“No.” I walked over to her and placed my hands on her shoulders. “So, we had sex last night. It happened, and from what I recall, you weren’t very ‘silent’ about anything…”

Her jaw dropped and I laughed, shutting her lips with my fingers.

“I’m kidding,” I said. “I don’t think we have to have an intervention-type discussion about it, though. Last night doesn’t change anything between us.”

“You promise?”

“I do.”

“Do you also promise to never talk about it, or let it happen again because we don’t want to lose each other as friends, and we both know that sex ruins friendships? Undeniably and inevitably ruins them?”

“Is that a question or a statement?”

“It’s both…”

“In that case, yes.” I cupped her face in my hands and looked into her eyes. “We won’t let it happen again because we both value our friendship too much.”

“Good…” She exhaled. “So, just to be clear, last night never happened.”

“Correct.” I tucked a strand of hair behind her ear and stepped back. “I was never here.”

“Great.” She slid off the barstool. “Well, I’m going to get ready for a class and then I guess I’ll see you tomorrow at Gayle’s...Can you pick me up around eleven thirty?”

“I can.”

We stared at each other in silence, not saying anything else.

“Okay, well…” She stepped back. “It’s only nine so…You go home, I’ll stay here, and, um…I’ll see you tomorrow?”

I averted my gaze away from her lips. “Sounds about right.”

“Oh, and Carter?” She looked at me.


“It was definitely fourth grade. We became best friends in fourth grade.”

“You need to let that go.” I laughed and headed for the door. “It was definitely fifth.”

I couldn’t make the shower water hot enough. I needed it to tear at my skin harder, faster. Regardless of what I’d said to Arizona at her place, it was going to take a hell of a lot for me to forget last night for a number of reasons: One, it was hands down the best sex I’d ever had in my life. Two: Her soft pleas and moans were still playing through my mind on repeat. And three: I’d actually felt something while we were looking into each other’s eyes at one point, something that had never happened to me during sex before.


Frustrated by the water, I turned it off and stepped out of the shower. I wrapped a towel around my waist and walked into my kitchen.

“Long night?” Josh set his newspaper down and looked up at me.

“Not really. Just stayed over at Ari’s.”

“Let me guess, she made you watch another one of those boring ass cooking shows and ‘allowed’ you to sleep on her couch?”

“Pretty much.”

“Ridiculous.” He stood up and followed me over to the fridge. “I need you to explain something important to me.”

“I thought you’d never ask,” I said. “It’s very true what your last ex-girlfriend said: You really can’t dress for shit.”

“Forget you, man.” He laughed. “I want to know how you continue to do it.”

“How I continue to do what?”

“How are you still ‘just friends’ with a girl?”

“Do you realize that you and I have this same exact conversation every six months?”

“I know, and I’m not knocking you and Arizona. I know you two are strictly platonic, I’m just wondering about this in general. Like, how do you never consider crossing the line?” He leaned back against the counter. “I’m only asking because since we’ll both be going to law school in the fall, and I think that’s what I need to pick up—a girl who’s just a friend.”

“They don’t sell friends in stores…”

“Come on, tell me. How do you do it?”

A memory from last night, one of Ari whispering my name as she came against my mouth suddenly crossed my mind. “You just go in having that in mind, and you should probably learn how to be a friend to her, too. Don’t make things sexual like you tend to do.”

“Right…Well, what if the girl looks like Ari, though? How does someone like me, someone with balls—unlike you, not act upon that?”

Ari’s face post-orgasm crossed my mind again. “You just…Don’t. I guess.”

“Okay, okay, okay.” He tapped the counter. “You. Me. The Bakery Bar. Tonight. Instead of a one night stand, we’re going to find me a platonic friend. The uglier, the better.”

“I’m honestly ashamed to call you my friend sometimes.”

“The feeling is mutual, buddy.” He grabbed a bottle of water and returned to the couch.

When I was sure he was deeply engrossed in his reading again, I poured myself an early shot of vodka and tossed it back. I was definitely going to need to be buzzed to keep my mind off Ari’s lips for the next few hours…

Or days.



Track 13. The Last Time (4:56)

The sex was a mistake…Just a one-time mistake…

I repeated those words all morning long until I halfway believed them, until I made my way into the class I was currently stealing: Pastry Design.