Frayed Page 106

One week later

Don\ be stupid my own words echo in my head. I\d heard the statement from many different people and in many different contexts in my life. Mostly from teachers when I was growing up. I was far from an A student, but they knew I wasn\ dumb. I just didn\ know how to channel my energy. F*k, I could never keep my mind on one task. How could I when I couldn\ even sit still? And right now I feel like that same fifteen-year-old kid again. I haven\ been able to concentrate, my leg is perpetually tapping the floor at high speed, and I feel I want to throw something, anything.

The office is closed but I came in anyway since I didn\ have anything better to do. I\ve been sitting here for hours alternating between staring out the window and glaring at my computer. I turn back around in my chair and this time I fixate on the keyboard. It\s been just over a week since she left me sitting at Pebbles and then sent me a text to give her time. And I have. She has family responsibilities. I understand those. What I don\ understand is what went wrong. Nothing that we talked about makes any sense. I drop my head to my hands. F*k, f**k, f**k.

I haven\ spoken to her. Not because she asked me not to but because I can\ figure out what happened. I\ve typed a few texts but never hit SEND. I\ve dialed her number more than a few times but never let it connect.

Christmas came and went. Serena and Jason went to Hawaii to spend it with Trent. He had a surfing competition over the holidays that he didn\ want to miss out on. I could have gone but wasn\ really in the mood to be jovial. So instead I spent the day with Beck, Ruby, and Beck\s dad. I ate with them and called it an early night.

Today is New Year\s Eve and I find myself even more agitated than I\ve been all week. I switch to staring at my phone, trying to figure out what to say to her, but I just can\ find the words. Can I tell her that being without her is f**king hell? That I\m miserable? That I miss her, and not just the se*? I\m not sure any of those will work. Still tapping my toe, I grab a pencil, break it in half, and throw it across the room. ’’F*kkk . . .’’

I push up in my chair and decide to hit the gym. Running always helps. I change quickly and yet as soon as I hit a steady stride she\s back in my thoughts. Having her at Plan B has been a real asset and I hope she comes back to work here. In the past month she\s created a comprehensive social media strategy to increase magazine visibility, membership, and traffic across both publications. She\s experimented with new and alternative ways to leverage social media activities. And she\s been monitoring trends in social media tools as well as trends in applications. Together she and Beck have successfully launched Plan B into the social media network.

I kept my promise and after that first day of a little boss/secretary fun, we haven\ stripped down in the office again. However, one late night she did pretend to be my secretary again, push me back in my chair, and suck me off. And one morning when we had to be at work really early and she was extremely grumpy, I did punish her by lifting her skirt and slowly licking her to climax. But other than that I have really behaved while at the office. Our relationship was is, I\m not sure incredible. Hot as f**k, fun, and engaging. I thought it was almost perfect.

There may have been a few flaws and I was working on them. She\d spend most nights at my house except for Thursdays and Sundays when she went to her mother\s for family dinners. Even then I\d usually met up with her at her place later. She hadn\ invited me to go with her and I hadn\ asked to join her until the night at the restaurant when I knew she just wasn\ going to let her two worlds collide. That\s why I let her go. I don\ know how to break that barrier between us.

’’Running from the devil again, mate?’’ Kale says, pulling my earbud from my ear.

’’Something like that.’’

’’Must have to do with our girl.’’

I ignore the our. ’’What makes you say that?’’

’’You were on top of the f**king world and now that she hasn\ been around, you don\ seem happy about it. Did you break up?’’

’’I have no f**king clue. I don\ know if we were ever really together.’’

’’I\m not sure about what you Americans call together, but to me it looked like you were definitely together.’’

I slow my pace. ’’I can\ figure out what we were.’’

’’So you\d be cool with me asking her out?’’

I slam the STOP button and the treadmill slows and I get ready to pounce on him.

He raises his hands surrender-style. ’’Whoa, mate, I\m just messing with you. See, there\s something more there you\ e not seeing. I\d try to figure that out if I were you.’’

Even though it pains me to admit it, he\s right. I know that. ’’Have a great night,’’ I say to him, and head toward the door.

’’I\m headed out if you want to join me.’’

’’No, thanks, man.’’ I hit the shower.

On my way home from the office, I stop by Blondie\s to say hi to Noel.

’’Just a f**king brilliant way to expand the merchandise,’’ I say. I say it every time I walk in because I\m so impressed.

He beams from behind the counter. ’’Hey, Benny boy. What brings you by?’’ And he says it just as he always does.

’’Wanted to check on you.’’ But that\s not the truth. I want someone to talk to. Someone to help me figure out what the hell is going on in my head.

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