Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse…

September 21, 2008 at 7:30 pm (Uncategorized)

Hi Everyone,

I hope you all had a fantastic week.

Check out Excerpt 5 of Lake of Lies…

Chapter 5

Samantha sat on her bed wondering how things had gone so wrong.  Everything was spinning out of control.  She felt like she had been on a rollercoaster of emotion since she got here.  If only things were different…  She had to talk to Derek when he got back.  She didn’t want to hide things from him.  With the way she was feeling now, she wasn’t sure she could. 

She went downstairs, hoping to find some peace.  She followed the voices she heard to the kitchen opening the door to find Margaret embracing a younger woman.  Their heads rose at her entrance.  “Oh Samantha, I’m glad you’re here.  I would like to introduce you to Christina.  Christina, this is Derek’s girlfriend, Samantha.” 

She could’ve sworn that she saw a flash of anger flash across Christina’s face, but it disappeared so quickly that she couldn’t be sure.  After today’s events, it was definitely possible that her mind was playing tricks on her.  Christina came over to shake her hand.  She had to admit that the other woman was beautiful.  Her auburn curls streamed down her back stopping midway.  She was a little taller than the other woman, but she couldn’t deny that she envied the girl’s petite curves. 

“It’s nice to meet you,” she greeted.  She glanced over her shoulder at Derek’s mother.  “Derek didn’t tell me that he was bringing someone.”

Despite the other woman’s smile, Samantha heard the irritation in her voice. “It’s nice to meet you, too,” she replied graciously.  Christina’s eyes traveled her length in stern assessment making Samantha feel like she was being judged for a beauty pageant.  From the look on the other girl’s face, she definitely didn’t win the crown. 

Margaret came up to put her arm around Christina.  “It’s so good to have you back,” she exclaimed squeezing gently. 

Christina smiled at her.  “It’s good to be home,” she replied, covering Margaret’s hands with her own. 

“It will be good to have my family back together for a change.  We don’t see you often enough,” Margaret admonished. 

Christina walked over to get a glass from the cabinet.  “I know, I know.  But I can’t help it.  I’m really busy with school and work.  Where’s Nick?  I haven’t seen him in a while.” 

Margaret poured herself a cup of coffee.  “He had to leave for a couple of days.  He said something about a big deal he was working on.” 

Samantha joined Christina at the table.  The mention of Nick made the tightness in her chest return.  “Will he be back for the party?”  Christina inquired. 

“He promised that he would,” Margaret replied, taking a seat beside Samantha.  A commotion sounded in the hallway.  “Oh, what now?” Margaret cried out jumping up to investigate the disturbance.  “You two sit tight.  I’ll be right back,” Margaret said hurrying into the hallway. 

A strange tension hovered as the two women surveyed each other.  Silence gripped the room, neither one of them sure of how to break the ice.  Christina was the first to speak.  “So, you’re dating Derek?”

“Yes,” Samantha replied, not feeling the need to elaborate. 

For some reason, she felt uneasy telling Christina about her relationship with Derek.  Maybe it was because of everything that happened with Nick earlier.  She knew that it was silly to be so on guard, but something in her wouldn’t allow her to let down the wall she was holding up. 

“For how long?” Christina questioned, lifting her glass to her lips. 

“About three months,” Samantha answered.  She tried to tell herself that it was silly to be uneasy with someone that Derek thought of as a sister, but for some reason she still couldn’t relax. 

“That’s funny, he never mentioned you,” Christina said sarcastically. 

She had to admit that the barb hurt.  Even if it was true, she didn’t need to be reminded of it on a daily basis.  Besides, why would Derek’s sister find the need to rub that fact in her face?  Her defenses up, she blasted away with the only ammunition she had.  “He didn’t mention you, either.  I guess he just didn’t think about it.”  She couldn’t stop that last response.  The tightening of Christina’s hands on the table let her know that her launch had made a direct hit. 

“I guess he had other things on his mind,” Christina mumbled getting up from the table. “Well, I better go unpack.” 

With that, she left the room, leaving Samantha feeling even worse than before.  She couldn’t have missed the dismay on Christina’s face as she dismissed herself.  What was going on?  Why didn’t Christina like her?  She barely knew her, and already she had been judged.  And, apparently, she came up short.  When she came here, she had hoped that Derek’s family would like her.  Now, she had one family member that liked her too much, and one that couldn’t stand her.  How had her plans gone so awry?      

Samantha got up walking into the front hall.  Margaret was helping Gladys pick up the scattered pieces of a broken vase from the floor.  She stooped down to help. 

“Oh Samantha, thank you,” Margaret said getting to her feet.  “I’ll go get a dust pan.”      Her melancholy look caught Gladys’s eye causing her to lay a hand on her shoulder.  “Don’t worry, honey.  Things will work out.” 

The other woman’s comment caught her off guard.  She turned to stare at her blankly.  “Fate has a way of stepping in, even when people are too bullheaded to see the right road to take,” Gladys whispered leaning close to her. 

“What?” Samantha questioned, not sure she had heard her right. 

Was she that transparent? 

Before she had a chance to respond, Margaret returned with the dust pan.  The two women scooped up the remaining broken pieces taking them into the kitchen for disposal leaving her left to wonder what Gladys meant by her comments.   With nothing else to do, she wondered through the lower level of the house for a few minutes, before climbing the stairs slowly.  If Christina was back, then Derek had to have returned, too.  She walked down the hall to stand before Derek’s door.  She was about to knock when she heard muffled voices raised in anger.  One of the voices belonged to Derek.  The other was Christina’s.  She couldn’t make out what was being said, but by the tone of their voices it wasn’t good.  She stood there for a moment wondering if she should interrupt. 

As much as she wanted to find out what was going on, she had already had one too many run-ins already today.  She turned away walking the length of the hall to her room.  She had been through enough today.  Besides, it wasn’t her place to intrude on what was definitely a very personal conversation.  Still, when she returned to her room, she had to wonder.  What were they discussing?  Was it her?  Why did they both sound so angry? 

From her earlier conversation with Christina, she had to guess that she was probably the topic of discussion.  She seemed to be the villain in every situation here.  And the worst part was that she wasn’t even trying.  If she was, she could only imagine the damage she would do.  She sat back on the bed wishing that she was in her own place.   

A knock at her door jolted her.  She got to her feet crossing the room to find Derek standing at the door.  He came into her room shutting the door behind him.  He walked over to the bed leaving her standing there beside the door to stare at him curiously.  From the look on his face, she could tell that his conversation with Christina had ended badly.  He kept his back turned to her. 

Curiosity killed the cat, she warned herself.   Still, her curiosity was going to kill her anyway if she didn’t ask.  “What’s wrong?” she asked innocently, as if she hadn’t been trying to eavesdrop outside his door only moments prior. 

“Nothing,” he bit out.  Suddenly, he turned to face her.  “Do you want to go for a drive with me?” 

His question stunned her, but it was obvious that he had heavy thoughts weighing on his mind.  “Okay,” she agreed hoping that he would confide in her once they were alone. 

They hurried down the stairs to his car, his hand guiding her.  He opened the door for her, then walked around to get in beside her.  He took off so quickly that the tires squealed.  She looked back at the house.  She could’ve sworn she saw someone watching them through the windows as they disappeared down the driveway. 

They drove in silence for a while.  Tension radiated off his body alerting her that this was more than just a brother-sister fight.  His knuckles were white from the harsh grip he had on the steering wheel.  This wasn’t the Derek she knew.  She wanted to talk to him, but the expression on his face warned her otherwise.  When he was ready to talk, he would. 

It seemed like Derek was just as uneasy being here as she was.  She turned to stare out the window.  The beautiful scenery went by in a blur, just like the blur her life had become.  Just a few days ago everything had been so clear.  Now, everything was a mess.  A mess that she could no longer control or contain.

Suddenly, Derek pulled the car over to the side of the road.  He turned in his seat to face her.  The desperation in his eyes frightened her, but she quickly stilled the automatic reaction.   This was Derek.  He sighed heavily bringing her hands up to his mouth to place tender kisses along her knuckles. 

After a moment, he said, “I’m sorry that this trip hasn’t turned out the way we expected.” 

She reached out to gently caress his cheek.  “It’s not your fault, Derek,” she replied, her heart breaking for him. 

His hands came up to her face pulling her closer to his.  His lips touched hers tentatively.  Soon, his kiss became more passionate.  His hands swept down to caress the sides of her breasts.  She hesitated for a fraction of an instant.  She should want this.  He pulled her more tightly against him, not allowing her any quarter.  His lips trailed kisses along her jaw to her ear.

“There’s a hotel up the street.  We could get a room.  I know you don’t feel comfortable in my parent’s house, but we could be alone there,” he whispered against her ear.

His suggestion made her stomach clench painfully.  Derek had never pressured her to advance their relationship physically.  And she hadn’t been in any hurry.  She had done that before, and she had been left broken afterward.  After her relationship with Nick failed, she had promised herself that the next man she made love to would become her husband.  Up until now, it seemed like Derek would be that man.  But after everything that had happened in the last few days, how could she say that now? 

She hesitated, unsure of what his reaction would be.  “Derek, we need to talk,” she offered softly. 

“What is it, love?” he asked, already beginning to nibble on her ear. 

She tried to gather the courage to confess everything.  Her mind screamed it.  Tell him!! She opened her mouth to say it but he silenced her with a finger. 

“Look, if it’s something bad, let’s not talk about it now.” 

“But,” she stuttered. 

His hands came up to caress her cheeks.  “Can’t it wait till we get home?” he pleaded. 

She took a deep breath.  “I don’t know,” she answered honestly. 

Sensing her indecision, he smiled.  “Well, I do.  This week has already been hell.  I don’t know if I can take anything else spoiling this trip.  Let’s just try to have a good time for the days that are left, okay?  Please.  When we get home, we can deal with whatever you were going to tell me.” 

She looked away, unable to face the innocence in his expression.  If he only knew, she couldn’t help but think.  She knew that the past couple of days had been hard on him.  She didn’t want to add to things, but the nagging voice in her head warned that she would pay for this later.  Still, she couldn’t deny that she was happy for the reprieve he offered even if it may be short lived.  “Alright,” she agreed. 

She leaned over to place a gentle kiss on his lips willing everything to return to normal.  Later as they drove back, she wondered if that would ever be possible.  Had they crossed some invisible line?  Were they already too far to turn back?  She wasn’t sure anymore.  All she knew was that Derek meant a lot to her.  She couldn’t lose him.  Not now, when she was so close to happiness. 

 “From the look in your eyes, I guess the hotel is out.  Well, it’s probably for the best.  We should be getting back soon anyway,” he chided with a smirk.  He brought her hand up to his lips again.  “Thanks for coming with me.  I needed this.”

“Me too.”

The smile he gave her made her feel even worse for her duplicity.   She couldn’t help but wonder if he would still feel the same about her after he knew the horrible truth.  The thought made her feel sick to her stomach, but it was something she had to face.  Would he leave her?  Would he ever be able to look at her the same way knowing that she slept with his brother?  She didn’t want to Derek.  It was the last thing she wanted to do.  He didn’t deserve that.  He deserved someone sweet and wholesome.  He didn’t deserve to be with someone who couldn’t seem to keep their hands off his brother.  

 As they headed back to the house, she tried to ease the tension that still lingered.  “So, are you happy Christina is back?” 

Derek gripped the wheel so hard, she thought he might break it.  “Sure,” he replied curtly.          She stared at him curiously.  What had happened between the two of them?  And why did he seem to be so angry about it?  “So, I hear my no-account brother has already taken off,” Derek remarked with a sneer quickly changing the subject. 

“You’re mother said that he’ll be back in a day or so,” she replied cautiously.    

He snorted.  “Sure, he will.  That’s Nick for you!  Love em and leave em,” he said. 

She couldn’t help but feel offended by his words.  Why was he so angry with Nick?  She turned in her seat to stare at him.  “Why don’t you like your brother, Derek?” she asked hesitantly. 

He kept his gaze firmly trained on the road ahead.  “I like him.  I just don’t trust him.  You can’t depend on Nick.  He’s only out for himself, for whatever makes him happy at the moment.  And when it stops making him happy, he’s gone.  He’s always been that way,” Derek explained. 

It hurt to hear the words she already knew to be true in her heart.  Yes, Nick was not one to stick around.  He escaped with as few scrapes as he could leaving everyone else around him wounded and bleeding. 

It was time that she faced the truth about Nick…and herself.

Stay Tuned for more of Lake of Lies… 


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