Completed: a Devoured novella
Like a sullen teenager, my mom gives my grandmother and I the silent treatment for the next couple days. Even though I spend the majority of my time staying with Lucas, it still frustrates the hell out of me. I can understand why she’d be an asshole toward me—at this point in my life I’m used to it—but for her to treat Gram badly simply for not following her out to the parking lot … well, it turns the bad taste in my mouth from sour to rancid.
It’s making Gram miserable, which automatically brings out the protective tigress in me.
So when YTS comes into Nashville to work on recording, and Kylie tags along with Wyatt, I practically launch myself at her when she shows up to Lucas’ producers house to grab me for lunch.
“See,” Kylie laughs, waggling her dark eyebrows when she pulls away from me.
“Told Lucas you were madly in love with me and my sexy hair.” To draw my attention to it, she fluffs her short, newly highlighted hair. A couple months ago she’d uncharacteristically returned the blue and black strands to her natural brown. She must have gotten bored with it because the blue is back—more vibrant than before.
“You know it, didn’t we agree that I’d eventually have your blue-haired love child?” I tease as I grab my coat from the chaise in the foyer. Buttoning it quickly, I flash Kylie a sincere smile. “But seriously, I adore your hair. Are you ready?”
Kylie insists on driving—I’m not surprised her rental is a giant SUV—and as she follows the directions the GPS calls out, she sighs. “You’re distant, babe, and I’m not too sure that’s good for our relationship.” At the sight of the grin that tugs the corners of my mouth, she continues, “Is this about your mother?”
“Lucas told you?”
She snorts. “I had to harass him big time for information. I swear I’m losing my touch.” She grins in my direction, probably to lighten my mood. “Must’ve been the plain hair.”
I can’t help but laugh, but when I’m done, I give Kylie a serious look. “I don’t know what she wants. And that scares me.”
“Do you think she wants money?”
I lift my shoulders. “If she does, she hasn’t asked me for anything and Gram has no money to give her. Trust me, I’ve already asked Lucas a million questions to make sure my mom isn’t trying to get something out of him.”
“He wouldn’t do it.” Kylie’s voice sounds so confident, I’m almost positive she’s already asked her brother if my mom has demanded money from him. “So if she doesn’t want money, maybe she just wants to be a part of your lives again? I know that sounds lame, but it’s a possibility, right?”
If that’s Mom’s intention, she’s doing a hell of a job, but I simply tell Kylie, “Maybe.”
Twisting her lips to the side, she drums her fingers on the steering wheel. “What’s Seth think of all this?”
Ugh. At her mention of my younger brother, my muscles tighten. “Seth is happy to pretend like she’s still in prison. He wants nothing to do with her. Part of me wants to be all sorts of pissed he’s leaving Gram and me to handle my mom. And the other part—the other part knows that everything he feels is completely justified.”
Kylie mutters a curse as a diesel truck cuts in front of us on the interstate. She gives me a sheepish smile, rambles off an explanation that the baby is turning her into an aggressive driver, and then says, “I agree that what he feels is justified, but—and I hate to say this—he needs to suck it up. Then, you both need to confront your mom. Your grandma is one awesome lady, and after everything I’ve heard about your mother, I’d hate to see her get hurt.”
“Yeah, me too.”
Pulling into the parking lot of the cheesecake restaurant she swore her unborn child was absolutely craving, Kylie turns to me. I can see her encouraging smile in my peripheral vision as I send my brother a text asking him to call me. “Trust me, you’ll thank me for this later. Your brother will come through.”
But much later, after I’m back at Lucas’ producer’s house and Kylie is long gone, I’m definitely not feeling like Seth will do anything but continue his strike when he responds that he’s too busy to talk. My brother has always been a slacker and he’ll use any excuse to get away from schoolwork, so his excuse is a load of shit I don’t feel like dealing with on top of everything else.
“Baby brother,” I say under my breath, drying my hands on the towel hanging beside the tub. Lifting my phone, I settle back in the bubbles and type out, I understand. Let me know about Thanksgiving? I return my phone to its spot on the wicker side table and squeeze my eyes shut. “Looks like I’ll just have to come see you.”
Because apparently, Seth has forgotten that we live in the same city and seeing him face-to-face is only a drive away.
“You’re talking to yourself now, Red.”
I open my eyes slowly to see Lucas in the bathroom doorway, grinning at the sight of me covered in bubbles. I didn’t even hear him come in, but he’s obviously been here for a bit. At least long enough to strip down to his underwear. Like I’ve done so many times before, I let my eyes crawl over the wonderland that’s Lucas-Fucking-Wolfe’s body—over the tribal and star tattoos, the golden muscular skin—and the pit of my stomach tightens with need.
I sit up slowly and bring my knees to my chest, feeling my skin warm when his hazel eyes darken as they trace my slightest movement. “I’m saying what I’d say to my brother if he were actually on the phone.”
“And I’m guessing you’ll be going to see him?” He crosses the bathroom, each step he takes making my heart slam into my chest. Reaching the tub, he leans over me, cupping my face in his hands. I moan as his fingers tangle into my red hair. “No calling him tonight?”
“No,” I whisper.
“Good,” he states in a rough voice. “I’d planned on coming home and telling you to get naked, but since you’re already here—”
My hands are on him, tugging the rest of his clothing off, before he can finish the sentence, and when he growls something about me paying him back for all my panties he’s damaged, I laugh.
“Welcome home, Lucas.”