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“So, you two want to fuck?”

Their eyes are dilated. “Yeah, we want to,” the redhead purrs.

“I want to fuck you in the ass,” I tell her, “while your friend sits on your face.” When did I become this monster? It’s getting like I need more and more of everything to get off lately.

“How much extra for that?” I say, the welcome numbness starting to take effect.

Both smile and take my hand, pulling me into the bedroom.

“We won’t tell, if you won’t tell.” The redhead shuts the door and peels off her panties.

Turning to the brunette, I say, “Why don’t you girls start, and I’ll join in.”

She smiles and reaches for her friend, peeking up at me. “Are we still role playing?”

Confused I ask, “What?” but the hair on my forearm is standing up.

“Like last night? Do you still want me to be Tess?”

The room starts to spin.

“Holy shit, are you okay?” The redhead reaches for me.

“Shit! Raquel, go get his brother. I think he’s overdosing.” She extends her hand, trying to get me to sit.

“Get off of me!” I cringe at her touch.

Sweat pours out of me, drenching my shirt. Last night slaps me in the face as I remember.

“I need you to be Tess. I can’t get off without it.”

“I’ll be whoever you want. Is Tess sweet, or a bitch? Soft or hard? Tell me what she is, and you won’t even remember my name.”

“She’s my soul: innocent, fragile, yet way stronger than she knows. She’s my heart.”

“Reed… Close your eyes… I don’t want you to fuck me. I need you to make love to me.”

“Tess… I will do anything you want, Kitten.”

Holy fucking shit! My feet back away from them.

I did! I made love to her last night. I can’t breathe. Maybe I am overdosing. That might be better than the truth.

“I’m going to be sick.” Stumbling past their shocked faces, I barely make it to the toilet when my whole stomach unloads. I retch and heave for what feels like hours until it stops. Miserable, that’s what I’ve become. Leaning back, I shiver by the toilet, resting my head on my knees.

“Reed? You okay?” Jax’s voice is next to me, his hand helping me up.

I look at him, his face so like mine, except that it’s not anymore. His eyes still have joy, where mine are filled with darkness.

“I need to get away from here,” I whisper.

“Can you walk? Do you need to go to the hospital?” His voice scares me.

“No, no hospital. Just get me out of here.” Pushing away from him, I find Andrew and the girls standing outside the bathroom.

“Dude! You okay? You scared the girls.” Andrew’s brows are knit with concern.

The girls stand there, all three in a state of undress, curiosity on their faces rather than fear. Obviously, I’m not the first customer to freak on them.

I’m completely undone.

My voice sounds far away. “They seem okay. You two, on the other hand, can relax. I feel better. It must have been something I ate.” I run a hand through my wild hair.

Andrew exhales. “Christ, Reed, you’ve aged me.” He chuckles, his hands shaking as he puts his phone in his pocket.

I move past them. “I’ve got to go. Happy Birthday, man. I’ll call you later.” Jax is right behind me.

“Thanks, Reed, you sure you’re okay?”

“Yeah, I just have to get out of here,” I snap. I know he’s concerned about being a good friend, but if I don’t get out of this suite, I might implode.

“Let me grab our stuff, Reed.”

“Hurry the fuck up,” I say, taking a shaky breath as my eyes scan the hotel room. It’s trashed but not overly so. Picking up my jacket, I avoid looking at the girls.

“Let’s go.” Jax pulls me back to the present, his voice calm.

“I’m fine. I need some air.”

“Whatever—this has to stop.” He pushes me out the door, his arm guiding me outside. “How much coke did you do?”

“It’s not the coke—or fuck, maybe it is. I don’t know.” My cheeks are cool and wet. Am I crying? Strong arms hug me. My brother, my best friend, my other half, tries to put me back together, and he starts with a hug.

“What’s going on? I need you to look at me. Otherwise, I’m taking you to the emergency room.”

Putting my head back, I close my stinging eyes. New York is crackling with energy. Horns blaring, garbage trucks rumbling. And I feel better because I’m not alone. As long as I have him, I can make it. I mumble it like a mantra as I pull away and we head home.REEDThe fresh air and the walk have helped. I still feel like shit, but at least Jax is not threatening to take me to the ER. The penthouse is silent as we enter. My heart sinks. Call it intuition, but whenever it’s quiet, something is going down and it’s usually bad.

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