“I slept with Carter…” I burst into tears and my chest heaved up and down. “I slept with him damn near every day after the EPIC party…”

Her jaw dropped.

“I didn’t think it was ‘just sex’ though,” I continued, feeling the tears fall nonstop. “I thought I was falling in love with him because I thought...I thought he was…” My next words came out muddled and I shook my head. “I can’t eat, I can’t sleep, and I can’t even think straight anymore…”

“It took so much out of me to finally tell him that I was in love with him, and I honestly thought he would say that he loved me back…But he said, ‘I love you, but not in that way’…He said that in his eyes, we were just friends. That the sex didn’t mean anything more…”

Nicole looked completely shocked, dumbfounded, and I didn’t stop talking. I couldn’t.

“I’ve been crying every day since I got here, Nicole. Every. Fucking. Day. On the one hand, I’ve cried because of the situation, because it hurts not to be loved back. But on the other, it’s because I really really want to talk to him, you know?”

“Awww, Ari…”

“I want to tell him about the stuff I’ve seen, tell him he should come up so I can give him a tour of what little I know and…” I wiped my face on my sleeve. “But I can’t just be his friend anymore, not right now anyway. I can’t talk to him like we used to because I don’t want him thinking I’m okay. I am NOT okay, and I will not pretend like I am…”

Nicole was silent for a long time—her eyes meeting mine, waiting for me to give her a look that said it was okay for her to speak.

“Ari, I’m so sorry…” She paused. “Actually, before I address any of what you just said, I want to apologize to you for something I did.”

I raised my eyebrow, confused.

“It hit me last week when your phone kept going to voicemail or when you hadn’t answered in a long time that I was a terrible friend to you. I was too busy chasing guys that never lasted for more than a few nights at a time, instead of being there for you…I was in the middle of sending you an email that said all of this stuff tonight, but I really do want to do better now and in the future.”

“Thank you…”

“As far as Carter…” she said. “I need to get to the most important question out of the way…”

“What question is that?”

“How big is his cock?” She asked, deadpan, and I laughed for the first time in what felt like forever.

“It’s big...Huge, actually.”

“I knew it…” She fanned herself and bit her lip. “Lucky you. Anyway, you don’t have to talk to him until you’re ready. He’ll just have to understand. Whenever you do talk to him, though, you have to be honest and tell him everything and how he made you feel. You have to also be willing to accept that you two may not be able to be friends again. At least, not for a while.”

“Yeah…” My heart ached at the very thought. “That’s what hurts the most to think about…”

“If it makes you feel any better, I ran into him last weekend at a party and he looked absolutely miserable.”

“Why do you think that would make me feel better?”

“I just thought it would.” She shrugged. “He barely spoke to anyone and whenever a girl tried to dance with him, he walked away. Hell, when I told my friend that I was going to go talk to him, she told me to brace myself to be ignored or told to fuck off…He may actually feel the same way you do, and I’m willing to bet that he probably does love you in that way…”

“If he did, wouldn’t he tell me? Wouldn’t he write it in one of his letters since I’m currently avoiding his calls and emails?”

“Maybe.” She shrugged. “Or maybe, just maybe, he’s just as stubborn as you are…You are best friends for a reason.”

“We were best friends for a reason. I hate him now.”

“Ha!” She tilted her head to the side, laughing. “I’m sorry for laughing, but…Whether you talk to him this year or next year, it won’t change the fact that you love him. You could never truly hate him.”

“That’s not true. You should’ve seen us in fourth grade.”

“Is that so?” She was still laughing. “Something tells me you might’ve loved each other even then.”

I shook my head, but I couldn’t help but laugh with her.

Feeling slightly better, I steered the conversation away from Carter and asked about her life—attempting to pick up where we left off before.

She told me she was taking time off to study for the GMATs so she could go to grad school next year, and that she hadn’t had a date in a while and was surprisingly enjoying the “studious life.”

When we were done laughing about the sexual disaster that led to her hiatus, she promised to call me next week and we hung up.

I logged off of Skype and smiled. Shutting my laptop, I leaned over to turn off my lamp, but my roommate walked into my room and hit the main light switch.

“Okay, so…” she said. “Don’t take this the wrong way, but I overheard most of your conversation with your friend from back home, and I think I actually like you now. You’re not a bitch at all.” She raised two coffee mugs. “Tea?”