By: Tijan

That sounded fine with me. I’d have all day to prepare to see Kevin once more. I hoped he wouldn’t bring the current girlfriend.

But later at the restaurant I’d chosen, I looked up and sighed as he came in.

Not so much.

He walked in holding Maggie’s hand.

The dinner sucked. Like, seriously sucked.

But I wasn’t surprised. Kevin had the habit of bringing his girlfriend to family dinners, so why would he suddenly change now? And this also told me something had changed between last night and tonight. Kevin no longer seemed to care about getting caught.

I snorted, thinking about that. No, no. Last night had been about him not getting his ass kicked. Tonight was about not giving a damn. I eyed the two of them—holding hands, giggling, blushing. They kept giving each other those stupid looks only people who’ve had sex share, like the rest of us are idiots and don’t know what those long, lingering sighs mean. Right. Kevin + Maggie = me throwing up.

And yes, I knew it was my problem because of my stupid feelings. But dammit, when Kevin showers you with attention, combined with how he looks, and there’s always this softness to his words—there’s a reason he can get so many girls.

The only upside to the dinner was that Kevin and Maggie’s glorious coupledom overshadowed the reserved politeness between him and my dad. I caught a few moments, though. When Kevin kissed the back of Maggie’s hand and my dad coughed, tugging his collar from his neck, or while Sheila gushed about the family weekend when they came up last year. Neither Kevin nor my dad said a word. They just sat there, lips pressed together, no facial expression on either of them.

I suddenly wondered what the hell else had I missed all year.

When the two lovebirds left and Sheila asked if I wanted to stay in my dorm for the night or bunk with them in the hotel room, I was feeling a bit more raw than normal. The hotel it was. And I spent the next day with them, too, doing some more school shopping before they dropped me off for my first night in my place. Alone.

I spent my first official college night on the internet. How sad was that?

So of course, trying to convince myself how unsad I was, I decided to go to bed early. Because I was being responsible. Not sad. Responsible. I’d get up early. I might go for a run? Register for classes…by being the first in line. See? Responsible. I’d be the most prepared freshman there was, and I had actually convinced myself this would be great when my resident advisor breezed into the bathroom.

Avery literally did breeze in.

A burst of wind opened the bathroom door, and she stepped forward, her hand pushing the door the rest of the way. She was going so fast that I felt that same wind as she hurried past and slammed the stall door behind her. A second later, she asked through the door, “Are you going to bed already?”

I glanced around. No one else was in here.

“Summer?” she called.


“You’re in 614? You got here yesterday. You’re the sports medicine girl, right? Am I remembering that correctly?”

She meant me. “Yeah. That’s me.”

The toilet flushed. The door opened a moment later and she eyed me, coming to wash her hands. “You’re Summer, right?” A confused look appeared. “Wait. Are you Autumn? It’s a season, I thought.”

“No. Summer. I’m Summer.”

“Yeah.” She finished washing and grabbed for the paper towels. “Your brother is Kevin Matthews?”

I gritted my teeth. “Stepbrother. Yes.”

“You’re not related by blood?”


She snorted after drying her hands, then crumpled the paper towel up in a ball. “Wonder if Maggie knows that.”

I stilled. “You know Maggie?”

She tossed the crumpled ball in the garbage, opening the door and holding it with her foot. “Yeah.”

I grabbed my bathroom utility bucket. She kicked the door wide for me and stepped out into the hallway. We fell in line together, heading to our rooms.

“The ‘great love’ of Kevin Matthews.” Her fingers formed quotation marks, and she grinned. “I love Maggie. We roomed together last year, and there’s a whole group of us that are friends from high school. However, no offense to your stepbrother, but she’s delusional.”