The Insiders

Page 32

Kash: I’m coming back tonight.

Me: Who is this?

Kash: Bailey.

Me: Bonhams. Why you can’t text, but are texting.

Kash: You’re tenacious.

Me: Tell the truth. Autocorrect had to help with that word, didn’t it?

Kash: Let’s talk about my dick image again.



He never told me about them.

Matt only said he didn’t care for them, and I let it go. Shocking. But the main reason I let it go wasn’t because both of them refused to elaborate; it was because I had three glorious days.

I got quality time with my siblings. There was minimal time with Quinn, who it turned out did charity work as a full-time career. She had events in the mornings, meetings in the afternoons, and banquets in the evenings. Miss Victoria came around once a week, I learned, but she hadn’t been back since that one day of our lunch, so I hadn’t met her. After the bit I’d learned about her, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to meet her, but I also wasn’t letting that overshadow anything.

That first night after our lunch, I had dinner with my siblings. Marie and Theresa joined us, along with an older man named Barney, who turned out to be Marie’s husband.

Marie and Theresa were a lot nicer than the first time I had met them, and the rest were relaxed. There were no rules, no pressure to be a certain way, eat a certain way. They could pick at their pizza if they wanted, or scarf down a whole bowl of mac and cheese. After that first night, I caught Marie eyeing me with guilt. Matt told me later that our “dinners” were an unofficial secret. It wasn’t that whenever Quinn wasn’t around they ate like that, but over the last few days, I got their routine. If Quinn wasn’t around, they still ate healthy two out of three meals of the day. There was a healthy snack, too, but the evenings were laid back. Burned pizza was one of Seraphina’s favorites.

And the whole secret part was that no one told Quinn.

I loved it. I loved it all.

We were hanging out in one of the media rooms, three boxes of pizza on the floor and the latest superhero movie on the screen, when Matt’s phone buzzed.

I was curled up in the corner, my favorite place to sit.

Cyclone was lying next to me, his head in my lap. Seraphina was sprawled on the floor, her head propped up on her hands and her feet kicking back at the end of our couch. Marie had started to watch the movie with us but then left thirty minutes in, saying she’d be back the next morning.

Quinn was at another charity event for the evening.

The buzzing started, and Matt declined the call. No one paid him much attention. This had happened over the last few days. He had an active social life, but he’d been spending most of his time here and staying at Kash’s villa with me. He slept in Kash’s bed, and I was in mine.

But tonight the buzzing just kept going.




After a full twenty minutes of his phone going off, Seraphina sat up. “Just answer it! It’s so annoying.”

He laughed, reaching for the phone just as it started again. Hitting a button, he was speaking into it, “Yo. What do you want?” He sat up straight. “Oh, hey.… No. It didn’t come up that it was you—

“Oh. Okay.” He looked up at me, alarmed.

I started to sit up straighter, so did Cyclone. All three of us were waiting, but Matt got up, his phone to his ear. He left the room and we could only hear fragments of the conversation.

“Yeah?… No. I mean, it’s a movie.… She’s here. What?… I’ve been there. Yeah.… Why?… Oh.… For real?… No shit, huh.… He is?”

Suddenly his voice got louder, clearer. He was coming back.

Cyclone scrambled off the couch, grabbing the remote, and the movie was turned off. The screen went to black and he moved to the wall, hitting the switch so the room was bathed in light.

Matt came to stand in the doorway, his phone pressed to his ear. Seeing the screen off, he lowered his hand and took all of us in.

He swallowed stiffly, his eyes finding mine. I saw the worry, and my chest started to grow tight.

He murmured, his mouth curving down, “Yeah.… Yeah. I will.… Thank you. Yeah.”

Ending the call, he scrolled through something on his screen before his eyes darkened and he put his phone back in his pocket.

Then the fakest thing I’ve witnessed in a long time happened.

He plastered a huge bright smile on his face. “Guess what, guys?”

Seraphina scrambled to her knees. “What?”

Cyclone was hanging off the end of the couch. He thrust his arm in the air. “Dude, just tell us!”

“Dad’s coming home.” Matt looked at me. “Tonight.”

“What?” Seraphina jumped to her feet, lighting up.

“When?” Cyclone was right with her, shooting up to start jumping on the couch.

“Uh…” Matt checked the time on his phone again. “In like an hour. You guys are supposed to hurry and get ready for bed.”


“Why?” Seraphina asked right after Cyclone’s whine.

“Because your mom’s planning a whole night of movies. So if you wash up, clean your teeth, get in your pajamas, you pick the first movie to watch with Dad.”


“Really?” Seraphina asked

Matt was tense as he clipped his head up and down. “Yep. Go and get ready, then come back in here with your blankets. Your mom said something about a sleepover even.”

Cyclone jumped off from the couch. “Yes!” And he took off running down the hall.

Seraphina hurried after him, but stopped, turned, and came back to give me a tight hug around my neck. “Thanks for tonight. It was a lot of fun.” Before I could reply, she hurried from the room, yelling over her shoulder, “Bye, Matt! Love you.”

“And then there’s the two of us, until Kash gets back also.” Matt regarded me, a deep sigh leaving him. He slid his hands in his front pockets. “How’s it going?”

He was coming back.

Not that I cared.

Not that I’d been waiting.

Not that I’d been looking forward to seeing him again.

I had done as he asked, called him once I got my phone again. That set the precedent. We talked the next day. We texted in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening. Good times. And there were also the good night texts and good morning texts.

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