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Over Us, Over You
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From New York Times bestselling author Whitney G. comes a falling for my older brother’s best friend romance.
Subject: Delete this message after you read it…
I’m assuming you’re still hungover, so I’ll make this brief.
Last night, you slipped under my sheets (without my permission), and we almost had sex. I got the hell out of the bed once I realized it was you, and I took you home.
That’s the story.
Just in case you’ve forgotten, you’re my best friend’s little sister. We will never be anything more. (We can’t be anything more.) Our previous friendship is still unresolved–or “over” in your terms, so I’d prefer if we worked on becoming ‘just friends’ again since you’re in town.
Nonetheless, I’m not a man who leaves questions unanswered–even the drunken ones, so to properly close our inappropriate conversation:
1) Yes, I liked the way your lips felt against mine when you were on top of me.
This message never happened,
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FOR AS LONG AS I CAN remember, my older brother has been the one constant in my life. Overly protective and loyal to a fault, he’s always been there for me when I needed him most.
When I was five, he walked me to school for my first day of kindergarten—distracting me from the fact that our mother was far too stoned on crystal meth to realize where we were.
When I was seven, he held my trembling hand in the back of a packed courtroom as we watched both of our parents being led away to prison.
And when I was eight, he promised me that he wouldn’t let the fact that we were placed in separate foster homes keep us apart. He was always “only a couple of blocks away,” no matter how many times I switched foster families, and he was always willing to listen to my cries and assure me that he would always be there to protect me.
He promised that I could trust him with anything, so I always told him everything.
Well, almost everything.
This Can’t Be Happening to Me
FINAL TENANT NOTICE: EVACUATE THE PREMISES BY NOON
THE BLACK AND BOLD words in front of my face said it all, but I was still having a hard time accepting the truth. As Seattle’s soft morning rain fell over me, I traced my fingers around the words “Tenant Notice,” trying not to remember how excited I once was when I first signed the lease.
Months ago, my coffee and wine bar was open and thriving—serving tourists and locals alike whenever they ventured downtown. But now, the only thing I had to show for all the hopes, sweat, and tears I’d poured into every cup of coffee was a soaking wet pink notice of failure.
Sighing, I peeled the paper off the front door and unlocked the building one last time. The only things left inside were the massive glass pantry cases that lined the back wall, a few wooden chairs, and the shop’s namesake and motto etched in chalk above the menu board.
Wildest Dreams Coffee & Wine Café: Where Impossible Never Ends…
“Hey, Miss!” A police officer stepped inside, waving a flashlight. “Are you one of the owners?”
I nodded. “Yes, sir.”
“Oh, well—” He glanced at his watch. “You’ve got about fifteen minutes before I’ll have to change the lock on this place.” He walked over to the bar and ran his hand against the mahogany tabletop I installed months ago. “This shop had some of the best cupcake and coffee pairings I’ve ever had,” he said. “Some of my colleagues and I came here after hours a few times. Well, until Starbucks opened across the street. Can’t beat Starbucks, especially in this city.”
He laughed, and I gave him a blank stare.
“Thank you so much, Officer.”
“No problem!” He smiled. “I mean, if my daughter ever told me she wanted to open a place like this, I’d tell her she should open it anywhere except this city.”
I rolled my eyes. “Can you excuse me for a few minutes, please?”
“Thirteen minutes to be exact.” He tapped his watch and toyed with the spouts behind the counter. “Oh, wow. You even named each of the beer spouts after a cupcake.”
Ugh! I resisted the urge to scream, “Let me put my business to death in peace, please!”
Walking away, I snapped a few last pictures of the hand-painted murals in the hallway. There was one of the Memphis “M” bridge glittering against the night, one of me and my best “non-friend” and business partner Kelly standing in front of Seattle’s Space Needle, and of course, one of the secret founder of this business. The man who thought he was giving me tuition for business school every six months while I sank every dime into this dream. My older brother, Jonathan.
With five minutes to spare, I pulled a bobby pin from my hair and etched a final message into the wall.
Thanks for the memories and the dream while it lasted…
Wildest Dreams Coffee & Wine Café was once here.
—Hayley and Kelly
PS—FUCK YOU, STARBUCKS.
“Are you damaging the property, Miss?” The officer cleared his throat from the other side of the room. “That’s an additional five hundred dollars if you are.”
“Not at all.” I returned the bobby pin to my hair. “I was just saying goodbye.” I walked out of the place with him at my heels—ignoring whatever final memory he wanted to share. I pulled my hoodie over my head and stepped into the city’s falling rain, heading straight for Pike Place Market.
I took my time walking past the vendors and farmers who were setting their wares and fruits out for a new day. Past the giant, white Ferris wheel that spun slowly in the distance.
I wanted to soak up every mundane sight I’d taken for granted while living here, wanted to cling to my last sense of independence before having to come clean and tell the truth.