A Month In Sin
16. A Day Out
“Hey. Come with me.”
I was woken up in the strangest of ways, with Luke’s lips next to my ear as they whispered a sweet mystery to me. I didn’t know what he wanted me to come with him for, but the question behind it all got me up much faster than I was usually able to wake up.
He was already awake, showered, and dress for the day. It was one of the days between shows. We had flown into the city the night prior, and they were told to rest well today because they had to be on a talk show in the morning and a show tomorrow night.
So seeing him up and dressed, I got up and did the same. We were in a hotel room, so I could shower without waking everyone up.
It had been the first night we hadn’t actually had sex. Between all the travel and chaos, I just wasn’t in the mood to do anything but sleep. When our heads finally hit our pillows, we barely even said goodnight to one another before we were out.
The shower was nice and relaxing, with my muscles stiff from travels and the overall achiness that came from being homesick. Sometimes, a shower just made everything better.
I knew I couldn’t go out without looking somewhat presentable, but today, I just didn’t have it in me to look super good. I grabbed a pair of black skinny jeans, my maroon “Santa’s favorite brunette” sweater, and I slipped on my grey Christmas penguin socks.
I wasn’t a huge Christmas fan, though I didn’t hate holidays, but Ori and I got the sweaters to wear at Christmas together this year, and if I couldn’t be with her, I still wanted to have this small piece of our ruined plans. It was silly, and I knew it was the best thing for both of us, no matter what the outcome of our marriages, but I missed my sister. Of course I missed Claire and Elys, but Ori and I had always gotten each other. Elys was one of the triplets, but he even noticed how he didn’t really fit with Ori and me. It didn’t bother him; he knew we both loved him immensely, but there was a bond Ori and I had that I couldn’t really explain.
After putting on some eye makeup, with bronze and being pink blended eye shadow, some lengthening mascara, and a winged line of black eyeliner, I braided a thin crown braid around my head, threw half of my hair up and put that half in a messy bun, and let the rest of it hang down on my shoulders in its natural curls.
I didn’t look stunning, but I didn’t look like I just rolled out of bed either.
When I stepped out of the bathroom, Luke smiled and handed me the pair of boots I had pulled out of my bag. I hadn’t brought a whole lot with me, but there had been plenty of downtime to go shopping for clothes. I didn’t buy too many shoes, as we were on the road, but I bought a pair of grey fuzzy boots and black fuzzy hidden wedge shoes, on top of a couple other pairs.
I slipped into my boots and grabbed my white slouchy beanie off the top of my bag.
Wherever we were—somewhere in Ohio—it was cold, and I wasn’t going outside without being bundled up.
Luke helped me slide into my thick, lined with grey fur olive green military jacket, and with all of that on, I was ready to go wherever he wanted to go.
He didn’t say anything, only took hold of my hand and pulled me out of the hotel room behind him. He laced our fingers together, so I didn’t imagine he wanted to let go of my hand any time soon.
When the elevator doors closed behind us, I looked up at him, and I took a good look at him now. Wearing a fitted white Nirvana shirt and a leather jacket, with a pair of black skinny jeans, I didn’t feel so out of place. He looked damn good, though he looked better with nothing on at all, but he didn’t look like I needed to be more dressed up for whatever occasion we were going to.
“So where are you taking me?”
“Out,” he said, and his piercing blue eyes moved down towards me now, and a smile grew onto his pink lips. “I figured I was long overdue, right? You’re being forced to leave everything you know behind to make this work with me, and I know you’ve seen some of the things people are saying, and that’s not right that your entire life is changing for me. The least I can do is take you out to a proper day.”
I didn’t know where this was coming from, as I hadn’t said anything to him about . . . well, anything going on, but I liked the sound of it anyways.
There was a car waiting for us downstairs, and I was used to this kind of thing. My siblings and I learned how to drive, but we usually weren’t allowed to drive ourselves anywhere. We weren’t supposed to go without body guards, and even though I had become a pro at getting away from them, I still didn’t get to drive myself anywhere.
Luke opened the door and let me get inside, and I noticed that he kept his eyes low. That part I wasn’t used to, not even remotely. Whenever we got into cars, it was usually inside our garage or at least on our property, and when it wasn’t, no one knew who we were. They weren’t watching us or trying to take our picture.
At least we knew that this wouldn’t endanger our family. Our father’s paranoia hadn’t left, but the danger had. It was a safe life for us back in Vegas, and that wasn’t going to change because people knew who we were.
When Luke had the door closed, the driver took off, weaving into the traffic seamlessly. The air in the car was warm, so I was able to sink back into the cozy seats and get comfortable.
“So you said this was to take me out,” I said. “What made you decide to do that?”
He shrugged, but his blue eyes stayed towards the front, looking out the front windshield of the car. “I fell asleep last night, but I woke up after having a nightmare about how this all ended. I realized it was inevitable at this rate; this can’t work if we don’t get to know one another.”
He looked back at me now, and his eyebrows rose. “You do? Well, that’s what we need to do today. We need to get to know one another. I know that you hate tea, and you prefer drinks without ice. I can’t decide if you prefer Mountain Dew or Dr. Pepper, however.”
A breath pushed through my nostrils as a smile crept out on my lips. “Mountain Dew, but I keep telling myself Dr. Pepper is healthier for me, so I drink that. I always end up going back to Mountain Dew, though.”
“I think it’s a crying shame that you don’t like tea,” he said, and a toothy grin pulled onto his lips, a smile that made my heart take flight. His smiles had a way of doing that to me, even in the darkest times, and holding onto the light that was his smiles was what made me so sure this was supposed to work out. Why would he have such a profound effect on me if it wasn’t?
Was fate really that much of a bitch?
Maybe having confidence that it could work would be the best thing for us. If I went at this like there was a chance it could fail, I could work to see that it didn’t.
“Okay, so, tell me your favorite color,” I suggested. “I know it’s cheesy and not really important in the grand scheme of things, but I’d like to know.”
“Of course, love,” he said, and he stretched his long legs out underneath the seat in front of him. “Blue is my favorite color.”
“Same, but a specific blue,” I informed him. “I like the color of the sunrise, just as the sun is breaking through the sky. You don’t really see it often, but that deep blue with just a hint of light from the sun, I don’t know. Can’t really explain it, but it’s always been my favorite.”
“For someone who tries to appear like she doesn’t care about anything, you certainly have a keen eye for the world around you,” he murmured.
I shrugged. “I mean, when you spend most of your childhood locked on the property your parents own, you get there, too. Yeah, we had plenty of room to run and play, but eventually, all you can find fun and beauty in is things like the sunset, or the trees just beyond the edge of the massive fence surrounding the property.”
“Why were things so bad?” he asked. “I know your parents own some hotels and casinos in Vegas, but why was it a bad start?”
My eyebrows rose. “You sure you want the truth? Because it’s pretty dark. It’s not a fantasy or fairytale, and my dad isn’t the good guy in the story, at least not the whole time. He was an amazing father, the best we could’ve had.”
“I want to know the woman I plan to spend the rest of my life with,” he said. “Her family and all.”
I took a deep breath and began popping my fingers. “Okay, here it is. Our dad didn’t just magically come into owning half of the casinos in Vegas. At first, he just owned one—a rather shady one that he inherited from his father after his dad was murdered by a member of the mob in Vegas. Sounds like a movie, but it’s true. He was murdered because he wanted out of what his casino was doing: laundering money for the mob, acting as a front for the shady deals that went down. He never told us the details of it all. The less we knew, the better. All I know is that our casino used to be a front. Our dad took it and made it what our grandfather always wanted it to be, but he did so by becoming successful and buying out casinos all over town. With the power he had after owning half of Vegas, the mob couldn’t touch him without repercussions, so they accepted his deal to leave his casinos alone and find a new front. I think they opened some casinos of their own now—don’t know, don’t care. So the first five to ten years of our life, things were rough and dangerous. We couldn’t go out of the house unless protected by a security team that usually dressed like normal people so they blended in, and even to this day, our dad is super paranoid. The only way we get out of security is if we sneak away.”
“Wow,” he murmured. “That sounds . . . hard. I can’t imagine growing up that way. I had a wonderful childhood, with two older brothers and two parents who loved me.”
“It could’ve been a lot worse,” I admitted. “Claire was fifteen before things calmed down. We went to this prestigious school with top notch security, but she got to hear her friends talking about going to the mall, hanging out at sleepovers . . . but she never got to do any of it.”
“Is that why you and Ori are so close?”
“To be honest, I can’t really explain the bond between Ori and me,” I said. “We have Elys, and there’s Claire, but Ori is the one I’ve always been closest to. She and Claire are the girly ones of the four of us, but she’s the yin to my yang, the light to my dark. Maybe it’s because we’re so different. I don’t know, but I’ve always just felt closer to her, no matter how hard I tried to equally get close to Elys.”
His eyes widened. “Speaking of family.”
I cocked a single eyebrow at him. “What about family?”
“My mum asked us to come to Christmas in Australia.”
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The description is from the song Warmer by Bea Miller.