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|Without Me(Men of Inked #7) by Chelle Bliss|
The attraction we felt for each other was too great. Not only was the sex amazing, but he was easy to be with. I liked talking with him, surprisingly enough. Telling him about my father had been easy, and he seemed genuinely interested and felt sorry for me. He wasn’t the asshole I’d pegged him to be that night at the Ritz. I’m not saying he’s a saint, because Lord knows he isn’t. He had the perfect mix of cockiness and kindness, which he seemed to hide well.
I had to be brutal with him. When he started talking about meeting his family and possible future plans, I had to put an end to it all. I couldn’t let myself fall deeper for the man. I’d never believed in love at first sight. Never did I think you could know someone was right for you after only a few dates.
Anthony said it himself: we were made to be together. The problem with his statement was me. I couldn’t change my life and there wasn’t a place for him. No matter how badly I wanted to run away with him and forget about everything but us, it wasn’t a luxury I could afford.
Not because I couldn’t get lost in us. No. I didn’t want him to get lost in me.
Saying goodbye to him for a third time was like having my heart ripped out of my chest and watching it beat before my eyes. The sorrow and agony I felt in that moment didn’t compare to anything other than losing my father. Having love in front of me then pushing it away was something I didn’t want to do again.
Sometimes we can’t have what we want. Life has a way of selecting its own course, and there’s nothing we can do to hop off the trail.
No matter how badly I wanted to change my future, I couldn’t.
My heart would heal and so would his. He’d find his happily ever after while I, on the other hand, would surround myself with friends and family and forsake myself of my one true love.
It was more for his sake than mine.
At least, that was the lie I told myself as I cried myself to sleep.
Love is a Wicked Game
Often, what I said I’d do and what really happened would change along the way without my control. If I were smart, I wouldn’t have gone back to her. But since I was a man and often controlled by my dick, I gave in.
Days later, Max shot me a text asking if I’d give her another shot. She missed me, missed my cock, and wanted to see me again. Like an idiot and a man with a cock, I took her back.
It wasn’t that we didn’t have issues. If we avoided talk of anything that resembled a relationship, everything was smooth sailing. I dropped any thought of taking her to Sunday dinner. We decided that it would be best to keep our visits short, with no wining and dining beforehand. I knew she didn’t want to take a chance of someone seeing us.
I knew what it looked like to an outsider. Anthony was pussy-whipped, just like every other Gallo man. There was a bit of truth to the statement, but I would argue my side until the bitter end. I couldn’t allow myself to be seen as weak.
I liked to think of myself like a caveman. Max was my prey and I was just waiting to pounce. Eventually, she’d give in. Whether she wanted to admit it or not, I knew she liked me. I’d bet my fortune that her feelings were closer to love than just mere lust.
I’d wait. Be the patient man I’d never been before and wait for Max to admit what she felt for me. The biggest hurdle would be to overcome the fact that her family didn’t approve of me. I was sure that, if they got to know me, no matter what color I am, they’d fall in love. If I could just get the chance to show her that we could work and I could get her family’s blessing…
But it wouldn’t happen overnight. I’d play the part, be her fuck buddy. Be anything she wanted to be until she felt comfortable enough to utter the words I’d always thought I’d be too big of a pussy to say.
Not too long ago, I’d thought relationships were for the weak. Slowly, I evolved. It’d only taken thirty-something years for it to happen. My luck would be that the one woman I finally wanted to chance something more with shut me out. I’d hang on, take what she had to give, and always leave her wanting more.
But eventually, we each have a breaking point.
We usually met up at night when we could find the time in our busy schedules, and I remained in the shadows. It was the lot I’d resigned myself to when I’d begged her to give me a chance that night in her shop, to give us a shot at happiness.
I thought I could handle it, but over time, I wanted to stake my claim and let the world know she was mine. It didn’t take me long to fall in love with Max. The only thing that rivaled her beauty was her attitude. I saw myself when I looked at her. Her cockiness and ability to take shit as it was thrown at her and fling it back in the face of adversity were astonishing. She didn’t let anything or anybody get in her way.
Except her family. They were in the way of our happiness, her happiness, and a possible happily-ever-after. It had been months since she’d caved in and agreed to see me as we tried to figure out what fate had in store for us.
Not only was our lovemaking epic, our fights could only be classified as nuclear. More times than I’d like to admit, she’d kick me out and put an end to our faux-relationship. She’d cave in, saying that she missed me and had fucked up. Like a dumbass, I’d forgive her and take her back.
I had become the weak one. Roles had reversed, and I’d landed in a position I’d never thought I’d be in. Love can make a person do crazy things. I’d said that I never wanted anything to change me, but without stopping it, I had become someone I barely recognized anymore.