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After The Ex Games(3)

By´╝ÜHelen Cooper



I stared at her for a few seconds, not knowing what to say. How could I tell her the truth without telling her my involvement with the club? I thought back to that day in high school and wished that I had said no to Greyson. I wished that I had gone for the pizza and left the room and not cared about losing Greyson as a best friend. I didn’t know what to tell, Katie. How could I tell her that her best friend was in danger and it was all my fault—in more ways than one?

I leaned down and crushed my lips against hers, pulling her tight to me, enjoying her squirming against me as I cupped her butt cheeks. She pushed her breasts against my chest and my fingers crept under her shirt. She moaned against my lips and I breathed a sigh of relief inside. I had bought myself a few hours. I kissed Katie, but my mind was on the previous phone call. I had no idea what I was going to do. If I told Katie about the private club, I didn’t know what she was going to do.





***

I’d never had a problem with jealousy until I’d started dating Katie. I thought it was because I’d never been in love before and I’d never worried that I wasn’t good enough for someone before. There were so many reasons why it shouldn’t have worked with her, but it had. She’d fallen as deeply in love with me as I had with her. I hadn’t cared that Katie was eighteen. In fact, I’d been over the moon that she was legal. If she’d been seventeen, that would have been it. I couldn’t and wouldn’t have dated her if she had been seventeen. I hadn’t even cared that she’d lied about her age. I would have been a hypocrite if I’d cared. I’d lied about so many things myself.

I thought that’s why I was so jealous and scared. No one would have believed that Brandon Hastings was a big wuss on the inside. Well, to be fair, I was only a wuss when it came to Katie. I’d been so scared that the truth would come out and she would leave me. It had seemed like the easier thing to do was just end it and wait. But then Harry had come along and everything had changed. My priorities and plans had changed. I’d wanted to tell Katie the truth—my truth. But there had never been a good time. There’d never been the right time for me to confess. Everything was still so precarious between us and I didn’t want to risk Katie walking away again. I didn’t want to risk her hating me. And I would never forgive myself if she took Harry and left. Life wouldn’t be worth living then.

“I’m worried.” Katie climbed into bed next to me, her eyes filled with fear. “Meg’s not answering her phone.”

“Maybe she’s in bed?”

“All day?” Katie shook her head. “I’ve been calling and texting her all day.”

“I thought you said she couldn’t talk while at the training?”

“Yeah, but what sort of job takes your phone away. I have a friend who got a job at the White House and she still texts all day. Shoot, she sent us all a photo of the Oval Office a couple of months ago.”

“Really?” I frowned. “That sounds a bit shady.”

“She was fired recently.” Katie laughed. “I’m pretty sure all her photos were against protocol, but at least they never took her phone.”

“Maybe her new job is very private? It is a private club after all.”

“The operative word in your sentence is club, Brandon.” Katie rested her head on my chest. “Why does a club need to take your phone away? What the hell is happening in there?”

I shrugged and kissed the top of her head. “I’m sure nothing bad is happening.” I looked away from her, my heart pounding as I thought of all the bad things that had gone down there.

“I don’t know,” she sighed. “I just can’t stop thinking about her. Meg’s not like me. If she sees something shady going on, she’s going to investigate and try and get to the bottom of it. So if something shady is going on, then she could be in trouble.”

I held her close to me and closed my eyes as I thought about Patsy’s phone call. She’d urged me to come back to the club. There was a girl asking too many questions, she’d said. And there were other people there who were up to no good. I took a deep breath as I realized that I had to tell Katie the truth. If I was to make sure Meg was okay, Katie was going to have to learn everything. I held her tighter to me as I realized that this might be one of the last times that Katie and I were ever in this loving position.





Chapter 2

Brandon





I woke up the next morning at about three a.m. in a cold sweat. I’d had nightmares about the day that had changed my life. The day I never seemed to forget, no matter how hard I tried. No one knows what grief and regret feels like until they have someone kill themselves because of them. Rationally, I knew that Maria had died because she was depressed and had other issues. But still, I also knew that she had thought she was in love with me and I had broken her heart. Now that I knew what love was, I could understand how she’d felt. I didn’t know what I would do if Katie left me again. That was why I was having a hard time working up the courage to tell her about the club. Though the club was the least of my worries. I was scared to tell her the truth about everything. Once she knew all my secrets, I was positive she would leave me. She would leave me and I would be left with nothing.

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