Rolling my eyes, I cocked my head aside and stared at him for a few seconds before replying. “Marcus is a busy man. That’s all.”
His eyes slightly squinted as if confused by my response. “Busy doing what exactly?”
“On jobs. What else?”
Laughing once, he took a long pull of his beer then placed the bottle on the bar. “Is that what he’s been telling you? Marcus hasn’t handled a job in the last four weeks. Vinnie and I have been taking care of them.”
Staring at Gio in disbelief, my throat closed and instantly felt very dry. All the excuses Marcus had given me sprinted through my mind: he was busy; he couldn’t make it; he was sorry, but he needed to work on a few things.
Why would he lie about it all? He promised that he wouldn’t keep anything from me. Suddenly, I felt more detached from him than I’d ever felt. “Excuse me, but I have to go.” I muttered while grabbing my clutch from the bar. I tried to stand, but Gio put his hands on my shoulders and forced me to sit back down.
Angrily, I snapped my head and glared at him. “What are you doing?” Just because I was a bit comfortable around him, didn’t mean he knew me well enough to put his hands on me.
“Look. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that to you. Maybe he was given a separate job to handle.”
“Bullshit. Don’t try and cover his ass now.” I crossed my arms while tapping my foot along the leg of the metal barstool in front of me. What was Marcus doing on those nights if he wasn’t on a job? Jealous thoughts began to take over, causing my blood pressure to rise.
“Look at you! You’re working yourself up over something that’s not even an issue. Come on. Let me grab you another drink.” Raising a brow, he flashed a wide grin. Maybe he was right. Maybe I was overreacting. He ordered us another round of drinks after I let out a deep breath and nodded.
“You gotta live a little, Mia.” He exclaimed as he ruffled a hand through my hair.
“Hey!” I jabbed his shoulder. His mocking wide-eyed expression made us both laugh.
My laughter immediately stopped when I saw Gio stare over my shoulder. He straightened his position as his facial features went from humorous to stern in a nanosecond. Confused by his instant change in demeanor, I turned to see what had caused it. My heart dropped at the sight of Marcus storming across the dance floor. The look on his face caused my body to slightly tremble with fear. I’d never seen him that angry—the grimness in his eyes, the tightening in his jaw, the thin line of his lips, and the command in his stride. With every step he took, my heart pounded just as quickly.
Gio grabbed his beer and leaned back onto the counter smoothly, as if Marcus’s behavior didn’t intimidate him. I twirled in the barstool to fully face Marcus as he approached. Once he was in front of us, his eyes never left Gio. “Marky.” Gio said while lifting the beer bottle in salute and then chugging the rest down. Marcus didn’t respond, not even a nod in acknowledgment. He continued to grimace at Gio. Then Marcus slowly tilted his head and looked down at me. My chest heaved in and out from the angry stare-down. Why was he making me feel as if I had done something wrong?
To lighten the mood, I breathed out a smile, stood, and wrapped my arms around his neck. “Hey baby, I’ve missed you. How was your night?” I tried to sound upbeat and excited, but his continued glare left me uneasy.
He didn’t respond; instead, he wrapped his hands around my wrist and pulled my arms away from his neck. Still with a tight grip, Marcus turned and hauled me through a swarm of dancing drunks. He was walking so quickly, winding through the crowd that I had to practically run to keep up. Megan waved at me as we passed her. I didn’t have time to wave back as he pulled me up the stairs and toward the second level. The music died down the moment the door closed behind us.
Once we reached the hallway, he let go of my wrist but continued his way down the hall and into the VIP room. Following him, I shut the door behind me. Marcus paced back and forth in the room while staring at the wooden floors the entire time. I didn’t know what to do or say, so I leaned against the wall and waited.
Finally, he stopped by the table. Tightly gripping the back of the chair, he shut his eyes as his breathing became heavier. “Why didn’t you tell me you were going out?” His voice was in a low cruel tone.
My lips slightly trembled as I let out a shaky break. What brought on this hostility? “It was a sudden decision. I didn’t realize I had to keep you posted on my whereabouts.”
He laughed with no sound of humor echoing the room. “Here I am busting my fuckin’ ass to keep you safe, and I have no right to know your whereabouts? Fuckin’ perfect. As I try to better our future, you’re over here flirting with him!”
What did he mean keep me safe? When I was going to question him on it, I remembered his last harsh statement. “You cannot be serious about me flirting with Gio?”
“I’m. Completely. Fucking. Serious.” He ran a hand over his face in frustration.
“Marcus, I was not flirting with him. Not in the least.” I moved toward him until we were a foot away. “He was comforting me.”
His head snapped up at me with dark eyes. “Comforting you? Why would he be comforting my girl?”
Marcus sarcastic and harsh tone left me uneasy. “He was comforting me because I was extremely angry when I found out my boyfriend had been lying to me for the past few weeks.” I crossed my arms and dropped a hip, waiting for his response as his mouth slightly opened.
Then his eyes grew angry as his jaw clenched together. “You have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“No? So you weren’t lying to me for the past few weeks? You were, in fact, on jobs for Lou? Or were you so busy at the firm that you had to stay extra late hours with Stephanie, I wonder?” I raised my hands in question with a mocking tone.
“You need to stop right there.” Marcus sneered as he turned his back on me and walked over to the bar area of the room. Grabbing a glass and a bottle of whisky, he poured a glass.
Anger rushed through me. Storming over toward him, I pulled the drink from his hand and dumped the liquor into the sink.
“What the fuck, Mia!”
I inched in and pointed my finger at his shoulder. “We have not seen each other in two weeks, Marcus. Two whole weeks! We were doing so well. Are we back to arguing and not discussing our issues? I know that you’re hiding something from me. I can feel it.” I reached my hand up to touch his beautiful face and stared into those damaged eyes. With a lower tone I went on, “Why are you not telling me? I don’t understand. Are we back to that now?”