Home > Forever and Always (Forever and Always #2)(7)

Forever and Always (Forever and Always #2)(7)
E.L. Todd

“Yeah,” Ryan said.

Cortland knocked on the door just then. “Come in,” Ryan said.

Cortland came into the kitchen with the basketball in his hands. He smiled to me then nodded at Sean. “You guys coming?”

“Yeah,” Sean said. “We can play teams.”

“Yay,” I said sarcastically.

Sean smiled at me. “I am yours for the rest of the day.”

“You better be.”

“I’m going to change,” Sean said as he got up.

“I’ll grab you some clothes,” Ryan said as he followed him.

Cortland sat down next to me. “Did you tell him?”

“No.” I sighed. “And I don’t think I’m going to.”

“Don’t you think he has the right to know?”

“Well, we weren’t together—or even speaking—at the time. I don’t think it’s any of his business. Besides, it will just make it awkward between you two, and since nothing is ever going to happen between us again, he has no reason to feel threatened by you. I think it’s best if we don’t tell him.”

“Well, Ryan might.”

I shook my head. “No, he won’t.”

“So, if he asks if you slept with anyone, you’re just going to lie?”

“No,” I said quickly. “I’ll make up a fictitious person.”

“If you think that’s best.” He sighed.

“I do,” I said. “I don’t want to ruin my friendship with you. And that’s all we are—friends.”

Cortland shrugged. “It’s up to you.”

Ryan and Sean came back and we left the apartment, walking to the courts a few blocks away. Sean held my hand as we walked, and when we got to the basketball court, we started a game of two on two.

“I pick Cortland,” Ryan said quickly. “I’m not going to be on my sister’s team—she sucks.”

“Damn.” Sean sighed. “Now I’m stuck with her.”

I hit him lightly on the shoulder, and he laughed at me. “You don’t want me on your team?”

He wrapped his arms around me. “Not if I want to win.”

“Come on, lovebirds. Let’s play,” Ryan shouted.

I narrowed my eyes at him. “Well, what’s more important to you? Winning this game or having a girlfriend?” I asked.

Sean stroked his chin like he was deep in thought, and I hit him again. “Okay,” he said quickly. “I’m happy that I’m on your team.”

“Good.” I smiled. “That’s better.”

We started the game, but I lagged behind the three men. Sean tried to keep me involved by stealing the ball from Ryan then tossing it to me. Then he would block the men from moving towards me so I could make a shot. The rest of the game went that way. Of course, we lost, but we had a lot of fun playing it. Sean and I were both sweaty when the game ended, so he grabbed my shirt and wiped his forehead on it.

“You’re so gross,” I yelled as I pulled my shirt away.

He grabbed my face and kissed me. “You are too,” he said as he licked his lips. “But I like it, so it’s okay.”

“Mega-Shake?” Ryan asked.

“Let’s do it,” Cortland said.

We walked to the shop and ordered our food. We all washed our hands before we took a seat in the corner.

“You guys come here a lot?” Sean asked.

“Yes,” I answered. “Ryan and I used to come here almost every day as kids to get shakes.”

“Yes, my sister would drag me here constantly,” Ryan said.

I threw a fry at my brother. “You wanted to come here more than I did.”

Most of the time, my brother and I would stay there and do our homework until we had to go home, wanting to be out of the house as much as possible. My father passed away, leaving us alone with a mother that hated us with every fiber of her being. My mother used to hit me when she was drunk, but Ryan would always intervene and take the beating himself, protecting me with his body. I looked up at Ryan and we shared the same thought. This place was our safe haven.

Ryan finished his food and pushed it away. “Cortland and I are going to a comedy show tonight,” he said.

Cortland nodded. “I got free tickets from work,” he said. “I would invite you guys, but I only have two tickets.”

“What about Monnique?” I asked.

“She has to work,” Cortland said sadly.

“When are we going to meet her?” I asked.

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