Chapter 3 | Brando

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I let out the loudest moan in my head. Why am I cursed to forever embarrass myself? I can't remember smashing any mirrors or crossing any black cats. I've nursed a few black cats to health during my time as a vet's assistant, but that's the closest I've ever got to them. Surely that would have given me good karma, not bad. Why am I a walking, talking series of unfortunate events?

      I can take solace in knowing the guy who caught me is sort of friendly. Standoffish, yes, but friendly. He could have been so much worse; he could have probably called airport security and had me kicked out. Nice eyes too. Kind, but reserved.

      Daxten Lowe.

      As I walk to the table with, ugh, Nick sitting there waiting for me, I gaze outside the window. I can barely see the runways – thick, fluffy balls of snow is now falling from the sky.

      It takes my breath away. If you know me, you will know I love anything to do with Winter. Christmas is coming – well, it's just under two months away – but already I'm excited. I mean, I start watching Hallmark Christmas films in September, so, yeah, I'm a little OTT.

      I don't even realize I've walked straight past Nick. I hear him calling my name and it snaps me out of my festive-filled mind. I walk back to him and take a seat, never completely letting go of my gingerbread latte as I slip the backpack down my arms. The hot mug warms my hands.

      'What were you thinking about?' he asks me. He's leaning back in his seat with one leg crossed over the other. He sports a turtle-neck jumper that's a striking shade of black. It matches his hair perfectly. 'Can't wait to get on the plane?'

      I can't wait to get away from you.

      'Something like that,' I reply. I rescue the gingerbread man from the whipped cream on my coffee.

      I'm about to take a bite when he says, 'so what's bothering you, muffin?'

      'Please don't call me that.'

      'Something is definitely up – you're acting strange.'

      'How about the fact that my ex-boyfriend purposefully booked a vacation here just so he could get the same flight home as me? How did you know I have a connecting flight here? Why didn't you book Cambodia to save yourself the trouble of finding me because this is all kinds of fucked up?'

      Nick raises an eyebrow as if I was supposed to know the answer.

      'You posted a photo of your itinerary on Instagram.'

      Okay so maybe I do know the answer.

      'Shit, I thought I blocked you on that.'

      'You did.'

      'Then what the fuck?! Are you stalking me?'

      'I just thought surprising you by showing up on one of your flights home would be romantic. Also, I really, really wanted a vacation, so two birds, one stone.'

      I roll my eyes and feel the anger swell up inside of me. 'I'm not a bird to have stones thrown at. I thought I made it clear that I want nothing to do with you.'

      'You made it painfully clear when you screamed at me in the middle of Central Park in front of all those people, but you have yet to explain to me why.'

      'If it needs explaining then you haven't been paying attention – for years.'

      'You're so difficult,' he moans. 'One moment you're infatuated with me and coming around to my house for the most incredible sex of your life, and the next you're throwing tantrums. I'm positive I have whiplash.'

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