Home > Breaking Her (Love is War #2)(3)

Breaking Her (Love is War #2)(3)
Author: R.K. Lilley

Anton grinned and gave me a thumbs up. 

I held my hand toward him to let him know that he should wait. 

"Okay, fine," I finally responded to Dante, my voice hardening, going from light to dark.  "I'll stop answering, so you stop calling.  This is pointless.  Stop wasting my time.  I've moved the hell on."

My nostrils flared as I pointed at Anton.

"Come back to bed, baby," his perfect actor's voice rumbled loudly at the phone, right on cue.  God, he was good.  He sounded sleepy, horny, just fucked, and ready to fuck again.  The man deserved an Oscar for that one little sentence. 

On the other end Dante made a noise, something indecipherable but unmistakably, unpleasantly, unbearably filled with pain. 

Agony.  Torture. 

I think I had the phone to my ear, staring into nothing for at least five minutes after he hung up.  I wasn't sure what I was feeling.  Which was the problem.  That little stunt had been designed to torment him, but, above all, to improve my mood. 

Why had it done the opposite?  Why did hurting him always hurt me?  

"You know, we could just do it," Anton said sometime later.

I stared at him.  "What?  Sleep together?" 

He shrugged.  "Why not?  What would be the harm?  We're so much alike, it might actually turn into something, and if it did, it might be something good.  And if not, no harm, no foul.  We'd stay friends and forget about it, end of story."

I mulled that over, but I knew myself too well to fall into that trap.  I decided to let him have the full, brutal truth of it, the fatal flaw in his harmless plan.  "Here's how that would play out:  the sex might be good for me, would be great for you, but the only way it's great for me is if I'm picturing you as someone else . . . Someone I hate.  And then, in the morning, you'd be hopelessly in love with me, and it'd get weird, because I fucking hate it when guys fall in love with me, and then I wouldn't enjoy hanging out with you anymore.  How sad would that be for both of us?"

"Is he really that good?" 

"He's the best I ever had.  And the worst thing that ever happened to me."

True love is a bitch.

"And it's really that . . . hopeless?  You can't even get off without him getting in the way?"

I was well aware of how pathetic, how epically fucked up it was, and hearing it aloud hardly helped. 

"It's hard to explain," I warned him.  "But, basically, yes.  I can't even eat a fucking apple because of him."

"What?" he asked, sounding baffled, which was understandable. 

"He even ruined apples for me," I explained. 

"What?" he repeated.

"I have a memory, a very clear one, of biting into an apple—we grew up surrounded by orchards—and so we got the best apples.  And I just have a memory of eating one fresh off the tree, sharing it with him actually, and thinking it was the best thing I'd ever tasted."

"Okaaay . . . And?" he prompted.

"It was a . . . special day, and every time I ate an apple after that it all came fresh to my mind.

So when it ended between us, horribly, I could never . . ."   There was nothing quite so demoralizing as recalling your sweetest memories and feeling utterly bitter.

"That blows."  His voice was succinct.  He poured us another shot.

"They were my favorite fruit," I lamented.  "Love sucks." 

"And now your favorite fruit is the lime that chases our next tequila shot."

As far as pep talks went, it wasn't the worst one I'd ever had, so I toasted it.  "Bottoms up."   


"She burned too bright for this world."

~Emily Brontë



I'd always had a soft spot for her.  Since I could remember her flashing eyes and stubborn face were dear to me. 

Even before she'd decided we were friends, before our first fateful bonding moment outside of the vice principal's office when she first realized I was in her corner, I'd admired her. 

Admired that she never backed down.  Admired that, with the way she was treated by nearly everyone around her, she never bent, not one iota, let alone came near to breaking. 

Her strength galvanized me, made me see the world in a different way. 

I had it so easy.  My mother was awful, my father dismal, but my life was pampered and I could escape any time I wanted, which was often, and visit my gram, who lived a short walk away and made up for both of my pieces of shit parents and then some. 

I had an anger problem and a bad attitude.  This I knew.  But it was Scarlett who inspired me to give those things purpose.

The first time I tried to help, she didn't even notice me. 

We were in the cafeteria at school.  I was in line to get lunch, stealing glances at her. 

She was by herself.  She always was.  She was less interested in talking to other kids than any kid I'd ever seen besides myself.  Once, I'd even taken a seat across from her to eat, and she'd still barely said two words to me.   

Her thick brown hair was endearingly messy.  She had the perfect face of a doll, but it was always set into hard lines, an incongruous, arresting look but one that I couldn't stop looking at.  And I looked a lot.  I enjoyed watching her.  She wasn't like anybody else, didn't react to things in the same way.  I got a kick out of expecting the unexpected from her. 

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