“I can’t believe it.” Faye sighed. “Who would’ve ever thought that that wild, dirty hippie, asshole thing would ever become something so…hot?”

“We’re all a little wild, and we’re all a little something.”

She turned to me, a silly grin finding her lips. “Oh shit. You like him.”

“What? No. He just helps around the house. Mostly with the lawn.”

Her voice took on a loud shout—she had no clue how to whisper. “Are you sure it’s just the lawn? Or does he help unclog your drains too?”

“Faye! Shut up.”

“Does he wash your dirty dishes? Your dishes were always so, so filthy.”

“I’m not doing this with you.” I blushed. “Anyway, I need your input. Which layout do you like the best for the living room and dining room area? I want to incorporate his wood pieces that he makes. Tristan builds a lot with wood and I think—”

“Is his wood good? Thick? Does Tristan have thick, long wood?”

I stared at her with narrow eyes. “Is your mind always in the gutter?”

“Always, babycakes. Always. You like him, though. I can tell.”

“Not at all.”

“You like him.”

With a whisper and a turn of my stomach, I stared at Tristan, who was staring back at me. “Yeah. I like him.”

“Jesus, Liz. Only you would fall for an asshole dude who ends up looking like Brad Pitt circa Legends of the Fall. Get it?” She smiled. “Legends of the Fall—character’s name was Tristan?”

“Well, aren’t you clever?”

“It’s almost ridiculous.”

I laughed. “Almost.”

She stepped in closer and studied my face. “What’s that?”

“What’s what?”

“That weird goofy grin you’re giving me—holy face full of sex! You slept with him!”

“What? No, I—”

“Don’t try to outsmart the sexoholic, Liz. You totally boned him!”

Like a little girl who’d just gotten her first kiss, I squirmed. “I totally boned him!”

“Sweet Jesus! Yes!” She stood up on the front porch and started chanting. “YES! YES! YES!!! The drought is over!”

Tristan turned our way and raised an eyebrow. “Everything okay, ladies?”

I pulled Faye back down to sit and giggled. “Everything’s fine.”

“Including that sweet ass of his,” Faye muttered with a smirk. “So, how was it?”

“Well, let’s just say I gave his thing a nickname.”

Tears formed in her eyes and her hands flew over her heart. “My little girl is growing up. Okay, what’s the name?”

“The Incredible Hulk.”

She cringed. “I’m sorry, what?”

“The Incr—”

“No, no. I heard you the first time. You mean that green monster thing? Liz, are you fucking a guy with a green penis? Because if you are, you need a tetanus shot.” She eyed me up and down, cringing. “And higher standards.”

I laughed. “Can I tell you the truth about Tristan and me without you giving me a scolding?”


“We used sex with each other to remember Steven and Jamie. It’s kind of like…we used each other to have the feeling we used to get with them.”

“You mean you like, envision Steven while Tristan’s screwing you?”

“Yeah. I mean, well, at first I did. We don’t do it anymore, though. I got way too emotional and couldn’t handle it.”

“But now you like him.”

“Yeah. Which is bad, because he was just seeing Jamie when he was with me.”

Faye’s eyes glanced over at Tristan. “Bullshit.”


“He sees you, Liz.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Listen, coming from a girl who has slept with a ton of different guys and has envisioned Channing Tatum for most of those guys, I can tell the difference between when a person is thinking about you and when they are thinking about someone else. Look at the way he’s staring at you.”

I glanced over at Tristan to find his stare, once again, on me. Did he really think about me when we were together?

And if it were true that he did, why did the idea of that make me so happy? I shook my head back and forth, not wanting to really face the fact of what was happening between Tristan and me. “So what’s the deal with you and Matty? How’s that going?”

“Terrible.” She sighed, slamming her hand against her face. “I need to break things off with him.”

“What? Why?”

“Because like a loser I went ahead and fell in love with him.”

My eyes lit up. “You’re in love.”

“I know, it’s awful. I drink every night to try to forget about it. Now shut up and let’s go back to talking about Tristan’s wood.”

I smiled and after a few hours and about a hundred dirty comments, Faye and I picked out the colors for each and every room in his house.

Chapter Twenty-One


A few days passed before Sam called me up on Friday to ask if I was interested in hanging out with him. I’d figured he had forgotten he said he would show me around town months before, but I guessed some people were just a little slower getting around to things. On Friday night he pulled up to my house in his family’s work truck. I watched him from the living room window as he hopped out of his truck and fixed his bowtie. He started stepping toward the house, and then he paused and stepped backward. This went on for about five more rounds before he finally made it up the porch, where he debated knocking or not.