Home > Kian(15)

Author: Tijan

His eyes were fixed on my lips. “What do you mean?”

“You, me, standing outside my job at night. Just the two of us.”

He chuckled, and his hand lifted to graze against my cheek before he moved another step backward, his hand falling away. “Okay. I’m sorry. You got me. I came to find you on purpose. I knew this was when you used to get done with work, and I took a chance, figuring it would be the same tonight.” He held his hands in the air, surrendering, with a half smirk on his face. His hands dropped, and so did the smirk. He grew somber. “We didn’t talk about it at the bar the other night, but I wanted to explain what happened. Tara and I broke up. She and I—we don’t work. We’re toxic, and something had to change. I don’t know if it was because of you, but I can’t stand here and say that I don’t still have feelings for you.”

Nope. I shook my head and held a hand to his chest, pushing him back a step. “Jake.”

He had a twinkle in his eye. “But I promise you, as an oath from Jake Alexander Monroe to you, Jo…slyn…”


“Joslyn Jo.” He winked at me. “Why don’t you ever use your full name?” He put one hand over his chest. “I solemnly swear, that I am here, in the attendance of your company, not as a future fling, one-night stand, or one-year stand”—a second wink—“but as a person with the sole agenda of becoming friends.” His hand lowered, as did his voice, and he moved back to me. “I just want to be your friend again, Jo. For real, I miss that most of all.”

“Just friendship?”

“Really.” He touched his finger to his mouth, and then he made the shape of a cross in the air. “My promise, before God and all.”

I groaned, but I couldn’t hold back the grin that was fighting to be let out. “I have a feeling that your promises aren’t going to hold up.”

“Yeah, well…” He shrugged. “Everyone sins, right? That’s what confession is for.”

I shook my head. “Just friends, right?”

“I promise.”

It wasn’t going to last.

Jake stepped close, lifting his arms in the air before circling them around my body. He waited before I nodded, then hugged me tight to him. I breathed him in. Pine and vanilla—his old scent. A month ago, my alarms would’ve been going off but not anymore now.

Something had changed.

Still holding me, he rocked me back and forth and asked close to my ear, “You okay?”

I clasped on to him and whispered back, “I think so.”

“Good.” One more tight squeeze, and then he let me go. He tapped on my chin. “You’re back at your old job, huh?”

Laughing, I hit his arm. “I am. Want to walk me home?”

He made a tsking sound and shook his head. “You’re a little slow on this friendship thing. Walking home with you is a requirement of being the best bud.” He cocked his head to wink down at me. “Especially if there’s wine at the end of the walk.” He held his elbow out, and after a slight hesitation, I linked mine with his. My apartment was a few blocks away, and after a really long time, I was glad that Jake was with me. As we headed down the sidewalk, I couldn’t help but glance over my shoulder.

Was Kian still out there? Was he watching?

More importantly, what did he want with me?

The liquor store was on the way home, so we stopped to get wine in case there wasn’t any at home. I couldn’t remember, and when we got to my apartment, Erica squealed over the wine. She didn’t seem excited to see Jake, but didn’t say anything. As soon as there was an opening, I excused myself and slipped away to my bedroom. Grabbing my phone, I perched on my window frame. There was enough room, so I could completely sit there. I pulled my knees to my chest, and then I opened my phone.

I needed to call Snark and report Kian’s arrival, but when I opened my phone, instead of seeing the blank screen that I usually did, there was a text message.

I didn’t recognize the number.

I’d like to talk.

That was it, nothing more, but I knew whom it was from. A little flutter started in my chest.

“They’re going to blame everything on you.”

Hearing Snark’s reminder, I ignored Kian’s text and sent Snark a text instead.

Need to talk. He texted me.

I held the phone, waiting, and it buzzed seconds later.

Same booth. Now.

I knew if I made up an excuse to leave the apartment, Jake would go with me. He’d even go to hold tampons if I used the feminine hygiene route, so I went a different way.

I ninja-ed my way from my bedroom. Literally.

I faked being sick, even pretending that I had to vomit suddenly from the doorway. My performance was Oscar-worthy. I grabbed my stomach, held my breath long enough to start seeing some stars, and made a mad dash to the bathroom. After that, Erica did all the work. If there was one thing my roommate hated, it was puking. She was the one to ban me to my room for the night, and once that was done, I was good to go.

Still. To be safe, I locked the door and shoved a chair underneath the doorknob. Heading for the window, I climbed onto the fire escape and left a quarter between my window so it looked closed, but wasn’t. It would shut, but it wouldn’t lock me out.

Hurrying down till the last step in the stairs, it wasn’t close enough to jump, so I climbed the rest of the way. My building was old, so there were grooves in the brick wall, big enough where I could put my hands and feet. Once my feet touched ground, I grabbed a cab, and when I got to Mel’s Diner, Snark was already there. Again.

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