And I can’t go there again. Despite the crazy thoughts of us dating that are running through Baylor’s head, there’s no chance of a girl like me being with a guy like him. I’ve spent too many years and dealt with too much pain climbing out of that pit of doubt and insecurity for me to be pulled back down now. My overeager libido is just going to have to take a cold shower.
I take an unsteady breath. My friends are looking at me as if I’ve grown two heads. “Are we clear?” I ask.
“Crystal,” George says, slowly, frowning at me. “But you should already know that.”
A twinge of remorse plucks at my insides, but not enough to truly make me regret my words.
Iris appears just as thoughtful. “I won’t tell. I wasn’t going to…” She stops as if pinched and looks at me closer. “Oh my God, you did it twice!”
It’s my turn to flinch. So much for calming her down. And what the hell? Is she psychic?
Iris laughs at the obvious horror in my face. “That hickey is fresh. And I know you hooked up with him during the party. You both went upstairs at the same time. And,” she points an accusatory finger at me, “you both did the walk of shame back down them.”
“I didn’t realize you paid so much attention,” I reply. “What with having your tongue down Henry’s throat all night.”
George makes a noise of disgust. “Why do I hang out with you two? Can we please stop with the details?”
“Fine by me,” I say. “I’d love it if we talked about something else.”
Rolling her eyes, Iris snags a fry. “Of course I paid attention. I was waiting for it to happen.”
I sit up straight, my hands slapping down on the cheap Formica table. “Wait. What? Did you…? You knew he’d be there, didn’t you?”
Unrepentant, Iris grins. “Well, duh. It gets around what parties the football team plans to attend. And for as much as you denied it, I knew you were into him. You just needed a little push in his direction.”
“You little weasel.” I’m half-pissed, and more than a little impressed. She has Machiavellian depths that I never considered.
She shrugs and grabs another fry. “Pretend to be outraged if you want, but you obviously liked hooking up with the boy if you did it twice.”
“Do me a favor,” I say scowling, “and restrain yourself the next time you feel the need to help me out.”
“Fine. My work here is done anyway.” She pops a fry into her mouth and chews with exaggerated vigor.
I’m tempted to chuck a fry at her head, but they’re too good, and I’m hungry.
“Two times,” George says after a moment. “In less than a week? That’s like a relationship for you, Banana.”
I nearly choke on a fry. “It is not.”
“It is,” says Iris. “And you know it.”
All right, hook ups to alleviate occasional and unavoidable horniness is more my style lately. Since my break up with Hayden sophomore year, I have made it a point not to see any guy more than once. Hayden. Ugh. I don’t want to think about Mr. Haunted Poet and Quiet Angst. I thought we were kindred spirits. It turns out he thought Amber, vegan and professional protester, was his soul mate. They dropped out of school and went to join Occupy Wall Street. I never saw him again. Unfortunate, as my last vision of him was that of his pasty butt pumping between Amber’s hairy legs.
Hayden was supposed to be the safe choice, and he didn’t have anything close to the potency of Drew Baylor. I cannot fall for Baylor. I will not.
“So it was more than one time,” I mutter. “But it isn’t a relationship.”
“Would a relationship be so bad?” Iris asks gently.
Jesus. First Drew, now Iris. Whatever happened to the carefree and innocent college days of kinky sex experimentation?
“I don’t need or want a relationship. They’re emotionally exhausting. I’m lucky if I can muster the energy just to go to class these days. And what’s the point of risking getting close to someone when we’re going to graduate and move on in less than a year?”
“It might last longer,” Iris begins.
But I shake my head and take another pull on my straw. “It isn’t worth the risk. Nor do two random hook ups a relationship make.”
It’s going to happen again. You might as well admit it.
“It’s a start,” Iris says.
“It is not.” I shove my shake away. “I just… He’s… We’re…”
“You conjugating here?” George asks, his lips twitching.
“Ha.” I expel a breath. “I don’t know what’s going on. There’s something between us that’s like…” My hand lifts helplessly.
“A fat zit that needs to be popped?” George puts in helpfully. “You know, all hot and throbbing and dying to be touched. The pressure to give it a squeeze builds and builds until you give in and, bam!” George taps his fists together. “Eruption.”
“George!” Iris tosses a balled up napkin at him, and I chuck a fry. He’s too busy cracking up to defend himself. “You’re going to make me sick.”
“That’s totally gross,” I add with a laugh.
“Seriously,” Iris huffs, “did Mami drop you on your head when you were a baby or something?”
“Come on,” he’s still laughing, “you know it’s true.”
“I do not want to think of any guy I’m…”