When Shawn’s gaze slowly lifts to lock with mine, I curse the day he was born. I curse the day I was born. There’s not a damn person at this table who doesn’t see the way he’s looking at me—except maybe my dad, since he’s eyeball-deep in stuffing—and Shawn’s answer makes things even worse. “I’m not sure.”
“Oh?” my mom asks, and Shawn holds my lethal gaze for a moment longer before finally turning away.
“I don’t know.”
He doesn’t know? He lies to me for months, keeps me a dirty secret, apologizes for everything, shows up at my house after I ask him not to come, tries to hold my hand when I’d obviously rather shove his in a meat grinder, and he doesn’t know?
“What’s not to know, sweetie?”
I surprise myself by slamming my fork down so hard on my plate, even my dad gives me his undivided attention. Ten sets of eyes are on me when I snap at everyone, “I can actually think of a lot of things you don’t know.” With all those eyes on me, with Shawn at my side playing the victim, I can’t stop. I see the cliff I’m about to careen off of, and my foot punches the gas. This has been a long time coming. Six fucking years, and then some. Everything I’ve ever wanted to say to Shawn comes exploding to the surface, and I say it in front of everyone.
With my dark eyes bouncing between my brothers, I bark, “Like, did you know that Shawn fucked me at Adam’s party the day you guys graduated?”
The way I stare around at all four of their white-stricken faces without batting an eye stands testament to how much of my mind has officially left the building. Even the guys from the band have lost their color, but more and more secrets keep pouring from my mouth.
“That was the reason I was so depressed that summer. He asked for my number like he was going to call me, but then he never did. He fucked me in Adam’s bedroom and then he never even called me.”
Everyone just sits there, stunned into frozen silence, and I laugh when I remember the most important detail. My head whips in Shawn’s direction, my fierce gaze stabbing him between the eyes.
“Wait, I haven’t even gotten to the best part yet! Did you know that was the night I lost my virginity?”
His face falls, and I go for the kill.
“Yeah, Shawn, that was my FIRST fucking time. I wanted it to be you. I wanted you to be the one, because you were the only boy I EVER fucking loved. And still, you’re the only one . . . the only one I’ve ever . . . ”
Tears scorch my eyes, and my voice cracks. When I glare at him from inches away, a few spill into the void between us. I blink hard and shake my head to regain my composure—however unstable it was in the first place. Turning my hard stare on my brothers and everyone else gaping at me at the table, I continue raving.
“I was fifteen years old, and then he just picked up and moved and never thought of me again. And I thought he didn’t remember who I was when I auditioned, but it turns out, he’s known this entire fucking time. And then he asked me to go out with him, and you know what? I said yes.” I start laughing again, or sobbing—the sounds blend together in the hysteria I’m in. “But then, he said I wasn’t even allowed to tell anyone. Because he never wanted anyone to know. All I’ve ever been is a dirty, pathetic, disposable fucking secret to him.” My anger bubbles to the surface once more, and when I turn my head and latch on to Shawn’s wide green eyes again, I scream at the top of my lungs. “Isn’t that fucking right, Shawn?”
I’m pretty sure words start coming from his mouth, but it’s lost under the sound of my chair crashing to the floor. I stand up so violently from the table that it flies backward and topples, and I’m pretty sure I broke it, but I don’t fucking care. I’m storming away from him, from everyone.
“Kit!” Shawn’s voice calls, and I hear a chorus of chairs scraping against hardwood, the thunder of footsteps following me.
I don’t stop until I’m at the front door. When I turn around, Shawn is right there. I swing open the door and stand on the threshold.
“Where are you going?” he pants, and if I didn’t know better, I’d think the look in his eyes is panic. Regret. A million things that I want to believe are there, but that I know damn well are not.
With the force of a woman’s scorn, I snare my fingers in the front of his shirt and yank him toward the door. Then I spin around and push him so hard, he stumbles backward onto my porch. I barely catch the pleading look he gives me before I slam the door as hard as I can in his face. The foundation shakes, my hands shake, the world crumbles, and when I turn around, everyone is staring at me. Everyone knows.
My mom, my dad, my brothers, the band. All of them are staring shell-shocked at me as I put all of my effort into simply staying on my feet. My heart is jackhammering against my ribs, threatening to tear me apart from the inside out. My skin shrinks along with the rest of me, and I can tell my eyes are wild. I’m trapped in open space with nowhere else to run.
In an attempt to stay on my feet, I find my twin’s face in the crowd, but his eyes are just as panicked as mine. I’m falling, sinking, and he’s feeling every bit of my desperation, making it his own.
I want to run. I want to hide. But there’s nowhere, nowhere, nowhere. I’m shaking in my own skin, about to lose what’s left of my dignity as I break down in hysterical, inconsolable, mortifying tears right here on my foyer floor—but before I can, before I can make the worst night of my life so, so much worse, Kale shouts at the top of his lungs, his voice echoing off the walls—