Addicted for Now / Page 3

Page 3


His eyes narrow. “Not now.”

I bite my lip. “Are you going to tell me what’s in the envelope?” What did my therapist restrict? The answer is killing me right now.

“Nope,” he says. “You’ll just want it even more if you know it’s forbidden.”

I squint at him. “You’re getting too smart.”

He grins. “When it comes to you, I am.” He kisses the outside of my lips. I love and hate when he does that. “Just so you know,” he whispers, “I’d love nothing more than to fill you again. I’d do it a million times a day if I could.”

“I know,” I murmur.

He brushes my sweaty hair off my face.

And I inhale a deep breath. “I’m just glad you’re home.” I have Lo back. That’s all that should matter right now. Not a round two or a three, but just him present, on the road to being healthy, and in love with me. That’s all I should need.

I can’t wait to reach that place. I just hope it’s attainable.

He relaxes next to me, and I rest my head on his chest, listening to his heartbeat while he runs his hand through my hair. This is nice.

I almost drift to sleep, but the chime of a cellphone snaps my eyes open. “Whose is it?”

He reaches over onto my nightstand. “Mine.” He flips the cell in his palm, and I crane my neck over his shoulder and see a text box.

I know your girlfriend’s secret. – Unknown

I shoot up, fear snapping me cold. Did I read that wrong? I snatch the phone out of his hand, and he grabs it back.

“Lil, calm down,” he says, trying to shield the screen from me as he types a reply.

“Who is that?” I’ve been so careful. I’ve never told anyone I had a sex addiction other than Lo, and now Rose, Connor, and Ryke. Did they let my secret slip to someone else?

I bite my fingernail, and Lo clasps my hand while texting with the other. His eyes flicker to me, narrowing in disapproval.

When the ping sounds again, I basically climb on top of Lo so he can’t hide the message. I read quickly.

Who the f**k are you? – Lo

Someone you hate. – Unknown. Okay, that does not narrow anything down. Lo’s enemies from prep school and college are numerous and vast. It happened when he retaliated against all the people who thought they could bully him into submission.

Lo tries to push me off, but I have my arm wrapped around his neck, close to choking him, so he lets me be. We’re still nak*d, but I’m too frantic to be aroused.

Fuck off – Lo

“That’s your response?” I say, wide-eyed. “You’re egging the person on.”

“If you don’t like it, then you shouldn’t be reading my personal texts or spidering me like a koala bear.”

True.

And lose out on all the money the tabloids will pay me when I tell them Lily Calloway is a sex addict? …Never – Unknown

I blink. Reread the text. And gawk. No.

“Lil,” Lo says, shutting off his phone. “It’s okay. That’s not going to happen. Look at me.” He holds my face in his hands, forcing my eyes to his. “That’s not going to happen. I won’t let it. I’ll hire someone to go find this a**hole. I’ll pay him off more than he’ll get from the tabloids.”

He’s forgetting something. “You’re broke,” I say. His father took away his trust fund because he dropped out of college. Lo hasn’t spoken to him since he left for rehab. He’s alone and poor and all my money is tied up with my family. And they don’t know about my addiction either. I’d rather not tell them. Ever.

His features darken, remembering. “I’ll think of something else then.”

The shame that my family will feel if they find out—the hurt and disappointment—I can’t bear to even think about it. A female sex addict? A slut. A male sex addict? A hero. How much will I tarnish my father’s company with the news? Sure, not a lot of people outside of our social circle know my name or who I am, but could this make tabloid headlines? Why wouldn’t it? Lily Calloway: daughter of the founder of Fizzle, a sex addict and a whore.

It’s juicy enough to satiate gossip columnists everywhere.

“Lo,” I say as tears threaten to fall. “I’m scared.”

He hugs me, drawing me close. “Everything is going to be okay. I’m not going anywhere.”

I hold onto his words and repeat them over and over, hoping that will truly be enough.

{ 2 }

LOREN HALE

I fist a bottle of cheap vodka by the neck. I can’t think straight. My emotions are black. My heart is about there. My lengthy stride is filled with deplorable hate. I don’t run. I walk quickly up the steep driveway, the alcohol clenched in my hand, a million-dollar home staring right back at me.

The door. All I see is that black door and the bronze knocker.

I slam my fist against it, pounding. No one answers. I don’t even hear footsteps. “Open up!” I yell. I pound again and again. Fuck this.

I take the bottle and swing. The glass smashes. The contents shatter, the liquid dripping down the bronze knocker, trailing the black wood and running beneath my soles.

“Fucking hell,” Ryke curses behind me. “Was that necessary?”

The door blows open.

“Yes.”

I told Ryke to wait in the car and I mentioned how the only way Aaron Wells would creep out of his parents’ home (like the rat that he is) is if I started f**king with his things. Starting with that door. I was prepared to move onto his BMW—a shard of glass to decorate the hood. Now I don’t have to go that far.

But I’m not surprised Ryke parked on the curb and followed me up the hill. He likes to do that—tag along and make sure I’m not about to self-destruct. That’s usually Lily’s job, and I’d choose her over him any day of the week. But not right now.

Not when an old prep school prick stands five feet in front of me.

He has dirty blond hair (practically brown), blue eyes and that smug Dalton Academy smile that I remember so well. He’s the first guy that came to mind when we received the texts. What I did to him back in prep school was f**ked up, but our rivalry should have never included Lily. And he shouldn’t be tormenting her now.

Aaron appraises the shattered glass. “I shouldn’t be surprised. The stench smells exactly like you.”

Ryke is about to take a step forward, and I grab his arm to stop him. We’re not punching Wells, as much as I’d like to. This is not that type of fight.

“I’ve met you before,” Aaron says, scanning Ryke from his dark hair to his lean muscles that nearly match mine. “Where was that?” He feigns confusion.

Ryke glares. “I should have smashed your f**king face in.”

When I heard what happened while I was gone, I really wish Ryke had.

Lily’s mother paired her with Aaron at a company party, and he threatened Lily the entire time, basically telling her that he’d screw with her to get to me. (Why? Because he hates me. There’s no other reason for that.) And I just had to hear the news in rehab without doing a goddamn thing. Now that he’s moved to Level 2—somehow learning about her sex addiction and wanting money—I’m here, ready to f**k with him the same way he f**ked with her.

“Oh right,” Aaron says without missing a beat, “I was Lily’s date to a Fizzle event, and you showed up like her white knight while this one was in rehab.” He cocks his head at me. And I internally grimace at the reminder that Ryke was there for Lily these past three months. I wasn’t.

But this, right here, is why I know Aaron sent those texts. He’s recently made it clear that he wants to toy with me by going through Lily, stirring up our old rivalry.

Two can play this game.

“Thanks for escorting her,” I tell him. “She said it was painful staring at your ugly face all night, but I think we all know you weren’t there to please her.” My double-edged words even make me cringe. I don’t like to think about any other guy pleasing Lily. Not before we became a real couple. And definitely not after.

My heart beats so f**king fast. I take a step towards him, the glass crunching.

He stiffens, and I wait to see if he has the balls to shove me back.

Nope. I take my chances and squeeze between the door frame and his immobilized body. He stares right at me. Eye for eye. And I invite myself inside.

“Wow, this place hasn’t changed,” I say, walking further in. I stare at the high vaulted ceilings and the marble floors. Ryke follows me, and Aaron closes the door behind us, his lip curled. I point at the cellar door by the kitchen. “Should we crack open a bottle of wine?”

His eyes flash murderously.

“Maybe not then.”

Ryke hangs back, but if Aaron even raises a fist, he’d be right by my side. That kind of support feels good. I’ve never once had that. Growing up, I always took the beating or found an escape. Fights were always me against a million. No one was in my corner. I wouldn’t let Lily be involved, and if she was, it was guys like Aaron that deviously pulled her in, knowing she was my best friend.

They’d f**k with her just to reach me.

And that’s not happening.

Aaron watches me closely.

“Who’s home?” I ask him.

“No one,” he says, his face blank.

I don’t believe him. “Your parents are in Barbados for the weekend.” Thank you Connor Cobalt with your great tech-savvy skills.

Aaron lets out a dry laugh. “Did your father find that out for you?”

Oh yeah, Ryke wasn’t the one to deter Aaron at the Fizzle event. While Lily was trying to dodge Aaron all night, she told me that my father came in and saved her. Leave it to my dad to inject debilitating fear into someone. Lily said Aaron fled the event after that. Never made a peep again. “My father didn’t help me figure out who’s at your house,” I say, “but I should call him up, thank him for molesting you with his words.”

“You’re a sick f**king guy,” Aaron says, “you know that?”

I’m just getting started. “Julie!” I shout. “Julie, come out, come out!”

Ryke wavers behind me. He’s seen me like this. I used to attack him. I still do. Plenty of times. But this is different. I am fueled by hate so deep that I can barely breathe.

Aaron glances hesitantly at the balcony above the double staircase. His house was used for debutant balls just for that entrance.

“JULIE!” I yell.

Aaron steps towards me, his hand leveled out as though he comes in peace. “Hey, I told your father I’d lay off Lily, okay? We made a deal. I stuck to it. I haven’t done shit to her since the event.”

“JULIE!”

The door clatters upstairs.

Aaron talks faster, “I was pissed that night. I applied for a job, and they denied my application. I didn’t even get an interview because of you.”

“You’re going to blame me?” I glare. He should. With my father’s help, I called up his dream college and had the Dean take a second look at Wells. Next thing you know, he’s going to his safety school, not even waitlisted to the place he thought he had in the bag. We rerouted his future.


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