Ben has been my best friend for years, and in a perfect world, he would be the guy for me. But the thought of losing him over a short-lived relationship keeps my feelings at bay.
I’ve never loved another woman like I love Necie. She’s everything I want in a wife, unfortunately, she’s my roommate and friend, and I’ve never had the courage to tell her how I feel. To complicate matters, she reunites with a high school crush who suddenly expresses his interest in her.
Can I tell my best friend she’s the one for me before it's too late?
There's no way I'm getting back to sleep.
"You better jump in the shower before you're late for work," Ben said, after yanking the comforter off the bed, exposing my half-naked body to the cold morning air.
He walked through my room to pull open the curtains, something he did every morning. Now that I thought about it, if he didn't do that for me every morning, I'd probably be without a job right now.
Groaning, I sat up and dangled my long legs off the edge of the bed, rubbing the sleep from my dark brown eyes.
Whipping my long brown hair from my face, I found myself gazing over to the corner floor of the room which doubled more as my clothes hamper than anything else.
I really hope there's something more than yoga pants in that pile.
"I don't wanna to be an adult today," I said in a low murmur, as I hung my head between my shoulders and sighed.
"Have you made coffee yet?" I asked, yawning.
"You're so needy," he said, kissing me on the top of my head.
"Blah," I grumbled, rifling through the clothes on the floor.
Ben was my best friend, whom I had met through a roommate want ad in college. We shared a shabby little, two-bedroom, rent-controlled apartment in the heart of Brooklyn. The ad I answered still hung in our living room, after Ben had it framed to commemorate our first year of 'roommate bliss' together…or so he liked to call it.
The irony lied in that he didn't need to be my roommate any longer. After becoming a successful surgeon, he could easily live alone in a swanky condo in Tribeca, and still have enough to pay for another three of our little apartments combined. Needless to say, he was living a beer bottle life on a champagne budget.
Every now and again, I would ask why he stayed, but he would laugh and tell me that no other woman would put up with him the way I did. Sure, occasionally, he left the toilet seat up, or had to be nagged to take out the trash, but didn't all men have issues like that?
Even though I kept telling myself he was only ever going to be a friend, when I thought about him during those long droughts, when finding a single man in the city proved to be harder than filing an itemized tax return, I couldn't help but bite my bottom lip to keep from telling him how I really felt.
After a few moments of rifling through the clothes, I finally found the chiffon blouse and black pencil skirt I was looking for.
Turning to head to the bathroom, I caught a glimpse of Ben pulling off his blood-stained shirt from work, revealing his rock hard body. Hugging his lean waist was the black elastic band from his briefs, peeking over his loose fitting scrub pants, enticing me to give them a little snap.
He swatted my hand away. "Don't play with me right now. I have to get back to work. I just came home to wake your lazy butt up."
"Who said I was playin'?" I asked coyly. "If you don't like it, then stop walking up in my room lookin' like that."
"Why? Don't you like what you see?" he asked, slapping my rear end as he strolled out of the room.
"No one said I didn't like it. I just said stop walking in my room half naked if you don't like me touchin' you."
"What? You wanna touch me?"
"Such a jerk!" I said gruffly, walking into the bathroom.
Considering he worked long days, drank more coffee than the taste testers for Folgers, and never stepped foot inside a gym, his shirtless body was enough to make any woman wet. Well that, coupled with his green eyes, dark brown hair, and a five o'clock shadow that could knock any woman's socks off.
Ben had never technically been anything more than just a friend and a roommate, except of course in my dreams where I would frequently rip his clothes off and have my way with him.
However, in the last few months, our flirting had become more overt in nature. It was a change that I was a little intimidated by, but at the same time, it was something I wasn't actively trying to oppose.
"Are you in the shower yet? You're really gonna be late!"
"I just know how much you love your job. I know you'd hate to lose it."
I didn't bother to reply, noting the sarcasm in his voice.
"You know I sent in all those resumes, I just haven't heard back."
I hopped in the shower, letting the warm water soothe my anxious body.
After what had only seemed like a few minutes of enjoyment, I heard Ben yell, "You're gonna be late."
"Leave me alone, I know!"
I stepped out of the shower, dried off, and quickly got dressed. I took one last look in the mirror before heading off to work, wishing I were going to a more exciting job.
"Here you go," he said, meeting me at the door with a Styrofoam cup full of black coffee.
"Geez, you're gonna make someone a good husband someday, Benjamin Johnson," I said as I took a sip. "I'll see ya' later."
I gave him a quick peck on the cheek, and was out the door a second later.
"Hey, don't forget dinner," he yelled as the door slammed behind me.
That woman is gonna be the death of me.
I shook my head as I made my way to my closet to grab a new scrub shirt and head back to work. One of these days, I was going to really stop coming home for lunch to wake her up. Maybe then she would notice.
I made it all the way to my office building, but caught my heel in a crack on the sidewalk right before I got through the front doors. Thankfully, it didn't break off completely, but it was just loose enough to make walking uncomfortable. The hours crept by as I filled out endless forms by hand because the computer system had shut down twenty minutes before I hobbled in with my half-broken heel.
That was my life in a proverbial nutshell. If Mr. Murphy had a picture in his mind when he was making up his law, it was of me. The caption would've read something like: Necie Anderson: a single, childless, broken-heeled, underachiever.
Finishing my day with a whopping ache in my fingers, and a wobble in my step, I began to wonder what my life had come to. After having such a promising start following four years of sheer hell in high school, this was not where I saw myself at this point in my life.
I used to be the token nerdy fat girl in high school, lugging around an extra seventy-five pounds, a set of clunky metal braces, frizzy hair, and a face full of acne that was reminiscent of having the measles. I even got stuck with a head of kinky hair in desperate need of a good stylist. However, over time I had become quite the opposite, now slender with smooth skin, perfection is what I tried to present to the world, trying my best to hide the insecure geek from high school.
Back then, I was teased incessantly, with taunts and cruel words that only hormone induced teenagers could conceive in their hateful little brains.
My only saving grace had been the journalism class I was accidentally signed up for senior year. It was that class which inspired me to earn my bachelor's degree in journalism.
Unfortunately, the only article I ever published was for a feminine itch company entitled: Bacterial Vaginosis, Who Invited You to the Party?
My accomplishments had been few and far between, and the article was another example added to a long list of not so shiny moments in my life.
My prospects for the future were looking pretty bleak, but the thought of having to go out on countless interviews to land a journalism job seemed too daunting. And what if I failed? I wished I were a go-getter like Ben, so confident and sure of himself. I shook my head, pushing the thought to the back of my mind.
I love to push the limits with my characters and my readers. If I can get you with a twist...you better believe I will!
UPCOMING AUTHOR SPOTLIGHTS: