Disclaimer: I don't own them. Sigh.

A/N: Thanks go to my amazing beta, whose enthusiasm for my stories keeps me writing. :)

Hope you guys enjoy and thanks for all the reviews last time. For those asking, All That Glitters will also be updated here soon, I'm just in the process of re-reading it and taking notes, because I forgot which clues you guys know about yet. :P

Thanks for your patience with my sporadic updates. Planning a wedding is so much harder than anyone tells you. Lol.

Chapter Twenty Five:

"You locked your door last night?" Anni asked me with irritation, moments after Gil had kissed me goodbye and made his way home, the next morning. She was in the kitchen, and it smelled like she was cooking, which in itself was pretty strange. She only did it when she was agitated, or high enough that the munchies made her too impatient to wait for pizza and too inventive for her own good.

I raised an eyebrow, moving down the hallway to the source of the question herself. "You like to creep into bed with us, and he would not be okay with it. It's different when it's just me, but with Gil spending the night…"

She rolled her eyes and scoffed, poking the sizzling bacon in front of her with a fork while the pancake in the other pan overcooked. "Please. You're pretty fucking uptight for someone who isn't even doing anything in there. Oh, wait, that explains it. Of course you're uptight; you're not getting laid."

I had never withheld relationship details from Anni, from the time we'd moved in together and some time before that, and certainly not the juicy, in-between-the-sheets kind of details, but this time… It just felt more private, than before. She didn't appreciate that Gil was different than the others, and that he made me think I could be different too. She didn't think there was anything wrong with us—she and I—and the way we lived our lives, but I did, and I didn't want to have to justify my newfound epiphany to her. It was easier if she thought I was in it for the sex.

Or, well, the potential for sex. I could not possibly describe last night in terms carnal enough to disguise how meaningful it had been; I would have to wait until we had dirty, raunchy sex, and tell her that was our first time. She thought he was gay anyway—what difference did a couple weeks make?

Instead, I gave her a wicked smile. "At least I'm not so desperate that I'm trying to trick my roommate and her boyfriend into a threesome."

A piece of bacon, still sizzling, flew out of the pan at me, spattering hot grease as it went, and though I dodged it, I felt the tiny pinprick burns as it flew by my arm. I scowled at her, about to ask if she was fucking crazy, but the look on her face stopped me. It was absolute devastation. For the first time I realized that her vitriol was not a tease. She was upset. Angry.

I felt my gaze soften, and wiped the burning grease from my arm as I stepped closer to her. "…Anni?"

"I would never lock you out." She said, in a tone that implied my actions had been tantamount to stabbing her mother. …Well, no, she would probably thank me for that. But if she didn't hate her mother, the actions would be comparable.

I sighed softly. "Honey, I wasn't trying to keep you out, he just… if he'd woken up this time, he would have been upset. He wouldn't understand."

"So? Since when do we worry about upsetting guys over each other?"

She eyed me with a pained expression, and I closed the distance between us, taking the fork from her hand, setting it on the counter beside the spatula, and pulling her into a hug. "Since never. I'm not choosing him over you, babe, last night was just… I would have been really upset if it had ended badly over something so little." I hesitated a moment, but she still looked upset, and I needed her to understand that I was not pushing her away just because Gil and I were getting closer. "…We, uh… did it last night."

She pulled back from me with wide eyes. "No shit?"

I grinned and nodded. "No shit. And believe me, it was worth the wait."

She snorted a giggle, and turned back to her food, clucking her tongue and tossing the burnt pancake and then ladling another onto the pan while I transferred the bacon from the pan onto a paper-towel-covered plate. "…How big?"

I grinned, but my stomach turned a little as I did. "Big." I replied, with emphasis, hoping that this answer would suffice. I didn't want to speculate in terms of inches, like we did on occasion. Not with Gil. It felt… It felt like an invasion of his privacy. What he shared with me was not necessarily what he shared with Anni, and while my other relationships might have expected as much from me, given my age, Gil held me in a higher regard.

He made me want to live up to the person he believed I was, especially where he was concerned.

She laughed, and didn't push, which I appreciated, but did insist upon the details I so did not want to give. And though it probably should not have been so big a choice to make, I agonized for long seconds, while pretending to contemplate the choice between milk and orange juice in the fridge, before deciding to lie. I would lie through my teeth. Partly because I didn't want to share last night with anyone other than Gil, and partly because I still wanted her to think it was about sex.

I felt guilty as I did it, because Anni and I didn't lie to each other, as a rule—it was one of the most refreshing aspects of our relationship, after having both lived lives full of lies—but I did.

"Oh god, you have no idea. I can barely walk this morning. He prefers from behind, and he is just ruthless with that thing. But, believe me, the pain was pleasure, if you know what I mean." I gave her a lascivious grin, hoping that the bleakness in my heart was not visible in my words or on my face. Gil could no more hurt me in bed than kill a man, and the deep eye contact had been one of the most defining features in my memories of the night before.

She giggled, and looked pleased, and took the seat at the table next to me, her bare legs brushing mine for a moment while she settled herself. We ate in relative comfort, while she questioned me on what kind of kisser he was and if he'd gone down on me and every other conceivable question under the sun. I tried to eat without feeling queasy, while I gave her the crudest answers I could think of. Thankfully, she had plans that afternoon with some guy she'd met—when I asked the inevitable, 'What about Todd?' she rolled her eyes and continued, without answering—and so the rest of the time she was home was spent listening to her gush about him. It sounded like he was more her typical fare—tattoos, a motorcycle, a criminal record.

I was relieved when she left so I could take a long bath and get ready for work in peace. When I went to apply my makeup, I was happy to see that I no longer looked pale and peaky without my usual heavy foundation and eyeliner, I actually looked… refreshed. Well-rested. My skin even looked a little peachy, despite my natural olive tones.

I called Gil before I left for work, hinting that he should come in to the bar to see me, and that I'd get him a plate of nachos on the house, but he seemed a little reluctant. He said he'd see, and got off the phone a little abruptly, and I left to work feeling a little less buoyant than I had moments before.

I wondered, uncertainly, if last night had not been everything to him that it had been to me. Maybe he'd wanted more of a vixen in bed. …Hadn't I tried that? I distinctly remembered him telling me to slow down… Maybe I'd slowed down too much? Or maybe I just hadn't been as good a lover as he'd had in the past. Maybe he'd been disappointed at my body, or my technique, or how quickly I came. Maybe he'd wanted… something more than I gave.

I sighed in frustration and slammed doors as I left my house, climbed into my car, and headed to work. For a day that had started out so well, it had turned pretty shitty pretty fucking fast.