This is War (The Checkmate Duet #1)(6)


by Kennedy Fox

The alarm on my phone goes off and though it’s been hours, it feels like only minutes have passed. For a moment, I have to remember where I am. I blindly reach for my phone and open my eyes, only to see Travis standing close to the T.V., shirtless with pajama pants sitting haphazardly on his hips. He’s not what I want to see first thing this morning. He quietly watches the news, turning his head to glare at me until I click the button to turn off one of the most annoying buzzing sounds in the world. I groan and roll over on my side, hoping he’ll go away, but when has he ever done anything I’ve wanted? Never. Last night I hoped I’d be able to grab my laundry and sneak home before class, not having to see him again until this weekend, but lady luck is obviously not on my side and neither is Mother Nature. Stupid rain.

“Did you have sweet dreams about me, princess?” he asks, confidence dripping in his tone.

His words anger me, maybe a little more than they should, but he shouldn’t say shit like that to me especially in the morning before I’ve had any coffee. “That’d be a nightmare.”

He laughs, showing his perfectly straight teeth, and I linger on his plump bottom lip a little too long, which makes me even madder. Thankfully he doesn’t notice. My nostrils flare, and I throw the blankets from my body and stand. My hands find my hips and before I’m able to give him a mouthful, Drew walks into the living room and interrupts me.

“Please don’t kill each other while I’m gone.”

Travis looks over at him and he loses his grip on reality for just a second. “Where are you going?” Travis glances at me and his smile fades as he looks back at Drew.

“Mia’s, remember?”

“That’s this weekend?” I hear the same shocked tone in his voice that I had last night.

The smile that fills my face is devious and to know this may have ruined whatever sexcapades he had planned makes me happy. Just me and Travis alone for two weeks—this can’t be good.

“I guess you won’t be able to fuck on the couch like you planned,” I say, walking to my basket of clothes and picking them up.

He shoots me a daring look, and then scoffs. “I’ll make sure to look you in the eye when I do,” he says, leering.

“Oh, God. So that’s what throwing up in your own mouth tastes like. Wouldn’t have known until just now.” I give my brother a smile and my face goes serious when I look back at Travis. He crosses his arms over his chest, and I know this means war.

I have a feeling the next two weeks will be pure hell, with a devil named Travis supervising.

CHAPTER THREE

TRAVIS

I’m a man of routine. I like structure and schedules. Every morning as I blend my protein shake, I watch the news and catch up on current events before heading to the gym before work.

I watch Viola sleeping peacefully on the couch and it stops me in my tracks. Once her phone alarm goes off, all peace is gone. But it’s not hard to notice that when her lips aren't pulled tight in her normal pout and her eyes aren't shooting daggers at me, she actually looks sweet. Almost like when we first met as kids.

I was so ticked when my parents told me we were moving from Arizona to California, even if it was because my dad found a better-paying job. I didn’t talk to them for a week, but at twelve years old, I didn’t have much power over the situation. Leaving my friends and the only home I’d ever known didn’t settle well with me. That first night we were officially moved into our new home, I saw a couple kids around my age playing across the street. Still avoiding my parents, I hid up in my bedroom and watched from the window. The boy looked around my age and the girl probably a couple years younger, but there was something about the two of them that made me walk out my bedroom door, down the stairs, out the front door, and walk across the street toward them. The girl immediately stopped giggling and they both stared at me.

Eventually, I told them my name, and they immediately accepted me into their lives. Viola was only ten, but she seemed mature for her age. Drew seemed to be bothered that she was always following us around, but I didn’t have a little sister, so I thought it was cute. Drew not so much.

The next couple of years, Drew and I were teammates in basketball and football. His parents let me carpool with them, Viola always tagging along to our practices and games, and she was pretty cool most of the time. I grew to enjoy her company and a part of me became protective of her. Anytime Drew told her to get lost, I’d stand up for her and tell her she could stay. I knew she didn’t have many friends at school, and I had started thinking of her as one of my closest friends. Drew didn’t want her hanging around us, but I didn’t mind. In fact, the two of us often hung out and those were the moments I longed for most. But then one summer our relationship changed, and it’s never been the same.

Once I’m at the gym, I push myself harder than usual. Lifting weights is an outlet I desperately need. Ever since college, I’d been working out religiously. I needed a way to blow some steam and once I figured out that working out was a good way to release it, I became an addict.

Today, I bench an extra twenty pounds and run three miles without stopping. Sweat drips from my body, so I take a quick shower at the gym then rush home. There’s too much pent up aggression inside me.

On the way home, I can’t help thinking about Viola and how we’ll be living in the same house for two weeks without a referee. Though it’ll be fun to watch her squirm as I cross her perfectly drawn line, she’s right about getting in my way. Hopefully her disdain and hatred doesn’t wear on my balls. However, I’m thinking I’ll make it my mission to push her to the limit. Either she really hates me or she secretly wants to fuck me. I’m pretty certain it’s the latter.

Once I arrive back to the house, I grab my gym bag and head back inside. I quickly toss my bag filled with dirty clothes on the floor and then head straight for my bedroom. I grab one of my suits from the closet and toss it on top of my bed. As much as I hate wearing them every single day, I’m determined more than ever to climb the corporate ladder and prove to myself and everyone else that I can do it.

At the firm, I’m one of the youngest employees, and it’s my mission to become one of the youngest executives in the history of Crawford Marketing. I’m on track, but it’s been a lot of proving myself and learning as much about the industry as I can. But I love a challenge. The job itself can sometimes be a bore, but it doesn’t hurt to have the CEO’s daughter suck me off every week. That alone makes me feel like I’m on top of the world.