And given that the men had disappeared from the lodge, she supposed that fell to her.

There’d been a recipe for meatloaf on the back of one of the packages of meat, and so she’d decided to make that for them. It didn’t look so hard. They were missing a few of the spices, but she figured that she’d just add some extra salt and pepper. When she pulled it out of the small oven, it looked good and smelled even better. Pleased, Audrey set the pan down on the table and returned to the kitchen to make a small tossed salad to accompany it.

It wasn’t high class cuisine, but it was a nice-looking dinner. She wanted things to be comfortable for her twin while she was struggling to get clean, nice, and wholesome dinner with friends would be a great start. If she could keep Daphne distracted and relatively content, this could work. And with Cade at her side, between the two of them, they could keep on Daphne at all times.

This was going to work, Audrey decided.

While the food was cooling, Reese and Cade returned and washed up and sat down at the table. A moment later, Daphne descended down the stairs, each step shaky and weak.

Audrey’s heart sank. It had been less than a full day and her twin looked like hell. Dark circles lined Daphne’s eyes and her entire body shook with small tremors. Her steps were small and shuffling, and she seemed thinner than ever.

Audrey went to Daphne’s side, wrapping an arm around her. “How are you feeling?”

Daphne brushed off her arm irritably. “Don’t touch me. Hurts.”

Immediately, Audrey released her, feeling contrite. “I’m sorry. What can I get you?”

“Glass of water,” Daphne said, and licked her lips. Audrey noticed that they were dry and cracked, as if she’d gone weeks in the sun. Was detoxing supposed to be this hard on her twin? Audrey had never done drugs, so she didn’t know, but she was concerned.

“I’ll get it for you,” she told her. “Go sit down at the table.”

“Not hungry.”

“Well, sit down with the others at least. I’m sure Cade will be happy to see you,” Audrey said, keeping her tone bright and cheerful. “Go say hello to him.”

Cade got up from the table and approached Daphne, extending his hands to her. “Hey, beautiful.”

Daphne managed a tiny smile and put her trembling hands in his. “You’re such a tease,” she told him. “I look like shit.”

“You’re too hard on yourself,” Cade told her quietly. “You’re going through a hard time.” He took her hand and gently guided her toward the table, then pulled a chair out for her.

Audrey smiled at the sight. Having Cade here was wonderful. He always knew what to say to her twin to make her behave, to make her respond, and he always treated her like a lady, even when Daphne was at her lowest. “I made meatloaf and salad, Daphne,” she said, setting the glass of water down in front of her. “Do you want to try it?”

“You should,” Cade said softly. “Your sister worked hard on it.”

Daphne shrugged her thin shoulders. “I’ll try and eat.” She glanced over at Reese, who sat on the opposite end of the table. “Hey. You’re the guy from the hot tub, right? You’re still here?”

“I am,” Reese said pleasantly, glancing at Audrey. “Your sister offered to give me a ride back to town but I was enjoying her company so much that I thought I’d stick around.”

Audrey snorted. She wished it was that easy to get rid of him. She finished dishing a small serving onto Daphne’s plate and then took Reese’s plate and began to slop a large amount on there. The meatloaf seemed a bit . . . pink in the middle, but she figured if you could have a steak rare, you could have meatloaf rare, too.

When he raised an eyebrow at the amount she piled on his plate, she gave him a saccharine smile and thumped it down in front of him. “I figured you probably have a caveman-like appetite to go with that caveman personality of yours.”

“Is that a hint for me to drag you off into my cave?” He waggled his eyebrows at her.

She shot him a withering look. “Not in the slightest—”

“Well,” Cade said, interrupting. “I’m starved and it smells great, Audrey. Thank you so much for fixing dinner.”

“She’ll make someone a terrific wife someday, won’t she?” Reese said casually.

Audrey froze, then turned to glare at him.

He gave her a wicked smile, unfurling his napkin and placing it on his lap.

“That she will,” Cade said, missing the tension between the two of them. He glanced at Daphne fondly, then smiled at Audrey when she set a plate of food down in front of him.

“Eat, everyone,” Audrey told them, serving up her own plate and then sitting down. “You don’t want it to get cold.” Her gaze slid over to Daphne. Her twin had a fork in hand but she had yet to take a bite. Instead, she was poking at the food with the fork tines, dismantling it and shoving it around her plate. Wasn’t she hungry? She hadn’t eaten earlier, either. She cast a concerned look at Cade, who shook his head, indicating that she should leave Daphne alone.

A choked sound came from Reese, and Audrey looked over just in time to see him spit a mouthful into his napkin. His eyes began to stream as he coughed.

Her eyes widened. “Did you swallow wrong?”

“Yeah. I tried to swallow. That was the problem.”

“Spitters are quitters,” Daphne said from the far end of the table, her voice low and tired.

Audrey looked over at Cade, who had a pained expression on his face. As she watched, he reached for his water glass and politely coughed into his hand.

A hint of a smile touched Daphne’s mouth. “You guys shouldn’t have let Audrey cook. She kind of sucks at it.” She pushed the meatloaf around on her plate a bit longer. “Glad I’m not hungry.”

It couldn’t be that bad. Casting another angry look at Reese for joking around when her twin clearly needed to eat, Audrey took a tiny bite of the meatloaf. Wet, half-raw hamburger meat and onion touched her tongue. The salty, greasy taste was overwhelming. With a gagging noise of her own, Audrey quietly followed Reese’s lead and spit into her napkin. “I must have missed something on the recipe.”

“Like the instructions?” Reese told her.

She tossed her napkin down on her plate. “I didn’t see you volunteering to do anything in the kitchen, did I?”

“Is that a challenge?” he told her. “Because I’m up for it. You want to make a bet on who can make a better dinner?”

“I’m not betting anything with you, idiot,” she bit off, and then glanced over at Cade and Daphne, mortified at her outburst. “Sorry,” she said, bringing her voice back down to a modulated, calm tone. “I’m just a bit frustrated.”

“So you don’t think I’m an idiot?” Reese teased at her side.

“I didn’t say that,” she said tightly.

Daphne sighed heavily and drank her water.

Cade pushed his plate aside and focused on his salad. “Well, the effort was appreciated nevertheless, Audrey. I appreciate you. Maybe it’ll taste better as leftovers.”

She beamed at him, feeling warm at his praise.

“Fuck leftovers,” Reese said. “Mine’s going in the garbage. The maggots can have it.”

Immediately, Daphne plunked her water glass down. Her face turned green and she bolted from the table.

Audrey cast a withering look at Reese as she got to her feet. “Can’t you watch your mouth for five minutes? Look what you’ve done.”

“I don’t know,” Reese said blandly. “I kind of think she did it to herself.”

Tamping down her outrage, Audrey followed Daphne through the lodge. She found Daphne huddled on the floor in the bathroom, her face in the toilet as she vomited. Audrey sat down next to her and pulled her twin’s stringy, dyed hair out of the way, rubbing her back as she threw up.

When nothing else seemed to be coming up, Daphne rested her cheek on the side of the toilet and gave a weak sigh. “I hate this.”

“I’m sorry,” Audrey said. “I wish I could help.”

“You can. Go to town and score me something. Just a little something to keep me going.”

“No, Daph—”

“Not much,” Daphne said, her voice desperate. “Just enough to take the worst of the edge off. It’ll help me cut free if I don’t feel quite so shitty.”

“I can’t. Even if I knew where to get drugs, I wouldn’t get it for you.” She shook her head. “I won’t do that to you.”

Daphne turned and gave her a vicious shove, knocking Audrey into the tub. “It’s your fucking fault,” she snarled. “I had enough drugs for this month and you fucking flushed them. You trying to kill me? I can’t go cold turkey.” She began to sob, laying her cheek back down on the side of the toilet as dry heaves began to take over her again. “I need my pills. I can’t do this.”

“It hasn’t even been a day yet, Daphne.” Audrey struggled upright and sat on the edge of the tub, then began to stroke Daphne’s back again. “Be strong.”

“If I was strong I wouldn’t be here,” Daphne sobbed. “Take me back to the city. Please. I’ve changed my mind.”

Hurt and despair welled up inside of Audrey. Daphne was giving up already? It hadn’t even been a full twenty-four hours and Daphne was determined to give up. This was just like every other time Daphne had tried to get clean. She’d talk a good game and then when things got difficult, she’d cave in. “If I take you back to the city, you’ll end up just like you were before,” Audrey whispered, her heart aching as she continued to stroke her twin’s back. Daphne was so thin she could feel every bump of her spine, and it made her want to weep with frustration.

If this didn’t work, her twin would die. It was only a matter of time before Daphne showed up on the cover of a tabloid with the headline “OVERDOSED.”

“I hate you,” Daphne cried. “I can’t do this.”

A shadow fell on the doorway, and Audrey looked up to see Cade standing there, a stricken look on his face. “Is she all right?”

“She’s fine,” Audrey began, only to be interrupted by Daphne’s retching cough, and then more dry heaves.

Cade knelt beside Daphne and brushed his fingers over her sunken cheek. “You okay, Daph? What do you need?”

“Need my pills,” she sobbed, making small whimpering noises in her throat. “Something. Anything. I hurt so bad.”

“What were you taking before you came here?” Cade asked her.

“Everything,” she wept.

Audrey felt sick to her stomach. What kind of trouble was her twin in?

“What did you need to have, though? Which ones could you not live without?”

“Coke,” Daphne sobbed, and wiped her running nose with the back of one hand. “And my pills.”

“What were your pills?”

“Xanax. I need them,” she said in a trembling voice. “They keep me calm.”

***

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