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Ch1 Start 2

It was the sounds of voices that woke me up. The space beside me empty. It was late morning and I grabbed my robe and tied the belt to hold it in place as I went looking for Sin.

“Morning pretty lady,” Slater greeted with a wink, standing with Sin in my kitchen.

I hugged him. It was no surprise to see him here. He only lived a few house down from us and had a key to our place. Sin and Slater were so close, they were a package deal. I didn’t mind. In my eyes they were like brothers, all that was missing was the DNA in their blood.

I moved to kiss Sin who lowered his head to press a kiss to my mouth. I would never get used to the affection we shared. Even the most simple kiss between us lit something that couldn’t easily be extinguished. Would I ever get to stage when I wouldn’t want to drag to bed and have my way with him?

He put his arm around me as the three of us stood in the kitchen. I leaned into him. He had a way of making me feel safe, when I was with him I didn’t have irrational fears of being harmed. He was my protector.

“Where’s Jordan?” I asked.


Jordan was still studying. I had finished my degree. The idea of studying further had been tainted my memories of my abduction. No matter how much therapy I had and how much I tried, there had been too much to overcome. I couldn’t walk around campus without looking over my shoulder, or feeling like I was being watched.

I knew it was all in my head but that did nothing to weaken the fear. By the time I had finished my last course I had walked off campus and never looked back.

Some days I still experienced a debilitating fear that made it difficult to get out of bed but most days I could manage.

Even now, when I thought back to it now, it still had the power to make me tremble. Sin’s arm tightened around me. Had he felt it?

“What time is our meeting today?” Slater asked Sin.

They have a software company they both owned. Sin was the one in charge and Slater oversaw the technical side. Honestly I had once asked Slater to show me the code he wrote. I hadn’t been able to make sense of it. It gave me a new found respect for him and his ability to do what he did so well.

Looking at them, you wouldn’t think they owned and ran a very successful company. They both wore jeans and shirts with their favorite bands. The only time they dressed a little more formal was when they were having a meeting with a new client.

Success hadn’t changed them. They were both the same guys I had first met when I had started college. The only difference was now they weren’t trying to sleep their way through the female population.

They were a good friends and a good team. They knew their strengths and worked easily together. It was something that had developed over the years of their friendship.

“One, so don’t be late.”

Slater nodded. He got the milk from the fridge and poured it into a bowl of cereal.

He came over so much I ensured I had multiple boxes of his favorite cereal. I understood the closeness between the two of them and facilitated it wherever I could.

Some women would be threatened by their closeness but I wasn’t. Their friendship had pulled them through some tough times. If they hadn’t had each other I wasn’t sure either of them would be here.

Besides Slater was so easy going and charming. It was only when he thought no one was looking did you see the seriousness creep in as well as the ghosts from his past.

We were all marred by the things that had happened to us. Some worse than others. But unlike me, Sin and Slater seemed to handle it better. I felt like the weak one who struggled the most. I feared what I would do if it became too much to handle.

I shook it off as I squeezed Sin a little tighter. He in turn hugged me closer, I breathed him in and it calmed me. Slater chatted in the background.

Later, after Slater left, Sin watched me from the doorway as I made the bed.

“You okay?” he asked softly.

I swallowed. “Don’t worry, I’m fine.” I made a point of stopping what I was doing to give him a smile.

He frowned. “Don’t do that.”

“Do what?” I asked, puzzled at what he was suggesting.

“Don’t pretend with me Tay. I can see it in your eyes. I felt it when I held you earlier.”

When I had trembled in the kitchen.

I sighed. “Sometimes it’s easier to pretend Sin.”

I didn’t want to always face the demons of my past. Sometimes I just wanted to pretend I was someone else, with a past free from death and pain.

He moved to take my hands in his. “You never have to pretend with me. Ever.” He studied me. “I love every part of you Taylor. The one that’s broken, the one makes me want to take you to bed every time you touch me. Even the one who is fearful of the future and what it might hold. I love them all.”

He had a way of saying the most beautiful things that made my heart ache.

“I’m not the only one who had bad things happen to me. I don’t have a monopoly on it.” I sighed. “Why can’t I deal with it better? Why do I have to feel like I’m drowning in it?”

My throat was raw.

Couldn’t I just be the Taylor who loved him, not the one who had witnessed the death of her parents, the mental breakdown and then kidnapping years later.

“Don’t minimize what you’ve been through Taylor. We’ve all had a tough time growing up but none of that compares to what you went through.”

I swallowed, hating the familiar emotion at the mention of a past where my parents were murdered.

“And what happened with Eric would have been traumatizing for any of us. It’s only been a year Taylor. No one expects you to move on like nothing happened. You’re the one who being so tough on yourself. And I’m telling you to give yourself time to heal from it. There is no rush.”

I hated how someone’s deluded actions had set me back again. Just when I had been getting my life together, he had taken something I wasn’t sure I would ever get back.

I had forced myself to go back to school to pretend that I could live my life without fear. But it had been a shame. I had gone onto the internet and looked up every family member connected to the two men who had murdered my parents. The fear in me and needed me to be able to protect myself from that happening again and my logic was if I knew what they looked like it could be prevented.

It gave me a sense of control.

Control was what I had lacked when my parents had died. For years I had wrestled with the guilt that perhaps there had been something I could have done to change the outcome.

I’d had no control when Eric had kidnapped me.

I promised myself I would never allow myself to be put into a situation where I had no way of controlling it.

It was that need for control that had led me to quit my waitressing job. I still wasn’t working. New people and new environments scared me. Not that I needed to work but I wanted to work myself back to where I had some independence. Sin couldn’t carry me through every part of our lives together. Who would carry him through a tough time if I couldn’t?

It was supposed to be an equal partnership but it currently didn’t feel like it.

I wasn’t improving with time, in fact I was getting worse. Therapy wasn’t helping and I didn’t want to be forced to take medication.

“A penny for your thoughts,” Sin murmured.

I shrugged. “I might need whole dollar.”

“I need you to talk to me. I can’t help if I don’t know what’s going on.”

The truth was no one could help me. I had to help myself and I had no idea how to.

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