Blurred Lines Page 6

Sometimes I wish I cared a little more about bigger things, like work, or my future, the way that Lance and Parker do.

But despite my mom checking my homework every night growing up, and my dad and stepmom paying me for every A I got in high school, the academic bug never really bit me. I did just enough to get to the next step: private high school, respectable college, and then on to a prestigious law school like my older brother. And my sister.

It was the Olsen family path.

And one I didn’t take.

I’d made it as far as applying. Was even accepted to a couple JD programs, although nowhere particularly impressive like the sibs.

And then was hit upside the head with the unpleasant surprise that I had absolutely zero interest in being a lawyer.

Two years later, Dad’s finally getting over it. Mom’s not.

Oh well.

I pay for our lunch as agreed, and back at the house, I keep my fingers crossed that Parker will be in one of her laundry moods, because I’m wearing my last pair of clean boxers.

Even though I’m far from a neat freak, I draw the line at doing underwear repeats. Especially when I’m planning on having female company. And since it’s Saturday night, I definitely plan on having female company.

But Parker is in her room with the door closed, not prancing around the washing machine with her fancy detergent that she keeps hidden somewhere, so I’m on my own with the off-brand detergent.

An hour later, I’m halfway through “folding” some of my T-shirts when Parker comes into the kitchen and shoots an appalled look at my laundry basket. Wordlessly she dumps the entire basket onto the table and begins refolding my shirts.

“Thanks, Mom.” I start to back toward the fridge for a beer, but she makes a buzzing noise and points at the pile. “I’ll help. Not do all of it.”

“Isn’t this, like, a step back in the women’s movement?” I ask, trying a little extra hard to line up some of the edges on my folding now that I have Laundry Nazi watching my every move. “You doing my laundry?”

“Totally. And if you tell anyone, I’ll de-ball you. But I find it kind of soothing. And I love the smell of clean clothes.” She lifts a shirt and sniffs.

I pause. “Well, that’s not disturbing at all. You and your doll Polly stay away from my new dresser. No sniffing the goods inside.”

“Trust me, once these clothes enter the smelly pigsty that is your bedroom, I’m steering clear. But fresh out of the dryer, before you’ve had a chance to sweat all over them? I love the smell of clean cotton.”

“You are such a weirdo,” I say. And then, on a whim, “Hey, Parks, you should come with me tonight.”

Parker doesn’t pause in folding as she meets my eyes. “Could you be more specific? I don’t have my calendar where I keep track of your every move handy.”

“There are a couple of parties happening. Thought I might hit up both, see which one is better.”

She clutches a T-shirt to her chest excitedly, her eyes wide and girlish. “You mean it? I get to tag along and watch you put the moves on eighteen-year-olds?”

“Hey, you were eighteen once, and I didn’t put the moves on you,” I say.

I don’t add that for the life of me, I still don’t know why I didn’t put the moves on her. Because sometimes when I look back at all those years, I’ll have a split second of regret that I didn’t act fast—that I didn’t snatch up the best girl I’ve ever met when I had the chance. Because I can’t now. She’s someone else’s girl. That, and I’m too afraid I’d mess up the best thing that ever happened to me.

“Good thing, too,” she replies. “If we were dating, I wouldn’t be caught dead folding your shirts.”

“You don’t help Lance do his laundry?”

I’d meant it as an off-the-cuff comment, but her fingers falter a little, and I wonder if I’ve inadvertently struck a nerve. Maybe I should ask if everything’s okay with them.

But she recovers.

“Nah,” she says, with an easy smile. “He’s almost as good a folder as me. It’s part of why I love him.”

I fan myself. “What, he’s a fantastic folder? Shit, you better put a ring on it, Parks!”

She makes a face and flings the last T-shirt at me. “That one should go. It has holes.”

“It’s comfortable,” I say, glancing down at the faded Boston Red Sox shirt. I can’t even remember where I got it; I’m a Chicago White Sox guy.

“It’s a rag,” she says, snatching it out of my hands and tossing it into a bucket under the sink where we keep the cleaning stuff.

“Do I get to do that It’s a rag routine with your underwear next time you do laundry?” I ask. “Because I’ve seen some of your panties. You may as well stitch death to boner across the front.”

She takes a sip of her water. “New house rule: No talking about Parker’s panties. Actually, no using the word panties at all.”

I’m actually pretty sure that’s not a new house rule. It sounds familiar, but I’m not about to remind her of this.

“Oh, come on,” I argue. “You help my color-blind self pick out shirts, so why not let me return the favor by telling you which panties are going to depress the hell out of Lance?”


I tell her anyway. “Those big bunchy ones that are light brown.”

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