Being More Social – Chapter 12

“Why the hell did it have to be here and now?” I ranted. “I don’t want him to be here. I wanted to get away from him. I feel like I’m no longer comfortable here with him around. Every time I try to leave my past behind it just comes back to haunt me in a different way.”

Mr. Salvador sat up attentively. “Did you just say there was a fight?” he asked me.

I blinked twice. “Is that all you heard?” I asked him, anger building up. “I thought you invited me here so I could talk about my feelings, not so you could document what’s going on around the school. I thought you were doing this to help, not so I could be your little spy.”

Instantly I regretted saying that as Salvador leaned back and lowered one eyebrow. “Adam, remember that first and foremost, I am your teacher.”

“Yeah, I know, I’m sorry.” I meekly interrupted.

“Like it or not, when you’re in this school, teachers are the authority, not students. And students do not get to talk to their teachers that way.” He continued.

“I get it. My bad.” I continued weakly.

“Stop talking.” He ordered. “Listen to me. I am doing this to help you. That doesn’t change the fact that first and foremost, I am a teacher, and I have certain responsibilities. If you didn’t want me to act like this, you shouldn’t have told me that there was a fight. Now, unless you want me to take this further, I’m going to need the name of the person you were fighting with. If you don’t know his name, I’ll need his description, and Mr. Scott will be notified. If need be, we can arrange some kind of protection.”

“I don’t want him to be in trouble.” I feebly managed. “It’s not that I’m afraid of him. Hell, I already told you I didn’t throw a damn punch at him.” As I recollected my previous rant to him, I thanked my lucky stars I didn’t mention that it was Matt who fought me, or why. “I just… Can we just please forget that I mentioned that?”

“Adam, even if I wanted to I’m not allowed to.” Mr. Salvador answered seriously. “I would be neglecting my responsibilities as a teacher in order to accommodate something I’m doing out of my own time to begin with.”

“We don’t have to continue doing this then.” I said, deflating a little bit more each second.

Slightly, Mr. Salvador raised his eyebrows. “I can tell you want to keep doing this.” he began. “Otherwise, you wouldn’t keep coming here. Are you telling me you’d go that far against your own wishes to assist someone who wants you to feel pain?”

“Mhm.” I hummed.

Mr. Salvador exhaled, loudly and lengthily. “Adam, it’s always good to help others, but there comes a point when it becomes self-destructive. You can lose yourself if you become too obsessed with helping others. Sometimes you need to help yourself.”

“And what if telling you his name won’t help me?” I asked him. “What if I have a weird history with him that I want to keep secret so badly that I would clam up like… like this instead of telling you?” No one said anything for a giant pause. “If I was worried about my safety, I’d tell you. I just don’t want this becoming the school’s business.” I continued, the silence making me uncomfortable.

Mr. Salvador sighed again loudly. “There’s two ways we could do this.” He concluded. “Number one, I tell your story to Mr. Scott and he takes this whole thing over. You’re asked to comply and for both your safety and the safety of others, he’ll find a way to get you to tell him.” He then, uncharacteristically, took his eyes off of mine and looked at the ceiling. “Number two, you leave right now, considering we didn’t just have a conversation and I haven’t seen you since your exam.”

Relief washed over me. “You mean it?” I asked incredulously.

“Don’t make me think about it, just accept.” He all but barked at me.

“I understand.” I said, quickly standing up and getting my backpack. “Thank you. Thank you.” I said, twice due to my overwhelming gratefulness. I didn’t think he would have done that, considering how by-the-book he was.

As I neared the doorway of his office, I heard him call, “Adam.” again.

“Yes?” I asked, turning around to see he was still facing the ceiling.

“I’m sorry to hear your past is bothering you.” He commented. “I know what it’s like to want to let go of something, but can’t. In my experience, moving forward is the only cure.”

I half-smiled. He listened more than I thought. “Noted.” I replied. “Goodbye!”

I walked outside his room and into the main hallway to see Nicole on her phone. Upon presumably hearing my footsteps, she looked up, smiled, and almost ran over to me, greeting me with a smothering hug.

“Hey, hotshot.” She sang as she broke off the hug. “I missed you.”

“It’s only been a day.” I lamely commented.

“Don’t ruin the moment.” She commanded, then looked my face over. “How are you feeling, is it healing?”

I shrugged. “I feel like it’s going away.”

“It sure doesn’t look like it.” She remarked aloud, clearly staring at the gash on my lip.

I lowered one eyebrow and stared at her. “Thanks. I feel so much better now.” I sarcastically replied.

“Good.” She beamed. “Now, can we get out of here? I’m hungry.” Not even needing a response from me, she began to walk down the hallway and I followed. “How does Burger King sound?” She asked me.

“If it’s with you, it sounds like a great time.” I said, half sarcastically, half sincerely.

She audibly groaned. “Easy there, Captain Cheesy.” She joked.

“Don’t ruin the moment.” I ordered with a smile on my face.

***

As the end of winter turned into spring, a lot of my past melted away with the snow. The student council seemed to all but forget what had happened between myself and Megan, save for one particular member, and now I was known as student council’s first ever Public Relations guy.

Matt never looked at me once during any of those meetings. Week after week would pass and every time I spoke or I was brought off, he’d suddenly become very interested in the wall. It became very clear why when during one particular meeting, after a fight had broken out between two freshmen, Phil went on a tangent about fights and how it lowers the school’s reputation. Trying to be as subtle as I could, I looked in Matt’s direction. Matt, his eyes somewhere else, no doubt noticed me, as was evident by the pink tone his skin had soon adopted.

I barely recognized what Megan had turned into when I stopped and thought about how she used to be. It wasn’t a bad change, but all of the little things started to add up. Before, during a meeting, she would diligently keep her head forward, seemingly believing she wasn’t worthy to chime in and be one of the gang whenever the council shared a joke. She would only speak when spoken to. Suddenly, she seemed a lot more loose, and a lot less lacking in confidence. I almost missed the days where she was shy and practically jumped when someone talked to her, but at the same, I was glad to have seen her grow. I never did put much thought into how her little get-together with Carson went, but I can imagine it went well, considering how confident she was.

The more school I experienced, the less classes meant to me as the weeks went on. I began to notice less and less what was happening in class, and noticing more and more what was happening outside of class. Training with Nicole in the weights room, karate, student council meetings, even just hanging out with friends… I began to see why some kids did this every day in junior high.

Weekends were no exception. I tried to fill up my schedule to the best of my ability. I had years to catch up on.

“So where are you off to this morning?” Dad asked as he got a coffee mug out of the cupboard.

“I’m going to hang out with Carson.” I simply answered, taking a bite out of the toast mom had prepared for me that morning, looking past the table, through the window and outside, admiring the changes that came with April.

“Carson…” Dad repeated, filling his mug. “Did we meet him? Has he visited here before?”

“I don’t think so.” I answered. “He lives near the school, so our house is kind of out of the way for him.”

“How are you going to get to his place then? You’re not walking, are you?” Mom, ever the worrier, piped up.

“Don’t worry, mom.” I soothed her. “Nicole is going to be driving me.”

“Aw, that Nicole.” Mom said warmly, looking over at dad. “She is such a sweetheart.”

“She’s certainly something, that’s for sure.” Dad remarked, joining us at the table with his mug in one hand, opening up a newspaper with the other.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” I asked him.

“Well… She’s…” Dad struggled with the words, then looked at me with his trademark serious expression. “She’s kind of freaky.”

Shocked that dad would say something like that, I turned to mom, who solemnly nodded. “Freaky?” I repeated.

“In a good way.” Mom soothed me. “We’ve just never met someone like her.”

“You barely know her.” I retaliated, my tone starting to reflect how I felt towards someone calling her ‘freaky.’

“Do you?” Dad asked. “You’re really quick to tell me you’re not dating her. Yet when she comes by, it’s like you’ve known each other for years.”

“My God, dad, you’re right.” I replied, my tone full of wonder, dropping my toast. “After all, friends couldn’t possibly act like that. I guess the secret’s out – I’ve been seeing Nicole since grade 2.”

“Don’t get sarcastic with me.” Dad lightly ordered. “That’s my thing. If you don’t want to talk about it, that’s fine, but I really want you to be open with us, and your mother and I… We feel like you’re hiding something from us.”

I turned back to mom, who nodded with a completely serious look on her face. Half of me felt outraged, and the other half felt guilty. The two halves were separate entities – How dare they think I was keeping secrets from them?! I was, but still, why would they think I was? I was a good kid.

“Nicole is the most transparent girl on the planet.” I lied. “You’ve met her, so you know her for who she is. There’s nothing more than that to her.”

“C’mon, Adam.” Dad replied. “All people are at least kind of complicated. Even me.” He put his newspaper away. “Besides, we’ve met Nicole all of three times. The first time, she knew our names before we could introduce ourselves, then you two spent a few hours in your room, alone.”

“We kept the door open.” I lied smoothly. “You guys were just never upstairs to see that. I promise, we didn’t do anything.”

Half acknowledging me, half ignoring me, dad continued. “The second time, she told us that she was visiting because she wanted to get you into video games. An hour later, she’s with us at the kitchen table giving us tips on making quarterly payments for our taxes while you were upstairs playing Call of Portal or whatever it’s called.”

I grinned to myself. Around mid-March, Nicole and I were exhausted after a vigorous training day. We went to my place and skipped all foreplay – I had her bouncing up and down on top of me within minutes. I was so exhausted, I blacked out seconds after I came, and awoke to both her and myself, completely clothed, on my bed. When I asked her what she did while I was passed out, she said “Giving financial advice to your parents.” I totally thought she was kidding.

“You don’t even like video games.” Dad pointed out, pointing an accusatory finger at me.

I shrugged. “Nicole has a way of making them fun.” I lamely remarked. “She’s very convincing.”

“The third time, we barely saw you two before you disappeared upstairs. Then we didn’t see you two at all.” Concern filled his face. “Adam, it’s okay if she’s your girlfriend. Really, it’s okay. And depending on what you two are doing up there, we’ll accept whatever it is. But your mother and I would feel a lot more comfortable if we knew just what you two are up to.”

“And what if we’re just playing video games upstairs?” I asked him coldly. “Why do you think I’m lying to you?”

“Well, number one, you’re dipping your toast in your orange juice.” Dad dryly pointed out. My eyes drifted down to note that my hands had become really fidgety. “Number two, don’t forget that I was young once. True, I didn’t have the same experiences as you, but I know how to be a teen. I know you from the inside out.”

“Oh, come on.” I teased him. “You were a nerd.”

“I was a better nerd than you.” Dad fired back.

“Good one.”

“Now don’t change the topic.” He ordered softly. “Your mom and I will be okay with it if you come clean, but we’d like to know what our son is doing. Is Nicole doing drugs with you? Drinking? Are you two having any kind of… Well, any kind of sex?”

I tried to keep my face as blank as possible. Dad shouldn’t have revealed that he was reading me, because I was concentrating on making myself unreadable.

“Oh, now, Timothy.” My mom softly scolded him. “He’s only fourteen. Maybe he’s doing drugs, but I don’t think he’s having sex.” She turned to me. “Although asking if he’s kissing her isn’t out of the question. We just want to know. For our own sake.”

If only she knew, I thought to myself. Thinking at a mile a minute so my silence didn’t give me away, I mulled it over in my head. ‘Should I tell them?’ I asked myself. If I told them, it would totally be out in the open. Nicole’s parents knew about it. My parents told me they’d try to accept it. Nicole and I could be ourselves around them. And it was true, my parents were the best. I didn’t enjoy lying to them. It made everything needlessly complicated.

At the same time, I couldn’t shake away the implications of my mom’s comment. I’m only fourteen, I thought to myself. To her, sex wasn’t even a thing I should have been doing. It wasn’t even a possibility to her that I could be having it, which made telling her all the harder to do. She couldn’t even accept the idea that I was having sex, let alone the fact that it meant nothing to Nicole. If I told them she was my girlfriend, they’d bring it up around her and she would have some objections. Plus, we really would have to leave my bedroom door open. And if I told them we were having casual sex… Nope, not even an option.

I shook my head. “There’s no kissing.” I answered, and turned to dad. “And definitely no drugs. Or drinking. I thought you knew I’m not like that.”

The guilt card didn’t work on dad, as I should have known. He shrugged, putting on a soft face but still challenging me with his eyes. “I don’t presume.” He answered simply.

Just then, a lightbulb turned on above my head. Thinking on my feet, I swiftly added, “You know she had a boyfriend until recently, right? Phil Love. Head of student council. I’m not a homewrecker. And she’s not into drugs.” I pointed out.

“Alright, alright, take it easy.” Dad soothed me. I didn’t respond, but he sighed and continued. “Look, we’re not dumb. You’re our son and we love you, and we also know you. I know you’re growing up so you think we couldn’t possibly know you, but news flash, we do. And we know there’s something happening that we don’t know about. And as parents it’s our duty to be nosy, because if you act as secretly as you do, we can’t know for sure whether it’s something we should know about.”

I visibly shrunk in my chair.

“And lying about it doesn’t make anything better.” He added, a tone of slight annoyedness to his tone.

The familiar honk of a Ford Focus broke me out of my bubble of anxiety. Breathing a sigh of relief, I stood up and quickly swallowed the last of my toast. “She’s here.” I managed to say through my last mouthful. “I’ll be back for supper, okay?”

Instead of dad letting me go, my heart sank as he shook his head meaningfully. He pointed to my chair. “Sit down.” He ordered humorlessly. “She can wait.”

My parents and I never fought. We never had any kind of serious arguments. I was downright scared. I could barely feel my limbs as I slunk back down into my chair. I could feel my breathing quicken as I felt my now unfamiliar anxiety coming back to me.

Looking into my dad’s eyes, I attributed them to something I hadn’t before: fear. It felt awful. Feeling like my parents weren’t on my side was downright awful. I felt unsafe. Like my world became a lot less stable. Like the house was more unwelcoming.

Dad studied my face for a second. “Nicole really likes to get inside other people’s heads, doesn’t she?” He asked, not bothering to hide that it was leading up to something. I could only weakly nod. “Let’s turn the tables then. She doesn’t get along well with her parents, does she?”

“Why would you ask something l-” I started. Dad cut me off with a raised hand and a stern expression.

“Just answer the question.” He calmly ordered.

“No.” I weakly responded. “She doesn’t.”

“I can tell.” Dad replied, leaning back into his chair. I glanced at mom. Her expression was noticeably sad. Dad was angry that I was hiding something, but mom was sad. Disappointed. Like me hiding something from her was a failure of hers and that I was making her sad just by how I acted. It tore me apart. The longer I looked at either of my two parents, the worse I felt.

Dad cleared his throat and continued. “In high school, you are who you hang out with. Ever since you started hanging out with Nicole, usually you’ve been happier and more confident. That’s great and we’re happy you are. And we mean that.” He looked over at mom, who just nodded. “But you’ve also distanced yourself from us. You’ve become more secretive, and it’s gotten to the point where… Where we miss you.”

Miss me. They miss me. This was getting hard to listen to.

Dad opened his mouth to speak again, but noticed I was too busy thinking about what he had said. “Are you even paying attention to me?” He asked incredulously. He looked over at mom, who just looked down. “He’s not, is he?” He asked her. She didn’t respond. Dad looked back at me with a look that told me he couldn’t believe me, couldn’t believe what I was doing. “I guess I’m wasting my time then.” He said, getting up. “When you’re ready to be mature and talk to us, tell us. We’d love to talk to you. Until then, we’re clearly getting nowhere.” He walked over to the coffee machine, getting himself a second cup. After, he turned to look at me. “Have you seen Nicole and her parents in the same room? I’m sure it’s very glamorous. Is it something you want? Because you’re on the right track.”

“Timothy, that’s enough.” Mom finally spoke up. Her voice was quivering. “Maybe that topic is sensitive to him. She obviously means a lot to him. No need to bring that into our house.”

Dad blinked twice, looked at mom, then back at me. I couldn’t any longer be unreadable – I’m sure my face was a projection of just how uncomfortable I was. “You’re right.” He admitted. “I’m sorry. That’s no business of mine.” He sighed and sat back down at the table again. “I just… I just want to say something that will make you talk. I’m trying everything I can here, because I want to know. We want to know.”

I said nothing. Dad took a long swig from his cup, and cleared his throat. “Tell you what,” He began, “Let’s start with something small. I only will ask one question. One question, okay?”

I nodded weakly.

“Is there something going on that you’re not telling us?” Dad asked.

I inhaled slowly my mouth, and swallowed hard. Closing my eyes, I slowly nodded.

“Okay.” Dad simply said. “Thank you.” He waited until I was looking him square in the face, and did something I had barely seen before – smiled. He was clearly making himself do it, especially since judging by the way his smile looked, he never did it unless he had to force it, but the feeling behind it was still there. “You can go.” He added, gesturing to the front door with his mug.

I looked from dad to mom. Mom still had a sad expression painted on her face, looking down at the floor. I looked back to dad, whose gaze seemed fixated on the kitchen table. Taking it as a hint, I slowly got up, and, as if in a trance, put on my outdoor shoes. It felt like my body was moving on its own as I walked outside and got in Nicole’s car.

“Holy shit, Yertle the Turtle.” Nicole complained as I shut the door behind me. “Could you have been any slower? You’re lucky I didn’t reconsider and go back home.”

“Sorry.” I mumbled as she backed out of the driveway. Upon hearing my response, she glanced over at me and put the car into park, still in the driveway.

“You okay?” She asked me.

I felt stupid for having to hold back tears. This was stupid, this was small, this was nothing to cry about, I had told myself. I was crying way too much as it was. It seemed like anything anybody ever did in first year was cry, and I wanted to be the pillar of strength so badly. “Do… do you…” I asked, trying to keep my voice from cracking. “Do you ever wish your parents and you got along?” My voice was an octave higher by the time I had finished my sentence, and I was breathing heavily to stop the tears from flowing.

“Whoa-ho, new development.” Nicole remarked, taking off her seatbelt, undoing mine and holding me in an embrace. I accepted it immediately, burying my head into her chest. “What’s going on, hotshot?” She asked me softly. “Trouble with your parents?”

I was breathing deeply, but had succeeded in not crying. I just nodded, knowing the motion of my head would be enough of an indication.

“Well, welcome to my flippin’ world.” She remarked dryly, not knowing the sting the truth of her words caused.

“That’s not helping.” I managed to say into her shirt.

“Yeah, well, it’s the truth.” She replied. “When you get older, your parents just lose their touch.  At first I thought it was because of family problems, but seriously, you’ll see in a few years. My parents don’t get me at all.”

“My parents don’t trust me anymore.” I said, detaching myself from her.

She chuckled. Taking my detachment from her as a sign to continue driving, she put the car back into reverse and looked behind her. “Yup, that’ll h-”

“It’s because of you.” I bluntly said, interrupting her.

I had never seen Nicole caught off guard so greatly. She stopped mid-sentence, her eyes widened, and tried as her lips did to form new words, nothing was coming out of her mouth. She faced the front again and put the car back into park. Taking her hands off of the wheel, she placed them on her legs and turned to face me. “Excuse me?”

I still fought my emotions as I continued. “My parents and I are really close, and they noticed I’ve been getting distant, and… Dad knew. He asked me if you had a bad relationship with your parents. He thinks you’re rubbing off on me.”

Nicole stared at me as if I told her the school was bombed. “You get into a small fight with your shitty parents and your dad instantly blames me?” She asked incredulously. “Holy shit. Find me someone’s dad that likes me. Find one. You can’t do it. Fuckin’A.”

“I’m scared, Nicole.” I managed.

“Get used to it.” Nicole replied, losing all emotion in her voice. “It’s gonna get a lot fucking worse from here. I’m not going to stop hanging out with you just because your dad’s on his fucking period.”

“It’s because we’re hanging out.” I explained. “Mom and dad noticed all the time we spent in my room and asked me if we’re doing drugs or having sex or something. They equated having sex with being boyfriend and girlfriend, so I lied. I couldn’t tell them we’re having casual sex. They would never understand.”

“So, your parents think you’re hiding something from them.” Nicole reasoned. I nodded. “And you are.” She concluded. I nodded again. “So what’s the problem? Other than daddy-o thinking it’s cool to blame me for him being a shitty dad.”

“Nicole, live in my world.” I practically begged. “I trust my parents a lot. They trust me a lot. This isn’t your fault, but I don’t want to make them distrust me like this. We need to do something.”

“Do something?” Nicole asked. “Like tell them about all the sex we’re having?” She lowered an eyebrow. “Then they’ll ask about when I became your girlfriend, then you’ll tell them I’m not. Suddenly I’m not allowed over. I have to sneak through the window. We get caught.” She pretended to make an explosion with her hands. “Yeah, you’re right. It’s the only way.”

“I don’t know what I want to do yet.” I mumbled.

“You just want to do something?” Nicole offered. I nodded. She threw her head back and sighed. “Fine. I’ll fucking think of something. But the running theme of you crying all the fucking time and me saving your ass is getting old, fast. What the hell would you do without me?”

“I wouldn’t be in this situation if I was without you.” I replied without thinking. “I also wouldn’t have had sex with Megan.” I nearly added, ‘or May,’ but had the common sense not to say it out loud.

Realizing what I had said, I suddenly whipped my head to look back at Nicole, who was staring straight at the wheel. “I mean…” I lamely started.

“No, you’re right.” Nicole responded softly, with an worrying calmness to her tone. “None of this shit would have happened if I didn’t start it. I’m sorry.” She turned to me and gave a small smile. “I’ll do something to fix stuff up with your parents, squirt.”

I was borderline horrified with myself. “Nicole, I didn’t mean…”

“It’s okay.” She interrupted with a noticeably weak voice. “I started it. It’s the least I can do. I’m sure you want that relationship with your parents back.”

I bet she does too, I thought to myself as I looked down. I couldn’t find the moral energy to do anything else. Silently, Nicole began the long drive to Carson’s.

***

When Carson saw me again outside of school it was like no time had passed, and no awkward ‘I fucked your girlfriend’ events had transpired. So as we began to hang out more and more in the spring, I felt more and more comfortable around him, to the point where I could actually forgive myself enough to talk openly about our love lives. Carson, of course, didn’t really have that problem to begin with.

“You, uh…” He began, eyes on the screen as he continued to dominate me in our Halo match, “You still close with Megan?”

“Yeah, I think so.” I simply answered as I threw a plasma grenade in the wrong direction. “Oops. Yeah, we’re still close. We still talk and stuff. Her brother is kind of sore that I broke things off with her, so we don’t really hang out outside of school, but yeah.”

He shot me in the back, signaling his victory, and gently put the controller down on the table. “I wanted to talk to you about her.”

Here it comes, I thought to myself. I had to suppress my ‘I know what’s coming’ smile as I followed suit and put the controller down. “Yeah? About what?”

“Well, uh… I mean, you haven’t been together for a few months so I figure it’s cool that…”

I feigned ignorance and smiled. “Oh man, are you two dating?”

“Oh, fuck no.” Carson spat out. “I’m not fucking dating anymore. No chance in hell. I am kind of… Fucking her, though.”

“Kind of?” I asked him humorously. “What, is it with the lights off?”

Carson breathed a noticeable sigh of relief that I was taking the news well. “I’m full-on fucking your ex. I just didn’t want there to be any bad blood or anything.”

“Nah, man, it’s cool.” I waved him off. “It’s not like she’s mine or anything. I hope you guys are having fun.”

“Well, I figured since you’re honest with shit, I should be too, you know.” He pointed out. “You know what I’m talking about.”

My shoulders hunched up a bit and Carson sat up a little more. “Nah man, don’t be guilty.” He protested. “What’s past is past. What’s in the now is a horny… and I mean horny… little girl. Why the fuck would you give her up?”

“There’s more to a relationship than sex, you know.” I quipped.

“Good thing I’m not in a relationship.” He replied lazily. “I like this. She’s so shy on the outside, but holy fuck, it’s like she was built to be rammed. She gets off from blowing me, you know that?”

“Interesting.” I sarcastically replied.

Carson grinned. “What’s wrong? Was she never like that with you?” He stretched, not bothering to hide his muscles in the process. “Guess I can’t help being such a sexy hunk, huh?”

I only laughed in response, but he continued. “No, I mean it. I don’t mean to be full of myself, but I think I changed her. So like, she’s normally really shy, right?”

I nodded.

“But that’s the thing. You know how this whole thing started between us started?” He asked me.

I chuckled. “She sent you a text out of the blue after a few days eyeing you in science class, saying she wanted to have casual sex with you?”

The look on Carson’s face was priceless. Shock, disbelief, then thought, then bashful acceptance. “She tells you a lot more than I thought.” He mumbled.

“Not exactly.” I said, not able to control my beaming smile at that point. “I sent that text. I set you two up.”

“Say what, Jack?!” Carson replied in disbelief.

I chuckled again. “You aren’t the only person she likes having casual sex with, dude.” I began. “Megan and I have been going at it even since we broke up. Like, a lot. I was her first, but she got really kinky with me too. Hate to burst your bubble, but it’s not just you.”

“Well, shit.” Carson replied dejectedly. “So why’d you play Cupid with her?”

I shrugged. “We were talking about casual sex and I encouraged her to pursue it, y’know, not feel tied down to me.” Carson nodded. “So I asked her who she wanted to sleep with, and she said you.”

“Damn right she did.” Carson replied with a shit-eating grin.

“Shut up.” I quipped. “But as we both know, she’s really freaking shy. So I borrowed her phone and sent you the message.”

“Oh, fuck. Gross.” Carson winced. “I got turned on over your fucking offer, not hers.”

I laughed. “You should be thanking me. Otherwise she never would have acted on her urges for you. She would have had to settle for just me.”

“Oh, dude!” Carson said excitedly, sitting up attentively. “We should totally have a threesome with her.”

“Woah, what?” I asked him. I did not expect that.

“Come on, it would be so awesome. I don’t swing that way so it’s up to you and her to get yourself off, but come on. Megan would make an awesome spitroast.” He replied, keeping up his enthusiasm.

“You are twelve kinds of screwed up, Carson.” I replied. “I think I’ll pass. I’m not as kinky as you.”

“It is a hard life…” Carson mock admitted.

“Plus, I don’t think I’ll ever be ready to see your dick.” I jokingly added.

“Ah, right, you’d get too jealous. Gotcha.” Carson replied, not missing a beat.

“Fuck you.” I fired at him.

“Get in line.” He fired right back.

From the corner of my eye, I could see movement. I turned my head to see Jenna, her face twisted into her usual look of disapproval (frankly, a blank face would be twisted for her), peering from around the kitchen wall. She’d been eavesdropping. With my eyes, I alerted Carson to the situation, who just annoyedly sighed loudly.

“Jenna, can you stop poking around?” Carson asked loudly. “In fact, can you fuck off?”

Jenna emerged from the kitchen and folded her arms. “I can’t believe you.” She told Carson condescendingly. “If I tell dad what I just heard…”

“…Then he’ll put on a show for you, tell me not to do it again and nothing in this house will change?” Carson asked obnoxiously. “Just like the last… seventeen times?”

“Megan should mean more to you than a hookup. Did you even hear yourself? The way you asked to have a threesome like that, it was like Megan’s a piece of meat to you.” Jenna pointed out.

“Woah, woah. She’s more than a piece of meat.” Carson defended himself, throwing his hands up in defence. Breaking out into a grin, he added, “She’s a prime cut.”

“You fucking pig.” Jenna yelled at him. “I can’t believe I have to share a house with you.”

“Hey, bark at me from your high horse all you want.” Carson retaliated, picking up his controller and turning back to the screen. “But Megan never complains. Hell, she likes it when I treat her like that. She says it turns her on.” Triumphantly, he turned to Jenna and grinned. “So it can’t really be a problem if you’re complaining for someone who’s happy with the way things are.”

“She isn’t happy with it!” Jenna yelled again, her face turning red. Man, did I ever hate yelling. I shrank back into my chair as she continued. “She thinks she is, but-”

“But what? You think because you spend so much time on fucking Tumblr, you get to say you know people better than they know themselves?” Carson spat, standing up. “Grow the fuck up. The world isn’t the politically correct wet dream you want it to be. If she says there’s a problem, then there’s a problem. If she doesn’t, there isn’t. It’s that simple.” He sat back down again, regaining his composure. “You don’t get to speak on behalf of her. You don’t even fucking know her. Just because you two both happen to be girls doesn’t mean you know what she likes.”

“And because you take advantage of her, you do?!” Jenna asked him furiously.

Carson blew a raspberry. “Take advantage. Sure. You think ‘rape’ is when guys stare at girls on the bus. You think ‘sexual harassment’ is a girl wanting to blow a guy then getting upset at him afterwards for not wanting to hold hands.”

Oh, shit. Oh, god dammit. No fucking way, I thought to myself, as I buried my head into my chest, bending my neck as I did so. Maybe I was biased, but Carson just lost a lot of validity with that point. I don’t know whether it was because I saw firsthand how that crushed Megan, or because Nicole had convinced me I was a monster, but I was entertaining the thought of being on Jenna’s side at this point. Actually, no, I was on no one’s side. At this point, I just wanted them to stop. There was so much yelling, and nobody was right. There was too much yelling. Today has just been a series of yelling, I thought to myself. I wanted to go home. Shit, no I didn’t. My parents were there, and they didn’t like me. Nicole was upset, all thanks to me. I didn’t even know where I wanted to go. I just knew I wanted to go.

When I lifted my head again, it was clear that my thoughts were powerful enough to drown out a good portion of the argument.

“She just likes sex, sis. Accept it. If you can’t accept that I sleep around, at least accept that she does. After all, she’s a girl. According to you, you share a fucking telepathic link.” Carson concluded. “I could be having this same conversation with her in the room. She wouldn’t mind. I’m not the problem, you are.”

Jenna snorted. “Pigs. That’s what you are, Carson.” She fired icily, then turned to me. “And you too. I thought you were better than this.” With that, she huffed and left the room.

Carson said something after her, but it was muffled. Was I a pig? Did I treat Megan right? The more I thought about our history, the more smiling memories came to mind, but the more a resounding ‘no’ answered me. Ignoring her at the dance, having her blow me, cheating on her then never telling her the full story, treating her as a glorified sex toy… Shit, even my fucking nickname for her was ‘fucktoy.’ She smiled at the end of all of it, but… I was awful to her. I was awful. I made her like this. Maybe she wanted to feel used because that’s how I made her feel. Like her only worth to me was for sex. After all, that’s when we really connected. Matt was right. I turned Megan into a slut. Worse, I turned her into a slut who gets off on feeling used, because that’s how her first boyfriend, me, made her feel right as I gave the sexually charged girl an orgasm. Shit. Shit, shit, shit.

“Dude.” Carson interrupted me from my thoughts.

I shook my head and looked at him. He was looking intently at me. “Yeah, I’m fine.” I lied.

“Don’t lie to me, dude.” Carson told me. “You can’t let her inside your head. She just gets off on making people feel like shit.” He snorted and looked off to the direction where she left. “I dunno what her problem is, but don’t think for a second what she said is true. Remember, she doesn’t know you. Or Megan. Honestly, fuck Jenna. Fuck her. Yeah?” He looked at me expectantly.

“Yeah. Fuck her.” I said with conviction, putting on enough of a show to seem convincing. On the inside, my feelings were in a warzone. Today was going on for way too long.

***

It was a slaphappy comfort to know that some things didn’t change – Paul still liked to screw with my head just as much as ever. It didn’t seem to make a difference to him that we hadn’t seen each other in months. As I walked down the humanities hallway around the end of lunch period, he came from where I was heading and extended an arm to block me from walking further.

“Woah there.” He simply said, turning in an over-exaggerated manner to face me. He had some kind of imitation black leather jacket on that accentuated his ridiculously histrionic poses. “I wouldn’t. There’s a drama alert blaring down that hallway, and it’s on DEFCON 2.” He paused and looked at the side of my head. “You get a new haircut? You look great. Catch you later.” Without another word, he casually resumed his swaying Stayin’ Alive waltz down the hallway as if the conversation never happened. I stared at him for a few seconds in disbelief, then promptly ignored him as I turned the corner, ever closer to my history class.

Closer to seeing when the heck Paul was on about, too. As I turned the corner I saw a decent-sized crowd gathered around May and… Baseball Kid, of all people.

“You can’t do this to me!” May loudly protested as I joined the crowd. “Who do you think you are?!”

“What’s going on?” I quietly asked one of the on-lookers.

He turned to face me. “Jack’s dumping this chick.” He answered. “And she isn’t taking it too well.”

That certainly didn’t do it justice. You could actually see May’s shoulders rising and lowering with her breath. She certainly was a beautiful creature, though. My hormonal teenage mind couldn’t help but drown out her yelling and focus on her chest, and remember the perfect nipples her breasts had.

My mood turned sour as I remembered the situation in which I saw them – the party. Cheating. Out of reflex to do something physical to distract myself from the thoughts of how terrible a person I was clouding my thoughts, I coughed loudly. The same spectator shot a look at me.

“Sorry.” I mumbled as he turned back.

“May, look, it’s over. No need for this drama.” Baseball Kid said, turning to walk away from her.

“No. Please, Jack. I can’t. I need you.” May desperately retaliated, latching on to his arm.

Jack laughed. “We’ve been going out for like a month.” He remarked, and shook her off.

May steamed like a kettle over an active volcano as Jack walked away coolly. “I hate you!” She shouted after him. “You were an awful boyfriend!! The worst!” She turned away from him and faced the crowd. “Go away!” She yelled with a rapidly dwindling anger, one that I could tell would soon turn to sadness and regret.

The crowd didn’t dissolve, as expected, and still wouldn’t until about twenty seconds after. The crowd had gathered around May to watch her meltdown like she was a circus act, and a teacher rounded the corner. Mr. Graves, I quickly realized.

“Class starts in a minute.” He sternly ordered. “You all have somewhere to be.” The crowd quickly left, leaving him, myself, May, and a few students at their lockers.

“Ms. Stevens, you made quite a scene today.” Mr. Graves told her. “I’m going to need you to come with me please.”

May had curled up into a ball on the floor. Her face was buried between her knees and her feet were firmly on the ground. Upon slowly looking up to see Graves, her legs caved in more. “No.” She weakly responded.

“It wasn’t a suggestion.” Mr. Graves informed her, outstretching a hand. “Come on.”

“No, please.” She repeated. “I’m fine. I’ll be okay.”

Graves was persistent. “You don’t seem to be perfectly happy when you’re sitting down in a hallway crying when you should be in class. Not to mention, you caused a public scene. We’ll just need to talk this over with Mr. Scott.”

“I don’t want to.” May argued, yet staying as submissive as possible. “Is there any way I could just stay here? Please?”

“No.” Mr. Graves responded. “Ms. Stevens, I really don’t want to have to physically drag you to Mr. Scott’s office, but I have the authority to do so. Come on, come on.” He persisted, making a ‘come hither’ motion with his fingers and speaking with the kind yet stern tone all old male teachers seem to have mastered.

May shook her head. “Please.” She softly repeated.

For some reason, I felt an overwhelming urge to help. My instincts were telling me it was a good idea not to get involved and that gumming up the works would only land me in trouble, but for some reason, I couldn’t shake the determination to help May out of my mind. I thought quickly, and realized I had an advantage. From where I stood, because Mr. Graves had to turn the corner, he probably didn’t see me yet, since he just advanced towards May. Seeing he had his back to me, while thinking on my feet, I tiptoed away from the arguing duo until I was out of sight, then walked swiftly and loudly up to Mr. Graves.

“Mr. Graves!” I called out to him.

He turned towards me with an irritated expression. “I’m afraid this will have to wait.” He told me simply.

I shook my head. “I was sent here. You’re needed as a supply for room 203, the regular supply couldn’t make it today. Mrs. Luciano said she would take care of May. She thought it might help if a woman convinced her to go to Scott’s office instead.”

Mr. Graves was a man of reason. All math teacher were. To him, I had only turned the corner, and thus came across this scene, now. Thus, there was no way I could have known May was to go to Scott’s office unless the teachers told me so. After all, it’s not like I heard their earlier conversation or something.

“I see.” He replied. “Very well. I’ll stay with her until Mrs. Luciano arrives.”

I shook my head. “She’s along as we speak. I was only sent because they want you to move to the classroom now. Otherwise the students may think class is cancelled and walk out, causing disruptions for other students. I was asked to come supervise her for her until she comes, since she knows I’m a responsible student. They know I’m out of class – I have a note.”

My lying caught up with me. If it weren’t for that last sentence, I would have woven the most beautiful lie of my life, but of course I had no note on me. I struggled to keep a poker face as Graves, without missing a beat, asked, “Could I see the note?”

“Sure.” I said, pretending to rifle through my pockets as my mind ran a 12k marathon. I feigned confusion then frustration as I remarked, “Shoot. I think I left it at the office. Want me to go get it?”

Mr. Graves looked briefly at May then back at me. “I’ll trust you. This situation isn’t that serious, I suppose.” He looked back at her. “Make sure she doesn’t leave your sight. If she does, it’ll be at Mr. Scott’s office. I’ll be there after school to ask about this, so I hope this isn’t an attempt to save her, Adam. This is a highly irregular order for a grade nine student.”

“I understand, sir.” I replied. “Don’t worry. If Mrs. Luciano isn’t around, I’ll make her go to his office myself.”

“I think I’ll be speaking to her later too.” Mr. Graves added. “This request sounds too strange.”

Inside, I was worried, but didn’t budge. “I’m not worried.” I told him. “I’m just following orders.”

Mr. Graves lowered an eyebrow, but nodded. “I guess then I’ll follow mine.” He stated, and walked down the hallway.

When he was gone, slowly and meaningfully, I took a few steps towards May, then sat down in front of her, facing her with a stone-cold serious look on my face. After about ten seconds I couldn’t take it anymore and broke into a grin. “Too easy.” I told her.

May practically melted onto the floor in relief. She exhaled loudly and threw her head down onto her knees. “Thank you, thank you, thank you.” She breathed.

“Happy to help.” I replied.

“But… Why?” She asked me.

I never stopped to consider that it really was something big I was doing. Not only did I risk getting caught, I was pretty much definitely going to be in trouble for this. And yet in a heartbeat, I did it. I would have loved to say it was because it was what was right and that I was helping a friend, but an interesting revelation caught up with me – we’d love to say we’d help our friends in situations like that, but it was completely different to be in that situation, watching it unfold. If it weren’t for one thing I saw clear as day when she talked to Mr. Graves, I wouldn’t have done what I did.

“You were afraid.” I simply answered, looking up at the ceiling. “I saw the fear on your face. Remember when I was breathing heavily before our drama performance? I get panic attacks. They used to be really bad. I know how terrible it feels getting nervous or anxious or afraid of facing something you’re not ready to face can be.”

I looked back at her to find she had reburied her head between her knees. She didn’t need this right now – I was just talking about myself. I understood school well enough to get this scenario – I was understanding the content and able to restate it, but I wasn’t applying what I knew to make the correct decision.

“Enough about me.” I remarked, and instantly she perked up, raising her head. “What can we do to make you feel better?”

“Why does no one like me, Adam?” May simply asked me, in a very sad voice. Not knowing how to respond, I scooted over next to her and hugged her.

“I’m still a good person.” She said, mostly to herself. “Right?”

“I wouldn’t be able to tell you.” I shrugged. “Up until now, I didn’t even know you were dating Baseball Kid.”

“Who?” May asked, looking at me with a weird expression.

I forgot that people didn’t know the nickname I made for him in my head. “Uh… Jack. I call him that because of the hat.”

“Jack’s an asshole.” May sank her head down again.

“You thought I was an asshole when we were in a similar situation.” I reminded her lightheartedly.

“Not helping.” She mumbled into her knees.

“Right. Sorry.” I scooted up right next to her and formed the same position, knees inward. “He still liked you though.”

May scoffed. “Yeah. Liked. Past tense.” She lifted up her head to reveal an angry expression on her face. “People like me before they know me. That’s how it works. Because I have a pretty face. Because I have these.” She held her hands up to her C cup breasts to prove a point. “When I’m a quiet, submissive girl, everyone loves me. But that’s just, like, a mask I throw on. When I know people well enough to trust them, I take the mask off, and everyone – everyone – leaves me. You’re taught to be yourself, but you’re just screwed if you are, because then you have to reveal to the world that, news flash, I’m flawed. And people can’t take that.” She looked down at her feet. “How can I open up to people and have friends if people just see me as the innocent, quiet girl with big boobs? When I reveal myself as anything more, people just… Lose interest. Fuck, I’d rather be fat again. At least then I knew where I stood. Now I just have to constantly pretend to be someone I’m not just to have people like me. And then, it’s not really me they like. They just like what they want from me. Who they want to see, not a human being.” She sunk lower onto the floor. “I want to leave.”

“I don’t imagine Mr. Scott’s room is where you want to leave to, is it?” I asked dryly. She looked over at me lazily and shook her head no. “Yeah, I figured.” I muttered to myself.

May sighed. “Sorry I’m such a mess.” She mumbled. “It’s not your fault.”

“I don’t mind being a friend.” I said to her, smiling. She briefly returned my smile.

“It’s Carson’s fault.” She muttered. I looked at her in slight shock, and was about to ask why when she spoke again. “Who am I kidding? It’s my fault. Carson didn’t make me give my body up to him.”

“Wouldn’t have shocked me if he did, just saying.” I dryly interjected.

May chuckled sadly. “Yeah, he was a horny bastard.” she let silence fill the halls before she spoke again. “I just… I really wanted someone to fall for me, not my looks. Someone who wants to learn about me, who likes me for what I do and who I am, not what I could do or who I could be. I don’t even know why I trusted Carson so much to be that person when he was always just looking for sex. I guess it’s like there were two Carsons – the real one, and the one I made up in my head, the one made of hope, just so I could justify what I did with him.” She smiled to herself. “Damn, that was good. I should write that down.”

“Well done.” I told her with a slight chuckle.

“But what’s the point?” She continued. “It’s high school. Guys just want one thing. It’s stupid.”

“Hey.” I said and she turned her head to me. “Real talk?” I asked, and she nodded. “I used to have the world’s biggest crush on you.”

“Yeah, I know.” She replied softly, taking her eyes away from mine and staring intently at the walls across the hall. “You weren’t exactly good at hiding it.” She chuckled. “You used to have a heart attack from me talking to you, and you were always staring at me.”

“Shit, was I?” I meant to only think that, but the words spilled out of my mouth. May giggled and rubbed my knee supportively.

“I didn’t mind.” She said sweetly. “It was nice to have someone crushing on me. I just didn’t want to string you along because shy guys aren’t really my thing.”

“Uh-huh, sure.” I replied, smirking at her. “We almost kissed during a drama rehearsal at your place, remember?”

“Yeah, but we didn’t.” May fired back with a slight smile. “So your argument is kind of pointless. Not to mention, you were kind of scrawny. I mean, no offense or anything, but I did choose Carson for a reason.”

Wow. That was bold, I thought to myself. My old self would have been torn apart if he knew his looks were what prevented him from getting his dream girl. “I was your first choice for the dance, not Carson.” I reminded her, keeping up my humorous tone.

“No need to get defensive.” She replied. “And truth be told, you were actually like my last resort. I asked out a lot, and I mean a lot, of guys before you. Most of them wanted to go solo, so I figured I was hunting in the wrong crowd.”

Okay, now she was pushing her luck. “So Carson asking you out was a divine gift?” I asked, putting a bit more energy than I normally had to into my light tone.

She chuckled. “Sure, why not.” She replied. Her hand moved from my knee to my chest. “I have to say though, you totally shaped up this year.” She added slowly and meaningfully. “You went from a shy geek to a pretty good-looking guy, you know that?”

She began tracing my muscles, and I could only raise one eyebrow in response. I bet May was used to getting what she wanted growing up – telling me I was basically useless to her until I got muscles wasn’t bold, it was rude. I don’t think she could even hear her own words, or just figured I would go with it.

“Maybe I’m looking for too much with guys.” She continued, still dragging her words a little due to either genuine nervousness, or a flirty fake nervousness. “I should stop expecting a guy to treat me like a princess, and instead treat my body like a temple. You get me?” She giggled.

“I’m not sure I do, May.” I replied flatly.

She giggled naughtily. “I like when you play hard to get.” She purred. “Maybe I don’t need a boyfriend. Maybe I need to let emotions go and just go for something more on-the-fly. You know, like a fuck buddy.”

“I can’t answer that for you, May.” I told her, finding it easier than ever to control my libido around her. “That’s something you need to figure out for yourself.”

“God, I was hoping you’d say something like that.” May grinned. “Because I think I want one. And I think I want it to be you.” She leaned over and kissed my neck slowly and sensuously. “After all, I already know you’re good in bed. What do you say?” She asked.

Oh, May. She thought she had me hook, line, and sinker. If it weren’t for that last line, I might have even entertained the thought. It sure sucked to be her. “Hold the fuck on.” I said forcefully, pulling her off me. “Did you seriously just use the time you coerced me against my will to have sex with you, then blackmailed me to not tell anyone about it, as an example of a good time?”

May was completely caught off guard, and it was a delicious sight to see. “Well… uh…” She stuttered, the cogs turning faster than usual in your mind. “I mean, in the moment, we enjoyed it, so…”

“You know, I find it cute that you basically just told me my whole presence to you was just to stroke your ego until I started working out.” I said, my tone reflecting the fact that I knew I had the higher ground. “I had a huge crush on you, and you knew. Yet I was a last resort to you. A last fucking resort. That’s cute.”

“I…” She started, eyes darting from side to side. “Maybe I shouldn’t have used those exact words. I’m sor-”

“No, you totally should have.” I interrupted her. “Because you meant it. Every word. I’m glad to know where I stood with you. It’s beautifully ironic that you were complaining that people only like your face and boobs, because you didn’t care about me until you saw my muscles and dick. It really fits.” I stood up. “You know what’s funny? I did it for you. The muscles, the working out, I did it to impress you. And now seeing that it did impress you, only now do I realize how meaningless it fucking was.”

May’s lower lip was moving without her realizing. “You meant more to me than that.” She quietly protested. “You were a friend.”

“Yup. A blackmailed, forced, contacted-only-when-you-needed him friend. A friend you tried to punch in the face when you didn’t get your way. A friend you tried to seduce when you felt unsatisfied because fuck his feelings. And then when you feel lonely and he’s the only guy willing to listen to your feelings, you seduce him again because you’re lonely and want to feel validated by a guy who isn’t scrawny. Well, this guy is saying no. How does that feel?”

She put her head down between her knees. “Why are you yelling at me?” She asked quietly.

Part of me felt bad for her, but this was beyond the point of no return. “Because I just guaranteed getting myself in trouble for you, all for you to tell me my body is the only part of me you see. Don’t like guys staring at your tits? Well, welcome to hypocrisy. It’s a bitch, ain’t it?”

May started hugging her legs tighter, curling up into a bigger ball. “This always happens.” She complained with a quivering voice. “I open up to a guy, and he does this. This is my problem. All of the guys in my life are dicks.”

I leaned before her and reached forward. I found her chin and pulled her face up so I could look her right in the face. “No, May.” I told her. “Your problem is you’re the least self-aware person I met. When you find you have flaws, you blame someone else. When others tell you about them, you blame them for ‘being dicks.’ You were being rude to me. Own it. You were a bitch to me, playing with my affection for you. Own it. You blackmailed me. Fucking own it.”

“Can you stop fucking bringing that up?!” She shouted, swatting my hand away. “I get it. It was a bad decision. I regret it, okay? I don’t like being reminded of it. I can’t move on if you keep dragging me down by reminding me.”

“I’ll stop reminding you when you stop using it as an example of a good time.” I replied, standing back up and offering her a hand.

She took it gingerly and got up. “Fine.” She huffed. “I have flaws. I get it. But so do you!”

I laughed. “Yeah, I know. That’s the difference between you and me. I own up to my flaws. I accept them and move on. When you’re confronted with your flaws, you find a way to blame someone el-”

“I get it.” She interrupted. “Just… Fucking stop.” She paused, and we stood in the hallway for what seemed like an eternity. Finally, she sighed. “I’m sorry.” She weakly conceded.

“That’s a good start.” I replied with a smile, and went in for an embrace. She hugged me back, pulling me in close.

“I…” She began shyly. “I meant the whole offer for a fuck buddy. I’m sorry I said all of that stuff, but even though I don’t think I’m ready for a relationship, you are really attractive to me.”

I broke off the hug. “I think I’ll pass for now.” I replied. She huffed and looked at the floor dejectedly. “Just being honest.” I added. “In the future… Who knows? For now, though, let’s focus on you learning to function by yourself first. Sex doesn’t have to be the solution to everything. Hell, I think we’ve both seen that it creates more problems than solutions.”

May sniffled. “You were being really condescending back there.” She pointed out.

I sighed. “I was, wasn’t I?” I conceded.

“And cheesy.” She added. “No, May.” She added, deepening her voice to imitate mine.

“Alright, alright.” I threw my hands up in defeat. “Point made. I’m sorry too.” We both stood there for a long time, just looking at each other.

“This means I’ll have to see Mr. Scott, doesn’t it?” May asked sadly, after a while.

I nodded. “He’ll come after both of us if you don’t get down there, and I’m in enough trouble as it is.” I pointed out.

“Fine.” May conceded, beginning to make her journey. I followed her.

***

I approached Ms. Luciano after I made sure May made her trip to Mr. Scott. When I neared the room, I noticed it was empty and she was on her spare. When I knocked on the door she nearly jumped.

“Oh, Adam. Hola.” She greeted me, her earlier scare still evident on her face. “What can I do for you?”

“Hey, Ms. Luciano.” I greeted her back. “Odd request. Mr. Graves is looking for me, so if he comes by, could you just tell him that I delivered May to Mr. Scott’s office?”

Como?” She asked me, confused. “Why would he ask me about where you are?”

“It’s a long story.” I informed her. “To be honest, I’m kind of confused by this whole thing too. I think Mr. Graves is under the impression I’m doing something I’m not, or I’m doing something he asked you to do, or you asked him to do what I’m doing…” I felt downright malicious playing not only one but two teachers, but if I knew two things about Ms. Luciano, it’s that she was easily confused and easily overwhelmed. And being in trouble wasn’t fun – I wanted to avoid that to the best of my ability.

“Okay…” She said slowly. “If he comes by, I’ll tell him you dropped May off with Mr. Scott. I suppose.”

Gracias, Ms. Luciano.” I beamed. “You’re an awesome teacher.”

She smiled at the compliment. “De nada.” She replied, her smile quickly turning back into a look of confusion as I left.

***

“Woah there,  Muhammad Ali.” Nicole exclaimed as I started a set. “We’re the only two people in here. Who are you trying to impress?”

I didn’t answer until I finished my set, then put the barbell down. “What are you talking about?” I asked her, wiping my face with a towel as I sat up on the bench.

“Besides your tendency to end your sentences with prepositions?” She asked me with a wink. “You were pumping that thing like you were trying to save your life. I mean, how much does this thing weigh?” She walked around to the side. “You could hurt yourself.”

“You were spotting me.” I retorted. “I’m not a kid.”

“And you’re being defensive too.” She replied. “Did you have a difficult day? Did May take off with another guy again?”

I tried to keep a poker face. “I don’t have a crush on May anymore.” I told her flatly.

She looked me straight in the eyes and grinned. “Too little emotion.” She told me. “You’re hiding something.”

“It’s more like I don’t see how any of it is your business.” I replied, lying back on the bench and breathing heavy, preparing myself for my next set.

“You are my business.” She replied, as smoothly as ever. Before I had a chance to grab the barbell, she reached forward and started playing with my hair.

“C’mon, Nicole.” I told her, interrupting my breathing to shoo away her hand. “Quit it.”

“What? Sorry for caring.” Nicole replied with her signature seductive voice. “Besides, it’s not like there’s anyone else in here.”

Right on flipping cue, a knock on the door shook us both from our conversation. We both looked at the door, then at each other.

“That was a whole new level of stupid irony.” Nicole commented dryly as she started for the door.

“Your life is a sitcom, isn’t it?” I asked her.

“It has its moments.” She grinned at me before opening the door. She had to pull the door back, so I got to be the first to see the door open to reveal Phil.

“Yo, Nicole!” He greeted her. “I thought I’d find you in here.”

“Hiya, Philly.” She greeted him warmly, and gave him a hug. Despite my own jealousy, I had to smile – it looked like the two had worked out their differences.

“And Adam! What are you doing here, little man?” He asked me.

I gestured around me. “Playing cards.” I replied dryly.

Phil turned to Nicole. “You should stop hanging out so much with him. He’s starting to sound like you.” Without waiting from a response from her, he walked over to me and gave me an enthusiastic fist-bump. “You lifting now?”

“It doesn’t show, huh?” I replied in a mock dejected tone.

He laughed. “Quit putting words in my mouth.” He leaned down and looked at the amount on the barbell. “Sheeeit.” He murmured, then turned to me. “Not bad for a freshman. You thinking of trying out for the wrestling team next year?”

I shrugged. “It’s just a hobby.” I remarked. “Keeps my mind off of things.”

“Oh yeah?” Phil asked. “Like what?”

With that, Nicole cleared her throat loudly. “Did you come here to badger him, or did you come to ask me something?”

Phil chuckled. “Always want the spotlight on you, dontcha?” He asked her teasingly.

“It usually is anyway.” Nicole replied, fluttering her eyes seductively at him. “So what do you need?”

Phil turned back to me for a second. “I actually wasn’t going to ask you this with Little Mac in the room, but anyway…”

“You just said I wasn’t bad for a freshman!” I protested, standing up, giving up any illusions that I’d get to do my third set.

Phil turned to Nicole. “He doesn’t play video games, does he?” He asked her.

“I’m working on it.” Nicole replied. “Anyway…”

“Right. Anyway, it’s time for the Love family year end party again, and I was just wondering if you’d be down.” Phil continued. Nicole gave him a look, and he beamed. “Don’t worry. Jeff’s gonna be out of town. You won’t see him there.”

Nicole’s look of disapproval turned to a smile of her own. “I’m down.” She grinned. “Am I allowed to bring Mike Tyson with me?”

“How many frigging metaphors are you two going to come up with?!” I interjected.

“Uhh…” Phil started slowly, moving his eyes up and down over me. “I mean, I guess. He probably won’t know anyone, though. The only freshmen that got invited this year just got in through families.” Nicole gave him another look, and he smiled and threw up his arms. “Sorry, freshmen are lame.” He shot a look towards me. “No offense, buddy.”

“None taken,” I replied casually, used to the classism of high school by now. At this point I joined them, wrapping my towel around my neck.

“So who are they exactly?” Nicole asked him.

“Let’s see… We got Natalie’s little sister, Swanson wants to bring his little brother along, Matt’s bringing Megan with him, and I think Paul’s cousin wants to come too.”

“That’s a bit of a stretch, isn’t it?” Nicole asked him as if they were debating politics. “If we get into cousins we may as well invite anybody.”

Phil nodded. “Yeah, I thought so, but I mean, it’s only gonna be-”

“Ew, fuck.” Nicole interrupted. “Paul? Can we blacklist him?”

“Why?” Phil asked, folding his arms.

“Because he’s a fucking creep, that’s why.” Nicole answered him. “Calling it now, he’s just gonna sit in a chair all night and look at everyone. That’s what he does.”

“So? Why does that affect you?” Phil asked her. “He deserves an invitation as much as you do. People are people, Nicole. It’s not fair to play favorites when you’re representing all of the students.”

“Oh, grow up.” Nicole responded, folding her arms. “We’re in high school. Of course we’re gonna play favorites. And since we are, if my opinion matters, I don’t wanna see him there.”

“It’s funny how you’re telling me how to run my own party.” Phil replied, a small smile creeping onto his face.

“You guys are cute.” I sarcastically grumbled. “If you need anything, I’m gonna hit the showers before we go. Okay?”

Nicole turned back to me and nodded. “No problem.” She confirmed.

Phil turned to me too. “So, you want in?”

I had already started walking at this point. “Uh…” I started, not being good with being put on the spot. “…Sure.” My mind was not on the invitation, truth be told. My mind was fixated on the fact that Megan and May were going to be at the same party, and one way or another, that was definitely going to turn into a disaster.

“Cool. See you there.” Phil grinned at me, before turning back to Nicole and resuming their argument. As I headed to the showers, I suppressed a smile. Nicole was totally going to win. She always did when it came to arguments.

***

“As Student Council, you’re supposed to treat all students with respect.” Nicole mocked Phil as she bitterly drove us to the party. “What a bunch of bull. As if everyone deserved to be treated equally. News flash, Phil, some dudes are just assholes. Here’s a thought, maybe we should treat them like assholes. That might get the point across.”

“You are bitter, aren’t you?” I asked her.

“Oh, does it show?” She asked me sarcastically, rolling her eyes. “Fuckin’ Phil. Mr. Goody Two-Shoes. He thinks he’s such top shit for… For…”

“Treating people with actual respect?” I finished her sentence, smiling at her.

She gave me an evil smile back. “I could turn this car around if I wanted to.” she reminded me. “If you ever wanna have sex with me again, quit sounding like him.”

I looked outside the window, chuckling to myself. “What, he’s a turnoff for you now?” I didn’t get a reply, so I looked back at her. Her smile was gone, her back was stiff and she was intently staring at the road.

“Oh, sorry.” I mumbled. “I didn’t think that was still a bad subject. You two seemed to get along well.”

“No, it’s not that.” Nicole replied, her tone reflecting her drop in mood.

“What is it?” I asked her curiously.

“How are your parents doing? Still angry?” She asked.

I sighed. “This again? Nicole, please don’t hold this against me. Or think that it’s bigger than it is or something.”

“Well, it meant a lot to you at the time.” Nicole replied flatly. At least she didn’t sound sad anymore.

“They seem cool with me for now.” I replied. “They didn’t have any more questions when they found out you were driving me, or that I was going to a party. I mean, they had the usual advisory stuff parents say… ‘don’t drink too much,’ ‘make smart choices…'”

I turned back to her to see her still intent on the road. My cheeks flushed slightly and I suddenly felt like I was talking too much. “Sorry.”

“For what?” She asked, turning to face me.

“I dunno. Mentioning it.” I replied. “I feel like it’s a load for you. I don’t want to make you guilty. I want to make you happy.”

Her plain face broke out into a slight smile. “Don’t get yourself too worked up there, squirt.” She told me. “It’s a party. No need for heavy stuff tonight. Just enjoy yourself.”

“Are you gonna be okay?” I asked her.

“No, Romeo, I poisoned myself.” She replied, losing the smile and rolling her eyes again. “God, everything’s so dramatic with you.”

Loosening up, I replied, “I prefer to think of it as adventurous.” Nicole smiled, but didn’t respond, so, like an idiot, I continued. “You’re really sad lately.” At this point I was thinking out loud. “I feel like I’m at fault. That’s all.”

She nodded. “So you’re feeling bad about what you say, because anything could set me off?” I nodded without saying anything. “God, you’re a tool.” She continued, rolling her eyes. “I’m just feeling a little stressed lately, that’s all. Big decisions, your normal stuff. It’s not like you have to handle me with kid gloves. I’d appreciate it a lot more if you treated me like a girl rather than a China doll. If you touch me, I won’t break.”

I poked her shoulder to make a point. “See?” She asked me. “I’m not breaking down in tears, am I? I’m allowed to be sad, but I don’t want that to change how you talk to me. I just want you to be patient. Can you do that for me, squirt?”

I nodded. “I can try.” I answered.

She smiled. “Thanks. Now loosen up – tonight isn’t about all that shit. Tonight’s the night you’ll learn what a real fuckin’ party is like.”

We arrived a few minutes later to find the place already booming. Cars lined up Phil’s street and even from a few houses away, we could hear the music.

I glanced at the car clock. “We’re early.” I commented. “It looks like the party started hours ago.”

Nicole chuckled. “Welcome to high school, freshman.” She replied. “At parties, ‘early’ means ‘on time.’ ‘Late’ means ‘I think this party is lame but have no other plans.’ ‘On time’ means ‘I still don’t know how parties work.'”

“Sounds… Stupid.” I honestly replied.

Nicole shrugged. “You get no argument from me.” She opened the door and got out, waiting for me to follow suit before locking the car, which I think was vibrating from the music being blasted from one of the nearby houses – presumably Phil’s house.

“Is there going to be a noise complaint?” I asked.

“I doubt it.” Nicole replied, looking around at the houses. “He’s had the volume up higher before and never gotten a complaint.”

“Are all of his neighbors deaf?” I asked. “I almost have to shout over you and we’re not even there yet.”

“Calm down, you big baby.” Nicole responded, smiling at me. “It’s gonna be a great time. Phil is legendary at parties. He knows what he’s doing.” Her smile turned into a grin. “Plus, I’m here too, and I think I know how to make you have a good time.”

“And how are you going to manage that?” I asked her slyly.

“I’m sure I’ll think of something.” She replied just as slyly, reaching down behind me and grabbing my butt. I yelped in surprise and Nicole lost it.

“Not funny.” I mumbled sourly.

“Hilarious.” She retorted, still laughing slightly. By then, we had made it to Phil’s house, and Nicole invited herself in. Meekly, I followed.

The place was simultaneously open and large, and a packed mess. We were only in the foyer and yet the place was packed. “Oh, God.” I muttered aloud, as I started to wonder why I came.

Nicole somehow heard me over the crowd and pounding music and rubbed my back sympathetically, smiling at me. Just as she stopped, Phil happened to come through the doors and spotted us.

“Nicole! A-dawg! Stoked you guys could make it.” He happily greeted us, giving Nicole a hug and fist-bumping me. He stank to high heaven of weed. “Make yourselves at home. What’s mine is yours.” He grinned at us then promptly left, leaving Nicole and myself standing there.

“Shall we?” Nicole asked me.

“I think I have a headache already.” I complained in response.

Nicole sighed and shook her head pityingly. “I hope you’re not gonna be a burden like this all night long.” She replied. “Come on.” She took my hand and guided me through the foyer door into the main hallway.

I had to say, Phil’s family was pretty damn well off. His house looked really lavish from the inside. Everything was clean, well lit, polished, and it reeked of luxury. I liked it, but at the same time, knowing how much better his house was than mine for some reason made me uncomfortable. I didn’t have too long before Nicole led me into another room, and shut the door behind us.

Slam. With that, the music was almost completely gone. I almost couldn’t believe it. I thought my ears stopped working. It was louder outside the house than in this room. I looked around and saw a poorly-lit white room with a drum kit and some kind of booth with a computer inside.

“You have a tendency to be a bit sensitive about these things.” Nicole started as she walked lazily towards the drum set. “So I figured this should be the first room I show you. This is Phil’s drum room.”

“Where’s… where’s the…” I began to ask, still confused.

Nicole laughed. “It’s almost fully soundproof. This was Phil’s birthday gift from his folks when he turned seventeen.” She explained, sitting down at the drums. “If you ever get overwhelmed by the sound and the people, that’s what this room is for. Not a lot of people will come here, given Phil’s rules about this room are no shouting, no drinking and no sex.”

“Sex? In here?” I asked, looking around.

Nicole chuckled. “Are you sure you’ve been to a party before, squirt?” She asked me. “Parties are like designated fucking and drinking nights for high schoolers. And the older you get, the more you seem to want. And the weirder stuff you wanna do, including weirder and weirder places. If Phil didn’t seal off this room from fucking, we would’ve interrupted a few unfortunate fuckers when we came in.” She took his drumsticks and began doing a small solo in perfect 4/4 timing.

I waited until she was done, then shrugged. “You popular people are weird.” I commented lamely.

She put the drumsticks back and stood up. “You’re not exactly unknown, you know. Like it or not, you’re student council, went to a party and word is, you’re known for fucking around.”

I turned bright red. Did Nicole know? Did she know about May? If she knew about May, she would have killed me. No wonder she brought me into a soundproof room. No noise came in, but no noise came out. She could say, or do, anything she wanted in here. She was going to kill me. I could feel it.

I had no clue what story my expression told, but seconds later Nicole’s eyes bugged out. “Jesus Christ, squirt, calm down.” She ordered. “Jeez. It’s not like you blowing Megan and then kissing May is news at this point.”

I breathed a sigh of relief, hopefully with the ‘relief’ point unbeknownst to Nicole. She didn’t know. Good. She would have killed me if she knew I cheated on Megan, even if I told her the whole story. “Anyway, my point is, for a grade nine, you’re pretty popular. Sex news spreads fast at our school.” She looked at her nails smugly. “Before I showed up, our school was pretty vanilla, you know.”

I laughed nervously, still riding down the panic I had suffered earlier. “Oh yeah?” I managed to ask calmly.

She nodded enthusiastically. “I mean, I took me a good long while until I came outta my shell, but when I did, man, did I realize what a dry and shy school I was going to. Like, I almost think I invented having sex in a classroom. That’s how fucking tame Hazelwood is. Can you believe it?”

“Yeah, in a well-developed neighborhood with good kids. Imagine that.” I winked.

“Fuck off.” Nicole playfully stuck her tongue out at me. “Anyway, with me being the only unashamed slut, everyone waits their turn.”

“Waits their turn for what?” I asked.

She motioned around her. “This. Parties. Especially the girls. Boys get to be slutty all the time and we just roll our eyes and slap our knees. ‘Oh, those gosh darn hormonal boys…'” She imitated, putting on a surprisingly good Deep South accent.

“Your Southern accent is hot.” I unashamedly remarked.

She ignored me. “Usually we just call them bros or fuckboys or whatever, but they still get to be as slutty and polyamorous as they want. But girls, we need to watch our image, as long as you fear the word ‘slut.’ We get like a few days a year when judging eyes aren’t fixated on us, looking for gossip. And that would be…” She trailed off, indicating that I should finish.

“…Parties?” I asked exasperatedly.

“Bingo.” She pointed at me. “Girls get these rare opportunities to have a room full of boys, or girls if that’s your thing, and make out with dozens of them in an hour without worrying about rumors getting started within minutes. No wonder we explode on the scene first basin’ it with all the dudes we can find.”

“Sounds… Gross.” I honestly answered. “I couldn’t do that. I needed to know both May and Megan before I even wanted to kiss them.”

“You didn’t need to know me.” Nicole winked. “Am I just that hot?” She struck a seductive pose.

“Well, that’s kind of different because we talked before and you offered me a r-”

“The correct answer was ‘yes,’ dumbass.” Nicole snapped playfully. We didn’t say anything for a few seconds, and she softly approached me and kissed me on the lips. “You cool with knowing you’re not the only guy to me tonight?” She asked tenderly.

“Yeah. I’ve been warming up to the idea.” I answered a little quietly.

“Thanks. It means the world.” Nicole smiled at me, kissing me cheek. “Some guys aren’t that generous. They basically want to own me.”

“I mean, I don’t like it.” I added honestly.

She nodded. “I’m sure if I were like everyone else, I’d probably get jealous of Megan too.”

“And-” I stopped myself. Holy shit. I almost said May. I needed to practice thinking before speaking.

“And who? Is there someone else?” Nicole asked, seriousness painting her face.

“And anyone I manage to score with tonight.” I finished instantly as I breathed an internal sigh of relief. Thank you, drama class.

Nicole did some kind of combination of a scoff and a chuckle. “Yeah, good luck.” She replied, one eyebrow lowered. “Unless you get divine intervention, and of course by divine I mean by yours truly, something tells me you won’t get to go all the way with anyone tonight.”

“Hey,” I lazily commented, pretending to stretch to showcase my confidence. “You just said I was popular. I bet I could do it.”

“Yeah? Then go ahead.” Nicole responded, motioning to the door. “Go out there and get yourself a nice piece of ass without having a panic attack about it.”

“Hey!” I retorted, on the road to being genuinely offended. “I’ve been getting a lot better with those.”

Nicole giggled. “I know,” She replied softly, caressing my hair. “And I’m proud of you.” She gave me a gentle kiss on the forehead before resuming her normal strong voice. “Now what the fuck are we still doing in here? I only wanted to show you this place in case you get overwhelmed. Let’s fucking mingle.”

I smiled at her. “Okay.” Was all I could think to say. Bracing myself for the beat pounding in my ears once again, I opened the door and stepped back into the abysmal hell that was the epitome of the high school experience – the party.

Even in the hallway, the place was littered with couples talking. Most were talking with their faces really close to one another, and one guy had his girl straight-up pinned against the wall, furiously making out with her.

“Yeesh.” I remarked aloud. Again, somehow Nicole heard me, rubbed my shoulder and smiled, although this smile was more like she just told a hilarious joke and wanted to share the laugh with me.

Before long, she practically skipped off towards the living room. Not knowing where else to go, I followed her. The living room, as I freaking expected, was also packed. Whoever wasn’t drinking was dancing. Whoever wasn’t dancing was flirting. Whoever wasn’t flirting had already succeeded and was probably somewhere else in the house.

Nicole, suddenly feeling my presence, whirled her head around to find me. Upon seeing me, she broke out into a pitied smile. “You’re like a lost puppy.” I heard her shout over the music. She brought her arms out and pretended to shoo me away.

I sighed and took the hint. I suppose it might not be a bad idea to learn how to operate independently at these parties, especially if what Nicole told me was true and I was actually popular.

I looked around myself and saw loads of people doing things I wasn’t interested in. The idea of drinking made me nauseous. Dancing seemed to be teen code for jumping up and down and grinding on each other. Pass. And flirting… I wanted to at least know someone’s name before I jumped into bed with them. Not knowing what else to do, I went with my usual strategy and tried to find the kitchen.

This meant wandering through the halls, which meant going on a tour of the Museum of Promiscuity. Every few steps I took, I came across a couple being increasingly bold with one another. The first couple made me smile – It was a guy caressing a girl’s hair as he complimented her eyes. It was kind of sweet.

The second couple was a girl pinning a guy up against the wall, giving him kisses all over his face. She was clearly the one in control, but he didn’t seem to mind. I would have thought about it further, but the couple next to them definitely stole attention. Call me sheltered, but I wasn’t expecting to see a pair of guys openly kissing in any high school event, let alone a party. The more I thought about it, though, the more I realized I was in no position to judge. So they were both dudes. It’s not like they had any less of a right to be public about their affection than any other couple I was watching. Still, I couldn’t shake the notion that the idea… Made me uncomfortable. I don’t know if that made me a bad person, but I knew I was fully straight, and the idea of watching two guys kissing made me less comfortable than watching a guy and a girl. I guess because I could relate more to the straight people. I wasn’t sure.

The last couple was really trying to put on a show. The guy was definitely the one in control here – he was your typical short-haired ‘is he on steroids or did he spend years on those arms’ jock, and one of said strong arms was under the shirt of some redhead, grabbing away at her boobs as they were making out… Oh, wait. That wasn’t some redhead, that was Natalie, the girl from Student Council. Well, good for her, I guess.

Eventually, I found an open arch that led to the kitchen. The music was only slightly quieter in here, but at least there was breathing room and no hint of PDA. I sighed as I leaned up against a wall and looked around the room.

A beautiful tile floor and polished granite countertops greeted me, topped with a toppled tower of beer cans and various opened alcohol bottles. Teens will be teens, I thought to myself. Am I going to turn into this?

My thinking was stopped short by noticing I wasn’t the only one in here. I didn’t recognize the guy guarding the fridge, but next to him stood Matt, and he was staring right back at me, with the same surprise I’m sure I had in my eyes. After the shock wore off, he slowly started walking towards me. “Adam.” He said, barely audible over the music but not willing to shout it.

I was worse at dealing with shock than he was, so I stood frozen for a bit until he was too close for comfort. “Hey, Matt.” I replied, with a calmness that surprised even me.

“It seems everywhere my sister goes, you’re not far behind.” He noted. I braced for him to hit me, but he waved me off. “I’m not going to start anything here.” He told me. “That would be disrespectful to Phil. But I’m not happy with you. You got that?”

“I think I got that a few months ago.” I replied, fear creeping into my voice.

He sighed loudly. “I don’t want to talk about that.” He simply said.

“So you feel bad about it?” I asked, hopeful that we could begin to leave that event behind us.

“I don’t regret it at all.” He let me know, staring into my eyes. “You don’t get it, Adam. Are you an only child?”

I nodded.

“So you don’t get it. I have a little sister that means the world to me, and you’re corrupting her. You’re bad news, Adam. I don’t hate you, but you’re bad news. I just want her to be the best she can, and you’re dragging her down. Okay, bud?” He clapped his hand down on my shoulder. It felt warm, and almost kind, in a threatening way.

“What are you saying?” I asked him.

“I’m saying, I won’t kick the crap out of you again. It was wrong.” He told me. “I get it, it was wrong. But I want you staying away from her. I bet you can see you’re not good for her too, right?”

His hand gripped my shoulder tighter. I think he was trying to intimidate me into saying yes, but ha! Joke’s on him, I thought to myself. I already felt like shit for how I treated Megan. Boy, did Matt ever have egg on his face.

“Yeah.” I conceded, but that was all I was going to say.

“So you’re going to stay away from her?” He asked me forcefully.

“I mean, I’m in a class with her.” I pointed out.

He sighed exasperatedly. “You know what I mean. Don’t be around her any longer than you have to. She’s only fourteen. Do you know when her birthday is?”

I didn’t like where this was going. I could only shake my head no.

“December tenth. And guess what you were doing week before?”

My stomach twisted. Thirteen. I got a thirteen-year-old to blow me. That was sick. That was genuinely sick. Added to everything else, screw Matt – I was ready to punch myself unconscious. I got a fucking thirteen-year-old to blow me. It seemed almost surreal. Thirteen.

“She spent her birthday angry, and sad. My sister. Do you have any idea how that must have felt? For me? For her?” Matt continued.

Thirteen. Thir-fucking-teen. I felt like a pedophile, and I wasn’t even fifteen yet.

Matt could read that I was seriously getting affected. He snapped his fingers in front of my face to get my attention back. “Look, I don’t mean to rile you up. I just hope you can see how twisted that is.”

“Yeah, it’s twisted.” I managed. Thirteen. Holy shit. I’m so sorry, Megan.

“Anyway, right now I’m trying to bring her back to how she used to be, plus I have to keep my parents unaware of it. Keep up the idea that she’s a nice Christian girl, otherwise dad would have a fit. You ever had to keep something secret from your parents?” Uneasily, I nodded, as he continued. “So you get me? It’s just a little hard with you in the picture. So can you promise me that buddy? No more sex, no more hanging around her. How about it?” He held out his hand.

He had me convinced, that’s for damn sure. I took his hand and shook it.

He smiled confidently at me. “Thanks. I ‘m glad we could settle this respectfully.” He told me. “And I’m sorry for… y’know, what I did. I just get a little overprotective. But if you’re good in the future, we’ll have no more problems. You made a good decision.”

I nodded and smiled weakly, needing to leave. I waited until he left for whatever reason, then sat down in the chair until my dizziness and nausea left. This was the last thing I needed at this god damn party. More fucking guilt. For someone who was in this house somewhere, no less.

Suddenly, the music didn’t bother me. I needed a distraction. I needed to be numbed. Walking up to the counter, not even feeling my legs do so, I found myself staring at a number of unopened beer cans. Not even thinking about what I was doing, I opened the can and brought it to my lips.

The taste brought to mind the smell of motor oil. It didn’t taste very good, but the aftertaste made me crave more. I sipped slowly at first, then got braver and braver, eventually chugging it down once I got to halfway through. I didn’t care. I wasn’t thinking. It was just in the moment.

Once I realized I was staring at not one, but two empty cans of beer in my hands, I remembered I wasn’t alone in the kitchen. Shit. Did I just steal?

I reared my head around to the fridge. The guy guarding the fridge, a smartly-dressed black guy with a classy haircut, read my panic and waved me off. “First two are free.” He informed me. Thank God.

Was I going to get drunk? I wondered. I never really drank before. Was two beers enough to get you drunk? I really didn’t know, but I think I felt ‘buzzed,’ or whatever it was called. I was beginning to mellow out, yet get giddy and fidgety at the same time. I wanted to do something. Before I knew what was going on, I started walking back towards the living room. Most of the couples had cleared out of the hallway, save for Natalie and her boytoy, who were basically doing the exact same thing except with her hand rubbing between his legs. Mazel Tov.

I headed back for the living room and I swear my vision was slightly delayed. I was drunk. This was what drunk must have been like. I was sure of it. I scanned around the room for faces I recognized, and found I was slightly dizzy. I would have thought I’d be more out-of-control since I was drunk and all. I guess movies exaggerated it when characters were drunk. I stumbled around for a seat and finally found one at the back of the room.

“You okay there?” I heard a familiar voice shout over the music. I turned my head over to see the smug grin of Paul meet me. He was sitting down, holding a Coke in his hands. “Hola.” He greeted me.

My expression hadn’t changed. I don’t think I could feel my face. “I think I’m drunk.” I told him.

“Yeah?” He shout-asked me. “How much did you spend today? Or did you BYOB?”

I shook my head no. “I just got the two free beers… You know how the first two are free? I got those.”

His expression changed from serious to laughing out loud in seconds. After he recovered he looked me in the face. “Oh, you’re serious.” He muttered. “You’re cute, you know that?”

“I’m not- I’m not gay.” I confidently stuttered.

“Never said you were. Or that I was.” Paul retaliated. “You’re fine, compadre. Just buzzed. And I’m guessing this is the first time you’re drinking.”

I nodded.

“Thought so.” He replied. “It takes more than two beers to get you drunk. What you’re experiencing is a phenomenon known as the Placebo Effect. It-”

“I know what that is.” I shouted over him.

“Alright, cool.” He replied. “So how’s alcohol treating you?”

“It’s weird.” I murmured, looking straight forward. “I feel… funny. I feel like… You know?”

“You get really descriptive when you get tipsy.” Paul quipped. I was starting to see where Nicole was coming from. He was kind of annoying. And condescending. And he really was just spending the night sitting down, watching people.

“Why are you even here?” I asked him. He laughed and raised his glass.

“I get to see high school in action.” He answered me. “I find it fascinating. We can barely talk over this music and yet you see so much communication going on. I don’t really dance or drink, but it’s actually really interesting to see your friends and classmates in this situation, then see them in class again. It shows you who changes and who doesn’t when they’re in public. And the ones that do are the most interesting.”

I stared at him while he explained. “You’re… You’re a bit of a condescending prick.” I told him, noting the slight slur of my voice. God, I’m such a lightweight, I thought.

He chuckled. “That’s your opinion.” He told me. “I’m not going to apologize because I find watching people more interesting than jumping up and down on the dance floor or pouncing on top of someone and engaging in sex with them.”

“Are you a virgin?” I point-blank asked him.

He shook his head. “Nah.” He told me casually. “I’ve been around. I thought I told you before, but I could be wrong.” He took a sip of his Coke. “I just don’t think sex is important. You do because you probably haven’t had it before. Trust me, it means nothing.”

He really couldn’t see past his own experiences, could he? “If that’s so, why do so many teens want it? And why do they want it more once they get some?” I grilled him.

He shrugged. “Because teens are hard-wired that way.” He simply answered, before taking another sip. “Just because your hormones tell you to do something, or that you like something, doesn’t mean it’s true.”

“So everything’s pointless?” I asked him.

He looked me in the eye and grinned. “Kind of, yeah.” He answered. “So why are you here, anyway? Still trying to go after Nicole?”

Before I could answer, something rapidly took Paul’s attention completely away from me. His eyes immediately flew to the door, and his ears, almost invisible under his mangled Tarzan hair, almost visibly perked up. I followed his gaze and saw Phil hugging a girl dressed in some kind of modest dress. “Hey, Bri.” He warmly welcomed her. “Glad you could make it. Enjoy the party!” He walked off, leaving her in plain sight.

She was really pretty, in a kind of 1950s kind of way. Her hair was absolutely beautiful in the way you only saw in movies. It was brown, and curled in beautiful ways that an artist couldn’t have conceived if they were to draw the idea of beauty itself. It was definitely a natural curl too, which only helped her case. Her lips were absolutely covered in red lipstick. She could use those things to call down airplanes from the sky. Her lips naturally pushed out a little too, and her smile completed her face and lit up a room. She wasn’t much of a looker in terms of her body – average was the best word for her. Relatively flat-chested, no real amazing ass, but that didn’t take away from her overall looks. I didn’t really want to do anything with her, but she was definitely one of those girls you could appreciate from afar.

Appreciating her seemed to be the last thing on Paul’s mind as I turned back to him. His expression had changed from alert to alert and slightly upset. As small a change as it was, it was very noticeable. I turned back to the girl. She seemed almost shy… Kind of bashful, really, like she felt she didn’t deserve such an atmosphere. She was actually kind of cute. I turned back to Paul, whose Coke was gone. Both of his arms were positioned on the armrests as if he were about to get up.

“Oh, Christ.” He mumbled as he got up and disappeared into the crowd. Okay, then, I thought. Conversation over, I guess. I turned back to the hallway entrance to find Bri, or Brianne, or whoever, gone.

I figured sitting wasn’t doing me any favors either. I had no clue what I was doing, or what I wanted to do. All I knew was that I was buzzed (apparently not drunk) and didn’t want to sit still. I got up myself and headed to the hallway, surveying it. Well, I already know what’s on the ground floor, I thought as I looked to the stairs. Shit, why not?

The atmosphere shifted when I went upstairs. Downstairs was a warm, open place, but upstairs was decidedly quieter. It became quite clear that most of the people that were up here were behind one closed door or another. I could hear noises, and by that I mean a lot of noises, but they were muffled. Anybody outside of the closed doors was either trying to find an unoccupied room or enjoying small talk because they had no further need for their own room.

Somewhat timidly, I traipsed the halls, looking for any point for me to continue being up here. I turned the corner and the sounds stopped. Curiously, I walked up to the nearest door and leaned my ear against it, seeing if there really was no one in there or if they were just being really quiet.

I was only there a few seconds before I felt someone lean against me from behind. “Someone’s being a voyeur,” I heard a girly voice murmur in my ear as I felt a pair of tits press into my back. I whirled around to see the drunken smile of a very familiar brunette girl wearing short shorts and a low-cut shirt beaming at me.

“May,” I lamely mumbled. “You scared me.”

She giggled. “Sorry.”

“You’re drunk again, aren’t you?” I asked her, not forgetting that this time I was buzzed myself.

She nodded vigorously. “Not as much as last time though.” She clarified, making as serious a face as she could. “I’m a good girl.”

“Are you enjoying the p-”

“Tell me I’m a good girl, Adam.” May interrupted me, putting her hands on my shoulders and bringing me in close.

Fine, what the hell. “You’re a good girl, May.” I confirmed. “So wha-”

“Thank you.” She beamed, leaning in. Her lips extended forward, and met mine as we shared a kiss. Her hands explored my back as she wasted no time in vigorously grinding herself up against me, probing my mouth with her tongue. In the moment, I lost myself, giving in to the kiss and giving her my tongue to wrestle. It was evident by the way her mouth tasted that she was indeed drunk, and I prayed that she couldn’t taste that I was on my way myself.

It’s not like I wanted her to kiss me. Yet at the same time, she was the one who broke the kiss. After she broke it away, she looked me straight in the eyes and smiled. She exhaled loudly, then clumsily leaned in so her face could cuddle into my chest. “You’re a good guy too.” She sighed happily, then brought her face back up to meet mine. We shared a quick kiss, then she broke away and looked to both sides cautiously. “Do you…” She began shyly. “Do you wanna find a room together?”

Temptation, caution and adrenaline flowed through me like a river. “May… We shouldn’t.” I began weakly.

Amazingly, that was enough. May pushed me away in disgust. “Fuck you.” She spat. “Why shouldn’t we? I’m sexy, aren’t I?” She pulled her low-cut shirt and bra down to prove a point. Her beautiful big nipples stared me in the face as I had to fight my primal urges.

Her little show got the attention of one guy walking by, who gave her a whistle as he appreciated her breasts. She smiled proudly in response. I figured the whistle would attract attention, and immediately grabbed her shirt and pulled it back up over her breasts. “Put those away.” I instructed her.

She pouted. “Why don’t you want me?” She asked me sadly.

“May, it’s not a good idea.” I told her.

“It’s Megan, isn’t it?” May asked angrily. “Is she here? I’m better than her. Are you… are you still in love with her?” She asked, stumbling as she attempted to speak and adjust her bra at the same time.

“It’s not that, May.” I said, trying to spin words before I spat them so I could speak as coherently as possible. “I think it’s just a bad idea.”

“It’s a great idea.” She retaliated. “It’s only a bad idea when you decide to make it complicated.”

“May, it always ends up complicated.” I sighed, trying to tone down my volume so we wouldn’t make a scene.

“It’s no fair. You got to be with Megan. I bet you’re fucking camera girl too. Remember? Megan told me, if that fucking skank can be trusted…” May spat, slurring her words every so often.

I really didn’t like May referring to Megan as a ‘fucking skank.’ “May, I’m saying no. Remember last time? Not fun. Do you know what could make it better? Being better this time and accepting that I do not consent.”

“That’s not something you hear every day from a dude.” I heard some jock comment to his partner as they walked past.

I sighed and stared at May, who clearly was firing up some kind of rebuttal. “Come on, May.” I preemptively begged. “Don’t you want to be a good girl?”

“I am a good girl.” She stubbornly and bitterly mumbled, looking to the floor.

“Then please, just go find someone else or something.” I asked her. “It would mean a lot to me if you did.”

She slowly looked up from the floor to me with a twinkle in her eye. “I’m gonna go… I’m gonna go find someone else.” She told me happily.

“That’s gr-”

“I’m gonna make you jealous.” She continued, the smile turning mischievous. “I’m gonna make you crawl back to me. I’m gonna show all these guys what you’re missing.”

Internally, I sighed. However, this was honestly my best bet if I wanted to get May out of my hair. “Wait.” I said with fake hesitancy. “I don’t want you with anyone but me.”

May’s smile got bigger, then she immediately hid it. “Too bad, Adam.” She said, tossing back her hair. “I’m going to go fuck a bunch of guys. A whole bunch of them. I bet they’re better looking than you too. You don’t own me.” With that, she started strutting away, trying as best as she could to sway her hips without tripping over her drunken self. I smiled and leaned against the door, pleased with myself. That was one problem, sorted out.

I didn’t really count on the door being as poorly closed as it was. Within seconds of me being off scot-free, the door opened behind me and I fell into what looked like a guest bedroom. Worse yet, from the looks of things, it turns out there was a couple in here, judging by this random guy’s back going up and down on top of the bed – they were just being really quiet.

“Woah!” The random guy exclaimed, covering the two of them up. “Looks like we got a listener. Get the fuck out of here!”

“Oh my goodness.” Came a familiar embarrassed voice. Suddenly I was incredibly glad the door hadn’t opened while I was talking to May – from behind the guy’s back poked out the blond hair and shy brown eyes of Megan Schneider. “Oh my gosh. It’s Adam.”

“Adam? Who the fuck is Adam?” The guy demanded.

Megan seemed to have moved on from Carson. The guy I set her up with. I gave her a little push, but that was enough. She was sleeping with someone I was confident she didn’t know before this party. Holy shit. “You guys look like you’re having fun.” I managed to say, standing up. “Why don’t I just-”

“Do you have a fucking boyfriend?!” The guy demanded her, grabbing her shoulder forcefully. She looked too scared to react. “You slut!”

“Woah, woah, woah!” I stepped forward, attempting to calm him down. I wanted to leave, but there was zero chance Megan would have the nerve to defend herself at this point. “I’m just her ex, that’s all. I accidentally leaned on the door when I was walking by. I don’t mind at all. You guys can have your fun.”

The guy appeared to calm down given what I was saying. Beads of sweat rolled off of his forehead as the cogs in his head turned and he got what I was saying. “Alright, cool.” He simply said. “Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.”

“Cool.” I said as I swung around.

“Baby.” I heard Megan whisper to the guy as she tapped him on the shoulder. “Can he stay?”

“What?!” He and I both exclaimed as I whirled around.

“Do… Do you want to join, Adam?” Megan asked me sheepishly, giving me a bashful smile.

Jesus Christ. I was watching everyone in my life become a slut before my eyes. Including my own damn self.

“Fuck, doll.” The guy, still inside her, commented. “You’re a lot kinkier than I thought.” He grinned evilly a shot me a look. “What do you think, guy? You up for it?”

I’m sure somewhere this was some guy’s dream. I had to find that guy sometime and apologize to him for having such an opportunity and wasting it, but I already was put through this shit with Carson. “I’ll, uh… Pass, thanks.” I stumbled. “I’m good.”

The guy shrugged. “Your loss, pussy. Get the fuck out then.” He turned back to Megan and positioned himself. “You ready to keep going, slut?”

“Bye, Adam.” Megan sweetly waved to me, ignoring the guy mounting her. “I’ll talk to you later, okay?”

“Um, yeah. Okay.” I stammered as I walked out in a daze and closed the door behind me. What the fuck just happened in the past hour? I was sure the next time I saw Megan, I’d be apologizing to her, and vowing never to make her a sex object again. Looks like I was right – she was already doing it herself.

I thought parties were for making new friends. Why the fuck was I just bumping into everyone I happened to know? I guess I was ignoring everyone else… Maybe I should just go dance, I thought to myself. I resolved to, at the very least, go back to the ground floor, where things were less spooky, and make my decision from there.

I walked down the stairs, bracing myself for the music getting louder. soon as I got down to the ground floor, I was lost again. I figured a good first step was towards the living room, where most of the people were. Once there, I looked around for anybody else I recognized. No one, save for the corner of the room, where I saw Kenny, Thomas and Isaiah in a circle, cracking jokes with each other. For fuck’s sakes. Pass.

Suddenly, a pair of hands whirled me around. Still holding on that last bit of buzz, my body wasn’t ready and I got really dizzy. When I could refocus, I saw Nicole’s smiling face staring back at me. “Hey, squirt.” She warmly said.

“Hey.” I said, still stumbling.

She studied my eyes for a bit. “Have you been drinking?” She asked me seriously.

There was really no point in lying to someone as psychic as Nicole. “A bit.” I admitted. “Just two beers. I’m not drunk.”

She kept studying me, but slowly nodded. “First time?”

I nodded. “Yeah, it sucks.”

“It’s cool. Just don’t overdo it.” She instructed me. “Having a good time?”

“Oh yeah.” I sarcastically answered. “A blast.”

She laughed. “I showed you the room if you get a headache. C’mon, let’s have some fun.”

“What, couldn’t find another guy to have your way with?” I quipped.

“Nah, found two. They just finished already.” She shot me a mischievous grin. “If you think I came to this party just for one guy, I’m disappointed in you, squirt. Now c’mon.”

Just as she jerked my hand, indicating we should head for the stairs, I heard an unfortunately familiar voice. “Yo!” I heard shouted over the crowd. I turned my head and cringed, as I saw the Terrible Trio heading towards us. “Yo!”

Fuck. It was my turn to yank on Nicole’s hand and lead her off. I really didn’t want to talk to these bozos again. Unfortunately, by that point, Nicole had spotted them coming towards us. How the fuck was I supposed to introduce her to them? ‘Hey Nicole, I’d like you to meet Kenny, Thomas and Isaiah. They bullied the shit out of me in middle school.’ Didn’t quite sound like the best.

“Nicole! Shit, babe, how you doin’?” Kenny greeted her as my eyes widened in disbelief. She already knew them?

Nicole gave a small chuckle. “Hey, Subway, how’s it hangin’?” She greeted him, going in for a quick hug. “Hey Thom, Isaiah, you guys having fun?”

“Best fucking night of my life.” Thomas answered. “I got it on with two fucking girls upstairs. Like, we’re talking ‘at the same time’ here.”

Nicole held her fist out and he bumped it. “And how were they?” She asked, with a hint of expectation in her voice.

Thomas made an over-exaggerated bow. “Not nearly as good as you, m’lady.” He obediently answered her.

“Shit, you got to go all the way with her?” Isaiah asked in disbelief, then pointed his finger at her. “You still owe me a blowjob, bitch! What gives?”

Nicole folded her arms and pursed her lips. “Maybe if you didn’t call girls ‘bitch,’ and maybe if you had more than five and a half inches to your name, I’d be more eager to help you out there, Isaiah.” Nicole coldly responded, causing the other two to guffaw at their horrified friend.

“Shit, babe, that was ice cold!” Isaiah complained. “What did I do to deserve that?”

“No one but me calls me a bitch.” Nicole answered him. “I’m also not your coin-operated slut machine.” I smiled at her pun. “If you want me to respect your dick, start by respecting me.”

“Shit bro, you got owned by a girl.” Kenny piped up, still laughing.

“Not just any girl, Subway.” Nicole added, flipping her hair back dramatically, showing off her twinkling blue eyes.

“What’s with ‘Subway’?” I asked, finding the ability to contribute to the conversation finally.

With that, all three of the bros looked down at me and immediately lost their shit. “Holy shit!” Thomas exclaimed. “It’s fucking Adam! Adam Watson!”

“From middle school?” Isaiah asked, equally excited.

Thomas slapped him upside the head. “We saw him at the last party, dipshit.” He told him. “Remember? We got him set up with Mary, or May, or whatever her name was.”

Shit. Shiiiiiit. With that, Nicole’s blue eyes were now fixated on me, and they were ice cold. I pretended to not notice, and waved the guys off. “Guys, I already told you, I didn’t want to have sex with May. Nothing happened.”

“Oh, right! Shit, how’d I forget?” Isaiah piped up. “Dude, you totally banged May. We saw you go upstairs together.”

“And when was this party?” Nicole asked him, keeping an even tone. When Nicole kept an even tone, that’s when you knew you were in trouble.

“It was at Jeff Swanson’s!” Kenny answered her.

“Thought so.” Nicole simply said.

“Guys, fucking quit it.” I angrily told them. “We went upstairs to discuss our relationships. Nothing more.” Suddenly an idea entered my head. I head never ever succeeded in butting heads with Nicole and coming out on top, but I had just what I needed to do so. “Cheating is awful to me. I would never cheat on a partner.” I turned to Nicole and looked her right in the eyes. “And I would never do anything with someone who had a partner.”

Nicole’s left eye twitched once, and our eyes were locked for what seemed like forever. Just when I was about to break eye contact, her gaze softened and she blinked slowly. She turned back to them, and it was clear she was no longer mad at me. Holy shit. I managed to win against fucking Nicole. This party turned out to be a momentous occasion.

Kenny appeared to sense that there was some kind of awkward moment and decided to end it. “Dude,” He remarked, tapping me on the shoulder. “I believe you asked a question, didn’t you?” With that, he smiled his obnoxious smile.

What? Oh, right. “Uh, yeah. What’s with the nickname?” I asked again.

Kenny smugly turned to Nicole. “Yeah, Nicole? What’s with that? Why do you call me Subway?”

Nicole sighed and gave him a mischievous smile. “Because I didn’t have to pay five dollars for my footlong.” She told him, as if she had rehearsed it over and over.

“Damn right.” Kenny beamed at her. “Wanna go for round… What is it now… round twenty-two?” He asked her, walking up to her and stroking her arm.

Nicole smiled at them. “Sorry boys, but I got a date with this freshman upstairs. Maybe next time?”

On cue, the trio began to lose their shit again, whooping and hollering, causing quite a scene and getting attention from a lot of people, who stopped dancing just to stare at them. Thomas took advantage of the situation to grab me around the shoulder and yell “Adam Watson, the playa, ladies and gentlemen! Let’s get some applause for this motherfucker!” Reluctantly, the quieted crowd began to applaud for the freshman they didn’t know.

I freed myself from Thomas’ grasp, face red. “Great, thanks dude.” I mumbled as everyone went back to whatever they were doing. “You guys are still assholes.”

“You mean fun.” Isaiah corrected me.

“Hey Isaiah, how does Nicole’s pussy feel?” I boldly asked him. “Oh wait, I should ask someone who knows. Or better yet, why don’t I go upstairs and find out for myself.”

Kenny and Thomas burst out laughing. Kenny was practically squealing as he pointed frantically at me, laughing his guts out. Nicole stared at me for a few seconds, and amazingly, joined them in laughter. I hadn’t seen her laugh this hard in a long time, or ever.

“Holy shit.” She remarked, wiping a tear from her eye. “Fucking owned by a freshman.”

“Fuckin’ shit.” Isaiah complained. “You guys all suck.” With that, he walked away dejectedly, and Thomas followed. Kenny held his fist out to me, and I bumped it.

“Enjoy, man.” He told me. “You fucking earned it.” He turned to Nicole. “Give him a good time. I like this guy.”

“I don’t take orders from you, jackass.” Nicole playfully responded.

Kenny went in for a hug. “It’s great seeing you, beautiful.” He told her. “Call me sometime.”

“Will do.” She happily responded as he disappeared into the crowd. Nicole grabbed my hand and with a smile, wordlessly started to drag me upstairs.

As we walked through the hallways and scanned for an empty room, Nicole stopped and looked at me. “So what’s the deal with May?” she asked. “Do we need to have a talk?”

I shrugged bashfully. “Don’t believe those assholes.” I instructed her. “Although May’s here, and she asked me to have sex with her a bit ago.”

Nicole nodded. “Alright, fine, I trust you. Sorry.”

“I’m sorry too.” I said, and she gave me a warm smile.

“So, did you fuck her?” She asked me. “I mean, if you’re out of a relationship I guess it’s cool, but she’s more trouble than she’s worth.”

I enthusiastically nodded. “Yeah, she is. I told her no. She said she’s going to have sex with other guys to make me jealous.”

Nicole cocked an eyebrow. “Well, I guess we’d better give her a taste of her own medicine, huh?” She winked at me.

“Let’s do it.” I replied with a grin. She went up to a door, leaned her head against it, and closed her eyes. A few seconds later, she re-opened them. “In here,” She told me, opening the door.

I walked in to the unlit room as she shut the door. A second later, we were met with light as Nicole found the switch. A king-sized bed and a room furnished with lavish dressers, mirrors, some kind of Van Gogh imitation… Jeez.

“Jackpot.” Nicole declared triumphantly, proud of herself. “Phil’s parents’ room, motherfucker.”

I gave her a look. “Are we allowed to do this in here? Won’t Phil’s parents mind?”

“Big talk from you, considering we did it in my parents’ room. On Christmas, too.” Nicole pointed out. “The only room out of bounds is the drum room.” She swayed towards me and put her lips to mine, her hands curling around her back. “So, shall we?”

I was too pent up at this point to even give a response. I had to be strong to reject May and Megan, plus I was fairly sure Nicole’s lips were hypnotic, because I could not refuse them. I could only grin in response as she grabbed me and whirled me around on to the bed.

“Shirt,” She simply ordered. I hastily complied, quickly pulling mine over my head. In thanks, she removed her own, revealing, to the world’s surprise, a bra.

“You’re actually wearing a bra!” I exclaimed.

“Yeah, my boobs kinda hurt today.” she commented.

“I thought you said before that you never wear them and that you don’t even know if you wear them.” I pointed out.

She gave me a look like I was eating the bedsheets. “Yeah, because I was kidding, dumbfuck. Any girl with D cups has to wear a bra at least sometimes.” She retaliated. “Now, are you gonna remove your pants yourself, or am I gonna have to remove them for you?”

I put my arms behind my head. “All yours.” I quipped.

“My my, how generous.” She winked at me as she reached forward, and undid the button of my pants. Slowly, teasingly, she pulled my pants down, lower and lower until they were off. She sat there for a second, looking at me before muttering, “Ah, screw it.” She reached behind her and quickly removed her bra, before quickly removing my socks and my underwear.

“Well now that’s just not fair.” I pretended to pout. “I’m naked and you still have your pants on.”

“Oooooh nooooo.” Nicole replied sarcastically, crawling up to me, her beautiful boobs jiggling with each movement. “I guess you’ll just need to earn it, now won’t you, hotshot?” With that, she dove down and started to lightly kiss my neck.

For the first few seconds, all I could do was enjoy it. Nicole had such a purposeful, delicate, beautiful touch. My hand cradled the back of her head as she went from kissing, to licking, to sucking my neck. Every movement her tongue made complimented the last.

She eventually got bored of my neck, trailing her tongue down my chest, temporarily stopping at my nipples as she playfully flicked one with her tongue.

“How does it feel from the other side? She playfully asked.

I chuckled. “Just keep going.” I ordered.

She raised one eyebrow and smirked at me. “Wow, for a second there it almost seemed like you were the dom of us two.” She laughed to herself and continued her trail down my stomach.

Play-rage was building up inside of me. She didn’t think I could be a dom, huh? I guess I just had to show her I could. I shifted downward, causing her to raise her head from my stomach.

“You okay?” She simply asked.

In answer, I sat up and grabbed her by the waist, throwing her down onto the bed with force I didn’t even know I possessed. She was now lying on her stomach, and quickly, I pinned her to the bed.

“What the hell?!” She asked, some kind of anger building.

I was worried at that point that I had taken things too far, but I felt like continuing would have been better than meekly backing down and being awkward afterwards. I leaned in to her ear and whispered, “I’m going to fuck you now. And you’re going to enjoy it. Understood?”

Her anger melted as I saw a smile build on her face. “Ooh, so little Adam is trying to prove he can be a dom, huh?” She smirked. “Go ahead, widdle guy. Show me what you got.”

I wasn’t worried. Nicole’s domination, I had figured out, was all talk. As soon as I had her, she would melt. I was sure of it.Making sure she wouldn’t move, I swifly got off of her, but made sure I would make my move before she could try anything. Reaching under her, I undid her pants and pulled both them and her underwear off in one fell swoop. Nicole may have talked a big game, but it didn’t escape me that as soon as her bare ass was revealed to me, she let out an itty bitty moan.

Nicole’s ass was definitely a work of art. I’m pretty sure I could thank her dedication to karate classes for that. As soon as I worked her pants off, with no warning, I smacked Nicole’s beautifully sculpted ass, hard, earning a yelp from her.

“You know I’m just letting you do this to me, right?” She asked me, less confidently than she wanted to. “I could have kicked your ass when you tried to pull me down.”

I released her from my grasp and simply replied, “On your knees.” I said it slowly, deliberately, an inch away from threateningly. She didn’t reply, but instead looked me in the face. Her eyes reflected everything and yet nothing, but the important thing I could read was a complete lack of a smug smirk. We stared at each other for ten seconds, and then she exhaled and slowly got up into doggy style position.

“Good girl.” I continued slowly.

She chuckled lightly. “I’m so gonna kill you when this is over. You’d better make it worth it.” She smirked back at me.

Whack! Her smirk quickly turned into an ‘O’ of surprise as my hand came down to smack her other cheek. It quickly turned the same shade of pink as her right cheek. I felt a little guilty about making her hurt though, so I bent down and gently kissed her cheek. She really enjoyed that, and arched her back so my lips had better access to her cheeks.

I was planning on thrusting into her with no warning, but I guess I had to adapt to the situation. I got down close to her ass and continued to sensuously kiss her ass cheeks as my hand snaked its way between her legs. I bet she could feel me smirking against her ass. She shaved for the party.

I caressed her slit, making my touches light, teasing. I could feel her breathing quicken as I continued my light petting. Testing the waters, I gently nudged my finger slightly in between the soft, tender lips of her her pussy. Nicole, as if I should have doubted her, was wetter than I thought, and my finger made a lot more progress than I thought.

I earned myself a moan of approval from Nicole and figured I should capitalize on it, continuing to kiss her ass. My kisses got closer and closer to the center of her ass before I realized what was going to happen if I continued. I had heard of rimming from the Internet, but the idea of it was kind of gross to me. I mean, I was in grade 9. I think holding off on some kinks wouldn’t hurt.

Instead, I got back up and aligned my cock, rock-hard and pulsating with temptation, to her pussy. Nicole moaned as soon as she realized what was pushing up against her. She recovered easily though. “That was foreplay?” She teasingly asked. “You barely got your finger inside me!”

Perfect moment. Without warning, I thrust myself all the way into her, earning myself an “Ohmygod,” and the sight of Nicole hanging her head, breathing deep and scrunching the sheets. I laughed at the sight and grabbed her hips, starting to slowly pump myself in and out of Nicole’s beautiful pussy. The feeling of being inside her never got old – I loved the feeling of her pussy, holding on to my dick like a velvet vice, practically begging for me to release inside her with every spasm every muscle made. For the ‘school slut,’ I would have expected her to be a lot looser than she was. She was no Megan, but it felt amazing to be inside her. I loved the way her ass curved, and showed the appreciation with a few more smacks as I started to go faster and faster inside her.

Before long, Nicole was moaning and rocking back and forth, expertly meeting me with every thrust and knowing my moves before I myself knew them. She knew what I wanted, and was only too happy to oblige. She did have the upper hand, I thought to myself. She was dominating. Well, I wasn’t out of tricks just yet.

I was reluctant at first, before realizing I had to be confident with this or it wouldn’t work. I reached forward, my dick fully inside her, and grabbed her hair. She couldn’t feel it yet, and I could swear a small smile spread across my lips as I pulled back, readying myself for the biggest thrust I will have, at this point, ever given her, and thrust forward, yanking her hair as I did so.

Nicole’s head jerked back slightly. “Ow!” She exclaimed, and for a brief moment, I regretted what I did. I slowed down to let her accommodate to these new developments.

“Not bad for a freshman, squirt.” She growled. “You pull like a bitch though.”

That was my cue. I enjoyed the intense sensations my new position of power gave me as I pulled harder, keeping Nicole’s head back as I rammed her again and again, my other hand pulling her waist back into me as I aimed to go deeper with every thrust.

Nicole had finally given up her charade of confidence and given in to the sensations she was feeling. “Fuck, fuck, fuck,” She was panting. “Give it to me, Adam. Give me all you got.” She lifted one hand from the bed, able to balance herself while fucking with just the one, and squeezed her boob, hard.

“There’s my good girl.” I murmured as I continued to drill her. I wanted to kiss her, if only her lips were closer. I wanted to ravage her. I wanted to have her. I wanted to own her. She was the sexiest thing I had ever met.

“Harder!” Nicole begged. “Please, Adam. Give it to me. Fuck me harder!”

“First, tell me what you are.” I roared as I continued thrusting into her. The sounds of our union were filling the air, as was the sweet smell that always came from the moments Nicole and I shared. Nicole was shivering, trembling, as I held her and gave her a rougher pounding than I ever have before.

“I’m…” She weakly started, knowing what I wanted to hear. “I’m your slut, Adam.” She said, just above a whisper.

“Louder.” I demanded.

She tried to look back at me, but I still had her hair in my grasp, making it impossible. I could feel her body giving out in the wake of at least a mini-orgasm as she moaned loudly, “I’m your fucking slut, Adam Watson.”

Grinning, I was all too happy to give her what she wanted. I really liked being in control – not only was it different from the relationship Nicole and I normally shared, but it was also nice to know that she was putty in my hands, that I could pleasure her just by dominating her, and I could have my way with her, holding nothing back.

At least, not under most circumstances. We had continued thrusting into each other wordlessly for but maybe a minute, maximum, when suddenly the door burst open. Shocked as hell, I immediately withdrew from Nicole, coaxing an “Aah!” from her, and covered myself up.

“Oh, shit.” A low-voiced guy piped up from the doorway. He was your usual jock – jacked, tall, short brown hair. Hazelwood High apparently had fun with a cloning machine when they made their jocks. A short blonde girl with blue eyes was under his arm, smiling in shock at what she was seeing.

Nicole was a hell of a lot calmer than I was. She rubbed her pussy gingerly as she turned her head around to see the couple. “Oh, hey James.” She began warmly. “Looking for a room?”

“Sup Nic.” He responded just as coolly. “Yeah, kinda. Are you two done in here?”

Nicole was about to say something, then stopped herself and gave me a look. “No…” She said slowly, looking me straight in the face. “But stay. You up for a little show?”

What the shit was going on at this party? Was there a ‘leave your inhibitions at the door’ sign that I missed? “Are you serious?” I whisper-asked Nicole.

“Not so confident now, are you?” Nicole whispered back jokingly. “C’mon, lighten up. The more the merrier.”

I looked back at the couple, who were talking it over with each other, then back to Nicole. “I dunno…”

“You don’t have to do anything with them if that weirds you out.” Nicole reassured me. “But I totally wanna do it with an audience.”

“Why?!” I asked her.

She shrugged. “It’s fun to be an exhibitionist sometimes.” She winked at me, then looked at the couple. “Look, guys, do what you want, but Adam and I have unfinished business.”

Group sex was definitely something every guy says they want, but when it comes down to the heat of the moment, I couldn’t do it. Even having an audience was something I wasn’t sure if I was ready for, but Nicole was Nicole, and she didn’t wait for my approval, she earned it. Facing me and giving a small smile, she leaned forward until her lips met with mine. I was hesitant at first, but quickly closed my eyes and tried to push the fact that the couple was definitely still there out of my mind.

The kissing got more and more intense and before long, I genuinely forgot we were being watched as I started groping Nicole’s beautiful boobs. She broke the kiss and slyly smiled at me.

“I knew you’d come around.” She naughtily purred before going for my neck, hungrily sucking and kissing. I sighed in pleasure as my hand started to rub her bare pussy. She was even wetter than before.

Nicole was softly moaning into my neck as I kept up my actions. Kissing her way up my neck, she lifted her head and looked me in the eyes. “Think you’re ready to do it again?” She asked. I started to look back to see if the couple was still there, but she took my head in her hands. “Don’t look at them, look at me.” She ordered, before kissing me tenderly and slowly. “Are you ready?”

I sighed. I wanted her. She wanted me. I was ready. “Let’s do it.” I nodded.

“That’s what I love to hear.” She beamed. She turned around and bent over. “Let’s do this.”

I loved when Nicole got like this. I turned back to see the couple were, to my surprise, watching us, intently. The girl was lightly kissing the guy’s neck as he was unabashedly looking at Nicole. “Oi.” Nicole called. I whirled my head around. “Me, not them, remember?”

I chuckled. She was eager. This was her way to tell me to hurry up. Who was I kidding? I was eager too. Having an audience was rapidly going from nerve-wracking to exciting. I hadn’t felt such anticipation in so long. I reached down and felt Nicole’s soft, fleshy pussy lips as I heard her moan softly from my touch. I dragged my fingers up and felt her soft, hot skin as I aligned my cock with her pussy using my other hand. Nicole wasn’t just beautiful, she felt beautiful. And now I was going to make a show of her beautiful body. Making sure my moves were exaggerated so the spectators could see, I thrust into Nicole, watching as my cock entered her.

I could swear I heard a soft moan behind me as I began to pick up speed, grabbing onto Nicole’s hips as I thrust into her harder and harder. The alcohol, the music pounding just a floor below us, the atmosphere of the party… Whatever it was, I was feeling some kind of contagion as I picked up speed, fucking Nicole with as much force as I could muster. I was feeling great. The feeling of Nicole’s hips as I grabbed onto them, allowing me to slam in and out of her, was great. I could feel her pushing back into me, allowing every millimeter of me to slide into her. Every nerve in my dick was going off like a firework as my thrusts matched the pounding beat bleeding through the floor.

“Fuck, you’re so good.” Nicole panted. “You guys enjoying this?” She yelled across the room.

There was no answer, so while I was fucking her, I looked behind me to see that the couple had gotten into it. Like, really into it. Like, ‘their clothes were on the floor and she was on her knees straight-up blowing him’ into it. So, the show had become a competition, huh? I smirked to myself. I doubled my efforts, determined to make Nicole cum before anyone else could.

Nicole felt amazing. I couldn’t have even been buzzed at this point, but something just felt different. Her skin was soft and hot to the touch, slightly damp from her sweat. Her love tunnel worked around my shaft, making sure every square centimeter of my dick got full attention as I thrust it into her, again and again. It felt so good that I lost track of my actions, and without warning, I realized my body was experiencing an electric shock of euphoria. Without giving her so much as a warning, I was releasing my load inside Nicole.

“Oh my fuck.” Nicole panted sexily as she felt my creamy blast let loose inside her. I could feel it splash against the walls of her vagina as her beautiful body coaxed the last few drops out of me. She arched her back, appreciating the feeling of me filling her. I became dizzy – letting loose my load really took it out of me. What the hell was going on? I thought to myself as I popped out of Nicole and sat back on the bed, spent.

She grinned back at me. “First to cum, huh?” She asked. “It was going to happen sooner or later.” She stretched a bit, relishing the feeling of me being inside her, then looked back at the spectators. Lazily my eyes followed hers.

He was behind her, in a doggystyle position like we had been in just seconds before. Both of them were clearly watching us intently until I stopped, and they were really into it. The girl looked really pretty in a ‘popular girl’ kind of way – a ‘fuck me’ expression, a curvy body with breasts that looked bigger than they should be on her relatively small frame. The guy had at least an 8 inch dick, putting mine to shame, and he was amazingly using all of it, thrusting all the way in and out with speed that made me wonder if the girl was secretly hurting, or if they just did this a lot. From the looks of them, they were close.

“Gettin’ close, baby…” James mumbled.

This caught the girl’s attention. “Babe, pull out.” She said with urgency. “I’m not on the pill. Please, pull out!”

The guy didn’t stop, presumably because he was through the looking glass at this point. Nicole sprang into action, leaping up from the bed and joining them with lightning speed on her knees.

“Tag out, girl.” Nicole jokingly told the girl as she separated the duo and quickly replaced the girl’s pussy with her hand, stroking the guy’s cock with every ounce of skill she had. The girl just collapsed on the floor, a little taken aback at the vivid difference of having someone inside her one second and outside her the next.

Within seconds, Nicole’s hand was replaced with her mouth as she managed to deepthroat most of his frankly huge dick. I was shocked, but also had to wonder to myself: Was this some kind of test? A way for me to prove to her that I was okay with not being the only guy in her sex life? I wasn’t sure, but the little wink she gave me as she continued sucking the guy’s dick sure didn’t prove me wrong.

As Nicole continued sucking James off, slurping all over his dick, the girl beside them began to rub her clit, clearly still enjoying watching. She must have been close when James was pounding into her because in no time at all she stifled what I could tell would have been a large moan as she writhed on the floor and her pussy noticeably drooled onto the floor, leaving a small wet spot.

“Wow.” She panted. “You guys are so hot.” Nicole only smiled, or did as much as she could to imitate a smile with her mouth full of dick, as she continued. Hesitantly, the girl crawled over and began feeling up James’s abs as he got his blowjob. Slowly, delicately, she lowered her mouth until she could close it around Nicole’s nipple, and began tenderly sucking.

“Woah, woah, woah.” Nicole snapped to attention as she pulled the dick out of her mouth and lightly swatted away the girl. “No thank you.”

The girl seemed very embarrassed. “Didn’t you like…?”

“Not into girls. Sorry, sweetheart.” Nicole answered flatly, going back to James’ dick. The girl rolled up into a little ball out of embarrassment, and I actually felt pretty bad for her. She looked upset.

I got off the bed and slowly walked over to the girl, rubbing her back sympathetically. “Don’t worry.” I reassured her. “you didn’t do anything wrong. Nicole’s just not afraid of saying what she wants.” She gave me a small smile, and the longer we looked at each other, the more it dawned on us that we were both naked. I felt a stirring feeling as I could feel my dick rising again.

She looked down at my dick, then back at me, and her smile widened. I returned the smile as I leaned down and did what the girl had done to Nicole, wrapping my mouth around her nipple. Slowly, playfully, I began to suck at her nipples, and that made the girl purr. Instinctively, she grabbed my shaft and began pumping up and down.

The feeling wasn’t as great as when I was with Megan or Nicole, but this girl definitely knew what she was doing. Before long my hips were making small, involuntary movements to accommodate her actions as I moved from nipple to nipple, enjoying how sensitive they clearly were. My tongue flicked her nub again and again, each one creating a small “Ooh” that escaped her lips as softly as… Well, as her skin.

Naturally, after already blasting away once, I didn’t have that much left in me, and I think the girl knew that. Pretty soon I felt that all-too-familiar feeling and grunted in warning. The girl understood immediately as she switched from a handjob to a blowjob, just in time as my cock erupted wave after wave of sperm into her mouth.

Just kidding. It was a few drops at best, but the girl didn’t seem to mind. After I was clearly finished, she smiled at me, and I smiled back. Even if it was just petty sex, I clearly made her feel better, and I’m glad I did. I turned around to see both Nicole and James, fully dressed, staring at us.

“About  frigging time. At least you don’t cum after two pumps, for her sake.” Nicole dryly remarked. “Way to take your time, you two.”

“Thanks for the BJ, sweetie.” James warmly said to Nicole, going in for a hug.

“You know I enjoy it too.” Nicole slyly replied. “You’re welcome.”

James turned to me. “That was a lot of fun, dude.” He told me, fist-bumping me. “We gotta swap girlfriends again some other time.”

“Oh, I’m not… You are… We…” I managed to say.

James stared at me for a few seconds. “Freshman.” He remarked, then turned to Nicole. “You’re dating a freshman, aren’t you?”

“Nah, not dating. Just fucking.” Nicole answered him. “He’s got to get his sex ed lessons from someone.” She then grabbed her bottle of mint water from the ground and started chugging. Did she even bring that with her…?

James laughed. “Don’t ever change, Nicole.” He told her.

“Unless it’s out of this top?” She asked him with a wink.

“Unless it’s out of that top.” He confirmed. He grabbed his girlfriend by the wrist and led her out before I even got to say goodbye to her. “Later!” He called out after the duo left.

“…Wow.” I exhaled, shocked at all the shit that just went down.

“Yup. Welcome to parties at Phil’s place.” Nicole laughed. “This isn’t even the craziest one I’ve been to.”

“I bet.” I remarked.

“So, what happened to ‘I would never do anything with anyone who had a partner’?” Nicole asked me playfully.

“Hey, don’t hit below the belt.” I complained. “It’s kind of different if they’re both cool with it. Plus, I didn’t even know she was his girlfriend. Why’d you kiss Megan if you’re not into girls?”

“It’s a gag, dumbass.” Nicole retorted. “It’s fun to do shit like that. James has kissed a dude before.”

“Is he gay?” I asked.

Nicole looked at me like I was stupid. “Yes, squirt. James is gay. But don’t let his girlfriend know that. Now put some clothes on.”

“You know what I mean.” I replied as I started to put my underwear on. “Is he bi?”

Nicole shrugged. “Maybe. I don’t think so though. It was just a gag. I think Hazelwood is a lot more open than most high schools.”

“I noticed.” I remarked. “I saw a gay couple kissing in the hallway earlier.”

Nicole nodded. “Yup, it’s pretty normal here. Although unless those were two dudes in the closet until tonight, that was probably Jerome and Chris. They’re cute.”

“Getting worked up again?” I asked her jokingly.

“I’d fuck ’em.” Nicole replied seriously. “It just sucks neither of them likes girls. A threesome with me in it is the best threesome ever.”

“You’ll have to show me sometime.” I joked as I put the last of my clothes on, joining her. She chuckled and slapped my ass, earning a yelp from me. “Quit doing that.” I mumbled.

Wordlessly, we started heading back downstairs. We, or at least I, didn’t really have any plans on what to do from there, and communicated as much with my eyes to Nicole.

She shrugged. “Living room?” She suggested. I shrugged in response, and followed her. We walked into the living room, and Nicole started dancing with the crowd. I wasn’t much of a dancer, or a crowd person for that much, and just stood back, people-watching.

And what a person I had stumbled upon. In another corner of the room was the unmistakeable figure of Megan, striding up to a guy. I could see what she was saying, but she was talking to a tall, hunky guy.

“Hey look, it’s your ex.” Nicole pointed out fake-seriously, popping out of nowhere. When I looked back at her, she gave me a huge grin. “Jealous?”

I looked back at Megan. “Nah.” I replied. “Good for her.”

“Your words say one thing, your tone says another.” Nicole said in a sing-song voice. It was true, my tone wasn’t the happiest. But that was less out of jealousy and more out of a general ‘Oh dear god I fucked a thirteen-year-old and turned her into a sex addict’ feeling.

And how fucking true was it ringing. As soon as I concentrated back on Megan, away from my thoughts, I saw she was shyly kissing the hunk, rubbing his package and he grabbed her ass.

Nicole was intently watching her too. “Wow, she’s not even buzzed.” She commented. “She must really like it. I never took Megan as the type to be a slut.”

That’s because the real Megan isn’t one, I thought bitterly to myself as I watched the couple disappear upstairs, his hand clasped around her wrist. I wished so badly that I could turn back the clock and have treated her right. I think she would have turned out completely different if I have.

I was broken out of my thoughts by a pair of arms hugging desperately around me, almost tackling me to the floor. From the sea of people came May, now clinging on to me for dear life, her face buried in my shirt. Even over the music I could hear that she was crying.

“May?” I managed to ask in confusion. “Are you okay?”

Yeah, stupid question. I looked over at Nicole, who was surprised enough that she hadn’t said anything or made any move by that point. Eventually, May looked up at me, her body still vibrating due to her violent crying. “Adam, help me.” She pleaded.

“What’s going on, what’s wrong?” I asked urgently.

“It’s… It’s Phil.” She managed in between sobs. “He… He…”

“Is Phil okay?” I asked, trying to see where she was going with this.

“I wanted to make you jealous…” May started. “But I never wanted to… I… He did things, Adam.”

“Phil raped you?!” I asked her. In response, she burst into a fresh set of sobs, nodding into my shirt as she did so.

Almost as if on cue, Phil burst into the room, searching frantically until he found us. “Adam.” He called out to me with an urgent voice, then marched right up to us. “Nicole. Adam. Don’t listen to whatever this fucking liar is telling you.”

“Fuck you!” May yelled at him, then looked me in the eyes. “It’s true, Adam. I promise you. I’m being a hundred percent honest.”

“I never did anything against her will.” Phil protested.

“Then how do you know she was coming to Adam to tell him you raped her?” Nicole asked him slowly.

Phil gave her a grave look. “Aw, Nicole. not you too.” He said solemnly.

I looked over at May, who was still bawling away, then at Phil, who still had to do his fly up, looking like he was pleading me to side with him with his eyes. Here I was, in the middle of a party, trapped between a guy who didn’t know that no meant no and a girl who lied to get her way in the past, and I had zero clue who to trust.

Son of a bitch.

___________________

These stories are made possible by the generous patrons at my Patreon. If you enjoy reading these stories, please consider contributing to my Patreon to help keep me writing and get yourself a few perks along the way.

Next Chapter >>

<<Previous Chapter

<< Back