Today I’m sharing the final chapter for Blurred Lines (The Line Between 1.5) before the book is published on Monday 🙂 This book has taken me on quite the roller coaster, and what I thought was going to be a novella turned out to be a full length novel instead. It has been rather stressful, simply because I don’t want anyone to be disappointed with this book. That being said, I would like to remind everyone that Jade and Reid have been on a completely different journey to what Dane and Kennedy went in The Line Between. Jade and Reid have been best friends all their lives, so there was no insta-love, or a rush to be in a relationship. I loved this book, and more importantly I loved Jade and Reid as much as I loved Dane and Kennedy.
I also want to THANK each and every one of my readers for being patient with me while I finished this book. I appreciate the love, support, and enthusiasm I received and I hope you will all enjoy this book <3 ~ Tamsyn
NOTE: This is UNEDITED and SUBJECT TO CHANGE BEFORE PUBLICATION.
The Hotel Room, Cabo
Kennedy scowled at me from the living room when I walked into the hotel room we were sharing. Dane was whispering something to her, but looked at me as soon as he heard the door shut.
“Well?” asked Kennedy, folding her arms across her chest. “Did you talk to her?”
“Yeah,” I replied, resting my hands on my hips. “She didn’t deny hitting Stella.”
“Seriously, Reid? Is all that sex with Stella fucking with your head?” Kennedy flung her arm out and pointed in the direction of the bedroom where I was staying with my girlfriend, Stella. “You know Jade better than her fucking parents do, and you honestly believe she’d lift her hands to someone?”
“Kitten, calm down,” said Dane, rubbing Kennedy’s back.
“NO,” she cried, snapping her head towards him. “Stella lied, and Reid refuses to see it! We saw her straddling Jade, trying to hit her!”
“I know, baby,” he kisses her forehead. “Just calm down, okay?”
He looked at her adoringly, and I felt a pang in my chest. That was how a man was supposed to look at the woman he loved, like he’d move mountains for her, die saving her. It’s how I looked at Jade when she wasn’t looking.
I’d never looked at Stella that way, not once, and despite what Kennedy and Dane believed, I had yet to have sex with her. Every time I tried, I couldn’t bring myself to do it, so I always made up some excuse instead. Lately though, Stella had been acting a little crazier, more possessive. It made no sense. I’d agreed to stay away from Jade, just like she’d asked me to, fucking begged me to, but it wasn’t helping. Fuck knows why I listened because I was fucking miserable without Jade in my life.
Then why was I still with Stella?
When I was with her, I wasn’t so obsessed with Jade, and I found some semblance of reprieve from the constant throb in my chest.
“Go take a shower and climb into bed,” Dane told Kennedy. “I’ll be there soon.”
Kennedy turned her angry, watery glare in my direction one last time, and then skulked off to their bedroom.
When Dane finally looked at me, I saw so much fury, and disappointment in his eyes that it winded me. He’d never looked at me that way before, and I had no fucking clue what to make of it. It was like he didn’t know me at all.
Had I really changed that much?
But no one had the right to judge me. They knew nothing about what had happened with me and Jade, and everything they thought they knew was total bullshit.
Jade had been my best friend for years, and I’d always loved her, but when she rejected me she completely fucking annihilated me. Left me a broken man. So I did my best to move on.
“I’m dying to know what makes you think Jade had any reason to lie to you,” said Dane. “Because I saw what Stella did to her Reid, and whatever Stella said to you is fucking trash.”
“Yeah? Then tell me why she has a bruised cheek, and a busted lip.”
He frowned, looking truly perplexed. “She was fine when she walked away from us. She didn’t have a single mark on her face, or anywhere else.”
“That’s not how it looked,” I barked, irritated. “I saw her face when she found me, and it definitely looked like she’d been hit.”
Dane rubbed his hands down his face, and let out a breathless chuckle. “Unbelievable.” He shook his head, and looked down, a snarky smile pulling at his lips. “Ah that’s perfect, just fucking perfect.”
“What the fuck are you carrying on about, man? Stella is in the next room, icing her damn face.”
With a shake of his head, Dane looked up and replied, “The fact that you think Jade would do anything to Stella proves how stupid you are. You’ve stayed away from Jade because Stella told you to, and now you believe that Jade hit her. Do you realize how ridiculous that sounds?”
“What do you expect me to do?” I bellowed, not worrying about who heard me. “Jade didn’t deny it!”
“Why would she, when she knows you’d take Stella’s side over hers?”
“I wouldn’t if she had just told me the damn truth!”
Dane sighed, both in exasperation and frustration. I knew how he felt. “You don’t get it,” he said quietly. “And that’s a damn shame, Reid.”
“Don’t get what?”
“You’ve already chosen Stella over Jade, and that’s why Jade won’t fight you where Stella is concerned. She fucking gave up. How can you not see that yet? She gave you up!”
“That was her choice, Dane!” I yelled, fisting my hands at my sides. The longer this conversation continued the angrier I got. I couldn’t tell which way was up, and Dane sure as hell wasn’t helping matters.
“No, it wasn’t. You made that choice for her the minute you decided to keep your snake of a girlfriend happy before thinking about what losing you would do to Jade. You just stopped seeing her, talking to her, all for a girl that is playing you like a damn violin. You’re a fool, Reid, a damn fool.”
I stood there, mouth agape, as Dane turned his back on me and walked away. I had no response to what he’d said. But then again, I couldn’t deny a single word he’d said.
It hurt me to acknowledge it, but he was right. About all of it. When Stella had told me I couldn’t be friends with Jade anymore I should’ve told her it wasn’t going to happen, but instead I’d acted out of desperation, and given her what she wanted. I’d cut Jade loose, only seeing her on the odd occasion, and even then I kept my distance. I pretended that it wasn’t hurting her, pretended it didn’t kill me inside to shut her out, but I was only doing more damage. Damage I wasn’t sure how to fix.
“SHE HIT ME, Reid!”
Stella’s shrill voice grew louder, more hysterical. Her lip was swollen and her cheek had started to bruise where she said Jade had hit her.
“Don’t yell, Stella. I don’t need Dane and Kennedy coming in here.”
Stella stomped her foot – God, when had she become so childish? – and fisted her hands at her sides. Her eyes were puffy and filled with tears.
“I don’t care about your friends! They were mean to me, and they did nothing when Jade attacked me!”
I pulled both my hands through my already disheveled hair, struggling for my composure. Stella’s behavior had become erratic as of late, and only seemed to be getting worse.
“All I asked was for you to tell me the damn truth,” I said tiredly. It was well after one in the morning, and when I’d come to check on Stella after talking to Dane and Kennedy, I decided it was time to get some answers. Whether or not she told me the truth was a different story, and I wasn’t sure what to believe. I was caught between my girl friend, and the girl I was still very much in love with.
What did that make me?
“I told you the truth,” cried Stella. “But you’d rather side with your friends, than with your girlfriend. Do I mean that little to you?”
“Of course not,” I replied. “It’s just that it’s so unlike Jade to do anything like this.”
Stella huffed, and her face twisted into an ugly scowl. “Jade is jealous, Reid. She hates that we’re together, she told me herself.”
“What else did she say?” I asked.
Stella looked away, and started shuffling on her feet. “She said she’d do whatever it took to get you back, and get me out of the picture.”
Alarm bells started ringing in my head, and I felt my body straighten involuntarily. Firstly, Stella wouldn’t look at me when she relayed what Jade had supposedly said, and secondly, I knew Jade, and she’d never say something like that. I’d have bet my life on it if need be.
My brows creased, but before I could call Stella on it she flung herself at me, and started sobbing in my neck. At first I had no idea what to do with my hands, but then I figured I had to do what any caring boyfriend would do and reassure her. I gingerly wrapped my arms around her, and held her until she calmed down, vey aware that she had in all likelihood played me for a fool.
I turned us around and walked her backwards to our bed. She started kissing my neck, and when I eased her onto the mattress she started unbuttoning my shirt. Everything, even thoughts, about being intimate with Stella felt wrong, like I was betraying Jade somehow. And I knew I wasn’t because it was Jade who had walked away from me. Still, I had no desire to have sex with Stella, and that in itself should’ve been another warning – YOU DON’T BELONG WITH THIS GIRL – and yet I stayed. Like a fucking pussy afraid of being alone, I stayed.
“Stop,” I murmured, wrapping my hands around Stella’s wrists. Her skin was pale next to mine, and I immediately started comparing it to Jade’s warm caramel skin. I was a jerk. A big one.
“I want to have sex with you, Reid,” whined Stella. Gone was the distraught girlfriend from seconds ago, and in her place was the girl who knew how to play me to get what she wanted. Sadly for her, this was one thing I wasn’t ready to give yet. “We’ve been together for almost two months, and you haven’t wanted to fuck me yet.”
The way she said it made my skin crawl, and any hope of a hard on fizzled like a dying flame. She saw sex as ‘fucking’, and nothing more, and I realized then that after Jade I would never be able to see sex as just that. I wanted that connection, I craved it, and realizing that Stella couldn’t give it to me was like a slap to the face.
I couldn’t do this with her anymore. I was putting myself through the wringer, and leading Stella to believe that I could love her. I’d become the worst kind of guy, the kind that used one girl to get over another despite knowing it would never work.
“I can’t do this with you right now,” I said. “Please, just go to sleep.”
Stella’s face was blank with emotion, but I saw the latent anger flashing in her shallow eyes. She wasn’t going to let this lie, but I was going to end things before she could rip me apart over it. I just had to wait until we were back from Cabo.
She disentangled herself from me, and turned her back as she crawled under the covers. I was too wound up to sleep, so I stood up, and made my way into the living room, shutting the door behind me. There were murmurs coming from the kitchen, and when I followed the sound I found Kennedy talking to our friend Grady. He had a scowl etched onto his face, and Kennedy looked worried.
“Everything okay?” I asked. They both looked up at me, and if looks could kill, I’d be a pile of ash on the floor.
“No,” said Grady, “It’s not, but we’re dealing with it.”
The way he said ‘we’re’ didn’t sit well with me at all. “What’s wrong?”
Kennedy sighed, and turned her head towards Grady. “He’ll find out one way or another,” she said. “Might as well tell him.”
“You do what you think is best honey bee. I have to get going, but I’ll text you when I get back.”
He turned around without sparing me another glance and left.
“Tell me what?” I prompted.
“I’m only telling you because I know you care about Jade. She’s leaving, her parents are sending a jet.”
“Why would she do that?”
Kennedy wrung her fingers together, and refused to meet my eyes. “Grady said she’s really sick, and she wants to go home.”
“I’ll go talk to her,” I said, moving towards the door.
Kennedy’s hand shot out and grabbed my forearm. “You’ve done enough,” she said quietly. “Just let her go, Reid. She needs some space from you. You can talk to her when we get back.”
Her hand fell away, and she left me standing in the kitchen, alone with my worry, and the clusterfuck of emotions colliding in my chest. For whatever reason, I listened to Kennedy’s advice, but as soon as we got back to Brighton, Jade and I were going to talk, and I wasn’t going to let her get away without hearing everything I had to say.
END OF CHAPTER 4
Tamsyn Bester © 2015