"Agreed." She flops down onto the couch and kicks off her Hunter boots, still speckled with rain, before snatching off her beanie. Loose, dark curls tumble down around her shoulders. "Apparently, being boo'd up excuses fashion faux pas. I don't care how good the D is, if I catch my man rummaging through my closet for something to wear, his ass will be ghost. He's not about to be stretching out my hard-earned couture with his hairy man-thighs!"

She cackles to herself for a good twenty seconds before realizing that I haven't budged, still too hypnotized by the words—or better yet, the name—staring back at me from the computer.

"Girl, what's wrong? You look like you've just seen a ghost."

"I have," I deadpan, meaning it. I sigh. "I got a job today."

"Aw, shit! That's great, Rox! We should go out and celebrate. I just got a dress so tight that it requires Crisco to get into." She busts into a shoulder shimmy reminiscent of the Bankhead Bounce circa 1995. Which takes me right back to my current dilemma.

"Yeah. Great."

"Then why do you look like you're mentally preparing for anal with a cactus?"

Unable to vocalize my disdain and overall frustration, I merely nod at the screen, prompting Hazel to climb to her feet and sashay her way over to my Ikea work desk. It only takes a quick glance to catch his name amongst the jumble of useless assignment details, as if it's outlined in bold, blaring neon yellow instead of flat, black Helvetica, size 12 font.

Riot Blu.

Top 40 fuckboi. Paparazzi player. Trashy reality TV trainwreck.

And heart-crushing life ruiner.

Ruiner of my life, to be more specific.

"Holy shit, Rox." Hazel takes a step back and brings her fingers to touch her lips to conceal a gasp.

"I know."

"Did Frost know about how he—"

"No. He only knows I don't care for his music, which is true."

"But he doesn't know that you—"

I shake my head. "He doesn't know anything."


We both take a beat to reread the name that feels like a shank to my gut with every syllable.

"Well, we can still go out..." my roommate comments quietly.

"Do you not get what this means, Haze? Riot-fucking-Blu. I'm freaking out!" I snap with more venom than I intend.

"I know. I know. But you see...this dress. I was really hoping to get penetrated tonight. And we don't have to celebrate. It can be a last-night-before-the-end-of-the-world type of occasion, with booze and carbs abundant. My treat?" She bats her fake lashes and smiles in that way that looks like she's trying to feign innocence and hold in a fart at the same time.

She's going to get her way. That's how it's always been. Everyone gives into Haze one way or another.

Plus carbs and booze sound pretty damn good now that she's paying.

I roll my eyes. "Fine. Whatever. But I swear to G-o-d, Haze: no scrubs. You are not sticking me with the broke, ugly friend to entertain while you get those cobwebs knocked outta your coochie."

"Cobwebs?" she scoffs. "Girl, bye. My shit is made of unicorn glitter and rainbow sprinkles."

I make a face and gag. "Sounds like a yeast infection to me."

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