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“Do you even care that we haven’t touched each other forever? Does that even bother you?”

“Yes, of course it does, but what do you expect me to do? I’m not an adult.”

“I expect you to come back. I need you!” I throw my hands at her almost pleading.

“Reed, he threatened to disinherit me!”

“So what? I have more money than anyone should. You will never want for anything.”

She snorts. “Perfect. What happens if you leave me?”

I nearly see red. “You are kidding me, right?” I’m barely able to catch my breath. “You did not just ask me if I would leave you, did you? Since I’ve known from the moment I saw you that you were mine.” I’m so angry I can barely talk.

“It’s not something I can chance.” She swallows. “If I allowed you to support me, and you left me, I would have nothing.” Her hands are flying around in her agitation.

She has literally knocked the wind out of me. I look at her exquisite face and for the first time, I don’t want to talk to her. For the first time, I hate her! And I want to hurt her. I want her pain! I don’t want to hear any more of her lies. I’m done!

“Reed?” Her voice is pleading. “I didn’t mean that. I’m confused. I—”

“Tess, I have given you my whole heart. And you have pretty much destroyed it. So before you take my entire soul, I’m going to stop. You do what you need to do, but I’m done.” I don’t listen to her hysterical pleading. I end the call, turn off my computer, and get into the shower.

Jax is lying on my bed as I come out of the bathroom. Wrapping a towel around my waist, I notice he is dressed for the party but on his phone, clearly trying to calm Tess down. I’m so fucking demolished, I grab his cell from him.

“Tess!”

“Reed? Thank God. Don’t do this to us. I’m sorry. I’ll do anything.” She’s crying so hard I can barely understand her.

My first instinct is to calm her, but I don’t. “You coming home?” I demand.

She is literally hysterical, but I hear her words loud and clear. “I can’t! Reed, you have to understand. Please, this isn’t you. We love each other!”

“Tess, this is me, I don’t want to hear from you. I don’t want my brother hearing from you.”

“No.” She wails. “You don’t mean that.”

“You’re not listening, Tess! I’m done! Leave my family and me alone. You’re not mine. And, I don’t want to be yours anymore.” I can barely choke out the words, but I know these words will hurt her more than anything. And right now, I want her to burn.

I hang up and toss my twin his phone. I don’t look at him because I can feel him, so what’s the point of seeing his pain.

“Reed, you have to calm down. You can’t be serious—”

I hold up my hand. “She had her chance to come back. She is choosing to stay with her father.” I jerk on a pair of jeans, not bothering with underwear. “She’s not our Tess anymore. That girl”—I nod to his phone—“I don’t even know her. She’s not mine. And I would appreciate it if you would back me up. As my twin, and my other half, please!” My heart pounds in my temple. Jax is pale, but he nods.

“Whatever you need.”

“I need you not to talk to her. I need you not to mention her name. I’m done! She’s dead to us!”

“Just take a moment and think, Reed. She sounds bad. I… I want to try to help fix this for you two.” His face has never looked more sincere.

“If you want to help me, then don’t judge me when I fuck someone tonight. Because I have every intention of doing that.”

Jax takes a breath. His eyes, like mine, are filled with tears.

“Are you sure? This is Tess we’re talking about. She’s your soul mate. She’s all your firsts,” he croaks.

I rub my tattoo, his words nearly bringing me to my knees. I look at him. “She got all my firsts! My heart, my soul and she destroyed my very being, Jax. I gave her all of me!” I shrug. “Everything now is just semantics.”

“I won’t say her name.” I turn away because he is pressing his palms into his eyes, and I have to stay strong, angry. I haven’t stopped rubbing my damn tattoo, as if that is somehow going to fix me.

“Let’s go.” I drop my hand, pull on a navy T-shirt, and rake a hand through my wet hair.

Jax brings his hands down. “Okay, who’s it going to be, Reed?”

“Gia.” I breathe. “I want Gia and then I’ll go from there.”TESS

Past – sixteen years old

London, EnglandI haven’t left my room since Reed hung up on me on Jax’s phone.

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