Home > Kian(7)

Author: Tijan

“Really?” I asked, my eyebrows arching high.

He shrugged, giving me a small smile. “You look good. I’ve never stopped thinking that.”

I was two seconds away from delivering some scathing retort, when he looked beyond my shoulder. “Erica, how’s it going?”

“Actually…” Erica said, raising her voice as she scooted in. One of her shoulders touched his chest, and the other touched the top of my arm. She was acting as a barrier between us.

Jake flashed her a grin and shifted backward. She moved so she was facing him completely.

An exaggerated smile was on her face. “It’s great, you know. Got passed up for a job today. Found out about it from my friend, who, you know, you asked for a date to Susan’s party. Yeah. Great. Life’s wonderful. How are you doing? It’s been a while since I last saw you. Was it early December?”

He tensed, grimacing.

Erica clapped a hand on his shoulder and beamed up. “Remember, Jake? You and Jo were finishing up a paper that was due. She couldn’t get ahold of you to help. She didn’t want to bother you, because she worried you’d be annoyed with her so I was trying to help instead. We went to a private study room in the library, the same one you and Jo used to study in all the time and there you were, you and Tara were making out. Yeah.”

His grin faltered.

She snapped her fingers in the air, like she was just remembering. “It’s all coming back to me now.”

He scooted back another half step before someone bumped into him from behind. The drink he had extended for me was pulled back and raised above his chest. I didn’t know if he was holding it there as a shield from Erica or as a weapon to pour on her.

His shoulders dropped then. “That’s all over and done with,” he said, glancing at me.

Erica was in guard-dog mode. I loved my roommate. My trust was renewed. I’d been stupid to let my old issues sneak up on me.

“Come on, Erica. What is this?” he asked.

Her voice sharpened. “What are you doing here, Jake?”

He spoke to her, but he was watching me, “I wanted to see Jo—”

“Let me stop you right now,” she cut him off. “No explanation is needed because I know what you’re doing. And I’m going to say one thing to you. Don’t hurt my friend again.”

My grin slipped away. I’d been enjoying watching her do her thing, but she was right. I had been hurt. It took me months before I got Jake out of my system. He was the first guy that I’d let in after…

Remembering again, I found myself looking up. I didn’t want to, but I knew it was there. I knew he was there, and yes, there he was.

The news was on. There were eight different television screens all around the bar, probably more, and most of them had sports or music videos on, but a few were turned to the news.

“Jordan! What happened that night?”

“Miss Emory, are you in love with him? How do you feel about Kian Maston? Were you two having a sexual relationship before he killed your father for you?”

Someone laughed. “Are you having one now?”

They all laughed at that one.

So many reporters. So many cameras. They were always in the way—anytime I’d had to go to school, had to go to work, or had to go home even. I had known they were waiting for me, hoping I would mess up and yell at them. Head down, eyes forward, arm inside my jacket at all times—those were the only instructions the police had given to me. They hadn’t been worried about my safety, not when the nation had fallen in love with Kian and blamed me.


“Jordan! Are you thankful to Kian Maston for saving your life?”

“Jo.” A hand touched my shoulder. A hand waved in front of my face.

I jerked back to the present day. Both Jake and Erica were frowning at me.

Erica pulled her hand away from me. “Where did you go just now?”

“What?” I glanced up.

It was like Kian was staring right at me, watching me again, like he had watched me through my bedroom window that day.

I grabbed Jake’s drink and gulped half of it down.

“Whoa. Hey…okay.”

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.

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