Family Matters - Book cover

Family Matters

C.B. Rose

2: Chapter 2

Xavier

It’s Saturday night, and Austin, Ethan and I are at our dance club, Orion, sitting in our usual VIP booth. Brie, one of the waitresses comes to our booth and brings us our drinks. When she hands me mine, she leans over a little more than needed so I can see down the front of her dress.

We’ve hooked up once or twice and I can tell she’s waiting for more than just a “Thank you” from me. Normally I’d be all over her right now but not tonight.

I still can’t get Bella out of my head. Why can’t I stop thinking about this woman? We barely spoke yet I can’t seem to get her off my mind.

All I want to do is go back to the Sapphire Casino and find her. I want to know what makes her smile, what her favorite food is, how she feels in my arms. GAH! What is wrong with me? !

“Hey bro. You ok over there?” Austin asks me, looking a bit concerned.

“Yeah, why?” I ask.

“You look out of sorts.”

“I’m fine.” I tell him even though I’m not. I need to get up and get my mind on other things, so I go over to the railing and look around the club. When I look over at the bar I see Jonah leaning over and kissing some girl. Except it’s not just some girl. He was kissing MY Bella!

Wait, no! She’s not my Bella, but I’ll be damned if I let that action continue. I rush down to the bar and call Jonah over to me.

“Hey Boss!” He says with a big smile on his face. Apparently, he doesn’t notice the scowl on mine.

“What the hell are you doing kissing that woman over there?” I point over to where Bella and her friends are sitting. He turns and looks where I’m pointing.

“Oh, her?” He says as his smile gets even bigger. “She’s a cutie huh?” He seriously needs to shut up now. “She’s wearing a ‘Kiss me! It’s my birthday’ button so I kissed her.”

She’s wearing a what?! What the hell?!! And why is does he look like he’s planning on doing it again? I lean over the bar and look directly in his eyes.

“Do NOT kiss her again! Got it?” I growl at him. Jonah holds his hands up in defense and just nods and smiles. I would fire him on the spot but ‘kissing my woman who is technically not my woman yet’ is not a good enough reason to get rid of him.

I walk over to our hostess and tell her to move Bella and her friends to the VIP booth next to us, so I can keep an eye on her and whomever decides to do what that stupid button says.

I walk back over to our booth and down the rest of my drink.

“What’s up?” Austin asks as I sit down next to him.

“Bella’s here.” I tell him as I put my empty glass down on the table.

“Where?” He goes to stand up, but I quickly yank him back down. “What the hell?!” He yells at me. Austin and Ethan give me a questioning look, but it’s replaced with big, goofy-ass grins when they see the girls take a seat in the booth next to us.

“Well damn! She has some hot friends!” Ethan said loud enough for only us to hear. Her friends are beautiful, but not as captivating as Bella. I look over at their table and see the girls raise their glasses for a toast.

“And here’s to the magic of the birthday button! May you get more kisses like that one the hottie bartender gave you!” One of her friends yells out.

More kisses? I don’t think so!

Note to self: Tell Bella to burn that damn button.

***

Cassie

It’s 6:00pm on Saturday and I’ve gone over to Chelsea’s and Abbie’s apartment, my best friends since high school, getting ready to go out to a club.

They’ve been with me through all the hard times in my life. They’re the closest thing to a family I’ve ever had.

After we graduated high school, we got this apartment together. I had only recently moved out because my stalker ex-boyfriend wouldn’t leave me alone.

I didn’t want him bothering Chelsea or Abbie, so I moved into my own place.

“I can’t wait to get out there and celebrate your birthday!” Chelsea squeals from her bathroom as she’s applying her makeup.

“I’m so excited! It’s been too long since you’ve gone out with us!” Abbie calls out from her bedroom. “I was starting to think you were allergic to us or something”

“Well…now that you mention it.” I walk into her bedroom and start to scratch imaginary hives forming on my arms.

“Ha ha! Not funny!” She says to me as she smacks me on my arm.

“I’m ready.” I tell them. “How about you guys?” I ask them.

“I’m ready!” Chelsea exclaims as she joins us in Abbie’s room.

“I’m ready too!” Abbie answers. Then she looks at me and taps her chin with her finger. “But you’re not quite ready yet Cass.”

She walks over to me and puts a big “Kiss me! It’s my birthday!” button on my dress.

“Now you’re ready!” She says proudly. I roll my eyes at her and Chelsea.

“Why do you guys hate me?!” I pout.

They just giggle and the we head over to Orion, one of the hottest clubs in town. We get there early enough to beat the line and look for a good table before it gets too crowded.

The music is already pumping and there’s a decent amount of people inside.

“Hey! Let’s grab that table!” Chelsea yells as she points to a table that’s close enough to both the bar and the dance floor, and in direct view of all the VIP sections above us.

“Nice find! I can see all the VIP sections from here. This is great for prowling!” Abbie says as they high-five each other and I just shake my head at them. These two take hunting for their next hookups to a whole new level. One of these days I’m hoping they find themselves some good men to tame them.

“I’ll quarterback drinks tonight. What do you guys want?” I ask as they take their seats.

“Rum & coke” Chelsea responds.

“Me too!” Abbie says as she raises her hand. I head over to the bar and order our drinks.

“Hey beautiful! What’ll it be?” The bartender asks. Holy smokes this guy is gorgeous! His muscles that look like they’re about to burst through his shirt! He winks at me and flashes this incredible smile. I giggle.

“3 rum and cokes please.”

“Coming right up!” He responds. He comes back to my end of the bar a few minutes later and hands me our drinks. When I hand him my credit card to pay for them, he just slides it back to me.

“These are on the house.” He then leans over and gives me a sweet kiss on my lips. I can feel the heat rising to my cheeks at lightning speed, and I haven’t even started drinking yet.

“What was that for?” I say trying to hide the fact that I’m completely blushing. He points to my button and winks. Ugh! I forgot about that thing. He leans in close to me, so his lips graze my ear when he speaks.

“Happy Birthday darlin’.” He whispers into my ear. Good grief! I can feel my panties getting damp. I thank him and take the drinks back to our table. Of course, as soon as I sit down the girls grill me about that kiss.

“Don’t make a thing out of it. He only kissed me because of this dumb button.” I say as I take a long sip of my drink.

“It was more than the button.” Abbie smirks at me. “Did you see the look he was giving you? And he was practically on top of the bar to whisper sweet nothings in your ear! The button was just an excuse.”

All I can do is laugh and shake my head at her. We’re about to make toast when the hostess comes up to us and tells us we’re being moved to one of the VIP booths.

“Hell yes!” Chelsea squeals as she raises her drink towards the hostess in appreciation. We grab our drinks and head up.

“Did you plan this?” I ask her.

“Nope.”

“I didn’t either. Maybe it was a gift from the hottie bartender?” Abbie says as she wiggles her eyebrows at me.

“I don’t care how we got here. Let’s just enjoy it.” Chelsea retorts. When we get to the table, she raises her drink and we do the same. “Happy Birthday bestie! Here’s to many more!

“And here’s to the magic of the birthday button! May you get more kisses like that one the hottie bartender gave you!” Abbie adds.

“Hear! Hear!” Chelsea and I yell. We laugh and clink our glasses together. I almost choke on my drink when I look up and I see the three guys from the casino last night in the booth next to us.

“Holy Hannah!” I say as I’m coughing on my drink.

“Oh my god! Are you ok? What’s wrong?” Chelsea asks as she’s patting my back.

“Remember those three guys I told you about this morning? The ones at the casino last night?” They both nod at me.

“Well don’t look now but they’re sitting in the booth next to us.”

“No way!” Abbie yells as she turns around to look at them.

“Lord almighty Abbie! I said don’t look!” I yell at her as I grab her by the shoulders and stop her from looking. When I look up again, I see them walking towards us.

“Oh mylanta!!” I say under my breath.

“Hey Bella and friends!” The one I designated Flirt 1 says, again with that same idiotic grin from last night.

“Looks like you’re celebrating something over here. What’s the occasion?” Flirt 2 asks.

“It’s her birthday!” Chelsea enthusiastically informs them as she points to me.

“And you all need to give her a kiss as the rules of the button dictate!” Abbie tells them as she points at my button.

“Kill me. Kill me now.” I say softly to myself. I look at the three guys standing before me. Mr. Moody looks a bit annoyed.

Wait…Is he annoyed she told them to kiss me? I know I’m not his type but still, that’s kind of rude.

“You don’t need to do that.” I tell them trying to give them an out…well more like giving me an out. I look at my friends trying to give them the ‘please stop it’ look but they just sit there like giggling fools flirting back with the two guys. Chelsea and Abbie are not even drunk yet and they’re already embarrassing me. Lord give me strength to get through this night.

“Well we can’t really go against the rules of the button, now can we?” Of course, Flirt 1 would think that. I see Mr. Moody whip his head around at his friend and glare at him. What the hell was that reaction? This is all too much for me, and the night just started. I needed to walk away fast and avoid any more embarrassing dialogue.

“Um. I’m going to run to the bathroom. I’ll be right back.” I tell them and practically jump out of my seat to walk away. As I walk past them, Flirt 1 reaches out to me and grabs my hand.

“Wait.” He leans down and gives me a kiss on the cheek. “Happy Birthday Bella.”

Ok. I have to admit. That was really sweet. I smile and thank him. I look over his shoulder at Mr. Moody and it looks like his head is going to explode. Is he actually jealous?

I’m not drunk yet so I couldn’t have imagined that, right? Dammit! This button is going to be the death of me.

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