Blurred Lines Page 30

I shrug. “I’m in.”

I love karaoke. I love singing in general, really.

Ben sits down at the table across from me, shoveling a huge bite of chicken into his mouth. He washes it down with a swallow of beer and then leans back in his chair. “Hey, has Lori said anything about me?”

I glance up at him in surprise. “What, you mean like she wants to meet you under the bleachers after study hall?”

“You know what I mean. I was getting…vibes from her at lunch today.”

I slowly chew my mouthful of salad and then swallow. “Well…she wants to jump your bones, if that’s what you mean.”

He lifts his T-shirt, revealing perfect abs. “Right?” he says. “Who doesn’t? But no, I mean…never mind.”

“What?” I ask, tilting my head.

“I was just curious if you told her about you and me, and our…arrangement.”

“Nope,” I say emphatically, “I was kind of thinking we could keep that quiet. You know, so people don’t start making weird assumptions.”

“Agreed,” he says quickly. “It’s just…I get the feeling she wishes I’d ask her out or something. Maybe I’m being a conceited ass. It’s probably nothing.”

I glance down at my plate. It’s not nothing. His instincts are dead-on.

I feel a little stab of guilt.

Guilt over the fact that Lori is truly interested in Ben as a potential boyfriend, and I’ve been steering her clear of him, only to then go and hook up with him myself.

Still, it’s not like I’ve been vag-blocking her out of spite or jealousy.

I just don’t want Lori to get her heart broken when he doesn’t fall back. Because Lori’s at risk of falling for him.

I’m not. My eyes are wide open. Eyes that maybe, definitely, appreciated the flat, ribbed stomach he’d just flashed a few seconds earlier.

I’m only starting to get really into a yummy visual—a visual of me licking the defined lines of Ben’s abs—when a thought hits me.

One that’s way more disturbing than Ben’s six-pack.

“Do you like Lori?” I ask.

He pauses in chewing his chicken, and the look on his face is comical. And relieving.

“No,” he says, once he’s swallowed. “I mean yeah, sure, I like her, but I’m not…I don’t—”

“I know,” I say with a small smile. “You never.”

He lifts a shoulder. “She’s great. I’m just not really interested in a girlfriend, even with someone as cool as her.”

“See, that’s what I tell her!” I say, throwing up my hands. “But she insists on her little crush.”

Ben wiggles his eyebrows. “Because I’m irresistible.”

I ignore this. “You’ll tell me, right? If there is a girl that interests you…like that.”

He nods. “Sure, definitely. I’ll keep you updated on that as well as the progress of hell freezing over.”

I dig back into my dinner, satisfied that we’re on the same page on the Lori front.

Although now I’m wondering if maybe I should tell Lori about our little arrangement. Because if she finds out by accident, she’ll be hurt. Not only because I didn’t tell her, but because I’m afraid she won’t understand it.

For the most part, Lori’s pretty good about comprehending that Ben and I are truly just friends.

But learning that we’re also sex buddies might push the limits on just how understanding my friend is.

And it’s not just Lori who’s bound to lift an eyebrow. I have a good feeling that everyone in my life will have some choice thoughts on my arrangement with Ben.

But I don’t care. I find that all I can think about is the fact that in twenty minutes…

Wait. Wait! Twenty minutes? That’s it!

I noisily drop my fork and stare at my nearly empty plate in horror.

Ben doesn’t even pause in his eating as he looks at me. “What’s up with you?”

“I need a reprieve,” I say.

He frowns. “You’re chickening out?”

“No, I just—I need an extra hour.”

He glances over his shoulder at the clock, then back at me. “Why?”

I point down to my plate. Isn’t it obvious?

Ben shakes his head to indicate he doesn’t understand.


“I just wolfed down an entire plate of chicken Parmesan, heavy on the cheese,” I explain patiently.


“So,” I say, “obviously I need to let the food settle.”

“Sex isn’t like swimming, Parks. You don’t have to wait for thirty minutes before diving in.”

He takes another huge bite, and I stare at him aghast. “You’re telling me you can actually feel sexy immediately after eating a huge meal?”

Ben looks down at his plate. Back at me. “Absolutely.”

“Well, I can’t. I’m a girl. We need time for the food baby to go away.”

“Food baby? Do I even want to know what that is?”

“It’s…never mind,” I say, pushing my chair back and picking up my plate.

“Hold up.” Ben grabs my wrist as I’m moving toward the sink and then uses his fork to stab the last bite of chicken that’s on my plate and pops it into his mouth.

“Unbelievable,” I mutter.

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