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“But we can’t let on at the concert,” he says as we resume our pace.

“Oh, you mean I shouldn’t announce how much you like to ride my dick?”

“Only if you want me to tell the world you’re dying to sit on my cock tonight.”

This guy. He kills me. Laughing, I say, “I hope the music gets me in the mood, Remy.”

Ah, hell. I did it again with the nickname slip. Maybe he won’t notice.

The sly little hook of his mouth says otherwise. Luke’s going to zing me so hard I’ll need a crowbar to pry my way out of this trash-talk hole I put myself in.

But all he says is, “Remington just too long to say again?”

That’s…not a dig. It’s said with affection.

“Yeah, guess it was.”

“Good thing I like it when you say Remy.”

Me too.

So much more than I should.

Keeping my hands off Luke at the concert isn’t easy. But I manage in part because Rebel Beat is packed to the gills. We’re stuffed into this club with a few hundred other music fans as the opening act, dubbed Opening Act, slays it.

After the singer finishes with a slash of his guitar, he warbles into the mic, “And now the guys you’ve been waiting for. The one, the only…Outrageous Record.”

The rising stars come onstage, with the band’s front man clapping the departing guy on the back, then taking the mic. “Here’s a new song I wrote last summer out on the beach with my crew,” the singer says, sweeping his long hair off his face, as he smiles at a couple women at the lip of the stage—a blonde and a brunette. “Love you, girls.”

“Love you, my pet,” the blonde shouts.

With a smile, the singer straps on his guitar, then taps his booted foot as he launches into a song he introduces as “Blown Away.”

A devastatingly sultry tune, it’s all about longing and wanting.

The whole time the singer croons, I try not to steal glances at Luke. But it’s getting harder with his shoulder bumping mine, his hip grazing against me.

As the band launches into the refrain with a line about saving a night for me, I can’t resist the pull of the lyrics toward the guy by my side. I give in, tilting my head Luke’s way with a private look. With a chin nod, he licks his lips. Then mouths, “Later.”

That word thrums through me. A hot, dirty promise.

A realization too. I want later, and tomorrow too.

I am so fucked.

The concert is fun. Mostly.

As Luke cheers and shouts after each song, I do the same, but I feel…disconnected.

Like the praise falling from my lips is covering something up. A kernel of emotion inside me that I don’t want to entertain. A desire that won’t see the light of day.

It’s irritating like dating can be irritating—this feeling of wanting something just out of reach.

As the club grows hotter, the press of bodies thicker, and the music invariably louder, I should just be in my body. Experiencing the music. Feeling the aching heart of the lyrics.

And yet, I’m thinking far too much.

I’m thinking—if Luke weren’t Luke, if he were some other guy, I’d ask him out again for the weekend.

I’d want to spend more time with him. Tell my sister thanks but no thanks to the coffee date with Soren since Luke is the guy I want to take to my brother’s wedding.

But Luke’s not some other guy. He’s the one I need by my side—as a friend.

And I can’t let these pointless wishes derail me.

We came here to get a photo. The longer we keep forgetting, the harder it will be for me to deal with the inevitable see you later.

When the band finishes its set, we make our way to the bar. As we go, Luke asks eagerly, “What did you think? You’ve been low-key into them for a while. Remember that time we went for a run last year in Central Park?”

We’ve done that together plenty of times. I don’t recall the specific one he’s getting at, but I nod for him to keep going.

“And you were all amped up about this new playlist you’d made. You said it had all these hot new bands you were into. Pizza for Breakfast, Retractable Eyes, and especially Outrageous Record,” he says. “You’d just heard them for the first time.”

Damn. That’s some memory. It’s all coming back to me. “I do remember that day. It was September. It was the beginning of the football season.”

“And you weren’t even trying to play it cool. You legit wanted me to listen to these bands. You were like dude, you have to trust me. This band is life-changing.”

“Was I right?”

“I tried ’em. I liked ’em,” he says, with genuine gratitude. “Thanks to you.”

And he’s not playing it cool either. “Anytime.”

When we reach the bar, Luke catches the bartender’s attention with a smile and a wave.

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