《In Five Years》Chapter 8

If it weren't for last nights events then I wouldn't have come today. I would have stayed as far away as possible, but the truth is that I need to talk to Maddie. I have to apologize for what I did, because it wasn't right. Not at all.

Since Christmas is a week away, Mary wanted us to decorate cookies. We do this every year. Well, used to before we all went off to college. Now that everyone is here though she insisted, and I didn't have the heart to turn her down.

Sugar cookies are sprawled out on multiple cookie sheets, tubs of icing all around us. I've done about ten myself so far, but there's still about a hundred to go.

"The girls at the book club are going to just love these." Mary gushes as she scans the finished ones.

"Thank you so much for inviting us." Katie gleams, licking her finger that's covered in pink icing. She grabs onto my thigh with one hand and squeezes gently. Ever since last night she's been extra affectionate. She said it was the best sex we've ever had, and I didn't have the heart to tell her exactly why that is.

Maddie.

Almost as if Mary reads my mind, she looks at Ethan and narrows her eyes. "Have you heard from your sister?" She asks. "I texted her last night about doing cookies. She should be here."

I don't want to think about what the hell it is she's doing. Since she's not here I know she followed through with her decision to go home with the bartender, and the thought has been eating away at me. His hands on her, his tongue on her, it's all too much.

Maya snickers quietly and sets another finished cookie onto the tray. "I don't think she'll be coming home anytime soon. She and Tre hit it off last night."

"Tre?" Mary raises a brow, seeming confused.

"My coworker." Maya explains. "He's a bartender, but he only does it because he wants to. His dad is this big shot CEO and gave him a trust fund that has him set for life. Maddie is a very lucky girl."

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Fucking hell.

Of course.

Am I surprised? What man wouldn't be interested in taking Maddie home? She's smart as hell, beautiful, funny, generous, she's everything a man would want. Especially one that could provide for her no problem.

And I'm just me. An athlete that might not even have a shot at the NFL. I could be a nobody in two years time.

"Well." Mary seems impressed, and before she can say anything else the front door opens.

All eyes turn to Maddie, including mine, and I feel the anger course through me. She's wearing his clothing. His sweatpants, his t-shirt, and a pair of his slides. I don't know why I'm surprised by this, I know she spent the night there, but I thought that maybe, by some miracle I'd be wrong.

"Look what the cat dragged in." Ethan chuckles. "You look disgusting."

Her makeup is smeared and her hair is a wreck. She looks like a girl that got fucked last night.

"Um..." she freezes in the foyer and tries to gather her thoughts. "Sorry, my phone died. I didn't know everyone would be here."

Katie's grip tightens on my thigh, and I realize that she's looking at me. It takes everything I have to send her a smile. I have to make it look like this sight isn't killing me inside because I know that's why Katie is staring at me. She's searching for a reaction.

Mary is clearly judging her, but instead of embarrassing her in front of all of us she just lets out a tiny sigh and points to the stairs. "Just go shower and get yourself together, Maddie. There's still plenty of cookies to do."

I think she mumbles sorry as she walks up the stairs, but it's like the elephant in the room when she's finally gone. Nobody can really say anything until Ethan lightens the mood and says, "gotta love the walk of shame, am I right?"

"Ethan!" Mary scolds, but eventually everyone laughs. Everyone except me.

Maddie joins us again after about a half hour later, freshly showered and thankfully out of his clothing. I love how she looks with no makeup on, and it reminds me of when we showered together for the first time. After I took her virginity. I've never showered with another girl before aside from her. Katie never wanted to.

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"These all look so good." Maddie says, attempting to break the awkward silence that has again fallen over the table. "I'm tempted to eat one."

Mary ushers with her hands. "Go ahead!" She says. "You all have earned a cookie, and Maddie, you'll make up for it. Eat one!"

Maddie takes one, but Katie shakes her head. "I'm okay." She says. "I'm trying to watch my calories. I have to stay fit if I want to be an influencer one day."

I try to avoid Maddie's humorous stare, but it's almost impossible. It doesn't take much for me to know exactly what she's thinking. She doesn't approve of her, I know this, and I force back my smile when she shoves an entire cookie into her mouth and shrugs her shoulders.

We continue icing away until all of the cookies are done. Katie and Maya help Mary clean up the kitchen while Maddie and I clear the table. Ethan went back upstairs to play his video games. Typical.

As Maddie starts to pull the plastic tablecloth off I say, "I'm sorry about last night."

She freezes with it in her hands, and it takes a second before she responds, "it's fine. You were drunk."

"But it's not fine. I didn't mean to lead you on. I'm with Katie, and-"

"Lead me on?" She scrunches her nose up in confusion. "You didn't lead me on, Cameron. Things have been over and done with us for years. I was drunk, you were drunk, that's the end of it."

Rolling up the tablecloth into a tight ball, she storms off towards the kitchen to throw it away, but I grab onto her wrist to stop her. "I think we both know it wasn't because we were drunk." I tell her. "I think we should talk."

"Talk about what exactly?" Her eyes are blazing with fury, and I find myself lost in them. "You are with Katie the last time I checked, so focus on her. I get that you thought what happened between us years ago meant nothing to you, but it meant everything to me. You don't have to worry about my feelings though, Cam. You didn't lead me on. I found my fix with Tre thank you very much, and it had nothing to do with you."

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Shrugging my grasp off of her, she stalks off and leaves me speechless. Why did she say it meant nothing to me? Doesn't she understand that that month between us was so different than I've had with any other girl? She was the first girl I loved. That certainly didn't mean nothing to me.

I'm not even able to think about what just happened because Katie comes back into the dining room. I have to put on the facade that I'm okay, so I open my arms out and pull her close.

"Ready to go?" I ask.

She bats her eyelashes up at me, those brown swirls of hazel a light caramel from how happy she is. I've gotten to know her far more than I ever intended to. It makes me feel twice as guilty for what I did with Maddie.

"If you're ready to go then we can." She says.

I grip her tighter and travel my hands down to her backside, slipping my hands into the pockets of her jeans. "Well, I was thinking you'd want to go out for dinner tonight."

"Oh really?"

"Mhm." I kiss her nose, then kiss her lips. I need to make up for what a shit I've been.

She wiggles her eyebrows and replies, "If it ends anything like last night did then I'm all for it."

Sex last night with her was amazing, but it's because I had one person on my mind, and it certainly wasn't her. I don't have the heart to tell her, and the longer these feelings are coming back for Maddie, the more i'm suddenly being transported back to my senior year of high school, when I finally admitted that I loved her.

She's the only girl that I've ever loved, and I'm not sure if Katie, or any other girl for that matter can change that.

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