Blurred Lines Page 27

I want…him.

No, that’s not right. I don’t want Ben. I just want sex. Ben is merely the tool.



My brain doesn’t confirm this for me, and it sends me into a panic.

My hands find his shoulders and push back, slightly at first, then more urgently.

He pulls back, slowly, reluctantly, and I brace myself for his look of smug victory, but surprisingly he doesn’t look triumphant. He looks…confused.

Much like I feel.

I force myself to smile, suddenly desperate to take us back to where we’ve always been. Easy. Casual. Friends.

“Looks like you’ll have to watch The Bachelor reruns on Hulu for a while, huh?” he says.

His grin is just a little bit slower to emerge than usual, but when it makes an appearance, I breathe a sigh of relief.

“So?” he asks. “Still think it was gross?”

“It was okay.”

His palms are against the wall on either side of my head, and he slowly pushes back, putting space between us, and I’m both relieved and disappointed. “Okay?” he says.

“Okay, so you were right,” I concede quickly. “But so was I.”

“How do you figure?”

I flick a finger against his shoulder. “I told you that this could be better if you liked the other person.”

He lifts an eyebrow and goes to retrieve our beers. “What makes you think it was better?”

It’s my turn for a stung ego now. “You’re telling me that all of your kisses are like that?”

Please say no.

He retrieves his beer. Takes a sip as he considers my question. “No. Not all kisses are like that.”

My stomach leaps in relief.

“Okay, so you may have been on to something,” he grumbles. “Maybe this friends-with-benefits thing could be…beneficial.”

My belly flips. Not so much with the satisfaction of being proven right, but with a quick stab of panic at what he’s saying. Of what we might be on the verge of doing.

“Maybe we should rethink it,” I say.

He gives me a look. “You’re not going to try and tell me it was gross, are you?”

Quite the opposite.

“No, I just…maybe you were right. About things getting too complicated.” I take a sip of the beer he’s handed me. It’s totally warm, which makes me wonder exactly how long that kiss lasted.

“Well, that’s the beauty of being adults, Parks. We get to decide what we make complicated, and what we let be pure, uncomplicated fun.”

I’m tempted. Oh, how I’m tempted.

“So how would this work?” I ask.

He rolls his eyes. “It’s your idea. Didn’t you work out any of the details while you were stewing on it the entire drive home from your parents’?”

Damn. Sometimes it’s like the guy’s inside my head.

“Well,” I say, licking my lips, “I was thinking that the first rule is that there are no rules.”

He laughs. “I bet your head just exploded. You love rules.”

“I know, which is why this needs to be different.” I rush to explain. “There’s no limit on how many times we can…hook up. No timeline. We stop when it stops being fun.”

“Is this an exclusive thing?”

My turn to laugh. “Now it’s your head that’s exploding. Do you even know what exclusive means?”

“I’ve heard of it,” he grumbles. “I’m just wondering…are you going to flip your shit when I bring another girl home?”

“Okay, here’s where I’m at with that,” I say. “As long as we’re doing this—whatever this is—it’s just us. But the moment you decide you want to go back to your different-girl-every-night routine, just say the words, and we call this off, no hard feelings.”

Ben squints. “What about you? Same rules apply?”


Not that I envision myself having a constant stream of bed partners like Ben, but I’m hoping that hooking up with someone I trust is exactly what I need to unlock my constant overthinking.

Maybe get me to just live instead of thinking so much about living.

“Okay,” he says simply. “When do we start?”

Again with the stomach flips.

“One more thing.” I hold up a finger. “I think we need some sort of safe word.”

Ben chokes on his beer. “What kind of things are you into, Parks?”

I roll my eyes. “Not that kind of safe word. I mean like if one of us wants out of the arrangement, for any reason, they can just say the word, and we end it, no questions asked, never to be mentioned again. And we go back to how we were.”

“But I thought we just agreed we weren’t going to let it be complicated.”

“We’re not,” I say quickly. “Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be prepared. A fail-safe.”

He shrugs. “Fine. What’s the word?”

“Something random,” I say. “Something that we won’t say in regular conversation.”

“Monogamy?” he asks with a cocky grin.

“I was thinking more like…kumquat, or something.”

Ben busts up laughing. “Your safe word is one that contains cum, and a syllable that rhymes with twat?”

I blush. “You think of one, then!”

“How about cello,” he says.

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