Endless Obsession: Episode 1 - 22 (Season 2)???? : TOPSTER STORIES

Endless Obsession – Episode 21

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Episode 21








I’ve been checking the ping reports regularly throughout the day. I not only sell internet security to clients, I use my own product. The reports show there’s been no attempts of hacking into the video feeds. But how did the guy know about them? There’s not a soul besides myself that know they exist. How in the fu.ck does he? And he has to know. He knew exactly where to dip his head to avoid the cameras.






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I pull my phone from my pocket and lean my elbows on the railing. I spoke with her briefly this morning, but I feel a need to see her. Bringing up the video feed, I search for Poppy in her house. When I can’t find her, I bring up the tracking app for her car. She’s at the park that’s just down the road from her place. I can picture her now,sitting under her favorite tree as she reads and feeds the ducks. She does this often. One day, after noticing her going there several times, I decided to follow her. I sat in my car and watched as she pulled a blanket and small basket from her backseat and walked over to a big old oak tree. After she laid the blanket out, she sat and pulled out a sandwich and plastic bowl. Several minutes later, a few ducks waddled over and she pulled out slices of bread and proceeded to throw small chunks at them. The smile on her face as she watched the ducks eat had my chest aching. After she ran out of bread, she pulled out a paperback, laid on her back, and read. I’ve followed her several more times since then. I can tell it’s something



she really enjoys doing, because she always has a peaceful look on her face when she’s there.




An image of her standing outside her house the night I came to her pops in my head. I sat in my car, my hand on the gearshift, ready to pull away, when I saw her out of the corner of my eye. I watched, my breath caught in my throat, as I waited for her to come to the decision on whether or not to close the distance between her and my car. My emotions were still raw from having touched her. If she had decided she was done with our game and walked to the car, I wouldn’t have stopped her. I wasn’t ready to show her my face, but I also didn’t have the willpower to speed away and leave her standing there, beautifully wrapped in a sheet. Even through the distance separating us, I saw the indecision on her face. As stupid as it would have been on my part, my hand reached for the door handle until she took that first step back.




Both disappointment and relief made their way inside my stomach at that move.



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Shaking my head to clear it, I close the app and pull up Rex’s number.






“Rex,” he grunts in his usual harsh tone.







“Everything good there?” I ask.







“Yes. I’m sitting in my truck watching her feed fu.cking ducks. She’s been at this park for hours.”







I chuckle, knowing he’s just being a dick on my account. He takes his job very seriously. He may hate parts of it, but he’s very thorough and does a damn good job.






“I really appreciate you doing this.”







“Who is this girl to you?” he asks.







I drop my head and rub the back of my neck. I notice the flowerbed off the porch my mom has spent countless hours perfecting. I don’t want to lie to Rex about my involvement with Poppy, but I won’t tell him the complete truth. He needs to know of her importance in my life, but not everything revolving around it.






“She’s my employee and someone I care a great deal about. That’s all you need to know for now. Spare no expense with this, Rex. I want this guy found. I don’t care what you have to do. Just keep her safe in the process. That’s the number one priority.”






“Heard you the first time, brother. He won’t come near her again. We’ll get this guy,” he growls.




If there’s one thing I know, it’s that Rex will follow through. I didn’t tell him how I came across the information, but he knows the sick fu.cker broke into her house, played in her underwear drawer, and proceeded to damn near molest her. I could practically feel the steam coming out of Rex’s ears as I told him what I saw. He’s really big on protecting women and children. When he was a child, he and his mom endured years of abuse from his dad. His dad ended up killing his mom in a fit of rage when he was twelve. It’s a good thing he’s still in prison, or I have no doubt Rex would be there himself for killing him.






“I’ll be home tomorrow, midafternoon. Keep me updated.”







“You know it. Later.”







I pocket my phone and turn to face the house. Tomorrow can’t get here fast enough. If my dad wasn’t so worried about this meeting, I’d tell him I had to cancel, but he needs my expertise. I had originally planned to stay afterward for dinner with my parents’, but that’s out now. I’ll throw my bag in the car when we leave for the meeting and take off for home as soon as it’s over.






I walk through the sliding glass door to the sound of music and the racket of girly laughter and squeals. I find out why when I make it to the living room. I stop in the doorway and immediately start laughing at the scene before me. My dad, Elijah, and my brother, Alexander, both have microphones in their hands and are singing from the words on the TV. Kia and her friends surround them, trying to sing along, but are having a hard time doing it through their laughter. How in the fu.ck my big



tough dad and brother got roped into this is beyond me, but I’m glad it’s them, and not me.







“Uncle Ash!” Nessa, my six-year-old niece and my brother’s daughter, shrieks. She’s standing at her dad’s feet, wiggling her butt in some type of dance. “Come sing with us!”






“Yeah, Uncle Ash!” Kia yells, spinning on her heel with her arms in the air.







I shake my head, still chuckling at the sight. “Not this time. Gammy is looking for me.” And thank God for that.







“Nonsense. Diane and Bea are on the phone with your aunt right now,” my dad says, taking away my excuse of not embarrassing myself. “Get over here. I need a break.”













Kia screams and runs over, grabs my hand, and drags me to the center of the group.


“You have to! It’s my birthday!” she yells.



I groan and tip my head back. I can’t say no now. When I look back, my dad’s holding the microphone out to me with a smirk. Why in the fu.ck do I love my family so much?



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Walking forward, I shoot him a glare as I snatch the mic from his hand. Alexander is still singing some shit about dragging someone down. He may be singing, but he’s laughing at me with his eyes. I want to smack the look off his face.






“Why aren’t you up here?” I grumble at Owen, who’s sitting on the couch watching the crazy that’s going on. “It’s your kid’s birthday.”






Grinning big, he holds up his phone. “I’m on recording duty. Ordered by Bea.”






“Lucky bastard,” I say under my breath, just loud enough for only him to hear.







Flipping him the bird behind my back, I plaster on a smile for my nieces and their friends and turn to face the television, just as a new song starts. I’ve never heard the song that’s playing. I’m sure it’s from some boy band that’s popular at the moment. I can’t sing for shit. Alexander knows it, that’s why he’s enjoying this so much. So do my nieces, but they don’t seem to care. They just continue to jump around and dance.



Seeing their giggling faces and happy expressions, I decide to make an uncomfortable situation better. I figure if I have to be up here singing, I may as well make the best of it and outdo my brother. With that in mind, I sing my fu.cking heart out, alternating between grabbing Kia’s, Nessa’s, or one of the other girls’ hand and dancing with them. The girl’s all seem to think it’s cool as shit and become even more rowdy and loud. We all laugh, sing, and dance around like fools.






By the time three songs have passed, I thankfully see my escape come out of the hallway in the form of my mom and sister. I throw the mic to Owen.






“Your turn.”







He loses his grin quick when Bea comes over and plucks the phone from his hands and ushers him up from the couch. I grab Bea’s face with both my hands and plant a loud kiss on her forehead, before throwing a smirk over my shoulder at the two suckers that are stuck with the now rambunctious group of giggling girls.







I walk fast to the kitchen where I saw my mom go before I’m sucked back into the fray. She’s pulling a pitcher of tea from the fridge when I enter.







“Would you like some, honey?” she asks, grabbing a glass from the cabinet and looking at me over her shoulder.











She laughs as she watches me slouch down in a chair at the table.







“I’m going to kill Aunt Ava for buying that damn karaoke program for Kia,” I grumble.






“I’m sure it wasn’t that bad,” she says, her eyes twinkling with mirth. “It looked like you were having fun.”






She hands me a glass filled with iced tea.




After taking a few swallows to wet my dry throat, I place it down on the black round coaster she placed on the table. My mom takes a seat on the other side of the table with her own glass and eyes me curiously.






“So, are you going to tell me about this girl?”







I keep my expression neutral, not giving anything away. It doesn’t surprise me she knows. As mom’s are known to be, she somehow knows everything. As a kid, it



always amazed me how we could never keep anything from her. It’s like when women have kids, they not only gain that kid, but also some type of superpower that enables them to see the past, present, and future. I just don’t know how she found out about Poppy.






When I keep my face blank and my mouth shut, she huffs out a breath.







“Owen overheard you talking on the phone this morning. He said it sounded like a girl. Now, do your old mom a solid and spill.”






I nearly choke on my tea. A solid? What the hell is wrong with her?







Her lips twitch as she watches the shock on my face.






“No, mom,” I tell her and shake my head. “Just no.”







“What? Alexander says it all the time,” she says, laughing.







I lean back in my chair with my legs stretched out underneath the table and my fingers laced over my stomach.

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“Alexander is thirty, not fifty-five.”







Rolling her eyes, she steeples her fingers together and places her hands on the table, in a very prim way, contradicting the ‘hip’ thing she was just trying to pull off. I almost laugh.




“Okay, enough with the deflecting. I want to know who this girl is you were talking to on the phone this morning.”






Keeping my relaxed pose, I tell her, “It was my assistant from work.”







She narrows her eyes at me. “Asher James Knight,” she scolds. “Don’t you dare try to pull a fast one on me. Your brother said y’all were talking about very personal things. It was your assistant, my ass.”






It’s not often it happens, but I love when I can one-up my mom. I love her and she’s the best woman I know, but it gives me immense pleasure to show her she may not know everything after all. Maybe it’s the kid in me wanting to best my mom for once. I raise a brow and inform her smugly, “Actually, it was my assistant.” When she opens her mouth to reprimand me again, I continue. “Who also happens to be the woman I’m going to one day marry and carry my children.”



I’ve clearly caught her off guard. Her mouth hangs open as she stares at me.







She snaps out of her daze and demands, “Who is this girl, and why haven’t you mentioned her before?”






I shrug. “It’s not something she knows yet. I’ve known for a while, but as you know, it wasn’t until recently I was at a place in my life that I could pursue her.”






Sadness washes over her face, and grief engulfs the air around us. I want to hit myself for bringing up such a sore subject. She always gets this way when it’s mentioned.







After a moment, she brings herself out of her thoughts and asks, “What do you mean she doesn’t know?”






“I haven’t told her my feelings yet, or my plans regarding her.”




“Asher, honey, don’t you think it’s important she knows?” she says with a frown.







“I plan to tell her next week. I’m bringing her to the dinner you have planned in a couple weeks to meet everyone.”







She still looks at me doubtfully, so I explain further.







“She knows my interest, Mom, but doesn’t know it’s me, her boss. It’s too much to explain right now. Just know that she’s the one I choose.”






She reaches across the table and grabs my hand. With excitement shining in her eyes, she says, “I’m happy for you, honey. I can’t wait to meet her.”






I smile at her in kind.







My phone chirps in my pocket, so I pull it out and read the display. My smile turns to a big grin when I read the text message.




Poppy: Is it wrong of me to miss you after only one faceless visit?







I answer her immediately.






Me: I’d be disappointed if you didn’t. What are you doing right now?”







While I wait for her response, I look up to find my mom watching me, her eyes lit with interest.



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“What’s her name?” she asks softly.






“Poppy,” I answer.







“Poppy,” she repeats, smiling. “Such a pretty name.”






I glance down when my phone alerts me again of an incoming message.







Poppy: I just got done with a very lonely picnic, wishing you were there with me.






Me: After this week, I promise to be at all your picnics.







Poppy will never go on a picnic alone again after this weekend. I plan to picnic her out. She’ll be so sick of them she’ll never want another one.







I get up from my seat, walk around the table and kiss the top of my mom’s head.


She looks up at me with love shining in her eyes.







“I have a few phone calls I need to make. I’ll be back down in a bit.”






“Okay. But I want to hear more about Poppy later. I want to know all about her.”







I nod and she slings one arm around my waist and gives it a squeeze, then lets me go. I walk away and head to the stairs to my childhood room. My parents insist that it will always be my room and when I visit, that’s where I sleep. The only thing that’s changed is they’ve switched out my twin bed with a queen, which is a good thing because I’m not sure I would fit in the smaller one anymore. All my old awards and trophies still sit on a shelf above the small captain’s desk against one wall. The old hardwood floor shines, and the area rug squishes beneath my feet as I walk across it to the bed. Once I’m seated, I look back at my phone and the waiting text.






Poppy: I can’t wait to bring you to the park I always go to.







Me: Soon, Beautiful, and you can take me anywhere you want.




Her response comes a few seconds later.







Poppy: Give me another letter.







Pleasure zips through me at her demand. She’s so damn adamant about getting those letters out of me. I love that she’s so into the game I’m playing.






Me: H. I’ll call you this evening before bed, Beautiful.







She doesn’t respond, but I didn’t expect her to. I pull the video feed up, needing a quick glance at her before I make my phone calls. She’s in her living room, sitting on her couch looking down at her phone, a stunning smile on her face. My chest swells, knowing I put that smile there.







She has a look of concentration on her face, and I wonder if she’s trying to rearrange the letters in her head, trying to figure out my name. I know the combination I’ve given her will make it difficult for her, but I can’t help the small part of me that hopes she figures it out. Regardless, my time is almost up, and once that happens, there will be no holding back. I’ll give her time to come to terms with what I’ve done and who I am, but after that, I’ll move full force ahead. Poppy won’t know what hit her.









Endless Obsession



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