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“You’re the son she never had.” Then, feeling bad about my shot at his mom, “Your mom cooked for us. I remember that one time she tried to teach us to make lasagna.”

He cracked a grin, barking a laugh. “You sucked at that, too. I never knew lasagna noodles could come out hard like rocks until yours.”

Fuck him, but I was grinning. I couldn’t help myself.

Those were good times, good memories before the shit ones came. And they came soon after that lasagna disaster.

He quieted. “It wasn’t the same. My mom versus yours. We had baking lessons at your house once a month, every first Sunday. My mom tried to teach us how to make Caesar salad, the only second cooking session she gave us, and that one we all got fine. It’s hard to screw up.”

“Says you. You’re perfect at everything.”

He didn’t reply.

I didn’t expect him to. It was true. He knew it. I knew it. The entire nation knew it.

Then from him, “Not at being a friend.”

My stomach kicked.

Hell no. No way. He wasn’t getting back in. No fucking way.

“Oh. God.” I groaned, throwing a hand up to hit my forehead. “Can we not? Can we save the dramatics until I’m able to call a cab to take me back to my place? For real. Enough bonding or whatever it is we were just doing.”

He growled, “You are such a goddamn bitch.”

I retorted, “And you are such a goddamn prick. Drop me the fuck off!”

“With fucking pleasure!”

He gunned the engine, shooting forward in traffic, and weaving until we were nearing my exit. When he took it, I relaxed. The rest of the way was tense and silent, and I knew both of us couldn’t wait to be rid of the other. Then he pulled over to the curb. He didn’t make a move, his only action just unlocking the door.

His head was turned halfway to me, his jaw clenching over and over again.


I shoved forward, my head only swimming a little bit as I climbed out of his truck. Once I shut the door and turned around, he’d already hit the engine, tearing away from the curb.

I only had the clothes on my back, on the side of the street, but I’d never been so fucking grateful to be away from him.

Now, turning to the house I wasn’t sure I was still invited to live in, I saw that all the lights were off. Lovely. It was then I remembered the day—Saturday. Game day. They’d be gone the entire day, but I had two things working in my favor. It was hella hot out, so I wouldn’t freeze in only my shirt, jeans, and flip flops. Stone had all my things at his house. I had nothing with me. And it was a home game, so they wouldn’t be staying overnight somewhere.

Slinking to the backyard, I climbed over the fence and took a seat on the picnic table. I’d wait it out here, maybe even nap stretched out on top if need be. Either way, I was just fine on my own.

Chapter Thirteen


I saw black when I opened my eyes. No. Stars. I was seeing stars.

It took a bit, then turning my head—I reared upright, scrambling backwards. I was on the edge of the picnic table. My head was woozy, and I was seeing two of someone.

No. Wait.

It was Savannah and Mia? Both were staring at me, eyebrows raised, and looks of confusion on their faces. Both were decked out in Texas C&B gear, the white and blue colors displayed loud and proud, seventeen and thirty-seven on their cheeks in sparkly blue paint. That’s right. Their boyfriends were on the team. I’d forgotten.

And what was I doing here?

Oh, yeah.

Stone. Me being a bitch. Him charging off from the curb, and a part of me couldn’t blame him. I’d be frustrated with me, too, if I were him.

“What are you doing?”

Mia was staring at my feet.

I looked, too. The flip flops had fallen off.

“Sorry. I was sleeping and…” I sat up, but whoa. The blood didn’t go with me. It rushed downwards instead, making me lightheaded and I was teetering on the edge of the table.

Savannah rushed forward, grabbing my arm.

Mia’s top lip just lifted even more in a sneer.

“No. Like, what are you doing here?”

“Am I not living here anymore?” I put a hand to my forehead. I was fairly certain the pounding I was feeling up there wasn’t a good sign. Neither was sleeping in the sun all afternoon long because Stone picked me up from the hospital at three. It was dark out. Looking over my shoulder, the lights were on in the house. I frowned. No one had seen me out here? “What time is it?”

“It’s ten-thirty. Everybody’s coming here from the Quail.” That was Mia’s flat response, like I’d irritated her that she even had to respond to a question.

The Quail.

Oh no.

“I had a job interview there. Oh no.”

“Helllooooo. What are you doing here?” Savannah waved her hand in front of my face to get my attention. There was a bit more edge to her voice, and I couldn’t blame her either. I’d be frustrated with myself.


I was repeating my thoughts.

That really wasn’t good.

“I don’t have my phone or my keys, or anything. I couldn’t get in the house.” And they hadn’t answered my question. “Did you guys kick me out?”

They shared a look, a dumbfounded expression, and I could just tell. Their mouths were hanging open. Their eyes were saying, ‘wtf?’ And their eyebrows were all the way up into their foreheads.

I was a keen observer of the human body.

That and I heard Mia whisper, “W-T-F?”

“You’re…” Savannah had to stop, shake her head, clear her thoughts. “You were in an accident.”


Noted. I knew that.

They shared another look.

I tried again. “So, the room? Is it still mine?”

And Savannah was trying to get me to understand again, too. “You totaled your car. A truck took you out.”

“Girl,” Mia snapped. “You were in a coma all week.”

Yes. And yes.

But why were they not answering my question?

“So… I don’t still have the room? Or do I?”

“OH MY GOD!” Mia burst out. “No! All your shit was picked up by Stone Fucking Reeves. You KNOW STONE FUCKING REEVES! Why are you HERE and not with HIM?!”

I flinched, frowning. “You don’t need to yell at me. I have a splitting headache.”

Savannah’s face flashed to horror. “You do? You should be in the hospital. You shouldn’t be here. What are you doing here? Sleeping outside?”

I was really trying to focus here. I was, but the headache was increasing by the minute, and Mia’s shouting only made it worse. I literally had nothing to my name right now except the clothes on my back and I just needed to know where to go.

“Will you please just tell me?” My voice was dipping low, hoarse, and to an alarming sound that I knew was concerning, but I was losing normal thought function as to why I should be alarmed about how I was sounding. “Doahhafdaroomstll?”

“You’re slurring your words.” Savannah pointed out.

“She’s slurring her words.” Mia was always the smartest.

A disgusted sigh from her again, “Fucking hell.”

“What are you doing?” That was Savannah again.

My eyes had closed.

I was getting so sleepy again.

I just had a long nap. I shouldn’t be so tired so soon after, right? Right?

Mia snapped in a huff, “I’m calling 911 again. This bitch’s death is not going to be on our hands.”

“Oh dear.”

I just thought this picnic table was so comfortable. Why’d I ever use a bed? That was my last, somewhat coherent thought until splendid peace.

Chapter Fourteen

The doctor was much more stern the next time.

The ambulance came again.

I was taken to the ER again.

I was treated for the same concussion as before. Again. This time I was told to make sure I stayed hydrated, and if I fell asleep, to do it indoors and out of the sun.

And Stone was called, once again.

But this time, I was being released that same night, and as he stalked into the room, murder in his eyes, he refused to say a word. The doc was doing it all for him.

“You are only being released into the care of Mr. Reeves.”

I was the petulant child, and my doctor was the aggravated second-grade teacher. He was close to his wit’s end, but not quite there. I knew the type well. And Stone, he was the pissed-off older brother who hated his little sister, but the parents were dead so…


I swallowed hard. I’d just thought that, hadn’t I?

Stone would never look at me like we had a brother/sister relationship. One of us would’ve murdered the other long ago.

And yep, I was content with keeping the snarky jokes to myself. I didn’t think anyone else would appreciate my sense of comedy, though I was rolling in it myself.

“I had a job interview at the Quail.”

The awkward silence that filled the room told me something had happened. I’d done something. Then the doctor closed his mouth and I clued in. I’d completely interrupted him and that was a no-no.

Stone moved to rest his shoulder against the doorframe, his arms still folded over his chest. “That bar on your campus?”