The Lying Hours Page 1


The first sentence is always the toughest. The opener.

The beginning…

I stare hard at my cell phone, at the image of a girl smiling. Swipe my finger up her first photograph to scroll, viewing another of her with her head thrnoown back, laughing, sunlight catching her hair. Blonde, of course. Blue eyes. Slim. Tan in the middle of winter.

Nice, round tits—probably fake.

She matched with my roommate Jack Bartlett this morning on our campus’s LoveU App and wants to chat, and now it’s my turn to make a move. Well, technically, she’s waiting for JB to make the move, not me.

See, JB’s girlfriend broke up with him a few months ago, and ever since, he’s been on a downward spiral of pent-up sexual frustration and emotional neediness that is seriously starting to get on my fucking nerves. He’s going through women like frat guys go through beer, like women go through tampons during their period.

One. After. The. Other.

So fucked up, but not unusual for dudes our age.

I glance down again at what’s written in her profile.

Shelby, 19, likes peanut butter, movies, and the color blue. She’s also looking for something long-term, which I don’t think Jack wants, but I swipe right to accept her invitation to chat anyway. He can’t pump and dump them all, can he? One of these chicks is bound to stick, and this one looks like she might be a keeper.

There’s only one way to find out.

I shoot her a brief message.

Me: Name three things you can’t stand listening to in a quiet room. Go.

I set the phone next to the weight bench and recline until I’m lying flat on my back, three hundred and ten pounds of steel balanced on the bar above me. My spotter is missing, and I crane my head to see where the fuck he’s at. I can’t lift this weight off the rack until someone is here to make sure I don’t break my neck.

And die.

Before Ben Carpenter can hustle his bony ass back to my bench to help me, my phone pings with the familiar LoveU notification chime.

Damn, our girl Shelby is quick on the draw.

Shelby: Um, haha. I’d have to say…listening to potato chip bags. Haha. And snoring? Um. The wind is really loud outside my window and that’s super annoying. Haha.

Okay, so our girl Shelby definitely overuses the word “um” and typed “haha” a few too many times, but it’s not like JB is going to give a shit. He’ll be too busy staring at her tits and trying to fuck her.

I wonder if this is how Shelby will speak in person, and I’d bet money that it is. She also hasn’t mastered the etiquette of making conversation; everyone knows at the end of your damn response you’re supposed to ask a question to keep the flow of conversation going.


Instead, Shelby leaves me hanging. I’m going to have to pull another question out of my ass as I continue pretending to be my roommate.

Me: I hate the sound of potato chip bags, too. And I don’t snore. Ha. Ha.

At least I’ve never heard JB snoring from the other room. Maybe he does. Who the hell knows.

I’m tempted to tell her I hate the sound of farting but resist the urge.

It’s too soon, and the goal here is to be romantic, not gross.

Shelby: That’s good, haha.

This chick seriously needs to cool it with the haha before she drives me nuts. It’s only been two chats back and forth and she’s used that word—I scroll up and count—four times.

Christ almighty.

Normally I’m not this big of an asshole. In fact, I’m the least douchey of all my friends, but this morning, I’m not in the mood for any of this. I’m not in the mood to be JB’s lackey, not in the mood for Ben Carpenter to be fucking around instead of spotting me like he’s supposed to, not in the mood to be in the gym so damn early in the morning.

Logging into my roommate’s LoveU account and lying to girls in an attempt to win them over because JB doesn’t have the confidence to do it himself isn’t my idea of a good time. Plus, it makes no sense, considering JB is ridiculously attractive when he’s not acting like a dick. Women usually fall all over themselves when he’s around. I have no idea what he needs a dating app for. He can get laid any time he wants.

I don’t do so bad with girls myself, but I’m not the one looking for a fuck buddy; JB is.

I’m more of a long-term relationship guy.

Before I can reply to Shelby’s last message, Ben appears, sweaty and dripping wet.

“Where the fuck have you been, dude?”

“Sorry man, I overheated and had to dunk my head.”

Well, shit. That’s not cool. “Maybe you should get someone else to spot me and sit this one out then.” The last thing I need is some rookie passing out while I’m lifting all this weight.

He scratches at his head, water dripping from the short, black spikes of hair. “You sure?”

The dude is a mess.

“Yeah. Send JB over.”

My roommate is doing squats on the far side of the weight room, watching himself in the mirror as he bends his knees, a bar behind his neck holding over three hundred pounds of weight. I can hear him grunting out his count from here.