Dirty Lies - Emma Hart

Jessie

“Stupid, idiotic, moronic son of a bitch!”

“You know that ‘stupid,’ ‘idiotic,’ and ‘moronic’ all mean basically the same thing, right?” My best friend, Chelsey, grins at me.

I glare at her, deleting the text message from my ex-boyfriend. “I know that, but Dax is worthy of all three. It’s, like, an extra-strong usage.”

“Or you could just say ‘fucking son of a bitch.’ ”

“We don’t all have your potty mouth.” I roll my eyes as she grins wider. She’s proud of that fact. Has been for years. “I wish he’d leave me alone. It’s been weeks. Why is he suddenly interested in apologizing?”

“His new toy probably got grounded.” She shrugs and swings her legs off my bed, sitting up. “You know what you need?”

“Sex?”

“Sex is always needed,” she laughs. “No. You need a girls’ night. We’ll go out tonight.”

I purse my lips.

“Oh, hell no. We haven’t been out since that night. And, as your best friend, it is my duty to inform you that you’ve avoided it long enough, and now you gotta pull on your big girl panties and buck the heck up before I drag you kicking and screaming to party.” She stands and clamps her hand over my mouth when I open it to argue. “And no, getting another tattoo is not an acceptable way to deal with your heartbreak.”

“Imotartken,” I say against her palm.

Chelsey pulls her hand away, grimaces, and wipes her palm on my shirt. “Say what now?”

“I’m not heartbroken,” I sigh. Not anymore, at least. That ship sailed a couple of weeks ago. “I just don’t want to party. I want to chill out at home and watch some trashy TV and drink cosmos and berate my gut because I haven’t been to the gym for, like, two weeks.”

“Okay, you win.” She holds her hands up on either side of her head and backs toward my bedroom door. “But you know Dirty B. just got back from tour, right? Like, this morning?”

I stare at her.

“And I saw Saskia waiting by their house on my way to work.” She lifts her eyebrows, and I swallow my groan.

Damn, if they’re back, my sixteen-year-old Dirty B.–obsessed little sister is going to drive me crazy.

“When do I need to be ready by?”

“That’s my girl.” Chelsey grins and tucks her dark hair behind her ear. “Two hours. Not a minute later.”

“How about a minute earlier?”

“I will kick your ass, you sassy bitch.”

“Love you!” I laugh after her as she flounces downstairs. I kick my bedroom door shut and grab my phone from the vintage-style dresser in the corner. As I suspected, one message flashes onscreen, and I open it, against my better judgment.

Although, it’s rather evident that my better judgment has been on vacation since I met Dax Michaels. Or, the Cheating Butthole, as I dubbed him within thirty minutes of finding him with his hand down some other girl’s pants.

Flicking the bean. Rubbing the lamp.

Jess, please stop ignoring me.

My name is JESSIE, I fire back. Or did you lose your brain when you got ‘caught in the moment’ too?

Jessie. Come on, babe.

My fist will ‘babe’ your nose if you keep bugging me. Swear to God, Dax. Screw you. I tap Send a little too vigorously and throw my phone onto my bed. It bounces, and I wince when it narrowly misses the wall.

I think my aim got lost with my better judgment.

I stop in front of the mirror before I open my closet to find a dress for tonight. I really wasn’t lying when I told Chelsey about the little paunch at the bottom of my stomach. Too many cosmos and not enough treadmill has me looking permanently bloated since my breakup.

Note to self: get ass to gym tomorrow.

The bright red snapdragon curving over my elbow catches my eye as I turn, and I hold my arm in front of my face to assess the newest addition to the “bunch of flowers on my arm,” as my dad calls it. It doesn’t stand out particularly, as almost all the flowers are different colors, but it’s the brightest to me right now.

Snapdragon: graciousness and strength.

For the gracious way I refused to kick and scream at finding my boyfriend of two years playing ping-pong with someone else’s clit, and for the strength I needed to move on.

It sits perfectly, surrounded by its bed of roses, a calla lily, a blue iris, a sunflower, and a daisy. Each one with its own meaning and reason for being so carefully and intricately inked on my skin.

I