For the story so far
“Nothing,” I attempted.
“Bullshit, Matt assumes most of the stuff you do is a result of you being absent-minded, but you are not overly flaky. Your car is well maintained, your unit well maintained, you have a knack for hunting out a bargain. You’ve pulled yourself up from a serious low, you have a job that is okay.”
It’s a bit deep for this time of the morning,” I looked at the clock above the fridge alcove and saw it was almost 11am. “Oh, it’s later than I thought,” I added.
Sam eyed me. I did my best, seriously I did but the man had something about him.
I took a spoonful of my cereal and ate it, trying to ignore his gaze.
“My parents died and Matt was on deployment. Heck, it was three weeks after they died that he found out about it. I was seventeen and at a military boarding school with no outlet for my anger. The school was good about it. They had great support crew but it wasn’t the same. I went off the rails, I ran away, I did drugs; I did whatever I could to feel something other than numb. I’ve got over most of that. I feel now, I can be empathic, I can be sad, I can even be happy. All of that does not matter because regardless of what I feel most of the time I feel like I am god damn acting. I feel like I am watching life from the corner of the ceiling, disconnected.” My voice rose a little, got a little louder.
“Your kiss yesterday, it made me feel desirable, not simply act desirable. I felt worth and I don’t think I felt like that since my parents died.” I risked a look at Sam. His blue eyes were intense and I was glad that I knew he was on my side. “I know I dress the part of a sexy woman often enough,” I continued, “but that is to trick myself into feeling like one.”
“Does it work?” Sam asked, his voice husky, “Do you feel desirable when you dress that way?”
“When I look at you,” I admitted and ate some more cereal.
Sam grinned. “I’m going to get an ego if we continue this conversation.”
I laughed. “You don’t have an ego already,” I raised my left eye at him, “Cause you military types aren’t exactly short on self-confidence.”
I gave him a cheeky grin and he pulled me up out of the chair to kiss me passionately. I ended up pressed into the counter, his hands under my shirt, my hands feeling the firm, contours of the muscles of his back.
“Watch it Indy, I’ve spent most of the time since picking you up, trying to avoid touching you.” Sam’s voice was deep and I could have melted down to the ground if he wasn’t holding me up. “But,” his voice cracked a little. “I’m very good at ruining relationships and you are Matt’s little sister.”
He steadied me and stepped away.
“Matt has nothing to do with this. Did you get the bit that I was all alone for weeks and then after the funeral Matt pissed off back on tour again.”
My phone rang and I felt a bolt of fear unfurl in my stomach. I rushed to the hall table, where I had left the bag the night before.
Shit, this was getting too much, opening up to Sam, running out of fuel, the sunroof, the phone calls I hadn’t even mentioned yet.
I found the phone in the detritus of my bag. It stopped ringing just as I found it. Scrolling through, I looked at the number and turned the volume down so Sam wouldn’t hear it ringing next time. There would be the next time too.
“Are you going to return the call,” Samuel asked from close by. His eyes were hooded, the sexual intensity of earlier gone. Now his soulful eyes were businesslike again.
“Nope, I don’t usually answer the phone to a number I don’t have in my contacts. They can leave a message and I’ll get back to them.”
“Sounds like a good strategy,” he ushered me back into the gorgeous kitchen, before adding; “Matt said something yesterday that concerns me. He tells me you were asking about how to disable the GPS tracking chip in your mobile.”
“Yep,” I went for evasive action. Samuel was silent. I looked at his eyes, it was the wrong move. Sam’s gaze again drilled into me.
“Does he ever not keep his mouth shut,” I caved in. I hadn’t even want to ask my brother in the first place, but I had run out of options. I’d asked a few of the tech heads at work, but they didn’t know and I couldn’t ask any of the police officers that I occasionally came in contact with. I didn’t want Matt to handle anything. He’d been there, done that and I had eventually done a better job without him.
Sam moved over to another wall display that had been hidden cleverly behind a timber lift up cabinet door. It seemed that his entire house was wired with technology at fingertip access.
“Spill, sexy,” Samuel growled at me. He swiped his hand over a few options on the screen in the wall. I moved to look at the display more closely.
“That’s pretty amazing,” I said attempting to stall. It was about as successful as my last tactic.
“And I’ll explain it all to you, after you tell me what the problem is,” Sam was persistent, “Why did you want your phone locator disabled?”
I stalled again, eating some more cereal. “I’ve been getting odd messages on my phone,” my shoulders slumped, my head sank a little. Damn men, I was a strong independent woman. I could handle this.
“Did you keep them?” Samuel asked. He was no longer playful. He was in full soldier mode. I did not answer quick enough.
“Phone,” he demanded. I got the phone.
“I am not an idiot.” I tossed it to him and sat down, finished my cereal and took a couple of slices of pawpaw. Outside the clouds won the clouds versus sunshine competition and the slight shadows disappeared.
“Unlock it, sweetheart.” He said. The sweat heart was not complimentary.
I sneered at him and he childishly sneered back.
I found Matt’s phone and texted Beth’s from it. “Glad you’re all fine, looking 4ward to seeing ST. All tucked up and dry at Sam’s. He is so annoying.”
I cleaned up my dishes and got a text back. “Intrigued. Am exhausted but as the city is effectively shut down due to storms, looking forward to quiet days. Don’t be good. Beth.”
I wished, but Samuel had hangups as well as me. Go figure. Perhaps I should start with him about his background.
I deleted the message and turned around to find Sam glaring at me. My phone was in his hand. He had my message screen open to my saved stalker messages as I called them.
“You only just mentioned this to Matt,” he said. “It’s been going on for six months.”
“And,” I said in measured tones, “I am not a child. I am constantly aware of who is around me. I am taking precautions.”
“How,” he interrupted me, demanding.
“I’ve had a monitored alarm system installed.”
“Did you think to ask Matt and I,” he demanded. “It’s our bread and butter.”
“You do corporate security not domestic,” I told him firmly, “And I did not want Matt to overreact. He had a new baby on the way; you just expanded your business.”