Page 42 of Burned (Ignite #1)

D.J. finally looks at me in horror. “Bite your tongue! There will be no settling down. Why would I settle down with one woman when I could have a multitude of women servicing my every need? The same goes for you. One pu**y, forever and ever. I mean, who does that?”

Sitting down on the bench right in front of the lockers, I start untying my Nikes that I chucked on the ground in my haste to change into my gear before we went out on the call a few hours ago.

“I do that. I still haven’t properly kicked your ass for convincing me to break up her with back in high school. I think it’s way past time for me to punch you in the face for that shitty idea,” I remind him.

“I believe the torture I endured the rest of our senior year every damn time you saw Finnley and Jordan holding hands was punishment enough. I had to deal with your Emo, depressed ass all through finals, graduation and at every party thereafter,” D.J. reminds me, holding his hand over his heart. “I have done my penance and it was harsh.”

I laugh at his serious tone before continuing. “You made me think it was the best idea in the history of the world to break up with her. I had a great girl by my side and, I f**ked it all up. You still deserve an ass kicking.”

D.J. tosses his boots in the locker and they clang against the metal. “Exactly. You had a great girl. You guys were just kids. Now, you have a great woman. Aren’t you glad that the first time you slipped her the D you knew what you were doing? Imagine her horror if you would have tried that shit when you were seventeen? There would have been crying and screaming and it would have been all over school that you didn’t know how to lay pipe. I did you a favor.”

I raise my eyebrow at him in annoyance, even though he does have a point. The sex with Finnley now that we’re both adults is so hot I almost want to check my skin when we’re done to look for burns. My first time having sex was a complete disaster fueled by too many shots of Goldschlager at a college party and a sorority girl who took a bet to relieve me of my virginity in the bathroom of the frat house. It was over before it even started and there were definitely tears, mostly from me since I started throwing up all the cinnamon schnapps and beer I’d consumed through the night ten seconds after I came.

Which, coincidentally, is also the length of time I lasted once I got my dick in her.

It still pains me to think that my first time wasn’t with Finnley. Knowing that she ran right into Castillo’s arms and slept with him after I tossed her to the side still fills me with so much jealousy and rage even after all this time. I’m not angry with her, I could never be angry with her for something like that. I broke her heart and she found comfort with someone else. My anger lies solely with Jordan Castillo. That f**ker knew what he was doing even back then. Just because he was new to the school doesn’t mean he hadn’t heard about the two of us and how long we’d been together. Every time I had the unfortunate experience of walking past the two of them in the halls or seeing them together at a party, he would catch my eye and smirk, making sure my eyes were on the two of them as he grabbed her ass or kissed her right in front of me.

“Fine, I will concede to your point that having sex with her now when we both have experience is much better. Just don’t try to get me drunk again and tell me to write her a letter. That shit isn’t going to fly now,” I tell him with a chuckle.

“Come on, that letter was genius. ‘Dear Finnley: I’m sorry, but things just aren’t working out anymore. Please don’t hate me. Love, Collin’. I’m pretty sure I’m the one who deserves to do a little ass kicking for the fact that I had to give her that note and deal with her crying for a half hour afterwards. Chicks, tears and me just don’t mix. I was late to English because of you and I got detention.”

I can’t help but laugh when he recites the contents of that stupid f**king note. For the first time in years, thinking about it doesn’t make me want to kill someone. Finnley and I found each other again and all the bullshit from the past can finally be erased. For years, I tried to lose myself in other women, but none of them compared to the memory of Finnely. I tried to find girls who made me feel even an inkling of what I felt for her, but it never worked. She made me feel ten feet tall and like I could do anything when she was by my side. Other relationships, a marriage and years apart didn’t change that part of her. Even though my career consists of running into burning buildings and saving people, I’ve never thought of myself as a hero. After just a few days of being with her again, I feel like I can conquer anything.

“How are you guys going to handle that one little problem of her still having a husband?” D.J. asks as we finish stowing our gear and head inside.

“I’m trying not to pressure her about that. They’re legally separated and by state law she has to wait ninety-days until she can file for divorce. She’s already got the paperwork filled out, so now she’s just waiting for the date when it can finally be over. She’s been through a lot with that ass**le and I will be more than happy when he’s finally out of her life for good.”

D.J. is unusually quiet as we head inside the house and he busies himself in the fridge without saying a word or looking at me when we get to the kitchen.

“What’s with the silence? I don’t like it when you’re quiet. It usually means you’re plotting something,” I tell him with a smile.

He finally turns around and lets out a deep sigh. “I don’t want to freak you out or anything, but I heard something about Castillo yesterday.”