Taking a deep breath, I back away. “I didn’t mean to do that. Just don’t… Don’t talk about her that way. She’s not a bitch.”


“I cannot believe this.” Gray looks me over as if I’m a stranger. “Are you kidding me?”

I grab my bag and sling it over my shoulder. “You want someone to blame? Then blame me. I’m the one who lost the game, not…” I can’t say her name.

“She dumped all over you!” His face is red.

I run a hand over my head where it aches so bad that my vision blurs. “She never lied. I did that to myself.”

His eyes narrow as he stares at me, and then his brows lift high. “You’re in love with her.”

Fucking headache. My eyes are filling now. I blink once, hard and desperate. Gray looks away, as if he’s embarrassed for me. Heat prickles over my skin. “I’m sorry I let you down.” I head for the door. “It won’t happen again.”

IRIS HAS DISAPPEARED. She didn’t come home on Friday night. Or on Saturday. Since she’s currently without boyfriend, I worry. Iris doesn’t do hook ups. It took her six months just to have sex with Henry for the first time. So the fact that she isn’t here bothers me. As does the fact that she isn’t answering her phone or the ten texts I’ve sent her.

My worry grows, and I call George to ask if he knows where she is, which is the wrong thing to do because George goes deadly quiet on the other side of the line.

“You mean to tell me Friday is the last time you’ve seen her, and you’re just calling me now?” George replies in a voice I’ve never heard before.

I cringe, my grip on the phone tightening. “I’m sorry. I wasn’t thinking.”

“Shit.” George lets out a heavy breath.

Cold sweat breaks out along my back. “I thought she was with you. She said she was with you.”

George explodes. “Puta mierda! Pendejo, maricon...”

That he’s cussing in Spanish makes me more afraid. Like Iris, George never does that unless he’s beside himself.

He takes another audible breath before speaking again. “She f**king said she was going out with you!”

“You don’t think she’s with—”

“Yeah, I f**king do,” George snaps. “I swear to God, I want to kick that little pendejo bitch’s ass for touching my sister again.”

Because if she’s put both of us off with lies, we know she’s with Henry. And I want to kill her. Death by pillow bludgeoning. Maybe if I beat her on the head enough with one, I’ll knock some sense into her.

“I’m going over there,” George says.

“If you kill him,” I say, “make it look like an accident.” I’m only half-kidding.

George snorts before hanging up.

I’m making myself a frozen waffle and coffee when she finally answers my text-a-thon.

Iris: Chill. I’m fine. And did you have to go and freak out George?

Though relief swamps me, I want to hit her in the head. My thumbnail taps hard against the screen.

Me: Damn right I did. You scared the hell out of us, 'Ris!

Iris: Okay, okay, I’m sorry. It was shitty of me to not call.

Scowling down at the phone, I tap out another message.

Me: Where are you, anyway?

Though I know, I need written confirmation before I kill her.

Iris: With Henry.

Me: WTF, Iris? He CHEATED ON U!

I can practically feel her fuming. The silent phone is a testament to it.

The ding sounds overloud in the kitchen.

Iris: Yeah, Anna, I know. I was there.

I roll my eyes and take a bite of my waffle, which has gone cold and hard. Another ding.

Iris: He had his reasons.

I toss the waffle aside and respond.

Me: Was it the falling into an unsuspecting vagina thing?

Yeah, I’m being a shithead, but I can’t help it. How could she have gone back to him? Has she a freaking clue? He’ll do it again. They always do it again. We’ve discussed this.

Iris: Funny. He was scared, ok?

I snort. But the sound is lost on her. Or maybe not.

Iris: Things were just getting too intense for him.

Me: So he thought he’d simplify it by f**king some girl?

Or girls? Who knows with that assmunch.

Iris: Look, people do stupid things when they’re scared. And you should talk. You totally pushed Drew away because you’re scared.

My face heats and my fingers fly.

Me: I didn’t cheat on Drew! We weren’t even an official couple!!

Iris: Yeah & why is that, A? Because you were ashamed to be seen with him? You treated him like your personal boy toy. How is that better?

Heat swamps my entire body now. It prickles behind my lids, and I want to chuck the phone across the room, see it shatter into a thousand pieces.

Iris: Admit it, we always treat the ones we love the shittiest.

There’s a rushing sound in my head. Bitch. That total bitch.

Me: I don’t love Drew.

Iris: Right. Whatever you say.

I’m punching out letters so hard now that my nail hurts.

Me: We’re not talking about me right now. We’re talking about you.

Iris: And why can’t we talk about you? Why can’t we ever talk about you? Because you have it all figured out? That shit don’t fly, A.

I slam the phone down on the counter. She doesn’t want my help. Fine. Let her screw up her life. I’m done. Except I pick up the phone and tell her exactly that.

Iris: That’s right. It’s my life. My mistakes to make. And at least I’m trying. What R U doing about your mistake?

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