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“Jake, is something wrong with you?” I asked.

“No.” He adjusted his cufflinks. “I’ve told you no every time you’ve asked for the past couple of weeks.”

“Well, why don’t you answer my phone calls anymore?”

“I have nothing more to talk to you about.” He put on his blazer and walked over to the mirror. His eyes met mine in the glass and he raised his eyebrow. “Why?”

“I just thought we were getting somewhere...” I shrugged. “That’s why I asked. I feel like we’re—”

“We’re back to just fucking?”

I nodded. “I thought we were becoming more, and now you’re...You’re moving backwards, and you promised not to burn me.”

“How the fuck am I burning you?” He turned around. “I’m not doing anything different.”

“You’re shutting me out. You won’t fucking talk to me about the simplest of shit, and you get agitated if I ask you about your goddamn day.” I didn’t mean to yell, but my loud voice echoed off the empty walls. “You can’t say you haven’t noticed a difference between now and a few weeks ago. You were almost a Prince Charming, letting us connect on all the great things we have in common, but now you’re on the verge of being an unbearable asshole. You’re colder, meaner, and I don’t think I like you anymore.”

“You don’t need to like me to fuck me,” he said. “You just need to like fucking me.” He stepped closer, letting his forehead touch mine. “And from the way you still come every time we meet up, it’s clear you still like that.”

“Watch the way you talk to me.”

“Says the person who just said unbearable asshole?”

“I’m sure your feelings weren’t hurt at all.”

“I guess I’d have to have feelings for that to be the case.” He glared at me. “I’m not doing anything different. We’re fucking like we’re supposed to, you come every time, and I don’t think you can expect more than that. Yes, we share a love of crossword puzzles, traveling, and we both know plane design, but that’s as far as this will go, so if you want something more, tell me and I’ll walk away for good. Or since you always have to have the last word, you can walk away first. Do you want more?”

“No.” I lied, keeping my face stoic as I looked away from him and down at the watch he’d given me. “No, I don’t want more from you.”

“Good.” He grabbed the handle of his luggage and walked away. Then he looked over his shoulder. “See you in Chicago next Thursday.”

I refused to admit that the tears falling down my face were real.


“Honey, I’m home!” Meredith waltzed into our apartment several days later. “Oh god, what is that smell? Did you attempt to cook again?”

I didn’t answer.

She fiddled with pots and pans—turning off the food I’d burned. Then she lined up her shopping bags on the counter. “I’ve had interviews with Dior, Michael Kors, Furstenberg, and Coach. Oh! And you won’t believe the new line that’s coming from Hermes this fall. It’s edgier than anything they’ve ever put out on the market.”

I stared straight ahead.

“Gillian? Can you hear me?” She stepped in front of me. “Gillian, why aren’t you—Whoa...What’s wrong with you?”

I didn’t answer.

“Did you get fired? Again?”

“No...” I shook my head.

“Did you run into Ben?”


“Okay, wait. Did your family finally find out that you live in a shithole and they have no idea who you really are?”

“No.” A slight laugh escaped my lips, but a cry came after. “You were right. You were so right...”


I sighed. “You know that guy I told you I was sleeping with?”

“The pilot? The one you swore to leave alone after he embarrassed you at the gala?”

“Yeah, but...” I sighed. “I didn’t leave him alone. I went right back and we’ve still been...”

“Having sex?” She crossed her arms, confused. “You’re kidding.”

“I wish I was.”

“I see. Well, did he physically hurt you? Is that why you’re crying?”

“No...” I shook my head, and then I gave up any attempt to pretty up my words. I told her everything, everything that led up to our last tryst in the bathroom. How his fucking was perfect, but his mind was elsewhere. How the warmth in his eyes didn’t match the coldness that fell from his lips.

“You’ve argued with him how many times already?” She looked at me in shock.

“Just a few.”

“Is ‘just a few’ more than twice? More than five times?”

I didn’t answer.

“Okay,” she said. “You need to break this off for your sanity. Casual sex is literally ‘casual sex’ It’s supposed to be casual and fun, and he should be able to at least hold a simple conversation with you. If he shoots you down like that again, let him go. Otherwise, you’ll just be fighting for him to pay attention and it’ll be a waste of your time.” She must’ve noticed the expression on my face because she held up her hands in a fake surrender and sighed. “What’s his name?”