Blurred Lines Page 47

Ben groans. “You and your puzzles. How about a walk on the beach?”

I glance outside skeptically. “You mean, walk on a pitch-black beach next to the angry Pacific Ocean in forty-degree weather in the rain?” I ask.

He grins. “Yes. Exactly.”

“I’m in.”

Five minutes later, we’re covered head to toe, me in the big college sweatshirt I’ve confiscated from him, and Ben in his black fleece pullover. We make the short walk to the beach, and thankfully the rain seems to have tapered off to little more than a faint mist.

It’s not as cold as I expected, and since nothing makes me crankier than sand in my shoes, I take off my socks and tennis shoes next to the steps, setting them on a large, unmistakable rock, so I’ll be able to find them again.

Ben follows suit, and we both roll our jeans up to mid-calf.

The sand is cold under my feet, but deliciously so.

I’ve always loved all my family’s trips to Cannon Beach.

It’s one of the prettiest places in the world, all rough waves and smooth sand and the famous Haystack Rock looming over the beach.

But despite the fact that summer is its high season, with bonfires and ice cream cones and sunshine, I’ve always loved it best in winter.

Nothing beats curling up with a good book and a blanket while it storms outside, or roasting marshmallows in the fireplace. And, of course, the puzzles.

But the best part is having the beach all to yourself.

Well. You and your best friend.

Ben seems to feel the same way, because he breathes deep and I practically feel him relax as he walks beside me.

It’s low tide, which makes the sandy expanse feel endless. In silent agreement we turn left, although it doesn’t really matter which way we go. We’re not in it for the destination.

We walk in silence for several moments before I speak. “So, what did you and my mom talk about that had you ready to poop your pants?” I ask.

He’s quiet for a minute, almost as though debating whether or not to tell me. Or how much to tell me.

“Your mom’s worried about you,” he says finally.

I whip my head around in surprise. “Seriously? Am I giving off damaged vibes that I don’t know about?”

Ben doesn’t crack a joke in response like I think he’s going to. Instead, he shoves his hands into his pockets, tilting his head back to the sky for a moment. “She thinks you’re not dealing with your breakup with Lance.”

I open my mouth, then shut it.

Well, this is a twist I didn’t see coming.

Most of the time I feel like my mom and I are on the same page, but this catches me off guard. “She said that?”

He shrugs. “Something about pent-up emotions, blah blah blah.”

I shove my hands into my own pockets as I think on this.

In all truthfulness, I haven’t done much thinking about Lance. Or the breakup. But if I’m all the way truthful…I haven’t really let myself think about it.

Whenever something reminds me of Lance, I immediately go to how awful I felt when I realized he was breaking up with me, and my brain sort of skips away from that thought because it’s too painful.

“Is she right?” he asks after several moments. “Are you not over him?”

I stop, because suddenly it feels like too much to walk and think and talk about a topic so close to the heart at the same time.

“Maybe,” I answer quietly.

He stops, too, turning to face me. I can’t really make out his face. There’s no light to work with beyond the stars and a half moon shining through the mist, but I can sense his intensity.

“Maybe you need to deal with that,” he says.

“Yeah, but how?” I say. “I mean trust me, I want to move on—truly move on—more than anyone. I don’t want to be one of those ladies who hits her forty-fifth birthday only to realize she’s been carting around twenty-year-old emotional baggage. But there’s not, like, an instructional manual for mental health.”

Ben rolls his shoulders forward and looks down at the sand. “Maybe you start by talking to Lance. Exploring how that makes you feel.”

It’s not a terrible idea. Closure, and all that.

“I guess I could call him up for coffee or something,” I mutter.

“You sure vodka wouldn’t be the better choice when meeting one’s ex?”

“Nah. I’d want a clear head,” I say.

We start walking again, both of us quiet. I know why I’m quiet, but I can’t quite figure out why Ben’s all lost in thought.

“Did my mom say anything else?” I ask. “You seem sort of…pensive.”

“Pensive, huh?” he says. “That sounds kind of sexy and brooding.”

“It can also be annoying, so spit it out, Heathcliff.” I nudge his elbow playfully with mine.

But his next words are anything but playful.

“I don’t want our friendship to change,” he says.

My footsteps falter, and then I skip ahead so I’m in front of him, holding up a palm so he has no choice but to stop as well. “Wait, what? What the heck did my mom say to you?”

Honestly, this isn’t like Ben at all, and I don’t know that I like it.

I rarely have a cross thought about my mother, but I’m not exactly loving that she’s somehow changed my best friend into a reserved shell of himself tonight.

Ben looks away from me. “It’s just…I guess I’m realizing that we can’t be like this forever. Carefree and going off on vacations together whenever we want.”

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