Play(5)

By: Kylie Scott



“Good. About time. She pay you back?”

I let my silence do the talking.

“Fuuuuck. Anne. Seriously.”

“I know.”

“What did I tell you?” he snarled. “Didn’t I say–”

“Reece, don’t go there. Please. At the time, I thought it was the right thing to do. She was a friend and she needed help. I couldn’t just–”

“Yeah, you could. She was fucking using you!”

I took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “Yes, Skye was fucking using me. You were right, I was wrong.”

He mumbled a long string of expletives while I waited mostly patiently. No wonder I hadn’t wanted to have this conversation. There’d never be a good way to spin such a shitty tale. Frustration boiled up inside of me, warming me against the cold.

“How much do you need?” he asked, voice resigned.

“What? No. I’m not borrowing money off you, Reece. Getting further into debt is not the answer.” Besides, business owner or not, I wasn’t sure he had it to spare. Reece wasn’t any better at saving than I was. I knew this because of the designer gear he wore to work on a daily basis. Apparently being Portland’s resident Mr. Lover-Lover required one hell of a wardrobe. To be fair, he wore it extremely well.

He sighed. “You know, for someone who’s always helping others, you’re shit at accepting help yourself.”

“I’ll figure something out.”

Another pained sigh. I leaned over the railing and hung my head, letting the cold, wet wind batter my face. It felt nice, offsetting the tension headache threatening to start up behind my forehead. “I’m going to hang up now, Reece. They have beer and pizza here. I’m pretty sure if I try hard enough I can find my happy place.”

“You’re going to lose the apartment, aren’t you?”

“It’s likely I’ll have to move, yes.”

“Stay with me. You can crash on my sofa.”

“That’s sweet of you.” I tried to laugh, but the noise that came out was more of a strangled cough. My situation sucked too much for humor. Me sleeping on Reece’s couch while he went hard at it in the next room with some stranger. No. Not happening. As it was, I felt small and stupid for letting Skye play me. Bearing witness to Reece’s oh-so-active sex life would be too much.

“Thanks, Reece. But I’m pretty sure you’ve done unspeakable things to many, many people on that couch. I’m not sure anyone could sleep there.”

“You think it’s haunted by the ghosts of coitus past?”

“It wouldn’t surprise me.”

He snorted. “My gross sofa is there if you need it, okay?”

“Thank you. I mean that.”

“Call me if you need anything.”

“Bye, Reece.”

“Oh, hey, Anne?”

“Yeah?”

“Can you work Sunday? Tara’s had something come up. I told her you’d cover for her.”

“I spend Sundays with Lizzy,” I said carefully. “You know that.”

Reece’s answer was silence.

I could actually feel the guilt slinking up on me. “What if I do a different shift for her? Is it something she can move?”

“Ah, look, never mind. I’ll deal with it.”

“Sorry.”

“No problem. Talk to you later.”

And he hung up on me.

I put away my cell, took another mouthful of beer, and stared out at the city. Dark clouds drifted across the crescent moon. The air seemed colder now, making my bones ache like I was an old woman. I needed to drink more. That would solve everything, for tonight at least. My beer, however, was almost finished and I hesitated to head back inside.

Ugh.

Enough of this.

Once the drink was done, my lonely-girl pity party was up. I’d quit lurking in the shadows, pull my head out of my ass, and go back inside. This was an opportunity not to be missed, like I hadn’t wished a million times or more to cross paths with someone from the band. I’d already met David Ferris. So there, wishes could come true. I should put in a request for bigger boobs, a smaller ass, and better choice in friends while I was at it.

And money enough to pay for my sister’s college education and to keep a roof over my head, of course.

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