Blurred Lines Page 38

Ben makes a tsking noise. “Now, Blanton, not everything is about you.”

“So you do know where my keys are, or…?”

“I got the promotion,” he says in response.

My thoughts about my extra car keys scatter.

I squeal. Then squeal again.

He winces. “Take it easy, Parks.”

I punch him in the arm. “I so will not take it easy! You got it! You’ve been telling me for weeks you thought they were going to bring in someone from the outside!”

A couple months ago, the senior product manager on Ben’s team relocated to Atlanta, and Ben heard rumors early on that he was under consideration to be her replacement. Rumors that he continually disregarded, because for reasons I don’t understand, Ben has it in his head that he’s mediocre.

I, on the other hand, know otherwise. He’s amazing.

I’ve heard him on work calls. Seen him working late into the night. The dude knows his stuff. He’s really, really good at his job, and, strangely, he’s the only one who doesn’t seem to know it.

I start the car and shake my head. “You are so not buying dinner. I’m buying dinner. And we’re getting champagne.”

“Uh-huh, and I’m sure that last one is all for me, huh?” he says, knowing my love of the bubbly wine.

“You have to drink it with me tonight,” I insist. “Promotions and champagne go together like…peanut butter and jelly.”

“Steak and potatoes,” he says, picking up on our old game of “things that go together.”

“Spinach and strawberries.”

He makes a face. “More like, margaritas and nachos.”

“Beer and wings?”

“Better,” he says, with a nod of approval. “Tomato soup and grilled cheese.”

“Cookies and milk.”

“Cocks and condoms,” he says.

“Gross. How about…” I purse my lips, thinking for one I haven’t used a million times before. “Ooh, I know. Candles and bubble baths.”

Ben looks scandalized. “I don’t even know what that means. I take your candles and bubble baths and raise you Bert and Ernie.”

“Ummm…” I tap my fingers on the steering wheel as I think.

You and me.

I jolt a little in surprise at the thought, trying to push it away, but the thought merely digs its heels in. Two things that go together: you and me. Ben and Parker.

I frown.

Well. That’s new.

“You win,” I say hurriedly. “Game over.”

He holds up his right hand in a fist, then bumps it with his left fist.

I shake my head. “Did you just fist bump yourself?”

He shrugs. “Well, I knew you wouldn’t fist bump me. You hate losing.”

I back out of the parking spot, relieved that he seems oblivious to my treacherous thoughts from a moment ago.

“Portland City Grill?” I ask.

He raises his eyebrows. “Feeling spendy, are we?”

“Feeling proud,” I correct. “You got a promotion, Ben. It deserves to be celebrated.”

You deserve to be celebrated, you big oaf.

He falls silent then, and I glance at him across the car. “You’re doing that thing, aren’t you?”

“What thing?”

“Where you think you don’t deserve it. Where you’re trying to figure out why the heck they picked you.”

He shrugs and looks out the window. “I didn’t do anything special. Any of the other people on the team would have been—”

“Stop,” I interrupt. “None of that. Don’t do that thing. You’ve got to stop thinking that just because you didn’t follow your parents’ defined path of success means you aren’t a success.”

He slams his head back against the headrest. “Now you’re doing that thing. The one where you try to fix a guy.”

“That’s not a thing.” At least it’s not my thing.

“Only because you didn’t have to fix Lance,” he mutters. “Lance already had it all figured out.”

His voice is grumpier than usual, and I have the oddest sense that we could be on our way to a mini-fight, except we’re saved by the buzzing of my phone.

“Can you get that?” I ask, pointing my head toward my purse in the backseat.

He digs it out and looks at the screen. “Lori.”

I groan.

“What, you guys in a girl fight or something? And if so, can I watch if it gets handsy?”

“No, not fighting,” I mutter as I merge onto the freeway toward the restaurant. “She just won’t stop bugging me about calling that guy.”

“What guy?”

“The one from the karaoke bar.”

“Ah,” he says. “The one who was making you do your head-back laugh.”

“My what?”

“It’s how I know when your laughs are genuine. You tilt your head back.”

“That’s weird,” I mutter. “But, yeah, I guess the laughs were real. The guy was funny.”

“So why not call him?” Ben asks, silencing my still-buzzing phone and dropping it into the console between our seats.


I don’t know.

That’s the truth. I don’t know why I don’t call this guy.

“You think I should?” I ask.

Ben shrugs. “Not about what I think.”

Prev Next
Romance | Vampires | Fantasy | Billionaire | Werewolves | Zombies