My Always One - Aleatha Romig Page 0,1

my body and personality.

"Maura's my friend," Sami says.

"Maura's a big girl. She knew what she was doing. Actually, she knew—"

Sami lifts her hand. "Stop. You know our deal. No details. I don't want to know about the little freshman or Maura or anyone else."

"Well, let me just say that if we’re doing a comparison study, Maura is much more experienced than the freshman, but in the grand scheme, she can learn a bit too."

"Noted. But you know that Maura just broke up with Matt.” Sami shakes her head. “And right before prom. Seriously, Marsh, the last thing she needs is you using her for a one-night stand."

I reach over and squeeze Sami's leg. "You know me. I don't use girls. They come to me."

"Because you're so freaking fantastic in the sack?"

My cheek rises, creating my cocky, lopsided signature grin. "That is the word on the street."

“Word on the street is Matt’s going to kick your ass.”

I can’t help but scoff. “Right. I’d love to see him try. Besides, I got the whole story. Maura broke up with him because she found out he was doing Laura.”

Sami turns with her mouth agape. “Laura? Cheerleader Laura? Debate team Laura?”

I nod.

“Maura told me he cheated, but not with who.”

“I guess girls are just willing to share anything to elicit my sympathy favors.”

She sighs and lays her head against the seat. "Is that all you want out of life?"

I look over at my best friend. There's something about Sami that makes her different than every other girl I've ever known. Maybe it's that we've known each other since we were kids, or that we know everything about one another, or maybe that we swore never to lie to one another, and we haven't. I'm not sure of the reason, but for the first time since I was balls deep in Maura Sharpe, I feel a little bad about it.

Which is strange.

I never feel regret.

Euphoria, an amazing, fantastic release, yes, but never regret.

"Sami, what is it?"

She turns toward the open window, her hair blowing in the breeze, and takes a minute before she answers. "I think it's that we're graduating in a few weeks. Things are changing. Look at us. We're going off to two different colleges, and we have friends getting married."

"We also have friends with kids on the way. Do you want that to be you?"

Sami looks at me for a minute and then turns back to the open window. "Someday."

"Someday, but not now. Not at eighteen."

After another sigh, she leans back against the seat. In the few seconds that passed, her fun smile, the one that has gotten us both in trouble more times than I can count, is back. "Then, Mr. Michaels, keep your cock in your pants."

"Don't worry. I have a lifetime supply of wraps. I'm well practiced at safe sex."

“That’s good to know, but some people think of it as more than sex.”

“Define it,” I say with a knowing grin. When she doesn’t answer, I do. “It is sex, Sami. No strings. It’s my way of life.”

“Do you think about the girl?”

“Of course. I’m not a monster. I also don’t give off any false vibes of commitment.”

“Well, for your information, Maura has been texting me all day. She's sure she's in love. She knows you’re going stag to the prom and has a plan that includes forever.” I start to talk, but Sami is on a roll. “And by the way, according to her, you're the best." Her voice does this sing-song thing when she relays Maura's messages.

"Oh, I am the best, but love and forever? No way." I shake my head. "I told her the same thing I tell them all: I'm not a commitment kind of guy."

"She mentioned that," Sami says. "She also asked me about your favorite color. Your favorite food. Your favorite TV show...on and on. She's got it bad."

I bypass the street to our neighborhood and keep driving.

As familiar scenes pass by the truck windows, I chastise myself.

I knew better than to do it with Sami’s friend...that was our understanding. Sami’s connection makes it harder to walk away. The thing is that I didn’t find Maura or go looking for her.

She found me.

I should have followed my gut and told Maura no.

In my defense, I did—the first time and second. A man can only say no so many times. And Maura was persistent. She also spoke not only to my good sense but to another part of my anatomy—the part that has a mind