Blurred Lines Page 42

Still, my eyes can’t help but take in the fact that his hand is settled on her skinny hip while she leans back to whisper something in his ear.

He laughs, and I want to know if it’s a real laugh.

I apparently have a tell—yesterday he told me I tip my head back when my laugh is real, and he’s probably right—but I don’t know what his tell is.

I’d never really noticed, because when he and I are laughing together I know it’s real, and when he’s laughing with other people…

Well, I’ve never cared much.

Until now. I want to know badly if his laugh is real. If his smile is genuine.

But why do I care?

This is the arrangement. I’d get laid. He’d get laid. And not by each other.

It was the best way of shaking things up before he and I ended up somewhere dangerous.

Ben’s hand slides up a few inches to the blonde’s waist and my stomach does that clenching thing again, and I’m faced with a horrible realization:

What if we’re too late?

What if I already ended up somewhere dangerous?

It’s not that I want Ben for myself.

I don’t want him at all, really. He’s still…Ben. My best friend.

He’s not boyfriend material for anyone, least of all me. But the thought of his hands on another girl and actually having to watch it—

My stomach rolls, and I shove my cup at a surprised John as I stand up.

“I’m headed up to my room,” I say.

“You okay?” John asks.

“Yeah, just exhausted. Long week.”

I don’t look at Ben as I awkwardly climb over John’s legs, then over pervy Joe. He “accidentally” touches my thigh and I slap at his hand, not caring that I’m acting like a prude on an otherwise sexy Friday night.

What is wrong with me?

I kick my heels off at the bottom of the stairs, scooping them into my hand before I sprint up, wanting to leave the scene behind me as quickly as possible. Wanting to bleach it from my mind as quickly as possible, too.

Inside the safety of my room, I shut the door and lean back against it. For a second I consider calling Brandon and asking if he wants to come over.

Let’s just see how Ben likes watching me with another—

I squeeze my eyes shut.

Even if calling Brandon were a good plan—and it’s not—it wouldn’t work.

Ben doesn’t care who feels me up. He doesn’t care who I sleep with.

He’s the one who told me to call Brandon. The one who complained about the fact that he’d slept only with little old boring me for the past two weeks.

Two weeks. As if that were soooo long or something.

I peel my dress off, tossing it onto the bench at the foot of my bed, and then climb under the sheets, not bothering to change out of my sexy lingerie or take off my makeup or do anything but wallow.

It will be better tomorrow, I tell myself.

Tomorrow I’ll be back to normal and I won’t care that Ben’s about to take that blond girl up to his bedroom and touch her the way he touches me….

I let out a scream through gritted teeth and dig the heels of my palms into my eyes, wishing I could scrape away the painful mental images.

Ben and my no-strings-attached relationship?

Yeah. Turns out that there are suddenly strings after all.

And I’m completely tangled in them.

Chapter 18


Something is wrong.

No, everything is wrong.

Not just with the scene, although, if I’m honest, the scene definitely isn’t doing it for me.

Which makes no sense. The girl in my lap is hot, and even if she wasn’t, the four others in the room are good-looking. She’s not even totally annoying, although for the life of me I can’t remember one damn thing we talked about.

The beer’s free-flowing, the music’s good…

And I can’t get into it. Any of it.

But I’m less worried about me and the fact that I’m suddenly indifferent to something that used to work like a charm, and more worried about my best friend.

I feel eyes on me and look over to see John giving me a weird look. He holds up the drink Parker shoved at him and lifts his eyebrows in question.

I shake my head. Dunno.

Then his gaze shifts to Cora—the girl in my lap—and his brows lift again. I realize way too late that Cora’s kissing my neck, and not only am I not getting into it—

Hell, I didn’t even notice it.

This is not a good sign.

There’s no good way to do this, so I grit my teeth and put both hands on Cora’s waist, shifting her to the right as I ease to the left.

She gives me a startled look, but an apologetic smile is all I can manage. It’s on the tip of my tongue to say I’ll be right back, except…

I don’t know that I will.

I don’t know what the hell I’m doing, only that I need to find Parker. Figure out why she’s home instead of getting laid by Brendon or Brandon or whatever.

I pause by Jason on my way toward the stairs. “Get rid of them. But nicely. Send the booze with them to ease the blow.”

“You got it,” he says, pushing to his feet.

I feel kind of crappy about the fact that I’m going to throw, like, ten people’s Friday night off its game, but hell…they’re all mostly drunk anyway. They can always relocate to Joe’s house; he’s a three-minute walk away.

I take the stairs two at a time, not surprised to see that Parker’s door is shut.

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