Addicted for Now / Page 28

Page 28


“Slow the f**k down,” he says sternly. “We’ll take this piece by piece.”

I repeat everything again, being vague about Lily’s involvement and even going into more detail about the unknown number and how Connor’s PI traced it to a disposable phone.

My father listens rather well, and by the time I finish I can see him reeling over the piece of the puzzle that I’ve purposefully avoided.

“Unless Lily is the ring leader of a drug cartel, I highly doubt it’s anything to land Fizzle in a financial crisis. Really, tabloids have better things to do than gossip about heirs and heiresses. Look at you going to rehab, you didn’t even make it in The Enquirer.”

My addiction and hers are not proportionate. Not by a longshot. I’m another notch on the rich-kid sob story who gets addicted to alcohol or drugs. Lily, a girl, is addicted to sex. Even if it does happen, people don’t talk about it, but they will this time.

“Let’s say people find her newsworthy, and not in a good way. What then? Do you think you could find this guy?”

“I could try,” he says, eyes alight with interest. “What is it?”

And I just let it out. “She’s a sex addict.”

I watch him frown and then quickly the disbelief turns into humor. He laughs so hard that his fist subconsciously pounds the table, a pepper shaker overturning and clinking on the iron. I guess it’s hard to believe that the girl he knows, shy and a little awkward, would have that kind of addiction.

“You got me. I’ll give you that,” he says, leaning back in his chair with a grin.

My expression never falters. I can’t laugh with him or joke about Lily’s problem. Not when I know how dangerous it has been. Before we were together, I caught her surfing Craigslist for a hookup. There are levels to sex addiction that scare the shit out of me.

My father watches my unwavering features, and his smile fades. “You’re serious?”

“She’s addicted to sex. She has been since…I don’t know, since she lost it.” I cringe, never wanting to talk to my father about this.

He rubs his mouth, connecting everything together. “Oh…” His eyes grow. “Oh…fuck.” He glances at my contract like he’s one second from snatching the paper and setting it on fire.

I pocket the contract, and his eyes lift to mine. “We have a deal,” I remind him.

“Sex addiction—are you even sure?” he asks. “That’s a serious accusation, something that would need proof.”

“She’s seeing a sex therapist,” I tell him, “and not that it’s any of your business, but she used to hire male prostitutes, so yeah—she had a f**king problem.”

“Had? Past tense?”

“We’re working on it.”

He lets out a low laugh that chills my bones. “You’ve been letting your girlfriend f**k other men?” He shakes his head, and I can practically hear his thoughts: that can’t be my p**sy of a son. He stands to pour himself another drink. I usually don’t notice how often he refills, but this has to be the third or fourth time—an amount that would have most people sloshed. But he’s a functioning alcoholic. Twenty-four-seven drunk. No one can really tell. It’s there in his hard eyes, ready to lash out spitefully at any moment. He’s just riding that wave, the edge to his life sandpapered down.

And I know if I had a sip, I’d be the same exact way. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad. I’m not aggressive, but sometimes I’m belligerent. I can make sure that won’t happen. I’ll be calm.

I have the sudden urge to flip my glass and ask for alcohol. I’ll get sick, I remind myself. It’s literally the only argument I can think of right now.

I try to focus on my father’s eyes and not the glass in his hand. “I didn’t let her f**k anyone when we were together. We only started dating seven months ago.” I explain quickly about our fake relationship, cursing myself that everything has become so complicated that I have to reveal this too.

My father hasn’t taken a seat yet. “You acted like you were together just so I wouldn’t send you to a military academy?”

“Yeah,” I say. “You were ready to ship me off, weren’t you?” I had f**ked up and vandalized some guy’s house for messing with Lily. He mailed her a dead rabbit after his girlfriend discovered that he f**ked another girl, and he blamed it on Lily, even though he was the cheating bastard.

I retaliated by dousing his door in pig’s blood. It was one of my more creative efforts. And I was black-out drunk. I honestly remember very little of the whole ordeal. But I can recall everything afterwards—how my father grabbed me by the neck and yelled in my face. What did you get out of this, Loren? Did it make you feel better? Do you like being such a sick fuck?

My father was prepared to kick me out after I dragged his name through the mud. I was the degenerate, the resident bad boy who would go to another school district just to mess with someone. I was suspended. I was a stupid kid who wanted to make Lily feel better—who wanted to change every horrible f**king thing. But I just didn’t know how.

My father wanted to be proud of me, but I gave him nothing to be proud of.

“Maybe I would have shipped you off,” he says, swishing his ice in his whiskey. “I was mad as hell back then. Your relationship with her was the only redeeming thing. So maybe.”

I nod. Yeah it’s why he let me stay. Maybe he would have missed me too. But he’ll never admit that.

“So if you two weren’t really together, what the hell were those noises coming from your room?”

I frown and then recognition hits me. I bury my face in my hands, mortified. “You heard her?”

“You weren’t the only one living here,” he snaps, “and you two were loud.” No. She was loud. “It’s not as if I was trying to listen. Believe me.”

This is so f**ked up. I rub the bridge of my nose, wanting so badly to wake up. Wake the f**k up.

He finally settles in his chair. “Don’t tell me you let her f**k someone else in your bed.”

I drop my hand and scowl. “Let’s get something straight—you’re not allowed to talk about her f**king anyone. Not me, not someone else, not anyone. Got it?”

He rolls his eyes. “You just told me she’s a sex addict—”

“I don’t give a shit,” I say coldly. “She’s still my girlfriend. She’s still Lily. And I’m not anywhere near comfortable talking about this with you.”

“Maybe she’s just a slut,” my father says, clearly ignoring me. “Ever think of that?

I could punch him. I think I could. But I don’t. I use my words, just like he taught me. “I’m going to say this once, and then you will never ever f**king call her that again. Nor will we have this discussion.” I’m standing up now. “She has a problem. She cries herself to sleep because she can’t stop thinking about it. I hold her in my goddamn arms, trying to get her to quit. Sex is her drug.” I point to my chest, my arms trembling. “I get it. I f**king get it, and you should too if you think for a goddamn minute how much you rely on that.” I motion to his drink and he stiffens. “And if anyone is the slut, it’s you.” He paraded enough women in and out of the house that I could have easily obtained some complex. My chest rises and falls heavily as I finish speaking.

His voice softens considerably. “That still doesn’t explain what I heard in your bedroom. If you two weren’t together—”

I grimace. He’s still on that? “I used to let her masturbate in my bed.”

His eyes widen and he opens his mouth to speak. I cut him off. “No way,” I snap. “You don’t get to ask any questions about that. Our relationship—even f**ked up—is between us. It has nothing to do with this situation.” That’s a lie, but I’m not discussing that shit with my father, no matter if our own relationship is complicated too.

He keeps his lips tight now and then sips from his glass.

“If the tabloids found out—” I start, but it’s his turn to interrupt me.

“Lily would be in the tabloids, being called names that you don’t like.”

“What about Fizzle?”

“It would suffer, and because you’re linked with her, so would Hale Co.” He rises from his chair. “Let’s find the bastard.”

PART TWO

“We all have secrets; the ones we keep, and the ones that are kept from us.”

– Peter Parker, The Amazing Spider-Man

{ 17 }

LILY CALLOWAY

I hate flying.

Not like Superman flying. But plane flying—trapped in a metal tube in the air.

Add in my fear of heights and the prospect of being in a small, confined space for a long period of time, and I begin to freak out a little. I need the option to dash into a room and burrow underneath the covers, to hide from everyone and escape to my sanctuary.

Privacy, that’s my bread and butter (besides porn).

And now that I’m on the road to recovery, I can’t even join the mile-high club. I should already be in the prestigious sex-on-flight clan. Being denied for the umpteenth time aggravates me and cranks up my already intolerable sexual frustration.

Lo doesn’t fare much better. He used to love flying because of the mini-bottles of vodka. Now he just looks like someone stole his favorite toy.

The only upside is that we’re flying somewhere fun for Spring Break. Initially, I didn’t want to go anywhere. Traveling to a party locale during the wildest week of the year seemed like a disaster zone for a recovering alcoholic, but Lo basically forced me to concede. He said he wants to test himself, and there’s no better place than Cancun—with Ryke tagging along. Because we all know his half-brother would stand in front of a bus before letting Lo drink.

I would too. But I haven’t been put in that kind of situation yet.

My father’s private jet resembles a presidential living room more than a commercial plane. I lounge on a long plush couch with blue pillows. A television is mounted on the wall and plays a newer thriller film with Nicholas Cage.

Lo is sprawled out long-ways, his head in my lap as I give him a mediocre head massage. He reads a comic on his tablet, flipping the pages with his finger every so often.

Over on leather recliners, Rose slides her rook across a chess board. Connor leans forward with his fist to his lips in contemplation before he makes a move with his measly black pawn. The little alcove is nice for four people. And there’s another set of chairs and a table top to our right.

My eyes drift from the movie to the bathroom, hidden behind the same wall that the television occupies. “She’s been in there a long time,” I tell Lo in a soft voice. I am jealous of everyone in that bathroom. I just want to drag Lo by the arm and let him do whatever he wants to me in there. Preferably something that makes my back arch.

Lo expands a panel of his comic, his attention absorbed by persecuted mutants. I stop rubbing his temples, and then he follows my gaze. “Maybe she has to actually use the bathroom.”


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