I begged him to choose me. Love me. Marry me.
But he butchered me, marrying her instead.
“Don’t do this, Small Fry,” he pleads, his voice strained. “I’m begging you not to do this.”
I used to love that endearment…now I fucking hate it. Every time he says it, it reminds exactly what he thinks of me.
“Leave her,” I demand. “Tell me you’ll leave her and I won’t.”
His face screws up. His eyes close. His head drops heavy on his neck. It’s the same response he always gives me.
He’s not here for you, Maverick. He never is.
I yank out of his hold, pushing him away. The half sandwich I ate an hour ago threatens to make a reappearance. “Get out,” I choke, stabbing my finger toward the door.
He squares his broad shoulders, standing to every inch of his six feet. “You’re being reckless and immature. You’re not in love with him.”
“Fuck you. You don’t know shit.” He hates it when I curse. Says it’s “unladylike.” Well, fuck him and the fucking gentlemanly horse he fucking rode in on. Fuck has now become my favorite fucking word.
“Don’t,” I whisper, close to breaking, which I swore I would never do in front of him again. “Unless you’re here to finally admit you married the wrong sister then just get the fuck out.”
“Just wait. That’s all I’m asking.”
“Wait? Wait for what, Killian? Wait for you to grow back the balls Jilly cut off and tucked under her pillow? Wait for you to tell her that you know what my pussy tastes like or how you can’t forget that I made you come harder than you have in your life when I deep throated you? Wait for you to confess that all you can think about is fucking me and you can’t stand the very sight of her in your bed? Wait until she gets hit by a car so you’re free to be with me? Tell me…what exactly is it I’m supposed to wait for?”
“You’re being crude and petulant.” My eyes track the crossing of his arms. I hate that I throb in my very center, knowing what every muscle and ridge under that tux feels like. Tastes like.
“Well…bleeding out on the inside tends to make me snarky and bitter.”
His clean-shaven jaw clenches and his stare turns flinty. He’s here begging me not to marry his brother, but that’s all I’ll get. Sorrys, empty promises, no commitment. Nothing. Always nothing.
A wave of incredible—almost debilitating—sadness washes over and through me, threatening to drown me in a lifetime of permanent sorrow at the prospect of being without him in the way we both want.
I don’t get it. I don’t understand how we got here…to this very moment. I don’t know where the wheels fell off, changing our course or why he won’t just admit he made a mistake marrying someone who treats him like a worthless pile of shit.
Killian Shepard loves me. He always has, and that’s not the neurotic projection of a psychotic woman feeding into her own mental illness. It’s true. It’s always been true. Which makes his own farce of a marriage to my sister all the more confusing. She must have a golden fucking vagina and mind-altering powers. Could be. I haven’t met a bigger witch than my sister, Jillian.
“You need to leave.” Before I drop to my knees and make a bigger fool out of myself than I already have.
He opens his mouth to no doubt try some other tactic to get me to change my mind, but the voice of my father bellows from behind him.
“Shep, there you are. You need to get back up with the guys.”
Neither of us moves. I feel frozen, dead. Empty.
I cringe inwardly at my father’s childhood nickname for me. How ironic that he gave me a boy’s name but tries constantly to turn me into a lady. It’s a lost cause I wish he’d just give up on.
“Yes, Daddy,” I answer evenly, my eyes never leaving Killian’s.
Don’t let this happen, they beg.
Don’t make me choose, I assume he replies.
Fuck you, I say. Fuck you and your misplaced honor.
I see Daddy’s head peek around Killian’s broad frame. “Come on, sweetie, almost showtime.” How apt. I couldn’t put on a bigger fucking sad play than if I’d scripted it myself. I catch his joyous eyes lined deeply with wrinkles and adoration and smile as brightly as I can while I let myself mourn inside.
Then, I skirt around Killian Shepard, take my father’s hand, and leave him behind, wondering how you go about falling out of love with one man and in love with another. I’ve tried for years and still haven’t mastered it.
I can’t breathe.