Home > Bad at Love(6)

Bad at Love(6)
Author: Karina Halle

Which lie do people want from me?

I’m so worked up by the time I finally get home to Studio City and find parking on the street, that I don’t even go into my apartment.

I go right across the street to the coffee shop.

And let out a huge sigh of relief when I see Marina at her usual spot by the front windows, typing away on her laptop, sipping on what I’m going to guess is a matcha latte with coconut milk and a splash of agave syrup.

“Hey,” she says to me with bright eyes, flashing me that big smile of hers. She’s so self-conscious about it, which I think is a bloody shame. No one should ever hold back on their smile—it’s like holding back on joy—and Marina’s is beautiful and kind. It’s the one thing that puts my heart at ease.

“Hey,” I tell her, slumping down into the seat across from her.

“Uh oh,” she says, snapping her laptop shut, the cover adorned with stickers from her company—Palm Trees & Honey Bees—and gives me her full attention. “What’s wrong?”

She’s used to this from me. Sometimes, like today, there is actually something wrong, but other times I’m just trapped in my head and being a moody little arse. She’s usually the person to get me out of it. Not to say she doesn’t give me shit, because she does, but she’s a lot more forgiving and intuitive than my other mates.

“I broke up with Simone.”

“Noooo,” she says with a harsh gasp. “Why? Why did you do that?”

I shrug. “I don’t love her.”

“Argh.” She leans back in her chair and stares dramatically at the ceiling, shaking her head so her long blonde hair goes flying around her face. “You idiot.”

“I’m not an idiot,” I say sharply, feeling defensive. “It had to be done.”

“But why?” She presses her fingers into the table and gives me a hard stare. “Why? It was, what, five months? You guys seemed so happy. It seemed like this could be it. How dare you? I was rooting for you. We were all rooting for you!”

I frown. “Who is we?”

“No one, it’s T-Banks from ANTM.”

“T-Pain and what?”

“America’s Next Top Model, Laz.”

I have no idea what she’s going on about. “I’m sorry, but I didn’t think this would annoy you.”

“Well, it does,” she says. “Obviously I’m your friend and I just want you to be happy. And you seemed happy.”

“Seemed is the operative word. And I’m quite happier now, believe me. I think Simone was…well, I don’t know, but it turns out she wasn’t quite the person I thought she was.”

“That doesn’t surprise me at all.”

“Hey, you’re supposed to be supportive.”

“I am supportive,” she says, picking up her mug and having a sip. Today, her nails are holographic pink. Marina doesn’t wear a lot of makeup but she always has her nails done. “But you’re thirty years old. And you have to ask yourself, at what point am I going to settle down? Actually put in the legwork and follow through with a relationship? Even Taylor Swift has to grow up someday.”

“Why on earth are you comparing me to Taylor Swift?”

A small smile creeps across her lips. “Because you’re both a fan of using relationships and break-ups for creative material.”

Ouch.

“That’s not fair,” I tell her. “I don’t break up with people just so I have something to write about.”

She just stares at me.

“I don’t,” I protest. “If anything, it’s the other way around. They go after me because they think I’m going to write about them. That same thing just happened with Simone.”

“They go out with you because you’re hot,” she says, then quickly looks away. An adorable flush begins to spread on her cheeks.

“Did you just call me hot?” I goad her, wanting her face to get even redder.

She gives a half-shrug. “Maybe. And, well, you are. And you know it. And everyone knows it.”

“When the girls contact me, it’s in a DM and they don’t know what I look like.”

“You’re lucky. When I get a DM it’s dick pics,” she mumbles. Then she sighs. “And looks aren’t always important with women. They fall for you because of your words, because of the person you are inside. Or the person they think you are.”

“You just said it’s because I’m hot.”

“It’s everything. You’re the full package. Believe me. There aren’t many guys out there that are funny, smart, hot, talented, and deep. Every girl dreams about a guy writing beautiful prose about her. Why do you think historical romances are so popular? They want that Mr. Darcy or Heathcliff whispering sweet nothings or penning out long and emotional love letters. They think that’s what you offer them.”

“I don’t really.”

“I know that,” she says. “I know you’re completely insufferable. But they don’t. They’re in love with the idea of you.”

“Well, I don’t know how to fix that. And I don’t know if I should. After all, I broke up with Simone. It wasn’t the other way around.”

“You could fix it…” she says and then trails off, her bright blue eyes caught in some kind of tangent.

Part of me wants to press the issue, if not just to hear her opinion. But the other part wants me to push on. There’s nothing in my life that needs fixing.

“Anyway,” I tell her, “I’m not Taylor Swift, thank you very much. And what happened with Simone was a shame, but what can I do? Would you rather me stick it out with someone just for the sake of sticking it out? If you don’t love the person, what’s the point? You’re just leading them on.”

She nods, rubbing her lips together. “You’re right. I’m sorry it didn’t work out. Better luck next time.” She pauses. “Please don’t tell me you already have someone else lined up.”

Well…last week at Magic 8 Ball’s show in Burbank, there was a cute girl who caught my eye. Gave me her number.

Marina squints. “Don’t tell me it’s that girl from the show last week.”

I raise my palms in defense. “I’m telling you nothing. But yes, maybe it’s her. Maybe this fashion blogger or whatever you call them on Instagram. Fashion grammer.”

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