I can feel him behind me. His eyes following my shadow as I turn the corner and head into SeaBird, the bar where everyone in this town loves to hang out. And tonight isn’t any different. The bass is pounding, and the lights are streaming from the cracked door, lighting up the sidewalk. But I can’t appreciate any of it right now. Because a certain someone is following me.
A certain someones, actually.
I knew it was a bad idea to date my older brother’s best friend. But when our dads are best friends, and we were practically betrothed as little kids, I’m not sure I could’ve prevented it.
Regardless, I’ll never be able to get rid of him, no matter how much he hurt me and how much I hate myself for still caring about him.
Keeping my head down, I listen for their footsteps and find them closing in as I beeline it toward SeaBird’s entrance.
I know why he’s following me. He wants to talk. He wants to justify the fact I saw him with a girl last night. One who wasn’t me. I know he’s going to say we were on a break, and I’m overreacting.
And he’s right.
We were on a break.
We are on a break.
We have been for weeks.
But it doesn’t take away the sting. The betrayal. The fact I wanted to put things on hold so I could clear my head and think straight. So I could make it known I’m not okay with him hanging out with Marty. So I could weigh the pros and cons of getting married at such a young age without ever being with anyone else. So I could analyze our relationship from a distance and decide whether or not my standards are too high or if I’m being unrealistic by expecting him to treat me a certain way. Or if I’m settling. Which was made quite obvious when I caught him with another girl last night.
I bite the inside of my cheek and yank open the bar’s door. My ex’s voice echoes behind me, along with his and my brother’s footsteps, as they quicken their pace to catch up to me.
“Eve, wait up!”
The door swings closed behind me, and I scan the open bar for a proverbial life raft to keep me from drowning. Honestly, even a place to hide will work. Anything to keep me from facing my ex or the consequences of telling him I wanted to take a break when I’d give anything to take it back.
Right now, I need help, and I’m not exactly picky.
When I spot Jake Freaking Jensen sitting at the bar, my breath hitches, and my palms grow sweaty. I wipe them on my jeans and glance behind me again. The door is still blissfully closed. For now.
It doesn’t mean he’s not coming. Or he didn’t see me come in here.
Him and my brother both are.
It’s do or die.
Forcing my feet to move, I rush over to Jake Freaking Jensen. He’s sitting next to his friend, Milo Anders, nursing hard liquor straight from the bottle. The fact I know either of their names is probably creepy as hell, but when I was basically bred to know everyone and every minute detail about their lives, it’s a hard habit to break.
And even if I didn’t, it’s Jake Jensen. He’s a hard guy to miss. Sexy nerd meets Marvel character with a side of genius and charisma.
But it’s not like we’ve ever spoken. He’s never even noticed me. He always had his nose in a book or, more recently, his mouth plastered against a random girl.
Which is why he’ll be perfect for the job.
The seconds tick by in slow motion, yet are almost charged with urgency. I stop behind him, forcing my lungs to slowly release the pent-up oxygen they’re holding, though I still feel like I might faint.
He doesn’t notice me.
Bouncing on the balls of my feet, I interrupt, “Excuse me.”
Slowly, Jake turns around and meets my gaze, the glass bottle forgotten on the bartop behind him.
I look toward the door to see if Troy or Henry have made it into the bar yet. Before I can stop myself, I ask, “Are you single?”
With a gulp, I turn back to Jake and repeat, “Are you single?”
“What are you talking about?”
I wave my hand in front of me. “Answer the question.”
“Perfect. Just go with it, okay?”
He cocks his head to the side. “What?”
Without bothering to answer him, I climb into his lap, ignoring the way I’m freaking trembling as I slide my pale hands into his dark hair and close my eyes, pressing my mouth to his.
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