Blurred Lines Page 57

“Became friends with someone we shouldn’t have,” I mutter around a bite of my pork.

Parker’s fork clatters to her plate, but she reaches for her glass of wine to cover it, and the place is so noisy, nobody seems to notice.

Except I notice.

Just like I notice the look of hurt on her face and feel instant regret. This fight that we’re having is stupid. I get that. Six solid years of friendship, and I lost my temper all because she thought I didn’t want a girlfriend.

But damn, that had burned.

The way it didn’t even occur to her that I could be a boyfriend.

The way she couldn’t even begin to picture that if I cared for someone, I would treat them like they were my everything.

The way she’d thought I wasn’t good enough.

Sure, I’d been her boy toy for a while there, and that had been more than okay. I’d gone into that situation eyes open, perfectly content to be there.

But until our conversation in her bedroom that last day, I hadn’t realized that she only thought of me as a boy toy.

And it had hurt.

Just like she’s hurt now, by my careless statement about regretting the friends I made in college.

But I’m not feeling all that apologetic just now. Not when Lance’s arm drops around the back of her chair as he starts to tell some boring-ass story about an art show they went to last night.

The only time Parker and I ever went to art shows was to make fun of the art, but, hey, if her boyfriend wants to go…

“So, what are you two doing the rest of the weekend?” Parker asks, putting her elbows on the table and smiling at Lori.

Lori gives me a nervous little glance. “Oh, I don’t know. No plans really. I have my sister’s baby shower tomorrow afternoon, and then—”

“We’re going to Portland City Grill,” I interrupt.

Both Parker and Lori look at me, and it’s tough to tell who’s more surprised.

“We are?” Lori asks.

I give her a slow, seductive smile. “Surprise.”

And then I feel like the biggest asshole because she gives me this beyond-happy smile, and I realize I’ve just done the ultimate dick move of toying with one girl’s emotions just to get a rise out of another girl.

I suspect Parker knows it, too, because she’s no longer looking wounded; she’s looking pissed.

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

Not only have I given Lori the wrong impression about where our “relationship” is going by claiming to be taking her to one of the nicest restaurants in Portland, but now I’ll have to actually try to get reservations, plus foot the ridiculously expensive bill.

All because I’d been wanting to jog Parker’s memory of our night there, back when we’d been carefree and happy.


I need to regroup.

I can’t think in this crowded, noisy hellhole, so I take the coward’s way out and stand under the pretense of having to go to the bathroom.

Problem is, Parker’s had the exact same thought, and she stands at the exact same time, also announcing that she has to use the restroom.

I start to sit, but Lori touches my hand with a little laugh. “You two can go at the same time. I’m sure Lance and I can manage to make conversation without you.”

Fuck again.

The old Parker and Ben would have had no problem heading toward the restroom at the same time. We wouldn’t have thought a thing about it.

The new Parker and Ben…

I force a smile and avoid Parker’s eyes as I gesture for her to precede me in the direction of the restrooms.

The cramped dining room and the noise of tipsy diners prevents us from having to make conversation, but then we step into the deserted hallway and it’s annoyingly silent.

Still, we say nothing as we walk to the restrooms.




The tiny restaurant also apparently equates to tiny facilities, which means there’s only one coed bathroom. “You first,” I mutter.

She nods in thanks and brushes past me, but before she can close the door, my palm is on the door and I’m pushing it open, crowding her backward as I follow her in.

I shut the door, leaving us alone in a tiny dark room lit only by a few tiny candles that smell like lavender or some shit.

“What the hell, Ben,” she says, pushing at my shoulders. “I have to pee.”

“You do not,” I snap. “You were trying to escape the table just like I was.”

She says nothing. “I can’t believe you got us into this. Why didn’t you just tell her you didn’t like Italian food?”

“Because everybody likes Italian food. Why didn’t you just tell her that you and I aren’t on good terms?”

“Why didn’t you? You’re her boyfriend.”

I open my mouth to refute this, only to realize that my lack of boyfriend potential is the entire reason for our fight in the first place, and I refuse to give her any ammunition.

“You and Lance seem cozy,” I say snidely. “I take it he hasn’t gotten bored yet? Remembered all the reasons he dumped you in the first place?”

Shit. Too far.

Way too far.

Even if Parker hadn’t gasped in surprise, I would have known I’d crossed a cruel line with that.

I reach for her arms, gently, but she jerks back. Only she can’t, because the stupid bathroom is so small, we’re still chest to chest, both of us angry, both of us hurting.

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