“Brandy, where the hell have you been? I’ve been looking all over for you!” Closer, closer, Sam approached, I could see his mouth as he said the words. That mouth that had been on Zoe’s. Again, bile rose in my throat, not from hurt, but anger. My ego was stewing in the stomach juices of betrayal.
“Just stay away from me, Sam. It’s over. I – I saw you and Zoe.” I hissed and dodged away from him, “My ride is here...” Oh, god, I just claimed that ride. I did so voluntarily. The ride my brain shouted against taking.
Sam was about to protest but was cut off.
“I’ll make sure she gets home.” The English guy announced.
Oh, no…no…no… no. He can’t do that! I claimed the ride for myself. And now I was trapped into sharing a ride with Mr. Creepy. There was no way out of it, at least not without Sam insisting on taking me home himself. And Sam was the last person I wanted to be around. Well not exactly, Zoe was really the last person I wanted to be around, but in her case, I wanted to knock the shit out of her for betraying our friendship.
“You d-don’t need to do that.” I stammered out to the English guy.
“Who the hell are you?” Sam stepped in and confronted the guy.
“Me? I’m the guy taking your ex-girlfriend home.” He answered with a smirk then added, “safely, of course.”
“No, I don’t think so, lad.” A deliberate dig at the guy's use of terms, “Brandy, I’ll take you home and we can talk about this.” Sam insisted as he approached me again.
“NO, no you won’t!” I yelled. Then realized what I had just done, I solidified sharing a ride with Mr. Gorgeous Tall and Creepy with the sexiest accent I’ve ever heard. Again danger, chilled my entire body.
“Do you know this guy?” Sam asked bewildered by my decision.
“I’m Coyne.” He introduced himself, “And your ex-girlfriend and I have had a… nice chat out here, while you and the other lass, have been… tonguing it. She wanted to go home so I called her a car.”
“Coyne?” Sam huffed, “Coyne what?”
Okay…That name punched my funny bone, Coyne Crews? An uncontrollable giggle bubbled up from nowhere and formed into a full-on hysterical laugh.
Between breaths I asked, “Coyne… Coyne Crews? Really? You’ve got to be kidding me? What kind of proper English family names their child Coyne?” I continued, “I thought the British used more traditional names, like William, Peter, Henry…” I was on a roll. I mouth was on overdrive from pent up anger, fear, confusion, embarrassment.
“You surprise me,” Coyne said, “One day I’d like to show you a proper English…” He shook his head, “well, we’ll discuss it then. But for now, let’s get a move on, the gentle…” he paused looking into the car, “woman is here to take you and I home.”
I should be safe I told myself. A female driver, I knew his name and Sam had seen him. I felt better now after a good laugh, but was I ready to share a ride with Coyne?
Sam protested. I rolled my eyes and got into the vehicle with Coyne. After closing the door, the light scent of musk, leather and cigarette smoke filled the cab. A smell I would always associate with Coyne Crews.
The driver introduced herself as Delia and asked where we were going. I gave her my address. Coyne and I sat uncomfortably close in the back seat of the small economy vehicle. My bare knee bounced nervously off his. Hastily, I took my purse and place it between us.
“Did you two have a good time?” asked Delia like she was an old friend.
Coyne smirked with a shrug as his answer. Not so talkative now...
“Did daddy spoil your fun?” The dig from earlier events spilled out of my mouth. Oh god, I should not have said that. Clamping my mouth shut, I gave him a sideways glance. Just ignore that, please… I begged him silently. He raised a brow then shook his head. I let out a slow breath of relief. Just shut up Brandy, I told myself.
Slowly my eyes began to itch. Contorting my face, I tried to do the old, face muscle stretch to ease it. No luck. Then I open and closed my eyes several times, it did nothing to soothe the irritation. I had made perfectly smokey eyes for this evening, and I wasn’t about to mess them up by smudging them off my face. But the burn and itch continued to increase. Oh, shit, I fisted my hands, I wanted to rub them so badly. The urge overtook any control I had… First, I tried to pull the edges of my lid to slits. Doing so only made it worse. I wanted to scream.
The irritation so intense, I thought fuck it and went to town rubbing my perfect smokey beauties. As I rubbed, I could feel them puffing up. In the fit of alleviating the itch, one of my false lashes fell and stuck to my upper lip. There was only one thing that had my allergy manifest so intensely and quickly.
“Have cats been in this car?” I asked pulling the stuck lash from my lip.
I could feel Coyne’s eyes on me. A chuckle burst from his mouth. I shot him a scathing pathetic look with my burning watery eyes.
“How much shit did you put on your face tonight?” He asked scrutinizing my face. “You’re losing some lashes there, luv.”
“Is there a problem?” Delia asked stopping Coyne from commenting further...
“Yeah, I’m… highly allergic… to cats,” I answered irritably between sniffed, as my nose began to drip liquid like a faucet.
As if cued, the cat made its presence known, “Meow… meow.” Who the hell drives around with a cat?
Delia answered that question, “Petunia’s her name. She’s my emotional support animal. See…” she said, as she pointed in the dark cab to what looked like a paper taped onto a dashboard. “A note from my physiatrist…”
And that was the night I met Coyne Crews.
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