But we had certain things in common that somehow made us make sense. Her mom barely tolerated her; my mom hated me. Her dad was a jerk; my dad was Satan.

When we realized the small things we did have in common, we spent more time together, growing closer each day.

She was my best friend, the highlight to my shitty days.

Me: I slept with her once.

Alyssa: Twice.

Me: Yeah, twice.


“Who are you talking to?” Shay whined, breaking my stare from my phone. “Who could possibly be more important than having this conversation right now?”

“Alyssa,” I said flatly.

“Oh my gosh. Seriously? She just can’t get enough of you, can she?” Shay complained. It wasn’t new though; every girl I’d dated in the past two years had a way of being extremely jealous of Alyssa’s and my relationship. “I bet you’re screwing her.”

“Yeah, I am,” I said. That was the first lie. Alyssa wasn’t easy, and if she was, she wouldn’t be easy with me. She had standards—standards I didn’t meet. Also, I had standards for Alyssa’s relationships—standards no guy could ever meet. She deserved the world, and most people in True Falls, Wisconsin only had crumbs to offer.

“I bet she’s the reason you’re breaking up with me.”

“Yeah, she is.” That was the second lie. I made my own choices, but Alyssa always backed me, no matter what. She always gave me her input though, and let me know when I was in the wrong in all of my relationships. She was painfully blunt sometimes.

“She wouldn’t ever really get with you though. She’s a good girl, and you—you’re a piece of shit!” Shay cried.

“You’re right.” That was the first truth.

Alyssa was a good girl, and I was the boy who never had a chance of calling her mine. Even though sometimes I’d look at her crazy, blonde, curly hair and my mind would think about what it’d be like to maybe hold her close and slowly taste her lips. Maybe in a different world, I would’ve been enough for her. Maybe I wouldn’t have been screwed up since I was a kid, and would’ve had my life together. I would’ve gotten into college and had a career, something to show for myself. Then, I could’ve asked her out and took her to some fancy restaurant, and told her to order anything on the menu because money wasn’t an issue.

I could’ve told her how her blue eyes always smiled, even when she frowned, and that I loved how she chewed on the collar of all of her T-shirts when she was bored, or anxious.

I could’ve been someone worthy of loving, and she would’ve allowed me to love her, too.

In a different world, maybe. But I only had the here and now, where Alyssa was my best friend.

I was lucky enough to have her in that form.

“You said you loved me!” Shay wept, allowing the tears to fall down her cheeks.

How long had she been crying? She was a professional crier, that one.

I studied her face as I slid my hands into my jean pockets. Goddamn. She looked a mess. She was still high from earlier, and her makeup was smeared all over her face.

“I didn’t say that, Shay.”

“Yes, you did! You said it more than once!” She swore.

“You’re making shit up.” I would’ve traced my memory to see if those three words slipped out of my mouth at some point, but I knew they didn’t. I didn’t love. I barely liked. My fingers brushed against my temple. Shay really needed to get in her car and drive far, far away.

“I’m not stupid, Logan! I know what you said!” Her words were confident in the belief that I loved her. Which, as a whole, was pretty sad. “You said it earlier tonight! Remember? You said you fucking loved me?”

Earlier tonight?

Oh, crap.

“Shay, I said I love fucking you. Not that I fucking love you.”

“Same thing.”

“Trust me, it’s not.”

She swung her purse in my direction and I allowed it to hit me. Truth was, I deserved it. She swung again, and I allowed it once more. She swung a third time, and I grabbed the bag, yanked it—and her—toward me. My hand landed on her lower back, which she arched at my touch. I pressed her body close to mine. Her breaths were heavy and tears were still rolling down her cheeks. “Don’t cry,” I whispered, turning on my charm to try to get her to leave. “You’re too beautiful to cry.”

“You’re such an asshole, Logan.”

“Which is exactly why you shouldn’t be with me.”

“We’ve been broken up for three hours, and you became a completely different person.”

“That’s funny,” I muttered. “Because last I checked, it was you who became different, when you hooked up with Nick.”

“Oh, get over it. That was a mistake. We didn’t even have sex. You’re the only boy I’ve slept with in the past six months.”

“Uh, we’ve been dating for eight months.”

“What are you, a math guru? That doesn’t matter.”

Shay was my longest relationship in the past two years. Most of the time, it was a month tops, but with Shay we made it a total of eight months and two days. I didn’t know why exactly, other than her life was almost a carbon copy of mine. Her mom was far from stable, and her father was in prison. She didn’t have anyone to look up to, and her sister was kicked out of their house by their mom because she got knocked up by some jerk.

Maybe the darkness in me saw and honored the darkness in her for a little while. We made sense. But as time went by, I realized that it was because of the similarities that we truly didn’t belong together. We were both too messed up. Being with Shay was like looking at a mirror and seeing all of your scars staring back at you.

“Shay, let’s not do this. I’m tired.”

“Okay. I forgot. You are Mr. Perfect. People make bad calls in life,” Shay explained.

“You made out with my friend, Shay.”

“It’s just that: making out! And I only did it because you cheated on me.”

“I’m not even sure how to reply to that, seeing as how I never cheated on you.”

“Maybe not with sex, but emotionally, Logan. You were never fully there and committed. This is all Alyssa’s fault. She’s the reason you never really committed to me. She’s such a stupid bitc—”