Pete – He talks to Max about sleeping with Ellie.

I can’t unclench my hands. “Ellie’s with who?”

“Ssssh, shouldn’t be telling you. Mum’s the word. I promised I wouldn’t tell.” Max is giggling sprawled across his sofa annoying the hell out of me.

“The Flynn Matthews? Of I’m a druggie actor fame?”

“Yup, she’s been an uber-fan since, well, since we were twelve, thirteen.”

I wish he’d stop talking about Ellie. It’s, she’s doing my head in. But still I feel the need to question him. Hearing her voice on the phone tonight brought it all back. I’ve run through the whole night over and over trying to work out what I did wrong. I thought I’d handled it perfectly. Maybe it was too soon. I should’ve romanced her a little more. She said I was perfect but that it was a mistake? How could it be? And what the hell does complicated mean? Is Flynn Matthews the complication? Has to be the that. There’s no competing with a movie star. “She’s dating him?” I can’t hide the disdain in my voice.

Max spins himself round and sits up his eyes narrowing he waggles his finger at me. “Why do you care?”

“I don’t.” Why am I keeping what happened with Ellie secret just because she asked me to? I owe her nothing. How many women do I have to screw to forget her?

“Fancy another voddie.”

“Thanks.” Numb the pain. I hold out my glass as Max shakily pours it in. Probably should put some mixer in it. Why bother. I neck the drink hoping to take the edge off the pain in my chest. I need details. “So how long has she been dating Flynn?”

“They’re not dating.”

“Why is he with her then?”

Max sighs. “Turned up out of it.”

“Why would he go to her?”

Max stares at me. “You’re jealous.”

A statement not a question. I pour another vodka.

“How long have you liked her?” He sounds less slurred, like he’s sobering up.

Forever. It seems like forever. And I thought I had her. She was mine for a few hours. I shrug.

His eyes flare, the usual flutter of lashes absent. “Stay away. She’s my friend.”

Fucking nerve. “What? Am I not good enough for her, is that it?”

He has the nerve to sneer at me.

I can’t believe Max doesn’t think I’m good enough for Ellie. He’s my closest friend. “My reputation isn’t that bad.”

“You’ve been fucking a lot of women.”

Lot of good that’s done me. “So?”

“Just saying.”

“I wouldn’t be fucking a lot of women if—”

“She hates you.”

That hurts. I thought we’d cleared that up. I thought we were at the very least friends. “She didn’t seem to hate me when I was inside her.”

Max jumps up. “Shut the fuck up! You don’t get to talk about her like that.”

“Like what? I’m telling you the truth. She was into me and I was in her.”

“Fuck you! Take that back.”

He can stand there all evening trying to look intimidating but I’m not getting up. I lounge in the chair and watch him. “It happened. Deal with it. I was in her and she loved it.”

“You’re lying. She would never do that to m—”

“She did. We did it. Get over it. It’s not like she wants me anyway. You said she hates me and she told me it’s complicated. I presume that’s code for Flynn.”

Max returns to his seat looking deflated and downs his drink. “When?”

“When what?”

“When did you hook up?”

“Well there was that time after one of your gigs where—”

“You were with her more than bloody once?”

“Fuck Max, what is wrong with you? I thought we were friends.”

“How many times?”

“It wasn’t like that, she was, hell she stayed the night twice. The last time I saw her was the morning after her birthday, after we’d had the best fucking sex of my life—”

“I don’t need details. Get out, get the fuck out of here!”

“Don’t fucking worry friend I’m off!”

He mutters something about being betrayed as I slam the door shut and walk out into the dark. Betrayed? Him? I’m the one who’s been betrayed. All that time she’s with Flynn. She has the nerve to comment and pass judgement on my life. She played me, she fucking played me.