Chapter 3

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Xerxes' grin of amusement widened as he watched my mouth open and close several times, unsure of what to say. Eventually, I settled on, "How did you get in here?"

Xerxes outstretched his arm, a simple, gold key resting in his large palm. "Penelope gave me your spare key." His voice echoed in the quiet, dark house, the deep timbre causing me to shudder.

I shuffled backwards, watching as he walked forth, glancing around the home, taking in every detail.

"You didn't think to talk to me before moving here?" He spoke lowly, his fingers running over a sports bra I had thrown on a sofa earlier today. My eyes widened and I internally cursed myself as I saw the way his lips twitched at the sight of it.

I shrugged, trying to appear as if his presence didn't have an effect on me. I sat on the sofa as he moved towards the entrance of the living room. I quickly grabbed the sports bra and stuffed it under a cushion.

"It was a sort of a spur of the moment kind of thing," I said. "And I knew you'd try to convince me not to do it if I told you."

Those electric eyes studied my face after he turned. "For good reason too. Anyone can easily harm you, especially since you're here by yourself." The sound of a suitcase dragging against the floor could be heard, and I watched as he placed it in the corner of the room.

"You'd be safer at my home." Xerxes continued, pausing as he saw the way my eyes narrowed. Hiding a smile, he turned back to the suitcase. "But I won't force you to come back if you prefer living here."

I blinked, taken aback by how uncontrolling he was being, but then smiled in satisfaction. "That's what I thought."

Dark brows furrowed, but he ignored my smug words and straightened to his full height. It was odd, a massive man like him being here in this small house.

"How was your business trip?" I asked, deciding to fill in the awkward silence. Xerxes immediately stiffened at the question, a look of displeasure crossing his features as he rested back on a wall, arms lifting to fold on his chest.

"It was...exhausting." He told me, his dark brows remaining furrowed, eyes only softening in the slightest as they met mine.

I glanced towards a clock overhead and reluctantly moved from my seat, cursing under my breath.

"I need to go shopping. And then grab something to eat." I called over my shoulder, hearing his heavy footsteps echo behind mine. My breath hitched at the feeling of his warm hand against the middle of my back and I stumbled forward, away from his touch, flustered.

His head ducked down, barely hiding his smirk as he reached for a coat resting on a hook on the wall. "I'll join you." Xerxes told me, already moving towards the door.

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The supermarket, to my dismay, was full of people. I chewed on my lip nervously as I exited my car, Xerxes walking to my side almost immediately. Heads whipped in our direction and I stiffened, grasping his arm, stopping him.

"Maybe we should go somewhere else?" I asked, the side of my face burning as I felt the stares. Xerxes' brow lifted, glancing to my fingernails which had begun to pierce his skin. Quickly I withdrew my hand, allowing it to fall limply at my side and continued,

"There are so many people here."

The wind picked up and Xerxes' curly black hair lifted in the breeze slightly as he looked towards the supermarket. "We're already here, Becca. No sense in turning back now." His hand sought mine, holding it in a firm grip as he tugged me along beside him, his thumb moving back and forth against my skin in a reassuring manner.

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