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Chapter 8

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Jersey'd started a war. She just didn't know it yet.

Before she showed up with that lanky Van Gogh wannabe, giggling like he was the funniest thing this side of L.A., things were fine. Okay, maybe a little less than fine, but better than terrible.

Caleigh and Tanner were too torn up about my pitiful, post-surgery status to start in on me with their usual lecture-punishment shtick.

So the two of them stood around, teasing me like my situation wasn't as serious as it was, smiling their way through the awkward silence. At least the morphine made everything funnier, everything except the sight of Jersey flirting her face off.

   "Who's this asshole?"

   "Language, Elias."

Caleigh swooped in to deal out damage control before Mr. Skinny Jeans had a chance to answer. What else was I supposed to call him? Sir?

The guy was putting the moves on her little cousin, and the only thing Caleigh cared about was what came out of my mouth? Bullshit.

That's the funny thing about girls, they don't get that most guys, no matter how "sensitive" they seem, are always after a hook up. This guy wasn't any different from me aside from the fact that he'd probably waste money on dinners, flowers, and poetry, before trying to get laid.

Whatever his game was, I didn't like it. Jersey was my territory, plain and simple. I had plans for her, big plans, and some try-hard hipster wasn't gonna screw em' up. 

   "I'm Kai. Sorry if this is a bad time, I just wanted to come by to see how you were doing and to apologize for what happened earlier."

Kai? Kai? What the hell kind of a name was Kai? Was he born in a hippy commune? It was bad enough that he thought that apologizing was gonna fix things, but that stupid name was the icing on top of the cake.

   "Shouldn't you be in jail or something? I'm pretty sure running people over is a crime—"

   "So is being drunk in public."

Jersey cut into the conversation like it was her job to barge into other people's business. Some guys are into girls with big mouths 'cause they love the conversation. I liked girls with big mouths too—but for totally different reasons.

   "I owe you another burrito for that one, Alex," Tanner said, all smiles.


He winked at Jersey from across the room and she went all googly-eyed the way most girls did around my brother. If they knew how much of a tightwad he was, they'd go running the other way. I still thought Caleigh was crazy for dating him. Hands down, if I were a girl, I'd date me instead.

   "Well, Kai. Thanks for the hospital stay. It's been great. Surgery was a blast," I said.

   "I'm sorry I put you through this. I don't have much, but I can pull from my savings to cover your hospital bills."

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