Crushed Page 46

I try to catch her eye to read her, but she’s already turned away.

And because I don’t want anyone to catch me watching her go, I turn back and ask Mindy McLaughlin some shit about practicing her serves, and she’s all too happy to have my full attention.

But I don’t have hers.

Halfway through asking me whether I think she should be taking lessons three times a week instead of two, she breaks off and flashes a knowing smile over my shoulder.

“Well, well,” she murmurs. “I wonder if that’s why Princess Kristin’s dashed off to Seattle.”

Frowning, I look over my shoulder in the direction she’s smirking.

Looks like Devon Patterson has resurfaced.

And he’s sought out Chloe.

Chapter 20


Whenever anyone’s asked what Devon’s been up to since the Breakup, I say I don’t know.

Everyone thinks I’m lying, but the (rather unpleasant) truth is that I haven’t talked to him since he and Kristin broke up on the Fourth of July. I sent him a text saying I was sorry (a lie) and that I was there if he ever wanted to chat (a truth). But he responded with a curt thx.

Kristin wasn’t nearly so closemouthed prior to fleeing to the Pacific Northwest.

She told anyone and everyone that Dev was a selfish bastard who cared only about himself. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the only one dying to start addressing her as the Pot

Oh, and get this. My darling sister? She’s been seeing someone in Seattle.

Yep, that’s right. Two weeks out of an almost eight-year relationship, and she’s hooked up with some hipster musician who has “so much more substance than Dev.”

It’s for this reason that I don’t feel even the tiniest bit guilty over my butterflies at seeing Devon for the first time since he’s been single.

And I feel only slightly guilty for saying yes to his lunch invitation.

After cleaning up in the locker room, I drop my gym bag off in the car and then head toward the patio of the restaurant where Devon said he’d wait.

He smiles when he sees me, and I hate the way it makes me feel all warm inside.

“You didn’t have to rush,” he says, pulling out the chair for me.

I let out a little laugh. “I didn’t think I did.”

He uses his water glass to gesture toward my head. “Your hair. Still wet.”

“Ah, that,” I say, spreading my napkin on my lap. “That, my old friend, is because these curls can’t be beaten into any sort of reasonable submission with a hair dryer. They’ve got to air-dry.”

I can’t see his eyes through his sunglasses, but I’m pretty sure he’s studying my hair, and I squirm with the urge to run a hand over its probable frizziness.

“I’ve always liked your hair,” he says.

I snort. “Yeah, right.”

“No, seriously.”

“See, people always say that,” I reply. “But they mean they like my hair in an it’s an interesting spectacle kind of way.”

He shrugs. Probably because he’s a dude, and I’ve maxed out his ability to talk about hair.

The waitress comes over, and I order an iced tea and then shift to face Devon more fully.

He gives me a small smile. “So, tell me. How bad is it?”

“You mean, on a scale of one to ten, with one being you looking visibly heartbroken and ten being you’re all gorgeous bachelor, where do you fall?”

He laughs. “Yeah. I guess.”

I squint. “Take off your sunglasses.”

He does, and I take in the full effect of golden boy Devon.

“Seven,” I say.

He blinks. “Yeah?”


And it’s the honest-to-God truth. Maybe I’m just seeing what I want to see, but Devon doesn’t look heartbroken. A little more tired than usual, perhaps. A tiny bit unsure. But he also looks … lighter.

“How sucky has it been?” I ask, smiling at the waitress when she sets the iced tea in front of me.

He blows out a long breath. “I feel like I shouldn’t say.”

“Why, because it’s my sister?”

He takes a sip of water. “Have you talked to her?”

I shrug. “Text, mostly.”

He nods. “She’s okay?”

“Yeah,” I say. I don’t elaborate. I don’t care how well-adjusted to his single life the guy looks, he does not need to know that his long-term girlfriend’s already moved on. Or is at least pretending to move on.

“I never meant to hurt her.” He fiddles with his knife.

I kick his leg softly. “Hey. I know that. She does, too, deep down.”

“Do your parents hate me?”

“What? Of course not!” I take a sip of iced tea.

His eyes flick up. “Do you hate me?”

I choke on the iced tea. “God, Devon, no. Why would I hate you?”

He glances down. “I don’t know. I guess … I’ve been an idiot, about a lot of things.”

My heart starts to pound a little.

“What do you mean?”

He lifts a shoulder.

“Do you regret ending things with Kristin?”

“No.” He glances up again. “No, that’s not what I meant. At all.”


For the first time, in … ever? … the silence between Devon and me is almost painful.

We get a brief respite when the waitress comes by to take our order (Cobb salad for me, fish and chips for him), but then the silence is back.

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