#6 Run away
When I get home late that night, my lips are swollen from kissing Joshua so much. We ended up watching two chick flicks at the movie theatre, making out so much that we hardly saw anything of the movies, just the way I like it. He cooked me dinner at his place and we had sex after. He’s a lot of fun to hang out with, always making me feel comfortable and desirable. He wouldn’t have minded me staying the night, but I have the breakfast shift at the restaurant the next morning, so I just want a good night of sleep in my own bed.
Just when I sink down on my couch with a beer, my phone rings. It’s Caroline.
“Hey girl,” I say happily when I pick up. “You still kicking those second graders’ asses?”
“Hey.” The minute she speaks, I know that something is wrong. I know her well enough to recognize that tone. She’s upset. Heartbroken, even.
“What’s wrong?” I demand to know. “Do I need to hop in my car to kick some ass? Did Nathan do something?” She’s been dating this 41-year old guy. Or well… not really dating, I guess. In fact, she has a sex-only arrangement with him that is very unlike her. Caroline is not the fuckbuddies type, she’s the girlfriend type. For her to agree to a deal like that, the sex must be really fucking amazing. I honestly think she’s got a major crush on the guy already, but she insists that she’s just having fun with him while it lasts.
“It’s over between me and Nathan,” she says, confirming my suspicions. “He’s… Oh, God, Shaughna, I fucked up. I had a parent-teacher conference tonight and he walked in, looking all sexy and fuckable in his blue suit. Oh God, it was a train wreck.”
“Wait, what?” I shift the phone and put her on speaker so I can lean back against the cushions more comfortably. “Why was your lover at a parent-teacher conference? Oh no, Caroline, tell me you’re not sleeping with the father of one of your students.” When she remains silent, I curse. “Fucking hell, that’s messed up. What are you going to do about it? Does anyone know? Did he know?”
“We’re not going to do anything,” Caroline replies, still sounding so horribly sad. I want to hug her, but she’s three hours away from me in another town. “He was acting all weird during the meeting with me, my colleague John and his ex-wife. I had to keep it together for the both of us. And afterwards… He showed up at my place and gave me back my key.”
“Gave you back your key?” I can’t believe what she’s saying. “Car, I know that he’s some kind of kinky sex god and that you’ve been sleeping with him for a while now, but why would that guy have your key?”
“Erm… because I gave it to him.”
Of course she did. The girl may be my best friend, but she’s stupid as fuck sometimes. She trusts guys so easily.
Exhibit A: her ex Jordan who turned out to be an asshole who blamed her when the condom broke and ghosted her afterwards.
Exhibit B: her ex Danny who cheated on her and ended up getting most of their stuff when they broke up, even though she paid for at least half of his furniture.
Exhibit C: this Nathan guy who managed to not only get her to fuck him without even telling her his last name, but who also got her house key to make screwing her even easier.
“So… now what?” I ask.
“I thought that…” She sighs. “I don’t know what I was thinking, but I just kind of hoped that he would want to keep seeing me anyway. He basically told me that I’m just a fling and that we should just end things now that we know that I’m Rose’s teacher.”
“That man is a dickhead if he’s ready to walk out of your life like that,” I spit out. How dare he treat my friend like this? “What the fuck. He’s ancient and you gave him the best two months of his sorry little life. The best sex of his life, too. And now he’s just walking away? What the fuck.” I think it’s for the best, honestly, but I can tell that Caroline was getting invested in this guy, even if she won’t admit it to himself.
“That’s not exactly what happened,” she says, sounding a little more upbeat. “It’s for the best, to be honest. We agreed that we were just having fun. It was never meant to be more than sex. I just got caught up in the whole thing. I don’t even really know him.”
“You’re just clouded by the mind-blowing orgasms,” I tease. I understand that completely. Hell, I’ve been there plenty of times. Sex makes girls stupid. “What’s his name again?”
When she gives me his full name, Nathanial Storm, I type it into my phone, eager to see what her fuckbuddy looks like. I scroll through the few pictures that pop up, trying to figure out which ones of these random dudes is him. I see a picture of a bunch of realtors and open the website. The firm is one town over from where Caroline lives now and he looks like he could be in his late thirties, so this must be him. And damn, he’s hot. I totally get it now.
“Wow, he is one hot daddy,” I admit. “Jesus fucking Christ, I’d totally do him.” He’s got piercing green eyes and his suit makes him look all powerful. “He can’t be 41, Caroline. Are you sure he’s not Rose’s dad’s younger brother or something?”
She laughs. “You found a picture of him?”
I go back to the other pictures I managed to pull up and frown when I see one of them is a mugshot. I click on it and my screen shows me more mugshots. Nathanial is much younger in the pictures, but it’s obviously him, probably around 20 years old.
“Oh no,” I say softly, seeing the title of the article: 18-year old man tries to kill his sister’s boyfriend. What kind of person was my best friend sleeping with? “Caroline… I think you may have dodged a bullet with this guy. I think you should look him up. Right now.” Knowing her, she hasn’t googled him yet, even though she knows his full name now. She’s so damn trusting. We really need to remedy that. I can afford to fuck around without googling the shit out of every guy, but that’s because I don’t get invested in them. She does. She’s crushing on a goddamn criminal. “I’m looking at his mug shots right now. Holy shit, Caroline. You had sex with a murderer.”
Caroline is shocked, of course, and she starts googling him as well. While I wait for her to find his mug shots, I skim the article. Okay, maybe he’s not a murderer, since the guy he attacked didn’t die. And he ended up going to prison for assault, not murder. Still, this is not someone I want in my best friend’s apartment, let along her vagina. And to think we always considered me the one most likely to end up locked up in some creep’s basement.
“He’s not a murderer!” she shrieks at me, making me wince. “It just says that he was accused of attempt at murder, but he got charged in court with assault. That’s not murder!”
“Caroline, do you even hear yourself right now?” I really need to get through to her. “I know the guy is some kind of sex god and that you like it when he smacks your ass, but from what I’m seeing here, he beat a guy into a pulp. How’s that okay?”
She keeps mumbling to herself while she reads more about the guy she’s been fucking, cursing and yelling when she finds out he spent two years in jail. Yeah, great catch, Caroline.
“Run away,” I tell her, making sure my tone is as serious as possible. “You’ve got your key back, right? Maybe you should change the locks just in case he made copies. Don’t take chances with this guy.”
“I don’t believe that he’d ever hurt me,” she says, her voice soft. Damn, she’s even more smitten with this guy than I thought. She keeps defending him, telling me that the guy he beat up tried to rape his sister and that Nathan isn’t a liar. I try to explain to her that this is a pretty big deal, even if he had a reason to be mad at the guy. Beating someone to a pulp is never okay. That’s what the justice system is there for, to make sure people don’t go out seeking their own kind of justice. I’ve experienced violence myself and it’s not a joking matter. Caroline should stay far away from this guy.
Eventually, she agrees that she won’t be seeing him again, but I don’t think she actually means it. If anything, she seems disappointed that he broke things off with her and that he’s off limits.
“Tell me about you,” she says, grunting. “Distract me from this mess. How are you doing?”
“I’m doing Joshua,” I joke, trying to get her so smile again. “Remember him? He’s the guy I met that night you ended up in Dshawn’s bed. He’s pretty cool, for a 21-year old.”
Caroline laughs. “So while I was screwing someone seventeen years older than me, you were robbing cradles?”
“Hey!” I complain, laughing along. It’s good to hear her happy again, even though I know for a fact she’s eager to get off the phone and google the shit out of this goddamn Nathanial Storm. “He’s only four years younger. And trust me, he doesn’t fuck like he’s younger than me. He’s pretty cute. He’s only been with two girls before me. His ex-girlfriend that he was with for three years and some rebound girl a couple of weeks ago.”
“So you’re not the rebound girl?” Caroline sounds excited. “Is this finally the guy that will have you falling in love again?”
“Nah,” I say, rolling my eyes even though she can’t see me. “You know me. I’ll lose interest in a few weeks. Two months, tops. If I’m ever going down that rabbit hole again, it won’t be with some 21-year-old still in college.” I can’t help but think of Hollister, even though he’s got himself a girlfriend. He never told me if he ended up breaking things off with Jane or not, but I’ve been wondering out it more than I should. He was right when he told me that we’ve been doing this dance for a long time now, flirting and making sexual jokes.
“Are you sure?” Caroline asks. “Because I think-”
My phone rings, interrupting her. It’s a number I don’t recognize, making me frown. Who would call me this late at night? I can think of some guys who would, but they’re all in my phone, while this person isn’t, so it can’t be someone who’s contact info I have.
“Got to go,” I tell Caroline. “Got another call coming in. Do me a favor and stay away from this Nathanial guy, okay? I promise that we’ll go clubbing soon and I’ll find you someone who’s even better in bed to get your mind off of him.”
“Sure. Talk to you soon.”
The moment she hangs up, I tap the screen to answer the incoming phone call.
“Hey,” a deep, vaguely familiar voice says. “Sorry to call you so late. I got your number from Aston. I hope you don’t mind.”
“That depends,” I reply, frowning.
“On what?” the man asks, sounding amused.
“On who the fuck you are.”
He chuckles. “Oh, right. Sorry. It’s Dshawn.”
Oh. I did not expect that. “In that case, I don’t know if I mind or not. Depends on why you asked Aston for my number.” If it’s to ask me out or invite me over to his place at this time of night, I will most surely mind. He’s Caroline’s ex-boyfriend after all. Even though the guy has a tight ass and looks like he works out every single day of the week, I would never go there.
“If I remember correctly, you have your business degree, right?”
“Yeah…” I reply, still not sure where he is going with this.
“Cool. I somehow ended up with only IT guys for friends.” He sounds so excited, almost like a little boy. “I’ve been wanting to talk to someone about this idea I have for a business, but I don’t know if it’s a great idea or a shit one, so I’m looking for someone who will give it to me straight, preferably someone who actually knows what they’re talking about. You fit both of those criteria.”
“Erm… okay.” No one has ever asked me for professional advice before. Never. Not before I went to college, not after, not even during. “Are you sure I’m the right person for this?”
“No,” Dshawn responds with a smile in his voice. “But I figured you owe me one for letting you sleep in my bed.”
“And you thought calling me at this ungodly hour would be a good way to get me to agree to meet up with you?” I tease, already knowing I am going to say yes. I’m curious what kind of business he wants to start.
“Aston assured me that you wouldn’t mind me calling this late.” He pauses. “Then again, I’m not sure why I’m suddenly believing the crap that comes out of Aston’s mouth. I certainly never have before. Oh well. Are you free for dinner tomorrow?”
I check my schedule and grunt. “No, I’ve got a dinner shift at Giovanni’s with only thirty minutes to spare before I need to go to Animals to work the bar. I could do… next week? Friday?”
“Works for me. Text me your address and I will pick you up at eight. And just so you know, I’ll be paying.”
“Of course you’re paying. I’m giving you free professional advice. The least you can do is pick up the check.”
He laughs loudly. “Oh man, I forgot how different you and Caroline are. You may be best friends, but she would put up a fight every time I tried to pay for something. In fact, I think she paid for more of our dates than I did, trying to prove to me how independent she was.” Him bringing up Caroline makes me feel a little weird, like I’m doing something wrong by agreeing to have dinner with him. It’s just professional, so it should be okay… right? And he still sounds pretty hung up on Caroline, to be honest, the way he’s talking about her.
“I may be easy, but I’m not cheap,” I say, trying to keep the mood light before I realize that calling myself easy while talking to my best friends ex-boyfriend may not be a wise move. Especially since they hooked up not that long ago.
“See you next week,” Dshawn says, hanging up before I can respond.
Hmm. This should be interesting.