“Yes, that little bakery down the street from your building.” Rose sighs. “They have the best cupcakes.”
“Are you talking about Piece of Cake?” They have good coffee at least. “And a cupcake for breakfast? Gross.”
“I’m craving frosting. Don’t judge.”
Double gross. Being pregnant is making my sister weird. “Give me twenty minutes.”
“Perfect, see you there.”
“OH. MY. GOD.” Rose sinks her teeth into the biggest cupcake I’ve ever seen, topped with a thick layer of pink frosting. She’s chewing slowly, like she’s savoring every bite, and she closes her eyes, a little moan falling from her lips that makes me vaguely uncomfortable.
As if she’s finding some sort of weird erotic pleasure from eating the cupcake.
“That good, huh?” I squirm in my seat, look anywhere but at my dreamy-eyed sister as she licks her fingers and then wipes them with a napkin.
“Thank God you showed up when you did. I was about to buy a dozen of these suckers to go and head back home.” Rose stares at her cupcake like she’s going to attack it. I seriously hope she reconsiders. “How’s your muffin?”
I bought a blueberry muffin but I’m not hungry. I pick at it, pinch a crumble off the top and then let it drop on my plate. “I’m not that hungry.”
“Hmm.” She eyes my plate hungrily, then returns her attention to hers, swooping her finger into the frosting. “What’s bugging you, Lily?”
“Nothing.” I give her a wan smile and take a sip of my coffee, pausing mid-sip when I see the way Rose is watching me.
Like she can see right through my lie.
“Tell me,” she says, her voice low, her fingers curled around the edge of the round table as she leans over it. Not that she can lean much, considering her growing belly gets in the way. “You haven’t been acting right since you came home from Maui. And I still don’t get why you went there in the first place.”
“Vacation,” I say, wincing at the dirty look she shoots me.
“You made me lie and act like I had no idea where you were when I did know the entire time!” Rose bangs the edge of the table, making the plates rattle, and she reaches out, grabbing hold of her cupcake as if she’s going to lose it. “Tell me why you went there.”
“I can’t,” I whisper, but Rose shakes her head, clearly not accepting my answer.
“Not good enough. Tell me.”
I try another tactic. “Aren’t I the big sister here? Isn’t it my job to be the bossy one?”
“Not when I’m the only pregnant, married one of the bunch. I trump both you and Violet.” Her voice lowers almost to a hiss. “Tell me.”
Glancing around, I make sure no one is nearby before I start in with a vague retelling of why I ended up in Maui, who I met in Maui … and what I think he stole from me before I left. In all, it takes fifteen minutes for me to tell my sad tale and by the time I’m finished, Rose has devoured every crumb and speck of frosting and she’s staring at me with her mouth hanging open.
“Are you freaking serious?” she finally manages to say.
I nod, chugging a huge swallow of coffee before I set my cup on the table. “I haven’t even told you the worst of it.”
“How much worse can it be?” She shakes her head and stares off into space, blinking hard before she looks at me. “What were you going to do, blackmail Pilar? I mean, she’s talking to Felicity Winston. She’s the freaking enemy, Lily.”
“I thought I’d blackmail Pilar, yeah, but then she got so weird on me. Her voice during that phone call was chilling. She scared the crap out of me, so I just … ran. I know it was a mistake, my leaving, but I panicked.” I cross my arms in front of my chest and heave a big sigh. “She’s still fucking that asshole Zachary. Daddy would flip if he knew that.”
“Are you going to tell him? You need to tell him,” Rose says sternly.
“He probably wouldn’t believe me,” I say miserably. I’ve lied before, lots of times. Daddy wouldn’t believe me, especially since I’m ratting out Pilar. He won’t want to believe me. “And I don’t have the laptop, so it’s not like I have any proof.”
She nods, not bothering to deny what I say is possibly true. She knows Daddy wouldn’t believe me. She knows my past, how I’ve lied before just to try and get in our father’s good graces. My lies always backfired. Now I want to tell the truth and no one will believe me. “But how can it get any worse?”
My voice lowers to an almost inaudible whisper. “There’s naked photos of me on that laptop.”
Rose’s face falls. “Oh, Lily.”
“I know, I know.” I wave my hand, dismissing whatever lecture she’s about to give me. “It was stupid. I should’ve never taken photos like that, but most of them are old. Like from a few years ago old. Remember John?”
She shrugs, then shakes her head.
“Yeah, well, I took them for a guy, as a Valentine’s Day present. Then promptly forgot to delete them.”
“How could you do that? Why keep them on your computer?” Rose shakes her head, makes a little face. “I let Caden take a few photos of me on his phone a while ago but I made him delete everything. Then I made him go on the stupid cloud or whatever and delete them from there, too. Freaking cloud saves everything.”