Mess Me Up
Page 18

 Lani Lynn Vale

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I’d been bound and determined not to let her get under my skin, but after only a week, it was more than obvious that I didn’t have a choice in the matter.
It was one of the reasons why I’d avoided her for so long, too.
She made me feel things before I even knew her name.
At first, completely innocent—just me replying to a fan.
But the more we wrote to each other, the more I fell for her.
Then I met Izzy in real life but had no clue that she was RP’s Biggest Fan. I liked her, too. Ever since my son’s funeral, I’d done a whole fuckin’ lot of soul searching and I knew that Izzy deserved a fuckin’ medal for the way she took care of everything in the background during my son’s last days. Caring for Matias and inevitably me, also. She, at least, deserved a thank you. The one I hadn’t been able to give because I was too deeply entrenched in my own pain.
I also wasn’t in a place where I could admit that she meant something to me, but she’d earned a place in my heart by taking care of both of us and bringing my son cookies.
Those few minutes after I’d realized my son was gone, she’d held me and cried. At the time, I couldn’t see or feel anything beyond the crushing loss of my son. But in the months that followed, I couldn’t help but think about Izzy, and it was then that I realized that I was definitely feeling a strong attraction to her.
But I also knew I needed to heal so as not to work my sorrow out on her and taint anything that had been developing between us.
If I was going there with Izzy, it was going to be real and for the right reasons.
After all I’d been through with Tara, and then seeing Tyler with his true soulmate, I knew exactly what I wanted.
But the problem was I was struggling with the letting myself move on to something that would make me happy. How was I supposed to offer her my heart when half of it had died with Ty-Ty.
Then there were Izzy’s problems.
I had no fucking idea if she actually wanted something with me, or if she was just being nice. Maybe all that flirting that we’d done over letters for the past year hadn’t meant to her what it meant to me.
That was another problem.
Thinking that the author of the letters and Izzy were two different people, I would be able to hold strong. I would have probably held off, thinking that now wasn’t the best time to get into a relationship because my perfect woman didn’t exist.
But, now that I knew Izzy and my letter writer were one and the same?
Yeah, that was just something that I’d never be able to fight against.
Both Izzy and my letter writer had helped me through some tough times.
Izzy through the death of my son, and RP’s Biggest Fan through my son’s sickness.
Learning that they were both the same person was something that I was still trying to process.
A car’s honk startled me from my thoughts and had me looking up. I waved at the car that I’d walked in front of and mouthed an apology to the driver.
The woman narrowed her eyes at me, and then they widened as they moved along the upper half of my body—and across my cut identifying me as a patched-in member of Bear Bottom Guardians MC.
There was fear in her eyes, but also a little bit of attraction.
I turned away and continued toward my bike. I got on it and headed in the direction of Izzy’s place.
When I arrived—surprise, surprise—she was not on her front porch.
Sighing as I shut the bike down, I kicked the stand into place and got off, heading to the door that was hanging wide open.
Walking in without knocking, I took a look around her place.
It was a small duplex that shared a wall with a neighbor who never seemed to be home.
The walls were white. The furniture was white. The decorations were white.
Hell, the only color I saw was the red dishtowel hanging over the faucet of the sink, and a black cereal bowl filled to the brim with Lucky Charms.
Her place was immaculate—which I guess I should’ve assumed would be the case since Izzy owned her own cleaning business.
“Iz?” I called loudly, not moving from the door.
Izzy peeked out from the doorway just past the kitchen, and her face flushed. “I spilled my cereal on my shirt. I have to find another shirt, and I’ll be ready.”
I looked over at her cereal.
“Your cereal’s getting soggy,” I pointed out, trying to keep my eyes from roaming down her body, even though the only thing I could see was the long column of her neck and one bare shoulder.
Over the last week, I’d looked at Izzy’s body a lot.
I couldn’t seem to help myself.
It all started out the day she’d walked over to my place, and she was wearing those tight ass yoga pants.
Then the next day, after she’d been cleaning, she was wearing a pair of even tighter workout leggings.
The day after that she was wearing running shorts that molded perfectly to her ass.
The next time I saw her, she was wearing workout leggings again, this time with fuckin’ unicorns on them.
“I know.” She sighed. “I was really looking forward to that, too. Oh well.”
She peeked back behind the wall she’d been hiding behind, and I walked farther into her place, hoping that my boots weren’t dirty and leaving black smudges on her white tiled floor.
Either Izzy liked white, or she hadn’t decorated at all since she’d moved in.
Either way, the place was so white and clean, it almost felt sterile.
“What’s with all the white?” I called out, heading to her bowl of Lucky Charms.
They looked really good, so I picked up the bowl and took a bite.
I moaned.
I hadn’t had Lucky Charms in so freakin’ long that they tasted even better than I remembered.
Just the right amount of sogginess to them, too.
Meaning they hadn’t been sitting there all that long, and Izzy had poured herself a bowl of them knowing damn well and good that she wouldn’t be able to finish them before I got there.
I took another bite and leaned my hips against the counter, startled by the fact that I could see straight into Iz’s bedroom.
And I could see her naked back—sans bra—staring at her closet with quiet contemplation.
I looked back down at the bowl and tried not to look up again.
Oh, I failed, but I did try.
But then my phone rang, saving me from doing anything more stupid than what I’d already done.
I grimaced when I saw the screen’s readout, and immediately silenced it.
“Who was that?”
I looked up to find Izzy hurrying out of the room, pulling her shirt down over her slightly rounded belly.
Izzy wasn’t a size two.
She was curvy, beautiful and everything I never knew I needed.
She had delicious thighs, a full ass, and tits for days. On the shorter side, you’d never be able to tell that she walked as much as she did.
She was in such great freakin’ shape that she could likely keep up with me and my appetites—that appetite growing day by day until I was worried it’d consume me.
Seeing her now, smiling at me while I ate her cereal, I found it hard to breathe.
“My grandmother,” I murmured, not seeing the point in lying.
She frowned. “Your grandmother? Why didn’t you answer it?”
I took another bite before answering.
“My grandmother loved Tyler. When she found out what I did, she was disappointed in me. To the point where she never let me hear the end of it.” I paused. “And I just was so fucking tired of it. I heard it from everyone. I’d lost nearly every part of my support system within days, and the one person I thought I was always able to count on wouldn’t fucking stop. So, I did what I had to do.”
“You stopped allowing her to be involved in your life,” she said, sounding understanding. “That’s something I still haven’t been able to do with my parents. They fired me before…well, you know. And though they’re still pissed off at me, they call me every day just to tell me what a disappointment I am.”
When I’d heard that Izzy was fired from her job by her parents because she wanted to help take care of Matias, I’d been disgusted.
What kind of parents could do that to their child?