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The Dirty Series 2(7)

By:Amelia Wilde



I was never out there long enough for him, but my brother—he was just wild enough to earn my father’s affection. A memory surfaces from the depths. A headache blooming behind my eyes, the summer sun too intense, and my father calling after me, “You’re just like your mother. Too quiet to make any real mark on the world.”

Though his tone was mocking and he said the words with a smile, he laughed along with my brother at my retreating back.

I shake it off and fill my eyes, and my mind, with the sight of Quinn, radiant in a slick black bikini, her head tilted back against the cushions of the chair, her perfect body stretched out in total relaxation. I can just see the edges of her face underneath the sun hat. Her eyes are closed to shield them against the pool’s reflection.

“It’s a relief,” she says, as if we’ve been talking this entire time instead of silently enjoying the last morning of the weekend.

“What’s a relief?”

“Being free from Derek.”

We’ve been trading life details the entire weekend, but this is the first time she’s mentioned him since that night at the apartment. My heart breaks a little that that piece of shit is on her mind, but I can see how the wound would still be fresh.

Secretly, I’m thrilled that she’s choosing to open up to me like this. If we can be totally real with each other, then…

I nod, though she still hasn’t opened her eyes. “He seems like he was an asshole.”

“Somewhere, he still is an asshole. I just wish I hadn’t wasted five years of my life on him.”

“Five years?”

“The first couple were pretty good. If they hadn’t been, I wouldn’t have let him move into my house.”

“You didn’t mention that before.”

“That he was living in my house?”

“Yeah.”

“It’s a little embarrassing to find out that your fiancé has had a woman on the side for an entire year while he’s living in your own house. Oh, and that the woman in question is your best friend on top of it.”

“You don’t have to be embarrassed,” I say, reaching out to rest a hand on her smooth thigh. She gives a soft sigh of satisfaction. “He was a prick who didn’t know what he had.”

Quinn opens her eyes then and smiles into mine. “Do you know what you have?”

“I have a decent idea.” I grin back, my voice husky.

“You know what the worst part was?” she says, lifting her head to kiss the side of my neck, her tongue darting out in a suggestion that we should consider heading back to the bedroom.

“What?”

“The fact that he lied about it for so long.” Quinn’s gaze turns steely for just a moment. “I’m fucking over liars.” My stomach flops over in a sickening thud.

Then her expression clears, and she’s looking at me with a wicked glint in her eyes. “There’s something I want to do. We have a little more time before we need to leave, right?”

I’m out of the chair in an instant, offering my hand to her.

“More than enough.”





Chapter Thirty-Three





Quinn



City noise—horns honking, taxi drivers shouting at one another, motorcycles with no mufflers—seems almost oppressive after the luxurious silence at Christian’s cottage in the Hamptons.

Cottage. Even thinking about the Pierce Cottage being called that—by anyone, even Christian—still makes me laugh.

As I stand near the outskirts of a SoHo ballroom, watching Christian work the crowd at a fundraiser to raise money for afterschool programs, my mind turns over the memories we created this past weekend. It’s been four days since we came back to the city, but my entire goddamn soul wants to be back in the perfectly cooled rooms of the mansion, or lounging poolside on the most plush pool furniture I’ve ever seen in my life.

Christian was relaxed there. Seeing him at the Cottage, away from any prying eyes, was like seeing him at the Bowery Mission at that first event. He was quieter, not so boisterous. I’d half expected him to want to go to summer parties in the evenings to drink and dance with people more of his social class—at least money-wise—but instead he planned evenings in, catered by Robert, for just the two of us.

Maybe it’s because we can’t afford to out ourselves just yet.

That’s not entirely true. Christian can afford to do anything he wants. I’m the one whose career will come to a crashing halt if anyone finds out I’m dating one of my clients.

My only client, I remind myself sternly. HRM isn’t going to look on this relationship very fondly, and that’s putting it fucking mildly.

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