After the Ex Games(9)

By: J. S. Cooper & Helen Cooper

“You got her to stay though.” Brandon looked hopeful.

“Because she has no idea who I really am.” A deep fear settled inside of me. “If she knew who I really was—”

“It’s not you.” Brandon’s voice broke. “It’s me.”

“She was asking about Nancy. She wants to find out where she is.”

“It’s weird that she just disappeared.” Brandon looked worried. “You don’t think...” He stared at the ground in anguish.

“I don’t know,” I said, answering his unasked question.

“What do we do?”

“I don’t know.” I shook my head, wishing that this weren’t the one time I didn’t have an answer. “People have died because of us. I don’t want anything else to happen. I keep going over it. I keep thinking in my head, ‘What can I do? What can I say? How can I tell Meg everything and not have her think I’m a monster?’”

“I never thought I’d see this day.” Brandon gave me a surprised look.

“You mean, the day when we would be in the same room again without killing each other?”

“No, I meant I never thought I’d see the day that Greyson Twining was in love.” He sat back and cracked a small smile. “Though I suppose it hits all of us unawares.”

“I guess this is the irony of life.” I jumped up, unable to keep still. “Live your life without love and then when it happens, when it finally hits you and creeps up in your heart so tightly that it feels like you can’t breathe, it gets snatched away. Just like that. So easily. As if it were nothing.”

“Meg loves you. I can see it in her eyes.”

“But will she still love me when she knows everything?” I looked at him with bleak eyes and he turned away from me.

“I wish I could say she would. But I don’t know. I don’t know if Katie will still love me once she finds out.”

“What did we do, Brandon? My God, what did we do?” My voice cracked, and I sat there wondering how we ever could have done what we had. “Are we monsters?”

“You were just protecting me,” Brandon sighed. “All these years, I’ve been blaming you for everything that happened. I’ve hated you for so many reasons, but really, ultimately, it’s my fault. It’s all my fault.”

“I don’t know what to say. All I know is that we’re in some deep shit, and if we don’t figure out who’s behind it and what’s going on, then we’re really going to pay.”

“It can only really be one person, can’t it?” Brandon closed his eyes and his face went white. “And I can’t say I blame her either.”

“It’s your choice.” I looked down at my desk. “Whatever you want to do, it’s your choice.”

“We should contact her right? See if it’s her?”

“There’s an email address at the bottom of the letter,” I sighed. “[email protected]

“That’s helpful.” Brandon laughed then as he shook his head. “There are so many women both of us let get away.”

“If you mean fucked and never spoke to again, then yes.” I laughed. “Though I don’t know if that means shit.”

“Who knows what they are thinking?”

“I don’t understand women,” I sighed. “Sex doesn’t equal love or a relationship. Shit, it doesn’t even equal sex the next night.”

“Let’s not argue the details.” Brandon stood up. “We both know men and women are different. We had a duty. We had an obligation. I just wish I’d realized that earlier.”

“I thought—”

“Shit, Greyson. We can’t keep passing the buck. At what point do we take responsibility for our own actions?”

“I just don’t want anyone else to get hurt.” I shrugged. “The last thing we need is for someone else to die.”

“Are you talking about murder?” Brandon’s eyes met mine and I saw the grim expression on my face reflected in his gaze.

“When people are desperate, there’s no discounting what they would do.” I picked up a pen and twirled it in my fingers. “When it comes to love, some people will do anything.”

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