Jake Understood

Page 36

“Really…well, I can’t say that surprises me, considering what an asshole he can be sometimes. What did he do to make Jimmy stop speaking to him?”

Nina pursed her lips and seemed reluctant to answer. Then, she finally said, “Ryan dated his sister.”

At first, it didn’t register.

His sister.

I felt the banana muffins coming up on me.

Nina was Jimmy’s only sister.

Ryan dated Nina?


Nina and Ryan.

I think I finally understood where the term “blinded by jealousy” came from because I could have sworn my vision blurred as my brain processed the shock of hearing those words.

“What? You and Ryan?”

“Yes. Ryan and I briefly dated when I was sixteen.”

My stomach sank when she confirmed it. “And you never thought to mention this before?”

“Honestly? No. It was so long ago. I don’t see him that way, anymore, Jake. I look at him like a brother. I really always have. It never felt any other way with him. He’d always been around all my life, and we spent enough time around each other that when we got to a certain age, we just started dating. That’s kind of how it goes in small towns, I guess.”

“But you said…that other guy…Spencer…that he was your first…”

“That’s right. I never had sex with Ryan. I was too young.”

“You kissed him…”


I knew I was out of line but asked it anyway. “That’s all you did?”


“Answer me,” I demanded.

“What do you want me to say?”

“Did he touch you?”


I closed my eyes. “I don’t want to know anymore.”

“I shouldn’t have said anything.”

“No, actually, this explains a fuck of a lot, why he won’t get off my jock about you. Does Tarah know?”

“I don’t think so, unless he’s told her without my knowing. Again, it was so long ago. It’s almost insignificant. I don’t view him like that at all.”

My face felt like it was burning up. I felt the need to break something and needed to be alone to let this sink in. “Fair enough.” I stood up and handed her the empty muffin plate. “You know what, Nina? I think we’ve done enough for tonight. It’s getting late. I actually have to take a shower. I forgot I have an early meeting tomorrow.”

Without saying anything further, I left the room and headed down the hall. Blood was pumping through my ears, and it felt like the hallway was swaying.

I got in the shower and let the water rain down on me. It wasn’t helping to lessen the blow of hearing that news. My mind became littered with upsetting thoughts.

The mere idea of him touching her body, sucking on her beautiful tits, going down on her, made me want to vomit. This was only the second time in my life I’d been hit with this level of jealousy, the first being her date with Alistair. This was much worse.

I vowed to stay in the shower until I could calm down. After about thirty minutes, my temper about the situation was starting to wear off. I had no right to feel this possessive toward her, but there was nothing I could do to stop it. I also had no right to fault her for her lie of omission when my own was colossal. Really, the biggest thing that bothered me was that I might never get the chance to experience with her what others had.

While I couldn’t help the jealousy, my reaction had been juvenile. I quickly wiped down and threw my pants on. I’d planned to go to her room and apologize but found her sitting on my bed in the same spot where I’d left her.

She got up, and her heels clicked as she walked toward me. “I’m sorry I upset you.”

“I’m sorry I reacted that way.”

My skin was not completely dry, and a droplet of water ran down my chest. She placed her fingertip over it and swiped it away. The delicate touch was brief but had a lasting effect. My abs tightened in an attempt to control my body’s reaction.

“You wanna know something?” she whispered.

My voice was hoarse. “What?” I was barely able to speak. All I wanted was for her to keep touching me. I wanted to push her down on the bed, lift her skirt and make her forget her own name.

“Your jealousy. It feels good.”

She traced the tattoos on my right forearm with her finger while my eyes followed the path.

“Well, it doesn’t feel good for me.”

My body ached for the return of her touch after she stopped and crossed her arms in front of her chest.

“You don’t tell me what you’re thinking. You don’t open up to me, so it’s the only thing that shows me how you feel.”

“I guess I can’t hide everything.”

“I want to explain,” she said.

“Explain what?”

“What happened with Ryan and me, because I know your imagination is running wild, and you’re probably making it out to be something more than it was.”

“Fuck, Nina, you don’t owe me any explanation. My reaction was uncalled for. It’s none of my business, and I really don’t want to know. I— ”

“We kissed, and he felt me up. That was it. It was nothing below the waist. I never let it get that far.”

I let out the breath I’d been holding. It could have been a lot worse. “You really didn’t need to tell me that.”

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