Ten years ago, I kissed my best friend.
Six years ago, my life changed and I went from being an unknown kid from a small town to a world-renowned rock star. Before leaving Gaspar, I told Ali we’d still be together. I made promises I didn’t keep, and I lied over and over again. I threw our plans out the window and made a life for myself.
I’ve barely had time to go home, because touring keeps me away. We haven’t been in touch in years, but after this tour, I’m heading home to find the only person who knows my deepest, darkest secret, and beg for forgiveness.
Ten years ago, I kissed my best friend, and his name is Alejandro Barerra. My Ali.
He may never forgive me for the broken promises or for breaking his heart, and I’m afraid he’ll never want to talk to me again, but he’s the only one who knows the real me, and I’m determined to win him back. Even if it means risking it all.
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“Ali,” I say softly.
His eyes meet mine, and we stay connected for several seconds before I can find words. I want to say so much and have no idea where to start.
You look really good.
Please forgive me.
I want another chance.
You’re so fucking beautiful.
I want you.
I’m an idiot.
Are you happy?
Do you have a boyfriend?
Do I still have a chance?
“I’ve missed you.”
He rolls his eyes and looks away. “Sure.”
I lean forward and rest my arms on the table between us. “Come on, man. You were my best friend. You were … everything to me. Of course I’ve missed you.”
“I’m surprised you could remember me with all the women you’ve been with over the years. Who were the last ones? The two in Paris? Oh wait, no. There was another one in Germany, right? Two weeks ago?”
I fall back in my chair and let my arms drop to the sides. “Don’t tell me you believe everything they say in the tabloids.”
“So, you’re telling me none of that’s true?” he asks, throwing me a side eye before looking back at the yard.
“Yeah, I’ve been out with women. Yes, I was seen with two chicks in Paris and one in Germany. But I didn’t sleep with them, Ali.”
He snorts, not believing me. “It’s not like it even matters.”
“I want you to believe me, so yes, it does it matter.”
“I’ve believed you before, and you’ve only let me down.”
I run my hand over my face and lean forward again. “Okay, yes. I’m a fucking asshole, okay? I know that. It lives with me every day. Have I slept with women? Yes, I have. I’ve done a lot of things I wish I didn’t, but you don’t understand what it’s like to be me. I’m having to lie to everybody on a day-to-day basis. I’ve been trying to lie to myself. I wondered if I could be with a woman, so I tried it. There’s women around all the time, and I wanted to get off without having to do it myself.
“It’s not easy finding a man to be with when your face is everywhere. How could I hookup with a guy and be sure he wouldn’t run and tell everybody that Merrick Kingston is gay? So, yes, I’ve fucked some women, and I hated myself the entire time I was doing it. I’ve gotten blowjobs and handjobs from them, too. But those women in Paris and the one in Germany? I was not with them. I haven’t slept with anyone in a long time.”
When Ali looks at me again, his eyes hold a sadness in them. Maybe pity. I hate that. I don’t want him to feel sorry for me. That wasn’t the point of my rant. I just want him to try to understand. I want him to know I won’t lie to him anymore.
“Aren’t you tired?” he asks.
I don’t have to ask what he’s talking about. I know he’s asking if I’m tired of pretending. “You have no idea.”
His lips turn down in the corners. “You stopped calling me.”
“You stopped answering.”
“Well, I was mad at you.”
“Was?” I ask, a little hopeful.
Ali sighs and pins me with a look. “You didn’t tell me you were leaving town. You led me to believe we had a future together. You told me you loved me and you left two days later.”
“Fuck, I’m so sorry, Ali.”
I go to reach for him, but the back door opens. “Lunch is ready.”
Ali quickly stands up and makes his way inside.
Isabel Lucero is a bestselling author, finding joy in giving readers books for every mood.
Born in a small town in New Mexico, Isabel was lucky enough to escape and travel the world thanks to her husband’s career in the Air Force. Her and her husband have three kids and two dogs together, and currently reside in Delaware. When Isabel isn’t on mommy duty or writing her next book, she can be found reading, or in the nearest Target buying things she doesn’t need.
Isabel loves connecting with her readers and fans of books in general. You can find her at the following locations:
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