1.2 Just Friends

 

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The next morning, I woke up to an empty bed. I’d managed to get Charlotte out of my house after swearing that I had to get up early to go to work. I loved spending the night with women, but I didn’t particularly care for awkward breakfasts with them. Especially not when I didn’t even have a table to eat at.

 

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The next weeks flew by. I spent most of my time at work, or hanging out outside and jamming on my guitar. I wanted to start working on my own songs soon, but I wanted to practice and find my own sound first.

 

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Playing outside definitely got me a lot of attention from the women in the neighborhood. Charlotte had called me a bunch of times, but I didn’t answer or reply to her texts. Why should I, when so many other women showed so much interest in me? Particularly Sienna, who brought my mail a few times a week, got weak in the knees when I promised her I’d play her a song sometime.

 

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But my Mediterranean looks and charm didn’t go unnoticed with the other women in town either. Everywhere I went, I got flirty looks. Of course, I flirted back. It was good to keep my options open for a lonely night.

 

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And so it wasn’t long before I’d collected a good amount of phone numbers and been on quite a few dates. Of course, most of those dates ended up at my place. I had fun, but usually it wasn’t anything special and I didn’t feel the need to call the girl in question afterwards. I felt good as a loner.

 

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Most nights, I’d make my way over to the Blue Velvet for a few drinks. I sat down at the bar and didn’t even have to order. The bartender and I’d become kind of friendly and he knew my usual order.

“So, who are you going home with tonight, Matt?” he asked with a wink.

“Oh, I don’t know,” I answered, taking a sip, “we’ll see.”

 

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Suddenly, the door opened, and the most beautiful blonde I’d ever seen walked in. She almost looked too casual to be going out; with her loosely braided hair and light cardigan. But the way she walked, the slight swing of her shapely hips and the smile that played on her lips, made her nearly irresistible.

“I think I’ve found my target,” I murmured, downing my drink at once and getting up to greet her.

 

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“Hey there, gorgeous,” I said, “can I get you a drink?”

She looked at me for a while. “You must be Matteo Fiore.”

I was a bit surprised she knew my name, but quickly recovered. “That’s right. You can call me Matt. And you are…?”

“Evelynne,” she said, “Evelynne Parker. Charlotte is my next door neighbor.”

That explained how she knew my name, but it definitely didn’t put me in a great light. “She hasn’t stopped talking about you. Well, cursing you, really, for never calling her back after your little… adventure.”

 

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I smiled awkwardly. “Uh, yeah, well… I meant to call her but…”

“Oh, I don’t blame you,” Evelynne interrupted, amused, “I wouldn’t call Charlotte back. She never quits yapping. But I suppose you usually don’t call girls back, do you? You’ve made quite the reputation for yourself, Fiore.”

She didn’t seem angry though. She looked as if she found it quite funny, so I decided to take my chances.

“Well, don’t you wanna find out if I deserve the reputation I’ve earned?’

 

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She threw her head back and laughed. “Just because you can play with some strings does not mean I’m going home with you. I’m not that easy, Matt.” She smiled. “But I know you live in Newcrest, and so do I. I’m a painter. So… We can be friends, if you like. Artist to artist.”

I’d never met a girl like her and I was at a loss for words. “Uh… Just friends?”

“Just friends. I won’t be another victim on your list. But we can dance.”

 

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Before I knew it, she’d grabbed my hand and pulled me out on the dancefloor. She was a good dancer, smooth in the hips and not afraid to show it. It was amazing to just look at her, her cheeks reddening slightly and her braid getting Messier.

 

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We stayed and danced until the bar closed and the lights turned on. I tried to lean in and kiss her, dizzy with her floral scent and the alcohol I’d consumed. But she politely avoided my embrace.

“Just friends. Remember, Matt?”

I couldn’t help but laugh. “Right. Sorry. So, will I see you again? You know – as friends?”

“Yeah,” she smiled, “yeah, you will.”

And with that, we said goodbye.

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