That Forever Girl Page 1

Author: Meghan Quinn

Series: Getting Lucky #2

Genres: Romance



Two and a Half Years Ago

“Where’s my lotion? I’m not celebrating my twenty-first birthday with dry hands.” Brig angrily flips pillows off the bed, crawls on top of the mattress, and digs in the crevices of the headboard and nightstand.

“What the hell are you looking in the bed for?” Griffin asks from his relaxed position on the couch.

Because we wanted to spoil our little brother—though I’m starting to regret that now, as he cries to us about lotion—we splurged and got a hotel suite in the heart of New Orleans’ French Quarter. Three rooms: one common area and two bedrooms, which should be big enough for four grown-ass men, but as proved earlier today when we got in a stupid-as-shit fight over Popsicles, it’s much too small for the Knightly brothers.

Being the older brothers, Griffin and I took the room with two queen-size beds and made Reid and Brig share a king. Brig bitched for a good half hour about having to share a bed during his birthday trip, but we trumped him with the “We’re paying; you listen to us” card.

“I don’t know what you fools do in here at night.” Brig continues to dig around.

I put an end to it by grabbing the back of his shirt and pulling him off the bed. He’s not a small guy, but luckily I catch him off balance. “Hey, dickhead, why don’t you go ask your roommate? He took it into the bathroom with him.”

“Did he really?” Brig’s eyes flame with anger. “I told him that was my lotion and it’s not to be touched. He knows how cracked my hands get from working in the shop. He’s fucking dead.” Shirt in disarray, Brig charges across the common space and into the other bedroom.

Griffin chuckles softly, scratching his hand along the side of his jaw. “You have his lotion, don’t you?”

From my back pocket, I pull out the bottle and flip it in my hand.

Mirth consuming his face, Griffin shakes his head at me. “And here I thought Reid was the instigator in the family.”

True, Reid and Brig are both annoying instigators.

“He deserves it after that whole purple Popsicle shit earlier. Fuck, he would not shut up.”

From two rooms over, Reid’s voice booms through the old plaster walls. “I don’t have your lotion, you irritating motherfucker. Stop. Let go of my towel . . . I swear to God, Brig, I will . . . get back here.”

Brig comes running into our room, a towel in one hand and a razor in the other. Trailing behind him is a buck-ass-naked Reid, holding one hand in front of his junk, a murderous promise searing through his eyes.

“Give me my razor.”

“Not until you give me back my lotion. Look.” Brig holds out his hands. “My knuckles are cracking! How am I supposed to get a woman to come back to the room with me tonight if I have cracked knuckles?”

“For one, you’re not bringing anyone back with you since we’re sharing a bed, and secondly, there is no way in hell a woman is going to want to fuck you when you act like a goddamn child. Now give me my razor, or I will sit on your face, bare balls and all.”

“Pfft. I’d like to see you try.”

Reid’s brow lifts in challenge. “I’m already naked, and I’m stronger than you. Don’t think you want to test me.”

And that’s why we put Reid and Brig in a room together.

My phone rings in my pocket, giving me an out from this asinine conversation. Mom scrolls over the caller ID; I should take it even though I know she’s going to drill me about what’s happening. We may all be in our twenties, but she still worries, probably because we can still be immature assholes.

Casually flipping the bottle of lotion in Brig’s direction, I say, “Found this on the floor,” and head out to the balcony for some privacy.

Reid’s voice follows me out the door. “Told you I didn’t steal your lotion, you crusty cabbage leaf. Christ!”

I shake my head and shut the door before answering the phone. “Hey, Mom.”

“There’s my favorite son.”

Ha. Yeah, she says that to all of us. I take a seat at the wrought iron bistro set that overlooks Bourbon Street, my leg feeling sorer than usual thanks to the dense humidity. We’re closer to Canal Street, so not truly in the heart of the Bourbon nightlife, but close enough that I can hear the trail of laughter from visitors who decided to get their party started early.

“What’s up, Mom?” The iron rail in front of me is the perfect footrest as I stretch out and scan the street below. A bachelorette party links arms and stumbles down the street, the women acting like it’s their own personal yellow brick road, skipping and singing.

“How are my boys doing? Staying out of trouble, I hope.”

“So far.”

“I expect you four to be on your best behavior. I raised you to be decent and civilized human beings, so don’t disgrace this family.”

Dramatic much?

Her nagging is valid, though. The Knightly brothers don’t have a virginal record, especially in our hometown. The local police might have brought us home a few times for your typical teenage things—drinking underage, vandalizing our friends’ yards, and maybe . . . driving a tractor into a pond. But that was because we were drunk. We may be mostly grown up, but I can see where my mom’s concern rests.

We’re idiots when we’re together, but with Griffin at the helm—now that he’s older and more mature—I know we won’t get into any trouble. At least, I hope we won’t.

“We’ll be good, Mom. What kind of trouble can we really get into?”

“Is that a serious question? Because I can list at least twenty things right off the bat.”

“We’ll be fine, don’t worry. We’ll have some drinks, eat some beignets, and partake in a little gambling. We’ll leave New Orleans unscathed.”

“I thought you quit drinking.”

“It’s Brig’s birthday.” I leave it at that. I know she means well, but I’m not in the mood to fall down that rabbit hole of a conversation.

“Just please don’t get arrested.” I can’t help but notice the hesitation in her words.

“We won’t.”

She lets out a long sigh. “Okay, but keep sending me pictures so I know my boys aren’t dead or anything.”

“You act like we’ve never been anywhere together before.”

“Oh no. This is the way a worried mother acts when she has to drive from Maine to Atlantic City because her three older sons got themselves put in jail for public intoxication.”

The smallest of smirks pulls at my lips. “That hot dog vendor was asking for it. He skimped on the onions.”

“Rogan Bradley Knightly, I’m serious.”

I tease the whiskers on my jaw with my finger, wondering if I should even bother shaving. It’s not like I plan on bringing a woman back to the hotel like Brig apparently does. “I know, Mom. Trust me, we’ll be fine. You have nothing to worry about.”

“I better not, because I’m counting on all of you to get married soon and give me grandchildren.”

Ah yes, always pressuring us to give her grandchildren. It’s her duty to pester us constantly about adding to the Knightly clan.

“Well, Griff is halfway there.”

“And what about you?”


The damp early-evening air soaks into my skin as a group of raucous partiers shouts and laughs below me. Why the hell would my mom choose this moment to talk to me about grandchildren? Why?

“Not the right time,” I grit out, trying to tamp down my annoyance.

“I’m worried about you, Rogan. You don’t ever smile anymore. Do you know how much that pains me as a mother? Knowing her son is unhappy?” Guilt. My mom is really good at it. “You know, I thought I’d tell you Harper is in town right now, visiting her dad.”

And there it is.

“Mom, stop.”

“I ran into her at the grocery store. She’s so lovely, so vibrant—just like I remember. She’s working in Boston as a tour guide for a very prominent company.” My teeth grind together. “I mentioned how well you’re doing—”

“Mom,” I snap, pushing my hand through my hair. “I’ve asked you to never talk about me to her. She doesn’t care what I’m doing, and I don’t want her to know.”

Because it’s an embarrassment, a huge step down from what I was supposed to be doing with my life. I don’t want to constantly remind Harper that I’m a failure. That I stole away her best friend in the blink of an eye. That I ruined any chance of us having the loving and exciting life we’d been planning for so long.

“She seemed interested,” Mom responds, an edge creeping into her voice. “She asked how you were.”

“She was being polite. That’s how she always is, always has been. She doesn’t care about me.”

My words dangle between us for a silent moment, and my gut twists as they sink in.