He slammed me into the hallway wall and held me there. “I love her too; I won’t let you hurt her like that! You shouldn’t have proposed until she knew everything about you and me. You should have never put her in that kind of position.” Shoving off me, he started walking away before abruptly turning back to me. “Honestly, what the hell were you thinking?”

“I wasn’t, okay? I wasn’t thinking about anything other than the fact that I love her and I know I want to spend the rest of my life with her. I got caught up in that weekend, and I could see it, Mase—God, I could see our entire freakin’ lives and I wanted it so damn bad. The last night we were there, it hit me that I was fucking terrified of not having that with her, and I asked her then. We’ve been engaged since before we came back; I just gave her the ring this weekend though. I hate lying to her; you have no idea what it’s doing to me, and you have no idea how many times I’ve almost told her everything. But I can’t do it, I need to protect her.”

“Then you shouldn’t have asked her yet.” He sighed and scrubbed his face with his hands.

“I know. But I did and I would never take that back. I love her, and I’ll always love her. I’ll tell her the truth, soon.”


“Yeah.” Without another word, I walked out of the apartment and headed toward my Harley.

“Where are you going? We don’t need to leave yet.”

“Gonna go ride for a while first. I need time to think, and you sitting there looking at me like I’m the asshole I already know I am isn’t going to help me.”

I started up my baby and looked at the empty space where Rachel normally parked. I knew I needed to tell her, and I knew the way I’d gone about this had probably already fucked things up beyond repair. I just prayed that when she did find out, she would understand my reasons for keeping her in the dark.




I QUICKLY STEPPED out of my clothes from work and jumped into the shower after piling my hair on top of my head. The hot water ran over my body and I moaned from how good it felt. I would have loved a bath to wash the grime from the day away, but Kash would be over soon after cleaning up from the long day as well. After running the loofah all over my body and washing the suds away, I stood there for another few minutes just enjoying the way my muscles relaxed under the spray. Candice had gone right over to one of her hook-ups’ house after school today and said not to expect her until tomorrow, which, unfortunately, wasn’t uncommon since she’d found out about the engagement.

I was positive she was trying to avoid being near me as much as possible. It didn’t make sense, but then again, she didn’t make sense to me anymore. Our entire friendship had drastically changed since the end of the last school year, and I didn’t know how to fix it. There were moments that I’d see my Candice, and then in a split second, she was gone. I sighed and brought my thoughts back to what was going right in my life to avoid getting in a funk. Right now, work was going well, Kash was amazing, and this hot shower felt like heaven. If I hadn’t been expecting Kash soon, I wouldn’t have been able to force myself to leave. As it was, I was ready for alone time with my man. I smiled to myself and turned off the water, towel-dried my body, and got in some comfy clothes before going out to the kitchen to find something to snack on.

I stumbled when I turned into the kitchen and caught sight of the unexpected shadowed objects waiting for me, but laughed when I flipped on the light. This boy. I swear. I walked over to the large mixing bowl, measuring cups, and pancake mix on the counter and glanced at the skillet on the stove, which was already turned on. I could feel the heat coming off it from where I was standing, and after dribbling water over my fingers at the sink, I flicked some drops at the skillet and watched them instantly sizzle and evaporate. Damn. He must’ve come in and turned it on right after I got in the shower.

Taking the hint, I started in on the batter at the same time my phone went off.


I’m starving, do you want anything?

Funny. See you when you get back over here.

I looked over at the door and my brow wrinkled when I noticed it was still locked. It’s official. He must have a key. Grabbing the bowl, I continued to whisk the batter as I walked over and unlocked the handle for him anyway and walked back into the kitchen. The door opened just as I was pouring some batter onto the skillet and I smirked.

“I don’t know what’s funny about— Ahh, woman. You’re perfect.”

Raising an eyebrow, I just nodded and kept pouring until the skillet was full of pancakes.

Kash walked into the kitchen and wrapped his arms around my waist before nuzzling my neck. “It’s like you read my mind.”

A short laugh left me. “Well, you left a strong enough hint this time.” Grabbing the spatula that had been laid out with everything else, I turned and pointed it at him. “But don’t think I’ll let you get away with this again. You could have at least asked nicely.”

His head jerked back. “Uh, what?”

“But like I said, it was funny. So I’ll let it slide.” I gave him a chaste kiss, and when I pulled away, he still looked confused rather than giving me the wry smile he normally wore when he got his way. “And your secret is out, but I won’t make you give me back the key you somehow got.”

“What key?”

I scoffed and turned back to the pancakes. If he wanted to play dumb, I’d let him. At least now I knew how he was getting in and out of here all the time.

“Oh my God, hide me!” Mason hissed as he shut the door quietly behind him and began turning off lights. “Oh, are you making pancakes? Do you have bacon too?”

My face fell even though he couldn’t see me. “Well, I was making pancakes until you made it pitch-black in here. And even if I did, I wouldn’t make any. I’m tired. Why aren’t you guys making me food? And why did you turn off all the lights?”

“I’m hiding,” Mason yell-whispered at the same time Kash turned the kitchen light back on and said, “He’s hiding from one of the managers at his bar.”

“Uh, and you have to hide from your boss . . . here?” I actually pouted. I wanted alone time with Kash.

Kash chuckled beside me and kissed my cheek before grabbing the spatula out of my hand and moving me aside. “Considering he probably just left her naked in our apartment, yeah, he needs to hide here.”

“Mason Hendricks!”

“Shut it, Rach!” He jumped away from the window like his boss would come flying through it. “She’s freakin’ crazy.”

“Well, what’d you do to her? Er . . . besides sleep with her?”

“Nothing, I did nothing! She’s just clingy as shit. She started crying because I told her she couldn’t move in with me.”

I stopped pouring syrup on my pancakes and looked up at him. “How long have you been sleeping with her?”

“This is the first time.” When I shot him a look, he threw his hands in the air. “Swear, Rach. First. Time. When we finished she asked when she could move her stuff in; I wasn’t even out of her yet.”

“Ew, Mase! I don’t want details!”

“Whatever. I thought she was joking so I just laughed and took care of some stuff. When I came back she asked again, and I told her she couldn’t. She instantly started crying and screaming at me, asking me what tonight meant then. And she’s refusing to leave!”

I grabbed a fork and my plate and walked to the front door, patting Mason’s chest with my free hand on the way there. “You picked a good one.”

“Where are you going?” Kash asked from the kitchen.

I didn’t look back at him. I just shrugged and opened the door. “Damage control.”

I walked over to the boys’ apartment and made myself comfortable on the couch. As soon as the TV was on, Mason’s bedroom door opened and a gorgeous mess of a woman stepped out. Still. Naked.


Focusing on her mascara-streaked face, I gave her a head nod and looked back at the TV before taking a bite of pancakes.

“Who are you?” She poured as much venom into her words as was possible while still crying, and I shrugged again as I spoke around the pancakes.

“Mason’s sister. You?”

Her head jerked back. “Mason’s sister? What are you doing here?”

“I live here. What’d you say your name was again?”

“Uh, I didn’t.” She looked quickly at Kash’s bedroom door, then back to Mason’s. “You live here?”

“Yep. Good performance, by the way. Sounded pretty impressive.” Her eyes got huge and it took everything in me not to laugh and begin choking on the pancakes I was shoveling in at an alarming rate. “You know, my fiancé lives next door. Maybe next time we can have a screaming match. Or see who lasts longer. It could be fun.”

I had put my attention back on the TV so I wouldn’t have to look at her, but when I could still see her out of the corner of my eye and she didn’t make a sound, I finally turned to look at her again. She looked like she was in shock and disgusted. At least she’d stopped crying.

We stared at each other for a few seconds longer and I finally held my plate out toward her. “Pancakes?”

Sanity seemed to settle back over her face and she darted into Mason’s room. My shoulders shook with silent laughter and I had to fan at my face, which I knew was bright red from holding it in. I was taking another deep breath to control myself when she ran out, now clothed.

“See you next time, Melanie!”

She stopped short of the front door and looked at me like I belonged in an asylum. “My name’s— Never mind. Tell Mason I’ll, uh, see him at work.”

I was laughing so hard that I was still crying by the time I made it back to my apartment. Both guys were standing at the window, eating pancakes.

“What’d you do?” Mason asked in awe. “She ran to her car.”

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