Blurred Lines Page 64

Eryn gets up and sings a country song that I think might have a subtext of stalking, but I can’t be sure.

Parker tries to drag Lance up onstage, but he flat-out refuses, and her eyes meet mine before looking warily at Lance, and I know she’s feeling conflicted. That she wants to sing with me, too, and knows that maybe we shouldn’t.

Lori saves her from the choice. “Hey, Parks, get up there and do a ballad.”

“A ballad?” Eryn asks, wrinkling her nose. “Isn’t that kind of a buzzkill?”

“Not when Parker does one,” Lori says confidently. “Just watch. The room will fall quiet, but in the totally entranced way.”

“Do it, babe,” Lance says. “I love your voice.”

He’s looking at his cellphone as he says this, and I resist the urge to roll my eyes. Ass.

Still, if I can’t sing with Parks, hearing her voice—just hers—is the next best thing.

I glance up, surprised to see her watching me. Almost as though she’s looking for permission, although for what, I have no idea.

“Do it,” I say, lifting my drink to her.

She bites her lip and stares at me for just long enough that I wonder if everyone else thinks it’s awkward, and then she walks toward the stage.

“Wait, we didn’t pick your song!” Lori shrieks after her. “Damn it, I hope she does Adele.”

Parker doesn’t pick Adele.

The song she does pick takes my breath away.

It’s not a trendy one. Not even close. “I’ll Stand by You” by the Pretenders.

Our freshman year of college, when she and I were just starting to get close, I’d gotten drunk one night. Not super drunk, just talk about things I shouldn’t drunk.

And I’d confessed in a moment of weakness that this drippy, mopey song was my favorite.

I hadn’t thought about it since that night.

But Parker remembered. All this time, she remembered.

Her voice is tentative at first, but grows in confidence as a hush falls over the room, and whoever’s working the lights must be paying attention, because everything dims so there’s just one shining down on Parker.

And then suddenly I can’t breathe, because her eyes find mine. They find mine and they hold.

And even though there are a hundred people in the room, and her boyfriend is sitting right next to me, it feels like she’s singing to me. For me.

I don’t move a muscle as she sings.

Sings about friendship. About being there for another person.

Her eyes never leave mine, and I know from the deepest part inside me that this song is for me. For us.

And it’s not a bubblegum, best friend pop song.

The song is bittersweet. Agonized. Raw.

Tears are streaming down her face by the time she’s done, and I’ll deny it to my dying day, but my eyes feel a little damp, too.

I can’t shake the feeling that Parker just told me goodbye. Not goodbye to our friendship, because that will always be there in some capacity.

But goodbye to the way we used to be. The way we could have been.

The crowd goes nuts for her. Of course they do. She’s the best damn singer in the room, and everyone knows it.

“Damn, Lance, you better hold onto your girl,” Lori’s boyfriend shouts over the whoops and yells.

I give him a sharp look, wondering if he was talking about me, but then he motions to the room in general. “Every guy in here wants to hit that right now.”

I tense, but Lance merely smiles, looking completely unperturbed, completely confident that his girl is, well…his.

And now I’m wondering if that moment was all in my head. If everyone in the room thought Parker was singing to them.

The thought depresses the hell out of me.

I feel someone staring at me and glance up, surprised to see weird Eryn studying me with those intense black eyes of her. And then she gives me an almost imperceptible nod. One of understanding.

Of sympathy.

She knows.

I look away and am trying to figure out if there’s a good way for me to call it an early night, when Lance elbows me. “Dude, let’s go fetch everyone another round. I’ll buy, but need an extra set of hands.”

It’s quite possibly the last thing I want to do: spend one-on-one time with the guy sharing Parker’s bed every night.

But then I see Parker making her way back toward the table, and I realize between dealing with Lance and facing Parker when I’m still feeling like an emotional wreck, the first is my better option.

Only I’m wrong about that. So wrong.

Lance does order the drinks, but that’s not why he wanted me to come with him.

“Hey, come here a sec,” he says, gesturing toward a less crowded part of the bar. I glance at the bartender, but, seeing as she has seven drinks to make, I’ve got absolutely zero reason not to cooperate with Lance’s weird demand.

But I should have thought of a reason. I should have thought of all the reasons.

Because Lance, the stupid asshole who once dumped Parker, pulls a small red jewelry box out of his pocket and, after glancing around to make sure nobody’s paying attention to us, opens it.

Somehow I was hoping it was earrings or a stupid pin, or something.

Instead, it’s my worst fear staring back at me.

“Do you think she’ll like it?” he asks, having to shout over the crowd, and it strikes me how weird this is. What kind of douche carries around an engagement ring to karaoke bar?

An engagement ring.

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