Addicted for Now / Page 50

Page 50


I should have just told her on the beach.

And I don’t know what propels me to do it—maybe thinking that one simple thing, maybe feeling the regret—but I pop my head from my burrow. “Daisy?” I look around and find her standing by her chair.

She is crying.

And I’m not sure if it’s because I am or because she’s mad at me.

“I’m sorry,” I tell her. “I meant to tell you.”

“It’s true?” she asks, wiping her face quickly like Lo had, not wanting me to see. It’s as though they can’t cry because I am. I hate that. It makes no sense, and it drives me to dam my waterworks sooner rather than later.

“I’m…” I can’t say it. Why can’t I just say it? My sister deserves more than me weeping and hiding away. I wipe my nose with the back of my arm and sit up straight. I slide from Lo’s lap, but he intertwines my fingers with his. It helps. It makes me not want to drown so much.

“It’s okay,” Daisy says what Lo has been repeating. She rubs all of her tears. “It’s fine, you don’t have to explain.” Daisy hates to see people upset. I forgot that about her. She just wants everyone to be happy.

But all the pain that it’s going to take to admit this to my sister—I need to feel it. Telling Rose was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but this is worse. Because I told Rose on my own accord, but in this instance, someone has played my hand, forcing me into it.

There is no compassion in telling her my secret. It’s just…necessary.

Very softly, I say, “I’m a sex addict.”

Her tears have dried up. And she nods. My strong, fearless sister. “And Mom…does she know?”

I shake my head once.

“Dad?”

“No.”

Daisy glances at Ryke. “You knew.”

“It’s complicated.”

Daisy nods again, trying to understand, I think. Her eyes go to Connor. “And you knew.”

“And Rose. That’s it,” Connor says.

Rose. My eyes flicker to the back cabin door where the bed lies. I wish she was here. She’s like a prickly iron chair that will weather any battle.

“But not Poppy?” Daisy asks me.

“Not Poppy,” I say, “and I only told Rose six months ago. I would have told you sooner, but I was…am—I’m ashamed.” Tears build again. “You’re my little sister. I didn’t want you to see me like this.” I am the f**k up. The broken, pathetic one now. I can no longer dole out sisterly advice and expect the same admiration in return. Everything will change.

Her dark eyebrows bunch together, such an ugly expression for someone so beautiful. “You’re still the same person, Lily. I just…I have to get my head around this.” Her eyes flicker to Lo. “How long have you known?”

We meet each other’s gaze. How long has he known? How long have I known? Setting a date seems like trying to pin down when a growth spurt begins and ends. Immeasurable time.

Thinking about it reminds me of all the moments we’ve shared. From childhood to adolescence to adulthood. We have lived together, loved together, and f**ked up together. I’m not sure many people can truly say that about someone else.

His eyes soften and he turns to Daisy. “Awhile.”

Awhile. That seems right.

Daisy opens her mouth to ask another question, but a Bob Dylan song starts playing from her pocket. She pulls out her phone the same time something vibrates near my leg. Lo fishes out his own cell.

A chime and another vibration go off and both Connor and Ryke look at theirs. We must have hit an area in the sky with good cell reception. Who knows how long people have been calling?

“It’s Mom,” Daisy says.

“My therapist,” Lo tells me.

“My mom,” Ryke adds.

We all look to Connor. His eyes flit up to Lo’s. “The private investigator. I have to take this.” He retreats to the back cabin where Rose sleeps. We still don’t know who leaked the information, but maybe we will now—not that it matters. What’s done is done.

Daisy’s phone keeps playing “Shelter from the Storm” and everyone sits on edge the longer they ignore their calls.

“Go talk to them,” I say.

Daisy sniffs and stares at her phone. “I just like this song.”

Ryke puts a hand on her shoulder. “Rose should talk to your parents first anyway.”

She shakes her head. “No, it’s okay.” She clicks the green button and puts the receiver to her ear. Daisy risks sitting by Melissa since she’s secluded in the most private alcove of the whole plane. (Besides the bathroom, that is.) Melissa stays frozen in her seat, uncomfortable and bit stunned by everything.

“I have to go pee,” I mutter, about to stand up. I can imagine the sheer horror on my father’s face. On my mother’s. I don’t think I can ever confront them.

Lo grabs my wrist before I rise from the couch. “You shouldn’t be alone right now.”

“I just have to pee,” I tell him again, tugging his hand off me.

He gives me a look like do you really?

No, I don’t. I want to cry in solitude. I guess he knows this, and I understand his fear that I’ll avoid my emotions with self-love like I’ve done in the past.

It’s tempting.

I stay put and stuff my face into a pillow. The news replays in my head again, and I’m on the verge of tears once more.

“Hey, Lily.” Ryke comes over and nudges my side. “I don’t want to talk to my mom, so how about we play cards?” He glances to Lo. “And you need to talk to your therapist.”

“I can stay here.”

Ryke gives him a firm look.

He sighs, resigning more easily than normal. I must have drained him of energy. Lo rises and disappears to the bathroom.

“Lily? Cards?” He pulls out the deck from his pocket and shuffles.

I lower my pillow, sensing his tactics to distract me. “What kind of card game?”

“Whatever you want.”

“Go Fish.”

He looks like I’ve almost stabbed his soul.

“You said whatever I want,” I remind him, trying to wipe silent tears that keep falling against my will. I need permanent tissues stuck to my tear ducts. Like when you staunch a bloody nose. Would it work?

“That’s not even a two-person game,” Ryke tells me.

“But it’s still possible to play with two people.” I want the distraction without having to bust my brain learning a new game.

“Fine,” he says, relenting when I sit on the floor since there’s no coffee table. He deals the cards on the carpet, and I try not to dampen them with my tears.

“We’re flying over Georgia right now,” I hear Daisy say. “We shouldn’t be long.” Her voice shakes really badly. I don’t like that she’s talking to our parents first.

Ryke’s concerned gaze flits between Daisy and his cards. “Do you have a king?”

“Go Fish.”

“Lily’s taking a nap,” Daisy says.

Ryke picks up a card and then kicks my knee. “Your turn.” Right.

“Do you have a…” I stare at my cards. “An eight?” I look at the bathroom door, not hearing a peep from Lo. But he leaves the door cracked so we know he’s not doing something rash, like chugging alcohol or…worse. My chest hurts, like someone decided to stand on my diaphragm.

Ryke hands me his eight and grumbles under his breath about how this is the stupidest f**king game. But he’s partially concentrated on my sister in the corner.

“I can’t wake her up,” Daisy says, her voice growing more frantic and low. “Wait, please…I don’t want to…Mom.”

Ryke stands up before I can find the strength to put weight on my gelatin legs. He goes over to the four-chair alcove. He has to lean over a glowering Melissa to reach Daisy. “Give me the phone,” he whispers, but I can still hear his hostile voice.

“Mom,” Daisy says. “I have to go…But…I…Wait…I…”

Ryke grabs the phone from her before she has a breakdown. And at the same time, Rose is halfway across the plane aisle, her eyes dead-set on me with so much confidence and power that I immediately wish I was her. Strong and built like a fortress—able to withstand anything that’s thrown at me.

I meet her gaze, but I point to Ryke who now clutches my mother—or the phone that contains my mother. Rose understands. She grabs Daisy’s cell from him and immediately goes into crisis management mode.

“Mother, calm down. No,” she snaps. “No.” And that’s all I hear as she struts back to the cabin to talk in private. She said the one word that Daisy couldn’t.

I’m not sure I could either.

Daisy stares out the window. Ryke whispers something to her, and she just nods and gestures to me.

Ryke comes back to the floor, collecting his cards and fanning them in his hands. “It’s my turn, I think,” he says. “Do you have a ten?”

“Ryke?”

“Yeah?”

“Whatever happens, you’ll take care of him, right?”

He goes rigid. “I don’t know what that f**king means.”

“It means what it means,” I breathe. “He doesn’t have anyone besides you and me. I just need to know you’ll be there.”

“And so will you,” he snaps.

“Not if my parents force me into rehab or halfway across the country.” My mother will want to bury away this problem by transporting it to a different time zone.

“You’re almost twenty-one. You’re a f**king adult. Your parents can’t make you do shit, Lily.”

“I owe them—”

“For tarnishing the Fizzle name? For bringing you up with cash and luxury?” He keeps shaking his head. “You and Lo have it so warped. You think you’re indebted to your parents because they gave you everything you have. But they didn’t give you what f**king mattered. They owe you. They owe you for not asking why their daughter isn’t home. Why she looks distant and sad. Why she has barricaded herself in a f**king apartment with her boyfriend. They have failed you, and if they tell you to get on a f**king plane or go to rehab—where we all know you shouldn’t be—then you need to tell them to go to hell. And if you don’t, Lo and I will. I promise you that.”

The right words stay at the back of my throat—thanks, Ryke. It’s a hard phrase to produce, especially when he delivers his opinions with such fervor and force.

I land on something though.

“Go Fish.”

He lets out a short laugh as he reaches for the deck. “You’ll be fine, Calloway.”

At least one of us believes it.

{ 32 }

LOREN HALE

I lean against the bathroom wall, staring at my pallid face and sunken eyes. I look like utter shit. I feel even worse. My left hand keeps shaking, and I have to clench my fingers into a fist just to make it stop. My father bitches me out on the other line for ignoring his previous calls.


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