UnfriendedBy: Deana Farrady
As I said, I'm an optimist.
With a towel wrapped around my hips, I grabbed a soda from the fridge, not much liking where my thoughts were headed. I was guzzling it, wondering where my all my idealism had gone—yeah, I actually am by nature a romantic, not that you'd know it these days—when the doorbell rang.
My first thought: Thank fuck it's Sloane, come to welcome me home.
Then: Where the hell had that thought come from? Of course it wasn't Sloane at the door. It couldn't be. I hadn't talked with, messaged, or in any way contacted Charis Sloane in a couple of months. She didn't even know I'd gone out of town.
That damn Sloane ban. It was killing me.
I forgot, you don't know about the ban.
Fuck, it's a long story. The gist is that I was trying to work things out with Aura. In the interests of that…no Sloane in my life. No anyone-but-Aura in fact. All my hanging-out time belonged to Aura.
Whatever else it did, the ban left me with one key takeaway. Aura Renaldi may be the woman I hoped to end up with eventually, but in no way, shape or form was she my other half.
All you have to do is tabulate the hours Charis Sloane and I have spent chilling together over the years and you'll see that honor goes to her.
Sloane isn't anything like Aura. She's on the level. What you see is what you get with that girl. A dose of her is like a cup of coffee. Essential to a good day. Without that daily dose of Sloan, I've been fucking lonely.
I missed my best friend—bad.
Damn. You know, I really thought that's all it was—missing my platonic best buddy. That, and maybe working too many long hours, was getting me down...
It just burns. When I think of all those years I went around without a clue, all because—
Shit. No excuses I can dream up can make up for wrecking the most important thing in my life. Pretty much any way you look at it, I'm a certified stupid fucking idiot.
But where was I? Oh, yeah, the doorbell. It rang while I was stewing over the fuckup that is my relationship with Aura.
I thought it was Sloane ringing my bell.
But it wasn't Sloane at my front door.
It was Aura.
"WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?" I snapped.
I want to mention straight off that I don't usually greet my girlfriend that way. I smile and take her in my arms. I almost did it this time. She looked gorgeous enough to eat in that cotton-candy pink alpaca sweater. But I was still pissed at her for the airport fiasco.
This happens—I get angry and I want to fuck. I get tired and I want to fuck. I get sick and…you're getting the idea. Being a dude is awesome, the way fucking takes care of half my issues.
"You're angry," she declared. "I knew you were. I could hear it in your voice."
"Or the way I hung up on you," I said sarcastically. My desire to fuck was unfortunately fading fast.
"What is your problem, Ash? This is not like you. You're usually so happy. What did I do?'
I stared at her with disbelief. "You forgot I was out of town."
"What? I did too know you were gone. How can I not know? I missed you so much, lover. You should have told me when you were coming back."
"You had my flight info."
Tears sprang into her eyes. "Oh, Ash. I know what this is really about. This is about me not picking you up. You know I would have if you'd only asked me to. Why didn't you tell me you needed a ride? You need to communicate with me."
That wave of tiredness was returning. "Right."
Abruptly it didn't matter. All I wanted now was for finals to be over and spring break to start. I wanted to spend a week lolling around in bed with my girlfriend with maybe some family time thrown in. Because I fully intended to end my social exile very soon.
Oh, yes, I was seeing Sloane again, as soon as humanly possible. We'd kick back and—
"Ash! Are you listening to me? Open your eyes!"
My eyes flew open. Aura was looking up at me, her green ones alluringly at half mast. Damn, she was lovely. Under the towel, my cock stirred.
I spent a split second debating sleep and sex.
It was no contest, really.
TIME OUT. WE DID NOT, IN FACT, fuck here, but I need to tell you about my cock for a moment.
Cock is a driving force in my life. No joke. I have this theory that guys go through certain stages in life that mark how much we control our destiny.