Home > Elastic Hearts (Hearts #3)(11)

Elastic Hearts (Hearts #3)(11)
Claire Contreras

“I asked if you want to talk about the case you’re doing dirty work for.”

I tore my gaze away from his and ran a hand through my hair. It wasn’t that Nicole had been my dirty secret or anything, because in a moment of weakness I’d told Oliver and our other friend Jensen about her, but I didn’t like talking about her. She was mine. Mine. That didn’t seem accurate, though, since she wasn’t mine and never had been. It still didn’t help the sensation I got in the pit of my stomach when I thought about her. When I thought about the sex and the phone calls, and the way they’d all stopped after I broke things off. All of it. I was used to women lingering for a while after breaking things off with them. That didn’t happen with Nicole. She didn’t linger. She just moved on.

She just moved on.

“Vic?” Oliver said, snapping me out of my thoughts. Again.

“What?” My eyes snapped to his again. He was frowning, looking almost concerned.

“You wanna talk about it?”

“No, Dr. Phil, I don’t.”

He chuckled. “You’re such a dick when you’re stressed.”

Stressed. I was used to feeling stressed. This was something else. This was the fear of the unknown—the unchartered—and I hated being faced with things I couldn’t build a game plan for. I wasn’t sure what it was, but I knew I needed to keep my head in the game and thoughts of being between Nicole’s legs out of my head. Can’t say that didn’t cross my mind yesterday when she walked in looking like the queen she deserved to be. Stunning. Sexy. Yet, when I’d seen her sink into her father’s arms, I knew she was hiding behind a well-preserved façade. I had told her she needed to keep her shit together around me, but it went both ways. I would not succumb to her provocative allure. Could not.

My sister opened the door and walked in with her hands on her hips before I could formulate a response to Oliver, and I was grateful for the interruption. These were people who could see right through me—read me like a book—and I couldn’t deal with that right now. Not when I wasn’t sure what language the words were even written in, and I needed to actually go see the person who had me feeling this way.

“This isn’t Bean and Vic bonding time. You can do that tomorrow,” Estelle said.

“You get more annoying with age. You know that, right?” I said, smiling at her when she stuck her tongue out at me.

“It was pointed out to me recently,” she said, glaring at Oliver, who chuckled in response. “Anyway, I wanted to tell you that while you guys are cooped up in your living room all day tomorrow I’ll be at an orphanage.”

“Doing what?” I asked as we walked to the living room.

“Painting. I’m donating supplies and stuff.”

“And her services,” Oliver added with that love-struck smile he always had around my sister. How the hell I didn’t realize they were together, or had been together, before I caught them was beyond my comprehension now I was exposed to their corny shit all the time.

“That’s cool. And you’re telling me this because?” I asked, plopping down on the loveseat.

“Because I haven’t had a chance to make the stupid bean dip or anything else, so you’re going to have to make your own or go grocery shopping.”

“That’s fine,” I said, closing my eyes as I leaned back. I fell asleep to the sound of my sister and Oliver talking about groceries and my mom asking if she should make the dip for us. Despite the noise, I managed to sleep, and dreamed of Nicole Alessi and the sexy way she carried herself.

It was just sex. It was. Really good sex, but I could have really good sex with a lot of women. I hadn’t planned on exchanging phone numbers with her after it was over, but then she adjusted her dress and laughed at the sight of her torn-up underwear and I wanted a repeat. I couldn’t explain why. I just knew I did. I didn’t expect to call her and end up staying on the phone when she turned down my invitation for the repeat. I didn’t expect her to walk into the office two weeks after I’d gotten a job there, and I sure as hell didn’t expect her last name to be Alessi.

So many wrong things.

So many illicit thoughts.

So many reasons why the repeat wouldn’t happen.

But then she knocked on my door. Mouth ajar, blue eyes widened in shock.

“You’re the new guy?” she asked.

In that moment, I didn’t know whether to accept the shock I felt or call security because she was obviously stalking me. Even the rational part of my brain was on full alert.

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