Blurred Lines Page 58

“I’m sorry,” I say after several moments of strained silence. “That was an asshole thing to say.”

She glances at her feet before crossing her arms. “It’s okay. I know you hate me now.”

My chest tightens. “No. No.”

This time when my hands reach for her, she doesn’t move away, and I gently press my fingers into her upper arms as I shake her, just slightly. “I’m mad, yes, but I don’t hate you, Parks. I could never.”

She still won’t look at me. “You basically told me our friendship was over. All because we had one little fight. That’s not what real friendship is, Ben. You don’t just get to end it because you’re mad at someone.”

You hurt me, I want to say. You’re my best friend. The one who’s supposed to tell me I’d be the best boyfriend in the world and that any girl would be lucky to have me, not the one who laughs outright at the thought that I might need someone to love.

“I’m sorry,” I say again, because I can’t say any of the other stuff.

But it’s not enough. I know the quiet apology isn’t enough to repair the rift between us.

Mostly because I don’t even fully understand what the rift is, and I suspect Parker doesn’t, either.

“You should get out before someone comes and finds us in here together,” she says quietly.

“Yeah.” But I don’t move.

Neither does she.

And then I’m pulling her closer, my hands sliding up her arms.

I cup her face, tilting it up to mine, bringing her lips closer—

Parker turns her head.

“Don’t do this,” she says with a harsh gasp.

My blood feels like it’s turning to ice water in my veins.


I know she wants it. It’s written all over her face. I know it because I know her. She wants me, and the thought gives me a flare of hope like I’ve never—

“Please, Ben,” she says, her voice small, her eyes pleading. “Please don’t make a cheater out of me.”

Right. Right.

Because she’s with Lance now. Again.

And I’m sort of with Lori.

And then, because I’ve never been able to deny Parker Blanton anything that she wanted, and what she wants is Lance, I release her.

Slowly, though, my fingers savoring the familiar soft skin.

And then I let her go.

I let her go all the way then, because she’s my best friend.

And because I care way too much to hurt her any more than I already have by keeping her close.

Chapter 27



Ben and Lori broke up.

If you could even call what they had being together.

“It doesn’t even make sense,” Lori is saying, tapping her pen furiously against her notebook as she sits next to me in the conference room. “We didn’t even…”

She glances around at the still mostly empty room.

“You know.”

I try to ignore the thrill that this news gives me.

Ben and Lori never slept together.

It shouldn’t matter to me, but it matters so damn much I can barely breathe.

“Maybe because he respects you more than all those other girls,” I say kindly. “Knows that you deserve more than wham bam thank you ma’am.”

Her pen taps even faster. “But if that’s true, then why did he end it? Like, he didn’t see me as the good-time girl or the long-term girl.”

I purse my lips. “Tell me again what he said, exactly.”

She gives me a strange look. “I’ve told you like two times already. Honestly, you’re supposed to be the one doing the talking. He’s your BFF. Explain him to me!”

I hesitate. I’ve yet to tell Lori that Ben and I aren’t exactly on speaking terms, and I’m a little surprised she hasn’t seemed to pick up on this. Neither has Lance. It makes no sense to me. I’ve never felt more alone, more lost, and two of the people closest to me don’t even notice.

And the person who’s supposed to be closest to me—my best friend—isn’t even kind of my friend anymore.

“He just said I deserved more,” Lori says with a shrug, after it becomes obvious that I have nothing to add to the conversation.

“I don’t even know what that means,” she continues. “More what? Then he started talking about his job, and his family, and something about how his older brother just got some sort of public service award that he’ll never get, and he’s saying all of this, and all I can think is, wait, so I’m not even going to get laid?”

Lori is sitting to my right, and a dramatic sigh comes from my left. We both turn to give an irritated look to Eryn.

Too late, I realize that while our conversation started as a whisper, it got increasingly louder as Lori got more and more upset.

Eryn confirms that she overheard everything with a snide remark. “You do know there are better places to talk about your love life than the conference room?”

Lori lifts a finger, and I can tell she’s getting ready to go all diva, but I gently push her hand down. “Eavesdrop much?” I ask Eryn.

She doesn’t look even remotely sheepish as she turns to face us more fully.

Eryn gives a quick glance around to ensure our boss still hasn’t shown up, and that the only two other people in the room are at the far opposite end of the enormous conference table, one talking on her phone, the other playing what seems to be Words with Friends.

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