So instead of screaming and crying and kneeing Shawn where it counts, I twirl my fingers around and around in his hair, flashing him a wicked smile that’s full of bad intentions. And when the green flames in his eyes ignite, I can tell he’s misinterpreting every single one.
My fingers are still twirling when his lips drop to mine. He kisses me just like he had last night, and the sting of it makes me pull away, but slowly.
“Can you imagine how many times we would have hooked up by now if you had known about the crush I had on you in high school?” I whisper, watching his reaction closely and trying not to get my hopes up.
I’m giving him an opportunity to come clean. All these months, all he would’ve needed to do is tell me the truth and say two words. “I’m sorry” would’ve been all I needed to hear to forgive him, and I’m giving him one last chance to say it.
His smoldering gaze meets mine from centimeters away, and I watch the way it dims and sobers. Now that I know what to look for, I spot it—the recognition.
He kisses me again, and I spot that for what it is too—a distraction. The hope in my chest dims, and I pull away again. “I thought about it, you know.” He watches me, and I watch him right back, trying to see him for the guy he was with me last night, and not the one who has lied to my face for four and a half straight months. “About what it would be like to be with you . . . I bet we would have been amazing.”
I’m desperate for him to just admit it—to tell me I’m not forgettable, to tell me I was worth remembering, to make me believe I still am.
“We’re amazing now,” Shawn says, and this time, when his fingers tangle in my hair, there’s no pulling away. The way he kisses me makes me want to pretend. I feel myself start to fall—start to forget, to forgive—and the only way I can save myself is to bite down. Hard.
“Fuck!” He jumps away from me, his hand flying to his mouth. He stares at me like I’ve been possessed, and maybe I have been, because all I can do is stare blankly back at him. It’s like I’m seeing him for the first time, through someone else’s eyes.
“What the hell was that for?” He wipes his thumb across his bottom lip and glances at the streak of red blood that clings to the lines of his thumbprint.
“I guess I got carried away.”
His dark eyebrows are pinched tightly in my direction when the nearest curtain swings open and Joel saves me from having to explain myself any further. “What the hell are you yelling about?”
Shawn’s torn jeans get stained red when his thumb wipes across them. “Nothing. I bit my lip.”
Another lie. And it rolls off his tongue so easily, my blood boils.
“Oookay . . . ” Joel stares back and forth between us—at Shawn, glaring at the apparition I’ve become, and at me, with the taste of his blood still on my tongue. “What are you guys doing up here?”
“Obviously having another secret rendezvous,” I answer flippantly, and Joel has no idea how honest I’m being when he brushes me off.
“Ha, ha. Seriously though, what are you doing?”
“Wondering where Driver is,” Shawn answers for me, but I’m already walking away from his forked tongue, back through the bus. In the bathroom, my back slides down the closed door until my ass hits the floor and the world stops falling out from under me.
Shawn threw me away after having me six years ago, and now? Our last show is tomorrow night. Just one more day on tour . . . and then what? Were we ever going to tell everyone? He said that we would, but he never said when, and even if he had, it wouldn’t have mattered.
Because Shawn said a lot of things. And all of the things he didn’t say mattered just as much.
I used to have a crush on you in high school, you know.
Did you? he asked.
It was one of a thousand lies left unspoken. One of a thousand, and I fell for every single one.
WAKING UP THE morning after the veil is yanked from my eyes is déjà vu, but not the kind of déjà vu that reminds me of waking up in a new city yesterday, or the day before that, or the day before that. It’s a déjà vu that carries me back to the summer after my freshman year of high school, to another morning-after. Then, I cried into a pillow. Now, I’d sooner gouge my eyes out.
I roll away from the metal wall of the bus and stare through the pale rays of sunlight separating me from Shawn. He’s facing me, like he’d been watching me sleep, and his face looks peaceful. Beautiful. Deceiving. His black hair is a tangled mess against his pillow, his jaw dusted with shadow and his dark lashes fanned against his cheeks. It was almost impossible to sleep last night, with him right across the aisle as the bus ferried us to a new city. Part of me wanted to crawl across the impossible space separating us and kiss him until I forgot about all the things he said and all the things he didn’t.
But an even bigger part of me wanted to punch him in the face and then smother him with his pillow.
I fell asleep angry, I woke up angry, and after tugging on a fresh pair of clothes, I leave the bus angry. Driver parked us in a new lot hours ago, and with the sun peeking through the windows, I know Shawn will be awake soon. He’ll expect me to meet him in the kitchen before everyone else is awake, just like I have every other morning for far too long, and maybe he’ll want to finish what we started on the roof of Van’s hotel, or maybe he’ll want to ask me why I went all zombie on his face last night, but either way, I hope he feels as lost as I do when he realizes I’m long gone.