FORGIVING LIES DELETED SCENE
Rushing back into the boys’ apartment, Candice and I ran through, shutting off all the lights before getting in place. Kash and Mason had left us in their apartment to get dinner for everyone, and Candice and I knew this was the best opportunity we were going to get.
It was payback time.
Taking a cue from the guys, we’d planned this war a couple weeks ago after Kash had woken me up with a Nerf dart hickey on my forehead. I’d gone to buy half a dozen Nerf guns, and Candice had put herself in charge of the “Rambo” outfits. I was really regretting that now.
Pulling at the little black shorts, I grunted in annoyance when they went right back into place when I squatted down. “Candi, where did you get these shorts? They’re trying to find a home in my crotch.”
Looking over the back of the couch, I saw her step out from the pantry door she’d been setting everything up behind. “They’re cute, don’t you think? Sexy Rambo,” she explained as she turned for me, and my face went blank.
“We weren’t supposed to look sexy. Rambo isn’t dressed that way to be sexy; he’s dressed that way because he’s a badass. This isn’t Halloween.” Throwing my hair up in a messy bun, I wrapped the black bandana around my forehead and tied it off as Candice did the same.
“Your boobs look awesome.”
I rolled my eyes and looked down. “What is this obsession with my—actually, yeah. They do.” I played with the low cut and skin tight, black, racerback tank for a second before grabbing the first Nerf gun. “Are your guns ready?”
I put the darts in my three guns before sitting back against the wall and waiting. There was so much adrenaline coursing through my body, I was practically vibrating at the thought of how this was about to go down.
“I’m bored and my legs are cramping,” Candice complained twenty minutes later.
“You’re a cheerleader, shouldn’t you be used to this or something?” But I had to agree with her. I was bored too. All my excited energy had worn off, and I was picking at the carpet as I sat there. I heard a huff before there was a dull thud on the tile. “You sit down or pass out?”
“Sat. Shouldn’t they have been back already?”
“Yep,” I sighed. “My butt’s numb.”
“You sit on your ass all day, shouldn’t you be used to this?” she teased, and I smiled.
“Touché.” I waited another five minutes before awkwardly getting myself vertical again. “This is ridiculous, where are they?” Looking through the blinds, I smashed my face against the window to see into the parking lot, gasping and dropping down into a squat when Mason’s truck pulled into a spot. “They’re back!”
I heard Candice scrambling to get back up, and the sound of plastic hitting tile filled the apartment.
“If you broke one of your guns…”
There was a pause before she whispered in relief, “I didn’t! It fell, but we’re good. I’m ready.”
I checked the couch again, making sure I’d pushed it forward enough for me to be able to run out from around it, and then grabbed my first gun, a wry smile crossing my face as I heard their voices approaching the apartment.
The handle turned, and a heavy layer of anticipation filled the apartment … and I loved it. The door opened, and I heard the faintest sound of their footfalls, and nothing else for seconds.
“Guess they went back to their place,” Kash murmured, the sound coming from somewhere near the couch.
“Now!” I yelled at the same time I stood, already shooting in the direction I’d heard Kash’s voice.
There was the beginning of Candice’s war cry before everything went silent, and my eyebrows pulled together as I took in the scene all at once. Candice was shooting at nothing; Mason and Kash were standing back to back in the living room, both with Nerf Super Soakers in their arms, and already turning them on us.
“What the hell?!” I screamed as water hit my chest and then my face.
Candice screeched and went behind the pantry again, and I dropped behind the couch to grab my second and third guns.
“Aw, don’t hide!” Kash mocked as Mason taunted, “Oh, Candice…”
“Abort mission!” I yelled. “Abort mission!”
The guys laughed and I launched myself over the couch, shooting both guns as I did. The darts went nowhere near Kash or Mason, but I felt like a badass for all of two seconds until my foot caught on the back of the couch and I fell forward, my face hitting the cushions just before my body slammed onto the carpet—water spraying me the entire time.
“Son of a mother fuck that hurt!” I cried out, but kept shooting in Kash’s direction until there were no longer any Nerf darts left.
Candice screamed as she took off running past Mason, throwing one of her guns at him when it came up empty.
“Man down! Candice, save me! Man down!”
“Every woman for herself!” she yelled back as she ran out the open door, Mason following after her, still spraying her with water.
“You seriously suck as a best friend!” I cautiously glanced up to see Kash hovering over me, Super Soaker pointed directly at me, the sexiest smirk I’ve ever seen on his face. I pouted. “You ruined my whole payback.”
“I know.” His smirk widened into a grin. “Are you okay, Sour Patch?”
“No. That shit hurt, I don’t know how they do that in movies, because it’s not as easy as it looks … and there’s so much pain waiting for you on the other side of the couch.”
He barked out a laugh and knelt down beside me, tossing the water gun aside as he cupped my face. “But you looked pretty hardcore doing it, I was impressed.”
“Yeah, now where are you hurt?” he asked as his hand drifted over my bare shoulder and across my collarbone.
My breathing deepened at his touch, and my mind went blank. What had he asked? All I could focus on was the way his hand felt on my skin, how I was lying on the floor with him above me … again. This felt familiar. Too familiar.
I automatically licked my lips as flashes of the kiss on my kitchen floor assaulted me, but I tried to push them from my mind. That couldn’t happen again. Because I needed to keep us just friends, I couldn’t let anything more come of us.
“Rach, do you need to go to a hospital or are you okay?”
I looked up into his gray eyes and my stomach tightened in anticipation of something I refused to let happen again. “I’m fine,” I whispered.
Kash’s hand went back to my cheek, and I stopped breathing as his eyes pierced mine. His mouth opened to say something at the same time a stream of water hit his face and he jerked back, his eyes narrowing on someone behind us.
“You looked like you needed to cool off, thought I’d help you out,” Mason joked as he walked into the living room and sat down on the couch I’d been hiding behind. Leaning forward, he grinned widely at me. “Can I be the first to say that you and Candice failed?”
I rolled my eyes and sat up as I scooted myself back to lean against the other couch. “How did you even know we were going to do that?”
Mason shrugged and pointed at Kash, and I turned to glare at him.
“I may or may not have walked in and seen all your Nerf guns a couple weeks ago, so I figured the two of you were preparing for something. We didn’t know it was going to be tonight, tonight was just the first time we left both of you alone, and knew you would be waiting for us to come back. So we were going to get you two no matter what, but it was obvious with the lights off, pantry door open, and couch moved that we’d walked into something.”
“Lame,” I groaned. “I really thought this was going to be an epic payback. In my head … well, it went so much better in my head.”
The boys laughed and Mason stood up, spraying me one more time as he did.
He grabbed the back of my neck and pulled me forward to kiss the top of my head. “Food’s in my truck, I’ll be back.”
Kash stood and grabbed one of my hands, pulling me up with him. “Go change, I’ll help him.”
When he started to release me, I pulled him back so his body was pressed to mine. His eyes narrowed subtly and his chest moved roughly against mine. Pressing the dart in my hand to my soaked shirt to get it ready, I slowly lifted my arms. Curling one hand around his neck, I whispered, “Your face looks really lonely.”
His eyebrows pinched together before his eyes widened as our fight and conversation on my kitchen floor with the pancake batter came back to him, but I was already smashing the suction cup of the dart to his forehead, making sure it was on there before moving away from his grasp.
“Much better.” I shot him a wide smile as I backed up into his bedroom to change into some of his clothes. “You should probably go help Mason.”
“Just remember, Sour Patch, you already got your payback with the pancake batter. This? Well, I’ll have to figure out another way to pay you back for this.” His lips tilted up into a smirk as mine fell.