So, I really wanted to go ahead and add this part in...that's the reason behind the quick update... the next section that I post, probably won't be as long because I still have to write it...However, the subsequent chapters have already been written. I just need to go ahead and do the in between to bridge the gaps..... so tell me what you think....Love, Kiss, and Bliss~ Artamiss

Chapter Six

It was a good thing that I hadn't gotten out of the car yet. I pulled back out of the garage and drove to Eric's. I saw his car parked in the underground garage when I got there. I pulled into the guest spot next to his black Audi and took the elevator to the eighth floor. I used my key to get in and shut the door behind me. I called out to him but got no answer; I could hear the television going on in the bedroom.

When I opened the door, what I saw broke both my heart and my spirit in half. Eric was naked on the bed legs spread with Coach Monday passed, out in his lap. I tore the ring he gave me from out of my clutch and threw it, as hard as I could, at his head. He jerked straight up and saw me standing there trembling. Coach Monday just repositioned herself but never woke up.

"Eden?"

I didn't say anything. How could I? How could he? What could he say that would make this all okay? I ran and almost made it to the front door before Eric caught up with me and grabbed my arm.

"Baby, it's not what you think." He said in a whisper.

"Yeah and what am I supposed to think Eric?" I whispered back harshly.

"We were both drinking and she followed me here…"

"Then you should have never let her in, much less get naked." I said cutting him off. I was fighting of the tears as hard as I could but I knew I would crack.

"I didn't let her in, she told the front desk that she was my fiancé and wanted to surprise me so they gave her a key. They know that a woman has been coming here regularly, so I guess they just assumed it was you. I was in the shower when she came up behind me. I tried to get her to leave, but you can clearly see that she's drunk. We were both drinking quite a bit." He rushed to explain. I didn't give a flying fuck that he was frustrated or drunk. It didn't excuse what happened. I jerked my arm free.

"Then what? You tripped and your dick fell in her mouth, knocking you both out on the bed?" I spat out bitterly.

"Damn it, Eden, I admit that I was mad about seeing you with Nikolas. This was an accident." He said quickly. "I don't know what happened. Jealousy and alcohol aren't exactly a good mix."

"Is that supposed to make me feel better?" I growled. I shook my head not wanting to believe what I saw. "I didn't have sex with her Eden. She just…"

"Excuse me? You just what?" I asked. "You know what, I don't care. I'll be back tomorrow to get my bag." I said before I stormed out the front door and took to the stairs. I was thankful that I had put on a pair of flats when I got out the car. I sped out of the garage like a bat out of hell and went back to the beach house. I took a long shower and cried. Everything hurt so bad inside. I think I loved him. I mean, I knew it wasn't logic considering I had only known him two months, but still.

I got dressed in an oversized Happy Bunny shirt and fell into a blank sleep. My blessed darkness welcomed me with open arms as the sound of the waves crashing on the sand took me away.

I woke up to a loud pounding on the sliding glass door of my bedroom. I rubbed my eyes and looked at the clock; it had just turned seven a.m. I grabbed my robe from off the back of the door and slid back the curtains to see Eric standing there with my bag in hand.

I unlocked the door and slid it open. "Thank you for bringing my bag, I would have come for it but I see that you couldn't wait." I muttered and held my hand out. He handed me the bag.

"Can I come in?"

"Why?"

"I need to talk to you about last night." He said pushing his hands through his hair.

"So talk." I said setting down the bag by my foot.

"Inside please." He begged; his eyes were bloodshot, probably from the drinking.

I turned my back to him and went back to bed. "So talk." He followed me in, closed the door and pulled the blackout curtains closed.

"I couldn't sleep after you left last night."

"Comforting." I muttered sarcastically. He ignored me, sat on the edge of the bed and reached for my hand but I pulled away.

"Don't. Every time you do, I think about you and her and I can't get the image out of my head." I said my voice shaking.

"Baby, I am so sorry. I know I can't undo what I did but believe me when I say that I am sorry. I just let my jealousy get the best of me. I knew I should have made her go." He pleaded with me to believe him. I could see the fatigue in his eyes. "This sounds crazy but I love you. It doesn't have anything to do with the sex, but I love YOU." He emphasized and my tears just came spilling forward at his confession.

I thought back to what happened between us and I thought about the kind of relationship my parents had.

"I told you what my dad did to my mom. You knew the one thing I could never forgive was infidelity." I said sadly, in a quiet voice; I just let the tears keep coming even though they blurred my vision. He made an attempt to wipe them away but I flinched.

"Last night, I realized that I love you, but I just can't forgive you. I don't know how long it will take and I don't want to ask you to wait." I cried. "I want to, but I just can't. It wouldn't be fair to either of us; because when we are together all I would wonder was did you say to her the things you did to me, or did she touch you the way that I did?" I managed to choke out.

"Niko was right, we played a dangerous game and we both lost. I am sorry." I said pulling my knees to my chest and crying into my arms. "You don't have to worry, he won't tell anyone."

"It doesn't have to be like this." His voice so low, I barely heard the words. His eyes look haunted, like he was losing a friend.

"What do you want me to do, continue being your lover in the dark while we date other people in the day?" I asked. "We were crazy to think this would work Eric."

"I don't want to lose you."

"I would say we could be friends, but I don't know right now." He nodded in understanding. We both quietly accepted the fate of our relationship. I felt him shift on the bed but I didn't look up. I only felt his arms around me and I leaned in to him and closed my eyes. I don't recall how long we sat there before my beloved darkness took me away and comforted me in its embrace.

I didn't want to think about school tomorrow. Eric left before I woke up; it was probably for the best. I was still pretty angry, hurt, and lost. After showering and changing into a yellow spaghetti strapped sundress, I made my way to the kitchen.

Kasey and Diana called to see if I would meet them for lunch but I turned them down because I wasn't ready to stomach the reminder of the previous night. I cut up some mangoes and brought out a glass of orange juice to the table on the back porch. The waves breaking against the shore reminded me of my broken heart; breaking every time it beat against my chest.

My sidekick vibrated continually with calls from Fritz, my parents, the girls, and even Eric. I especially wasn't ready to talk to him. Twenty-four hours hadn't even passed since what happened and I didn't know how to handle him just yet.

Looking up into the sky, I realized that the sun and I had a couple of things in common; it hid behind a few stray clouds. Tension and anxiety made my shoulders hurt and an angry drumming started at the base of my skull. This headache was going to be a motherfucker.

"Want to tell me why Kasey won't stop blowing up my phone?"

I jumped nearly a foot in the air and spun around to come face to face with Niko. I don't think my heart could have stopped even if I was dead.

"Jesus Christ, Niko!" He held his hands up in mock defense.

"I rang the bell and called out. I saw your car out front, so I just used the spare." He tossed his key ring onto the table and eased his body into the chair next to mine. I sat back down and started out at the water. The silence between us was never so awkward and tense before.

"So are you going to tell me why you look like you had an allergic reaction to cucumbers?" He asked. I looked at him, confused, then he tapped his eyes. Realization dawned on me; I hadn't realized that my eyes were still so puffy.

I shrugged a bare shoulder. My hair tickled the back of my neck as strands danced carelessly in the wind. I fingered the strands wishing I could be so carefree. I could feel his eyes boring into me.

"I played a dangerous game and lost." Instantly, Niko jumped up, fury etched in ever feature. "I'll kill him for knocking you up!" Shock at his anger prevented me from hearing his actual words. I mean, I knew Niko cared, like Kasey he was my best friend, but this was extreme; even for him.

He knelt down in front of me and put his hand on my flat stomach. "Everything is going to be fine. I'll take care of you both, after I break that idiot's face." Niko's previous declaration fought through all of the confusion. I pushed his hands away trying not to choke on my own supply of air.

"I'm not pregnant!" I managed to choke out. He only half relaxed and dragged a tired hand through inky black hair. "So what's going on?" I worried my lower lip between my teeth. Niko frowned at me before pulling the abused flesh free and smoothing it out with his thumb.

I couldn't breathe and my heart picked up pace again and suddenly the waves that pounded the shore were nothing compared to the look in his eyes that spoke volumes. "I walked in on him and Monday in bed at his place last night. He came here to try to explain that he was drunk and angry and jealous about the way you and I had fun." I could see the anger building up in him as he flexed his hands on my knee.

"I hope you broke his nose."

"No, but I did break things off." I said, stroking his hand. I brushed the strands that had fallen forward out of his eyes. I didn't understand the look he gave me but it warmed me and made me feel like I was home. I wrapped my arms around his shoulders, leaned into him and wept as my heart broke again. At the same time, something else completely unfamiliar was set free.

Niko stood with me in his arms and sat in my seat. I curled into his body and cried as he stroked my hair, his fingers deftly rubbing my scalp. Soon own personal dark night came and carried me into dreamless oblivion. Only the sound of Niiko's steady heart was there to guide my way.

If there was any Monday to hate then this one was it for me; whether it was the coach or the day itself.

It had started out alright enough; Niko and I hung out all day yesterday. When I woke up I was wearing his soccer sweatshirt and a pair of shorts. I found him in the kitchen making his father's famous miso soup. We had dinner and stayed up just talking about random thing that came to mind. I hadn't noticed how much I had missed him until then.

He was sweet in the way he looked after me. After he left all I could do was snuggle up to his sweatshirt and remember how it felt to fall asleep so peacefully in his arms. Of course I thought he was hot. What girl at AMA didn't think so? Hell, what guy for that matter? But when I think about the way he touched my face… Why the hell am I blushing? And why the hell was my heart beating so fast?

I mean, yeah I had a crush on him back in the day. Besides didn't I declare that I loved Eric just the day before? Yeah he's an ass for what he did and there's no way I'm taking him back but what kind of tramp am I?

Niko met up with me at the school parking lot this morning; which was pretty convenient since his assigned parking spot was across from mine. His mom baked blue berry muffins and he'd brought some for me. It made my heart race how he stood there leaning against the door of his black Camaro. His dark blue jeans hugged powerful thighs and slim hips. Did he have to look so damned good in that polo? And where are these thoughts coming from?

I got out of my car with his clean sweatshirt in hand and gave him a hug. My heart almost stopped when he told me to keep it. He kissed my cheek and handed me the muffin container before getting dragged off by his soccer buddies. I avoided Kasey and Diana all day and thankfully didn't have class with today until after lunch.

Now, however, I was in Mr. Helmsley's class waiting for it to start. I sat there nervously while my classmates chatted around me about the weekend. Helmsley and Eric both had yet to arrive. I could feel the anxiety working its way through my system as I desperately tried to stamp it down. Today I was had on a white cotton skirt with a grey Happy Bunny t-shirt that said "Monday's suck" and a pair of plain white tennis shoes. I pulled Niko's sweatshirt over my head and could still smell him despite washing it.

I pulled my hair up in a ponytail and went into my bag searching for my notebook and pen, when I saw the "C" stitched on the left sleeve. The letter signified his position as captain of the soccer team. Heat licked at my cheeks as I saw a couple of my classmates looking at me all funny. People knew that Niko and I were close but this was really going to get the gossip going--- Just what I fucking needed.

The bell rang and I looked up to see Eric staring at me with a strange look in his eyes. I don't think I'd ever seen him look so cold. My heart hurt for many reasons, not just because it was beating so hard against my chest. I desperately wanted to cry but I had to hold it together….

This had to be the longest two hours of my life. Who in the hell had thought of block scheduling in the first place? The idiot should be shot! I had barely been paying attention to the actual lesson and When was the damn bell going to ring for lunch?

Eric sat on a stool in the front of the class, glaring at me for the past two hours while giving a lecture on Dracula. Apparently I was the only one who noticed the glare. I guess I would be the only one considering I could feel his stare boring holes into my body.

Mercifully, the bell rang signaling the end of class and time for seniors to have lunch. "Ms. Mathieu, I need to speak with you before you head off to lunch. There is something I want to discuss about book club." Eric announced as waves of shock went through me.

I gathered my things and waited at my desk for the last person to leave. He closed the door to face me and my heart thundered in my chest and it hurt to breathe. The green silk tie against his black shirt made his eyes come alive and a chill stole down my spine. His eyes stayed on the sweatshirt and I was hot all of a sudden and it had nothing to do with my attraction to him. His face turned into a blank mask but his fist clenched at his sides.

"You wanted to see me about book club?" I asked stiffly, trying to calm my breathing.

"You should have known better than that." He leaned back against the door and shoved a fist into the pocket of his dark slacks. Why was he acting like this?

"Spending time with Nickolas now?" He inclined his head indicating Niko's shirt.

"Does it matter?"

"Back to that?" I shifted from one foot to another. I was really irritated now; I couldn't believe that he was doing this.

"I have people waiting for me, so if you need something can we make it quick?"

"You always were up for a quickie. Still want me that bad?" He was pissed off now. "Or are you in a rush to run off with your new boyfriend?" He sneered plucking at the sweatshirt.

"At least I have clothes on, as opposed to being caught with my pants down…Oh wait, you didn't have any on at all did you?"

"Dammit Eden!" He dragged his hand over his face. The urge to cry was riding me harder than ever before; I was angry and hurt, but what surprised me the most was the urge to rip his tongue out for mentioning Niko in such a nasty tone.

"What do you want from me?" I asked sinking down onto my desk chair. "I'm hurting Eric and all this is too soon."

"I know but I can't help myself. I miss you." He started towards me and my heart tripped a little in my chest.

The door flew open, stopping him in his tracks. Coach Monday came bouncing through the door. "Hey hun, I was waiting for you. I thought we could have lunch together since we both have planning now." She snaked an arm around his waist while I had to suppress the urge to vomit and throw my laptop at her.

To his credit, Eric pulled away from her. "I had to discuss some book club matters with Eden." He moved to stand by the teacher's desk.

"Oh hi, I hadn't even seen you there." Her voice all syrupy sweet and laced with poison.

"Coach." Was all I managed to say. Gathering my things I stood to leave. "Well, I'll leave you two to your lunch date." I said tightly. Coach Monday giggled like a drunken school girl. "Run along and meet your friends." She flapped a hand at me.

Did Bimbo Gym Barbie just shoo me away? I was fuming on the inside. The door opened again and the hero to top all heroes strolled through the door casually. Just seeing him melted the ice in my veins.

"Sorry I'm late." Niko apologized pulling me into his arms and kissing my neck. I breathed him in and the hurt melted away, melting another part of me as well. Eric cleared his throat behind us. I turned to face him, face flushed.

"About book club this afternoon,--" he started but Niko cut him off. "You promised to help me with my French."

"Aren't you the President of the French Club?" Eric chimed in before I could say anything.

"Eden's a native speaker though and I need her to look over a presentation for me. She offered to help me last night." I didn't know whether to be annoyed or amused at the testosterone battle going on in front of me. On the one hand, I was elated at how Niko kept coming to my rescue. And a part of me was even glad that Eric was feeling jealous. What I didn't understand was Eric's nerve. He knew I couldn't handle being around him right now.

"I was going to tell you before Coach Monday came in that I had already promised Niko that I would help him with his work." I wrapped an arm around his waist and hung on for dear life; Niko pulled me closer smoothing his hand over my side. Did lightning really have to dance over every one of my nerve endings at that moment?

"I didn't realize the two of you were so close."

"Don't be silly Eric. You saw how they were at the dance. Is that when you got together? Wouldn't that be cute? That's when Eric and I started dating." Coach babbled on. My stomach clenched in memory of that night. Mondays really do suck. Eric's was grinding his teeth in what I assume was irritation.

"Well on that note, we have to meet the others." Niko grabbed my hand and held it tightly as he pulled me out of the class with sparing them another glance. He pulled me into an empty, dark classroom and held me against him. I hadn't realized that I was shaking so hard, but I didn't cry.

"Thank you." I mumbled into his shirt.

"I should have been there sooner." He said softly, his hand stroking my back. I shook my head negatively.

"You didn't have to."

"Of course I did. What kind of personal ninja would I be if I didn't?" He joked. In the third grade I was chosen to be his English-ESOL buddy. When I found out he was half Japanese, I asked him to be my personal ninja. I was never really a fan of Prince Charming----ninjas kicked pansy prince ass any day. I was surprised he even remembered.

I touched his cheek, "I don't deserve you." I tried to pull away but he pulled me back. "You deserve to be cherished and adored." He pulled me back into the shelter of his arms. We stayed there for a brief moment but it felt like a heavenly eternity. "I'll wait until you're ready." He said softly against my hair. I nodded dumbly but didn't say a word. I didn't want to ruin this sliver of serenity I was granted. I was sure he felt the way my heart thundered in my chest. Did this mean what I thought it meant?

"You didn't think he was the only one who looked at you like that, did you?" He chuckled when I didn't answer.

"Is it bad that I know that I feel something that I shouldn't so soon?" I asked shakily. I wasn't sure what that made me. He laughed again. The rumbling of his chest against my cheek felt better than anything I'd felt in the past couple of days and made me feel light.

"Not at all; it just means that you are finally coming to your senses." He joked and jumped back when I poked him in the side and kissed his shoulder.

"Just give me a little more time."

"Wouldn't dream of rushing you," my stomach rumbled loudly. "Except to lunch; let's get you fed." Taking my hand again, we went to join the others. For the first time, I didn't have to call on my dark comfort to feel alright.