“What . . . what did happen to her?” I asked.
He opened his mouth, closed it, then shook his head. “She was stabbed multiple times. Some of the wounds weren’t deep. Like someone was torturing her. They showed me pictures. That’s when I lost it.”
“Oh God.” I shouldn’t have asked. I could’ve lived the rest of my life never knowing that.
“Worst thing? She was alive the whole time.” He tipped his head back, throat working. When he spoke, his voice was hoarse. “She was killed within twenty-four hours of you finding her. They kept her alive.”
I hugged the pillow to my chest, unable to fathom how someone could do that to another human being. I didn’t know anyone like that and I didn’t want to.
Gavin stayed a little while longer, and then he said something about getting home, talking everything over with his parents.
“Are you staying here by yourself?” he asked at the door. “Your mom is out of town, right?”
I was trying not to think about that. “I might go to Dad’s.”
“I think that would be a good idea.” He drew in a deep breath. “Or if you want, I could stay with you.”
“Thanks, but I’ll probably head over to his house.” I forced a smile. “But seriously, thanks for the offer.”
“Yeah.” His gaze searched mine and then he looked away. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
I closed the door behind him, locking it and the deadbolt. Turning around, I leaned against it, my shoulders sagging. I believed Gavin, but was still shocked that he’d kept his relationship with Vee secret. Apparently, I didn’t know him as well as I thought I had. And Vee? She’d been kept alive as I suspected—stabbed and most likely tortured.
I headed into the kitchen to grab a pizza out of the freezer. As it baked in the oven, I fielded a concerned call from Dad and then Linds, using the latter as the reason for why I wasn’t staying at his house.
Mom would freak, and I was probably going to get next to no sleep. I was safe here, but just in case, I planned on sleeping with a baseball bat next to me. But as soon as the sun went down, I began to really rethink this whole staying by myself thing. Every noise in and outside of the house stretched my nerves to the point that when my phone chirped with a text from Jensen close to nine that night, I almost jumped out of my skin.
What r u doing?
A flutter started in my chest. This was a first. We’d exchanged numbers, but he hadn’t texted me before. I sent back a quick: Nothing.
Did u go to your Dads?
I sighed, preparing myself for a text lecture. No.
There was a beat. Want company?
Holding my cell in my hand, I shook my head like an idiot. Being that it was close to nine, it was kind of too late to hang out. If Mom was home, she would’ve gotten all frowny faced about it, but like Gavin had offered earlier, it wasn’t so much hanging out as it was peace of mind.
The flutter got crazy in my chest like a nest of bees were trying to find their way out. I’d turned down Gavin, and even with the Vee situation, he would’ve been the smarter bet.
Jensen was anything but the safer option.
My fingers trembled as I typed back the one word I shouldn’t have.
I SHOULD’VE CHANGED into something else before Jensen knocked on my front door. The sleep shorts barely covered my butt, and I wore nothing under the tank top and cardigan. Hell, the cardigan was longer than my shorts, but I’d spent those precious minutes freaking out and holding my phone to my chest, telling myself to text him back and say no.
But it was too late.
As I hurried to the front door, I admitted to myself that I hadn’t wanted to tell him not to come over. And if I was being really honest, I wanted Jensen here.
God, I really wanted him here.
Feeling my cheeks heat, I opened the door and stepped aside. He strolled in, a grocery bag dangling from his fingers and a WVU baseball cap on backward.
He was dressed for bed, too, and I couldn’t help but smile knowing he’d walked the three blocks to my house wearing plaid cotton pajama bottoms, an old Beastie Boys shirt, and Nike flip-flops.
Somehow he even managed to make that look sexy.
Jensen raised the bag as I looked up. “I brought something you’re going to love.”
My heart jumped stupidly, and I ignored it, fiddling with the sleeves of my cardigan. “Really?”
Smiling slightly, he nodded as he backed toward the stairs. “Yep.”
“Can I see?”
“Nope.” He winked when I frowned. “We’re going upstairs, right?”
My gaze darted behind him. I hadn’t really thought about that. It would be smart to just chill downstairs, but since I was doing a lot of stupid, why would I do something smart now?
“Sure.” I headed around him, but somehow he ended up in front of me.
I was in awe as he walked down the hall, heading straight for my bedroom. I don’t know why, but I expected him to have forgotten his way.
Jensen swaggered right into my room like he had the hundred times before when we were younger, except then, he didn’t make the room feel so small with his six-foot two-inch frame.
Looking around the room, he appeared to soak in the changes, and then smiled when he turned his startling blue gaze to my bed.
A sweet flush traveled down my throat.
“You still have it.”
The hots for him? Because I did, really badly, and as I stared at him, I wondered if it was that obvious. I wondered if he knew I was thinking about the things I’d done and hadn’t done with Gavin when we were together. Things I would jump into head first with Jensen.
“The Care Bear,” he added. “God, you’ve had that thing for how long?”
I bit down on my lip. “I got it for my seventh birthday. So ten years.”
“Ten years . . .” He shook his head as he wheeled around, spying the TV on its stand. “Perfect.”
Curious as to what he was doing, I walked over to the bed and sat on the edge, tucking my legs against my chest in an attempt to not completely freak out on him.
He pulled a slender case from his bag, holding it between two long fingers. “Supernatural, season one,” he announced.
My lips broke into a wide smile and I clapped. “Nice.”
“Thought you’d approve.” He quickly popped the DVD in and grabbed the remote. He joined me on the bed, his grin sending the bees in my chest into flight once more. “Now here comes the best part,” he said as the title splashed over the screen.
Jensen pulled out two bottles of orange soda, a bag of dill potato chips, and a smaller bag of combos—the baked cheese kind.
My eyes widened as I stared at the items. I couldn’t believe it. I raised my gaze, feeling a knot form in the back of my throat.
His half smile spread. “What?”
“You remembered,” I whispered.
Handing over a soda, he shrugged. “Yeah.”
“These are my favorite things—like my absolute favorite junk food.” Not even Gavin remembered my love of orange soda and dill-flavored potato chips.
“I know.” His lashes lifted.
The knot started to burn. “Thank you. I mean it. Thank you for . . . for all of this.”
His eyes held mine for a moment, and then he picked up the combos. “Let’s not let the epic late-night junk food fest go to waste.”
I wanted to pounce on him, throw my arms around his neck, and hold on tight, like a barnacle.
But that would probably be awkward.
So I indulged in the fatty goodness as we watched the first two episodes of Supernatural. By the time it was past eleven, I expected him to bolt, but he didn’t, and I didn’t want to point the time out to him. I wasn’t ready for him to leave. When I got up to use the bathroom, I nearly stumbled when I returned.
Oh sweet baby Jesus . . .
Jensen had changed positions, making himself all kinds of at home. The baseball cap was gone. Where? I had no idea. And I didn’t care. Stretched out with his arms folded behind his head, he had his lower body tucked under the covers—my covers.
He cast me a sidelong glance. “Wanted to get comfortable.”