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Authors: Regina Bartley

I Can't Die Alone (15 page)

BOOK: I Can't Die Alone
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The shiny elevator doors slide open and we step inside. My heart is beating so loud in my ears that I can pick out each individual beat. I look to Xander and I can’t read his emotions. His face is a mask of steely calm, like he can take on the world and not bat an eye. It’s what made him such a good football player; the other team never knew what he was thinking.

The doors open to the lobby and we wheel our bags out.

I’m glad to be going home. The past week—last night especially—has worn me out. I never imagined when the three of us joined Xander’s dad for a business trip—to learn more about the architecture business—that it would lead to this. I guess that’s what we get for extending our trip into the weekend so we could have a break.

And somehow, in all the chaos of this morning, I’ve forgotten the fact that once I get home there will be no avoiding Xander. We live in the same house, our rooms side by side, and I’m his secretary at his dad’s firm for the summer. My eyes dart to his profile—the elegant slope of his nose, and slight pout of his lips—and swallow thickly. Even if we get this taken care of today, I’m going to have to endure his presence every second of every day. It’s already been a struggle, fighting my feelings, and after this? I don’t know if I can do it.

Xander and I meet Cade in the dining area and leave our bags at the table he secured before going over to grab our food. Xander piles a stack of steaming pancakes on his plate and my stomach rolls. I don’t think I can eat. I grab an orange juice and a straw and start back to the table.

“You need to eat, Thea,” Xander calls after me.

I look at him over my shoulder and worry knits his brows. “I’m not hungry.”

He starts to say something else but I don’t stay to listen. I slide into the chair across from Cade and he eyes my orange juice. “Hungover?” he asks.

“Yep,” I lie. I might’ve woken up that way, but the whole
We got married
thing sobered me up real fast.

I sip my orange juice as Xander pulls out the chair between Cade and me and sits down. I expect him to protest on the not eating thing some more, but instead, he hands me a granola bar and says, “Just in case you get hungry on the flight.”

Always worrying about me. “Thanks.” I tuck the bar in my purse, and, thankfully, Cade pulls him into conversation and I’m left with my thoughts.

I have no idea what Xander has planned for us to ditch Cade, but I hope it’s good. Cade’s not stupid and he’ll figure it out if it’s not a believable lie.

I begin to worry that Xander’s not going to say anything as we throw away our trash and head outside to the waiting taxi line. We start for the first taxi and the driver hops out to help with his luggage.

“Shoot,” he says, patting his pockets. “I left my phone.”

“You left your phone?” I repeat, like
Really? That’s the best you could come up with?

Cade looks over at Xander in disbelief. “Seriously, dude?”

Xander’s shoulders sag. “You got me, that was a lie.” I gasp. He has to be kidding me. He can’t tell—“Thea told me she wanted to go to the observation deck at the Stratosphere before we left and I promised I’d take her. You know I don’t like to break promises.”

“Our flight leaves in two hours,” Cade warns. “Couldn’t you have done this yesterday?”

Xander shrugs. “There wasn’t any time.”

You know, because we were too busy getting drunk, married, and fucking like rabbits. Logistics, though.

Cade sighs. “I suppose we can go.”

Xander shakes his head. “Maybe you should go on ahead? That way, on the off-chance we’d miss the flight, you don’t. I’m sure Rae would be upset if she didn’t get to see you soon.”

Cade purses his lips and his eyes narrow in thought. I expect him to argue but instead he shrugs. “You’re right,” Cade agrees. “Keep an eye on her.” He points a warning finger at Xander.

Despite the fact that I’m nineteen—almost twenty—Cade still treats me like I’m a little girl. He’s always been the protective type, and while it can be annoying, I know he does it from the best place in his heart.

“And
try
,” he pleads, “to not miss the flight.”

Xander salutes him. “I’ll do my best.”

The two of us wheel our bags to the sidewalk and watch as Cade gets in the taxi and leaves.

“Stage one, complete,” Xander chimes.

“What’s stage two?” I ask.

His dark eyes squint from the bright Vegas sun and he looks toward all the buildings on the strip. “Finding the church.”

 

BOOK: I Can't Die Alone
4.45Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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