Home > Kian(8)

Kian(8)
Author: Tijan

“Tara is evil.” Erica snorted.

“No, Susan is evil. Tara’s nice.”

As her features tightened, I instantly regretted my words. Well, fuck. I touched her arm. We were there because of Susan, not me. She shrugged off my hand and then nodded behind me. “Dream Boat is coming back.” Her mouth turned down, and she glanced around. “Where’s Wanker?”

We both scanned the room. Erica covered her mouth and started laughing a second later. She pointed to the bar where Wanker was in line. He was standing behind a group of people who appeared to be in line, but they weren’t. They were just standing there and talking to each other, but he was reading the closed-captioning on a news channel. As a person from the group left, Wanker moved aside and then resumed his place behind them.

They never left.

And he never moved up in the nonexistent line.

“We have to get him. He has no idea.”

Jake arrived at that moment, holding one of the cups out to me. “Here you go, and I remember our days of drinking. You’re not a whiskey girl, so I ordered a rum and diet for you. I hope that’s all right.”

It was more than all right. I could smell the rum as I took the cup from his hand. It was plenty strong and just what I needed, and because he got it for me, I’d give him a pass for the night. Just this once, though. “Thanks. This doesn’t mean you’re off the hook, you know.”

He hid a grin. “Got it. I know.”

Giving him a small salute, I started to drink the whole thing, but Erica grabbed my arm and began pulling me in Wanker’s direction.

“Hey.”

She kept tugging. “Let’s grab him and find somewhere to sit. If we’re going to be here, I want to be able to relax. I can’t do that if we’re standing in the middle of a drunk herd.”

I leaned closer, so Jake wouldn’t overhear. “When are you going to let Susan have it?”

Erica shot me a look. “That’s currently being processed in my head. I’m going to need more alcohol to help figure everything out before I do anything.” She glanced over her shoulder to Jake. “I take it that you’re going to let him sit with us?”

I shrugged and lifted my drink up. “He got me this, after all.”

She let out a sigh, rolling her eyes. “Okay. You’re kind of a sucker, you know?”

I knew, but we walked underneath a television screen at that moment, going into a back section of the bar. That night, I didn’t care about being a sucker. I was going to need all the distractions I could use to keep Kian out of my head, and all my old baggage with him.

“There’s a spot.” Jake came around us and pointed to an empty table.

Erica wrinkled her nose and scratched her forehead. She shrugged. “Wanker will find us eventually. I’ll keep a lookout for him.” She waved her hand in front of us. “March on, dude. Lead the way.”

And he did.

Jake led the way, even moving to hold his arm backward in an effort to shield me from a few drunks. Seven months ago, that would’ve sent the butterflies buzzing in me. Not now. All I could feel was the anchor in my stomach. When we got to the table, I glanced down and smack dab in the middle of it, Kian was looking right up at me. A television screen was inside the glass.

A breath hitched in my throat. It was a close-up of him, and I’d forgotten how powerful his eyes were.

“Wanker!” Erica shot forward, waving her arm in the air.

Kian’s mug shot was staring at me on the left side of the screen. His eyes were stormy, hostile even, and he was scowling at the camera. He looked furious for being there, and I could understand it. Everyone could understand it. That was why he was loved.

He saved me.

My foster father had put a knife to my throat. He would’ve killed me, but Kian saved me. He was then arrested and charged. The nation was enraged.

A bottle was set down next to me, bumping me back to the present day. I looked up, a little dazed, but all attention was on Wanker. He’d brought three bottles of wine with him. A server trailed behind with empty glasses. Taking the empty seat beside Erica, he scooted his stool a little closer to her.

“Wine?” Erica’s eyebrow arched high. “Wine?”

One of the bottles was uncorked. Erica motioned for the server to do the rest, but I wasn’t waiting. I grabbed the first bottle and took a long drag, ignoring the empty glass Wanker offered me.

“Oh. Whoa, Jo!” The eyebrow lowered, and a smile lifted my roommate’s cheeks. “Okay. Well, right on. It’s that kind of night, huh?”

Jake laughed.

Wanker nudged his glasses back up his nose. “That was for Erica.”

“Who cares?” She grabbed one of the other bottles. “I’ll take this one.” After putting the third one in front of Wanker, she narrowed her eyes at Jake. “Where’s your drink?”

He pressed his lips together and tilted his head to the side. Jake was giving her the come-on-really look. Erica just smiled back at him. Neither looked away for a second. Wanker glanced between the two, his finger shoving his glasses up to his forehead now, before he cleared his throat and poured some of his wine into a glass.

“So, it’s like that, huh?” Jake asked softly.

Erica lifted up a shoulder. Her hand was gripped tightly around her wine bottle, and she leaned forward over the table. “Just saying. You came here with the enemy.”

“Erica,”—he gave her a disappointed look—“that was an excuse, okay? Tara and I broke up, and you already gave me the riot act.”

   
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