Shade's Fall(4)

By: Jamie Begley



“But—”

“If you’re finished, could you ask Train to come here?”

Lily stood up, going out the door and then closing it behind her. What in the heck just happened? She had gone into his office to get out of spending a half hour of every day with Shade, not to get stuck for another hour each day.

She found Train, giving him Shade’s message before going back to work, still trying to figure out how she was going to get out of the self-defense lessons from Shade.

Shaking the thoughts away, Lily pulled another order up on the computer and began pulling the items before going to the table and packing the order. She worked steadily, and by the end of the day, ended up finishing an additional fifteen orders. It was past her usual time of leaving, but Lily had taken the largest order, sitting there for over an hour on the board where the larger orders were posted. No one had wanted to touch it so close to quitting time.

Taping the box closed, she managed to lift it into the mail cart. Proud of herself, she cleaned her worktable, wiping it down. When her scissors accidently fell to the floor, Lily reached down to pick them up.

She felt his gaze on her as she straightened. Her fingertips grazed over the red rubber band on her wrist, trying not to snap it. He didn’t like it when she snapped it. She did it to give herself that small sting of pain that would keep her from retreating into her fear because the therapist had said it diverted her anxieties, describing brain synapses and how they worked. Lily didn’t care about the reasons. The red rubber band helped. She had come to rely on it to keep her rooted in the present.

Shade’s lips would tighten in displeasure whenever he caught her snapping it, letting her know without words to stop. The problem was he increased the need to rely on the rubber band with his presence. One glance from his striking blue eyes had her nerves so on edge that she needed the small snap of pain to soothe her rioting emotions.

Her trembling hands smoothed down her knee-length dress instead.

“I’m done for the day, Shade.” Her eyes didn’t meet his, instead going to Rider who was sitting on one of the tables nearby. He and Shade had been talking about the orders while they waited for her to finish so they could lock up.

The other factory workers had left over a half hour ago, yet her speed hadn’t increased by much since her cast had been removed earlier in the week. The doctor had warned her it would take several weeks to regain the normal strength of her hand.

She had hurried with the last order because she could tell both men were waiting for their weekend to begin. Her own sister would be arriving in a few hours to spend the night at the house sitting on the hill just above the factory. The Last Riders were a motorcycle club who owned the factory and all the surrounding property, including the huge home where they held their weekly party.

Lily smothered her own hurt feelings that she had never been invited. She knew it was because of her reaction to being around men who drank alcohol, but it still hurt that she was excluded from that part of her sister’s life.

Her roommate, Penni, had even attempted to help her overcome her fear by taking her to a few parties in college, but those where alcohol had been served had become a failure. She had always let the fear overcome her, sinking into a paralyzing panic that would inevitably result in her friend practically carrying her back to her car.

Lily was ashamed to admit to herself that she was a coward. She was afraid of everything, and the one person that inspired the most fear was Shade.

When he stared at her with his piercing blue eyes, her mind went into panic mode every single time. Her fears had lessened, however, over the last few years since they had met and her sister had married Razer, his best friend.

“Hot damn. Let the good times roll,” Rider said, jumping off the table he had been sitting on.

Lily tried to hide her feelings, yet from the sharp look Shade threw Rider at his insensitive comment, she knew she had been unsuccessful.

Lily picked up the scraps of paper lying on her table, throwing them in the trashcan before going back to the table and picking up her purse.

“See you guys Monday.” Lily was going out the door as Bliss was coming in.

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