Home > Kian(2)

Author: Tijan

And Jake was asking me to…what? I wasn’t following that part.

“The other person?” He scrunched up his adorable eyebrows. “What do you mean?”



“Come on.”

“Huh?” He scratched behind his ear. “That’s why I’m asking you. Do you think you could come with me?”

His shoulders bunched up. His arms moved back, and his hands slid into his pockets. The book he was holding moved, so it was pressed between his arm and his chest, right where his rib cage was and right where I knew he had a tattoo.

I almost groaned. I was reminded that not only was he the last guy I loved, but he was also the last guy I slept with. Remembering how that tattoo, a tribal tattoo positioned to make him look like a piece of art, was on his toned body—yes, I needed to get laid. By someone else.

My eyes snapped back to his. “Erica. It’s Erica.”


“The other person is Erica. The other person who Susan is competing against for that promotion is my roommate, my best friend.”

“Oh, shit.” His hand moved to cup the side of his face. He stared down at me. “I didn’t even think about that. That is a wrinkle in my chances for asking you on a date.”

“Exactly.” My head bobbed up and down. “Don’t tell me who got the promotion already. I don’t want to know. I still have to be excited or pissed when Erica tells me the news. That’s my”—wait a minute—“job.” I fixed him with a look. What had he said? “Date?”

He was waiting, watching me, and his head moved up and down in a slow nod. “Yeah. This is going to be awkward now, huh? Susan got the promotion.” He gritted his teeth and stepped back. His head moved back, too, as if waiting for an explosion from me.

None came. I was still dumbfounded by the date comment. All that vanished in two seconds, and my brain was back to normal. I took a step back and pretended to do a double take. “Are you talking to the right person? You must be mistaken.”

“Oh no.” He looked down.

“Oh yes,” I corrected. He looked back up, and I shook my head. “You’re asking me on a date? Did I hear that right?”

He groaned.

“A date?” I needed to make sure.

“Yes. A date.” He was much more timid this time.

I clipped my head from side to side. “This is the first time you’ve had the balls to talk to me in seven months and you’re asking me out? Do you remember the last time we spoke?” And speaking of, I should’ve ripped him a new one when he first said hello. I blamed the news for that blip.

“Technically,” he lifted a hand up. “We didn’t speak that time.”

“You’re right.” I snorted. “Because you had your tongue shoved down your ex-girlfriend’s throat. But no, I have to correct myself, because she wasn’t your ex at all. She was still your girlfriend.”

“I’m sorry. I really am. Things are over now with Tara and me. We’re done. I mean it.”

His face got red, and I knew he had more apologies ready to spew, but I didn’t want to hear them. As fast as my anger rose, it faded, too. It still burned, what he did, but I’d process that later. I was more concerned about Erica.

“No, Jake. Go away.”

When he didn’t, I was the one to walk away. I didn’t want to hear anymore, but he got in front of me and held his arms out. “Just hear me out. I’m not asking you out on a date. Although, full disclosure here, I wouldn’t mind if we went that route, but,” he raised his voice when he saw that I was about to give him the middle finger, “I was hoping to ask a favor from you.”

“A favor?” My eyebrows arched up at that one.

“Susan is having a celebration at Sids tonight, and,” he hesitated, “Tara is going to be there…and I was wondering if you’d go with me tonight.”

“You want to use me?”

“What?” His eyes got big a second later. “No! No. Well…yeah. Kinda.”

I checked out. This conversation was going nowhere. I wasn’t going to date the guy who almost shattered me, and I wasn’t going to let him use me to get back at his now-ex-girlfriend. I just didn’t have the energy to vocalize all of that to him, especially when I could still see my old face on the television behind him. Although, seeing my face there and my old name shouldn’t have been such a shock.

Three years ago, my face was everywhere. The media followed me anywhere I went. I was hounded, hunted, and harassed. I tried to finish out my last year of high school, but couldn’t. I quit halfway, finished up my GED, and the FBI helped me hide—or I should say that a federal agent helped me hide. I wasn’t officially in the Witness Protection Program because I didn’t qualify. There was no real threat to my well-being, just the media hounding me. But, even if there had been, I would’ve refused.

I wanted to make my own decisions. I just needed help with changing my name and my looks. I still looked like my old self, but there were enough changes that people wouldn’t put two and two together.

Besides the new hairdo, I had put on some pounds. The old me had been too skinny, ribs and hip bones sticking out everywhere. This me was healthy. I was toned, tanned, and ready for action. I was in shape, too, but the biggest change were my eyes. Nothing surgically had been done to them, but I ordered colored contacts by the bundle. My eyes were now like Jake’s, a chocolaty brown. My old eyes were a myriad of all different colors—blue, green, hazel, brown, and some amber mixed in. I was mostly hazel, but the other colors had been enough to make people stop for a second and third look. My eye color was also part of the reason I’d needed to go into hiding.

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