Home > The Secrets You Keep (Blurred Lines)

The Secrets You Keep (Blurred Lines)
Author: Tracy Lorraine








“Fold,” Ella groans, throwing her cards down on the table before curling her legs beneath her and reaching for her drink.

“Ella,” West whines. “You can’t keep bitching out.”

“My cards suck,” she complains, taking a sip of her margarita.

“So? Everyone else’s might too. You gotta play the game.”

“I can’t lie for shit, and you all know it. I’m better off just leaving you all to it. Watching your poker faces is so much fun. Vi always looks like she’s taking a shit, she’s so serious.”

Brax and Micah snort a laugh at her comment.

“How do you know what I look like taking a shit?” I bark.

“From before you shower together,” Brax pipes up, his eyebrows wiggling in delight.

“Ugh, are you still obsessed with that?” Ella groans, throwing a cushion at his head.

“Ow, fuck,” Brax barks as the cushion knocks over his beer, soaking his pants, making it look like he just pissed himself.

“Karma is a bitch,” I announce happily as he hops up, rips open the button and shoves the fabric down his legs.

“Dude, you better not be going commando under those,” Ella shouts, faux horrified.

“You fucking wish,” West snorts. “When was the last time you saw one up close, El?”

She sighs in sadness while Micah watches her closely, just like he always does.

That poor guy has got it bad. But he’s also a rule follower, so I know that he’ll never do anything about it.

None of us met until two years ago when we all began on the next chapter of our lives by starting at Maddison Kings University and found ourselves in a dorm together.

Safe to say, we were all nervous as hell. It was our first time away from home, and we were all starting over. But from that very first day, something just clicked into place for us.

It was like fate or some shit. Our ride-or-die friendships started from the very second we all gathered in the living area and lifted our beers to embark on our new lives.

Now, that’s not to say it’s all been easygoing. Especially when not only are the guys fucking awesome, but they’re also smoking hot, too. Micah is rocking the sexy nerd look, while West and Brax are ripped football players who leave drooling girls in their wake.

There have been moments, especially when drunk, and never more so than the time we all decided it would be a good idea to play Twister and Brax and I… yeah, probably best not to even think about that. The miniskirt and the tiny panties were definitely an oversight on my part.

But we all made a pact. Any fucking going on under our roof would not include two, or more, of us. We had to solely look outside our new little family to get our kicks.

And by some fucking miracle—because the guys are actually that freaking hot—it’s worked. And despite the odd fantasy here and there, I couldn’t be happier. They are the family I was craving when I first found myself here, more lost than ever. Not that any of them are aware of that.

They saved me, dragged me from the darkness I’d been drowning in since my life imploded and brought me back to life. I’ll forever be grateful for each and every one of them. And one day, I might even tell them.

“Thank fuck for that,” Ella cries when Brax flashes us his boxer-clad ass.

“You love it. You know you want to sink your teeth right here,” he says, pointing to his solid behind.

“Pfft, I don’t think so. I’d need a hedge trimmer first.”

“You know, it’s a good job I love you,” Brax sulks as he walks out of our new living room to clean himself up.

The second he’s out of sight, West leans over and looks at Brax’s cards.

“Motherfucker,” he grunts, throwing them down on the table and letting us all see that the little shit was lying. His hand is even worse than mine.

“You still in, Vi?” West taunts, while Micah sits quietly in the corner, his face unreadable—other than his desire for Ella, obviously.

“Hell, yeah. You motherfuckers are going down.”

But as I say that, the lights flicker and the music stops before we’re plunged into darkness.

Panic grips me in its tight hold and I wrap my arms around myself in the hope they’ll keep me together. The only bonus right now is that none of them can see what I can only assume is the unfiltered fear that is no doubt written all over my face.

As a kid, I wasn’t scared of anything. I was shy as hell, but I wasn’t scared.

I used to hide in the dark for longer than I wanted to admit when my older brother and I used to play hide and seek and he’d get fed up looking and abandon me in whatever place I’d chosen to hide.

All it took was one night to change everything.

“What the hell?” West barks before the flashlight on his cell brightens the space, allowing me to at least see where they are.

Some of my panic fades, but still, I refuse to look at anyone for fear they’ll see my reaction.

They know I sleep with the light on. We’ve all been living together for two years now, so I was hardly able to keep that a secret. But they think it’s just my preference, not that I’m fucking terrified.

“See what happens when you get your ass out?” Ella shrieks in the direction Brax disappeared in. I focus on her voice, begging for the fear to leave me.

“Fuck you, El,” he bellows back. “Someone go and find the fucking circuit breaker.”

“Sure thing, boss,” West quips before getting to his feet. “Come on, Micah. Maybe we can put your geeky knowledge to some use.”

Micah scoffs but climbs to his feet to help. “IT geek,” Micah grunts. “I know fuck all about electrics.”

“I’m sure you can figure it out. You’re smart as shit.”

More light floods the room as both Micah and Ella put their flashlights on.

West continues ripping into Micah as they disappear from the room before Ella’s light turns on me.

“Vi, are you okay?” she asks, concern obvious in her tone as she slides closer.

“Y-yeah,” I say, hating that I stutter like a cowardly little kid. “I-I’m just not a fan of the dark.”

“It’s okay. They guys will have it back on in a flash,” she assures me, finding my hand and squeezing.

Her warmth seeps up my arm and I latch onto her support.

She’s right. Of course she’s right. But that doesn’t stop my brain from going back to that night.

Faster than I thought possible, the lights flicker back on, helping to banish my memories and allowing me to shove them all back into the box they are usually securely locked in.

Nothing good comes from thinking about that night and everything that came afterward. Or much of what happened before it, to be fair.

“See,” Ella soothes.

“I-I know, I’m sorry. I’m just going to—” I hop up from the couch and turn toward the door as West and Micah’s footsteps climb the stairs from the basement where the circuit breaker is.

“Whoa, Vi. Where’s the fire?” Brax asks when I barrel into him before I hit the first floor.

“Sorry,” I cry before bolting toward the second set of stairs.

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