“No, dumbshit. When we were fifteen. We were each other's first.” I have no idea why I'm telling him this information. I guess Mia's shocking entrance back into my life has brought out my sharing side.

“No shit?” he says. “I always thought Erika Garcia sophomore year was your first.”

“No. It was Mia,” I say. “On Dad's boat.”

“Interesting. I always took girls there too.”

“I know you did, you little horn dog. But I thought of it first.”

“Damn, Mia Monroe,” he says again.

“So what should I do?” I ask.

“Listen, all I'm saying is that I know you were crazy about her. I'm glad she's back in your life. Shit, I remember the year she moved. It was like someone took the spark out of you. Like they pulled the beating heart right out of your chest. You moped around for six months. Maybe this is a good thing. You can have some fun for once.”

“Fun? You're one to talk.” Actually, Sophie being in his life has been a game-changer. He's like a different man now. Much more light-hearted and easier going than before.

“I'm doing just fine, asshole. Worry about yourself,” he barks.

Maybe he's right. There's no reason that he and Pace need to have all the fun. Might be nice to join in for once. And if anyone can bring that side out of me again, it'll be Mia.


Hell, this should be interesting at the very least.

“Okay thanks, man. I've gotta run.” I hang up wondering what the hell is going to happen next.

Mia Fucking Monroe.

Chapter Four


My eyes float over the room, taking it in. It’s much larger than a hotel room—the ones I’m used to anyway. This guestroom is almost the size of my old apartment. Three large windows stretch up towards the vaulted ceilings. There’s a walk in closet, a small oak desk and chair by one of the windows, and a seating area at the foot of the bed, with a loveseat covered in a purple floral pattern, and matching stuffed chair. I see why he calls it the purple room. It’s subtle, but most of the furnishings have hints of purple. I wonder if he remembers that it’s my favorite color. The thought makes me smile. But no, it would be silly for him to remember something so ridiculous, from so long ago.

The bed must be a king. I’ve never slept in anything so big. I wonder if I actually could, or if I’ll spend the night getting lost in the expanse of it. At least it looks soft. So soft. The lavender duvet is as fluffy as a cloud, tempting me to run and jump into it. Instead, I head across the room and peek into the attached bath.

It’s larger than any bathroom should be. There’s a double sink, a Jacuzzi tub, and a separate large shower with more showerheads than I'd know what to do with. It’s all so much that I feel my mouth actually fall open. If this is just a guest bedroom, what must the master bedroom be like?

Collins’ family had always been well-off when we were growing up, but this is more than well-off, this is wealthy. I wonder if I had looked harder online, would I have found him on one of those richest men alive lists? It’s intimidating. I feel like I’ve stumbled across a new culture and don’t know the customs or the language. I tip toe across the room, careful not to disturb anything.

I had no idea he would be this affluent. Of course Collins was a born entrepreneur. When we were six and most kids were opening lemonade stands, he figured out that the markup value on ice cream treats, combined with his cute-kid factor would put him ahead of the game and setup a weekend neighborhood ice cream stand.

The local ice cream man didn’t have a chance, and Collins made bank. Not that he needed it. No, I’m not surprised he is doing so well. I'm proud. He always had this in him. I smile at the thought.

I take another look around the room, and my eyes land on my huge suitcase. The one I packed with as many of my everyday things as I could, and a few very important items I didn’t want to cram in my parent’s small storage space.

Collins invited me to stay for a few days, so I might as well unpack. I hoist my suitcase up on the bed, unzip the front pouch, and pull out my old childhood scrapbook, flipping it open to the first page where I’d long ago glued the cover of a bridal magazine. The one Collins had found that fateful day hidden under my mattress.

I run my fingers over the crinkled paper, and smile as I remember the promise we’d made. It all started because of this very magazine. I’d found it at my babysitter’s house, and loved it because it had a purple wedding dress on the cover. I never understood why brides always wore white and thought this elegant lavender gown was the very dress I would wear when I got married. I liked it so much that my babysitter let me take the magazine home. I’d been hiding it under my mattress, and Collins found it one day when we were playing in my room.

“Who’s getting married?” he’d asked, wide eyed.

I snatched it away from him, trying to hide it a little too late. We might have been best friends, but he was still going through his all girls have cooties phase. Something I was normally immune from, but still, there were certain things I kept to myself. Or tried to. “I am,” I proclaimed in the strongest voice I could. Still, I felt myself blush.

Collins wrinkled his nose and furrowed his brow in that way that made a small crinkle over one eyebrow. “No way.”

I rolled my eyes. “Not today. But one day.”

“I’ll never get married. That’s gross.” His eyes widened.