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One heartbreak. One betrayal. One blog post. All led me to him.

A best friends to lover’s standalone.

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Chapter One

Exes & Hos, May 28th, 2016

 

I’m officially done with men!

Well real, warm-blooded men that is. From now on, the only men who’ll be stealing my heart and giving me big O’s are the fictional type.

I know all of you readers follow my blog to read my book reviews and stay up-to-date on what books are coming out next. But I’m shaking things up a bit today. Today, I’m writing a blog post about my train wreck of a love life.

This, my reader friends, is why I get lost in books. I’m at the point in my life where I’d much rather spend my free hours lost in a book while relaxing on a blanket in Central Park, than waste my time out on a date with a douchebag disguised as my dream boyfriend.

To make matters worse, this time, not only did my boyfriend betray me, but my best friend did, too. Hence the title of this blog post. We’ve been best friends since we met at NYU five years ago, but now I find myself wondering if we were ever really friends. Because what best friend sleeps with your boyfriend?

I felt like I was living out one of those scenes we read in a book, where you see something terrible unfolding before your eyes. You know you should stop reading and save yourself the tears you are certain you’re about to cry. Instead, your stubborn ass says, It’s okay. I can handle it! You foolishly push on, reading, and end up devastated, wishing you went with your gut and put the damn book down.

That is what happened to me last night. We were out at a local pub in town with a group of mutual friends. Jake said he was going out to have a cigarette, while I decided to stay inside with our friends so I could order our drinks. As soon as he stepped outside, I got a text from my best friend saying she was on her way. So I thought, Perfect! We’ll have a fun night out to unwind after a hard week of work and kick off the long holiday weekend.

Not even three minutes later, I step outside to find Jake and give him his beer. I began to feel this knot forming in my stomach as I looked around and didn’t see him in his usual spot getting his nicotine fix.

After searching through the sidewalk full of people hanging out smoking and not finding him, I rounded the corner of the pub, discovering a couple getting pretty fricking hot and heavy in the alley. After a few seconds, it hit me that the guy was Jake and he was playing explore-the-inside-of-some-skank’s-mouth. Not just any skank either… my backstabbing best friend!

I felt like the Wicked Witch of the East in The Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy’s house dropped on her fricking head.

To say I was shocked would be putting it lightly. There are no words I could say that’d truly express to you all what it felt like to witness my boyfriend and my best friend making out like two horned up teenagers before my eyes.

Shit hit the fan real quick.

After a huge fight for all of SoHo to see, I left in a cab, stunned, as the reality of what had just happened sunk in. I found myself wondering how many others there were besides her.

I’m just grateful I always made the asshole wrap it up, because God knows what kind of diseases the manwhore of Manhattan could have.

I don’t know if this is true for any of you out there, or if it’s just me. I’ve found that it’s almost impossible to find a man worth risking your damn heart over. I feel like every guy I meet wants me for only sex. The second things start getting serious, they reveal just how big of a tool they really are and leave you brokenhearted once again.

When it comes to dating, I blame my high expectations on all the ridiculously sexy and swoon-worthy book boyfriends! While out with friends at a restaurant or walking down the streets of New York, I always find myself spotting a sexy bad boy that reminds me of Kellan Kyle, or a deliciously dressed man in a three-piece suit that reminds me of Gideon Cross. Instantly, I’d be falling over myself for these guys and throwing caution to the wind.

The way I look at it is, if they look like my irresistible book boyfriend, maybe I’ll luck out and they’ll also be like them. Fiction, of course, is based on some form of reality. So I’ve held onto that hope that I was possibly going out on a date with my future husband that’d whisk me away on romantic getaways and rock my world in the bedroom every single day.

Sadly, and rather quickly, I’ve learned that men like Kayden Knox and Archer Hale don’t really exist. Sure, there’s a shitload of guys that look like our perfect book boyfriends. There isn’t, however, a large number of insanely good looking men who aren’t complete and total jackasses.

For a while, I was able to overlook the flaws of my current boyfriend, because he had that smile you all know too well—the one they flash that makes you suddenly stupid and turning into a puddle at their feet. Every time I’d start to suspect something wasn’t right, he’d smile at me, say something sweet, and I’d push the worry to the back of my mind. Now I wish I would’ve stopped being so naive.

I’m once again single and drowning my sorrows in a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, while he goes on with his life as if I never even existed. While I, on the other hand, am dissecting every single thing about myself. From my hair, to my weight, to the way I style my hair and my makeup. Why is it we try to find flaws in ourselves when a man breaks our heart? Instead of looking for the flaws in him?

The signs are usually always there; we just don’t see them until it’s too late. Or we do and choose to ignore them, like I’ve done way too many times. With Jake, I chose to ignore the red flags that screamed ‘DOUCHEBAG ALERT’ and instead focused on his skills in the bedroom, and his overly charming personality and smile. Which, in the end, landed me here writing this blog post, ranting about how big of an asshole my ex is.

After having my heart broken for the second time this year—and it is only May!—I’m ready to swear off all men. Unless a guy comes into my life and can show me that charming and ridiculously romantic men truly do exist and not just in my romance novels, then I’m through with dating. It’s too exhausting going through all that us ladies go through when dating a guy, to keep wasting my time on pigs.

So, my fellow bibliophiles, it looks like I’m going to have a lot of free time on my hands now to read. So comment below this blog post suggesting to me the last five-star read you finished. The steamier the better!

I just finished up reading The Blogger Diaries Trilogy by KD Robichaux—where I got the idea for this blog post, and related to it a ridiculous amount!—and currently reading Perfectly Imperfect by the amazingly talented Harper Sloan and LOVING the hell out of it!

I’ll update you all in a few days on how my celibacy is going and what I’m reading next! So suggest away, book besties!

– Christi, AKA Bed Banging Bibliophile

Chapter Two

“Blogging?” Vance asks, rounding the couch and plopping down beside me before snatching the bucket of ice cream out of my hands.

Hitting publish on my blog post, I set my laptop on the coffee table before snatching my ice cream back out of his hands. He simply smiles down at me as the spoon dangles between his lips.

Rolling my eyes at his foolishness, I yank the spoon from his mouth and scoop another spoonful of Coconuts for Caramel, my newest favorite flavor by Ben & Jerry’s.

“Yes. But not my normal book rambling today. I just wrote a blog post telling my followers about the disaster that is my love life. While doing so, I’ve come to the conclusion that I am swearing off men and relationships for the time being.”

Vance kicks his sneaker-covered feet up onto the coffee table and brings his hands to rest behind his head. He’s my roommate and one of my best friends. He’s also the only guy in my life who hasn’t ripped my heart out of my chest and done the Irish Jig on top of it.

His chestnut hair is damp with sweat and his skin is shining with perspiration from the two hours he spent in the gym down the street from our apartment. Raising his eyebrows up toward the ceiling, he gives me a look of surprise. “Really? Serial dater Christi is swearing off men. This is going to be fun to watch. You love being in a relationship too much to stay single.”

Dropping my spoon into the bucket, I drop open my mouth in disgust and slap his chest. “Ugh! I am not a serial dater, and I have been single many times, thank you. I am not one of those needy women who needs a man. I can rock my world all on my own.”

Vance lets out a loud, booming laugh as his hands come down to his mouth and he tries to cover his laughter. “Well, someone is feisty tonight. Now, do tell. How does one rock their own world? You have like a secret stash of assorted dildos or something in that overly pink room of yours?”

I balk in disgust at his brazenness. “I cannot believe you just asked me about my dildo collection!”

His mouth falls open and his eyes grow wide, as he yells out, “Ha! So you are a closet freak with a collection of rubber dicks in your bedroom!”

Jumping off the couch, I hug my tub of ice cream to my chest and try to appear appalled. I don’t get far, because as soon as my ass leaves the sofa, Vance is reaching out, snatching ahold of my wrist, and pulling me back down onto the couch beside him.

“Sit back down. I’m only playing… a little. You aren’t like… a closet sadist or anything, are you? I won’t find ball gags and canes hidden under your bed, will I?”

This time, I slap him harder. “Vance!”

Holding his hands up in defeat, but still wearing a smile that fills his entire face, he chuckles, “I’m kidding, I’m kidding! Settle it down on the slapping, mmkay? I don’t want to have to try to explain a bruised left pectoral to the guys down at the precinct.”

Fighting the grin threatening to crack across my face when the last thing I want to do is smile right now, I ask, “Why? Don’t wanna have to explain to your buddies that your rubber dick-hoarding roommate beat you, Mr. Big Bad Detective?”

The sound of the buzzer filling the room stops Vance from responding. Instead, he simply shakes his head and continues to laugh as he climbs to his feet to see who’s buzzing our apartment.

“You expecting anyone?” I ask, as he walks over to the pad on the wall and views the screen showing us who’s waiting out on the sidewalk in front of our apartment building.

He glances at me over his shoulder, with a mischievous grin playing on his lips. “Maybe. All I can say is they’re here just in time, because I was seriously becoming scared for my life and for my butt virginity. I feel like we were only a few short seconds away from you dragging me into your bubble gum pink room of pain and shoving a vibrating butt plug up my ass.”

Grabbing a throw pillow off the couch that ironically reads, ‘I’m constantly falling in love with fictional characters’, I whip it across the room at his head and watch as he catches it midair. “Keep it up, Vance, and your virgin butt will have its cherry popped when I shove this spoon straight up your damn ass.”

Ignoring me, he pushes the call button on the wall, and speaks to the person waiting outside, “Come on up—and the faster the better. My virginity depends on it.”

I burst out laughing as I try to eat another scoop of ice scream off of my spoon and start choking.

Coughing and trying to swallow my ice cream, I lick my lips and stare at him in shock as I try to calm myself down. “I cannot believe you just said that!”

The person on the other side of the door barely gets a knock in before Vance is yanking open the door and greeting the kid. He’s holding two plastic grocery bags in his hands and looking a little scared as he glances up at Vance before peering around him as I climb off the couch and pad across the hardwood floors toward them.

“Thank you,” Vance says, taking the bags from him and shoving a few bills in the kid’s hand.

“Wow, thank you,” the kid says, as he stuffs the money into his faded jeans pocket. Slamming the door shut, Vance spins around to face me, holding the bags up in the air between us.

“What is this?” I ask, as I pull one open and see more pints of ice cream, a jumbo bag of assorted candy bars, and, in the other bag, more of my favorite snacks.

Carrying the bags over to the kitchen island, Vance sets them down and begins removing the items, dispensing them onto the marble countertop. Lifting his gaze up to mine, he grins. “This is me being a good friend and getting you everything needed for a girl to get over a break up.”

Like with Sara, I met Vance my freshman year at NYU. He immediately became like my big brother, making sure no one messed with me at frat parties. Since he grew up in the city, on the Upper East Side, he became my official tour guide. He took Sara and me all over the city, showing us the popular attractions and the not-so-well-known hot spots only the locals actually know about.

Vance was attending his fourth year at NYU, majoring in Criminal Justice when we met. I was lost and trying to find my British Literature class when he found me wandering the halls and looking like a deer in headlights. Thankfully, after four years there, he knew the place like the back of his hand and was kind enough to send me in the right direction.

I was shocked to find him waiting outside the doors of the class when I exited the lecture hall. He told me that if I ever wanted an official tour of the school to help me become more familiar with everything, to text him sometime. We exchanged numbers and added each other on Facebook. The rest is history.

Now, he’s a detective with the NYPD, which I hate, even though I know it is one of the most heroic jobs one can do. But it’s still scary thinking when he walks out the door for a shift that something could happen to him.

When we first met, I admit I had a little bit of a crush on him. As did Sara and every other girl at NYU. Sadly, though, he was off the market. He was dating his high school sweetheart, Brynn, who was also attending NYU with him for criminal law. They were seen as the power couple on campus. They had the type of relationship everyone wished for.

So, I took the only option that was available for me. We became really great friends, and even after he graduated, we stayed close. Not to the liking of Brynn, who hated our friendship. But Vance refused to give up our friendship and she learned to live with it. I dated off and on, but nothing too serious. I had one boyfriend that lasted a year, but he was offered a job in Seattle. There was no way I was moving away; New York is my home and where I plan on building my career in the literary world. I could never ask him to turn down his job for me. We were exclusive, but not serious enough that I’d ask him to choose me over an amazing opportunity.

Around the same time all of this was happening, Vance and Brynn were planning their wedding. It was supposed to be the wedding of the season. Vance’s father is one of the most well known and sought after directors on Broadway. So everyone who’s anyone was expected to attend. One night when I was coming back to my apartment on campus after spending all day interviewing for summer internships, I discovered Vance sitting on my living room couch.

He confided in me that night, admitting he wasn’t ready to be married, but there was so much pressure from both his parents and Brynn’s that he felt he had no choice but to marry her. It broke my heart. I was so wrapped up in my own love life and dealing with my boyfriend moving to the other side of the country that I never noticed he was dealing with his own struggles.

We stayed up all night talking about all his doubts and fears. I told him to do what he felt in his heart was right. It was better to be honest with her now while there was still time, rather than wait, get married, and then end up miserable. He admitted that while he loved Brynn, and what they had was special because they were each other’s first love, he wasn’t sure if she was the one he wanted to spend the rest of his life with.

He ended up crashing on my couch around three in the morning, which ended up sending Brynn into a mad craze. She showed up at my apartment the next morning around eight a.m., banging on the door so loudly that I’m pretty sure she woke up the entire floor.

She burst into my apartment, throwing around accusations and running me into the ground. Which ended with them fighting and me leaving to give them time to hash everything out. It wasn’t my fight, and I wasn’t going to be dragged into the middle of it, when I had nothing to do with their relationship issues.

After an hour or so, I was sitting inside the Starbucks down the street from campus, scrolling through Facebook, when I noticed Vance strolling in. He had the same swagger and confidence when he pushed through the glass doors. When his 6’2” frame and two-hundred-and-thirty-eight pounds of solid muscle entered the coffee shop, instantly all eyes were on him, but his eyes were focused entirely on mine. I could see what looked like relief in them as he approached my table.

The words that came out of his mouth at that moment were not what I was expecting at all. As soon as his butt hit the wooden seat, he set his phone down on the table and looked at me. His dark brown eyes locked with mine and he muttered four simple words.

“The wedding is off.”

It was literally the last thing I expected him to say. I thought maybe he meant it was postponed while they took some time to really think about this major step in their lives. But that wasn’t the case. I guess Brynn was having doubts herself, but like Vance, felt obligated to see the marriage through and simply try to make it work.

So in a matter of twelve hours, Vance went from sending out save the dates, to breaking off his engagement and becoming a single man. Being the friend that I am, I offered to listen whenever he needed to talk. He was in a dark place for a while after that. He took some time off of work, moved all of his things out of his apartment he shared with Brynn, and retreated to his family’s cabin in Upstate New York with a group of friends.

I understood why he left, but at the same time, I was hurt, because he missed a major moment in my life. I walked the stage, receiving my diploma from NYU, without him in the crowd to cheer me on.

While home with my parents, I received a text from him saying he was back in the city and wanted to get together. Even though a small part of me wanted to be a brat and blow him off, I knew I could never do that to him. I knew deep down that he wouldn’t have left unless he really needed to. But he was back, and that was all that mattered. That night, while we were all out with our friends having drinks and celebrating Vance’s return to the Big Apple, he sprung a huge proposition on me that I was unable to turn down.

He was back home for good and looking for a fresh start. He was moving into a new apartment and wanted me to room with him. It’s not like he needs the money to pay for the place; the guy has enough money from his trust fund he got the day he graduated college to live comfortably the rest of his life, even if he never works a single day of it.

He told me that he knew I’d need a place to live, since I graduated and was trying to find a job in the city. It’s a fortune for even the smallest, dirtiest apartment in the worst part of the city, and trying to find roommates that are not shady and scary is a difficult task.

One year later, our living arrangement is working out great, but our love lives are still a train wreck. He’s casually dated off and on over the last year, but it’s never turned into anything serious. His job takes up a lot of his time, making it almost impossible to have a love life. Girls are needy and don’t like trying to date a man who’s married to his job. With Vance, that’s exactly what it’s like. He pretty much works seven days a week, because even on his days off, he’s working on cases.

I’m working part-time as an assistant to the CEO of Ryan’s Publishing House. For now, I’m running around collecting the woman’s dry cleaning and walking her little dog every hour. I keep telling myself it’s only temporary. One day, I’ll be a senior editor for the biggest publishing house in New York City. Until then, I’ll continue to do the Starbucks runs and pick up doggy doo-doo.

Vance offered to use his father’s pull and get me a better job there, but I refused to be handed a job only because of who I know. I only want to get a job, because I earned it by busting my ass and proving I deserve it. Thankfully, he understood I appreciated the gesture but had to refuse.

I’m blessed to have him in my life and be able to call him my best friend. Especially with everything that’s happened with Sara and Jake. I used to think that Sara, Vance, and I would be friends ‘til the end, but sadly, that isn’t the case. Even though I never once said a thing to Vance about his friendship with Sara, he immediately removed her from his contacts and all social media. He said if she could betray me like she did, then she didn’t deserve his friendship.

Vance was the first person I texted the second my butt hit the seat in the cab last night. I was so hurt and angry. I needed someone to vent to. He was busy, of course, so he couldn’t really talk, since he was working. The second he walked through the door, he pulled me into his arms and let me cry the tears I needed to get out. Once I got that out of my system, I felt a hundred times better. Now, I’ve moved on from the hurt stage to the angry stage. Hence my long-ass blog post ranting about Jake and Sara.

I wouldn’t be so hurt if it was anyone else. But my best friend who I trusted completely? I feel so betrayed. I’m grateful I have Vance. At least I know, no matter what, he’ll always have my back and be there whenever I need him.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t sometimes wonder what if when I think about Vance and me. We work so well together as friends that I sometimes wonder what life would be like if we moved our relationship in that direction. But as quickly as the thought enters my mind, I always push it straight back out.

He’s like my big brother. He doesn’t see me that way. He views me as his little sister he has to protect from the fuck boys of Manhattan. Which I have to let him know he’s failing at miserably. He hates every single guy I date, which in the end I see why, because every relationship ends badly. Either we simply don’t connect, they get too possessive and I can’t deal with that shit, or they get jealous of my relationship with Vance, which is a deal breaker for me.

I will never be forced to choose a man over Vance.

He’s my best friend, and if I’m with a guy, he needs to accept that. Yes, we live together, and no, we don’t have wild animal sex every single time they leave my house.

And yes, that is exactly a response I gave a guy six months ago, when he accused me of sleeping with Vance when he wasn’t here.

I think deep down the main reason I’ve never acted on my feelings toward Vance is because of my fear of failure. Every single relationship I’ve ever had has fizzled out within six months tops. I cherish our friendship too much to risk destroying it. That’s what would happen if we hooked up, and then our relationship would end up crashing and burning. We’d never be able to go back to the way things were. No matter how hard we may try. So the only option is to sit back and suck it up, no matter how hard it is watching him date other girls. It’s the life I chose, to hold onto the friendship we have.

For me, I’ll stick to my book boyfriends.

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