Until We Break(7)

By: Jamie Howard

“You again.” The words slip out from between my lips before I even realize I’ve said them.

He looks slightly taken aback, and his smile slips a notch. He gestures across the table. “This is Archer.”

I hold out my hand to him, but I’m still holding the pen. I shuffle it back into my other hand and try again. “Nice to meet you.” He shakes my hand, trying to keep the look of amusement from his face but failing.

“What can I get you guys?”

“French toast and coffee for me, please,” Archer says, handing me back his plastic-coated menu.

“I’ll have coffee too, French fries, banana pancakes, and a chocolate milkshake.” Luke offers up his menu and waits for me to comment on his order. That combination of food plus the way his eyes are squinting at me are leading me to believe he’s nursing quite the hangover.

“Coming right up.”

I can feel his eyes on my ass the entire way back to the kitchen. Pig.

Chapter 3


“Dude, do you know who the hell that is?” Archer asks, his eyebrows searching for his hairline.

God, I must still be drunk. “I’m pretty sure I just introduced Sloane to you, not the other way around.”

He smirks at me, showing a hint of his teeth. “What’s her last name?”

I rack my brain, trying to remember if she’d given it to me. If she did, I don’t remember it. “Would you get to the point already?”

He leans toward me as if he’s sharing a state secret. “That’s Sloane Avery.”

Avery, Avery … my mind searches, but the little guy upstairs pulling out the files is working really slowly this morning. Lightbulb. “Shit, are you serious?”

“Dead serious, man.”

The floating puzzle pieces in my brain finally click together. “I should’ve known when she pulled over in her Mas this morning.”

“The things I’d do for that car.” His eyes shift to where the gorgeous brunette from last night emerges through the kitchen door balancing four plates on her toned arms. “And that’s Blaire Avery.”


He nods. Noticing our perusal, she turns a blinding smile in our direction that goes straight to my crotch. Nothing shy about that one.

“What are they doing here? Shouldn’t they be up at the Point?”

Briscoll Bay is no stranger to elitists and the Archers top that list, but the Averys are in another league entirely. The Point has always been the stomping grounds for their kind, and I can’t even imagine what could’ve happened to have them slumming it here in the Bay with us this summer.

He lowers his voice, which I silently thank the gods for. My head’s about to fall off my fucking shoulders. “Typically, but they came this summer to help out their gran.”

“They gave up their summer to hang out with their gran?”

He shrugs. “That’s the only reason they’re giving.”

Sloane hip-checks the kitchen door open and heads in our direction. Archer shifts backward so it looks a little bit less like we’re two teenage chicks gossiping.

She sets two coffee mugs on the table and fills them, sliding a bowl of creamers and sugar across the table. Just when I think she’s going to walk away, she holds out her hand toward me.

I stare at it. What the hell is she doing?

When I don’t respond she bounces her hand back and forth and lifts an eyebrow in my direction. She darts a glance at her sister and makes a face. I flick my gaze toward Blaire to find her burying her face in a napkin.

Finally figuring out what she wants, I hold out my hand. She dumps two small pills into my hand. When I don’t say anything, she ducks her head so her eyes are even with mine.

I notice that she speaks very slowly, like English isn’t my native language. It’s the second time this morning she’s used this tactic with me. “It’s aspirin.”

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