By the time he’d finished, my nausea was gone, thanks to the magic bands he’d brought me. He stared vacantly for a moment, the paper forgotten in his lap.
I nodded coyly, smiling so hard my cheeks hurt. Oh, really? So the tears...that was staged, huh?It was just a publicity stunt. Her nose tipped up with airs and graces. I know you. You’d rather go native and hide away for years rather than go on stage and sing. I’m your manager. You don’t run away from your manager!
I can if she’s a tyrant.Her cheeks reddened. I was not a tyrant.Giggles percolated in my chest. Do this, Estelle. Do that. We have to go shopping. We have to travel around the world together. Oh, oops, I just made you an internet star, now you must always obey me.
She swatted me, unable to hide her smile anymore. You liked it.Go on...admit it. You missed me.
We glared at each other, slipping straight back into awesome pointless bickering. Our fake glares switched to watery welcome and we fell back into a hug.
God, I’m so glad you’re back. She kissed my cheek. Just next time you need your space, tell me and I’ll leave. Like instantly. Not like before. I won’t hound you. I promise. Just...don’t try to kill yourself again, okay?God, I wanted to believe him. My heart was practically banging at my ribs to get out and launch at him. But I knew better, didn’t I? I wasn’t some starry-eyed girl who thought she could change Landon Rhodes. I was the girl he’d left standing in an empty apartment with no savings, no college, and no family.
But there was this tiny part of me that was growing steadily stronger, begging to give him a chance. To put those claims to the test. But I also knew that was the last part of me that had never gotten over him, and with one misstep, he’d kill off that chance for good.And what’s the other reason you won’t kiss me?
How long could he hold out if I really pushed? If I frayed the edges of his nonexistent control? How long would it take to prove that he just wanted to score the one girl he thought he couldn’t have? Wasn’t it safer in the long run to break my heart at the size it was now as opposed to letting it grow bigger for him again?He crinkled his nose. Your breath smells like puke.