Belonging to Lust

Chapter 161: That Talk

Zaiyia didn’t remember much of her afternoon when she returned home from school. As she cooked dinner her mind was heavily on Alice White and her family’s situation. She was so preoccupied by it in fact that she never heard the front door open or the sounds of work boots thudding on the hardwood floor, the usual clues of Heath’s arrival from work other than his truck parking in the driveway. It was only when his hefty arms tenderly shrouded around her middle from behind whilst she was stirring some vegetables in the frying pan did she finally react. Startled, she let out a gasp and jumped. “Wha-!”

“Shh, it’s just me, baby.” Heath soothed her in a husky voice before his lips lowered to kiss her bare shoulder poking out of her top that just so happened to be off the shoulders. His arms had tightened around her to keep her from hurtling back and bashing him in the chin.

Smiling with relief, Zaiyia blissfully melted against him. “Oh, you scared me! Welcome home, Heath. It’s nice to have you back.”

“Mmm, it’s nice to be back.” Heath added, snuggling his face into the crook of her warm neck to deeply inhale her sensual perfume. “Dinner smells like it’s gonna be one of the best I’ve had yet.”

“Excuse me? All of my dinners are the best you’ve ever had!” Zaiyia corrected with a sprightly attitude. “If I were you I’d find myself a seat quick or you won’t be having any tonight!”

“Yes ma’am!” Heath complied with a smirk, but only after he swept her braids aside to bare the back of her neck. Leaning down, he pressed a warm kiss to the sensitive flesh and then watched as her braids curtained back over it. Turning around, he went to take his place at the head of the table.

No longer afflicted by Alice’s dilemma with Heath around, Zaiyia fixated on the last step in preparing dinner. Generously, she heaped piles onto her lover’s plate before serving it to the ravenous man. While fixing her own next, she asked him over her shoulder. “So, how was your day?”

“It was fine.” Heath muffled with a mouth crammed with several forkfuls of steamed vegetables blended with meat and mash potatoes. Most people wouldn’t be able to translate what he was saying but Zaiyia could. She lived with him long enough to deduce every mumble when he feasted. “Todd had an accident with a circular saw, but that’s what he gets for not listening to anyone and thinking he knows best.”

Depositing her plate on the table, Zaiyia delayed seating herself to gape at Heath with worry. “Holy shit! Did he lose a hand or something?”

“No, it wasn’t anything serious like that. He did cut himself but luckily he only needed a few minor stitches.” Heath clarified then took several gulps from his glass of water to clear his mouth. His green eyes locked on her. “How did your day at school go? I got in touch with your principal.”

Zaiyia grinned blithely at him. “I know you did, he told me after he called me up to his office. You know, before I went in there I was worried he wasn’t going to want to immerse himself into our plan. That was my greatest fear. But you know what ended up being the biggest challenge? It was getting him to call Alice White up to the office! It was hard to convince him that we had worked things out and wouldn’t try and kill each other in his office.”

“To be honest, I wouldn’t have believed it either if I was in his shoes. With the way you two hated each other before, never in a million years.” Heath admitted with an understanding shrug.

Momentarily narrowing her eyes at him, Zaiyia decided to let him off the hook for his honesty. “Anyway, he’s willing to help me and Alice with an assembly. He seems fully committed and is willing to take on more security just in case the worst happens, so you won’t need to come to school to protect me.”

“Oh, I’m coming.” Heath solidified before shoveling several more pounds of food into his mouth.

Zaiyia let that be. She could see that he would fight her on that if she implored him to stay away. What vexed her was his reason for wanting to be there. Was it because she was his responsibility as a guardian or was it because she was his lover? Perhaps that was an answer she wasn’t ready to hear yet.

While the two ate in silence, the thought of Alice popped into her mind again. Her chewing slowed as she grabbed her cup and swallowed it down. Lifting her eyes to Heath’s face which was zeroed in solely on his plate, Ziayia licked her lips and whispered. “Also...I had that talk with Alice after we left the office.”

Heath’s fork stilled as he raised his green eyes to her. “As in...the talk we discussed the other day?”

Zaiyia nodded, her fork now shuffling her food around on her plate. “Yeah...that talk.”

Heath tilted his head and leaned back in his chair. He stared at her for a while. “And? What did she say?”

“Well, she wasn’t happy when I told her you knew about her dad. She practically walked away from me, convinced that I fucked up her life because now she and her siblings would be put in foster care and eventually adopted by separate families.” Zaiyia recalled, spacing out on her plate. “But I tried to get her to see the bigger picture here. That one day her dad was gonna put his hands on her little brother and sister and she wouldn’t be able to stop him.”

Heath nodded, taking that in. He was proud of his Zaiyia for standing up to Alice and trying to make her see the impending downfall that was surely headed their way. She had the power to stop this. “I can understand her fear of being separated by her siblings. I had that same concern when my parents died. I was still very much a kid myself and so I never considered that I could take custody of them simply because I was 18 years old and had the means to provide for them. But it’s like you said, if Alice doesn’t stop this cycle now someone could end up dead one day.”

“I know, Heath.” Zaiyia nodded solemnly, closing her eyes. “It’s my fear as well and it’s only getting stronger the more I get to know Alice. That’s one of the reasons I didn’t let her walk away from me and end the matter then and there. I had to make her see the worst case scenario could play out if she kept going with the flow the way she has. She couldn’t deny it then, thank god and agreed she’d drop by some time to talk it over with us.”

The room fell into reticence with Heath’s eyes still directed on her. “Do you regret telling me all this about Alice?”

Zaiyia lifted her eyes and shook her head, her brows furrowed. “No, actually I don’t. I only feel bad for not having done this sooner. Instead I had put my own crisis above her own and so it continued on and I just turned a blind eye to it.” Repulsed with herself, she broke eye contact with him again to lower her head in shame. “God, I was being so fucking selfish!”

“Hey, give yourself a little bit of credit here, baby. At least you DID something about it. Nevermind the timing. You’ve DONE something before it was too late.” Heath reminded her, stretching out his open palm for her to take. He felt his heart race when she placed her dainty hand in his, and watched as his long fingers curled over the deep richness of her skin. “So, we wait for Alice to show up.”

“And if she doesn’t we’ll go to the police.” Zaiyia stated resolutely. She wasn’t going to gamble on their lives any longer than that, and so she prayed Alice would visit them soon because she wasn’t sure how long she was going to be able to keep her mouth shut.

“And that’s final.” Heath nodded in accord. “But now we have another matter to focus on. We have a camping trip to prepare for. The plan is we’ll be sleeping in tents on camping grounds in between our final destination. After that, we’ll be lodged up in cabins.”

Zaiyia had to ask. She didn't know how to properly ask it but she had to ask it nevertheless. Lowering her eyes, she smiled shyly at him. “And will we have our own cabin from your family? For obvious reasons.”

Heath grinned at her, shaking his head at her naughty mind which seemed to always mirror his own at suitable times. Of course they were getting their own damned cabin! There was no way in hell he’d be able to keep his hands off of her for an entire camping trip. “What do you think?”

There was no mistaking his meaning. Zaiyia’s cheeks flushed hot as she giggled. “Good.”

“But we need to behave ourselves while we’re there.” Heath reminded her, his smile faltering a little as his thumb stroked over the back of her hand. “We may be in a relationship, but it’s a taboo one and so we have to keep it out of sight from everyone including my family while we’re there. Understand?”