Hey people! Sorry for being this late with this chapter, but ya know how it is when real life gets in the way, I won't even bother with excuses because I think you're all aware of why we sometimes just don't have time for things like fanfiction. I understand if you've moved on from this story because of the wait, but I promise if you stay I'll make it worth your while... this chapter has a very racy lemon to compensate for your wait. Hopefully it will be enough to appease you :)

And as you can see from the new prologue I added, I do know where this is going. I need to thank storytellerslie, KCerena and especially Belle Dean. Without her, I'm not sure I would have posted this. She is probably too awesome to be my pre-reader but she agreed.

The usual disclaimer applies, I don't own Twilight, and if you are uncomfortable with eating disorders, teenage sex, drug and alcohol use by minors, please move on from this mess.


Recap:

We were introduced to the world of the privileged New York high-school students in the beginning of their school-year, right after the summer. A mysterious blogger was writing strangely insightful things about Bella and her posse and the various people involved with them. We learned that Bella, who has been dating Jasper for years, has anxiety attacks, battles an eating disorder all the while being a desperate overachiever. She had a falling out with Jasper over him blowing her off in front of his friends and her friendship with BFF Tanya ended before the summer. Bella enlisted Jasper's best friend, Edward, to help her mend her relationship with Tanya, but that plan failed. We learned that Edward has a mild interest in Bella, mostly concerning the home-videos she makes for Jasper, but was most interested in being able to sleep with Tanya without actually having to date her.

We also met Alice, new to this world, a 'fresh meat' from Seattle who is a little clueless. She made friends with future classmate Angela who introduces her to Eric and Victoria, good friends, and esteemed members of Bella's posse. They offered to introduce her to Queen Bee. Alice was wary but quite curious about the infamous Bella...


Alice Brandon

"Okay, let's get you to meet queen B." Eric winks at me then holds my hand, leading me to the wrought iron gate.

When we walk up to the entrance of Bella's house, surprisingly it's not locked. We stroll into a sort of entrance hall tiled with what appears to be marble. It has a freaking high ceiling and a chandelier is hanging up there. But since it's so empty, it doesn't look tacky at all, though I kind of wish it would; in fact it definitely brings the wow factor. There are steps with black runner carpet, which lead to another wrought iron gate. Angela just rings the doorbell and we wait in silence. I hate the fact that I'm already getting intimidated. A plump woman who seems to be in her early 60's opens the door in a maid's uniform. She smiles at us, seemingly genuinely happy to see us, and she's so nice that I just want to hug her. God, I definitely need to find my inner bitch.

"Hello, kids. How are you?" she asks, still smiling.

"Hey, Matilda!" Eric says in a sing song voice, going to hug her immediately. We all murmur our 'hellos,' even Victoria, though none quite so enthusiastically as Eric did. "Oh my god, you look so skinny, did you lose weight over the summer?" Eric asks when he takes a step back. Matilda just laughs, playfully swatting her hand at him.

"I did try that Easy Mac diet. I think I lost a few pounds."

"I'll say." Eric beams at her. "You look gorgeous, I'm so glad to see you."

"I'm glad to see you too. Summer felt a bit monotonous without having you running amok around these parts. I'm happy to have you back, kids. And who might you be? I don't remember seeing you," she asks me, still smiling. I extend my hand to her and beam at her; she really seems nice.

"Hi, Matilda. I'm Alice Brandon. I just moved here from Seattle." Recognition seems to spark in her eyes as we shake hands. Oh, yeez, I bet she's heard about me too.

"Welcome, Alice. I hope I'll see more of you." We stand around and I inspect the space we are in now. I think it's the foyer. It has the same color of marble tiles all over and a high ceiling, but the decor is not kitschy like in Victoria's house. It's mostly modern and minimalist with a few antique chairs and paintings, with a freaking huge crystal chandelier in here too to contrast the stark minimalism, I assume. I don't know about the rest of the rooms because all of the doors are closed. "Would any of you like something to drink or eat?" Matilda asks.

"How about a gin and tonic?" Eric asks, smiling at her with wide eyes. Matilda just shakes her head. "Matilda makes the meanest martini," Eric says to me. "But her T&G's not bad either."

"It shames me that you would think I'd give you liquor, Eric." She looks at him disapprovingly but I think she's trying to hide a smile.

"C'mon, Matilda, some teeny bit of gin?" Victoria asks, batting her eyelashes. Matilda just sighs.

"Go up, kids. Bella's in her room and with all the shopping she's done, she'll be up there for a while."

"What about the gin and tonic?" Angela asks.

"I'll just have to surprise you, I guess," she says mischievously, leaving us in the foyer. Oookay. Is she really going to give us booze? That is seriously effed up.

"Okay gals, let's go." The staircase opens from the foyer; it curls around, with a square in the middle and if you look up you can see all the way to the top and there seems to be a window above. Or the roof is made of glass? I hear the marble clicking under Angela's and Victoria's heels as we walk up. Some of the pictures hanging on the wall are weird portraits that seem to actually look at you, and at the turn of the stairs there are even some statues. My spidey sense is tingling and it's telling me they did not come from Ikea. The place didn't look so spacious from the outside, or this tall. But to be honest, this is exactly what I imagined a 5th avenue mansion to look like on the inside. As much as I don't want to like anything that is associated with this Bella character, I could see my self living here.

W

e walk up to the fourth floor. Eric informs me that the second floor is kind of Bella's mom's, and so is the third, but apparently Bella has the entire fourth floor to herself. We reach a huge mahogany door; I assume this is her room. Eric seems totally at ease, but even he knocks before he opens it.

"Bella, honey, we're here," he says as we walk in. Bella is standing in front of a window, holding up a dress by the hanger. Maybe she wants to know if it's see-through in sunlight? Everyone walks up to her to say hi. Or to pay their respects, more like. "Bella, you look so skinny. Did you lose weight over the summer?" In his defense, this is the most convincing delivery of Eric's infamous line I've heard so far. She smiles at him a barely there smile, pursing her lips and shaking her head a little. "Honey, you look gorgeous. May I?" he asks, gesturing to the dress in her hand. She just sighs and hands it to him without looking at him again.

"Sure. I love it but I'm not sure I'll ever get to wear it. I've updated my wardrobe for fall and this just doesn't fit with the other things. We'll see, I guess," she says absentmindedly, before looking at me.

The first thing I notice about her is her skin. Her features are pretty but her skin is flawless, pale and perfect, like, literally no pores, no lines, no nothing. Just like a wax doll, with its expressionless, attractive features. She looks faultlessly put together; her hair, her makeup and her nails are all immaculate. I just stand there as she looks me over, studying me like I'm an object, with an empty expression but a sharp eye. I suddenly think about what she might see: no-n – d ame shoes, a handbag at least four seasons old,, my mismatching, orange cracked nail varnish, and a cute, but evidently unfashionable dress. Obviously, I don't expect her to try to look deeper and even if I did want to be friends with her after she's looked me over like she did, I doubt we could be. But what I hate most is that she actually makes me feel a bit shorter, and that I actually do feel a bit embarrassed by this Aryan airhead with a trust fund. This is exactly the sort of thing I promised myself I wouldn't let happen, yet here I am feeling self-conscious. Jeez. I need to get it together.

Just when the tension is getting to be too much, she looks me in the eye and smiles a warm smile that is actually less condescending than I expected it to be.

"Alice, I'm so happy to meet you. My name is Isabella Swann for short. Bella for even shorter," she says with her smile still in place. She's still looking me in the eyes, and it feels a bit like she's trying to get a read on me or something. "I'm sure we'll be great friends." I have to give it to her, she does sound genuine, but I'm sure she doesn't mean it.

"Hey," I croak nervously. "I'm Alice Brandon." Her smile gets wider, and I think I can see real amusement in her eyes, but she doesn't say anything. "Mh, you, so, you have a very beautiful house," I say, my voice jumping a few octaves in the end.

God, I suck. And in need of an inner pep talk, ASAP.

"Thank you. It can be kind of… overwhelming sometimes, but I like it too," she says, smiling at me. Then she turns back to her bed, which is covered with clothes as well as a few handbags and pairs of shoes. "So Alice, where are you from? I heard you are about to attend St. Forks?" She glances over her shoulder back at me.

"We tried grilling her, but she wouldn't spill," says Eric, still inspecting the orange dress which I'd think is not Bella's tone. But it could actually look pretty awesome on yours truly, but I keep this to myself.

"We just got sidetracked by Disney princes," I say, because we did.

"Ah, who doesn't love Disney princes," Bella says a little sarcastically. "I always had a soft spot for John Smith, but technically he wasn't a prince."

"Me too!" I shout, somehow pleased and surprised to find this in common with her.

"We all know you like 'em blond and lean, B," Eric quips in. Was Bella wearing blush just a minute ago? Hmm… I didn't notice it.

"I don't know. I always had a thing for Aladdin," Angela says, examining a handbag.

"I actually preferred the Genie," Bella says.

"I liked Prince Philippe from Sleeping Beauty," Victoria mumbles.

"Oh my god, Vic, he was totally boring," Eric says, exasperated.

"No, he wasn't. He was like a classical movie star from the 50's. Like Cary Grant or something," Vic argues back. "I also liked Hercules. He was adorable with all that stuttering."

"Wow, Alice," says Bella. "Just bring up the Disney princes if you want to get people off topic. I'll have to remember that." She smiles at me and shakes her head. We are quiet for a while, but then I resign myself to giving the info.

"I'm from Seattle. My mom met Caius when he tried to 'steal' a taxi from her. She almost punched him in the face," I say, giggling because it was funny. The way Bella raises her eyebrows and exchanges a look with Victoria – followed by a snicker on Victoria's part – tells me she doesn't think so. Bella catches me looking at them.

"Go on, Alice. Don't let Victoria's unfavorable opinion of my new purchases stop you," Bella says, holding up a random bag, prompting Victoria to let out another scoff. Whatever.

"So they met up every time he came to the city and after a year he asked my mom to move in with him. After some deliberating, she decided it was a good idea. So we moved here and Caius enrolled me in St. Forks. He never discussed it with me, but I think he talked about it with my mom. So here I am."

"Angela told me as much," Bella says, looking at Ang. "Do you like it here?"

"It's too early to tell," I say evasively. She looks at me, willing me to elaborate, no doubt. "I love the buzz, you can just feel this is more, people are so different; more bohemian somehow, and I like that. But it's so big; there are so many people all the time and sometimes when I go out that's suffocating. And I haven't made that many friends yet." Bella just looks at me and smiles.

"When I said I hope to be friends with you I was being genuine, Alice," she says, still smiling. "In fact, as my friend I expect you to come to me with whatever problems you have. I mean that. If you have any trouble, or anything that you want to talk about, please come to me. What you tell me will always remain between us. Everyone here can attest to that." I look around and everyone is nodding.

"It's true, honey," Eric says. "Bella is really trustworthy; she can keep a secret. I don't know how, since she also loves gossip, but it's true." He winks at her. "Don't you, B?"

"I just like it as entertainment. The stuff people come up with… suffice to say if they channeled that creativity into something useful they would probably have no problem with AP English assignments."

"We would always have a problem with English assignments," Victoria says, snickering.

Bella just smiles and sits down in one of the armchairs motioning me to another one, twirling a white lily in her hand. I go and sit. "I meant it, Alice. If someone comes to me in confidence, I will always try to help," she says in a subdued voice. "But if I have to hear things from someone else…" she trails off ominously. We are sitting in the armchairs while all the others seem to be immersed in various things, paying us no attention. "Then I will know I'm not really your friend. And you cannot ask me to treat you and your secrets like we actually are. Do you understand?" She asks in a totally friendly manner, asking if I understand with real curiosity, like people actually have a problem comprehending this. Was this a threat? I look at her and she still looks really friendly. I guess not, then.

"Yeah, of course."

"Good," she beams back at me, putting the lily in my hair.

Now that the quasi-friendly interrogation has ended, I take some time to look around. The room is kind of art-deco-y. Nothing like a teenager's room at all. The walls have some kind of silky blue wallpaper, and it's hard to find a surface not covered by framed drawings and aquarelles. On the far side of the room, in front of each of three French windows, there are marble stands with huge vases on top, all of them full of flowers, white lilies. On the other side of the room the windows are smaller and there is an antique desk with a laptop on it under one of them. All of the windows have open curtains that are deep blue. The space by the entrance is dominated by a huge, dark antique bookcase with glass doors and filled with books that don't look like contemporary literature from here. The furniture consists of a few armchairs along with a sofa and Angela's chaise lounge by the mantelpiece. On top of it there are these weird candleholders made of deer's antlers. Her bed is a tall, four poster bed with many, many pillows on top, and on the table next to her bed is a framed photo of her and a blond boy who should wear a number 10 fire hazard on his forehead, he's so hot. Gah, could this be her brother? Something tells me he isn't.

"Vicky, what do you think about this one?" Erick asks, snapping me out of it. He's holding up something to Victoria who just wrinkles her nose as if she smelled something bad.

"No way. Are you serious or did you develop temporary blindness?" she asks annoyed.

Bella just rolls her eyes and looks at me. "You have such a pretty face. I think you should cut your hair a little more to accentuate it. What do you think, Eric?"

"I totally agree. I think a pixie cut would look terrific on her. Like Rihanna's before she went all psycho."

"I kind of prefer it long. I've never had it shorter than shoulder length since I can remember," I say.

"Well, than how can you know? You should try new things. Do you cut your hair yourself?" Ouch. I mean, I didn't go to the hairdresser who did al the hockey mom's hair and charged 300 dollars ass cut, but I didn't cut it myself.

"Ehm, no. I went to a hairdresser in Seattle."

"Just because it's so nondescript. It's not straight, but I wouldn't say it's layered either. There are a few traces of highlights, but they are mostly grown out. What did you ask him to do?" Eric asks, inspecting my hair while everyone is looking at me apprehensively. Oh, shit. I think once I told the person who did my hair that I wanted it to be like Keira Knightley's. I even brought a picture, but it turned out so shitty that I never ever did that again.

"I kind of went with what they thought was best. I just told them the length I wanted." Most of the time they had a hard time getting that right, so I doubt something complicated like hair color would've been a reasonable request.

"They?" Eric asks absolutely shocked. "How many hairdressers did you have?"

"Well, I kind of always went with whoever was available the day I went," I croak nervously. It looks like they find this beyond outrageous. "What?" I ask finally.

"It's just… how could you trust your hair's wellbeing… to some random… person? It is one of, if not the most important feature you have. It can always be seen and has a huge part in how people see you. It's your hair." He is looking at me dumbstruck with a strand of my hair still in his hand looking like he is about to cry.

"It doesn't have such a huge part in how people see me," I say, but I'm not sure I mean it.

"Oh, really? If you needed help with tax returns would you ask a platinum blond bed head to help you out or a brunette with a bun? And how would you feel if the dean had long greasy hair with outgrown pink dye? I know people think they are above the messaging with hair, but the truth is, no one is," Victoria says condescendingly, like it should be obvious that your most important feature is your hair. Geez.

"C'mon Vic, there's no need to be bitchy," says Bella, smiling. "Alice, I'm sure once you experience Massimo, and the magic he works on your scalp, you will understand what all the fuss is about. Hair is important, and if you ever find a good hairdresser, hold on to him until the bitter end. Some women say they are harder to find than good husbands. Ang, would you please call him and secure an appointment for Alice? I think he's working this Sunday, but I'm not sure. Maybe he can squeeze in an emergency session." I open my mouth to protest, I'm not sure I can afford a $400 haircut without using the dreaded black Amex. "Don't worry, it's on me."

Angela saunters off to make the phone call to Massimo the magician. I'm kind of curious but I also feel uncomfortable about Bella footing the bill for what must be a very expensive session. Does this make me owe her? It shouldn't, since I didn't ask for her to do this, but I can't help feeling like it does.

"Oh, by the way, have you seen Lauren's new hair extensions?" asks Eric.

Bella just rolls her eyes and scoffs. "I've heard that a scarecrow's pubes were stolen one night in Kansas and you know as soon as I saw that thing on her head the mystery was solved."

"It's horrible! And she says she wants her own clothing line when she's walking around with the leftover hairs collected at the bottom of the sink stuck to her head."

"I know. It's kind of ironic. Okay, I am in total indecision about what bag to take to school." Bella says. "It's one of the only things not regulated by uniform, so a good choice is crucial," she explains to me. "What kind will you use?" She looks at me questioningly, like she really thinks I have anything to add on this issue.

"I don't really know. I have a knapsack that I like," I say apprehensively.

"Oh," she says impassively. "I'm kind of undecided between the Classic Prada Nappa tote and the deerskin black Miu Miu tote. I also have one in white, but meh, I can't have a white bag for school." She goes to her closet and saunters out with the two said bags. They are both oh so gorgeous, either would make my soul fill with unearthly joy.

"I like the Miu Miu better. Massimo's in LA and he's coming back on Friday, by the way, Bella," Angela says walking back inside. "He says that's the earliest he can take Alice, but knows someone who would love to take her tomorrow."

"What do you say, Alice?" Bella asks. "Would you prefer to wait for Massimo's magic or take someone else instead?" Is this a test?

"I'll wait for Massimo," I say, because if he's that good, I figure I'd rather.

"Excellent." Bella smiles at me. "By the way, I like the Miu Miu too, but Prada is just more formal and sophisticated, you know? Do you think the ostrich tote would be inappropriate for school?" She looks up wondering.

"The Prada one, or the Bottega Veneta?" Eric asks.

"The Prada, of course. I wouldn't use a Bottega Veneta bag for school." Bella scoffs.

"I don't know. What about the Proenza Schouler ones? They are sold out everywhere. Can I see yours?" Eric asks, hopefully.

"Yeah, sure," Bella says dismissively. "I think they are there with the new ones. But they are too casual for school though. Did you notice that all Mulberry is doing nowadays is just copying what they do?"

"Of course. And Proenza is still way better," says Victoria.

"I can't believe they can make bags this petty, when their shoes are so ugly. Those shoes look like the designers were locked in a shed and told they had to make do with what they found in there. It's hopeless. And sad," Eric says returning with the bags, like it really is sad.

"Louboutin is making handbags as well, even though people just tell him not to bother," adds Angela.

"What about that Yves Saint Laurent bag you got from Stefano?" Eric asks.

"It's totally not for school. Plus everyone has already seen it. I need something new and statement-worthy for first day. Alice, what do you think?" Bella asks, turning to me.

"I like the Prada better." Actually, I'm not sure there is that much difference; both are perfect and non-school-appropriate, in my opinion, but I really don't feel like voicing that right now.

"Okay." Bella beams at me. "I love it too, actually. What kind do you have?"

"Of what?"

"Of Prada bag."

"I don't have one."

"Oh. But they are so minimalist and perfect. Everyone should have one. This season's bags are really perfect; they went back to their roots and all. It was a good decision. Eric, can you get me the satchel type? Please." Eric goes and gets out a beautiful black bag which is much softer, a bit bigger and doesn't have a form as rigid as the bag Bella wants to take to school. It's more casual and of course I love it. How could I not? I'm a girl and this is such a pretty bag. "What do you think?" Bella asks.

"I love it," I say, looking at it reverently. It's so perfect, and you can just see that this is some superior quality stuff, with perfect stitches, a beautiful design and leather that must be so freaking smooth to the touch. I look up and notice that Bella is studying me with that same sharp eye.

"I think you should have it," she says looking at me dead in the eye.

"No," I say, blurting out because I really cannot accept this. I feel everyone's eyes on me and it's making me feel uncomfortable. I know that this is not a cheap knick, and it doesn't look used at all. I doubt she carried it even once.

"I want you to have it. It's good enough for school, and you've never had a Prada bag. I'm glad I could be the one to give you your first one. It's like a rite of passage. This type is sold out in New York already, right, Eric?" she asks without taking her eyes off me.

"I think so, yeah. I think they might still have it in Long Island, but I'm not sure about the-"

"Thank you," says Bella interrupting him. "I really want you to have it. I think it's perfect for you. Try it on. You can always give it back if you don't like it." I touch it and god, it feels just as perfect as it looks. The devil's handbag. I put in on my shoulder and I think god meant it to end up there all along. I could definitely fit a few books into it, not that I could ever disgrace this pretty lady that way. "There. Consider it an indefinite loan." I feel elated about the prospect but I can't help but wonder if she's for real. And I also have this nagging suspicion that… maybe this is not completely out of the goodness of her heart.

"I'm not sure I can accept this," I say warily, not wanting to turn her offer down because I'm kind of think that she might have some ulterior motives but also because… I really, really like that bag.

"I insist," she says, beaming at me.

"Thanks so much, Bella," I say to her. We are interrupted by Matilda bringing us drinks, something different for everyone apparently. I get something creamy with strawberry that tastes just like orgasm in my mouth. Ew, that doesn't sound right. But it is very good even though it doesn't have alcohol.

"There you are kids. I hope you can help Bella deal with her handbags; heaven knows I don't know what she needs so many for."

"Don't worry, Matilda, I've got it under control," says Bella, smiling at her with a bit of teenage annoyance, making her seem the most relatable she's been since I've met her. Matilda just chuckles.

"Okay, kids, are you hungry? I can probably make you something if you feel like eating. Bella, aren't you hungry?"

"No. I had a huge brunch with the girls," she says, smiling back at Matilda. "I'm still stuffed. We'll go out to have dinner in any case, so don't bother."

"Okay, okay. Are you sure, kids? We have some Laudrée macaroons too. And I can always make finger sandwiches." We all just nod along, until Angela announces she indeed wants the macaroons. We are sorting though clothes, and I'm still holding on to my handbag, loving it and being afraid of it at the same time. Matilda comes back with macaroons and finger sandwiches, plus a refill of the drinks. The others are all laughing, and I think that I might be the only one who has a non-alcoholic drink. Well, me and Bella. She doesn't have anything to drink but water.

I sit down on the lounge chair and read Nylon (there were also several auction catalogues here, which is kind of confusing) while Eric, Vic and Bella debate clothing issues that are way beyond my knowledge of fashion. And I like clothes. Now they are having some issue with a headband, in fact several of them if I understand correctly. Bella is standing in a skirt and bra deliberating between two shirts, because apparently their tailoring is different. I think I can make out the difference, but I don't understand why she just doesn't go with the tighter one. I know I would. Angela bobs her head to the beat of her iPod while munching on an occasional macaroon or finger sandwich and reading Vogue; ; I do the same. That is, until the door suddenly opens and a boy who looks exactly like Tom fucking Sturridge, all tall, pale, dark haired and hot, bursts into the room without knocking. I swear to god the temperature goes up at least 10 degrees. He is dressed smartly and I can already feel that even if my chastity wasn't a thing of the past, it would definitely not last long around here if all the boys at St. Forks have this kind of radioactive heat rolling off of them. No wonder Victoria had a busy summer.

"Bella, I see you were expecting me," he says, kind of leering at Bella, who's still between shirts, with a naughty smile.

"Tyler," she snaps. "What the hell are you doing here? Who let you in?" This is Tyler. No wonder Victoria went all gaga over him. Bella grabs one of the shirts, buttoning it up swiftly, and her face is as red as a fire truck. So her blush wasn't fake but the real thing. That's kind of funny.

Tyler just walks over to me with a confident swagger in his step. He takes a macaroon from the coffee table and pops it into his mouth, winking at me. I think I'm about to melt off the chair. Holy smokes this guy is danger with a capital D.

"It was Matilda, but don't blame her. Can't I visit my future ex-wife?" he says, looking up at her from behind his lashes. Bella just rolls her eyes.

"Wait, I'll be out in a sec," she says, walking back into the closet and slamming the door behind her. The rest of us stand dumbstruck, while Tyler drops himself onto the divan next to me with ease.

"Hey," he says, looking at me with an intensity that makes me flush. Jeyzus, I need to hold myself back from jumping him right here and now. I think I'm breathing faster. God, please let me not make an idiot of myself just this once. I hear a throat clearing and it breaks me out of my Tyler-induced reverie.

"Hey, Vicky," he says, looking up at her with an amused smile. "Is your throat still sore, Vicky?" he asks mischievously. What? I think I hear Angela snorting, but she turns it into an unconvincing cough, hiding behind her magazine.

"I think I'm feeling sick," Vic says. "I'm going to go get some water," she says to Eric with an angry expression,

"You should definitely go down, then," Tyler says while Eric leaves with Vic and I'm left alone with Ang and Tyler, who makes me want to do bad, bad things. What's in the water here?

"Who are you?" he asks with a smile, looking at me like I'm the only one he sees. Gah, I know he's a player, but I definitely want to play. Provided it's with him. It's not like I'd sleep with him, but a bit of flirting never hurt anyone.

"I'm Alice."

"Hey, Alice. How is it possible that I've never seen you before? Are you visiting Bella?"

"No, I'm new in school." He just smiles and I think I'm in love.

"I'm happy to meet you," he says in a deep voice, looking intensely into my eyes. When the tension gets too much, and I just laugh and he does too. But it's a good kind of laugh, and he looks so much like a carefree little boy when he's laughing. But then looks back at me and I can feel the same tension again. The one that makes me want him so bad.

"Tyler," Bella snaps like she's speaking to a naughty dog. Naughty indeed. No tender feelings between these two. What was up with that future ex-wife comment? "Where's Victoria?"

"She didn't feel well."

"Okay." She just sighs. "I'll give you that brochure that you wanted. I think it's in my mom's study, just come with me." When Bella turns her back and starts walking toward the door he leans to me and whispers in my ear.

"Tell them that you need to leave. I'll take you." Wow. I think I just suffered an aneurism. I don't think either Bella or Angela noticed. And I definitely do need to leave. I promised my mom a movie tonight after all. I giggle internally. I keep on pretending to read with Angela when all I want to do is squeal and jump around like a preteen bimbo when Justin Beiber replies to her tweet.

"I don't think you should go with him," Angela says, but before I can ask what she means Victoria bursts into the room, her eyes zeroing in on me like a hawk. She looks around for Tom – okay, I know his name is Tyler, but damn, they look so much alike – and seems relieved to find him gone.

"Where is he?" she asks, sounding a lot calmer than she looks.

"I think he went with Bella or something," I say. She sits down next to me. Close. Obviously it's not because she feels the need to protect me from the big bad wolf. She wants the wolf all to herself. Eric comes back with a bottle of Tanqueray, a bottle of tonic and a few glasses.

"We have reservations for tonight at Butter. You're gonna love it. We might even run into some celebrities," he gushes, mixing the gin and tonic. "Want some?" he asks, like it's totally normal to raid the liquor stash in your friend's house. Maybe it is.

"Just a little."

"Here you go," he says, handing the glass over to me.

"By the way, I don't think I can make it to dinner," I say, slurping it down. "I promised my mom I would go to the movies with her tonight."

"Oh, no, sweetie. You can't miss it," says Eric with a pouty face. "You can go with your mom whenever you want, but this will be a fantabulous event. You'll regret it if you don't go."

"Yeah, I think you'll regret it. Are you sure your mom wouldn't be happier if you came with us?" asks Angela, looking into my eyes with a pointed glare.

"No, I don't think so," I say with conviction.

"You know, I could always ask my driver to take you home if it's that important," says Victoria, looking at me ominously.

"Tell Igor to stay put, Vicky," says Tyler, walking back into the room with the same confident stride. "I already told Alice I'd help her out."

"I'm sure you did." I hear Victoria mumble under her breath with narrowed eyes and a saccharine smile.

"I'm a good Samaritan, what can I say. Now, ladies, if you'll excuse us, I have places to get to. Chop-chop, Alice." He looks a bit annoyed but I catch him winking at me. I get the Prada and my old bag and say bye to everyone. We exit the room and nobody calls Tyler out on what he did, but I think Angela might know what we're up to. I still feel like it would be a really douchey move to leave without saying goodbye to Bella. She did give me a handbag that probably cost well over a grand, and the least I can do is say bye. Plus she was nice, even if a bit weird at times.

"I'll just say bye to Bella," I say as we walk down the steps. The staircase is a bit darker; it must be about 5 or 6 now.

"Don't worry, she-" But Bella is coming up the stairs just as we are walking down.

"It's too bad that you had to leave so early, Alice," she says, looking at me with those same penetrating laser eyes. "Please text me as soon as you get home," she says, but she's looking at Tyler. We exchange numbers and I promise to text her as soon as I arrive home. We say bye and she walks up the stairs with her head held high. Tyler looks after her for a beat too long then looks at me and smiles that same knee-weakening smile.

"Let's go, Alice." We walk out the door and a black car is already there in front of the house. He opens the door for me and waits until I get in. When he gets in, he flashes that same boyish smirk and I'm so glad I left with him. "Where do you want me to take you?" he asks in a voice that's deep and smooth, and loaded with innuendo to my horny-pervy ears. Jeez, I need to get a hold of myself.

"I'm not even sure…" I stammer. "It was a spur of the moment thing, I don't usually do this."

"What?" he asks, looking me intently.

"Like… ride in cars with boys. God, that sounds retarded. I mean with, like, virtual strangers in big black cars. Hot strangers that I only know… sketchy but not so good things about." There is a silence, and though he keeps looking at me, it feels like someone dumped a bucket of ice water on us; it seems like maybe I've ruined our moment.

"Do you honestly trust Victoria?" he asks finally with amusement and incredulity in his eyes. He gets out a packet of cigarettes and lights up, shaking his head a little. Jeez, does everyone smoke here? "Well, if it makes you feel weird, I can take you home. Where do you live?" Suddenly I feel like an idiot for believing Victoria. I mean, it's clear that Tyler didn't really want to hang out with her, and he's been totally nice to me so far.

"I don't really. I mean, trust her. It's just that… I don't even know. But I want to go somewhere with you." He smiles a little.

"Do you really want to?"

"I do. It's just… I would feel a bit better if I heard your version of things." I feel so incredibly awkward for asking this. It's not like this is a date. I mean, maybe it is? It feels like it is, kind of.

"Her ability to translate my lack of interest in her into me being a manwhore, and to convince anyone who'll listen that it's true, is remarkable. That's all there is to it, Alice." The way he says my name makes me tingle. His eyes are dark and hungry; they never look away. I always get too shy and just have to look away, even though it's the last thing I want. "So, it's about dinner time. How about we have some dinner and you can see for yourself if Vicious Vicky was right about me?" He winks, holding his cigarette between his thumb and his pointer finger when he takes it out of his mouth. Shit, shit, shit, shit. That is my Achilles heel. I'm done for when a guy does that. Could he possibly know? "So?"

I'm distracted by looking at his mouth but when he asks my eyes snap up. He smiles and exhales.

"Okay."

"Good. Do you like French cuisine? I'm in the mood for foie gras."

"I do." I think so anyway. I'm kind of afraid he'll take me to an upscale place where they have a dozen pieces of silverware for one setting, but the place is bohemian and cozy with lots of pictures, and every free space is covered by wine-racks and shelves with wine bottles on them. I love it; it has little lamps on each table which give the place a friendly glow and it seems totally relaxed. We get a table by the window and interestingly enough, for the first time since I've moved here, I'm doing most of the talking. And he listens. Even though there is a strange kind of gravity pulling me to look into his eyes, I always have to look away after a while. It's just too much. I think I might just blush.

This is definitely a date. There is a nagging feeling in the back of my head what Angela said about slutty boys, but… this feels so right and the way he is treating me… I can't help but feel like this is meaningful somehow, and that he probably feels it too. I'll just have to take it slow but my intuition has always been spot on before.

He orders in French and I ask him to order for me too, just so I can look at his mouth and hear him talking in French. I can't help but imagine him dirty-talking to me in the same language, and I melt just a little more. He orders me some kind of salad with raspberries and shrimps as a starter, and fish as a main course. It's really good and I think I might even moan a little as I eat, not that I would ever admit to that.

"So, has Bella given you the cosa nostra speech yet?"

"What speech?" I ask, totally confused.

"The godfather speech. The one about 'if you're not with us you're against us'. Kind of an inauguration speech."

"No, not really," I say, drinking a bit more of my coke. "Wait, what was that stuff about her being your future ex-wife?"

"Just something to piss off her boyfriend," he says dismissively, with a naughty smirk. I talk about my school and I even tell him about my summer. He doesn't really laugh, only smiles, but it's so beautiful and sexy that it's enough. He says his driver is off for the day and he thinks we should walk rather than take a taxi, and I agree. He's so attentive and chivalrous; he makes me feel like a freaking princess. I don't want the night to end.

I feel cold and he gives me his blazer. I feel slightly drunk, though we didn't have anything to drink at the restaurant and I only had a sip of that G&T. I just feel so special and beautiful right now. I drag him by his hand into a playground we pass by. I jump into the swing and ask him to push me, so he does. After a while he stops and walks in front of me. He just watches me while he smokes, never taking his eyes off me, while the swing slows down. The only sounds are my slightly exhilarated breaths and the creaking of the swing. As I sway back and forth, watching him, the tension that I've felt since the first moment I saw him escalates and it's just too much. Before I can think, I jump off the swing and I walk to him. I put my hands around his neck and get on my tiptoes. He's still watching me and my lips are almost there, but still not quite. I don't know why I'm waiting, maybe it's just for him to show me that he feels it too and wants the same thing I do. He exhales, blowing on my neck and it seems that my last bit of hesitation disappears.

I crush my lips to his, and it's strong and all-consuming, it feels so right. His response is instantaneous. His tongue is rough when it enters my mouth, but it's gentle when it collides with my tongue, teasing it to life with gentle pulsing flicks. He smells of cigarettes and something that is fresh but musky at the same time, and his mouth tastes like white wine and tobacco, bitter but sweet. I run my hands lower over his muscular back, and it's so hard and defined that I want to push my fingers deeper into him, leaving marks. I hold onto him for dear life and push myself closer and closer, but it's still not enough. His hands land on my waist and slide down to my ass, grabbing it roughly. I break away, gasping for air, but he just moves down to my neck and keeps on kissing me. I think I've died and gone to heaven. I'm making sounds that I'm not sure I'd ever willingly admit to. But I'm past caring now.

"Let's take this somewhere else, shall we?" he asks, breathing into my ear. I just nod. I vaguely recall that I made myself a promise, that there is something I should remember, but I don't want to think it through. I want him so bad. He calls a taxi while I keep on kissing up and down his yummy-smelling neck, wondering why we have to take it elsewhere; I like it here just fine.

We have the most indecent taxi ride known to man and I enjoy the shit out of it, but I'm even hornier when we get out at some hotel. It's really fancy, and while he's nibbling my neck in the elevator, my mind a blur, I text my mom that I'm gonna spend the night at Angela's place. I get a reply but since I can't be bothered to read it, I just switch the phone off. He opens the door of the suite and I feel like the luckiest girl ever as I hear the door click shut behind us.

But that sound also snaps me out of this lusty fog clouding my mind. I promised myself I wouldn't do this. Not tonight. I might not be a virgin, but I don't sleep around like this. The throbbing between my legs begs to differ, tough. Tyler pushes me up against the wall, his lips molding to mine, and he's moving his hands slowly but steadily below my dress. I sigh into his mouth and push his hand away.

"What is it?" he coos quietly into my ear. "I thought you said you wanted to…" He snickers into my ear, and the air he exhales onto my neck makes me shiver "…see if I was as tough as I looked. I'm up for the challenge, Alice," he says, grinding his pelvis into mine.

"It's not that," I say, sliding away from him, and walking up to the window. The lights are still off and I like the way this darkness envelops us. I feel safer. "I just…" He walks up behind me and it's like he's about to touch me, but he doesn't. "I'm not sure I should do this, you know. But I like you a lot and it feels…" I can feel his heat behind me and the ghost of his fingertips on my arms. I can almost sense his lips on my neck, but it's only his breath; he still won't touch me for some reason, and it's driving me crazy. I lean back into him without ever giving my body the permission to do so.

"How does it feel, Alice?" he asks, and his lips are almost on my neck and his hands are down on my hips, touching me and leisurely gathering up my dress, making me ache for him to touch my skin. "Tell me how it feels."

"Uhm… it feels… God, it feels good," I say, whimpering like a pathetic wounded kitten. He does this annoying, yet incredibly arousing thing where he will be so close to my neck he almost touches it, but no, I can only feel his lips ghosting there.

I whimper and push myself back into him, and he finally gives in and mumbles. "Tu veux queje te baise, hein?"

I moan so loud it's embarrassing. "What did you say?" I ask.

"Tu aimerais bien le savoir, hein?" he snickers.

I just grind back into him and it feels really good. I can feel his dick on my ass as he grabs my hips forcefully and tugs me closer. He moans and my mind is clouded with him and that achy moistness between my legs. All I can think about are images of him touching me there, watching my reflection in the window while he does, surrendering to him, letting him do what he wants.

My nipples harden and I want him to touch them. I don't want him to be gentle. I want him to tug on them, suck on them and pinch them with his teeth while looking at me. The image provokes another rush of wetness between my legs and I grab onto his gorgeous head of hair, pulling him down to my face and kissing him savagely. I know what I need; promises I made to myself seem silly now.

He smiles into the kiss and trails his hand up my to my breast, doing that annoying almost touching thing again. I thrust my torso into his hand and he moans, grabbing my breast roughly and kneading it in his hand in rhythm with his tongue thrusting into my mouth. I trail my right hand down to where his hand is on my hip, and slide it down to my pathetically wet panties.

"Do you want me to fuck you with my fingers, Alice?" I answer with a whimper and another rush of wetness seeps out of my already soaking pussy. "I will, if that's what you want. But you'll have to bend over that chair first."

I moan and nod. I walk over to the big armchair by the fireplace and just as I'm about to bend over he says, "Take off your clothes." So, I do, without hesitation, just wanting him to do it already. I yank the dress over my head and remove my matching light blue panties and bra. As the cool air of the room hits my flushed, sweat-m-moistened skin I feel my nipples pebble up, wanting to be touched greedily and roughly. I've never really done anything like this with a man I barely know and maybe I should be shy but my mind can't get over that dull throbbing between my legs.

I lean down, over the armchair, completely exposed, vulnerable, and wet, mortified by how much this excites me. I feel the cold leather on my face and my nipples when I get into position. I hear him walk up behind me with slow, measured steps echoing on the floor. He stops somewhere close by, but I have no idea if it's close enough. I feel two fingers ghosting down my spine, and then they're gone. I moan out.

"Tu as un joli cul, Alice," he whispers into my ear, grabbing onto my ass, making me bite my lip. Then he slowly puts two fingers between my legs, only touching my pussy lips with the slightest pressure. "Do you want me to fuck you with these, Alice?" he asks, toying with me. He takes my moan as a yes. He coats his fingers with my wetness and touches my clit so quietly I wonder if he ever touched it at all. Then he circles it lightly and my knees buckle, pushing my pelvis down into his hand.

"Stop fucking teasing," I hiss. He doesn't hesitate, plunging two fingers deep inside of me, making me cry out a loud, porny moan. He's hovering over me with his hand still working on my pussy, massaging my clit in tandem with his fingers working in and out of me at a pace that is almost fast enough. I'm panting and breathless already, feeling that tense knot grow tighter and tighter. I'm starting to get lost to the feeling when he picks me up like I'm weightless and sits me on the edge of the armchair, pushing my legs apart.

He's down between my legs and taking my nipple into his mouth as he thrusts his fingers back inside, making me whimper and arch my back. He looks at me with smoldering eyes while he pumps his fingers. The only sounds are his wet fingers sliding in and out of me and my moan-infused panting.

"Tu es une bonne petite salope, Alice," he says as he leans his head down slowly between my legs, maintaining eye contact. I see his tongue peek out of his mouth before he gently flicks my clit. I jump a little, and with a groan I thrust my pelvis out at him farther. He teases me with his little flicks, making me sound like a porn star with my whimpered pleas before putting his mouth around my clit and sucking it. He's gentle at first, timing his sucking with his fingers thrusting in and out, but the sucking gets stronger and stronger and I'm closer and closer to the edge. Pushing my hips harder onto his face, finally grabbing onto his hair and grinding up and down on his face.

I feel that tense knot coil tighter and tighter in my belly, and I move my body frenetically. I just want to get there already. Then he curls his fingers upwards as he grazes my clit with his teeth, and I fall over the edge. I'm arching my back and moaning out my orgasm and god, it's never been like this before, and I wish it was his dick inside of me.

I lean back in the armchair panting while Tyler attacks my nipples again, kneading one with his hand while sucking on the other; rolling it between his teeth before coming up to kiss me.

"We're not done yet, Alice." No. We're not.


"Wow, I didn't know that was possible." He's lying next to me with the pillow propped up behind his head. I turn toward him and gaze at his profile while he gets another cigarette from somewhere and lights up. God, he's hot.

"It is."

"I mean, I never actually had one while the guy was inside me. Like, I was told it takes years of practice to make that happen." He smiles lazily at me and offers me a cigarette. I just shake my head no. I try to cuddle with him, but he kind of pushes me away. "But we have all night for you to prove this wasn't some fluke of nature," I say, propping myself up on my elbow next to him. I smile and trail my hand down his arm. He just inhales from his cigarette and lets it out with a heavy sigh.

"Actually, we don't."

"What?"

"Sorry, we don't. I'm expecting my girlfriend tonight. I think we'll have to reschedule, Alice." I just freeze for a moment. My brain needs some time to fully process this.

"But… you didn't tell me you had a girlfriend," I say, still frozen in the same position.

"You never asked," he says, smiling apologetically. "It's nothing against you Alice, I would love to stay, really. Maybe I can even get her to agree, if you're in, so you could join us." The same smile that made my knees weak just a few hours ago now makes me nauseous. "I'll just call her, okay?"

"No, don't. I'm not interested," I say, turning away.

"Too bad." He gets up and starts collecting his clothes, and I can't help but notice how confident and brazen he is without them. "I'll have to leave now, but you're welcome to stay here until 10 AM. You can get something from room service if you like, but remember that the room is under my father's name. Nathaniel Crowley." He closes the door of the bathroom and I remain there in the bed naked and, well… fucked. In more ways than one, as Angela so aptly put it. I didn't exactly expect a proposal, but… I thought we actually had… something. That maybe he liked me.

I wonder who his girlfriend is, though the thought makes my stomach churn. He exits the bathroom looking disheveled but still hot. I'm kind of disgusted I still find him so attractive. I want to crawl under a rock right now.

Shit. There's no way I'm staying here for the night.

Tyler comes over to me and leans down, probably to give me a kiss, but I just turn away and tell him to leave.

"Bye Alice. We'll see each other soon," he says, smirking. I don't look at him and when I hear the door click shut, I know he's gone. My eyes get teary, and I scramble looking around for my phone. There are texts from my mom; she's worried because she can't reach Angela or me. I don't think I can talk to her, so I send her a text that everything is fine, we were just watching a movie and that we're preparing to go to bed. She asks me not to do this again, and to call her in the morning as soon as I wake up. I text her back that I will. I wait for her reply, but it doesn't come. She must have gone to sleep already.

I have to get out of this bed; the sheets smell like me and him, a combination that I would have liked just a minute ago, but not I really can't take being in these sheets naked any longer.

I get dressed and leave the room as quickly as humanly possible. I try calling Angela several times, but she's switched her phone off. I try to think of someone else I might be able to call, but I can't think of anyone. I'm scrolling feebly through my address book when my eyes land on one entry: Bella. I deliberate. I'm not sure I want to call her; in fact, I think this is a bad idea.

You don't have the card to the room; you can't go back now.

I don't even have Tyler's number, but it would have to be a cold day in hell before I'd ever willingly speak to him again. Before I can convince myself that this will be the stupidest thing I've done since getting into that car with Tyler, I hit call.

"Alice, are you home yet?" she asks. Shit, I promised her I'd call.

"Ehm… No, not really. Bella… I kind of…" Deep breath, "I need your help." There's a pause at the end of the line and it doesn't feel reassuring. It feels like she's judging me.

"Where are you?"

"At the…" I scramble around for anything that will tell me where I am. The elevator arrives and I look around inside for something that would reveal where I'm at.

"You're at the Carlyle," she says as though this is somehow obvious. "Just come out, I'll collect you from the front entrance in fifteen." I nod, and then I realize she can't see me.

"Okay," I say in a small voice. I walk outside and stand by the entrance, shivering a little. I should've brought a coat or something. I try desperately to think about anything but what just happened, with very little success. I've never had a one-night stand before - I've only had sex with my ex - plus… I don't know… I thought he kind of liked me.

God, I'm stupid. And a slut too. He has a girlfriend. On the plus side, if he has a girlfriend, at least he won't be telling anyone. I hope she's a harpy who would tear off his nuts with her bare hands, stuff them up his nose and let him bleed out if she ever found him cheating. That would be incentive enough to keep quiet about this. But somehow I doubt that will be the case.

After a while a dark car pulls to a stop in front. The back window lowers and it's Bella. She's looking around. I wave at her, a bit relieved even though I'm still not sure she was the right person to call. Nothing against her, but she doesn't exactly radiate warmth. She nods and motions me over. I feel positively mortified. The closer I get to the car, the harder it is to look into her eyes. I open the door on the other side and get in.

"Hi," I say quietly.

"We can go back home now, Laszlo. Hey, Alice. Did you have a nice evening?" Is she kidding?

"Not really," I say. "I mean, I know I told you I'd go home but that isn't really… what I did." I'm still looking out the window, avoiding eye contact with her. The pause is a beat too long before she speaks.

"I see."

"I'm sorry. I just… didn't know how to… and… I don't know." I look at her, and she is watching me with those eyes that seem to see right through me and know more about me than I do. After scrutinizing me sufficiently, she looks away.

"Well, I would've warned you to stay away. You should've told me, Alice. I want you to trust me," she says in a matter of fact voice that leaves no doubt that I will trust her. Considering all she's done for me, I guess I do. Or should, anyway. "You probably told your mom you'd stay at Angela's, right?" She doesn't look at me as she asks.

"Yes."

"It's okay. You can stay at my place, I'll text Matilda to set up a room on the guest floor." Guest floor. Jesus.

We sit in silence as I watch the city lights go by. "Who's Tyler's girlfriend?" I ask, disrupting the silence.

"Excuse me?"

"Who's Tyler's girlfriend?" I ask louder, even though it pains me to think of the skinny rich bitch who's probably his official girlfriend.

"Oh." I look at her and she is reclined back in her seat, staring ahead. "He doesn't have one."

"But… he said he… had to go and meet her," I say incredulously.

"Trust me, I'd know if he did. He doesn't have one."

"Oh." I want to disappear, or just cuddle up with a tub of ice cream in my PJ's to watch Moulin Rouge so badly right now. My throat gets uncomfortably tight, almost painful. I can't cry here; I'll wait until I get to the guest floor. We arrive and the driver opens the door for Bella. I get out after her. We walk in and she turns to me with a smile. It actually seems a little sympathetic.

"What kind of ice cream would you like?" Can she read minds or what?

"Ehm… what kind do you have?"

"My mom is the loneliest woman in Manhattan; we have most Hagen-Daaz and Ben & Jerry's flavors."

"I like Chunkey Monkey," I say, because I do. She smiles at me, and it seems like she approves.

"We can sleep in tomorrow and watch something in the projection room tonight," she says. Maybe she's not that weird. I guess she can be nice.

"Do you have Moulin Rouge?" I ask.

"Of course we do. Who doesn't love a spectacular spectacular?"

That night Bella even tells me a bit about her summer and her boyfriend, Jasper, who likes to cook and plays polo. That sounds a bit gay, but by the look of his photo, he can also make you tingle all over and make your panties moist just by looking at you. That must be his saving grace. I devour a whole carton of Chunkey Monkey. She says it's because she hates ice cream. I find that very hard to believe. I even joke with her a little. She's not so bad actually, definitely trustworthy, I decide.

By the end of the night, I might even like her and I do trust her. I trust her a lot.


If you're looking for something to read, try Teenage Dreams by Belle Dean. You won't regret it.

I know I probably don't deserve it, but I some reviews would be lovely. And you quite possibly know this, but it's an awesome incentive to keep on writing.