Bend(5)

By: Kivrin Wilson


“You knew what I meant,” I say as calmly as I can muster.

He opens his mouth, and my heart almost stops while I wait for him to say whatever’s on his mind. But then he just shakes his head, pushes up off the couch, and says, “I’m out.”

Oh-kay. I’ve screwed up this time, haven’t I? Screwed up bad.

I jump up and follow him to the door. Is it too late for damage control? “I’m not trying to ruin our friendship or anything.”

“Could’ve fooled me.” He shoves his tanned, bare feet into his flip-flops.

“Are we still running on Sunday?” I ask as he opens the door.

Stopping right outside, he turns back. He rests his elbow on the doorframe and leans in, leveling a deadpan look at me. “Are you going to drop this topic?”

Am I? I suppose I should. This is my chance to let it go. He’s obviously willing to forget all about it.

But I can’t. I just can’t. Not when he’s standing there in the cascading light from the porch lamp, looking exactly like himself—tall and athletic Jay, dark-haired and pale-eyed Jay, the smartest and nicest guy I’ve ever known. My best friend, without a doubt.

My best friend, who I really want to fuck.

I swallow hard and answer, “Probably not.”

He sighs. His lips curl. Yup, he’s still angry. “I’ve got a long day at work tomorrow. I’ll text you.”

I keep the door open with my shoulder as he jogs down the stairs and strides away on the paved walkway, disappearing in the darkness. It’s humid out there tonight, and it smells like rain—a sweet and pungent aroma that we don’t experience a lot in SoCal, especially with the drought of the past few years. There’s a nip in the air, and it’s too cold for the tank top I’m wearing with my short jean shorts. Goose bumps start at the back of my neck and spread down my arms.

Come back. The words become a chant in my head. Come back, come back, come back.

Come back and kiss me.

Come back and tell me you want me.

He doesn’t, though. Of course he doesn’t.

Now, what?



I wake up with a start and lift my head off the pillow, squinting against the gossamer light filtering in through the blinds. The sun’s up, but just barely. Which means it’s too early to get up.

Closing my eyes again, I let my head drop back onto the pillow, then turn away from the windows and tug my covers up to my chin with a happy sigh. Saturdays are great. No alarm. No work. No appointments, and no one expecting anything from me. I can do whatever I want.

And what I want is to sleep some more.

I go limp, wrapped in the cocoon of my bamboo sheets, my breathing even and slow. My brain is still foggy, ready to slip away again—ready to dream, to recharge. Life is good. Life is great. I have no worries, nothing to keep me awake…

Jay.

It feels like a lightning bolt striking my gut. I pop my eyes open, wide open, and with a thump, my pulse starts to race.

Right. Life is great, my ass. Sure, except last night I might have ruined the best friendship I’ve ever had.

I roll onto my back and stare up at the ceiling. Why the hell did I do it? What did I expect to happen? That Jay would say, Yes, Mia, I’ve wanted to fuck you ever since the day we met…? And then we’d tear each other’s clothes off and have mind-blowing, earth-shattering, life-changing sex? Right there on the couch. Mario Kart forgotten.

Jay has made a regular appearance in my fantasies for a long time, and even before it was deliberate and while I was still with Matt, he showed up in some involuntary nighttime dreams, too. For some reason, that memory always makes me blush.

And in daydreams, sex with Jay is always amazing. Maybe he actually sucks at it, though. Or maybe, in reality, after all this time being so comfortable as only friends, I’d feel like I was screwing my own brother?

No. Definitely not. I thought Jay was cute from the moment my boyfriend introduced him to me as his roommate, but I was so crazy in love with Matt at that point—even though I’d known him only a couple of weeks—that it didn’t mean anything.

And while Jay was around a lot the following year and a half, we didn’t connect and become friends until after Matt dumped me. Something just…clicked. I guess, without even really noticing, we bonded. In a strictly platonic way, of course, and that’s been great. I’m lucky to have found him.

So why, why, why did I decide to ruin all of that last night?

With a groan, I roll over on my stomach and bury my face in my pillow. I don’t want to feel like this. Don’t want to think about it. I start to bang my face into the cushiony surface, trying to knock the negative crap out of my head.

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