“Why do you do this?”

“Hmm?” I looked over my shoulder at Jay, a sheet across his hips, his hair messy from my hands. “Pretty sure it’s required by law if I want to go outside.” I finished buttoning my shirt and bent to grab my jeans from the floor.

“Funny,” he said and I could hear the smirk in his voice. “Why do you have sex and leave baby?”

“This is the benefit part baby. All of the sex, none of the commitment hassles.” I stood up and turned to face him as I stepped into my pants. “Is this not working for you anymore?”

I watched him look at me, his eyes dropped down to my toes, fire engine red today, and took a slow tour to my eyes. I had just been in bed with him, where he’d made me scream, now with one look, I was ready for more. Which was exactly why I had to leave.

“No baby,” he said absently and shook his head. “That’s not what I meant.” He rubbed his hand over his jaw and his eyes closed for a moment then he pinned me with his gaze.

“Jay.” I sighed, I did not want to have this conversation. We’d been good for three months now, three months of quick, easy, hard, slow, fast, fucking. In between fucking, we hung out with our friends, went to dinner as a group, had our movie nights, and Jay went on dates. There had only been a few, he said he was still scarred by Roxie, and there hadn’t been any repeat dates. After the first one he tried to give me details but I didn’t want them. All I needed was the assurance that he wasn’t having sex with them while he was having sex with me, that was a line I wouldn’t cross.

“Dee,” he echoed my exasperated tone. “Is this really what you want? Just sex? What about love, marriage, a family?”

I turned away, pretending I was looking for my shoes when I just didn’t want to look at him while I answered.

“You know I’m not cut out for any of that,” I said lightly, scooping up my sandals and going back to his bed to put them on.

“Do I?” He tugged on my hair and I pulled away, slapping at his hand.

“My parents-”

“Are self absorbed jerks.” He cut me off, his voice bored. We’d had this discussion before. “You are not your parents baby.”

He was completely right on all counts. My parents were selfish and self absorbed. They wouldn’t sacrifice anything for anyone. Except each other. I had been raised by a series of nannies as my parents travelled the world together. Just another poor little rich girl. I grew up with parents who loved each other to distraction and had a genuine fear that I would end up the same way. So obsessed by one person that I couldn’t see anyone else, even my own child. Then I had met Jay and his family and I had seen the other extreme, a love that had room for everyone. Even a poor little rich girl.

Was it any wonder that I had fallen for him, the teenager who everyone liked, with the parents who cared what time you came home, who your friends were, and if you were eating right. They were the fairy tale family and he was the prince. But not my prince as it turned out. In this fairy tale I was a secondary character, the female friend the prince turned to for advice as he dated to excess. Jay wanted to fall in love, wanted the happy ever after his parents had. I did too. The fact that I could put my feelings for him aside and help him in his romantic pursuits, had been reassuring if painful. I wasn’t like my parents, I could put someone else’s feelings ahead of my own.

So yes, Jay was right. I wasn’t my parents, I was more like him than I would ever admit. Love, marriage, a family? I wanted it all and I wanted it with him. “Hilarious,” I whispered to myself, the one word a touchstone to remind me that I couldn’t have all of that with the prince. The memory of his words stung every time; “Just, me and Dee? That’s hilarious.” But they didn’t stop me loving him, they never had.

Which was why I did what I did. Why I didn’t do relationships. I’d given my heart away a long time ago so I had nothing to offer except the physical.

“You’re right Jay.” I looked over my shoulder, found him watching me intently. “I’m not my parents, I’m not the type to fall madly in love and ignore the world. I’m not the type to fall in love at all.” I looked into the eyes of the man I loved and lied to him. “That’s why I do this, because it’s all I have to give.”

“I don’t believe you.” He shook his head then rolled to his side. “You love me, you love my family, our friends. Maybe you just haven’t met the right man yet.”

I laughed at the irony of it all, what else could I do? “Sure thing babe, keep telling yourself that.” I walked through the bedroom door and his voice followed me but I didn’t stop.

I answered his, “See you soon buddy,” by leaving, the sound of my heels on his floor loud, the door closing behind me seeming final. Maybe this would be the last time I left him like this. Three months was a record for me and maybe it was too much. Maybe I should stop before I got addicted to him. Maybe it was too late.

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