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It burned my throat. Good, the memories couldn’t come back. I’d burn them away with booze, or I’d try. “Can I get another one?”

“Uh, that was straight whiskey.”

I handed him the cup and said hoarsely, “Yeah. Thank you.”

“Wha—okay. Be right back.”

As he went to the bar, Erica leaned close to peer into my eyes. “You in there?” She held up a finger and asked, “Can you follow this?” Her finger went from side to side.

I rolled my eyes. “He offered me his drink in the first place.”

“Yeah, but we both know that was a lame line to make a dramatic entrance. It’s Jake. He’s trying to woo you again.”

“And it won’t work.” I pulled her in for a hug. “And want to know why?”

“Rrhy?” Her voice was muffled against my shirt.

“Because you’re the best friend I could have. Even if I slip and forget how he hurt me before, you’re not going to let him do it again, Miss I’m Going to Literally Stand Between My Friend and the Big, Bad Dick.”

She frowned. “I did not…did I?”

“You did. And I’m not an idiot. He wanted to use me to get back at Tara.” I gestured to where Susan’s group was standing. They needed to be farther away.

“Tara is evil.” Erica snorted.

“No, Susan is evil. Tara’s nice.”

As her features tightened, I instantly regretted my words. Well, fuck. I touched her arm. We were there because of Susan, not me. She shrugged off my hand and then nodded behind me. “Dream Boat is coming back.” Her mouth turned down, and she glanced around. “Where’s Wanker?”

We both scanned the room. Erica covered her mouth and started laughing a second later. She pointed to the bar where Wanker was in line. He was standing behind a group of people who appeared to be in line, but they weren’t. They were just standing there and talking to each other, but he was reading the closed-captioning on a news channel. As a person from the group left, Wanker moved aside and then resumed his place behind them.

They never left.

And he never moved up in the nonexistent line.

“We have to get him. He has no idea.”#p#分页标题#e#

Jake arrived at that moment, holding one of the cups out to me. “Here you go, and I remember our days of drinking. You’re not a whiskey girl, so I ordered a rum and diet for you. I hope that’s all right.”

It was more than all right. I could smell the rum as I took the cup from his hand. It was plenty strong and just what I needed, and because he got it for me, I’d give him a pass for the night. Just this once, though. “Thanks. This doesn’t mean you’re off the hook, you know.”

He hid a grin. “Got it. I know.”

Giving him a small salute, I started to drink the whole thing, but Erica grabbed my arm and began pulling me in Wanker’s direction.


She kept tugging. “Let’s grab him and find somewhere to sit. If we’re going to be here, I want to be able to relax. I can’t do that if we’re standing in the middle of a drunk herd.”

I leaned closer, so Jake wouldn’t overhear. “When are you going to let Susan have it?”

Erica shot me a look. “That’s currently being processed in my head. I’m going to need more alcohol to help figure everything out before I do anything.” She glanced over her shoulder to Jake. “I take it that you’re going to let him sit with us?”

I shrugged and lifted my drink up. “He got me this, after all.”

She let out a sigh, rolling her eyes. “Okay. You’re kind of a sucker, you know?”

I knew, but we walked underneath a television screen at that moment, going into a back section of the bar. That night, I didn’t care about being a sucker. I was going to need all the distractions I could use to keep Kian out of my head, and all my old baggage with him.

“There’s a spot.” Jake came around us and pointed to an empty table.

Erica wrinkled her nose and scratched her forehead. She shrugged. “Wanker will find us eventually. I’ll keep a lookout for him.” She waved her hand in front of us. “March on, dude. Lead the way.”

And he did.

Jake led the way, even moving to hold his arm backward in an effort to shield me from a few drunks. Seven months ago, that would’ve sent the butterflies buzzing in me. Not now. All I could feel was the anchor in my stomach. When we got to the table, I glanced down and smack dab in the middle of it, Kian was looking right up at me. A television screen was inside the glass.

A breath hitched in my throat. It was a close-up of him, and I’d forgotten how powerful his eyes were.