“What does that matter?” Tyler seethed. “Not like it made a difference before. Don’t you have any pills for that?”
“This is Finley?” Paige said, pawing at Finley’s expensive dress. “Oh, yeah! I remember you! From the bar! You were trying to fuck Tyler!”
Paige’s sudden interest in the situation made me nervous.
“I most certainly was not,” Finley said, smoothing her hair. “You must have me confused with someone else.”
“No, no, it was you. You and your Latin lover gave us a ride home that ni—oh my God!” She grabbed Finley’s hand and examined her ring. “What is this? Are you engaged?”
“To this guy?” Paige pointed, unimpressed. “Isn’t this the guy you were trying to get rid of at the bar?”
“No,” Finley said, blinking. She wasn’t used to being in such an uncomfortable situation.
“No … no,” she slurred, patting my left breast, “I get it now. I thought it was just me.” She pressed her palm against her chest. “But it’s you guys.” She swung her index finger around, pointing at Finley, Sterling, Tyler, and then me. “You’re like … fucked up, sexual deviants with no regard for anyone else’s feelings. Just like you two.” She gestured to Tyler and me. “What the fuck are you even doing together? I was nice to you, Ellie. He just walked out on you, and we shared a bed … I made you cookies,” she lilted. Then she grimaced at Sterling. “Then you fucked him, and now your sister is engaged to him after she tried and failed to fuck Tyler. You’re all very messed up and should seek counseling. Immediately.”
“What is she babbling about?” Finley said, tucking her chin.
“Did she just say you fucked Sterling?”
“Actually,” Paige said. “He fucked her.” She pressed her lips together and nodded, clearly a regretful tell-all.
My eyes burned, and I reached for my sister. “Finley…”
Finley pulled away from me, and then turned on Sterling. “You fucked my sister?”
Sterling held out his hands. “No. I mean, yes, but, darling … it was a mistake. She was upset, and we took something we shouldn’t have … I’m not even sure what happened. I don’t remember any of it, and neither does she.”
Finley looked at me, appalled. “Is he telling the truth?”
I hesitated, and then nodded, my eyes filling with tears. “I was going to tell you.”
“You…” Finley looked around. “You were going to tell me? Is that supposed to make it okay?”
“No,” I said, shaking my head. “Not at all.”
“That’s why you haven’t talked to me in so long? This is what you’ve been hiding from me?”
Tyler pointed to Sterling. “You need to leave.”
Sterling reached for Finley, tears streaming down his face. “Fin. Please. I know you’re angry, and you have every right to be, but it was a long time ago.”
“Not long after you left for Sanya,” Sterling choked out.
Finley pulled out her phone and furiously tapped out a message.
“Marco,” Finley said. “I’ve asked him to pick me up.”
“Sweetheart, no. We have to discuss this.” He touched her arm, but she held up her fists.
Everyone around us turned to listen.
She took off her ring and stuffed it in Sterling’s tux pocket, patting his chest. “You son of a bitch. You were going to let me marry you without telling me.”
“And you,” she said, pointing to me. A tear escaped down her cheek. “You just wait. I’m going to fuck Tyler, and then you can see how it feels.”
“I wanted to tell you,” I cried. “But I couldn’t take it back, and I didn’t want you to hate me.”
“I don’t get to hate you,” she said. “You’re my sister. But you,” she said, glaring at Sterling. “You, I can hate.” Finley’s phone lit up, and she smiled and waved. “Happy New Year, bitches,” she said, slamming the door behind her.
Sterling quickly followed, and Tyler hooked his arm around my shoulder, kissing my hair. “Baby, I’m so sorry.”
I closed my eyes, feeling the streaks of mascara drying on my face. “It’s your birthday, baby,” I said. I took someone’s cup and slammed back the contents. “Let’s party.”
When my eyes peeled open, all I could see were mounds of unfamiliar comforter. I blinked a few times to focus, seeing a frame on the nightstand of Taylor and Falyn.
I sat up, trying to swallow, but feeling like there were pine needles in my throat. I was lying in the middle of Taylor’s bed, alone. I walked down the hall to the bathroom, stopping when I heard the shower, and then continued to the living room, not recognizing anyone else still passed out and draped over pieces of furniture.
“Tyler?” I called, looking around. I stumbled into the kitchen to get a glass of water. The instant the cool liquid touched my throat, I felt a second of relief before vomiting violently into the sink. Just when I thought it was over, my stomach heaved again, and then again, splashing a mixture of beer, wine, and possibly tequila all over the dishes and trash that had been left in the stainless steel basin.
I turned on the water, rinsing out my mess and throwing away the trash. I started the dishwasher and then plodded down the hall toward the bedroom.
Tyler lifted his head, rubbing his eyes. “Hey, Ellie.” He blinked a few times, trying to focus on my expression. “What’s wrong?”
“Morning,” Finley said next to him.
Tyler nearly leapt out of the bed, but then scrambled for sheets to cover himself. Finley casually stood in her perfect form and stepped into her dress, zipping it up and grabbing her heels.
“What the fuck?” Tyler yelped, looking mortified and confused.
“I so deserved this,” I said, my voice breaking.
Tyler shook his head, touching his palm to his forehead, trying to remember what had happened. “No. You … you were drunk and went into the wrong bedroom. We just left you there so you could sleep, Ellie. I did not fuck your sister. Where’s Falyn?”
I shrugged. “Why would I know where Falyn is?”
“I swear to God, Ellie,” he begged. He pointed to Finley. “Nothing happened! I have no idea why she was in the bed naked.”
Finley winked at Tyler and then stopped next to me in the doorway. “How does it feel?”
I let out a faltering breath, feeling my eyes burn with tears. “Like death.”
“Then we’re even. Marco is waiting for us outside. He’ll give you a ride home.”
She shouldered past me, and I looked up at Tyler. He dropped the sheets, furiously looking for his clothes. “Don’t leave. Ellie,” he warned. “Don’t you fucking leave with her. We need to figure this out.”