Because of Low (Chapter Sixteen)


I sat on the edge of the bed and cradled my head in my hands. What the hell had just happened? And why had I not been able to reach her? Watching her bury herself in Cage's arms had been more than I could handle. The jealousy that he was the one she went to ate me alive. I was second best. Again. But this time it was ripping me apart.

Sadie hadn't consumed me this way. She hadn't owned me. Low did.

The door opened slowly and I turned my head to see Will ow stepping inside the room. I watched as she closed the door behind her. The worry and fear in her eyes killed me but I didn't go to her. She hadn't wanted me. It had been Cage she wanted.

"I'm sorry you saw me like that," she said in a small voice.

That's why she was sorry?

"You turned to him. Not me."

Her eyes widened in surprise.

"I was having an anxiety attack. I was focused on breathing.

When I heard Cage's voice I knew he'd helped me through it. He's had to help me through a lot of them."

"I could have helped you."

Her eyes glistened with unshed tears and she took a tentative step toward me then stopped.

"I needed Cage because the attack had to do with Cage. I needed reassurance from him."


"I don't understand," I said sitting up and watching her take another step in my direction.

"You see, Cage has never left me. My father left me. My mother left me. My sister left me. Cage never left me. When people would leave me, he was always there. He is the one person I've always depended on. I've always known no matter what he'll be there." She stopped and took a deep breath. "When I opened the fridge and my drinks were gone, well that's never happened. I thought he was letting me go. I thought he was leaving me too." Ah damn.

Standing up I closed the distance she'd been afraid to bridge.

"I'm here. You have me."

She gave me a sad smile.

"One day, whatever this is will end. Relationships always do. Then you'll leave me too."

She'd been hurt so much.

I took her face in my hands and held her gaze.

"Listen to me. I'm in love with you. Mad crazy in love with you. I'm not going anywhere. Ever. You can't get rid of me." A tear rolled down her face and I swiped it with my thumb then kissed the tip of her nose.

"I really want to believe you and I think you really believe that but Marcus where I come from, people leave." If it took me the rest of my life I'd prove to her I wasn't going anywhere. She just needed actions not words. Words she'd heard before.

"I'll spend the rest of my life proving it to you." She closed her eyes, "I hope so," she whispered.

I reached down and grabbed her hand and pulled her over to the bed. I'd come up here thinking about doing a little more of what we'd done this morning but things had changed. Now I just wanted to be the one who held her. I wanted to make it all better. Just me.

I opened my eyes and the room was dark and I was alone in bed. Sitting up I ran my hands through my hair and stood up to go find Will ow. When I opened the bedroom door Larissa smiled up at me, "Martus," she announced loudly.

"Princess," I replied smiling down at her. Two little arms lifted in the air and I reached down to pick her up. I'd already learned that wordless demand.

"I didn't know you were coming to visit me." She clapped,"Martus pay."

"He just woke up Larissa, give him a minute," Will ow chided her as she walked out of the kitchen.

"I made some chicken fettucini alfredo if you want some.

Tawny stopped by unexpectedly about an hour ago and dropped Larissa off. I'm supposed to work tonight but if I didn't keep her she was going to leave her with this awful lady down the street all night long. I couldn't let her do that, so," she shrugged.

"I'll keep her."

Will ow froze and stared at me.

"You will?" the shock on her face hurt a little.

"Yeah, of course. I was going to stay here tonight anyway.

She and I will build blocks and knock them over, play with spoons, we'll have a blast."

A smile broke across Will ow's face that made me feel ten feet tall.

"Okay, um, thanks, I mean, wow, are you sure?" I walked over to her and leaned over to place a quick kiss on her surprised little mouth.

"Very sure."

"Martus tiss," Larissa said happily then leaned over and laid a very wet kiss on my cheek.

Will ow giggled, "Alright you don't go stealing my man." Her man. I liked that a lot. A whole damn lot.

"Impossible. Even for adorable curly headed blondes," I assured her and ruffled Larissa's hair.

"Martus pay," Larissa announced again.

"Yeah I heard you chic. Let's go play," I replied.

"Wait aren't you hungry?"

I'd forgot she'd cooked. My stomach rumbled and I looked at Larissa.

"Can I eat first then we'll play. You can sit beside me and eat too."

"Bite bites" Larissa responded.

Turning to Will ow for a translation, Larissa proceeded to chant, "Martus bite bites"

"Bite bites is what she likes to call eating," Will ow explained.

"Makes complete sense to me," I replied and both girls giggled.


The television ill uminated the dark apartment when I stepped inside. There was no sound coming from the T.V.

but The Tonight Show was on the screen. When my eyes adjusted, I found Marcus sound asleep on the couch with Larissa snuggled up on his chest also sound asleep.

Blocks scattered the floor and what looked like cookie crumbs made a trail from the living room to the kitchen. My heart swelled. I loved him. I never thought this would happen. I never expected to love anyone else. Not this way.

I picked up the blocks and stacked them back in the basket I kept here for when Larissa came over. Then I leaned down to whisper in Marcus's ear, "I'm home." His eyes blinked open then a sleepy smile greeted me.

"Hey," he mumbled.

"I'm just going to take her and put her in bed with me. I'll get you a blanket and pillow."

"I can take her," he said starting to sit up. I placed my hand on his shoulder and pushed him back down.

"No, you stay put. I'll do it." I kissed the small frown between his eyebrows and took Larissa from his arms.

After tucking her in and securing her with pillows I went back out to the couch with a pillow and blanket for Marcus.

He hadn't moved. He was exhausted no doubt. Keeping Larissa wasn't for the faint hearted. His eyes were closed.

Long blond eyelashes brushed his cheekbones. I bent over him to put the pillow under his head when two hands grabbed my waist and pulled me down on top of him.

"Mmmm, that's better," he whispered before claiming my mouth. His mouth was sweet and gentle at first but the more I shifted my body the more aggressive the kiss became.

The warmth of his mouth tasted like chocolate chip cookies and I couldn't get enough of him. I grasped the front of his shirt pulling him closer. His hands moved up my thighs and cupped my bottom squeezing and moaning as I pressed against him. We were going there again. Before we went any further I pulled back and looked down at him. The desire in his eyes undid me.

desire in his eyes undid me.

"I love you too," I whispered.

His eyes widened then his mouth was back on mine. This time wide awake and determined. I wanted all of him. There was no question in my mind. His hands were everywhere and I felt shaky all over from excitement. Breaking the kiss his hands started tugging on my shorts.

"Take these off," he demanded.

I stood up nervous but so incredibly excited I couldn't keep from trembling. I wasn't sure if he wanted everything off.

Raising my eyes I looked at him and he shook his head.

"Keep your panties on. I don't want our first time to be on this couch and if you take those off I'm a goner." Smiling I crawled back on top of him and straddled him then once again got lost in Marcus Hardy.