The Pucking Wrong Number: Chapter 13

MONROE

By the time I made it home, a stumbling wreck through the dark, cool night…my walls were up.

That had just been a glitch in the system.

Something to keep me warm for the rest of my life, my night with the hockey star.

It was better that way. He was a distraction, and when he left, because a girl like me could never be more than a passing amusement to a guy like him…I’d have probably messed up my whole life trying to keep him.

“Everything’s going to be different,” Mama said excitedly as she helped me into the only dress I owned. She looked different than usual. Her eyes were happy, and she was smiling. That never happened. She was dressed up too, in a tight black dress, and her lips were painted a dark red. I wondered if she’d let me wear some lipstick, too.

As soon as the dress was on, she was brushing my hair. I winced when she hit a mess of tangles. I tried to brush my own hair when Mama was gone, but it was hard.

“Now I need you to be on your best behavior tonight. Do you understand? Everything has to be perfect.”

“Where are we going, Mama?”

“To a nice dinner with one of my friends. He wants to meet you.”

A fancy car was waiting for us outside, and I spent the car ride tracing my hand over the smooth seats, never having felt something so soft before.

The car dropped us off at an expensive-looking place with the best smells coming out of it. There was a handsome man waiting by the door, and he crouched down and shook my hand when Mama introduced me to him. He told me his name was Carlos, and he was so happy to meet me.

Carlos took us inside the restaurant and we were taken to a back room where more food than I had ever seen was laid out on the entire table. He laughed at my wide eyes and then made me a plate before he made his own. Mama was glowing, her laugh filling the whole room every time he said something.

It was as if I was in a dream. I never wanted the night to end.

A server had brought us chocolate cake, and I was munching away while Mama and Carlos talked to each other.

Suddenly, a woman burst through the door, her cheeks a splotched red color. She wasn’t pretty like Mama, but I could tell her clothes were a lot more expensive.

“So this is the tramp you’ve been out with. My God, Tom, you would think you’d have some class.”

I looked around, confused, because there wasn’t a Tom in the room, but Carlos was standing uphis hands in front of him and his eyes squinted around the edges…like he was worried.

“Darling, this isn’t what it looks like. This is nothing,” he told the woman soothingly.

I glanced at Mama, and there were tears gathered in her eyes.

“Nothing? Her child is here,” she said, gesturing to me with wild eyes.

“Nancy. It’s just a little fun. It’s—”

“‘A little fun?’ It’s going to be ‘a little fun’ when I take you for all you’re worth!” She stormed out of the room and Carlos darted after her.

“Carlos!” my mother cried, reaching out and grabbing his arm.

He shook her off, so hard that she fell to the ground. “Get lost,” he seethed before running after the woman.

Carlos, aka Tom, had been a small time news anchor who had solicited my mother for her services. He’d fallen for her, and had made her all sorts of promises…but of course all those promises hadn’t meant anything, not when his wife, and the mother of his three children, had threatened to leave him…and take all of his money.

Shortly after that was the first time Mama had overdosed.

I was broken out of my dark thoughts by banging on my door. My heart clenched in fear, followed by confusion when I heard Lincoln calling my name.

I tentatively opened it, staring at him in shock as he stood there. He looked all wrong in this place. A bright, shiny light amid the ruin of the complex.

“We need to talk,” he said firmly, pushing his way inside. His bowtie was undone, falling haphazardly around his neck, and his hair was wild, like he’d been dragging his fingers through it over and over. There was a pinched, worried strain around his eyes…that hadn’t been there at the gala.

“We don’t have anything to talk about except why you’re here,” I told him, doing my best not to stare at him. I needed my wits about me for this conversation. I couldn’t be pulled back into his glittering orbit.

My cheeks flushed as I stared at my worn carpet. What he must be thinking right now. I’m sure he’d never seen such a shit hole in his whole, perfect life.

“I had to see you. I couldn’t let you just disappear after…”

“After I embarrassed myself,” I whispered, wondering if the images of me pressed against him were going to be on the front page news tomorrow.

“I paid them all off; no one will see those pictures,” he said fiercely. “And even if they did, we wouldn’t have anything to be ashamed of.” He ate up the distance between us and tipped up my chin, pressing a breath of a kiss across my lips that threatened to break me because of how sweet it was.

It took me a second to remember myself, to remember the decision I’d come to.

I stepped out of his reach, trying to ignore the spark of pain in his gaze.

“I need you to leave. I don’t know how you know where I live…but you’ve overstepped some major boundaries.”

“Monroe…”

“There’s nothing you can say. You need to leave.”

His face was tight as he stood there, a tic in his cheek as he bit down on his plush bottom lip. I wanted those lips. And I hated myself for that.


Lincoln

I hadn’t intended to show her that I knew where she lived…but desperate times called for desperate measures, a refrain I found myself saying all the time nowadays. When she’d run away tonight, and I’d had to stay to deal with the piranhas that would have tried to ruin her life, it literally felt like she’d taken off with a chunk of my soul.

I couldn’t let her leave like that, just disappear, sure to never answer one of my calls and texts again. Watching her come like that, making those little gasps I wanted to swallow whole…I could only imagine what she’d sound like impaled on my cock…

As I stood there staring at her now, trying to hold in the madness that just glancing at her sparked in me…I could tell nothing I did tonight would change her mind.

“In the position I’m in, I have to be sure about people. My team ran a background check to make sure there wasn’t anything…that would come back to bite us.”

I prepared myself for the onslaught that confession would give her—even if it wasn’t a true confession. I could have found out she murdered someone and it would have done nothing to stop the need coursing through my veins. That background check was purely to find out information I could use to get her closer to me.

But Monroe surprised me, like she did constantly, actually. Instead of appearing furious at my—false—confession, her eyes widened, and she took a step back, clearly taken aback by what I’d said. Her lips upturned…almost like she was pleased. “So you know about my mother…and the foster homes?” she murmured shyly.

I regarded her for a second before slowly nodding.

“And that wasn’t something you thought would ‘come back to bite you’?”

Ah, I understood then. She’d been sure that if I found out about her past, I wouldn’t want anything to do with her.

“Only made me fall for you harder.”

“Don’t say that,” she murmured fiercely.

“Say what? That I’m already falling for you?” I responded, the words not coming close to the depths of my obsession. But I didn’t want to scare her even more than I already had by showing up at her place.

She pursed her lips and glanced away, and I sighed. Of course she wasn’t going to just fall into my arms and declare her undying love to me before I whisked her away.

Baby steps and all that.

At least I’d be able to get off tonight with her scent coating my clothes, the memory of her falling apart against my thigh inked in my head…

“Alright, dream girl. I’ll give you tonight. But you and me…its fucking real. It’s the realest fucking thing I’ve ever felt in my life. And sooner or later, you’re going to realize it too.”

I strode to the door and stopped, needing one more fix of her before I was forced to go back to my empty place. She was standing in the same spot, her eyes misty and unsure, like she was as desperate for me to stay as she was for me to go.

“Goodnight, baby,” I whispered before I walked out the door, knowing that it would be the longest fucking night of my life, getting to the next step.

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