Blurred Lines Page 22

“Sex,” she says.

I take a sip of wine. A big one. “Yeah. And please tell me you’re not going to call all your friends tomorrow and tell them your daughter’s a hussy,” I say, mostly joking.

She grins. “Please. If anything, I’ll be bragging about what an awesome mom I am for being able to have this conversation.”

“I can confirm that you are, in fact, awesome,” I say. “And, as such, I’m sure you have some sort of wisdom socked away about how physical relationships aren’t everything, and I just need to cool my jets until the right guy comes along?”

“Absolutely not,” she says with a shake of her head. “I’m far too cool and liberal for that. I didn’t just live through the seventies, I embraced them in every way.”

I can’t hide my wince, and she gives me an evil grin. “I see the daughter’s not quite as cool as the mother.”

“Definitely not,” I mutter into my wine. Thinking about my mother and free love, or whatever. Eek.

“Don’t worry. I’ll spare you my glory days at Berkeley,” she says. “But I can tell you this, based on my experience…your heart doesn’t need to be engaged to have, um, well, fun. But you’ll enjoy it much more if you at least like the person.”

“See, that’s the thing,” I say, scooting toward the edge of the chair. “I’ve been going around to bars with friends for a week now. Not looking for a random hookup, so much as seeing what’s out there. And…blech. I see a good-looking guy, but two minutes into a conversation I want out.”

She nods. “Chemistry is like anything in life. The more you look for it, the harder it is to find.”

I slump back. “That’s your advice? That it’s going to be hard?”

“Nooo,” she says slowly. “I’m just saying that maybe you’re looking for the wrong thing. You’re trying too hard to find raw animal magnetism when what you really need to be looking for is connection.”

“Raw animal magnetism, Mom? Really?”

“You know what I mean.” She waves her glass. “What I’m trying to say is…go to the bars, be twenty-four, have fun. But you’re a smart girl with a good head on your shoulders, which means a great body and a nice face is perhaps never going to be enough for you.”

“Great,” I mutter. “So I don’t get good sex until I meet my soulmate?”

She smiles. “No, I’m saying find someone who you can talk to. Someone who makes you laugh. I think you’ll realize that that’s what you find attractive.”

I sigh. “So you’re saying I can’t just bone an empty shell of a man?”

Mom smiles. “It’s never that simple. But if you ever find one particularly well-endowed—”

“My ears! My ears are burning!”

We glance toward the doorway to see an appalled-looking Ben with his hands over his ears.

He shakes his head. “Since I can never unhear that, there’s only one thing to be done.”

Somberly, he makes a pistol shape with his right hand and holds it to his temple before glancing at both of us. “I want it on my tombstone that I’m one of the well-endowed ones. You two owe it to me, since this conversation was my cause of death.”

I laugh and hold my wineglass up. “Please. Last night you spent fourteen minutes explaining how you can gauge a woman’s bra size based on how her breasts fit into your palms. You can handle this.”

He jabs a finger at me. “Don’t say bra with me and your mother in the same room.”

“Don’t fret, Benjamin,” Mom says, holding up her own glass. “And Parker has the right idea. Fetch us more wine, sweetie.”

He gives a butler-esque bow and accepts the wineglasses. “Are you guys going to start talking about balls the second my back’s turned?”

“Of course not, darling,” Mom says mildly. “Much easier to discuss balls when you’re facing us.”

“Mrs. Blanton, congratulations,” he says as he turns on his heel. “You’ve done the impossible and officially scandalized me. As such, you can’t get mad at me for the fact that I’ve already eaten the outside edge of the brownies sitting on the stove.”

“That’s fair,” Mom says with a laugh.

But I barely hear this last part of the exchange.

The world has gone completely silent around me, as though I’m deep in a bubble of dangerous thoughts. Very dangerous thoughts.

Ben leaves the room, but I continue to stare after him for several long seconds before I slowly lift a finger to my lip and tap thoughtfully.

What if my mom is on to something?

What if the right guy to scratch my sexual itch is the one who makes me laugh? The one I can talk to.

What if the right guy…

…Has been right in front of me?

Chapter 8


Parker’s mostly quiet on the drive home, which doesn’t really alarm me. We’re comfortable with each other’s silences. But she was quiet at dinner, too, and that’s unusual.

“Talk or mute?” I ask.

“Hmm?” she asks, not playing our usual game.

I glance at her more closely. “You’re being weird.”

She cuts me a look across the darkened car. Her expression is unreadable, and that worries me even more. I’m not good at very many things, but reading Parker has always been one of them.

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