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Nothing good comes after the third date.
Date three is the crucial point when things get real, which is exactly why I bounce out the door, twiddling my fingers at whatever poor boy I’ve left behind. Because if I stick around, one of three things will happen: he’ll profess his undying love, he’ll get weird and stalky, or I’ll go crazy. Like, Sid and Nancy crazy. Like, chase-him-through-the-streets-begging-him-to-love-me crazy.
Seriously, it’s better for everyone this way.
So when I meet Bodie, I figure it’ll be the same as it ever was. It doesn’t matter that he doesn’t put a single string on me. Doesn’t matter that he’s funny and smart and jacked or that he can play my body like a grand piano. Because even though I’m built for love, love has only carved me up like a Christmas ham.
Resistance is something I can only hang on to for so long, and he has persistence in spades. But my heart isn’t as safe as I want to believe, and neither is his. And the second I ignore my cardinal rule is the second I stand to lose him forever.
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“Did you know that a man’s lips are the same color as the head of his dick?”
I took a long lick of my ice cream to punctuate the question. Ramona choked on hers, and Veronica, our other roommate, laughed openly and a little too loudly for a public place. A few people in the ice cream parlor turned to look.
“I’m serious,” I said. “It’s a real thing. I can vouch for it. I’ve seen a lot of dicks.”
Veronica snorted. “Oh my God. Stop it.”
Ramona couldn’t stop giggling. The three of us sat at a small table on the patio of our favorite ice cream joint, which was conveniently located around the corner from our apartment. It was hot. June in New York is no joke — though nothing compared to August — and that day was particularly humid without a cloud in the sky to give us reprieve from the blazing sun. Hence, the ice cream, shorty shorts, and tanks we all wore.
Curse of getting ready to go anywhere with your roommates. Everyone matched.
It happened more than I’d admit to openly. But we were attached at the hips: we lived together, worked together at Tonic — a tattoo parlor— and boy hunted together. Well, I hunted boys, Ramona played with her engagement ring, and Veronica rejected all potential suitors. The only difference in our appearance was the color of our messy buns: Veronica’s was pitch-black, Ramona’s was platinum-blonde, and mine was a silvery shade of lavender that I’d stuck with for three whole months. It was nearly a record.
“Like take this guy for example,” I started, nodding into the ice cream parlor where a group of guys sat just inside the rolled up garage doors.
We all looked, not even pretending to be inconspicuous. Everyone knows no one can tell if you were looking at them when you have sunglasses on.
Two of their backs were to us, but the third faced our direction, and, boy, was he a looker. He was in a sort of muscle shirt, which sounds horribly douchey, but he pulled it off well enough that I wished he’d pull it off. He was tan and dirty blond with biceps that had curves like a rollercoaster and a tattoo on his shoulder that I couldn’t make out from the distance. Black Wayfarers sat on his nose, and when he laughed at something one of his friends had said, I swear his smile blew a circuit in my brain.
“Wait, which one are we looking at?” Veronica asked.
“Blondie. With the arm porn,” I answered. His lips were wide and full, a dusty shade of pink that sent a little tingle between my legs. “So, check his lips out — they’re like the perfect pink. Like not too pink. You just want a nice, neutral shade, nothing extreme. Don’t want any surprises when he unleashes the beast.”
Ramona snickered. “That is a neat trick, Pen. I swear to God, I can picture it now. I bet it’s pretty,” she said dreamily before licking her ice cream.
My bottom lip slipped between my teeth. “Mmm, I bet it is too. Shaped like a pretty little mushroom with veins in all the right places.”
Veronica groaned with her mouth full of ice cream. “You are so gross.”
I made a face at her. “It’s not my fault you don’t appreciate the finer things in life. Like a gorgeous dick.”
A laugh burst out of her, and I smiled. She could pretend she thought dicks were gross, but I knew it was a boldfaced lie. I’d heard her calling for Jesus behind the wall we shared — though it was rare enough that I found myself constantly on a mission to get her laid.
Blondie glanced over and caught all three of us looking. A slow smile lifted one corner of his lips, and I found myself mirroring him.
The girls and I didn’t look away because we were utterly shameless. And with him looking at me like that, I did what any woman with a pulse would do: I held his gaze and did something blatantly sexual to my ice cream.
His eyes were on my lips. I was pretty sure at least — he had on sunglasses too, so he could have been watching the granny who sat behind me. But I knew I had him when his smile faltered, his brows rising just a hair, and a little shock worked through me, a rush that set my heart ticking a little faster.
Veronica hit me, effectively knocking my elbow out from underneath me and sending the tip of my nose into my cone.
“Hey!” I said with a simultaneous pout and scowl.
She only laughed and picked up a napkin to wipe my nose off for me.
“You are so fucking boy crazy,” she said with a laugh. “Get serious.”
“Never.” I let her wipe off my nose. I’d earned that. “And what’s wrong with being boy crazy?”