My mother takes George’s hand. “We’ll go cook you kids something for lunch.”

They leave, and Delores rubs her hands together like the mad scientist she is. “Now, back to the gas chamber . . .”

I cut her off. “Delores—I don’t think I’m going to have it.”

All traces of humor leave her face. She thinks for a moment.

Looks thoughtful, but nonjudgmental. When she speaks, her voice is serious. But kind.

“I’ll support you a hundred and fifty percent, Kate; you know that. But because I know you, I’m gonna say this: If you decide to do this? Make sure it’s for you—because it’s what you want to do. If you’re doing it because you think it’s what Drew wants, or as some warped attempt to work things out with him? Don’t. You’ll just end up hating yourself for it—and resenting him.”

You can’t bullshit best friends. And sometimes that’s a double-edged sword—because it means they won’t let you bullshit yourself.

“I haven’t decided anything for sure. Not yet.”

Delores’s phone goes off in her purse, and the sound of Akon’s Sexy Bitch fills the air. While she digs into her bag, she asks Billy, “Could you bring my luggage up to Kate’s room? I’m gonna crash here tonight.”

“Do I look like a f**king bellboy?”

Delores doesn’t miss a beat. “No, you look like a homeless person. But I don’t have a windshield for you to spit on. So be a good little vagrant and take my bags upstairs—then maybe I’ll throw a dollar at you.”

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With a grin, Billy goes to do it. Still, he complains, “This was so much more fun when she wasn’t here.”

Delores looks at her phone. “Ugg—it’s Matthew. I swear, that boy can’t take a shit without calling to tell me what color it is.” She walks through the back door to take the call outside.

And Billy looks at me. “Okay, I’m a guy—and even I thought that was gross.”

Can’t say I disagree with him.

A few minutes later, Delores tears back into the room. Still on the phone and going off like a cherry bomb. “Of all the ignorant, balls-out shitty things to say . . . by the time I’m done with you, they’re going to have to reinstate your V card, buddy!”

She punches the OFF button on her cell much harder than necessary.

“Problem?”

“Yes. The problem is, people are what’s between your legs—which explains why my husband is behaving like a big, fat, uncircumcised dick!”

I cover my ears. “TMI Delores! T. M. I.” There are some things you just don’t want to know about your friend’s husband. What happened?”

She huffs and sits down next to me. “Apparently, after I left for the airport this morning, Matthew went to check on Drew.

The apartment was locked up like Fort Knox, but Matthew had that extra key. So he goes in and finds your ass-hat ex-boyfriend passed out wasted, on the bathroom floor. After he went all Left Eye Lopes, setting shit on fire in the bathtub.”

“What!?”

“Exactly. Matthew said if he hadn’t gone by when he did, the whole place could’ve gone up.”

I shake my head in disbelief. “What was he burning?”

Delores shrugs. “Matthew didn’t say.”

Yeah—but I bet it wasn’t any of Drew’s stuff going up in flames.

Bastard.

Delores goes on. “So Matthew got the pathetic excuse for a man sobered up. At first Drew didn’t want to talk, but Matthew kept at him. And eventually, he spilled like oil in the Gulf.”

My stomach clenches, “he . . . he . . . told Matthew about the baby?”

Delores nods. “Matthew said Drew told him everything that went down between you two.”

Okay. This is a good thing. If Drew is telling his family I’m pregnant, maybe he’s changed his mind. Maybe all he needed was some time to get used to the idea. And Matthew’s a great person to talk to in this situation. Not as good as Steven or Alexandra, but still—he’s pretty level-headed. At least compared to Drew.

“What did Matthew say?”

Delores grinds her teeth together. “he said he couldn’t believe you would do something like this to Drew.”

“What?”

Cue the music.

It’s the Twilight Zone.

In the end, I knew Team New York would take Drew’s side—I said they would. But I thought . . . maybe . . . they’d defend me. Or at the very least, be pissed off about his methods.

Delores puts her hand over mine. “Don’t let what Matthew said get to you. It’s only natural that he’d back Drew up—just like I’d help you bury the body, even if it was my own dear mother we were tossing into the ground.”

“Delores, that’s sick.”

“Oh, really? You weren’t the one who walked into the house and heard her mother knockin’ boots with Sheriff Mitchell!”

My mouth drops open.

Delores continues disgustedly, “And they were loud. Like surround-sound, IMAX-theater loud. I’m totally scarred for life.”

Let’s pause here a moment.

You’ve never met the good sheriff, so I’ll explain. Growing up, Sheriff Ben Mitchell was the thorn in our sides, the rock in our shoes, the pain in our asses. he had nothing better to do than follow us around—breaking up our beer bashes, pulling Billy’s car over and searching it for weed.

he always thought we were up to something . . . and . . .

well . . . he was right.

But that’s beside the point.

Even though Sheriff Mitchell was about the same age as our parents, to us, he always seemed older—like that grumpy neighbor with a cane who never lets you get the baseball that accidentally lands in his yard. Mitchell was never married and didn’t date as far as we knew, so it was always assumed that his wrinkly face and piss-poor attitude came from his extreme inability to get laid.

Amelia Warren is the opposite of Mitchell in every way. She’s a free spirit. An official card-carrying member of the healing Power of Crystals Club. A flower child for the modern age.

The very idea of them getting it on is equal parts horrifying and peculiar.

I shudder. “You’re right. That is sick.”

Billy hops down the stairs. “What’s sick?”

Delores drops the bomb. “Amelia and Old Man Mitchell screwing—on the kitchen table.”

Billy grimaces. And whines, “Aw, man . . . I ate on that table this morning.”