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|Before Jamaica Lane(On Dublin Street #3)(66) by Samantha Young|
It was like a knife in my gut.
I quickly flicked past it.
There was another shot of him with his head buried in the pillow, hiding from me. And then there were plenty of me, because if you put a camera in Nate’s vicinity he was sure to overuse it.
Rage rushed through me.
My cell went sailing across the room and smashed against the far wall. I slid down the door, drawing my knees to my chest as I cried away all my efforts to move on.
‘So are you going out with him?’ Ellie asked me casually as we congregated in Hannah’s bedroom.
The week had passed as though it had been taken over by the spirit of a slug. A particularly slimy one that secreted mucus all over the goddamn place.
It wasn’t a good week.
After smashing my phone, I quickly found a replacement. I kept my old number with all my data … hoping what? That Nate might call? Ha. Nate still did not call.
Ben did, though. He called on Tuesday night to tell me he had a hectic week ahead of him but he wanted to know if I was free for dinner next Monday. I said yes, because frankly I was hoping for some kind of miracle that would bring back my enthusiasm and zest for life. If a tall, handsome Scotsman couldn’t do that, then I was seriously f**ked.
Finally it was Sunday again and this time I’d mustered up the courage to face my friends – including the guys, who I now assumed knew everything that had happened between me and Nate – and join them for lunch. As had become routine the last few times, we disappeared into Hannah’s room while Elodie and Clark cooked and the guys talked.
I’d just told them about Ben’s call.
‘Yes. I said yes.’
‘I think that’s great,’ Joss said. ‘I think it’ll help.’
‘Yeah, so enough about me.’ I directed the conversation elsewhere by pinning a lounging Hannah to the bed with my eyes. ‘How’s Marco?’
I don’t think I’m mistaken when I say I thought I heard her growl.
I looked at Ellie for help. ‘I take that as a negative?’
Ellie patted her sister’s leg. ‘He’s playing hard to get.’
‘He’s not playing hard to get. He just doesn’t want to be gotten,’ Hannah muttered. ‘No, he wants to be gotten. He just doesn’t.’
‘Did that make sense to anyone else?’ Jo scrunched up her nose in confusion.
Hannah’s eyes swept us all. ‘There are moments when I think he wants more, but he pulls away anytime I make a move. At this rate I’ll be in my forties before I lose my virginity.’
Ellie snorted. ‘I doubt it.’
‘I’m not losing it to anyone but him,’ Hannah answered rigidly, absolutely serious.
Her sister took in her demeanor and her eyes narrowed. ‘You will wait until you’re at least eighteen.’
Hannah made a pfft sound. ‘Okay, I’m sure you waited that long.’
‘I did, actually.’
Seeming surprised, Hannah asked, ‘Really?’
‘Yes, really. It was the night of my eighteenth birthday party.’
‘Who’s Liam?’ I asked curiously.
‘My boyfriend at the time. We had been dating for a few weeks. I thought he’d help me get over Adam.’ She smiled ruefully. ‘I hadn’t planned to have sex with him that night, even though I knew he was pushing for it. No, I found Adam out the back of the hotel with one of the catering girls. I was so hurt I went back inside, grabbed Liam’s hand, left the party, and we got a room. I thought it would help. It didn’t. I mean, it was okay.’ Ellie shrugged, her mouth turning down at the corners. ‘But it wasn’t what it should have been. It should have been with someone I loved. Someone I trusted. Liam ended up cheating on me with one of my so-called best friends.’
‘Wow.’ Hannah slumped. ‘That’s crap, Els. I’m sorry.’
‘I was sixteen.’ Jo suddenly piped up. She smirked, and it was not a happy smirk. ‘He was nineteen, a student, and he came from a wealthy family. It was the first time anyone had tried to take care of me – buying me nice presents, even paying my rent when I was struggling. I thought when I gave it up to him that I was giving it up to someone I was in love with. But things turned ugly when I continually prioritized Mum and Cole over him. He dumped me.’ She shook her head, disdain curling her lip. ‘He knew he was going to dump me, but he slept with me that night. As soon as we were done, and I mean as soon as we were done, he got out of the bed and dumped me as he pulled his clothes on.’
I winced at the somewhat familiar situation.
‘Jo,’ Hannah breathed, ‘that’s awful.’
Jo smiled at her. ‘Don’t feel bad, Hannah. I ended up with Cameron and that more than makes up for John and all the idiots that came after him.’
Hannah’s teenage curiosity was still piqued, and so her gaze moved to Joss. ‘What about you, Joss?’
Joss shook her head. ‘I was way too young, Hannah.’ We all stared at her, our expressions asking for more than vagueness. She blew air out between her lips and confessed, ‘Okay, it was a few months after my parents died.’
Ellie’s mouth dropped open. ‘But you were only fourteen.’
I felt the same shock ripple through me. When I was fourteen I was sticking posters of pretty boys to my ceiling and envisioning us setting up home in a real-life Barbie dream house and having fabulous parties and sweet kisses. I had not been sexually awakened yet.
Seeing the shadows in the back of Joss’s eyes, I realized that she was well aware of the innocence she had given up by having sex too young.
‘Was it with someone you liked at least?’ Hannah asked softly, clearly hoping for some kind of happiness to lighten Joss’s past.
‘No, Hannah. He went to school in the next town over. We met at a party. We got wasted. The rest is history. And not one you should ever repeat.’
‘Don’t worry, I won’t,’ Hannah promised.
After a minute’s silence Ellie’s little sister’s eyes came to me.
I’d been waiting on it. I heaved a massive sigh. ‘Well, at least I was nineteen when I made my mistake. Honestly, there is nothing romantic here. I was sick of being a virgin, so I got tipsy at a college party and lost my virginity in a room upstairs to a drunk senior. There was no finesse. Nothing. It hurt. And afterward he rolled off of me and left me there.’