Chapter 3- New Players, Old Game

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Because I look at the people and things around me and try to picture a world without you, but a force greater than me stops me every time. And I hate, hate, hate myself for it.

-Khloe



     "Hm, someone doesn't look too happy to be working on a weekend. Let me guess, you're missing out on 'valuable' family time?" The mocking tone does nothing but add to the frustration that's been brewing since this morning. Since the talk with Drew, the familiarity with which we bickered and came to a compromise has left me feeling empty and I hate it.

     I know I shouldn't feel this way.

     It's been two years already, why haven't I moved on?

     He ended it, it was his choice.

     So, why does he look at me with longing?

     I shake my head clear of those wayward thoughts.

     "Hello, are you even listening to me? And then you complain that I'm hard to work with." I smile at the familiarity in his voice, Alexei Petrovich, top model and pain in the ass, whose voice grows thicker in accent the more frustrated he is. Good, I shouldn't be the only one to suffer.

     "Oh, I'm sorry, are you missing out on an important party?" I cross my arms while glaring at him. Brown eyes perk up at the mention if a social gathering, he does remind me of an impatient puppy.

     "Party?" Eyebrows rise along with his tone of voice, surprised that someone dareth not invite him, I'm sure.

      "A five year old's party, my nephew to be exact."

     "Then what are we standing around here for? Let's go, five years is a milestone in a child's life." He grabs my arm and begins hauling me towards the double doors of the studio, photoshoot be damned apparently.

     "Wait, we can't just leave!"

     "They have plenty good shots," he waves my worries away. "Meanwhile, I've been meaning to meet this fake husband of yours," the brightest smirk shines upon me as he turns around. My heels cement themselves on the ground as many possible, and gruesome, scenarios unfold before me.

     "I don't think that's wise, he and you, that's a very bad idea. Like mixing fire and kerosene." He laughs, and I mean throws his head back in relish and laughs at the very accurate description.

      His expression grows serious all of a sudden, "Don't worry about me, kitten, these fists aren't just pretty."

     "Yeah, well can they fend off bullets?" I mutter sarcastically under my breath.

     "What was that?"

     "I said yeah, if you insist," I wave my arm towards my car in a motion for him to get in. It's a quiet ride to my brother's house, surprisingly, nothing but the low murmur of the radio keeps us company.

     We drive on for about half an hour until the buzz of the city starts getting quieter and the various shops turn to trees and landscape. Foliage of different colors greet us as we pull into a wide garden that could pass for a forest, leading us to a winding driveway.

     Kohl always did remember those days of playing in the garden with dad very fondly, here he'll get to do that with his son. Our home isn't so city-like but it isn't quite rural as well, it sits perfectly in between. To my chagrin, Lucy loves our home and wouldn't trade it for the world, which appeases my heart. I don't think I could part with my parents' house so easily.

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