The Not-Outcast

Page 22

“I know.”

But his grin wasn’t cocky, because no matter what, all these teams were good. All had solid guys on them, and it seemed they just kept getting sharper and sharper each season.

“We’re gonna kick their ass tonight.”

He nodded back, and I slid off my table to go and soak.



Cut: You still coming tonight?

My phone buzzed and I tried to quench the entire heart-jump in my chest. It didn’t work. I reached for my phone on the coffee table next to me.

Melanie was sitting across from me, lounging back on one of Sasha’s couches. Her leg was hanging over the side and she raised her head up, frowning at me, or more specifically frowning at my reaction. A little overkill here, but yeah. I’d been waiting, my stomach in knots the whole day, and when I swiped over and read his text, my tongue tangled around itself. I had one doozy of a knot.

“Who the fuck is texting you to get that reaction?”

I flushed and slid down in my own couch, trying to hide my head behind a pillow.

She was off her couch in a second, and my pillow was ripped from me. Her mouth was hanging open as she took me in, me holding my phone, me almost dropping my phone because I was shaking, before she retreated back to her couch. She felt behind her, not looking, and lowered herself to safety. “W.T.F., Shy. W.T.F.”

Sasha came out of her bedroom, heading down the hallway. She paused at the opening to the living room and kitchen area, taking us both in. “Did I hear a phone go off? Was that mine?”

A squawk from me.

I didn’t like this.

I was all blushing, and nervous, and rattled. Me rattled wasn’t good. Ever.

But I focused back on responding because I knew Melanie would demand the 411 from Sasha, which she did when she pointed at me. “I’ve never seen Cheyenne act like this, ever. Who is this guy? He’s not just a one-nighter. There’s no way, and Cheyenne doesn’t do one-nighters, so there’s more to this story.”

I looked up, feeling Sasha’s eyes on me, and I read the unspoken question.

I nodded.

She sighed, coming over to perch on my couch’s arm. “Put it simply, he was a daydream since before I knew her. Not at all her reality—” She looked at me because she knew I’d been about to protest. “—he wasn’t. You didn’t know him. You never talked to him. You were in a shitty situation, and he was an idea you clung onto to get you through it. He didn’t even know you until,” I closed my mouth and she focused back on Melanie. “Friday night. Our hockey stud got one good look at Cheyenne, and you know what happened. He felt the sex sparks from across the room, and the hockey beast came out claiming and swinging. He wants in her pants again, bad.”

Melanie snorted. “Who doesn’t?”

I caught her teasing grin, but she coughed. “I’m getting a feeling there’s more to it than just that.”

Sasha stood back up, and we shared a look. I so got that she kept the other guy out of the equation, and her mouth twitched. “Imagine thinking you’re all in love with someone, then you get a night with them, but the idea of them had been what held you together for so long? What happens when you finally got ’em, or worse? If they didn’t want you in the morning?”




She hit it right on the mark. She was right.

Was she? I didn’t know anymore, but I had walls up and issues to deal with, and we’d not even touched on the amount of therapy it would take to blow them down.

But I’d been through harder shit in my life, so I could do this.

I managed a text back.

Me: Planning on it, yes.

I put the phone back. Sasha was still eyeing me. Melanie just looked like she was bugging out, absorbing all the drama, before her face cleared and she snapped her head toward Sasha. “You have work?”

“Yeah.” She glanced at the clock. “I should already be there.”

The fact that we got Sasha for this long at all last night and today was huge. She almost lived at Tiyts. Fancy spelling, but the name was basic and memorable. The Y was silent. So…Tits.

Also self-explanatory.

“Okay. It’s decided.” Melanie stood up, stretching her long legs, with a yawn that no one believed. She was up to something. “You and me.” Her eyes found me. “We’re going to that hockey game.”

Yep. Definitely up to something.

Also, I didn’t have a plus one with my seat.

Sasha said, “Those tickets are already sold out. They sell out fast.”

“Pretty sure I can get myself in.”

She pulled out her phone and Sasha frowned at me. “You’ll be okay?”

I nodded. “I’ll be fine. Really.”

The worry lines never moved, but she touched my shoulder as she started to head back to the bathroom. “Call if you need anything.”

“Yo.” Melanie’s head popped up. “Cassie said she can get us in. Three seats. You sure you can’t come, Sash?”

Sasha had already started back for the bathroom. “No. I gotta go check on my girls. Come to Tits tonight afterwards. It always fills up with guys after the games.”

Melanie’s head tilted sideways, her eyebrows pinched together, and she was biting the inside of her lip again. “When are you and this ‘ideal guy’ getting together?”

“He’s not my ‘ideal’ guy.” Though, a younger version of Cheyenne was whispering to me that he was, that I’d fallen in love with him when I first saw him, and why was I trying to lie to myself. Logic was telling me to agree with Sasha, but the totally illogical side was whispering, ‘who the fuck cares? Just give in to the unicorn utopia.’

I felt like I was getting trounced by those unicorns right now. Hooves all over my chest, a few making sure to stomp on my forehead in the process.

I was nervous. Really nervous.

But I said to Melanie, “We’re doing something after the game.”

“Something?” Another lip twitch from Melanie.

“He said dinner.”

“The main entree is pussy.”

Sasha barked out a laugh all the way from her bathroom, and that was past two bedrooms. Her hearing was on point today.

“Come on.” Melanie went to get her purse.

I stood. “Where are we going?”

“We’re going to a hockey game. I’m hoping at least one of us gets laid tonight. So that means we need to pick out the best clothes.” She raised a hand, hollering out, “We’re heading out. Bye, Sash.”

“Bring your girl to Tits tonight!”

Melanie pulled out her keys, heading for the door. “Will do!”

I followed her outside.

She said over her shoulder, “I know you’re nervous. You don’t have to be. This guy is already panting to lick your clit, but I need my girl with me. We’re going to get manis and pedis right now.” She moved to the side, linking her elbow with mine, and it was just the right thing to say to me.

I bumped my hips to hers. “Only if we get mimosas.”

Her smile was almost blinding. “Done.”


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