As promised! New chapter!!!
Before you ask, the next one isn't written yet lol
“Okay, this is weird.”
I looked up at Jesse who was sitting across from me, a slice of pizza halfway to his mouth, a frown etched into his forehead.
“Something wrong with your pizza?” I asked, not really interested. I glanced up at the clock I could see over his head, wondering why the day was going so damn slowly.
“No,” he said shaking his head, not taking his eyes off of me. “The weird thing is you.”
I lifted my brows at that. “Excuse me?”
“Your dad got a DUI last night. You didn’t sleep because you stayed at the hospital with him and yet here you are, grinning like a kid on Christmas morning. I thought you’d be more...upset.”
My grin, which I hadn’t even been aware of, faded as I tore my gaze off the clock. “Yeah, that wasn’t awesome,” I said, wincing as I remembered getting that phone call, spending the whole drive to the hospital wondering if he was dead and if not, how much longer until he killed himself one way or another.
“But something happened later? Something good, right?” Jesse spoke around the huge bite of pizza he’d just taken.
I shrugged, looking away from him because really, how could I tell him that the reason for my good mood was his little sister?
This time I was fully aware of the smile that tugged at my lips and I was powerless to stop it. I kept thinking of the way she’d looked, soaked to the bone, her face lined with worry as she’d dripped on the tiles at her feet, looking at me with so much genuine concern that my heart had skipped several beats.
Then she’d slowly, kind of awkwardly hugged me and I thought maybe I was still dreaming until I’d hauled her into my lap, the feel of her too potent, too powerful to be anything but reality.
And then she’d inadvertently admitted that she didn’t see me as a brother.
My grin widened further.
“Are you going to tell me any time soon?” Jesse demanded, polishing off his pizza slice before I’d even started mine.
I picked up my food and shoved a big bite into my mouth, shaking my head at my best friend.
Jesse rolled his eyes and dug into his second piece of pizza. After a moment of silence, he said, “Hey, Flynn?”
“Look man, I’ll tell you later, okay?”
“It’s not about that,” he said, staring down at his pizza crust.
“Oh. What is it?”
“Yesterday with my mom...thanks for coming with us.”
“No problem,” I said without hesitation.
“I mean it. And I’ve been meaning to thank you for looking after Cory these past couple of months, too. She’s been through so much...I don’t think I even know the half of it and I’m just...glad that you’ve got her back.”
I nodded, not sure what to say to that and I was afraid I might blurt something stupid like, I love her so yeah, no problem.
Jesse opened his mouth to say something else but seemed to think better of it and shook his head instead. “I have to get going. My class starts in twenty minutes.”
“Sure,” I said, picking up my last slice and walking with Jesse out of the pizza place conveniently situated close to the university campus. “See you later,” I said, my grin settling firmly onto my face once more making me feel a bit like an idiot but I didn’t really care.
“Yeah?” I asked, pausing with my truck door half open.
Jesse looked unsure, his forehead wrinkled in a frown as he looked at me as if weighing the pros and cons of what he was about to say. “You were holding Cory’s hand yesterday.”
My spine stiffened and my grin vanished. “Yeah,” I said flatly, not liking the look in Jesse’s eyes.
“Sometimes you act like...”
He trailed off and I raised my eyebrow, my heart thudding slow and steady in my chest. “What?” I prompted.
Jesse shook his head and gave a rueful smile. “Nothing, man. Don’t worry about it. Just...thanks, you know? For being so nice to her.”
And before I could tell him that it wasn’t exactly hard to be nice to the girl I loved, he’d turned his back and was walking away.
I drove to the school, half pissed at Jesse for making it seem like I was doing him a huge favour by hanging out with Cory and half stupidly excited to see her again. This morning had been shit and when I’d looked up to see her standing in front of me, it changed.