His tongue is between my lips, his hips are between my thighs, and his body is in my hands—but it’s me who is lost to him. I’m his, silently begging for more and more as he gives himself to me in the darkness of a stranger’s room. When his body spasms and he collapses on top of me, I hold him close, allowing my hands to memorize the planes of his back and the way his sweat-dampened hair curls against the top of his neck.
I want to kiss him again, but now that what we did is over, I don’t know if I should. With my fingers in his hair, I fight with myself too long and lose the battle when Shawn pushes off of me and begins gathering his clothes. He tosses me mine with a tired smile on his face, and I try to remind myself I should be happy. Even if I never see him again, at least I had tonight.
“Do you see my phone anywhere?” he asks, and I search the sheets around me to find it. He flips on the light switch, and I thank God when I don’t see any blood anywhere. We’re in Adam’s room, judging by the band posters and lyrics scrawled on the walls, and I find Shawn’s phone in black satin sheets and hand it to him, ignoring the pain that throbs down below with each little movement I make. If he knew it was my first time, he probably would have been gentler. But if he knew it was my first time, he probably wouldn’t have done it at all.
Realization hits me like a wrecking ball to my gut—because I know he’s never going to talk to me after this. He’s going to leave, going to move a hundred miles away, and my heart is going to break worse than it would have if I had just let him go.
“What’s your number?” he asks, and I stare up at him. He’s holding his phone in his hand, waiting for me to answer him, and the wrecking ball explodes into a thousand butterflies that flutter over my skin and tickle at my cheeks.
I get my hopes up before I can help it, rattling off numbers as Shawn enters them into his phone. When he’s finished, I slide my last article of clothing over my head and eagerly take the hand he offers. He helps me up and then chuckles, pocketing his phone and saying, “Here.” His fingers lift to comb through my hair, but he quickly gives up and simply smooths it out, finishing the job by tucking a long strand behind my ear.
“Better?” I ask, and he smiles before giving me an unexpected kiss that leaves me wanting to do more of what we just did on the bed, throbbing pain be damned.
The moment ends when he reaches for the knob and opens the door, and then we’re walking into the hall and his arm is draping over my shoulder. In front of everyone. I contain a squeal and play it cool, smiling like I belong here at Adam’s party. Like I’m not just some nerdy freshman who used to wear thick glasses. Like Shawn Scarlett’s arm draped possessively over my shoulder is no big deal. Like he didn’t just take my virginity and make my entire life. Like him asking for my number, giving me a kiss, and putting his arm around me doesn’t make my heart want to explode in my chest. Like I’m not hopelessly in love with him.
“What the fuck are you doing, man?” a familiar voice asks when we reach the living room, and every hair on my body stands on end as Shawn and I turn and see my brothers approaching us from the crowd. Bryce’s tone is light and amused, which tells me he has no idea we just came from upstairs. He laughs when I blush under his gaze. “Dude, that’s my sister,” he tells Shawn, and then he turns his attention to me. “Is this why you wanted to come here tonight?”
Oh God, oh God, oh God.
“You’re his sister?” Shawn asks me, and I see it happen—the moment when he recognizes me as a Larson, when he realizes I’m the little sister of Bryce, Ryan, and worst of all, Mason.
“Yeah,” Bryce answers for me, “and she’s fifteen, man.”
I barely have time to catch the mortified look Shawn gives me, but it embeds itself in my memory forever. His arm drops from my shoulder even before someone outside yells, “COPS!”
Red and blue lights flash through the windows, followed by sirens that trigger a stampede. Bryce grabs me by the arm and tugs me away from Shawn, and Shawn drifts farther and farther away in the chaos, staring after me in that way that breaks my heart. Like what we did was a mistake and all I am is a regret.
He moves away. He doesn’t call.
He forgets, but I never do.
“THAT WAS A hundred years ago, Kale!” I shout at my closed bedroom door as I wiggle into a pair of skintight jeans. I hop backward, backward, backward—until I’m nearly tripping over the combat boots lying in the middle of my childhood room.
“So why are you going to this audition?”
I barely manage to do a quick twist-and-turn to land on my bed instead of my ass, my furrowed brow directed at the ceiling as I finish yanking my pants up. “Because!”
Unsatisfied, Kale growls at me from the other side of my closed door. “Is it because you still like him?”
“I don’t even KNOW him!” I shout at a white swirl on the ceiling, kicking my legs out and fighting against the taut denim as I stride to my closed door. I grab the knob and throw it open. “And he probably doesn’t even remember me!”
Kale’s scowl is replaced by a big set of widening eyes as he takes in my outfit—tight, black, shredded-to-hell jeans paired with a loose black tank top that doesn’t do much to cover the lacy bra I’m wearing. The black fabric matches my wristbands and the parts of my hair that aren’t highlighted blue. I turn away from Kale to grab my boots.