Home > Did I Mention I Miss You (The DIMILY Trilogy #3)(5)

Did I Mention I Miss You (The DIMILY Trilogy #3)(5)
Author: Estelle Maskame


“Don’t you want to stay out a little later?” she asks me, blond hair framing her face. It’s nearing ten by now, so I’m not sure what she was expecting me to stay out for. The last thing I wanted to do was go to that party at TJ’s, so I’m happy to be going home.

“Not really,” I tell her. I don’t mention the party. Nor the fact that the entire night has sucked.

“What about you, buddy?” Dad cuts in, nodding to Chase in the rearview mirror. “I thought Gregg’s mom was going to take you all home later.”

Chase stops texting to glance up. He fires me a sideways glance, so I rack my brain for a second before telling Dad, “He didn’t feel too good, so I told him to come home with us.” To make it sound convincing, I look at Chase with fake concern and ask, “How are you feeling now?”

“Better,” Chase says as he plays along, pressing the back of his hand to his forehead and rubbing it soothingly. “I think the Pacific Wheel was giving me a migraine, but I’m totally fine now. Can we stop for burgers? Please, Dad? I’m dying over here. You don’t want me to pass out, do you?”

Ella rolls her eyes and turns back around in her seat. Dad only says, “Let me think about it.”

With neither of them paying much attention to us, I curl my hand into a fist and rest it on the middle seat. He bumps his own fist against mine immediately, and we subtly smile at one another. If Dad knew about the trouble that Chase’s friends often got themselves into, Chase would never be allowed to see them again. It’s better not to mention it, even when Chase always does the right thing.

We end up dropping by the Wendy’s drive-thru over on Lincoln Boulevard on the way home. Dad and Chase both get burgers. I get a vanilla Frosty. A large. I spend the rest of the car journey home eating it, staring out the window at the dark skies, listening to Dad and Ella talk over the ’80s music they’ve put on in the background. They’re wondering if Jamie will be home before his curfew at midnight. Dad reckons he’ll be an hour late.

We’re back on Deidre Avenue within ten minutes due to the traffic having eased slightly, where Dad parks up on the drive by Ella’s Range Rover. With my empty cup in my hand, I push open the car door and step out once Dad switches the engine off. I’m about to make my way up to the front door when Ella catches my attention, calling my name over the roof of the Lexus.

“Can you help me get some groceries out of the trunk from earlier?” she asks in a firm voice, and gives the Range Rover a clipped nod. Because I like Ella, I make my way over to her car without hesitation. She follows me as she fumbles in her purse for her keys, and once she finds them, she pops the trunk.

I glance down, ready to reach in to gather up a bunch of grocery bags, but I’m perplexed to discover that the trunk is empty. Wondering if Ella’s having a moment of forgetfulness, I arch an eyebrow and look up at her. Her eyes are suddenly wide and wary and she’s surreptitiously peering around the car, watching Dad and Chase make their way into the house. Once they’re inside, her eyes lock on mine.

“Tyler called,” she says.

I take a step back, defensive. His name feels like a weapon. That’s why I never say it anymore. That’s why I never want to hear it. It always hurts far too much. Already my throat feels tight as I forget to keep breathing and a shiver runs throughout my body. The earlier call wasn’t a business call at all. It was Tyler. He always calls Ella, once a week or so, and I’m perfectly aware of this. She desperately awaits his calls, but she never mentions them to the rest of us. Not until right now.

She swallows and glances back at the house before she talks again, fearful that Dad might hear her. No one is allowed to mention Tyler’s name around me. Dad’s strict orders, of course, and I think it’s the only thing we’ve ever agreed on. Yet Ella continues, looking at me in a way that’s both pitying and sad as she quietly says, “He asked me to wish you a happy Fourth.”

The irony almost makes me laugh, but it angers me to the point where it’s impossible to find it funny. The Fourth of July, three years ago, Tyler and I were in the hallways at Culver City High School during the firework display. That’s where all of this mess really started. That’s when I realized I was looking at my stepbrother in the way that I shouldn’t have been. We got arrested for trespassing that night. The Fourth of July, last year, Tyler and I weren’t at a firework display. We were in his apartment in New York City, alone in the dark as the rain drenched the city. He quoted a Bible verse. Wrote on my body, said that I was his. They were the other Fourth of Julys. Not this one. To wish me a happy Fourth tonight is almost like some sort of joke. I haven’t seen him in a year. He walked out and left me when I needed him by my side the most. I’m not his anymore, so how dare he wish me a happy Fourth of July when he’s not here to spend it with me?

As my mind tries to process everything, I feel my temper flaring up. Ella’s waiting for me to say something back, so before I turn around and storm into the house, I reach up and slam the trunk shut.

“Tell Tyler it’s been far from it.”

 

 

2


I get a call from Rachael just after midnight. I’m not quite asleep, but I’m getting there, so the interruption only annoys me. I reach out and answer my phone, rubbing my eyes and fighting the urge to roll them as the sound of music and yelling echoes through my device. “Let me guess,” I say. “You need a ride?”

“Not me,” Rachael says after a second, her voice loud and, surprisingly, not slurred. “Your brother.”

It’s the last thing I expect her to say. It takes me so much by surprise that I quickly sit up, already reaching for my car keys on my bedside table. “Jamie?”

“Yeah. TJ wants him out,” she explains. She sounds almost sober and I can sense her frowning. “He’s playing with the set of knives in the kitchen and he just threw up.”

“What the hell is he doing there in the first place?”

“TJ’s brother is here and he invited a bunch of his friends over, so there are seniors running around all over the place and it’s making me feel really old.” Rachael pauses for a moment as someone in the background yells at her to shut up, most likely one of the aforementioned high school kids, and after cursing back at them she moves her phone back to her ear. “Actually, can you come get me too? This whole thing is kinda lame.”

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