Reaper Page 4

“You want me to take you back now?” I asked, while on the inside I chanted, please say no, please say no, please say no over and over.

“No,” she said, pressing herself against me. “I want you to let your brother wait a few minutes.” She tugged on the button at the waist of my jeans.

I put one hand over hers to stop her, cursing myself silently. “I can’t.

When left to his own devices, Nash finds trouble.” And sometimes tries to break it out of jail. “You sure you can’t miss curfew? I’ll make it worth your while.…”

“I’m sure you would.” Her smile practically sizzled, and the flashes of memory that surfaced scalded me from the inside out. “But if I’m late, my mom will jump to all the right conclusions, and then my dad will kill you.

Seriously. And what am I gonna do with a dead boyfriend?”

“Nothing that doesn’t defy the norms of polite society…” I mumbled, disappointed when she stepped back and turned toward the door.

If Nash isn’t dead of alcohol poisoning by the time I get there, I’l kil him myself…

Five minutes later, we pulled up in front of Genna’s house, and as she’d predicted, the living room windows were still blazing with light. “Sure you don’t want to reconsider?” I spread my arms and grinned. “All of this could be yours….”

“I’m reconsidering as we speak.” She leaned toward me, and I met her halfway. “But we’ve already been spotted,” she said, lips moving softly against my jaw on the way to my mouth. I glanced up to see that she was right; a tal , shadowed form stood in the front window, staring right at my car. “I gotta go.” Genna pushed the door open and stepped out, small pink purse in hand. “Say hi to Nash for me.” Then the car door closed, and she was halfway up the walk before I’d even shifted into drive.

Her front door opened and her dad stepped out to put one arm around her shoulders, and as they stepped inside, she turned back to smile at me once.

And that was the last time I ever saw Genna Hansen.

“What took you so long?” Nash asked, as he slid into the passenger seat and pulled the door closed.

“I stopped to donate all your underwear to the homeless. You’re gonna wanna take care of those tighty whities—they’re all you’ve got left.” He leaned against the door, either too tired or too drunk to sit up. “And to think, most people don’t understand your sense of humor.”

“Fools, al of them.” I flicked on my turn signal and merged with the highway traffic, typically heavy for a Friday night. “What are you doing out here, anyway?”

“Drinking alone, while my best friend and my brother feel up their respective girlfriends, with no thought for the less fortunate.” His eyelids looked heavy, and I wondered how much he’d had. “Unfortunately, the juvenile justice system doesn’t considerSabine’s separation from me cause for concern.”

“Bastards.” I swerved around an SUV, then back into the right lane.

“Clearly the system is flawed.”

Nash shrugged and slouched lower. “At least you got laid.” I glared at him before turning back to the traffic. “No, I got a brother who redefines the concept of ‘ coitus interruptus.’”

“Sorry.” Nash frowned, his unfocused stare aimed out the windshield as I eased the car off the highway and onto the first street in a tangle of suburban neighborhoods. “But hey, since you’re not busy anymore and we’re out anyway…we could head over to Holser House.” I started to shake my head, but he kept talking. “Please, Tod. That place is going to kill her.” Irritated, I clenched the wheel and stared at the road. “You’re drunk, Nash.”

“Then you can do the talking!” he snapped, sitting straighter now. “I’ll stay in the car.”

“You should have stayed in the house!”

“You didn’t!”

My hands clenched around the wheel. “I came back with Genna instead of going out, so I could keep an eye on you!”

“Great job.”

I shook my head, fighting the urge to punch the steering wheel. “No way. You snuck out and got drunk. You’re not blaming this on me.”

“But Mom will,” he said, and it only took me a second to realize he was right. “She doesn’t have to know.” He twisted in his seat to face me, rather than the windshield. “Let’s go get Sabine. I’l be sober by the time we get home, and we’l tell Mom she ran away on her own. Sabine will back us up, and Mom never has to know either of us left the house.”

“No.” Hel no. Mom would see through that in a second, and I’d get into worse trouble than Nash for letting him go through with such an idiotic, illegal stunt.

“Come on, Tod, I never ask you for anything!”

“Bullshit!” I glanced at him, furious to realize he actually believed his own load of crap! “You ask me for gas money, and condoms, and alibis, and favors, and advice you never follow. And now you’re asking me to drive your underage, drunk ass to break your jailbird, jailbait girlfriend out of corrective custody. And I’m the one who’ll get in trouble when that brilliant piece of on-the-fly planning goes south.”

“If something goes wrong, I’l take the blame,” Nash insisted.

“No you won’t, because no one will point the blame at you. Sabine will lie to protect you on her end, and Mom will let you slide because she thinks you’re some ‘sensitive soul.’ It’s always, ‘Poor Nash, he wears his heart on his sleeve, then wonders why it’s always bruised.’ Or, ‘He’s only so reckless because he lives in the moment and he feels things so deeply.'”

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