Home > Kian(6)

Author: Tijan

The favor worked. The bouncer waved her in, and when we went through, he said, “Go have fun.”

Erica pulled me behind her, moving into the bar. Sids was packed. It was standing-room only. Hip-hop music blared from a deejay on the second floor. As Erica dragged me, I recognized other students from our college. I was right. Most of the people here were Hillcrest students.

Kian was supposed to go to Hillcrest, but then he’d gone to prison instead.

No. No thoughts of him.

I shook my head to clear it and ran into Erica.

“Hey.” I frowned at her, but she wasn’t paying attention.

She was enraptured by something on the opposite side of the bar. I didn’t need to take a guess. It must’ve been Susan. I started to look, figuring I should get this over with. Jake had said he and Tara had broken up, but I knew Tara would still be all over him. Every time he said they were broken up, I would see them cuddling on a couch at a party a day later.

Erica clutched at my arm and pointed. “You see him?”


My heart lurched for a second. She couldn’t mean…that would make no sense.

I looked…and saw someone else. It wasn’t Kian.

“Oh. Jake. Yeah.” I frowned, feeling a flutter in the bottom of my throat. I was being ridiculous, thinking she’d meant him.

“I don’t get it.” She shook her head and shoved her glasses back up her nose. “They broke up, but he’s here, celebrating with Susan? I didn’t even think Susan liked him. At the paper, she’s always complaining about Tara’s relationship with him. I’m surprised that hasn’t gotten back to Tara yet.”

Her eyes got big then, and I could see the ideas filling her head.

“No, Erica. Don’t say a word. You don’t want to step into that. Trust me.”

“Not Jake and Tara. Susan and Tara,” she clarified. “Susan talks so much crap about Tara’s relationship with Jake. If Tara knew—”

I took her shoulders and turned her in the other direction. “That wouldn’t end well either. Susan can spin it, say she was distraught as a friend, et cetera, and Tara will forgive her.” I gritted my teeth.

As much as I had been jealous of Tara seven months ago, I couldn’t find any rumors where she was mean. Everyone had tended to say the same thing. She was beautiful and nice. It would make me gag, so I’d stopped asking.

“I know,” she clipped out, sounding distressed. “But…” Her hand abruptly fell back to her side. “I just can’t stand Susan. She already thinks she’s above everyone. With this promotion, she’ll think she’s on a totally different level.”

Everyone meant Erica, Wanker, and me.

Erica’s features tightened in frustration. “Susan is not better than us. Tara is not better than us. And Jake’s an asshole so he’s really not better than us.” She added, her lips pressed tight, “Even if he is kinda dreamy to look at.”

I mused, “I doubt Wanker would enjoy hearing that.”

She flushed and rolled her eyes. “Not funny, Jo. You’re”—her hand gestured up and down at me—“you. You don’t even notice that half the guys in here are checking you out, and I know that’s why Susan hates you, but…” She stopped, and her shoulders drooped.

I placed my hand on her shoulder. “Hey,” I murmured. “I can tell you one thing. Susan’s not anywhere as tough as you are. If I had to back someone in a fight—whether it were verbal, physical, or academic—I’d back you any day.”


“You’re tough as nails. If Susan thinks she’s on a higher level than us”—I snorted—“let her think that. You’ll be more successful than her within five years. I know it.”

One side of her mouth lifted up as the other remained down. She patted my hand on her shoulder. “Thanks, Jo.”

I shrugged. “Besides, Susan’s a bitch, and no one really likes her. We all know that.”

Erica started laughing.

I needed a drink. The restlessness was stirring inside me again. My past was a headache knocking at my head, trying to get back in. I wouldn’t let it. No way, no how. Time to head for the bar. Speaking of drinks, I spied Wanker. He was behind us, bobbing back and forth to the music, with a drink in his hand.

I pointed to it. “Hey, where did you get that?”

He leaned closer to us, still doing the shimmy shoo. “What?”

Erica yelled for me, “Where did you get your drink?”

He held it up with a bright smile plastered on his face. “You want one?”


“What?” Another yell from him.

I stood up on my tiptoes and yelled in his ear, “Yes, please!”

“Oh, okay!” he shouted before turning for the bar.

He hadn’t gone two steps before I heard from behind me, “Here. You can have mine.”

And I froze.


But no.

It was Jake. Friendly Jake. Non-killer Jake. Not someone-who-had-gone-to-prison-for-two-years-because-of-me Jake. My body began to warm again from its frozen state. This was the Jake who asked me on a date, to get back at his ex-girlfriend. That Jake.

“You.” I scowled at him.

He raked his fingers through his locks, leaving little lines, and the side of his mouth lifted up into a self-conscious grin. “Hey.” His eyes were trailing me up and down.

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