There was only one thing that would make me feel even marginally better about my shit night.
And unfortunately, she thought I was a complete player, a man whore of the first order, president of the slut club.
Great, just great. I avoided needy women all my life only to find one who doesn’t need me—hell, if anything I needed her more.
I needed something.
I couldn’t blame my foster mom for wanting love.
I was jaded enough to get it—for just one split second, it was tempting, and then I felt the marshmallow in my pocket, it had been hard from being stuffed there all day.
Grandma would be horrified.
I would be horrified.
It wasn’t worth it.
My love was worth more than that, I had more to give than that—I had everything.
The only problem?
I’d never found anyone, who really wanted it, scars, past and all.
“SO, CANON BEACH HMM?” Mom’s eyes penetrated through to my guilty little soul. Because for the past few days, I’d convinced both parents that Zane’s visits meant nothing.
Right. Dinner with my parents five nights in a row.
Coffee with my mom because he just happened to be hanging out in the neighborhood and noticed she was out of creamer?
Nothing at all.
“Yup.” I blew out an exasperated breath. She was still staring at me, her eyes boring into my body like she was trying to create little holes through my skin. Finally, I turned around. “Just say it.”
“What?” She couldn’t lie to save her life.
“Whatever it is you have to say.” I checked my phone. “He’s picking me up in five minutes.”
“He’s been over a lot.” Her casual tone wasn’t fooling me, not one bit. “Are you sure this is still a friendship?”
“Of course.” I rolled my eyes. “Mom, he’s a rockstar.”
“That rockstar offered to go hunting with your dad.”
“He was cornered!” I threw my hands into the air. “It was either hunt or be hunted!”
Mom burst out laughing. “Oh honey, you’re father’s not that good of a shot, just tell Zane to zigzag.”
“Good talk mom.” I tried walking past her, but she reached out and gently grabbed my hand. I paused.
“Just be careful,” she whispered. “I like him. So does your dad, it’s just…we don’t want to see you hurt when he leaves.”
And there it was.
That my “friend” would leave me.
Honestly, I should be thankful that he was going before I was too attached, but all I could do was stare at the stupid spot he’d sat at our dinner table the night before and wonder what it would feel like when it was empty for longer than twenty-four hours.
When he forgot me.
When he returned to his fabulous life.
I shivered at the thought just as a horn honked outside. “Bye, mom.” I kissed her on the cheek and went out to meet my friend.
Just a friend.
A really hot one.
Oh, who am I kidding.
Zane waved and then flashed me a grin.
Friend my ass.
SOMETHING WAS WRONG.
He was fidgety, his smiles forced.
And when I started talking about his music, he completely shut down, his face a mask of indifference, like he didn’t care about anything, not even the fact that I was complimenting him on the lyrics to his newest love song.
Finally, after two hours of shopping in downtown Canon Beach, I snapped.
“What’s your problem today?”
Zane blinked over at me, his ice cream cone melting all over his right hand. “Huh?”
“You have marshmallows.” I pointed. “On your ice cream.”
Another blink. “Okay?”
“And you let them fall to the ground, like at least four marshmallows lost their lives on your watch, and you just let it happen!”
A smile cracked through his indifferent façade. “Fallon, listen to me very carefully. Marshmallows?” His blue eyes twinkled. “They don’t have souls, ergo, if one falls onto the ground, it’s not going to hell.”
“Yes.” I rolled my eyes. “Because that was my concern, their salvation.” I handed him a napkin. “It’s wasteful.”
“Why do you care?” he snapped, I could tell it surprised him because his eyes widened before he hung his head and mumbled out, “Sorry.”
He took the napkin and slowly cleaned off his hand then, the shock of all shocks, tossed his entire cone into the trash and put on his sunglasses.
“Wow,” Suddenly sick to my stomach, I threw mine away and wiped my sticky hands, “Is this about yesterday?”
Zane tilted his head. “Yesterday?”
“Last night,” I whispered, as heat stormed my cheeks. “Look, I told you I was sorry okay? I’m not wired that way. I can’t just sleep with you then cheer happily when you get your next Grammy. Do you realize how bad it would suck to tell my grandkids, oh look that guy? The one in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? We had one great night together.”
He didn’t speak for a really long time, just stared at me with his jaw hanging open, his black Ray-Bans only showing me my own pissed off reflection. “You really think you’d tell your grandkids about me?”
“That?” I threw my hands upward. “That’s what you fixate on?”