Xavier Cold

Page 6


Relief washes through me. “That’s fantastic news. I told you things would work out.”
The corner of his mouth pulls down into a one-sided frown. “There’s a catch.”
“Other than being suspended? We knew that was part of the deal.”
“It appears that the boss decided to add another stipulation after our conversation last night,.”
I grimace. “What is it?”
There’s a flutter in my chest as my nerves go crazy while my brain works in overtime, attempting to figure out what in the world Tension could ask of him. Mr. Silverman has already taken away his career by suspending him.
“He is fining me for my actions against Rex. On top of that, Tension wants me to not only pay out of pocket for the medical bills that racked up because of what I had done, but I also have to pay Rex for his pain and suffering.”
My eyes widen. “You’ve got to be kidding. Can he even do that?”
Xavier nods. “Tension affords Mr. Silverman to be a very rich man, and he can do anything he wants, and if I want to ever get back in the ring, I have to do what he asks, or I can kiss my job good-bye.”
I frown. “That doesn’t seem fair.”
He locks eyes with me. “The world isn’t fair, beautiful, especially when it comes to guys like me.”
“Is it a lot of money?”
I know he’s well-off—the man obviously has enough to wire thirty thousand dollars into my bank account—but anytime you take a huge cut out of your account, it’s got to hurt.
“They want a hundred fifty thousand dollars total.”
My mouth drops open, and I swear, I experience my first heart palpitation. The amount is insane. I can’t imagine paying that much money for a fine.
“Oh my God, that’s a lot.”
“It is,” he agrees.
I know I shouldn’t be nosy about his financial situation, but I can’t stop myself from asking, “Do you have that much?”
“I do, but since I won’t have any money coming in for the next few months, it’s going to put me in a tight spot for a bit.”
“The money you put into my account is still there. I haven’t touched it. Will that be enough to get us by?”
“You’ll need that money to pay for your hotel when you go on the road. The company doesn’t give you any reimbursement. It’s a business expense. Besides, that’s your money. I gave it to you. I won’t allow you to spend it on taking care of us.”
“That’s ridiculous. It’s your money. I told you it didn’t feel right for you to pay me since we’re in a relationship now.”
“Anna . . .” he says my name with a bite of warning. It’s his go-to move when he’s decided that he’s not going to budge on his opinion.
“No, Xavier. Stop being silly. If you need the money—”
“Don’t,” he says, cutting me off. “This isn’t up for discussion. You’ll need it. Trust me. Traveling all the damn time isn’t cheap. That’s where most of my money has gone to.”
Being broke is something I can relate to. When I first moved to Detroit, I barely had enough in my bank account to feed myself. If it wasn’t for Quinn helping me to get a job, I’m not sure what I would’ve done. With that being said, I did manage to make it without much money, so Xavier and I will figure out a way to get by, too.
The thought of Quinn sets my mind spinning on how we can save a little money. “Fine, but since we’ll be squeezed for money until everything gets worked out, I think we should stay with Quinn and Aunt Dee.”
Xavier raises one of his thick eyebrows. “That won’t work.”
“Why not?” I argue. “I know they won’t care, and it will save us from spending money on two hotel rooms.”
“Their place is small, Anna, and while it’s fine for you to stay with them, I’m a big guy. I take up a lot of room and will wear out my welcome pretty fast.”
“That won’t happen.” I do my best to assure him, but he simply shakes his head.
“It will. Trust me. I bounced around from place to place after leaving home, and that was why most people kicked me out. It’s hard to become transparent when you’re six-four and two hundred sixty-five pounds.”
I sigh, seeing as how he won’t change his mind about this. That leaves one other place in Detroit where we could stay for free—his house, the one he owns and refuses to talk about.
Xavier doesn’t mention his family, and he’s made it crystal clear that pushing him into talking about it won’t benefit either one of us. The times following nightmares that wake him from a dead sleep are the only glimpses I get into his past with his family life. The house he owns is a touchy subject, so I’m guessing it has to do with his family. Based on the story he told me before, it’s possible the house is the one his mother died in, and the memories are too much to bear.
I don’t want to bring up things that could hurt him, but I worry if he doesn’t face the darkness of his past, he’ll never make peace with it. I want to be there for him, to show him that it’s okay to let go of the stuff that haunt him.
“Then, we should stay at your place.” It’s wrong of me to push this, but seeing as how we are in a tough predicament, living in the house he owns seems like the logical choice.
Xavier blows a rush of air through his nostrils, and I instantly regret saying anything.
“I won’t go back there.” His words come out in an angry growl.
I swipe a strand of his wild dark hair off his face as I gaze down at him. The uneasiness in his blue eyes is clear, and I hate that his past hurts him the way it does. I want to help him heal.
“Don’t,” he whispers. “I can’t handle it when you look at me like that.”
I’m instantly taken aback. “How am I looking at you?”
“With pity,” he says. “I fucking hate when people pity me, especially when it comes from you.”
This conversation gives me a flashback to the time we had an argument over talking about his family once before. When we were in my old boss, Andy’s, office back at the restaurant I once worked for, we had a huge blowup over me trying to get him to open up about his mother. He stormed out on me, and I had to chase him down to apologize. I don’t want to repeat that situation anytime soon.