We all have a love story.

I'm not a romantic. Never have been. Shit, I'm the anti-romantic, if anything. Me and love, well, let's just say we're not on the best of terms.

Which is not to say I've never been in love. Like most people, I've experienced it all at one point or another, from the unrequited type to mutual attraction to drive-you-crazy love, and it always hurts, always burns, and it's definitely overrated.

But I'm not going to lie to you. I've never felt anything like this.

We all have a love story.

This is ours.

The sun shone brightly through the thin curtains of my bedroom window and stung my eyes. I already had a raging headache. I usually felt this way on Sunday mornings. It wasn't a good feeling.

I glanced at the alarm clock beside my bed. 11:05 a.m. I groaned. I had a zumba class at the gym at 10:30 a.m. Too late now. Not that I cared about zumba. I took part for the same reason any guy went to dance lessons, yoga classes, or cooking courses—the girls.

I closed my eyes. I'd get up soon. Just another five minutes.

A soft murmur came from the other side of the bed. My eyes shot open.

I felt the mattress move and a warm body snuggled against mine.


I had no memory of last night at all. I broke away from the girl and immediately pushed myself up, ignoring her attempts to draw me back. I flung off the comforter and accidentally knocked over the alarm clock.

I opened my nightstand drawer and fumbled through the condom box. I counted seven unopened condoms in total. I checked the number penned in blue ink on the box: eight. I exhaled in relief. I'd used a condom. She wouldn't get pregnant.

I scratched out the number with my pen and wrote the updated count beside it.

I've been religious about condom use ever since I was seventeen, when my girlfriend ditched me after I got her pregnant. She ran off with my kid and married a suit—you know, one of those provider types.

She was twenty-two. Five years older than me, but God, so beautiful. No one should look that good. I should've known better than to leave her alone for a whole summer.

I'm not really bitter. Not anymore. It was partly my fault—I pushed her away first. Anyway, leaving me was probably the best move she ever made. I couldn't support her, let alone a kid. Even so five years later it still hurt, knowing I'd never be there for my son, knowing I wasn't good enough.

Pregnancy. It ruined everything.

I was all jittery and needed to calm my nerves so I grabbed my cigs from the nightstand and lit one. Technically, smoking in the suite was against the rules but I didn't care right about then.

The harsh fumes filled my lungs and I immediately relaxed. So I'd brought a girl home from the bar. It wasn't the end of the world. She'd be gone soon enough and I could return to my own routine.

Again I sensed movement behind me, then the touch of well-manicured nails running lightly down my back. I knew I couldn't encourage this behavior so I got up. I put the knocked-over alarm clock back on the nightstand and grabbed the pair of sweatpants on the floor beside me.

"What's up, big man?" the girl murmured, her voice throaty with sleep and pent-up lust.

I dragged the pants on and glanced over my shoulder, feeling my stomach twist at the sight of her tousled, bleach-blonde hair and smeared makeup. I truly hated this part, having to smile and pretend like nothing was wrong while I escorted her out. It was only a short walk to the front door, yet it always felt like the longest walk in the world.

All I wanted to do was take a shower after looking at that mess. Not that she wasn't pretty—she was. I had good taste but once the layers of make-up started to come off it all just seemed so fake. Not just her looks but my own actions. We were all frauds. I had a bad taste in my mouth and a hollow feeling inside me.

"Here." I snatched her dress from the floor and tossed it to her. "Listen, leave your number. I'll call you." I wouldn't. "Maybe we can go out for drinks or something." Not by a long shot. "I had a great time last night." Couldn't remember a thing. "But I really have something important I have to