Marked. Part I: The missing Link

By: J.M.Sevilla

“Fucking creepy,” Stevie mutters under her breath.

“He's staring at us,” Naomi says, not looking pleased.

His eyes lock with mine and the strange tingling sensation returns.

“That's my neighbor.”

“Wow, he looks like someone who'd live above a bar, not the suburbs,” Stevie responds.

He gives a slight nod for us to come over, then puts his shades back down. It frightens me how willing my body is to comply.

“Lily, what are you doing?!” Naomi whisper-shouts behind me as I make my way to him.

When I reach the front he steps aside for us to enter.

“Damn, that guy is a gladiator meets spartan beast!” Stevie exclaims so loudly I'm sure anyone close by heard.

My neighbor smirks.

“Are you the bouncer?” I stupidly ask.

“Well of course he is, dummy,” Stevie steps in front of me to eye him better. She's five-nine and her head still has to look up to see his face. “Look at him, who would mess with that?” She waves a finger at his raw, hard muscles to emphasize her point.

Mysterious neighbor guy chuckles, “I like your friend. She's smart.” His voice is just as inviting as I remember: masculine, rich, warm, and deep.

“Does this mean you're letting us in?” Stevie asks hopefully, batting her enviously thick lashes.

“Yeah, I owe my neighbor here for the pie she brought me.”

Both my friends gape at me and I nudge them inside.

“Thanks,” I smile at him.

“For every pie you bring me, I'll let you and whoever you're with straight in.”

“You liked it?”

“Best fucking thing I ever put in my mouth.” He gives me a slight half smile before resuming his hard expression and turning back to face the crowd. Never in my life has my heart beat this fast from a compliment; I feel it in my ribcage, my throat, my veins, everywhere. Shit, I'm in trouble.

I easily find my friends at the crowded bar trying to order drinks. Naomi hands me my usual: vodka gimlet on the rocks.

“You made him a pie?” Naomi seems disturbed, and the all too familiar look of concern takes over, “Is this because of Will? Because that scary ass gladiator-killer isn't going to help you move on.”

I'm so sick of everything I do relating back to Will. “It has nothing to do with Will. My mom,” I state clearly, “asked me to bring him a plate on Christmas because he was all alone. That's it. I guess this was his way of thanking me.”

“I'd do him,” Stevie chimes in, taking a sip of her beer.

Naomi rolls her eyes, “That's only because you like it twisted and kinky.” She has never approved of Stevie's sexual lifestyle. Anything goes with her, and I mean anything: boys, girls, groups, bondage – you name it, she'll try it. She's not a slut though, she’s quite selective in who she chooses. She just likes it “nasty” as Naomi would say.

“That I do,” she purrs in response to Naomi's comment, grazing the broad muscular back of my neighbor. “I bet he likes it rough and hard.”

“You're sick. He's scary looking, and to quote your first impression of him, 'fucking creepy',” Naomi points out.

“He is,” Stevie shrugs, “but damn, that body.” She hungrily licks her lips, letting her tongue ring scrape along the outer edges as her eyes travel down to his ass. “There's something about him. He's one hot, lick-able, sexy-ass man. And those eyes, what's up with those?”

“They're fascinating,” I breathe in agreement, not meaning to reply but the words just fall out.

“Definitely. They appear blackhearted and threatening, but for a split second when he looked at Lily they softened. I think he likes you.” Stevie's remark brings on a small wave of butterflies and I take another drink, trying to hide my face behind the glass. My friends know me too well and I'm sure my feelings are obvious to them.

“You both are crazy. Lily’s suffering from a broken heart, so she’s not thinking clearly, but you have no excuse,” Naomi points a finger at Stevie, wiggling it, daring her to defend herself.

“I'm not interested in him,” I quickly blurt out, “I was only agreeing that his eyes are unique.”

Naomi lets out a “humph” from the back of her throat, “Evil's a more accurate description.”

“Can we please talk about something besides my neighbor?”

“Are your Dad and Jill back from their cruise yet?” Naomi asks.

Cody is Jill's son. My dad married Jill when Cody was five, raising him as his own. His biological father skipped out on them when he was only a year old. I don't even think my dad remembers Cody's not technically his. He loves and cares for Cody exactly as he does for Seth and I.

“They got home last Friday. He asked about you two and was hoping we could plan a day to have you guys over for dinner.”

Stevie lights up, “Yes, please! Your dad's food is orgasmic! Name a time and I'm there.”

“Ditto!” Naomi exclaims, with the same level of fervor.

“Okay, I'll set it up.”

Stevie downs a shot of whiskey, “Are you going to go back to switching houses every week?”

My brothers have switched houses every other week since the day Dad married Jill. I remember when I was younger thinking it was weird that Jill didn't care if her son stayed with another mom so often, but now that I'm older I realize she probably liked it. It gave her and my dad alone time in the beginning of their relationship, when they were hot and heavy for each other. I switched too until I left for college.