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I’d gone three paces when I heard Hunter calling from the top of the steps. “Lorrie, wait!”

I continued walking, ignoring Hunter’s cries. He knew how I reacted to hearing about him getting a blowjob from those girls. Deciding to feed that girl a banana in front of me made him a huge jackass. After resolving the blowjob incident, this felt like huge betrayal of my trust.

“Wait! You forgot your coat,” he called.

Feeling the cold biting through my thin layer of clothes, I stopped and turned. “What are you doing?” I said harshly.

He held up my coat from the top of the stairs. “Apparently saving you from freezing to death—again.”

“I’ll be just fine, thanks. Leave my coat with Daniela.” I turned to walk away.

“Lorrie, what the f**k?” he yelled. “How are you mad at me? You rejected me, remember? I’m the one who should be mad at you. And frankly, I am.” He descended the steps and offered the coat as I turned to face him.

I stomped my foot. “What do you have to be mad about? I said I wasn’t ready and needed a little space, and you responded by running into the arms of another girl immediately! Who is she, anyway? One of the girls who would suck your dick even if you had a pet rock?”

“Dammit Lorrie!” he roared, nostrils flared. His anger surprised me. He looked like he was going to keep yelling but pursed his lips together and ran his free hand through his short brown hair. “No,” he said in a measured tone. “She’s an ex that I’m still friends with.”

“Ada?” I blurted.

His brows shot up in surprise, but he nodded. “Yes. Ada. So you’ve heard about her. Well, now you’ve seen her.”

“Have you been hanging out with her a lot?”

His mouth opened to speak but then he shook his head. “Look, Ada and I . . . are not exactly friends, it’s just . . . complicated between us.”

“You think I’m blind, Hunter?” I said angrily. “You guys sure looked friendly.”

“Things between Ada and I aren’t romantic or sexual. We still hang out every once in a while, but nowhere near as much as I hang out with you.”

Now he was changing his story. I wondered if he was just telling me what he thought I wanted to hear. “So she’s not your friend, and things aren’t sexual between you, but you still suggestively feed her bananas?”

“What do you want from me, Lorrie?” he yelled. “First you push me away because I want you, now you get jealous when I’m hanging out with another girl. This is ridiculous!”

“Ridiculous? Jumping into your ex’s arms days after saying you have feelings for me is ridiculous! I thought you would at least keep it to a quiet hookup.”

He sighed. “Listen, I’m sorry I fed Ada that banana to piss you off. That was immature, but I swear to you there was no hookup.”

“Why would you use a friend—or whatever she is— to try and get back at me when I’ve done nothing wrong?”

He scoffed. “Nothing wrong? Lorrie, you’re playing with me like a yo-yo. You push me away then get jealous and pull me in. Over and over.”

I snatched my coat from his outstretched hand and backed away. “Hunter, you can’t force me to date you, even if we did kiss. But you’re right, maybe I have been unfair. Maybe we should stay away from each other.”

“Come on, don’t say that!” He took a deep breath. “I’m sorry. What can I do to make this right?”

“I don’t know!”

I turned on my heel and hurried away, expecting him to chase after me. When I realized he wasn’t following, I put my coat on and quickened my pace toward the dorm, the crisp night air chilling my tear-stained cheeks. Goddammit. Why did things always have to turn out so horribly?

I got back to my room and checked my phone. Daniela had texted me several times asking what happened and how I was. I texted back and told her I was going to the library to study. I knew it would be hard to be productive, but I had to do something. Sitting in my dorm would drive me crazy.

Daniela texted back and said the two of us should meet up when I was done. I agreed, grabbed my books, and headed to Wheatley Library.

Once I got to the library, I had a hard time focusing. It was emptier than usual, and the people that were there were mostly chatting first and studying second. There was too much swirling through my head. I stared at my psych textbook rereading the same paragraph over and over. I needed to know this material soon or I would fail my midterm. Dammit this is all because of Hunter. Frustrated, I tried focusing on just the pictures and diagrams, but nothing stuck.

I took a break and stared out the window at the student union. Why did I think that being just friends with Hunter would work out? I’d been warned multiple times by Daniela to be careful and not fall for him. I’d ignored her warnings, and here I was, trying to study in the library on a Friday night so I didn’t fail my midterms.

Looking down at my notebook, I saw the only words I had written were “Psych Notes” at the top of the page. This was hopeless. I texted Daniela to ask if she wanted to watch some Grey’s Anatomy together. She responded with an enthusiastic message: Hell yeah :). I packed up my stuff and headed back to my dorm.

Chapter Seventeen

SPECIAL

A few days passed without word from Hunter. I was beginning to wonder if I had made a mistake by suggesting we stay away from each other. Was this the end of our friendship?

Still, those damn dreams of kissing his lips didn’t stop, if anything, they only intensified with his absence. I’d tried taking Benadryl hoping for a dreamless slumber, but it ended up twisting the dream, turning a kiss into some bizarre situation where Hunter was bottle-feeding me across his lap like a little kitten while stroking my sex at the same time. When I woke up, I immediately tossed that bottle of Benadryl into the garbage. We’d been talking about Freud and the interpretation of dreams in psych class the other day and I shuddered to think what that dream had meant.

Finally, Saturday evening arrived. Daniela decided to forego partying in favor of studying for midterms and I didn’t feel like doing anything either so I decided on enjoying a quiet night in my dorm room.

My phone alarm chimed, notifying me I had to go feed the kittens soon. I hated the idea of having to go over to Hunter’s apartment. The thought of seeing him again pissed me off. After debating it over in my mind and considering other options, I decided I was going to go over a little earlier to feed the kittens, hoping it would give me a greater chance of avoiding him in case he decided to come back from the gym early to catch me still at his place. Those poor little creatures didn’t deserve being caught in the crossfire of whatever was happening between Hunter and me.

I put my jacket on and walked over to Hunter’s place.

As soon as I opened the door, I heard adorable high-pitched mews coming from the kitchen. I walked inside, took off my snow boots, and hung my coat on the hanger beside the door.

“Where’s my little kitties?” I said in my best babying voice.

The mews grew louder in response and I heard tiny paws scurrying across the tile to the pet barrier. I could distinctly hear Taylor’s sweet—but loud—voice above the others. As much as I didn’t want to play favorites, if some sick person put a gun to my head and asked me to choose my favorite kitten of the litter, I’d have to say it was Taylor.

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