When We Were Us (Keeping Score Book 1) releases on April 7th–that’s next week! I cannot wait!
“That’s crap. And while we’re on the subject, you dating her? That’s crap, too. What the hell are you thinking?”
Leo stood up, hands on his hips. “This is probably something we don’t want to talk about, Nate. We’re not going to agree on this one. Quinn and I are together. Period. It’s not going to change.”
“That’s what you say now, but let’s be honest about this. We both know you can’t stick with one girl. You’re going to play with her for as long as it takes, and then once you’ve fucked her, that’ll be it. You’ll lose interest. And guess who’ll be around to pick up the pieces? Me. I’ll be the one who sticks when you’ve decided you’re bored. When you’ve moved on to the next girl. Keep that in mind.”
“I know how I’ve been in the past, but those girls weren’t Mia. She’s different. We’re different, together. I’m not just in this to get into her pants, Nate, no matter what you think. I . . .” He exhaled, raking his hand through his hair. “I love her, Nate. I always have. And now it’s even more.”
“You had a funny way of showing it the last few years. You know, when you were screwing your way through the cheerleaders and—well, just about any girl who wasn’t Quinn. Do you know how much that hurt her?”
“I was scared. I was afraid I’d let her down, and I couldn’t deal with it.”
“Ah, poor Leo. Having to dull the pain of not being good enough for the one girl he could love . . . by fucking all the other girls. You really are a tortured hero, aren’t you?”
Leo spoke through gritted teeth. “I’m not doing this, Nate. I’m not going to argue with you. I know you’re only talking like this because you’re hurt, and you’re afraid you’re going to lose Quinn. But I don’t want to take her away from you. Why can’t we be like we used to? When we were kids, we all got along. We could be friends again.”
I’d thought this through this afternoon, after Quinn had left. I wasn’t going to lose her over this, even if it meant putting up with Leo and putting a happy face on a situation I hated.
But I wasn’t going to let that happen without making myself very clear.
“We can be friends, Leo. Sure. But never forget that I know the truth. I know what’s going to happen. You’re going to hurt Quinn—that’s a given. But worse, you’re going to ruin her. You’re going to take this girl who’s funny and smart and unique—and you’re going to try to change her. You’re going to drag her into stuff she doesn’t want to see, and you’ll break her. You’ll destroy her, and I just hope I’m still around to help put her back together.”
I expected him to flip out at me. I expected him to rail at me, defend himself and swear none of that would happen.
But he didn’t. I saw something in his eyes, an anguish and fear, that shocked me by its depth. And when he spoke, his voice was almost defeated.
“You’re not telling me anything I’m not terrified about. Why do you think I pulled away from you guys? Why do you think I stayed away from Quinn, when I’ve wanted her? I know the potential’s there. But God, Nate. I’m trying. I’m doing my damnedest to not do that. I don’t want Quinn to change. I want to protect her, and see her keep growing and being who she is. Quinn’s got the truest heart I’ve ever known. And that heart loves us both. Why can’t we accept that?”
You can preorder When We Were Us now at all major retailers.
Read an exclusive excerpt right here!