Authors: Lucy Covington
COMPLETELY CONSUMED (Addicted To You, Book Eight)
by Lucy Covington
Copyright 2013, all rights reserved.
When I woke up, Justin wasn’t in bed next to me. I sat up and looked around the room, wondering where he’d gone. I could hear voices coming from the kitchen. Low voices. Voices that sounded serious and kind of scary.
I grabbed a sweatshirt off the desk chair and slid it on, then crept to the bedroom door. It was hard to hear, but I could pick up snatches of the conversation.
“….like to have a word with you….”
My stomach turned and bile rose up in my throat. Whatever they were talking about had something to do with Justin’s gym. But what? And who was he talking to? I heard footsteps approaching, and I quickly turned and tried to make it back into bed before I got caught spying.
I wasn’t fast enough. Justin opened the bedroom door while I was only halfway back to the bed. But if I’d been worried about him being mad at me for eavesdropping, I hadn’t needed to be. He acted like he didn’t even care. He pushed by me and walked over to his dresser, where he started rummaging through the top drawer. His jaw was set and his eyes burned with intensity.
“Is everything okay?” I asked.
He hesitated for a moment, then grabbed a sloppily folded t-shirt and turned around. “Yeah,” he said. “Everything’s fine.” He pulled the fresh shirt over his head, and I caught my breath as I took in the hard planes of his chest, his flat stomach, and his smooth, tan skin. Would I ever get used to how absolutely beautiful he was? Even now, when there was obviously something very strange going on in his kitchen, I couldn’t help but notice his body.
“Who’s out in the kitchen?” I asked.
“It’s just some…” he trailed off. “It’s the police.”
“Yeah. You know, the cops?” He tossed me my pants that were lying discarded on the floor. “It’s nothing to worry about, but they want to talk to me alone.”
I stared at him. “It’s nothing to worry about but they want to talk to you
He shrugged. “Yeah. So you should get dressed.”
I picked up my jeans and angrily shoved my foot into one of the legs. “Oh, good,” I said. “So if it’s just the police then, I should definitely get dressed. I wouldn’t want to get in the way, you know, if they want to talk to you alone.”
He sighed, then crossed the room and kissed me softly on the forehead. But turned away. Beautiful or not, he was still being shady.
“Look,” he said. “I’ll explain everything later.”
“Whatever.” I was mad and I was worried. But most of all, my feelings were hurt. Why was he always keeping me at arm’s length? It was like just when we took two steps forward, we took one step back. Just when he finally kissed me, I had to find out he’d slept with Brooklyn. And if that wasn’t enough, now there were cops in his kitchen.
The whole thing was completely insane.
“Mr. Brown?” a voice called from the other room. “We don’t have all day.”
Justin rolled his eyes. “You ready?” he asked me.
“I guess.” I grabbed my purse and followed him out of the room. I’d expected to see two cops sitting in the kitchen – officers who would be wearing blue police uniforms.
They’d be older, maybe a little overweight, with soft stomachs and sharp eyes. They’d be trying to act scarier than they actually were. At least, that’s the way it had always been whenever I’d had interactions with cops. I’d been pulled over once back in Ohio for speeding, and after the cop had given me a stern talking to and made it seem like he was going to give me a ticket, his face had softened and he’d let me go.
But the men in the kitchen looked nothing like the police officers in Ohio. The men in the kitchen were sharply dressed in nice pants and expensive-looking ties. Their eyes zeroed in on me as soon as I walked in.
“Who’s this?” one of them demanded.
“She doesn’t have anything to do with this,” Justin said.
He grabbed my hand and started walking me toward the door, but one of the men stepped in front of us, blocking our path. “If she’s got nothing to hide, then she shouldn’t mind telling us her name.”
I opened my mouth to tell them, but Justin broke in.
“I told you,” Justin said, the muscle in his neck twitching. “She doesn’t have anything to do with this.”
It was a stare down. Justin was looking at the man like he might haul off and hit him. I liked that he was protecting me. I just wanted to know what he was protecting me from.
“Fine,” the officer said after a moment and then stepped away.
Justin walked me to the door. My hands were shaking and a cold dread had filled my body. I opened the door and stepped onto the porch. But Justin pulled me back.
“Hey,” he said and squeezed my hand. “It’s going to be okay. Trust me, all right?”
I nodded. But it was lie. I
think it was going to be okay. And how could I trust him? He’d done pretty much nothing but prove he was untrustworthy since I’d met him.
I walked to the T, stopping on the way to buy a hot coffee at a Dunkin’ Donuts.
Even though I was still wearing Justin’s sweatshirt, I couldn’t warm up. The hot liquid helped a little but I was still shivering as I got onto the train.
It was the middle of the morning rush hour, and I watched a smartly dressed couple sitting across from me, sharing The Boston Globe. The woman was wearing a cream-colored suit and matching high heels, her hair styled in waves around her face.
Her boyfriend wore khakis, his suit jacket lying on the seat next to him.
They sipped coffees and read their paper, pausing every so often to point something out to each other. My heart clenched. I thought about how that would never be me and Justin. He would never be going off to some office while I rode the T to my job at the hospital. We’d never be passing the paper back and forth while we sipped coffees and talked about the upcoming day.
I didn’t care about what Justin did for a living. I didn’t care if he wanted to be a fighter, or how much money he made, or anything like that. But what I did care about was feeling connected. The couple across from me seemed connected. They were on the same page (literally) about everything. Meanwhile, Justin had pretty much kicked me out of his apartment this morning so he could deal with whatever crazy thing was happening to him.
So now it was just another crazy thing he wanted to keep from me.
When I got to campus, it was still early, so I decided to stop off at the dining hall before going back to my room to shower. I wasn’t looking forward to seeing Rachel after the weird quasi-fight we’d had about Adam. Plus I was hungry, and I definitely needed more coffee. I could already tell it was going to be one of those days, the kind of day where I needed multiple cups of caffeine flowing through my body.
But my plan of avoiding Rachel for as long as I could didn’t work. As soon as I walked into the dining hall, there she was, sitting at a table right by the door. There was no way to get to the breakfast line without her seeing me. For a second I considered turning around and going back to my room. But what would that really accomplish? It wasn’t like Rachel or I lived in the same town, or even the same house. We lived in the same
I was going to have to deal with seeing her sooner or later.
I sighed and walked over to where she was sitting.
She was looking down at a textbook, her lips moving slightly as she read and highlighted. Even though it was early, she looked like she’d been up for hours. Her face was fresh and clear, and her blond hair was arranged in a loose fishtail braid that hung over one shoulder. She was wearing a tank top and a light blue zip up hoodie over jeans.
She looked so innocent, and I felt horrible that I’d hurt her feelings.
“Hey,” I said, as I got close.
She looked up, and I held my breath as I waited for her reaction. “Hi,” she said tentatively.
“Can I sit down?”
She nodded and closed her book. She pushed it away and then looked at me.
There was a tray sitting on the table in front of her with a breakfast sandwich and a plate of cheesy home fries on it. She cut the sandwich in half, and pushed one part toward me.
I nodded, and picked up the sandwich. I took a bite, chewed, and swallowed.
“Rachel,” I said. “Listen, I owe you an apology.”
“No, I owe you an apology,” she said. She sighed. “I’m sorry I snapped at you. I know you were just looking out for me.”
“No, I’m sorry,” I said. “I shouldn’t have said those things about Adam.”
“It’s okay.” She shrugged. “You were kind of right. I mean, guys are assholes.
And it’s better for me to know that and have it in the back of my mind.”
I nodded, but I wasn’t sure exactly what I was supposed to say. On one hand, I didn’t want to be fighting with Rachel. I didn’t want things to be awkward between us. I
Rachel. She’d been a good friend to me. On the other hand, it felt weird that I knew Adam liked me, that he’d pretty much told me that him sleeping with Rachel hadn’t meant anything to him. Didn’t Rachel deserve to know that? I couldn’t decide what would make me a better friend – telling her the truth about Adam, or not telling her.
“It’s just that I really like him,” she said. “I know he’s the stereotypical college guy, which isn’t usually my type, but I just… I don’t know. There’s something about him.” She motioned me closer to her, like she wanted to tell me a secret. I leaned in and braced myself for whatever it was I was about to hear. “I usually go for guys with tattoos and piercings and bad pasts. Adam’s just so…
you know? And I know what you said is true – that he’s a guy, and I’m going to be careful, I am. But I’m also not going to let fear stop me. He came over again last night. This time was different. He held me all night.”
I nodded and tried to hide my surprise over the fact that they’d slept together again. “You’re right,” I told her. “You shouldn’t let fear stop you. I’m sorry if I tried to discourage you about Adam. I just want you to be happy.”
Even as I was saying the words, I was wondering if I was being a horrible friend.
Shouldn’t I just come out and tell her what Adam had said to me in the bathroom? That he’d basically told me that he still liked me, and that he’d straight out said that him sleeping with Rachel hadn’t meant anything?
But what if I was wrong? What if I’d misinterpreted what Adam had said? What if he’d just told me that it hadn’t meant anything between him and Rachel because he was afraid he’d hurt my feelings? Yeah, it was completely far-fetched. But still. It was a possibility.
And even if I
understood him right, maybe Adam had changed his mind.
Apparently him and Rachel had slept together again and this time he’d held her all night.
He wouldn’t have done that if he didn’t like her at least a little bit, right? Maybe the first night had been a weird drunken mistake, but now Adam’s feelings were changing. It could happen. Couples got together in all sorts of ways. My dad was actually dating my mom’s best friend when they first met. And they’ve been married like twenty-five years now.
“So we’re cool?” Rachel asked, her face hopeful.
I only hesitated for a second. “Yeah,” I said truthfully. “We’re cool.”
I still couldn’t shake the niggling bit of doubt that had settled in my stomach. It stayed with me all morning, and I couldn’t figure out why it was there. Was it because of what had happened this morning with Justin? Or was it because of Rachel and Adam?
I didn’t know. But the feeling of dread followed me all the way back to my dorm and stayed with me while I showered and then headed to the science building and Dr.
Klaxton’s class. I sat there, tense the whole time, wondering if something horrible was about to happen. But Dr. Klaxton’s class passed without a hitch. He didn’t even call on me.
When class was over, Rachel gave me a smile and a wave as she pushed by me and out into the hallway. “See you back at our room later,” she said cheerfully, oblivious to my inner turmoil.
“Yeah,” I said. “See ya.”
I walked down the hall, trying to shake the feeling that was still sitting in my stomach. I wondered if maybe I was beginning to develop an anxiety disorder. Maybe the way I was feeling didn’t have to do with anything specific. Maybe it was just how it was going to be now – constantly on edge, constantly wondering what was going to happen with Justin, constantly worrying about school, about Adam, about Rachel. People were always talking about how they felt like they were under so much pressure – maybe this is what they were talking about.
I pictured the feeling in my stomach as a huge anvil, pushing on my insides, trying to escape. I took some deep breaths and tried to calm myself down. There was a vending machine on the second floor of the science building and I bought a bottle of water, thinking maybe I was just dehydrated. I’d had two huge coffees that morning and I was sure they weren’t helping my mental state.
The good news was that my next class was psychology. It was a core class, one of the courses I needed to take for my pre-med track, but it was pretty much a no-brainer.
The teacher, Dr. Tropiano, was super young. Maybe like thirty at the most. She had that long, straight hair that a lot of hippies have, and she was always wrapped in scarves and sweaters no matter how hot it was out. She had pale skin, like she’d been a vegan all her life and maybe even lived inside, the sun never touching her limbs. She led us on long, rambling discussions about attachment theory and you could tell she was probably one of those therapists who made their patients role play that they were their own mothers or something equally kooky.
Needless to say, even though the class was interesting, it was kind of a joke.
I must have been totally out of it, because I was one of the last ones to arrive at class, which was weird since usually the walk took me like three minutes. I liked to sit in the middle, over to the side, but today I had to take a seat in the back because my usual seat was taken.