A Perfect Ten

Page 148

I growled at him. “I’m not just sleeping with her, fuckface. We’re actually dating.” I glanced toward Caroline, who was covering her mouth with both hands and watching us from worried eyes. “We have been for a couple months.”

“Dating? Are you kidding me?” Noel turned his attention to Caroline, too. “How many dates has he taken you on?”

She blinked at him, obviously not understanding. “What?”

He rolled out his hand, encouraging her to talk. “How many times has he taken you out to eat? To the movies? Dancing?”

“That’s not fair.” I shifted toward him, balling my hands into fists. “We couldn’t do any of that shit because of you.”

“Yeah. Whatever. The truth is you’re no better than Sander Scotini.”

Oh, that fucker. He just had to go there, didn’t he?

Rage flooded my veins. But what hurt more than hearing he thought I belonged anywhere in the same category as that worthless pussy was that I agreed with him. I hadn’t been fair to Caroline. I’d hidden our relationship in fear of the consequences, in fear of Noel finding out. I’d been just as big of a pussy.

But I pushed all my blame on Gamble.

“You bastard,” I roared right before I charged.

Hamilton wrapped an arm around me from behind and picked me up off my feet, while Hart, Pick and Lowe regathered their efforts to keep Gamble at bay.

Still pissed as hell, I struggled in my roommate’s impenetrable hold. “Take that back! I’m nothing like that piece of shit. I actually love her. And the only reason I didn’t tell you sooner was to protect her, because I knew you’d fucking overreact, and she’d get hurt. I mean, fuck! Just look at her.”

I didn’t know she’d started to sob, but I could feel it in my bones. And yep, when I glanced over and pointed a finger in her direction, the tears were streaming down her face as she clutched Blondie for dear life. It tore a hole through me.

“Damn it,” I rasped, my voice breaking. “We’re making her cry.”

“Noel,” she sobbed. “Please.” The pain in her eyes killed me. I just wanted to strangle Gamble and make him see reason.

He squeezed his eyes closed as if trying to block out the effect her pleading had on him. Then he gritted his teeth and shook his head.

“It’s not his fault,” she begged. “I tricked him. I snuck into his room in the dark when he was expecting someone else.”

“Oh, fuck...me.” A sickened revulsion clouded his face. “You’re Midnight Visitor.” He turned to me and pointed accusingly at his sister. “She’s Midnight Visitor?”

“He had no idea it was me,” Caroline said.

Gamble snorted. “Oh, I bet he didn’t.” His gaze narrowed on me as if he knew better.

“He didn’t,” Caroline cried in self-righteous defense.

“Actually,” I admitted with a sigh as I glanced guiltily up at the sky. “I did.”

“What?” She spun to me, her mouth falling open. “No, you did not.”

I looked her straight in the eye. “Yeah...I did.”

She blinked. “No...no, you didn’t.” Except she suddenly didn’t look so sure. “But...y-you got mad at me when you finally found out. You were...pissed because I’d tricked you. I forced you to betray your best friend, remember?”

I shrugged. “I still knew. I mean, you called me Oren. You forgot to disguise your voice too many times, and...fuck, you smelled like you. I knew it was you. I just...denied it.”

Confusion seized her expression. “What do you mean you denied it?”

“Easy. I told myself it wasn’t you. Knowing it was really you would’ve made it wrong, and I didn’t want it to be wrong, so...I convinced myself it wasn’t you.”

She shook her head, unable to believe my statement. “How the hell do you do something like that?”

“I don’t know, but I can. I did a damn fine job of denying the fact I had a twin sister who died a horrible death four years ago, now didn’t I? I’m like the king of denial.”

“You had a twin sister?” Gamble’s jaw fell open and his eyes grew wide, but I was too busy staring at Caroline to pay him much mind.

She gave another confused shake of the head. “But...if you knew it was me, then why didn’t you stop me?”

I laughed softly. “Because it was you.”

As her lips parted, realization lit her face,

I was so intent on watching her expression I didn’t realize Gamble had broken free of Lowe, Pick and Hart until he shoved me. I went sprawling across the yard until I lost my footing and landed on my ass in the grass.

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