“Good,” I murmur, caught somewhere between meaning it and not. “What I said about coming back, if you need to—that didn’t expire last night.” As certain as Brooke was that she was right for Graham, I’m more sure that I’m not right for Emma. But that awareness wouldn’t keep me from taking her if she showed up at my door. I’m not as noble as she thinks I am. “Goodbye, Emma.”

“Goodbye, Reid.”

“So?” John answers when I ring his cell.

“Not happening. And I don’t want to talk about it.” It’s not even 5:00 p.m. and I’ve just downed a Jack and Coke. Maybe there’s a luxury rehab place with a mother-son option. But rehab would never work; I’d have to actually quit drinking while I was there.

“That’s cool, man. No problemo. What about the Porsche? You still trading up?”

“Definitely. Soon as possible.” Dad already cashed out one of my investments; the money is sitting in my account. All I have to do is choose a car.

“Rest up, bro. We’re going out tonight. Time to get you back to your pointless, pleasure-driven life.” That sums it up. Back to the clubs, the parties, the hookups. New car. New project to train for this summer and film next fall.

“Is that all it is—a pointless, pleasure-driven life?”

He sighs. “Shit, Reid. I don’t know. If you’re lucky. It’s either that or aspire to be some Dark Lord asshole like my father, with a boring-as-shit trophy wife like Elise, who has nothing to do but work out, get plastic surgery and have sex with my dad. I’d fucking kill myself if I was her.”

My parents: Dad works, Mom drinks. Besides that, what? I think I’m nothing like them—as though my career and celebrity will make my existence more significant, but that’s bullshit and I know it. “Guess I’m feeling introspective.”

John makes a sound of dismissal. “Dude, forget that shit. Talk about pointless.”


I’m not sure what it will take to forget Emma Pierce’s belief that there’s more to me.

Maybe I don’t want to forget.

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