Skin of the Night

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Chapter 58: I'm Your King

Everything about her irritated me today. Even the sound of her footsteps made me clench my jaw as I browsed through the options of the shop, looking for a gown to wear tomorrow. Was my period looming, or was I right to be cross with her? Well, perhaps the sound of her footsteps shouldn’t bother me to the extent that it did, which was the only reason I didn’t snap at her.

No, it was one hundred per cent her fault. Even if my period was looming (my period was entirely a sporadic event that lasted no more than two-to-three days, with thanks to my IUD) Olivia Clark deserved my wrath. Since she couldn’t control her feelings, I didn’t hold it against her that she had rejected Jason. What I did hold against her was my increasing suspicion that she had rejected him because she had rekindled with Colin, despite swearing that she wouldn’t.

Now standing behind me, I heard her giggle to herself while she texted nonstop, and I recognised the version of her laughter all too well. It was the lovesick version. Because she had insisted that she was only texting her sister, Clarissa, when I asked earlier, I was growing increasingly annoyed. It was blatant from the sound of her snickers that she was texting a man.

“Olivia,” I said and turned toward her. Even though I’d called her Olivia – which I only did when I was utterly serious – she barely offered me a scrap of her attention. My glare was scorching, but she didn’t meet it. While nodding, she kept her eyes glued to the screen of her phone.

“Are you texting Colin?” I bluntly asked and narrowed my eyes as I analysed her reaction. For a split second, her entire figure froze.

“What? No,” she murmured, but didn’t meet my gaze. Lying bitch.

“Yes, you are.”

“No, I’m not.”

“All right, show me, then. If you’ve got nothing to hide, it shouldn’t be a problem,” I argued.

Finally, she lifted her gaze to mine. “Cara, this is a matter of principle. I don’t have anything to hide, but I’m not comfortable with you-”

“You’re lying to my face,” I interrupted through gritted teeth. “How dare you?”

Her lips parted at the way I arrested her. For three seconds straight, we merely stared at each other, and during the while of it, my blood simmered in my veins. Truly, the fact that Jason had feelings for her was an utter travesty. He deserved so much better than this bleeding idiot who couldn’t even think for herself, much less take care of herself. Clearly, Jason suffered from saviour’s complex.

“You’re unbelievable,” I stated under my breath. “I can’t believe you’re doing this to yourself. I want to support you, Livy, I do, because I love you, but you’re seriously testing my patience right now. You’re essentially asking to have your heart broken again.

“You need to reconsider your targets. I get that you loved him, and probably still do, but that doesn’t mean he’s right for you. Sometimes – oftentimes, actually – people fall in love with the wrong person. Colin is the wrong person.

“What’s the saying, again? Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me? That’s very applicable right now.”

Tears welled in her eyes upon my brutal words, but I couldn’t help myself. The fact that she was on the verge of reuniting with Colin made me want to grab her shoulders and shake her, quite harshly, in hope to help her snap out of it. How could she do this to herself? She was such a self-destructive person sometimes, and I was desperate to save her from herself.

“Is this be-because of-of Jason?” she stammered and looked toward the ceiling to make use of gravity so that her tears wouldn’t spill over.

Trying to calm myself, I inhaled deeply. “No, this isn’t because of Jason. You can’t help that you don’t return his feelings. You could have avoided comparing him to a brother, though, Livy. That was just heartless. Friend-zoning is one thing. Family-zoning is pure slaughter. Savage.

“But in any case, this is about Colin, and the fact that you’re not only entertaining the thought of him, but actually him! You need to shut that imbecile out of your life! You know I hate telling people how to run their lives, but Livy, I feel it’s my duty as your best friend to steer you away from him. He’s bad news, and he’s already proven that. He bloody shagged Jessica on your birthday last year! What’s worse, he had an affair with her for six months before he dumped you for her. Have you forgotten that she told you that when you confronted her about this?”

She inhaled sharply and, before I could grasp much, turned on her heel and abandoned me in the shop. Disbelieving, I stared after her even after she’d exited my field of vision. This had not gone according to plan. I should have been softer on her, but she was making it incredibly hard for me. What was I supposed to do? Sit idly by and watch her walk into guaranteed heartache? Then provide a shoulder for her to lean on every time she sabotaged herself, while biting back the urge to tell her ‘I told you so’?

Eventually, I groaned and closed my eyes, trying to gather my thoughts. I knew I could be merciless when it came to dilemmas like these. I liked to think my friendship was unconditional to those I held dear, but it wasn’t entirely true. Olivia and I were going to grow apart if she didn’t mature and learn from her mistakes, and we would because I would simply stop respecting her.

“May I help you, Miss?” an employee suddenly asked by my left.

Turning toward her, I said, “Yes, please. I need a gown for a black tie event that I’m attending tomorrow. Nothing too flamboyant.”

She looked to be in her late forties or early fifties due to the many lines in her face, particularly around her mouth and eyes. Then there was her bold haircut. It consisted of a grey bob, and beneath it, hard brown eyes resided.

She chuckled. “Classic taste?”

“Yes.”

“Elegant?”

“Yes.”

“I have a few in mind. Right this way.”

“My date will be wearing a black dinner suit with a black bow tie. White shirt,” I told her as I trailed behind her chubby figure. “I’d like to complement his choice.”

“Good to know,” she replied with a nod of her head.

By the time I exited the shop after having settled upon a silver gown of satin fabric, I was ruled by my bad conscience. I’d sent Olivia a text between changing, but she still hadn’t replied.

I was pouting to myself as I stood on the side of the pavement, waiting for the pouring rain to ease up. As I stood there, a strange urge to call William gripped me. I wanted him to console me. He didn’t even have to agree with my actions. His voice would do, but what I truly needed was his embrace.

After a loud sigh, I fished my phone out of my purse and found his number in my recent log. As I dialled it, I lifted the device to my ear and waited impatiently for him to pick up. To my relief, he answered almost immediately.

“To what do I owe this honour?” he teased.

My lips protruded with my grave pout. Hearing his voice only intensified my miserable mood, as I finally saw it safe to allow myself to feel it.

“Hello.”

He was quiet for a beat. “That’s not the tone I like to hear. Are you all right, darling?”

“No.”

Again, he paused. “What’s wrong?” He sounded both anxious and bothered.

I reeled in a long, deep breath. “Are you busy right now?”

“I’ve always got time for you.”

My heart tingled. He could be unbearably sweet when it was required of him. “William,” I moaned.

“Get to the point, Cara.”

“I think I fell out with Livy.”

I heard his hesitation. “Over Jason?”

“No, because she’s getting back with Colin!” I couldn’t help the anger that seeped out of my voice.

“Are you kidding?”

“No!”

“Well, she’s an idiot. Jason dodged a bullet there. Christ.”

“I tried telling her that, and that’s when things got a bit out of hand.”

“Sweetheart, you did the right thing. If she’s too blind to see it herself, she needs to be told. And if her best friends won’t tell her, who will?”

I grimaced. The urge to smother him and nuzzle my face against his chest was extreme. Merely his mollifying scent was something I found myself missing profoundly.

“William, I know this is pathetic, but I’d really appreciate your company right now.”

“Cara, that’s not pathetic. You know I’ll always be there for you when you need me,” he replied tenderly. I nearly moaned again. How I loved him. “I’m impressed you brought yourself to ask, though. Did you have to twist your own arm to do it?”

I couldn’t help my amused smile as I rolled my eyes at him. “No. I did not.”

“What progress, love. Happy to hear that. Anyway, I’ll be there in an hour. I’m still at the office. Just need to finish up a few things first.”

I looked toward the dark grey sky. “Well, I’m not home yet. Just found a gown for tomorrow. Have you had dinner? If not, then I can order some take-out for us on my way home.”

“You’ll make for the perfect partner, Cara. So efficient. But no, I haven’t had dinner. Anything will do, though – you know I’m not particular.”

“So plenty of ketchup, then?” I teased.

“Ha-ha.”

“I’ll make sure of it.”

“The only time I’d eat ketchup was if it was off your skin.”

I blushed profusely upon the reminder of when he’d licked raspberry sorbet off my body. “I’m hanging up now,” I muttered when the memory managed to arouse me. He was so fucking hot.

His soft laughter poured through the line. “I’ll see you in a bit. Try not to think of Olivia. She’ll come around. Hopefully. Well, if she’s got a decent brain she will.”

“Yeah,” I sighed and hung up.


By some amusing coincidence, I ended up behind him as I exited the tube station about an hour later. Oblivious to my presence, he stalked across the street with his brown leather bag hanging over his broad shoulder. Unsurprisingly, he was still wearing the same grey suit he’d worn to the office, but I was slightly gutted by it. I wished he’d gone home to collect a change of clothes, because if he had, it would mean he intended to spend the night. Clearly, that wasn’t on the agenda, and it disappointed me. I wanted to sleep in his arms. I hadn’t done it since Tuesday.

Nevertheless, I admired his graceful walk and ogled his proportionate anatomy the entire journey to the flat. Only after he’d pressed the doorbell outside the front door did he scout the surrounding street and notice my presence. When he did, his eyebrows formed surprise.

“Stalker,” he teased when I eventually caught up to him.

“A rubbish one. You walk so fast I was having a hard time matching your pace,” I replied amused and stretched up on my toes to peck his mouth.

“Long legs,” he murmured against my lips and kissed me repeatedly.

“Greetings,” Jason’s voice poured through the speaker.

“Good evening, wanker,” William answered amused.

“Will? What brings you? Cara’s not in.”

“No, she’s outside with me.”

“Forget her keys?”

“No.” I chuckled. “Just arrived.”

“Oh. Well, then you may use them. William’s insult has got me offended. I ain’t no servant of his.”

I snickered.

“Of course you are,” William insisted.

“You got that wrong. I’m your king.”

“No, you’re not. I’m yours. William is a king’s name. Jason implies that you’re the son of a Jay. Ergo, your name is pathetic and unimaginative. Open the gates, son of Jay.”

“Of hell? Suppose that is where you belong. Anyway, this is my bloody castle. Get your own. And just so you know, ‘Jason’ stems from Greek mythology, after a hero, and means ‘healer’. So all right, you might have a king’s name, but I’d rather have a hero’s.”

“William is the name of both heroes and kings, you dumb shit. Not only that, but–”

Groaning, I ignored the rest of their banter while I fished my keys out of my purse. After unlocking the door, I practically had to drag William away from the intercom since he was so preoccupied with bantering with his brother. Those two were surely something else. I wondered if they knew how lucky they were to have their best mate as a sibling. Even if Phoebe and I were close as well, it wasn’t a given to be as good friends as Jason and William were merely because of siblinghood. And to be honest, Jason and William were even closer than Phoebe and I were.

“You can ridicule him upstairs,” I said as I pulled on his arm.

He looked surprised at me, as if it hadn’t occurred to him. Christ, he’d surely been caught up in the moment.

“Right.”

When the door drew to a shut behind him, I glimpsed him across my shoulder as I climbed the stairs. “Don’t tell him I fell out with Livy. If you do, I’ll be forced to explain that she’s getting back with Colin, and I don’t think he’ll handle that very well.”

He agreed with a nod of his head, but I could tell he wasn’t entirely convinced that it was the right course of action.

I halted and turned to face him, suspicious. “What?” My head tilted.

He shrugged his shoulders and turned his profile to me. “Perhaps he ought to know. It might serve as a reality-check. If she’s so daft that she’s willing to go back to her ex, maybe Jason will benefit from hearing it. It might even put him off the idea of her.”

Uncertain, I swallowed and frowned back at him. “It might do more harm than good, though. Is that a risk worth taking?”

“It’s the truth,” he argued. “And the truth hurts sometimes. But knowing Jason, he subscribes to it. I think he’d like to know. Sure, he’ll be angry at first, but after that initial fit, he’ll come to realise what a dimwit she is.”

I paled. “She’s completely lost your respect, hasn’t she?” I wasn’t sure how I felt about that. I did hope for reconciliation between Olivia and I, but if William weren’t ever going to approve of her, it was likely to bother me.

Seeming to ruminate for a bit, he looked blankly to our left. Then he nodded his head. “Yes. Afraid so. But you can’t hold that against me. She rejects a sweet lad like my brother for a numpty like Colin? Please. She deserves what’s coming for her.”

I pressed my palm flat across his chest and stared deep into his eyes. “William, Livy’s my good friend. She’s been there for me through thick and thin for the past three years.”

He looked to the ceiling in his despair. “It’s becoming a pattern that I disapprove of your friends. Why have you got to have such terrible friends? Mine are brilliant.”

I scowled at him. “William.”

He lifted his hands, yielding. “I’ll be nice.”

I pursed my lips. “I know you don’t like Robby, but if you could please be objective for a second, you should be able to tell that he was a good friend to me.”

His consequent glare was blistering, and I saw his jaw clench and unclench numerous times. Finally, he said, “I suppose that, if he hadn’t shared beds with you for the past three years, I might actually have liked him. He did earn my respect when he defended you that dreadful night. I would have done the same, had I been in his shoes.”

Astonished, I gaped at him. “Wow. Can I record this?”

His eyes hooded. He was not amused. “Cheeky monkey.”

“Sorry, I didn’t mean it like that. I’m honestly touched by your ability to look past our relationship and judge him separately.”

“Well, it doesn’t really matter, does it? You still fucked regularly for the better part of three years. I’ll never be able to ignore that fact. Besides, since he’s out of your life, it doesn’t really matter what I might think of him as a person. I won’t ever have to endure his existence again.”

“No, but your ability to judge him somewhat objectively does matter to me. It speaks toward your character, in the sense of a bigger picture.”

He rolled his eyes. I quite adored him when he rolled his eyes. For some odd reason, he looked impossibly cute. Boyish, even if I preferred men. “Glad I could make you happy.”

Smirking, I turned on my heel again, but I’d only managed to climb a single step by the time he grabbed my shoulder to stall me. Curious, I glimpsed him across my shoulder again and saw that his eyes were glued on the three things I was carrying: our dinner, my gown, and my purse.

“I’ll give you a hand with that,” he murmured and grabbed around all three.

I blinked and tightened my grip of them. “What a gentleman. Thanks, but I’ll manage.”

He chuckled. “Strong independent?”

“You know it.”

“I do, but don’t be silly.”

“Fine,” I sighed and handed him our dinner and my purse. My gown I kept to myself.

“That your dress?” he asked and cocked his head toward the bag containing it.

“Yes.” I hugged it to my chest, protective. Sensing why, a crooked smile formed on his mouth.

“Can’t I have a peek? It’s not exactly a wedding dress.”

An intense wave of heat flooded my face. William uttering the word ‘wedding’ forced a strange idea into my head of him as the groom, and me as the bride. Little did it help that the image of him as a groom made my heart skip a beat. He’d look out of this world. I was certain. The sheer view of him by the altar would be devastating. Regardless of whether we ended up together or not, he was bound to make for a striking husband, both in mind and body. And in bed.

Gosh, the wedding night of William Night.

If I weren’t going to have the honour, I knew in my heart that the woman who would was going to be the most fortunate woman alive. She had better prize him for what he was, and she had better enjoy her wedding night on my behalf.

“Oh, my God,” I scolded myself. How rapid my thoughts were. Marriage? Please. We weren’t even in a relationship.

“Oh, your God,” he teased. “Let me have a look.”

“No. Tomorrow,” I grumbled and scurried up the remaining stairs.

“Since I essentially bought that dress, I have a right to see it,” he argued after me.

I froze in front of the front door for a beat before I turned toward him and fished his credit card out of my pocket. Our argument on Tuesday – when he had insisted to pay for my gown – had bordered a screaming match. Just another day between William and I, I supposed. I’d barely managed to swallow my pride when he had handed me his credit card at work today.

“I wanted to buy it myself,” I muttered grudgingly. “You’re stepping on my honour.”

He arched his left eyebrow at me when he lazily made it to the top of the stairs. “You’re right. That was unnecessary of me to remind you of. I know you weren’t, and aren’t, comfortable with it. But you have to understand that when I essentially beg you to attend a prestigious event with me, I’m not going to let you pay for the designer gown you’ll wear to it. You’re a student, Cara, for the last time. Besides...” He turned his profile to me, seemingly uncomfortable. “I hate using this card, but you know full well that I can afford it.”

I pursed my lips before a sigh pushed past them. “I just want to say this, once and for all. I am not sleeping with you to get a fast-pass into your wallet. In fact, you may keep it to yourself for as long as we last.”

Underwhelmed, he faced me again. “You don’t need to tell me that. It’s blatant that you don’t when you always argue with me whenever I try to pay for things.”

I shrugged. “I want to earn my own fortune.”

“And I both fancy and admire that about you.”

I sent him an affectionate smile before I turned for the door to head inside.

“There’s my servant,” Jason greeted from the sofa. “Did you have a quick round outside since it took you so long?”

“Olivia is getting back with Colin,” William instantly announced.

“William!” I exclaimed and pulled my hair. That moron!

Pale in his face, Jason looked blankly at William. “What?” he quietly enquired.

“Yeah. Cara told me just now.”

He shook his head, clearly unwilling to believe it. “You’re not being serious.”

“I am. Tell him, Cara.”

“I...” I frowned upset.

When Jason met my eyes, I could see the hope that resided in his, hope that I would reveal that this was only a bad joke. But it wasn’t a bad joke, and I hated that I’d have to be the one to tell him. Watching him suffer wounded me, too. This was going to break his heart all over again.

Sympathy etched through my voice when I softly said, “Jason, I’m sorry. I fished it out of her when we were shopping today. We fell out because of it.”

He looked rigid now. “Are you fucking serious? Has she lost her God damned mind?!” he shouted. “After everything that tosser did to her she takes him back?!”

I flinched.

“She’s obviously an idiot. You should be glad she’s not your girlfriend,” William murmured. “Honestly, Jason, you deserve so much better than her.”

“William!” Jason snarled. “Not now!”

To my relief, William actually listened. Turned mute, he gazed away.

“Jason, I’m so sorry. I didn’t want to tell you, but William–”

“No,” he cut me off with a bark. “I’m glad you did. But that doesn’t help the fact that I’m fucking fuming. What is she thinking?”

I swallowed. I’d never seen Jason this irate. It was intimidating. I hadn’t thought he harboured even the potential of such wrath. “She’s not. That’s kind of the problem,” I quietly said.

“She’s unbelievable!” He sat up to run his hands through his hair in his exasperation. “I’ve watched her cry over that prick so many times I’ve lost count, and now she’s taking him back?”

I sensed William hesitate beside me. “I thought you deserved to know,” he murmured.

“I honestly can’t fucking believe this.” Standing, Jason charged for his bedroom.

“Jason,” I called upset, wanting to console him. When I was about to follow him, William grabbed my shoulder.

“Let him be, Cara,” he gently ordered. “He wants to be alone. Whenever he gets like this, he always wants to be alone.”

Disconcerted, I looked up at him with a grave pout on my face. “I get that you thought he deserved to know, but there’s a way of delivering bad news, William. Couldn’t you have been gentler? This is a sensitive topic for him. He’s still licking his wounds.”

His Adam’s apple ascended and fell with his swallow. “I... Yeah. Maybe you’re right.”

“You ought to apologise.”

He pressed his lips together, eyes darting toward Jason’s shut bedroom door. “I’ll do it after dinner if he still hasn’t come out.”

“Thank you.”

Affected by Jason’s morose mood, we didn’t share words again until we were halfway through dinner.

“So,” he murmured and reached for his glass of sparkling water on the table between us, “regarding tomorrow...”

I arched my brow at him and swallowed my mouthful of the chicken stir-fry. “What about it?”

While holding my gaze, he stated, “I’ve booked a room for the night at the hotel it’s being hosted. I’ve got a feeling it’s going to prove useful. Knowing myself, I doubt I’ll be able to resist having sex with you for an entire evening, and especially when you’ll be wearing a gown. I can already feel my fingers itch to peel it off, and I haven’t even seen it yet.”

I couldn’t help my grin. Knowing him, I should have anticipated this. “Is that why you wanted to see my dress earlier? Food for thought?”

“Just tell me the colour.”

I chuckled. “No.”

Disappointed, he looked sulkily back to his plate. “Either way, I gather we can head there straight after work, have sex for a few hours, get ready together and attend downstairs, before we head back up to have some more fun.”

I was certain the new shade of my face matched that of a tomato. “Is sex all you think about?”

He smirked. “Don’t be silly. You know it’s not. But around you, yeah, I do think about it quite frequently. You’re irresistible. I can’t help it.”

“And yet you’re not spending the night today.”

Amused, he tilted his head and searched my face for a moment. “You sound disappointed. Are you?”

“A little,” I admitted, but I was too bashful to look at him when I continued, “After everything with Livy, and now Jason, I’d appreciate to sleep in your arms.”

“You should’ve said that earlier and I would’ve picked up some clothes on my way here. I didn’t, because I gathered your vagina is going to get enough of a beating tomorrow.”

I groaned. “You’re an idiot. I specifically said sleep in your arms. There was no mention of sex.”

He snorted. “That’s naïve. I’d try and fuck you, and you know that.”

My blush intensified. “What am I supposed to do with you?” I muttered to myself.

“Anything you want.” His tone was suggestive.

I nodded slowly. “All right. I’ll strap on a dildo next time. Hope you like it in the arse.”

That silenced him instantaneously. When I looked over, he stared disturbed back at me till a shudder surged through him. “Dickhead,” he muttered.

I snickered. “Some men like that you know. Bum-play.”

He studied me incredulously. “Robby tell you that?”

Low blow.

“No.”

“Pity. If he turned out to be gay, I wouldn’t mind you two being friends.”

“Pity indeed. But a man doesn’t have to be homosexual to enjoy it. Apparently, that’s where you lot have your G-spot. Or so I’ve read.”

He shook his head. “So I’ve heard. But I am not interested in finding out.”

“You sure? What if you’re missing out on the most powerful orgasm of your–”

Jason opening the door interrupted my sentence. Simultaneously, William and I looked over. While he still looked slightly crestfallen, he had managed to compose himself.

His eyes flickered between William and I. “Are you two seriously discussing whether to do analsex, on William, over dinner in my living room? Like that’s completely normal?”

When he put it like that, the urge to laugh was vicious.

William shrugged his shoulders and replied, “Just another day between Cara and I, this. Rest assured, it’s not going to happen.”

Jason’s lips twisted until a short guffaw slipped out of him. “I don’t think there exists a label to describe you two.”

Seemingly disinterested, William veered, “Listen, about earlier, I’m sorry about–”

“Will, don’t bother,” he cut him off as a frown occupied his face. “I’ve grown up with you. I’m aware of the defect of your social antennas. I know you meant well.”

“Still, I could have chosen my words more carefully.”

“The message would have been the same, which is all I care about.”

Charmed, I looked between them. It would appear that Jason wasn’t as easily fazed by William’s blunt character as I had feared.

“You feeling any better?” I gently probed.

Gripping his hips, he sighed long and loud. “Gutted is all. But yeah. Though, if you don’t mind, could we ban Livy from the flat? I’d like to cut contact with her. I’ve made up my mind. It’s not healthy for me to keep thinking about her when she’s rejected me, and especially if she means to take Colin back. It will drive me mad.”

A little shocked, I reclined in my seat. He meant to cut Livy out of his life? That was quite the drastic decision. Then again, Robby had wanted the same when it came to me. Frankly, I could understand it.

“Sure,” I replied with a nod of my head. “I won’t bring Livy over. Promise.”

“Thanks,” he murmured and rubbed the back of his head.

“Healthy decision, Jason,” William commended. “I’m proud of you.”

Jason sent him a half-hearted smile, even if brotherly affection still managed to shine through it. “Yeah. You spending the night?”

“Cara wants me to. She’s upset about Livy. But I didn’t bring a change of clothes. I could always leave earlier in the morning, though. Would you like me to stay?”

Jason chewed on his lower lip before he faintly nodded his head. “Yeah, actually.”

William blinked, seemingly surprised. “Then I’ll stay. I’m a little amused you both come to me seeking comfort. Do I really come across as that type of person?”

I hadn’t thought of that before he said it. Indeed, it was quite amusing. Ironic even. Brutal William was our safe haven.

“In your own strange way,” I replied affectionately.

Jason chuckled. “Even if you are a dick most of the time, you’ve always got our back. Think that’s why.”

William reclined in his seat, seemingly pleased with himself. The smug smile on his face was priceless. “I’m a saint,” he jokingly alleged.

My lips twisted with my amusement as I pointed my fork at him. “You’re exceptionally talented at ruining the moment with your conceited comments.”

An awkward laugh escaped him as he shrugged his shoulders. “I get uncomfortable in cheesy situations. It’s my way of dodging it.”

“Fancy a beer, then?” Jason asked of him as he headed into the kitchen.

“Sure.”

After a moment of silence, he started laughing to himself. Bemused, I watched him, and saw Jason mirror me from the corner of my eye.

“What’s got your laughing gear cracking open?” his brother asked of him.

While shaking his head to himself, William rubbed his face and continued to laugh for a good minute. Eventually, he managed to explain himself. “This is just priceless. First I’ve got to help Andy out with Chloe, then Alex with Abigail, and now you two with Olivia. Am I a fucking counsellor? Why can’t you all get your shit together? Honestly, I can’t help but laugh.”

“Oh, go do one, Will,” Jason muttered. “You’re going to fuck up one day, and when you do, you should be glad you’ve got all of us there to support you.”

“No, don’t get me wrong. I don’t mind. I’m honestly just amazed.”

“Yes, you’re quite right,” I said with a nod of my head. “You and Oprah should get together and do a talk-show.”

Jason burst out laughing while William sank in his seat.

“Way to kill my joy, Cara,” he muttered.

“Oh, sorry.” I feigned a pout. “Must have been painful falling from your high horse.”

“It was. You’ll have to kiss it better,” he replied sulkily.

“I’ll give you a blowjob. How’s that for kissing it better?”

His responding smile was wicked. “Just perfect.”

“Fucking rabbits,” Jason commented under his breath.

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