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Chapter Four

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        "I HONESTLY DON'T KNOW WHY Zoe's here

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        "I HONESTLY DON'T KNOW WHY Zoe's here." Jace's fingers uncurled from my wrist, sensing that I no longer wanted to cut and run. "And I didn't know she was coming tonight, either."

        I let that sink in. "Even so, I still can't get over the fact that she's here, again," I said with a nervous, whispery laugh. "Like the first time wasn't hard enough."

        "What?" Jace's gaze remained latched onto mine, his brows threading together. "What are you talking about?"

        The next breath hitched in my throat.

        Holy hell. We were finally doing this.

        "Why do you think I left so quickly that night?" I choked out. Raw emotion ripped through my chest as I recalled the humiliation I'd felt. The hurt. "Zoe showed up at your house. I saw her upstairs, waiting for you. You'd only just broken up, so I figured that you were, I don't know, getting back together. And there I was, totally railroading you in the bathroom, telling you stuff I never..." Exhaling loudly, I hung my head. "Look, I really don't want to hash things out. Not now. I just want you to know that I didn't contact you because I was under the impression you two were an item again, and by the time I found out that you weren't, it would've been too—"

        "Awkward?" Jace interjected, and his eyes blazed. "I would've preferred that if it meant we could have avoided this. I assumed you were dodging me because of something I said—or I guess, didn't say—before you ran out." There was a pause, a controlled exhale. "Fuck, we haven't spoken for a year, and you're telling me it was because you happened to see Zoe at my house that night? It was a party, Hayley. I didn't invite her. I didn't even know she was there until after you'd left."

        The knots spun tighter in my stomach, and the realization that I had been the one to royally screw this up came crumbling down around me. "You didn't? But I thought—"

        "I know what you must've thought, but after you left, I asked her to leave and then I crashed in my room. I was out cold until the next morning," he said, meeting my stare. "Nothing happened."

        "I'm such an idiot," I murmured. 

        He let out a sigh that was almost a growl. "I just wish you would've talked to me. We used to be friends, Hayley. You shouldn't have felt the need to pull your little disappearing act."

        Jace's accusation stung, but what really bugged me was the double standard. He was a hypocrite of the highest order. "Oh, I'm sorry. Did you try to contact me once this past year?" I snapped. "I must have been unconscious for that exchange."

        Oh God. My mouth had no filter when I was tipsy enough to feel confident and sure. It gave me the safety net to say things I would never have the courage to voice normally.

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by Sarah Douglas
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