Misbehaving(Sea Breeze)(5)

By: Abbi Glines

Chapter Five

JESS

A knocking at the door woke me. I glanced at the clock beside my bed. It was a little after one in the morning. Momma wouldn’t be home for another two hours. I thought about ignoring it, but the fear that something could have happened to Momma had me jumping up and heading for the door.

I opened it up only to realize too late that looking out the window first would have been a smarter decision.

There wasn’t much about Hank I didn’t know. I could read him so easily. Without him opening his mouth, I knew he was drunk. I counted myself lucky. I could beat him easier with my bat if need be.

“Hey, baby,” he drawled, and leaned against the door frame as his eyes took a lazy stroll down my body. His dark hair had been cut shorter recently, and I had to admit I liked it better than the long shaggy thing he had been doing. Closing the door in his face was the smart thing to do. Unfortunately, when it came to Hank I lost every bit of my good sense.

“What do you want?” I asked.

His green eyes finally met mine, and he smiled. “You’re wearing my shirt.”

I glanced down at the T-shirt I had grabbed to sleep in. It was his. But then, most of my oversize T-shirts were his. We had been a couple since we were fifteen. I shrugged. “Didn’t notice,” I replied honestly.

Hank’s pleased grin turned into a frown. He almost looked pained. “Don’t say that, Jess. It hurts.”

“It hurts”? Really? That was what he was going with? He had knocked up another girl while we were together. I rolled my eyes and crossed my arms over my chest. “You know nothing about what hurts. Don’t go there,” I warned him.

He took a step inside and I moved back. I didn’t want him getting close. “I never loved her. I told you that. We were fighting and I cracked. She means nothing to me. It’s just you, Jess.” These were familiar words. Words I had fallen for after the birth of his child.

I held up my hand. “Don’t. You’ve had too much to drink. This is pointless and you know it. I forgave you over and over again. Even after you had a kid, I forgave you. We tried, and you still couldn’t keep it in your damn pants. You canceled on me with a lie that you were sick. But you were out with another slut. I’m finished. Over it. Over you. Now go on home.”

Hank growled and ran his hand through his hair before slamming it against the wall. “No! Don’t say that shit. It ain’t over. It won’t ever be over. I adore you, Jess. You know that. Hell, baby, I’ve worshipped you since we were kids. I made a mistake, and I’m sorry. I even understand why you beat the shit outta my truck.”

“A mistake? You made thousands of fucking mistakes. I’m done. Go worship someone else. And I didn’t touch your damn truck,” I yelled, and I shoved him back but not hard enough. He was still inside my house.

Tears glistened in his bloodshot eyes. “I wanted you to marry me. You wouldn’t marry me. I got mad and I acted out. You know I do that, but you push me anyway. Why wouldn’t you marry me, Jess? I love you. You’re mine. Always been mine.”

I was his once. And when he had begged me to forgive him I had crumbled. Those days were over. This last time something inside me had shattered. I didn’t love him anymore. He’d made sure of that.

“Hank,” I said, stepping closer and grabbing his face with my hands. “It’s over. We’re over. I deserve more than you’re willing to give me. I want more.”

Hank reached up and grabbed my wrist and squeezed. “I won’t fucking let you go. This ain’t over, and it won’t ever be.”

The rage in his eyes warned me I had pushed too far. I was normally more careful with Hank’s temper. I knew he was still pissed about his truck, but Hank wasn’t exactly stable at times, and when it came to getting me back he could forget easily.

“Easy, I’m just reminding you of how things are now,” I said in a soothing tone. I really didn’t relish the idea of having to explain a black eye for a week.

Hank eased his grip and pulled me against his chest. I let him. “Let me stay with you tonight. I need you, baby,” he whispered into my hair.

“Momma would use you as target practice and you know it. Go home, Hank.” I left out reminding him that us sleeping together would never happen again.

“No one gets me like you do. I feel so alone. Only you understand me,” he said as he ran his hand down my hair as if it were me he was consoling and not himself.

Once, words like that had made my heart melt. The chain-link tattoo around his arm was ripped in two with the name Jess holding it together. I had cried the day he got it because I’d thought that his permanently putting me on his body meant we’d be forever. I’d been so stupid. He had cheated on me two weeks later with the girl who now was the mother of his child.

“It’s not my job to hold you together anymore,” I told him, and his arms only tightened around me.

“I’m fucked up, baby. You know that. You know why. But you always understood and forgave me. Why did you stop forgiving me?” The emotion in his voice tugged at my heart. I did remember the young boy who was beaten by his mother’s countless boyfriends and stayed in trouble because he was begging for someone to care. But that boy was gone now. The man he had become was someone who didn’t know how to cherish anything or anyone.

“You broke my heart one too many times,” I replied honestly.

“NO! Dammit, NO! I won’t accept that. You and me, we’re forever. You and me,” he ended with a sob.

Seeing big six foot four, muscular, tough Hank cry was always my undoing. I couldn’t stand it when the little boy underneath made his appearance. I patted his back. “Let me go and I’ll let you sleep on the sofa.”

“I want to sleep with you,” he said, sounding so defeated.

“No. You sleep on the sofa or you leave.” I was playing with fire here. If I hadn’t eased his temper enough, it could come back in full force.

“Just want to be close to you. Holding you feels so good.” Again, those were words that had once been my weakness.

I stepped back and he lifted his head. Tears swam in his eyes, and he didn’t look like the angry, brutal man I knew he could be. He didn’t look like the heartless player who had thrown my love back in my face while he’d slept with other women. He was a lost, hurt little boy who needed someone to care. I had cared once. Deep down I always would, but the love was gone. There was no getting that back.

“I love you,” he said with sincerity in his voice. I believed him—I knew that he loved that I cared about him. But Hank did not understand real love. Maybe I didn’t either.

JASON

Jax sat across the table with a cup of coffee, staring at me like I had lost my mind. News in this town traveled fast.

“You could’ve used my pool,” Jax said, a grin tugging at his lips. “Unless you actually got naked. You didn’t get naked, did you?”

I leaned back in my chair and glared at him. “How the hell do you even know about that? After the cop ran us off, I took her home. We didn’t see anyone.”

“It’s a small town. Sadie’s connected. You should just be glad you’re in Sea Breeze. That shit would’ve made it on TV had this happened in LA.”

I didn’t respond. Jax was just going to keep this up as long as it entertained him. Not to mention, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to talk about Jess with him—or anyone—yet. Although, I did plan on seeing her again. Probably wasn’t the best idea, but I didn’t seem to care. She was different.

“Amanda thinks you should be careful. Jess has issues you don’t want to get involved in,” Jax said, studying me closely.

What did he think I was going to do? I’d spent one evening with the girl. It was not like I planned on anything serious. “I don’t recall asking for Amanda’s advice,” I replied, more than a little annoyed. She was one to talk. I was pretty damn sure Jess’s issues didn’t hold a candle to Preston’s. Besides, I’d been under the impression the other night that Amanda was one of Jess’s only supporters on the female side of the group.

“Her ex is mentally off, I hear. She always goes back to him,” Jax informed me.

“Good. Whatever. I don’t care. I’m here to get away, not meet anyone. So lay off with the warnings.”

Sadie cleared her throat, and we both glanced up to see her standing in the doorway with her arms crossed over her chest, watching us. Her long blond hair curled naturally and fell over her shoulder. Her blue eyes, framed by thick black lashes, were focused on my brother. “Thought we weren’t going to say anything to him about it,” she said.

Jax jumped up and walked over to her. “Sorry. I know you said not to, but I thought he needed to know what she was like,” he told her, tugging one of her arms loose and pulling her toward him.

“Why don’t we let him make his own decisions?” she replied, going into his arms easily.

“If you two are about to make out, please give me time to get the hell out of here,” I snapped before standing up. One weekend with these two and I was tired of their constant affection.

Jax frowned and glanced back at me. “You’re in a bad mood. Maybe you should try going back to bed.”

Or I could leave. Get away from the lovebirds so I could think about my life some without having Jax’s life forced down my throat. “I’m leaving,” I replied.

“No need to. We’ve got a plane to catch in an hour. You’ll have the place to yourself. Maybe then you can figure out what the hell is eating at you and get over it.”

I could see the concern on Sadie’s face. She didn’t like seeing us like this. Normally, Jax and I got along well. I loved him. But right now everything in my life revolved around Jax and his fame. I was tired of it. I needed to figure out what I wanted for my life. My mother was convinced I was going to be a damn politician, and I was unhappy with life at school. Going back for the fall semester was gonna suck. Even at Harvard, everyone still seemed to care more about Jax than actually getting to know me.

“I’m sorry I’m being an ass. I just need some time alone to think,” I tried explaining.

Jax nodded. “I know. Figure it out. Then come home. I’m used to having you around in the summers. I miss you.”

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