Until We're More(8)

By: Cindi Madsen

Who the fuck is George? Even more troubling, why did I want to kill him for simply existing? “George?” Let it be a testament to my iron control that I managed to sound so civil when I said the guy’s name.

“My cat. Don’t you remember? I got him from the shelter a couple months ago?”

The storm brewing inside me calmed. Her cat. “Right.” I did remember she’d adopted a cat but hadn’t recalled the name, just that it wasn’t your typical pet name. I should probably examine why I was so relieved it belonged to a feline and not a dude, but I’d rather ignore that and do whatever it took to convince her to stay with me instead. “Mi casa is George’s casa.”

She wrapped her arm around the back of my chair and twisted to fully face me. “You say that, but I don’t think you understand how literally George will take your offer. He thinks everything is his. He’s…persnickety.”

“I don’t mind persnickety,” I said. “Anyway, I don’t think I do. I might need a dictionary first.” I ran my gaze over her. “Where do I type in words to get a definition again?” I placed them over her thigh like it was a keyboard. In high school, I’d often called her my walking dictionary. She’d saved my ass in my English and literature classes—math, where the answer was always the answer and not open to interpretation, was more my thing. “P-E-Rsnickety.”

Her lips quivered as she fought back a smile. “Fussy, particular. Often grumpy. Basically, George is the cat version of you.”

My jaw dropped, and I gave her knee a light shove. “I don’t remember asking for sass with my definition.” Her smug smile only made me want to wrap my arms around her. I’d hit my hug quota for the year today, and yet I wanted more. This felt like us, the effortless friendship that’d gotten me through a lot of ups and downs through the years, and I liked to think I’d done the same for her. “I can deal with a grumpy cat if it means more time with you.”

“You’re saying it could be like that one weekend both of our parents were out of town and we watched movies and ate junk food for two days straight, but for, like, six whole weeks?”

I’d forgotten about that, but memories of eating more candy than I’d ever consumed—and more girlie movies than I ever wanted to watch—came back to me. “I can’t get away with that much junk food thanks to my job, but I’ll provide you with as much as you want. I just moved to a place a few blocks from the beach, too.”

Her eyes lit up, the way I knew they would. She loved the beach. Loved making sand castles and reading under an umbrella and feeding her lunch to those damn seagulls that would then attack me for my food.

“So?” I nudged her with my elbow. “What do you say?”

Chapter Three


Stay overnight with Liam for six weeks straight? In an apartment where he’d probably walk around shirtless, smelling like that intoxicating Prada cologne I’d talked him into during a super-rare trip to the mall, or all soapy fresh like right now? Where he’d constantly be looking at me with the same blue eyes that were currently pinning me in place, unraveling me in the best possible way?

In order to keep my goals, it wasn’t just a bad idea; it was an epically bad one. But my mom was a vortex of neediness and guilt trips, one I got sucked into every time. My stepdad didn’t want me there, either. Since he was also allergic to cats, George would be restricted to my old bedroom that’d been converted into a craft room, which meant I had to unbury the bed before I could use it. Mom had also added that I’d have to deep clean the room before I left, including paying for the carpet to be professionally steamed. George would hate being cooped up in such a small space and would undoubtedly enact revenge by shoving every item he could get his paws on to the floor, and then I’d end up replacing them, and by the end, it probably would’ve been cheaper to book a hotel.

Plus, Liam and I would have so much fun together, and we had months to make up for. I could totally keep myself in check. Maybe get he’s my best friend tattooed on my hand. Or stomach, since it needed to be a place he’d never see. Then again, we might go swimming, so that left my boobs or my butt.