Page 22 of Tangled (Tangled 1)

I should have known then that it was too good to be true. The best things usually are: Santa Claus, the male G-spot, heaven—the list is endless.

You’ll see.

We’re walking down Fifth Avenue. Instead of wasting precious time driving across town to Kate’s apartment, we stopped at Saks on the way to work, where I bought Kate a new navy Chanel suit. Can’t have her doing the Walk of Shame into the office, now can I? When she was trying on clothes for me, I swear, I felt just like Richard fucking Gere in Pretty Woman. Kate even bought me a tie.


Then she insisted on stopping by the lingerie department to replace the panties I’d so erotically destroyed. I put up a good fight over that one, but I lost. You ladies ought to know—going commando? That’s sexier than leather and lace and whips and chains all put together.

We stop by Starbucks and grab some much-needed caffeine. As we walk back outside, I pull Kate close. I cup her cheek and kiss her. She tastes like coffee—light and sweet. She pushes my hair back out of my eyes and smiles.

I’ll never get tired of looking at her. Or kissing her. Pussy whipped, thy name is Drew. Yeah I know. It’s okay. I don’t mind. ’Cause if this is the Dark Side? Sign me up. Seriously. Don’t be surprised if I start skipping down the street singing, “Zip-a-Dee-fucking-Doo-Dah.” I’m that happy.

Kate and I turn the corner. Holding hands and smiling at each other like two idiots who popped one too many antidepressants. Nauseating, isn’t it?

We need to stop here for just a minute. You should look at us. How we are right here, right now—hand in hand. You should remember this moment. I do.

We were…perfect.

Then we get to our building. I open the door for Kate and walk in behind her.

And the first thing I see are daisies. Large white daisies with cheerful yellow centers. Some in vases on the security desk, others in bunches tied with ribbon. Some are scattered singly all over the floor, random petals here and there. In the middle of the lobby is a circle of even more daisies. In the center of that circle, is Billy Warren. And he’s got his guitar.

Fuck. Me.

No, that doesn’t quite cover it.

Fuck me with a chainsaw.

Yeah—that’s about right.

You ever see a singing asshole? Here’s your chance:

I was so blind I didn’t know

How much it would hurt to let you go

I want to heal us, want to mend

Come back, come back to me again

If I didn’t hate him so much—and the jackal who spawned him—I’d have to admit he’s not half bad. I watch Kate closely. Every emotion that crosses her face, each feeling that dances in her eyes.

You know when you have a stomach virus? And you lay around all day with a bucket at your side because you feel like you’re going to puke at any second? But then there’s that moment—when you know it’s coming. You break out in that cold, full-body sweat. Your head pounds, and you feel your throat expand to make room for the bile that’s charging up from your stomach.

That’s me. Right now.

I actually put my coffee down and look around for the nearest garbage can just to be sure I’ll make it there in time.

And I need to say I’m sorry

For all the pain I caused

Please give your heart back to me

I’ll keep it safe for eternity

We belong together

We’ve always known it’s true

There will never be another

My soul cries out for you.

Any other time, any other girl, I would bury Warren. Without even trying. He can’t hold a candle to me. I’m a goddamn Porsche; he’s a frigging pickup truck that can’t pass inspection.

But this is Kate. They have a history, a decade’s worth. And that, kiddies, makes him some major-league competition.

In the dark of night, it’s your name I call

I can’t believe I almost lost it all

One more chance, one breath, one try

No more reasons to say goodbye

I want to pick Kate up, caveman style, and carry her out of here. I want to lock her in my apartment where he can’t see her. Can’t touch her. Can’t touch us. The whole time I stare at her, but she doesn’t turn to look at me.

Not one fucking time.

And I need to say I’m sorry

For all the pain I caused

Please give your heart back to me

I’ll keep it safe for eternity

We belong together

We’ve always known it’s true

There will never be another

My soul cries out for you

Why didn’t I learn to play an instrument? When I was nine, my mother wanted me to play the trumpet. After two lessons, the tutor quit ’cause I let the dog piss on his mouthpiece.

Why the hell didn’t I listen to my mother?

You are my beginning, you’ll be my end

More than lovers, more than friends

I want you, I want you

He can’t have her. Go ahead and want all day long, douchebag. Sing from the motherfucking rooftops. Play until your fingers fall off. It’s too little, too late. She’s already mine. Kate isn’t the type to have sex with just anyone. And she fucked me all weekend like the world was ending. That has to count for something.

Doesn’t it?

And I need to say I’m sorry

For all the pain I caused

Please give your heart back to me

I’ll keep it safe for eternity

For eternity

You and me

The small crowd that’s gathered in the lobby applauds. Dickhead puts his guitar down and walks up to Kate.

If he touches her, I will break his fucking hand. I swear to God.

He doesn’t acknowledge me at all. He’s focused only on Kate. “I’ve been calling you since Friday night…and I stopped by the apartment a few times this weekend, but you were out.”

That’s right. She wasn’t home. She was busy. Now ask her what she was doing.

Who she was doing.

“I know this is work…but do you think we could go somewhere? To talk? Maybe your office?”

Say no.

Say no.

Say no, say no, say no, say no, say no, say no, say no, say no…



As she starts to walk away, I grab Kate’s arm. “I need to talk to you.”

Her eyes question me. “I’ll just be a—”

“There’s something I have to tell you. Now. It’s important.” I know I sound desperate, but I really don’t give a damn.

She puts her hand over mine, the one still clasping her arm. She’s calm—condescending, like she’s talking to a child. “All right, Drew. Let me talk to Billy first and I’ll meet you in your office, okay?”

I want to stomp my foot like a two-year-old. No. It’s so not fucking okay. She needs to know where I stand. I have to stake my claim. Throw my hat in the ring. Get my car in the goddamn race.

But I drop my hand anyway. “Fine. You two have a nice chat.”

And I make sure I walk away first.

I stride toward my office. But I can’t help but stop at Erin’s desk when they walk by. As Kate turns to close her office door, our eyes meet. And she smiles at me. And for the first time in my life, I don’t know what it means.

Is she reassuring me that nothing’s changed? That nothing will? Is she saying thank you for bringing that fuck nut crawling back to her? I just don’t know.

And it’s driving me crazy.

I clench my jaw and stalk toward my own desk, slamming the door behind me. And then I pace. Like a soon-to-be father outside the delivery room, waiting to see if everything that means anything to him will come out unscathed.

I should have told her. Last night. When I had the chance. I should have explained how much she means to me. What I feel for her. I thought I had time. I figured I’d ease into it, slowly work up to it.


Why didn’t I just fucking tell her?

Goddamn it.

Maybe she already knows. I mean, I brought her to my apartment, I cuddled with her. I worshiped her. I fucked her without a rubber—three times. She’s got to know.

Erin quietly enters the room. I must look like a disaster, because her face is soft with sympathy. “So, Kate and Billy are talking, huh?”

I snort. “Am I that obvious?”

She opens her mouth, probably to tell me yes, but closes it and starts again. “No. I just know you, Drew.”

I nod.

“You want me to take a walk? See what I can see…or hear?”

“You think that’ll work?”

She smiles. “The CIA would be lucky to have me.”

I nod again. “Okay. Yeah. Go do that, Erin. See what’s going on.”

She walks out. And I go back to wearing a hole in the rug. And pushing my hand through my hair until it sticks up like I’ve been struck by lightning.

A few minutes later, Erin comes back. “The door’s closed, so I couldn’t hear anything, but I peeked through the glass. They’re sitting in front of her desk, facing each other. He’s got his head in his hands, and she’s listening to him talk. Her hand is on his knee.”

Okay. He’s pouring his heart out. And she’s being sympathetic. I can live with that. Because then she’s going to crush him, isn’t she? She’s going to tell him to screw off. That she’s moved on—found someone better. Right?


Christ, just fucking agree with me.

“So…what should I do?”

Erin shrugs. “All you can do is wait. And see what she says when they’re done.”

I’ve never been good at waiting. No matter how hard my parents tried, I could never wait until Christmas morning to find out what I got. I was like a mini-Indiana Jones—searching and digging until I found every single gift.

Patience may be a virtue, but it’s not one of mine.

Erin stops at the door. “I hope it works out, Drew.”

“Thanks, Erin.”

And then she leaves. And I wait. And think. I think about the look on Kate’s face when she was crying at her desk. I think about the panic she was in when she saw Warren at the bar.

Was that all I was to Kate? A distraction? A means to my own end?

I start pacing again. And praying. To a God I haven’t spoken to since I was ten years old. But I talk to him now. I promise and I swear. I barter and beg—fervently.

For Kate to choose me.

The longest ninety minutes of my life later, Erin’s voice hisses out of the intercom on my desk.

“Incoming! Incoming! Kate, nine o’clock.”

I dive across my desk, knocking pens and paperclips to the floor. I push my chair up, smooth my hair down, and shuffle some papers around so it looks like I’ve been working. Then I take a deep breath. Pull it together.

It’s game time.

Kate opens the door and walks in.

She looks…normal. Completely herself. No guilt. No anxiety. Not a care in the world.

She stands in front of my desk. “Hi.”

“Hey.” I force myself to smile casually. Even though my heart’s pounding in my chest. Kind of like a dog’s would—just before he’s put down.

I should make small talk so I don’t look too eager—too interested. But I just can’t manage it. “So…how’d things go with Billy?”

She smiles softly. “We talked. We said some things that I think we both needed to hear. And now we’re good. Really good, actually.”

God. Can you see the knife sticking out of my chest? Yeah—the one she just twisted. They talked—they’re good—really good. She took him back.


“That’s great, Kate. Mission accomplished, then, huh?” I should have been an actor. I deserve a goddamn Academy Award after this.

Her brow wrinkles. “Mission?”

My cell phone rings, saving me from this nightmare of a conversation.

Tags: Emma Chase Tangled Erotic