Seventy two hours post-breakup
When you and I meet again at the end of this novel, you’ll owe me a huge apology.
The person devouring these words.
I can see you prematurely judging me—wondering why my face is battered and bruised, or why I’m slumped over a grey leather chair in my penthouse suite.
You’re embarrassed that you ever told your friends how “drop-dead sexy” or “insanely gorgeous” I was. How I made your panties soaking wet when you saw me on the cover of Esquire or GQ magazine.
First of all, you’re welcome for that last thing. I know that your boyfriend/husband hasn’t given you mind-blowing, toe-curling sex in forever, so consider my panty-melting skills our dirty little secret.
Second of all, I’m well aware that I look nothing like the Cocky King of New York or the Untamed Playboy of Manhattan at this moment. There’s no need to remind me.
And yes, I also know that I’m bleeding all over this marble floor …
I want to tell you what happened, but I can barely move my jaw right now, and you’d never believe me anyway.
So, I’ll tell you something else.
Everything I’ve learned over the past seventy-two hours can be summed up in a single sentence: The only difference between a devastating breakup and a car crash is the fact that I would happily sign up to suffer through the latter more than once.
Broken bones, fractures, concussions, and cuts? I can deal with all of that.
The recovery time for those injuries lasts anywhere from six weeks to six months. And after doctors prescribe a medley of painkillers and intense physical therapy sessions, I can move on with my life as if the accident never happened.
A broken heart after a breakup, though? There are no painkillers, therapy sessions, or guaranteed recovery plans available. And anyone who says, “Time heals all wounds,” has never loved and lost their best friend.
“You’re a piece of shit!” My best friend Penelope’s voice suddenly comes over the penthouse speakers for the umpteenth time this morning.
I’ve been struggling to walk over and turn it off, but it’s no use. I can’t feel my legs.
“I hate that I ever slept with you, that I trusted you to be anything more than the cocky, arrogant bastard that you’ve always been,” she says. “I guarantee that I will never, ever talk to you in my lifetime.”
“I hate you, Hayden Hunter.” She starts a brand-new message. “I. Hate. You. I hope your cock falls off and you lose every dime in your bank account. Those things are all you’ve ever cared about anyway.”
“I left out one last thing, asshole …” Her voice cracks, and my heart burst into flames. “For the record, you were the one who started our cold war years ago. It was you and that was always your fault … As your former best friend, allow me to name our breakup like we’ve named every single one of my others.”
She pauses for a few seconds, sniffling in between breaths. “You’re officially ‘The One That Should’ve Never Happened.’ You were better off helping me land other guys than convincing us to cross the line. You also weren’t that good in bed. I’ve had far better sex with my exes.”
There’s no sense in me reacting to that last sentence, as we both know that’s a lie.
It’s not even a good one.
Even though hearing the pain in her voice hurts like hell, this is the most she’s talked to me in days, and a part of me is glad she called.
As much as I’ve been dying to tell her my side of the story, i.e., why our breakup is not my fault, she might have a point about us crossing the line.
Maybe if I’d said, “Go ahead and keep dating him. He’s a far better man than me,” (he wasn’t), then I’d still be helping her date some other guy. Perhaps, if I’d never insisted that our relationship was worth the risk, we could’ve remained best friends and nothing more.
Then again, Penelope and I weren’t always this close.
Hell, she wasn’t even my “friend” for the first few years that I knew her.
She was nothing more than a tag-along third wheel, a woman who was meant to be “off limits” forever.
She was my (other) best friend’s younger sister …
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