Blurred Lines Page 55

“I don’t know, but damn. I’m allowed to change my mind, right? I mean, I’m not saying I’m going to go rushing into anything or doing ring shopping on weekends, but that doesn’t mean I’m not open to dating if the right girl comes along.”

My throat stings. I don’t understand why, but this little announcement of his both surprises and wounds me.

Ben’s been waiting for the right girl?

I’d always assumed that he was just determinedly single. To think that he actually wants to be someone’s boyfriend—

It rocks the very foundation of who I thought he was.

Of who I thought we were.

It doesn’t make sense. Nothing makes sense anymore.

“You’re really going to date Lori?” I try to keep the bitchy note out of my tone, but fail miserably.

“What the hell is with this double standard?” he asks, pushing to his feet, his expression full-on angry now.

“What double standard?” I get to my feet as well so we’re facing off.

“The one where you get to have the boyfriend and the best friend, but I’m only allowed to have you?”

“No!” I say. “That’s not what that is, I just thought—”

He crosses his arms. “What? What did you think?”

I wince at his icy tone, but I can’t respond, because the answer that’s on the tip of my tongue will destroy us.

Because the crazy thought that keeps going through my head is that I can’t fathom the fact that Ben’s been waiting for the right girl…

Because it means that I’m not her.

All this time, I’ve never let myself think of Ben as boyfriend material, because I thought that he didn’t want that.

But that isn’t it at all.

He just doesn’t want me.

Which is fine. I don’t want him, either. I mean, we’re just friends who—

“Oh my God.” I squeeze my eyes shut. “We did it.”

“Did what?” His voice is still irritated.

I force myself to meet his dark eyes. “We messed up our friendship. We complicated it with sex.”

“That, or you complicated it by deciding to get back together with your asshole ex-boyfriend.”

“Hey!” I point a finger at him. “That is not fair. I asked your opinion on that, and you said—”

“It shouldn’t matter what I say!” Ben shouts. “You either want Lance, or you want—”

He breaks off, and rubs both hands through his hair, but I step forward. “I want Lance or I want whom?” I press.

It’s crazy how much I want him to finish that sentence.

Instead his arms drop to his side and his eyes shutter. “This is fucking nuts. I’m getting out of here.”

“Great plan. Run away when things get tough,” I say snidely. “I can see Lori’s a lucky girl. You’re going to make a really great boyfriend.”

Ben looks up then, and his eyes are ice-cold. Colder than I’ve ever seen them.

“I’ve got one word for you, Parker, but know that when I say it, I’m not saying that I want to go back to how things were before we were fuck buddies. When I say it, I’m saying that I don’t want to go back at all.”

I feel a stab of panic. “Ben—”

He holds up a hand. “No, listen. You’re right to move in with Lance. You need to move forward. But I need to move forward too, and I can’t do it with someone who thinks I’m nothing but a superficial, womanizing asshole. I can’t do it with someone who thinks she can have it all, but doesn’t want the same for me.”

“Wait, Ben—”

He leans forward so we’re eye to eye, and the look on his face is lethal as he utters the one word I never imagined hurting so much: our safe word.


And just like that, my best friend walks out of my life.

Chapter 26



“You’re sure you’re okay with this?”

“For the last time, yes,” I say. Then I give Lori my best smile to soften the edge of my tone.

But seriously, she’d asked me about twenty times, in a dozen different ways, if I’m okay with this, and if I have to hear it one more time…

Of course I’m okay with this.

Why wouldn’t I be okay having dinner with my best friend—former best friend—and her live-in boyfriend?

Sounds great.

I open the door to the trendy Italian restaurant Lori’s been yammering about all week and allow her to go in first.

I’m not really big on all the crowds and hype around the “opening” of restaurants, but Lori knows someone who knows someone and acted like getting reservations on a Friday night was like the Heisman Trophy of eating or something, so I’m trying not to be a dick about it.

The place is noisy and packed, which I kind of hate, but it smells amazing, so I try to think positive.

Lori tells (shouts) our name to the frazzled hostess, who points to the back of the restaurant. Lori nods before beckoning me to follow her.

I take a deep breath and wind around the tiny, too-close-together tables, trying to brace myself for what’s to come.

And then I see her.

I see Parker, and all thoughts of thinking positive about the evening fly out the window.

I don’t think I can do this.

But, of course, I have to.

Lori and I have been on a handful of dates now, and I’m officially out of excuses for dodging this double date.

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