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If You Don't Love Me We Both Die Bonus

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Welcome! If you've found your way here, you've probably come to read a bonus scene that goes with my stand-alone novel "If You Don't Love Me We Both Die" which you can grab here or here. If you haven't read the book yet, I highly recommend avoiding this story since it contains spoilers.

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"If You Don't Love Me We Both Die" Bonus Scene" (C) C.M. Stunich

 

“Alright, so where are we off to?” Tam asks, slamming the trunk on the Firebird closed.

Our bags are packed.

There is no curse mark on my arm.

My brother is still alive.

My pop star boyfriend turns and parks his gorgeous butt up against the shiny red exterior of the vintage beauty. When he initially gave the car to me, I was excited about it, but that excitement was muted by the curse and all of the complicated emotions between me and Tam.

Now? I’m not just excited: I’m ecstatic.

“Keys first, and then I’ll tell you.” I hold my hand out, palm up, lips twitching into a smile.

The street’s been cleared of paparazzi and fans. There’s a police blockade at either end, so you need to show proof of residence before they’ll let you in. People can still see us though. We’re supposed to be on our very best behavior out here.

Jacob is narrowing his eyes at us through the window.

I point him out to Tam when he remains where he is, arms crossed, showing absolutely zero intention of giving me the keys.

“Your manager is glaring at me.” When Tam turns to look, I lunge at him, digging both hands into the front pocket of his pale pink hoodie. He catches my wrists when he whips back around, spins us, and then pushes me against the trunk.

Oh.

My cheeks heat.

Tam’s mouth quirks up at the edge.

I refuse to look at him. I can feel the phones pointed at us, the curious onlookers peering past the orange and white blockades to stare. We’re supposed to be taking a road trip together, something small and freeing to celebrate the breaking of the curse.

“Forget about Jake: you know he’s an ass,” Tam explains, but I keep my gaze on the wood fence between our house and the house of Donovan Adams, attorney at law. He reminds me of his name and job title every time I run into him. He’s also peering over the fence at us.

Residents are allowed to stand in their own yards and gawk.

“Look at me, Kayak,” Tam whispers, and I can feel his breath against the side of my face. That relaxes me. I feel my shoulders drop, my heart rate slow. I turn to look at him and our mouths brush. Tam loves that, grinning back at me as I try to put some space between us.

“This isn’t what behaving looks like, Sir Tom.” I’ve managed to slip past his arm, and I’m standing on the lawn, feet planted, ready to wrestle if necessary. I am not being reduced to a swooning puddle in my own front yard, not in front of an audience of hundreds.

There’s a girl with a Tambourine sign held above her head a half block away from us, at the intersection with the neighboring street.

“Have I ever behaved around you, Lake Frost?” Tam pauses, looks down for a moment, and then takes a measured step back. Another. Crosses his arms and stares at me with emerald eyes. The edge of his lip quirks up.

The sprinklers go off, drenching me.

I flop into the grass and tilt my head back, closing my eyes and letting the water hit me. I don’t expect Tam to take off his hoodie and join me. He sits across from me and takes my hands in his.

Because we lived together.

We lived.

We’re also viral—within five minutes of sitting there on the grass.

What can I say? I was Matched to a superstar.

 

#

 

“You haven’t even packed yet?” I ask Joules, lounging in the doorway to his room. I’m wearing fresh dry clothes and sucking on a root beer lollipop. Just waiting for Tam and then we’ll go. We’re going to drive with no particular destination in mind.

One whole week, just us and open road.

And then a plane to catch at SFO so we can fly to … Prague? I think it was Prague. Oh my God, I’m going to Prague!

“Why are you not in the car and driving away right now?” Joules retorts, turning a smirking look over his shoulder. “I said that we’d meet you in Denver. You drive way fucking slower than I do, so it’s important that you leave first.”

I take the lollipop out of my mouth and point at him with it.

“You’re a dick,” I tell him, but there’s no heat in my voice. How could there be? He was willing to die for me. And Joe was … My breath catches and I turn away, putting a hand up to my face. I almost remember being dead, of seeing the stars. It’s a flickering memory that’s hard to hold onto.

But the feeling of my cousin? That perfect love? I will never forget that.

Joules is right there, wrapping his arms around me and humming as he stares at the ceiling.

“He didn’t stick around here just to save our asses so we could keep moping.” Joules’ voice catches and then we both stand there in silence for a minute. When Tam comes, Joules lets go of me, giving his future brother-in-law an assessing look. “You guys are all over the internet, you know.”

“We know.” Tam shrugs. He’s wearing a pale mint colored sweater now, and the look of his strawberry blond hair with it is criminal. Add in the vibrant gem-like green of his eyes? He slants them over to me, mouth quirking. Tam leans down and puts his forehead to mine. “We’re not going to make it thirty minutes before getting a hotel if you keep looking at me like that.”

Joules gags and moves around us, pausing beside the bathroom door in the very same hallway where Tam asked me if I’d let him fuck me.

“Do we have to make it thirty minutes? Could we just … before we leave?”

That has Tam howling. He puts his hands over his mouth and turns away from me. He walks several steps before pausing as my mom comes out of the bedroom at the end of the hall. She touches his cheek affectionately, and I realize that she truly is a sucker. She’s forgiven him already, started treating him like her own son as soon as Joules’ curse was broken.

“Do you want something to eat before you leave?” she asks as Joules and Kaycee get growly with each other through the bathroom door. When he opens it and lets himself in, even my mom knows we should retreat downstairs. “Please tell me he’s moving out soon.” She shakes her head as she moves into the kitchen, but she’s nowhere near serious.

We all died out back, under a redbud tree blooming out of season. Under impossible stars in the middle of the day. Joules was dead. I was dead. The entire Frost family was dead. Including my cousin Isla, the one married to the bald guy. Including cousin Margret in New York City. Everyone.

We dropped dead and came back to life.

If that’s not magic, then I don’t know what is.

“I’d take a meal for the road,” Tam says, sliding onto one of the stools. We keep trying to leave for this trip, and we keep postponing it. We’ve had eleven days to recover, but it’s harder getting back to normal than you might think. “We are definitely leaving today.”

“Definitely,” I reply, sitting down on a stool and grabbing the discarded conversation deck. Just for fun, I pop the lid while my mom heats up some leftovers from last night. Grab a card at random. “Are you a fan of …” I stop talking, and my lip twitches.

“Well?” Tam asks, sitting there with an elbow parked on the counter, head in his hand. He’s too pretty to look at. Him gazing at me with adoration and love? That’s … a lot. I’m not functioning on all proper levels. Shouldn’t I be immune to his looks and his charms by now? “What does the card say?”

“Are you a fan of Tam Eyre? Or are you an anti-fan of Tam Eyre? There are only two right answers.”

“It doesn’t say that, does it?” Tam asks, reaching out to snag the card from my fingers. He peers at it in shock. “What the fuck?” He cringes because he’s been trying not to cuss around my family for some reason. Not sure why. Joules uses the word fuck in every other sentence. My grandma is the only one who can’t handle it. “Who wrote this? Did I agree to be in this card deck?”

“I think I should take over all of your branding and merchandising decisions,” I joke, but Tam stops to stare at me, card still clutched in his hand. “What?”

“That’s not a bad idea.” He sets the card down and smiles at me. “Shall I ask my mom to teach you?”

My heart flutters, and I nod.

I’m … wearing a Tambourine fan club hoodie, fucking the guy that club is named after, and now I get to work for him? Pinch me.

Joe. Yeah. Those thoughts haven’t stopped. Grief isn’t cured by anything, not even a surprise visit from beyond the grave. Even a miracle.

I smile through it this time and accept the plate my mom gives me.

Tam and I are still eating when Kaycee comes in, black hair in plaits, wearing a pair of overall shorts. She has a straw hat on, but it’s the glamorous sort that heroines in movies always wear before they take an epic, life-changing road trip.

*I may or may not add onto this scene in the future =)

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