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The Pucking Wrong Number: Chapter 33


Evidently, a non-negotiable in Lincoln’s family was that on Tyler’s birthday, they all ate dinner together. While I would think that was a sweet way to remember him in most families, I was sure it was something akin to torture in theirs, after everything Lincoln had told me about his parents.

“You’re not going with me,” Lincoln said calmly as he buttoned his white dress shirt in front of the mirror, refusing to even look at me.

“Yes, I am.”

“I’m not putting you through that. I’m not an idiot. I’m not going to take the most beautiful thing in my life and put it in the same room as…them.”

“You would do it for me if the situation was reversed—wouldn’t you?” I snapped, my hands on my hips. I was already dressed. I’d thrown on a dress the moment he’d told me what his plans were, determined to go with him.

He’d made so much progress this morning. He’d actually smiled at points today.

I just knew his parents were going to destroy that.

Lincoln finished getting dressed, not speaking another word to me until he was done, breaking my heart because he looked so fucking amazing in his fitted suit.

He finally turned and stalked towards me, until I was backed up against the wall. His hand went around my neck as his other hand threaded through my hair.

“You will listen to everything I fucking say when we’re there. And when I tell you it’s time to leave, we’re leaving.”

I would nod, but I couldn’t move. I’d never seen him like that, and my heart skipped, a mix of terror and happiness buzzing through me. The terror because I was about to go into the lion’s den, and happiness…because he was letting me take care of him just like he always took care of me.

“I fucking love you,” he growled, kissing me hard as the hand in my hair grabbed one of mine, thrusting it under my dress until I was pressing against my core. His fingers pushed two of my fingers into my sex, thrusting inside me and somehow hitting that perfect spot just right.

He groaned as I came instantly, turned on by his aggression.

I was wide-eyed and feeling a mess as he pulled my fingers out and brought them to his mouth, slowly sucking them clean. His lips met mine again, and I could taste myself on his tongue.

Wow…that was…hot.

“That should keep me sane through dinner,” he muttered. I just blinked.

Because what did you do after something like that?

My heart pounded like a caged bird as we approached the looming mansion of Lincoln’s parents. The sprawling gardens and ornate fountains were like a grand fortress, dwarfing me like the mere speck of dust everyone in this household would think I was.

The door creaked open, and a stern, imposing woman dressed in a dark suit appeared. “Mr. Daniels,” she murmured stiffly, not even bothering to acknowledge me, like I was a ghost drifting beside Lincoln’s side.

Was this Lincoln’s mother? No—she’d called him “Mr. Daniels.” That would just be fucking weird.

“Ms. Talbot, the house manager,” Lincoln muttered, not even bothering to greet her with anything else but a head nod.

I shot him a look because—a house manager—I didn’t even know what that was.

We were led into a formal dining room where a table, longer than my whole old studio apartment, was laid out with crystal glasses and fine china. It was clear this was not the kind of dinner where you put your elbows on the table.

The dress I’d thought made me feel so pretty an hour ago, suddenly felt like it was made of sackcloth.

I took in the sight of Lincoln’s parents, both impeccably dressed. Lincoln’s father was wearing a black suit, perfectly tailored to his frame. His hair was styled in a slicked-back fashion that oozed confidence, but also reminded me of how I’d imagine the devil would look right before he ended someone. Meanwhile, his mother was stunning in a dark violet cocktail dress that seemed far too fancy for a dinner in her home. Her hair was intricately styled in an updo that looked like it had taken hours to perfect. They both looked like they belonged on the cover of a high-end fashion magazine.

The hate I felt for them could not be adequately described. I had the urge to throw myself over Lincoln, shield him from their horribleness.

Because they may have been beautiful looking—similar to their son—but you could literally feel their ugliness—like it was coating your skin.

“Lincoln,” his dad said coldly, his gaze licking over me from top to bottom, a tiny smirk peeking out from his lips that made my blood freeze.

“Father,” Lincoln replied nonchalantly, like we hadn’t just stepped into hell. He pulled out my chair for me and waited for me to sit before pushing me in.

Despite the fact they weren’t speaking to me, their cold eyes were all over me as I sat there, judging my every breath.

“Wine,” his mother finally announced, holding up her glass. I glanced around the room because there was no one in here. Was she expecting someone to just materialize from the wall?

Evidently, people did do that here, because a second later, a man dressed in a sharp gray suit practically materialized from a door I hadn’t even noticed, hurrying to fill up her wine glass.

‘Lincoln, darling, when are you going to cut that hair of yours?’ she asked, her voice dripping with condescension, staring across the table at him like he was a bug she wanted to smash.

I wasn’t sure at that moment who actually had the worst childhood, me or him. My mother had been disinterested in me, she’d forgotten me ninety nine percent of the time, but she’d never looked at me with so much distaste as I was seeing right now, like she was regretting the day I was born.

‘When you stop drinking, mother dearest,’ Lincoln drawled.

Lincoln’s mother made an affronted gasp, before throwing back the very wine he’d just made fun of.

Lincoln’s father seemed bored of it all. He was lounged back in his high back chair, toying with the dark amber liquid in the tumbler in front of him. ‘That’s enough, Shannon,’ he said in a silky, dangerous voice that had Lincoln’s mother shutting up immediately.

I was sitting up straight as well, and I could see how he’d be a success in the boardroom, even having never been in one myself. There was something commanding in his voice, something dangerous that made you terrified to disappoint him.

I shot a quick glance at Lincoln, but he didn’t seem to be affected by it at all, though.

‘Tonight’s a night for celebration after all,’ continued his father, his gaze flicking briefly to one of the many empty chairs at the table.

‘Haven’t called it a celebration for a while, Father. Have you turned over a new leaf?’ Lincoln asked lightly, playing with the knife at his place setting.

His father chuckled darkly, not seeming to mind the sarcasm in his son’s tone in the slightest.

‘I’m talking about the fact that I’ve set up a meeting with the board, to announce the start of your work with the company, the day after you finish that silly little game.’

My gaze bounced between Lincoln and his father, not understanding what he was talking about. That silly little game? I couldn’t imagine someone would think Lincoln’s career as the most talked about hockey player in the NHL would be called ‘silly’ or even ‘a little game,’ but I guess there was a first time for everything. I wondered what it would be like to be that blind. To see a star shining right in front of you, and to completely ignore it.

It was beyond my comprehension.

‘Monroe and I will actually be in the Bahamas celebrating our Stanley Cup win. So I’m afraid we won’t be able to make it,’ Lincoln said coldly.

Oh! He hadn’t mentioned anything about the Bahamas before. I tried to think about my school schedule, even knowing I would follow Lincoln anywhere.

Lincoln’s gaze flicked to mine. ‘Surprise,’ he said in a deadpan voice.

Lincoln’s mother, Shannon, suddenly snorted. ‘Lincoln, you’ve got to be kidding me. She’s just a child.” There was a slightly demented sounding giggle in her voice as she said the word “child.”

I stiffened in my chair. I didn’t like being called a child—or talked about like I wasn’t in the room.

‘Her name’s Monroe, Mother,’ Lincoln growled, the first sign of aggression in his voice at his mother’s slight insult towards me.

“Monroe,” she snorted, her gaze flicking across my dress like someone had shoved shit in her face. “A fitting name.”

‘What does that mean?” snapped Lincoln.

“That’s a lovely dress, Mrs. Daniels,” I blurted out, trying to avoid a fight when we were only five minutes in.

The three of them stared at me like I’d lost my mind.

“And what is that delicious smell? I bet you were cooking for hours today. That was so kind.”

Lincoln’s whole body was shaking as his laughter broke free.

Shannon looked shocked. Her eyes widened as she glanced at Lincoln, then back to me. “Well—”

“My wife hasn’t cooked a day in her life,” drawled Lincoln’s father. Anstad. That was his name. I needed to use that in my head before he took on the life of Voldemort and I started referring to him as “He Who Must Not Be Named”.

Anstad’s comment effectively shut off any commentary on my insane behavior, but luckily, people—staff—started bringing in plates of food then, setting them down in front of us in something that resembled an orchestrated dance.

I had absolutely no appetite. I noticed Anstad was the only one who seemed to have one actually. Lincoln was moving his food around on his plate, and Shannon was just…drinking.

I think she’d gone through an entire bottle of wine already.

Besides the terrible atmosphere, I was a little afraid they’d poisoned my stuffed chicken—because honestly, I wouldn’t put it past them.

“I wonder what Tyler would have been like today. Where he would have led the company,” Anstad suddenly mused. “If he hadn’t drowned at your hockey exhibition.”

I heard Lincoln’s sudden intake of breath. Glancing at him, it was obvious that one had hurt. His fists were clenched under the table and there was a tic in his cheek.

“Let’s be honest…he would probably have been miserable trying to please you at the expense of everything he wanted in life,” responded Lincoln, in an almost teasing voice. Anstad’s fork clattered on the plate. I was certain he would lunge at Lincoln…or at least storm out of the room, but after a second, he picked up his fork and resumed eating, like nothing had even happened.

This was so unhealthy. Was it too soon to leave?

“Did he tell you, little girl…Did he tell you how he killed his brother?” Shannon spat out, a sob in her voice.

Alright, that was it.

I couldn’t take it anymore.

I sprung to my feet, my hands shaking with fury, my heart flickering in my chest so fast, I was afraid I would pass out. ‘How dare you. I’ve never been more disgusted with two people in my life—and if you truly understood where I came from—you would understand that is the worst insult I could ever give you. You don’t even care that you actually lost two sons that day,’ I spit through gritted teeth. ‘The fact that you can’t treat Lincoln like he’s at least a human being…let alone like he’s your son.” I shook my head, adrenaline sparking through my veins to the point I was shaking. “Your son is the best person I’ve ever known. He is everything. And you two fuckwads don’t even deserve to breathe in the same space as him.’

There was a short silence…but then his father and mother had the nerve to laugh, like I’d just told a fucking joke. I grabbed my wine, prepared to throw it all over the two of them. But Lincoln caught my hand before I could do it.

“Come on, dream girl. Let’s get out of here,” Lincoln murmured, amusement laced through his voice. He threaded his fingers through mine before standing up.

“I say this with absolutely no respect,” Lincoln commented to his parents. “But fuck off.”

He dragged me away then, and their laughter followed us out of the room.

“If she only knew…” I thought I heard Anstad cackle, but I paid him no mind.

I stepped outside the mansion, feeling the muggy night air on my skin, trying to calm down my racing heart. I was so fucking relieved to be out of that house. I’d thought I could anticipate what it would be like, but that went so far beyond anything I could have dreamed up…

I glanced at him, expecting to see him angry…or devastated about what just transpired, but instead, he was staring at me like he couldn’t help himself, like I was the answer to every hope and dream he’d ever had.

‘You’re going to be the end of me, dream girl. You’re so fucking…everything,’ he murmured, his voice thick with emotion.

We used that word a lot. That we were everything. And it seemed so fitting. It seemed the only word to use when explaining the fact that your soulmate was a living breathing being that set your world on fire just by looking at them.

My heart swelled, and there was just so much love there…for a second, I wasn’t sure I could take it. It felt like too much.

‘You are too,’ I whispered, knowing I’d follow him anywhere.

We walked down the long sidewalk, the moon casting an ethereal glow over the trees and bushes. It was easy to imagine we were in the pages of a dark fairy tale, escaping the clutches of the evil king and queen.

‘They’re so awful,’ I said after a moment, my voice tinged with a deep sadness that settled over me like a cloak.

Lincoln’s grip on my hand tightened. But he just snorted. ‘I know. Beyond. But for the first time…I actually don’t fucking care.’

I gave him a shy smile, realizing I’d just called his parents…fuckwads.

Who even was I?

“A badass,” Lincoln murmured, and I realized I’d spoken that thought out loud.

We drove away from that house of horrors, and I made a promise for both of us.

That would be the last time either of us set foot in that mansion again.


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