Home > Tossed Into Love (Fluke My Life #3)(12)

Tossed Into Love (Fluke My Life #3)(12)
Author: Aurora Rose Reynolds

Humiliated, I look around. I pick up the first shirt I see, then I toss it away like it’s on fire when I see that it’s his. I find mine and pull it down over my head. I stand and look around for my stuff. I put on my coat and grab my bag, then move as quickly as I can to the door. I don’t look back. I don’t stop to talk to him. I get out of there, running on my heels as fast as my legs will take me. When I get to the door, I fumble with the lock and whimper in distress when I can’t get it open.

I feel Antonio get close, and I back up three steps when he reaches out for me.

“Libby.”

“Don’t.” I keep my eyes from his, locking them on the floor near his feet. “Please don’t. Please just open the door so I can go,” I whisper as tears start to roll down my cheeks.

“Princess,” he says softly, reaching out toward me again. I take another hasty step back.

“Don’t.” I look up at him, and he flinches. “Don’t.”

“I’ll walk you home.”

“I don’t need you to walk me home.”

“Honey, let me get my coat. Let me walk you home. We can talk.”

“Open the door!” I scream, knowing I look insane but not caring at all. I’m so embarrassed, so humiliated. I need to get out of here now. “Please open the door so I can just go.” I drop my eyes and see him move, then I hear the door open.

Careful not to touch him, I leave the restaurant. When I make it home, I stand in the foyer, breathing heavily, before rushing upstairs to my apartment. I pour a glass of wine to settle my nerves, then take it with me to the bathroom. I fill up the tub and get in, hoping to forget that tonight ever happened.

Chapter 5

CHALLENGE

ANTONIO

Leaning back in my dad’s old office chair in front of his worn wooden desk, I look around at the pictures and newspaper clippings framed on the walls. I loved this place when I was a little kid, but once I started growing up, I began to resent it. I used to hate spending my days after school right here, in this chair, doing my homework. I hated that I couldn’t go home after school like a normal kid or have dinner at home with my parents like all the other kids I knew did. As the years went on and my dad started to age, my resentment toward this place only got stronger. I could see the effect the pizzeria was having on my dad. He was too stubborn to hire more people to help him out. I guess I won’t have to worry about that anymore since it’s now going to be sold to someone else and will be someone else’s problem to deal with.

Fuck . . .

As relieved as I am to know I won’t have to watch this place slowly kill my dad, I am still going to miss it. It’s a part of me. It’s a part of almost every memory I have.

Rubbing my hand down my scruffy jaw, my eyes land on the couch against the wall. I flinch. Yeah, there are a lot of memories in this place—some better than others.

Libby . . .

Libby, the sexiest woman I have ever met in my life, is a virgin. When that information came out of her mouth, I swear to god my mind screamed, Mine! It freaked me the hell out. I’ve wanted her from the moment we met, but I thought I could never go there, not with her. I know women like her. I was in love with a woman just like her. One who needed the best of everything. One who wanted things I couldn’t give her—including a life I didn’t want for myself. When she ended things between us, she told me my dreams weren’t her dreams, that she couldn’t be happy with the life I could provide for us, that she wanted more. She had begged me to take over the shop from my dad when she overheard him and me talking about it. She wanted me to start a franchise, to build the family business so that I could give her a house in the city and an endless amount of money to buy whatever designer shit she thought she needed. I never wanted to run the shop. I wanted to be a firefighter. I wanted to help protect the city I love. I found out a few weeks after we broke up that she had been seeing some hotshot lawyer on the side, a man who had the kind of money to give her the life she wanted. Unfortunately for her, the guy was already married and wasn’t at all interested in divorcing his wife for his sidepiece. In my opinion, she got what was coming to her.

Shaking my head, I scrub my hands down my face and then pull them away when the door to the office opens up.

Libby steps inside. Her wide, surprise-filled eyes lock with mine. My breath freezes in my lungs. I force myself to stay where I am when all I want to do is go after her, pin her to the couch, and finish what we started. I haven’t seen her since the night everything between us went to shit. I had followed her home—without even putting on a jacket or locking up the shop—so I could make sure she made it home okay. She was so upset that she didn’t even notice I was there.

“Hey,” she says quietly.

I watch in awe as her cheeks turn an adorable shade of pink. Fuck, she’s beautiful. So fucking pretty that she almost doesn’t seem real. She has the kind of beauty you’d expect to see on the cover of a magazine or on TV, not working at a salon or a pizza parlor.

I lean forward in the chair, causing it to squeak. She jumps slightly at the noise.

“You haven’t returned any of my calls.”

Fuck! Why did I say that, even if it’s the truth?

I’ve been frustrated for the last few days by not being able to get ahold of her when all I wanted to know is if she was okay.

“I don’t think we have anything to talk about.”

“You’re wrong.” I bite back a growl of frustration when she turns away from me, drops her bag onto the couch, and slips off her jacket. I walk around the edge of the desk and lean against it, crossing my arms over my chest in an attempt to try and get myself under control. “We should talk about what happened.”

“We shouldn’t.” She spins around to face me. “I don’t want to talk about that. Not now, not ever.”

“We’re going to talk about it, Libby,” I say softly.

“No, we’re not,” she vows.

Then I notice her shoes.

“Where are your heels?” I lift my head to look at her.

“What?” Her perfectly shaped brows pull together over her beautiful eyes.

“Your heels. Why are you wearing sneakers?”

“Sheesh. Can’t a girl wear sneakers without everyone questioning her?” she asks.

I wonder jealously who else might have pointed out that she’s wearing sneakers instead of the heels that are always on her feet.

“I need to get out front. Peggy needs help.”

She starts for the door, but I step in front of her and block her path. I watch her face pale and her chest start to rise and fall rapidly. Dropping my eyes to her mouth, I take a step toward her. She takes a step back, putting her hand up as heat crackles between us.

“Antonio . . .”

“Yeah?”

“What are you doing?” she whispers.

My eyes focus on her worry-filled ones.

“I’m wondering what will happen if I kiss you again.”

“You’re not kissing me again,” she says firmly, with a shake of her head. She takes another step back.

“I might.” I take another step toward her. “Unless you’re going to use that mouth of yours to talk to me.”

“We’re not talking, either.”

“Then I’m going to kiss you.”

“No, you are not.” She looks around the office, trying to find a way to get away from me.

“Then talk to me,” I growl.

Her jaw clenches.

“What do you want to talk about?” she finally asks, seeing there is no way out.

“You know what I want to talk about.”

“Yeah, I know. But instead, I think we should talk about the way you’ve been such a jerk to me. The way you’ve made me feel like crap because . . . because of the way I dress, because I wear makeup and heels. Or maybe you want to talk about the way you treated me after . . .” Her cheeks get darker. “After I told you what I told you. How about we talk about all of that?” she suggests.

My chest gets tight.

Yeah, I fucked up royally with her. No doubt about it.

“Libby . . .” I reach for her, but she steps to the side before I can touch her.

   
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