Frayed Page 104

’’Sure. We can go together.’’

’’I\ll meet you there. I want to stop by my mother\s first.’’

’’I\ll go with you,’’ he says, and I know he\s trying really hard to help me bridge the distance between my family and him, but I\m not ready for that. I mean he flinched today when Kale called me his girlfriend.

’’I have a bunch of other stops to make. Can you just meet me there?’’

’’Sure thing, but anything I should know about ahead of time?’’ he asks, sounding a little annoyed at me.

’’No. I\ll see you then.’’ I hang up as more tears prick my eyes.

Six hours later I\m sitting in the dimly lit restaurant that seems extremely crowded for a weeknight and I can\ help wondering if I\ve turned into a se* addict. All I can think about is him having him, wanting him, touching him. I even send him erotic messages. A few days ago I sent one that read:

Went to spin class at lunch and got wet thinking of you.

And another one that said:

Have you ever done it in an elevator?

With just one look from him as he joins me at the restaurant, it\s stronger than ever. Now as I stare at him across the table, I can\ help wondering how he feels about me. Does he feel the same?

He clears his throat. ’’So, are you going to tell me what this is about or make me suffer through dinner trying to figure it out?’’

There is an incredibly long silence before I push my plate aside. I take a deep breath and exhale, deciding I can\ do it. I can\ tell him how I feel. I\m too afraid he\ll leave me sitting here again. So instead I tell him the other thing I needed to let him know. ’’My whole family is flying to New York City to be with Jagger for Christmas and they want me to come with them.’’

He looks at me a little blankly.

’’Did you hear me?’’ I snap, wanting to see that he at least cares he won\ see me for Christmas.

He waits another moment before answering, ’’Are you going?’’

I can\ tell how he feels about it. ’’Yes.’’

He reaches across the table and grabs my hand. ’’Stay here with me.’’

’’I can\ ,’’ I say, lowering my voice so I don\ cry. I knew he felt more for me. But why won\ he tell me that?

My phone rings and at first I\m grateful for the distraction. But then our eyes dart to the name Romeo Fairchild on the screen. I ignore it and all is silent until Ben says, ’’Why is he calling you?’’ His voice is edged with anger.

’’I don\ know,’’ I answer truthfully.

A text message scrolls across the screen.

I\d really like to talk to you and explain things. I\m not sure I\ve made the best impression. Things at the release party weren\ what they looked like.

’’He was at the party?’’ he hisses.

I bite the inside of my cheek, feeling nervous. ’’Yes.’’

His eyes narrow on me. ’’Why didn\ you tell me?’’

’’I\m not sure. I guess I never thought of it.’’

’’What\s his message mean?’’

I look at him.

He has daggers in his eyes.

’’I\m not sure.’’

His brow furrows. ’’S\elle, I have a hard time believing you have no idea what he means.’’

My eyes meet his before dropping. ’’Well, maybe he wants to clear something up.’’

He doesn\ say anything. His stare does all the talking. He waits for me to explain.

’’I thought he and Tate were having a threesome with some girl that night.’’

His hands grip the table. ’’And how would he know what you thought?’’

My voice grows small. ’’I told him when he called me and asked me to meet him and Tate.’’

Fury blazes in his eyes now. ’’F*ker,’’ he says a little too loudly.

’’Why don\ you two like each other? There has to be more to it.’’

His jaw is stiff, his body rigid. ’’Because he wanted Dahlia in high school and he didn\ care that she was mine. And now he obviously wants you and once again doesn\ care.’’ His words come out laced with resentment.

’’Am I yours?’’ I ask him.

His eyes dart to the table and something shifts in his gaze. ’’What\s going on with you? Are you playing some kind of game with me? You\ve been so hot and cold.’’

’’No!’’ I sound offended because I am. But the disappointment I feel that he won\ answer the question rises again. ’’When Kale called me your girlfriend today, you flinched like you didn\ like him using that word.’’

’’No, I didn\ .’’

’’Yes, you did.’’

’’It wasn\ why you think.’’

’’Then why was it?’’

He seems at a loss to come up with an answer.

’’Do you consider me your girlfriend?’’

’’Yeah, I do. You know I do.’’

’’No, I don\ .’’

’’What\s all this about?’’

’’Never mind, forget it.’’ I\m afraid I\m losing him.

Shifting in his chair, he asks, ’’When do you leave?’’

I swallow. ’’Tomorrow. I already planned to take the time off work anyway until the wedding.’’

’’You leave tomorrow?’’ His voice rises.

’’Christmas is in two days,’’ I say incredulously.

’’I know when Christmas is,’’ he blasts.

’’Oh, I wasn\ sure. You hadn\ mentioned it.’’


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