Chapter Two

Charlie and Adam walked into the restaurant with their arms wrapped around each other. The host took them to their table in one of the hippest new places in Andover. Charlie secretly wondered how he had gotten these reservations so quickly at a place where a meal was in very high demand. Her inner question was answered when a man in a chef's coat came out and gave Adam a hug. Of course it was not a regular hug between people that were friends, because it was a guy hug. A guy hug was a whole different breed of hugs, because they barely touched, and only used one arm to reach around and pat each other on the back a few times before breaking away. It always made Charlie laugh when she saw guys do that, because no matter how sensitive the guy was, they always hugged that way.

"Charlie, this is my best friend Shawn. We go way back to the sand box. I asked him to squeeze us in here when he told me that he was the head chef here."

"Wow, head chef at The Hallow. Impressive. Are you going to fill me in on all of the sordid details of Adam's life?" Charlie joked.

Shawn smiled, and she liked that he was able to joke around with her. "I'll tell you everything you need to know. Just give me your phone number and we can hook up a time and place to talk," Shawn said with a slow southern drawl.

Adam punched Shawn playfully on the shoulder. "Your not stealing this one buddy. Now go back in the kitchen and make us some food!"

"Fine, but you better be nice to everyone or else someone might just spit in your food. Not yours of course Charlie. You seem to sweet to have saliva on your chicken."

"Thanks Shawn. You seem pretty cool too. I don't know why you hang around Adam."

"Hey you guys. I think that's enough talk about how horrible I am. Besides, you are wrong about Charlie. She has quite a temper. This whole sweet thing is just an act."

"I bet you are just lying. Cute little lady like this could never do anything wrong." Charlie had to admit that she was impressed by his southern charm, and felt the sudden urge to ditch Adam and spend the rest of her life with Shawn. Ben must have sensed this because he told Shawn once again that the kitchen probably needed him.

As soon as Shawn left Ben turned to her and said, "Watch out for him. He has stolen every single girlfriend that I have had since middle school."

"Really? I find that hard to believe."

"It's true. For some reason girls just want to be with him instead of me."

"Why are you still friends with him then?"

"We have known each other forever. Plus, it's my way of weeding out the girls that I will never have a future with. If they want to be with him, and are willing to cheat on me, then I know that they aren't exactly relationship material."

"Well, that's one way of looking at it. Is that why you took me here?"

"Maybe," Adam smiled. "The fact that you didn't just go up and kiss him was a good sign, but I could tell that you were attracted to him."

"Not attraction. I was just impressed. He's pretty accomplished for someone of his age."

"Sure that's what you were feeling. I know you think he's charming. Trust me, I'll understand."

"He's charming I'll admit, but he's not my type. I do not like southerners. I dated one when I was in med school. He was crazy. He seriously had KKK robes in his closet."

"Well, Shawn isn't that bad. He had a rough childhood. He moved up north and we became pretty good friends. Visits his family down in Mississippi a lot, which is why he still had that accent. You know, I could tell that he liked you."

"Duh. I'm pretty hot. Who wouldn't be attracted to me?" Charlie joked.

"No." Charlie made a face at this blatant insult, forcing Adam to backtrack. "I mean, you are gorgeous, but I could tell that Shawn didn't just like you because you are pretty. He was flirting with you, and he never did that with any of my other girlfriends."

"Then how did they come to sleep with him?"

"They would seek him out, but he has never actually gone and tried to steal any of them."

"Wow, sorry. But don't worry. I have enough self-control to keep myself from trying to sleep with him. It's just not my style."

"Good. Enough talk about Shawn. Let's talk about me."

Charlie laughed at how narcissistic Adam sounded. "Alright. What do you want to tell me?"

"Nothing actually. You and I are both psychiatrists so I know that we will analyze to death everything that the other person says."

"It's a risk I'm willing to take. I'll start seeing as how your are such a little pansy, I will go first. I'm twenty-eight, I was born and raised in a small town a half an hour away from here, my parents are divorces, I have one sister, and I went to both pre-med and med school at Lexington University."

"Not a bad school. So, where does your roommate come into play?"

"What do you mean?"

"Come on. Some guy living alone with a single girl. It's a little fishy."

"There is nothing going on there, if that's where you were going. We have known each other for ten years, and when I moved out here to do my residency at Waterson we decided to get a place together."

"Have you guys ever dated?"

"Um, once, but that was a million years ago. It was when we first met, and we kind of broke up because I wanted to be with his brother."

"His brother? And where is Ben's brother right now?"

"Oh, he's married to a girl that Ben dated once," Charlie stated.

"Shit. Your life sounds like some cheesy Lifetime movie. Maybe I can be your happy ending," Adam said with a grin.

"Now that is an insult. At the very least it's a Danielle Steele novel. And I don't know if you could be my happy ending. I don't even know anything about you because you were too chicken to tell me anything."

"Okay. I'm thirty-three years old, I grew up in Ohio, when to school at Ohio State, then went to med school at Penn. I have two sisters, both younger than me-one is your age actually- and I have been at Peterson Practice for three years now."

"And your wife?"

"Well, my sister introduced us to each other. She was one of her sorority sisters, and we really hit it off. She seemed impressed at how successful I was, and we dated. I finally proposed after a year and a half, and we got married."

"Why did you get divorced?"

"Why do you think?"

"Shawn slept with her?"

"Actually he didn't. He did call me to tell me that she had tried to get him to sleep with her. He was a pretty stand-up guy that day. I was proud of him, but I think that he figured that marriage vows shouldn't be broken."

"So you are divorcing her."

"Yep. It was a pretty big let down. But hopefully this is a turning point now. I'm ready to get back in the saddle, and you seem like the perfect person to help me do that."

"Not bad. I have to admit that you are pretty good on paper. Maybe you will be my happy ending," Charlie joked, while secretly hoping that he was.

Matt pulled into his houses driveway hoping that Charlie's words of wisdom would work on his wife. He brought the bouquet of flowers and dinner that he picked up into the house and called out his name.

"Quit screaming," Madi whispered angrily as she came down the stairs. "I just put Jordan to sleep and I do not want him to wake up."

Matt glanced at his watch seeing that it was only nine, but didn't bother to tell Madi that it was really early for a four year old to be asleep. "I got you something," Matt said with a smile. He held the stuff up for her to see and said, "I got some of that Chinese that I know you love."

Madi smiled for what seemed like the first time in months, making Matt grin. "Thanks sweetie. I had a really rough day. This just hits the spot," Madi admitted as she gave Matt a kiss.

"Sorry if you thought I've been neglecting you over the past couple of moths. I'll try to spend more time with you and Jordan."

Madi and Matt walked into the kitchen to grab a couple of plates for the food, and said, "Are you still sleeping with Charlie?"

This caught Matt off guard because so far the night had been going pretty well. "What? I'm not having sex with Charlie. I've told you that a million times. Why do you keep accusing me of that? I have always been faithful to you, and I love you so much, but at this rate you are going to drive me to infidelity!" Matt instantly regretted this last statement because he knew it wasn't true. He loved Madi so much, and would never cheat on her.

"Is that what you really think?"

"No baby. I just…you've been stressing me out lately. I would never cheat on you. I love you so much, but these past few months you have just been so angry with me. I don't know what I did to make you think that I am cheating on you, but I'm not. I need you to understand that. Please tell me what is wrong."

Madi just sighed. "I'm pregnant."

After a moment of silence Matt exploded with happiness. "Your pregnant! That's amazing. Why didn't you tell me? Fuck, I don't care, we are going to have another baby!" Matt walked over to her and hugged her out of pure joy. "How far along are you?"

"Baby. I don't know if I can do this."

"Why not Mad? We did it with Jordy. If we did it with him I'm sure we can do it another time. We will probably know more, and it should be a breeze."

"That's not what I mean. This isn't the first time you and I have gotten pregnant."

"Yeah, I know. I do know where our son came from."

"No, since then. I got pregnant six months ago."

"What happened? Why didn't you tell me?"

"I-I was scared. I had a yearly appointment with my gynecologist, and she told me that I was pregnant. Then she told me that the baby was…was…dead. I just couldn't tell you because it hurt me, and I just couldn't."

"But you're pregnant now?"

"Yeah, but the doctor said that there was a good chance that I could have another miscarriage. I just wanted to wait until I knew that the baby was okay."

"You should have told me. We are in this together Madi. I don't keep things from you. If you would have told me I could have helped you. Maybe get you some outside help if that's what you need."

"You think I'm crazy? I'm not crazy. I was just emotionally distraught. It's no big deal."

"You know that you and Jordan are the only things that I really care about in life. I always want to help you, and I just can't sit by and let you be angry and not tell me some of the most important things in my life. Okay?"

"Yeah. I was just…I don't know. Embarrassed? I feel like I failed you. You have wanted more kids since Jordy was born, and I couldn't give you that."

"Madi, it's not your fault. Trust me, I can live without more kids. We have a son, and it's fine. I just want you to be happy."

"Fine."

"Is this kid going to be okay?" Matt asked pointing at her stomach.

"Yeah. I'm, three months pregnant and the doctor said everything is great. He said that the three month mark usually means that the baby will be safe."

"That's good." Matt pulled her into a hug and finally asked, "Why do you keep accusing me of cheating? Especially with Charlie, she and I are just friends."

"I, I just didn't feel pretty anymore once I had the miscarriage. And then you kept spending all of this time with her."

"She is my friend, and I was spending time my brother, but she happens to live there."

"I know, but she is just so young and pretty."

"She is only a year younger than you," Matt managed to get out through fits of laughter. "There is not that much of a difference between you too."

"Yes there is. She may be only a year younger than me, but as far as life experience goes she is young. I have already been married and had a kid, and she is still young, sexy, and single. Sometimes I'm just jealous of her, and then you are always around her while she is wearing some sexy clothes and I'm fat and gross, wearing clothes with spaghetti Os embedded into my clothing. I know I'm not desirable, and I just figured that you would find someone better to sleep with."

"Honey. There is nobody better than you. I love you and you are the sexiest woman in the world to me."

"You don't mean that," Madi said, blushing. No matter how many times Matt had complimented her, she still always blushed when he did it. After a while it really started to be a turn on for Matt. He showed this to her by pinning her against the counter and pressing his lips against her. She pressed her body against his roughly, but Matt pushed her away. "Do you think it will hurt the baby?"

"No honey," Madi whispered into his ear right before she slipped her tongue into it and started nibbling on it. "Now lets get down to business!" She pulled him close to her and the physical portion of their relationship was rekindled.

Charlie walked Adam up to her apartment door and planted a kiss on his lips before unlocking the door.

"Wait Charlie."

"What. You don't want me to kiss you?" she asked coyly.

"It's not that. Do you remember how this morning in the office I told you how I'm really not into kissing or hugging in public? I just wasn't raised to do that."

Charlie glanced around the deserted hallway and finally rested her eyes back on Adam. "But we are all alone?"

"Yeah, but just knowing that someone could come out and see us makes me feel nervous."

"It's fine. We can just wait until we are inside. Sound good?"

"Yeah." They walked inside and found Ben passed out on the couch. "Pig. Let's go into my room."

"Okay. Sounds good to me." They walked into her room and instantly started kissing. Charlie had begun to feel really good about Adam. He was more than the cocky jerk that he came off as at work. Adam didn't look as comfortable as Charlie felt though, and Charlie could sense his discomfort.

"What's wrong Adam? Are we going to fast or something?"

"It's not that, it's just that I feel weird doing this, knowing that Ben is in the other room."

"Trust me, he sleeps like a rock. Nothing will wake him up."

"Yeah, but I told you I'm weird about doing things in public. Including having sex."

"Who said we were having sex? I'm sorry if I gave you that idea. I just wanted to kiss. I didn't mean to give you that impression."

"Cool. Well, I don't have a problem with kissing," Adam pointed out while planting his lips on hers. His tongue slipped into her mouth, massaging Charlie's tongue and groping her upper body. After about a half hour Charlie pulled away from him and sat up on her bed.

"I think we should call it a night."

"Sure," Adam agreed after taking a couple of deep breaths. Charlie was surprised at how out of breath he was afterward. She was also kind of happy because it basically meant that he was really turned on. She walked him out of her bedroom into the living room where Ben was mysteriously missing.

"He must have gone to sleep in his own bed. I had a really nice time tonight. I would like to do it again."

"Me too." He gave her a peck on the lips before pulling away and walking out the door. "See you tomorrow at work," he shouted from the hallway. Charlie smiled and closed the door, turning back to her apartment.

"I'm guessing you two had a nice time tonight. Not too good though, because I didn't hear anything coming from your bedroom.

Charlie just laughed because she was used to this behavior by now. "It's been a year since I have had sex, so I wouldn't waste my first time in a year on some guy that I went on one date with. Anyways, you know that I don't have sex with a guy on the first date."

"Huh, that's not what my brother said," Ben joked, but Charlie felt hurt by that. She had never truly recovered from feeling like a slut by having sex with Matt so soon, and for Ben to just throw that back in her face really pissed her off.

"Jackass," she muttered under her breath.

Ben realized the mistake that he had made and said, "I'm sorry about that. I was just joking around with you. Trust me, you aren't a whore if that's what you are worried about."

"I know. Sometimes it still feels weird though."

"Yeah. So how did your date go?"

"It was pretty nice. We went out to dinner at that new place, The Hallow, and it was amazing. His best friend Shawn is the head chef there, and it was nice. We learned a lot about each other, and he was so sweet. He's cute too, because when we came here we were kissing in the hallway, and he was so shy. He said that he felt nervous about kissing in public. He is so nice. I like being with him."

"Is he, 'the one' because I know that you are looking to settle down?"

"I don't know. I think it's too soon to know anyways, but I want to see where it goes. Why? Worried that you'll have to look for a new roommate?"

"Maybe." Ben looked like a mixture between angry and sad, and Charlie was starting to get worried. She had thought that he had just been joking around before, but now she wasn't so sure.

"Are you okay, Ben?"

"Yeah, fine." Ben turned to go back into his bedroom but Charlie was not done speaking to him. She grabbed his arm and pulled him back towards her.

"Seriously, what's wrong? Why are you so moody?"

"Why did you go out on a date with Adam? You fucking hate that guy at work but you still go out with him."

"So. I gave him a chance. As I recall I gave you that chance ten years ago when I went out on a date with you."

"You didn't give me a chance! You fucking toyed with me, tried to date my brother, then when he wouldn't date you, you turned to me. Thank you for that," he snapped sarcastically.

"Why are you so angry about this? I went out on a date. Big deal. I've gone on dates before. Why is this one so different."

"Because now you seem to be getting serious. Last week you were telling me about how you thought that you biological clock was ticking, and how you needed to settle down. Then you come home with this guy, take him back to your room, which you never do, and come out later looking happier than ever. I just don't want you to leave."

"Trust me, I'm not going anywhere anytime soon. It was just one date. He isn't even divorced yet, so there is no way that we are going to get married."

"Shit. It just seems like you are rushing into something with a guy just because you think that you need to do all of this stuff before you hit thirty. I just feel like you aren't doing it because you like him. You are just doing it for other reasons."

"I'll admit that I am looking for someone to settle down with, but I'm not going to pick some guy that I barely know to do it with. I have known Adam for a year, and now I just started dating him. I think he is someone that I might be able to live with or marry. Ten years down the road I can picture us happily together. I'm not going to rush it, but I do feel good about where this could go."

"Damn it Charlie! You say that you can see yourself ten years down the road with him. It's been ten years since we met and we are still together. You think that you will be able live with him, but we already live together. Why can't you just give us a try?"

Ben just stared at her, red faced and out of breath. Despite Charlie's best efforts the thought of Ben being the second guy that she had left out of breath that night. A smile quirked at her lips, but she managed to control it. "Why do you want to? We are perfectly happy being friends, or at least I am."

"Yeah, well I'm not. I'm thirty fucking years old, and I haven't found the girl I want to marry. I've given up, and do you know why I've given up?"

"Because you finally got tired and figured that the easiest transition would be to date your roommate?"

Ben just sighed. "No, because I found the girl I wanted to be with ten years ago, and I'm just realizing it now. Why are you wasting your time with Adam? You do this every time you try to date someone. You will go out with a guy, have a great first date, and then end up finding something wrong with them, and whom do you go to then? Me, that's right. You go, cuddle up next to me, we watch movies, you get drunk and we make out. I can't do that anymore Char. I want to be with you, but I can't just be your second best. I don't want to be the guy that you go to when a relationship doesn't work out."

"I don't know if I can be the girl for you. Ben I love you, but I don't know if I can be with you like that."

Instead of responding to what Charlie had just said he pinned her up against the wall and started kissing her. Charlie started to struggle, but Ben just pressed against her harder. Charlie finally gave into him and let him roam his lips over her body. She enjoyed it, but mentally she knew that if she enjoyed this it would only encourage him. "We shouldn't do this Ben."

"Why not, because of Adam? Fuck him, you only had one date, and he is still married."

He made sense, and Charlie just gave up. She wanted Ben, and he wanted her. Ben lifted her up and Charlie wrapped her legs around is waist. She knew there were two sides of this; the possibility of enhancing their friendship to a real relationship, or failing at the relationship and ruining a friendship in the process. Charlie and Ben hoped that the first option would be the one occurring.

"What room do you want to be in?" Ben whispered into her ear as he hovered in front of the two doorways.

"Mine. At least there I know the sheets are clean," Charlie joked. Ben carried her into her room and laid her onto the bed. Only a little while ago Charlie had been in her bed with another man, and that just made her feel sick to her stomach. "Wait," Charlie ordered. Ben had been in the process of leaving a good-sized hickey on her neck, but stopped when she asked him to.

"Yes?"

"I do want to do this, but I just want to take it slow. There isn't really a need to rush anything. We aren't going anywhere."

"Yeah, okay. I can do that." Ben moved to kiss Charlie again but she held up her hand to her lips.

"I want to tell Adam first. I don't want to feel the guilt of going behind his back. Maybe you should go to your own room tonight."

"Fine. Can I have a goodnight kiss?" Ben asked so sweetly that Charlie couldn't turn him down. She gave him a passionate kiss on the lips, but Ben managed to pull away before Charlie did. "Sweet dreams Char."

"Night." Ben walked out of her room to his own bedroom and Charlie laid back down on her bed in an emotional pool of bliss and confusion. She felt so guilty about kissing Ben right after her date with Adam. Poor Adam had been so worried about her cheating on him with Shawn, and after promising not to cheat she had gone right home and made out with the roommate that she had promised that there was nothing was going on with. Her life was just a jumble of confusion and lies, and Charlie had hoped that she had matured past this point, but apparently she was still the immature little girl straight out of high school.