Authors: Sofia Velardi
BETRAYAL: ABBY’S GUILT
THE BETRAYAL SERIES
By Sofia Velardi
Copyright © 2014 Sofia Velardi
All rights reserved.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form.
Abby was frantically typing on her laptop, trying to finish her paper on Nineteenth Century English literature, when a piece of toast landed in the middle of her keyboard. She raised her gaze over the computer screen and glared at her boyfriend Kyle sitting across from her at the kitchen table. Kyle mimicked her expression while shoving a piece of bread in his mouth. His lips curled into a taunting grin.
“Would you stop doing that? This paper is due today, and I have ten more pages to go,” Abby whined.
“What? I’m not doing anything,” Kyle replied, with a shrug and with his tongue firmly planted in his cheek. His gray eyes shone with a devilish twinkle as he tried to stifle a laugh.
Abby pursed her lips, trying not to smile, and narrowed her eyes at Kyle. She wanted to be mad at him for being so annoying at the worst possible time, but she couldn’t get angry at him no matter how hard she tried. She was powerless any time he flashed his gorgeous, crooked smile at her.
Abby picked up the piece of toast and hurled it at Kyle, but he managed to dodge it. The piece of bread flew past him and landed on the floor.
Giggling at Abby’s bad aim, Kyle stuck his tongue out at her as he got up from his chair. He decided to stop annoying the poor, stressed-out girl, at least until after finals. He winked at her while picking up some dirty dishes off the kitchen table and stepping towards the sink.
Abby watched her boyfriend hover over the sink and marveled at how gorgeous he was. They had been dating for over three years, and she still couldn’t get over how strikingly handsome Kyle was. She also wondered why a guy who could’ve had any girl in the world had chosen her. Kyle looked like he came out of an Abercrombie and Fitch catalog-wavy, thick, dirty blonde hair; broad shoulders; a square jaw; elegant, narrow nose; perfectly sculpted lips; flawless skin; and a set of abs that looked as if they had been painted on. And then there was Abby’s favorite feature: Kyle’s smoldering gray eyes. Or was his crooked grin her favorite feature? She couldn’t decide.
When Abby first met Kyle Garrett, she couldn’t understand why he had chosen to go to college to study computer engineering when he could have made easy money being a model or an actor. But as she got to know him better, Abby understood why Kyle had chosen academia over the runway. Besides being extremely smart, Kyle was not the type of guy who got hung up on his own looks. He kept himself fit, but he was not obsessed with the gym. He enjoyed the attention he received from women, but he never let it go to his head. He told Abby once that he’d rather be with a woman who could make him laugh and hold a conversation than be with a beautiful airhead. He told Abby that’s the reason why he fell in love with her-not that Abby was unattractive. Abby was, in fact, a very beautiful girl, but she was not the type of girl men fawned over. The combination of her long, shiny, brown hair; her almond-shaped hazel eyes; her flawless, ivory skin; and her curvy, petite body should have easily turned a lot heads, but it didn’t. The words adorable, sweet, classy, cute, angelic were always used to describe her, but never the words sexy or hot.
Abby considered herself a hardcore feminist, but every once in a while, she secretly wished she was one of those girls who got men to bark cheesy pick-up lines at them when they walked by. Instead, every man in her life treated her as if she was their little sister, like someone they needed to protect. Even though she was invisible to most men, Abby felt overall content because the one man who mattered, Kyle, did find her sexy and reminded her every chance he got. And at the end of the day, Kyle’s opinion and approval were all she cared about.
Kyle and Abby met during the first day of freshman orientation at New York University. He’s from a small, rural town in the State of Montana, and she’s from a tiny city in the State of Michigan. They bonded over their small town roots and learned to navigate the intimidating campus and the even-more-intimidating City of New York together. They have been inseparable ever since. They started dating within weeks of meeting, and after their freshman year, moved in together. They were lucky to find a tiny but affordable apartment nearby the university’s Manhattan campus and have lived there ever since.
While she watched Kyle do the dishes, Abby rested her chin on her fist and looked back at their time together. She wondered how she and Kyle managed to get good grades during their freshman year. They couldn’t keep their hands off each other back then. They often missed classes because they were always going at it: in Abby’s dorm room, at the library, in a bathroom stall at the student union, you name it. But after three years together, things between them had cooled down to normal levels. They were still madly in love with each other and had occasional, hot sex, but they were no longer all over each other like they used to. Sex in a bathroom stall had been replaced with lazy Sunday afternoons lying on the couch watching Netflix or doing the New York Times crossword puzzle.
Even though Abby occasionally missed all the spontaneous, hot sex she and Kyle used to have, she was glad they were past that phase of their love affair. She felt their relationship had evolved into something much, much better. They had intimacy, understanding, and held very few secrets from each other. They complemented and respected each other, and Abby saw herself marrying Kyle one day. She often caught herself daydreaming about him proposing to her and giving her a ring. She had even begun to plan their wedding in her head.
With wedding bells on her mind, Abby walked over to her boyfriend and wrapped her arms around his waist.
Kyle smiled softly, dried his hands on a rag, and turned around to face the only girl he had ever truly loved. He still could not believe his luck when he met that gorgeous, sweet, angel of a girl and it turned out she didn’t have a boyfriend. Kyle did not believe in love at first sight until he walked into that crowded lecture hall and laid eyes on Abigail Sloan three years earlier. He asked her for a pen he didn’t need, and she smiled at him. Kyle knew right then and there that he wanted that smile in his life forever.
With the tips of his fingers, Kyle brushed Abby’s bangs away from her forehead so he could get a better view of the most stunning pair of hazel eyes he’s ever seen. Kyle marveled at how fast the last three years had gone by. His life had been pure bliss ever since that bubbly Michigan girl came into it. When Kyle arrived in New York, he was jaded, disillusioned, and incapable of trusting anyone. People he loved had deceived and manipulated him. He didn’t believe there were any good people left in the world, but Abby changed all of that. She was as honest and kind as she was beautiful, and Kyle trusted her with his life. She was perfect and was as crazy about him as he was about her.
Kyle was certain Abby was the one. He had known it for a while and couldn’t wait for the day when he dropped down on one knee and asked her to be his wife. With his eyes darting from Abby’s eyes to her slightly parted lips, Kyle brought his other hand up to cradle Abby’s heart-shaped face. He exhaled softly before tipping Abby’s face up and placing a brief but sweet kiss on her ruby lips.
“What was that for?” Abby asked, watching her reflection in Kyle’s soulful, gray eyes.
“I love you, Abby,” Kyle sighed, rubbing the pad of his thumb over her small but plump lower lip.
Abby’s lips curled into the biggest, earnest smile as she remembered the first time Kyle told her that he loved her. It happened during one of the most stressful days of their freshman year at NYU. They were alone in Abby’s dorm room, sitting on the floor and studying for their midterm exams. They had stocked up on snacks and energy drinks because they wanted to pull an all-nighter. At around two in the morning that day, and with pizza boxes and empty cans scattered all around them, Kyle decided it was the perfect time to profess his love for Abby.
Abby remembered she looked like a total mess with her hair held back in a fuzzy bun and dark circles under her eyes. She told Kyle she loved him back, and they took a break from studying to have some quick, sloppy sex right in the middle of the dirty and cluttered dorm room floor. It was one of the most romantic nights of their relationship. Kyle has told her that he loves her every single day since, and Abby could see it in his eyes that he has meant it every single time. That morning over the sink was not any different.
“I love you too, Kyle,” Abby breathed, pressing Kyle’s body against hers and resting her head on his chest.
“How’s that paper coming along, Ms. Procrastinator?” Kyle teased.
“It’s coming,” Abby mumbled, her head still pressed against Kyle’s chest. “I just hope I can finish it before tonight’s party. I don’t want to have to pull another all-nighter since I have to work tomorrow.”
“You better get back to it then,” Kyle grinned, placing his palms on both sides of Abby’s head and tilting her face up. He wished neither he nor Abby had to work in addition to going to school full-time. He wished they had more time to spend with each other. But neither one of them could afford not to work. New York was a very expensive city to live in, and the money they received from grants and loans just wasn’t enough to survive on. Asking their families for help was out of the question because the recession had hit them particularly hard. So Abby and Kyle worked to make ends meet. They both held part-time jobs and worked as many as thirty hours a week each while juggling full-time course loads.
“Brianna is going to be there, right? I can’t wait to finally meet her,” Abby beamed as she watched Kyle’s smile disappear from his face. His whole demeanor always changed every time his sister’s name was uttered.
“Yes, she is,” Kyle grumbled before clearing his throat. He hastily unwrapped Abby’s arms from his waist and turned his attention back to the dirty dishes behind him. Turning his back to her was always Kyle’s cue to Abby that he wanted her to drop the Brianna subject. Abby knew it but chose to ignore it that time.
“Her flight gets here in a couple of hours. You two haven’t seen each other in such a long time. Maybe you should go pick her up at the airport so you two can spend some time catching up before the party,” Abby suggested.
“Her agency is sending a limo for her. She’ll be fine. I’ll talk to her at the party,” Kyle replied coldly, his back still to Abby.
“I still think you should go pick her up,” Abby insisted. “She’s your sister, Kyle.”
Kyle exhaled sharply and slammed the rag he was holding on the edge of the sink. “I have to go. I’m going to be late for my lab,” he huffed before turning around and kissing Abby awkwardly on the forehead. Abby’s eyes followed Kyle as he practically ran out of the kitchen and towards the bedroom. Seconds later, he reappeared with his book bag slung over his shoulder. He gave Abby a faint smile and a wink before disappearing out the front door.
Abby crossed her arms over her chest and leaned against the kitchen sink. She knew everything there was to know about Kyle Garrett-everything except anything having to do with his older sister Brianna. Every conversation they had about Brianna always ended the same way: With Kyle getting uncomfortable and cagey and walking away from Abby.
All Abby knew about the mystery woman was that she was five years older than Kyle, ran away from home when she was eighteen, moved to Los Angeles, and became a somewhat famous actress. She and Kyle didn’t visit each other, didn’t talk to each other on the phone, didn’t Skype, and didn’t follow each other on Facebook. They only exchanged the occasional email. The last time they saw each other was almost two years earlier when Brianna came to Montana to see their terminally ill father. Kyle didn’t even have any pictures of her. Abby knew what Brianna looked like because she had looked up pictures of her on the internet.
Brianna was what Hollywood calls a working actress. She had had spoken lines in a handful of TV shows and movies and had done a lot of voice-over work. She was coming to New York to audition for the part of Roxie Hart in the Broadway revival of the musical Chicago. She was expecting to be in the city for a few weeks, or longer depending on how the multi-round auditions went.