Home > Love's Cruel Redemption (The Ghost Bird #12)(6)

Love's Cruel Redemption (The Ghost Bird #12)(6)
Author: C.L. Stone

“Bloody murder,” Nathan said. He thought of the times Rocky or others had tried to mess with Sang, and how often they’d all gotten into fights over Sang for similar situations. “We should probably fight, yeah? Maybe take a swing at me.” It seemed like a normal thing to do. The fact that they hadn’t yet done it was probably more surprising to Erica and Jessica watching.

Kota’s green eyes darkened behind his glasses, and then he shrugged. “Maybe I should. Just a little. After that, go home. Stay there. Don’t come by. Maybe in a week, or whenever they seem ready, come back and apologize...”

Nathan went over what he could say and before Kota could say anything else, he spoke loud enough to hopefully be heard in the house, “Don’t blame her. She didn’t do anything. I was the one asking her to kiss me.”

Kota put his hands on Nathan’s chest and shoved, sharply, once.

It wasn’t that forceful, but Nathan stumbled backward a few steps. He held his hands out, taking a very weak defensive stance. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I wasn’t thinking...”

“No, you weren’t thinking,” Kota said, raising his voice as well. He shoved once more at Nathan, again weakly.

“You’re going too easy,” Nathan said under his breath. “They’ve seen us fight. You’ve got to punch me.” Shoving around didn’t feel that convincing.

Kota made a fist, a weak one, and connected loosely with Nathan in the chest.

It was barely a play punch. “Harder,” Nathan seethed.

Kota threw his punches carefully, but he landed three more at full force. Nathan did nothing to protect himself, simply taking his ‘punishment.’ One final punch from Kota connected with Nathan’s face.

Nathan backed away waving his arms and shaking his head. His lip had split and he tasted blood. “I’m not going to fight you,” Nathan said. “I said I was sorry.”

Kota shouted at him, “Go home! Don’t come back here.”

They stared at each other. It pained Nathan to see Kota that upset, faking angry... It wasn’t real, he knew it. But it felt real.

Maybe in a small way, it was. Nathan felt the same anger on occasion when he heard Sang kissed one of the others. Knowing she might was one thing. Hearing it...seeing it...

Nathan had to walk away, pretend to be humble. He hated the idea of what Erica may be thinking of him at that moment. If he wanted even a chance of getting Jessica or Erica to forgive him, and to pretend Sang forgave him, too, there was nothing else to do.

It just felt wrong. Jessica would have the wrong idea about him. Not only that, but he was leaving Sang behind to lie about it all.

Nathan turned away from Kota, forcing himself to sprint, to run away and to his house across the street. He wanted to hide, to give it time and to let things settle as fast as possible.

He swallowed hard, feeling the frog in his throat. The emotions welling up as he walked away from the Lee household. Their house had been his home away from home so many times. Now for the first time in his life, he was unwelcome, cast out for a mistake he’d made, an accusation that wasn’t actually real.

Maybe that was the worst of it. It was all fake, and there was no reason for Jessica or Erica to feel like that.

He was helping Kota out in a sticky spot. And Sang, in a way. That’s what he told himself. For now, she needed this more. Not even a week out from under her parents for good, and he’d caused a few problems.

Nathan used his keys to let himself into his own house and closed the front door again. He stood there, gazing at the keys in his hand. He didn’t realize at first he was staring at Kota’s key in particular. Green paint stuck around the edges and the silver metal showed through from years of use.

He wanted to go back. Now that the moment of panic was over, now that he was home, it felt wrong. It felt like they were lying to Jessica and to Erica.

But what would they say if they knew the truth? What if they admitted that Kota and Nathan, as well as the rest of their friends, were considering the idea of dating Sang?

Not just dating. Forming a relationship. A permanent one.

Nathan slowly reached out to the side table and dropped his keys in a bowl on top. He needed to think, to figure out what to do next.

Truly, that’s what they all needed. Enough time to think and sort it out.

Nathan stretched his muscles and then tested his lip, pressing his fingers to the surrounding skin. Any bruises or cuts would heal, but he was more concerned with repairing the relationship with people he considered family.

His wild thoughts finally focused enough that Nathan reached into his pocket and instantly dialed for Mr. Blackbourne.

They needed to let someone know, and hopefully get some help figuring out what to do.

Mr. Blackbourne picked up on the third ring. “What’s going on?” he asked. It was abrupt, but Nathan was used to Mr. Blackbourne knowing if they called at odd times, there was usually something wrong.

“I messed up,” Nathan said. He shuddered and then let out a slow breath. “Or maybe Kota and I messed up. I just didn’t know what else to do.”

Mr. Blackbourne’s tone changed from sharp to sympathetic instantly. “Whatever it is, we’ll fix it.”

“I don’t know if this is fixable.”

“Tell me what happened.”

Nathan went over quickly what happened in the bathroom, including what Sang was really saying. She had been trying tell him something, only Nathan had thought she wanted to talk to him about their relationship, the same discussion they’d been having. Or maybe she wanted to talk about something else, but he very much emphasized she wanted to kiss him and he would have stopped if he knew she didn’t want to.

Only the more Nathan went over what happened, he realized how much Jessica possibly may have actually overheard. There were times to when they were both quiet and then there were times when they got a bit louder. Depending on when Jessica had shown up and how much she actually heard, it could easily appear really bad, or very, very horrible.

“This is all something we were all going to facing sooner or later,” Mr. Blackbourne said.

“Not like this. And it’s not later. Or sooner. It’s right now. It’s happening.”

Mr. Blackbourne spoke, “I understand your reasoning for fighting on the front lawn, but I’m not sure that was the best solution.”

“I didn’t want them thinking Sang was cheating on Kota.”

“I understand the purpose, but what I mean is instead of Kota pretending to react, he could’ve told them about what was going on.”

“We weren’t sure if we should. I didn’t want to ask Kota to do that right in that moment.” Nathan sighed. “And what if they think we’re crazy? We don’t even fully know if we’re going to do this...” He couldn’t finish what he wanted to say. It had taken a lot of time for Nathan to even get to the point to where he didn’t get mad just looking at Victor, or Luke or any of the others because he knew when they were with Sang.

It was an unusual idea, and he’d grown used to thoughts of getting married and having a normal life, a lot like Sang had said she’d wanted in the past. It took Nathan spending so much time with Sang for him to realize she wouldn’t leave him just because she spent an afternoon with Luke. Or Victor. Or any of the others.

And that she’d probably be okay with being in a relationship with nine guys, even if she previously wanted the same normal type of life Nathan had wanted. The whole situation was unexpected.

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