Page 44 of Don't Look Back


I laughed. “If we don’t kill each other before then.”

Feeling the blood drain from my face, I was abruptly pulled out of the memory when Del’s hand slipped between my thighs. Sucking in a sharp breath, I grabbed his wrist, stopping him from going any further.

He shot me an innocent grin.

Disgusted, I tossed his hand back into his lap. My hands were shaking as I tucked my hair back, focusing on the pew ahead.

“What’s your deal?” Del asked in a hushed voice.

“Besides you fondling me during a funeral?” I hissed back. “I remembered something.”

He drew back slightly, eyes growing wide. “What?”

Veronica was staring at us, so I lowered my voice even more, but I was sure she overheard me. “I was talking with Cassie in her bedroom.”

Del’s brows rose. “Nothing much, then.”

It wasn’t to him, but it was the first time I’d remember anything normal about Cassie. But what had I been suspicious about, and what did I know about Cassie that explained her behavior? The plot thickens. My lips twisted and then my stomach dipped as I remembered the last thing I had said to her.

If we don’t kill each other before then.

After the service, everyone piled out in the parking lot. The graveside service was family only.

I scanned the crowds, looking for my parents.

Mom stood by the Bentley, lips pursed as she pointedly stared out into the cemetery at my dad. He was talking to Cassie’s grandfather, who looked just as forlorn as he had when Carson and I had visited. Shaking the older man’s hand, Dad then turned to Ms. Winchester. His lips moved into a sad, sympathetic smile, and then Ms. Winchester’s face crumpled, and she burst into tears once more.

I had to look away.

My gaze landed on Mom once again. It struck me as odd—and rude—that Mom hadn’t offered her condolences. Glancing over my shoulder, I thought I saw Carson’s familiar dark head, but he wasn’t in the crowd.

Del dropped his arm over my shoulder. “You ready?”

I watched my brother’s eyes narrow as he studied Del’s arm. Was I really ready? No. But Del and I needed to talk. “Yeah, I’m ready.”

In more ways than one.

Turned out, I didn’t get a lot of one-on-one time with my boyfriend. A huge group of kids had gone back to his parents’ “farm” after the services. The farm was really just this barn that had been decked out into some sort of playboy clubhouse.

The bottom floor was full of overstuffed couches around a TV screen that was the size of a Hummer. There was a bar where I assumed the stables used to be, and it was in full use right now. Upstairs, the loft had been divided into three guest rooms.

They were also in use.

Sex, drinking, and death seemed to go hand in hand. Maybe it was the way people dealt with death. Losing yourself when faced with something so final was appealing.

Except I’d already lost myself.

A kid bumped into me, and I moved farther into the corner. All of this might have been my thing months ago, but now I wanted nothing more than to disappear into the walls. Everything was too loud—the music, the conversation, the laughter.

Scott was nowhere to be found, having disappeared with Julie and Carson.

Carson.

I’d fallen asleep with him beside me on Friday, and when I woke up later, he was gone.

We hadn’t talked since.

Clutching the red plastic cup to my chest, I pressed against the wall, scanning the crowd while trying to get my heart to slow down.

“There you are,” Del called out, shuffling past a couple who seemed to be in a contest to see who could kiss the longest without coming up for air. “I’ve been looking everywhere for you.”

I eyed the bottle of Jack in his hand. The barn wasn’t so big that you could lose someone. “I’ve been here.”

Del leaned in, giving my cheek a sloppy kiss that reeked of alcohol. “Why are you standing in the corner by yourself? Veronica and Candy are right there.”

Veronica and Candy were on one of the couches, surrounded by girls I didn’t recognize. Lauren didn’t come, opting to go home after the funeral. I couldn’t blame her.

“You look so lonely over here,” Del said, dropping an arm over my shoulders as he leaned in. He caught a piece of my hair with his free hand, twirling it around his finger. “Your friends miss you, Sammy.”

I wanted to miss them—really I did—but the only one I could even tolerate now was Lauren, and she wasn’t even here. I looked up at Del, taking in the straight teeth, the square jaw and aristocratic nose. Everything about him was perfect, from the strategically placed highlights in his carefully styled hair to the tips of his shoes. I could see what I’d been attracted to. Who wouldn’t have been? But nothing stirred in my chest.

“Come on,” he said, swaying into me. “Let’s go somewhere private.”

Private? My heart flopped over heavily as my gaze drifted up to the lofts. We needed to talk, but not in one of those rooms and not when he was obviously drunk. “I want to stay down here.”

He took a swig out of the bottle and then frowned. “But…you’re not doing anything down here. You’re just leaning up against a wall like…”

“Like what?” I dipped out from underneath his arm and placed my cup on the table next to us.

Del turned his head to the side, his jaw working. “I don’t know. It’s just not you. I’d usually have to pull you away from everyone for some quality time.”

Irritation built inside me, and my eyes burned. “If you haven’t noticed, I’ve changed.”

He gave a dry laugh and took another drink. “Yeah, I’ve noticed.”

Guilt washed over the annoyance, because I had changed—not Del. Blaming him for it wasn’t right. I shifted my weight. “Del, I’m sorry.”

He finished off the rest of his bottle and then tossed it into an overflowing trash can. “I’m not mad. This is just hard. You’re a totally different person, and no matter how much you try, I know you’re not feeling it.”

My brows inched up. Whoa. Okay, maybe it was time for the conversation. And it might be easier than I’d realized. He already knew things weren’t the same. I stepped forward, stopping when we were inches from touching. “I really am trying hard, but—”

“We just need to try harder. I know.”

Oh. No, not where I was going with that. “Del—”

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