“You want a shot at this?” Marnie taunted him, waving a hand at her cute little body. “Liz told me you were good in bed, but I’ll warn you right now, if you don’t make me come, I’m spreading the word.”
Murphy slapped his forehead. “How am I supposed to perform under that kind of pressure?”
She pointed at him. “If you can’t perform under pressure, that’s a deal-breaker. If this makes you nervous, what will you do when I bust out my strap-on? The pressure hasn’t even begun. Take it or leave it, Cap’n!”
Murphy’s eyes widened comically. “Will you call me that while we’re going at it? That might help my performance.”
She gave him a smart little salute. “Ay Ay, Cap’n!”
She shouted the words, but could still barely be heard over the sounds of all of us laughing. The funniest part was, I had no idea if they were actually joking.
Murphy turned to Damien, holding out his hand as if to shake. “We’ll finally be Eskimo brothers, mate! I’ve been looking forward to this day!”
Damien just shook his head, looking pained. He was particularly quiet tonight, chatting up Jessa in the corner of the pool. “So wrong,” he muttered.
Murphy threw his arms up in the air. “Is that too crass? How about fish-sticks? Can we cross fish-sticks now?”
“What does that even mean?” I asked James, figuring it was a guy thing.
He grimaced. “It’s a really crude way of saying that they hooked up with the same woman.”
Judith held up two fingers to Murphy, bouncing over to him in the pool. “Fish-sticks!”
They began to have a long mock sword fight with their fingers.
“Your friends are a riot,” James told me. “But I can’t imagine they weren’t a shock to a virgin.”
I gave him a look. “I was a virgin, but I’ve seen plenty, James. I was on the streets as a young teen. I was past the ability to be shocked before I was sixteen. I think that Judith and Marnie were more shocked at my virginity than they’ve ever managed to shock me.”
He laughed. “I can well imagine.”
“They tried to relieve me of the ‘condition’ for months. I had to really chew them out to get them to stop.”
His face darkened. “I’m glad they didn’t succeed. The idea makes me feel violent.”
I rolled my eyes. “They didn’t even come close to succeeding. They were trying to hook me up with guys that they had hooked up with.”
“Murphy is earning his red-wings tonight!” Marnie shouted loudly.
I looked at James, who had me crowded against the side of the pool. “What does that mean?” I asked him, knowing it was something kinky, and that he was the expert on kink.
He grinned, moving close against me. “When you go down on a girl on her period for the first time, that’s called earning your red-wings. I’m going to earn my red-wings with you.”
I felt like I blushed from head to toe. I had to look away. I didn’t know how, but he could still manage to shock me.
He gripped my chin and turned me back to look at him.
“So you’ve never done that before?” I asked him.
He shook his head.
“And people actually do that?”
He shrugged. “I’m going to.”
I wrinkled my nose at him. “You are so kinky in the strangest ways. I just kind of assumed that people just stopped doing…stuff…during that time of the month.”
He laughed. “Look at you. You can’t even say it. I won’t be going a week without sex just because you have your period, I can tell you that much. And I won’t be going a week without going down on you either. So yes, I’ll be earning my red-wings soon.”
I flushed hotly. The idea was so embarrassing, but the fact that nothing about me was a turn-off for him, was still always kind of a turn-on for me.
He grinned, gripping my chin in a hand, and leaning in close. “Words can’t even express how much I love to put that scandalized look in your eyes.”
“Why doesn’t that surprise me?” I whispered back, still blushing.
“God you guys are good at eye-fucking each other!” Marnie shouted at us, just making me flush harder. “Get a room!”
“I might not be in the mood when I’m on my period,” I told him, ignoring Marnie. “I can get tired and grumpy.”
He laughed, unfazed. “Oh, trust me, I’ll get you in the mood.”
Knowing him, I could hardly doubt it.
“I need to go to the bathroom, you kinky bastard,” I told him.
He made an embarrassing show of getting me out of the pool, drying me and putting my cover-up on. My friends cheered him on, and I flushed. He even tried to walk me to the bathroom.
I gave him a level stare. “James, I can go to the bathroom by myself.”
He looked none-too-happy about it, but he handed me a key from the pocket of his swim trunks. “Use the one in our bedroom. It’s locked.”
I just nodded and walked off, keeping the towel wrapped tightly around my chest.
After I finished and came back down to the main floor, I was particularly surprised to find one partygoer that I did recognize, but that I certainly hadn’t expected to come.
“Hi Melissa,” I told her.
Melissa was drinking a martini and looked to be flirting with a bartender in one of the makeshift bars that had been set up around the house.
She sent me a pretty disgusted look for someone partying at my boyfriend’s house.
“Bianca,” she said with a sneer.
I’m not sure if it was her venom, or if it was the nerve of her bad attitude at this particular location, but that sneer just seemed to snap the class right out of me.
I grabbed her arm, pretty much dragging her into the nearest room. It was some sort of entertainment room, with a giant TV mounted on the wall, theatre seating, and a long sofa set up at the back of the room. I’d only seen the room once before and briefly, when I’d finally gotten the full tour of the house.
A couple was making out on the sofa. I ordered them out like I owned the place. They seemed to think I did, because they listened and obeyed without a protest. I shut the door behind them and turned to Melissa.
“Ok, let’s hear it,” I told her in my coldest voice. “What is your problem? Do you dislike me, or is your personality just this horrible in general?” Normally being this rude to someone literally made my skin crawl, but I didn’t seem to be having any problem with it just then.
She folded her arms over her chest and glared at me, the look more pouty than convincing. “It’s you. You are just the type of woman that I absolutely despise.”
I raised my brows at her. I wasn’t surprised that she didn’t like me—that was hardly a shocker, she hadn’t been keeping it a secret, but I rarely found myself described as a type. Unless maybe it was the distant, reserved type. And that type rarely inspired this kind of animosity. I didn’t have to ask her what she meant; she was more than happy to elaborate.
“You act like a prissy bitch, you look down on the girls that want a sugar daddy, but you are just like us! You are playing the same game I am; you’re just less honest about it. That is what I hate! And you landed the biggest rich guy of all! You don’t deserve it. You don’t deserve any of this! I was born rich. Born in to this life, born deserving this life, but then my daddy lost everything, and now I have to throw fucking peanuts to make ends meet, blowing sixty-year old men just to get the bags I used to get for giving my daddy a kiss on the cheek. And you, with your supposed virtue, land the ultimate rich guy on your first try. You give honest girls like me a bad name.”
I laughed. I couldn’t keep it in. I laughed right in her face. “So that’s your deal,” I told her, my tone scathing. I just couldn’t believe that she was even more worthless than what I’d pegged her for. “You’re a spoiled little brat that never grew up. Your daddy gave you everything, and look what you became. A whore for bags?”
She actually had the nerve to try to slap me. I saw it coming and caught her wrist mid-air.
“I am nothing like you,” I continued as though she hadn’t just taken a swing at me. “The fact that James has money worked against him with me, not for him, and I couldn’t give a flying fuck about handbags. You need a little dose of the real world, little girl, and I hope you get it.”
The door burst open, and James strode in, his eyes wild, four security guards behind him. He didn’t even look at Melissa as he had her escorted out.
I did, meeting her glare for glare as she stormed off.
Finally, I met his eyes. I knew what I’d find there. Enough concern and fury to make me tense.
“That’s fucking it. You aren’t going to the bathroom without security ever again.”
I rolled my eyes. “Please. It was Melissa. She’s hostile, but hardly a threat to me.”
“She threw a fucking drink at your head!”
He was really working himself into a rage, I realized.
I moved to him, burying my face in his chest. He wrapped me in his arms. It was an automatic response, enraged or not. I thought that said a lot.
“I’m perfectly fine. We had an enlightening conversation, actually.”
“Oh?” he asked, his hands running over my back possessively.
“Yeah. I found out what her deal is.”
“I’d love to hear it.”
“She’s a spoiled brat,” I said simply.
“And a whore for designer bags.”
That got a real laugh out of him. “She must really like handbags,” he said, a smile in his voice.
“I would hope so, since she claims she blew a sixty-year old just to get one.” I don’t know why it struck me funny when I said it, it really was just sad and pathetic, but I couldn’t make the statement without laughing.
It must have been contagious because James started laughing just as hard as I was.
Stephan found us still laughing when he burst in the door, breathless. He pointed at James. “That was mean. You had me scared to death that she’d disappeared, and here you are, laughing and joking, and not bothering to call the search off.”
“My bad,” James said, still laughing. It must have been that tension relieving type of laughter, because I couldn’t stop mine either.
“What’s so funny?” Stephan asked, his face breaking into a smile at our delirious laughter. He was always quick to shake things off.
“Melissa blew a sixty-year old for a handbag,” I gasped out. I knew it was bitchy to repeat what she’d said, but it was Stephan, and I just didn’t care anymore about being a bitch where she was concerned.
His brows shot up, his grin widening. “That’s hardly surprising, but I may turn you saying that into my ringtone.”
“Why?” I asked him.
“Because I can’t imagine a time of day where I would hear you saying something like that and not smile. So, did you two finally have it out?”
I nodded, still trying to hold in my helpless laughter. “She thought I was a gold-digger like her, just being sneaky about it. It insulted her oh-so refined sensibilities. I called her a spoiled little brat and a handbag whore.”