32- we're a team remember?

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As I was eating, I sat back against the headboard and shoved spoonful after spoonful of asian noodles into my mouth without a care in the world. I didn't even stop when Tyler looked over at me and could bear witness to my pig-like eating habits. Let him be disgusted with me. Let him want nothing to do with me so I could go back to my safe, boring life.

"I'm going to drop Cam off at the airport. I'll be back in twenty minutes." With a full mouth, all I could do was nod and wave a goodbye to Cam as he stood next to Tyler with a smile.

"Don't have too much fun without me, lovebirds." Cam teased.

I suddenly started to feel a bit of panic as I watched the brothers leave me alone in the hotel room. Cam the buffer was gone, which was one less thing stopping me from jumping Tyler's bones.

When I was done eating, I shoved aside the empty container and moved onto the chocolate bar. I turned my attention to the television and saw that Ocean's Eleven was playing, which I thought was quite fitting. I smiled as I watched the band of men orchestrate their next heist, impressed with their skills and craftiness. Though let's be honest, there's no way either of us could ever be that good.

After what seemed like much shorter than twenty minutes, Tyler waltzed back in the room. The right side of his mouth twitched up into that cute half-smile of his when he saw the empty food containers sitting next to me on the bed, and I wouldn't be surprised if I had remnants of the feast left on my face.

Suddenly feeling self-conscious, I started scooting off the bed to look for clothes. Tyler had deposited some of his purchases into the drawers beneath the TV, and I quickly found a pair of pajamas and some more underwear. There was also a pair of sweatpants and a couple t-shirts, so I guessed I wasn't going to be going out in public anytime soon.

"Taking a shower?" I heard Tyler ask as I had just made it to the bathroom door, a handful of clothes in my arms.

"Yeah." I replied. Duh.

"What about your stitches?"

Oh. Suddenly, I felt like the dumb one when I realized I'd probably have to give myself a sponge bath, with my left arm too.

As I stood paralyzed in the doorway, I watched as Tyler started to make his way over to me. "I bought shower patches, though you should still just take a bath."

After throwing my clothes on the bathroom counter, I stood at the entrance of the kitchen and waited for him to stand in front of me.

Wordlessly, I lifted my arms so he could take off the sweatshirt. I felt shivers run through my body as the warmth of it was suddenly taken away from me, the only heat coming from his fingers as they brushed against my skin. I was left with my hospital gown and my underwear. Suddenly feeling shy, I put my arms back down and didn't move them.

"We need to take that off, too." Tyler's words were low and I caught the momentary flash of lust in his eyes.

"Fine."

Tyler blinked, and suddenly the lust was gone. As I lifted my arms once again, he slid the thin material over my head and I stood in front of him with nothing but a bra and panties.

I expected passion. I expected hunger and desire. What I did not expect, and got instead, was anger. His eyes raked over my body not in appreciation, but with rage. They stayed on my stomach for a long while so I self consciously crossed my arms over my bruised and stitched up midsection in an effort to break the spell.

"Fuck."

That's all he said. When his eyes were back on mine, I almost wished he was looking at my stomach again. The gaze was too intense to handle and the silence made it ten times worse.

"Can you just put- put the thing on?" I stammered, nervousness plaguing my words.

It took another minute before Tyler dispelled enough of the rage to be able to unwrap the bandage. Lining it up with the stitches, he carefully put the sticky plastic over my injury. I took a gulp as soon as he was finished, suddenly feeling intimidated.

"Thanks," I muttered before closing myself in the bathroom, locking the door behind me. As soon as I had that distance from him, I let out a deep breath and tried to still my quickly beating heart.

No, I will not be attracted to his protectiveness again. Not like last time, when a guy was feeling me up and Tyler got all alpha male. I gave into too many emotions that night, and the angry protectiveness I saw then didn't even compare to what I saw now.

My bath, though somewhat relaxing, wasn't enough to completely shake all of my emotions. I had just dried off when I started hearing his muffled voice outside. Curiosity getting the better of me, I carefully wrapped the towel around myself before making my way to the door. I quietly twisted the handle and pushed it open a crack, just enough so I could hear what he was saying.

"If you didn't go after her I wouldn't have had to break him out." Tyler growled into the receiver. "You're lucky she left you alive."

There was a pause, and I waited while holding my breath. "No, how about I make you a deal since you don't have anything left to bargain with. I'll get you ten thousand dollars and you leave me and my friend the fuck alone."

Another pause. I liked the sound of that deal since I knew exactly how to get that ten thousand. The Rolex was still at my house, hidden in the kitchen behind a shelf in a random hideaway that I had found when both girls were asleep one night. My dad, though he had tried calling me, hadn't mentioned the lost watch in the messages he left. If I had to guess, he probably just thought he misplaced it somehow. From what I remember, he did used to be a pretty careless person.

"Twenty. Fine." Tyler muttered. "Give me a week and it'll be done."

A week. A week to get an extra ten thousand. Is he crazy?

Not caring that it's rude to eavesdrop, I stormed out into the room still wearing just a towel. "Twenty thousand? Are you serious?"

"I didn't have a choice." Tyler replied, his voice much softer with me than it had been with his uncles.

"What happened to ten? Why not ten?" I rambled.

"They said they wanted an equivalent to four months of me working with them."

"And you agreed to it?"

"Twenty thousand for complete freedom from them is worth it, Aly. After all they've put my family through, I'll fucking do anything."

My eyes softened as I regarded him with sadness. His whole life, his family had been controlled by thieving assholes. I couldn't imagine what that would be like, but it couldn't have been very fun.

"Ok. We'll get it."

Tyler shook his head. "Not 'we'. Me."

"Don't be an idiot. We're a team remember?"

"I can't put you at risk again."

"When are you gonna get it through your thick skull that I can make my own goddam decisions?" I demanded with my hands on my hips. "I'm still in this whether you like it or not."

He narrowed his eyes at me in confusion. "That's really what you want? Despite everything?"

"You're not the only protective one here." I reminded him. "I'd do anything to get those guys to leave you the fuck alone."

The expression on Tyler's rugged face suddenly changed as he continued to stare at me. I watched as the left corner of his mouth slowly inched upwards into a smile, his brown eyes crinkling up in what looked like admiration.

"Alright, then. Let's do it."

*****

Sorry for the short chapter, things will start to pick up again soon.

Thanks for reading ❤️

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