Blurred Lines Page 43

I am surprised to find it locked.

I didn’t even know she had a lock.

My chest feels tight.


I knock with one knuckle.


I pound the door louder, this time with my palm, telling myself that maybe she can’t hear over the still-thumping music.

Still nothing.


I’m not a younger brother for nothing. I know just how to handle a locked door.

I head toward my own room, yank a shirt off a wire hanger, and then unbend the hanger into proper lock-picking position as I head back to her room.

Only to find that the door’s open by the time I get there.

Parker’s standing there, dressed only in lingerie—wow lingerie—as she stares down at the hanger in my hand.

“Really?” she asks, when her eyes come back to mine.

But all I can think is…thank God.

I don’t know thank God for what, whether it’s the fact that she’s not crying like I thought she might be, or that she’s looking really fucking amazing, or if it’s just pure gratitude that she opened the door to me.

I don’t ever want her to shut the door to me.

“You locked me out,” I say.

“I didn’t lock you out,” she says. But her eyes shift away and I’m not entirely sure I believe her. “Your friend Joe was giving me weird looks.”

“So you dressed in your laciest, skimpiest bra and panties?” I ask, unable to tear my eyes away from her perfect figure.

“That wasn’t for Joe. Or you,” she’s quick to add. “I thought—”

“Brandon,” I say, crossing my arms.

Parker bites her lip, then looks over my shoulder toward the stairs. “What are you doing up here? Did you need something?”

I’m a little stung by what seems to be a dismissal. “You seemed upset. I came to check on you.”

“Seems to me like you were looking to invade my privacy,” she says, with a chin nod at the hanger still in my hand.

Her voice is even, but her words are a little snippy, and it dawns on me that I should leave her to her bad mood and go back downstairs, where at least one girl will actually be happy to see me.

She starts to shut the door again, and I hold up a single finger. “Parker Blanton, do not close that door in my face.”


I run back into my room, dig through my dresser until I find a T-shirt, do a quick sniff test to make sure it’s clean, then run back to where she’s still standing in the doorway.

“What are you—”

Her words are muffled as I unceremoniously yank the T-shirt over her head, not bothering with the armholes, but tugging it downward until she’s covered to upper thigh.

She blinks up at me and I push her back into her bedroom and close the door.

“I can’t think when you’re half-naked,” I say.

She slowly pushes her arms through the armholes. “You’ve shoved a T-shirt over my head before,” she says. “That night when Lance dumped me and I was hurling my clothes around, you put a T-shirt on me then, too. I just now remembered.”

“Yeah, and I did it then for the same reason. I don’t feel right looking at pretty lingerie that isn’t meant for me.”

Except back then, the fact that her lacy undergarments had been for Lance hadn’t bothered me in the least.

But tonight? Knowing that she got all dolled up for a guy she doesn’t even know?

That bothers me.

Even though I told her to do it.

I run a hand over my face.

“What happened?” I ask. “With the Brandon guy? Did he say something or was he—”

“No,” she says, holding up a hand and sounding so weary my chest squeezes. “He was perfectly nice. I may even see him again. I just wasn’t feeling it tonight.”

She looks down at the floor and crosses one foot over the other. “Sorry.” Her voice is quieter now. “I know that was part of our deal. Me hooking up with him, and you with…”

She waves a hand toward the door, I’m assuming to indicate Cora downstairs.

Then her head lifts. “Hey, the music stopped.”

I nod. “I had Jason clear everyone out.”

She stares at me. “Why?”

The easy answer would be to tell her that I thought she was upset about something, and that I cleared them out on her behalf. And that’s the truth. But only half of it.

So I tell her the other half. “I guess I wasn’t feeling like holding up my part of the bargain, either.”

Her eyes search my face. “Didn’t look that way from where I was sitting.”

“You mean where you were sitting for all of thirty seconds,” I correct.

Because had you stayed you’d have seen that I wasn’t even remotely into that girl.

Parker licks her lips nervously. “So are you going to, like, go out again? Find another girl?”

I take a step nearer to her, relieved when she doesn’t step away. Those few moments of weirdness between us seem to have faded, as though we’re back to normal. Or, at least, our new normal. The normal that involves us seeing each other naked.

“I’m not going to find another girl,” I answer quietly, lifting a hand to her face. “Not tonight, anyway.”

My other hand comes up to cup the back of her neck, and her fingers wrap around my wrists as she looks up at me.

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