Home > Did I Mention I Miss You (The DIMILY Trilogy #3)(6)

Did I Mention I Miss You (The DIMILY Trilogy #3)(6)
Author: Estelle Maskame


“I’ll be there in five.” Once I’ve hung up, I sigh and swing my body out of my bed, flicking on the light and grabbing my same red Chucks from earlier. Keeping my pajamas on, I pull on a hoodie over the top and then leave my room.

The house is quiet. Not because Dad and Ella are asleep, but because they’re not here. They’re across the street at Dawn and Philip’s house, Rachael’s parents, who’ve been hosting some sort of Fourth of July get-together all night. Dad and Ella promised them they’d drop by later. I can imagine it already: all the middle-aged moms and dads drinking beer and cocktails, socializing to the crap music that they considered cool back when they were my age. I’m glad they’re there, however, because it lets me make an easy getaway to rescue Rachael and Jamie without Dad interrogating me.

I make my way downstairs without having to tiptoe around the house and I don’t bother to tell Chase that I’m heading out because I don’t want to wake him. Before I leave, I grab a bucket from the backyard and take it with me. The last thing I want is my stepbrother throwing up all over my seats. I lock up and make a quick dash for my car, just in case Dad or Ella happen to be standing near the front window of Rachael’s living room. The lights are all on and behind the closed blinds I can see the shadows of everyone milling around. I don’t dither, just throw myself and the bucket into my car and get going.

The roads aren’t busy at this time, so it’s only a five-minute drive to TJ’s place, straight down Deidre Avenue and onto Ocean Avenue, along the beachfront. The pier is closed by now, so everything feels too still compared with how it was a few hours ago. TJ’s condo, on the other hand, is far from still. The streets are lined with cars, including Jamie’s BMW, and it’s impossible to pull up and park, so I wait in the middle of the road, ready to move if I cause a late-night obstacle. I text Rachael to let her know I’m here, and I also text Jamie and tell him that he needs to get his drunken ass outside within a minute.

While I wait, my eyes drift up to the condo on the second floor. It’s the only one with all its lights on. The huge floor-to-ceiling windows allow me to see straight inside, but all I can make out is a mass of bodies. I don’t remember the condo being all that huge from what I can recall from three years ago, but it seems TJ has ended up with too many guests on his hands. Jake’s probably in there trying to entice some poor girl to go home with him. Dean’s probably in there making sure no one does anything stupid. Meghan and her boyfriend Jared are probably in there doing whatever Meghan and Jared do. I wouldn’t know.

It doesn’t take long for both Rachael and Jamie to appear. Through the glass doors at the front of the building, I see them emerge from the elevator, Jamie stumbling all over the place as Rachael quite literally drags him outside. She throws me an exasperated look when she sees me, so I push open my car door and get out to help her.

“I hope you have a hangover straight from hell tomorrow,” I tell Jamie as I reach for his arm and place it over the back of my shoulders to help steady him. His eyes are half closed, his hair ruffled, his limbs immobile. He’s so drunk that he can hardly move.

“I hope you go to hell,” he somehow manages to shoot back at me. I’m not offended or deeply wounded by it, though. Jamie often throws remarks like these at me, so, just like everything else, I’ve grown accustomed to his contemptuous attitude.

Over the back of his shoulders, Rachael furrows her eyebrows at me with deep concern, but says nothing. Instead, she holds Jamie up as I reach for the car door, and together we shove him into the backseat, having to bend his legs and arms to get him inside. I fumble with the seatbelt as I try to pull it around him, but he pushes me away, so I quickly give up and slam the door.

“He sure does hate you,” Rachael murmurs as she walks around to the passenger side. Her hair is no longer in a ponytail but rather falling over her shoulders in long, tangled waves, and her bandana is wrapped around her wrist. She’s also completely sober.

“He might hate me, but in the morning he’ll be glad it’s me who took him home and not our parents,” I say. “Talk about being grounded for life.” Pulling open my car door, I slide back into the driver’s seat at the same time as Rachael slips into the passenger side. She holds the bucket up to me with an eyebrow raised, and when I shrug she laughs and passes it to the backseat. Jamie immediately takes it from her, but not without grumbling something under his breath.

“Did your parents go to my place?” Rachael asks once I start to drive, leaving the party and all its drunken commotion behind.

“Yeah.” As I talk, I can’t help but keep checking on Jamie in the rearview mirror. He’s slumped across my backseat, the bucket resting on the floor behind the passenger seat as his head dangles over it. I frown, praying to God that he won’t throw up, and then drop my eyes back to the road in front of me. “They’re still there. Everyone is.”

Rachael throws her head back against the headrest and groans, tilting her face to the window, allowing the glow from the streetlights to illuminate her skin. “I’m so sneaking in the back door,” she says. “I wanna avoid all my parents’ friends asking me what I’m doing with my life.”

“What are you doing with your life?” Rachael looks back over at me and sharply narrows her eyes. I grin, but not for long, because my attention is drawn back to Jamie.

“Let me out,” he mutters from the backseat. When I glance in the rearview mirror, I see him reaching for the door, so I quickly apply the locks. He tries the handle, pulling his body up into a seated position, hitting the window with his hand when he realizes he’s locked in. “I don’t wanna be in this car!”

“Too bad,” I say nonchalantly, both hands on the wheel, my attention mostly on the road as we head back home.

“Rachael!” Jamie leans forward and stretches his arms around the passenger seat, grabbing at Rachael’s shoulders and refusing to let go. “As my neighbor for as long as I can remember, can you please let me out of this car?”

Rachael manages to wrestle Jamie’s grip off her, her body twisting around her seatbelt as she dodges his desperate hands. Within seconds, she’s turned around to face him and her back is pressed against my dashboard. She holds up a finger. “Don’t touch me. Ever,” she warns him through the gap in the headrest.

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