Taking the Fall: The Complete Series(5)

By: Alexa Riley

“Fine, I’ll bring a change of clothes and we can leave from work.” I let out a dramatic sigh and adopt a weary tone. “And go to drinks at the Kat House.”

Jeanette starts letting out hoots and hollers. I can see her in my head, dancing around her studio apartment.

“Don’t bring any clothes. I’ve got you. Maybe if I get you all dolled up tonight and looking like one extra sexy bitch you can finally live up to your name, Lays.”

Rolling my eyes at the nickname Jeanette gave me forever ago, I agree, only to get her off the phone so I can go ahead and pack an extra set of clothes. Jeanette gave me my nickname when I started working at the library and we became friends. At first I thought it was just a cute abbreviation of my name, but soon I found out it was because I never get laid.

I guess after watching me shoot down date request after date request, she figured I wasn’t getting any. And of course she was right. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to get any—God, did I want to get some! I just hadn’t found anyone who piqued my interest. Needless to say, I wasn’t going to date one of the teachers who were always at the library. No way was I mixing my two worlds. I had already learned that lesson the hard way. It was because of that I had to start my life over, and I didn’t want to do it again. My life is good here. It might still be lonely, but at least the people around me express emotion.

Maybe the romance novels have me jaded. I always thought my first and only would be Carter. I know now that’s not happening so I’ve been trying to move on, but not one person has sparked even a fraction of the feelings I had for him. Who am I kidding? Feelings I have for him is more like it. No matter how hard I try, no matter how hard I push, it still ends up back with him. It pisses me off. I started this new life to move forward but most of the time I feel like I’m just going in circles.

Maybe it’s time I stopped living in my books and pushed myself harder. A sexy night at the Kat House could be just what I need. Let loose and live a little. It’s why I came here, isn’t it? To be free. Maybe even a little wild. I should just get my first time over with. Just rip it off like a Band-Aid. I need to take a page from Jeanette’s book and have a no-strings, sex-filled night, aided by a little liquid courage.

It’s odd I’ve never even thought about doing it with Justin. I enjoyed the easiness of our relationship. I’m comfortable around him and that makes me feel safe for some reason. I know he can’t hurt me emotionally and I know if he ever dumped me or moved on I would pull through easily enough. I would miss his friendship but it wouldn’t be a love lost.

We’ve gotten hot and heavy a few times but I always pull back. Just when things start to go to the next level, I push him away. I’m going to have to meet him for lunch and end things. It’s not right leading him on when I don’t think this can go anywhere. I know he wanted the whole marriage and babies thing because we’ve talked about it before. I want that too, but I want it with a man I can’t live without. A part of me loves that Justin is so laid-back and doesn’t push me, but another, bigger part of me thinks I can’t keep going on like this. Maybe I should take the coward’s way out and just send an e-mail…no, I can’t do that.

Glancing back at the clock, I see I need to get a move on so I’m not late for work. I grab my work bag and head out the door without packing a bag for tonight. If I want to start making changes, maybe it won’t be so bad to see what Jeanette has planned for me. If I don’t pack a bag then at least I’ll have to wear what she brings, and there will be no backing out.

When I get to work, the day seems to fly by with seemingly endless groups of students and reading sessions. I try to set up a lunch date to meet with Justin but he tells me he’s too busy with work and that we’ll talk later. After clearing out the last bunch of students and locking up the library for the day, Jeanette drags me into the bathroom for a quick make-over.

She puts me in a black minidress and I protest that everyone can see my underwear if I bend over. Her only suggestion is that I should take them off. Well then, I guess I’ll just risk people seeing my underwear because ditching my panties is not an option. The dress fits me like a second skin and I feel totally exposed.