70. Rider

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I woke up a couple of hours later to an empty bed, as usual. I took a shower and crept downstairs. 

"Hello there, rider." Za cheesed. Sammie and Justin laughed. 

"Shut up. I hate all of you." I smiled and sat on the couch with them.

"Loooong nap." Sammie smiled. I shook my head. "Y'all were so loud, I'm surprised that bed isn't broke." Sammie. furrowed her eyebrows. 

"Will you stop?!" I said embarrassed. 

"There are dents in the wall because of the headboard." Za added.

"How would you know?!" I asked. 

"Justin showed me." Za confessed. I looked at Justin. 

"Why?" I eye balled him as he stood up and made his way over to me. 

"I'm proud of my work." He wrapped his arm over my shoulder.

"You are something else." 

"Still hate me?" He lifted my chin and kissed my lips. 

"Maybe." I played along. 

"Still?" He kissed me again. 

"Hmmm." I placed my finger on my chin. 

"You don't get anymore kissed until you say you love me." He declared

"Okay." I smiled and turned my attention back to Za and Sammie. "So what's up with you two?" 

"What are you implying?" 

"I'm just asking a question." I put my hands up to surrender. 

"Ooh." Sammie shut up. Za shook his head at Sammie. 

"You're slipping."

"So defensive. Y'all still mess around?" Justin asked. Sammie didn't answer. I looked at Za and he was moving his eyes up and down. Justin and I got the hint.

"You two might as well be together." I pointed out. 

"But neither of us want to be in a relationship." 

"So you've talked about it?" 

"Yeah." 

"Can't believe you had a civil convo." Justin laughed.

His arm went from around my shoulder to around my waist. He rested his hand on my thigh. I looked down at it to interlace our fingers, but I noticed something.

"Babe, why is your hand bruised?" I looked at him. 

"It's nothing." He tried to hide his hands. 

"It looked like something. What happened?" 

"Nothing, don't worry about it." He said.

"Did you punch a wall or something?" I sat up and looked him in the eye. He rolled them. "You found Orlando didn't you?" I looked at Za. He looked at Justin. I switched my glared back to Justin. "Y'all fought?!" I snapped. He didn't say anything. "Answer me!" I demanded. Justin rested his head on his hand and looked away. I sighed in disgust. "Why would you lie to me?" I moved away from him.

"He got what he deserved Ri! He wants to hit and grab on women, but he can't fight a man. I had to let him know what's up!" Justin defended.

"Where did you leave him? Where is he?!" I questioned. 

"I don't know." Za said. My lips tightened and I sat back on the couch.

"You didn't have to lie to me. I knew y'all went after him and I knew your intentions, but I thought some sense would come into your heads. You didn't have to come back here and say you couldn't find him."

"I knew you were going to be upset, though!" 

"I'm more upset that you lied to me." I mumbled. 

"So you jumped him?" Sammie asked. 

"No, I confronted him. Then, he swung at me and we fought." Justin said.

"What you do?" I looked at Za. 

"Kicked him once ... Twice maybe. Three times, I'm not sure." He answered. I rolled my eyes and placed my head in my hands. 

"He deserved it Ri." Justin rubbed my thigh.

"Don't." I moved my leg. "I told you not to go. You did. I expected the worst when you came back. I was relieved you said you couldn't find him, but you lied. There was no need for that." I didn't make eye contact with him. "Now, he's out there somewhere plotting some shit that's going to bite you in the ass and fuck us up. Just because you couldn't drop the situation. I know you love me and want to protect me, but you can't go around fighting people that disrespect me. That's not the way to handle it." I finally looked at him.

The room was silent. 

"I told you I love you and you're my everything. So if something happens to you, I won't be able to handle it. I'm praying he doesn't press charges, Justin. I really am. He didn't the first time, but this needs to stop."

"Just want to protect you." Za said. 

"I know." I calmed down and ran my fingers through my hair. 

"I told you before we were even together, that I would do anything to protect you and how I wasn't going to let anyone hurt you. I meant every word of that." Justin rested his elbows on his lap. "I'm your man and I'm damn sure not going to let another man just slide for putting his hands on you. So yes, we went after him and beat his ass. If he presses charges he's a bitch, but I'm willing to take that risk for you, because I fucking love you and nobody is going to hurt you. I'm sorry I lied."

"I'm disappointed, but I forgive you and understand your side." My eyes met his. "I'm just scared. I don't want anything to happen to you." I confessed. I got up from the couch. "I'll be back." 

"Where are you going?" Justin asked. "I have to take care of something. Don't follow me." I grabbed my keys, phone and left the house.

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