By: Kivrin Wilson

I’m gripping the steering wheel and staring unseeing at the dashboard, steeling myself. A melancholy Mumford & Sons song is playing on the stereo, the lyrics about love and sadness and death. It fits my mood exactly.

Have you ever thought about having sex with me?

Goddamn her. Maybe if she knew about the shit going on in my life right now, she’d understand I don’t have the energy to also deal with her obnoxious questions.

I probably should have told her about that shit. Should’ve told her a long time ago. But every time it’s seemed like a good time to bring it up, my mind has jumped ahead to the end of the conversation, and I grow terrified that she’ll look at me differently. Look at me like I’m…less. Less of the person she thought I was. Less of a person she wants in her life.

That’s how five years have gone by and she still knows nothing about the events in my past that made me who I am. And I have no plans to change that.

In fact, I’ve had no plans to change anything about my relationship with Mia. Which is why I was so blindsided by her questions on Friday night.

Have you ever thought about having sex with me?

Well, who hasn’t? I can guaran-fucking-tee that, except for her family members, there’s not a guy alive who’s met her and hasn’t thought about it. Plenty of women, too, probably. There’s this girl at our movie theater concession stand—a college kid, I’m guessing—who blushes every time we order our popcorn and drinks, and she sure as hell isn’t looking at me when she does it.

Mia and sex, they’re like bread and butter. Like pen and paper. Like Ben and Jerry.

One just makes you think of the other.

Maybe it’s those sea-green eyes of hers, eyes that make me think of relaxing on a tropical beach…and having sex with Mia in the warm sand. Or her thick and wavy hair, the color of milk chocolate, perfect for burying your fingers in…while having sex with Mia.

Or maybe it’s her infectious smile, her melodious and throaty laugh, her quick wit, or that slim and toned body with the most perfect little heart-shaped ass—

Have I thought about having sex with her? I let out a snort. Safe to say the answer is, Hell, yeah. It’s crossed my mind on a regular basis since the day I first met her.

Doesn’t mean I’m going to tell her, though. What’s the point? There’s no room in my life for Mia Waters to be anything more than she already is. She deserves more than I can give her, and there’s no way sex with Mia would end in anything but grief.

Why ruin a good thing?

I turn off the engine and get out of the truck. Time to go ask her that question.

Mia’s waiting for me on the bench closest to the park restrooms, where she’s sitting with her outstretched legs crossed at the ankles. It’s not hard to spot her there. She has a thing for flashy, and along with her eye-catching workout clothes, she’s wearing multicolored neon sneakers that look like a clown jizzed all over them. Her hair she’s tamed into place with a topknot and a pink headband, and she’s nudged her aviator sunglasses down to the tip of her faintly freckled nose so she can better see the phone screen she’s tapping away on.

She looks up as the pebbles crunching beneath my shoes on the sidewalk announce my presence, and before I have a chance to read her expression, she pushes her sunglasses back up. “I wasn’t sure you were coming.”

“I wasn’t, either.” And now I know why. After spending yesterday thinking about her almost non-stop, seeing her again is discombobulating. The muscles at the back of my neck are too tight, and my limbs all feel out of place. It’s like we’re not ourselves anymore, and I don’t know how to adjust.

Without giving her a chance to respond, I gesture at the unpaved trail that’s snaking along the grassy area toward a cluster of trees. “Ready?”

“Hang on,” she replies, fiddling with her phone again. “How many miles today?”

I reach up to adjust my baseball cap, hesitating. Four to five hours of sleep after a grueling fifteen-hour shift at the hospital yesterday, and I’m definitely not in shape for a half marathon—or even a quarter of one, for that matter.

“I’m not up for more than four.”

“Tired from work?” She stuffs her phone into her armband, right next to her car key, and straps it onto her arm. She uses her phone to track all her workouts. How long, how far, how fast, and how many calories burned. Me, I prefer to avoid habits that feel like a one-way ticket into OCD hell, so I leave my phone in the car.

“Not enough sleep, mostly,” I answer, starting to walk down the path, her falling into step next to me.