Fallen Too Far (Chapter Six)

Staying away from Rush wasn't exactly easy since we were living under the same roof. Even if he attempted to keep his distance, we were still bumping into each other. He also avoided eye contact with me but that only made me more fascinated with him.

Two days later after our talk on the beach, I stepped into the kitchen after eating my peanut butter sandwich and was greeted by yet another half naked female. Her hair was a mess but even in it's unbrushed state she was attractive. I hated girls like that.

The girl turned to look at me. Her surprised expression quickly switched to annoyed. She batted both of her brown eyes and then placed a hand on her hip. "Did you just come out of the pantry?"

"Yes. Did you just come out of Rush's bed?" I replied. It was out of my mouth before I could stop myself.  Rush had already informed me that his sex life was not my business. I needed to shut up.

The girl raised both her perfectly plucked eyebrows and then an amused grin crossed her lips. "No. Not that I wouldn't get in his bed if he'd let me but don't tell Grant that." She waved a hand as if to shoo away a fly. "Never mind. He probably already knows."

I was confused. "So, you just got out of Grant's bed?" I asked realizing that once again this was not my business. But Grant didn't live here so I was curious.

The girl ran her hand through her messy mop of brown curls and sighed. "Yep. Or at least his old bed."

"His old bed?" I repeated.

Movement in the doorway caught my attention and my eyes locked with Rush's. He was watching me with a smirk on his lips. Great. He'd heard me prying. I wanted to look away and pretend like I hadn't just asked the girl if she'd been in his bed. The knowing gleam in his eyes told me it was no use.

"Please don't let me stop you, Blaire. Continue to give Grant's guest the third degree. I'm sure he won't mind," Rush drawled. He crossed his arms over his chest and leaned against the doorframe as if he was getting comfortable.

I ducked my head and walked over to the garbage to dust the bread crumbs from my fingers while I gathered my thoughts. I did not want to continue this conversation while Rush listened. It made me seem all too interested in him. Something he did not want.

"Good morning, Rush, thanks for letting us crash here last night. Grant had drank entirely too much to drive all the way back to his place," the girl said.

Oh. So that's the story. Crap. Why had I let my curiosity get the best of me?

"Grant knows he has a room when he wants it," Rush replied. I could see him shove off from the doorframe and walk over to the counter from the corner of my eye. His attention was on me. Why couldn't he let this go? I would leave quietly.

"Well, uh, I guess I'll run back upstairs then," the girl's voice sounded unsure. Rush didn't respond and I didn't look back at either of them. The girl took that as her cue to leave and I waited until I heard her footsteps on the stairs before glancing over at Rush.

"Curiosity killed the kitty, sweet Blaire," Rush whispered as he walked closer to me. "Did you think I'd had another sleep over? Hmmm? Trying to decide if she had been in my bed all night?"

I swallowed hard but didn't say anything.

"Who I sleep with isn't your business. Haven't we gone over this before?"

I managed to nod. If he would just let me go I'd never speak to another girl that showed up in his house.

Rush reached out and wound a lock of my hair around his finger. "You don't want to know me. You may think you do but you don't. I promise."

If he wasn't so dang gorgeous and right under my nose then it would be easier to believe this. But the more he pushed me away the more intrigued I became.

"You aren't what I expected. I wish you were. It'd be so much easier," he said in a low voice then dropped my hair then turned and walked away. When the door leading to the back porch closed I let out the breath I'd been holding.

What did he mean? What had he expected?

That night when I got home from work, Rush wasn't there.

I opened my eyes and turned to look at the small alarm clock on the nightstand. It was after nine in the morning. I had really slept in. Stretching, I reached up and turned on the light. I'd showered last night so I was clean. I had made over one thousand dollars this week. I decided I could start looking at apartments today. This time next week I should be able to get a place of my own.

I ran my hands through my hair and tried to tame it before getting up. I was going to go lay on the beach for a little while this morning. I hadn't done that yet. Today I would enjoy the ocean and sunshine.

I pulled my suitcase out from under my bed and searched inside for my white and pink bikini. It was the only one I owned. To be honest, it had been used very little. The white lace pattern and pink piping looked good with my coloring.

Pulling it on I decided it was skimpier than I remembered. Or my body had changed since the last time I had worn it. I pulled a tank top out of the suitcase to slip it on over the bikini and grabbed my sunblock. I had bought it after my first day of work. Sunblock was a must for my job.

I turned my light off and stepped into the pantry and then into the kitchen.  "Holy hell. Who is that?" a younger guy asked startling me as I stepped into the light. I glanced from the stranger sitting at the bar gawking at me to the fridge where Grant stood smiling.

"You come walking out of that room dressed like that every morning?" Grant asked.

I hadn't expected anyone to be in here. "Um, no. Normally I'm dressed for work," I replied as a low whistle came from the younger boy at the bar. He couldn't be any older than sixteen.

"Ignore the hormone ridden idiot at the bar. That's Will. His mother and Georgianna are sisters. So in some screwed up roundabout way he is my younger cousin. He showed up here last night after running away again for the hundredth damn time and Rush called me to come get him and take his crazy ass home."

Rush. Why did the sound of his name make my heart race? Because he was unfairly perfect. That was why. I shook my head to clear my Rush thoughts.  "It's nice to meet you, Will. I'm Blaire. Rush has taken pity on me until I can get my own place."

"Hey, you can come home with me. I won't make you sleep under the stairs," Will offered.

I couldn't help but smile. This kind of innocent flirting I understood.

"Thank you but I don't think your mother will appreciate that. I'm fine under the stairs. The bed is comfortable and I don't have to sleep with my gun."

Grant chuckled and Will's eyes went wide. "You've gotta gun?" Will asked in an awed voice.

"Now, you've gone and done it. I better get him out of here before he falls anymore in love," Grant replied, taking the cup he'd just filled up with coffee. He headed for the door saying, "Come on Will before I go wake up Rush and you have to deal with his ornery ass."

Will glanced at Grant then back at me as if he were torn. It was cute.

"Now, Will," Grant said in a more demanding tone.

"Hey, Grant," I called before he got to the door.

He turned back to look at me, "Yeah?"

"Thanks for the gas. I'm paying you back as soon as I get my check."

Grant shook his head, "No, you're not. I'll be insulted. But you're welcome." He winked then shot Will a warning glare before leaving the kitchen.

I waved goodbye to Will. I'd deal with how to pay Grant back without insulting him later. There had to be a way. Right now, I had another plan. I made my way to the doors leading outside. It was time to enjoy my first real day on the beach.

I stretched out on the towel I'd borrowed from the bathroom. I'd have to wash it tonight. It was the only one I had to dry off with and now I was getting it covered in sand. It was so worth it.

The beach was quiet. We weren't near other houses so this stretch of the beach was empty. Feeling brave, I pulled the tank top off and tucked it under my head. Then I closed my eyes and let the sound of the ocean waves crashing against the shore lull me back to sleep.

"Please tell me you have sunblock on," a deep voice washed over me and I leaned toward it. The clean masculine scent was yummy. I needed to get closer.

Opening my eyes, I blinked at the bright sun and covered my eyes to see Rush sitting down beside me. His eyes were studying me. Any warmth or humor in his voice I might have imagined was missing.

"You are wearing sunblock, aren't you?"

I managed to nod and then pulled myself up to a sitting position.

"Good. I'd hate to see that smooth creamy skin turn pink."

He thought my skin was smooth and creamy. It sounded like a compliment but I wasn't sure saying thank you was appropriate.

"I, uh, put some on before I came out here."

He continued to stare at me. I fought the urge to reach for my shirt and slip it on over my bikini. I didn't have the kind of body on the girls I'd seen him with. I didn't like feeling as if he were comparing me.

"You not working today?" he finally asked.

I shook my head. "It's my day off."

"How's the job going?"

He was being nice, kind of. At least he wasn't avoiding me. As silly as it seemed, I wanted his attention. There was this draw I had to him that I couldn't explain. The more he kept his distance the more I wanted to get closer. He tilted his head and cocked an eyebrow like he was waiting on me to say something.

Oh wait. He'd asked me a question. Dang those silver eyes of his. It was hard to concentrate. "Uh, what?" I asked feeling my face heat up.

He chuckled, "How is the job going?" he asked slowly.

I had to stop making an idiot out of myself around him. I straightened my shoulders, "It's going good. I like it."

Rush smirked and glanced out over the water, "I bet you do."

I paused and thought about that comment then asked, "What is that supposed to mean?"

Rush let his gaze trail down my body then back up. I was regretting not putting my tank top back on. "You know what you look like, Blaire. Not to mention that damn sweet smile of yours. The male golfers are paying you well."

He was right about the tips. He was also making me breathe funny looking at me like that. I wanted him to like what he saw but then I was also terrified of the outcome. What if he did change his mind about keeping his distance? Could I keep up?

We sat in silence for awhile as he stared straight ahead. I could tell he was thinking about something. His jaw was clenched tight and there was a frown line creasing his forehead. I thought back to what all I'd said. I couldn't think of anything that would upset him.

"How long ago did your mom pass away?" he asked turning his gaze back to me.

I didn't want to talk about my mom. Not to him. But ignoring his question was rude. "Thirty-six days ago."

His jaw worked as if he was angry about something and his frown line got deeper. "Did your dad know she was sick?"

Another question I didn't want to answer. "Yes. He knew. I also called him the day she passed away. He didn't answer. I left a message." The fact he never returned my call hurt too bad to admit.

"Do you hate him?" Rush asked.

I wanted to hate him. He had only caused pain in my life since the day my sister had died. But it was hard. He was the only family I had. "Sometimes," I replied honestly.

Rush nodded and reached over and hooked his pinky through mine. He didn't say anything but at that moment he didn't have to. That one small connection said enough. Maybe I didn't know Rush well but he was getting under my skin.

"I'm having a party tonight. It's Nan, my sister's birthday. I always give her a party. It may not be your scene but you're invited to attend if you want to."

His sister? He had a sister? I thought he was an only child. Wasn't Nan the girl who had been so rude the night I'd arrived?

"You have a sister?"

Rush shrugged, "Yeah."

Why had Grant said he was an only child? I waited for him to explain but he didn't elaborate. So I decided to ask.

"Grant said you were an only child."

Rush tensed. Then shook his head as he finger left mine and turned to look out at the water. "Grant really has no business telling you my business. No matter how damn bad he wants in your panties." Rush stood up and didn't look back at me as he turned and headed back to the house.

Something about Nan was off limits. I had no idea what it was but it was definitely off limits. I shouldn't have been so nosy. I stood up and headed out to the water. It was hot and I needed something to get my mind off Rush. Every time I let my guard down a little around him he reminded me why I needed to keep it firmly in place. The guy was strange. Sexy, gorgeous and delicious but strange.

I sat on my bed listening to the laughter and music in the house. I'd changed my mind about attending this party all day. The last time I had decided to go I'd put on the only nice dress I still owned. It was a red dress that hugged my chest and hips then hung in a short baby doll cut around my mid-thigh. I'd bought this dress when Cain had invited me to Senior Prom. Then he'd been nominated for prom king and Grace Anne Henry had been nominated prom queen. She'd wanted to go to the prom with him and he'd called and asked me if it would be okay if he went with her instead. Everyone had said they would win and he thought it would be cool if they were there together. I'd agreed with him and hung my dress back in my closet. That night I'd rented two movies and made brownies. Mom and I had watched romantic comedies and eaten brownies until we were stuffed. It was one of the last times I remember her not being so sick from chemo that she could actually eat treats like brownies.

Tonight I had pulled the dress out of my bag. It wasn't expensive by these people's standards. It was actually pretty simple. The red material was soft chiffon. I glanced down at my mom's silver heels that I'd kept. They had been the ones she'd worn the day of her wedding. I had always loved them. She never wore them again but they were kept in a box wrapped up tightly.

I risked a big chance of going out there and being humiliated. I didn't fit in with them. I'd never fit in at my high school either. My life was just one big awkward moment. I needed to learn to fit in. To walk away from the awkward girl who was left out in high school because she had bigger issues.

Standing up, I ran my hands over my dress to get out any wrinkles from sitting there thinking over the wisdom of joining the party. I would walk out there. Maybe get a drink and see if anyone spoke to me. If it was a complete disaster, I could always run back in here, put on my pajamas and curl up in bed. This was a good small step for me.

Opening the pantry door, I stepped into the kitchen very grateful that no one was in there. Walking out of the pantry would be slightly hard to explain. I could hear Grant's voice laughing loudly and talking to someone in the living room. He would talk to me. I could ease into this with Grant. Taking a deep breath, I walked out of the kitchen and down the hall into the foyer. White roses and silver ribbons were everywhere. It reminded me of a wedding instead of a birthday party. The front door opened startling me. I stopped and watched as familiar dark smoky eyes met mine. My face felt warm as Woods' eyes took a long slow appraisal of me.

"Blaire," he said when his eyes finally made their way back to my face. "I didn't think it was possible for you to get any sexier. I was wrong."

"Hell, yeah girl. You clean up real nice." The guy with curly blond hair and blue eyes smiled at me. I couldn't remember his name. Had he even told me?

"Thank you," I managed to croak out. I was being awkward again. This was my chance to fit in. I needed to work on that.

"I didn't know Rush had started golfing again. Or are you here with someone else?" Confused it took me a moment to understand Woods meaning. When I realized that he thought I was here with someone who I had met at work I grinned. That wasn't the case at all.

"I'm not here with anyone. Rush is um… well Rush's mother is married to my father." There that explained it.

Woods' slow easy grin got bigger as he walked toward me. "Is that so? He is making his stepsister work at the country club? Tsk tsk. The boy has no manners. If I had a sister that looked like you I'd keep her locked up… all the time," He paused and reached up to brush his thumb across my cheek. "I'd stay with you of course. Wouldn't want you to be lonely."

He was definitely flirting. Heavily. I was way out of my league with this one. He was too experienced. I needed some space.

"Those legs of yours should come with a warning. Impossible not to touch," his voice lowered a notch and I glanced over his shoulder to see that blondie had left us.

"Are you… are you friends with Rush or uh, Nannette?" I asked remembering the name Grant had used to introduce us the first night.

Woods shrugged, "Nan and I have a complicated friendship. Rush and I have known each other our entire lives."  Woods hand slid behind my back. "I'm betting like hell Nan isn't a fan of yours, though."

I wasn't sure. We hadn't really had any contact since that first night. "We don't really know each other."

Woods frowned, "Really? That's odd."

"Woods! You're here," a female squealed as she entered the room. He turned his head to see a red headed girl with long thick curls and a curvy body barely covered with black satin. This would be his distraction. I started to step away and go back toward the kitchen. My moment of bravery was now gone.

Woods hand clamped down on my hip, firmly holding me in place. "Laney," was all that Woods said in response. Her big brown eyes shifted from him to me. I watched helplessly as she took in his hand settled on my hip. This was not what I wanted. I needed to fit in.

"Who is she?" the girl snapped her eyes now glaring at me.

"This is Blaire. Rush's new sister," Woods replied in a bored tone.

The girl's eyes narrowed and then she laughed. "No, she isn't. She's wearing a cheap ass dress and even cheaper shoes. This girl, whoever she says she is, is lying to you. But then you were always weak when it came to a pretty face, weren't you, Woods?"

I really should have stayed in my room.