You’re Mine by Penny Brooks

Chapter 26


Harper. I can’t believe my idiot brother said that in front of Easton, or that Easton took it for that matter. My cheeks burn with embarrassment, because he’s not wrong is he? That’s exactly Easton’s MO and yet here I stand, right next to him, suddenly accepting his help along with a ride home when anyone who knows us or knows him, would find it suspicious. Clearly Ryan’s pissed and I know it’s because he’s being protective which just makes me even more nervous over the fact that a few minutes ago Easton had his tongue in my mouth. And I didn’t push him away. I pulled him closer. And accepted his help despite his asshole tendencies. “Let’s go,” Easton gently grabs my arm and pulls me towards his car. I have no other option but to follow him especially since my punk ass brother aka my normal ride is currently trying to find a tampon since it’s clearly his time of the month. Ugh. Boys. I tuck my hair behind my ears, keep my head down, and follow Easton out into the parking lot. I know people are watching us. I can feel their stares burning through my back as me and Easton for the first time, like, ever, get in his Jeep without my brother. I’ve always loved his Jeep, I’ve had several fantasies where he stops by my house, picks me up, and asks to see me, not my brother-me. I never imagined that this would be how senior year would go, and my head is going to explode if any other surprises happen today-or if Easton attempts to kiss me again. “Get in. ” Easton opens the white door and it feels like he’s letting me into his life despite my brother being a crazy idiot. I’m getting in. And it’s not Ryan who’s helping me but Easton. The boy who kisses me one minute, then looks ready to trip me the next. I gulp and crawl up into the seat, then put on my seatbelt. It smells like coffee and spearmint gum which just reminds of the way he tastes and how much Ryan will lose his shit if he finds out. I don’t have time to be nervous, soon enough Easton’s in the Jeep, and it’s roaring to life as he backs up out of his parking spot, wordless, jaw clenched, looking beautiful and pissed at the same. time. I glance out the window and frown as Blake watches us from the parking lot, his expression unreadable. What’s he staring at?. The Jeep?. Me?. Or is he just curious like everyone else at our school?. Ugh what a crappy day. If it wasn’t Easton, who did it? Who has that much time on their hands in the first place? Embarrassment hits me fast and hard as I remember how everything fell out of my locker and how everyone saw. Andddd I still have seven months of the schoo l year left, which means this could happen ag ain and again unless we figure out who did it . “You hungry?” Eas ton asks once we’ re on the street. “Huh? W hat?” I frown. His smile is more of a smirk, devastating as he b ites down on the bottom of his lip before taking a right towards downtown

“It’s a simple question. “I don’t know if I ca n eat right now. ” I s igh. “I want to just ” . My voi ce trai ls off. I fee l anx ious. Off bala nce. Everything seems so out of focus right now that it’s har d to breathe, it’s hard to even inhale because with ever y single breath I smell him, I feel him, and I want him. And I shou ldn’t. My brother would kill both of us. Plus he’s an asshole, both my brother and Ea ston and yet I can’t stop the way my heart r aces every single time I glance over at him. Easton curses under his breath and turns on the music. Grea t my not being hungry somehow pissed him off. How could I ev er think that this could be anything but madness between us? . He passes my s treet. “What a re you doing?” . “You’ re sha king. “Am I?” I looked down at my hands, he’s right, I had no idea. Is that why he asked if I was hungry? I’m still staring at my shaking hands and my black chip ped nail polish when the Jeep turns off and he turns to face me, seatbelt off. “Who hates you?” His question catc hes me off guard. “You mean other than you?” I look a round. We’re not at my house, we’re also not at a fast food restaurant. We’re at his house. In hi s dri veway . I stare u p at the g iant home. Where everything came crumbling dow n, where he upped his meanness past what had been normal in the past. “I don’t hate you. ” He says it quietly and then he’s opening hi s door and slamming it like his actions can’t help but show anno yance and hate despite what words are tumbling out of his mouth. Was he real ly not taki ng me home? . Without any other choices, I get out of the Jeep and follow him inside, rolling my eyes because he doesn’t even turn around to see if I’m following, he just assumes th at any girl with eyes and a pulse would dumbly jump off a cliff for him if he asked. I hate that I don’t even hesitate as I go through the front door and continue to follow him into his massive kitchen. I don’t ask if his parents are home-l assume they rarely are fr om what Ryan’s said in the past. It looks differ ent without eve ryone partying. Em pti er. Sa dd er. “It was probably one of the girls -” He p ulls out a bar stool and hops onto the wh ite granite countertop

“Bitches be crazy. I crack a smile. “Di d you really just sa y bitches be crazy?” . “Made you laugh. ” He winks. “You’r e an i diot. “Thank you. ” He presses a hand to his chest and stares at me, it’s the sort of star e I always wanted from him, it’s also terrifying. I don’t have time to dissect it, j ust like I don’t have time to manage my feelings as he crooks his finger towards me. I ob ey . I hate mysel f and him in that moment. I hate my we akness. I stop walking when I’m between his legs pressed up against the counter, he cups my face with both hands, his thumb brushes my top lip. “He was right you know. “W -wh o?” . “Ryan. ” His eye s flash. “I don’ t date. I fuck. I fli nch. “Oh. “You’ve had a bad day. I’ve had a ba d day…since someone . accused me of being a sociopath. ” He continues rubbing my lower lip and then he dips his thumb inside. I bite down, . His eyes fl air to life . “Harder. So I bite harder, I bite into his sk in, I inflict pain and realize that h is body’s confusing it with pleasure. “You’re not leaving untill make you feel better. ” His voice is low, almo st a growl before his mouth descends. And I’m lo st again t o my enemy. My broth er’s bes t friend. His ta ste. My d ownf all