I smile. “Well I have to get to work, so unfortunately, I can’t keep them on.”

He brushes the hair from my face and says, “I have a really important surgery coming up that I need to prepare for. Which means I probably won’t see you for a few days.”


I try to hide my disappointment, but I have to get used to it if he really wants to try and make something work between us. He’s already warned me that he works too much. “I’m busy, too. Grand opening is on Friday.”

He says, “Oh, I’ll see you before Friday. Promise.”

I don’t hide my grin this time. “Okay.”

He kisses me again, this time for a solid minute. He starts to lower me to the couch, but then he shoves away from me and says. “Nope. I like you too much to make out with you.”

I lie down on the couch and watch him get dressed for work.

To my enjoyment, he puts on scrubs.

Chapter Eight

“We need to talk,” Lucy says.

She’s sitting on the couch, mascara streaked down her cheeks.

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Oh, shit.

I drop my purse and rush over to her. As soon as I sit down next to her, she starts crying.

“What’s wrong? Did Alex break up with you?”

She starts shaking her head and then I really start freaking out. Please don’t say cancer. I grab her hand, and that’s when I see it. “Lucy! You’re engaged?”

She nods. “I’m sorry. I know we still have six months left on the lease, but he wants me to move in with him.”

I stare at her for a minute. Is that why she’s crying? Because she wants out of her lease? She reaches for a tissue and starts dabbing at her eyes. “I feel awful, Lily. You’re going to be all alone. I’m moving and you won’t have anyone.”

What the . . .

“Lucy? Um . . . I’ll be fine. I promise.”

She looks up at me with hope in her expression. “Really?”

Why in the world does she have this impression of me? I nod again. “Yes. I’m not mad, I’m happy for you.”

She throws her arms around me and hugs me. “Oh, thank you, Lily!” She starts giggling in between bouts of tears. When she releases me, she jumps up and says, “I have to go tell Alex! He was so worried you wouldn’t let me out of my lease!” She grabs her purse and shoes and disappears out the front door.

I lie back on the couch and stare up at the ceiling. Did she just play me?

I start laughing, because until this moment, I had no idea how much I’ve been waiting for this to happen. The whole place to myself!

What’s even better, is when I do decide to have sex with Ryle, we can have it over here all the time and not have to worry about being quiet.

The last time I spoke to Ryle was when I left his apartment on Saturday. We agreed on a trial run. No commitments yet. Just a relationship feeler to see if it’s something we both want. It’s now Monday night and I’m a little disappointed I haven’t heard from him. I gave him my phone number before we parted Saturday, but I don’t really know texting etiquette, especially for trial runs.

Regardless, I’m not texting him first.

I decide to occupy my time with teenage angst and Ellen DeGeneres, instead. I’m not about to wait around to be beckoned by a guy I’m not even having sex with. But I don’t know why I assume that reading about the first guy I had sex with will somehow get my mind off the guy I’m not having sex with.

Dear Ellen,

My great-grandfather’s name is Ellis. My entire life, I thought that was a really cool name for such an old guy. After he died, I was reading the obituary. Would you believe that Ellis wasn’t even his real name? His real name was Levi Sampson and I had no idea.

I asked my grandmother where the name Ellis came from. She said his initials were L.S. and everyone called him by his initials for so long, they just started sounding them out over the years.

Which is why they referred to him as Ellis.

I was looking at your name just now and it made me think of that. Ellen. Is that even your real name? You could be just like my great-grandfather and using your initials as a disguise.


I’m onto you, “Ellen.”

Speaking of names, do you think Atlas is a weird name? It is, isn’t it?

Yesterday while I was watching your show with him, I asked him where he got his name from. He said he didn’t know. Without even thinking, I told him he should ask his mother why she named him that. He just looked over at me for a second and said, “It’s a little too late for that.”

I don’t know what he meant by that. I don’t know if his mom died, or if she gave him up for adoption. We’ve been friends for a few weeks now and I still don’t really know anything about him or why he doesn’t have a place to live. I would just ask him, but I’m not sure if he really trusts me yet. He seems to have trust issues and I guess I can’t blame him.

I’m worried about him. It started getting really cold this week and it’s supposed to be even colder next week. If he doesn’t have electricity, that means he doesn’t have a heater. I hope he at least has blankets. Do you know how awful I would feel if he froze to death? Pretty freaking awful, Ellen.

I’ll find some blankets this week and give them to him.


Dear Ellen,

It’s going to start snowing soon so I decided to harvest my garden today. I had already pulled the radishes so I just wanted to put some mulch and compost down, which wouldn’t have taken me long, but Atlas insisted on helping.

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