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The Most Eligible Bachelor Bella Winters 2022/7/22 14:15:21

There was a shifting movement behind the door. Her voice came through softly. “Go back home, Chance. Leave me alone.”

I closed my eyes in frustration as I listened to her feet retreat deeper into the house. My time with sweet Ashlyn had come to an end.

It took me almost an hour to get back into town. Driving up to Ashlyn’s place made the distance seem miniscule, but actually having to walk it in the heat of the Texas sun shed a new light on just how far away from the town center she really was.

I kept my head low, avoiding eye contact with the scant number of people awake and strolling down the main road. I wanted to get to the motel, pack and get the hell out of here. I didn’t even care about the things I had left at Ashlyn’s house. The feelings coursing through me right now, the embarrassment I was experiencing, it was like I had been slapped across the face. Hard.

Add to that the fact that my best friend was screwing me over, and you got yourself the perfect blend of self-pity and loathing.

You should have just kept your head low and not gotten involved.

Too late for that now.

I clenched my fists and buried them in my pockets. I didn’t know what was pissing me off more, the fact that I had screwed things up with Ashlyn or the fact that Dennis was trying to screw me over. But the more I thought about it, the more I felt like I could handle Dennis; I just had no idea what to do about Ashlyn.

“You just had to go and fall for her, didn’t you?” I muttered to myself.

The Chance Ridder from two days ago would have known better. He would have been able to keep a straight head on his shoulders and get the hell out of dodge before any of this had happened. There was no room for emotions in his life, no space for feelings and caring and all that other bullshit that was clogging up my mind and making me feel like shit. He would have handled this the right way; fuck the girl, then leave.

A part of me kind of hated that Chance Ridder just a little bit for letting things go so easily.

By the time I reached the motel, the sun was beating down hard, and I had worked up a good sweat. A cold shower was what I needed, then a few hours of complete silence while I tried to figure out what the hell I would do next. There was no doubt in my mind that I had to get back to Austin. Staying here any longer would only make things back home worse, and I didn’t want that. But at the same time, leaving Ludwig meant leaving Ashlyn, and with the way things stood between us right now, I didn’t want that either.

Pull yourself together.

I shook my head angrily, ran a hand through my hair and tried to clear my head. First things first, clean up the mess Dennis had made and somehow get that knife out of my back. I walked past the motel, making my way towards Hank in hopes that the Chevy would be ready for me by the morning. I found the man sitting in the shade, legs propped up on a milk crate and his hat pulled over his eyes.

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“Hank.” I snapped my fingers at him, waking him up.

Hank pushed his hat up, squinted at me and smiled. “Mr. Ridder,” he said. “Good news. Your head gasket came in.”

“That’s great to hear,” I said. “How long before it’s fixed?”

Hank frowned. “Leavin’ already?”

“I think I’ve overstayed my welcome,” I nodded.

Hank looked at me for a beat, then shrugged. “Wasn’t gonna work on her until later in the mornin’, but if you’re in a hurry now, I’ll get right to it.”

“You think you’ll be done by tonight?”

“That bad, huh?” Hank asked.

“With Ashlyn,” Hank said. “Things didn’t go so well I take it.”

“How about this?” I said, changing the subject. “You get the Chevy ready within a couple of hours, and I’ll update your workstation free of charge.”

“That’s a mighty fine offer, Mr. Ridder, but I’d be lyin’ to ya if I promised that,” he said. “Definitely not before tomorrow mornin’ for sure.”