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Pretty Thing (Naughty Things 1) - Page 18

Fuck her then, I decide. If Kali Anderson wants to fuck and forget, I’m happy to give her what she wants.

And besides, I think, looking up at the lift…

I’ve got a Jeep to kill.

CHAPTER TEN – KALI

“Of course I called him back.” I’m saying this over dinner with my friend Alison. She doesn’t know the history between Kyle, Aiden and me. We just became friends two years ago when I was going through my I’m-going-to-bake-dessert-for-money phase and she applied to be my assistant. Needless to say, the friendship outlasted the business.

“How many times?” Alison asks, shoving half a taco in her mouth. “Sorry,” she says, wiping her mouth and chewing as she talks. “I skipped my snack today and I’m starving.”

Snack. Sometimes I want to throttle her. She’s one of those small, petite girls with perfect brown skin and dark curly hair that has natural honey-colored highlights in the sun. Going to the lake with her in a bikini is a lesson in humility.

“I know what you’re thinking.” She points at me. “And you know what my answer is?”

“Call him back again until he picks up?”

“Who? What? No, you’re thinking about my taco and how I skipped a snack.”

“I was not.”

“Liar. Anyway, you’re the one with the hips and tits. Good for you. I’m built like a boy so I get to stuff tacos in my mouth six times a day.”

I laugh. “I’d rather have the tacos.”

“Grass is always greener, honey. No one’s ever satisfied.”

“Anyway,” I say.

“Anyway, yes. If you like him you just gotta spell it out, Kali. Men are… well, men.”

“I don’t know if I like him.”

She shoots me one of those looks that says, Bitch. Please.

“OK, I like him.” And then I sigh. “I’ve always liked him, Alison.”

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“How come this is the first I’m hearing about it? We’re supposed to be each other’s vault. And”—she points her finger at me again—“how did I not know you had a twin? Why are you living this double life?”

“I’m not,” I say. Then frown.

“Sorry,” Alison says. “Didn’t mean to bring up your brother. I should’ve gone to the funeral with you. I’m a bad friend.”

“No,” I say. “You’re an awesome friend. I just needed to do that myself.”

“So tell me why you’ve been avoiding your brother for the past few years.” Then she raises her eyebrows. “Oh. I see. It wasn’t your brother you were avoiding, it was this Aiden guy.”

I didn’t plan this. I never meant to wander away from Kyle and Aiden the way I did. At least I don’t think I did. It’s just… “I have always liked him, Alison. Ever since I could remember. And he’s always been off limits. Plus, you should see him. I mean, when we were kids he was just another cute boy but then when we turned sixteen he turned into this magnificent man with muscles and, holy hell, Ali. He’s got tattoos now. And the business with Kyle—that’s doing awesome. And he’s always been a kind person. Always took care of me when I needed something. He’s just… my one, you know? And I can’t have him.”

“The brother’s best friend is tricky,” she says. “I only have sisters so my big no-no was no dating the sisters’ exes.”

“Did you ever?” I ask.

She almost spits out her taco. “I have seven sisters, Kali. There’s only so many men in the world.”

“So you did?”

She nods. “Only once though.” But then she actually puts down her taco and says, “But it was a mistake. My sister Ami didn’t speak to me for almost a year. And at first I was like… well, I have six other sisters to drive crazy, I don’t need her. But that guy was just using me to make her jealous and then…” She stops and waves her hand in front of her face like she needs to wipe that memory away. “Anyway, it was a mistake. Never did it again. But…”

“But what?”

She shrugs and eats the rest of her taco.

“I know what you’re going to say. Or at least I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking… Kyle is gone now, so—”

“I was not going to say that.” Then she looks down at her plate. “But I was thinking it.” She looks up at me again. “Don’t you think he’d want you two to be happy?”

“He didn’t want us to date when he was alive,” I say, suddenly feeling sad. “Why would he change his mind now?”

She raises one eyebrow at me.

“I know he’s dead,” I say, feeling the ache of empty space in my heart. “But I want to respect his wishes.”

“You don’t know his wishes, Kali. You were avoiding him for years.”

“Believe me, every time he had an inkling that Aiden and I were attracted to each other he made them very clear. I am not allowed to date his best friend and Aiden is not allowed to date his sister.”

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