Blurred Lines Page 23

That’s what happens when someone is best friend, carpool buddy, and roommate. You start to know them as well as you know yourself. Better, actually.

“You going out tonight?” she asks.

I shrug. “Haven’t decided. Why, you want to come?”

I’m silently hoping she’ll say no. Not because I don’t want to hang out with her, but because we’ve been “going out” more often than not lately, and while I’ve had a good time—mostly—I wouldn’t mind a quiet evening. Chilling with Parks on the couch with bad TV or a stupid movie sounds way better than getting dressed up and talking to strangers.

Still, one of the things about having a female best friend is that when she asks you to be a wingman, you’ve got to do it the way you would for a guy friend.

But there’s also an extra obligation of protection. She’d kill me if she knew it, but my reasons for tagging along aren’t so much about helping her get laid as they are making sure she doesn’t end up with some asshole.

So, no, I don’t want to go out tonight. But if she’s going, I’m going.

“Nah, I think I’m staying in,” she says. “I’m too full to even think about putting on anything other than pants with an elastic waist.”

“Second helping of lasagna catching up with you?” I ask, relaxing a little now that she’s not being all quiet and weird.

“Says the guy who had three.”

I pat my stomach. “I would never offend your mother by eating anything less than an obscene amount.”

Parker’s mom is a decent cook, but it’s not really about the quality of food so much as the homemade factor. I don’t miss much about home, but I do miss home-cooked meals. Of course, family dinners at my house weren’t quite as pleasant as they are at the Blantons’.

I could never decide which was worse, the lectures that ensued whenever I sat down to eat at my mother’s house, or the awkward silences as my dad tried to figure out how to talk to us when we were kids.

Parker’s fallen quiet again, and this time I let her stew.

Back at home, we both head into the kitchen, her to put leftovers in the fridge, me to get a glass of water.

I assume based on her quiet mood that she’s going to retreat to her bedroom, but instead she sits at our small kitchen table, tapping her fingernails and staring at a random spot on the wall.

I roll my eyes, pour her a glass of water and sit across from her. “Spill.”

Her eyes flick to mine and her lips purse, and I can tell she’s debating whether or not to follow my instructions.

“Fine.” I hold up my hands. “I’ve done my best-friend duty. I’m not going to beg you to talk. Call Lori or Casey if you want to be coaxed into it.”

I’m a good friend. But I have limits.

She grabs my wrist as I pass. “I want to talk to you about something.”

“Oh my God,” I mutter, fully annoyed with this girly fit. “Like I haven’t been trying to get you to talk for the past twenty minutes.”

She licks her lips and looks away as her fingers release my wrist.

I cross my arms and stare her down. She has about six seconds to spit out whatever has her all knotted up—

“Do you ever talk to the girls you sleep with?” Parker blurts out.

I lift an eyebrow. “You mean, do I remove their gag and allow them to speak? Only when they please me.”

Her foot sneaks out and nearly connects with my shin, but I dodge. “You know what I mean,” she says. “After you’re done saying whatever you need to to get in their pants, but before you begin your usual Get them out of here routine, do you talk to them?”

“Sure,” I say, completely unclear on where the heck she’s going with this.

“No, I mean do you really? Do you enjoy them?”

“I enjoy their—”

Parker holds up a hand. “No, I mean them as people. Do you like them?”

I scratch my cheek. “Why do I get the feeling I’m walking into a conversation in which I’ll inevitably look like an asshole?”

“So you don’t like them,” she concludes.

“Jeez, I don’t know, Parks. I don’t dislike them; otherwise, I wouldn’t bring them home or go back to their place or whatever. But it’s not like I—”

I scratch my cheek again, not really sure what she wants me to say. I’m a bit of a womanizer. I get that. But I never give anyone the wrong impression. I never imply that I’m interested in anything other than the one night.

I’ve never really felt bad about my relationship habits (although relationship feels like a strong word), but the way Parker is positioning these questions makes me feel like she’s setting me up for something.

“Are you having second thoughts about this whole casual sex thing?” I ask.


Thank God.

Still, I’m surprised. Not so much that she’s changed her mind—she’s really not a one-night-stand kind of girl—but that she’s changing her mind before she’s even tried it.

Because as far as I know, despite our nearly nightly outings to various bars, she hasn’t hooked up with anyone since she and Lance split a couple weeks ago.

“I’ve been going about it all wrong,” she says.

“Well, yeah,” I say, folding my arms and leaning back against the counter. “But only because you seem to have a knack for finding the biggest douchebag in every bar we go into.”

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