We Will Be Welcoming Tamsyn Bester
I put one foot in front of the other, and strode towards Dane and his ‘peeps’. The roses he’d been so generous to buy me were perched on my arm, but as I got closer, I moved them and grasped onto the thick collection of stems with my hand.
Reid saw me first. Uncertainty darted across his face, and he tapped Dane on the shoulder, alerting him of my presence. Our eyes met, and he stopped his groping session with Red long enough to register that my visit wasn’t at all a friendly one. His eyes bounced between mine, and the roses in my hand.
“Kennedy,” he said, standing up. I stopped a foot in front of him, trying to calm my nerves. My empty hand was fisted against my thigh, and I could feel my nails digging into the flesh of my palm. Seeing Dane, being face-to-face with him, and standing so close only coaxed my anger.
Time passed as we stared at each other and we paid no mind to the people around us who had suddenly grown quiet.
I ended it with the first swing of my hand, hitting Dane in the chest with the bouquet. Collective gasps sounded around me, but I was too blinded by fury to care.
“What the fuck, Kennedy!” Dane yelled, lifting his arms to shield his chest. I swung again, feeling a sick sense of satisfaction when Dane flinched.
“Who the fuck do you think you are?” I shouted between hits. Petals hit the floor, and the thwack of the stems echoed around us. “You are a disgusting human being, and a pathetic excuse of a man. I’m not one of your fucking groupies, and I’m not someone who can be bought with a bunch of overpriced fucking flowers.”
“Jesus, what the hell is wrong with you?” He grunted, and stepped back. I matched his movement and moved forward.
“What’s wrong with me?” I laughed harshly. It was empty, and yet still carried a sardonic tone. “What’s wrong with you? You told some random guy I’m a hooker when we were at Kolony, then you kissed me like you meant it, and to top it all off, you then took some trashy waitress home and fucked her all night knowing that I could hear it through the walls of my bedroom. So I’ll ask you again, Dane, what.” Wack. “Is.” Smack. “Wrong.” Thwack. “With you?”
My chest heaved from exertion and my arm dropped to my side. Dane glared at me, his eyes hard and cold. His arms were red from where I’d continued to hit him, and I could make out a few welts from where the thorns had caught his skin. The cafeteria was completely soundless, save for my heavy breathing. Who knew hitting someone with a bouquet of roses was so damn tiring?
“Kennedy.” My name came out of his mouth as a growl, but instead of being menacing, it made my skin prickle with carnal awareness.
So not the time to be turned on, you idiot.
“I suggest you turn your ass around and leave,” Dane continued, “before you make an even bigger spectacle of yourself.”
With quivering muscles, I closed the gap between us, and looked up. “I’m not leaving until every single fucking person in the room knows what an asshole you are,” I replied. “I am done being your punching bag, and the ass of all your crude jokes. I let you get away with your childish bullshit in high school, but we aren’t in high school now, and I am not that girl anymore. I fucking hate you, Dane. You make me sick to my stomach and I swear to God, if you never speak to me again, it will be too soon.”
On the outside Dane’s expression was stoic, and I knew he wanted the world outside to think my words had no effect at all. But they couldn’t see his eyes – the way they billowed with every emotion he was feeling, ranging from his own anger to a heat so scorching it warmed my skin.
“You’re playing a dangerous game,” he said. The timbre of his voice was low, and grave. Threatening.
“No,” I replied. “That’s what you don’t understand. This isn’t a game. Not anymore. I’m done.”
I lifted what was left of the rose stems, and Reid’s hand flew out. He gripped my forearm, and pried them from my aching hand before I could do anymore damage.
“I think it’s time you left,” said Reid. “You’ve made your point.”
I couldn’t see his face, but I could tell he wasn’t impressed with my outburst. That was too bad, because I felt like it was long overdue. I should have done it years ago, but I was too afraid, and to be honest, a little too blinded by the way my body seemed to respond when Dane was close by.
“Good,” I replied.
Dane’s jaw ticked, and he looked ready to retaliate. I wasn’t going to give him the chance, so I turned on my heel, aware that all eyes were on us, and walked out of the cafeteria with faux confidence. It wasn’t until I was outside that I took my first real breath of air. Even through the glass windows I could feel Dane’s eyes on my back.
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