we hung out. I liked it, of course.

Hell, who am I kidding? I loved it. I couldn’t remember how I ever thought jerking off was an enjoyable way to orgasm. It was nothing compared to her mouth, then, later, her soft, wet pussy. We went from oral sex to fucking pretty quickly; neither of us could ever get enough. I didn’t have to please myself until I moved to Washington. I missed everything about her, including the intimacy we shared. It’s not so bad, jerking off, I suppose. I look down at my cock hanging, the hot water running over it. I wrap one hand around the base, teasing my own tip with my thumb the way Dakota used to with her tongue.

With my eyes closed and the warm water pouring over me, I can nearly convince myself that it’s not my own hand stroking myself. In my head, Dakota is on her knees in front of my old bed in Washington. Her curly hair was lighter before and her body was just starting to really tighten up from all of her dancing. She looked so good, she always has, but as we grew up, she just kept getting hotter and hotter. Her mouth is moving faster now . . . between that and the sounds of her moaning in my head, I’m nearly there.

My body begins to tingle, from my toes to my spine. I lean my back against the cool tile of the shower wall and one of my feet slips and I step sideways, losing my footing. A string of words that I don’t use often spits from my lips and I grab on to the checker-print shower curtain and pull.

Click, click, click.The damn thing gives way, tearing at each plastic ring. It falls, taking me with it. I yell again and my knee hits the edge of the tiny tub as I fall backward, slamming hard against the porcelain and getting hot water shooting into my face.

“Shit!” I exclaim.

My knee feels like it’s already beginning to swell up and my arms feel like Jell-O as I grip the edge of the tub and try to lift myself out. The door bursts open, startling me, so I let go and smack my head against the bottom of the tub. Before I can cover myself, I see Tessa, whose hands are flying around like a hippogriff.

“Are you all right?” she shrieks. Her eyes dart over my naked body and she covers her eyes. “Oh God! I’m sorry!”

“What the hell?” Sophia screeches as she enters.

Great . . . now she’s in here, too. I reach for the ripped curtain and pull it over my naked body. Could this get any worse? I look at both girls and nod, trying to catch my breath. My cheeks are on fire and I would rather disappear into a pile of dog shit than be curled up in the bathtub, naked, with one leg hanging over the edge. I push my free arm down onto the wet floor of the tub and try to pull myself up.

Sophia pushes past Tessa and grabs hold of my arm to help me. Someone kill me. She quickly tucks her brown hair behind her ears and uses both hands to pull me up. Please kill me. I try to keep the curtain covering my inappropriate bits, but it falls just as I stand up. I reach down and grab it again, just as nonchalantly as I can manage.

Anyone listening out there? If you won’t kill me, at least make me disappear. I’m begging you.

Sophia’s brown eyes have a green tint to them that I hadn’t noticed before. Or maybe they don’t and I’m just dazed from the fall. I look away from her, but I can still feel her eyes on me. I try to focus on the toe of her shoes: they’re brown and pointy and remind me of the shoes Hardin always wears.

“You steady now?” Sophia raises one dark brow.

Could I be any more embarrassed? I don’t think so. It wouldn’t be humanly possible. Thirty seconds ago, I was masturbating in my shower and now I’m naked and embarrassed. This entire ordeal would be hysterical if it were happening to someone else.

Sophia’s still looking at me, and it dawns on me that I haven’t answered her question.

“Yeah. Yeah. I’m fine.” I sound even smaller than I feel.

“Don’t be embarrassed,” she says quietly.

I shake my head. “I’m not,” I lie, and turn my chin down and force a laugh. The worst way to make someone feel less embarrassed is to tell them not to be embarrassed.

Tessa looks at me with concern and is about to say something when a loud beeping noise pierces the air, making me flinch.

Could this get any worse?

“The chocolate is burning!” Tessa shrieks, and disappears from the bathroom, and the room feels even more compact than usual. The mirror is foggy and everything’s dewy and Sophia’s still in here. She smiles and her finger touches the center of my stomach, just above my belly button,

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