FIVE

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His dick goes flaccid inside me. He doesn't pull out.

"Get off me," I whisper.

He's too slow, so I do it for him. The emptiness is alarming, I realize, and I sit up and adjust all my bikini straps, my back to his.

"Are we going to your room?" he asks.

I see him in the darkness, and he looks like child in a candy shop. His grin is fucking sparkling.

I pat down my bottoms. "In your dreams."

As I leave him I see his face. Absolutely priceless.

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I don't know what to do with myself, my body, my thoughts.

My body is all my clit is sore, my clit is sore, my clit is so damn sore.

My thoughts are all I'm so drunk, my God, I'm so drunk.

I'm gasping through my nose, nostrils flaring with each intake, as I march out the pool house. The heavy staccato beat of the music shocks me. It didn't sound so loud inside.

The high seems to be wearing off and intensifying simultaneously. I make my way farther out and in the process bump into two people who I know for a fact are not on my guest list but still managed to get in, cursing them off, and then into some plastic chair legs. I end up with white-purple scratches on my calves, and damn, they hurt.

I cradle them and plop down on my ass on the pool floor. Everyone is so into their dancing, chatting, hooking up, or whatever it is they are doing that no one looks at me weirdly.

I can feel my pupils dilated, and my throat is scratchy because of the Bacardi. Bacardi sucks. The air smells like Bacardi.

Yeah, the smell. It looks like someone mopped up the floor but it still reeks of beer.

My eyes tear up.

I bury my face on my gathered knees. My body shakes.

I can't even hold my face and rub my eyes as I'm crying quietly—my hand, chest, fingernails, and face all smell like semen, and it sucks.

"Get up," someone says.

"Rose," I say pathetically.

She narrows her eyes. "You're a poor excuse of Swan residence's glam queen. Bathroom now."

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Rose expertly sticks her fingers down my throat to get me going but doesn't hold my hair as I convulse and empty into the toilet bowl.

She's totally cool with looking at my vomit; actually, there isn't much to look at.

"That's my girl, going hard on an empty stomach," she says dryly. "Look at all that alcohol."

"Am I going to die?" I manage to gasp just before I go for the second time. My heart's pounding so hard. "Oh, my God, I'm going to die."

"No one's dying."

"I don't want to die!"

"Shut up and throw up."

In my drunken stupor, I secretly and stupidly wonder if Emmett's semen managed to climb back up my throat.

The thought makes me throw up all over again.

It's so violent that my eyes warm and water. I calm down soon, but they only water more.

I catch a whiff of the scent of semen on my body and hair again and I burst out crying. I hang onto the edge of the toilet, crying fiercely.

"Boring crossfade," I hear Rose mutter for the second time tonight.

But she forgoes the bitch slap. She flushes the toilet and turns on the shower.

She nudges me in. All the while I'm crying like an insane person.

"That's why you don't blow people on a whim." She scrubs my fingernails, drowns my hair on spewing water. She's getting wet too, and I feel bad. "You're blowjob-phobic, remember?"

That makes me laugh-cry.

She also forgoes questions on dick size, kissing skill, and fucking style because she's a smart one.

Her boobs keep running into my nose and I do the laugh-crying thing all over again.

"Your tits are so squishy," I mumble into her chest.

"Hush."

I keep laugh-crying.

I feel better when I smell like lavender.

She whips out mouthwash from the cabinets. "Now swirl this. It'll almost be like it never happened."

I love how she says "almost."

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"Em says her right is way bigger than her left."

The whispered words carry in the silent lab room, and I pause in the middle of writing "polysaccharides."

Everyone subtly turns to look at the girl whose right boob is bigger than her left. Their eyes zoom in on my chest.

"All power play. Don't get riled up," Rose mumbles, so casual in all her glory. "What's the symbol for Thallium again? I always get it confused with Thullium."

"Tl." I start writing again. "Who's getting riled up?"

Earlier, the same guy whispered that I have a heart-shaped birthmark on my pelvis. I guess Emmett deserves a lot more credit than I thought. For such a vapid guy he remembers a lot—in the dark too. And he's accurate. So far, nothing I heard is objectionable.

"I hear chatter." It's Pete, speaking distractedly as he types away at his desk. "Everyone's done, I'm assuming?"

Everyone quiets down.

I wonder what he thinks of me and then I wonder again if what he thinks even matters at this point. The thought upsets me.

He and I have been talking less nowadays too. I know he's wondering why; I think he's genuinely worried.

I just finish my notes. Even Pete's beautiful face isn't the right cure this morning.

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Pete says something about "oxytocin" and how it makes teenagers want to "copulate."

The class all laughs at that, and me too, and it's suddenly two minutes till the dismissing bell. He reminds us about the required teacher-assisting hours every semester.

"I need help preparing my chemistry lab tomorrow at seven in the morning. This one'll be accredited as two instead of one. Anyone available?"

No one makes eye contact with the teacher.

"No, really, man. He said she lets you stick it in wherever. Like, wherever."

It's deadly silent, and my face is hot.

"Ah, Eric," Pete exclaims, "thanks for volunteering."

The class erupts into snickers.

"What the. Mr. Hyde—"

"Seven on the dot, please. Class is dismissed."

Rose smirks, mumbling, "You do you, Peter Hyde."

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From afar, Ed and Maggie make their way in my direction. They're linking arms. He's carrying her backpack.

"You're the dumbest bitch ever." It's Rose. She doesn't even blink as she says this.

"Who's the dumbest bitch ever?"

I look at Jessica. "Me."

"What happened?"

"I'm boycotting sex."

"Is that a thing?"

Rose sighs. "Apparently."

"But you, Bella?" Jess presses.

Rose begins her second grilled cheese; I don't think she realizes this. "But what about soldier boy? He's a fucking Neanderthal. He wouldn't let you."

Jess is clueless. "Soldier boy? Who's that?"

"A nobody," I answer. "And I'm sure soldier boy has back up plans."

"Lovely." Rose smiles with her teeth. "Was he mad by the way?"

"About Emmett? Nope. He thought it was hot. He half-seriously suggested a ménage a trois."

"Guys, I'm so lost. Who's solider boy?"

"A nobody," I say again, then—brightly—"Hi, Ed."

Ed falters, and I get a kick out of that.

I grin up at him. "How are you?"

He goes from stunned to annoyed. Oops.

"Good. You?"

"Yeah, same. I just realized I never gave you a proper thank you for the best birthday present."

"I'm glad you like it."

"Love it."

He manages to smile. "I knew you'd like the book."

The worst of me takes over.

"I wasn't talking about the book."

I have never enjoyed silence more.

I wink. He spazzes out. Maybe I shouldn't have winked. I'm so glad I winked.

I smile at the cute little ginger at his hip. "Hey there, Maggie. I didn't see you."

Ed's eyes flash over to me. If looks could kill.

Maggie smiles back sweetly, asking how I'm doing, as if she's genuinely curious. She's good.

On the surface Ed and Maggie are made for each other. Her granddaddy's a retired Supreme Court Justice, and her dad is the most influential lobbyist of the century in Capitol Hill. Even their hair color and eyes match perfectly—some cruel people like Rose and me have this sick ongoing joke that they're secretly siblings.

Maggie is so cute and darling, all with that magenta hair sweetly teased into curls, those sweet green eyes, that sweet voice—she talks like a bird, although I'm not sure if that's a good thing. She's that girl every guy wants to date but says is too-out-of-my-league. She's candy personified.

I never liked candies.

She's not even that pretty.

"Thanks for the Broadway tickets, Maggie. I think I'm going to go with my dad."

She even laughs sweetly. I wish I had her cheekbones.

"I wish I'd gotten the chance to talk to you more at the party. But you and Ed seemed a little too busy arguing the whole time, so I thought, 'nah, not going to be part of that,' you know?"

Maggie's smile does not falter, and she subtly leans closer to Ed's side. That bitch.

"Well, Ed and I have to see a teacher for our recommendation letters right now…"

She sounds apologetic—that's funny.

"Right. Good luck with Yale. Yale would be lucky to have you." I act surprised. "Oh, are you going to be at Tyler's Halloween party tomorrow?"

"Yes, we'll be there."

We, she says. We.

"Great!" I grin. "Let's catch up then, okay?"

I just keep smiling until they can't see me. Oh, look, they're holding hands now. That's cute.

"That was hysterical," Rose says. She's not laughing though.

"Do you think they're fucking? Just look at the way they're holding hands," Jessica observes, curious. "It's like two sixth graders on their first date."

"Oh, he totally popped her cherry"—it's Rose—"hundred percent."

Jess sighs. "Lucky girl. I bet he treated her like a princess."

I stare at Jessica for a moment before staring even longer at Ed and Maggie. I'm strangely not feeling anything—I'm just staring.

They look happy. He's holding the door open for her.

"I bet," I whisper.

Rose frowns. "Who the fuck cares? That shit still hurts."

It was two years ago. She was fifteen. The guy was thirteen years older. She thought it was love.

"You, Bella?" Jessica looks at me expectantly.

"I agree with Rose. The guy stuck his dick inside my hole, and it was over."

Jess's eyelids flutter, and Rose pulls out a compact mirror to admire her beautiful face.

Looking into the mirror, Rose polishes her Sleeping Beauty lips, ever so occasionally looking over the rim at me.

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Mom turns the TV off without even looking at me.

"I was watching that," I say.

She stares me down, her soft pink fingers slowly tapping the sofa. "Go to your room."

I switch it back on. "I thought I was grounded to this house, not to my room."

She turns it back off. It's almost immature of her. Is this her idea of punishing me?

We hear the front door crack open. There are voices, Kim and Jared.

"Never mind." I get up and smile tightly. "You don't have to ask again."

I leave.

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The microwave comes to life and the pasta inside starts rotating. The continuity of the spinning is strangely relaxing.

I wonder where Jasper is. I know he's probably just out hanging out with Alice but I don't like that I see him less and less nowadays. She's taking my brother away from me.

I idly text him a string of inane messages. I hope I annoy him into texting me back.

On top of the ding from the microwave, I hear three distinct laughter from the porch. I gnaw at my lips. They bleed.

This time the front door rings.

"Let me get that, Renee," I hear Kim offering.

"No, no, you sit down and rest." It's mom. "Is that you, Jasper?"

I hope it's not. He never responded to my texts.

I poke my pasta. It's still cold on the inside. I put it back in the microwave.

"Hey, Bella."

The voice hits the wrong nerve as always, but I'd be damned if I let that show. I just push the buttons; the microwave wheezes.

A hand is on my shoulder. I freeze.

"Relax," he says quietly, "I'm just checking in on you."

The hand massages my shoulder and dips below my shirt and plays with my bra strap. Goosebumps. He notices. He likes.

The microwave dings again, and I reclaim the food. I reach for a fork, breaking contact with the hand.

He flips me to him, a little roughly, and I am startled.

"You're just going to keep ignoring me like that?"

"I'm sorry," I whisper.

"Is that all you know how to say? 'Sorry.' Every single time. We both know you don't really mean it."

"I'm sorry," I say again.

"Then show me just how sorry you are."

I look down.

"Your mom, brother, and Kim are having dinner out tonight. You're still grounded, and I told your mom I have a Skype conference so I'm going to stay with you."

My head snaps up.

"You know what this means. It'll be the two of us for the evening. Aren't you glad I did this?"

He reaches in my pants and grabs my panties. He tugs them up, and the fabric pinches my sensitive spot. I moan because it hurts. His entire hand disappears down my pants.

"You're not wet." He's disappointed.

"Sorry," I say the third time.

"I really liked the white lace you wore that other time. Maybe you can wear that for me again? I won't be seeing you again for a while after tonight, so I want it to be special. God, I'm going to miss this. You've always been so much tighter than—"

"Jared darling?" a feminine calls from the porch into the kitchen where I stand. "Did you find the crackers?"

"One moment, honey!" he says loudly.

I find a bag and pass it over. But he wouldn't go. He just looks me up and down. He smiles.

"Are you wearing these shorts for me? You're just begging for it, aren't you?"

I slowly look up at the face of my uncle.

He wants an answer.

Pathetic.

"Yeah." I turn my back to him. "I guess."

"Good girl." He's at my ear. "By the way, you're going to be punished for wrecking my car."

He goes after squeezing my hip.

Standing against the counter, I start my dinner. First bite, second bite, third bite, chewing, not tasting.

Laughter drifts in from the porch.

The smell of cheese is suddenly too nauseating. I rush over to the sink and hurl, convulsing violently. Nothing comes out.

Gritting my teeth, I flip the food into the trash. I throw the dish into the sink. It clanks so loudly I think I broke it.

I don't care. I walk out.

Someone is in the hallway. Sneakers, gym shorts, and muscle shirt.

"Ed? Why are you standing there like an idiot?" my brother says, running in just now. "Water's in the kitchen."

My eyes go from my sweaty brother, to Ed, and to the empty water bottle in his hand.

Ed has the strangest look on his face.

"Bella?" my brother calls me. "What's wrong with you? You look weird."

"Shut up." I look at my feet. "And you should check your phone every once in a while. I texted you, like, five billion times."

My voice just dies off. I don't sound coherent.

I run off to the stairs.

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I'm grounded. I'm going against the rules by going out.

But it's also going against the rules by not going out on Halloween night. I like that logic more.

I feel better tonight because dad is back.

Also, he's gone.

He won't be here for a while.

The music is pretty loud; I hear it already, as I turn left into the neighborhood.

I see familiar faces, tonight all in either slutty or horrible costumes, trekking up the street to Tyler's. I slowly drive my new car onto the side of the road.

I got stoned beforehand but the high is wearing off—I don't like it. My first stop is going to be the open bar.

Boys whistle as I let my car beep lock.

"Really, Charlie? Red is so not your color."

I stop short in my tracks. "Rose, where is your costume?"

"This is my costume."

"Slapping on some rhinestone pasties does not constitute as a costume." I pause, taking a step back to see her in fuller view. "What are you?"

"I'm a cop. Duh."

She does have the cop hat, I guess.

Rose gives me a look but it's not as fierce as it usually is—oh, she's drunk. On the other hand, a lot of guys give her a look—a very different kind of look.

"I've been deputized… by sluttiness."

She's the only girl I know who calls herself a slut.

"We're going to get drunk as a skunk tonight," she howls, popping her hips side to side in time with the beat of the music, "and embrace the teenage hookup culture with open arms and a push-up bra, bitches."

She's not normally this excited for house parties.

"You're giving them a view," I say, frantically patting down her barely-there shorts. Her ass is showing.

"Well, it's a nice view!" some guy shouts.

"Fuck off," I shout back. Rose just laughs—hysterically—though.

Fuck. It's her bad day.

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Randall scans Rose over the rim of his red Solo cup.

"I can see contexts where that costume is acceptable," he says.

"Yeah, in a brothel," I mutter.

His cheeks go up; he's grinning, big. I rarely see him do that.

"She's angry about something, huh," he suddenly says.

I freeze. "No, she's not."

Dancing next to the audio system, Rose is the center of attention. She throws her hands in the air and twirls, thrashing her hips. She's dancing with her drink so it's getting spilled everywhere. Her body's glistening. I see guys adjusting their pants.

"Yes, she is." Randall doesn't take his eyes off her. He's not looking at her curves though. "She's different tonight."

I met Rose in junior high. The girl I met then wore baggy jeans and didn't know how to say the "f-word." Her hair was always blonde but not perfectly blonde like it is now. She was chubbier too. She lost all her weight her eighth grade summer.

"Did she gain half a pound or something?"

My eyes snap toward Randall.

"My brother's a psychiatrist," he says like an explanation.

I'm about to refute what he's implying when I hear toppling. "Rose! Get off that chair!"

I rush over and receive her just as she loses balance. Her hair smells like vodka; it's sticky too. Is that ketchup?

"Have you seen my alcohol?" she sighs in my ear.

"You've had too much to drink. And obviously you can't walk straight. Maybe you shouldn't take a shot for like… fifteen minutes."

Randall appears and takes her from me, throwing her over his shoulder. He covers her ass with his hand. I don't say anything because something tells me he's not feeling her up.

He pops his body and adjusts hers on him. "She's, what then, one hundred pounds plus half a pound now?"

"Randall," I warn.

"Put me down," Rose says weakly. She pounds her fists on his back, also weakly. "I think I'm going to throw up upside down."

"Well, try to hold it in for a minute." He catches me staring. "I'll drop her off in one of the rooms upstairs."

"Why?" Rose is annoyed.

"Because it's easier for everyone."

I have to laugh at that. Randall reflects it—kind of. My eyes go back and forth between him and my best friend. I smirk this time.

"Sure," I finally say, "but I'm coming with you."

He shrugs. "Fine."

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"Dude, if I hook up with someone tonight it's going to taste like hotdog."

"What kind of hotdog, Rosy?"

"It's Rose. Sausage. Yeah, you like that, Randy?"

"What the fuck. And it's Randall."

"I'm so much nicer when I'm drunk. I should just be drunk all the time."

Her voice fades, and she's slurring her words and yawning. Randall stands behind me, arms crossed, looking almost bored.

"Go to sleep," I tell her. "I'll wake you up in an hour or two."

She curls in a finger.

I get closer.

"I want him," she says, sounding pretty damn sober.

"Who, him?"

"Yeah."

"You're going to regret this."

"No, I'm not."

"You're drunk."

"Trust me. The sober me and drunk me want this."

I glance over my shoulder at the guy in question. He curves an eyebrow. I shake my head. When did this happen?

I sigh. "You have a condom?"

"Oops."

I stick my hand down my breasts. I produce one.

"Always prepared," she says evilly. She hides it under the pillow.

I get up, ask Randall to take care of her for another minute or two if he doesn't mind—of course he doesn't mind—and I head for the door.

Before I leave I look at Rose one last time. The sheets are up to her pasties that she looks pretty much naked. He's trying—and failing—to look away from her cleavage. It's already almost game-over.

I hope she's okay.

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Downstairs I run out of luck and run into Emmett. By some miracle I don't end up ripping off his balls.

So he chats me up. I let him because I'm pretty much sober, and his drunken attempt at trying to impress me and eventually fucking me the second time is actually funny, not to mention pathetic. I play nice and smile at his lame sports jokes. I don't have to try hard. He thinks he has me.

I see Ed for the first time tonight. Then I see him the second time, the third time, the fourth time. By the fifth I realize that I am searching for him.

The first time, Maggie is at his hip. I'm not surprised that they're milling around together. There's Benji too, standing behind them, and Ed sometimes looks over his shoulder to shout over the music. He smiles occasionally.

The second time, Maggie's gone. He still talks to people—the smart juniors who want to be the next Edward Cullen—but nods distractedly. He doesn't really look at them because he's scanning the room—for his girlfriend, no doubt. He doesn't talk much. He refuses alcohol.

The third time, Maggie's back, and they're huddled in the corner. She's close to crying; she holds back from saying something before shaking her head no and looking off to the side. Dancers nearby take glimpses over their shoulders, exchanging shrugs and wide-eyed confused looks.

Ed grabs her shoulders and bend forward to see her eye-level. He's saying something quietly, smiling gently, and keep trying to meet her eyes every time she turns her head the other side. She goes back and forth from looking hopeful and upset.

I don't think he's looked over at me once this whole night.

"Such a spoiled crybaby princess," I spit out under my breath before turning my attention back to the jock in front of me.

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After his thirteenth shot, Emmett McCarty challenges me to beer pong. I say no. I'm not in the mood.

He's bombed enough to offer a pathetic deal. If he wins, I'm supposed to go to bed with him again—he says this aloud too. My pride gets in the way, and I accept. I forget the consequences.

He strips every single time he misses. I strip every time I miss.

I crush him out of pure luck. I lose my wings, hairpiece, heels, stockings, and dress along the way. He won't return them; I never took him to be a pervert, but that's fine. I keep the majority of his Tony Montana costume too; the jacket alone is big enough to cover the goods. I wish I were wearing nicer underwear though.

I'm kind of glad I played because now I'm sufficiently drunk. I'm a happy drunk tonight.

As soon as I get a hold of a good beer—Tyler's parents' probably—and pop it open I take a swig as if I haven't had enough beer already. I sit down in the kitchen because it's dark and empty, and no one will bother me here. Everyone always assumes the kitchen is locked up.

I belatedly count my drinks. The number's lower than my usual—plus it was all beer. But I probably took it too fast; my head swims like crazy, and I could fall asleep if I closed my eyes long enough. At this rate my liver's not going to survive my twenties. And my earring is missing. And my shoes are four hundred bucks.

I curse myself. And then I giggle. I start talking to myself. I stop for a second before doing it again.

I lean back and bump my head on the cabinets. I gasp in and out, feeling dizzier by the second.

Tyler and a random girl come in at one point. He sees my state, calls me an alcoholic, laughs hilariously, cracks a tasteless but funny joke, and generously tosses me an expensive bottle of whiskey because he "feels like it." He's always been a good guy.

"Pace," he warns before heading out the other way—to find a different place. "I don't want my parents to find a dead, puked-over body later in the morning."

I blow him a kiss. He catches and pockets it. I love him.

Dizzy, I brush sweat off my neck with the back of my hand. I go back to gazing at the ceiling, going in and out of my unconscious phase; I should've asked Tyler to turn on the lights on his way out. I can't fall asleep; I have to take care of Rose…

I smile to myself. It's nice being drunk alone.

I wasn't planning on opening the whiskey tonight but the person that walks in this time forces me to. He comes in from the backdoor. He brings in cigarette smell with him.

I don't look away from his eyes as I tilt my chin and swallow a big gulp of liquor.

I also swallow my pride. I crack a smile. "Hey, good-looking."

He can't act. "Hey, beautiful."

"Tyler gave me some whiskey." I pat the floor next to me. "Wanna join me?"

Ed acts like I never asked him a question and opens the fridge. He gets bottled water.

My stare slowly turns into a glare.

I wait for him to acknowledge the glare. He doesn't.

I want to punch him in the face and suck his dick. I don't know—I want some kind of exchange.

My mind flashes back to the night he got me off in my backyard.

"Asshole," I say under my breath just as he turns his back to me.

He pauses and faces me.

I smile big. "So you can hear me."

I spread my bent legs and part the Tony Montana jacket so that it falls off my shoulders. His eyes flick to my body and to my face.

My smile twists into a smirk. "And see me."

I take another swig. I don't look away from him. Some whiskey travels out of the corner of my mouth and down my neck. His gaze follows its trail.

I hold out the bottle. "Want some or not?"

I'm still smirking when he snatches the bottle and gulps it down like drinking water. I see his jawline and remember when I kissed its edge that other time.

I feel like very few people can pull off facial hair without looking like a molester. Ed is one of them. Why does he even date Maggie?

I pat the floor again. "Sit with me."

I reach for his hand with both of mine. I pull him down, and he gives in. He could have resisted.

He sits with one arm perched on his bent leg. Our shoulders touch.

I lull my head back.

This feels familiar.

"I heard your uncle left."

I stop short, the beer right at my lips. I nod.

He doesn't say anything else.

Yeah, I'm pretty sure he doesn't know.

He suddenly laughs, and it's really short and a lot like a snort. "What areyou tonight? You're not wearing anything."

"Have you seen Rose?" But I have to laugh too, looking down at my body. "I was a—quote—naughty fairy until an hour ago."

"What happened?"

I explain.

He's picturing this in his head, I swear. "You're lucky Jasper's not here."

"What are you? You're just in a really hot suit."

He grins slowly. "A Republican."

I'm laughing so hard that I'm rolling on the floor and end up on my stomach. His eyes flash down to my wet neck for a second.

My laugh dies with a lazy sigh. I'm lying on the cold tiles, spread-eagle. My skin prickles but I don't think I can get back up.

It's really quiet without my laughing.

"I don't like her." I have to say it. "I never did. But I like her even less now. I don't know why."

He knows what I'm talking about.

"She hates me too," I go on.

He smiles secretively. "No, she doesn't."

"She doesn't like me."

Now a grin. "No, not really."

I shrug. "I hate her too."

"She doesn't hate you," he laughs.

I prop myself on my elbows. I lose my breath when I see his slow gaze moving from my eyes to my rising and falling breasts. He bites his bottom lip, licks it.

"That dress was trouble," he tells me quietly.

I breathe harder now. So he was looking too.

"I'm glad it's off." He's teasing me.

I wish I were wearing my hot pink bra.

"You can touch," I whisper, and my hand rises to cup my breast.

His smile tightens. He looks away abruptly. "I should probably go look for Maggie."

"What, you say that as if you want my permission." I roll my eyes and look down at my bellybutton. "She was angry with you earlier."

"Still is."

I don't want him to get up. "Why?"

He looks right in the eye. "You."

I've consumed enough alcohol to go in for a kiss.

He kisses me back automatically as if he was waiting for it. His mouth and the way it moves are better than I remember.

I can tell he is a second away from pushing me away when the kiss slows and deepens, as if he's prolonging it.

When we part, we're still forehead-to-forehead, face-to-face, so, so close. His eyes pierce.

"I can't," he tells me slowly.

I almost sneer and straighten up. "Yawn. How cliché."

"I'm not going to cheat on my girlfriend."

"I hate to break it to you but you kind of already have."

His eyes snap at me.

I lift my face higher. "Tell me I'm wrong. You can't."

He sets the whiskey down. "I'm out of here."

"This is your fault." I sound like a bratty child but I have to say it. "You started it."

He keeps his head down.

And this is different, us two. I finally see that this is not the typical post-hook-up awkwardness. This seems more significant, like we grew up. We don't even joke around anymore as if we forgot how to; we see each other differently now. I used to belch at the idea of fucking him but now I salivate.

Obviously, his perspective shifted way before mine because he kissed me first, right? We suddenly went from flirt buddies, brother and sister, family friends to… I don't even know what we are now, but I know he's behaving like a selfish asshole. I tell him so.

He reacts to the insult with a kiss.

I immediately place his hands on my bare, slightly parted thighs.

He doesn't need any guidance from there.

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.

.

"Are you always this wet? Get on the bed."

We share the last of the whiskey. He throws the bottle on the carpet.

"Maybe. How do you undo this belt?"

"I got it. Now get on top. Jesus, I don't know how much longer I can do this."

I don't hide my smile. "Your girlfriend's going to kill me."

"Your brother's going to kill me."

"You started it," I whisper. "It's your fault."

This time he has an answer.

"I know."

He's not hiding his smile either.

.

.

.

Author's Note: Hey, all! It's been a while! If you are following my other story (All We Are), I apologize for the empty promise—I really should crank out a chapter but it's hard to get going after forty or so chapters. Freshman year was really intense (poor excuse), and I'm studying abroad this summer as well. I hope you liked the chapter! I hope I got the character chemistry right—let me know.

Sarah