“So Jay, how’s your friend with benefits going?” Adrian tossed a towel  to me.

“My what?” I swiped the towel over my face then chugged some water.

“Told you he’d deny it,” Mitch said with a snort.

So my subtle questions about the rules hadn’t been so subtle. I couldn’t bluff my way out of this, there was a reason I didn’t play poker.

“I didn’t hear the question,” I stalled.

“Your fuck buddy. How goes it?” Mitch shot back, not buying what I was selling.

“It’s fine.” I shrugged and wished it was. The truth was, Dee was going to break my heart. All I could do was take what she was willing to give and enjoy it while it lasted.

I walked away from them both and headed for the locker room but heard their footsteps behind me.

“No problems with her wanting more?” Adrian asked as he sat down on the bench in front of my locker.

“Nope.” I pulled off my shirt, deciding I’d head home to shower. An image of Dee walking out of my apartment popped into my head. “None at all with her.” No, she had no problem leaving me sitting on my couch, still breathing hard, while she went home with a casual, “Thanks, talk soon.”

“You idiot.” Mitch’s towel hit me in the back and I let it fall to the floor.

“It’s nothing,” I said lightly as I pulled on my shirt and turned to face Mitch and Adrian while buttoning it up. “I’m just… adjusting.” Adjusting to the best, most devastating sex of my life. I met Adrian’s cool blue gaze and Mitch’s dark intense stare. After a long moment Mitch nodded and turned away to his own locker.

“I worry about you Mr Romance.” Adrian gave me a hard stare then turned away. “I don’t want you to end up like Mark,” he said over his shoulder.

“Like Mark?” I frowned.

“Yeah. I was so happy when he hooked up with Dee.” His voice was muffled as he pulled on a fresh tshirt. “Took the edge off when we trained.”

“What happened?” I looked at Mitch who shrugged, he didn’t know either.

“Mark fell for his buddy.” We all sat down on the bench to change shoes. “That’s why he moved here.”

“She didn’t feel the same,” Mitch said with a nod. “Been there.”

“You?” Adrian looked up with surprise. Mitch and Dee were two peas in a pod, neither looking for commitment.

“Oh no no.” Mitch smirked.”They fall, I don’t.”

“I’m not falling,” I lied as I bent down to tie my shoes. Well, maybe not a lie technically since I wasn’t falling, I was already there.

“You know what’s strange?”

I looked up at Adrian in question.

“New Year’s Eve? I thought there was something between you and Dee when I saw you dancing.”

“Now that you mention it, what’s really strange is that Jay was wearing the same shade of lipstick as Dee,” Mitch said with a frown.

Lucky for me I’d been expecting Mitch to bring that up. I shrugged and said,”I gave her a new year’s kiss. I think we all did.” Adrian nodded agreement while Mitch just smirked like he knew something. “And you’re just seeing love everywhere you look because you’re so in love with Tam,” I added to Adrian who grinned.

“I noticed you left alone so did you hook up with your buddy after the party?”

I grabbed my bag, ready to go and nodded at Mitch. He arched his brows and made a gimme gesture with his hand. “Details?”

“You’re such a perv,” I laughed but he and Adrian just looked at me expectantly. “She came over, we fucked on the couch, she left.” I shrugged, even retelling it made me feel like my heart was being ripped out of my chest.

“That’s fucking amazing!” Mitch neatly knocked me over with his pat on the back.

“You’re following the rules,” Adrian added with his own shoulder punch. “No cuddling, no sleepovers!”

“Nope, none of that,” I agreed while pain lanced through me. I should get used to that, where Dee was concerned it seemed I had an infinite capacity for pain and she had a knack for inflicting it.

“We need to celebrate, drinks are on me!”

Adrian gave a whoop of agreement and we all grabbed out bags, ready to go.

Ten minutes later we were raising our glasses while Mitch made a toast.

“Here’s to Jay and his new found independence from love, romance, and all that other crap.”

“To Jay,” Adrian agreed and we all drank.

I pretended to be happy, pretended that all I wanted was a good time, with a willing partner. I could pretend, but I couldn’t lie to myself about wanting more with Dee, wanting everything. And I couldn’t forget her pushing me down on the couch, opening my pants and kicking her panties aside, sinking down on me, her hands braced on my shoulders, holding me away, not letting me touch her, kiss her, hold her. I couldn’t forget that she’d fucked me then left me sitting there, still panting, cum dribbling from my still hard cock, while she stepped into her panties and left.

I couldn’t pretend, or lie to myself, or forget that no matter what I wanted, or how I felt, to Dee I was just a friend with benefits, a fuck buddy. I couldn’t forget that she was a heartbreaker and I was already broken.