This Man Confessed (Page 29)

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He doesn’t say anything, but I see the slight shake of his head. ‘Fun?’ he repeats. ‘Just fun?’

‘Yes. Not anymore, though. I’ve had all the fun I’m going to have with you.’

My mouth gapes, just when I thought she couldn’t be any colder. She’s on fire. Sam’s body shifts, and I know he’s leaving, so I creep slowly and quietly back to my room and push the door shut. I don’t blame him for giving in. Despite his chosen lifestyle and that he’s dragged Kate over to the dark side with him, it’s perfectly clear he has deep feelings for Kate. And I know she does, too.

I hear the front door slam, and then the unmistakable sound of sobbing. She’s crying. She never cries. I’m infuriated with her, but feeling incredibly sorry for my stupid best friend. What is she trying to prove here? I can’t help but think that this would never have happened if Dan wasn’t here.

I could stay in my room and let her have her tears, but instead of letting Kate grieve in peace, I step out and walk across the landing to the lounge. I’m not letting her brush this off later. If I witness her turmoil, then she has to admit that she is, in fact, in turmoil. I’m not letting her evade me this time.

I lean up against the doorframe of the lounge and watch for an eternity as her shoulders jerk and she cries relentlessly. My instincts tell me to sit beside her and cuddle her, but I don’t, and after a good ten minutes, she harshly brushes her cheeks and stands, turning and immediately clocking me in the doorway. As I knew she would, she plasters on an unaffected face and tries to smile. It’s insulting to my intelligence and our friendship.

‘Hey,’ she chirps on a supressed sniffle.

‘All right?’ I ask, not removing myself from the doorway. She isn’t getting past me.

‘Sure I am. What are you doing here?’ She straightens her t-shirt out, diverting her glazed eyes all over her body instead of facing me.

‘My car’s outside. You didn’t see it?’

She still doesn’t look at me. ‘No. What are you doing here?’

I ignore her repeated question. I’m not going to allow her to change the subject. And what would I tell her, anyway? I’ve been married for less than a day and I’ve turned up at her flat with a packed bag. That has to be a record for all married couples. ‘You probably didn’t take much notice. You know, as you were fighting with Sam.’

Her eyes whip to mine. She knows I have her. ‘Oh,’ she says quietly, then insults me further by smiling brightly. ‘Tea?’

‘No,’ I answer coolly, and with no chirpiness to mirror hers. ‘An explanation would be good, though.’ I know my eyebrows have just risen expectantly, and I must sound like a nagging parent, but I’m not caving in. She will not brush me off this time.

She laughs a little. ‘An explanation to what?’ Her smile falters when she realises what she’s just said. She’s invited me to get it off my chest, and by the look on her face, she’s regretting it.

‘Well, we could start with your little performance last night with my brother, then you could try explaining why you’ve just finished things with Sam.’

‘There was nothing to finish.’

‘What about my brother?’

‘It’s none of your business.’ She goes to walk past me, but I shift, blocking her escape. ‘Move, Ava.’

‘No. You’ll sit and talk to me. What is wrong with you? We’re supposed to be friends. We’ve always told each other everything.’ I grab her arm and drag her over to the couch, pushing her reluctant body down onto the soft cushion. ‘What’s going on, Kate?’

She flops back irritably. ‘Nothing.’

‘Oh, you make me mad.’ I spit. ‘Start talking, Matthews.’

She bursts into tears. I’m so relieved. I was on the cusp on slapping her for being so tenacious, but now my arm is around her and she’s sobbing into my chest. I don’t know about Kate, but I feel so much better for this. She does care.

I try to soothe her. ‘Let’s start with Sam.’

‘I told you, it was only meant to be fun.’ Her words jerk with her fitful breathing.

‘Was?’ I ask. ‘So it’s more than fun?’

‘Yes… no… I don’t know!’ She sounds so confused, just like me. Sam and Kate’s relationship isn’t ideal, but even with The Manor in the equation, I can’t help but think that it’s healthier than anything she and Dan ever had together, crazy as it might seem.

‘I knew this would happen with Dan arriving.’ I sigh. If I was talking to my brother, then I’d currently be shouting down the phone at him. ‘Kate, you need to remember every reason why you and Dan called it quits.’

‘I know. We’re so bad for each other, but we connect, Ava. When we’re together, we connect so well.’

‘You mean the sex.’ I wince and screw my face up a little. I can’t think of my brother like that.

‘Yes, but everything else fails so horribly.’

‘It does,’ I agree. I’ve witnessed the violent rows, the incessant need to rile each other and the unhealthy flow of their doomed relationship. They had no respect for each other—not mentally or physically. It was all just about the sex. Mind-blowing sex does not make up for the relationship’s other failings, which in Dan and Kate’s case was on every other level. At the time, I ignored it all, simply because the thought of my best friend and my brother being in love was so ideal. That was the problem, though. They weren’t in love. It was just lust, and maturity has made that glaringly obvious to me.

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