Don’t come, I’m fine. I think I needed the time off, I admit to Laura after writing several messages and deleting them all.
If she came over… it would be disastrous.
Life moves too fast. It’s whirling around me, demanding, taking, and I don’t even have time to do an inventory of what’s left of me. I don’t know how to be okay, and I want someone to hurt for what happened to Jenny. I want someone who deserves it to be in this pain.
Someone other than me. It’s so easy to blame myself. I deserve some of it. I can admit it.
I don’t tell Laura any of that though. A small part of me knows she already knows I blame myself. No matter how many times she’s told me you can’t help someone who won’t help themselves. It doesn’t change the fact that Jenny was my sister. It doesn’t change the fact that I keep thinking if only I’d been with her, or if I’d followed her, if I’d pushed her more, maybe she’d still be with me.
I don’t even realize I’m crying until I feel the tears on my cheeks.
Angrily, I wipe them away and toss my phone across the coffee table. It makes the glass clatter against the table as I cover my face with my hand and force myself to calm down.
I just need to know what happened. I need to know.
Jase Cross will get me answers.
The very thought has my eyes opening, and the need to mourn subsiding.
My gaze wanders to the foyer. To the small table that sits right where it should, but was pushed to the side only hours ago. To the wall he pushed me against. The scene plays out in my head, complete with the bang of a gun and his husky voice whispering against the shell of my ear.
As I remember his words, shivers run down my shoulders. I’ll blame some of them on the wine.
He may not have hurt her, but he knows who did, or he knows someone who can find out. He knows something about the side of my sister I never fully knew.
I want it. I need it. I need to know.
As my phone pings with another text, there’s a knock at my door.
Fucking Laura. I love her, but I cannot deal with life right now. I don’t bother picking up the phone to see what she wrote this time.
Instead I’m focused on one glaring thought that won’t leave me alone as I stand up. I know nothing about the world my sister inhabited. I know nothing about the life she led.
All I know is this, my work, my small circle, and the daily patterns that haven’t changed in years.
But Jase Cross knows it all.
Making my way to the door, I come up with every excuse I can to make her go away; looking down past my baggy pajama shirt all the way to the stains on my old sweatpants, my very appearance is excuse enough. I need to pass the hell out and be alone.
I’m already telling her to go home when I open the door, wide and easily, not even considering for a second that it isn’t her.
“You aren’t touching my wine-” I start to joke with her, but then my jaw drops open and my heart stutters. My body heats with both fear and desire, making my grip on the doorknob slip as Jase stares down at me.
He’s taller than I remember; how is that even possible? His shoulders are wide and dominating as he stands in my doorway. A ribbed black Henley under a thick wool coat and dark jeans are all he wears this time. For some reason, comparing the two sides of him, this casual man with an edge of seduction and the buttoned-up powerful man of control… it stirs a heat in my core.
“What do you want?” My words are rushed and I try desperately to hold on to what little sense I have.
“You look surprised.” His voice is smooth like velvet, caressing every one of my senses.
“What are you doing here?” I question him, feeling panic rise inside of me.
With a sexy smirk kicking up his lips, he runs the pad of his thumb down the sharp line of his jaw before telling me, “I’m here with your contract.”
She’s less than sober. The winestained lips tell me that.
She hasn’t slept, judging by her messy hair and the darkness under her eyes.
And I can tell by the response of her body when she looks into my eyes that she needs to be fucked. Hard and ruthlessly. Fucked into her mattress until she can’t do anything but sleep away everything that plagues her.
Good fucking timing for me. I’ve never given in to these desires. It’s only been a fantasy. I know she’s hurting and so am I. There is a certain kind of pleasure that can soothe such a deep pain. I fucking need it. Right now.