Home > Things I Wanted To Say (But Never Did)

Things I Wanted To Say (But Never Did)
Author: Monica Murphy






The past



I remember the first time I saw him.

He didn’t notice me, which was what I preferred. That way, I could stare at him unabashedly, fascinated with the bone structure of his face, the way he moved, how he never smiled.

Why didn’t he smile?

We were much younger then. Innocent? I don’t think you could ever use that word to describe either of us. We’d seen and done too much, that by the time we met again, we were too far gone to stop it. Stop us.

And the darkness.

I accompanied my parents to a party in Manhattan. My mother didn’t want to bring me. Jonas, my stepfather, insisted.

Let her see how the one percent really lives, he said with a chuckle.

Mother scowled. She likes to think she is part of the one percent, when Jonas says he merely works for them.

The building we walked into was on the Upper East Side, with friendly doormen and stern security everywhere. The lobby was constructed of glass and marble. Sleek and gleaming. I must’ve looked like a country bumpkin, my head tilted back and staring at the soaring ceiling, dazzled by the twinkling lights above us.

“Come on,” Mother said irritably, her fingers clamped so tight around my upper arm, she pinched my skin.

The elevator ride was smooth. Quick. We arrived on the penthouse level, and the moment the doors slid open, it was as if we were stepping into another world. No one greeted us when we entered the penthouse. No one was actually inside the apartment either.

Everything was white. The furniture. The walls. Massive paintings hanging everywhere the only pops of color. Most of them were abstract. I stopped in front of one of them, tilting my head to the side, trying to figure out what it could be. Mother practically dragged me away from it, muttering under her breath that they shouldn’t have such vulgar art on display in front of children, and Jonas only laughed, asking what kid could figure out what that was?

That was when it hit me—the painting was a close-up view of a vagina.

I could hear noises coming from somewhere though. As we drew deeper into the apartment, they grew louder, until a wall of windows appeared, beautiful people milling about, clustered in small groups. Talking, talking, talking. Drinking, drinking, drinking.

I was starstruck. Dazzled. This was the sort of thing I lived for. Mother marrying Jonas Weatherstone was life-changing. He made big money. Real money. Mother worked at Jonas’ real estate company, and they fell in love. He left his wife for Mother. Their divorce was difficult but eventually Jonas and Mother were married. I liked living with Jonas. He was kind to me. Our apartment was big, though nothing like this one.

This one was unlike anything I’d ever seen.

As we stepped out onto the terrace, the skyscrapers loomed. They looked close enough to touch. The city lights glittered and twinkled, but I didn’t notice. I was too busy stealing sips from discarded champagne glasses, the bubbly liquid tickling my throat and making me feel funny. I savored the funny feeling. It made my brain fuzzy, helped me forget all of my problems. Like my parents. My stepbrother.

All of it.

He spotted me sneaking drinks and quietly approached. I set the glass down, pretending to look at something else. We were the only two kids at this party. I was fourteen. I guessed he was about the same.

Summer before high school and I felt very grown-up. I had boobs and they were bigger than my friends’. I’d discovered that touching myself in a particular place while in bed at night sent me spiraling, and I chased that feeling as much as I could. Yates kept trying to get me alone when our parents were at work. One time, he slipped his hand down my pants, trying to touch me there, but I slapped him away.

He’s disgusting. He’s my brother.

Stepbrother, but still.

Despite my being disgusted, Yates’s dogged pursuit of me also left me feeling wanted. And there’s power in knowing that someone wants you. Sitting at this party in a strapless black dress, sipping champagne, also made me feel older. Having the attention of this boy, this very beautiful, intense boy, also had me curious.

Who is he? What does he want from me?

“You want your own glass?” the boy asks, pointing at the discarded glasses on the table beside me. I’d sipped every one of them dry.

I glance up to find him watching me. He’s wearing black pants and a white button down, the sleeves rolled up and showing off his forearms. His hair is golden brown, almost but not quite dirty blond, and his face is stunning. Arrogant.


I rise to my feet and stand in front of him, reveling in the appreciation flaring in his ice blue eyes. “Yes, please.”

I follow him to the bar. He speaks to the bartender and slips him a fifty-dollar bill while I stand there, duly impressed. He hands me the glass, and takes a can of beer, slipping it in his front pocket.

“You don’t like champagne?” I ask him as I glance around, clutching the stem of the glass between pinched fingers. No one’s paying any attention to us, so I take a sip.


“No,” he says. “Besides, the cheap stuff gives me a headache.”

I don’t know the difference, so I take his word as gospel.

I also take what I can get, so I’m not about to turn down this free and very full glass of bubbly.

I follow him inside, the hushed quiet sending a shiver through me. Or maybe that’s the air conditioning that’s on full blast, I don’t know. We walk deeper into the house, until we’re in a dark hallway, where all the bedroom doors are closed.

“My father’s in one of those rooms, fucking your mother,” he says casually, right as I’m sipping from my glass.

I practically spit it all over his face. I gape at him, blinking. “What did you just say?”

His expression doesn’t change a bit. “You heard me.”

“My mother is married.”

“So is my dad. Like that matters.” He shrugs, then pulls the can of beer out of his pocket. He cracks it open, then slurps up the foam before taking a huge drink.

“She wouldn’t do that.” When he says nothing, I feel the need to clarify. “Fuck your father.”

It feels very grown-up, saying that word to this boy while drinking champagne. I take another sip, letting the bubbles linger on my tongue.

“Well, she is. Your mom’s a slut.” He drains the beer can, then crushes it between his fingers, tossing it onto the ground so it lands in a loud clatter.

I’m suddenly furious. Mother and I don’t always get along, but he doesn’t even know her. “You can’t say that.”

“Oh yeah? Well, I just did.” He cocks his head, his gaze narrowed. So much anger there. And he’s so young. I get angry sometimes, but nothing like this. “Are you a slut too? Like your mom?”

“Fuck you,” I spit at him, flinging the champagne in his face.

He winces, slowly wiping his face off with his hand. I stand there, breathing hard, knowing I should go, but I’m too fascinated, watching this unfold.

Watching him.

It’s like it’s not even happening to me. And I’ve never done anything like that before in my life. Who am I? When did I get so brave? Or stupid?

“You’re a bitch,” he hisses. “Just like your mom.”

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