What Are Friends For?

By: Lynn Lafleur

Chapter One





The sound of his doorbell seeped into Luke Duvall’s brain. Hoping he imagined the annoying noise, he burrowed his head farther into his pillow. The sound repeated a few seconds later. And a few seconds after that. Unable to ignore the summons, he lifted his head and peered at the digital clock on the nightstand. Luke groaned. Someone better be in the middle of an emergency to ring his doorbell at seven o’clock on a Saturday morning.

Luke threw off the covers and staggered to his feet. A wave of dizziness made him grab his head to make sure it stayed attached to his body. He shouldn’t have had that last shot of tequila with his brother John. Or last three shots.

Another burst from his doorbell urged him to head for the front door. It had to be his best friend, Erin Snyder. He didn’t know anyone else who would dare to bother him this early on Saturday. Erin had no concept of time. When she wanted to talk to him, she showed up with no warning.

Ten feet from the door, he realized he was naked. He doubted Erin would notice since she didn’t look at him as a man, but simply a friend. However, he didn’t want to accidentally flash his neighbors. He backtracked to his bedroom, pulled on a pair of denim cutoffs, then returned to the living room.

Erin breezed past him as soon as he unlocked the door and pulled it open. “I have one question for you,” she said, her back to him.

“Good morning to you too.”

She turned to face him. “Why are all men inconsiderate idiots?”

Translation—Erin had broken up with her latest significant other. “I can’t possibly answer that question until I’ve had caffeine.”

Luke led the way through his house to the kitchen, not bothering to check if Erin followed him. He knew she would. After four years of friendship, there wasn’t much about Erin he didn’t know.

“What happened this time?” he asked as he filled the coffee carafe with water.

“The same thing that always happens.” Leaning against the counter, she crossed her arms beneath her breasts. Her arms pushed up the mounds, giving him a very nice view of the top of her breasts in the round neck of her sleeveless dress. He and Erin might be only friends, but that didn’t mean he didn’t find her attractive. Very attractive. Her slim body, huge green eyes and long, curly blond hair all combined to make her stunning.

“Want to elaborate a bit on that?”

“The sex was lousy.”

Outspoken and honest as usual. Luke didn’t expect anything less from her. Nor did he flinch at her telling him something so personal. They’d spent many evenings curled up on his couch, talking about family, jobs, men, women, sex. It had always been easy for him to talk to Erin, or for him to listen to her.

He scooped coffee into the filter, pressed the button to start the liquid caffeine brewing. “Why?”

Rolling her eyes, Erin released a frustrated huff. “If I knew why, don’t you think I would’ve fixed it?”

“Not if you don’t know how.”

“I can’t know how when guys won’t talk to me.” She seemed to deflate before him, like a balloon slowly losing its air. “I don’t know what I do wrong, Luke. I try so hard, but the guys… Once we have sex, they don’t ask me out again.”

“Sounds like you’re dating the wrong kind of guys.”

“I guess.” She blew out a deep breath, ruffling the wispy bangs on her forehead. “Dating sucks.”

“Amen to that.”

Luke knew exactly how to make Erin feel better. He went to the pantry and removed the plastic container of chocolate chip cookies his mother gave him yesterday. “How about some cookies to go with our coffee?”

Her eyes widened in pleasure. “Your mom’s?”

“None other.”

“I’ll get the napkins.”

His stomach wanted protein, like bacon and eggs, but he’d rather put the smile back on Erin’s face than worry about his stomach. He could eat something healthier than cookies later.

Luke poured two large mugs of coffee, set them on the table in the breakfast nook, then went to the refrigerator for the liquid creamer for Erin. He usually teased her about liking a little coffee with her cream. He decided to hold off on the teasing today since she needed support more than ribbing. He grabbed a spoon for her coffee, sat at the table opposite her.

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