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More asleep than awake, Lori Gordon fumbled for the shrilling phone. She heard her roommate grumble, "It's yours" and flop a pillow over her head.


"Hey, Princess."

His voice brought Lori awake instantly. Her head, her body, the constant ache that always seemed to reside in her heart no matter how she tried to exorcise it jolted her to consciousness. She sat up, forcing herself to take a deep breath. Calm down; find out what he wants, then hang up! she commanded herself, already sure she wouldn't do any of that.

"It's four o'clock in the morning," she said, and her roommate flopped again. After sliding out from the warmth of her blanket, she started toward the bathroom.

"Yeah, sorry. I..."

His voice brought tears to her eyes as she closed the bathroom door behind her and flipped on the soft light over the medicine cabinet.

"...just needed to hear your voice."

A part of her had known he'd call at some point today. She'd warred with wanting him to and desperately hoping he wouldn't.

Blackie's voice was always enough to shatter her resolve. Everything she'd done since she'd turned nineteen came down to getting over her love for this man. At first she'd tried to tell herself what she felt amounted to a stupid crush. As soon as she'd started dating, she'd known it was more than that. Every other male she'd met since moving to New York to attend Parsons School of Design failed to make her forget Blackie Scarpacchio. In fact, each one just made her remember him more, made her long for him and cringe at her own tenacity.

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