Scorched (Frigid 2) - Page 57

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“But what about fishing? I remember Syd mentioning something about fishing.” Andrea’s gaze swung to mine, her eyes wide and pleading for me to somehow change this. “There’s still stuff to do.”

“She’s right,” I jumped in. “Man, you guys don’t have to do this.”

Kyler drew in a deep breath and he smiled, but it didn’t quite reach his eyes. “We’re leaving in about two hours.” His tone said the decision had been made. He reached for the door, sliding it open. “But I’m going to make some omelets. With green peppers and mushrooms. Yum.”

Andrea didn’t move as she stared at the closed glass door, but then she turned to me, her lower lip trembling. “I’ve ruined everything.”

Chapter 20

Andrea

Although the omelets smelled amazing, after one bite the fluffy eggs and veggies turned to sawdust in my mouth. I couldn’t eat or force myself to pretend that I could. Between blurting out how I’d first met Tanner and then Kyler’s announcement, I was ready to go cry somewhere. I dumped my food and quickly washed the plate, leaving the kitchen to find Syd. I didn’t look at Tanner as I left the kitchen.

Syd was in their room, packing. I hesitated at the door, feeling like absolute crap. Guilt churned restlessly as she glanced over her shoulder at me. “Thank you for last night,” I said, watching her fold a shirt. “For helping me. I appreciate it.”

“It’s no big deal. It’s a practice run for me, right?” she teased. “You’re feeling better?”

I nodded. My headache was partly due to the anxiety attack and mostly because I’d gotten plastered. “Syd, we don’t have to leave.”

Syd dropped a ball of socks into the suitcase and turned toward me. Her expression was pinched, somber. “Yeah, we do.”

“But—”

“Both of us are ready to go home, and it’s actually calling for rain again, later tonight and all day tomorrow. So if we stayed, we’d be stuck inside,” she continued. “And honestly, none of us need cabin fever.”

I shifted my weight from one foot to the next. “It’s because of last night, isn’t it? I promise—”

“Andrea, you know I love you. You’re my best friend. Seriously.” She sighed as she walked over to me, and I tensed. “I just don’t think this is good for you right now. Honestly, I probably shouldn’t have pushed you toward Tanner. That wasn’t a smart move.”

My mouth dried as my stomach tightened.

She looked up at me with all seriousness. “I know you haven’t told me that anything happened between you two, but I’m not stupid. Something did, and maybe it shouldn’t have, not right now.”

“Not right now?” I heard myself repeat.

Sydney drew in a deep breath and let it out slowly. She squared her shoulders, and I prepared for a blow. “Like I said, I love you. I do. And it…it kills me to see the way you were last night. You never would’ve gotten to that point if you hadn’t drunk so much. And you know, deep down, that is true.”

I did. I so did.

“What you need right now isn’t a guy,” she said quietly. “What you need is help.”

You need help.

Those words recycled over and over in my head. She hadn’t stopped there. She’d talked about meetings and therapy and getting to the root of my problem. I was like a chunk of ice by the time I left her room and started gathering up my stuff.

You need help.

My brain couldn’t shake those three words, couldn’t let them go. I felt like I was going to be sick. Like at any given minute, I could just hurl all over the shorts I was stacking in my suitcase.

You need help.

Was it that bad? Was I that bad? I’d just made a stupid decision last night. Well, a stupid decision fueled by other dumb decisions that were rooted in a whole bunch of idiocy. If I could just stop making dumb decisions, I’d be fine.

I’d just shoved my undies into the suitcase when I felt a presence behind me. I didn’t even need to turn to see who it was. I just knew. It was the guy that I apparently didn’t need.

“I really don’t want to talk,” I said when he didn’t speak.

There was a pause. “I think that’s the problem. You never want to talk when you really need to talk.”

I laughed hoarsely. “Jesus.” I slammed my makeup caddy into the suitcase and whirled around. He’d changed from earlier, wearing jeans and a worn shirt that clung to his broad shoulders. “Is today the day when everyone tells me all about all my problems? Because if so, can we fast forward to the part where I say none of this is fucking news to me?”

Tanner blinked, taken aback. “Okay. Look—”

“No. There is no ‘okay’ or ‘looking.’” My voice shook. “We ruined this for them. Or I ruined it for them. It doesn’t matter. This trip was ruined. Okay? So there’s really nothing I want to talk about right now.”

He opened his mouth and then closed it. A long moment stretched out between us, and in that time, I wanted so much—so damn much. I wanted to redo this whole trip, our whole freaking relationship. I wanted to cross the little distance between us and throw my arms around him, because it wasn’t that I needed Tanner. I wanted him. I wanted to tell him that I was sorry, but I wasn’t sure what I was even sorry for or what I wasn’t sorry for.

And all I did was stand there and stare at him.


Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout Frigid Romance
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