Perhaps that wasn’t the best way to start this conversation.
A piece of fluffy egg dangled off his fork as he sat back against the chair. His brows rose. “Is there?” The tone was level, but it made me shiver nonetheless. “About what, Roxy?”
“That night.” I swallowed, and the small amount of omelet I had eaten soured in my stomach. “When I drove you home.”
He stared at me a moment and then finished off his omelet. Pushing his plate back, he rested his bare arms on the kitchen table. “What about that night?”
My heart was pounding like I’d just done sprints up and down my hall. “I honestly don’t even know how to say this, other than I wish . . . I wish I’d talked to you sooner and realized that you weren’t regretful of sleeping with me. That it was more of you regretting being so drunk. I was just so embarrassed and mad—”
“Yeah, I know you were mad. That’s nothing new,” he cut in. “And like I said, I wish I had clarified what I was saying when I had the worst hangover known to man.”
Me, too, but that wasn’t the point. Like Charlie had always said, I was kind of the act-first-and-never-ask-questions kind of gal. This mess was mostly my fault. “That night, once we made it back to your place, things got . . . well, they got really hot and really quick.”
“I figured as much,” he commented dryly.
Lowering my gaze, I blew out a long breath. “When we got back to your bedroom—which is a really nice bedroom by the way. Totally loved your bed. It’s huge. Nice comforter, too.”
“Roxy.” His lips twitched.
I dropped my hands to my lap, curling them into tight fists. “We didn’t have sex, Reece.” There. I said it. Like pulling off a band aid.
His brows knitted together as he tilted his head to the side. “What?” he laughed.
“You . . . you passed out before anything could happen. We didn’t have sex.” Saying it out loud made it easier to keep going. I met his disbelieving stare. “We started to, but you passed out, and I stayed with you to make sure you were okay. I didn’t realize you were that drunk until then.”
Reece stared at me.
“And when you woke up in the morning, you . . . you thought we did have sex,” I explained quickly. “You had looked at me and said last night shouldn’t have happened, and I wasn’t thinking about the fact we didn’t actually do it.”
Leaning back against the chair, he pulled his hands off the table and then put them right back. Silence.
Unease blossomed. “The morning just got away from me. You know why, and I left, and . . . I just . . . the whole situation got away from us—from me. You were avoiding me. And I told myself that I needed to tell you as soon as we started talking again, but . . .” A ball formed in the back of my throat, making my voice hoarse. “I’m sorry. I should’ve told you that morning. I should’ve pulled my head out of my ass and told you then. I was going to tell you last night, but it didn’t seem right to do so. But that . . . that was our first time, Reece. There was no other time before that.”
Reece slowly shook his head as he laughed again, but the laugh—it was short and full of incredulity. “I . . . I just need to make sure I understand this correctly.”
The unease spread like a noxious weed as he shook his head one more time, closing his eyes briefly. “For the last year, you have been pissed off at me because you thought I regretted having sex with you, when in fact, we never even had sex?”
I opened my mouth, but what the hell could I say to that?
“So, you’ve ignored me. You’ve called me names.” He laughed that abrupt, abrasive laugh again. “You’ve cussed me out over what you thought I meant about an act that never even happened?”
I squeezed my eyes shut for a moment. “I was upset because I thought you regretted having sex with me.”
“But we didn’t have sex.”
I shook my head.
A muscle flickered along his jaw. “Are you fucking kidding me?”
I always suspected that Reece was not going to be thrilled once he learned the truth, but I still flinched.
Reece stood, walking away from the table. I had no idea where he was heading, but he stopped in the middle of the kitchen and faced me. A long, pregnant pause stretched out between us. “Do you even know how crazy I’ve been driving myself, because I couldn’t remember that night? Remember what it felt like to hold you—to be inside you, and fall asleep and wake up with you? That after the shitty year I had, I’d topped it off by not remembering sleeping with the only girl I’ve ever cared about. Do you even understand how that fucked with my head?”
My breath hitched around the messy knot in my throat.
“I can’t even count how many times I’ve tried to remember it and God knows how terrible I felt for not remembering our first time. For fucking thinking I might’ve hurt you somehow,” he said, rubbing his left hand over his chest, above his heart. “And this whole fucking time, nothing even happened between us? Are you seriously fucking joking right now?”
“No,” I whispered, blinking back hot tears. “I should’ve told you—”
“Hell’s yes, you should’ve told me. You had eleven months to tell me, Roxy. That’s a long time.”
I stood. “Reece—”
“Instead you’ve been lying to me this whole time?” His brows rose, and for a moment, I saw everything I never wanted to see written across his striking face. Pain. Hurt. Disbelief. All of those mingled with the anger that tightened his jaw. “Wait. Not actively lying. Just letting me believe in a lie.”