Addicted for Now / Page 32

Page 32

She’s not twelve, Lo, I remind myself. She’s sixteen. There is a difference. She’s in high school. Hell, she’s probably had sex.

I stop myself. There are some things I just don’t want to know.

I twirl the suit around and focus on Lily. I fling it at her and she catches the mankini in her hands.

“Yeah,” she says, far away with her naughty thoughts that I definitely wish I could hear. “I don’t think he’ll fit.” She flushes like she didn’t mean to say that aloud. I just want to kiss her.

“Unnecessary information,” Rose says.

“Actually that was necessary,” I say. “If I can’t fit, then I need another bathing suit.”

Daisy bends down and starts digging through the suitcase beside Lily. While she rummages around, I remember that she shouldn’t be here in the first place.

“So she’s staying?” I look between Rose and Lily, waiting for one of them to be the mature older sister and set guidelines, rules, whatever and send Daisy back home.

But the most responsible girl—maybe in the entire universe—gives me the worst kind of reprimanding glare and says, “She can stay.”

I think they’ve gone nuts. They obviously don’t understand what Daisy looks like or realize her age and the fact that just outside our window are hundreds of horny f**king guys. “Can I talk to you and you”—I point at Lily and Rose—“in private. Thanks.”

From the suitcase, Daisy glances up at me. “I’m sorry about the swimsuits. It was just a joke, honestly. Here.” She tosses a new shopping bag to me, and I hesitate, mostly because I see how much Daisy wants me to be okay with her here. She doesn’t want to put anyone out since she’s essentially crashing our Spring Break. And I think if I told her that she’s not welcome, she would be on the next flight without argument.

Before I search in the plastic bag, I keep my gaze trained on Rose who has the most sway in whether or not Daisy stays in Cancun. “What happens when a guy offers her a drink?”

“I’ll turn it down,” Daisy answers. She rocks on the balls of her feet, prepared to answer more questions.

“Are you going to drink?” I ask her.

“If it upsets you, then no.”

My muscles twitch. I don’t like the idea of people being sober just because I am. That’s ridiculous. “It doesn’t upset me, but you’re underage, Daisy, even in Mexico.”

“Since I was fourteen, my mom has always let me drink during vacations. Ask Rose.”

Rose unplugs her flatiron and brushes her glossy hair. “Just the fruity drinks,” she says. “And only because Mother trusted you not to go crazy.”

“I won’t,” Daisy says. “And if it makes you feel better, I won’t drink at all.”

I shake my head and wear a deep frown. I’m not sure what the right call is. I know that most kids drink at sixteen. And I wouldn’t want to baby her just because I’m an alcoholic. But is twenty-one the magical safe age or something? I don’t know.

I internally groan. She may not be staying here at all so it won’t even matter. “What happens if she breaks from our group, Rose?”

“She won’t,” Rose retorts. “I’m not going to leave Daisy alone in a foreign country. While the big brother routine is flattering, Loren, she has two sisters in Cancun who care for her just as much, if not more. She’s safe with us.”

I watch Lily glance between me and Daisy, and I see the worry so apparent on her face. She wants her little sister here just as much as Rose does. Maybe they want to spend time with her, to reconnect together in ways that they haven’t in a long, long time. And if Daisy can put a smile on Lily’s face, then maybe the hassle will be worth it.

“Okay,” I nod.

“Are you sure?” Daisy asks. “If you’re upset, then I can go…”

“No,” Rose cuts in.

I glare at her. “So glad to know that you consider my feelings, Rose. We now know who the nicest sister is.”

“I thought that was me,” Lily pipes in with a coy smile.

“You’re the best everything, love, that’s unspoken and true.”

She bites her lip, and I can practically hear her chanting for me to come over there and kiss her. I would, but Rose is searing holes in my forehead.

“What about Connor and Ryke?” Daisy asks hesitantly.

“Connor won’t care,” Rose tells her.

Ryke will. I flash her a comforting smile that feels a bit false for me. I just hope I’m not grimacing. “If Ryke isn’t nice to you then I’ll take care of him.” I actually turn to Rose for approval, not sure why hers means so much to me. But she nods in appreciation, or as close to the sentiment as that girl can come.

“Thanks, Lo,” Daisy says.

Lily stands up and sidles to me. I wrap an arm loosely around her shoulders while she sinks into my body. This is a hug that should turn into something more. I can feel her aching for it as her fingers dig deeper in my waist. But she can’t. I just hope she can withstand a week without sex. She’ll need to be satisfied by kisses. Whereas normal people take a kiss as real affection, Lily sees it as nothing more than teasing if it’s not the means to a good fuck.

I rub her back while I dig through the plastic bag with one hand. I find three appropriate male swimsuits in black and navy-blue. “Are these the only other guy suits you bought?” I ask Daisy, a wicked thought crossing my mind.

“Yeah. Are they bad?” She comes to my side and peeks in the bag. “These Ralph Lauren ones should fit.”

“I know. I’m just thinking that you only bought two of them…for me and Connor.” They all catch on to my ploy.

Rose shakes her head repeatedly, but Lily is nodding fiercely. Daisy’s lips pull into a devious smile, definitely up for a bit of harmless fun.

If Ryke and I are going to be brothers, I might as well start reaping the benefits. And it starts with a prank.

{ 20 }


We took one step onto the beach, and I thought my eyeballs were going to burn out of their socket. The sun was inescapable, too hot to even breathe properly. And all the beach cabanas are first-come-first-serve, so we have to wake up earlier to claim one tomorrow. We end up finding seven lounge chairs around the crowded pool. On the elevator ride down, Daisy asked me again if it was okay if she drank around me. Personally, I feel worse if people stop having a good time on my account. I’ve forced Connor to order wine—his drink of choice—on numerous occasions.

But I thought I’d be a little more creative in my reply to Daisy since she is sixteen and I’m still trying to understand what’s appropriate for teenagers. I told her that I didn’t mind if she drank, but she shouldn’t drink more than Rose. In fact, she should try to loosen Rose up this week. If there’s anything I’d pay good money to see, it’s Rose Calloway drunk.

Daisy easily agreed. She seems to want to please other people, and I wonder just how much of her life has been dedicated to appeasing her mother.

Both Daisy and Rose wade in the pool with piña coladas in their hands. An engulfing rock fountain swamps one circular alcove where a pool-side bar lies, but we’re a good distance from that mobbed area.

Ryke climbs out of the pool and nods to the rest of us who idly stand in the water. Lily is the only one on dry land.

She lies alone on a lounge chair, not wanting to join us. I get it. She touched herself the first night, and I’ve been repeatedly telling her that she’s not going to have sex this week. Now we’re at a pool with half-naked guys, a half-naked me.

I can spot several couples groping underneath cabanas, and even a few cling to each other in the water, making out, the guy’s tongue deep down the girl’s throat. There’s no shame there either. And I think she’s probably just as jealous of that too.

She’s craving sex badly, and I understand wanting to drift off with music and take a nap in the sun. So I let her have her space and try to talk with our friends.

“I’m going to go buy some tacos,” Ryke says. “If you want to eat one, you better come with me.” He stands confidently in his hot pink mankini. When I told him it was the only suit left, he literally shrugged and put it on. Tan skin, ripped abs, and stylish wayfarers—he instantly looked cool even wearing that damn thing. And the girls playing water volleyball even gawked at his ass.

That’s not exactly the reaction I was looking for.

Melissa swims to the edge and climbs out, always attached to Ryke in some way. And whenever she’s forced to untangle herself from him, her mood flips. A part of me wonders if that’s what Lily and I look like when we’re in someone else’s company—bored and aggravated. Probably. I guess it’s something we’re working on.

“Ready?” she asks, hooking her pinky with his fingers.

He lets go of her hand and nods to the pool again. “Calloway,” he calls. All three girls turn to look at him, even Lily on the chair. He rolls his eyes and points at the tall blonde. “Daisy. You coming?”

She shakes her head and sucks on the straw of her piña colada. For lunch, we all ate handmade pizza, but Daisy picked at a salad instead. I think it’s a success that she’s even sipping a fruity drink that contains a shit ton of calories, but knowing Ryke, he no doubt believes alcohol is the equivalent of bark on a food pyramid.

“Come on,” he prods, gesturing her to follow him. “You’ll like the taco, I promise.”

“I probably will,” she says, “but that still doesn’t mean I should eat it.”

Melissa clutches Ryke’s hand and begins to pull him towards the outside grill behind a set of palm trees. “She doesn’t want a taco,” she says, tugging him like a child would a parent. “Let’s go.”

Ryke’s jaw locks, and I think he would try to convince Daisy until she relented, but not with Melissa yanking his arm. So he leaves with that failure. Ryke inserting himself in other people’s problems is nothing new. I’m not surprised that he would take interest in Daisy’s diet, one that she maintains only to please her mother—I’ve known that since she started modeling.

Connor holds a mojito low in his hand and watches Melissa disappear behind the palm trees with Ryke. “He’s going to regret bringing her.”

“He already does,” I say. I didn’t think being around alcohol would affect me as much. My attention zones in on the plastic cup, and it takes a great deal of energy to concentrate on other things. Like my brother’s sex life, not that I particularly care about it.

“What’d you do last year for Spring Break?” Connor asks.

I strain my mind and shake my head. “I can’t remember.” I’m sure I spent my nights at a bar while Lily f**ked other guys. Our old routine. It’s all so hazy, even trying to crawl back through the memories is like walking through fog. “Probably something stupid,” I mutter under my breath.

Connor takes the hint and doesn’t prod. “If it makes you feel any better, my last three Spring Breaks were in Japan trying to convince angel investors to capitalize in Cobalt Inc.”

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