Hooked by Love (Bellevue Bullies #3)(8)

By: Toni Aleo



Opening the message, I roll my eyes.



Matty: I miss you, fuckface.

Me: Usually when you tell someone you miss them, you leave off the fuckface.

Matty: Whatever, come home. Stop being dumb.



That’s what my whole family, minus my mom, thinks. That I’m being dumb, chasing after something that won’t ever happen.



Me: No way. I love it here.

Matty: You won’t for long. It’s just all shiny and new. You’ll change your mind and then everyone will have to stop their lives to come and get you.



He can be such a dick.



Me: Don’t worry, I won’t call you.

Matty: Yeah, you will. And you’ll also ignore that I’m being a dick because you love me and I love you. I just don’t like being apart.



That makes me wrinkle my face in confusion. I want to think he is being sincere, but that isn’t Matty. He’s an asshole to almost everyone. He’s cocky, he knows he’s the best, and he is, but you would think since I shared a womb with him for nine months, he would be nice to me. Nope, I’m an inconvenience more than a sister, and I’m coping with that.



Me: Matty, why the hell does it matter if we are apart?

Matty: I guess I never noticed until you were gone. There is no one to hold my sticks and shit. It’s annoying.



He’s lucky we aren’t near each other. I would have punched him in the throat.



Me: I doubt you’ll have problems finding someone to hold your sticks.

Matty: I don’t want to tho, but whatever. Dad said he got you to fly home next month.



Closing my eyes, I shake my head. Didn’t I tell him I wasn’t sure if I wanted to come home? Opening my eyes, I look at the screen as I type back quickly.



Me: I don’t know if I’m coming.

Matty: You are. It’s opening night. Seth and Laurence will be home.

Me: Yeah, I don’t know.

Matty: Don’t be dumb. You can put your life on hold to be with your family.



Because they’ve ever put their lives on hold for me, at any point.

Neither of my parents flew down here with me. They put me on a plane, had a car service take me to the dealership to get my new car, and when I got to Bellevue, my things were already here and set up. Some people would kill for that, but not me. I wanted my mom and dad here. I wanted the tears and the “I’m gonna miss yous.” Instead of doing it all with me, my dad had everything done by someone else. I got no welcome, no speech about making good decisions, and no don’t get pregnant talk. I was thrown off on my own, and really, I’m used to it. I’ve been doing it for as long as I can remember, but it still hurts.

Especially since the reason I got for why they couldn’t come with me was because Laurence and Matty needed my parents to go with them to do paperwork they had forgotten to do. Being at the bottom of the totem pole sucks ass.

Very angrily, I type back.



Me: I’ll get right on that.

Matty: Nice talk.

Me: Best ever.



Ugh, I don’t like him much.

“You okay?”

I look over at Mekena as my phone comes to rest on my chest. “Yeah, just my brother sucks.”

“Which one?”

“Matty.”

“Your twin? Aren’t you two supposed to be best friends?”

I shrug. “Apparently he missed that memo when we were in the womb.”

“That sucks.”

I couldn’t agree more, but as I watch her finish her makeup, I decide I have to let this go. I left for a reason. That reason was to be on my own, to pave my own road and live the life I want. If Matty wants to be a dick to me, that’s fine. I’ve always been an afterthought to him, so now he’ll be the afterthought to me. I have too much to be excited about. Too much to be happy about. I’m not going to let him ruin that.

I just won’t.

No matter how much it hurts.

No matter how much I want his love.

“You don’t talk about your family much.”

Glancing up at the ceiling, I shrug. “Not much to discuss. I’m the one no one thinks about. They all have better things to do than worry about me. They all hate that I left, even though no one ever had time for me. Kinda doesn’t make sense, if you ask me.”

“Yeah, that blows,” she says, and I know she cares by the way she is looking at me. But I don’t want her sympathy.

“Doesn’t matter, though. I’m gonna do me. I refuse to be something that’s shelved until they need me.”

As soon as I say that, though, I feel like a jerk. As I shake my head, tears sting my eyes, but I won’t let them fall. My throat thick with emotion, I say, “But my mom isn’t too bad. She’s good to me when she has time to be. She’s sorta weak, goes with what my dad and brothers say. I guess because they monopolized her a lot of the time.”

Makena doesn’t say anything for a long while until I glance over at her. “It’s really no big deal.”

“Still, I’m sorry. That blows.”

“Yeah. Oh, well. New beginnings.”

“Amen to that!” she hoots before hopping up. “Well, I’m ready. Do you still wanna go? You seem bummed.”

Shooting up and out of bed, I nod. “No, I’m good. I’m excited for my first college party.”

And I am.

But I’m pretty sure the root of my excitement is knowing that soon, Jace Sinclair will be looking at me with those naughty, sex-filled eyes. And even though everything inside me is telling me it’s a bad idea…I can’t think of anywhere I’d rather be.





“So, we have news.”

I look to Claire, who is bouncing in her seat, and I’m sort of thankful for the change of subject. The thought of Mom dating makes me gag, and the looks Mom and Coach have been sending each other are hard to ignore. But thankfully everyone glances up at Claire, and by the looks on everyone’s faces and Claire’s and Jude’s smiling faces, I’m sure we all know what is about to be said. For some odd reason, it’s way easier to think of my brother and his wife making babies than my mom dating. Probably because I’ve walked in on them more than once, and the thought of walking in on my mom makes me want to die. Plus, what they are about to say is expected. They’ve been married like five years or something, Jude is killing it in the NHL, and Claire is rocking her job in Vegas.

First comes love, then comes marriage¸ then comes my sister-in-law and brother with a baby strapped to his chest.

It’s just so disgustingly cute.

I look over to see my mom grinning hard as she wiggles with excitement. She is about to be super happy and that’s good. She needs this. She really wants another grandbaby, but I haven’t heard anything about this. They must have been keeping it a surprise.

Before they can even confirm or deny, Mom yells, “You’re pregnant!”

“Mom!” Jude cries as Claire laughs, shaking her head.

Oh. Okay.

“That’s the first thing I thought,” I say, surprised.

“Me too,” Lucy and Jayden say at the same time.

“Oh, wait, you’re not pregnant?” Baylor asks.

“Oooh. I want a cousin,” Angie proclaims.

“Can someone pass me the mashed potatoes?” Markus asks and I shake my head.

This family.

“No! Jeez. Am I getting fat or something?” Claire asks, more to Jude than anyone else. Like the good husband he is, he shakes his head, holding her hand in a reassuring way.

“No, not at all,” my mom adds quickly. “It’s just you’ve been married so long.”

“Not even a year, Mom. That’s not long.” Jude shakes his head. “Jesus.”

“Really? I thought it was like five years.”

Lucy scoffs at my math. “I know. They are so sticky sweet in love, it makes us feel like we’ve been subjected to it longer than we actually have.”

I laugh in agreement as Claire clears her throat.

“Anyway…” Claire sings with laughter in her voice. Really, that’s all she can do.

Laugh at the insanity of this family.

“We bought a house here,” Claire says excitedly, her hands waving in a jazz hands sort of way that has my brows rising. I guess she figured everyone would be excited too.

But looking around, I’m sure everyone is thinking the same thing I am. “Why?” Jude sends me a dirty look at my question, and I hold up my hand. “I mean, I don’t understand why you did that when you live in Vegas and Jude lives in Cali.”

“My contract with the burlesque club is coming to an end, and I’ve turned down the renewal because I miss Jude and I want to be home more. I’m already turning over more to my Assistant Choreographer to make the transition faster.”

Silence comes after that last statement, and I can tell everyone is confused. Well, everyone except Coach, Markus, and Angie; they are all eating happily. Not a care in the world.

“I don’t get it,” Lucy says and I smirk. Leave it to my sister to say what all of us are wondering. But like he did to me, Jude starts to glare at her. “What? How is buying a house here helping?”

“Because, when the season is over, we will be living here.”

“Yeah, starting next year, I’ll be running my aunt’s dance studio a lot more since Reese is so busy with the boys,” Claire adds happily, speaking of her…er…cousins? I don’t know how that works. Phillip is her uncle, so, cousins? But before I can try to figure it out, everyone is nodding, so I do the same. Still not getting it, but oh well. Maybe I’ll actually see Jude more now. That is, before I sign my own contract and ship on out.

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