ONE THING I knew about Keene and Westley was they were not together. I meant they were not together like together. I could see how they looked at each other—no eye-fucking, Keene’s eating her up with his eyes, or exchanging dirty looks between them. They were not romantically involved.

Okay, that was enough of snooping around, Clyve. Why did I even care? And why in the hell do I feel like it’s a relief?

I watched them together while I was still in the cabin. Westley, Sindy, or if she was even that Sindy Kate. Although I was pretty sure she was the cam girl who was wrapping a blanket around Keene’s thin body right now.

“Can you please stop staring at me?” I blinked to her annoyed voice.

“I-I’m sorry.” I stammered. I met her gaze and her brows were still knitting together. “I was just thinking.

I developed a bad habit of staring at someone while I was in deep thoughts, and it was not impressive—it was cheeky.

“Is he okay?

“How does it any of your business?” Her tone was sharp and not friendly. If she had annoyed voice earlier, now she was pissed off as what American would say.

“I was just asking. I may not be a medical doctor, but my mum is. I thought I could pull some strings if he needs a—”

“No thank you. He’s gonna be fine.

“So, I am right then that he’s not doing well?

“Will you please stop asking as if you care. You don’t even know anything about us.

“I’m just trying to—”

“Help? Why do people like you keep assuming that people like us need help? Well, we don’t need one. Just be a guest, and stop digging into our personal business. Can you do that?” Stubborn woman. I understood her though because I was a stranger.

“Why do I feel that you hate me?” That was the truth, and I preferred to be honest. She didn’t welcome me like the way Keene did. Was this because I mistakenly called her Sindy?

“That’s a strong word, Mr. Clifford.

“It’s my middle name.” I smiled but her eyes were blazing with hatred that it could burn two holes right through my soul if it was even possible. “What do you do for a living, Miss Westley?” I kept my eyes glued to her, making her uneasily shift from her chair.

She roughly wrapped the blanket around her body. “What’s with the just be a guest did you not understand?

“I’m just making a conversation while your boyfriend is not here, you know. People do that.” Bloody hell! That was so low and foolish.

She snorted bitterly and stood up. “I’ll go check my boyfriend then, Clyve Clifford.

“I told you—”

She waved her hand to stop me. “Don’t care!” Then she stomped away, living me cold and alone. Well, my snooping around didn’t end well, did it?

“He doesn’t know, does he?” I yelled and watched her entire body seize up.

She quickly spun around and scurried towards me that had my heart stilled for a moment. “What do you want?” Each word was bitten off through clenched teeth. Her face was flaming with anger, and so as her ocean-blue eyes tightened as she glared at me.

“So, he doesn’t have any idea then.” Instinct told me that I should pry even though it wasn’t a good idea. I just wanted to understand her. That was all.

“I’m afraid I have no idea what you’re talking about.

“Are you sure about that, Sindy Kate?” I took the risk, letting go of the question that I'd been dying to ask.

Her breath hitched, eyes slightly widened, the pain and sadness were so deep. Now I wanted to wipe away the pain I saw in her eyes before it was gone in an instant. Her complexion turned pallid. She was quite an expert in concealing her emotions, but it didn’t go unnoticed. She was that woman, indeed. Taking a risk was not bad after all.

There was something about her that piqued my interest though, other than the fact that she was beautiful. I’d seen plenty, and I could have brought them to my bed in no time. That was complete bollocks! That was not how it worked for me. In her case, I’d rather get to know her better than shag her until she admitted that she was Sindy Kate. Besides, she didn't even like me.

“Stop snooping around if you still want to stay longer, or should I call a hotel in the morning?

“If you say so. My apology for my rude behavior, Miss Westley.” I watched her walk away.

People didn’t do drastic measures when not necessary. She must have reasons, and if it involved Keene, she was then one of the best people I’d ever met.


I WOKE earlier than I usually did. It normally happened on my first night in a new place. It was always troublesome.

After wearing my running clothes, I walked outside the cabin. It was a little bit chilly, but I always loved being outside than doing an indoor exercise.

I could still see the morning dew in the grass. I closed my eyes as I breathed in, feeling the fresh air blowing my face.

I went straight ahead to the driveway towards the empty road. I plugged my headset, played my playlist, and reset the timer on my watch then I was good to go.

My stomach twisted when I remembered I had not talked to my bother since his last call. I was sure he was worried about me. I knew him. If I was not going to call back, he would contact the cabin owner or worse flew here to check if I was okay.

I could feel the adrenaline coursing through my body, making me feel more alive. I lowered my pace when I noticed I’ve run far.

A few houses came to view with almost similar structures. A few cars parked in front, mostly old models, kid bicycles, and trucks.

I pulled my hood down as I watched an old couple go to their car. I felt a tiny pang inside my chest as it reminded me of mum and dad.

I had a hard time accepting their divorce. I stayed with dad in London while my brother chose to study in the States with mum. It felt like I lost them both simultaneously. I’d been into a lot of troubles while dad was busy running the business, and he hardly got home.

I was barely an adult at that time, and I had a huge opportunity ahead of me. Enrolling at one of the Russell Group universities was easy because I had quite impressive grades, but instead, I chose the wrong track.

I saw the sadness in my brother’s eyes when he came back from the States. What he did to me was an eye-opener to my twisted mind that gave me light in my darkest world.

Now my dad was gone, but I couldn’t help and wish my family was still intact before he passed away.


I turned around and sprinted back to the cabin. My heart pounded in my chest. I could feel my muscles tightened everywhere, and I was sticky with sweat.

It felt good. It always was.

“Clyve!” I stopped my track when I heard a faint voice calling my name. I pulled the headset off of my ears.

“Got an email from Arella Rogue, said it was urgent!” Keene was standing on his porch, crossing his arms over her chest.

“Is my brother okay?” I felt like my gut had been kicked straight out of my body. I felt the chilly wind wrapping around my body, making me almost shiver in dread. Still catching my breath, I ran towards the house. My chest ached to the pounding of my heart.

“Yeah, I guess so.

I stared at him. Then Westley emerged from the door with a steaming cup in her hand that diverted my attention from Keene. I looked at her—really looked at her. She was still wearing a thin robe. Her hair was up in a messy bun that I thought she looked cute. It was official that I had a huge crush on her.

She rolled her eyes when she caught me that I was literally ogling at her. I deserved that.

I blinked and focused back to Keene because what I just did was shameless. “What do you mean you guess so?

“Breakfast will be ready in less than an hour, CC.” She snorted and entered inside.

“Keene, can you tell me what’s exactly in the email, please? I haven’t checked mine.” I stepped inside their house. The smell of brewed coffee made my stomach grumble loudly.

“I’ll print you a copy.

“That won’t be necessary.

“Arella mentioned that your brother was worried if you got here safe. She said to reply to her email, and if you won’t that she and Skip will travel here and kick your sorry arse herself for making them worry.

“Thanks.” Guilt. Terrible guilt. It was right here coiling in the pit of my stomach. I was right. He was worried about me, yet here I was being a stupid and stubborn arse. “I was planning on checking my email after my run. Where can I buy a phone?” I followed Keene to the kitchen where Westley was pouring a pancake batter on the pan.

“How a city boy doesn’t own a phone?” Westley reacted. Her sarcasm put a smile on my face.

I shrugged. “Mine’s broken before my flight.

“On purpose?” Keene’s brows arched.

“Something like that.

“Use my phone and call your brother, man. Unless you want him to come and kick your arse.” Keene laughed with a cough, tossing his phone to me.

I caught it and dialed my brother’s number. I readied myself if he ever busted my ear with his berate.

“Linton.” My chest expanded to hear the familiar voice of my brother. I couldn’t believe my anger towards him had completely vanished into thin air.

I missed this arse.

“Damn right you are, brotha.” A smile curved up my lips that he was all right.

“Jesus Christ, Clyve! Eli is about to cancel my schedules and book a flight for me and Arella.” He released a long and deep sigh.

“Oh, come on, mate, I’m good. Thanks for worrying though. Now I know how much you love me.

“That’s not funny. You better call Arella because she was so damn worried about you since yesterday. She suggested surprising this trip for you. And you know her, she won’t stop blaming herself until she hears from you that you’re okay.

“Fine. I’ll talk to her, but first, I need to buy a phone.

“What the fuck, Clyve? Where is your goddamn phone?

“Um, broken?

“You broke your goddamn phone and traveled without one?

“I was mad, okay, and have no plan on getting one until I get back, but then—”

“But then what?” he jeered.

“When I saw houses while I was on my run, I remembered our parents, you, and...

“Clyve, I’m sorry for being pushy.

“You mean being a pussy,” I whispered as I didn’t want Keene and Westley to think I was lewd.

“That, you should find some. Anyway, I just want you to chill out. I really appreciate all your effort, but you are my brother, and you can’t cut it off not to let me worry about you. This is the burden I should carry until I die. So suck it off.” He laughed. “Have fun and forget the pressure for a while.

“I know.

“Do you?” Shit!

“Look, Skip.

“It’s alright, Clyve. We good, yeah?

“Yup.” I nodded as relief washed over me.

“Just talk to Arella, okay? Thanks for calling, and I love you, brother. We’ll talk about pussies once you get a phone. I’ll purchase online, and let it send it to your address. Have fun.

“Thank you, brotha.

“Well, it seems to me that CC misses his big brother, isn’t he?

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