Page 34 of Hate Like Ours

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“You don’t have to let me do anything because you don’t have any say in what I can or can’t do,” I grumble.

“Well too bad,” he says. He snatches my bag and takes the keys out of it and tosses it to Axel. “Drive her car to her house.” I let out a long sigh because I know he won’t let this go.

“Why are you being nice?” I question suspiciously.

“I don’t want you to get into an accident or some shit on your way home because you’re drunk and high from alcohol and weed. Now get into my car.”

He drops Kinsley off at her place and then he drives in the direction of my house with Axel following in my car and Knox behind him.

I was kind of half afraid that Asher would leave me at the side of the road and make me walk but he didn’t.

When we get to my house, Axel pulls into the driveway and parks while I get out of Asher’s car. I thank them both and they just nod. That was weird as hell. I don’t know why they did that which confuses me. After they drive off without another word, I’m left staring after them for a while.

When I realize that I’ve just been standing there, I head inside. I head up to my room and head straight for the shower. I need to get clean and also sober up before my mom gets home. Otherwise, she’ll kill me.

When I’m out of my clothes and standing in front of the mirror, I see the handprints that Knox left around my neck and wince. I need to hide that from Mom as well.

I exhale a breath and quickly shower. When I’m done, I put on some pjs, and a hoodie to hide my neck. It’s not uncommon for me to wear hoodies so my mom won’t think anything of it. After that, I head into the living room to watch some television.

“Hey, honey!” Mom says out of nowhere, which causes me to scream. I was in the middle of a horror movie with all the lights off and I didn’t even hear her come in.

“Jesus, Mom! You scared the crap out of me!” I shriek, turning to look at her while clutching my chest. She laughs and I roll my eyes, trying to calm down. I guess the experience today really spooked me.

I look at the time and see that it’s only nine p.m. She’s early tonight which I’m glad for because we’ve hardly spent any time together since moving.

“Did you eat dinner already?” she asks.

“Yeah, Mom.”

“Okay, good. I’m glad you’re still up. Let me go shower quickly and then I have something I need to tell you,” she says nervously. I shake my head and she leaves the room.

I wonder what she wants to talk about. From her tone alone and the way she was acting, I know it’s going to be something serious. Now my anxiety is on the rise. She’s only ever nervous when she has to tell me something she knows I won’t like.

Half an hour later, she comes back into the living room, wearing her pjs as well. She sits next to me and gives me a hug. I love her cuddles. They always make me feel like I belong somewhere.

“What’s going on, Mom?” I finally ask when it looks like she won’t start the conversation off.

“I’m getting married!” she says, just blurting it out. I’m stunned speechless, wondering if I heard her correctly.

“I’m sorry, Mom.” I laugh. “Can you repeat that? I don’t think I heard you correctly.”

“I’m getting married—”

“To who?” I practically screech, cutting her off. I mean, I want her to be happy but I feel like this is coming out of left field.

“To, um, Jonathan Riverside…” she says, trailing off.

“Your boss, Jonathan Riverside? The man whose family founded this town, Riverside? The uber-rich Riverside?” I yell. Oh dear God!Knox’s father Riverside…

Please God, let it be some other Riverside because the thought of Knox becoming my stepbrother is one I can’t comprehend right now. Especially not with all the secret feelings I have locked away for the guy.

“Yes. That one,” she says, giving me an unsure smile. I’m left stunned and a little speechless, wondering how and when the hell this happened.

“Mom. The man just lost his wife!” I groan. I have a feeling if I thought things were bad before for me at school, then it will get worse once people hear about this. I mean, his wife was buried what, like two weeks ago or so?

“I don’t know. We just sort of fell in love with each other and we both want to get married,” she says.

“When did this happen?” I question.

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