Skip Nav
Gifts For Women
103 Gifts Your Best Friend Will Obsess Over in 2018
Gifts For Men
Meet the Best Stocking Stuffers of the Holiday Season
Gift Guide
50+ Purr-fect Gifts For All the Cat Ladies Out There
Kid Gift Ideas 2018
Gift Guide
Master the Holidays With Gifts Curated For Every Type of Kid on Your List
Books
7 Guilty Pleasure Romance Reads For Your Weekend Staycation

Caroline Kepnes You Book Excerpt

Get an Exclusive Look Inside What Could Be the Next Gone Girl

We're sharing the first chapter and the never-seen-before second chapter of You by Caroline Kepnes, a perverse suspense romance about obsession, sex, and secrets. After reading these excerpts, I'll say that this Gone Girl fan is itching to get her hands on the new novel, which has been described as simply: "chilling." Here's a little bit about the book.

Love hurts . . .

When aspiring writer Guinevere Beck strides into the East Village bookstore where Joe works, he's instantly smitten. Beck is everything Joe has ever wanted: She's gorgeous, tough, razor-smart, and as sexy as his wildest dreams.

Beck doesn't know it yet, but she's perfect for him, and soon she can't resist her feelings for a guy who seems custom made for her. But there's more to Joe than Beck realizes, and much more to Beck than her oh-so-perfect façade. Their mutual obsession quickly spirals into a whirlwind of deadly consequences . . .

Get a sneak peek with the first two chapters below, and find out what the author is reading on XOXO After Dark. Warning: there's a good deal of sexually explicit content in the second chapter.

Chapter One

YOU walk into the bookstore and you keep your hand on the door to make sure it doesn't slam. You smile, embarrassed to be a nice girl, and your nails are bare and your V-neck sweater is beige and it's impossible to know if you're wearing a bra but I don't think that you are. You're so clean that you're dirty and you murmur your first word to me—hello—when most people would just pass by, but not you, in your loose pink jeans, a pink spun from Charlotte's Web and where did you come from?

You are classic and compact, my own little Natalie Portman circa the end of the movie Closer, when she's fresh-faced and done with the bad British guys and going home to America. You've come home to me, delivered at last, on a Tuesday, 10:06 a.m. Every day I commute to this shop on the Lower East Side from my place in Bed-Stuy. Every day I close up without finding anyone like you. Look at you, born into my world today. I'm shaking and I'd pop an Ativan but they're downstairs and I don't want to pop an Ativan. I don't want to come down. I want to be here, fully, watching you bite your unpainted nails and turn your head to the left, no, bite that pinky, widen those eyes, to the right, no, reject biographies, self-help (thank God), and
slow down when you make it to fiction.

Yes.

I let you disappear into the stacks—Fiction F–K—and you're not the standard insecure nymph hunting for Faulkner you'll never finish, never start; Faulkner that will harden and calcify, if books could calcify, on your nightstand; Faulkner meant only to convince one-night stands that you mean it when you swear you never do this kind of thing. No, you're not like those girls. You don't stage Faulkner and your jeans hang loose and you're too sun-kissed for Stephen King and too untrendy for Heidi Julavits and who, who will you buy? You sneeze, loudly, and I imagine how loud you are when you climax. "God bless you!" I call out.

You giggle and holler back, you horny girl, "You too, buddy."

Buddy. You're flirting and if I was the kind of *sshole who Instagrams, I would photograph the F–K placard and filter the sh*t out of that baby and caption it:

F—K yes, I found her.

Calm down, Joe. They don't like it when a guy comes on too strong, I remind myself. Thank God for a customer and it's hard to scan his predictable Salinger—then again, it's always hard to do that. This guy is, what, thirty-six and he's only now reading Franny and Zooey? And let's get real. He's not reading it. It's just a front for the Dan Browns in the bottom of his basket. Work in a bookstore and learn that most people in this world feel guilty about being who they are. I bag the Dan Brown first like it's kiddie porn and tell him Franny and Zooey is the sh*t and he nods and you're still in F–K because I can see your beige sweater through the stacks, barely. If you reach any higher, I'll see your belly. But you won't. You grab a book and sit down in the aisle and maybe you'll stay here all night. Maybe it'll be like the Natalie Portman movie Where the Heart Is, adapted faithlessly from the Billie Letts book—above par for that kind of crud—and I'll find you in the middle of the night. Only you won't be pregnant and I won't be the meek man in the movie. I'll lean over and say, "Excuse me, miss, but we're closed" and you'll look up and smile. "Well, I'm not closed." A breath. "I'm wide open. Buddy."

"Hey." Salinger-Brown bites. He's still here? He's still here. "Can I get a receipt?"

"Sorry about that."

He grabs it out of my hand. He doesn't hate me. He hates himself. If people could handle their self-loathing, customer service would be smoother.

"You know what, kid? You need to get over yourself. You work in a bookstore. You don't make the books. You don't write the books and if you were any good at reading the books, you probably wouldn't work in a bookstore. So wipe that judgmental look off your face and tell me to have a nice day."

This man could say anything in the world to me and he'd still be the one shame-buying Dan Brown. You appear now with your intimate Portman smile, having heard the motherf*cker. I look at you. You look at him and he's still looking at me, waiting.

"Have a nice day, sir," I say and he knows I don't mean it, hates that he craves platitudes from a stranger. When he's gone, I call out again because you're listening, "You enjoy that Dan Brown, motherf*cker!"

You walk over, laughing, and thank God it's morning, and we're dead in the morning and nobody is gonna get in our way. You put your basket of books down on the counter and you sass, "You gonna judge me too?"

"What an *sshole, right?"

"Eh, probably just in a mood."

You're a sweetheart. You see the best in people. You complement
me.

"Well," I say and I should shut up and I want to shut up but you make me want to talk. "That guy is the reason that Blockbuster shouldn't have gone under."

You look at me. You're curious and I want to know about you but I can't ask so I just keep talking.

"Everybody is always striving to be better, lose five pounds, read five books, go to a museum, buy a classical record and listen to it and like it. What they really want to do is eat doughnuts, read magazines, buy pop albums. And books? F*ck books. Get a Kindle. You know why Kindles are so successful?"

You laugh and you shake your head and you're listening to me at the point when most people drift, go into their phone. And you're pretty and you ask, "Why?"

"I'll tell you why. The Internet put porn in your home—"

I just said porn, what a dummy, but you're still listening, what a doll.

"And you didn't have to go out and get it. You didn't have to make eye contact with the guy at the store who now knows you like watching girls get spanked. Eye contact is what keeps us civilized."

Your eyes are almonds and I go on. "Revealed."

You don't wear a wedding ring and I go on. "Human."

You are patient and I need to shut up but I can't. "And the Kindle, the Kindle takes all the integrity out of reading, which is exactly what the Internet did to porn. The checks and balances are gone. You can read your Dan Brown in public and in private all at once. It's the end of civilization. But—"

"There's always a but," you say and I bet you come from a big family of healthy, loving people who hug a lot and sing songs around a campfire.

"But with no places to buy movies or albums, it's come down to books. There are no more video stores so there are no more nerds who work in video stores and quote Tarantino and fight about Dario Argento and hate on people who rent Meg Ryan movies. That act, the interaction between seller and buyer, is the most important two-way street we got. And you can't just eradicate two-way streets like that and not expect a fallout, you know?"

I don't know if you know but you don't tell me to stop talking the way people sometimes do and you nod. "Hmm."

"See, the record store was the great equalizer. It gave the nerds power—'You're really buying Taylor Swift?'—even though all those nerds went home and jerked it to Taylor Swift."

Stop saying Taylor Swift. Are you laughing at me or with me? "Anyway," I say, and I'll stop if you tell me to.

"Anyway," you say, and you want me to finish.

"The point is, buying stuff is one of the only honest things we do. That guy didn't come in here for Dan Brown or Salinger. That guy came in here to confess."

"Are you a priest?"

"No. I'm a church."

"Amen."

You look at your basket and I sound like a deranged loner and I look in your basket. Your phone. You don't see it, but I do. It's cracked. It's in a yellow case. This means that you only take care of yourself when you're beyond redemption. I bet you take zinc the third day of a cold. I pick up your phone and try to make a joke.

"You steal this off that guy?"

You take your phone and you redden. "Me and this phone . . ." you say. "I'm a bad mommy."

Mommy. You're dirty, you are.

"Nah."

You smile and you're definitely not wearing a bra. You take the books out of the basket and put the basket on the floor and look at me like it wouldn't be remotely possible for me to criticize anything you ever did. Your nipples pop. You don't cover them. You notice the Twizzlers I keep by the register. You point, hungry. "Can I?"

"Yes," I say, and I am feeding you already. I pick up your first book, Impossible Vacation by Spalding Gray. "Interesting," I say. "Most people get his monologues. This is a great book, but it's not a book that people go around buying, particularly young women who don't appear to be contemplating suicide, given the fate of the author."

"Well, sometimes you just want to go where it's dark, you know?"

"Yeah," I say. "Yeah."

If we were teenagers, I could kiss you. But I'm on a platform behind a counter wearing a name tag and we're too old to be young. Night moves don't work in the morning, and the light pours in through the windows. Aren't bookstores supposed to be dark?

Note to self: Tell Mr. Mooney to get blinds. Curtains. Anything.

I pick up your second book, Desperate Characters by one of my favorite authors, Paula Fox. This is a good sign, but you could be buying it because you read on some stupid blog that she's Courtney Love's biological grandmother. I can't be sure that you're buying Paula Fox because you came to her the right way, from a Jonathan Franzen essay.

You reach into your wallet. "She's the best, right? Kills me that she's not more famous, even with Franzen gushing about her, you
know?"

Thank God. I smile. "The Western Coast."

You look away. "I haven't gone there yet." I look at you and you put your hands up, surrender. "Don't shoot." You giggle and I wish your nipples were still hard. "I'm gonna read The Western Coast someday and Desperate Characters I've read a zillion times. This one's for a friend."

"Uh-huh," I say and the red lights flash danger. For a friend.

"It's probably a waste of time. He won't even read it. But at least she sells a book, right?"

"True." Maybe he's your brother or your dad or a gay neighbor, but I know he's a friend and I stab at the calculator.

"It's thirty-one fifty-one."

"Holy money. See, that's why Kindles rule," you say as you reach into your Zuckerman's pig-pink wallet and hand me your credit card even though you have enough cash in there to cover it. You want me to know your name and I'm no nut job and I swipe your card and the quiet between us is getting louder and why didn't I put on music today and I can't think of anything to say.

"Here we go." And I offer you the receipt.

"Thanks," you murmur. "This is a great shop."

You're signing and you are Guinevere Beck. Your name is a poem and your parents are *ssholes, probably, like most parents. Guinevere. Come on.

"Thank you, Guinevere."

"I really just go by Beck. Guinevere's kinda long and ridiculous, you know?"

"Well, Beck, you look different in person. Also, Midnite Vultures is awesome."

You take your bag of books and you don't break eye contact because you want me to see you seeing me. "Right on, Goldberg."

"Nah, I just go by Joe. Goldberg is kind of long and ridiculous, ya know?"

We're laughing and you wanted to know my name as much as I wanted to know yours or you wouldn't have read my name tag. "Sure you don't wanna grab The Western Coast while you're here?"

"This will sound crazy, but I'm saving it. For my nursing home list."

"You mean bucket list."

"Oh no, that's totally different. A nursing home list is a list of things you plan on reading and watching in a nursing home. A bucket list is more like . . . visit Nigeria, jump out of an airplane. A nursing home list is like, read The Western Coast and watch Pulp Fiction and listen to the latest Daft Punk album."

"I can't picture you in a nursing home."

You blush. You are Charlotte's Web and I could love you. "Aren't you gonna tell me to have a nice day?"

"Have a nice day, Beck."

You smile. "Thanks, Joe."

You didn't walk in here for books, Beck. You didn't have to say my name. You didn't have to smile or listen or take me in. But you did. Your signature is on the receipt. This wasn't a cash transaction and it wasn't a coded debit. This was real. I press my thumb into the wet ink on your receipt and the ink of Guinevere Beck stains my skin.

Chapter Two

I came to know e. e. cummings the way most sensitive, intelligent men my age came to e. e. cummings, via one of the most romantic scenes in one of the most romantic love stories of all time, Hannah and Her Sisters, wherein an intelligent, sophisticated, married New Yorker named Elliot (Michael Caine) falls in love with his sister-in-law (Barbara Hershey). He has to be careful. He can't casually make a move. He waits near her apartment and stages a run-in. Brilliant, romantic. Love takes work. She is surprised to run into him and she takes him to the Pageant Bookstore—are you catching a theme here?—where he buys a book of e. e. cummings poems for her and sends her to the poem on page 112.

She sits alone in bed, reading the poem, and he, meanwhile, stands alone in his bathroom thinking of her as we hear her reading. My favorite part of the poem:

Nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands.

Except for you, Beck. These past few days, I've learned so much.

You put your tiny hands to work on yourself when the mood strikes, which it does, often, which reminds me of another joke in Hannah, where Mia Farrow teases Woody Allen that he ruined himself with excessive masturbation. You're okay, I hope.

The trouble with society is that if the average person knew about us—you, alone, orgasming three times a night, and me, across the street, watching you orgasm, alone—most people would say I'm the f*ckup. Well, it's no secret that most people are f*cking idiots. Most people like cheap mysteries and most people have never heard of Paula Fox or Hannah so honestly, Beck, f*ck most people, right?

Besides, I like that you take care of yourself instead of filling your home and your p*ssy with a string of inadequate men. You're the answer to every banal and reductive article about "hook-up culture." You have standards and you are Guinevere, a love story waiting for the one, and I bet you capitalize The One when you dream of him. Of me. Everyone wants everything right now but you are able to wait with

Such small hands.

Your name was a glorious place to start. Lucky for us, there aren't a lot of Guinevere Becks in the world—just the one. The first thing I had to find was your home and the Internet was designed with love in mind. It gave me so much of you, Beck, your Twitter profile:

Guinevere Beck

@TheUnRealBeck

I've never had an unspoken thought. I write stories. I read stories. I talk to strangers. Nantucket is my homeboy but New York is my homeb*tch.

Your revealing bios at various online journals that publish your blogs (unless you want to call them essays), and your thinly veiled diary entries (unless you want to call them short stories), and the poems you write sometimes have fleshed you out. You are a writer born and raised on Nantucket and you joke about island inbreeding (but you aren't inbred), and sailing (you are petrified of boats), and alcoholism (you lost your father to the bottle and write about it a lot). Your family is as tight as it is loose. You don't know how to be here, in the city where nobody knows anybody, even though you had four years of practice as an undergrad at Brown. You got in off the wait list and you remain convinced that there was some sort of mistake. You like polenta and cherry pie Lärabars. You don't take pictures of food or concerts but you do Instagram (but really only old things, pictures of your dead father, pictures of beach days you can't possibly remember). You have a brother, Clyde. Your parents really were *ssholes about the names. You have a sister, Anya (serious *ssholes, but not the kind I thought). Real estate records show that your house has been in your family forever. You hail from farmers and you're fond of saying that you don't have "a place" on Nantucket, but that your family made a home there. Full of disclaimers, you're like a warning label on a pack of cigarettes.

Anya is an islander and she'll never leave. She's the baby who wants nothing more than walks on the beach and the clear division of summer and the desolation endemic to a seasonal tourist trap. Anya is f*cked in the head over your dad. You write about her in your stories and you turn her into a young boy or an aging blind woman or, once, a lost squirrel, but it's clear that you're writing about your sister. You envy her. How come she doesn't have the weight of ambition? You pity her. How come she has no ambition?

Clyde is the oldest, and he gets to run the family's taxi business on the island. He's married with two kids and he's the paint-by-numbers parent of the family. That much is clear from his picture in the local paper: a volunteer fireman, leather-skinned, standard-issue American man. Your dad has the record of any small-town boozer and he's not above a DUI or a public intoxication and your brother responded by being the opposite—sober, extremely sober. If you had been born first, running the family business might have been an option. But you were a classic middle child and you did well in school and your whole life you were labeled "the hope," the one who would get away.

The Internet is a beautiful thing and you sent a tweet an hour after we met that day:

I smell cheeseburgers. #CornerBistroIsMakingMeFat

And let me tell you, for a moment there, I was concerned. Maybe I wasn't special. You didn't even mention me, our conversation. Also: I talk to strangers is a line in your Twitter bio. I talk to strangers. What the f*ck is that, Beck? Children are not supposed to talk to strangers but you are an adult. Or is our conversation nothing to you? Am I just another stranger? Is your Twitter bio your subtle way of announcing that you're an attention whore who has no standards and will give audience to any poor schmuck who says hello? Was I nothing to you? You don't even mention the guy in the bookstore? F*ck, I thought, maybe I was wrong. Maybe we had nothing. But then I started to explore you and you don't write about what really matters. You wouldn't share me with your followers. Your online life is a variety show, so if anything, the fact that you didn't put me in your stand-up act means that you covet me. Maybe even more than I realize, since right now your hand is heading down to your c*nt yet again.

The next thing the Internet gave me was your address. Fifty-One Bank Street. Are you f*cking kidding me? This isn't a frenzied Midtown block where harried worker bees storm to and from the office. This is tony, sleepy, ridiculously safe and expensive West Village real estate. I can't just hang out on your block; I have to fit in with the la-di-da folk. I hit up the thrift store. I buy a suit (businessman and/or driver and/or kept man), carpenter pants and some kind of tool belt (handyman on a break), and a bullsh*t tracksuit (*sshole taking care of his precious body). I wear the suit for my first visit and I love it here, Beck. It's quintessential Old New York and I expect Edith Wharton and Truman Capote to cross the street hand in hand, each carrying a Greek paper cup of coffee, looking as they did in their heyday, as if they'd been preserved in formaldehyde. Princesses live on this block and Sid Vicious died on this block a long time ago, when the princesses were gestating, when Manhattan was still cool. I stand across the street and your windows are open (no curtains) and I watch you pour instant oatmeal into a Tupperware bowl. You are not a princess. Your Twitter confirms that you won some kind of real estate lottery:

Um, not to sound like @AnnaKendrick47, but I love you awesome nerds of the @BrownBiasedNYC and I can't wait to move to Bank St.

I sit down on the stoop and Google. The Brownstone Biased Lottery is an essay contest for Brown University graduates who need housing for graduate school in New York. The apartment has stayed in the Brown family (whatever that means exactly) for years. You're an MFA candidate in fiction writing, so it's no surprise that you won a lottery that's actually an essay contest. And Anna Kendrick is an actress in this movie Pitch Perfect, which is about college girls who sing in a cappella competitions. You see yourself in this girl, which makes no sense. I watched that Pitch movie. That girl would never live the way you do.

People pass by your parlor level apartment, ever so slightly above ground level, and they don't stop to stare even though you're on display. Your two windows are wide open and you are lucky this is not a well-trafficked street. This must explain the deluded sense of privacy you have. I return the next evening (same suit, can't help it) and you walk around naked in front of the open windows. Naked! I hang out again across the street on the stoop and you don't notice me and nobody notices you or me and is everyone here f*cking blind?

Days pass and I grow anxious. You parade too much and it's unsafe and it only takes one weirdo to spot you inside and decide to go and get you. A few days later I wear my carpenter costume and I fantasize about putting bars on your windows, protecting this display case you call a home. I think of this neighborhood as safe, and it is, but there's deathliness to the quiet here. I could probably strangle some old man in the middle of the street and nobody would come outside to stop me.

I return in my suit (so much better than carpenter garb) and I wear a Yankees cap I found at another thrift shop (I'm that asshole!) to mix it up, just in case you were to notice, which you don't. A man who lives in your building climbs the very small staircase (just three steps) that leads to an exterior door (it's not locked!) and that door is so close to your apartment. If he wanted to (and who wouldn't want to?), he could lean over the railing and rap his knuckles on your screen and call your name.

I come in the day, in the night, and whenever I am here, your windows are always open. It's like you've never seen the nightly news or a horror movie and I sit on the steps of the brownstone across the tiny, clean street that faces your building and I pretend to read Paula Fox's Poor George or pretend to text my business associates (ha!) or pretend to call a friend who's late and loudly agree to wait another twenty minutes. (That's for the neighbor who always might be hidden away, suspicious of the man on the stoop; I've seen a lot of movies.) With your open-door policy, I am allowed into your world. I smell your Lean Cuisines if the wind is right and I hear your Vampire Weekend and if I pretend to yawn and look up, I can see you loaf, yawn, breathe. Were you always like this? I wonder if you were this way in Providence, parading around as if you want your rarified neighbors to know you naked, half-naked, addicted to microwave foods, and masturbating at the top of your lungs. Hopefully not, hopefully there is logic to this that you'll explain to me when it's time. And you with your computer, as if you need to remind your imaginary audience that you're a writer when we (I) know what you truly are: a performer, an exhibitionist.

And all the while, I have to be vigilant. I slick my hair back one day and wear it shaggy the next. I must go unnoticed by the people who don't notice people. After all, if the average person was told about an often nude girl prancing around in front of an open window and a love-struck guy across the street watching, discreetly, most people would say I'm the nut. But you're the nut. You're just not called a nut because your p*ssy is a thing that all these people want to know about, whereas my whole being is abhorrent to your neighbors. I live in a sixth-floor walk-up in Bed-Stuy. I didn't allow my nut sack to be raided by the College Loan Society of Bullsh*t. I get paid under the table and own a TV with an antenna. These people don't want to touch my d*ck
with a ten-foot pole. Your p*ssy, on the other hand, is gold.

I sip my coffee on the stoop across the street and grip my rolled-up Wall Street Journal and I breathe and I look at you. I never wear the tracksuit because you make me want to dress up, Beck. Two weeks pass and a portly dowager emerges from her quarters. I stand, f*cked, but a gentleman.

"Hello, madam," I say and I offer my assistance.

She accepts. "It's about time you young men learned how to behave," she rasps.

"Couldn't agree more," I say and the driver of her town car opens the door. He nods to me, brothers. I could do this forever and I settle back onto my stoop.

Is this why people like reality TV? Your world is a wonder to me, seeing where you lounge (in cotton panties bought in bulk online from Victoria's Secret; I saw you tear into the package the other day) and where you don't sleep (you sit on that couch and read crap online). You make me think; maybe you're searching for that hot guy in the bookstore, maybe. This is where you write, sitting so erect with your hair in a bun and typing at bunny-rabbit speed until you can't take it anymore and you grab that lime-green pillow, the same pillow you prop your head against when you nap, and you mount that thing like an animal. Release. This is where you sleep, at last.

Also, your apartment is small as hell. You were right when you tweeted:

I live in a shoebox. Which is ok bc I don't blow Benjamins on Manolos. @BrownBiasedNYC #Rebel

My #BrownUniversity mug is bigger than my apartment. @BrownBiasedNYC #realestate #NYC

There's no kitchen, just an area where appliances are shoved together like clearance floor samples at Bed Bath & Beyond. But there's truth buried in your tweet. You hate it here. You grew up in a big house with a backyard and a front yard. You like space. That's why you leave the windows open. You don't know how to be alone with yourself. And if you block out the world, there you'd be.

Your neighbors go on, like children—town cars pick them up from their enormous nearby homes and redeposit them at day's end—while you fester in a space meant for a maid or a golden retriever with a sprained ankle. But I don't blame you for staying here. You and I share a love of the West Village and if I could move into this place, I would too, even if it meant slowly going insane from claustrophobia. You made the right choice, Beck. Your mother was wrong:

Mom says no "lady" should live in a shoebox. @BrownBiasedNYC #momlogic #notalady

You tweet more often than you write and this could be why you're getting your MFA from the New School and not from Columbia. Columbia rejected you:

Rejection is a dish best served in a paper envelope because then at least you can tear it up or burn it. #notintoColumbia #lifegoeson

And you were right. Life did go on. Though the New School isn't as prestigious, the teachers and students like you well enough. A lot of their workshops are accessible online. A lot of college is accessible online, which is yet another strike against the increasingly irrelevant elitist system that they call "college." Your writing is coming along, and if you spent a little less time tweeting and spanking the kitty . . . But honestly, Beck, if I were in your skin, I'd never even put clothes on.

You like to name things and I wonder what you'll name me. You are attempting to have a Twitter contest for the name of your apartment:

How about #Boxsmallerthanmybox

Or #PitchPerfectWatchingPad

Or #Yogamatclosetmistakenforapartment

Or #Placewhereyoulookoutthewindowandseetheguyfromthebookstorewatchingyouandyousmileandwaveand

A cabbie lays on his horn because some freshly showered asshole who crawled out of a Bret Easton Ellis rough draft that never saw the light of day is crossing the street without looking. He says sorry but he doesn't mean it and he's running his hand through his blond hair.

He has too much hair.

And he's walking up those steps like he owns them, like they were built for him and the door opens before he's there and that's you opening the door and now you're there, guiding him inside and kissing him before the door slows to a close and now your hands

Such small hands

are in his hair and I can't see either of you until you're in the living room and he sits on the couch and you tear off your tank top and climb on top of him and you grind like a stripper, and this is all wrong, Beck. He tears off your cotton panties and he's spanking you and you're yelping and I cross the street and lean against your building door because I need to hear it.

Sorry, Daddy! Sorry!

Say it again, little girl.

I'm sorry, Daddy.

You're a bad girl.

I'm a bad girl.

You want a spanking, don't you?

Yes, Daddy, I want a spanking.

He's in your mouth. He barks at you. He slaps at you. Once in a while Truman Capote walks by and looks, reacts, then looks away. Nobody will report this to the police because nobody wants to admit to watching. This is Bank Street for f*ck's sake. And now you're f*cking him and I return to my side of the street where I see that he's not making love to you. You're grabbing his hair—too much hair—like it might save you and your stories. You deserve better and it can't feel good, the way he grips you, big weak hands that never worked, the way he smacks your *ss when he's done. You hop off and you lean against him and he pushes you away and you let him smoke in your apartment and he ashes in your Brown mug—bigger than your apartment—and you watch your Pitch Perfect while he smokes and texts and pushes you away when you lean into him. You look sad and

Nobody in the world has such small hands

except for you and me. Why am I so sure? Three months ago, before you knew me you wrote this tweet:

Can we all be honest and admit we know #eecummings because of #Hannahandhersisters? Okay phew. #nomoreBS #endofpretension

See how you were talking to me before you even knew me? When he leaves, he isn't holding Desperate Characters by Paula Fox. He is a blond misogynist popping his collar and blowing hair out of his eyes. He just used you and he is not your friend and I have to leave. You need a shower.

From Our Partners
Best Books by Black Women in 2018
Sexiest Books Out in December 2018
Best Movies Based on Books 2018
2019 Book Horoscope
My Kids Are Asking About Sex Because of The Bachelor
Best 2019 Winter Books For Women
My Daughter Learned About Sex at a Sleepover
Best Books to Read From 2018
Best Books 2018
Best New Romance Books 2018
Husband Misunderstands His Wife's Sexual Text Messages
Books Coming Out in 2019
From Our Partners
Latest Love
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds