“I’ve heard stories about her, but I thought they had to be made up.”

“She had a picture of a bride and a groom. Somehow she put our faces on their bodies. I opened it when she went to her room and the book was filled with her version of our future. It was beyond fucked up. Gave me the fucking creeps.”

Page after page contained images of our children with names and photos. Little hearts in all colors surrounded the pictures. She had our life planned out and all I wanted was a little pussy.

She didn’t have the brains to hold my attention, let alone make me want to spend an eternity listening to her chatter on about the Kardashians. Tammy wanted status and money and they were two things I wasn’t willing to share with a woman like her.

Tammy knew her role in my life – she was my late night hookup. I never took her out, never lead her on, and never promised her happily ever after.

She always replied ‘You’ll change your mind’, but that never happened.

“Wow, I don’t know what to say,” Rob said, as he walked toward the door to unlock it.

“I ended that shit right there. She cried like we’d been dating for years. What a fucking mess. I don’t need the bullshit in my life, especially not now.”

“Keep your eye on the goal – fighting, not bitches and pussy.”

“Didn’t you learn not to use that term when talking about woman?” I laughed.

His cheeks turned pink as he looked away from me. “She’s your sister and I have nothing more to say about the experience.” He drew the last word out. I knew he had a million things he wanted to say about her, but he kept his lips shut because he knew he’d get a beating.

Rob was crass. He referred to woman as bitches once in front of Izzy and she caught him off guard and knocked him on his ass. It was a proud brother moment. She took down a man double her size and for one hell of a good cause. My baby sister has bigger balls than most men I knew. Growing up with four brothers made her rough around the edges and not willing to take shit from anyone.

“Good choice.” I finished drying the sweat from my body. Grabbing my phone, I threw my bag over my shoulder. “Tomorrow, same time?” I asked.

“You got it.” Rob reclined in the chair at the front desk, kicking his feet up and putting his arms behind his head. He looked like he was ready for a nap.

That shit wouldn’t fly at Inked.

The screen on my phone lit up.

Tammy – there were at least a dozen text messages from her since I walked in.

Tammy: We were meant to be together.

Tammy: You’ll come back to me.

Tammy: I miss you.

I told her last night we were through, even though we never really began.

I never asked her to be my girlfriend.

I didn’t read her text messages.

Fuck her and her insanity.

I turned the screen off as I reached for the door. The top of my head hit the door before my chest connected with the glass. I saw stars from the impact. I blinked a couple of times before I noticed a woman on the ground. She was picking up the contents of her purse that spilled.

“Fuck,” I muttered, as I opened the door to a very pissed off female. “I’m sorry, can I help you with that?” I asked, bending down in front of her.

“Why don’t you fucking watch where you’re walking?” she seethed, as she placed her wallet and another tiny items inside her black handbag.

“I didn’t see you.” I grabbed her lip-gloss that had rolled away and held it out to her.

She grabbed the tube from my hand and glared at me with the most mesmerizing hazel eyes. “Obviously.” She scanned the ground.

Instead of helping her, I stared at her like an idiot.

Her hair was an amazing shade of brown with glints of red that sparkled in the light. The straight, smooth locks hung just past her shoulders. She had a small nose, full red lips, high cheekbones, and large hazel eyes with flecks of gold.

“Hey, I said I’m sorry and I am.” Standing, I tried to be a gentleman and held my hand out to her.

Her eyes moved up my body, slowly at first, before she stopped on my face with scrunched eyebrows. Her skin felt like silk against my rough palm as she placed her hand in mine. In one quick motion I pulled her to her feet. Her crinkled forehead and hardened face disappeared and were replaced with softness. She pulled her hand away from mine with a weak smile and a reddened face.

“How can I make it up to you?” I asked, still staring. It wasn’t her beauty that had attention, but something about her eyes – a familiarity that I couldn’t place.

She used the back of her hand to brush the dirt off her yoga pants. “I’m fine. No need to make it up to me. Just maybe watch where you’re walking next time. You’re kind of like getting hit by a Mack truck.” She laughed. “Hey, I’m sorry I was such a bitch. Just a bad night and shitty morning and you’re the icing on the cake.”

Tilting my head, I gave her a small smile. “I understand. The last twelve hours haven’t exactly been stellar for me either.”

She fidgeted with her phone but kept her eyes locked on mine.

“Got everything?” I asked. I needed to leave. I didn’t need to complicate my shit any further.

“Yeah, I think so. Thanks for stopping to help.”

“I’m not a dick, well at least not all the time.” I grinned. “How could I not stop and help the beautiful lady that I knocked over? I hope your day gets better from here.” God, I sounded like a total moron, but I couldn’t stop the verbal diarrhea that leaked from my mouth. “Let me get the door for you.” I rushed and pushed it open.

“Thank you,” she said, brushing against my body as she tried to fit through the doorway, my torso blocking the small entrance.

A hint of lilac or some flowery shit filled the air, disappearing with the distance between us.

“Maybe I’ll see you again sometime,” I said, not ready to walk away.

She smiled at me before turning around and walking away.

“Yeah, I’m here every day.”

When did I turn into Mr. fucking Rogers? I couldn’t stop myself.

“Maybe we can work out together or something,” I yelled to her.

I’m officially a pussy.

“Sure.” She didn’t sound too eager, but then again, she didn’t say no. She placed her bag next to the desk and signed in.

I watched her as I walked toward my truck.

My cock was hard last night when I went to Tammy’s and that turned in to a clusterfuck of epic proportions without at least getting off for my troubles.

Seeing the girl that I crashed into wearing a tight hot pink workout tank top and black yoga pants turned my dick into granite.

Obviously I needed my fucking head examined.

I flipped on the lights at Inked as I walked through the door to peace and quiet. An ice cold shower didn’t do much to take my thoughts off the hot piece of ass I ran into at the gym.

As I sat down at the front desk my phone danced across the appointment book. It hadn’t stop vibrating from the non-stop messages.

The girl was fucking clueless.

Last night my exact words to her were, “Don’t ever call me again, you crazy bitch.” I thought it was pretty cut and dry. My words were simple to understand, but apparently she didn’t get the fucking message.

When her car beeped in the parking lot, I braced myself for her bullshit. Izzy would have a fucking field day when she heard about Tammy. I held my breath, tapped the pencil next to my jiggling phone and kept my head down as she breezed through the door chattering on her phone to her asshole flavor of the month.

Izzy isn’t an easy girl – she made the guys earn everything she gave.

Growing up with four brothers hadn’t been easy for her— we didn’t leave her the opportunity to be easy. Most of her boyfriends got chased away when she was younger, but it wasn’t like she couldn’t handle herself, but we made sure to keep her ass out of trouble


.

She threw her bag on the floor next to her station before coming to a dead stop in front of me. I snuck a peek at her. She squinted at me, already reading me like an open book, shaking her head.

“I gotta go, John,” she said into her phone, popping her gum and looking at the ceiling. Her hands opened and closed, with her fingertips touching telling me that he was rambling. “Bye, John. I don’t have time for this shit. I’ll talk to you later.” She pressed on the screen before blowing out a puff of air. She leaned over and spit her gum in the trashcan. Classic Izzy.

“Hey, sis.”

“What’s wrong?” Cocking her head, she waited, rubbing her finger across her lips.

“Nothing.” I didn’t want to tell her, but I knew it was inevitable.

“You boys are so bad at hiding shit. I’ve spent a lifetime studying you jackasses. I know you better than you know yourself. I’m guessing woman problems. Just tell me, because I won’t stop asking until you do.”

“Tammy.”

“Ah, the fruitcake,” she said as she giggled.

“What do you know about her?” My phone started to dance across the desk again and I grabbed it to stop the jerky movement.

“I’ve heard stories. We’ve all heard things.” She made air quotes with her fingers.

My sister had been holding out on me. “What didn’t you share with me, Isabella?”

“My formal name. Is someone feeling duped?”

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