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Taking the Fall(4)

By:Alexa Riley

He’s always popping up and never once has he checked out a book. He has an edge to him. The kind of edge I’m attuned to, seeing as I grew up around men like that. I was keeping my distance, but Jeanette went after him like a cat in heat. She likes bad boys. She says they’re just looking for a quick fling and you never have to worry about them wanting something permanent. I’m not sure the guy knows what to do with her. If Jeanette is anything, she’s straightforward and to the point. It’s something I’ve always loved and admired about her. She might want to be more careful with him, though. He seems like the type of man that if he wanted to keep her, she wouldn’t have much of a choice.

“Fucker canceled,” she grumbles.

“I’m sorry. I know you were looking forward to that date. Maybe we could have dinner tonight to cheer you up?” I don’t want her to be upset. I can tell by her tone she’s a little hurt which isn’t normal for ‘love them and leave them’ Jeanette.

“Dinner and drinks at the Kat House and you’ve got yourself a deal.”

I knew she was going to bring up the Kat House, a little dive bar that sits right outside of Reno.

“Come on! Not that Kat House! That place is,” I scrunch my nose as I try to think of the right word.

“Horny?” Jeanette offers. I can see her doing her classic eyebrow wiggle when she talks about anything “horny” and I can’t help but smile.

“That’s one way to put it,” I say, trying to sound appalled. The Kat House is a dream bar for Jeanette. Cheap drinks, it’s filled with bad boys, and sometimes I think its dress code veers towards ‘clothing optional’. I’m more of a piano bar kind of girl. I stumbled across one a few years back and loved it. A cute sundress with some higher-than-high heels and a few martinis while I listen to music that doesn’t make my head want to explode—perfect.

“Justin must be wearing off on you, Lays, because you’re starting to sound like a snot.”

I shudder slightly when I thinking of anything of Justin’s rubbing off on me and I cave to her suggestion, wanting to change the subject. And besides, she always lets me pick and I want to do this for her.

“Fine, I’ll bring a change of clothes and we can leave from work.” I let out a dramatic sigh and adopt a weary tone. “And go to drinks at the Kat House.”

Jeanette starts letting out hoots and hollers. I can see her in my head, dancing around her studio apartment.

“Don’t bring any clothes. I’ve got you. Maybe if I get you all dolled up tonight and looking like one extra sexy bitch you can finally live up to your name, Lays.”

Rolling my eyes at the nickname Jeanette gave me forever ago, I agree, only to get her off the phone so I can go ahead and pack an extra set of clothes. Jeanette gave me my nickname when I started working at the library and we became friends. At first I thought it was just a cute abbreviation of my name, but soon I found out it was because I never get laid.

I guess after watching me shoot down date request after date request, she figured I wasn’t getting any. And of course she was right. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to get any—God, did I want to get some! I just hadn’t found anyone who piqued my interest. Needless to say, I wasn’t going to date one of the teachers who were always at the library. No way was I mixing my two worlds. I had already learned that lesson the hard way. It was because of that I had to start my life over, and I didn’t want to do it again. My life is good here. It might still be lonely, but at least the people around me express emotion.

Maybe the romance novels have me jaded. I always thought my first and only would be Carter. I know now that’s not happening so I’ve been trying to move on, but not one person has sparked even a fraction of the feelings I had for him. Who am I kidding? Feelings I have for him is more like it. No matter how hard I try, no matter how hard I push, it still ends up back with him. It pisses me off. I started this new life to move forward but most of the time I feel like I’m just going in circles.

Maybe it’s time I stopped living in my books and pushed myself harder. A sexy night at the Kat House could be just what I need. Let loose and live a little. It’s why I came here, isn’t it? To be free. Maybe even a little wild. I should just get my first time over with. Just rip it off like a Band-Aid. I need to take a page from Jeanette’s book and have a no-strings, sex-filled night, aided by a little liquid courage.

It’s odd I’ve never even thought about doing it with Justin. I enjoyed the easiness of our relationship. I’m comfortable around him and that makes me feel safe for some reason. I know he can’t hurt me emotionally and I know if he ever dumped me or moved on I would pull through easily enough. I would miss his friendship but it wouldn’t be a love lost.