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Our Secret Moments: Chapter 42

CAT - RUNAWAY SISTER

I’VE NEVER SEEN Nora go to the gym a day in my life, but she’s somehow managing to outrun me and Elle. I’m not exactly fit either, but jeez she’s fast. Ryan’s house is only a ten minute walk from campus and we’re almost back to our dorm building. We’ve tried calling her, but she won’t answer. From what Wes said, she can’t be that far in front of us, but it’s dark and she’s not making any effort to contact either of us.

“How the hell is she so fast?” Elle pants when we push open the main doors to our building.

“I’ve got no clue,” I say, sighing when we get in from the chill. “It’s not like she’s got far to run now.”

We trudge up the stairs and my stomach churns. Does she already know about me and Connor? Is that why she’s running away? Did something else happen at the party that I can’t remember? Nora is the most sociable person I’ve ever met and she would not turn down a party – especially one that she planned – without a good enough reason.

I push open the door to our apartment and she’s standing there, headphones dangling from her phone and her keys in one hand. Her dark brown hair swishes as Elle and I step closer to her.

“Nor,” I say softly, resting my hand on her shoulder. Her eyes don’t lock with mine and she stares at the ground instead. “Talk to us. What’s going on?”

She takes a deep breath, staring up at the ceiling. “Nothing. It doesn’t matter. I’m fine.”

Elle steps in front of her, urging her to look at one of us. “You’re not fine.”

I peer over at her phone to see the song she’s been playing. “Seriously? Dear Theodosia from Hamilton? Babe, what’s going on?”

She sighs again and we move to the other side of the counter, Nora standing in front of the two of us. She finally meets our gaze and my stomach turns at the thought of me, or anyone, hurting her. She’s my lifeline. My best friend. One of the only people who gets me.

“He cheated on me.” She whispers the four words so quietly that I almost don’t hear her. My heart breaks in two for her. “He’s been cheating on me. I found out at the party. It’s why our chemistry has been so off on stage.”

“Oh, baby,” I murmur. Elle and I immediately wrap our arms around our friend, holding her tight to us. These are the kind of hugs that could last forever. The kind of hugs that hold the weight of a thousand ones, letting her know that we’ve always got her back. “He doesn’t deserve you, Nora. You’re too good for this world.”

“Am I?” she breathes, her voice muffled between the three of us. “Because sometimes, I feel like I’m barely scratching the surface of what it means to be ‘good.’ I’m just constantly missing that mark and he realised that and he doesn’t want me anymore.”

“You’re so much more than that, Nor,” Elle says. “Anyone would be crazy to think you’re not the brightest star in their galaxy. You shine so bright, always. Ryan’s just got his head too far up his ass to notice that.”

“Exactly,” I whisper. “You’re our star, Nora. You don’t need to be that for anyone else. You’re more than enough for us.”

She sniffles. “You guys get really poetic when I’m sad, you know that?”

We laugh and squeeze her tighter before we let go. “We know,” I sigh. “Now, what do you need from us? We kinda panicked about where you are, so the boys will probably be here any minute.”

“Perfect,” she says, wiping at her face before showing me a bright smile. There’s my girl. “How about we just watch a movie? I’ll get our blankets, Elle can get the snacks and you can choose the movie. The boys can suck it up.”

“Sounds good,” Elle chirps, already on her way to the kitchen.

I do just that. I know she doesn’t want to talk in detail about what happened, but I want her to process it however she needs to. Being cheated on is the worst feeling ever and I’ll do anything to make her feel better, which means ignoring the huge elephant in the room.

As I wait for the TV to load up, I pull out my phone ready to tell Connor that she’s safe and that he doesn’t need to worry, but my gaze snags on Nora as I look up.

She’s standing in the door of my bedroom, my weighted blanket in one hand and something else I can’t see in her other. Her chin wobbles as she looks at me. My chest tightens. “What’s this?”

I swallow even when my throat goes dry. “What’s what?” I step closer to her as the microwave stops beeping and the entire room falls silent. A white paper is in her hand, face-up in Connor’s handwriting. “Oh.”

Her chestnut eyes connect with mine, a fire swarming within them. “Have you been sleeping with my brother?”

“Nora, wait–”

She reads the note aloud. “To, My Catherine. Twenty roses for your twentieth. I’m so proud of you every day. You’re my favourite person ever. Love from, Connie.” My stomach twists. Elle lets out a sigh from the side of the room, slowly inching towards this very awkward confrontation. This is not how it was supposed to go. Not at all. “Your birthday was months ago. What does this mean, Cat?”

“That’s what I was trying to tell you earlier and then everything happened and I–”

The door swings open and three men come rushing into the room. Well, Wes and Connor make their way right over to Nora, almost knocking me over in the process, while Archer stands awkwardly in the coroner, not sure if he should intervene or not.

Connor holds onto Nora’s shoulders as her icy eyes don’t leave mine. He grips her cheeks, trying to check her for injuries or any harm, but what she’s feeling now must be rooted deep inside her. “Nora, you can’t just run off like that. What were you thinking?”

She pushes at his chest and he stumbles back into me. “I can’t run off, but you can sleep with my best friend behind my back?”

Connor looks down at me and I have no words or thoughts to offer him.

Wes speaks for the both of us. “Oh, shit.”

Nora shoots him a look. “Yeah, oh shit,” she replies, rolling her eyes at him. “When were you going to tell me?”

“T-Today… Tonight, I promise,” I stutter, trying to comfort her in some way as I reach out my hands, but she crosses her arms against her chest.

“Oh, that’s fucking convenient, isn’t it?”

“Calm down, Sunshine,” Wes says, moving closer to her, but she pushes him back.

“Do not call me sunshine and do not tell me to calm down, you fool!” My head spins at the amount of force in her tone and the grin on Wes’s face. I don’t think I will ever be able to understand these two.

“How am I a fool?” Wes retorts. She just stares up at him, throwing her hands in the air as if she physically has no energy for a comeback as her chest rises and falls. The energy between them crackles as we all look between them. Something’s going on there. I don’t know what, but it’s something.

“You two have been weird all night. What’s going on?” Connor asks, pointing a finger between them.

“Since we’re all spilling secrets…” Nora says, looking around the room. She drops her gaze to the ground as she mumbles, “I kissed Wes.”

It’s so quiet you could hear a hairpin drop. The moment is brief before everyone starts to scream and shout and question the weirdest thing I could have ever imagined to come out of Nora’s mouth. As much as he can flirt with her, Wes has never actually crossed that line with her.

“You kissed Wes?” I repeat, eyes wide.

“Yes.”

“The real question is why wouldn’t you kiss Wes,” Elle says, instigating as per usual. She shrugs when we both shoot her a death stare. “What? You two act like you’re madly in love with each other.”

Wes starts laughing, throwing his head back as Connor stays silent, clearly in shock. Nora groans loudly. “I am not in love with him. He’s my best friend and I’ve been dating Ryan for five years.”

Archer lets out a nervous laugh, holding his hands up. “Look, guys, I’m so honoured you wanted me to be apart of this conversation, but now I know Nora’s safe, I’m just going to–”

“No!” Elle bursts out. As quiet and as sneaky as she is, that was an awfully loud outburst from her. Archer turns towards her, crossing his arms against his chest, tilting his head. “I just mean, I don’t want to be the only one who’s watching this from the sidelines. You could get some real good entertainment out of this, Arch.”

“Don’t call me that,” he mumbles, but he walks next to her and mirrors her position, watching the chaos unfold.

I flap my hands around, trying to focus again on Nora. “That brings me back to my first question. You kissed Wes?”

“Yes.”

“Why?”

“Because I was trying to make Ryan jealous,” she admits, her face flushing with embarrassment.

“Why were you trying to make him jealous?” Connor asks, still oblivious to what’s going on.

“Because he cheated on me! Is everyone aware of that now? He was fucking another girl at the party I organised for him and because I have the worst luck in the world, I walked in on it and Wes was with me, so I kissed him to make him mad. The end.”

Connor’s face hardens as he stalks over to Wes, backing him up into the wall. “You kissed my sister?”

“Did you not hear anything she just said? She kissed me. Not the other way around,” Wes argues, clearly trying his hardest not to laugh. “Great kiss, though. Lots of tongue.” Connor growls in his face, his fist tightening in his shirt. “What did you want me to do? I offered to beat him up, but she told me not to. I even settled for keying his car and she said no. It was the next best thing.”

Connor releases him and runs his hands down his face. “Seriously, Wes? Are you being fucking serious right now? We’ve had this exact conversation before.”

“And I knew you’d react exactly like this,” he says. “Dude, can you hear yourself right now? You’re getting mad at me for consensually making out with your sister after she asked me, when you’ve been fucking Cat’s brains out for months.”

Nora’s eyes go so wide I swear they almost fall out of her head. I’m getting too dizzy for this. “You knew?!”

“Sort of….” Wes mumbles, running his hand through his hair.

She closes her eyes and takes a deep breath. She points at me and then at Elle. “We need to talk.”


After leaving the boys up to their own devices, we settled on sitting on the hood of Connor’s car to have the very important conversation I’ve been avoiding for months. Nora’s reaction and the chaos that followed was expected. I’ve known these guys long enough to know that when one thing happens, a whole load of shit is bound to follow.

The three of us stare up at the sky in the late spring night and words are failing us all. I ruined my chance at trying to explain myself in a justified way and ended up rambling. Nora’s been sitting on that piece of information for a while as Elle listens to both sides of our stories.

“I would never do that to either of you. You guys know that, right?” Nora whispers, looking between the both of us, her eyes lined with tears.

“I mean, Cat doesn’t have any siblings. And I’d hope you wouldn’t do that to me because that’s a felony,” Elle murmurs. A short laugh escapes my throat and Nora shakes her head.

“You know what I mean,” she replies.

“Are you mad at me? It’s okay if you are. I should never have lied to you, Nora. I’m seriously so sorry,” I say. Great. Word vomit again. My anxieties are soothed partially as she rests her hand over mine, squeezing it gently.

She sighs a little. “I’m more annoyed that you didn’t tell me. If you had told me from the beginning, I would have had more time to process it, but… I’ve just been broken up with and I want you to be here as my friend, no matter what you and my brother are doing.”

“You’re always going to be first, Nor, always. And I’m sorry for not making you feel like you were. I just got so caught up in everything and I-”

“I get it,” she says, cutting me off. She bites her bottom lip, thinking about it and I let her take the time she needs. “I think I knew something was going on a few weeks ago and I just didn’t want to admit it. I’ve seen the way he looks at you, the way he worries about you when you’re not there. He was worried sick that day you left the game. I don’t think he’s ever been that concerned about another person in his life. It’ll take some getting used to, for sure, but I want you both to be happy.”

My chest pinches at her words. The way Connor cares about me frightens me, but not that I want to back out, but I want to keep seeing where this goes. Something is telling me we’re only going to get stronger after this and I can’t wait to see what our future is going to look like.

“Don’t think you’ve gotten out of this either,” Elle murmurs, bumping my shoulder. “You look at him like he hung the fucking moon. You’re so in love with each other, it’s hard to digest, honestly.” She sighs wistfully before panic sets over her features. “Wait. You do love him, right?”

“Yeah,” I whisper. “I do.”

Nora barks out a disbelieving laugh. “It makes sense. He needs someone like you and you need someone like him.”

“So, we have your blessing?” I ask, nudging her shoulder.

She shrugs. “I don’t love this, but I don’t hate it, either. I just want you to be happy, Cat.”

“I want you to be happy too,” I whisper.

“I will be.”

As we all continue watching the stars, I know now more than ever that no matter what life throws at us, no matter what the disagreement, me and these girls are going to find our way back to each other. They’ve always been my family when I felt like I didn’t have one and that is never going to change.


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