Page 29 of She’s All Mine

I want to spend every second soaking up all of the goodness that is in this man. Just by the sheer size of him, I’m going to need a long time to soak up all that good. Forever sounds like it might be the right amount of time. That thought is interrupted when I think of the possibility of my parents scaring him off. Unlike parenting, scaring people off is something they’re actually good at. I got away from them as fast as I legally could. What will Tank think about me not wanting to be around my parents? I almost feel guilty talking bad about them because at least I have them. It has me second guessing myself. I don’t want him to think I’m unappreciative when I talk about my parents negatively.

“I don’t care if the guys have been handled. The security around here is shit.” Tank opens my bathroom door, doing a sweep of the tiny room as if someone could really be hiding in here still.

“Let me deal with them and then I’ll come back to your place.” Tank stands after looking under my bed. Even I couldn’t fit in the tiny space there, but he insists on looking under it anyway. If I wasn’t a ball of anxiety right now I’d laugh. I hate that they can do this to me. I don’t really need anything from my mom or dad, but still I always try to please them and keep the peace between us.

He turns to look at me like I’ve lost my mind. I’m starting to feel like maybe I have, because as much as I want him out of here before they get here, I want to cling to him, too. Tank doesn’t need my parents’ crap. Not to mention in the last year in the few short phone calls I’ve had with them, they’ve begun to talk about eligible people for me to marry. That came out of left field on me. I’m pretty sure they’re trying to set me up with an arranged marriage. They definitely want to pick men that they think are good enough for me. Their definition of “good enough” is not the same as mine. The qualities they deem important differ greatly from my own. Theirs would be based on monetary or materialistic things instead of my happiness. I would just listen quietly on the phone, knowing that I was never going to do what they were asking of me.

“You want me to leave.” His gaze searches my face. I can’t say the words, so I only nod because I don’t want him to leave. I hate facing them, but I don’t want their shit getting onto Tank. It’s hard to tell a man whose parents abandoned him that I don’t much care for the ones who kept me. Still I know he’d be so pissed if he knew how they’ve treated me. Having all these thoughts jumbled around in my head isn’t helping me. I’m not sure what the right thing to do is, but I know I want my choice to be whatever shields Tank the most. He is what I care about more than anything right now.

I shrug. “Maybe they’ll see me and they’ll leave and be done?” I sigh, wringing my fingers together. Tank walks over toward me, pulling my hands out and making me untangle my fingers so he can lock his own with mine.

“You’re worked up because they’re on their way here?” he asks. I nod. I was fine before they called. I thought maybe the school hadn’t reached them or something. I didn’t even know if they were in the country, to be honest. I was content lying in bed talking to Liv while we both knew our men were out handling business. It’s crazy how in two weeks I went from feeling so alone to having this makeshift new family around me.

He leans in, kissing me deep and stealing the breath right from me. I get lost in him for a moment and forget about everything. When he pulls away I am breathless.

“I’ll be back.” He turns and leaves me standing there shocked. I did not think he was going to do that. I try to get my wits about me. I’m a little surprised that he actually left. I thought there was going to be a fight, but he kissed me and left. My fingers go to my lips, still feeling him there. That wasn’t a goodbye kiss, was it? My heart starts to pound. Great, now I have something else to worry about.

I run to the door and pull it open. Now I want him here for this. Tank is my person. I know that, and when I face my parents and whatever shit they want to throw at us, I want him with me because I know he’ll always stand by me.

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