Blurred Lines Page 52

“Don’t make it so complicated,” I tell her. “You’ve just got to decide. Are you happier with Lance? Or without him?”

“Riiiiight. Nothing complicated about that little tiny decision,” she says sarcastically.

I pat her hand where it’s fallen to my thigh. “You’ll figure it out.”

If my fingers linger just for a moment, we both ignore it. Because we each know that if she gets back together with Lance, these casual, lingering touches will be a thing of the past.

Parker’s chewing on a fingernail on her other hand, staring straight ahead. Her forehead’s all creased, and I know she’s overthinking this.

“Okay, walk me through the conversation,” I say. “Was it just a Sorry, babe, my bad, let’s pretend it didn’t happen?”

She rolls her eyes. “He’s not you. He cares about these things.”

My head snaps back a little, stung, but she’s too lost in thought to notice.

Is that what she thinks of me?

That I’m not capable of caring about people just because I don’t want to be in a committed relationship?

“He just got wrapped up in work and school. Didn’t know how to balance it all,” Parker explains.

I frown, not at all liking the way Lance seems to compartmentalize his life. A guy lucky enough to have Parker as his girlfriend should be all consumed by her. She shouldn’t be a checkbox on his “balanced life” worksheet.

“So what changed?” I ask.

She shakes her hand free of mine, and then leans all the way forward so that she’s staring at the floor. “He realized he needs me. Loves me.”

I swallow. “And you need him? Love him?”

The words feel sour on my tongue, and my body feels tight, like it wants to physically reject the words. And especially wants to reject what her answer will be.

“I think so,” she says quietly.

I ignore the strange splintering feeling inside me. “You think?”

“I don’t know!” she says, exploding off the couch. “I…can we just go back to the beginning of the conversation? I want to choose mute. I need to think, and I can’t think with you chirping in my ear.”

My temper spikes. “Not thirty seconds ago you were begging me for my thoughts on this. It’s not like I’ve been sitting here dying to force my opinion on you.”

“Do you even have an opinion?” she shoots back. “On anything?”

“I’ve got plenty of them,” I say, fully angry now. “But not on this. This has nothing to do with me!”

My outburst hangs between us, and she nods. “Right. You’re right, of course. This has nothing to do with you. I’m sorry, I just…I’m overwhelmed is all.”

“I know,” I say quietly. “I’m sorry for yelling at you. Probably not helpful.”

Her smile is small and sad and she doesn’t meet my eyes.

“Parks?” Instinctively, I know there’s something more. Something she hasn’t said yet.

Something I’m not going to like.

She lifts her eyes to mine, and they’re wide and a little bit scared.

“Lance wants me to move in with him.”

There’s no air in the room. I can’t even breathe.

“What did you tell him?” I manage.

“That I needed some time.”

I nod. “What are you going to tell him?”

Her eyes never leave mine, pleading with me to understand. “I’m going to tell him yes.”

Chapter 25


“I still can’t even believe this,” Lori says as she studies my leopard print flats before seeing them carefully into a moving box. “It’s the end of an era.”

I swallow.

The end of an era indeed.

I’ve had the exact same thought a million times.

And then I had about a million more thoughts wondering if I could get out of it—if I could back out of moving in with Lance.

For a second, I want to tell Lori everything. I want to confide in someone that the only reason I said yes to Lance was because I was scared. Scared to death that if I stayed with Ben things would change, horribly.

Except they’re still changing horribly, only now I have to deal with the change minus a best friend.

But telling Lori any of this is bound to bring up questions I’m not ready to answer.

Questions about me. And Ben.

About what the hell happened that last night in Cannon Beach.

So instead I say nothing, and continue my self–pep talk that moving in with Lance is the right decision. The move-forward-with-my-life decision.

I don’t look up from where I’m wrapping all of my perfume bottles in Bubble Wrap. “Thanks for helping me pack.”

“Oh, of course,” she says with a wave of her hand. “This is the easy part. At least you have two dudes to help with the heavy stuff tomorrow.”

I say nothing, and she pauses. “Right? Ben’s helping? Because I love you, but no way am I going to ruin my new manicure by helping you move that freaking dresser.”

“I haven’t really asked,” I say, keeping my back to her so she can’t read my expression. “But, yeah, I’m pretty sure Ben will help Lance load up the truck tomorrow.”

I’m not sure of this at all.

It’s not that Ben and I aren’t talking. We are. We’ve been perfectly civil. We have to be, because until noonish tomorrow, we’re living together. And we still carpool to work together.

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