Knocked Up by Brother's Best Friend(6)

By: Amy Brent

“Are you going to stand out there all night, kiddo, or are you going to come in and tell me what the hell you’re doing back here and not at college where you’re supposed to be?”

Jonah's voice hit me through the broken window and I jumped. I took a deep breath, steeling myself before hitching my bag over my shoulder and walking in.

“What the hell,” I said softly, trying to pretend that I felt brave, even when everything inside me screamed to turn around and run away. Back to Leo. Back to his strong arms. I could just lose myself there and never have to face Jonah. Never have to worry about anything ever again.

For a moment, the vision of Leo filled my mind, warming me through, but it was just wishful thinking. And I had given up on wishes when I was ten years old. I knew they didn’t come true. Not in real life.

I trudged inside and tossed my bag on the kitchen counter. The apartment was little more than a one bedroom, but we had converted the small office into a bedroom for me. I’d outgrown it years ago, just like I’d outgrown this rural town. But here I was, back again. My tail between my legs.

“Hey, big brother,” I spotted Jonah, leaning against the opposite counter. He had a beer bottle clenched in his hand but it still looked full. “How did you know I was back?”

“Mrs. Sheldon at the bank saw you get off the bus.”

“Fucking busy body.” I sneered softly, “This place never changes.”

“It’s changed a lot in the past couple of years, Q. A lot more tourists coming through.”

“Well, then the people haven’t changed. Still nosy as ever.” I shook my head in disgust but a few minutes later a small smile broke Jonah’s stern expression and then we were both laughing. The tension broke as he gave me a hug but when he pulled back, that damned look was back on his face.

It was so familiar, that face. Not just the light green eyes, a trait we both shared. Or the sandy blond hair or the freckles that were splattered across his nose. It was that look. The same look that said, ‘you fucked up again, Quinn’. That look of disappointment that I’d known was coming but still hated to see staring down at me.

“Don’t start with me, Jonah.”

“I’m not starting anything, Quinn.” He huffed out on a frustrated sigh. Jonah swept his hands through his shaggy blond hair, shaking his head as if he didn’t know what to say but I already knew what was coming. It was a speech I’d heard a thousand times before.

“What the hell happened, Q? You were so excited to get out of this town. To get away and start a new life. To follow your dreams or whatever the fuck it was.”

“I told you, Jonah, I don’t want to talk about it!” I started but he cut me off with a slashing motion of his hand. The beer sloshed over the rim of the bottle but he didn’t notice.

“I don’t care! We’re talking about it! Now!”

I took a deep breath and tried to speak as calmly as I could but I could feel my temper rising, “There’s nothing to discuss.”

“You’re damn wrong about that, Quinn. What happened? I thought you wanted to be a manager or some shit!”

“Not a manager!” My temper was slipping but I didn’t care, “I want to run my own business! I want to be in charge for once. No one telling me what to do. My own decisions. My own choices. My own responsibility.”

“Responsibility!” Jonah scoffed, and the contempt in his voice hurt more than any of his words, “What the hell do you know about responsibility? You barely made it through high school. You dropped out of college, because…I don’t know why, but you obviously couldn’t handle it! You bailed, Quinn. That’s what you do when things get hard. You bail.”

“That’s not what happened, Jonah!” I was shouting. We both were.

“Then tell me what happened! Make me understand.”

“I just…I fucked up, okay? I fucked up and I can’t go back.”

“No, not okay!” Jonah shouted right back, pointing a finger in my direction but I refused to back down. “You don’t understand. You have no idea what I–.” He cut off abruptly, shaking his head and I could see real regret shining in his light green eyes. It cut deep, that look and I had to swallow before I could talk again.

“I know you’re disappointed, Jonah. But I’ll do better next time! I won’t make the same mistakes, I swear.”

‘Next time.” Jonah said, still shaking his head, “What makes you think there’ll be a next time? You’re right. You fucked up. But it’s bad this time, little sis. Real bad.”

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