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Page 28 of My New Step-Dad (www.freenovel24.com)
My Facebook alert goes off again. If someone sends me one more Candy Crush request I’m going to block them, I think, clearing the notification. I hear what sounds like a growl from behind me. I turn my head to look at Bruce, my hair slipping off my shoulder as I do so. He’s sitting on the chair behind me, just staring at me while I lie on the floor, playing with my iPad. He sits with his long legs extended out before him, reminding me how crazy tall he is. The top button of his shirt is undone, and he looks more laid-back than normal. He’s been doing it all day; just watching me. His green eyes bore into me, his jaw clenched tight, a five o’clock shadow showing on his face. I roll my eyes, going back to searching for a new book to read, browsing the selections. I know he wants to ask, because he asked the last three times my iPad dinged. He wants to know who’s messaging me, mistaking the game dings as actual messages. I didn’t correct him, and each time I just ignored his question, playing into what he’s thinking. I like seeing the jealousy on his face. I liked it even more when Bryan showed up and asked me to lunch. When I went to get my purse, Bruce followed me, informing me that if I went to lunch, Bryan wouldn’t make it out of the building with me. It was a completely barbaric thing for him to say, and I pretended to be offended. I wasn’t. I joked that maybe we didn’t have to leave the building, and that I could just go back to his place and eat. I couldn’t tell from the look in Bruce’s eyes if he was serious about hurting Bryan, and it was messed up for me to lead Bryan on. So I went to the door and told him I’d forgotten I had something to do, but not before he gave me his number. All of which Bruce saw. Shows him. You don’t see me snapping at him every time his phone goes off, asking if it’s Holly or someone else. I’m starting to notice that the more I ignore him, the crazier it drives him. Maybe he is crazy. First, he wanted me as far away as possible and got angry when I threw myself at him. Now I’m keeping my distance and he’s stuck to my ass. I can’t leave a room without him following me, making up some reason why he needs to be in that room too. I tried to escape to my room for a little, but he found reason after reason to come in—from checking the smoke detector batteries to making sure the hot water in the bathroom didn’t come on too hot to testing all the light sockets to make sure they were working. It was beyond ridiculous. Now I just find myself moving from room to room so he’ll follow. Chase me. I like it. Hell, who am I kidding? I fucking love it. Suck it, Holly. He isn’t following you room to room like a cute grumpy puppy. I wonder if I ignore him long enough he’ll pee in my room, or chew up my shoes just to get my attention. A bark of laughter escapes me, thinking about Bruce doing those things. “What’s so funny?” he asks in a tone I know is harder than he intended. Rolling to my side, I prop my head up with one hand, the rug digging into my elbow. “Don’t you have work to do or something?” I ask in a bored voice, trying to provoke him. I know I said I was done chasing him, and I am, but I get a thrill out of getting a reaction from him. I can’t seem to stop myself. “You have no idea how much work I should be doing,” he says, running a frustrated hand through his hair. I was shocked when he didn’t go to work today. He kept pulling out his laptop like he was working on it, but every time I looked over at him, his eyes were on me. To make it worse, he didn’t even try to pretend he wasn’t looking at me. No, he just stared, the look of hunger all over his face. “Then maybe get on that?” I suggest, hearing him take a deep breath. It sounds like one of defeat. “I can’t. It seems my mind is otherwise occupied.” His words hang between us, and I shuffle my legs, letting my dress ride up. Is it sex he wants? Is that all this is? As I try to tease him with my body, his eyes never leave mine. For a second, a look crosses his face; one I’ve seen in the mirror before. Loneliness. It’s easy to spot when you see it on yourself every day. My heart clenches, but then it’s gone and his frustration is back. I fight the urge to crawl over to him and into his lap. Half-scared that he’ll just push me away again, I remain still. I can’t take the rejection. I told myself I was no longer going to chase. No more throwing myself at people who can’t or won’t love me back. I want more.
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