A Perfect Ten

Page 88

Tucking my face into her hair and appreciating what I had right now, I said, “Because she was upset. She loved driving, so I thought letting her take the wheel would make her feel better.”

“And did it...before the accident part, I mean?”

I shrugged. “Well, yeah. I guess. She was smiling and lecturing me when...” I broke off, remembering the headlights of the other car as they’d blared in my face right before it ran a red light and T-boned us. A shudder wracked me. Memories swirled of Zoey screaming my name, the fear in her voice as she begged for help, the utter helplessness I’d felt; it all haunted me.

“Why was she upset?” Caroline asked.

I shook my head and snorted. “Some stupid-ass guy. Thought she liked him, but then she went to a sleepover with her friends and found out one of her buddies was also hooking up with him. When she called me, crying, asking me to pick her up, I’d just—”

Fuck, I couldn’t tell Caroline about that. But she nudged me in the ribs with her pointer finger. “You’d just what?”

I glanced at her warily. “I guess I already told you about my first time, didn’t I?”

“You mean the stupid girl who laughed at your beautiful penis?”

Appreciating the way she described my birthmark, I grinned. “Yeah. Her. Well, I was driving home from that when Zoey’s distress call came in.”

“Wait.” Caroline held up a hand and twisted to look directly into my eyes. “So the same traumatic night you lost your virginity and were ridiculed by that idiot, twat girl was also the night your sister—”

Setting my hand over her mouth to keep her from saying what I couldn’t handle hearing, I nodded. “Yeah.”

Her eyes flared. “Wow. No wonder why you’ve had such an issue with your penis. It’s tied to your sister.”

I couldn’t help it, I snorted out a laugh. “Fuck, you have no idea how wrong that sounded when you said it that way.”

“What?” she asked before she must’ve mentally repeated what she’d just said. Then she snickered and bumped herself back against me. “Whatever. You know what I meant.”

I nodded. “Yeah, but it still sounds fucking strange.”

Caroline finally chuckled along with me before she cocked her head to the side. “So, was Zoey younger or older than you? I can’t tell from the way you talk about her.”

I cleared my throat. “She was...she was the same age. The same exact age.”

Mouth falling open, Caroline gaped. “You were twins? Holy shit.”

I nodded and closed my eyes. But the memories still attacked me. Every single detail of my childhood had involved my sister. She’d always been right there with me, almost an extension of myself until, wham, she was just...gone.

“Well, fuck.” Caroline rested her cheek on my shoulder. “No wonder you’re so messed up. I mean, losing a sibling has to be rough. It’s got to hurt like hell and make you feel as if you failed them somehow. But a twin? That’d be like losing...a part of yourself.”

“Yeah.” In need of a distraction, I ran my fingers through her hair. “It pretty much gutted me. And I swore to myself I’d never hurt like that again. I’d never...fuck, I’d never love like that again. I don’t care that it was just sibling love, it still—”

“No, I totally get it. Any kind of love—sibling, paternal, passionate, platonic—it still hurts just as painfully when you lose that person.”

I nodded. “It really does. And I was keeping my promise so well for three years. I didn’t let any chick in, not until you came along. And then Blondie showed up. Jesus, you guys know how to fuck my head up, you know that?”

Her fingers stroked my face again. “I’d say sorry,” she murmured, her lips tipped up in pleasure. “But then I’d be lying.”

I sniffed. Of course, she wasn’t sorry. She’d gotten exactly what she wanted from this. I gazed at her a moment, admitting I was glad she had, though. “Are you beginning to see why I stayed away from you for so long? It wasn’t just about your brother.”

She nodded. “Yeah, I guess. You irrationally fear someone else is going to die if you actually begin to like another girl.”

I snorted. “Begin to? The begin-to boat has sailed, sweetheart. I already like you. A lot. That’s why this is so hard. Why our whole girlfriend-boyfriend talk today was so awkward. I don’t like the girls I screw. I’ve made a point not to. I didn’t date, I didn’t fuck with the lights on, I never cuddled afterward.” With an impatient kind of sigh, I hugged her tighter to me. “You’re seriously breaking all my rules. You know that, right?”

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