I gave a wobbly smile. “Well, it’s a long story.”
“Since I ordered half a pig, we have time,” Katie replied.
“And you guys are going to think I’m a terrible person.”
“Doubtful,” Calla reassured me.
I wasn’t so sure about that, but I hadn’t told a soul except Charlie about what had gone down between Reece and me, including the huge misunderstanding. I took a deep breath and then I told them everything about the night with Reece, pausing long enough for our food to be delivered.
“So, yeah, that’s . . . that’s where I’m at with everything,” I finished as I cut the rest of my syrup with a side of waffle into tiny squares.
Calla stared at me, a piece of extra-crispy bacon dangling from her fingertips.
Even Katie gaped at me, which was saying something, if I managed to shock her into any realm of silence. I shrunk back against the booth, feeling sheepish and crappy. “I’m a terrible person, aren’t I?”
“No,” Calla said immediately. “You’re not a terrible person.”
“Wait.” Katie held up one hand. Somehow a thick piece of sausage had made it to her fingers. “So, let me make sure I have this correct. You’ve basically been in love with Reece since you were fifteen.”
“I wouldn’t say in love,” I muttered, but my heart thumped.
“Whatever. I’ve known you’ve been in love with him,” she insisted, and I didn’t protest it, because I figured it would end up with a discussion about her super-stripper powers. “Anyway, you’ve been in love with him, but he always treated you like the annoying kid next door.”
My eyes narrowed on her. “I wouldn’t say he treated me like the annoying kid next door either.”
She ignored me. “He finally starts treating you like the hot chick that you are, he comes to the bar one night, gets shitfaced, but because you’re madly, deeply, and irrevocably in love with him and because you’re a girl, you don’t realize he’s shitfaced.”
My eyes narrowed further on her.
“You two go to his house, because he asked for a ride for his drunk ass, things get hot and heavy. You see his sausage.” She waved the sausage she held, and Calla made a choking sound as she reached for her coffee. “You guys make out all the way back to his bedroom, where he passes out. Am I following this so far?”
“Yeah.” I folded my arms. “Kind of.”
Katie nodded sagely, and I had no idea what she was being sage about. “First off, that’s lame of him to get that freaking drunk, so he gets a cool point taken from him.”
“Cool point?” Calla turned wide eyes on her. “We’re still adding and taking away cool points?”
“In my world, we are,” she replied, and then she bit into the sausage, chewing thoughtfully for a moment. “So he passes out, you stay with him, and then he wakes up, thinks you guys had sex and is apologetic and regretful?”
Nodding, I popped a piece of waffle into my mouth.
“And you thought he regretted having sex with you,” Calla tossed in. “But he regretted getting so drunk and having sex with you?”
Katie shook her head as she picked up the salt and dumped it on her half-eaten sausage. “But you two didn’t have sex.”
“No. And I started to tell him that when he first made the assumption, but he was so damn sorry about it all that I thought he was talking about the actual sex.”
“And that hurt your feelings,” Calla said gently. “That’s understandable. I probably would’ve thought the same thing.”
“But you could’ve cleared it up right then,” Katie pointed out.
“No shit,” I replied. “But I didn’t. I was so embarrassed and . . . yeah, my feelings were hurt, so I left his place and just so much time passed, and I was still all butt sore about it that I never cleared it up.”
Katie finished off the sausage and then moved onto the smaller links. “And Reece has this thing with lying? That’s not good.”
I pinned her with a bland look.
She leaned forward, waving the link around like a wand. “Look, I totally get why you haven’t said anything. It’s like telling one little lie and then telling another little lie to cover that one and so on. Then it all builds up. I get that. A lot of time has passed and how would you explain what really happened? Hey Reece, would you like to play with my tits? Oh, by the way, we never had sex.”
Calla almost choked again. “That . . . that sounds like an awkward conversation.”
I sighed as I pushed my plate away from me. “I do feel terrible. I wish I’d pulled my head out of my ass long enough to give him a chance to explain why he reacted that way, and I wish I’d just told him the truth.”
“He ain’t completely innocent in all of this,” Katie argued. “Remember, he was so drunk he thought he had sex. I’ve drunk a lot in my day. A lot. Like so much, I’m pretty sure I’ve turned into a brewery, but I’ve never been so drunk that I didn’t know if I had sex.”
Calla nodded as she poked at her scrambled eggs. “True.”
Neither had I ever drunk that much, but that was beside the point. Taking a sip of my soda, my shoulders sank as the weight of the situation settled on them. I straightened my glasses as I sighed. “I . . . I really like him, guys. I really do.”
“Duh.” Katie rolled her eyes. “You’re in love with him.”
I ignored that comment, because love . . . love was a scary four-letter word. “He’s a good guy, a really good guy. And you remember the last dude I kind of seriously dated?” I asked Katie.
She wrinkled her nose. “Before Dean the ginger?”
“Oh my God,” Calla murmured, stifling her giggle with the back of her hand.
I shook my head and then took a drink. “Yes. Remember Donnie, the—”
“The really nice guy who took you to the Eagles game and you totally got with in the parking garage, but turned out to be married?” Katie supplied happily.
My lips pressed together. “No. That was Ryan the fucker and thanks for reminding me about him. He also had a kid he never told me about. I was talking about Donnie the starving artist who stole my jewelry my grammy left me.”
Calla blinked several times. “Wow. A married guy and a thief?”
“I normally don’t attract the greatest people.” I shrugged, but I thought of Henry, and that made my skin crawl. The thing was, I knew I dated guys like that for a reason. They were safe. “But Reece is not like them, and a part of me . . .” I let out a slow breath. “I have spent years lusting after him.” And I’d probably spent years feeling something stronger than that.