Girls were trying to walk around Lacey and me to get backstage, so she pulled me to the nearest corner. That’s okay. People who don’t bring their own music get to sing ‘Happy Birthday.’
I could come over for a little while, he offered.I don’t think that’s a good idea.
I thought this was what you wanted? Confusion etched into his brow.I shook my head. Going out was just half of the equation. I wouldn’t give in this easily. No apartment, no sex.Why is that so important to you?
It just is. I don’t want to fall into the same pattern with you. Where you live is a huge f**king deal. Someone’s place says a lot about them. I don’t want to take the next step if you’re going to keep holding back.Can’t I have just one secret?
Yes. Harmless secrets, like whether or not you pee in the shower—or if you’ve ever farted on the subway and blamed it on someone else.
He broke out in laughter, despite the heavy moment. You’re too much. You know that?Curling into my side, McKenna released a happy little sigh. Knowing that she felt the exact same way was something indescribable. I felt a deeper connection to her than any other person in the world. She was my everything.
We had a system in the morning. The alarm squawked at 6:08, and I switched it off, no snoozes allowed. I ran a hand through Jesse’s adorably pillow-flat hair to wake him, and he nuzzled me a little, stubbly chin tickling my jaw, then swung his long legs over the side of the bed, sighed, and headed downstairs to make coffee. I jumped in the shower, and ten minutes later Jesse got in while I slid past him, pretending to be outraged as he copped a feel. My outfit, chosen carefully the night before, lay across our reading chair. I dressed quickly, dried my hair upside down for volume, and carefully applied a layer of makeup using the closet mirror. Jesse donned a suit and dress shirt, pausing only to ask my opinion on his choice of tie. Together, we pounded on Trey’s door until we heard a moan and the heavy thud of bare feet hitting the hardwood floors. Once downstairs, we shared a cup of coffee, split a bowl of yogurt, and hugged Trey goodbye when he slunk into the kitchen. We walked out the French patio doors hip to hip, shouted overzealous Good mornings! to Mr. Eckhardt next door, and laughed when our cranky neighbor ducked his head, pretending he hadn’t heard us. Then we kissed, a real one, somewhere between perfunctory and embarrassing, got into our cars, and began our days.Our shared life was perfect.
Until two years ago, on a bright, clear summer morning, when Jesse’s Volvo tapped the median on the Kennedy Expressway. If he’d been driving during the aching crawl of rush hour, it would have amounted to a fender bender, but traffic was sparse that Sunday, and a mere brush with concrete at sixty-five miles per hour sent him spinning off across all four lanes, slamming into a few cars on his way over to the guardrail, where his car flipped once, twice, and hit the concrete bottom with such force it flattened the top of Jesse’s car.People said I should be thankful no one else was seriously injured. I wouldn’t wish pain on anyone, but I had to admit I did wish the universe had disbursed it more fairly—a broken leg here, a fractured clavicle there. Jesse took it all, his body crumpled and broken, and he wouldn’t have had it any other way.