Shawn introduces himself first and holds out his hand, but my mom ignores it and pulls him in for a hug instead. He hugs her back, his gaze locking with mine over her shoulder. I don’t know if he wants to talk to me because of the texts I didn’t send, or because of the text I did send, but either way, I look down at my socks to keep from falling for the spell in his eyes again.
“And you must be Adam,” my mom says as she begins moving through the band one by one. Shawn shakes hands with my dad, who dragged himself from the den, and I slip closer to my brothers. Kale presses his shoulder against mine, reminding me I’m not alone.
My dad asks the guys which instrument each of them plays, and when Mike says he plays the drums, my dad starts talking about how my Uncle Pete played the drums in high school. All of the guys entertain his reminiscing as they follow him to the den, and somehow, I end up at the back of the man-parade with Shawn on one side and Kale on the other. I’m ignoring everything that isn’t front and center, but when Shawn clasps his hand with mine and tugs me to a stop, I have no choice but to stay in the hall with him or risk causing a scene. Kale stops too.
“Can we talk?” Shawn asks.
“Can we not?”
“What’s this about?” He shows me his phone, confirming that he got my text, and when I meet his eyes again, I can tell it isn’t something he’s going to let me ignore. With a sigh, I nod at Kale, giving him the okay to leave us for a minute. He doesn’t look happy, but when I nod again, he reluctantly slips into the den.
“Why’d you come here tonight when I asked you not to?” I snap at Shawn as soon as we’re alone.
“I was less than ten minutes away from your house,” he snaps back.
“So?” God, I sound like a child. And by the way his brows knit, he knows it.
“So . . . what the hell, Kit?”
Kale pops his head around the corner, since he’s obviously been eavesdropping and doesn’t like the way Shawn’s talking to me. “Are you guys coming?”
“In a minute,” I say, and when he gives me a look and disappears again, I resume barking at Shawn. “Can we just get through this? Then you can go back to being sorry. For everything.” I practically spit the last word, and then I escape to the den before he can stop me. I ungracefully plop down on the arm of Mason’s chair, gnawing on the inside of my lip to keep my lightning-quick tongue from striking out again.
It takes approximately two and three-quarters seconds for me to regret the past one and one-quarter minutes. I release my lip, glance at Shawn when he enters the room, and then bite down on it again. That didn’t go at all like I had planned. I didn’t keep my cool. I wasn’t aloof or even halfway professional. God, it was like the scorned fifteen-year-old girl inside of me clawed her way to the surface and threw her little fit.
But who was I to deny her?
Can we talk? No, we cannot fucking talk. There’s nothing to talk about. All we’d be able to talk about is all the things we weren’t, and what the hell is the point in talking about something that never mattered and never will?
I should have known better. I shouldn’t have expected a call from him six years ago, I shouldn’t have expected anything but more bullshit from him from the moment I joined the band, and I shouldn’t have expected this to end in anything but disaster.
I’m sorry too. Sorry for everything.
“She used to have this little Mattel four-wheeler,” my dad says. “Used to raise hell on that thing.”
“Ass naked,” Ryan adds, bringing me back to the present.
My dad chuckles. “Just her in her little diaper.”
I look down at Mason. “Is this really happening?”
He grins at me before turning toward the guys. “Who wants to see pictures?”
I punch him in the arm, and he pushes me off the chair.
“Dad,” Bryce says as I force my ass onto the cushion with Mason, “you should’ve seen her last night. She was amazing.”
When my mom calls us out for dinner, the conversation continues as we migrate to the dining room, drawn by my mom’s dinner-bell voice and the smell of a fifteen-pound turkey. Wooden chairs scrape against the hardwood floor as everyone seats themselves at the table that my mother set for eleven—with Shawn hijacking the spot right next to me. I ignore him and look anywhere else.
My mom is the last to sit down at the immaculately set table, her smile bright as she grins at the mess of overgrown boys stuffed into her dining room. “I just want to thank you kids for coming tonight. And for being so good to Kit. Even though I really think all of you need to eat better while traveling—”
“Mom,” I interject, and a few snickers sound throughout the room. Joel and Adam grin at my mom like she’s the best thing since fried cheese.
My mom takes my cue and gets back to her point. She raises her water glass. “To good friends and good food.”
Everyone raises a glass in a toast, and before mine is even back on the table, all four of my brothers stand at once to grab the best parts of the turkey. I chuckle as I catch Adam, Joel, and Mike sharing looks from my dad’s end of the table, but they catch on quick. Within seconds, we’re all on our feet except my dad, who waits for my mom to make him a plate, since she’s always liked waiting on him and he’s never minded it.
I circle the table to get some space from Shawn, but my plate fills up quickly, leaving me no choice but to sit back down at his side.