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Designs on the DJ Episode 6

SYDNEY﹒

The silence dragged on. Drew squeezed my knee, the light pressure urging me to keep it going. Continue to be flirty and clever. But to what end? As confident as I was in our relationship, and even with his encouragement, I couldn’t do anything to jeopardize or hurt the most important person in my life.

Before Drew, I’d never known true intimacy. With infinite patience, he built trust between us, a monumental task considering my emotionally-lacking childhood. 

Other kids of divorced parents got double birthdays and Christmases. Not me. Every special occasion, since I was four, I’d had to choose one parent over the other to spend the day with. When I’d return to the other home, I’d be grilled and guilted for weeks afterward. I learned to keep my emotions in check against the vampiric nature of my parents. Any tic, any flash belying an impartial facade, was jumped on like a starved dog to a bone.

I counted on two people, my ex-step sister and Drew. 

He was flesh and muscle, intelligence and generosity, better than any fantasy I harbored. He peeled my protective layers one by one, proving at each level I could trust him with every cell of my body and every secret of my mind.

I could never, ever do anything to betray the person who taught me what grown up love was. Who’d made me believe in marriage after my parents tainted the concept. Who’d shown I wasn’t the failure in a relationship because I refused to sacrifice my career for a man.

Standing on the mountain’s edge with Jameson exhilarated me but all falls from a cliff ended with an inevitable splat at the terminus. With only one possible outcome, why drag it out?

Adopting the proper neutral tone I’d perfected over the years dealing with my parents, “It sounds like you didn’t get a lot of sleep last night. You should rest. We’ll leave you alone.”

My attempt to create distance backfired. Or worked. Depending on one’s perspective. A veil dropped over Jameson’s features as if the candle lighting his hazel eyes blew out. 

His British lilt matched my reserved tone. “I am a bit knackered. Think I’ll get some shuteye before we land.”

And with a shift and a long sigh, he lowered his lids. Another defeated exhale escaped from my other side where Drew mirrored Jameson’s posture. I tucked the armrest up between us and rested my head on his shoulder.

“What’s going on?” I whispered.

“He’s a good man. I like him. You like him.” The shoulder beneath my cheek lifted in a shrug.

“This seems reckless. He’s going to get the wrong impression.”

He opened his eyes. “What impression?”

“I want to sleep with him. Or I might be willing to cheat on you. Or we’re swingers or something.”

He entwined our fingers. “What about friendship? Let’s start there.”

“Start there?” My whisper rose in volume. “You are up to something.”

Jameson tossed us a glance. My spine shot straight, heat rising in my cheeks at having been caught talking about him. “Sorry,” I said. “Didn’t mean to disturb you. We’ll be quieter.” 

When the jet engines roared to life, I hid my discomfort and confusion behind the noise. I did the right thing. No matter how harmless or innocent our intentions may have been, it wasn’t fair to carry on, to give him false hope. In a few hours, we’d return to our regular lives where eventually my gnawing disappointment would disappear.

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I'm Stella

I write contemporary romance and romantic suspense why-choose stories.

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