Chapter no 36

Never Lie

When Luke returns with the keys, I’m already waiting at the front door. I fling it open before he even has a chance to knock. He blinks in surprise, his hand frozen in the air.

“Hello,” I say.

For the first time, I realize he has not shaved today. He’s got that stubble on his chin that he always used to have when he worked at the clinic. Once we started dating, he began shaving daily, because he knows I prefer it.

“Hey.” He shoves his hand into his pocket and fishes out the keys. He drops them in my hand like they’re made of something dirty. “Here.”

“Thank you again.” “Uh-huh.”

“You, uh…” I scratch my neck. “You got everything off the computer?”

“I said I did, didn’t I?” There’s an edge to his voice that’s unfamiliar. He’s always so kind and even-tempered, it’s hard to hear him talk to me this way. “But like I told you, I can’t be sure there aren’t other copies somewhere else in his house.”

“Did you look around?”

No.” He glares at me. “I didn’t.”

“Oh.” I cough. “And, um, you didn’t… watch the video, right?”

“No, I watched it.”

My face burns. “Luke, you promised you wouldn’t!”

“Well, it’s too late. I watched it.” He frowns. “I had to find out what was so bad that you were willing to go to so much trouble to get rid of it.”

I hang my head. “I didn’t want you to see.”

“What the hell were you doing?” His usually mild brown eyes are flashing. “You slashed some guy’s tires? Why would you do that?”

“I was having a bad day.” I avert my eyes, unable to look at him. It doesn’t matter anymore what I say. I’ve lost him. “Hasn’t that ever happened to you? You had a bad day and did something stupid?”

“I never slashed anyone’s tires.”

“Well, maybe you’re better than me then.”

He’s quiet for a moment, looking down at his sneakers. Finally, he says, “What did the guy in the Jetta do to you, anyway?”

“He stole my parking spot. And I was in a rush to get to the clinic on time.”

His lips part and he just stares at me for a second. “Are you kidding me?”

I shake my head slowly. “I had a patient scheduled. I didn’t want to be late.”

It all sounds ridiculously inadequate when I say it out loud.

“Jesus.” He cracks his knuckles. “You are really something. All that over a stolen parking spot. You’re unbelievable.”

I’m scared to say anything else. Usually, I’m extremely skilled at knowing what to say to make somebody else feel better. It’s my job, after all. But it’s never meant quite this much. I try to keep my mouth shut, but I can’t help myself. I finally blurt out, “Do you hate me now?”

His eyebrows shoot up. “Hate you?”

“Well…” I squeeze my sweaty hands together. “You seem like you’re angry with me. And you’re barely looking

at me.”

“Yeah…” He sighs. “I’m not going to lie—I’m not thrilled with you right now. But I see why you wanted to get rid of that video. And… I’m glad I could help you.” A lopsided smile creeps onto his face. “Also, it’s good to know that you’re not so perfect either.”

I return an equally crooked smile. “I never claimed I was.”

“Okay, now that we’ve settled that…” Luke’s eyes flicker in the direction of my office. “Let’s get this asshole back to his car.”


I’m in an incredibly good mood as I make the drive back from EJ’s house in my Lexus with Luke in the passenger seat. About an hour ago, he assisted me in loading EJ into the passenger’s seat of his Porsche. He insisted on being the one to drive the car with EJ inside, because he didn’t want me in there in case EJ woke up during the half-hour drive. Although part of me feels like he just wanted an excuse to drive a Porsche.

When we reached EJ’s house (paid for by his parents), Luke parked the Porsche in the driveway. He left EJ passed out in the passenger seat, then he got into my car—and now we’re on our way home.

I have the music on in the car—an opera I went to recently in the city—the window is down, and the air feels wonderful on my face. For four months, EJ had been holding that horrible video over my head and using it to manipulate me. Now I’ve taken care of the problem. All thanks to Luke.

If the opera were in English and I knew the words, I would sing along.

Luke is strapped into the passenger seat, absently staring out the side window. He did absolutely everything I asked of him, and although he wasn’t thrilled about it, he

fixed my problem. As I study his profile at a red light, I feel a rush of affection.

“I love you,” I say again.

He turns away from the window. I reach out my hand and he takes it. The squeeze he gives me is halfhearted but I can’t entirely blame him after the day we’ve had. “I love you too.”

“And maybe,” I say, “we can look into you moving in?

Like, soon.”

His eyes widen. “Really?”

Butterflies flutter in my stomach. “Really.”

For the first time since I talked him into doing this, I coax a genuine smile out of him. “Okay,” he says.

I turn down the tiny road that leads to my house. The road is paved, but just barely. I always loved the solitude of my isolated kingdom, but I’m ready to share that kingdom. After all, what’s the point of six bedrooms if you’re only using one of them?

As I park the car, my phone buzzes in my pocket. A text message. Ever since EJ started blackmailing me, the buzz of a text message used to fill me with dread. But now I am strangely calm as I remove my phone from my pocket and look down at the screen.

You bitch. You broke into my house.

Technically, the statement is not accurate on two counts. First of all, it was Luke who entered his house. Not me. Second, we did not break in since we had a copy of his keys. But EJ would not appreciate me pointing these things out, even though I’m tempted to do so.

A second message appears on the screen:

I’m going to kill you.

“What’s wrong?” Luke asks me. He’s gotten out of the car, but I’m still in the driver’s seat. He’s peering through the open window at me.

EJ does not intend to kill me. He’s angry because I got the better of him for a change. If he really wanted to kill me, he would keep his mouth shut. You don’t send somebody a text message expressing your intention to commit a crime if you’re genuinely planning to do it.

But if I show this message to Luke, he won’t see it that way. It will surely worry him and make him think we have made a terrible mistake. He doesn’t understand men like EJ

—I do.

“Nothing,” I say. “Nothing is wrong.”

I click on EJ’s number and block it on my phone. Then I get out of the car and follow Luke into the house.

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