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“No?” I crossed my arms. “Have I somehow missed the scandalous tell-all in the press somewhere? I’d love to read it, if so.”

“We’re still your family, Jake.” He changed the subject. “No matter what you think we did, or no matter what we’ve done, we’re still your flesh and blood and we both need to talk to you.”

“Leave me a voicemail.” I opened my car door, but he stepped in my way.

“We’ve left you hundreds of voicemails, Jake. Hundreds. You keep changing your phone number, treating us like we don’t exist.”

“How ironic is that?” I pushed him. “Get the hell out of my way.”

“Today would’ve been mom’s birthday, you know. She would’ve wanted us to—”

“How do you sleep at night?” I felt the veins in my neck swelling. “How the fuck do either of you sleep at night?”

He shoved his hands into his pocket, regret creeping over his face. “We don’t...We honestly don’t.”

“Good.” I clenched my fists. “You don’t deserve to.”

“I know, and I think it’s time for you to listen to us, Jake. If you heard us out, you’d see that it’s time for you to forgive us.”

“The people who inflict pain can’t decide when it’s time for it to go away.” I slid into the driver’s seat, tempted to roll my car in reverse and then run over him. “Now, get the fuck away from me, and stay the fuck away from me. You, Nathaniel—”

“Dad, Jake. His name is Dad to you.”

“Funny.” I shrugged. “That’s not what I’ve read in the papers all these years.”

Looking saddened, he raised his hands in surrender and backed away from the car. I cranked the engine and pulled off, speeding onto the highway. I now knew I wasn’t going to last at Elite for more than a few more months—huge salary or not, and I needed to figure out a way to leave.

Turning on the radio, I searched for a decent station—something that could distract me, but there was nothing. All static or songs I didn’t feel like listening to.

I groaned and pulled over on the side of the road, parking and putting on my hazard lights. The fact that my brother and father could act so fucking normal, or like they’d ever be forgiven, still got under my skin and grated my nerves.

As a light snow began to fall outside my windows, I leaned back in my chair and shut my eyes—trying to calm myself before driving on the road.

By the time I opened my eyes again, an hour had passed and I had two missed calls from Evan, an unknown number, and a handful of emails from Gillian.

Subject: Can’t sleep.

Are you awake?


Subject: Yes, I know this email is not about fucking...

I know you’re awake, Jake...


Subject: My pussy is wet...

So. Soaking. Wet.


I clicked on her name and hit send via FaceTime.

“Seriously?” She answered on the first ring, her pretty face appearing on my screen immediately. “That’s what it takes?”

“That’s always what it takes.” I noticed she was only wearing a tank top, that her hair was wet and dripping onto her bare shoulders.

She narrowed her eyes at me and sucked in a breath, but I spoke before she could batter me with another long rant.

“I just left a simulator session,” I said. “I saw all of your messages at the same time.”

“So, you would’ve responded to the first one if you’d seen it earlier?”

“Probably not.” I smiled. “You’re in Newark right now, correct?”


“Which hotel?”

“The Doubletree.” She squinted at the screen.” Are you in your car?”

“Yes.” I turned on my windshield wipers as the snow fell a little harder. “I needed a minute to think.”

The look on her face said she was waiting for an explanation, but I didn’t give it.

“Why can’t you sleep?” I asked instead. “That’s a pretty relaxing hotel.”

“Because I’m so wet.” She shook her wet hair. “So soaking wet...Oh, god, the ache in my pussy is so unbearable right now.”

I rolled my eyes. “Be serious, Gillian.”

“Well, for one, there’s a couple next door to me having sex.”

“Put on some headphones.”

“Two, my supervisor wrote me up for serving the wine and cheese too slow.” She frowned. “She embarrassed me in front of the entire crew, so I’m still trying to get over that. And three...”


“I wanted to talk to you.”

“I have a feeling you’d talk to anyone right now if they’d let you.” I shook my head, but decided I could use a little conversation right now. “How many boyfriends have you had?”


“How many boyfriends have you had?” I repeated.

“I heard you the first time,” she said. “I’m just shocked you’re asking me something that’s not about sex.”

“This is temporary. I’ll ask you to show me how wet your pussy is later.”

She laughed. “I’ve had one serious boyfriend and three casual ones. Are you going to ask me if I still think about them?”

“You’re fucking me, so you have no reason to. Why did you break up with the serious one?”