Chapter 28: I Would Say I'm Sorry, But I'm Not
By the time we did find Andy, I’d secured myself three shots of tequila, much to William’s distaste. We’d argued like an old married couple when I had made the order, and his eyes had been spitting fire when I necked them.
‘You’re going to black out, Cara,’ he had reprimanded.
‘That’s the point,’ I’d fired back at him. At that point, he’d looked a little hurt, but I was too drunk to realise why. All I cared about was the fact that I’d managed to silence him, because it was never an easy feat.
I was drunk out of my senses when we located Andy with a group of women. I’d thought William to be the womanizer between them, but perhaps I’d been mistaken. Andy was clearly out of touch with himself in the wake of his trouble with Chloe, and I pitied him for it. Good thing William persisted to babysit him, because he desperately needed someone to guide him away from trouble.
“Andy!” William shouted over, and his body trembled against mine. He was seething, I could tell, and for once, I wasn’t the cause of it. “Put your dick away and get the hell over here!” he continued and tightened his embrace of me.
Like a scared dog, Andy walked over with his tail between his legs. Pouting, he avoided William’s glare and instead searched for mine.
“Christ, is she okay?” he queried when he reached us.
“She’s drunk out of her mind, is what she is,” William barked and jerked me toward him, since I’d been close to collapsing. “I need to bring her home, but I’m not leaving you here, you incurable idiot. I leave you alone for two minutes, and this is what happens. Have you got no self-restraint? If Chloe had seen this...”
“Chloe, Chloe, Chloe. I swear, sometimes, you’d think you were her boyfriend,” Andy muttered.
William inhaled sharply. “Well, sometimes, I think she’d be better off with a man like me,” he retorted coldly.
“Ouch,” Andy hissed and sent him a vicious glare.
“Sorry, man. Tough love,” William replied and sighed long and loud.
My stomach turned, and I felt the content rise toward my throat. It demanded all my remaining strength to swallow it back down.
“Will,” I moaned. “I feel sick.”
“You... Oh, for fuck’s sake, Cara. What am I to do with you? You never listen.”
“That’s why you fancy her, mate,” Andy twitted and tucked his hands into his pockets.
Digging into his own, William withdrew his number for the wardrobe and flicked the coin of it off his thumb toward Andy. “Fetch our waistcoats. I’ll meet you outside.”
By the time William managed to get me into a cab, I had nearly passed out. So when he slid in next to me, I rested my head on his shoulder and surrendered to the darkness.
I woke not much later to the sound of Jason’s voice. “Bloody hell, is she all right?”
“She’s completely off her face. I tried to steer her away from those last three shots of tequila, but you know how she is,” William’s voice replied with an impatient tone to it.
“Still. I seldom see her this plastered,” Jason murmured.
Batting my lashes apart, I saw a white ceiling above William’s jaw. He was clearly carrying me across his chest. Where were we?
This angle made me feel sick again, and it was acute. It looked like the ceiling was spinning. I wouldn’t be able to hold it down for much longer. “Will,” I whimpered. “Toilet,” I continued.
“Ah, fuck me,” he moaned and turned toward it.
The second he released my figure onto the floor I lifted the lid of the porcelain toilet and released.
“Cara,” he groaned and gathered my hair to hold it for me, “you’re a bloody idiot.”
I couldn’t reply. I retched and retched until nothing but liquids came out. Tears welled in my eyes from vomiting so hard. Exhausted, I leaned away and rested my head against the cold glass of the showers.
“I can’t believe she allowed herself to get that drunk in front of her boss,” Jason muttered from the doorway. “You might be my brother, but for fuck’s sake.”
“We’ve hardly been together all night,” William defended me. “She was initially meant to go out with just Ellie when I asked to come along. We lost each other in the club. Suppose she didn’t expect to find me again.”
He was sort of lying, but I appreciated it nonetheless. I was certain I’d wake up to proper angst tomorrow.
“You asked to come along? Wearing that?” I heard Jason respond, a flummoxed tone to his voice. “And since when do you go clubbing?”
“Jason, that’s enough,” William barked, sounding like a parental figure.
“Are you drunk as well?” Jason queried.
“Well, I could set up the sofa for you, if you’re too tired to go home. I’m sorry you had to babysit Cara, man. I’m embarrassed on her behalf.”
“It all right. It’s not the first time I’ve had to babysit a drunken idiot,” William murmured and shot him a look. “But yeah, I’ll grab the sofa.”
“Actually, you could sleep in my bed, if you want. I changed the sheets this morning,” Jason proposed.
“Then I’ll do that.”
“Can I get you anything?” Jason murmured and rubbed the back of his head.
“I think Cara could use some water. She’s completely emptied her stomach. While you’re at it, fetch some for me as well.”
“On it,” Jason muttered while he turned to depart.
While sighing, William reached over to flush the toilet after me. Upon his retreat, his hand skimmed my cheek to brush my hair away. “Come on. You need to brush your teeth,” he said and grabbed my arms to lift me.
I sobbed tearlessly and grimaced in protest. Though I felt better after puking, all I wanted was my bed. Nevertheless, he managed to make me stand on my own.
“Which one’s yours?” he enquired, his eyes on the two toothbrushes.
“Green,” Jason said upon his return and tossed William a bottle of water. Then he journeyed toward me while he undid the cap of another.
“Cara,” he uttered through a sigh. “This isn’t like you. You’re having me worried.”
“Well, I’ve had a rough week,” I mumbled and wrapped my feeble hand around the bottle he extended to me.
“Clearly.” Leaning forward, he planted a firm kiss to my forehead while he rubbed my arms. “I’ll make you a full English for breakfast tomorrow, yeah?”
“I love you,” I cooed and attacked him with a hug.
He chuckled and pressed me against him. “Love you, too, idiot.” He didn’t release me while he turned toward his brother. “Poker night still on tomorrow?” he queried of him while I raised my bottle to my lips.
“Of course,” William replied after a mouthful of his own. “Have you got a spare toothbrush around?”
“Yeah. Bottom left drawer,” Jason replied.
After Jason and William had forced me to brush my teeth, they guided me to my bedroom. While Jason was tucking me into bed, William leaned against the doorjamb with a brooding expression on his face.
“She’s going to pass out any second now. You know where my bedroom is,” Jason murmured when my eyes closed.
“You’re sleeping here? With her?” William asked astonished.
“We do it all the time.”
“Good to know. Have you had sex with her, then?”
“What the fuck, Will?” Jason barked.
“No, of course I haven’t.”
“Ever wanted to?”
“Get out, man.” I could hear that Jason was losing his patience. I’d called it. If there was one person in this world whom I had thought capable of stirring Jason’s temper, it was William, and I was currently hearing it live.
“Don’t,” William demanded.
“Don’t what?” Jason snapped.
“Don’t fuck her. I have.”
Complete silence filled the space for minutes that felt like hours. I’d been close to drifting off, but now I was only pretending to be asleep. Though I was drunk, I wasn’t so drunk that this didn’t send my heart racing in panic. And vomiting had made me feel much better earlier.
When Jason finally found his voice, it was low and cold. “Are you taking the piss, man?”
“No. It was an accident at first, but I have every intention of doing it again. Thought you should know.” William’s voice was devoid of emotion. He might as well have been reading a sheet of instructions.
“What the actual fuck, Will!? That’s my fucking flatmate! She also happens to be my best friend!”
“I’m aware. I would say I’m sorry, but I’m not.”
Jason whirled around in my bed to grab my shoulders, and he shook them so hard that I’d be an idiot to pretend I were asleep. “Cara! Tell me he’s joking!”
“He’s joking,” I said.
“Are you lying?”
“Yes,” I peeped.
He didn’t just release me. He pushed me harshly away as though I were the most disgusting thing he’d ever seen. “What the actual fuck, Cara! How bloody dare you? And you didn’t tell me? Did you ever plan to?”
Tears welled in my eyes. I was far too drunk to handle this right now. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to have sex with him.” My voice was light and feeble, and broke at several points. “I wasn’t aware he was your brother at the time. Had I known, I never would have done it.”
“Jesus Christ!” Jason moaned and brought his head between his hands.
“Jason, I’m really sorry,” I whimpered and felt my tears run over. “I didn’t want to tell you because I was scared you’d react like this – and it was an accident. It isn’t going to happen again.”
“Isn’t it?” William chimed in and tilted his head. “That wasn’t my impression when I fingered you at the club earlier.”
Colour drained from my face. It felt like he had stabbed me straight through the chest, even though he hadn’t told a single lie.
Jason started trembling. “I can’t believe this!” he shouted and turned to glower at his brother. “You’re a fucking prick, Will. Does Dad know about this?”
William responded by arching his brow at him. The entire time, he remained completely composed. It was astounding how he managed that. “Of course he doesn’t, and I wouldn’t tell him either, if I were you.”
“Ah, bollocks!” Jason yelled and pulled his dirty blonde hair.
“Calm down, Jason.” William groaned.
“Calm down?! You’re telling me to calm down when you’ve just told me you’ve been fucking and fingering my best friend behind my back?”
William rolled his eyes and raised his bottle of water to his mouth. After an extended mouthful, he swallowed and exhaled loudly. Was he trying to be more agitating than he already was at normal? “I was going to tell you, I just haven’t found the time. So, when I saw that you were about to get into beds with her, I gathered now was as good a time as any.”
Jason turned toward me. “What about Robby, Cara? Does he know?”
I wiped my cheeks while I shook my head. “No. Really Jason, what happened tonight between Will and I wasn’t supposed to happen. I was just very drunk, and–”
“I’ll stop you right there,” William snapped at me, and his eyes were glowing with his anger. “Don’t you dare try and blame that on your intake. We both know it was bound to happen sooner or later, Cara, and you’re lying if you say anything else. I did not take advantage of you. Hell, you were the one initiating everything.”
“Jason!” I urged. “I’m not going to sleep with him again. Tonight was a mistake!”
He threw his hands up in the air. “Ah, that’s brilliant! Just brilliant. Does he share your feelings about that?”
“Absolutely not,” William murmured.
“Cara!” Jason yelled, thoroughly exasperated. “Do you realise the clusterfuck you’ve made!? Not just for you, but for me? I’ll be torn between loyalties here! There’s Will on one end, and then there’s you on the other! If things end badly between you two, where do you think that places me? I don’t want to choose between you!”
“Yes, make up your mind, Cara,” William joined in.
“I’m sorry! I’m so fucking sorry!” I sobbed and shielded my face with my hands while I resorted to cry, loudly.
“I don’t understand what her problem is. Does she have feelings for Robby?” William asked of Jason.
“No,” he quietly replied as he crawled over to hug me against him. “Sh, Cara. I’m sorry. I know you didn’t mean for this to happen,” he murmured and squeezed me against him. “I’m sorry I shouted at you like that. I’m only a little shocked.”
His sweet words only made me cry harder. I felt so terrible for the spot I’d put him in.
“Good God, look at you two,” William grumbled. “This is ridiculous. There shouldn’t be a problem to cry over. I want her, she wants me. It’s that simple.”
“William, sometimes, I truly think Mum dropped you as a child,” Jason snapped at him. “She’s upset. You don’t always have to agree with the reason.”
“I clearly picked the wrong brother,” I managed through a few sniffs.
“Oh, come on, love. What do you want me to do, then?” William retorted.
“Leave me alone!”
He looked to the heavens for aid. “Why her?” he asked. “Just... why her?”
When Jason saw it, he actually smiled.
Lowering his head again, William sighed to himself. “Okay. Get out, then. I’ll deal with her.”
“No! I don’t want you near me!” I growled like a ferocious animal.
He shook his head and approached nonetheless. “Yes, you do.”
I glared at him. “Jason,” I called, for help.
“See, this is what I mean. Don’t drag me into this. This is your mess. I’m not taking any sides in this,” he replied annoyed.
“Jason,” William said when he reached the bed, “we can either sleep here all three, or you can get out.”
“I’ll see you in the morning,” the younger brother muttered before he released my figure to climb out of the bed. In horror, I watched him leave and shut the door after him. He didn’t as much as look at me, and it was likely because the expression on my face would have made him change his mind.
“Well, then,” William said after the door had been shut. Turning toward me, he proceeded to undo the buttons of his waistcoat. “Remind me how little you actually wanted me tonight.”
I turned my back to him and glared holes into the wall beside my bed. “You’re insufferable.”
“How am I insufferable? I haven’t done anything wrong. You’re the one that’s fucking everything up with your indecisiveness.” He sounded baffled.
“Could you sleep on the sofa, please?”
“Then don’t touch me,” I warned. “I will bite off your fingers.”
“I don’t doubt it for a second, love,” he chuckled, “but I’ll take my chances.”
“Ugh!” I shuddered. I could tear him to shreds.
I heard him sigh behind me. “You’ll feel better by the morning. Jason deserved to know. You’ll see that, eventually.”
I closed my eyes and turned mute on him. Meanwhile, he merely undressed, killed the lights, and then climbed into bed with me.
“Give me at least a portion of your duvet, Cara.”
“You don’t deserve it. I’m hoping you’ll die of cold during the night.”
“It’s summer. Would prove difficult.”
“Well, I feel like a glacier, so perhaps that might help.”
“More like a volcano, I think.”
“If that’s the case, then I hope the pyroclastic flow of my eruption will kill you off,” I fired back and frowned to myself, annoyed.
“You are such a nerd, and I fucking love that about you,” he countered, but he sounded profoundly charmed. “Pyroclastic flow,” he echoed to himself. “That’s not common knowledge, Cara. Honestly, I am amazed by your flair for comebacks. You’re fucking sharp. You’re going to make for an exceptional solicitor one day.”
My heart was acting weird, all tingly and light, when I was supposed to be pissed off. He’d told Jason about us without consulting me first, and I was furious about it. He could at least have warned me that he intended to tell him, so that I could have prepared a proper defence. And yet the fact that he took each of my blows the way that he did only reminded me why I fancied him so much. He wasn’t intimidated by me. At all. He stood up to me, and it turned me on like nothing else. Being the fierce woman that I was, I required a man like him to keep me on my toes. Otherwise, I’d grow bored in the span of a mere breath.
He gripped my duvet then, and with brutal force, dragged it off me completely. After rolling himself into the entire of it, he exhaled content.
“Yes, sweetheart?” he replied with a tone of infuriating innocence.
“I swear I’ll kill you one of these days!” I growled and whirled around to face him.
“You’d regret it,” he replied self-assured. God, he surely knew how to stir my temper. “If you give me a kiss, I’ll share,” he brought himself to say then.
“It isn’t. It’s bargaining.”
I folded my arms together and realised at once that I didn’t have to be here? I could sleep with Jason if I wanted. Joy filled me the same moment. I had crawled halfway over William’s large body when he suddenly freed his arms to wrap them around me.
“Where do you think you’re going?” he queried.
He scoffed. “Don’t be ridiculous. Here,” he muttered and rearranged the duvet to encompass us both. Hooking his strong arms around me, he pulled me toward his warm chest. Divided, I lay rigid against him, paralysed by my own confusion. Part of me wanted to leave, another wanted to remain in precisely the same spot.
“Cara,” he cooed and nuzzled his face in the crook of my neck. “Just sleep. You can kill me in the morning.”
“I intend to.”
“Make good use of my heat while you still can,” he smugly replied and wrapped his leg over mine. How had it come to this? This was not how I had envisioned my night to end.
“You’re a bloody headache, but I do adore you,” he mumbled and kissed the slope of my neck.
“If I’m a headache, you’re a tumour.”
I felt him shake against me, clearly amused. “That’s an original way of saying you can’t take your mind off me. I’m flattered, Cara. I can assure you that it’s mutual.”
I moaned in his embrace. He had an uncanny ability to twist my words.
While squeezing me against him, he continued, “Drunk out of your mind, and still you maintain your bravado. I take my hat off for you.”
Despite the odds, I fell asleep with a smile on my face.