Home > Cross (The Gibson Boys #2.5)(6)

Cross (The Gibson Boys #2.5)(6)
Author: Adriana Locke

“Okay, I won’t play dumb. I know Kallie’s back,” Walker says, stopping for a moment to acknowledge a woman who stopped to whisper something in his ear. Once she’s gone, he turns back to me, but now he’s sidetracked. “That’s the problem with the world right there.”

My gaze trails after the girl I’ve seen work in the post office then I refocus it on Walker. “What? Easy pieces of ass with great legs?”

“Yup.” He motions for Machlan to bring him another beer. “Those girls ruin it for everyone.”

“I don’t follow you.”

“Good idea,” Peck says, slipping onto the stool on the other side of Walker. “Don’t follow him. This fucker will lead you astray.”

“Seriously?” Walker looks at his cousin out of the corner of his eye. “When have I led anyone astray?”

“I think I need to join this conversation,” Machlan says, handing Walker a beer. “When has Walker led anyone astray? What about the time you added a little engine to my skateboard and the thing bolted then tossed me off the ramp you built in the back yard and I broke my collarbone?”

“That was your fault.” Walker laughs. “Your balance is shit. I had forgotten about that.” He scratches his chin. “You know, that was really a good concept.”

“I remember that,” I say, looking at Machlan. “I think my last words to you were ‘This is not a good id—’ I didn’t even get ‘idea’ out before you were on your ass.”

“Face,” Peck inserts. “I think he was on his face, legs kicking in the air.”

“Which, in a really weird way, takes us back to pieces of ass with great legs,” I say, circling back to the original point. “How is that the ruination of the world?”

“Whoever said that, I agree completely,” Machlan adds, shoving off the counter. “The better the ass and legs, the leerier I am of a woman. You get those chunky thighs around your face and—boom! The next thing you know there’s a pink toothbrush next to yours in the bathroom.”

Walker laughs. “So is Kallie’s toothbrush back in your bathroom, Cross?”

Peck’s eyes widen, but he wisely doesn’t say anything. Instead, he hops the bar and rummages through the beer cooler. Machlan lectures him on the law, that he can’t be on that side of the bar without a license, but Peck doesn’t listen. He never does.

“You saw her,” Walker states.

“Yeah.”

“And?”

I shrug. Twisting the bottle in my hands, I realize Walker may be the best person in the world to get advice from about this after all. “Fine. I saw her today. We talked for a few minutes and then I saw her again when I went by to do a few things for Brenda.”

“You have plans to see her again?”

“I don’t know. I’d like to. I tried to cast out some bait, but I’m not sure she took it.”

He tips back the new bottle, his eyes focused on the television. A vein in his temple pops, and I wonder what he’s going to say. It could be anything with this guy. Whatever it is, it’ll be what he believes to be the truth. That’s all you get from Walker Gibson.

“Well, in my humble opinion, I say don’t,” he says.

The finality in his tone irks me. “What do you mean?”

“Look, I know you liked her—hell, we all did. She was a cool girl and you spent your entire adolescence glued to her hip. Trust me,” he says, staring off into space, “I get that. You have history with her like you never will with anyone else.”

“It’s not that…”

“It is.” He turns his attention back to me. “But don’t do that. She left you once. I know that makes me an asshole to say it bluntly like that, but she did it, not me. You tossed that line out there tonight and she didn’t take it. That’s enough for me right there. Fuck her,” he says, bringing the bottle back to his lips.

My jaw sets, the pulsing almost cracking my back teeth. “Easy there.”

Peck leans on the countertop and looks at Walker and then at me. “Don’t listen to him unless it has an engine and weighs at least a ton.”

“Just offering my opinion,” Walker says, getting up. He takes his drinks and meanders toward the back of the bar.

“Listen,” Peck says, looking at me with his brows tugged together, “he’s wrong.”

“How the hell do you know?”

“Because my balls aren’t the ones that ache so bad I can’t see straight.” He grins.

“If I were giving myself advice, I’d say to forget it too,” I admit. “I see Walker’s point. She left when it got hard. She fought with me back then every fucking day over nothing. I couldn’t do anything right. But then I think about how many nights I go to bed wondering where she is and how often I miss her. Then it seems stupid to pretend I don’t at least want to get to know her again.”

“You’ve answered your own problem.”

“How do you figure?”

Peck shakes his head, downing half his bottle. Wiping his mouth with the back of his hand, he sighs. “You said you could pretend, which means…”

“Yeah…”

“You have two options here,” he declares. “You can either let this thing go or you can see what you can make out of it. If you pick option one, get over it. You’ll have to, but because I know your ass and know you won’t just get over it because you haven’t since that fight outside of Crave years ago, option two should come with a lot of consideration. You feel me?”

“I feel you.”

“Good. Now that’s done, I’m going to see what kind of trouble I can get into tonight.” He winks before disappearing into the growing crowd of bodies behind me.

I sit for a long while, returning hellos and chiming in to basic chitchat when required. All the while, my mind is replaying the interactions with Kallie from today. With every second that goes by, I feel a burn in my gut grow hotter.

Leaning forward, I grab my wallet out of my pocket and find a twenty. I put it on the counter and set my beer on top of it. “Hey, Mach! I’m out of here,” I say, nodding to the money.

“Tell her I said hi.” He grins.

“Fuck off. I’m not going to see her.” I look down at the money and then back up at him again. “Maybe tomorrow after work.”

Machlan laughs. “Make some time in that busy schedule of yours for me. I want to talk business.”

“Will do. Later.”

“Later.”

Six

Kallie

“You shouldn’t be doing this, Kallie.” Rolling my eyes as I head across the parking lot, I set my sights on the building nestled between the laundromat and a secondhand store. “Now I’m talking to myself—totally losing it.”

My feet stop and I stand on the edge of the curb, peering into the windows of the gym. The early morning sunlight shines through the glass. Cross is standing in the middle of a stretch of blue mats in a sleeveless shirt and a pair of basketball shorts. A short, caramel-haired woman in all spandex stands in front of him. She’s facing me, her hands running through the air as she tells Cross a story. He’s watching her, his arms folded in front of him, one eyebrow cocked in the air.

My skin suddenly feels too tight, too unforgiving as I try to draw air into my lungs. When her hand rests on the curve of his bicep, I squeeze my car keys so hard that the alarm goes off behind me.

“Shit!” I mumble, twisting around and shoving the keyring toward the parking lot. “Stop it. Stop it!” Pressing the button repeatedly, the frantic beeping finally stops. “Sorry,” I call out to a woman and her child as they climb into the car next to mine. She gives me a look like I’m crazy before speeding off.

I take a deep breath as I feel a gaze on my back. Turning around, I see Cross and the woman in the gym are watching me. I contemplate saving some face and fleeing, but Cross is stalking toward me before I can make a break for it.

He shoves the door open, the muscles in his arms flexing as he holds it. “You all right out here?”

“Yeah.” I wince, tucking my keys in my pocket. “My alarm is faulty. Probably a recall or something.”

“I bet.” He tries to hide his amusement, but fails. “Wanna come in? I mean, I’m assuming you weren’t coming this way to do laundry.”

Blushing, I walk past him and into the gym.

“Do you know Megan McCarter?” he asks.

“I don’t think so. I’m Kallie Welch. Nice to meet you.”

“You too,” she says in a way that lets me know she doesn’t think there’s anything nice about meeting me at all.

“Wait, McCarter? Are you related to Molly?”

“She’s my older sister,” she says, eyes glued to Cross. “Want to show me that move one more time? I think I forgot it already.”

“If you forgot it already, you aren’t going to remember it next week either,” he replies. “I think that’s it for us today. Good work.”

“I…” She looks at me, then back at Cross. “See you next week.”

We wait as she takes her time gathering her things, including a glittery pink water bottle, and heads out. Once the room is free of her noxious perfume, Cross speaks.

“What brought you down here?”

It’s the question I asked myself on the car ride here, the one I still haven’t answered. All I know is I thought of him all evening and dreamed of him last night. There was no awkwardness in my dream, no feelings of anything other than happiness. I woke up wondering how much of that was just the dream and how much of that was reality. It was hard to tell the two apart.

Shrugging, I look around the room. One half is set up like a gym with treadmills and free weights, and the other has mats and a makeshift boxing ring elevated in the corner. The walls are white with posters of motivational sayings hanging here and there. It’s impressive.

   
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