I couldn’t wait any longer. I’d waited two days.
Dropping the paintbrush on the stand, I hopped up and went to my phone. Without thinking too much about it, without stressing myself out any longer, I typed Reece a quick text.
I miss you.
God, that was so bizarrely true. I went almost a year not speaking to him and I had missed him during that time, but that want had been cloaked in bitterness and anger. With that gone, all that remained was how much I missed him.
I deleted that and typed Are we still on for today?
Then I also backspaced the mother out of that and finally settled on Hey.
Bringing my phone into the bedroom, I took a quick shower and blow-dried my hair. I even curled lazy waves into it and put makeup on so I’d be ready just in case . . .
Then I paced my living room and kitchen, too wired to sit down, and with each passing minute, that frustration and panic pecked away at me.
Twelve o’clock dragged into one and then two and when I had only thirty minutes left to get ready for my shift at Mona’s and there was no text or call, that teeny, tiny spark of hope that I’d been holding close to my heart extinguished.
Reece had lied to me.
For the first time since I’d known him, he had lied to me. Because I knew in that moment, he wasn’t going to call me. Everything between us wasn’t okay.
Making your bed and lying in it was probably one of the worst things ever. I hated that stupid saying with the fierceness of a thousand burning suns, but it was true. When you were disappointed or saddened by something you had no control over, it was easier to let it go, but when it was something that you did to yourself, it was so much harder to deal with.
And this mess with Reece was my fault. Sure, it took two to tango, and it took one to get plastered, but it was me who hid the truth of the night a year ago. I’d betrayed his trust. To some it might not be seen as a big deal, but it was to Reece. Honesty was everything to him.
Katie stopped by during my shift Thursday night, right before I took my break. One look at me, and she knew what was up. Or maybe it was her super-stripper powers.
Grabbing a basket of fries from the kitchen, we hid out in the office. She hoisted herself up onto Jax’s desk, which made me smile in spite of how crappy I felt. Her dress, if one could call the shirt a dress, did not cover her ass when she sat down.
“Tell me everything,” she ordered, holding the basket of fries.
I sat beside her and told her what went down. Trusting Katie, I gave her all the details. Well, I didn’t go into that much detail about how I was gripping the headboard Tuesday morning. That wasn’t a necessary part of the convo.
When I was finished, Katie had already consumed half of the fries. “Honey buns, here’s the thing. There’s a whole lot of could’ve and should’ve that has gone on. You can’t change the past, and let’s be honest, you didn’t drown a kitten.”
I made a face.
“Stop beating yourself up over it. You know you did wrong. You apologized and you meant it.” Handing over the basket, she hopped off the desk and stood in front of me, hands on her hips. “If he can’t get over that, then he’s truly not worth your time. And I mean that in the most non cliché way possible.”
I popped the last fry in my mouth and then placed the basket aside. “I know, but I like him—”
“You love him,” she corrected, throwing herself on the leather couch against the wall.
Rolling my eyes, I waved my hand dismissively even though my heart turned over heavily. “I wouldn’t go that far.”
“Why else have you been crying since Tuesday if you don’t love him?”
I cut her a narrowed look. “Because I like him a lot. I’ve liked him for a long time. And we were friends and now it’s ruined. And I haven’t been crying since Tuesday.” At her look of doubt, I scowled. “Not the entire time.”
She arched a blond brow. “Okay. First thing you need to do is stop lying to yourself. Just admit that you’ve been in love with him for ages. There’s nothing wrong with that.” When I opened my mouth, she raised a hand. “Secondly, fuck him. Not literally, unless he comes around, but like I said, if he doesn’t get over this, it’s on him, not you.”
Nodding, I tucked my hair back behind my ears as I slipped off the desk. I got what she was saying.
“Calla and Teresa are coming up next weekend. The four of us need to get together and get shitfaced,” she announced, rising from the couch like a goddess who was summoned. “Like, we need to get stupid drunk, talk about how stupid boys are, and then wake up wishing we never see another bottle of liquor.”
“Okay,” I mumbled.
“Like as drunk as the night before Calla left us,” she continued, and I cringed, knowing where she was heading with this. “Remember? You were convinced that one of those plastic closet organizers could hold your weight?”
“It did hold my weight,” I said crossly.
She threw her head back and hooted with laughter. “Yeah, for like thirty seconds. You shoved yourself in that damn thing, with your legs touching your chest.”
“You zipped me up!”
“And that thing broke and I thought you broke your ass.”
I thought I broke my ass. So did Calla and Teresa, which reminded me of how grateful I was that I hadn’t broken anything, because none of the girls could stop laughing long enough to make sure I was even alive.
Katie bounced forward and hugged me, squeezing me so tight I thought I’d pop. “It’ll be okay. He’s going to come around.”
I hugged her back. “You think this or are your superpowers telling you this?”
She giggled as she pulled away. “Call it feminine intuition.”
I cocked a brow. “Really?”
“Yep.” Katie flounced to the door. “I’ve got to go drop it like it’s hot, and yes, this is hot.” Smacking her ass, she laughed. “Peace out, homie homes.”
A smile pulled at my lips. Katie was . . . she was different and she was awesome. Straightening my glasses, I told myself not to do it, but before I left the room, I grabbed my purse out of the cabinet and pulled out my phone.
The small smile faded from my lips. There was a missed text, but it was from Dean, and seeing it really knocked my feet out from under me. Besides the fact that the last time we spoke, I’d hung up on him, it was the same message I’d sent Reece earlier and had received no response from.