Meant for Me

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Chapter One

 I woke up the way I always did after a drunken night- suddenly and with a feeling of panic.  I had a mental checklist I always ran through when my eyes snapped open.  First was to find my phone.  I was in a darkened room buried under a giant purple comforter.  Not my room.  Not my much more masculine comforter.  But habit usually had me tossing my phone on the nightstand even when I was loaded so that was always where I checked first.  I felt around with a clumsy hand.  Found it. 

Next step was to make sure my wallet was with me.  Fortunately, squinting as I rolled to the right, I saw it was next to my phone.  I flipped it open.  License and credit card still there.  All good.  I gave a shuddery sigh, my head giving the slow throb of a medium level hangover.  Not the worst I’d ever had.  Not the best.  But I wasn’t in imminent danger of throwing up, so I’d call it a win.

Third piece of information required was to figure out where I was and who I’d had sex with, because I clearly wasn’t at home and this was no couch I was crashing on.  It was a girl bed.  Everything was fluffy and pastel and smelled like patchouli.  Plus, I was naked, with both a partial erection and the sticky feeling that my dick had been places it had no business being.  Rolling back carefully the other direction, both to avoid giving myself dry heaves and to wake up my new special friend, I studied the girl who was sleeping with her mouth open.

Nope.  I’d never seen her before in my life. 

She was cute.  At least even when shitfaced on Jager I had good taste.  Her cheekbones were long, her nose pert, her hair long and blonde, though it was tangled to hell and back.  A perfect breast with a tight nipple was popping out of the blanket and I wished I remembered actually having sex with this girl, because most likely I’d enjoyed it.  Which made the whole damn thing totally pointless because I didn’t.  Not one single second of it was coming back to me.  The last thing I remembered was doing shots with a girl who was definitely not this one.  She’d been a brunette. 

Sliding out of the bed, I moved as quietly as possible gathering up my clothes.  I was dressed, wallet back in my pants, my phone in one hand, the other slowly turning the doorknob when she woke up. 

“Hey,” she said sleepily.  “Are you going to the bathroom?”

“I have to leave,” I told her truthfully.  “I’m going out of town today.”  Also the truth.  I was due to catch a ferry in a few hours and I still had to drive to Rockland from Orono.  After I showered the stench of booze and sex off of myself.  “I didn’t want to wake you up.” 

Her lip pulled down.  “Really?  You can’t stay a little while?”  She pushed the comforter down, revealing a perfect body, all curvy hips and tapered waist. 

She was smooth everywhere and I found myself getting hard despite the dry mouth, despite the throbbing head, and despite the fact that I was due somewhere else by noon.  Oh, and there was the little fact that I had no idea what her name was.  But I hesitated.  “I really have to go…”

She spread her legs a little and massaged her clitoris with her finger, pulling her lips open so I had a really pornographic shot of everything she had.  “Oh, come on, Ethan.  Please?  I’m already ready, just come over here.” 

Way to make it easy for me.  Damn.  I adjusted myself in my jeans, making sure I’d be up to the task, because if I was, I was going back in.  What difference did it make?  She obviously had no regrets over the night before, so why should I?  I didn’t even have to finesse her or manage any foreplay, which I didn’t think I was capable of at the moment.  Plus she remembered my name, and deserved points for that.

“How could I resist that offer?” I said gruffly, yanking my shirt back off my head and pulling my jeans and boxers down just far enough to make it work as I climbed on top of her. 

She groaned and dug her fingernails into my butt as I sank into her wet body.  God, it felt so good.  So bizarre that it did.  That it could.  I shoved the physical effects of drinking too much aside and isolated my focus to my cock, to the steady and soothing rhythm of me pumping into her over and over.  I didn’t kiss her, because of morning breath, and because well, that felt too intimate.  This was fucking, nothing more, nothing less. 

Her hips bucked up, grinding her clit against me, and she came with an arch of her back and a mewling cry that made me feel nothing.  No satisfaction, no increased arousal.  Nothing.  I was masturbating with another human being.  We both were.  This was about me and the way her pussy made me feel hot and tight and ready to explode, and it was about her taking my dick and getting off on it.  It wasn’t about us.  There was no us.  It was totally selfish and greedy and because of that, I popped one off quicker than was courteous.  But she’d got hers, so I could get mine and that was that. 

I pulled out with a moan and kissed the tip of her nipple.  “Good idea, thanks.” 

“Do you really have to leave?”

“Yep.  I’m going to visit my sister.  She just had a baby.”

“Oh, tell Aubrey I said congrats.”

“Sure.”  I would if I knew this girl’s name.  Clearly she knew my sister.  I smacked the side of her hip, enjoying the sound flesh on flesh made.  “You are fucking sexy, by the way.  In case you didn’t know.”  Standing up, I hiked up my jeans again.

She smiled and yawned.  “Oh, I know.”  She laughed.  “But thanks.  Text me when you get back.” 

“Did you give me your number?”  I checked to make sure my phone was still in the pocket of my pants. 

She pulled a face.  That pouting expression that proved I’d said something stupid and hurt her ego.  Not her feelings, her ego.  “Ethan, God, really?  We were texting all night last night!”

There was no sugarcoating it.  I shrugged.  “And I was wasted.  I don’t remember half of what I did or said.” 

Now she really looked irritated.  “You could at least pretend like you remember.”

That made me curious.  “Why?  Why would that matter?”

“Because I don’t want to hear that you only fucked me because you were drunk.” 

“I’m not drunk now and I just fucked you.  Just because I don’t remember that we texted doesn’t mean I didn’t want you then or now.  I don’t fuck girls I don’t find attractive, even drunk.”  I was just attracted to a lot of girls lately.  And they were all as equally willing as this one. 

“You’re an asshole.”  She pulled the comforter over her. 

“I don’t see why.  I just told you I find you attractive.”  Moving towards the door, I paused, knowing I should let it go, but hungover enough to be cranky as hell.  “Don’t pretend you didn’t know what you were doing.  It’s fun, that’s all.  There is no point in me lying to you and acting like we hooked up last night with anything else in mind.” 

“Just leave.”

Fine.  I could do that.  “So am I supposed to text you or not?  I need clarification.”

Her answer was to hurl a pillow at me.  It fell short of the mark.  Knowing that I was being a dick even if I was just speaking the truth, I felt guilty and picked it up off the floor and placed it back on the foot of her bed.  “Hey.”  I squeezed her foot beneath the blanket.  “You’re beautiful and I had fun.  Let’s do it again.” 

I didn’t really want to see her again, but I felt compelled to lie to her.  That’s what she wanted, what all girls seemed to want.  The lie, the illusion that we hadn’t just had sex for the hell of having sex.  They wanted to pretend it might mean something at some point, or at least that we were all so mature we could be friends with benefits instead of just strangers fucking in the dark. 

But her blue eyes bore into me.  “I don’t think I want to see you again.  They warned me about you, you know.  That you’re emotionally unavailable since Caitlyn, but I didn’t believe them.  Now I do.”

My nostrils flared and I went still, hand still on her foot.  Her words made me furious.  No one had any right to toss Caitlyn at me when they didn’t know me or jack shit about my relationship that had ended with her marrying someone else.  It still hurt to think about Caitlyn and I knew I was going to be seeing her in the days to come since she lived down the road from Aubrey in Vinalhaven.  I was already on edge.  I didn’t need this girl talking to me about my life, and the only girl I’d ever loved, like she knew a fucking thing. 

“And how emotionally available am I supposed to be when we hooked up after a drunken night at the bar?  Am I supposed to tell you my secrets?  Fall in love with you?  Grow up.”  It was harsh, I knew it was.  But she had crossed a line and she was delusional if she thought we were supposed to mean anything to each other. 

“Fuck you.”  Her lip quivered. 

“I already did.”  Then feeling like the biggest asshole that there ever was, I left her room, pulling the door closed behind me.  I had no idea where I was.  It was a dorm, or a sorority house, though, definitely not an apartment building.  The doors were too close together. 

Feeling that I was too damn old to be screwing undergrads, I headed down the hall, and as I hit the top of the stairs I realized I was in my sister’s old sorority house.  Classy, Walsh.  Half of the girls living there weren’t even twenty-one.  I had no idea if the girl I had just left was or not, and I felt the same disgust with myself I always did at some point after a night like I’d just had.  I alternated between telling myself I didn’t give a shit, and hating myself for my behavior.  But it never stopped me.  I did it over and over again, and I wasn’t sure what addiction it was feeding, or how it was supposed to make me feel better.

All I knew was that I was no longer recognizable as the guy Caitlyn had been with.  I had been a hard worker, thoughtful, kind, and I had loved Caitlyn with everything in me.  I had felt like the luckiest guy in the world when I had proposed and she’d said yes and I’d had the whole future mapped out for us.  Me in law school, her finishing her undergrad.  A wedding, a house, good jobs, kids.  And she’d left me without a glance for her high school boyfriend who as far as I could tell, had treated her like shit. 

So maybe it had seemed the way to win with girls was to treat them like shit.  But that was just me justifying.  And I didn’t want to win any of them anyway.  I wanted to feel better short-term.  I wanted attention.  Sex.  But I didn’t want to date and I didn’t want to open myself up to being hurt again. 

Which meant I was stumbling down the stairs of the freaking sorority house in déjà vu for dickheads. 

“Hey, Ethan,” someone called out from the kitchen as I hit the bottom step. 

Turning, I saw a girl I vaguely recognized and I raised my hand.  “Hey.”

These girls were all four to five years younger than me.  What the hell was I doing?  But it was hard to meet women my own age when I had dropped out of law school and I made a living tending bar.  Of course I was meeting undergrads still in the party scene.     

But law school was not an option for me at the moment.  I’d been asked to take a leave of absence by my advisor before I failed out.  After a semester of missing classes, showing up hungover, and bombing exams, it had been more than I expected, truthfully.  They should have by all rights just booted my ass out, and I appreciated what he had been trying to do, but I wasn’t even sure I wanted to go back.  Which was ironic, since for the preceding decade of my life, that’s all I had wanted- to be a lawyer.  I didn’t know what the hell I wanted now. 

Whatever it was, I wasn’t going to find it under the purple comforter of a girl I barely knew.  Sober I knew that.  Drunk it didn’t seem to matter much.  I wasn’t looking for anything or anyone so much as it was finding me. 

Shoving open the front door I stepped out onto the sidewalk and winced as the bright light of mid-morning hit my eyes.  I desperately wanted sunglasses and an iced tea the size of my head but neither was to be had at the moment.  Setting out on foot, I wondered how Blond Girl and I had gotten back to the sorority house.  Presumably we’d walked.  I hoped like hell we’d walked.  Glancing through my phone, I found a whole mess of text messages from someone named Lila.  Scrolling to see what we’d written, I found it was a bunch of nonsense and drunken sexting.  But there was also a picture of her showing me her tits.  Blond Girl=Lila.  One mystery solved.  Never in a thousand years would I have guessed that was her name. 

It was hot outside and my balls were sticky.  The day was not starting off in a promising way.  I also had a text from my sister reminding me what time the ferry was.  Annoyed that she thought I needed some kind of hand-holding, I texted back a short response. 

Got it.

What, like Aubrey had any right to jump my shit?  She had stayed with a  complete douchebag for over a year, and while no one else was willing to say anything, I could do math.  There was no way in hell her baby was her new husband’s kid unless Emma had been born a month premature.  Since she was born at eight pounds and change, I was guessing she’d been right on time and the abusive prick Jared was actually Emma’s biological father.  I wasn’t going to say anything though.  If they wanted to keep a secret and keep Jared from having any say in Emma’s life, I was down with that.  It seemed smarter and safer long term.

But I didn’t need Aubrey judging me.  Not when our whole lives she’d been the loose screw and I was the poster child for responsibility.  I was going through a rough patch.  Deal with it.

Of course I realized immediately when she responded that she hadn’t been judging me at all.  That was me putting my shit- my guilt- onto her. 

Yay! So excited to see you. 

I was a defensive dick.  Truth. 

I sent her a smiley face.  Me too.

I was.  I’d be even more so if she wasn’t living in the same airspace as Caitlyn and Heath. 

It pissed me off that eighteen months later I still wasn’t over Caitlyn.  Like what the hell?  I should have moved on a long ass time ago.  I wasn’t even sure why it still bothered me so much.  Did I still love her? 

I didn’t know.  Not exactly.  She was a stranger to me now. 

But there were times, like when I buried myself in a girl like Lila, whose come on wasn’t even remotely subtle, and who could have substituted me for a dozen different guys, when I remembered what it had felt like to be with Caitlyn.  How I had spent hours stroking her hair, her face, her lips, her skin.  How I’d looked at her and everything in my chest had swelled.  How I had loved coaxing her desire to life, watching her eyes widen in understanding of pleasure as I touched her, and I missed that intimacy so bad it hurt in every goddamn inch of me. 

It wasn’t about Caitlyn’s lack of sexual experience or the fact that girls like Lila were comfortable in their own skin and hadn’t lacked for partners.  I didn’t care what anyone did in her sex life and I didn’t judge casual sex.  I just knew it was destroying me at the same time I didn’t seem to be able to resist it.  Because what I missed was that tenderness, that connection that fused the physical and the emotional because you really dug someone.  I had loved Caitlyn and she had cared about me. I knew that.  Maybe it hadn’t been forever love for her, but she would have married me if Heath hadn’t shown up out of nowhere. 

So I guessed I owed him one for showing up sooner than later.  How much worse would it have been later, after marriage, kids?  A lot worse.  An avalanche instead of a few rocks falling. 

Now there was a comfort.  Jesus. 

When I got back to my apartment I stripped off my clothes in the bathroom and let them fall to the floor.  After turning on the shower I leaned against the counter and texted Lila.

I’m sorry, that was rude. 

Whatever she needed or wanted to tell herself I had no right to be an asshole to her.  If I was going to play the game, I had to stick to the rules.  And the rules were you pretended you weren’t just two random strangers getting each other off. 

Whatever.

That was her response.  But I knew that wouldn’t be the end of it.  She wouldn’t be able to let it rest at that.  By the time I’d gotten into the shower, washed my hair and body and stood under the spray letting it massage the knots out of my shoulders, and then climbed back out, dripping wet, she’d already texted again.

When do you get back?

Tuesday.

Let me know if you want to hang out. 

  1. I definitely do.

Did I?  I really didn’t know.  I couldn’t remember a single word of conversation we’d had the night before.  But it was the right thing to do, or so it seemed.  It was polite or something, which was just stupid.  Why did it matter?

But it still did. 

As I walked into my kitchen with a towel around my waist, my hair sticking up damp in all directions from where I’d scrubbed it with the towel, my phone buzzed again. 

I do too.  I had a lot of fun talking to you, you make me laugh. 

Then as if she’d immediately realized that was too emotional, too revealing, her next text was sexual.  It was like a default setting we all chose when we were getting uncomfortable. 

And you make me come too. Haha. 

Good.  I can make you come again.

I know you can. 

I grabbed a soft drink out of the refrigerator and opened it.  I drank half of it in one gulp. 

When I apparently didn’t answer Lila fast enough, she texted again. 

You like anal?  I bet you could talk me into it. 

Suddenly I felt my stomach turn and it wasn’t from the cold carbonation hitting my gut after all the alcohol.  It was because this girl, who was beautiful and most likely intelligent, thought she needed to dangle sexual carrots in front of me to hold my interest.  And she was right.  And that meant neither one of us had any business spending one fucking minute in each other’s company.

We’ll see.  I’m jumping in the car now to drive to my sister’s ttyl.  Have a good weekend

That was as much as I could deal with Lila and the supposedly uncomplicated aspect of a hook up that was in fact totally complicated, soul sucking, and basically never worth it.  For a few minutes of pleasure I got baggage, guilt, expectation.  It was more than I could handle on a Saturday when I had to drive to Rockland and meet my baby niece.  And see Caitlyn.

Getting dressed I was almost glad I was finally going to see her again.  It had been so long and I had thought about it so much, it was like this meeting had become the monster I was hiding from for so long I’d forgotten why it was scary.  It couldn’t possibly be as horrible as I had built it up to be. 

Yet for whatever reason, after I got dressed, I opened my top dresser drawer and pulled out the ring box that was sitting in there behind my underwear.  Flicking open the lid, I saw the diamond engagement ring that I had spitefully asked Caitlyn to return to me when we broke up. 

Snapping the box shut again, I shoved it into the pocket of my shorts, grabbed my keys, and left the apartment.