Xander scoffed. “You’re an idiot.”
Luiz ignored the insult. “Can I stay the night?” He was only going to drop in, but now he wanted to stay, spend some time, and find out what the hell was going on with Raine.
“You know it is, and I know why you’re staying.”
“Bite me, Xander. I’m not in the mood.”
“Go ahead. Go and get settled in. I’ll try and not burn the sixth batch of brownies.”
Leaving Xander in the kitchen, Luiz made his way upstairs, toward the back of the house where his room was. Christie and Raine’s room was beyond his. He made sure they were together so that he would have time to deal with any threat. When he brought them here, he’d made Raine go through several practice runs in case they were ever attacked. There was an escape for her only, and he made sure it was hidden so no one could use it to actually get in. Pausing at his room, he glanced at Raine’s door.
What could it hurt to go into her room? The house was his anyway. He simply allowed them all to live here. All the bills were paid by him. Even though the house was in Xander’s name, everything came down to Luiz.
Seeing no reason to not go into her room, he stepped toward her door, and without another thought, opened the door.
Raine’s room was a pale peach color, and the instant he entered, the scent of cinnamon filled his senses. She loved cinnamon, and used it in as much baking as she could.
He’d never been a big fan of the spice until Raine converted him with a coffee-style cake.
Closing the door, he moved toward her bed and looked around. The room was bare of any personal touches. No posters on the wall, or photos. The only photo he saw was a single one by the side of her bed. He knew the photo as he had one himself, locked away in his safe back at home. It was a rare photo of all four of them taken one Christmas two years ago. Raine had wanted it taken so badly. She’d forced them all into a small spot, and they were all so happy to be there. Christie was on his lap, Raine perched on the chair, and Xander was behind them all, watching over them.
It was a powerful photo, even to him.
This was a dream he’d had many times.
All four of them, able to live in peace.
It would be so simple to take them all back to his world, but Xander wanted no part in it, not anymore.
Xander had once been his bodyguard when he was a baby. During an attack, Xander had lost everything, his wife, his kids, and nearly his life. If it hadn’t been for Luiz finding him years later, without his father knowing, Xander would have probably been six feet under by now.
He shouldn’t be in this room.
Luiz left, and he didn’t want to think about Raine, or the pain that he was experiencing knowing she was on a date.
It was an entirely new sensation, and not one he liked.
Waving at Bradley, Raine wondered if he was disappointed with her. She hadn’t invited him in for coffee, nor had she accepted the kiss he’d wanted to give her. When he had leaned in, about to put a kiss on her lips, she’d panicked, giving him her cheek instead. Kissing wasn’t something that came naturally to her.
She’d never been kissed by anyone.
Maybe she should have let Bradley kiss her, and get over it. It would have made her life a lot easier. Entering her home, she locked the door, and heard some commotion in the kitchen. The scent of burnt chocolate was heady in the air. The smell turned her stomach.
Xander came out of the kitchen, covered in chocolate and looking a little frazzled.
“You’ve been baking?” she asked.
“I tried to bake thinking it would be easy. Guess what?”
“You make it look easy.”
“My mom used to bake all the time, and I stood with her. It’s what I love to do. How much chocolate did you use?”
“All of it.”
“Wow, you went through all of my supply. The chunks, the chips, the bars?”
“Yep. I’ve got to go shopping tomorrow for you. No problem. I’ll just include it with the flour, sugar, and spices. Oh, and Luiz is home. How was your date?”
“Luiz is here?” she asked. She would not get excited. The urge to go looking for him was strong, but she held back.
“Yeah. Bradley, how was it?”
Before she could answer Luiz was coming out of the kitchen. “I put Christie to bed.”
“Hey, Luiz,” she said, feeling a little sick. This wasn’t good, and was the red lipstick still on, and did he like it or did he think it was silly?
Crap, this was not going to go anywhere.
“Xander told me you went on a date.”
“He made me go.”
“Did you enjoy it?” Luiz asked.
Why was it whenever he asked a question, she felt like she didn’t have a choice but to answer? It was so frustrating.
“I did. Yes.”
“Where did you go?” Xander asked.
His excitement was infectious.
“The little Italian place in town. It has just opened up. They have the most amazing spaghetti with clams. So good.”
“You like Italian food?” Luiz asked.
“Yeah, I do. It’s my favorite. My mom was obsessed with it. Lora was more of a Chinese girl.” It was a lot easier to talk about her sister now. The pain was still there, just not as bad. They walked back into the kitchen. “I had no idea you were coming tonight.”
“We never know when he’s going to turn up,” Xander said.
She sat at one of the chairs near the kitchen counter, and smiled at Luiz. “I bet Christie was excited. I know she loves it when you visits, and hates it when you leave.”
“It’s not easy for me either.”
“I’m just going to head to the bathroom to wash up. Do you think I can leave you two alone for a few minutes?” Xander asked.
“Of course.” Raine never knew how amazing it felt to actually go on a date or be part of something like that. Bradley had been attentive, charming, and so sweet … but he wasn’t Luiz. Shut up! “What brings you home? Good news? Bad news?”
“I just wanted to stop by and see everyone.”
“So it’s bad news?”
“Why does it have to be any kind of news?”
“You only come by unexpectedly when you’ve had some awful news.”
“I come by all the time.”