Blurred Lines Page 9

Is it just me, or is his voice a little too cheerful? Like in the fake kind of way. I study him carefully as I step into his apartment, shutting the door behind me.

“Sorry, I should have texted,” I say.

I expect him to tell me that it doesn’t matter, that he’s just happy to see me, but instead he sort of shrugs. At least he starts putting away some of the stuff on his kitchen counter, where he’s obviously been deep in the books. I tell myself that it’s a good sign, but I’m all too apprehensive that something may be even more wrong than I first suspected.

Nothing about this is the typical reaction of a boyfriend happy to see his long-lost girlfriend.

I start to sit on one of his counter stools, a part of me still hoping that the tension’s all in my head, but at the last minute I stand back up instead of sitting.

“Hey, Lance?”


“What’s going on?”

He looks up from where he’s closing a spiral notebook. “What do you mean?”

I just gaze at him with a look that says Please don’t play that game.

To his credit, he doesn’t. His shoulders slump just the tiniest bit as he lowers himself to a chair, his hands braced on his knees as he looks at the floor.



I know that look.

That’s a dumper look.

Maybe I should sit down after all.

I sit beside him, although I leave a chair between us. So much for coming over for a little booty call.

“I should have told you earlier.” His voice is quiet.

“Tell me what, exactly?”

“I just…I’m not really feeling it, Parker.” And then I have to give him credit, because he does the brave thing and actually makes eye contact with me as he breaks my heart. “I haven’t been feeling it for a while.”

No air. There is no air in this apartment.

“Okay. Okay,” I say again, because damn it, there’s a lump in my throat. “So you, like, don’t want to do this anymore?”

Don’t want to do us?

He reaches out for my hand, his fingertips brushing mine. “It just hit me toward the end of summer. We’re so young, you know? You’re my first serious girlfriend. How do we know that this is it?”

Because you just know, I want to scream.

But…do I even know? I mean, hypothetically, if I’d shown up tonight and Lance had had a ring, would I have felt anything beyond panic?

“Is there someone else?” I ask quietly. I hate myself for asking, but I wouldn’t be human—or female—if I didn’t want to know.

“No,” he says quickly. “I mean, there is this teacher’s aide, and…I mean, I noticed her, but I didn’t cheat. I’d never ever cheat, Parker, you know that.”

I know I should be focusing on the no-cheating part, but all I really heard was the “I noticed her.”

He’s been noticing other girls? No, worse than that. A girl. Singular.

I mean, yeah, nothing had happened. But he’d noticed her.

It feels like there’s a big kitchen knife in my chest.

He squeezes my fingers. “I’m not ready to say goodbye to you forever. I just think we should take a step back.”

I blink furiously to bat away the tears, and his face kind of crumples in regret, but I stand and back away from him. “A step back? So, what, you can go play the field, and then come back to me if you decide I’m what you want?”

He meets my eyes, and I see that they’re a little bit shiny, too, and when he speaks, his voice is hoarse. “I feel like an ass, Parker.”

“Well, you are an ass,” I hear myself say as I stand and march toward his front door, fumbling at the doorknob. Good response, Parker. Super mature.

But my verbal vomit continues. “Don’t expect me to just be sitting around waiting,” I choke out.

Great. The soap opera script in my head is still unreeling.

“I won’t,” he says, a little desperately as he comes after me. “I want you to be happy, I just don’t think I’m the guy to—”

I slam the door on his sentence and it feels fantastic.

I wobble on my high heels toward the elevator, stabbing at the down button frantically. I keep an ear open in case Lance comes chasing after me, telling me how wrong he was, that he doesn’t want to end it after all.

But the elevator door opens, and Lance’s door stays shut.

I hiccup out a sob and step inside.

I’m pretty sure that this is no break.

This is over.

I can’t run through the lobby, partially because of the damn shoes, partially because Erik is giving me a worried, confused look.

“Ms. Blanton?”

I wave and give him a big smile as I sail past. A smile that I’m sure looks entirely clownish, given that I’m dying inside.

Erik smiles sympathetically in response. I’m sure the guy’s done enough people watching to know when a girl is fleeing after a fight with her boyfriend.


Oh God.

I’ve just been dumped.

Solidly dumped, too. It hadn’t been a big blowup fight; it had just been a quiet I don’t love you anymore, and that’s worse. So much worse than if I’d committed some transgression that had gotten me kicked to the curb.

I make it back to my car, and by now, the state of the ozone layer is the last thing on my mind. I drop my head to the wheel and debate my next move.

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