The Need Boxset

By: K.I. Lynn & N. Isabelle Blanco

She’s not a little girl in cat ears anymore.

I’m not a rambunctious boy with skinned knees and muddy clothes.

Kira’s a woman, I’m a man, and this is our story—the whole messy, fucked-up tale.

Let me start from the beginning, from the moment I first laid eyes on the only woman who means a damn to me. She is my everything, and I’ll do anything to make her mine forever.

June 21, 2003

We’re gonna be late.

I should’ve known not to trust Mom when she told me to wait outside. Dad had that scary, serious look on his face, and I know what it meant.

What it always means.

They’re probably in there fighting again.

They’re always fighting lately, and it’s because of that I don’t get to do fun things anymore. Can’t even have my friends over because they’ll embarrass me if I do.

We’re probably not going to make it to the park.

Sliding my hands into my jean pockets, I stare at my feet as I kick up loose dirt with my red Converse. I broke one of Mom’s plant pots last week, and there's still some of the dirt left on the porch.

That started a fight, too.

Man, I want to go in there and hurry them up. All of my other friends are already at the park. It’s not fair.

I don’t really want to go in there, though.

I’ll never tell anyone, but they scare me so much when they fight. It’s like they hate each other or something, and I don’t understand. They’re my mom and dad. How can they hate each other?

A fly buzzes by my face. I swat at it, more annoyed now than before.

The door to the house next to ours opens, and the new kid runs outside. His name is Ryan Roth and he just moved in. I met him earlier this week. Everyone thinks he’s cool people. He’s ten—my age—and likes all the same things I do, which makes him freaking awesome.

Ryan stops in front of his mom’s minivan in the driveway. He waves at me and I wave back.

I wish I could invite him to my house to play Xbox. Maybe Dad or Mom will be nice and let me go to his house instead.

“Ryan, you dumb butt! I told you to wait for me!” a little girl screams from inside the house.

Ryan told me about his little sister, but I haven’t seen her yet. Curious, I turn to stare at their front door.

A tiny pink and black blur flies out of the house. She’s running so fast that her foot slips on the first stair and she almost falls off the porch. Catching herself on the rail, she glares down at her feet like it’s their fault she almost fell.

Are those ballet shoes she’s wearing?

Ryan starts laughing, holding his stomach and pointing at her.

She raises her head and glares at him. They look alike. Same hair and eyes. “Shut up, stupid!” Huffing, she adjusts her black and pink skirt, then reaches up to do the same to her—

The girl is wearing small black cat ears.

“You are such a jerk, Ryan! I’m gonna tell Mommy!”

Ryan stops laughing immediately, eyes going wide. “No! She always believes you. Stop getting me in trouble, dumbass!”

Kira stops halfway down the driveway and gasps. Then, her little finger shoots up to point accusingly in Ryan’s direction. “You said a bad word! To me! Now I’m definitely telling Mommy!”

“I didn’t call you an ass—”

“Yes, you did!”

“Kira," Ryan's shoulders fall as he whines, “this isn’t fair. She won’t let me go to the park!”

Kira crosses her little arms, flips her long hair over her shoulder, and stomps her foot. “And what will you do for me if I don’t tell her? Huh?”

Ryan’s mouth falls open. Like he can’t believe she’s asking him that.

Before I can stop myself, I’m throwing my head back and laughing really hard. I can’t help it. I recently learned what the word blackmail means in school, and that is definitely what Ryan’s sister is doing to him.

Ryan’s glare catches my attention. I force myself to try to stop laughing.

It isn’t working.

His sister, Kira, turns and sees me on the porch. Immediately, her expression morphs, and she gives me this big, happy smile, her eyes twinkling.

I shut right up, frozen.

“Hi!” she calls happily, waving at me. “You’re Brayden, Ryan’s new best friend, right?”

I nod. Can’t speak.

Her eyes are so bright.

“Cool.” Her smile gets bigger and she does that thing where she flips her hair over her shoulder again. “You know that means you’re now my new best friend, too, right?”

“No he isn’t! Leave him alone!” Ryan screams.

“Okay,” is all I can make myself say.

Why do I feel so . . . weird? My heart is beating so hard it hurts.

Also By K.I. Lynn & N. Isabelle Blanco

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