“Shit, Jett, you had a fight last night and you haven’t sorted that out yet? If I was Presley, I’d be even madder at you by now. Have you at least spoken with her today?”

She sighs. “You really have no clue how this relationship stuff works, do you?”

“Fuck, Claudia, I’ve got shit going on with a lot of things at the moment. Presley knows that.”

“Oh God, you need to pick up your game, big brother. I’ve seen the photos of Presley you sent me and she’s hot. If you don’t look after that relationship, another guy’s gonna come along and show her what she’s missing.”

Irritation crawls through me, and I slam my hand on the steering wheel. “Fuck, you think I don’t know that? I’m doing the best I can.” The idea of another man even thinking about Presley causes my jealousy to spike. And I fucking hate it as much as Presley does but I’m helpless to stop it. The woman has me all tied up in knots.

“I suggest you hang up, speed up, and hope like hell she’ll listen to what you have to say to her.”

“I’m going. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”

“Good luck, cause I think you’re gonna need it,” she says just before ending the call.

I do as she suggested and press my foot harder to the pedal. Presley’s place is less than ten minutes away, but ten minutes feels like too long after that phone call.

When I pull into her car park, the knots in my stomach are worse. I never worry over stuff like this so this is another new feeling for me, and again, I’m not fucking liking it. Damn Claudia and her advice.

I park the car and jog up to the front door of her apartment building. She doesn’t answer when I buzz her apartment to be let in so I press it again and wait. Still no answer so I pull out my phone and call her. I’m just about to hang up when she answers.

“Jett, it’s late, and I’m not in the mood to talk to you now.”

“Well, I’m in the mood to talk to you. We need to clear the air after last night.”

“I’m not sure we would clear the air if we spoke now. Let’s leave it until tomorrow.”

“No, I don’t want to wait until then.” My voice is forceful; I need to see her.

She’s silent for a beat and then she gives me a break. “You’re not going to leave, are you?”

Silence again, and then, “Fine.” And the door buzzes open.

A couple of minutes later, I’m at her door where she’s standing with it open, waiting for me. Her face shows no sign of happiness to see me but I don’t let that stop me. By the end of our conversation she’ll have come around. I’ll make sure of it.

“I missed you today,” I say, willing her to believe me.

“Yeah, my phone records would prove that.” Her tone is ice cold but I plough on.

She holds her arm out to let me in but doesn’t say anything. I resist the urge to take her in my arms because I figure that won’t go down well with the mood she’s in, so I walk past her and into her living room. She joins me a moment later, but keeps her distance, and waits silently for me to talk. Her shoulders are tense and there’s no sign of a smile anywhere.

“I’m sorry I didn’t call you today. I’ve been working since eight this morning and didn’t get a chance.”

Her eyes don’t leave mine but there’s so much tension in her gaze that I’m not sure what she’s thinking or whether my words are getting through. She surprises me when she finally speaks. “Well, I could have called you so I’m not holding it against you.”

She might not be holding that against me, but she’s sure as hell not backing down from being upset with me. “So I take it if you’re not upset I didn’t call, you’re still angry from last night?”

“I never said I wasn’t upset you didn’t call. I simply said I couldn’t hold it against you. There’s a difference, Jett.”

Jesus, remind me never to piss Presley off again; she’s a ballbreaker when she’s upset.

“Okay, so you’re angry at me. I get that, but we need to find a way to sort through it all. Yeah?”

The daggers she’s staring at me with aren’t a good sign she’s ready to talk, but I remain hopeful. “I told you I don’t think tonight’s a good time to go over it. I’m too angry.”

My hangover from this morning has cleared, but I’m exhausted, and while I’m trying to hold it all together and stay calm while she continues to cling to her anger, I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be able to. “You’re giving me mixed signals, sweetheart. One minute you say you wanted me to call you today and now you’re saying you don’t want to talk. Which one is it?”

Her eyes widen and she raises her voice when she says, “I wanted to know you were thinking about me. I just needed a sign.”

I scrub my face. “Well, I can’t go back and change it now but I was thinking about you. I fucking woke up thinking about you.”

The hard set to her face softens a little but she doesn’t cut me any slack with her words. “Next time you wake up thinking about me, you might wanna tell me.”

My temper snaps. There’s only so much bitch I can handle. I close the distance between us and get in her face. “I’ve gotta tell you, I’m not loving the bitch you’re bringing out, baby. I can handle pissed off and I can take angry and ranty, but when I’m standing in front of you and I’m doing my best to be honest with you and admit that, yes, I fucked up, I don’t appreciate you throwing that back in my face. I’m not a pro at relationships, and I’ll be the first to admit that, but a little give and take would go a long fucking way here.”