You’re Mine by Penny Brooks

Chapter 11


Harper. That was close. I press my fingers against my swollen mouth and try not to clench my legs too hard as remember the feel of Easton hard against me. It was better than last time, more like a sex fueled dream. A moment that can never happen again, if my brother has anything to say about it. He’s already going to be pissed enough when he sees my costume, please God let Sadie. calm him down. Besides when has Sadie ever failed me?. Everything’s going to be fine. Which is both a triumph and a disappointment. I stop in my tracks. If Easton knew, would he be touching me? Insecurity hits hard and fast as my boots click against the beautiful hard wood floors. With confidence I’m not really feeling, I adjust my black mask and walk into the kitchen. I imagine it’s gonna be nothing but more booze flowing when I stop in my tracks and see Sadie and Ryan in a stand off. She’s shoving at his chest, murder in her brown eyes as her batgirl. Chanter it. costume seems to tighten around strong, lean legs that look seconds away from jiu jitsuing my brother to the floor-if that’s even a thing. “Take it back!” she yells. No wonder she called. I can’t decide if I’m thankful or disappointed at the interruption. Ryan’s face is doing that scary, wide eyed rage filled stare thing that means he’s seconds away from either exploding or tossing her over his shoulder and taking out his anger in an entirely different, ewww my best friend and my brother way. “Ryan,” I call. “Stop yelling. “Stop yell-” His head swivels toward me. And that’s when I see it. I thought he was mad when I wore the bikini. No. This is next level, I may die tonight. I gulp. His eyes move from my head down to my boots then back up. “YOU!”. One word. His jaw clenches. “YOU!” He yells again, only this time he’s stomping toward me. “Were not invited and who the hell gave you that costume!”. I’m silent, so is everyone else in the stupid kitchen. He’s now in a stand off between the two of us, the crowd conti nues to gather to see the drama. “What the hell are you thinki ng wearing that

Sadie claps a hand over Ryan’s mouth the minute Easton makes his presence known in the kitchen. My stomach drops to my toes. S hi t. Is this how he’s going to find out? . I officially hate my brother. What’s the term where you kill o ff your sibling? . Fra tric ide? . Tears well in my eyes as I realize I’m the cente r of attention-the thing I hate the most as my b rother semi shoves her away and walks toward me. Thi s is it. The moment Eas ton finds out m y true identity . Fear pounds throu gh me, making it i mpossible to move. “There you are!” Aisha runs up to Easton and throws herself around his body. Was she a g ymnast in a nother life? . Her legs wrap around his waist as she presses a drunken, open mouthed kiss against his lips. I thought fear of him finding out was bad-this is so much worse, because he grins against her mouth a bit before he sets her on her wobbly heels. Her white nurse outfit leaves no thing to the imagination and her long blonde wig looks better than my hair on my best day. I swallow the lump in my throat as he wraps an arm a round her shoulders and saunters off, away from the scene between me, Sadie, and Ryan as if I wasn’t even . in the kitchen. Once again, stabbing me in the heart and making me wonder why I even try when he’s never go ing to notice the real me or even think of me that way . Unless w e’re in the dark. “Hey,” Ryan shoves me into a corner. “ Why are you naked?” He shakes his head . “No, why the hell are you even here?” . “Not now, Ryan. ” I jerk my hand away just in time for Sadie to stomp up to him, ready to start world war three in the middle of Easton’s parents gourmet kitchen and around gossip central. “You look like a whore. ” Ryan says it loud enough for two girls near the fri dge to hear. I want to die and refuse to look at who they are, too embarrass ed to do anything except stand there. “Go change before I tell Mom and Dad. “Oh wow, so not only am I a whore, but now you’re going to tattle on me? Yeah okay, have fun when D ad buries your body in the backyard after I tell him to check behind your nightstand. “You wouldn ’t. ” He gasp s in horror. “Oh, I would. ” I glare. He sighs, putting his h ands on his hips. “Look , guys are gonna get the . wrong idea, alright? Just…for my sake, so I don’t go to prison before graduation, ca n you please, please, change your clothes?” . A knot f orms in m y throat

It feels like I’m back in sixth grade, when I wore lipstick for the first time and Ryan told me to take it off in front of all my friends, while Easton stood by and laughed at. “Fine. ” I don’t want to fight, and I know that it will onl y escalate, especially after the bikini situation last wee k. “I stuffed some extra clothes in my purse just in case. Sadie gasps . “You liar ! I asked if . you did on the way over here, a nd you said no!” . I just shrug, my confidence semi shot. I leave them in the kitchen and start the search for my bag in the guest room where everyone left their coats and belongings . I lock the door just in case, then walk by the floor length mirror near the bed. I stop and stare at myself, then with shaking hands reach up and touch my mask, the same mask that keeps me anonymous. I imagine Easton’s han ds on my hips, the way he pressed against me in nothing but a bathrobe. The tears start to come as I rip the. mask off m y face and turn away . from m y refl ection. It doesn’t take me long to change into the loose black sweatshirt dress that falls to my knee-high boots. I unzip the boots and tuck them next to the costume, placing it all in the satchell brought, then grab my Adidas slides. It literally feels like I went from princess to peasant as I glance at my reflection again . My lipstick is gone, compliments of Easton’s mouth. The only thing that remains is the dark eye makeup. I shake aw ay all thou ghts of him . as I make my way down the hall sear ching for Sadie only to lock eyes wi th Easton as he mauls Aisha’s mouth. Normally, I’d just scowl and look away. Not to day . Because today he’s kissing her but watching me, like he wants me to see, like he wants to hurt me-to make me feel even worse than I already do. I try t o pass by them. He pulls back in time to sneer and say with a cruel smile, “Cool cos tume. ” A pause. “Go home, Harper. “Wait, I thought you didn’t invite her?” Aisha stares me down like I’m a disease. I’m internally begging Easton to at least defend me or not be an ass. Instead, he kisses her again and says, “Oh I didn’t. She laughs agai nst his mouth. “How pathetic. “I know. ” This kiss is longer between th em. I see his tongue dart into her mouth, then out as he says, “Fucking pathetic