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Red lipstick at Target – Copyright 2017 Janine Infante Bosco
POV – Deuce
There are two fucking things I despise in this world. The first is admitting when I’m wrong and the second is shopping. I really fucking hate shopping. So tell me, why the fuck am I pushing a red wagon into Target? Better yet, tell me why this was my idea? Actually, I’ll give you a gold star if you can explain why I’m not bothered by it so much either?
“I thought you said we were getting food,” Ally says as we step inside a shopaholic’s mothership.
Yeah, so did I.
That was the fucking plan.
I should probably stop planning anything considering none of them seem to go accordingly. Making a note of it, I try to place where I went wrong. Sitting in my room and staring at the wall that separated Ally and I was probably it. I thought putting her in Cobra’s room was a no-brainer. She had her own space, and I had mine. There was a connecting door in case she needed anything, but other than that we could go about our business.
Yeah, not so much.
The truth was, before the fucking world flipped on its axis I was rarely ever at the motel. Other than sleeping and showering, I didn’t do much there. When I wasn’t riding or fucking my way through life, I was playing the Satan’s Knights prodigal cowboy, shooting shit and digging graves. Not one to be confined, I was climbing the four fucking walls of that room.
After Ally’s moment outside the hospital, I listened as she relived another traumatic experience. It’s one thing to assume what she’s been through but hearing her say it—shit, that left me reeling. I spent half the night wondering if she was okay or if she was reliving more agony. I could have checked in on her during the night but I was too chicken shit. Sure, I was experienced in post-traumatic stress but not Ally’s kind. I knew Stryker had suffered after the war and there were certain triggers that left it impossible to obtain peace. I feared handing that helmet to Ally had opened the door to a night full of terror and that bothered me. I didn’t want to be the one who enticed her demons to come out and play. I wanted to be the guy who gave her a reprieve from all that shit, the guy who could maybe show her there was a great big world out there waiting for her.
Like it or not, she was my responsibility now. Her well-being and her peace of mind was my newfound commitment.
That’s why I opened that door today.
That’s the fucking reason I sat on her bed and counted her freckles.
After realizing she was okay, that she was just bored, I should have left her alone and gone back to my room, but then we started to talk. Talking to Ally was an experience. Hell, you couldn’t go a moment without wondering what she was going to say next. One minute she was an ordinary woman making it easy to forget her story. The next minute she was the wounded warrior, holding onto a book of matches, fighting for the strength to overcome her past. I was getting whiplash trying to keep up.
What broke me though was when she willingly gave me more of her story. Trust isn’t something I imagine comes easy for her and knowing she trusted me enough to confide in me did something to me. It fucked with me in more ways than one. It made me want to rewrite her past. Knowing that was impossible, I did the stupidest thing I could have ever done.
I kissed her.
I fucking kissed her.
And Jesus Christ, her lips were plump and pliable—fucking perfect.
And her taste—fuck me.
Someone needs to create a word for how fucked I am.
Motherfucked isn’t cutting it anymore.
The torture didn’t stop there though.
Nope, it continued when Ally pulled out her ace.
She smiled and I folded.
No fucking sane man could compete with that smile let alone one who had lost all his fucking logic. It was breathtaking and intoxicating all the same. Fucking captivating was what it was.
And like a fool, I wanted to see more of it.
“You need stuff, don’t you?” I ask, pushing the cart like a total jackass. Grinding my teeth, I make a turn and nearly take down the display of Goldfish crackers. Give me two wheels and I’ll make that baby purr, give me a horse and I’ll make her gallop, give me a red wagon with a bull’s-eye and I’m an imbecile.
Frustrated, I park the cart in the center of the aisle and turn to Ally.
“Take this fucking thing, please,” I grind out, taking both her hands and placing them on the handlebar. There, that’s better. Stepping away from the offensive death trap, I pull my shit together and focus.
“Coconuts,” I say finally.
“You want to buy me coconuts?” she asks, looking at me like I’ve got a third eye.
“Your hair smelled like coconuts the other night,” I clarify. “I don’t have any of that fancy shit back at the motel and I’m pretty sure your brother doesn’t either.”
“Oh,” she replies thoughtfully. “That was Reina’s.”
“Well, time to get you some of your own,” I tell her, scratching the scruff lining my jaw. Looking away, I take in the products on the shelf and pick up a toothbrush. Chucking it into the wagon, I glance back at her. “You see something you need you throw it in the wagon.”
“I’ve been shopping before, Deuce,” she says, taking the toothbrush out of the wagon. I’m about to argue with her when she grabs a green one instead. “I like this one better,” she adds, reaching for the toothpaste. She grabs two different types and studies them with deep concentration.
“What’s the difference?” she asks.
“Get both,” I reply automatically. She turns to me and I shrug my shoulders. Waiting for her to argue with me, she fools me and dumps them both in the cart. Her eyes travel the length of the aisle and she adds mouthwash, floss and some sort of whitening kit to the growing list of dental products. Once she finishes scoping out the aisle, she grabs the cart and pushes it down the next.
Following her down the aisles, I watch as she lifts things off the shelves and decides what she likes. A half hour goes by and we’re barely out of the toiletry section, not to mention the wagon is half-full.
Turning down the next aisle, she turns to me. A crease works the center of her forehead as she glances at the shelves.
“I never understood the difference,” she says, waving her hand at the condom selection. “Do you have a favorite?”
Unlike the toothpaste, I can’t tell her to grab every variety and give them a whirl, so I say nothing as she grabs a pack.
“Ribbed,” she mutters.
“Fuck,” I hiss.
“You don’t like ribbed?” she questions, lifting her gaze back to me.
“Ally,” I warn. Quickly, she glances around the store, over her shoulder and back to me.
“What? Are people looking at me? I sort of feel like they are. You know, like I’m a fish out of water?”
“They’re not looking at you,” I grind out.
“So I blend in?”
Doesn’t every girl comparing condoms fit in with the crowd at Target? Fuck my life. Man, you can’t make this shit up.
“Totally,” I say, taking the condoms out of her hand. Chucking them into the wagon, her eyes widen and she pokes a finger against my chest.
“You do like ribbed!”
Gripping the wagon with one hand, I grab her arm and lead her out of the aisle.
“I thought you said you’ve been shopping before,” I mutter.
“I have, but this is the first time ever I get to pick anything out,” she says, pushing me aside to take control of the wagon. “Rush would pick everything out, getting me stuff he liked best. I had no idea there were this many choices.”
“This store has everything, huh?” she adds as we head down the make-up aisle. I don’t say anything as she mulls over eighty-seven tubes of lipstick. Fuck, I’d buy every single one if she decided she liked them all. Then I’d kiss her like I really want to and smear those colors all over her pretty lips.
“What do you think about make-up?”
“I think it looks awful on me.”
Again, she smiles and I lean against the wagon taking it all in.
“I bet,” she replies as she dumps a few things into the wagon. “I never learned how to put it on properly. I always felt like I put so much on that at times I resembled a clown or one of those guys from that band Kiss.”
Unable to stop myself, I let out a laugh.
“What else do you need?” I ask, watching as she throws a tube of red lipstick in the wagon. My eyes dart to her lips and I imagine what they might look like painted that shade. She might not know her favorite color yet but I know now mine is undoubtedly red.