Page 11 of Don't Look Back

“Mad at Cassie?”

He shook his head. “I don’t know. You and Cassie had this—”

“Rivalry? That’s what my brother said.”

“He’s not lying. Cassie…wow, how do I say this without sounding like a dick?” He exhaled slowly. “Cassie wanted to be like you. She always has. In her eyes, you had it all. She copied everything you did. If you didn’t like someone, she didn’t like them. If you wanted someone, she wanted them. Everyone knew it.”

I arched a brow. “Okay…”

“I’m not trying to talk bad about her—especially under the circumstances. God, she could be dead.” He saw me wince and immediately apologized. “Sorry, but you know what I mean. Cassie caused problems. Even with us.”

“I thought we didn’t fight.” Unease started to form hard little balls in my stomach.

He looked away. “We didn’t fight fight. Like I said, I have your back. But sometimes Cassie could be…inappropriate when you weren’t around.”

“What do you mean?”

His gaze flicked to mine, then focused on the massive deer head on the wall. “She’d come on to me, even though we were together and Trey’s my bud.”

I expected to feel a rush of jealousy, but I felt nothing. “Did you like Cassie?”

Surprise shone on his face. “Yeah, I mean, she could be cool.” And then his eyes narrowed and lips thinned. “Why are you asking?”

My mouth opened, but nothing came out. I had this impression of having asked the same question before, only with a lot more emotion behind it. Anger was there. Disappointment, too. But there was nothing else attached to those emotions. It was as if my feelings were balloons floating away with nothing to tether them down.

I shrugged. “You just sound like you didn’t like her. I don’t think Scott liked her, either.”

“Cassie could be hard to get along with.” He shifted closer, placing a hand on my bent knee. Instantly, my muscles locked up. “I don’t know what happened the night you two disappeared. I don’t even know if you guys were really even together. And I don’t want to talk about her. I want to talk about us.”

“Us?” I squeaked.

He held his free hand out to me. “Come here.”

My pulse shot way up, and I didn’t want to come here. But he was waiting with this patient smile on his handsome face, and I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. This had to be hard for him. I was his girlfriend, and I couldn’t recall a single detail about him or our relationship. I scooted over until my legs were pressed against his.

His hand found the back of my neck, guiding my head to his chest. He let out a ragged sigh, brushing his lips over my forehead. “I really didn’t think I was going to be able to do this again. It’s like getting a second chance.”

“It is?” I whispered, confused.

“Yeah.” He pressed a kiss on my temple.

We spent the entire afternoon talking, which helped me get to know him again. Evidently, we had started dating at the beginning of freshman year and, according to Del, all my friends were jealous. Our fathers were in business together, working in Philadelphia while our mothers stayed at home. Supposedly, there was this huge deal between our fathers’ businesses. Something to do with stock trade and company transfer—nothing I knew anything about.

We spent the holidays each year in the Catskills with our families and summers on various vacations. Last year, we were prom king and queen, and the two of us were expected to win again this year—something Del was proud of. At school, we left when we wanted to, ate lunch off campus, and skipped classes together, and no one apparently stopped us. Yale was in our future, and I got this feeling that people expected us to stay together. As in forever. Second- or third-generation rich kids, like royalty. That was what it seemed like to me.

There was this whole life with him that I was completely detached from. Even though I tried as hard as I could, I couldn’t see or feel any of it. So I let him talk about himself, which he excelled at. He played shortstop on the high school baseball team and was on his second BMW, and his favorite team was the Yankees. At home, he had an entire floor to himself. No brothers or sisters. There were a couple of cousins and a grandfather who had run one of the largest stock-trading firms in New York.

“Our dads could buy and sell this town,” he said, twirling a strand of my hair around his finger. “Well, your mom could, actually.”

“Why?” I said, probably for the hundredth time.

“Money is on my dad’s side of the family,” he explained proudly. “And it’s on your mom’s side. Her family invested in the railroad before it took off or something. She’s not a billionaire, nowhere close to the kind of capital my father brings in, but she’s old money.”

I struggled to not roll my eyes. “Do you know what my dad did before he met my mom?”

He shrugged. “He went to Yale, obviously, on a scholarship. I think his mom was a schoolteacher and his dad a construction worker. Both of them passed away a few years back. Sorry.”

I took a moment to mull over the dead grandparents I had no recollection of. That sucked. “Well, I guess he got lucky when he met Mom.”

“Hells yeah, he was.” Del laughed. “He didn’t have anything before he met her. Her father got him in the business. If it wasn’t for your mom, I’m not sure how far your dad would’ve gotten. But my dad was groomed to run the firm—just like I am.” He kissed my cheek again. “And my son will be.”

My eyes widened. His son? Blech. I felt nauseated, allergic to the very idea.

There was a lull in the conversation, and my arm was tingling from being squeezed between our bodies. I briefly considered telling him about the note I’d found but decided against it. “What did I like?”

Del pulled his head back, searching my eyes. “Besides me?”

Okay, not funny. With narrowed eyes, I nodded.

“You like to shop.” Del laughed, running his fingers over my cheek. “Your favorite drink is anything fruity mixed with vodka. You’re a hell of a girl to party with. You’re wild.” This time, when he leaned in, his lips met mine. The kiss was brief. “Okay, usually a lot wilder than that.”

“Sorry.” I flushed. “What I meant was, did I have any hobbies?”

Confusion flickered in his eyes. “Does shopping count as a hobby?”