he found out that the woman was pregnant till his boys graduated high school. I never met the lady but from the stories I was told, she was a major bitch to him and his sons.
At the time, he felt he was doing the right thing by keeping his family together. But as soon as my cousins went to college, he no longer felt the need to pretend who he was. I guess under the suits that he used to wear to work he was secretly a bad ass biker.
"I'm staying with Asher. No offense, Uncle Joe," I say, looking at him with a smile and hoping he won't be mad. He smiles back at me and I know he doesn't mind.
"What about your grandmother?" my dad asks.
"I would stay with her but I'm afraid I might die from allergies." My dad looks like he is trying to come up with somewhere-anywhere-for me to stay. The moon, a convent, prison, perhaps? I don't think he cares as long as Asher is not there.
"Baby," Asher says getting my attention. "I need to talk with your dad and uncle for a minute but I'll be in to say goodbye before I leave," he says, looking down at me and then his eyes go to my dad.
"Alrighty, then," I say. I look at my dad and give him the look that says be nice. Then I start to walk away but I'm pulled back by my sweatshirt. I look over my shoulder at Asher and see he's holding on to me.
"You forget something?" he asks.
"Ugh…no," I say, turning around to look at him and wondering what I could have forgotten.
"Kiss me," he says, with a completely serious expression. I can't believe he just said that in front of my dad.
"I'm not kissing you in front of my dad and uncle," I hiss at him and he has the nerve to smile.
"You kiss me or I'll kiss you. Make up your mind, and make it quick. I need to talk to your dad then I've got shit to do." I cross my arms over my chest and glare at him. He cannot be serious.
"Don't tell me to kiss you in fro-" I'm cut off when Asher pulls me to him and kisses me. It's closed mouthed and ends before it really starts, but I'm speechless that he just did that in front of my dad. I try to pull myself together but I'm completely stunned by what just happened. Then, I hear my dad laughing and I look at him just to make sure I'm not imagining things.
"Shouldn't you be getting your gun or something?" I say, looking at my dad while throwing my hand out in Asher's direction.
"Nope," he says, smiling. "Now I see what James was talking about when he called me this morning." My dad recrosses his arms over his chest and leans back on the heels of his boots.
"Great! Just frickin' great," I mutter to the ground, rubbing my temples. I look up and glare at Asher. "Seriously, stop kissing me in front of our parents," I say, pointing at him. Then I turn around and stomp all the way up the stairs and into the house. I slam the door for good measure before I realize that I left Beast outside. I open the door and call Beast but all three heads turn to watch me. I glare at all of them then slam the door again.
This time, I can hear laughter from the other side. "Whatever," I mumble as I make my way down to my apartment.
Sitting on Asher's back deck with my kindle in my hand, my feet up on the railing, my head tilted back and enjoying the sun on my face, is practically paradise. I can hear Beast running back and forth in the yard, chasing something. I let my mind wander to thoughts about my day.
After my tantrum, I went down to my apartment and looked around. It was obvious that my uncle and Dad had been busy. The red was gone and there were three full garbage bags. I walked around to see if anything was missing but couldn't find anything out of place. The chair and couch were now garbage because the cushions had been slashed. I walked into my bedroom to make sure that everything was in its place and it looked perfect. There were even yellow roses sitting on my side table. I walked to them and noticed the card.
You deserve beauty. Why are you forcing me to become ugly.
"What the heck?" I whispered. These were from the person who broke into my apartment. My hand started to shake and I wanted to cry. I knew that my family had worked hard to make that space special for me and now I didn't even want to be down there. I sat on the ripped couch and had my face in my hands, thinking about how I was going to fix this. I smelled Asher and he pulled my hands away from my face. He was crouched in front of me and looked worried.
"Is everything okay?" I asked, thinking that he and my dad got into it.
"I think I should ask you that," he said pulling me up then sitting on the couch with me in his lap.
"Whoever did this left me flowers." I felt Asher freeze underneath me as I handed him the card.
"What the fuck," he whispered.
"How am I going to fix this?" I asked. "Everyone worked so hard for me to feel welcome and now this is happening and I don't even know why." He started rubbing my back so I cuddled into his chest with my head under his chin.
"I'm going to give this to my dad. The rest is just stuff, baby. Your family is just glad that nothing happened to you." He ran his fingers along my jaw then kissed the top of my head and I can't help but to sigh. I wanted to close everything off and pretend that this wasn't happening.
"I'm glad that I wasn't here when it happened," I said, cuddling closer.
"November," my dad called from the top of the stairs. "Nick Stevenson is on the phone. He says he needs to talk to you." I felt Asher's body go tight under me again. I lifted my head to look at him and he was pissed.
"Nick who?" I called up the stairs.
"Nick Stevenson. His dad is a lawyer in town."
"What the fuck?" Asher clipped then he stood, taking me with him. He dragged me up to the kitchen where my dad left the phone on the counter. I watched in horror as Asher answered the phone. Well, if you understand caveman talk, he answered the phone.
"I know that I made myself clear yesterday so why the fuck are you calling?" Asher growled into the phone.
"Oh my God, Asher. Give me the phone," I yelled as I reached around him, trying to grab the phone from his hand but he's so damn tall that it was useless.
"Hold on," Asher said, handing me the phone. I wanted to kick him but he wrapped his arms around me, holding me close. I was counting in my head, trying to keep calm and it wasn't working.
"Nick, I'm sorry," I said, apologizing for Asher's rudeness while shoving Asher but he didn't even move.
"Um, it's okay, November. I'm calling to set up a time for you to meet with my father. He represented John and Ellen Armsted before they passed away and he needs to go over a few things with you regarding their will. Can you come into the office on Monday at around eleven?"
"I'm sorry, Nick, but I have no idea who John or Ellen are." I was completely confused. Armsted is my last name but John or Ellen didn't ring any bells.
"John and Ellen Armsted were your grandparents on your mother's side."
"Oh… Why do I need to see your dad?"
"It seems that your grandparents had you in their will before they passed away and my father needs to meet with you to talk about it. I don't know what it says but if you can meet here on Monday, he will discuss it with you."
"Um…sure. Monday at eleven," I said into the phone.
"Okay, November, see you then."
"Yeah, see you then," I said, confused about the conversation. I heard the phone cut off and felt Asher's arms give me a squeeze.
"Is everything okay?" I remembered what he did and I'm pissed at him. I turned in his arms and stood on my tiptoes so I could get in his face.
"I can't believe that you answered the phone and worse, you were rude to Nick. He didn't do anything to you."
"Babe, he wants in your pants." I can feel my head getting ready to explode and I know that my eyes are bugging out.
"He does and that shit's not happening."
"Oh my God, you're insane. He just introduced himself to me at a bar. He noticed that I was new. That's all it was. Then he calls to tell me that I need to meet with his dad because my grandparents put me in their will and you go all caveman on him for no reason." I push at his chest.
"Am I a man?" he asked.
"Yes," I snapped, not knowing why the heck he asked that stupid question.
"Then I think I know what the fuck I'm talking about."
"Whatever," I said with clenched teeth. "I don't have time to argue with you. I have stuff to do and you need to go to work."
"Don't be pissed, babe. It's done. Now he knows that I was serious yesterday. Hopefully he spreads that shit wide so I don't have to deal with anyone else."
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