“I don’t like her,” he whispered, glaring at the shut door.

“You don’t have to, she’s not your roommate.”


“I don’t like you hanging out with her.”

That was kind of funny. Other than sleeping in the same room, Shanna and I had just ‘hung out’ more in the last four hours than we had in the previous four weeks.

But his tone of voice rubbed me the wrong way.

“Well, you don’t get to choose my friends,” I said in a clipped voice.

He gave me an unhappy look, then frowned again. “What were you talking about in the stairwell?”

Again, ice water plunged through my insides. “What?”

“What were you talking about before you came in? You said I was a great person – but it sounded like she was trying to get you to do something you didn’t want to do.”

My brain ticked through the possibilities, trying to find some way not to lie.

It failed.

“She wanted to set me up on a blind date because we broke up,” I said, my heart racing.

His expression got even darker. “Oh?” he asked, accusation in his voice.

GOD, here we go again.

“She’s just trying to look out for me – ”

“Did you want to go out on a date with… whoever it was?”

Yes.

Actually, I kind of already did.

Twice.

“NO. You heard me – you even said she was trying to talk me into something I didn’t want to do!”

“Yeah,” he relented, though I could still see the mistrust in his eyes.

I desperately wanted to get away from this topic, so I put my arms around his neck. “Did you really drive fifteen hours to come up here just so we can fight about the same crap?”

He looked into my eyes, and it was touch-and-go for just a second. I could see him searching for something, some clue, some telltale sign –

But then he visibly relaxed, and he broke out into a goofy grin. “No.”

“So let’s not fight, okay?”

“Okay,” he agreed, his smile still lingering on his face.

It disappeared completely when Shanna stepped out into the hall – although I noticed that his mouth dropped open slightly, too, as he gawked at her.

Specifically at ‘the girls.’

Shanna had changed into a push-up bra and a spaghetti-strap top, painted-on jeans, and ‘fuck me’ pumps. She was wearing ‘fuck me’ red lipstick, too.

Come to think of it, just about everything about Shanna screamed ‘fuck me.’

“Welllll, you two seem to have patched things up,” she said, not quite approvingly.

“Thanks for… you know,” I said, gesturing at her outfit.

“Aaaaah, you’re welcome. You deserve at least one Kaitlyn night. And you – ”

She clicked her fingers in front of Kevin’s nose.

“ – eyes up here,” she barked, pointing to her face. “You’ve got a girlfriend, so fucking act like it.”

Kevin blushed furiously. He looked at me guiltily, expecting me to throw the kind of fit he would been having if our places were reversed and he’d caught me staring at a guy.

I could have gone postal on him… but, truthfully, I didn’t feel anything but a tiny pinprick of jealousy.

It wasn’t even one tenth as intense as when Shanna had joked about sleeping with Derek.

…which was kind of unsettling.

I suppose I could have lashed out and ripped into Kevin as payback for all the times he had done it to me – but that would have been manipulative and shitty. So I just let it go.

Besides, to paraphrase Derek: when Shanna put ‘the girls’ out there on display, it’s not like you could ignore them.

“Have fun,” I told her.

“Ohhh, I will,” she said, and added impishly, “I thought I might go by the 40 Watt – ”

“NO,” I said, surprising even myself with how quickly and insistently I’d said it.

She pulled back a little and grinned, like Aha, see? We both know the score.

“Don’t worry, I won’t,” she giggled. “Ho’s before bro’s! Ovaries before bro-varies! See ya!”

And with that, she burst through the doors and into the stairwell.

Which meant that Kevin and I were all alone.

37

I won’t go into the rest of the evening in detail. We talked a lot. It was pleasant.

The only bad moment I had was when he asked, “Why isn’t she supposed to go to the 40 Watt?”

Panic.

“Because… because the guys she picks up there are always dirt poor and want to crash here instead of their place.”

Again, not technically a lie.

If you took the first night she met Derek as your only example.

Kevin got an alarmed look on his face. “Oh, good. I’m glad you told her no, then.”

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