Alexa Morgan lost her mother when she was two. At eighteen, her father and stepmother died when a devastating earthquake hit the Bay Area. Only one person has remained a constant in her life: Devin.
Devin has been Alexa’s best friend since childhood. The two are inseparable—or they were until Devin declared his love for her at sixteen. When Alexa can offer him only friendship in return, Devin retreats, brokenhearted.
Alexa, on the other hand, longs for Ethan, the boy next door. Four years older than her, and with an ever-changing roster of girlfriends, Ethan is everything Devin isn’t: wild, sensual, and unpredictable.
In the aftermath of the deadly earthquake, Ethan makes his move on Alexa, who reciprocates in a confused whirl of grief and desire. When Ethan leaves town the next day, Devin comes back into Alexa’s life, offering support and expecting nothing in return.
Alexa begins to see the advantages of Devin’s quiet, stable love. Can she get past the friendship hang-up while trying to forget bad boy Ethan? It’s a choice that will change her life forever.
I press play on the remote to the Blu-ray player and the beginning credits of Friday the 13th starts. We sit side by side for a while as the movie plays. It’s popcorn time, so I get up to go make us some Jiffy Pop in the kitchen. As I’m standing by the stove, moving the handle back and forth vigorously as the directions say to, Devin comes up behind me and rests his hands on my hips. The way he grabs me and the feel of his muscular body behind me send a shock wave through my body that I have never experienced when he’s touched me before. Then again, Devin has never touched me in such an intimate way.
“That smells good,” he says as he leans over my shoulder, his breath warm by my ear.
“Well, duh. It’s our staple popcorn for marathon movie watching,” I say in an effort to not sound affected by his close proximity and where his hands flex at my hips.
I’m not exactly sure how it happens, because it happens so quickly, but one second I’m making popcorn, and the next second I’m spun around, Jiffy Pop flying out of my hand, and I’m in Devin’s arms, held tight against his body. His left hand fists into my hair at the nape of my neck as his right hand presses firmly at the small of my back. His lips smash into mine as he tries to coax them to part with subtle licks of his tongue. My lips concede and part slightly. The tip of his soft tongue swiftly touches mine, taking advantage of my invite. For a brief moment, I actually find myself lost in his kiss. Because my first kiss was horrendous, I find myself enjoying Devin’s. His full lips are soft, his mouth is warm, and our tongues move effortlessly together. The hand that Devin had at the small of my back slides lower, resting on my backside. I can feel his erection pressing against my stomach. Just as his mouth leaves mine to trail light kisses down my neck, my mind snaps back to reality, and that reality is that I’m making out with my best friend.
I shove Devin back a step. “What in the hell are you doing, Dev?” My voice is shaky.
“What does it look like, Lexi? I’m kissing you because I like you. I’ve always liked you. You’re beautiful, funny, and smart. We’re good together. I figured if there was any time to see if we have something more than friendship, that time was right now,” he answers unapologetically.
“How can you do this to me, to our friendship?” I’m near tears at this point.
“You just kissed me back, Lex! You can’t deny you felt something more in that one kiss,” he snaps.
“Dev, you’re my best friend. Of course I’m going to feel something. Please don’t ruin this for us,” I plead.
“Ruin us? I’m trying to make us better!” He’s shouting now as anger vibrates off his tensed body.
“Stop, Lexi! Just stop. I get it. You would rather have Mr. Joe College next door,” he says, sounding defeated.
“Wait…what? Where in the hell is that coming from? He has nothing to do with what just freaking happened here.” I’m completely shaking at this point. My vision is blurred from the tears that are now trickling down my flushed cheeks.
“I saw the way you looked at him today. I’ve only dreamed of having you look at me that way. I had to kiss you, Lexi. I had to at least try,” he says, before he turns to leave.
Time is standing still as I bring my fingers to my lips, swollen from Devin’s passionate kiss. My thoughts are scattered. I’m trying to think of what to say to save this friendship, but nothing is coming to mind. I hear his car start, snapping me from my thoughts. My feet finally move as I run out the front door, yelling, “Devin, stop! Wait, dammit!” But I’m too late. He can’t hear me over the roar of his engine, and I’m sure he’s not looking in the rearview mirror to see me standing there.
What the fuck just happened? Why did Devin do this? I’m really beginning to loathe my birthdays. I’m crying tears of devastation, knowing I just lost my best friend. I sit down on the bottom stair, putting my elbows on my knees and holding my head in my hands as I sob uncontrollably. I must be crying really hard not to hear Ethan’s car drive down the street or hear him walk up and crouch down right in front of me.
“Lexi, are you OK?” Ethan asks cautiously, using his index finger to lift my chin so I look at him.
“Do I look OK?” I snap back, turning my head, trying to avoid looking at him, not even caring how I must look to the gorgeous man in front of me.
“Did he hurt you?”
“Why do you care?” I squeak out between sobs.
“I’ll go after him if he hurt you, Lexi. So I’m asking again, did he hurt you?”
Shrugging my shoulders, I answer, “Yes, he hurt me, but not the way you’re probably thinking.” I stand, wiping my nose with the back of my hand, which is very unladylike. “I’m gonna go inside.”
He reaches out and grabs my shoulder to stop me. I turn as he asks, “See you later, Lexi?” It’s a question this time, instead of a statement of fact.
“Yeah,” is all I can manage as I turn to head back into the house.
Once I’m inside, I head back to the kitchen, realizing the burner is still on. I shut it off and start to clean up the popcorn when I just fall back against the cabinet, sitting on the floor, putting my face in my hands, and begin to cry all over again.
I’m not sure how long I’ve been sitting there on the kitchen floor crying, but I hear the garage door raising, signaling my parents are home. I am in no mood to try to explain why I’m a bawling mess, since I’m still unsure of what exactly happened today to even give an explanation. I hurry to my feet, throw away the popcorn, and run upstairs to my room.
Moments later, I hear my mom call up to me, “Lexi?”
I try to steady my voice before I answer. “Yeah, Mom?”
“You left the Blu-ray player and TV on with some slasher movie.”
“Shit,” I say to myself. Louder, I say, “Sorry, Mom. Can you turn it off, please? I just got undressed to take a bath.” I lie, which is rare for me.
“Sure. Are you hungry? I was going to make spaghetti and meatballs for dinner.”
“No, thanks. I had a late lunch with Dev…in.” I barely croak out his name and pray my mom doesn’t catch it.
“OK, sweetheart. How is Devin?” she asks.
My voice is barely audible when I say to myself, “Oh, he’s a mess, and I’m pretty sure he hates me now.” But when I think I can answer her, I just yell down, “He’s fine,” and shut my bedroom doors.
As I start to fill my bathtub, I grab my cell phone and, with my hands still shaking, send Devin a text.
Me: We REALLY need to talk Dev. Please call me.
I wait five minutes and still have no reply. He probably isn’t home yet. I strip out of my clothes and slide into my bubble bath. I’m replaying the events of today through my head over and over again. First, there was Devin and Ethan’s weird, testosterone-filled pissing match. Then Devin was ignoring the twins’ excessive flirting, and then Devin’s mouth on mine with the kiss that will forever change our relationship. Damn him!
Then my thoughts drift back to Ethan, crouching in front of me after my failed attempt at stopping Devin from leaving. Ethan looking male model gorgeous while I sit there looking a hot mess as he offers me comfort and to go kick Devin’s ass for hurting me. I guess his big brother tendencies kicked in, because there is positively no other explanation that I can think of.
Seriously, what the hell happened today? Was today “Let’s Fuck with Lexi Day”?
T.R. Cupak was born and raised in the suburbs of a Bay Area city in California. She was the closet nerd who hid her love of reading and writing short stories and poetry when she was younger. Back then it wasn’t considered cool to be into those types of activities for pleasure, whereas today you have TV shows, movies and books that glamourize that being a nerd is actually cool.
T. lives in a quiet, little, country town south of where she grew up. She is happily married to an amazing man who supports her in everything she does and spoils her rotten. They have a crazy little Shih Tzu named Harley. He's their fur-baby and even though he’s a pain in the arse most days, they love the little guy. She has an obsession with cars, especially fast ones. She enjoys her music louder than anyone should. Admittedly it’s to drown out hearing her own singing voice, or lack thereof. When she’s not at work or busy writing you can find her curled up reading a book on her Kindle with a glass of wine or Dirty Shirley.
T. lost touch with her creative side and stepped off the path of all things written in her early twenties. Six years ago, her passion for reading was rekindled. She began to utilize reading as a way to escape everyday chaos. Late 2013 she began journal writing. After a couple of months of journaling T. realized that this form of writing wasn't keeping her interest nor was it helping her to relax. After that realization settled in she changed the direction of her writing. Her creative aspirations were flowing once again and she happily embraced it. As her fingers started to dance across her keyboard she began to see her fictional characters begin to breathe life. Writing was only supposed to be a way for the new author to relax, but a story was born and T.R. Cupak is excited to be re-releasing her self-published debut novel, Alexa Crushed.
Cover Designer and Formatter:
Deborah with Tugboat Design