Blurred Lines Page 45

A few moments later, he disappears (I’ve trained him to throw away the condom in the bathroom), and while he’s gone I somehow drag myself up the bed so that my head finds the pillow, although I lack the energy to pull the covers up all the way.

He comes back in and surprises me by crawling into bed behind me.

Not that we haven’t slept together in the past couple weeks, but usually that’s more of a pass-out-from-sex kind of situation, whereas this feels…different.


The sheet comes up around me as he pulls me back against him, and I have the strangest awareness that Ben is spooning me….

And I like it.

“Night, Parks,” he says, his voice sleepy.

I smile, feeling, for the first time today, like all is right in the world.

But as I drift off to sleep, my last thought is a worried one.

We dodged a bullet tonight, obviously.

But we’re going to have to handle the other person sleeping with someone else eventually.

Won’t we?

Chapter 20


Parker’s parents are big on regular weekend trips to the Oregon coast. They’ve gone a couple times a year since Parker was a little kid. They always rent the same place, play the same games, eat at the same restaurants.

It’s like a Blanton family thing.

I’ve tagged along a couple times, but not since college.

Like Blanton family dinners, I sort of stopped participating in family things once Lance and Parker got serious.

But when Parker asks if I want to go with her and her parents the weekend after our failed “have sex with other people” experiment, I jump at the chance.

Mostly because I’m dying to get away from Portland.

Things at work have been more hectic since the promotion, and since I’ve been feeling kind of itchy and bored with the whole bar scene, I’m not really sure what to do with myself.

I’ve got this weird restless feeling, like change is on the horizon, and I don’t really know how I feel about it.

I need a break.

“So. Ben.”

Parker’s mom snags a carrot off the cutting board where I’ve been assigned to chop vegetables for the salad, and nibbles it as she leans back against the kitchen counter and studies me.

I continue to slice the carrots in careful, even rounds and don’t look at her, hoping like crazy that she’s not going to ask me about my intentions toward her daughter.

Parker says she hasn’t told her parents about the fact that we’ve gotten all sexy-times, but Sandra Blanton’s always struck me as the type of parent who knows things.

“I hear congratulations are in order,” she says.

My knife falters. Surely she doesn’t mean…

“On your promotion,” she continues, grabbing another carrot.

Oh. That.

“Yeah, thanks.”

She laughs. “Oh, come on! You sound like it’s a punishment.”

I shrug. “It’s just…not that big a deal is all.”

“Well, Parker seems to think it’s a pretty big deal. She talked about it for, like, thirty minutes straight when she called to tell us about it.”

I glance up to look out the window to where Parker and her father are manning the barbecue.

It’s cold and dreary, seeing as we’re at the beach in almost-winter, and she looks adorable in one of my oversized gray UO sweatshirts with the hood drawn up and the sleeves hanging several inches below the tips of her fingers.

“Your parents must have been so excited,” Mrs. Blanton is saying.

I glance back down at the cutting board and reach for the cucumber.

“Ben…” Her voice has that warning, maternal thing going on. “You did tell your parents?”

“Not really,” I mutter.

“But why? Parents live to hear news like this about their children.”

Parents like you, maybe.

And it’s not that my parents don’t like hearing good news about their kids; it’s just that I don’t think my title change from product manager to senior product manager would even register with them, much less be deemed worthy of congratulations.

Not when my brother just made partner in his hotshot law firm, or when my sister’s just announced that she’s adding a Yale PhD in addition to her Harvard law degree.

Mrs. Blanton apparently senses that I don’t want to talk about my parents—or my promotion—and I’m grateful when she changes the subject.

“How’s she doing?” she asks.

“Who, Parker?” I ask.

She rolls her eyes good-naturedly. “Who else?”

Chop. Chop. Chop. I carefully slice the cucumber. “Why ask me?”

Mrs. Blanton gives me a funny look. “Um, maybe because you’ve been her best friend for a good six years now? Maybe because you live with her. Or, wait, I know, because you came on our family vacation…”

No mention of the sex. The excellent, amazing, mind-blowing sex.

I don’t say this last part out loud. Obviously.

“She’s good,” I say.

Parker’s mom absently grabs a cucumber slice from the board and turns to face the window, her eyes on her daughter. “I’ve been worried about her.”

I glance over. “Yeah?”

“I’m worried she’s not dealing with her pain. Not even acknowledging it.”

Pain? Parker’s in pain? I swear to God, I’ll hurt whomever—

Sandra keeps talking, oblivious to my flash of rage. “I’m all for her embracing this single-girl phase in her life, but it’s just, well…did Parker ever tell you she thought she was going to marry Lance?”

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