How could I have let that happen?
We kissed, and now, we’re mad at each other, and it’s just stupid.
I’m sitting on my bed in my room—like I have been doing for the past two hours since I left Carrick—going through the emotions of anger and sadness and anger again. I’m at resignation now. And regret.
Big time regret.
I hate how we left things. I don’t want to fight with Carrick.
He’s the best thing in my life.
My mum always says you should never go to sleep on a fight. Honestly, I’m not looking at much sleep tonight if I don’t sort this out with Carrick.
I don’t want this to spoil what we’ve become.
A kiss really shouldn’t spoil things.
And yes, kissing him has sparked that crush of mine to intense life, but I can control myself around him. Because I’d rather have some Carrick than no Carrick.
Decision made, I put my flip-flops back on, grab my phone and room key, and head for the elevator.
My stomach is a riot of nerves the whole ride up to his floor.
When the door pings open, I fill my gut with determination, and I march my way to his door.
Hand raised, I knock on his door and wait.
Is he not here?
I knock again, a little louder this time.
I stand here for a moment, feeling deflated. I was all ready to talk this out with him, and he’s not even bloody here.
I wonder, Where is he?
Maybe he went out and met up with Ben and the rest of them.
I’ll just text him, ask him if we can talk. If I have to go out and meet him, that’s fine. I just really need to talk to him.
I haul my deflated self back to the elevator and press the call button. Then, I quickly type out a text to Carrick, asking if I can see him, saying that we need to talk. I’ve just pressed Send on the text when the elevator pings its arrival.
As the door slides open, I lift my eyes from my phone to the sound of female giggling.
My heart stops dead.
Carrick. And he’s not alone.
He has a very attractive, petite local girl pressed up against the wall of the elevator.
His mouth is on hers. His hand is up her dress.
The mouth and hands that were touching me only hours before.
Tears instantly burn my eyes, pain lodging itself firmly in my throat.
I stumble back a step, and my movement catches the girl’s eye.
“Oops.” She giggles, her voice heavily accented. “We have company.” She taps his shoulder with her fingers.
Lifting his head from her, he turns to me. Glazed drunk eyes meet with mine.
For a split second, as his blues burn into mine, he looks shocked that quickly transforming to guilt, and then his eyes harden to black.
And I suddenly feel very cold.
“What the fuck are you doing here?”
I’m taken aback by his acidic response.
“I…” I blink, faltering.
He’s never spoken to me this way before.
Then, I force spine into my back. “I came to see if we were okay. Clearly, you are.” My tone is hard and brittle as I gesture a hand to him…them.
As if realizing it’s still there, he removes his hand from under her dress, reminding me where it was.
I’m going to be sick. Actually sick.
I’m wondering if I can make it to a bin or anything that will hold vomit before I do it right here in front of him.
Stop, Andi. Deep breaths.
He’s free to do this. And this is who Carrick is. What he does.
But he was with me…
And I pushed him away.
Well, he certainly had no problem with finding a replacement.
“Carr, who is this?” Her voice sounds uneasy. She’s probably worried I’m his girlfriend or something.
I part my dry lips to speak.
But Carrick beats me to it. “She’s nobody.”
If he had hit me, it would have hurt less. I jerk back from the shock, pressing the heel of my hand to the blade of pain he just stuck in my chest.
Unaffected by the hurt he just inflicted on me, he steps out of the elevator, leading the girl out by the hand.
He gestures. “Elevator’s all yours.” His voice is monotone, almost like he’s bored of having to actually talk to me.
I glance in the elevator, but all I can see is him in it with her. Him pressed up against her. Kissing her. His hand—
“I’ll take the stairs.”
“Whatever.” He walks past me, leading her toward his suite.
Taking a lungful of air, I hold it in and force my feet to walk in the direction of the stairwell while I hear the disappearing sounds of her giggling as they go inside his suite.
I tightly wrap my arms over my chest, holding myself together, while my inside quietly cracks open.
I reach the door to the stairwell. Shoving it open with my shoulder, I fall through, and the breath I was holding in painfully whooshes out of me.
A sob hitches in my throat. I catch it, covering my mouth with my hand, and hold it in as I run down the stairs.
Shoving my key in my door, I fall into my room. Letting the door close behind me, I crumple up against it.
Removing my hand from my mouth, I press it to the pain in my stomach as the sob breaks free. Tears spilling from my eyes, I move my fingers to curl around the little car pendant hanging around my neck.
THE NEXT DAY, I left China without having to see Carrick.
Now, I’ve arrived in Bahrain with the guys and turned my phone on. I’m sitting on the bus to take us to the hotel, and I’m staring down at a text message from him.