Roommate (A Real Man, 5)

By: Jenika Snow

Prologue





Brendan



I’ve only ever wanted her, and no matter how much I tried to hide it, no matter how much I tried to deny it, I couldn’t lie to myself. It was at the point where I didn’t want to ignore it, didn’t want to pretend that I was just this cocky asshole who liked to get under her skin.

But seeing her worked up turned me on. It made me hard, made me want to pin her to my bed and show her what she did to me … show her how much she meant to me.

“It’s over,” I heard Meghan’s mom say to my dad downstairs, but I was more focused on the girl I’d grown to love and the clear pain I saw in her eyes.

“It’s been over for a long time,” my father said in response.

For years, I’d pushed back how I felt for Meghan, pretended that she wasn’t anything more than my stepsister, the girl I was forced to live with because our parents were married. But it wasn’t a hardship being under the same roof as Meghan, not when my heart could stop just by looking at her.

And even if I hadn’t technically been living at home for the last year and a half while I attended college, I came by every fucking weekend strictly to see her.

It’s always been her.

It’ll always be her.

The truth was over the years I’d grown to care for her, so much so that I knew it was love and that no other girl would ever compare to her. And just when I could have gotten the balls and been a real man and told her that I wanted her in my life permanently, as only mine, this bullshit with our parents was going down.

But, still, I said nothing; I didn’t tell her how I felt, because the thought of scaring her off and driving this wedge between us scared the shit out of me.

I guess I’d rather keep her at this level in my life than risk her putting a wall between us because I’d opened my mouth and told her I loved her.

She was hurting right now, and the thought of her leaving me, not being in my life, not being able to see her every fucking day if I wanted to, tore my heart in two.

I went over to her and helped her up off the stairs. She didn’t fight me, didn’t say anything. Instead, she let me take her into my room, set her on the edge of the bed, and just hold her hand. We didn’t speak for long seconds, and I hated that I couldn’t find the words to make her feel better. I had to be strong for her, but the screaming that was going on downstairs made it hard to even think straight.

“It’ll be okay,” I finally said, but the way she looked at me, the fact there was so much pain in her eyes, had this tightness settling at the base of my spine. I couldn’t make her feel better, and that fucking sucked.

Just focus on her. Meghan is what’s important. She’s always what’s been so fucking important.



Meghan



We’ve lived under the same roof for years. My feelings for him had grown to something that consumed me, and now I was not only being pulled away from my home ... but from the guy I loved.

I looked at Brendan. He was older than me by two years. He went to college, stayed at the dorm, but still, he came home every weekend, spent time with me, and made me feel like I wasn’t alone.

I shouldn’t have let it show how much it bothered me, and I should have been stronger, but pretending was hard, and I’d done enough of it while living with Brendan.

I stared at Brendan. He’s always had this cocky attitude about himself, this permanent smirk in place. But with me, I felt like he showed me a different side, the real side that was genuine and sincere. I wanted to just focus on that, absorb that, and right now, I had to tell myself this wasn’t the end.

He might not know how I felt, or how much this affected me, but God, I felt like crying, just showing my emotions in the most physical sense. Looking at me with this sympathy in his eyes told me he thought I was upset about the divorce.

I wasn’t.

I’d seen this situation coming for months, knew the divorce was inevitable, but I’d hoped I’d be wrong.

I felt like this because of Brendan, and not knowing how anything would play out, knowing I wouldn’t see him. God, I didn’t even know if I’d still live in the same city after this.

I didn’t know how anything would play out, and I felt lost. It felt like I was spinning out of control and I had nothing to hold onto.

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