Page 24 of Chaos (Mayhem 3)

“Of course not.”

It’s a lie, and because he’s Kale, he knows it, and because I’m me, I know he knows it.

When he elbows me, I elbow him back, and we keep going like that until I’m sure I have a bruise on my arm and he’s rubbing his and telling me he gives up. “Mean,” he scolds.

I move to sit on the edge of my bed, resisting the urge to rub my tingling bicep. “You started it.”

“It’s not my fault you’re annoying.”

“It’s not my fault I met the guy of your dreams.”

Kale shushes me and shifts away from the door to peek out of it. He closes it softly and scoots across the hardwood floor toward my bed. “Just because you met one gay guy, one, does not make him perfect for me. Being gay does not make him my soul mate or something.”

“He’s also funny and sweet and smart.” Kale rolls his eyes, and I grin like a Cheshire cat. “And ridiculously hot. He’s tall, with a great body and this sexy golden-bronze hair. He can rock a pair of sunglasses like nobody’s business.”

“Then maybe you should date him. God knows you’re boyish enough.”

“You’re going to regret saying that when you’re begging me to set you up.”

“In your dreams.”

When I smirk at Kale, he scoffs at me. “If you want to talk about boys so much, why don’t we talk about Shawn? Are you back in love with him yet?”

When I lose my smile, his falls away too.

“Oh God . . . you’re in love with him again.”

I groan, collapse sideways onto my bed, and bury my face under a pillow—coming face-to-face with my phone and desperately wanting to check to see if I have any more texts from Shawn. I’m not in love with him again, am I? Even when all I want to do is rush Kale out of my room right now so I can stare at his face on my screen some more? So I can giggle in my Jeep, break traffic laws all the way home, and—ugh, God.

“Seriously, Kit?”

“He’s stupid,” I whine into my pillowcase.

“Why is he stupid?” Kale asks, and I inhale a slow breath through the cotton.

“Because he makes me stupid,” my muffled voice complains. He makes my heart do cartwheels. He makes me giggle at my freaking phone.

Another pillow smacks me hard over the pillow covering the back of my head. “Stop being annoying and tell me what the hell you’re saying.”

I pull the pillows away and glare at Kale through the thick web of hair falling over my eyes. “Why do you want to know anyway? You hate Shawn.”

“Which you should too.”

“That was six years ago, Kale.”

“Has he said he’s sorry?”

“How can he be sorry for something he doesn’t remember?” While Kale grimaces at me, I struggle to sit up and brush the hair out of my face.

“He should say sorry for not remembering.”

“Now who’s stupid?” I whack him with a pillow, catching only the forearm he lifts to block me.

“Still you. Why not meet some of the other hot guys in town?” He snatches the pillow away and continues rubbing Shawn in my face. “You live by a huge college, for God’s sake. You’ve got to be swimming in them.”

“They’re all Polos,” I complain, and it takes Kale a little longer than usual—two seconds, almost three—but eventually the static on our twin frequency clears and he shoots me a flat look.

“Maybe you’re just not looking hard enough.”

Or maybe all I can see is Shawn.

Even in college, no guy ever made me feel like Shawn made me feel, even if it was just for one hour on one night at one party six years ago. No one else can compete with him—I just never fully realized it until I was sitting on that couch with him after band practice, watching him play that vintage Fender and remembering what it felt like to have my heart do that thing in my chest.

That dancing, twirling, fluttering fucking thing. That thing straight out of books and Lifetime movies.

“There’s no one like him, Kale.”

I don’t even know what it is about him. It’s the intense way he stared down at his guitar when he was playing, the soft way he looked at me when I made him smile. It’s like there’s an even more beautiful person beneath his beautiful shell, and all I want to do is be with that person. I want to be the only girl he smiles at like that.

Kale sighs, his chest deflating and the worry lines around his mouth deepening. “You should hate him.”

“Forever?”

“At least until you remind him what he did.”

I never can.

“He needs to know, Kit.”

He never does.

“And you deserve to hear an apology.”

I never will, and that night, when I’m in my own bed under heavy covers, I don’t ask for one. Instead, I text Shawn, tell him I’m home, and answer my phone when it rings two seconds later.

Actually, I answer it when it rings ten seconds later, because it takes me that long to stop smiling around the lip I’m biting and feeling like I’ll start giggling as soon as I hear his voice.

“Hello?”

“You’re home now?”

Three words, and that giggly smile is back on my face. I pull the phone away until I can get a grip on myself, and then I answer, “Yeah, I’m in bed.”

“Oh . . . ”

Shit . . . did that translate to, I don’t want you to come over? Because that is definitely not what I meant. What I meant was, Yes! I’m home! Come over! Stay a while! We can do . . . stuff!

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