Home > Easy (Contours of the Heart #1)(40)

Easy (Contours of the Heart #1)(40)
Author: Tammara Webber

I ignored his question. I couldn’t help but notice that he said we broke up as though our breakup was a mutual decision. As though I hadn’t been the blindsided idiot of the equation.

“You want me to come to Thanksgiving lunch and pretend we’re all fine, just so you don’t have to tell your parents we broke up?”

He smiled just enough to make the dimple appear. “I’m not that big of a coward. I can tell them if you want, and say I’ve invited you to come as a friend. But we don’t have to disclose anything to them, if you don’t want to. Trust me, they’re too oblivious to pick up on anything. My little bro’s had a weed habit for over a year—parties so hard he’d put most of the brotherhood to shame, and they have no idea.”

“Aren’t you worried about him?”

He shrugged. “His grades are still decent. He’s just bored. Besides, he’s not my kid.”

“But he’s your little brother.” I only understood sibling relationships in theory, since I’d never had one, but I assumed logic would dictate some sense of responsibility. Kennedy seemed to feel none.

“He wouldn’t listen to anything I have to say.”

“How do you know?” I pressed.

He sighed. “I don’t know. Maybe because he never has. C’mon. Come tomorrow. I’ll pick you up right before 1:00. It’ll be better than… whatever frozen thing you’d planned to microwave?”

I rolled my eyes and he chuckled.

“I still don’t understand why you didn’t tell them. It’s been over a month.”

He shrugged again. “I don’t know. Maybe because I know how much my family loves you.” That was bullshit. I raised an eyebrow and he laughed. “Okay, well they were used to you—used to us. I guess you told your parents?”

I curled my toes into the cold marble floor, the chill from outside seeping into the entryway. “I told Mom. I assume she told Dad. They seemed vaguely annoyed, though I don’t know if the annoyance was directed at you for dumping me or me for not managing to hold onto you.” I wanted to pinch myself for the dejected words that made it sound as though I was pining for him.

In actuality, Mom and I had revisited the quarrel we had when I first told her my college plans. She hadn’t approved, claiming that smart girls forge their own educational paths; they don’t follow their high school boyfriends to college. “But do what you like. You always have,” she’d said, stalking from my room. We’d not discussed it again until Kennedy broke up with me.

“I guess it doesn’t do any good now to point out that I was right about him,” she’d sighed over the phone. “And your ill-advised decision to follow him there.”

Whenever I appeared to have won an argument, Mom would say something like, “Even broken clocks are right twice a day.” I’d tossed this bit of wisdom back in her face, and just like she had when I announced my college plans, she’d heaved a sigh like I was hopelessly clueless and dropped the subject. Little did she know that in that moment, I agreed with her completely, for once. Following my boyfriend to State was possibly the most dimwitted thing I’d ever done.

Kennedy stood with his thumbs hooked through his belt loops, looking contrite. “I assume you don’t have plans to have Thanksgiving supper with Dahlia’s family, or Jillian’s, or you’d have already said so.”

Preferring to wait until the holiday festivities were over, I’d not yet called my high school friends to let them know I was home. Jillian had flunked out of LSU at the end of freshman year, after which she’d moved home to train for management at Forever 21 and get engaged to some guy who managed a mall jewelry store. Dahlia was in the second year of her nursing program in Oklahoma. We’d all grown apart since graduation. It was odd, how unconnected I felt to each of them now, when we’d been joined at the hip for four years of high school.

Now Dahlia had her nursing undergrad crowd in a neighboring state, and Jillian had a blue stripe in her hair, a full-time job and a fiancé. Both were shocked when Kennedy and I broke up. They were among the first to text and call, commiserating—or trying to, even though we hadn’t been close in over a year. I hoped we could hang out and hopefully not discuss Kennedy ad nauseum.

“I don’t have plans with anyone. I thought it would be nice to be home alone.” I emphasized the last word, staring up at him.

“You can’t be here all by yourself on Thanksgiving.”

I hated the pity underlying his assumption, and I glared up at him. “Yes, I can.”

The dark green of his eyes scanned over my face. “Yes, you can,” he agreed. “But there’s no reason for you to. We can be friends, right? You’ll always be important to me. You know that.”

I so didn’t know that. But if I said no, if I insisted on staying at my parents’ house alone and eating a microwaved turkey patty for Thanksgiving, it would look like I couldn’t get over him. Like I was so damaged that I couldn’t be around him.

“Fine,” I said, almost instantly regretting it.


“So are you and my dickwad brother back together, or what?” Carter asked, under his breath.

If he wasn’t so big, Carter would have been a carbon copy of his older brother—same green eyes and mop of dirty blond hair. But where Kennedy was tall and lean, Carter had sprouted to an equal height, but with the girth and muscle of a running back. Having known him since he was a wiry fourteen-year-old—when Kennedy still towered over him—his transformation was mind-boggling. I remembered him as a quiet, scowling boy, eclipsed by his older brother. He was clearly done with that phase.

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