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Black Ties and White Lies: Chapter 28


The Uggs on my feet are sopping wet as we step through the doors of the small inn. I feel like a wet dog, every inch of my clothing cold and sticking to my body as we make our way to the person waiting for us at the front desk.

The old woman sitting behind the counter gives us a warm smile, tucking the book she was reading into her lap. She pulls off a pair of hot pink readers. “Oh dear,” she says with a worried expression, taking in both of our disheveled appearances. “Did you get stuck in the storm?”

We give each other a look, the two of us still hot inside from our fight. Beck’s lips press into a thin line as he looks back at her. “You could say that,” he says, his voice low.

“It’s a lot of snow for November,” the woman muses, nowhere near deterred by the growly tone of Beck’s voice.

Beck grunts, tapping his fingers against the counter. He looks at me briefly from the corner of his eye. I bite back a snarky comment about the numerous warnings I gave him about the snowstorm. I’d warned him they’d shut down the roads and overpasses if it got too bad. It’s not my fault we’re in this situation.

“Are you needing a room for the night?” she straightens the glasses on her nose, warmth in her eyes despite Beck’s continued grumpiness.

“We’ll need two rooms. The two most expensive ones you have.”

The woman clicks her tongue. “I’m sorry sir, because of the snow we only have one room…” She looks between us, uneasiness finally starting to seep over her features.

“Fine,” he snaps. I want to chastise him for the tone of his voice with her. It isn’t her fault he decided he was a weather expert. Stupid, stubborn man.

He aims a dirty look in my direction. For a split second, I wonder if he can read my thoughts. He looks away from me, pinning his angry stare on the nice woman. “As long as it has two beds, we’ll take whatever you’ve got.”

She turns around, taking a set of keys off a nail behind her. “We have our honeymoon suite left. The people who’d reserved it for their honeymoon’s flight got canceled.” She jingles the keys in front of her. “Lucky for you,” she adds, her tone chipper once again.

Dread settles in my stomach. Beck must be coming to the same realization as me. The honeymoon suite doesn’t strike me as a room that has two beds.

He clears his throat, taking the keys from her hand. “The honeymoon suite has two beds?”

She shakes her head. “No, dear, only one. It’s rather large though if you’re waiting for marriage or you know”—she looks between us awkwardly—“need some space between you and your girlfriend.”

I cough, choking on my spit in embarrassment. It might be a slight tinge of amusement too because oh my god is Beckham Sinclair blushing?

“Are there any other inns or hotels around that would possibly have something with two rooms? Nothing against this place, but my assistant here and I need two beds.”

“I’m afraid not. There’s a few in the heart of Sutten, but I don’t think there’s any transportation that could get you there.”

I lay my hand on his bicep, taking in the frigid fabric of his button up. The starched, freezing cold fabric seems almost frozen to his body. “It’s fine.” I try to keep my voice calm. “We’ll figure it out.”

His nostrils flare as he stares me down. I’d give anything to know what’s going on in his head. He’d been so angry with me earlier, the two of us bickering more than an old married couple. Now he doesn’t look as angry, but there’s another emotion I just can’t get a read on. He shoves the keys into his pocket and then pulls out his wallet. He lets out a resigned sigh. “We’ll take it.”

I bite back the urge to tell him he shouldn’t sound so put out with the thought of sharing a bed with me. He’s told me various times all the ways he wants to fuck me, so clearly he doesn’t find me disgusting. I’d gladly share a bed with him if it meant my toes would thaw and I could get out of these freezing clothes.

Speaking of, I lean over the counter and smile softly at her. “Is there any chance you have a gift shop here or anything where we can buy new clothes? I’m desperate for something warm and not completely saturated in freezing cold water.”

She finishes writing something in a small little journal of hers, running Beck’s credit card and handing it back to him. “We sure do, hon. Let me take you to it. This inn is run by my husband and I. He’s out making sure the snow doesn’t make us lose any power so I can get you taken care of in the shop as well.”

The woman slowly walks toward a small opening with a wood sign above it identifying it as their gift stop. As soon as we step in, there’s various animals carved out of wood covering an entire shelf. She catches me looking at them. “My husband carves those,” she says proudly, picking up a carved moose the size of my finger and turning it in her hand.

“They’re stunning,” I tell her. I can’t imagine the steadiness it takes in a hand to get the details so perfect using a knife. I’m more than impressed by the craftsmanship.

She hums a response, ushering us deeper into the store that’s no bigger than my own room at Beck’s place. Her hand reaches out to point to two racks of clothes. “I’m afraid these are the only options we have.” She looks at Beck, starting at his head and looking all the way down to his feet. “Although I’m unsure if these will quite fit you,” she says apologetically.

He takes a step forward, beginning to rifle through the rack. “I’m sure I can find something.” He pulls a hoodie off the rack, looking inside at the tag. Apparently meeting his standards, he hands it over to me. “Take this.”

“I’ll leave you two to look. Come to the counter at the front when you’re done and I’ll get you all rung up.”

I politely smile as she turns around. “Thank you.”

Beck shakes the hoodie, gesturing for me to take it.

“Beck, this thing is like three sizes too big for me.”

He continues to look through the clothing, not bothering to look at me. “It’s the warmest fabric they have. Your lips are blue from being so cold, so forgive me if I don’t give a flying fuck how big it is on you as long as it keeps you warm.”

My mouth snaps shut as his response takes me off guard. His words alone send warmth down my body. My silence has him looking over his shoulder for a brief moment. “No arguments from you? I’m shocked. It’s seemed to be your mission to argue over every damn thing today.”

I scoff, hugging the sweatshirt to my chest. I stick my hands inside the fabric, loving how soft and warm the fleece inside feels against my cold hands. “I wouldn’t call it arguing if I was pointing out the fact that we shouldn’t have been out on the roads with an impending snow storm and all.”

He pulls a set of plaid pajamas from the rack, checking the tag for the size. A grunt leaves his chest. I fight the grin that wants to make an appearance at fancy Beck dawning a pair of red and black plaid pajamas, a giant bear on a pocket on the chest that reads I’m beary tired. It’s something that belongs on a child’s pajama set, not one made for a grown man.

“There’s nothing else in my size,” he groans.

I lift the sweatshirt. “There’s no way this wouldn’t fit you.” Taking a step toward one of the racks, I try to find one of the cheesy pajama sets in my size. They don’t look as warm as the hoodie in my hand, but still far better than the frozen outfit I currently wear.

Beck suddenly turns to me, eating up all the distance between us until our mingling breaths warm the other. “Do you not listen? I’m not taking the warmest thing for myself because you need it. Now find a pair of pants that’ll fit you and let’s go find some other things we’ll need for the night.”

He leaves me standing there watching his retreating form, my jaw almost hanging to the floor. No matter how much he’s pissed me off today, that primal, nurturing side of Beck I just witnessed has me feeling a range of mixed emotions.

Following his instructions, I look through the options, not finding much. Eventually, I find a pair of long johns I’m almost certain are supposed to be worn as underwear when you go skiing, but it’s the best I can find given the circumstances.

When I find Beck, he’s piling various toiletry items in his arms. A box of toothbrushes almost falls to the floor as he shoves two phone chargers into the pile.

“Need help?” I offer, taking a step closer to him. My voice comes out odd, my mind—and ladybits—still reeling at the authoritative yet gentle tone of his voice a few moments ago.

“I’ve got it,” he growls.

“Okay,” I mutter under my breath. I leave him to it, deciding to search for some sort of food to snack on. It’s seemed like ages since we ate. Maybe Beck’s mood will improve if he’s fed, his anger could be because he’s hangry. At least I hope that’s the case. A night snowed in with him when he’s this testy doesn’t sound like my ideal way to ride out a snowstorm.

I stand in front of the meager selection of food they have. The options could be better, but I guess it could also be worse. They do have red licorice, which happens to be my weakness, so that’s a win in my book. A pile similar to Beck’s begins to build in my arms, except mine with food instead of toiletries. I add a few different bags of beef jerky, apparently made by someone local, as well as a few bags of potato chips. I walk by a small refrigerator grabbing a few water bottles for the room.

My food choices aren’t likely up to Beck’s standards, with all the fancy meals he’s cooked or had prepared by his chef, but it’s the best I can find given our circumstances.

The two of us meet back up in front of the inn owner. I drop all of the items on the counter, looking up at her. “I’m sorry, I think I missed your name earlier. I was too cold to think straight.”

This warrants another growl from Beck. I ignore him, waiting for her to answer.

She types a code for each item into the register. “My name is Carmen and my husband is Leroy if you happen to run into him at all.”

“Thank you for fitting us in. I don’t know what we would’ve done if you’d been full. We spun out on the road and will need a tow to get anywhere else.”

“I’m sorry to hear that,” she sympathizes. “Leroy can help you tomorrow, weather—and roads—permitting.”

Carmen moves on from ringing in the food items and moves to the things Beck had laid out nicely on the counter. To be honest, half of the things he’d grabbed are things I definitely would have forgotten to grab if it weren’t for him. No matter how mad I am with his stubborn ass, I can appreciate his Type A personality thinking of things I wouldn’t have.

Finally, she gets to the clothes, a few pair of socks I hadn’t grabbed going into a paper bag last. Another thing Beck thought of that I appreciate. My toes have never been so cold in my life.

Carmen finishes getting us checked out and then offers to walk us to our room. I agree to it at the same time Beck says he’ll find it. Carmen ignores his answer, opting to lead us up a staircase and down a few hallways before we stop in front of a large wooden door. Honeymoon suite is etched into the wood, two bears kissing underneath it also carved permanently.

She smiles bashfully, watching the both of us take it in. “Housekeeping had it set up for the newlywed couple so don’t mind the extra additions in the room, they come with the suite so enjoy them.” Carmen winks at us and then leaves both of us standing in front of it.

With an angry groan, Beck reaches into his pocket and sticks the key through the hole. He barely gets a look inside when I swear I hear him mumble, “I’m fucked.”


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