“Right?” Chelsea tucked the long part of her bangs behind her ear. “Anyways, it was amazing. Like, four orgasms amazing. I don’t know how I’ll find anyone to compare with it.”

“Maybe you won’t have to,” Ling suggested. “Maybe you will get married and have babies and screw like bunnies until you’re old and wrinkly.” She giggled at us over the edge of her thick calculus textbook and I really loved her in that moment, despite her naiveté. Because the rest of us knew that Easton wouldn’t marry Chelsea. In the rules of college life, the male slut never marries the female slut. The male slut finds a good girl, someone untainted and naive, and moves her to the suburbs where he gives her 2.5 orgasms, three times a week, along with the shopping list.

He would marry me, but Chelsea and Ling and bitchy Laura and I didn’t realize that yet. All we knew was that Easton North had a nice cock. And that simple fact was what, years later, got me into this mess.

On my knees, between two men. My husband’s hand on the back of my head.

2

There was something in the air that night. A breathless anticipation. I felt it when I was getting ready, my hand hovering over the plain cotton panties before selecting the silk thong. I embraced it when I sidled up to the bar, my fake id pushed forward with brazen confidence, and ordered tequila shots instead of beers.

It was three weeks before summer and we were restless, our thoughts warring between tan lines and exam dates, each weekend embraced with reckless abandon in anticipation of the slow summer ahead. Chelsea, four guys past Easton North, was going to chase a surfer up to Jersey for the summer. Laura had an internship at the Junior League of St Pete, and Ling would be studying abroad in Korea. I’d be the only one staying, my ice cream scooping gig paying the rent as I shuffled through two summer semesters that would knock out twelve easy credits.

I liked the summers, liked the ability to find a parking spot without divine intervention, liked the easy familiarity that I found in my classmates, liked the house parties that weren’t packed to the vents with freshmen. But still, I felt the desperation like everyone else. The countdown before the year ended. The primal need for one last human connection before they were all gone.

I could have counted down to the moment Chelsea vomited with freakish accuracy. All of the elements were there. Beer, then liquor. Never been sicker. Tequila followed by rum. Not so much fun. When she climbed onto the bar, her thick cork wedges crunching over a finger along the way, I braced for it. When she hung upside down from the glass rack, I winced. When she stumbled from the bar top and toward the bathroom, I steered her to the closest bush and still didn’t get her there in time.

I watched the brown liquid splash precariously close to my new Steve Maddens and listened to the chant of a hundred drunk girls to Brown Eyed Girl’s chorus.

“I’m fine,” she croaked, though no one was really asking.

“Come on.” I tugged her upright and looked around for something to wipe off her chin with. “Stay right here. I’m going to get you a napkin.”

She wobbled to the right and I carefully settled her into one of the bar’s wrought iron chairs. “Stay,” I instructed.

I turned to head to the bar and ran into him. “Sorry,” I murmured, moving right.

“Here.”

It was just a word. Four letters. Innocent ones, but like Chelsea’s whispered curse in the middle of the sorority dining hall, they caught my attention in an instant. I looked up, and that was my mistake.

Gorgeous trouble, that’s what he looked like. The innocent kind that wore polos and khakis to church on Sunday, then fucked you on their family’s yacht. The messy hair, Master’s baseball cap, strong jaw, and blue-eyed prom king kind. The sort that would toss someone like Jonah aside and fling a girl over his shoulder and spank her ass.

Not that I was thinking about Jonah right then. After the last weekend, I wasn’t thinking about Jonah ever again. Ironically, that mental vow brought to mind the image of him, his tongue halfway down her throat, his hand squeezing her push-up bra boob. Thank God we’d decided to go out. Thank God I’d gone up to the upper deck. Thank God I’d seen them, before my heart had really fallen for him.

“Here.” The guy’s hand moved and I focused in on the chunk of paper towels he held out.

“Oh. Wow. Thanks.” A 4.0 average and I was sputtering out syllables like a toddler.

“I’ll do it.” He pulled the napkins out of reach and crouched beside Chelsea, carefully wiping the thick cord of vomit off her chin. I winced at her non-reaction, her eyes on me, one hand swinging through the air toward me. “Let’s dance!” she cried out.

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