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Split(5)

By:J. B. Salsbury



“You sure you’re okay to drive home alone?” Trevor’s leaning against my truck, a coffee in one hand and wearing his stupid fucking aviator glasses that make him look nothing like Maverick. His styled dirty-blond hair doesn’t budge in the wind and his pale skin screams of a man who spends most of his days inside and behind a desk.

Maybe it’s growing up in a small town, or the closest men in my life being the build-it-yourself, hunt, and drink beer type, but his pleated golf shorts and lavender collared shirt tucked in like a good little preppy doesn’t make me weak in the knees. He’s handsome, gets plenty of attention from women, but all he’s ever been for me is comfortable. He doesn’t bring out my inner sex goddess, nor does he completely repulse me.

“You sure you care?” I slam the tailgate shut a little harder than I need to.

He sighs. Loud. “Honey . . .”

I cringe inwardly at that ridiculous pet name.

“I do care, but you knew this would happen.”

Not even an ounce of sympathy, not that he’d understand why I did what I did. Trevor’s one of those robotic guys, prides himself in having zero emotions and preaches the importance of keeping all relationships, business or otherwise, feelings-free. It’s one of the things I dig about him—I mean, until now.

“This was your chance, Shyann. You blew it.” He laughs, but it’s more of a shocked I-can’t-believe-how-stupid-you-are chuckle. “You gave Leaf an orbital fracture. You fucked this up for all of us.”

“Thanks for the recap, Trevor.” I split my ponytail and pull it tight.

“You can’t expect to keep your job after that. You know better.”

“Just like a bad little puppy, you’re gonna rub my nose in it. I appreciate that.” As if I don’t already feel like shit. It’s not like I did it on purpose; it just happened.

Truth is, I’ve always had a horrible temper. I’ve managed to keep it under control; being away from my childhood home and the small town I grew up in made it easy. I distanced myself from everything that made me feel, until the newscast heard ’round the world. For me, there was no holding back.

He hooks me by the waist and pulls me into a one-arm hug, pressing our hips together. “Aw, don’t leave mad.” He kisses me and the smell of coffee on his breath mixed with his overly sweet cologne turns my stomach. “I wish you didn’t have to go back to that hick town.”

“It’s not a hick t-town. It’s a quaint m-mountain community.”

His eyes narrow. “You’re stuttering. You always stutter when you lie.”

“Whatever.” I press my hand against his chest to get some distance, and a small fire burns in my gut. “Besides, it’s only temporary until I figure out what my next move is.”

Trevor’s the one who got me the job at FBS. Job is a bit of an exaggeration, seeing as I only made enough money to pay for the necessities. Now I’ve got sixty-eight dollars in my account and my rent was past due until Trevor paid the six hundred dollars so I could get out of my lease. I’d feel bad for taking his money, but my only other option was asking my dad. Trevor was the lesser of two pride-squashing evils, and Lord knows I have little dignity left to spare.

He releases me and opens the truck door. “Drive safely and call me when you get there.” There’s a tiny hint of the man I remember meeting in my comm classes back when we had mutual respect for each other and our career goals. “Let me know what you decide.”

“Will do.” I slide into the driver’s seat and strap on my seat belt. “And . . . uh . . . I’ll send you a check as soon as I get some money.”

He shuts the door and leans down to poke his head through the open window. “I’m sorry I couldn’t give you somewhere to stay while you figure all this out. It’s just—”

“Are we really doing this? Don’t act like you give a flying fuck where I end up, Trevor.”

Disapproval twists his mouth. “That mouth’ll keep getting you into trouble if you’re not careful, honey.”

I fight the urge to shove my finger down my throat. “I like my mouth. It’s honest.”

His lips brush across my cheekbone. “Get your shit together, then bring your dirty mouth back to me. I’ll see if there are any job openings in town. Maybe the coffee shop’s hiring.” There’s a hint of humor in his voice.

“You’re an asshole.” How I ever ended up naked with him is a mystery. I mean, if lots and lots of tequila can be considered a mystery. After that it just seemed like an easy way to scratch an itch.

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