I knew without looking the phone had made a hole in the wall. The hole could be fixed, though. Everything else… couldn't.
Why do you do this to yourself?
I didn't know. It made no sense, really. The only thing I knew was that, as my anger subsided, I hoped my phone wasn't broken beyond repair.
Why do you still even care?
In truth I shouldn't. Carley was gone — long gone, in fact — and no matter how much I clung to the glories of our past relationship she was not coming back.
Not that I even wanted her back. Not after Derrick. Not after she'd give him—
Lily stood in the doorway, not sure whether to come in or remain in the hall. She looked absolutely beautiful, even in her paint-streaked sweatpants.
"Yeah sure," I said bitterly. "I was just… uh… adjusting my phone."
I tried to crack a smile, and she helped with one of her own. Bending to retrieve my phone, she entered the room and bounced down on the bed next to me.
"The screen's cracked," she said hesitantly. "But I think it still works."
Tiny shards of glass flaked away as she ran her finger over the screen. All of a sudden she jerked her hand back in pain.
Before either of us could react she jammed her finger into her mouth and began sucking it. I felt terrible as I took her by the wrist.
"Here, let me see…"
There was a tiny cut along the pad of her finger. Nothing too bad. Glancing up I reached out and swiped a tiny droplet of blood from her lower lip with my thumb. She had really great lips.
"I'm sorry," I sighed. "That was my fault. I'm an asshole."
"No you're not." She smiled again, holding her finger tight against her thumb. "Seems like the person you were talking to is the real asshole."
I didn't say a word. There really wasn't anything to say.
"That was Carley, wasn't it?"
I shook my head. "No," I sighed. "It's worse. Much worse."
I felt dumb. Like a total loser. I should've lied, or made something up, or said it was really none of her business.
I told her anyway.
"That was me going on Carley's Instagram account, and looking at photos of her and Derrick."
She should've recoiled. Or laughed. Or punched me in the arm and told me I was an idiot. Instead Lily only slipped an arm over my shoulder and pulled our heads together.
"I'm sorry honey."
"Thanks," I said, and I meant it. "My fault though. I punish myself, every time I look. But I can't stop looking. I can't stop—"
"Why don't you just unfollow her?"
Because it would be too final, I wanted to say. Because it would be like losing the last piece I still have of her.
"I don't know. Probably because I'm a glutton for punishment."
"I know you two dated a long time," said Lily. "Was she like… your first girlfriend or something?"
I nodded. Carley and I were high school sweethearts. Shit, junior-high sweethearts. All the way up until last year.
"And how many lucky rebounds have you plowed through since the breakup?" she asked, trying to cheer me up.
Lily's hair fell over her face sexily, without trying to be sexy. She brushed it back so that her eyes met mine. I wanted to lie to her. I couldn't.
Her face registered genuine shock.
"This girl broke up with you last year, didn't she?"
"Thirteen months ago," I said. "Thirteen months and fourteen days."
She blinked. "There's been no one else? Carley's the only girl you ever dated?"
It was pathetic, me counting the days. Even more pathetic that I had remained single for this long. I didn't care, though. For some reason it didn't matter, telling these things to Lily.
"We were supposed to get married. Supposed to get—"
"You?" Lily said incredulously. "Colin, forgive me for being blunt but you're a total panty-dropper! Heartbreakingly gorgeous!"
Here it comes…
"Your body alone is ridiculous! You could have any girl you wanted, any girl on campus, any time of the night or day!"
She wasn't saying these things to boost my confidence, or cheer me up, or anything like that. I could tell that she meant them.
"You could be rebounding with half the co-eds on campus right now, and Carley's the only girl you've ever slept with?"
Annnnd…. There it is.
"No," I said, wincing at the inevitable followup.
Lily seemed relieved. "Oh, so you had a couple of one night stands?"
I shook my head again slowly. "I mean 'no' as in I never slept with her."
If Lily was shocked before, now she was utterly astonished. Her mouth dropped open so wide it was scraping the floor.
"You… you never…"
"No," I confirmed with a shrug. "I never."
"Y—You're a virgin?"
She said the word like so many others had said it, half-shock, half-whisper. Still it was loud enough. Too loud.
"Easy," I murmured. My eyes darted to the open doorway. "The others are still here."
"T—They don't know?"
Lily's expression was almost comical. She was at such a complete loss it was like she didn't know how to react.
"They're your roommates," she said. "Your fraternity brothers. Why wouldn't you tell them?"
I laughed bitterly. "Are you serious? They're guys."
"No buts," I interjected sternly. "And no telling them either. Promise?"
Her face, as beautiful as it was, was still a complete mask of disbelief. Even so, she had the presence of mind to nod her head.
"No, no," she assured me. "Of course not."
Lily got up and kicked the door closed. When she sat back down on the bed she was even closer than before.
"How could this possibly be?" she demanded. "You went out with her for years!"
"Not my idea," I assured her. "Her family is pretty religious. She kept telling me she wanted to save herself."
I caught her staring downward, in the vicinity of my crotch. For some reason it made me laugh.
"How did you get throu—"
"Blowjobs," I said, answering her question preemptively. "Lots and lots and lots of blowjobs."
She must've realized how she looked because she suddenly closed her mouth. "Well I hope they at least were good blowjobs!"
"The best I ever had," I smiled, but the joke was lost on her.
"Colin forgive me for saying this," she murmured, "but what the fuck? How could this girl expect someone like you to wait all that time? To just sit back and accept the fact that—"
"She slept with Derrick," I said matter-o-factly. "My best friend. Not even three weeks after I left to come here."
"Slept with?" she questioned confused
"Slept with," I confirmed. "Screwed. Boned. Fucked…"
The last word dropped from my lips with so much acid disdain it could've burned a hole straight through the bed. But Lily was done being shocked.
"Oh baby I'm so sorry…"
She pulled me close, just as I was about to tell her it was alright. That I didn't care anymore, and that I was okay. Instead, I stayed silent while she swept me against her full, heaving breasts.
She smelled good. Like coconuts and sunshine and fresh linens. Like—
"Your ex-girlfriend is crazy," she said. "Batshit, certifiably crazy."
One hand sifted its way into my hair, smoothing it back with such gentleness and caring I could easily fall asleep. Her touch sent goosebumps rocketing up and down my body. I wanted it to go on forever.
"Just look at you," she murmured. One hand slipped beneath the hem of my shirt, pulling it up as if to make her point. With a slow, lingering touch, she ran her fingertips across the peaks and valleys of my rock-hard abdominals. "I mean… holy shit."
Down in my shorts, everything shifted. I was growing bigger and harder by the second. Only a thin layer of breathable fabric separated my manhood from the outside air. I'd gotten changed for the night, and wasn't wearing any underwear.
"Who could date you that long and not want to sleep with you?"
I gulped, wondering if how far she'd go. She'd dropped my shirt after making her point, but her hand still lingered. And if her hand traveled down, just a little bit further…
"And you're a swimmer," she said. "Imagine the strength. The stamina!" She was in a trance of her own now. "Just look around, at all these medals…"
My medals hung everywhere, on every wall. For the first time in my whole competitive life I didn't give a shit about them. All I cared about was her hand, hovering at my waistband. Her face, inching its way closer to mine.
Her fingers moved up instead of down, pressing themselves against my chest. Ever so gently she eased me back, just far enough to look into my eyes.
There was compassion there, and caring. But also attraction.
"I… I think…"
For a brief. singular moment Lily was at a total loss for words. Her gaze dropped, and in that split second I wanted to kiss her. I wanted to lean forward and plant my lips against hers and forget anything and everything I'd even known about Carley.
She blinked and the moment passed. I missed it.
Lily sat up straight, shaking her head as if coming out of a haze. Her expression was dreamy but apologetic. Even worried.
"I should probably go."
She was flustered. The skin of her neck and chest, all red with blood and heat.
"Lily, wait," I pleaded. "Hang on…"
Again it was too late. She was already up, already opening the door. As she stepped into the silent hallway she turned to glance back at me one more time.
"Carley is crazy," she reiterated softly, looking me up and down. I wondered if she could see the tent she had made in my shorts.
Then the door closed, and she was gone.
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