Chapter Twenty Six

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Like last time, keep an eye out for the three stars (***) and from there skip directly to the next chapter if you're not comfortable with some R rated content.

"I can explain." He said, eyes wider than I've ever seen them.

I walked towards him. "Yeah, you better."

Even as I waited for him to speak, all the puzzle pieces started coming together in my mind. Madison saying things were complicated and that there was a lot at stake. Madison lying about dating Zane. Madison and Grayson seemingly excessively aggressive in front of us as if they were faking it.

But why go to all these lengths? Why couldn't my best friends just tell me?

I saw him swallow a few times as I came to a stop a few feet from him with the phone in my hand. He opened his mouth when the phone pinged again. I looked down.

Hope you're having fun ♥️

I looked back up at him, eyebrows raised. "How long has this been going on?"

"Just under three months." He replied, pursing his lips.

"Three months. Why didn't you tell me?" I asked, feeling mostly hurt.

"Madison thought you wouldn't be okay with it. She wanted to wait before we told you." He said, scratching his eyebrow. He looked guilty as hell, and I couldn't blame him.

"That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard. Why wouldn't I be happy about my best friends getting together? Why?" I asked, gesturing the phone at him. Charlie remained silent.

I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. "If you had just told me, everything would be fine. Instead, you hid it and she lied to me, for weeks. I mean- Zane? I even talked to the guy. He thought I was a whack job!"

"I told her that was a horrible idea but it was too late. She said it just slipped out under pressure." He said, defending her, making me realize just how real this was.

"Grayson, I'm really upset you didn't tell me. When were you planning to?" I asked desperately. I knew I wasn't being childish or selfish. These were my childhood best friends, I deserved to know. It wouldn't even feel so shitty if Madison hadn't lied to me.

"I was, I just... I don't know. Madison got into my head and I really thought you wouldn't be okay with it." He held his elbow with one hand, his face still pale.

People were coming in and out of the locker room but I didn't care. I handed him his phone and he took it hesitantly.

I sighed. "Whatever. I'm still mad, but I want to make the most before we leave." I went back to close the lockers and turned to him. "Do you actually like her?"

"I love her." He said instantly, and I could see the sincerity on his face. He really meant it.

My mouth popped open at the swift confession and I swallowed the lump in my throat. I didn't know why I suddenly felt emotional. I managed a small smile as him. "Okay."

I looked at Charlie, who was looking at Grayson with narrowed eyes. "Did you know?"

He shook his head, and that made me feel a bit better. "Okay, let's just go tobogganing. We'll talk about this later."

They both nodded, and we walked outside to collected our toboggans and helmets.

I couldn't lie, it was just as fun as the first time. I rode alternatively with both Grayson and Charlie, screaming the whole way down each time, making them laugh till they wheezed. By the time our time was up, my voice was literally hoarse. I had the ugliest rasp, and that just made them laugh more.

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