The first time I met you, you were a stranger. The second time, you were my roommate. The third time, you made it clear you were about to become the biggest thorn my side had ever known.
You sing way too loud in the shower and use all the hot water.
You’re bossy as hell.
You make my life all kinds of complicated.
But no matter how hard I try, I can’t stop thinking about you.
And truthfully … I can’t stop wanting you.
I was going to tell you this. I was going to sit you down, swallow my pride, hang up my noncommittal ways and show you a side of me you nor anyone else has ever seen before … but then you dropped a game-changing bombshell; a confession so nuclear it stopped me in my tracks.
How I didn’t see this coming, I’ll never know.
P.S. I miss you.
I’m standing outside Melrose’s door, two sweaty beer bottles under one arm as I knock.
“Go away, Sutter,” she calls, voice stuffy.
I knock again.
“Go. Away,” she says.
A third knock should do it. A fourth if I must. I’m not going anywhere tonight.
Seconds later, the door swings open with a hard pull and Melrose’s frown neutralizes when she sees the drinks in my hand.
“What’s this?” she asks.
“You look like you had a rough night.” I hand hers over, but she doesn’t accept it right away.
Her tired stare rests on my outstretched hand. “Why are you being so nice to me?”
“Weirding you out too, huh?”
I manage to get the smallest smile out of her. I think. It’s gone before I can be sure.
Finally taking my generous gift, Melrose raises her brows and takes a swig. “Guess not.”
“You want to talk about it?” I ask, hooking my hand behind my neck. I’m terrible at these kinds of things and I don’t like to talk for the sake of talking, but I’ve come this far.
“Is your girlfriend gone?” She ignores my question.
“Acquaintance. And yeah. I sent her home.”
“You did?” Her forehead crinkles, like she doesn’t believe it.
I nod. And I don’t believe it myself. I’ve never put sex on the back burner so I could comfort some crying chick.
“I need to let Murphy out.” Melrose scoops the wrinkly beast into her arms and treks downstairs, cutting through the living room and kitchen to get to the backyard.
I follow, stepping out to the patio and sliding the door closed behind me. Murphy trots off, disappearing somewhere in the dark yard, and Melrose takes a seat on one of the steps. The moonlight makes her shine almost, painting a glow onto her bronzed skin and silky hair.
“So … you’re okay then?” I ask, picking at the label on my bottle. It occurs to me that I still haven’t thanked her for folding my shirts the other day, but this doesn’t feel like the right time.
“You don’t have to do this,” she says.
“Feel sorry for me,” she says, turning and glancing up. “I don’t need your pity.”
“I don’t feel sorry for you. I don’t even know what happened,” I say. “But judging by the way you were dressed when you came home … I’m thinking it had to do with some douche.”
“You were right, Sutter.” She picks at the label on her bottle. “I went out with Robert McCauley tonight.”
My chest tightens. I already know where this is going.