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“I just think, in conclusion, that you and I should be friends despite any and all awkward moments we’ve had recently starting with the events post-Taco Festival and ending with that unfortunate moment at the grocery store that resulted in me accidentally breaking over fifty bottles of spaghetti sauce, for which I have already apologized to the store,” Rebecca said, clicking her phone screen black.

Greg didn’t even pause in his wiping down of his tumblers. “I’m not saying you don’t owe me more apologies. I’m saying you need to stop offering them here, where I work.”

“What, am I stopping you from serving all these customers?” she asked, throwing her arm past all the empty stools and Old Nick, who was sitting the corner and who never paid his tab anyway.

“No, you’re irritating me.”

“I’m educating you.”

“Listen, Harvard—”

A woman, a tall, lovely brunette, stode in just then, her heels clicking on the floor. “Greg!”

He dropped his glass, shattering it on the floor. “Sarah!”

Rebecca watched as he nudged the shards of glass under his bar with his foot before coming around to the front. He looked... nervous?

Rebecca raised her eyebrows and tilted her head twice before he made eye contact.

Ex-girlfriend, he mouthed at her.

The brunette, Sarah, kissed him on each cheek. “I knew I’d find you here, always at this bar.”

“I haven’t seen you here in a good long while,” he said quietly.

“I’ve been travelling with my fiance. Munich, most recently. His job takes us all over the world, of course, and all I need to work is a wifi connection.”

“Sounds amazing.”

“Finding that wifi signal is hardly a given in some of these places.”

“Yes, Germany is known for their barbarism regarding wifi signals.”

Sarah laughed, one of those tinkly laughs that sounded a little fake. “Why haven’t you RSVP’d to my wedding, darling? It’s next weekend, but the invite very clearly states you had to répondez s'il vous plaît by a month ago.”

“I thought it was regret only.”

“That’s not what RSVP means,” Sarah said before turning her brilliant smile on Rebecca. “And you must be the girlfriend.”

“The girlfriend?” Greg asked. “I would never—”

Rebecca gave him the side eye. “I’m actually his—”

“I’ve seen all sorts of pictures of the two of you on Facebook,” Sarah said. “Mostly at parties. You wore that pink dress.”

“She owns many pink dresses.”

“You seem to go to a lot of parties, lately,” Sarah said to Greg. “I asked Josh about it, when he RSVP’d to the wedding two months ago. He said you were totally rad but who knows what that means?”

Rebecca looked at Sarah, her fingernails perfectly manicured, pale gray half-moons tapping on the bar, not a hair out of place.

Greg, meanwhile, clearly wanted to be anywhere but there.

Rebecca felt weirdly protective of him in that moment. He clearly needed the sort of protection only she could provide. “I am his girlfriend.”

His eyes bugged out of his head. “She’s not my—”

“I mean, we’re practically engaged. Hi, I’m Rebecca Bunch, lover of Greg. We do all the stuff together, from grocery shopping to dates at the multiplex to being lovers.”

Sarah gave her warm smile. “I’m so glad. I always knew Greg would find someone one day, that he was willing to commit to instead of being so, so afraid. So you’re going with him to the wedding?”

“I wouldn’t dream of missing it.”

“Actually,” Greg said. “I think that’s the weekend you have that lawyer thing to do. Amicus briefs.”

“Yes, but as I told you over o.j., I wouldn’t miss Sarah’s wedding,” she said, and she grabbed his hand, giving him a quick squeeze. “And as a point of fact, I’m not that kind of lawyer.”

Greg smiled wide. “Well, she’s some sort of lawyer. Yes, Sarah, I’ll— we’ll— be there.”

Sarah had barely left, like the air still smelled like dahlias, before Greg immediately turned on Rebecca, tearing his hand away from hers. “Are you crazy?”

“I have a few issues, but overall I’d say moving here has taken off a lot of pressure.”

He looked incredulous. “You told her we were dating.”

“I didn’t want you to have to go to that wedding alone.”

“I could’ve just not gone to the wedding.” He put his fingers to his temples. “An invitation is not a contract.”

“But she’s your, what, ex? Of course you want to go.”

“If I wanted to go, don’t you think I’d have RSVP'd?”

“You said you didn’t know what it meant.”

He looked at her, incredulous. “I took French all through high school.”

“That’s great.”

“Yeah, worth writing home about. Why would you accept an invitation on someone else’s behalf? Were you raised in a barn?”

“I wasn’t trying to upset you, she was just coming down on you so hard.

“And now I have to go to my ex’s wedding. Just great.”

“Are you mad because she dumped you or...?”

He gave her an absolutely withering look.

***

“Of course you don’t want to go,” Paula said, carefully pouring three packets of sugar into her coffee. “That’s a terrible idea.”

“No, it’s a great idea,” Rebecca said. “His ex will be jealous, I get to hang out with the whole Josh-Greg-Bernardo group—”

“You didn’t tell me Josh was going!”

“Because the most important part is that Greg will stop being mad at me. He hasn’t said anything terrible to me in weeks.” She never thought she’d miss that, obviously, but somehow she did, and this seemed like a way to get back into his good graces.

“No, the most important part is that Josh will be at the wedding.”

“Right. That, too.”

***

“There are three rules for this trip if we are going to get through it without one of us— me— murdering the other— you,” Greg said, hauling her suitcase into his trunk. His own, much smaller, duffle bag he threw on top.

“That’s do-able,” Rebecca said. “Are these written down?”

He gave her an incredulous look. “Rule one. No asking me anything about Sarah. I don’t want to hash out an old relationship just because you can’t mind your own business.”

“Would I ever—”

“Absolutely. Two, just because we’re fake-dating or pretend engaged or whatever you told Sarah, doesn’t mean we’re actually dating.”

She clasped her hands together. “Don’t worry, I have a whole bunch of moves that will make it look like we’re dating without actually dating. I’ve been watching rom-coms on my phone all week, just to get my Meg Ryan right.”

“Completely unnecessary. If we tell people we’re dating, they’ll believe it. We don’t need to... hold hands or whatever.”

“I went to theatre camp, I know what I’m doing.”

“And the most important rule, and I swear if you break this one, I’m leaving you on the side of the road, and you’re on you’re own getting back here.”

“Sounds reasonable. What is it?”

“I get to pick the radio station.”

***

“Shouldn’t we be there already?” she asked.

Greg tapped his fingers against the steering wheel. “I told you, the beach is four hours away.”

“The rehearsal dinner is in an hour.”

“Rehearsal dinners used to mean something. It wasn’t just for anyone. Now we have to go to the dinner, we have to buy them a bigger gift, we can’t just show up the day of and leave after the speeches.”

“Yeah, weddings are the worst... we can’t be late for the rehearsal dinner.”

“But we could play hooky. Who cares about some dinner with her parents and sorority sisters?”

“I have never played hooky for anything. I had a perfect attendance record kindergarten through senior year.”

He scoffed. “Maybe if you had taken a day off, you could’ve gotten that stick taken out of your—”

“Oh, it is on! You think I don’t know how to have fun? I can have fun! I can have lots of fun, you just wait.” She turned, fuming, before seeing the sign. “Pull over.”

***

The Pacific Ocean was exactly like the Atlantic Ocean, no matter how hard Greg repped for it. That didn’t stop hooky-Rebecca from pulling her bathing suit out of her suitcase and getting in for a swim. Greg watched from the shores, content to not even try, of course, no matter how many times she tried to wave him over. Eventually, she gave up and let herself float on the waves, losing track of the time as the sky started to turn pink.

***

“Greg, so nice of you to finally join us,” Sarah said, beautiful smile firmly in place. “And Rebecca. Lovely to see you again.”

Rebecca smoothed back her sea-sprayed hair self-consciously. “Sorry, we had to stop off for... drugs. Not drugs, at a drug store. For mascara.”

“Lovely. Well, you missed the rehearsal, but we just started on dinner.”

They were swiftly seated next to Josh and Valencia. He’d matched his tie to her dark green dress, and it was just super cute, of course.

“Dude,” Josh said, giving a head nod to them both. “Nice.”

Rebecca put out a hand. “It’s not what—”

“Yeah, it is,” Greg said.

Rebecca caught his eye, giving her head the slightest shake.

He raised an eyebrow. Are we doing this?

Rebecca winced. “It is what it looks like.”

Valencia assessed her coolly, like Rebecca was a potential threat. “How long has this been going on?”

Greg smirked. “Since the Taco Festival.”

“That’s so great,” Josh said. “I told you going out with Greg was a good idea.”

***

“There’s one bed,” Rebecca said.

“And one bathroom, and one television,” Greg shoved past her, throwing her suitcase on the one bed.

“But there’s two of us and one bed.”

“I made this reservation on Wednesday. We’re lucky to get a room at all.”

“Ok, I know you’re drunk, but surely even you can see why that’s a problem.”

“I’m barely buzzed,” he said, stumbling just a little before flopping down in the chair and yanking off his shoes.

“I’ve never seen you without your shoes,” she said.

“You’re going to see me with a lot less on tonight.”

“I assumed you were sewn into those button ups you never button.”

“I am not,” he said, pulling off the button up they’d argued about on the way to dinner. Rebecca said it wasn’t dressy enough, and Greg had argued that who cares, and he’d worn it over yet another black t-shirt.

“Aren’t you going to undress in the bathroom?”

“Maybe I’ll just change here.”

“Real mature.”

His eyes glinted in the lamp light. “Oh, it’s all coming off. Gird your loins.”

“My loins are fine,” she said, studying the painting of a boat just to his right.

“You aren’t just the least bit curious?” His movements, out of the corner of her eye, were slowing, like he was studying her right back.

“No. No, no, no.”

“Hmm. Well, it doesn’t matter. I’m done.”

Her eyes snapped back just as he was pulling off his pants. “You said you were done.”

“I was done with my shirt,” he said, pulling a pair of pajama pants out of his suitcase.

“Superman, really?

“Aren’t you American?” He pulled out an identical black shirt to the one he’d been wearing moments before.

“I’m going to change,” she said, pulling out a packing cube with her own pajamas. “In the bathroom, as you do.”

“As you do.”

He flopped on to the bed, gravitating towards the right side.

“And the right side is mine when I come back out.”

***

Rebecca felt warm all over, like she was hugging a ray of sunshine, or a large tiger too drugged up to attack. It was a nice feeling, and she burrowed a little deeper at the thought.

Then her sunshine/tiger groaned low, and she realized this wasn’t a dream. Instead, she had her arm around Greg, like he was some little spoon who asked her to big spoon him, and rather than thinking through the consequences, she’d just done it.

It was horrifying to be so close to him, to have her skin on his, to know exactly how warm he was. Because, though his demeanor following the events of their date had been cold, downright chilly even, his skin was warm. It was like he was a person rather than just a mean statue that came out sometimes to yell at her.

She rolled off of him, feeling troubled.

***

“Are you sure it’s cool I’m here?” Rebecca asked Valencia, who was currently perched on the edge of her seat, waiting for someone to give her a pedicure.

“Look, I thought you were a threat to me and Josh, and I hated you,” Valencia said. “A lot. Like I planned to mention it to my cousin, who you don’t want to mess with.”

“That’s terrifying.”

“Oh, he is.” Valencia smiled. “But now you’re dating Greg. You two are dating, correct?”

Rebecca dipped her toes into the warm water gingerly. “Why else would we be here at this wedding?”

“I knew it. I told Joshie, I said, that girl would be perfect with Greg. They can be depressing together. I said, she’s got that weird sad vibe that Greg thrives on. He’s always dating these girls who just can’t seem to get it together.”

“Sarah seems to have it together.”

“I liked Sarah. Well, not that much, but she wasn’t terrible, not like you.”

Rebecca’s nail lady came over, shook her hand, and started peppering her with polish-related questions, but Rebecca was already three steps ahead of her, mulling over what Valencia had said.

“So why did they break up?” she asked. “I mean, not that it matters, but he hasn’t really said.”

“Oh, I don’t know. Have you seen the groom? He’s a sports agent. He regularly hangs out with sports players. Not defense. Quarterbacks.”

“So she dumped him for the groom?”

“Aren’t you even listening? I said I didn’t know.” Valencia took a long sip of her margarita. “Now leave me alone. Some of us take our beauty regimen seriously.”

***

“So how was basketball with the boys?” Rebecca asked.

“Just great,” Greg said. “And before you ask, Josh scored several of the points. But only because I was barely playing.”

“I didn’t ask how Josh did.”

“I guess you didn’t. For once.”

She glanced over at him from the mirror she was using. “You’re not going to undress in front of me again?”

He glanced up from his book, a thick paperback that he was mutilating by opening way past the point supported by the binding. Which was fine, she wasn’t going to say anything, not after he’d glared at her the last time she’d mentioned it. “No.”

“Because you did last night, changing into your PJs.”

“I was drunk last night,” he said, flipping a page with far more attitude than was strictly necessary.

She pulled out her blush. “You were maybe tipsy.”

“I was making poor choices.” Flip. “Even more so than usual.”

“I thought it was great!” she blurted out.

“Great?”

“Hilarious, how I told you not to do it and you did it anyway.”

“Hilarious?” Flip. “That’s what I was going for.” Flip.

***

“So the thing about weddings is that I hate them,” Greg said to her. “They’re too long, they cost too much money, and I don’t think love is real.”

“Oh, god. Where to begin with that one?” Rebecca said, picking a folding chair towards the back of the beach on the bride’s side. She left the outside chair for Greg. That way, she could watch him watch the bride and figure out what the hell his whole deal was regarding said bride. “Weddings, historically, were useful for proving paternity and ensuring—”

“No. You’re not going to use history to prove that we need to spend thirty grand—”

“Guys!” Josh said, taking the seat to Rebecca’s left, Valencia at his side. “You guys are never going to guess who is doing the ceremony. Father Brah!”

Greg sighed. “Father Joseph.”

“Who is Joe?” Rebecca asked.

“I always thought we’d get married by your priest friend,” Valencia said, airily. “Rebecca, how’d you like those creepy pedicure fish?”

“I really thought you were going to join me on that,” Rebecca said. “And that I’d stop bleeding by the actual ceremony.”

Greg, to his credit, almost smiled at that. He leaned over, cupping her ear, and whispered, “She’s played the same trick on me.”

***

“Everyone dances,” Rebecca said. She did not mention that Greg was quite the stepper when she went off into her imagination.

Greg held up his hands. “Everyone else dances. I know my talents and am not a fool.”

“Even the priest is dancing.”

Joseph was dancing crazy with Josh, much to the clear irritation of Valencia, who kept pointing out that this was a slow song and Josh was her boyfriend.

“Far be it from me to not follow Father Joseph to the dark side.”

“Come on,” she said, grabbing his hand— and look, if there was a spark, it was static electricity— and pulling him towards her.

To her surprise, he held out his arms and started dancing with her middle school dance-style, with enough space between them for an actual middle schooler.

“Good?” he asked.

Rebecca looked over his shoulder at the bride and groom, who were pressed together in their own private bubble, looking every inch a couple in love, and then at Greg, who was smirking down at her.

“Fine. You think I’m going to throw a fit over this, but fine.” Rebecca straightened her arms even more to really complete the effect.

They danced a song and a half like that before Valencia strutted over. “Well, aren’t you two precious. Greg, we’ve got to go.” She dragged Rebecca away from him towards the beach’s bathroom, yelling, “lip gloss emergency” over her shoulder.

Valencia kept silent until they were at the mirror. She pulled out a lip gloss, then handed it to Rebecca. “Your lips really are haggard.”

“Thank you?” She glanced down at the tube, filing the name away for the future.

“I know you and Greg aren’t really dating.”

“Um, I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

Valencia rolled her eyes. “Look, I know what dating looks like, and it’s not that. I don’t know what sort of weird plans you have, but I’m not stupid. We’re not falling for your bullshit.”

“Do you really think Greg, who is lifelong friends with your boyfriend, would really mislead everyone on purpose? To what end?”

Rebecca heard a toilet flush, and Sarah burst out of a stall, her white dress still bunched up in her hand. “Ladies! So lovely to see you both. What was this I was overhearing? Rebecca, I thought you and Greg were practically engaged?”

“I can explain. Valencia and I, we were doing scene work.”

Valencia shook her head. “Theatre is for poor people. I was confronting her about real life.”

“Greg and I are totally dating,” Rebecca said as Sarah washed her hands. “I’ll show you.”

Rebecca stormed out of the bathroom, across the beach, to where Greg was idly sipping some clear liquor. She stuffed the lip gloss in her bra before grabbing his glass and throwing it towards the back of the tent.

Greg looked confused, but she just looked back at him, determined.

It was like he could read her brain because he met her halfway, pulling her up just as she grabbed the back of his neck.

She totally clipped his lip with her tooth, but that was fine, because he only winced a second before plunging back in.

She immediately went for the bottom lip, which was definitely the hotter lip, like sometimes when she was at Home Base, she’d watch him joke with that eight year old he was always hanging around, and he’d quirk that lip whenever he thought something was funny but wasn’t really going to laugh. So she sucked on it, just a little, and he almost growled, low in this throat, before squaring his lips against hers. For a brief moment, it was like a freeze-frame: the two of them, kissing like that.

And then he put a hand on the back of her hip, yanking her closer, and he got a little sloppy. He was kissing everywhere, all over her face. She nipped his bottom lip— which tasted exactly how she wanted it to— and he pushed his tongue into her mouth. It gave her a thrill she felt vibrate through her, and she realized— she was into this, kissing Greg. Not just because Valencia was watching or because the bride was, too, but because Greg was a good kisser. And as she dug her nails into his back, she realized she wanted more. A lot more.

He pulled back then, and she panicked. He was obviously going to tell her off, and she couldn’t let him do that, not after she realized she just how much she liked his bottom lip. “Do you want to get out of here?”

He looked a little dazed, wearing half her lip gloss, but he nodded before pulling her out of the tent, past a gap-mouthed Valencia.

The last thing she heard was Josh yelling, “Go Serrano!”

***

There were no cabs nearby, and of course neither of them was in a state to drive, so they had to wait almost twenty minutes for an Uber, but that was ok, because they spent the time making out against the wall for the bathrooms, and she was fine with that because she was learning so much about what made Greg tick, sex-wise.

Like he was clearly into her teeth grazing his neck, that was clear, and he was also really into tracing her cleavage, his fingers just rough enough. She wanted him to dip those fingers into her dress, but he was weirdly reluctant.

He also refused to make out with her in the Uber— “I can’t do this with the driver, next to this baby seat”— so they spent the ten minute ride not looking at each other, as beaches and In-N-Outs flew past her view.

By the time they were back at the hotel, she’d almost talked herself out of the whole thing. Maybe this was a terrible idea. She’d moved to West Covina, not for Josh, but certainly not for Greg either. And sex wasn’t really her area of expertise. Like, Harvard boys were many things, but particularly gifted in bed they were not. She wasn’t sure she had the moves to put on a bartender; he probably got girls all the time. Her gut curled at that thought, but she was pretty sure if Greg hated her and kissed her like that, he was probably super talented with randos.

“Do you have condoms?” she blurted out. “I don’t have any condoms.”

“So we’re really doing this?” he asked, pulling out his key card. He glanced at her, pretending the door was super complicated but probably reading her soul instead.

She nodded, then followed him in.

“Because no one else is here,” he continued, leaning against the dresser, studying her like he always did. “Watching through the windows. No one cares if we hook up or not.”

“You think they thought we were going for ice cream?”

“No, they absolutely assume we’re fucking.” Rebecca cringed at his word choice. “Sorry— making love.”

She cringed again.

“But as far as my friends are concerned, we’re having sex right this very minute.”

“It doesn’t matter what they think,” she said and was surprised to find she meant it. “I care about this.” And she kissed him again, fisting her hand on his dress shirt.

“You’re not even crying this time,” he said, sighing as she licked his jawline.

He unbuttoned his black dress shirt, revealing yet another black t-shirt.

She pulled it off, letting her fingers skim his chest before going for his belt buckle.

“Slow down,” he said, and she immediately withdrew her hands. “No, that’s not—” he grabbed her hands, placing one back on his chest. “I just— you’re still wearing everything.”

“Oh! Right. Let me just take off my shirt,” she said with a grin. “It’s already off, I’m wearing a dress.”

“Too much dress,” he said, pulling her against him as he leaned back against the edge of the dresser. He started kissing the back of her neck, pulling down the zipper.

When he started trying to pull the dress actually off, she turned around, kissing him on his mouth while holding up the dress.

He frowned at her, gesturing to take the thing off already.

“I have sort of a weird situation going on here regarding my foundation garments,” she said. “I could change into a cute bra, or we could kill the lights and close the curtains—”

“Or you could calm down,” he said, kissing her again and sliding the dress off her shoulders.

“You asked for it.” She unclenched her arms so he could see what three different types of Spanx looked like on one woman.

He looked at her hungrily. “Now would be the appropriate time to go back for the pants.”

Instead, she kissed him before leading him over to the bed.

If making out vertically had been a blast, kissing him horizontally was even better. She rolled over on top of him, pressing against him carefully. He hissed before grabbing her hips and grinding her, sending shivers down her spine. She repeated the motion, once, twice, and thrust against her.

“Really regretting leaving these pants on,” he said through gritted teeth.

She rolled back off of him and took care of that, then took a moment or five to remove the bodysuit Spanx.

“That’s still a lot of clothes,” he said. “I don’t think I’ve ever worn that much clothing.”

“Stuff jiggles that shouldn’t jiggle,” she said, climbing back on top of him. “You have no idea what that’s like.”

“I know I want to feel you.” He nuzzled her neck. “Every inch of you. Which I can’t do when you’re trapped in these— whatever these things are.”

It was a process to strip the two remaining pieces off, but she was rewarded swiftly. He looked at her, agog, before pulling her bra off, too. He brushed a thumb over her nipple, and she shivered against him. He liked her reaction so much he went full-on tongue on her breast, and she leaned into it, wanting more.

He flipped her on to her back, swiping at her collarbone before sucking on her nipple. She dug her nails into his back, and he grinned before continuing his machinations.

When he started moving south, though, she squirmed. “That’s not, like, it’s extra credit, are you sure you want to—”

He kissed her inner thigh. “I have been thinking about this since I first met you.”

***

She would not have taken Greg for a cuddler, but rather than slinking out, possibly to drive back home and never speak to her again, he was up on one elbow, tracing patterns on her stomach with his fingers.

She glanced at him, and he was looking at her adoringly.

“That was great,” she said, not prepared for this weird emotional silence. “Just top notch sex.”

“I aim to please,” he said, dipping his fingers back towards her.

“That’s really ok,” she said, pulling his hand back to her stomach. “But you were really good. Like really good, must have had a lot of practice good.”

“Go on, my ego needs the stroking.”

“Like I’m certain Sarah didn’t dump you for the sex stuff.”

“Are you for serious?” He sat up so quickly, she practically got dizzy. “After everything, you still want to know why my relationship with Sarah ended? A woman you’ve met all of three times?”

“I’m allowed to wonder.”

“But I told you that you weren’t allowed to ask.”

“Technically I didn’t ask.”

“There were only three rules. This was not the Code of Hammurabi.” He got off the bed, pacing the room for a minute. Finally, he turned to her, his hand on the back of his neck. “Fine.”

Fine, like you’re going to tell me about your feelings?” Rebecca asked, wrapping herself in the sheet before throwing him his boxer-briefs.

Fine, like this is the only time I’ll say this. Sarah didn’t dump me.”

“But she’s so amazing. You heard about the wells she’s built in those third-world nations.”

“White Josh’s speech was surprisingly moving.”

“He made her mom cry, in a good way.”

”That’s not the point. It doesn’t matter that she’s accomplished. I broke up with her because she wanted to get married and live in West Covina forever, and I couldn’t agree to it.”

“Because you didn’t want to be married?”

“Because of West Covina! Because I have only ever lived in one place. One place! I wanted to travel the world, and my passport is barely touched.”

“West Covina’s great! I mean, I guess we really are pretty far from the beach, but still.”

He winced. “And now, yet another woman I like who loves my personal albatross.”

“It’s a great place. That’s why I moved here.”

“Are you fucking kidding me?” he snapped. “You’re still going with that? I’m being honest with you. I need you, for like five minutes, to be honest with me. Don’t lie about this, right now, or I swear, I’m out.”

Rebecca buried her face in her hands, trying hard to keep everything covered in the sheet. “You’ll hate me.”

He shook his head twice. “Probably. But at least you’ll be honest with yourself.”

“Can we— one kiss, before I tell you?”

His face softened, ever so slightly, but it was there. He sat next to her on the edge of the bed.

She told him everything. About the offer for partner, about summer camp, about running into Josh, even about the butter commercials. Greg was uncharacteristically silent while she did. When she was done, she held her breath, waiting to see what he’d say.

He sighed. “You realize that’s all crazy, right?”

“Some people would say that, but I think that’s insensitive to mental illness.”

“You use that word as a pejorative all the time.”

“Listen. I get that I’ve done crazy stuff recently. I get that some people would say I should probably go back on my meds. But it got me here, now.”

Here in this hotel room, or here as a metaphor?”

“Here is West Covina, temporarily at the beach, but back home by tomorrow. And you know, I’m happy. I know it’s a dumb town, and I know you feel trapped there, but for me, it’s independence. From my mom, from the pressure of making partner. I like it. I’m not leaving, not soon at least.”

He was silent.

“Does this mean you going to dump me, too?”

He put at arm around her shoulder. “How do you feel about copious amounts of travel?”

***

The drive home took at least four hours, but they held hands basically the whole way.

And he let her man the radio.