Tangled Page 32

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She plays along and wipes at her eyes again. “Yeah, it’s an eyelash or something.”

“You want me to take a look? Those eyelashes can be dangerous if left untreated.”

For the first time today, her eyes meet mine. They’re like two dark shining pools. “Okay.” Kate stands up, and I guide her toward the window. I put my hands on her cheeks, gently holding her face. Her beautiful tear-streaked face.

I’ve never wanted to do physical damage to someone as badly as I do Billy Warren in this moment. And I’m pretty sure I can get Matthew to help me bury whatever’s left of him in the backyard.

I wipe her tears away with my thumbs. “Got it.”

She smiles, even as more tears spring up. “Thanks.”

I’m done pretending now. I pull her in against my chest. She lets me. I put my arms around her and smooth the back of her hair with my hand. “Do you want me to talk to him? Was it…was it because of…me?”

I can’t imagine the scumbag was very happy finding us in Kate’s office like he did last week—with her looking freshly f**ked and all. And no, I haven’t gone insane. The last thing I want to do is help her get back with the ass**le. But goddamn it, she’s killing me here.

One tear at a time.

She laughs into my chest. It sounds bitter. “It was me.” Kate looks up at me and smiles sadly. “I’m not the same girl he fell in love with.”

It must have been hard for her to hear those words. It’s the oldest guy trick in the book. The blame game: “It’s not me, honey. It’s you.”

She shakes her head. “He packed up all of his things and moved out on Saturday. He said a quick, clean break would be better. He’s staying with Dee-Dee until he can find his own place.”

She looks toward the windows for a moment, then sighs dejectedly. “It’s been coming for a while, I think. It really wasn’t a shock. For so long, my focus was on school…and then work. Everything else came second. I stopped…I couldn’t…give him what he needed.

“It’s just…Billy held my hand the day we buried my father. He taught me to drive a stick shift, and convinced me I was good enough to sing in front of actual people. Billy helped me fill out my college application and opened the acceptance letter for me because I was too nervous to look. When I was in the MBA program, he worked three jobs so I didn’t have to work at all. Billy was there the day I graduated, and he came with me when I wanted to move to New York. He’s always been such a huge part of my life. I don’t know who I’ll be without him.”

Women. No offense. But she doesn’t even realize what she just said. These are her accomplishments. Challenges she’s lived through. Shithead was just along for the ride. In the background. Like wallpaper. You can change the color of the walls anytime, and it might look different, but the room’s still the same.

“I know who you’ll be: Kate Brooks, Investment Banker Extraordinaire. You’re smart and funny, and you’re stubborn and gorgeous and…perfect. And you’ll still be perfect without him.”

Our eyes hold for a minute, and then I hold her against me again until her tears subside. Her voice is muffled as she whispers, “Thank you, Drew.”

“Anytime.”

It’s not until late that night, as I crawl between the cool sheets of my bed, that the ramifications of today’s events really hit me.

I sleep naked, by the way. You should try it. If you haven’t slept naked, you haven’t lived. But that’s beside the point.

The fact that hasn’t occurred to me until now is—Kate Brooks is single. Free. Available. The only real obstacle that stood between her and me and my office couch just shot himself in the foot. Holy shit. This is what Superman must have felt like when he turned back time and pulled Lois out of that car. It’s a do-over. A second shot. Recommencing lift off.

I fold my hands behind my head and settle back into my pillows with the biggest, brightest can’t-wait-for-tomorrow smile you have ever seen.

It’s been four days since I found out Dipshit broke up with Kate. That next day, she came into work looking like herself again. For all intents and purposes, she seemed completely over the moron. But Mackenzie caught a cold, so Alexandra had to reschedule our lunch for next week. With the weekend Kate had, it was probably for the best.

Oh yeah. Just one more little detail you should know: I haven’t gotten laid in twelve days.

Twelve days.

Two hundred and eighty-eight sex-free hours. I can’t calculate the minutes—it’s too depressing. Remember all work and no play makes Drew a cranky boy? Well, at this point, Drew is practically a goddamn psychopath, okay?

Twelve days may not seem like a long time for you amateurs out there, but for a guy like me? It’s a frigging record. I haven’t had a drought like this since the winter of ninety-nine. That January, a massive blizzard blanketed the tri-state area with twenty-eight inches of snow. Only official vehicles were allowed on the roads, so I was stuck in the penthouse with my parents.

And I was seventeen. A year in a guy’s life when a light breeze is capable of giving him a boner. I spent so much time in the bathroom, my mother thought I had a virus. Finally, after the seventh day, I couldn’t take it anymore. I braved the elements and walked to Rebecca Whitehouse’s condo uptown. We humped like bunnies in the janitor’s closet of her parent’s building.

She was a nice girl.

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