Chapter 16

The Bible says there’s a time for all things under heaven. A time for peace and a time for war, a time to reap and a time to sow . . . a time to love . . . and a time to tell a girl you love her.

It doesn’t actually say that. But it should. Because many poor bastards make the mistake of telling a woman at the wrong f**king time.

Like after sex. Wrong. That’s just asking for trouble.

Or during an argument. Really wrong. There’s a reason the Doors’ song “Love Her Madly” is still popular today. Because the lyric, “Don’t you love her as she’s walking out the door” is timeless. Men don’t like to lose. Not a bet, their favorite T-shirt, or a girlfriend. In the attempt to keep from losing the latter, we could say something stupid—things we really don’t mean.

But for me, tonight is the perfect time to take my and Dee’s relationship to the next level. I had a key to my apartment made for her, and when I put it in her hands, I’m going to tell her I’m falling in love with her.

You’re not surprised, are you? Jesus, you had to have seen this coming.

I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. It happened gradually, but that’s the best way. In four weeks, Dee’s gone from a girl I wanted to nail, to a girl I wanted to hang out with, to a girl I really liked . . . to someone I don’t want to live without.

I think about her all the time, I crave her—miss her—when we’re apart, no matter how long we were just together. She’s funny and beautiful and interesting . . . and sure she’s a pain in the ass too, but—like I told you in the beginning—I love her because of her quirks, not in spite of them.

The last week and a half has been amazing. Billy’s still crashing at her apartment, so except when she’s there checking on him, she’s been here with me. But I still want more. There were plenty of times that I could have dropped the bomb on her during the last few days, but I wanted it to be memorable. Special. Something she’ll proudly tell Kate about, or someday—our kids. Girls love that shit.

I haven’t talked to her yet today. I was out of the office all day, visiting with one client after another. But she’s coming over tonight and I have the whole thing planned. You want to hear about it?

We’ll start with an excursion to the Jersey shore. My parents used to take me there all the time when I was a kid. It’s December, but most of the rides and boardwalk games are open year-round. There’s an indescribable magic to the place—an aura of simpler days—a nostalgic beauty. I’ll hold Delores’s hand, spend thirty bucks to win her a two-dollar stuffed animal on one of those games where you have to knock the weighted cans over with a baseball. We’ll ride the bumper cars, maybe a roller coaster, and we’ll share a delicious but incredibly bad for you funnel cake.

Then we’ll kick off our shoes and walk down the beach, near enough to the water so we can watch the waves in the moonlight without getting wet. It’ll be cold, so she’ll lay back against me and I’ll wrap my arms around her to keep her warm. And then, with the thunder of the crashing waves in the background, I’ll tell her.

That she’s changed my life. That I want to share the rest of it with her. That nothing looks or feels the way it did four weeks ago—because of her—it’s unbelievably better. I don’t think she’ll freak out, although it’s possible. If she does, I’ll tell her she doesn’t have to say anything back. I’m a pretty patient guy. I can wait.

Then we’ll make out. And it’ll be awesome. Sex on the beach isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Sand is not a friend to genitalia. But . . . if Dee is interested, I’m sure as hell not going to turn her down.

When I hear my unlocked apartment door open, I check my hair in the bathroom mirror. All good. Then I walk out to the living room. Smiling—until I see Delores’s face.

She’s furious. The teeth-grinding, pacing, nostrils flaring kind of fury. And words shoot out of her mouth—like a hail of bullets. That I walk right into.

“Your friend is an ass**le! And I want you to tell me where I can find him.”

“Which friend?”


I chuckle, even though I shouldn’t. “Easy there, Lorena Bobbitt. Calm down.”

Calm down. What the hell am I thinking? Those two words are like pouring water on a grease fire—just makes it hotter. It’s the second most direct way to piss a woman off even more than she already is. The first, of course, is to ask if she’s on the rag.

“Calm down? You want me to calm down?” Dee yells.

“What the hell is wrong with you?”

“What’s wrong with me, you insensitive ass, is I just left Kate’s apartment. She’s wrecked—completely devastated. Because your buddy, Drew, played her like a violin and then treated her like a whore that he couldn’t even be bothered to pay afterward.”

I knew Drew had a thing for Kate, but still, I can’t keep the surprise out of my voice. “Drew and Kate hooked up?”

Dee crosses her arms. “They sure did. He’s been all comforting and kind to her since the breakup with Billy. Made her believe he actually gave a shit. She spent the weekend at his apartment. And then this morning, after they got to work, he pretty much told her she sucked in bed—wasn’t worth another go around.”

I press my fingers to my forehead, trying to digest the information Dee’s telling me—that just doesn’t make any sense. Drew doesn’t take women to his apartment, any woman. Drew doesn’t screw the same chick twice . . . at least . . . not if he remembers he’s already done her. And spending the weekend with a girl? No frigging way.

“Are you sure Kate said Drew?” I ask.

“He called her a f**king ‘project,’ Matthew! One that he was ‘done with.’ And I’m gonna make a project out of his face. Kate is the best person I know. She puts on a tough front, but inside she’s soft. Breakable. He doesn’t get to treat her like this.”

Underneath Dee’s anger, there’s pain. She’s hurting, because her friend is hurting. I move forward to touch her, to comfort and calm her, but she steps back.

I put my hands up in surrender and try to reason with her. “Drew’s not that kind of ass**le, Dee. He has a lot of respect for women . . . in his own way. He likes to have a good time, no hard feelings. He doesn’t get off on making girls feel bad about themselves. He wouldn’t go out of his way to hurt someone, especially . . . Jesus, especially not Kate.”

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