“Really.” I raised my head in challenge, despite how I felt inside. I was covering for Kevin, the guy I was in love with, and it was wrong. I blinked a few times. Whatever. It would work out in the end. It had to.
“Yeah.” Kevin coughed. “I was on the phone with her dad. He called because he couldn’t get ahold of her.” He said to me, “You’re supposed to call your dad.”
“Uh, thanks.” Was I really?
He shrugged, trying to look casual and cool at the same time. “No problem.”
Caden didn’t say a word, only observing the exchange between us, but Marcus snorted and rolled his eyes.
He flung his hand out, pointing to me. “Come on, you guys. You can’t be believing this chick. She’s Matthews’ sister. Of course she’s going to lie for him.”
“Let it go, Marcus.” Caden’s tone was weary, and I had a feeling this showdown had happened before.
I studied the other brothers’ faces, and they were all the same: tired. Kevin shrugged his shoulders again and cocked his head to the side, but he didn’t say anything. His gaze fell away from Caden’s, and he looked at the other two fraternity brothers.
The bravado he’d adopted when I covered for him fell away, just slightly, but he still cleared his throat and forced a happy note in his tone. “I’m thinking it’s time to get down and get a drink. You guys game?”
They regarded him, and Silent Muscle grunted. “I’m always down for a drink. Fuck this drama shit.”
Kevin stepped between the two, clapping their shoulders. “Let’s do shots. It’s that kind of night now.”
The three headed inside, leaving Marcus, Caden, and me behind. Before they disappeared, Kevin glanced back over his shoulder and nodded, giving me a half-grin. Then they were gone.
Kevin had left me. Again. Déjà vu hit me. I felt like I had three months ago when I’d woken up the morning after and he was gone. I’d just covered for him, and he went off to take shots with his fraternity brothers. I frowned, not liking how that sat with me. The fucker.
“Why?” Marcus spat the word at me, his jaw clenched. “Just, why? I know you saw her. You must’ve.”
Guilt spread in me, but I didn’t say anything. What could I say? He was right.
Caden sighed. “Leave her alone. He’s her family.”
He reached a hand out to rest on Marcus’ shoulder, but Marcus dodged and turned on him, his eyes flashing.
“I get it. He’s your fraternity brother, but I’m your real brother. One of these days, you’re going to have to pick a side, Caden. Fuck Dad. Fuck him and his stupid fucking fraternity.” He seared us both with an accusing look. “I don’t give a shit who covers for Matthews. It’s going to be an all-out war.”
Now Caden was pissed.
I didn’t know the guy, but I knew that much. He didn’t strike me as the type who let someone talk to him like that and walk away. I stepped back, expecting a punch, but none came. There was just silence. Brother glared at brother, both with clenched jaws.
Then Caden glanced in my direction, and it dawned on me: They weren’t saying anything because of me.
“Oh.” I flashed a grin and a wave. “I, uh, I should probably go call my dad. Because, you know, that’s what Kevin said to do.”
Marcus snorted. “Right.”
Caden just observed me, his stare unrelenting. I backed up a few feet, and he still watched me. It shouldn’t have bothered me, but a little fluttering feeling bloomed low in my stomach. I started to turn around, then paused halfway with my head bent. I could still feel him. I didn’t like that sensation, not at all. It was…unnerving, just like him. I glanced up one last time, and my shoulders immediately sagged in relief. They were gone.
I pressed a hand to my stomach to calm the unwelcome fluttering going on in there.
I went in search of Kevin. This time, the plan to avoid Caden/Asshole was in full effect. Kevin was probably fast on his way to getting drunk, or sneaking back out to find that girl again. I wouldn’t put either past him, but I really did want to see him. Only the reason had changed. Instead of wanting to see him because of us, I needed to find out if I really did have to call my dad.