A/N: So I gave in. I wrote some of this chapter in Shane's POV. Also, I owe a big, big, big thanks to Shin M. Hiram for letting me brainstorm and giving me ideas! (What we talked about will come in a later chapter!)
I studied my face in the mirror, bringing my hair forward. I brushed through the tangled, straight mass of hair and sighed; I had just woken up, and there was pretty much no hope in making it look nice for the day. I grabbed a towel from my closet and walked to the bathroom to take a shower. As I was opening the door to the bathroom, Shane's door opened and he walked out, his eyes landing on me. A grin formed on his lips and he stretched his muscular arms over his head and exposing part of his lower stomach. "Morning," he yawned, covering his mouth. "Shower?" he asked.
"Affirmative," I responded and pushed the door open, but froze at his words.
"Can I join you?" his voice was teasing, but I wasn't entirely sure whether or not he was joking. I rolled my eyes and entered the bathroom, putting the towel on the counter. I pushed the door mostly closed and pulled the t-shirt I had worn to bed off.
I felt arms wrap around me from behind, and I whirled around, covering my chest with the shirt and nearly jumping out of my skin. "Shane," I managed to choke out, my heart racing. He laughed and leaned me against the counter, gently kicking the door completely shut.
"'Tana," he mocked, smirking at me. I swallowed thickly and felt a tingle run up my spine when he gripped my bare hips. I blushed profusely and looked away from him. He laughed at me again and turned my face to his, pressing little kisses to my lips.
"Shane, please," I said as his hands slid up my sides.
"Please what?" he said playfully, moving his lips to my jaw. My heart hammered almost painfully against my chest.
"Get out," I whimpered.
"Oh, come on, it's not anything I haven't seen before," he said, still teasing me.
"That's beside the point," I mumbled.
He chuckled and kissed my lips one more time before giving in and saying, "Alright, alright, I'll leave you alone," and leaving the bathroom.
It had been a few days since Shane had first kissed me, and we hadn't told my brother yet. Even though we were adults, I still had no intention of telling him. I was still Tabor's 'baby sister,' after all. It was a little weird, being with Shane. It was new to me. I guess I wasn't really with Shane, not technically. We hadn't made it official because I was nervous and Shane didn't want any trouble.
After my shower, I wrapped the towel around me and walked to my room. I pulled out my work uniform and sighed softly. I hadn't been to work since the day before I cut my hair, so I was curious as to how my coworkers and my regular customers would react. I pulled on my underwear and a pair of light blue skinny jeans. I wrapped my hair in the towel before sliding on the black short sleeve button down and buttoning it up. Candy's Used Books was scrawled in cursive underneath my right collarbone. I pinned my name tag that read "Assistant Manager: Montana" below the lettering. I did my makeup how Andy taught me and then brushed my hair out.
I walked out of my room and made breakfast for myself. I hopped up on the counter and ate my cereal quickly. I set the bowl on the counter when I was finished and looked up to see Shane. "Good morning," he said softly as he walked over and placed his hand on my thighs. I shifted slightly, smiling up at him.
"Again?" I giggled as he kissed my cheek. I slid my arms around his neck. A moment later, we heard Tabor's door open and Shane launched himself away from me and to the fridge. Tabor came in, arching an eyebrow at the silence between us. "Morning," I mumbled, blushing and looking away. I glanced over to Shane and saw him with a teasing smirk on his face and it only made me blush a deeper color.
I cleared my throat as my brother began to ask what was going on. "I have to go to work," I interrupted quickly, not wanting to answer his question, and walked to the bathroom to style my bangs. I fixed my makeup, grabbed my purse and keys, and then walked to the front door. "Bye, guys," I called and left the house before any more questions could be asked.
I walked into Candy's and glanced around. My coworker, Amy, smiled and greeted me. I smiled at her and walked to the back office to clock in. When I walked back out to the floor, I grabbed the cart of books and began to put them back on the shelves, where they belonged as Amy raved about my hair. The bell above the entrance rang and I looked over. The book I was holding slipped from my hand and clattered to the floor, hitting shelves on the way down. I could feel the tears well in my eyes and tried to hold back the sob that was rising in my throat. The man looked over as I knelt down to pick up the book and began to walk over. "Hey, Montana," he said smoothly, his hands sliding into his front pockets.
"H-hi, Aaron," I stammered, standing up.
"You cut your hair," he said, and his voice made my stomach lurch painfully.
I backed up a step and looked away from him. "How can I help you?"
"Look, 'Tana, I miss you," he said, moving closer as I moved backward.
I clutched the book to my chest as he reached out and brushed the hair out of my face. I flinched away from him and turned, attempting to leave. He grabbed my arm and pulled me toward him. "Let me go," I squeaked out.
I trembled all over and I tried to pull my arm out of his grip. "'Tana, wait! What's wrong?" Aaron grabbed my shoulders to stop me as I ran.
"Don't touch me!" I tried to push him off, repeating myself, each time getting a little louder, until he finally let me go. When he finally did, my voice was nearing hysterics and my makeup was smeared with tears. I ducked into the back office, darting past Amy and launching further into hysterics as I crumpled to the floor.
"Oh, dear," I heard her mumble under her breath. I heard Aaron's voice asking, "Where is she?"
"May I ask who you are?"
"I'm Aaron," he replied. "I've known Montana for a while."
"Aaron? As in her ex-boyfriend Aaron?"
"Then I believe where she's at is none of your damn business." They continued to argue and I pulled out my phone, dialing the first number than came to mind. He picked up on the second ring, his rumbling voice tinged with curiosity. "Aren't you at work?"
"Please," I sobbed, "come get me."
"What's wrong, sweetheart?"
"A-Aaron is here."
I heard him curse under his breath and he said, "Sit tight, I'll be there as soon as I can." As I hung up, I heard Aaron say, "I can very well take her home myself."
Amy replied, "As far as I'm concerned, I don't trust you as far as I can throw you, and it sure seems like Montana doesn't either. It looks like she doesn't want to be anywhere near you." The bell rang and I took a deep breath, trying to calm down.
A new voice came in, seething with anger, "What the hell are you doing here?"
When there wasn't a reply from either of them, Shane growled, "You think you can just come in here and make 'Tana's like hell? You are pathetic… Amy, where is she?"
"Oh, so he gets to see her but I don't?" That was Aaron.
"I didn't cheat on her with some blonde bimbo who could never in her wildest dreams measure up to 'Tana. Not to mention, I didn't hit her. So you're damn right you don't get to see her." I heard two pairs of footsteps getting closer and I pressed myself harder against the wall. Shane sat down next to me and tried to touch my cheek but I flinched away from him.
"Please…please don't touch me." I mumbled softly, hugging my arms to my chest. I lifted my gaze to Shane, who looked hurt and angry. He stood and stalked out of the room, mumbling curses under his breath. I stood and followed him out.
I walked into the back office, seeing 'Tana on the floor on her way to calming down. I knelt in front of her and reached out to her. I pulled my hand back when her eyes widened and she flinched away from me, asking me not to touch her.
That asshole screwed up any progress I had with her. I saw red, standing up and walking quickly back to the front of the store. "You have terrible timing," I growled. "Just when she finally starts getting better from being cheated on by you," I glared daggers at Aaron, "with some blonde slut, you come in here and screw it all up. Do you know what you did to her? You ruined her." I grabbed him by the front of his shirt and shoved him out of the store. "You think you can waltz in here and screw up her progress?"
Aaron growled, "What I do is none of your business. And Whitney is not a slut." Whitney. Whitney. He cheated on her with Whitney. She was a mutual friend of ours, and he wouldn't have said her name if I hadn't know her. I chose to ignore that little statement. I'd have to get tested later.
I shoved him, "When it comes to Montana, it is my business. I care about her hell of a lot more than you do. I didn't slam her into car."
"In all fairness, she had it coming," Aaron said. "She never put out. Where else was I supposed to get sex from? And she hit me first."
"She had it coming?"I growled and stepped toward him. "No one deserves what you did to her, pretty boy. No one deserves to be cheated on and then hit. And just because she didn't put out enough for you? You had it coming, asshole. You are the one who deserved to be hit. And you're lucky I'm not putting you six feet under right now." I glanced over to see 'Tana watching from inside the store. "If you ever come near her again, I won't hesitate to make you feel the pain you caused her, got it?"
When he didn't reply, I slammed my fist into his stomach, successfully knocking the wind out of him and making him double over. "Got it?"
"Whatever," he mumbled and I shoved him backward hard. I turned and motioned for 'Tana to come out. She nodded and disappeared for a second, and came back, wiping her eyes. I opened the car door for her and then got in the driver's side.
"What about my car?"
"I'll take you to work tomorrow," I replied, starting the car and speeding away. "You can just take it home after."
I saw her nod her head from the corner of my eye. I gripped the steering wheel tightly, driving a quiet a few miles over the speed limit. "Shane…calm down," I heard her say softly.
"Calm down? Are you kidding me! He can't just…just show up like that and expect you to be fine with it." I slammed my fist against the steering wheel. "Dammit, 'Tana, it's not okay. He cheated on you," by this time we were getting out of the car and beginning to walk to out apartment, "with Whitney. Whitney. Not to mention, he hit you. So, no, I will not calm down."
"Whitney?" she said, her voice small, which is how it gets when she's scared and shutting herself down. My eyes snapped to her. She hadn't heard that part. Ah, damn, I said too much. "He cheated on me with the girl you slept with on multiple occasions?"
I had opened the door to the apartment, "'Tana, no, I mean yes, but I didn't know at the time—"
"I…I kissed you when you had kissed the girl that screwed up my relationship."
"It wasn't like that. We didn't know, 'Tana."
"That doesn't matter Shane. You and I may not have known, but she knew. She knew who I was and who you were. And you…you slept with her," she mumbled, wiping her eyes. "You kissed her. You touched her."
"It was just sex."
"It's never just sex, Shane," she said quietly as she walked away from me, locking herself in the bathroom.
I don't know how long I sat on the couch, my head in my hands, waiting for her to come out of the bathroom. She had to have been in there for at least an hour, and the water was running. I guessed she was taking a shower.
I turned the water on to as hot as I could stand, and the stripped down. I don't know how long I sat in the tub, but it was long enough for the water to start giving me the chills after I scrubbed my skin until it was raw and red and burning. My crying had subsided and I finally reached up and turned the water off. I wrapped myself in a big towel, shivering. I walked out of the bathroom, stopping short when Shane lifted his head from his hands. I swallowed thickly, still shaking almost violently from the cold. He stood and walked toward me, and I backed up until I was against the wall. "Montana, your lips are..blueish," he said gently, stopping a few feet from me.
"I'll be fine," I mumbled, shying away from his touch and walking to my room. I dressed in my warmest pajamas and pulled on a sweatshirt. Okay, so the shower probably wasn't the best idea. But I knew that if hadn't had an excuse for staying away from Shane, he would talk to me and try to touch me and I hadn't been ready for that. I still wasn't when there was a gentle knock on my door.
I bundled my hair up in a bun and glanced over when Shane opened my door. "Please…please don't touch me," I said as he came closer.
"'Tana, it's me. You're comfortable with me," he said and he put his hands on either side of my face. His face felt hot against my freezing cheek.
"You…you touched her, Shane. The girl Aaron cheated on me with. She was in your bed. She was on my couch." Tears welled in my eyes and I looked away from him, stepping back so he wasn't touching me. "How am I supposed to let you touch me in ways you touched her when I know where she's been?"
He grabbed me by my waist and pulled me close to him. "Because you trust me. Because you know that I wouldn't intentionally do something like that to you, ever. Not in a million years. You have to believe that."
"No, no. I do, I believe you. But when you touch me… I imagine you touching her exactly how you're touching me."
"Oh, 'Tana," he said with a gentle smile.
"What are you smiling at?" I grumbled, attempting to twist away from him.
"You think I kissed her how I kiss you? You think I touched her how I touch you? You are so, so wrong," he murmured, pulling me against him and cupping my face in one of his hands, the other still firmly gripping my hip. As his lips pressed softly to mine, I finally relented and wrapped my arms around his neck.
A voice that was beyond furious nearly made me jump out of my skin.
"What the hell are you two doing?"
Thank you for reading, reviewing, and following, as always. I had to rewrite this chapter at least six times, and I'm still not nearly as satisfied with it as I should be. Bleh. Whatever. I needed to put something out. Expect this chapter to be edited. A lot.
Let me know what you think!