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What’s Left of Me

 

 

Prologue

 

 

Have you ever wished for another life? A second chance? Or just a glimpse into the future? I have. Often. If only I had paid attention to the signs that were right in front of me. If only…

I don’t believe in holding onto regrets or taking things for granted. What is handed to me is not always welcome, but I’ve learned to deal with it one day at a time. I’ve learned that in order to build strength, there has to be a struggle. Living is my struggle. It may seem so simple, but for me it’s far from easy.

“Aundrea … are you listening to me?”

My fingers stop spinning the thumb ring that sits perfectly on my left hand. Blinking, I meet Dr. Olson’s golden eyes.

She lets out a small sigh.

“Aundrea, I think it’s time we look into other options. There hasn’t been a significant enough change in your lab results with these drugs for me to say we should continue with this plan. I’m sorry.”

Other options. It’s been the same two words since my Hodgkin’s came back two years ago.

“What other options are left?” my dad asks, taking the words right out of my mouth.

“I want to get Aundrea in a trial study at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. With these two high doses of chemo drugs followed by an autologous bone marrow transplant we’ve seen patients have a higher than average success rate. I know the oncologist in charge of the study.”

She pauses, focusing her attention back on me. “I think you are the ideal candidate. The drugs are intense, but I believe it’s worth looking into, and we can use your own cells for the transplant.”

My mom clears her throat. “When are you thinking of doing all this?”

“The end of the summer. Aundrea’s white counts need to be a little higher to get the best results for the stem cells that are needed. The cells will be frozen and stored until they’re needed for the transplant.”

“We’ll do it,” my parents say simultaneously.

They always seem to do this. Make decisions about my treatment without consulting me first.

“How long?” I ask.

“Four rounds. You’ll go in every two weeks; then, about four weeks after your last treatment, if your blood counts are high enough, the transplant can be done. There is a facility called Hope Lodge that provides patients and family members with accommodations while going through treatment. I can get the contact information for you if you’d like.”

“Thank you, but that won’t be necessary. Our other daughter lives in Rochester,” my dad says, looking over at my mom who is nodding her head.

Dr. Olson looks between my parents, then back at me. “Aundrea, what do you think of all this?”

What do I think?

“There’s no way to do this here? I mean … I have friends here. My life is here.”

“Aundrea, honey,” my mom says softly, taking my hand in hers. “This won’t be permanent. Just a few months. Your friends will be here when you get back. Besides, you’ll get to be with Genna and Jason, and we’ll come visit on the weekends.”



“I’d rather not go to Rochester.” Pulling my hand away, I look back at Dr. Olson who is sitting behind her big black desk. “Isn’t there any way I can do the bone marrow transplant here?” I plead.

“Unfortunately, this study, with these drugs, is only being done in Rochester. If you choose not to do the trial, we can look into other options, such as different chemo options, while we put your name on a bone marrow transplant list. However, that can take many months. I honestly believe this is the best option for you—especially after everything you’ve already been through.”

There are times I already feel trapped in this life I live by not being able to do the things I want, and now I’m being forced to pick up my life and move to a brand new city, locked away from society and my friends. I want what’s best for my health, but it feels as if no one seems to care about the things that matter the most to me, despite how many times I try to tell them.

Cancer.

It can break you. Or it can make you stronger. I choose stronger.

I choose survival.


 

 

Chapter One

 

Three months later.

 

“Are you done?” I murmur through clenched teeth as Jean, my best friend, continues to line my lips in an attempt to make my thin mouth look fuller, yet natural. Unfortunately, I wasn’t blessed with voluptuous lips like Angelina Jolie.

“Hold still. I will be if you stop fidgeting and trying to peek.” She takes the handheld mirror away from me. She brushes my lips one more time with blood red lipstick, and finishes the look off by applying my favorite twenty-four hour lip gloss.

“Okay, done!” she exclaims almost too loudly.

I look up through the fake eyelashes that she applied earlier as she backs away, smiling. Finally, she allows me to look. I notice my eyes first. I’ve always been told I have sweet, angelic eyes. Tonight they’re outlined in dark black liquid liner with smoky eye shadow that has just the slightest hint of purple. Surprisingly, the dark eyes don’t clash with the red lips. She brushed on a few shades of golden bronzer to accent my high cheekbones and add color to my pale complexion. It makes my skin looks smooth, hiding any blemish that may have been present. As I glance over the top of the mirror, I’m not sure if I should smile or freak out. This look says one thing only: Come fuck me.

“I know what you’re thinking.”

You have no idea. “Yeah?”

“Yes. You’re thinking it might be a little too much.”

Oh, she’s quite good.

But trust me, you look hot, Aundrea. All the guys will be lined up to buy you drinks tonight!” Smiling at me devilishly, she adds, “And you know we like boys who buy us drinks.” Jean takes one last look at me before turning on her high heels and walking back into my room.

I get up from the vanity bench and follow her into my bedroom. “Where are you going?”

Ignoring me, she makes her way into my closet, flipping through my small selection of clothes. “You can’t wear what you have on.”

Looking down at my jeans and off-the-shoulder orange top, I ask, “What’s wrong with what I have on?”

“You need something sexy.”

“Sexy? I don’t do sexy.”

She pulls out a few shirts, holding them up to me. Shaking her head, she starts digging through the suitcase she brought with her for the night. She has enough clothes to dress every female in her dorm. The woman loves clothes, and clothes love her.

Jean is going to school to become a fashion designer at the University of Minnesota and I just moved in with my sister, Genna, and her husband, so this is the first time I’ve seen her in two weeks.

I watch as she pulls out a black piece of cloth. Turning to face me, she throws it my way, hitting me square in the face as I try to act fast to catch it. “Put that on. I think I saw some red pumps in your closet that will go perfectly with it.”

I hold up the small piece of fabric with wide eyes, stretching it. Is this supposed to be a shirt or a dress? Maybe it’s a skirt? I can’t tell.

As if she can read my thoughts, she answers, “It’s a dress.”

“You have got to be kidding me. What size is this? This won’t even cover my ass!”

Jean is a size four. I’m a size six on a good day. For some ungodly reason, she always thinks I can “squeeze” into her clothes.

“Dre! Stop over-thinking everything. You look great, and this dress, paired with your red shoes, will look even better!”

I cannot believe she talked me into going dancing tonight. Of all the things we could do while she visits me, she chooses that.

“I thought we’d go dancing. Jump around, listen to you scream out the wrong lyrics to the song … who knows, maybe you’ll even get a guy to buy you a drink with those fancy dance moves!” she’d said.

“Jean, seriously, this dress looks as if it was made for a ninth grader. It’s not going to fit me!” Somehow, whenever I let her dress me up, I end up looking like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, minus the red hair.

She snatches it from my hands, holding it out in front of her and stretching it more. “Relax, one of my sisters loaned it to me.” Sisters? She’s the only girl out of four children. I still have a hard time hearing her refer to the women in her sorority as her sisters. “See? It’s spandex. It’ll fit. Go. Put. It. On.” She throws it back at me, hitting me in the face for the second time. It’s strapless and simple with a little lace embroidered up the right side.

Letting out a sigh of defeat, I respond, a little annoyed. “Just because it stretches”—I stretch the dress in the air like she did—“doesn’t mean it will fit me the same as you. You do realize I have seven inches on you?”

Standing at five foot nine, I’m the tallest of my friends. It doesn’t help that my best friend and sister are both five-two, so when I stand next to them, especially if I’m wearing heels, I look like a giraffe.

“So? It will be a little short. You’ll fit right in!” She puts her hands on my shoulders and gives me a slight push toward the bathroom. “Stop being over-dramatic. You have a great ass, Aundrea. If you happen to show a little cheek, you’ll be doing everyone a favor. Trust me. Now hurry! I told Shannon we’d be there at nine and it’s quarter to, so chop chop!” She spanks me on the ass when she says the last part.

Groaning in defeat, I stomp into the bathroom to put on the shortest black dress I will ever wear in this lifetime. And, let it be known, it will be the last.

Speaking through the closed door, I ask, “We’re meeting Shannon?”

“Yeah! Hope that’s okay. I thought it might be fun to make it a girls’ night. She wants to see you too.”

Shannon works for my brother in law, Jason. He owns his own Veterinary Clinic here in Rochester. She’s one of the three vet techs in the small clinic. I’ve known her for a while, but we’re not close. Jean and I came to visit Genna for a weekend earlier this summer and the four of us went out a couple times. We got along well, but she clicked with Jean right away.

“Sure. That should be fun.”

I walk out of the bathroom and Jean’s face instantly brightens. “Aundrea, you look so good! Freaking hot! If someone doesn’t try to pick you up tonight, I will … but you need a strapless bra. You can’t go out with your straps hanging out like that.”

“I figured I’d tuck them in. I don’t think I brought any strapless bras from home. Besides, I don’t think I’d find one in those boxes even if I did.”

“I have a few.”

“Yeah, like those will fit me! I’ll be busting out all over the place.”

“Even better.”

I roll my eyes at her back.

Jean tosses me a black strapless bra. Instead of going back into the bathroom, I turn around and face the wall to lower the dress to my waist. Unsnapping my bra, I drop it to the floor while glancing down at her 32-B cup. This is supposed to cover my 34-C cup? This will never work.

Just as I’m pulling the dress back up, I hear a shocked gasp.

“What?” I ask, slowly turning to face her.

Jean’s hand is covering her open mouth and her eyes are wide like an owl. “What happened to you?” she finally asks.

“Looking down at myself I ask, “What do you mean?”

“Your back!”

I turn my head so that I’m looking down at my right hip. There is a large, dark purple bruise covering the entire lower right side of my back.

“It’s nothing.”

“That doesn’t look like nothing … Is that from your appointment?”

I shrug. “Yeah.”

“Oh, my God, Dre. Are you okay? Does it hurt?”

“Yeah, I’m fine. It’s okay. I hardly even notice it.” I give her a warm smile before pulling the dress all the way up.

Truth be told, it is noticeable. I was told I’d hardly feel a thing—maybe a little pressure—and that afterward I might have a small bruise and a bit of an ache. Nothing Tylenol couldn’t take care of. Well, my luck, I get the newbie who has maybe done a total of one bone marrow procedure—mine.

I run my hands over the dress, making sure it’s pulled all the way down, and everything is in its rightful place. It hugs me, perfectly molding to my body and showcasing the small curves I have. Over the last four years, my body has gone through so many changes due to chemo that my curves are no longer present. I’ve been slowly putting on the weight I lost and, lucky for me, it’s going back to the right places—my ass, hips, and chest. The strapless push-up bra gives me just enough cleavage to accentuate my assets. As long as I don’t bend over, my butt shouldn’t be exposed. Which could make dancing tonight a little difficult.

Grabbing her purse, Jean asks, “You ready?” as she takes one last look at herself in the full-length mirror by the bedroom door.

“As ready as I’ll ever be.” I turn off the bedroom light, letting the room go dark.

 

The drive to Max’s Bar is a lot shorter than I expected. When Genna said it was downtown, I hadn’t realized she’d meant it was less than ten minutes away from her house. It’s a beautiful, early September evening. We don’t get many nights like this in Minnesota. Walking here could have taken us twenty minutes, but that’s nineteen minutes longer than I want to be walking in heels, let alone walking in heels when my hip is already bugging me. I don’t need to add to the strain on my body.

The hostess who greets us at the door has short blonde hair spiked in back and flat ironed straight in front, a lip piercing, and the tightest black leather pants I have ever seen. Jean tells her we’re meeting someone and, after describing Shannon, asks if she’s seen her here yet. The hostess points us in the direction where Shannon is waiting.

We make our way around bodies, tables, and chairs to reach the small corner booth where Shannon is sitting. She stands up, waving and smiling at us. She’s changed her hair since the last time I saw her. It’s a little longer, and what was once light brown is now black like Genna’s, with dark purple streaks. When we reach her, she pulls Jean into a hug, then me. I pull away from her embrace and notice her violet tank top is so low I can see her breasts, and they’re pushed up so high I’m afraid they’ll pop out with the slightest movement.

Averting my eyes back to her face, I smile as I take the seat across from her. Jean bounces into the booth next to her.

Shouting loudly over the music, I greet her, “It’s great to see you again! You look fantastic. I love the new hair!”

“Thanks! Same goes to you.” She pauses pointing at my hair. “How have you been feeling?”

It always comes back to that. It would be nice if my cancer weren’t always the main topic of discussion, or the first thing to be mentioned. How are you feeling? Well, for starters, my hip is fucking killing me. I have a bruise the size of a cantaloupe covering the lower right side of my back. And I’m so tired I feel as if I could sleep for a year straight.

I don’t tell her all that. I want to, but I don’t. Instead, I say with a smile, “I’m doing great!”

A waitress stops at our table, setting down a tray full of drinks. With wide eyes, I take in the three martini glasses: sugar around the edges, filled with yellow liquor, a pineapple perfectly wedged on each of the rims, and a toothpick attaching a cherry on top. Three shot glasses filled with a pink mixture are placed directly in front of me, followed by three glasses of water with lemons. Dear Lord, help me.

“I ordered the first round,” Shannon says as she starts distributing the drinks. First round? I am fucked. Royally fucked. I don’t drink. Ever. When I have gone out with Jean, or the few times with Genna, I only have a glass or two of wine. There were a few high school parties where I got drunk, but that feels like ages ago.

I feel a hard kick to my shin from under the table, taking me away from the shock of all the alcohol sitting in front of me. When I meet Jean’s bright blue eyes she nods toward the shot glass in front of me.

Shannon shouts over the music, “To making new friends!”

Jean beams in her chair; locking eyes with me, “To letting go!”

What the hell. Bottoms up!

I clink my glass with the others. “To letting go, new beginnings, and new friendships.”

Bringing the shot glass to my lips, I tilt my head back and take the shot in one swallow. The sweet taste hits my tongue before it moves smoothly down my throat. It’s sweet, like raspberries, but strong, like tequila.

Jean is already sipping her martini laughing at something with Shannon. Feeling a little left out, I lean back in my chair and look around. The dance floor one level up is now packed with people jumping around screaming “Shots!” over and over again along with some song. The two-story bar is fairly open, leaving little to the imagination. Every table in the lower level is occupied and the long bar to our right is packed.

Three bartenders, two men and one woman, stand behind the bar pouring and mixing drinks, and flirting with anyone within earshot. The men are dressed in tight black t-shirts that show off their arm muscles and very tight dark jeans that show off everything. The gorgeous redhead is wearing black and silver, showing just enough skin in her low cut tank to allow the men to drool over her.

“So, Aundrea, Jason told me you’re attending the University of Rochester this semester? Did you get the classes you wanted?” Shannon asks.

Setting what I learned was a Pineapple Lemon Drop martini down on the table, I look over to Shannon. “Yeah, online. And I’m only taking one class this semester. Something light.”

I didn’t plan on taking classes here, but after speaking with my parents and Genna it made sense. I want to do something instead of being stuck inside Genna’s house, suffocating.

After I graduated from high school, I took a few online courses, and one semester at the university with Jean. I’ve always been good at math and I love science, so I started with those courses. It was after a few classes that I decided to apply them toward an Astrophysics major. When I was a little girl, I sat out on my parents’ deck, drinking hot chocolate and stargazing with my dad. My dad would make up stories about the stars. They stuck with me, so after I learned about the program, I knew that was what I wanted to do. Study the universe.

By the time our second round of martinis arrives, I’m one drink past my limit. Now I understand the need for water. The beat of the music moves through my body and I start swaying with the slow song, grateful for less shouting and the change of pace.

I stand up and point to the bathroom sign. Shannon nods in acknowledgment while Jean waves me off. I’m actually surprised no one stood to go with me. Women always seem to travel in groups to the bathroom.

I reach the long line of women waiting to use the two-stall bathroom. After a few minutes of waiting, I glance over at the sign labeled “Men.” Watching to see if anyone is coming or going, I decide to take my chances. Stepping out of the line, I make my way over to the men’s restroom.

After washing my hands, I touch up with the lipstick that Jean stuck in my purse. I actually don’t look half bad. My short, dark brown hair is pulled back and pinned in a small teased bump. Pulling my dress up slightly, I’m taking one last look in the mirror when the door opens.

Shifting my eyes in the mirror, I take in the large figure that walks in. He looks up, and I’m met with clear, crystal-blue eyes. I step away from the counter, not dropping his gaze. His eyes remind me of the Caribbean ocean. His sandy blond hair is gelled in all sorts of directions, giving it a sexy, messy, I-just-rolled-out-of-bed look that goes perfectly with his tanned skin. He has well-kempt stubble and is probably the most handsome man I have ever seen in my life. Correction, he is the most handsome man I have ever seen. I drink in the white dress shirt he’s wearing with black dress slacks and the matching black tie that is hanging loosely around his neck. A little over-dressed for this place? Yes. But do I care? No. He could be wearing anything—or nothing—right now and I would be happy.

My eyes are still on his as I watch him slowly back away from the spot where he was standing. Opening the door behind him, he glances very briefly at something just outside, which I can only imagine is the door labeled “Men.” He lets the door close behind him as he makes his way back into the bathroom closer to me.

Raising an eyebrow, he asks, “You do realize you’re in the men’s restroom, correct?” There’s a hint of amusement in his deep voice, but he doesn’t smile. Blushing, I nod. I’m too shocked at the attractive man in front of me to say anything. For the first time in my life, I’m left speechless. It’s as if he has sucked all the air out of the room, preventing my lungs from filling back up.

Men this good-looking are only supposed to exist in books or movies. Not real life.

Even in my low heels, which make me almost six feet, he’s still towering over me. Breathtaking.

With his eyes traveling over my body, I can feel heat creeping up my face. Finding the air in my lungs, I let out the breath I was holding. “Sorry. Um, there was a line, and I really had to go. Excuse me.”

Really had to go? That’s all you could come up with!? Smooth. Real smooth, Aundrea.

I quickly move around him to leave, not looking at him as I go. I can hear a soft chuckle behind me as the door closes. Once I’m in the hallway, I try to slow my breathing to prevent me from hyperventilating.

I make my way back to our table to find it empty. Looking around, I spot Jean and Shannon on the second level laughing and dancing with a group of guys. I pick up the shot glass on our table as if it’s calling my name, and tell myself that tonight is all about new beginnings. Tonight, I’m letting loose.

I take the shot quickly, because Lord only knows I need to be completely wasted if I’m going to make a fool of myself out on that dance floor.

Welcome to Rochester, Aundrea!

After joining the girls on the dance floor, I lose all track of time. I have no idea how long we’ve been dancing, and I can feel my head spinning from the alcohol with every move, letting me know I’ve hit my limit on the booze.

There is a dull ache creeping in my side that I’m almost positive is from my horrible dance moves. Knowing I need to give my body a rest, I start to make my way toward the stairs when hands slide around my waist, pulling me back against a firm chest. Instantly, I freeze. Just when I’m about to turn around and tell off whoever has his hands on me, he starts to sway his hips, moving mine with his, making us move together as one. Jean comes into my view with the biggest smile in the world, so I know who ever has his hands on me must be good-looking or she’d come to my rescue. She gives me the approving thumbs up and turns back to the guy she is dancing with, no longer paying me any attention.

I figure one dance with “thumbs up man” will be okay, so I bring my hands up, wrap them around his neck and start to grind back against him. His hands grip my hips tighter, causing me to wince as he pulls me farther back into him where I can feel all of him. Every. Hard. Inch. I release my hands around his neck and swivel down along his rock hard body, raising my dress slightly as I do.

I don’t normally dance like this. Actually, I never dance like this. I give silent thanks for the liquid courage allowing me to have one of the best nights in months.

Bringing myself almost low enough to touch the ground, my dress rises an inch more, showing off the ass cheek I was trying not to flash this evening. I quickly make my way back up his body, which I’m sure did not look as seductive as I planned. When I’m finally back in a standing position, his strong hands tug my hips, turning me. My head spins faster than my body, so it takes a second to stop the room from moving around me. When a finger under my chin tilts my head up, I am gazing into a pair of clear, crystal-blue eyes.


 

 

Chapter Two

 

I open my mouth to speak, but he shakes his head twice and brings his hand up to softly touch the back of my neck, causing chills to run down my spine. I close my eyes, allowing myself to feel the music at the same time as his knee slides between my legs, lifting my dress ever so slightly. Moving his hand away from my neck, he takes one of my hands and wraps it around his neck while his other hand curls around my waist, pulling me snug to his body. When his hand releases mine, he swiftly moves it to wrap around my back. I bring my other arm up to meet his neck, just barely touching his hairline. Together we start moving with the music, grinding into one another. I work my hips in slow circles, matching his seductive pace and keeping my eyes locked on his.

I’ve heard that you can tell a lot about someone’s bedroom skills by the way they move on the dance floor. Let it be known that if this man moves in the bedroom the way he’s moving with me right here on the dance floor, I will be more than happy to allow him to show me those moves. Here or in the bedroom. And by the feel of a certain thing, I know he wouldn’t mind showing me those moves either.

We keep our eyes on one another as he gradually bends his knees, lowering us. My dress shifts higher, but I don’t care. His left hand moves from my hip and grabs my ass tightly, supporting me while guiding us down even further and then, little by little, back up again. His fingers graze the skin between my thigh and butt, making me quiver.

The alcohol has completely taken over my entire body making everything numb, including my teeth. The ache in my hip that was present earlier is no longer noticeable.

I move my right hand away from his neck to move some hair that is sticking to my forehead from the sweat of us dancing. Before I reach my face, he releases his hand on my backside to move my hair for me. He keeps his hand cupped to the side of my face making it rather difficult to look away from his eyes boring deep into my soul, and all I can think about is how badly I want him to kiss me right here, in front of everyone.

Wait. My soul? Kissing? I have officially reached my limit on the alcohol.

Shaking my head, I float back down to earth and push out of his grasp. A soft objection leaves his lips at the sudden release of our bodies. I need to get away before I start doing something that I shouldn’t. I turn away from him, but before I can walk away he’s reaching out and grabbing my elbow.

“Don’t go,” he says as he tries to pull me back against him.

He isn’t quick enough. I look at his hand on my elbow just as the other dancers begin to move closer, breaking us apart and filling the void that wasn’t there moments ago. His eyes beg me to stay. Turning, I quickly walk toward the steps, glancing at Jean. Nodding my head toward our table, I start my decent down the stairs. As if on cue, she follows quickly behind, leaving her dance partner alone. I have no idea where Shannon is, or if she’s even still up there dancing. There are too many bodies to look around, so I just head to our table knowing she’ll meet us there when she is done.

Staying there, dancing so closely with him, gave me a thrill I haven’t felt in a long time. I haven’t had the feeling of wanting to be close to anyone in four years. But tonight, with him, it felt right. I didn’t want to walk away, but staying wasn’t an option. It isn’t an option. Staying leads to trouble. And that man is trouble.

Reaching our table, I gulp down my glass of water, not bothering to sit, and wipe the water from my chin when it spills.

“Holy fucking shit, Dre! That was so fucking hot! He’s fucking hot! Get your cute little ass back up there, and get that fine piece of ass’s number. Better yet, take his ass home, or go home with him!”

My eyes follow her mouth as she speaks a mile a minute. I’m not even sure she has taken a breath yet. “How many times do you think you can say fuck or ass?”

“Fuck. Ass. Fuck. As—”

“Okay, okay. I get it. Calm down.” I laugh. “No one is exchanging phone numbers. No one is going home with anyone or taking anyone home.” I slur my words a little as I say them.

“Why not?”

“Why not? Jean, you know me better than that. I’m not some bar slut who goes home with random guys.”

“Random hot guys. And you think I’m a bar slut?”

“Sorry, random hot guys. And you already know how I feel about the barflies you hang around.”

Shannon grins as she makes her way toward us. “Oh. My. God. Did you see who I was dancing with? He was so dreamy.”

“You should have seen the hotness that was grinding all up on Aundrea. That man was seriously fucking hot!”

“He wasn’t that hot,” I state matter-of-factly.

Jean stares at me as if I’ve lost my mind. Maybe I have. “Not that hot?” she screeches.

Shannon stands there with a confused expression. “And I missed it? Well, damn!”

Jean continues speaking over Shannon, “I may be drunk, but we’re not so drunk that beer goggles have kicked in yet. Aundrea, if you don’t march back up there and get his number, I’m going to go get it for you. Better yet, if you don’t go home with him and get laid, I’m going to go over there and mount him myself. Maybe even right here!”

I roll my eyes at her last statement. “Slow down. No one is mounting anyone. Especially not here! There will be no fornicating for this girl tonight. Drunk or not.”

Shannon continues to look back and forth between us, shaking her head. “I can’t believe I missed this. I’m so pissed!”

“Aundrea, come on. When is the last time you had meaningless, hot, passionate, crazy, sweaty sex with someone? Oh, wait. What’s that?” she questions, raising her hand to her ear. “Right, never, and don’t you dare tell me Steven Jacobs because that was, like, I don’t know, forever ago. Plus, you kept complaining about how awful it was.”

It was awful. Like, really awful. I met Steven in a study group. It was during the only semester I ever took classes on campus. He kept asking me out, but I didn’t want to lead him on because I didn’t want anything more than friendship. That only lasted four months because I was stupid enough to sleep with him, if you can even call it that. Steven came before we even got started. The second he came in contact with me, he was a goner. I was stupid enough to try it again with him a few nights later. I told myself it was going to be meaningless sex, just something to take my mind off of all that was going on with me: my family, my life, everything. He made it five thrusts that time before coming. Needless to say, we avoided each other like the plague after that.

“Okay, fine. I haven’t had passionate, raw, sweaty, meaningful or meaningless sex, or whatever the hell you just said, but that just means I’m one less woman with an STD walking the streets.”

Jean points her finger at me, “First off, I don’t have any STDs. Second, what the hell is all this ‘letting loose, new beginnings’ shit you speak of? Seriously, I’m giving you what you asked for! Don’t think too hard, Aundrea. Thinking just gets in the way of living. Take it. Now is your chance.”

Jean mumbles something about needing the bathroom and turns around, heading that way without waiting for anyone to respond.

I finally sit down at the table. My mind has become too foggy with Jean’s words, the music, and the alcohol. Reaching for another glass of water on the table, I start to drink.

Thinking just gets in the way of living.

Her words replay in my head until they sink in. Damn it, why does she always throw this kind of words back at me? I do deserve to have some fun for once.

The waitress stops to collect our empties, and Shannon tells her we’ll take our tab, then excuses herself from the table. I’m not sure where she’s going until I watch her make her way over to the bar, and my jaw drops when I see her talking to Mr. Handsome. My Mr. Handsome!

Wait, when did he become my Mr. Handsome?

He’s sitting with his left side against the bar and a beer in his hand. There’s another guy sitting to his right, facing Shannon, who is standing between the two.

Mr. Handsome starts laughing at something she said.

My God, he is so beautiful.

Okay, I just called a man beautiful. Yep, I’m officially drunk.

Shannon says something else while placing her hand on his shoulder, causing both men to laugh again. Great, she’s flirting with them. She looks at Mr. Handsome one last time, saying something to him before smiling and turning down the hallway where the bathrooms are.

I shouldn’t be jealous. He’s not mine. But a part of me is jealous.

A little.

As if he knows I’m watching him, he turns his head and meets my eyes.

Those fucking blue eyes.

I swallow, watching him stare back at me. I can almost feel the heat coming from his gaze. I couldn’t look away right now even if I wanted to. We stare at each other for what feels like minutes, when Jean interrupts.

“If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you two are totally eye fucking each other right now.”

Breaking my eyes from his, I pick up my purse and give a twenty and a ten to Jean. “I don’t know who paid for what, or how much I owe, but this should help cover the tab. The waitress is supposed to be bringing it. I’m going to the bathroom before we head out.”

“Okay. I’ll meet you right here with Shannon.”

Walking away from the table, I head toward the bathroom, which just happens to take me past Mr. Handsome himself.

I don’t really have to use the bathroom. I just needed an excuse to get away from Mr. Handsome and those beautiful eyes before I do something stupid like walk over there and straddle him at the bar. What I need is to splash some water on my face and catch my breath.

Not looking his way, I turn the corner, but I can feel his eyes burning into the back of my head.

I’ve never—I repeat, never—picked a guy up at a bar. I wouldn’t even know the first thing about picking someone up. Am I supposed to cite some lame cheesy pick-up line? Excuse me, I’m a little short on cash. Would you mind if we shared a cab home together? Or take the bold and direct approach and just straight up ask for his number? I’m clueless when it comes to the rules of this game.

I’m grateful when I reach the door to the ladies’ room, and there isn’t anyone around. I reach for the handle when I hear from behind me, “Not going to use the men’s room again?” I know that sexy voice.

Mr. Handsome.

With my heart racing, I turn around and smile sweetly. “No, I’m going to sit down and pee this time.” My smile widens, and I say a silent thanks to sweet baby Jesus for letting me find my voice this time.

He doesn’t respond. He just steps closer to me with the corner of his lips spreading upward.

I don’t breathe.

I can’t breathe. Not when he is this close.

God, he smells amazing. Like a mixture of spice and mint. Maybe a hint of beer too. It's the type of scent that would awaken a primal desire within any female, and good God, do I feel awakened.

“You ran off before I could thank you for the dance earlier.”

No, thank you.

His voice is a faint whisper, and his face is now so close that our noses are almost touching. I glance at his very attractive red lips just as the corners of his mouth move up into the most beautiful smile.

Shit. He knows I’m looking at his lips.

I’m transfixed by him, and all I can think about are those lips on mine. I would take him in this hallway. There, I said it.

Or, did I think it?

Do something.

Anything!

I look back at his lips.

I want to feel his lips against mine. I don’t care. I’ll say any cheesy pick-up line if it means I get to go home with him.

I know he’s watching me, and that he’s thinking about my lips because his tongue comes out, licking his own. I feel him close the distance between us. He puts a finger under my chin for the second time tonight, lifting my face so that I’m looking right into his eyes.

He speaks in a low, raspy whisper. “I’m going to kiss you now.”

Without waiting for permission, his lips crash down on mine. He takes my top lip into his mouth, tugging ever so gently. I let out a soft moan as his tongue lightly traces my lips, tasting me. I can smell the fresh mint and beer on his breath, and all I can think about is tasting it.

I grab his neck, bringing him closer, opening my mouth … inviting him in.

He groans as I wrap my arms around his neck, running my hands through his hair. Shit, if I die tomorrow, I can die a happy woman knowing this is my last kiss.

His tongue enters my mouth and I meet it with my own. He reaches down to lift me up and I let him. I wrap my legs around his waist just as he slams my back against the wall in the corner of the hallway. There’s a rush of pain that shoots down my legs, causing me to cry out. He must take that as a cry of pleasure because he kisses me harder.

My dress rises all the way to my waist, exposing me to anyone who walks by. My head falls back against the wall and he immediately starts kissing down my chin to my neck, then up to my earlobe, taking it in his mouth and biting down.

“Do you want to get out of here?” he whispers softly in my ear. I nod in agreement, afraid if I say anything it won’t be yes.

And I really want it to be yes.

Setting me down, he runs his hands over my dress, settling it back into place, then grabs my hand and starts speed walking toward the exit sign.


 

 

Chapter Three

 

 

Exiting the bar, he holds my hand and leads me around the corner and down the sidewalk. I’m afraid to look at him because maybe then he’ll realize he’s making a mistake and I don’t want him to second-guess himself. Hell, I don’t want to second-guess myself.

I quickly pull out my phone and text Jean, letting her know I didn’t get lost. I’m not worried what she’ll think because she was the one encouraging this.

 

Me: Left with Mr. Handsome. See you in the am.

 

About ten seconds later, my phone vibrates in my hand.

 

Jean: WHAT!!?!? Details tomorrow!

 

Shaking my head, I put my phone back into my purse.

“Everything okay?”

“Oh, yeah. I just told my friend that I left.”

He doesn’t say anything, just a slight head nod of understanding.

Aside from the sound of my heels on the pavement, and his fingers twirling the keys in his hand, we walk in silence, enjoying the warm night breeze. Summers in Minnesota are so beautiful. It’s a shame they don’t last long.

I wonder if I’m insane for leaving a bar with a man whose name I don’t even know.

“I only live about five minutes from here.” Pointing his fingers ahead, he adds, “Just up a block, then down two.”

I smile up at him. Looking down at our locked hands, I wonder if I should say something, but I don’t know what to say, or what to do. Maybe I should ask his name? That might be good. A little icebreaker. Fuck, why is this so difficult? I’m just making this more awkward. I decide it’s better if I don’t speak.

I look over at him. He’s running his hand through his hair. He looks just as nervous as me, which makes me happy.

Okay, I need to shut off all my thoughts before I talk myself out of this.

We stop at a crosswalk, waiting for the light to change. He clears his throat next to me.

Shit, he’s backing out!

“My name’s Parker, by the way.”

I close my eyes and sigh with relief. Smiling, I look up at him. He has a hopeful expression on his face. It makes him look a lot younger than I’m guessing he is.

“My name is Aundrea.”

He squeezes my hand and smiles back. “It’s nice to meet you, Aundrea.”

We round the corner and start making our way down the remaining two blocks. I think he can sense my uneasiness because he pulls me in close to him, wrapping his arm around my waist. I can’t help but think how perfect I fit against his side. His thumb traces small circles on my side, raising goosebumps all over my body.

We reach what I assume is his apartment building. However, it doesn’t look like an apartment building at all. It looks more like a hotel, lit with glowing yellow and orange lights. It’s a stunning brick building with windows lining it all the way to the roof.

He releases my waist, guiding me under a black canopy covering the stairs that lead up to the front door with the lightest of touches at the small of my back. There is a security guard who opens the door and greets us with a brief wave and smile. Parker’s arm slides back around my waist as we enter the gorgeous building.

I’m in awe as we head toward the elevators clear across the other side of the big, open lobby. The building has a unique historic charm, with a huge mural of a light blue sky and white clouds on the ceiling and a huge gold chandelier hanging in the center. There are marble columns scattered throughout. It’s absolutely breathtaking. The gentleman at the desk to the right of the elevators greets us with a warm smile as we pass. “Evening, Parker.”

I really like that name.

Parker gives him a small nod, never letting go of my hand. “Evening.” I can’t help but smile at the word evening. It’s probably close to two in the morning by now.

The elevator doors open and we walk inside. My stomach is doing flips with all the excitement, or maybe it’s nerves. The elevator doors are lined with glass, reflecting our bodies. I swallow slowly as our eyes meet in the mirror. Just like when we first met. His lips turn up into a wicked grin and he winks.

He gives my hand another quick, soft squeeze, and I turn to face him. He’s watching me, smiling. My heart is pounding so loud that I’m afraid it will jump right out of my chest.

“Second thoughts?”

“No,” I reply quickly. Almost too quickly.

He lets out a breath. “Good.”

Yup, he’s definitely just as nervous as I am. When we get off the elevator, the hall is lit with gold and bronze sconces. He’s still holding my hand, and all I can think about is how sweaty my palms are. I hope he hasn’t noticed.

His apartment is the last door at the end of the hall. He only lets go of my hand to get his keys, holding the door open and letting me walk in first. The entrance is dark, and the only thing I can make out is a closet and the opening into his living room.

“Would you like something to drink? Water? Wine?”

I’m not really in the mood to talk. I didn’t come here to talk.

I shake my head in response as he reaches around me. Before I can even think about what I’m doing, I push hard on his chest, shoving him against the opposite wall so he bangs into the double doors. His eyes widen in surprise with the sudden impact. Before I let him open his mouth to protest, I pull on his tie, roughly jerking his face close to mine. I stand there for a second, taking in his scent. It feels good to be in charge.

He stands there, looking at my mouth, and I can’t help but smile. He doesn’t make a move. He’s waiting on me.

And I like it.

I bring my lips up to his so that they are just barely touching and I can feel his breath on my lips. Slowly, my tongue traces his lips. He lets out a loud groan while grabbing my neck to pull me closer. He doesn’t try to stick his tongue in my mouth, or move his hands. Instead, he kisses me gently before grabbing my bottom lip, sucking it into his mouth. I keep one hand on his tie, the other resting on his chest, and allow him to suck on my lip, tasting me before I bring both hands to his waist.

I know there is no going back once his tongue pushes through my lips, forcing my mouth open. I meet his tongue with my own, savoring the mint and beer taste that is still present.

His hands move to my thighs, gripping me tightly and then lifting me as he steps away from the wall. I oblige, helping him by wrapping my legs securely around his waist, never breaking our kiss. His hands support me by clutching my ass.

Bringing my hands around his neck, I deepen the kiss. It’s a strong, passionate kiss. I can feel my lips swelling with each passing second.

He carries me away and I can feel him lift a leg, kicking something, then move again at the sound of a door slamming behind us.

The door! Shit, I forgot about that!

Parker doesn’t break our kiss while he carries me through his place, rounding corners and weaving around furniture. He stops and turns, lowering us down onto the couch, keeping us attached. Lifting my dress up to my waist, exposing my bare legs, I straddle his lap, bringing my hands behind his neck to grab his hair. Pulling gently, tilting his head back, I bring our mouths together. I can’t get enough of his mouth.

All I can think about is his mouth on other parts of my body.

I don’t know what’s come over me, but I don’t want it to stop. Ever.

Parker picks up the kiss forcefully, nipping at my lips while his hands keep squeezing my thighs tightly. He pulls me closer to him and a small gasp escapes my mouth at the feel of the hard bulge resting between my legs.

I begin to loosen his tie more and unbutton his shirt, pushing it down over his broad shoulders as he trails kisses down my neck. Turning my head, I allow him more access, giving him permission to continue.

“You ...” Kiss. “Are ...” Kiss. “So ...” Kiss. “Sexy ...” Kiss.

Without warning, I’m flipped onto my back so that I’m lying flat against his couch. I bring my hands up to my hair, pushing it out of my face so I can watch his every move.

Parker pulls the top of my dress down, reaching behind me with one hand to unclasp my bra. Almost ripping it off, he throws it aside. As he brings his mouth down to cover my nipple, I bring my hands up to his head, tugging his hair.

He begins to suck harder on my nipple as he pulls my dress up further so that it’s high above my waist. His finger lightly brushes the smooth fabric that is still in place between the two of us. I know he can feel how wet I am; how much I want this.

I wrap my legs around his hips, hooking us together. Parker releases my nipple, bringing our mouths back together. I take his tongue back inside my mouth, sucking it. He groans as he starts to grind against me, rocking our hips together and grabbing my hands, lifting them securely above my head.

Clothing.

Too. Much. Clothing.

Breaking out of his grasp and our kiss, I reach for his belt. “Take these off. I want to see you.” It comes out raspier then I intended.

“Fuck. That’s so hot.”

Releasing my legs from his waist, he leans back to unfasten his belt.

I can’t wait. I bring my hands to his pants, helping him. Together, we lower his pants in one swift motion. I can feel him kick his legs, trying to release himself from the fabric that has tangled between our feet. I bring my foot up to help kick them to the floor.

I reach into his boxers, grabbing his hardness, slowly stroking up and down.

“Jesus.” I don’t even get a chance to respond before Parker’s kissing me again, reaching behind my back and pulling me closer. I arch into his embrace. His left hand comes up, grabbing my breast and tugging on my nipple, pinching it hard.

A soft whimper escapes my mouth. I think I called him God once or twice too. I can’t be sure. Everything feels so fuzzy.

Hip pain? What hip pain?

There is nothing to think or feel besides Parker and what’s happening between the two of us right now.

Tilting my head back, he lowers his mouth to my neck, kissing, biting and sucking on my collarbone.

I release him and bring both hands to the waistband of his boxers to push them down. His hands meet mine. “Hold on. I’ll be right back.” He gives me one last quick peck on the lips, then, almost too quickly, he’s gone, walking away from me. I’m left breathless, trying to slow down my panting. Lifting myself up on my elbows, I watch as he walks across the living room and through a doorway. His bedroom, maybe?

When he comes back, I take this as the perfect opportunity to memorize him. I know he knows I’m checking him out because he stops in the center of the room, allowing that sexy grin to reappear. His chest is defined, with perfectly shaped pecs. The shoulders my mouth enjoyed kissing a while ago are toned, leading into his big, muscular arms.

I trail my eyes back over his body, landing on his rock hard stomach. Now, I’ve seen abs before, but these abs are better than anything I’ve ever seen. He has the perfect definition leading right down into the most amazing V known to man.

Parker—I don’t know his last name—is so sexy.

I watch as he slowly walks toward me. Reaching the couch, he steps out of his boxers. Moving them to the side, he kneels down beside me while I’m still propped on my elbows, watching him.

“Here, let’s get rid of this.”

I follow his gaze and watch as he grabs my dress, rolling it down my body until it’s falling to the floor. He traces his fingers ever so lightly back up the inside of my thigh, never taking his eyes off mine.

I swallow, watching him while breathing heavily in anticipation of his next move.

He licks his lips before dipping his head toward the inside of my thigh. Light kisses begin to travel down my leg, sending chills everywhere. I didn’t think it was possible, but I can feel my body becoming very light, as if I were floating. His touches, kisses, words, and smell all send me over the edge.

When he kisses his way back up toward my inner thigh, he stops at the now drenched thin material resting between my legs. “And these,” he says as he grabs my thong and slides it all the way off, dropping it with my dress.

Bringing his hand back to my ankle, he touches my red shoes. I forgot I even still had them on. I lift my foot up, allowing him to take it off, but instead he glides his fingers back up my legs, sending chills through my body. “We’ll leave those on.”

Parker stands up to position himself back on top of me, lifting me up higher onto the couch so that my head is on the armrest. He closes the small distance between us, bringing his mouth back to mine.

I slide my hands up his back, clawing at his skin as I make my way to his neck. His hand glides down my body and before I can think or do anything, his finger slips inside me. “So wet,” he whispers in my ear.

“Because of you,” I say as I begin to move my hips against him.

Groaning into my ear, he slips another finger inside me, stroking faster.

“God, yes. Please,” I beg. I don’t ever beg, but I would beg Parker over and over again if it meant he touched me like this.

He lowers his mouth to my breasts, tracing kisses between them.

I rock against his fingers, but all I can really think about is his erection poking into my thigh. As talented as his fingers are, at this point I just want him inside me. I push back on his chest to get his attention. “I want you inside me. I need you inside me … now.”

“Fuck.” He reaches for the condom on the floor next to us. Taking the condom from his hands, I rip it open and very slowly slide it onto him.

“Shit!” he exclaims as he shudders slightly.

He brings his face so close to mine I’m looking right into his beautiful blue eyes. He thrusts into me with such force I gasp. He doesn’t move. We stare at each other for a moment and then he begins thrusting into me again, harder. I move with him, meeting him thrust for thrust. I can feel the fire in his eyes burning through mine, igniting my body with heat. The connection, the intimacy, become too much, and when I can’t take looking into his eyes any longer, I bring my hands to his hips, guiding him to move faster. Parker nips at my lips, slipping his tongue into my mouth. As our hips move together, our tongues work in the same rhythm.

“God, you feel so fucking good. So. Tight,” he gasps.

“Faster.” I move my hips harder against his, feeling my release rising within.

“You want it hard?”

As much as I want to tell him I’ll take it any way he gives it to me, I moan, “Yes,” instead.

Groaning louder, he pants, “You got it.” His hips are pumping fast into me as he grabs my hands off his hips, bringing them above my head again.

We continue to move together, and the pressure builds deep inside of me. I beg for more, beg for him not to stop. Finding my release, I scream out his name followed by a whispered, “Oh God.”

As I’m falling back to earth, I hear Parker’s own release, “Ah, fuck!”

Parker slowly moves inside me, riding out the last of the shudders that took over. We both lie there, panting, trying to catch our breath. I can feel his heart beating so fast against my own.

I kick my shoes off, needing to wiggle my toes from the cramp that formed during my orgasm, as Parker pulls out and makes his way off of me. I follow his naked body as he walks into the kitchen to dispose of the condom. I’m not sure what comes now. Are we supposed to talk? Share our likes and dislikes? This one-night stand business is all so new to me.

When I’m about to open my mouth to say something, Parker comes back into view.

“Sorry, had to toss that out. Where were we?” He smirks as he climbs back onto the couch, positioning himself behind me. I feel his warm breath on my neck as he reaches behind him to grab the throw blanket on the back of the couch. “Here,” he says softly as he wraps it around us. Positioning himself on his side so that he’s against the back of the couch, he pulls me against him, so I follow, turning to my side and leaning into him. I just lie there, my eyes open in disbelief. That answers my questions.

 

I can feel the sun coming through the window before I even open my eyes. Shit. My head hurts. I guess that will teach me to drink so much again.

I’m on my side with my back pressed against Parker and his arm still securely around me. However, I’m not on the couch. Lifting his arm off of me, I scoot out of the bed I’m now in. Parker rolls onto his back. I hold my breath at the sight of him moving, willing him not to open his eyes.

He must have carried me in here last night. Wow, I must have passed out hard. I quickly move my hands over my hair, smoothing it into place.

Looking back down at Parker sleeping so peacefully, I let my eyes scan over his body in the daylight. Last night didn’t do his body justice. He’s more beautiful now than before, and I didn’t think that was even possible. I let my eyes linger over him, tracing every ripple, outline, and curve that forms below his hips into that one hot, muscular V. So hot. I reach out and slowly trace it with my fingers. He’s a lot tanner in the light. It matches his blond hair and blue eyes perfectly. He’s textbook perfect. Well, maybe if he had a tattoo or two he’d be textbook perfect. But, with or without them, he’s pretty damn close.

I step quietly out of his bedroom toward the living room, looking for my clothes. Once I find my thong and bra, I quietly put them back on, while looking for my dress that Parker tossed aside. I find it on the floor where one of my shoes fell. I bend to pick them up. When I start to step into my dress, I check the clock on the TV stand. 8:26 am.

Holy shit!

I finish getting dressed at lightning speed. I find my other shoe just in time for me to panic at the thought of not finding my purse.

It’s not that I have anywhere to go, but the sudden need to get out of here before Parker wakes up comes over me. I don’t think I could face him after last night. Awkward.

I turn in circles, looking for my purse. I blame the alcohol. Okay, that’s a lie. But the alcohol did play a factor. I find it sitting between the living room and dining room. I don’t remember putting it there last night.

I don’t remember much of last night aside from Parker: kissing, tongues, our bodies moving together, and God all mighty, having the best orgasm of my life.

With my shoes in my hands, I walk over to pick up my purse.

The kitchen is off to my left. I take in the granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. There isn’t anything on the counters. Not even a piece of mail. His apartment is modern with gray and blue tones throughout. Turning to head toward the door, I notice a picture of him on an end table. He’s with two older people: a man and a woman. His parents? I wonder how old he is. Maybe late twenties? Early thirties?

Okay, Aundrea, move along. Stop thinking about how old Mr. Handsome is.

I decide not to put my shoes back on so I don’t wake Parker. I think about leaving my number, but then remember what this was supposed to be. A one-night stand. Nothing more.

I bump into the corner of the wall as I walk toward the door and drop one of my shoes onto his hardwood floors.

“Shit!” I hiss. I hear Parker stirring in the bedroom, which causes me to move faster. Picking up my shoe, I keep walking forward.

“Aundrea?” Parker calls from the bedroom.

I don’t look back. I open the door and close it too loud, heading for the elevator. I push the elevator button multiple times, willing it to reach my floor as if continuously pushing it will make it go faster. When I hear loud movements and banging coming from inside his apartment, I can only speculate he’s getting dressed to come after me. I see a door under an exit sign by the elevators with another sign reading “Stairs.” Opening it, I take two steps at a time. I make it to the ninth floor where I stand and wait in the stairwell. I stand there for minutes before I walk the rest of the way down crossing my fingers that I don’t see Parker in the lobby.

Or ever again.


 

 

Chapter Four

 

Exiting Parker’s building with no sign of him anywhere, I make my way back toward Max’s Bar where my car is parked. I search through my phone to call Jean. After six rings it, goes to voicemail. I just leave a quick message, letting her know I am heading to the car and to let me know if she needs me to pick her up.

I feel so embarrassed walking the street in last night’s clothes. I can hear the thoughts screaming out at me from the pedestrians walking by. Walk of shame! I still haven’t put on my shoes in hopes of reaching the car faster. I don’t even think about what I may be walking on. Keeping my head held high, I walk the last block to the car when my phone beeps.

 

Jean: Shannon will drop me off at the car in ten. She has to meet her family for brunch.

 

Me: Ok. See you in a few.

 

Waiting in the car for Jean, I think of Parker and last night. I wonder if he does that sort of thing all the time. Pick up random strangers at the bar. With my heart racing at the thought of Parker doing that, I can only hope he doesn’t think I do that all the time.

Of course, he probably does!

Shannon’s red SUV pulls up behind me. Jean gets out, making her way to the car. She’s smiling. Queue the squeals and questions in three … two …

“Spill it!”

“What? No, ‘how are you this morning?’” I tease.

“Umm, no! I want the dirt! Spill!” I roll my eyes as I watch her buckle in.

With a soft laugh, I pull out of the parking lot. Once I’m out onto the main road, I tell her all about the night, from meeting him at the bathroom, twice, the walk to his apartment, the conversations, and small details about us having sex. By her wide eyes, I think she gets the idea of just how amazing my night was.

“So it was good?”

“Better than good.”

“Hot?”

“Way hot!”

“You made him wrap it up, right?”

I roll my eyes. “Yes, Mom. He used a condom.”

“Good. Did you get his number?”

I turn to face her with my mouth open. After a split second, I close it, turning back toward the road. “No. Last night was all about just sex. It was me letting go.”

“Well, you could have gotten his number. Especially if the sex was as hot as you made it sound.”

“You’re the one who said to have meaningless, sexy, one-night sex. Now you’re saying I should have gotten the man’s number?”

“You don’t always have to listen to me, you know.”

“Oh my god. You’re so frustrating sometimes!”

She bursts out laughing at that. “But that’s why you love me!”

“Yeah, that’s it,” I mumble sarcastically.

“Well, did you at least have another round with him before you left this morning?”

“Are you kidding me? No! I ran out of there so fast after I scrambled around looking for my clothes. Do you know how embarrassing it was to walk the streets looking the way I do? This is not a church outfit!”

She laughs even harder now, tears coming to her eyes.

“What’s so funny?”

“Nothing. It’s just…” She pauses to try to control her breathing. “It’s just, I can see you running around his place, frantically trying to pick up all your clothes before he woke up!”

I have to admit, it is pretty funny now that I look back on it. I start to laugh with her.

After we calm down, I ask if Shannon mentioned talking to him last night.

“No. She didn’t say anything. Just talked about the guy she met on the dance floor and how she got his number. We pretty much passed out the second we walked into her place.”

Okay. So, he didn’t leave a lasting impression on her then. That’s good, right? I try to convince myself that I don’t care because it’s not like I’ll ever see him again. I make a mental note to never go to that bar again on the off chance that I might run into him.

When we get back to Genna’s, I notice the garage door is open. Her maroon G6 is gone, but Jason’s in there waxing his newest toy: a crotch rocket. I let out a soft laugh remembering when Genna called me to bitch about his purchase. She was so upset. Something about them being too dangerous and how he’ll just be reckless on it. Personally, I find it rather hot.

We both wave at Jason before heading into the house.

Once back in my room, I get into cotton shorts and a tank top before helping Jean gather her things together.

With the last of her things tucked into her suitcase, she gives me a sad smile. “Aww. Come here, I need a hug!” She wraps her arms tightly around my lower back, pulling me


Date: 2015-02-28; view: 136


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