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Full Package(5)
Author: Lauren Blakely

“See? I’m not sensitive at all. You could bake around me anytime.”

“You could taste test everything I want to try making.”

I puff up my cheeks. “I’d balloon out.” I make a basketball arc over my stomach, too.

“Hardly.” She darts out a hand and pats my belly. It’s flat as a board. I work out a lot. Plus, I walk or bike all over the city. I like to stay busy. My mom said when I was a kid, I was a perpetual motion machine. She also called me high-energy, always on, and exasperating. And not necessarily in that order. But that’s why medicine fits me so well, and that’s also why I picked the ER for my practice. Keeps me on my toes, keeps me busy, keeps me moving. It’s a mental and a physical challenge.

“If only you were a girl.” Josie sighs dejectedly. “You’d be the perfect roommate.”

“If only I were a girl, I’d play with my tits all day.”

“You would not.”

“Would so.” I waggle my hands in front of my chest to mime my activity of choice in this if only scenario.

She swats me. “You’re ridiculous.” She tilts her head as a bird chirps in a nearby tree. “But enough about me. You must have good news on the apartment front by now. Did you get the place in Chelsea you were hoping for?”

I drag a hand through my hair. “Nope. And let’s just say there were some conditions attached to the latest offer that made me realize I need to start from scratch. Mainly, my leasing agent pitched me a threesome.”

Her jaw drops. “For real?”

I nod. “Yeah, for real. I’m confident it was a bona fide offer, since she told me she makes a great ceviche, too. Like, why else would you mention the ceviche? Clearly, she was using it as a lure.”

Josie frowns. “I don’t get it. Is ceviche like a thing in threesomes?”

I laugh, and shake my head. “No. Actually, I don’t know because I’m not into that. But all I know is she was so goddamn normal about both the threesome and the fish dish, that’s how I knew she was for real.”

Josie holds up her hands in surrender. “You win. That’s crazier than the curfew lady, the snake lady, or the no-baking lady.”

“You’re telling me. Bouncing around from place to place is wearing on me,” I say with a sigh. When I’d returned to the United States a few months ago, I moved in with my brother Max, but he lives downtown—and I mean way downtown—and I work uptown. Besides, it’s not my style to stay with him forever. “It’s like I have some sort of curse when it comes to finding a decent rental. And you have a curse when it comes to finding—”

“A decent roommate.” Her voice trails off as she stares at me. Really stares. And as she seems to study me, the answer clicks. The lightbulb literally goes off at the same time for both of us. I can see it in the sparkle in her eyes. I’m sure it matches mine.

“Why didn’t we think of this before?” she asks slowly, as if she’s inviting me to fill in the blanks.

I gesture from her to me. “You mean the fact that I can solve your roommate problem and you can solve my housing woes?”

She nods several times. “Just because I was originally looking for a female roommate doesn’t mean . . .”

“That a male roommate wouldn’t work out?” I offer, and a burst of hope rises in me. This could be the answer. Holy shit. This could be the motherfucking answer, and I won’t have to give up a spleen, a kidney, or my love of one-on-one sex in exchange for polyamory.

She swallows. Looks nervous. “Would that be weird? I know you wanted a place to yourself.”

I shake my head adamantly. “I just want a place at this point. Are you really offering?” I ask, and maybe I should consider all the fine details and nuances. But fuck, this isn’t a patient presenting with unusual symptoms where I need to call in Dr. House. This is a simple malady. This is the headache with the take-aspirin-and-call-me-in-the-morning solution.

She holds out one hand like a scale, weighing the situation. “I need a roommate. I haven’t found anyone who isn’t crazy.” Then the other hand. “You need somewhere to live. You haven’t found any place that isn’t cursed.” She brushes her palms together. “And let’s not forget we get along super well, and always have.”

I nod vigorously. “We’re like the poster children for getting along well.”

“I mean, has there ever been a guy and a girl friend who get along as well as we do?”

I slash my hand through the air. “Fuck no. Not in the history of the world.”

“Plus, you like my cooking, and I like your ability to not hog the bathroom mirror for a full hour when you dry your hair and do your makeup.”

I gesture to my face. “In and out in under five. All-natural beauty here.”

She nudges me with her elbow. “The other great thing is we’ll each have our space. Since I work early we wouldn’t be on top of each other every second.”

My dick stirs, not because I’m horny for her, but hello? The image of her sweet, sexy body on top of me is legally required to induce an erection. If it didn’t, I’d need to be tested for ED.

“We’d only be on top of each other a few seconds a day,” I fire back, because that was too good to resist. Then, to sell myself more, because this is the golden ticket for both of us, I add, “I’m also amazingly good at reaching objects on tall shelves, opening champagne bottles, taking out the trash, and any other manly tasks you want to throw my way. Not to mention sewing up wounds and restarting hearts.”

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