Blurred Lines Page 66

The smart thing to do is to go to my parents’. Or Casey’s or Lori’s.

Or even a hotel.

I need to think things over. To figure out my game plan.

I get in my car and drive to my parents’. I make it all the way to their driveway, but not out of the car.

I put the car in reverse.

Retrace my route back to downtown, but this time, I’m not going back to Lance’s place.

I’m going home.

Chapter 32


I used to be pretty good about picking the noncrazy girls out at a bar.

But I must be out of practice, because the girl currently dancing on my coffee table—even though no music is playing—is all-out nuts.

“Demi, honey,” I say, keeping my tone as calm as possible. “How about I call you a cab?”

The only response I get is a shirt in the face. Her shirt.

“Christ,” I mutter. So not in the mood for this.

“I wanna dance!” she hollers. “Come dance with me, Blake!”

I scratch my cheek. I swear to God she didn’t seem this weird in the bar. A little hyper maybe, but not loony bin.

I’ve just been so damn desperate to lose myself in someone else. To get rid of the ache that seems to have taken up permanent residence in my chest.

“I’ll dance with you if you get down from the table,” I lie.

She does this sort of saucy hip wiggle, and her fingers drop to the fly of her jeans. She wiggles her eyebrows as she unbuttons it, and I realize I’m about to be subjected to a nonconsensual striptease.

A knock at the door saves me from having to watch as she slowly turns around, bending over as her tight jeans start to make a downward trek over her ass.

“Please let that be John,” I mutter.

I’m obviously going to have to physically remove this girl from my coffee table, and an extra set of hands will be majorly appreciated.

It’s not John.

“Parks! Hey!” I say, registering that my chain of emotions is something like panic, joy, and then confusion.

Confusion, because I know pretty much all of Parker Blanton’s expressions, but for the life of me, I don’t recognize the one on her face right now.

“Um, everything okay?” I ask.

Then I jolt forward as a candy-scented female comes careening into me from behind. Demi’s bra is still on, thank God. Her pants are not.

“Who’s this?” the surprise stripper chirps.

Parker’s smile is wide and friendly as she fixes her gaze on Demi. Uh-oh. That face, I know.

Poor Demi.

“Hi, I’m Parker.” Her voice is friendly.

Demi’s nose wrinkles. “That’s a boy’s name.”

“Mmm,” Parker says in a considering tone as she comes in and sets her bag down by the front door. A big bag. I wonder where she’s headed. “Is it? What’s your name, darling?”


“Well, Demi.” Parker links her fingers together and gives Demi a polite, professional look. “I’m really sorry to ruin your evening like this, but my brother…he’s not well.”

For the first time, Demi’s tireless smile wavers. “Your brother?”

Parker gives a head nod in my direction and I hide a grin. “He’s supposed to be in rehab for sex addiction. Seems he got out.”

Demi gives me a nervous look. “I like sex.”

“I’m sure you do, dear,” Parker coos. “But see, Ben here, his tastes are a bit…singular.”

Demi licks her lips, nervous now. “Like…handcuffs?”

Parker’s laugh is just the tiniest bit condescending. “Oh, sweetie. No. He likes dolls.”

I stifle a laugh. Barely.

But Parker’s just getting started. “He likes to have them watch while he’s, well…rutting. Likes to brush their hair. Likes to line them up right next to him while he—”

“Thanks, sis,” I interrupt. “For making sure I get back to rehab.”

Parker pats my chest. “It’s the least I can do, bro. I knew something was amiss when they said you’d left Polly behind.”

Parker glances at Demi. “Polly’s his favorite doll. He was allowed to take one with him to rehab, providing he didn’t do anything, well…weird.”

By now Parker’s talking to Demi’s back as the younger girl makes a beeline for the living room, and comes back in record time, her jeans on but still unbuttoned as she scrambles to pull her shirt back on.

“Thanks a lot, ma’am,” Demi says as she brushes past Parker. She ignores me altogether.

“You’re welcome, sweetie,” Parker says with a smile. “You need a cab?”

“Nah, my friends are at the bar just around the corner.”

“Okay, then,” Parker says with a little finger wiggle. “Bye-bye now!”

Neither of us move after she shuts the door behind Demi.

“I know what that was,” I say finally. “Payback for that time I told that one girl that you had a doll collection—”

But Parker’s not interested in memory lane, because she interrupts me.

“Talk or mute?” she asks.

“I, um, what?” I ask, confused at the sudden appearance of our old game. Generally we do it only when the other person clearly has something on their mind.

And while I definitely have stuff on my mind, it’s nothing that I can talk about—

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