156,465
07.03.2019

An evil smile crossed my lips, “Lawyers are the people who put the bad people away. They make a difference. You can see the darkest parts of it but I see the good in it. Without lawyers, bad people wouldn’t go to jail. Laws wouldn’t be passed. Changes wouldn’t be made.”

The light left his eyes, leaving a darkness that seemed sincere, “You gonna come to the show?” It wasn’t necessarily a color change in his eyes. I didn’t think that was possible, but the way his brow shadowed them and his stare intensified, they seemed darker.

I took a drink, washing down the fact he wasn’t listening to me, “That’s okay. I’m not really into bars.”

He shrugged, “Gonna be fun.” He was brushing it off, but there was a glint of something in his look. He was impossible to dislike. He was clearly a womanizing, arrogant, overly-confident asshole. And yet, I had the weirdest feeling being with him. Like I had been asked to sit with the cool kids. Girls noticed him. Guys nodded at him, like they wanted to be him, or be his friend. He brushed it off… even laughed it off, when it was just he and I. But if other people were there, I would bet he would lay it on thicker than I could imagine possible.

“Are you on meds?”

He laughed, “No, why? What the hell kind of question is that?”

I shrugged, “I don’t know. I just don’t get you. I’m trying to figure you out, I guess.”

He cocked a grin, “You like figuring shit out, huh?” He looked around the room, “Well, when you figure me out, you let me know.”

I cleared my throat, pushing aside the fact he was an odd superstar in Boston and focused in on the important thing in our lives. “You promise you won’t make me move out?”

He nodded, “I’m not an ogre, princess. I just don’t need the hassle of house hunting the same week I’m starting the band and the show. I’m beginning something new here. I can’t afford the risk of being stressed unnecessarily. Besides, in the meantime, it’s nice to know one person who doesn’t give a lick about Lochlan Barlow. We can be friends.”

I scoffed, “I don’t think you’ll have problems meeting friends. What about the girl from earlier? The server?”

He grinned, “Met her at the place I ate lunch.”

I couldn’t even fight the grimace on my face, “Gross.”

He laughed and finished off his beer.

The server returned and tried to ooze slut all over him. I’d seen it a million times with my brother. He was also a chaotic artist. Women threw themselves at him all the time.

I finished my burger, to his amazement, “Man you can eat. How are you not fat?”

I nearly choked, “That was so rude.”

He drank from the fresh beer, not apologizing.

“I run a lot, and I do kickboxing, and my whole family is pretty thin.”

He nodded, “Well, you look good from it all.”

I pointed a finger at him, “Stop that. I’m not one of those girls who fawn over guys or gives in to the compliments. It’s only going to make me uncomfortable and then we can’t be friends.”

He pointed back, “You a natural blonde?”

An exasperated sound left my lips, “You are so annoying. Do you have a filter or just say any old thing you want?”

He dropped his hand, “That was so rude.”

I could have growled at him but the waitress was back, “You need the bill?”

I nodded, “Yes, please. Separate, please.”

She left with a smile for Lochlan.

When she returned, he snapped the bills up quickly. I tried to grab mine but he grinned, “I want you to owe me. I mean, besides nearly blinding me earlier with bear spray.” He chuckled as he got up.

I sighed, even fawned a little bit. Exasperating. He was exasperating. I caught the slightest point of the dagger tattoo on the back of his left arm as he strolled up to pay. He leaned against the counter, taking a mint. When he sucked it into his lips, I had to shake my head and refocus. Player alert. There was no way I was ever going to let myself be attracted to someone like him. Okay, I couldn’t fight the attraction, but I could control the things I allowed to happen.

The server handed him a slip of paper with his change. He put a tip in her hand and winked at her. When he turned back to see if I was ready to go, my level of disgust was refilled. It might even have been overflowing.

I snorted as I walked past him, “You’re despicable.”

He put his hands out, “I bought you dinner, come on. When I said I wanted you to owe me something, it wasn’t hate and bitterness. I was thinking more like you make me breakfast sometime or wash my back in the shower, you know, roommate stuff.”

I shook my head, muttering, “Never in this lifetime,” and walked to the apartment. He got distracted along the way, waving me off and leaving with a short skirt and a bad dye job. I rolled my eyes but made myself watch the way she latched onto his arm where the tattoo was. I made a mental picture of the girl of the week for future reference.

Whenever his sparkly-blue eyes, charming smile, cocky attitude, or ridiculously-attractive body got in my way, I could always look back to that moment. I almost laughed when he checked out a redhead as he escorted the trashy blonde down the road.

Chapter Three

Costco ho

We settled into a routine. He slept from four in the morning until noon, always alone, surprisingly. I made breakfast and went for runs, trying to learn where everything was before school started, always during the day and always with my mace. The city started to get friendlier, more inviting. I spent less time worrying about where I was, and more time enjoying myself.

Tom and Leslie emailed me twice to let me know nothing new had come up.

Lochlan came with me everywhere. It started out as annoying, but after a while, I noticed he was showing me things he’d discovered. I noticed his roving eye had tamed a bit. I wanted to take credit for that. Deep down, I wanted us to be like that romance novel I’d read where the roommates fell in love. My main issue was his job. Lead singer in a random Boston band, was not exactly how I figured a romantic story like that would happen. That was more like how I spent spring break…

I walked into the apartment after my run. The summers were smoking hot but also crazy humid. I wasn’t used to the humidity. I bustled about, picking his shit up from the floor and coffee tables. He came into the room as I was dumping an armload of wrappers and garbage into the garbage can. I had to do it before I could stretch. I hated clutter.

“You look hot.”

I flipped him the bird, “You’re up early and why can’t you clean up after yourself? I asked you to please not leave shit everywhere.”

I grabbed the orange juice from the fridge and drank from the carton. It was my worst habit. He didn’t make a face or complain. He walked up next to me, almost touching me, taking it from my hands and drinking a huge swig. He handed it back but I shook my head. My nose was wrinkled up.

He cocked his head, “You can drink from the carton but I can’t?”

I walked off my run, pacing in the kitchen, “You kiss everything you meet. You probably have Hep C.”

He laughed, “Princess, I get shots and regular checkups. Thank you for the judgment though.” His eyes trailed up my legs. “Those are some short shorts.”

I sighed and started to stretch and threw him another look.

He grinned, “I go to hot yoga sometimes, you should come. You look like you could use a stretch in the hamstrings. Why don’t you bend over and let me stretch you from behind?”

I groaned and walked to my bedroom to stretch without being ogled.

He yelled after me, “Wanna go to Costco?”

I looked back, contemplating the offer, “Yeah, sure. I don’t have a card though.”

“I do.”

Nodding, I walked into the bathroom instead of my room, “Give me ten to shower.”

He laughed, “Ha, you mean twenty.”

I stuck my finger out the doorframe, flipping him off again.

We left the apartment an hour later. He had an arrogant look on his face, like he knew I would be slow. The car out front was nice; it was a four door, black Audi in great shape. “This is yours?”

He gave me a look and pressed the unlock button. “The drummer, Gerry, is coming with us,” he said as he climbed in. We drove a few blocks, stopping outside of a small brick building, nowhere nice as ours. A thin guy with nicely-styled, dark-blonde hair and a tidy look to him, walked towards us.

“Is the drummer gay?” I asked.

He laughed, “No, he’s always got ladies climbing all over him.”

The guy got in the back seat, “You must be Erin.”

I looked back, “Hi.” How did he know my name?

He put a hand out, “Gerry.” His dark-blonde hair was cut like Justin Bieber’s. He had on a blue and white striped tee shirt. His jeans were burgundy and he had on the cutest loafers. He was gay. The kind of gay that made me INSTANTLY want to be his beard or his hag.

His hands were clean and manicured and he had tiny pores. He did regular facials and manis. He wasn’t totally delicate though, he was strong and handsome but in a feminine way, like a model. He gave me an appraising look, “So, how are you liking the city, compared to the Midwest?”

I fought my frown, “Great. Different. I mean the humidity is murder. I have to straighten my hair everyday, that’s annoying. I get frizz really fast.”

He pointed at me, “Aloe Vera will solve that right now. Run it through your hair after the shower and then blow dry. It’s like magic.”

I frowned, “But my hair is naturally curly.”

Lochlan gave me a look, “Really?” he sounded funny. I sneered at him.

Gerry laughed, “Yeah, it works like a hot damn.”

I looked at Lochlan, beaming. He gave me another weird look and then looked back at Gerry, “You gay?”

Gerry laughed, “Duh? Though I will say, I haven’t ever been asked so rudely.”

❮❯