Chapter Five--Delaney

The house was quiet when Delaney arrived home that afternoon. Her brother left a note for her not to wait up, he had plans, which gave her some time to herself, not that she needed it but a little time to drink a glass of wine and cool down didn’t sound too bad. 

Delaney opened the chicken wrap she’d grabbed from the corner store on the way home and poured herself a glass of red wine. 

She curled her feet underneath her and turned on some rom-com she’d passed when channel surfing. By the middle of her glass she could feel it in her toes. 

It’d been a while since she drank, with finals she used every free moment to study. 

She hadn’t realized she’d fallen asleep, or how tired she had grew at the store. The girls were crazy busy, but a lot of fun to work with. Delaney didn’t even mind the work they had her doing. Seeing her work on the display shelf made her proud, and she’d missed that feeling. 

The sound of a truck door slamming woke her from where she’d fallen asleep on the couch. Her empty cup of wine and plastic container sat on the table, and the huge clock above the mantel said ten thirty. 

She stretched, getting up to clean her mess, and see who had made it home. 

Keys rattled at the front door, and mumbled voices came from the other side. It took almost two minutes for the door to open. 

The guy Joey was dating came in first, and then a limping Patch beside him. All of his weight was on Gabriel, and he was wasted like she’d never seen before. His dark hair was matted and his skin ashen. 

“Is he okay?” she asked, making Gabriel do a double take. 

“Yeah, Mami, he’s alright, just a little tipsy.”

Delaney furrowed her brow and cocked her hip to the side. “A little, huh? Dude’s hammered.”

Patch groaned and suddenly snatched away from Gab to stumble to a standstill. If he hadn’t been drunk she would have lost her breath. His lips were puffy and his eyes hooded. She imagined he looked a lot like that when he was feeling frisky but maybe a little less intense. 

A snarl curled at his mouth, and his eyes searched her wrinkled clothes she’d worn all day. 

“Don't look at me like that, Delaney? You ready for me to handle that smart mouth of yours, huh?”

Delaney lost her speech looking at him leaned against the counter, dark eyes on her like the night before, but he was drunk. He wouldn’t be saying those types of things if he weren’t would, he? Patch stepped forward and laced his thick, rough fingers against the nape of her neck, her breath slipping from her and a rush of something white hot slithered against her skin. 

His breath smelled like liquor with an after wash of mint that tickled her own tongue. “Look at that pretty mouth,” he whispered, hotly against her lips. The joints in her knees went weak and if he hadn’t been holding her she would have fallen to the tile floor. 

In all the years she’d known him, he never came that close to her, his mouth so close to hers, or the harsh words that had fallen off his silky tongue, but she felt herself eating it all up.

Hooded eyes took in her parted mouth and then just like that he was jerked backward. 

“Dude, you promised Lucas, you’re drunk and gonna get into some shit you can’t handle. Go to bed. Go take a cold shower, I don’t care.”

Gabriel pushed Patch’s shoulder, but Patch met her gaze again, and through the haze in his eyes, she saw that lust she’d seen for the past few nights. 

Gab gave him another push, guiding him toward his room where she heard the door shut a few moments later. She turned her back, and covered her mouth with her palm. His touch had her skin on fire, drowning in heat that felt like a palatable option. 

She desperately needed a shower because her panties were soaked from just that small moment. Shame hung over her, but the fire beneath it seemed worth any amount of disgrace she had for loving the way he felt. 

Gabriel’s heavy footsteps stopped behind her, and she gathered her thoughts the best she could. He sighed and rubbed his palm over his jaw. “Dude is passed out,” he said. “I think he is down for the count.”

“Why was he drinking like that?” she asked. “He—from what I could remember he was never a big drinker because of his dad.”

Gabriel nodded. “It’s not my business to tell you, but he had a reason tonight. Lock the door,” he said bluntly. “My number is in his phone on his dresser if you need me.”

Gab left and she did what he asked and locked the door. Had Patch gotten into trouble? Was it his mom again? He hadn’t spoken about her but that didn’t mean much, because he wasn’t an open book to begin with. 

Delaney walked upstairs to the shower and stripped out of her clothes. She’d imagined how pathetic she felt after just a simple touch. The rest of the summer would be hell if she didn’t get herself together soon. 




The next morning she made her way downstairs early, knowing she didn’t have to go help until ten and only for a couple of hours. She made some coffee, hearing her brother’s snores from down the small hallway, at least she knew he made it back in one piece. 

Delaney noticed that Patch’s door was closed, and she figured he had a hangover from hell. So she put a glass of water on the table and a bottle of ibuprofen. 

After a cup of coffee and a nice twenty minutes outside on his back porch, she walked to the bathroom to get ready for work. 

She blasted her Pandora app on her phone, listening to some 90s country music and took her shower. She shaved her legs, washed her hair and took her time getting dressed. 

The counter in the spare bathroom was huge, so she crawled on top of it and started to do her makeup in the bright lighting. 

In the middle of belting an Allan Jackson song, the door swung opened and she shrieked. 

“Ever hear of knocking?” shocked to see Patch instead of her brother. 

She let her eyes wonder in the mirror instead of turning to give him her attention though she wanted to. He had lost his shirt during the night, and his jeans hung against what looked like the perfect dip of his obliques. His chest and abs were like she expected a demi-god to look like. Lean and tanned, she couldn’t remember a time in her life where a man looked so good to her. 

He cleared his throat, and she met his gaze in the mirror. “Thank you for the medicine,” he said in a gravelly voice. 

“No problem,” Delaney said, fixing her blush in the mirror. 

“Look at me,” he said harshly. 

Delaney dropped her brush and turned to look at him, her legs hanging off the side of the counter. “Rude much? I am looking.”

Patch laughed and took another step inside. “Oh, I know you’re looking,” he said. “But I mean look at me, because I’m only going to say this once to you. What I did last night, I shouldn’t have done it. I was drunk and you were there.”

I was there. That sentence hit her gut and made her feel two inches tall, looking up at him from the counter like a little girl, the little girl he remembered,

She furrowed her brows and shrugged her shoulders. “Shouldn’t have done what?”

Patch let his tongue slither against his bottom lip and he took his lip ring into his mouth. “You know exactly what I’m talking about. And I saw that longing in your eyes when I did it—,”

“Then why did you do it?” she asked. “I didn’t make you.”

“I told you I was drunk—,”

“Then don’t put it on me,” she snapped. 

Patch cleared his throat and shoved his hands into the pockets of his low-rise jeans. “You’re right, I did it, but what I’m saying is …don’t get used to it.”

He turned on his heel and walked out of the doorway, leaving Delaney sitting on the counter. 




Delaney shut the oven door, and turned around to see Katie staring at her. “What?” she asked, tucking a piece of stray hair. 

Katie shrugged her small shoulders and leaned against the counter, tapping her index finger in a steady rhythm. 

“You seem to be lost today, what’s going on?”

“Nothing,” she said, leaning her hip against the counter. “I’m fine.”

Katie tilted her head like she examined her. “Does it have to do with Patch Larson coming into the shop yesterday and giving you come get me eyes?”

Delaney laughed, and shook her head. “That’s not what those are called, believe me. He—,” she stopped and Katie pointed a pink fingernail her way. 

“He what? Spill. Do you have a thing for him, Laney? He's a bad, bad boy.”

Bad boy, indeed. 

Delaney let out a long sigh. “He came home drunk with Gabriel last night, and I thought maybe, he wanted to kiss me, but then this morning he came in and shut that idea down. Gabriel kept saying you promised Lucas or something.”

Katie lifted both eyebrows. “He promised Lucas he wouldn’t what? Come onto you? I think it’s a little late for that, I swear he was giving you eyes yesterday. And a kiss? I think he is having trouble keeping his promise to Lucas if you ask me.”

Delaney briefly let that thought wonder, but after the morning, she felt humiliated and stupid. “An almost kiss,” she said. “And that’s not what he said. He said not to get used to it.”

Katie stood up and shrugged. “Well, I guess we will see.”

“Or not,” Delaney said. 

The bell dinged from the front and Delaney had just enough time to hide before she made eye contact with her step-mother. Katie looked down at her for a moment, but took her death glare to heart. 

“Mrs. Summers,” Katie said. “How ya doing today?”

Delaney heard her winey laugh and rolled her eyes. She could imagine her flipping her blonde hair and doing that shoulder shrug smile she did. “I’m good. Here to pick up those pies for my boys.”

Her boys? Lucas and Patch? Delaney held in her laugh when she realized those treats the boys talked about weren’t from her but from the shop. 

“Yes ma’am. Sweet Potato and Butter Pecan. I’ve got them right here.”

“These are just the best things ever, they love them. I’ll be back next week for another round. Maybe peanut butter balls this time?”

“Sure thing, I’ll put it on my calendar,” Katie said. 

“Thanks, love, see you then.”

Delaney stayed hidden until the bell on the door dinged. “What the heck was that?” Katie asked, helping her up. 

She dusted off her apron and jeans. “Well, my parents don’t know I’m back. I’m kind of hiding out at Lucas’ until I figure out what I’m doing with my life.”

Katie shook her head and placed her hands on her tiny hips. “Sweetie, you’re a grown up, you can do what you want. At least you have a degree.”

Delaney sighed. “I don’t want to hear their mouths about it. In due time, I will.”

Katie tossed her an oven mit and laughed. “Yeah, she comes in every week, I’m sure she is gonna see you eventually. You better work on that cloak of invisibly.”

Delaney pulled out a batch of Keto-friendly cookies. 

“Why don’t you like Beth? She seems like such a nice woman.”

Delaney shrugged. “She tries too hard.”

Katie gave her a narrowed look. “That’s all you got?”

“She takes the credit for those pies she brings over to my brother’s house too.”

“Wench,” Katie said. 

They howled with laughter. 

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