“I have an unfortunate tendency to pick bat-shit crazy women. I never compare them to Ari.”
“Three, if she calls you, you answer immediately and then you go running to wherever she is if she asks you to.”
“Any best friend would do that.”
“In the middle of a date? Or right after sex with his girlfriend?” He crossed his arms. “I don’t think so.”
I said nothing.
“That’s what I thought. Now that you’re somewhat accepting of the truth, do you want the most obvious fucking reason that you’re in love with Arizona and always have been?”
He grabbed my arm and pointed to the small State of Arizona-shaped tattoo. “Any reason why you’ve never covered that or etched over it like any of your other ones? There’s no sign or remnant of those old ‘Carter and Jane’ or ‘Rose forever’ tattoos anymore… ”
“It’s become a drunken memory. It makes for a good story.”
“For who, Carter? No future wife or girlfriend is going to think that’s a good story and you fucking know it.”
I shrugged. “None of my previous girlfriends have ever complained to me about it before.”
“That’s because none of your previous girlfriends were ever smart enough to know all the states that make up America. They’d probably be shocked to know that there was one called Arizona in the first place.”
I tried to think of a rebuttal, but I couldn’t find one.
“You know what? Let’s get out of here…” He actually sounded sympathetic. “You’ve got it bad, and I’m going to need a better wingman while I’m on this trip. Pussy whipped and love sick Carter is not going to help me at all…”
Track 26. We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together (3:53)
More weeks passed and the beach’s bipolar autumn—warm temperatures one day, unbearable rainfall the next, passed without incident. Without Arizona.
According to what her mom had told me, she didn’t think it made much sense for her to spend over a thousand dollars on a plane ticket to come home for fall break. I didn’t get a chance to offer to foot the bill because I was too engrossed in the hectic insanity of law school and I couldn’t catch a break to save my life.
Everyone in my program operated on a cutthroat level and had already developed close knit study groups, so it left me with a lone study partner. Erica.
She was just as enthusiastic about the law as me: She’d scored a 180 on the LSATs as well, and her dad had influenced her into the career field, too.
“Hey. Do you want to split up the justice chapters again?” She tossed a few gummy bears in my direction. “Or maybe you just want to stare into space for a few more hours.”
“We can split them up,” I stood up and walked into my kitchen. “You want more coffee?”
I pulled out two mugs—noticing a new Post-It from Josh on the cabinet door: “There’s absolutely no reason why you still haven’t fucked Erica yet. That’s the best way to get over Ari…Just do it.”
I crumpled the note and threw it away.
“Can I ask you something, Carter?” Erica sat up on the couch.
“Are you dating someone?”
“I think you would know by now if I was. Don’t you?”
“Not necessarily…” She blushed. “I mean, we do spend a lot of time together, but you always slip away for hours at a time on the weekends.”
“To complete my internship hours.” I smiled. “I’m pretty sure you do the same thing on the weekends.”
“Oh, right…” she said and then, as I placed the coffee in front of her, she cleared her throat. “Would you like to go out sometime? Like, as friends? Nothing more than friends?”
I hesitated, finally looking her over and paying attention to her features. She was pretty—auburn colored hair, bright blue eyes, and if it weren’t for a certain someone, I would’ve once considered her one of the most beautiful women I’d ever met. “Sure.”
“Great! This weekend all of the first years are going to dinner and a movie downtown. Is that cool with you?”
“Perfect…Which chapters do you want me to outline?”
We worked side by side until nearly midnight, stopping after we’d gone through two more pots of coffee. I helped her put all her things back into her backpack and walked her outside to her car.
“We got a lot of work done today,” she said, smiling as I held her car door open for her.
“We did. I’m sure we’ll get the highest scores again, too.”
“I’m sure…” She hesitated a second, and then she stood on her toes and planted a kiss on my cheek. “See you Saturday, Carter.”
“See you Saturday…” I forced a smile and waited until she drove off before walking back inside. I was about to collapse on the couch and call it a night, but I spotted a letter on the TV stand. Addressed to me in Arizona’s handwriting.
I quickly ripped it open and sat on the couch to read:
Sorry it took me so long to respond to your last letter, but unfortunately not much has changed in my life since we last wrote. (Or spoke…)
I still hate it here. It’s absolutely beautiful despite the lack of beaches in the part of town I’m in, but that’s about all I can say…