Scipio S by Nick Scipio SC: Kendall

CHAPTER 23

When I pulled into the Paytons’ driveway, Kendall rushed out to greet me. She threw herself into my arms, almost knocking me over.

“Hi,” I said.

“Hi yourself,” she replied, beaming.

“What’re you so happy about?”

You’re here,” she said. “My life is complete.” Then she did a pirouette and smiled, white teeth flashing.

“You’re crazy.”

“Crazy in love,” she said. “C’mon inside, it’s freezing out here.”

“I can tell,” I said, glancing at her cold-hardened nipples.

She rolled her eyes. “Is that all you men think about?”

“Yeah, pretty much.”

Once inside, Melissa emerged from the kitchen and gave me a hug. Drew introduced me to his girlfriend, Sherrie, a big-breasted blonde who looked more attractive than intelligent. And finally, Adam looked over the top of his newspaper and greeted me with a nod.

“Merry Christmas, son,” he said. “Have you thought about that winch for your Jeep?”

I guess that was his way of reminding me of my “responsibilities.”

“After all,” he continued, “you never know when a good winch will come in handy.”

I looked at him for a moment, trying to gauge his mood. When he cracked a smile, I realized that he was merely giving me a hard time. I decided to return the favor, so I pantomimed breasts and asked, “Winch or wench?”

His brow momentarily creased, but when he got the joke, his booming laugh filled the room.

Paul!” Kendall scolded.

“Aw, we’re just havin’ fun, baby doll,” Adam said. “Whaddya call it? ‘Male bonding’?”

“Yeah,” I added, “it’s just male bonding.”

Kendall rolled her eyes, but then looked at me fondly.

✧ ✧ ✧

After dinner, Melissa and Kendall served eggnog and sugar cookies. My first sip of eggnog was a surprise, though; my throat burned when I swallowed.

“What’s in this?” I rasped, trying not to cough. When I looked up, Adam and Drew were grinning at me.

“Tennessee Sippin’ Whiskey,” Adam said, “courtesy of Mr. George Dickel.” Then he took a swig. “Ahhhh,” he said at last, smacking his lips. “I love the holidays.”

I didn’t miraculously acquire a taste for the whiskey, but it did leave me with a happy, warm glow. Kendall offered me some plain eggnog for my second cup, and I noticed that everyone but Adam and Melissa switched to the non-alcoholic blend.

When we polished off the cookies, we gathered around the Christmas tree. Actually, we gathered around the Christmas tree with the presents, since the Paytons had two trees. The first was mostly for show. It stood in the formal family room on the house’s main level where it could be seen through the bay windows.

The second tree was downstairs in the basement, which had higher ceilings and a cozy wood-burning stove, not to mention the TV, hi-fi console, and a wet bar. So we gathered around the downstairs Christmas tree, and Melissa brought down two pitchers of eggnog (“high-test” and “regular,” she called them).

The Payton tradition was to open one present on Christmas Eve, and I was included. Since I wouldn’t be spending Christmas itself with them, though, I’d open all of my gifts from them.

After everyone opened their traditional presents, Drew and Sherrie exchanged gifts. Then Kendall helped me distribute the gifts and cards I’d brought. Adam and Melissa opened the Christmas cards from my family, the Coulters, and Susan, and gave me cards to take back to Atlanta in return.

Finally, Kendall opened her presents from Susan. The first was a book: the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which she later told me was simply called the DSM (the standard reference for psychiatrists and psychologists). As I watched her eagerly leaf through it, I marveled at Susan’s breadth of experience, which made her the consummate gift-giver.

Once Kendall set aside the book, she opened her second present, a pearl necklace and matching set of earrings.

“Susan called to ask me if you had pearls,” Melissa said to her daughter. “I told her you’d eventually inherit some from Grandma Frances, but you didn’t have any at the moment.”

“Oh, they’re beautiful,” Kendall said.

Melissa looked on fondly when she tried them on, while Adam nodded in approval.

Then I opened my gifts from the Paytons: a book on Roman architecture and an album, J. Geils Band, “Freeze Frame.” With that, Kendall and I turned to our gifts from each other.

Her big gift from me had been the shopping spree at Felicia’s shop, but we had decided to wrap the clothes—the dress and shoes, at least—and open them in front of her family.

Kendall oohed and aahed appreciatively when she opened the boxes and “discovered” what was inside, but I had managed to sneak an additional present into the mix (with Melissa’s help, of course).

With an uncertain glance at me, Kendall tore at the wrapping paper. Then she opened the black velvet box.

“Oh, Paul,” she whispered, “they’re beautiful.”

I had gotten her a pair of amethyst earrings (her birthstone). She immediately removed her pearl earrings and put in the amethyst ones.

“Thank you,” she said, hugging me tight. Then she gave me a sound kiss and sat back, blushing.

After showing everyone the new earrings, she eagerly gestured for me to open my gifts.

The first was a Polo sweater—forest green with dark blue stripes. The second was a small silver medal.

“It’s St. Joseph of Cupertino,” Kendall explained.

I looked a question at her.

“He’s the patron saint of aviators,” she said. Then she smiled bashfully. “I guess I want someone watching over you.”

“Thank you very much,” I said. I still wanted to help her conquer her fear of flying, but at least the medal was tacit approval of my own flying.

With that, we cleaned up the discarded wrapping paper and poured more eggnog. We relaxed and talked for a few minutes, but then Adam and Melissa stood.

“I think we’re going to go up and get settled,” Adam said.

Melissa smiled at us, her eyes a little unfocused from the spiked eggnog.

After another round of thanks and happy holiday wishes, they headed upstairs.

Drew immediately turned out the overhead light. The Christmas tree lights filled the room with a festive glow.

While Drew and Sherrie quietly made out, Kendall and I did the same. After ten or fifteen minutes, though, Drew stood up.

“Come on, baby,” he said to Sherrie. “Lemme drive you home.”

“But, Drew, I don’t have to be home till eleven o’clock.”

I looked at my watch: it was 8:55.

“Then I guess we’ll have to find something to do in the meantime,” Drew said, his tone suggestive. “You know, in the Scout.”

“But, Drew….”

Kendall and I looked at each other and rolled our eyes. Drew obviously wanted some privacy—his father’s Scout was the perfect place—and he probably wanted to give Kendall and me some privacy as well. Sherrie, however, didn’t Get It.

“Come on, baby,” Drew insisted.

“But I don’t wanna go home.”

“Then we’ll have to find something better to do,” Drew emphasized.

After another exchange Sherrie finally got the idea. Once she did, she bounced up from the couch and practically plastered herself to Drew’s side. (Did I mention that she was more attractive than intelligent?)

“I don’t know where he finds those girls,” Kendall said after they left. “Sometimes, I wonder why he was ever attracted to Erin. After all, she’s got a brain.”

“Aw, Drew likes to play the field,” I said.

“No kidding. I just worry about him getting some girl pregnant or something.”

“He’s not going to do anything that stupid.”

“I hope not. But let’s not talk about Drew’s girlfriends.”

I raised my eyebrows, inviting her to continue.

“Let’s talk about your girlfriend,” she said. “Namely, me.”

“What would you like to talk about?” I asked coyly.

“Private presents. Wait right here. I’ve got yours in the closet down here.”

While she was gone I reached into my backpack and took out four small presents. When she returned she set down her gifts and then settled in my lap. Her lips met mine, and the kiss quickly heated up.

I slid my hands under her sweater to her bra-clad breasts. Her nipples hardened under my palms. We broke the kiss and I lifted her sweater. She resisted, but I was insistent. Finally, I tugged the sweater over her head and tossed it aside. Then, with a practiced flip, I unsnapped her bra. She tried to hold it against her chest, but I pulled it away, her heavy breasts swinging free.

Finally, I pulled her against me. As we resumed kissing I tweaked her nipples, driving her to distraction. I had just unzipped her skirt when we heard someone coming down the stairs.

“It’s my mom,” Kendall hissed. She covered her bare chest and began casting about for her discarded sweater.

I dutifully stood up to intercept Melissa, and met her as she reached the bottom stair. She stood on it without coming into the basement proper.

The step put her head a good eight inches higher than mine, and I found myself looking squarely at her impressive breasts. They were the prototypes for Kendall’s, of course, but that wasn’t what drew my eyes; her frilly pink robe was practically transparent. Not only could I see her nipples, but I could easily make out the dark triangle of her pubic hair.

“I probably should’ve put on something more appropriate,” she said, following my glance without batting an eye, “but you’ve seen everything I have to offer. Besides, I like to show off a little too, so I thought ‘what the heck!’”

She’d obviously had more spiked eggnog than I realized.

“Is everything okay, Mom?” Kendall asked. She hadn’t found her sweater quick enough, so she’d simply draped herself with a blanket. It was a feeble disguise, but her mother didn’t seem inclined to take notice.

Instead, Melissa smiled indulgently. “Everything’s fine,” she said. “I just came down to tell y’all that we’re going to bed.”

“Okay, Mom,” Kendall said, a little perplexed. “Thanks.”

Quieter, to me, Melissa said, “Eggnog always gets me in the mood, so Adam and I are going to… um… enjoy a bit of Christmas cheer, if you know what I mean. And since Drew won’t be home till after eleven,” she continued, “y’all more or less have the house to yourselves.”

“Oh, okay,” I said, “thanks for letting us know.”

“I know this is a special night for Kendall,” Melissa continued, “and I didn’t want her to worry about us coming down and interrupting things, bless her heart. Besides, I think Adam has a… special… present for me,” she added, her words a little slurred by the alcohol. “It’s my favorite beauty treatment.”

I did my best not to let my surprise show, but I don’t think I succeeded.

“Oh, you know what I’m talking about,” she added with a wink and a smile. “Like mother, like daughter.” Then her eyes unconsciously flicked downward, toward my crotch. “And Kendall’s a lucky girl; you’ve got quite a cannon on you. Just be sure to warn her before it goes off in her face. Or on her face!” She chuckled, low and suggestive.

I couldn’t believe my ears, but I nodded, my face flushed.

“Now,” she continued, “I’m going to go see about my own beauty treatment. You two have fun. I don’t expect we’ll see you until you head back to school… so, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.” Then she hugged me, her soft breasts cushioning my face.

When she headed upstairs, her short robe flared and I got a good view of her dark-fringed pussy. (I’m ashamed to admit it, but I actually lingered to watch!)

“What were you two talking about?” Kendall asked when I rejoined her on the couch.

“She said that she and your dad are going to bed for the night,” I answered simply. “So we won’t be interrupted.”

“Was that all she said?”

“More or less.”

“You talked for longer than that,” she said skeptically.

“You wouldn’t believe it if I told you.”

Fortunately, she was horny enough that she didn’t press the issue. Instead, she discarded her concealing blanket and pressed herself against me. “Okay, where were we?”

“I believe we were kissing,” I said, suiting action to words.

As we kissed, we slowly took off each other’s clothes. She had to stand up to remove my pants, and when she did, she paused to let me admire her. Her waist chain glinted in the light from the Christmas tree. And she was still wearing the odd combination of amethyst earrings and pearl necklace, but I wasn’t about to complain. When she reached for my erection, however, I stopped her.

“Let’s get our presents,” I suggested.

“Don’t you want to…?”

“Trust me,” I said confidently. Once we gathered our presents, I beckoned to her. “Here,” I said, “sit on my lap.” By way of explanation, I gripped my erection and aimed it upward.

She quickly got the idea. A moment later, she rested on my hips, impaled upon my length. Her pussy was as hot and tight as ever. I stopped her before she could start moving atop me, though.

“What?” she asked, perplexed.

“I thought we could open our presents first.”

“Like this?” she asked incredulously, gesturing to where our bodies were joined.

“Mmm hmm,” I said. “It’ll be fun.”

“But I thought—”

I shushed her with a finger to her lips. “Trust me.”

“Okay,” she said at last. “Although I don’t see how you can concentrate like this.”

“I can concentrate just fine,” I said.

“Well, I can’t.”

“Then you’ll just have to practice,” I said. Then I grinned wryly. “Add another class to your schedule next quarter: Doing Everyday Things While Sitting on Your Boyfriend’s Dick.”

“How many credit-hours?” she asked archly.

“Three,” I said. “With a three-hour lab.”

“Do you have a syllabus?”

“Uh-huh. Monday, sit on your boyfriend’s dick. Wednesday, sit on your boyfriend’s dick. Friday—”

“Lemme guess… sit on your boyfriend’s dick?”

“Bingo! Miss Payton, I think you deserve some extra credit.”

She moved her hips against me, my cock sliding within her slippery sheath.

“But let’s hurry up and open these presents,” I added.

She smiled smugly.

“Okay, smarty-pants. You first.” With that, I handed her a present.

“Ooh, The Autobiography of a Flea,” she said as she unwrapped the book. “I’ve heard of it, but… where did you find it?”

“Susan kinda helped me with that one,” I admitted.

“Oh, Paul, I can’t wait to read it. Although… I’ve got an even better idea—we can read it together!”

“Sounds good to me,” I said. Then, “Open the next one.”

“Uh-uh. Your turn.”

I opened my first gift from her, a small bottle of “Love Lotion.”

“It’s supposed to heat up when you rub it,” she explained.

“Like you,” I said whimsically. She started to reply, but then I tweaked one of her nipples.

“No fair,” she gasped.

“All’s fair in love and war,” I said, grinning. “Here, open your next present.”

It was another book, Fanny Hill.

“Susan kinda helped me with that one too,” I said.

“I can’t wait to read it… together,” Kendall said, her eyes aglow. Then she handed me a small odd-shaped present.

It was a fancy bottle of lightly scented oil. I looked at it, perplexed.

“I thought you might like a hot oil massage… my lord,” she said, her eyes demurely lowered.

“I’d like that… Ariadne,” I said, in my best Roman nobleman’s voice.

Her eyes flashed, and the temperature in her pussy jumped a degree or five.

I set the oil aside and gripped her hips. For several minutes, we simply rocked against each other. But we both had more gifts to open, so I reluctantly held her in place.

She frowned, but her expression brightened when I handed her another gift. “What are they?” she asked when she unwrapped the box.

“Ben Wa balls.”

“Oh, I’ve read about them! They’re supposed to move around inside me, and when they rub together, they vibrate, right?”

“Well, yeah, but the… um… the clerk at the store… said they don’t really vibrate all that much. But you can use ’em with special exercises. ‘K’ something or another, although I don’t remember the exact name,” I half-fibbed, since I didn’t want to explain the source of my information. I guess I was also feeling a little guilty about Felicia. Unfortunately, at the thought of the blonde—her perfect breasts, her inner muscles—my cock jerked and grew harder still.

Treacherous imagination!

“Exercises for what?” Kendall asked, feeling my excitement and misinterpreting it.

“To make your inner muscles stronger,” I said, doing my best to curtail thoughts of Felicia.

Kendall’s eyes flashed and she moistened her lips.

“I wish I could remember the name of the exercises,” I said, glad for the distraction of searching my memory. “‘K’ something. Kay… Keg… K—”

Kegel exercises?!”

“Yeah!” I said, seizing upon her greater knowledge. “You’ve heard of ’em?”

“Yes,” she said, “but they’re for bladder control problems.”

“Bladder control problems?”

She nodded.

Then I remembered something Felicia had said. “You know how when you’re going to the bathroom,” I explained, “and you have to stop the flow….”

Cautiously, “Mmm hmm.”

“That’s what these exercises are like. So yeah, I guess they could be used for bladder problems, but—”

Kendall suddenly covered her mouth with her hand, deep in thought. “You might be right,” she said at last. “I’ll have to do some reading. I think I’ve still got the book where I read about them.”

I nodded enthusiastically, and tried—tried—not to think about Felicia and her gripping pussy. Fortunately, Kendall distracted me by thanking me for the Ben Wa balls. Then she handed me another gift. When I opened it, I stared at the box in shock. “Are these what I think they are?” I asked.

She nodded like the cat that ate the canary.

“Where did you get them?” I asked. I couldn’t imagine her going into a store where she could buy—

“Mail order,” she explained. “I… um… ‘borrowed’ one of Drew’s girly magazines and looked through the back. You know, where they have all those little ads for sex toys and stuff?”

I nodded absently, still staring at the pair of fur-lined leather handcuffs, complete with steel rings and long leather thongs, used to tie them to… whatever.

“I thought you could handcuff me and have your way with me,” she said, her voice sultry and very, very arousing. She felt my cock swell within her, and leaned close. “Would you like that?”

Oh, yeah.”

“Me too,” she said softly.

I was tempted to forego the remaining presents, but my willpower held.

“Okay,” Kendall asked, her face a mixture of disappointment and eagerness, “next?”

I handed her the final box and smiled a secret, smug smile.

When she opened it, she gasped in surprise, the reaction I’d been hoping for. “Is this…?”

“You said you needed one,” I said. “After all, you’re a modern girl.”

“But I’ve got the real thing,” she said, wiggling her hips.

“But ‘every girl needs a vibrator,’” I quoted. “Besides, who says you can’t use both at once: the real thing and a vibrator.”

“I don’t know….”

“Trust me,” I said, interrupting her. “Now, lemme open my last present—I dunno how much more of this I can stand.”

“It was your idea,” she said pointedly, smiling to take the sting out of it. Finally, she pressed herself against me and gave me a kiss full of heat and promise. When she pulled back, she suddenly turned shy and uncertain. Then she handed me a thick envelope.

On closer examination, it wasn’t an envelope after all; it was folded parchment, complete with a red wax seal.

“Open it,” she said, her eyes dancing with anticipation.

I broke the seal and unfolded the parchment wrapper. It contained several folded sheets of thinner parchment, filled with flowing script in Kendall’s feminine handwriting. “What is it?” I asked at last.

“Read it.”

It was a love letter. When I finished reading I looked up, my chest tight with emotion. Then I set the parchment aside and drew Kendall close. Her breasts flattened against my chest, her nipples hard. We kissed passionately as we moved together, her hips rocking as I thrust upward.

After several minutes I wrapped my arms around her and sat forward. Her legs gripped my waist as I laid her on the floor and resumed thrusting.

Our bodies twined together as one, my cock sliding smoothly within her. I took my time, but when I felt my orgasm approaching, I gazed down at her, our eyes locked. She caressed my face and silently urged me on, until I buried myself as deep as I could and erupted within her.

When I opened my eyes, she was gazing up at me, her expression full of love and devotion.

We didn’t speak.

We didn’t need to.

✧ ✧ ✧

On Christmas morning, I woke up bright and early. The night before, I had left Kendall’s house late, but I’d been thoroughly sated and very, very happy.

Even though I had less than four hours’ sleep, I bounded out of bed. I was full of energy, so I did a set of push-ups. Then I did sit-ups. After a round of crunches, I repeated the cycle. The slight burn in my muscles gave me a heady, world-conquering feeling.

By the time the rest of my family awoke, I had taken a shower, gotten dressed, and eaten a hearty breakfast (damn the consequences!). I’d also made coffee for my dad, and toasted some English muffins for my mom and Erin.

“My goodness,” Mom said when she entered the kitchen, “what’s gotten into you this morning?”

“I’m happy to be alive,” I said, spreading my hands expansively. “Merry Christmas!”

“Merry Christmas,” my dad said as he entered the kitchen. He seemed to be following his nose. “Did you make coffee?”

“Hot and black, made fresh,” I answered cheerfully. I sounded like a TV commercial, but I couldn’t help myself. Kendall loved me, Gina loved me, and I saw a glimmer of hope for my three-way relationship. Why wouldn’t I be happy?

“Ooh, muffins,” Erin said as she entered the kitchen.

“Butter?” I prompted. “Jelly? Jam? Preserves?”

Mom and Dad merely glanced at each other and grinned at my boisterous attitude.

“Why’re you so cheerful this morning?” Erin asked.

“Don’t ask,” Dad said hastily. “He’s made coffee, fixed breakfast, and made coffee. Let’s not spoil it with whys and wherefores.”

“You said ‘made coffee’ twice, Dad,” Erin said.

“Did I? I hadn’t noticed,” Dad replied, grinning to show her that she’d been set up.

She rolled her eyes theatrically.

“So I take it things went well with Kendall last night?” Mom asked quietly as she and I headed into the living room.

I nodded. I’m sure my smile was goofy.

Mom evidently thought it was. She smiled, bemused, and put her arm around my waist. “Good,” was all she said. Then she looked over her shoulder. “C’mon you two. I’m ready to open presents.”

“Yes, dear,” my dad called from the kitchen.

Then Erin squealed in surprise.

A moment later, they emerged; Dad had Erin over one shoulder. He had even managed to grab his steaming mug of coffee in one hand.

“Daddy!” Erin squealed.

“Where did we put that sack of coal, dear?” he asked Mom.

Mom and I merely shook our heads and grinned.

After a moment, Dad set Erin down and sat next to Mom on the couch. Erin and I plopped on the floor, near the Christmas tree.

My family didn’t have many traditions regarding presents. When Erin and I were younger, we had to take turns opening gifts (to avoid fights), but since we’d matured, neither of us felt the urge to quarrel over whose turn it was. Consequently, our Christmas mornings had become a lot more enjoyable, not to mention more informal.

And despite our teasing, Mom doggedly held on to her belief in Santa Claus. Consequently, we always had a number of presents wrapped in red Santa paper, with cards that read “From S. Claus, North Pole.” Even though we gave Mom a hard time about the Santa presents—Dad even called her “Mrs. Claus”—we still enjoyed them.

While Mom and Dad looked on, Erin and I sorted the presents and made piles for everyone. Then we started opening. We didn’t really go in order, but we did take our time, and we tried to pay attention to what others were opening.

Erin and I got the usual assortment of clothes, music, and gadgets that every teenager simply has to have. My parents’ big present to the family was a color television. Their big present to me was a pair of Rossignol skis, Lange ski boots, and a fancy Gore-Tex ski outfit.

Then Mom and Dad grinned at each other and brought out Erin’s big present. It was a smallish box, so I figured it was jewelry. When Erin opened it, however, she gasped in surprise and then looked at our parents, mouth agape.

They merely grinned.

“Are these…?” Erin asked.

“I think she’s finally speechless,” Dad said to Mom.

“What is it, Er?” I finally had to ask.

She held up a pair of keys.

Car keys.

Then she looked at our parents again, her expression full of unasked questions. She smiled from ear to ear when Dad nodded. In a flash she flew outside, heedless of the cold weather, her blonde ponytail streaming behind her. The rest of us followed at a more sedate pace. In the driveway, Erin stood gazing at her new car, a blue 1979 Honda Accord.

Sometime during the night, Mom and Dad had fetched the car from wherever they’d hidden it, then parked it in the driveway with a big red bow on it. They done it after I’d come home and gone to bed, though, because the Honda sure wasn’t there when I pulled in.

Once I thought about it, I recalled that Mom had been unusually quick to respond when I knocked on their bedroom door and quietly announced my return (at 1:20AM, whoops!). I guess they’d been waiting for me to get home before they ventured out to retrieve Erin’s car.

Fortunately, they were enjoying Erin’s reaction too much to be upset with me, but I did sidle close to Mom and apologize for getting home so late. She accepted my apology by putting an arm around my waist. I gratefully hugged her in reply.

We spent the rest of the morning enjoying ourselves and our new gifts. I tried on clothes—most of them fit, although some were too large, which I took to be a good sign. Erin, however, sat in her car with the engine and heater running.

She set all the radio buttons to the local stations. She learned how the windshield wipers worked. She played with the emergency blinkers. She… well, you get the picture.

When Mom finally told her to come back inside, she sported a permanent ear-to-ear smile.

✧ ✧ ✧

Later that day we headed over to the Coulters’ house for Christmas dinner. Mom and Erin had spent the late morning and early afternoon cooking, and when we arrived, Gina greeted me with a mixing bowl in hand. She gave me a quick kiss and returned to the kitchen.

Dad and I brought in our presents for the Coulters and arranged them under the tree, alongside the presents from the Coulters to us.

After dinner, we relaxed in the living room. Erin and Leah (who was green with envy over Erin’s car) were our official Elves, handing out presents to everyone.

Gina’s first public present for me was an old-fashioned leather flying cap and goggles. I goofed around and put them on, but I was a little self-conscious, since I thought I looked like a bug. They were more decorative than functional anyway, but I still thought they were cool.

Her second present was Polo cologne, and she urged me to try it on. It was a little “greener” scent than I was used to, but when Gina inhaled and her eyes lit up, I quickly forgot any misgivings I might’ve had about the scent. The other women agreed with her, and I quickly decided that when it comes to cologne, a woman’s opinion carries a lot of weight.

My presents to Gina were simple, but they had taken a big hunk of my savings to buy: emerald and gold earrings, along with an emerald, diamond, and gold pendant. Emerald was Gina’s birthstone, and the green gems glowed against her dusky skin.

For a moment, she was speechless, and I tried not to squirm as I worried that she didn’t like them. But when she looked up, her eyes welled with tears and I breathed a sigh of relief.

She thanked me with a wordless hug, but then pulled back to let me look at her. I smiled and told her she looked beautiful.

“I love them,” she whispered in my ear, giving me another hug. “I love you.”

“I love you too,” I said, hugging her tight.

✧ ✧ ✧

Even though it was Christmas Day, my parents agreed to let me spend the night with Gina. Erin and Leah wanted to go drive Erin’s new car, although they planned to spend the night at the Coulters’ house as well. In reality, I think my parents had plans of their own, because they seemed to be looking forward to having the house to themselves.

Kara spent most of the evening in the guesthouse, talking to her boyfriend, Victor, who was in Virginia with his family. Chris and Elizabeth disappeared into their bedroom early, so Gina and I basically had the house to ourselves.

“Do you want to open private presents now?” she asked, her dark eyes sparkling.

When I nodded, we headed upstairs to her bedroom.

“Give me a few minutes,” she said, closing the bathroom door behind her.

She took longer than a few minutes, and when I heard her drawing a bath, I decided to relax. As I lay on her bed and stared at the ceiling, I let my thoughts wander.

I still needed to tell my parents about my “emergency” spending on Mom’s credit card, but I hadn’t come up with a good way to begin the conversation. I’d have to tell them before the bill came in, though. My parents were sometimes strict, but they were always fair. From years of experience, I knew that if I told them about something before they discovered it themselves, things always went better.

I had another problem about the credit card bill, however: I didn’t want to tell my parents when the Coulters were around, since I didn’t want Gina to find out about my night with Kendall and Felicia. I didn’t think Gina would be upset, but I didn’t want to risk it.

So I couldn’t talk to my parents while we were on our ski trip, and I wouldn’t have much time when we returned. I reluctantly decided to tell them the next morning, before we met the Coulters and headed to the airport.

Thinking about the reason I’d spent all that money, however, brought Felicia to mind.

At the very thought of the blonde, I felt my penis twitch. Before I could stop myself, I pictured her perfect breasts, pink nipples bouncing in circles as I pounded into her on the manager’s desk. The twitching in my dick became full-on swelling, and I tried to think of something else.

That only made things worse.

I imagined the feeling as Felicia’s pussy contracted around my dick, gripping me, milking me. Memories of her body flashed through my brain in an insidious montage, tormenting me with pure sex appeal.

Finally, the bathroom door opened and I snapped out of my Felicia-induced sexual trance. Fortunately, the sight of Gina, backlit by the light from the bathroom, was more than enough to distract me.

She was wearing a black teddy, and it was so sheer that I could see the curves of her body, although the details were hidden by shadow.

“Merry Christmas, pitter-pat man,” she said, her voice sultry.

I sat up as she walked toward me, my erection bending uncomfortably in my pants. I stood to relieve the pressure and Gina glided into my arms.

She tilted her face up for a kiss, and I obliged her.

“Do you want to open presents first,” I asked, “or… do something else?” I was silently hoping for the latter.

“I wanna make you wait,” she said mischievously. “So let’s do presents first.”

Thwarted, I nodded in agreement.

“But first, I’ve got something for you to put on… your first present.”

My first gift turned out to be black silk boxer shorts.

Gina sat on the edge of the bed and watched as I quickly stripped off my clothes. Her eyes followed my bobbing erection, but she didn’t make a move for it (much to my consternation).

After I donned the boxers, she beckoned me close and looked up at me, her dark eyes full of desire. Then she reached out. “Oh,” she cooed, rubbing the silk against my balls as she cupped them, “this feels nice.”

I groaned softly in agreement

“Although your poor dick looks trapped,” she added mischievously. “Let’s see if we can give the little guy some relief.”

“Little?” I half-squawked.

“Maybe not so little,” she amended. “Certainly big enough for me.” With that, she unbuttoned the boxers’ fly and delicately withdrew my swollen shaft. Instead of swallowing it—as I wanted—she simply kissed the tip. Then, obviously teasing me, her demeanor changed. She grinned sweetly and looked up at me, her face the mask of innocence. “Where’s my first present?” she asked.

“Tie a bow around my dick,” I said. I wasn’t entirely kidding.

She made a moue. Then she gestured for me to sit down. As I did, she moved to the center of the bed, where she crossed her legs Indian-style and folded her hands in her lap. I knew she wasn’t wearing panties, but it didn’t make a difference; I could barely make out the shape of her body underneath the translucent black teddy. The outfit made her seem even sexier, since my imagination filled in the details of her figure.

I also sat cross-legged, my erection jutting up from the boxers’ fly. When I realized that she wasn’t going to reach for me, I retrieved a present and handed it to her. Inspired by Susan’s suggestions of books for Kendall, I had bought Gina one of the few sex books I could think of (other than the Joy of Sex, that is). Even better, the book was perfect for her, especially with her Indian heritage.

“Oh, cool,” she said. “The Kama Sutra.”

I nodded, silently hoping that we’d try several of the positions before the night was over.

“My mom has one of these, and I used to sneak peaks at it all the time. We should try ‘The Position of the Wife of Indra,’” she said. “I think you’ll like that one. I know I will.”

“We could try it now,” I suggested, my erection throbbing in anticipation.

Instead of saying no, Gina simply blinked, as if she didn’t understand. Then she glanced at the remaining presents.

I muttered about stubborn girlfriends and reached out to take the gift she offered. When I opened the small box, I sifted through the tissue paper and eventually discovered a plastic card, about the size of a credit card. The words “Ultimate Boyfriend” were hand-stenciled on one side, but it was otherwise plain. “What is it?” I asked, my brow furrowed.

“It’s an Ultimate Boyfriend card,” she said, as if that explained everything.

Still puzzled, I gestured for her to continue.

“It’s the card you use when you want something,” she added, obviously enjoying my reaction.

“Like what? Can I use it now?

“Not yet, silly,” she said. “I haven’t even explained what it does.”

“Okay, well, hurry up and explain so I can use it.”

She smiled indulgently. “You use it when you want me to do something.”

I shrugged, still clueless.

“We’re both busy at school, but we need to spend more time together,” she explained. “I’ve got my sorority and classes, and you’ve got classes, your workouts, your… well, you know.”

I nodded.

“Sometimes,” she admitted, “I realized that I put the sorority before you, and I’m sorry. I know I shouldn’t, but I get so frus— anyway, I shouldn’t do it. So I decided to make an Ultimate Boyfriend card for you. Whenever I’ve got something else to do, you need to remind me that you come first. That’s what the card is for. All you have to do is mention it, and it trumps whatever else I had planned: sorority mixers, studying, anything.”

“Wow,” I said, comprehension dawning. And then I felt like a jerk. I realized that I routinely put other priorities before Gina (Kendall, friends, or even classes). I felt bad for doing it, but I felt worse that Gina had realized it before I did. I should’ve known better. Gina had been the most important person in my life for years, and I’d begun to take her for granted. Not good.

“The Ultimate Boyfriend card is just a way to remind us what’s really important between us. You shouldn’t’ve needed it in the first place,” she added softly, “but I haven’t been a good girlfriend lately.”

“You’ve been a great girlfriend,” I said. “I… I need to pay more attention to you, too.”

She smiled wistfully, but was gracious enough not to nod.

“Jeez,” I said. “Now I feel like a total jerk.”

“Why?”

“I don’t have anything like this for you.”

She put her hand on my knee, her touch soft and comforting. “You don’t need to. I… I know you’ve got Kendall in your life, but….”

You’re my first girlfriend.”

“Thank you,” she whispered. After a moment of shared silence, she smiled in amused dejection.

I followed her glance to my wilted erection and shrugged apologetically.

“I don’t think we’ll have trouble coaxing him back to his former glory,” she said. “You still haven’t seen my last present.”

I smiled.

“I want to save it for last, though,” she added.

I nodded and reached for her two remaining gifts.

She opened the white chemise set and her eyes lit up. “Oh, Paul,” she said, her voice hushed, “it’s beautiful.”

“I’d tell you to try it on, but….”

“Later,” she said. “I’ll take it with us to Utah.”

I nodded in agreement.

She giggled when she unwrapped her remaining present, the dildo. “It’s not as big as the real thing, though.”

Felicia said the same thing, I mused. Then I ruthlessly quashed thoughts of the blonde. “Do you like it?” I asked aloud.

“Mmm hmm,” Gina said. “No batteries required.”

“So Faith won’t hear it.”

Exactly! So now my fingers have backup. Thank you, Paul,” she said. “It’s my second favorite dick.” With that, she glanced at her first favorite dick, mine. “My last present for you is kinda weird. It’s like the Boyfriend card, though.”

I arched my eyebrows.

“Here,” she said, handing me the gift. “I think you’ll figure it out.”

I unwrapped the irregularly shaped present to find a five-pack of disposable razors. For a moment, I was confused. Was Gina saying I needed to shave? Then I realized that the pack was open, and it contained four razors. My confusion only deepened until Gina leaned back and uncrossed her legs.

Now do you understand what they’re for?” she asked, drawing the teddy over her hips.

I glimpsed the dark lips of her pussy, her clean-shaven pussy. My dick immediately sprang to attention.

“Whenever you want me to— Oh, you do understand,” she said as I uncoiled and practically leapt between her legs.

She ran her fingers through my hair as I nuzzled her hairless mons. The aroma of her arousal surrounded me, and I tasted it a moment later when I licked her. She shuddered as I darted my tongue between the folds of her labia. Then I used two fingers to spread her open.

She was already excited, and her juices soon coated my face. I buzzed my lips around her clit, and her hips bucked, forcing my neck to absorb the shock. I grinned to myself and cupped her ass, holding her pussy to my face.

When I finally lifted my head and looked up at her, she was panting, her teddy-covered breasts rising and falling with each ragged breath. I quickly shed the silk boxers and moved between her legs.

The heat of her pussy assaulted my senses as I entered her. When my hips ground against hers, she moaned softly. Then her eyes snapped open and she gazed up at me.

“You are the ultimate boyfriend,” she said.

Instead of answering, I began pumping into her.

“Ul… ti… mate… boy… friend,” she gasped in between thrusts.

I pounded into her for barely a minute before I was ready to burst. I didn’t want to come yet, so I buried myself as deep as I could and remained still, breathing heavily. She wrapped her legs around my thighs and reached up to caress my face.

“I love you,” she whispered. “I always have. Even when I thought you were a goof.”

I swallowed hard and nodded.

“Don’t ask me to explain it, but I’ve always known that I was going to be with you for the rest of my life.”

At that point, I kissed her, hard. Then I began moving my hips, my cock driving into her. Our lips remained locked until I rammed into her and emptied my balls. When we finally broke the kiss, she pulled my hand to her heaving chest.

“You make my heart go pitter-pat. Do you feel it?”

I nodded.

“Merry Christmas,” she whispered.

“Merry Christmas to you too,” I said. Then, with my cock still buried inside her, I began moving, slowly at first, but gaining speed. My erection hadn’t really softened, but since I’d come barely a minute before, I knew it would take me a while to climax again.

Judging by Gina’s whimpers of ecstasy, she didn’t mind at all.

✧ ✧ ✧

The next morning, I got up early, walked through the bathroom to Leah’s adjoining room, and quietly knocked on the door. Without waiting for an answer, I opened the door and poked my head into the room.

“We need to head out soon, Er,” I said, my voice pitched low.

“Okay,” she answered groggily.

Our parents had told us that we had to be home before breakfast, since we needed to pack for our ski trip.

Gina was awake when I returned to bed, and she gestured for me to join her.

“I had fun last night, pitter-pat man.”

“Me too.”

“Do you have time before you go?” she asked, caressing my chest.

I looked at the bedside clock and then shook my head. “Sorry.”

“That’s okay. We’ll have lots of time in Utah.”

I nodded.

“Besides, we can always slip away to the lavatory on the flight out,” she added. “Is there such a thing as ‘gold membership’ in the Mile High Club?”

I shook my head, chuckling.

Surprisingly, Gina turned serious. “I know things haven’t been good between us,” she said softly, “but I wanna fix that next quarter. Okay?”

“Me too.”

“Even if that means I’ve got to share you with Kendall.”

I nodded.

“I love you, and that’s all that matters.”

“I love you too.”

✧ ✧ ✧

“Why didn’t you tell us sooner?” Mom asked.

Erin had gone to take a shower, so I was alone with my parents over the remains of breakfast. And I had finally worked up the nerve to tell them about my pre-Christmas spending spree.

“I guess I never could find the right time,” I said lamely.

“What did you say you bought?” my dad asked. “A dress… shoes… dinner?”

I nodded.

“And you spent more than three hundred dollars?”

“Almost four hundred,” I said. “I’ll pay you back, though. Um… well… as soon as I can.”

He merely arched an eyebrow, and I felt lower than dirt.

“I kinda spent all my savings on presents,” I admitted. “So I’m broke… I mean, except for the money I got for Christmas. But I’ll give you all of it. It’s not enough, but—”

“You can keep your Christmas money,” Dad said, cutting me off. “You’ll need spending money in Utah.”

Mom nodded.

“Thanks,” I said, relieved.

“But you can pay us back this summer,” he continued. “You’re getting a job with your friend Trip, aren’t you?”

Surprised, I nodded. In the past, my parents had refused to accept my money. When I broke something, they made me fix it—a window, a desk chair, the clothes dryer (it’s a long story). Some things were un-fixable, and I was simply punished. But they never took my money when I offered it.

The spending spree wasn’t the same as breaking something, but it was close enough. So I guess I expected to be let off the hook, since I was too old to be grounded.

“You’re wondering why we accepted your offer to pay us back,” Dad said.

I looked up, taken aback by his insight.

“Son,” he said, his voice uninflected, “being an adult has consequences.”

I nodded. And then I suppressed an inner cringe; my little confession was turning into a serious discussion.

“Now that you’re an adult, we can’t punish you, and you can’t really ‘fix’ a four-hundred-dollar charge card bill… except by working it off.”

“I know, Dad. I’m—”

“Let me finish,” he said, holding up a hand. “I work hard for the money I earn. I pay for food, clothes, electricity, car insurance, college tuition, ski vacations, and countless other things.”

I nodded solemnly.

“I have a job that I enjoy, and I earn a good living,” he continued. “Your mom has a job too—taking care of us. She doesn’t get a paycheck, but you’d better believe that I couldn’t do my job without her, so she’s my partner, 50/50. Now, we take care of you and Erin because you’re our children, and we love you. We don’t mind giving you spending money when you ask for it. This time, however, you spent money you didn’t ask for, money you were supposed to use only in an emergency.”

“I know, Dad. I—”

“The amount’s not really important. A new dress, shoes, and dinner at a fancy restaurant are not emergencies, son,” he said, as angry as I’d ever seen him. He wasn’t loud when he got angry; he was quiet, which was far, far worse. “Do you understand?”

“Yes, sir.”

With a quiet parade-ground inflection, he said, “Look at me when you answer, mister.”

I snapped my head up and met his gaze. “Yes, sir,” I repeated, without rancor. “I understand.” I don’t know if he paused because I didn’t look sincere enough, or because he wanted to drive the point home. Whatever the reason, I tried not to shy from his glance.

“Okay, son,” he said at last. “Your mother and I will look at the bill, and then we’ll let you know the exact amount. When you get a job this summer—”

“I’ll pay you back as soon as I get paid,” I interrupted.

“You can pay for your living expenses first,” he said. “If you’re not living at home, that is. But I expect you to pay us back as soon as you can. Is that clear?”

I made sure to look him in the eye when I nodded.

“I hope you learn something from this, son,” he said after a moment. “When you earn your own money, you’ll be free to spend it however you want. But until then, you’re spending our money, and you’ll do it by our rules.”

“Yes, sir,” I said. “I understand. And… I’m sorry.”

At that, he smiled in paternal disappointment. “I know you are, son. Just don’t let it happen again.”

“I won’t, Dad. I swear.”

“I’m going to take your word for it, son.”

I felt my chest tighten; his phrasing was almost formal, and definitely serious. If he took a man at his word, he expected that word to be good, no matter what. And once lost, my father’s trust was seldom earned again. I suddenly understood—with absolute clarity—that he was no longer treating me like a boy. “I won’t let you down, Dad,” I said solemnly.

“I know, Paul,” he said at last. Then he dismissed me with his eyes. “We’ve got a flight to catch, so you’d better finish packing.”

Humbled and a little embarrassed by my own irresponsibility, I stood and headed for my room. I felt like I’d let my parents down, and I vowed never to do it again. In retrospect, I’m sure that’s exactly what they intended.

✧ ✧ ✧

In Utah we stayed in Park City, at the same chalet as the year before. It was a short distance from the rest of the chalets on that side of the resort, so we had a modicum of privacy.

Kara’s boyfriend, Victor, went with us (his last name was Adams, I learned). He turned out to be an excellent skier. I skied with him most of the time, since Gina and Kara didn’t want to brave the more difficult trails.

When we finally headed to the airport for our flight home, the day after New Year’s Day, we were exhausted, but happy. The flight wasn’t that full, so we had room to spread out a little.

“Now, who’s riding back to Knoxville with you?” Gina asked, shortly after we took off. “Aside from Kendall, I mean.”

“Wren, the girl from my Art History class.”

“I thought her name was Christy.”

“Christy’s the other girl from Art History, but she lives in California. Wren’s the one who lives in Atlanta. I modeled with her, remember?”

“Oh, yeah, you told me about her.”

“Uh-huh,” I said, relieved that Gina seemed to be satisfied with my cursory answer. I knew myself well enough to realize that I was attracted to Wren. So I didn’t want Gina asking too many questions about her.

I wanted to have a threesome with Wren (or maybe a foursome?), but that would simply complicate my already thorny three-way relationship. That wouldn’t be a good idea—just like Felicia hadn’t been a good idea. I tried to convince myself that the blonde had simply been part of a fantasy, but whose fantasy was another story altogether.

As I thought about the last time I’d seen Felicia, I fervently hoped that her idea of “no strings attached” matched my own. I didn’t like her cocaine use, and I didn’t want to have anything to do with it, no matter how sexy she was.

✧ ✧ ✧

A couple of hours after we got home from the airport, I called Wren. She answered on the second ring.

“Hi. It’s Paul.”

“Hi,” she said cheerfully. “Happy New Year.”

“Happy New Year to you too.”

“So, how was your ski trip?”

“It was good, thanks,” I said. Then I wracked my brain, trying to remember what her plans had been. “Um… how was your trip?” I asked. “You went to Florida, right?”

“Yeah, Destin,” she said.

“Where’s that?”

“It’s on the panhandle, near Panama City Beach. It was kinda cold, but not bad.”

We talked for a few minutes, simply exchanging pleasantries. Finally, I got around to the reason for my call. “Hey,” I said, “I wanted to pick you up around three o’clock tomorrow, if that’s okay.”

“Sure,” she said. “I’ll be ready. You remember how to get to my house, right?”

“Yep.”

“Okay,” she said. “I’ll see you at three.”

“Seeya.”

✧ ✧ ✧

On Sunday, Gina stopped by around noon; since she didn’t have anyone riding with her, she was headed back early.

“Hi,” she said, leaning against my bedroom door jamb.

“Hi yourself. C’mon in.”

She looked at the disaster which was my room and smiled. “My room looked the same a little while ago,” she said, chuckling. Then she looked at my bed, loaded with things to take back to campus. “Are you taking your skis?” she asked, a little surprised.

“Yeah. There’s a ski resort about an hour from Knoxville.”

“Ober Gatlinburg? I’ve heard it’s not really that good.”

“Yeah, I heard the same thing,” I said. “Man-made snow, lousy trails, etc. But it’s better than nothing. Besides, I wanna use my skis more than once a year. And I can always drive up to Boone, North Carolina. I’ve heard the skiing up there is better.”

Unlike me, Gina was an indifferent skier. She enjoyed it, but as far as she was concerned, the ski trip was the enjoyment, rather than the skiing itself.

“Anyway,” I continued, “I can go skiing on the weekends, if I have time.”

She nodded. “Sounds like fun. Maybe I’ll go with you sometime.”

“Yeah. That’d be fun.”

“So, when’re you leaving?” she asked.

“I’ve gotta pick up Wren at three,” I said.

At the thought of Wren, my dick twitched. Part of me was looking forward to the back-and-forth teasing with her. Another part—the part in control, fortunately—did not want to get into a situation with Wren similar to the one I’d created with Felicia. Sure, I wanted to have sex with Wren, but at what price?

If my experience with Felicia taught me one thing, it was that sex rarely came without strings attached. And while I didn’t have to see Felicia on a daily basis, Wren was another story entirely. So I had to keep a tight rein on my desires, since I didn’t want to let the Wren-genie out of the bottle (and into my bed).

In other words, Wren would have to remain a fantasy. But that led me back to my original problem: how to survive a three-hour car ride with her, especially if she was in a teasing mood.

“What’re you thinking about?” Gina asked.

I shook my head to clear my thoughts.

“You had this funny look on your face,” she continued. “Like you were….”

“I was thinking of you,” I lied.

“I thought you were,” she said, sidling close. “You had that look in your eye like you were in the mood.”

“Maybe I am.”

“Do you want me to shut the door?”

I fixed her with a hungry look and nodded. In reality, I was horny. And while thoughts of Wren may have been the spark that started the fire, Gina was definitely the fuel to feed the flames.

“So… what exactly were you thinking?” she asked, looking up at me as she leaned against my chest.

“I was thinking I could give you a bon voyage gift, a tasty treat.”

“What kind of tasty treat?”

“Something warm and creamy.”

“Oh?” she asked, one eyebrow arched.

“Mmm hmm. I think you’ll like it,” I said. Then I kissed her, my lips crushing against hers with more force than I’d originally intended.

When we broke the kiss, she wordlessly sank to her knees. I unzipped my pants and freed my stiffening manhood. Then I ran my fingers through her silky black hair as she wrapped her lips around my glans. The heat and moisture of her mouth felt incredible, and I quickly reached full erection.

It didn’t take her long to coax an orgasm from my balls. When she did, she pulled back, her lips surrounding the crown of my cock. Then she started stroking me, applying just the right amount of pressure as she did. I leaned back and closed my eyes as the first spurt coursed up my shaft. Gina cried out softly, surprised and excited. Three more shots filled her mouth before the spurts turned to gushes and then a trickle.

Instead of swallowing, she pursed her lips and pulled off my cock. When she looked up, she smiled a tight-lipped smile. After a moment to savor the taste, she swallowed once, then a second time. Finally, she opened her mouth and gazed up at me.

“All gone,” she said, her eyes sparkling. Then she kissed the tip of my dick. “Thank you, Mr. Penis.”

“He says, ‘you’re welcome.’”

Instead of answering, she wrapped her lips around my slowly shrinking manhood.

“Do you want to…?” I gestured vaguely toward the bed.

She shook her head. Then she let my dick slip from her lips. “I’m fine,” she said. “Besides, I need to get going soon.” I started to pull back, but she half-whined in protest. Then she gripped my hips and pulled me toward her, recapturing my dick. “I thaid thoon, thilly,” she said around my shaft. With that, she sucked me for several more minutes. I didn’t go soft, but I didn’t get hard again either. Finally, she pulled back and wiped her lips.

“Did you want to…?” she ventured, tacitly asking if I wanted more.

I shook my head. “I’m okay if you’re okay.”

“I’m better than okay!” She bounced to her feet. “I’m filled with love for my pitter-pat man.” With my dick still hanging limply from my fly, she hugged me tight. Then she pulled back and gazed up at me. “I love you.”

“I love you too.”

After hugging me again for several long moments, she held me at arm’s length. Then she rolled her eyes and reached for my dick. “Men…,” she teased as she tucked me back in my pants. “They never put away their toys.”

I smiled in amused indulgence.

“Will you walk me out to my car?” she asked.

“Duh.”

Arm-in-arm, we walked outside, where she turned to me. Then she bit her lower lip. “Paul?” she asked after a moment. “Um… say hi to Kendall for me, okay?”

“Sure! Do you want us to call you when we get back to Knoxville? Maybe we could have dinner together or something?”

To my disappointment, Gina shook her head. “Too much, too soon,” she said. “Just tell her ‘hi,’ okay?”

I nodded.

“I wish….”

When she didn’t continue, I asked, “Wish what?”

“Nothing,” she said, shaking her head. “Drive safely, okay?”

“I will.”

“I love you.”

“I love you too.”

“I’d better get going,” she said after a quick kiss. “Call me tonight, okay?”

I nodded.

With that, she hopped into her Bumble Bug and started the engine. She waved as she pulled out of the driveway.

“Things seem to be going well with you two,” Mom said as I closed the front door behind me.

I looked up in shock. Had she been—

“No, I wasn’t spying on you,” she said. “But Elizabeth said that Gina was in a much better mood, that she was actually looking forward to going back to Knoxville.”

“Ah. Okay. Sorry.”

“You told Susan that I was ‘scheming and devious,’ I believe,” Mom continued.

I blinked as innocently as I could.

She saw through my ruse and smiled to show that she wasn’t upset. “I’ve got a reputation to maintain,” she added wryly.

I barked a laugh. “Is there anything you don’t know about?”

“Lots of things,” she admitted. “But I can fake it like a pro. You’ll find out when you’re a parent, though.”

“I hope so.”

“Trust me, you will,” she said confidently. Then she stood on tiptoe to kiss my cheek. “Now, go finish packing, honey.”

✧ ✧ ✧

Wren answered the door when I arrived at her house. She was wearing a plaid skirt with a matching vest over a white turtleneck. Her dark hair was held back with barrettes, and it looked like she’d curled it.

“Quick,” she hissed, “before my mom gets here. Here’s what you need to tell her: you’ve got a girlfriend and you’re in love with her… you’re serious… no! you’re thinking about getting married. Got it?”

I tried not to grin as I nodded.

“Is that Paul?” Wren’s mother called from deeper within the house. Then she emerged from the hallway. “Come in, come in, Paul. It’s so good to see you.”

“It’s nice to see you too, Mrs. Hilliard,” I said.

“Oh, posh. Call me Helen.” Then she ushered Wren and me into the living room. “So, how were your holidays? You went skiing in Utah, right?”

I spared a glance at Wren as I nodded.

“Wren likes snow skiing, don’t you dear?”

“Mom, we’ve gotta go,” Wren said. “We need to pick up Paul’s girlfriend in Chattanooga.”

I don’t know what possessed me next, but on a whim I told them that Kendall and I had broken up.

Wren flashed me a startled look.

I surreptitiously glanced at her and shook my head, to let her know that I was lying.

“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that,” Helen said.

I shrugged as dejectedly as I could.

Wren’s nostrils flared and she set her jaw.

I tried to hide a grin; then I turned to Helen, the picture of wounded sincerity. “Things just weren’t working out.”

“I’m so sorry,” Helen repeated. “Is there anything we can do?”

“We’d better get on the road,” Wren said, giving me a warning look.

“Nonsense,” her mother said. “Can’t you see that Paul’s upset? Besides, he just got here. We should at least offer him something to drink.”

“Thank you very much, that sounds nice,” I said, earning another hard look from Wren.

“Don’t get up, Wren, darling, I’ll fetch something.”

“What’re you doing?!” Wren hissed as soon as her mother was out of earshot.

“I thought I’d have a Coke—”

What?! Why’re you doing this to me?”

“’Cause I like you… Beautiful,” I said, grinning like the cat that ate the canary.

She made a strangled noise. “I’ll get you for this,” she said, sotto voce. She started to say something else, but her mother returned with Cokes and cookies.

“Wren baked the cookies,” Helen said, setting the plate on the coffee table in front of us.

Wren rolled her eyes and shook her head, denying it.

Disingenuously, Helen said, “Oops, I only brought two drinks. Let me give these to you two and go fetch a third.”

“You’re playing with fire,” Wren quietly warned me.

“Uh-huh,” I said with bland equanimity. “And I like it that way. Besides, I always did think you were… hot.”

Wren threw up her hands and looked heavenward. “Why do I always do this to myself?”

I merely smirked.

Helen was gone for a suspiciously long time. Wren tried to get me to leave, but I didn’t budge. Instead, I talked about anything I could think of, since I was having so much fun watching her squirm. Finally, however, her mother returned.

“So, what’ve you two been talking about?” she asked as she sat down on the opposite couch. She didn’t have a Coke, of course, and I hid a smile.

“Nothing, Mother,” Wren said. “We need to leave.”

“Aw, c’mon, Wren,” I said, crossing one leg over the other, “we can stay a few minutes.” Then, as a final touch, I put my arm on the back of the couch. From Helen’s perspective, I’m sure it looked like I had my arm around her daughter.

“You two make such a cute couple,” Helen said, rising to my bait. “Don’t you think so, Wren, darling?”

Mother.”

“I was just making an observation,” Helen replied, trying to look affronted.

“Okay, well, we’d better get on the road,” Wren said breezily.

“Nah,” I said, “we’ve got time.”

“Oh, dear,” Helen said, “speaking of the time….”

“What?” Wren asked, hoping for a reprieve.

“I told Aunt Rhonda that I’d call her at three o’clock. You two make yourselves comfortable while I go make that call.”

Mother, we need to go,” Wren said.

“Oh, you don’t have to leave this instant,” her mother said over her shoulder. “I’ll be back in a few minutes.”

“Yeah,” I echoed to Wren, “we don’t have to leave this instant.”

She frowned. Then she punched me in the ribs. “You are impossible!”

I rubbed my side and simply grinned at her.

“And you can stay Mysterious, for all I care,” she added, crossing her arms beneath her breasts.

“That’s fine… but you’re still Beautiful.”

She tried to maintain her piqued façade, but she gave up after a minute’s silence. “Why’re you doing this to me?” she asked plaintively. “You know my mom’s playing matchmaker. Now she’s going to be asking about you every time she calls.” She mimicked her mother, “‘Has he asked you out?’ ‘What are you going to wear if he does?’ ‘How are you going to do your hair?’ ‘Has he kissed you yet?’ Ugh! You have no idea!

“If she does,” I said seriously, turning toward her, “all you have to do is make up a little white lie to keep her happy; I mean, tell her that I asked you out. Who’s to say different? Tell her you wore that vest and skirt,” I said, letting my eyes linger on the formfitting outfit, “which looks fantastic, by the way.”

She blushed.

“And tell her that you had your hair pulled back so it made you look like an angel.”

She looked up at me, her eyes going soft. “Do you really like it?”

“Mmm hmm. Tell her I said you looked absolutely beautiful,” I continued softly. Then, on impulse, I brushed the backs of my fingers over her soft cheek. “And when I kissed you, it took your breath away.”

Her eyelids drooped and she tilted her head back, her lips parting in invitation.

My fingers light on her chin, I lifted her face as my own descended. Our lips met, and hers were soft and willing. She pulled me down and I felt her fingers twine through my hair. My body reacted automatically, and I leaned in to the kiss.

Inside my head, however, I was screaming, What’re you doing?! Put the genie back in the bottle! Put… the… genie… back in the bottle! Kissing the genie is a bad, bad idea. Oh, no. Don’t do that. No… don’t… no… no tongue… oh, no, what’d you do that for?!

As we broke the kiss, I pulled back, my eyes closed. When I finally opened them, Wren was just opening hers as well, a dreamy expression on her face. She looked at me for a moment, her eyes unfocused and glassy. Then her features hardened.

“You… are… impossible!

I didn’t know whether to cringe or bluster. Faint heart never won fair lady, I mentally quipped, quoting my grandfather. “Mmm hmm,” I said, deciding to bluster, “I am impossible. But you’re Beautiful.”

She shoved me back, her eyes flashing dangerously. “Mother!” she called, standing up suddenly. “We’re leaving!”

Helen burst into the room. “What? What’s the matter?”

“Paul and I are leaving. Now.”

“But—”

“Goodbye, Mom,” Wren said. Her tone had softened, but she still sounded willful. “I’ll call when I get to my room. Alone,” she added, eyeing me.

I tried not to smirk when I realized that Helen was calculating how to make the best of the situation. In the end, she simply shook her head in dismay.

“It was nice seeing you again, Helen,” I said, extending my hand.

Wren huffed imperiously and looked like she wanted to stomp her foot.

After another round of goodbyes—lingering on my part, terse and impatient on Wren’s—we left.

As soon as we got in the Jeep, Wren crossed her arms and looked away from me.

“Look, I’m sorry,” I said after the silence drew out.

“I’m not talking to you.”

“I was just having fun. You know?” On one hand, I worried that I had seriously offended her. On the other, I worried about the ramifications of kissing her—with tongue, no less! Worse, we both seemed to enjoy it. “Besides,” I added, trying to lighten the mood, “I was just fooling around.”

“Well,” she shot back, “if that’s your idea of ‘just fooling around,’ then you’d better warn me when you get serious.”

“Look, I said I’m sorry. I don’t know what came over me. But it’s not entirely my fault—you kissed me back.”

“I did not!

“Did too!”

“Did… not.”

“Suit yourself,” I said.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It means that you kissed me back and you know it. You even enjoyed it!”

“I did not.”

“Whatever,” I said, throwing up my hands.

“I most certainly did not enjoy it.”

I drove in silence.

“I did not enjoy it.”

More silence on my part.

“I didn’t!”

“Well, that’s too bad,” I said after a moment, “because I did.”

Her angry retort died unspoken.

We drove in awkward silence for the next few minutes. A couple of times, she looked like she wanted to say something, but she never did. Just before I turned onto the interstate, however, I cursed.

“What?” she asked, suddenly concerned.

“My skis,” I said. “I forgot my skis.” I had meant to tie them on top of the Jeep, but in my haste, I’d forgotten.

“It’s not too late to go back,” she said, the anger from before all but dissipated.

“Yeah,” I said, whipping the Jeep into a U-turn.

Back at my house, Wren jumped out when I turned off the engine.

“Where’re you going?” I asked suspiciously.

“Hey,” she said, “you got to embarrass me in front of my mom, so I’m going to return the favor.”

“You’re not serious, are you?”

She stared at me defiantly.

I didn’t blink.

“No,” she said at last. Then she looked up hopefully. “But I would like to meet her.”

“You’ll be on your best behavior?”

She crossed her heart and nodded.

“Okay, but I’m warning you….”

“I’ll be good, don’t worry,” she said, semi-exasperated. Then she muttered, “Although don’t blame me if—”

“Now who’s being impossible?”

You,” she snapped, unrepentant.

I gave her a hard look and she backed down.

Inside, I called out to Mom, who was already coming at the sound of the front door. I warily introduced her to Wren, and they exchanged pleasantries. I was afraid to leave them alone together, but I couldn’t exactly drag Wren with me, so I headed toward my bedroom by myself.

Unfortunately, it took me several minutes to find the skis’ protective canvas travel bag. When I finally found it—under the bed!—I jammed my skis and poles inside and zipped it shut. Back in the living room, Mom and Wren were chatting like long-lost friends.

“Wren was just telling me that her father owns restaurants,” Mom said to me. “The Tavern Steak House is one of our favorites,” she added to Wren as an aside.

Impatiently, I said, “Yeah, I know.” Then I tried to usher Wren toward the front door.

Mom flashed me a look of rebuke. Then she turned to Wren, determined to be polite (and to give me an object lesson, I’m sure). “It was nice to meet you, Wren.”

“It was nice to meet you too, Beth,” Wren said.

“Bye, Mom,” I said, giving her a quick kiss on the cheek. “I’ll call when I get to school.”

As I tied the skis to the top of the Jeep, I watched Wren closely.

“What?” she finally asked. Then she figured out the gist of my unasked question. “I didn’t say anything to your mom.”

“I was just checking.”

“I didn’t.”

“Okay,” I reluctantly agreed.

When I finished securing the skis, we headed out. For five or ten minutes, we rode in silence.

Finally, Wren spoke up softly. “Your mother’s very pretty.”

I glanced at her and then nodded, wondering where she was going with the conversation.

“Do you know who she reminds me of?”

I shook my head.

“Christy. Her eyes, especially.”

At that, I turned and looked a question at her.

“Christy’s got beautiful eyes,” she said, almost defensively. “I wish I had blue eyes.”

“Why?” I asked. “Yours are pretty.” (They were hazel, with flecks of gold and green.)

I don’t think so.”

“Trust me, they’re very pretty.”

“Thank you,” she said demurely. Then she sighed. “She’s also… elegant. And poised.”

“Christy? Or my mom?”

“Both, actually, but I was talking about Christy.” We drove in silence for another mile before she spoke up again. “I’m sorry I got angry,” she said.

“About what?”

She rolled her eyes. “You know, earlier,” she said. “You… me… the Kissing Incident? I’m sorry I got angry.”

“Don’t worry about it. I’m sorry I kissed you,” I said. “I don’t know what came over me. Well, I do know, but….” I felt my face heating at the memory. “I enjoyed it and all, but I knew I shouldn’t’ve… I mean, I wanted to, of course, but I knew it was… um… what I mean is—”

“That’s the thing about guys,” she interrupted, “you never know when to quit while you’re ahead.”

I closed my mouth with a clomp. Then I chuckled softly, ruefully. When I glanced at Wren, she was smiling.

“It’s okay,” she added. Then she looked at me seriously. “Don’t let this go to your head, but you’re a good kisser. Just don’t do it again, okay?”

“Okay,” I agreed.

“I mean, I wouldn’t mind kissing you and all, but you’ve got a girlfriend, and I happen to like her.”

In more ways than one? I wondered.

“So… no more kissing.”

“Deal,” I said, holding out my hand.

She shook it and sat back, happy.

“Do you mind if I ask you a personal question?” I asked a few minutes later.

“You’ve seen me nude, you know my sexual preferences, and you’ve recently become acquainted with my tonsils,” she said placidly. “So why should I worry about a ‘personal question’?”

I shrugged. “I just didn’t want to pry.”

“Go ahead,” she said. “If we’re not past the awkward stage in our relationship, I don’t think there’s any hope for us.”

I grinned at her and she smiled in reply. “Why is your mom so gung ho about finding you a boyfriend? And why don’t you want one?”

She sat in silence for a long time, staring at her hands. Then she looked up and took a deep breath. “I had a really bad breakup last year.”

For a moment I thought that was all she was going to say. I kept my mouth shut, though, and she rewarded my patience.

“I was dating this guy on the men’s team,” she said. “The swimming team, that is. I was in love. I thought he might be ‘the one,’ you know?”

I nodded.

“Anyway, I wanted to take him home to meet my parents, because I thought we’d gotten to that point in our relationship. When he called to meet me before we left for Atlanta, I guess I thought he was going to ask me to marry him or something. Ha! That shows what I know.”

“What did he do?” I asked softly.

“He said he wanted out. He said he didn’t love me, that he never had. I was too wild, he said, too controlling. And he said his parents would never approve of me,” she added, her voice hoarse with emotion. “And to top it all off, he said the only reason he asked me out in the first place was because he was bored. And then he had the gall to tell me that his friend might wanna ask me out, you know, like on a mercy date or something. That asshole!

“Who? The boyfriend, or the other guy? Never mind,” I added hastily, “both.”

She smiled wanly and wiped tears from her cheeks.

At that, I pulled to the side of the road. (What is it with the road between Atlanta and Chattanooga? I wondered.)

“I’m okay,” she said, trying to regain her composure.

“Look,” I said, “not all guys are like that.”

“I know.”

“And I’m sorry I teased you in front of your mom,” I added. “If I’d known….”

She brushed off my apology. “You didn’t do anything wrong.”

I sat in silence, letting her gather her thoughts.

“Anyway,” she said, cradling her hands in her lap once more, “that’s why I’m not real keen on guys right now… present company excluded, of course.”

“Of course,” I agreed. “Is that why you’re not on the swim team anymore? That guy?”

“It’s part of the reason,” she said. “I really did have mono, but after… you know… I just didn’t feel like going back to the team. I couldn’t stand to look at his face.”

“That asshole,” I said without heat.

“That asshole,” she echoed, laughing sadly. “Anyway, my mom thinks that a boyfriend is going to make me happy. So that’s why she pushes. She means well, but….”

I nodded in commiseration.

“I don’t need a guy to make me happy. I’ve got to make me happy.”

“True.”

“And you know what? I’m pretty happy right now. I like my life. And I like my friends.”

“I’m your friend, right?”

“Yeah,” she admitted at last.

“Do I make you happy?” Where had that question come from?!

“Yeah, you make me happy,” she said, laughing.

“I’m glad.”

“But no kissing.”

“No kissing,” I agreed solemnly. “But are hugs allowed?”

She paused theatrically, as if weighing her options. Then, finally, she nodded.

I gave her a hug—a friendly hug. I couldn’t resist, though, and kissed the top of her head, softly.

She hugged me tighter still in response. When she sat back, she wiped her eyes with the cuffs of her turtleneck, smearing her mascara. Then she laughed ruefully. “Damn,” she said at last.

“What?” I asked, since she didn’t seem upset about the black smudges on her white shirt.

“I had all sorts of plans for the trip to Chattanooga,” she said. “I was going to tease you until you begged me to stop.”

“Oh, please, stop,” I wailed, affecting a falsetto. “Don’t tease me anymore. Please, stop!”

She smiled.

“How’s that?” I asked, grinning like an idiot.

“I suppose it’ll have to do.”

“Good… ’cause it’s all you’re gettin’.”

“Thanks,” she said after a moment. “Can we stop at the next gas station, so I can fix my makeup? I’d hate for Kendall to see me like this.”

I nodded and put the Jeep into gear.

“Thanks again,” she said softly. “For everything.”

✧ ✧ ✧

Kendall greeted us at the door when we arrived. She gave me a hug and a kiss and then gave Wren a feminine peck on the cheek.

“Sorry we’re late,” I said. “I forgot something at home and we had to go back.”

Wren and I glanced at each other. We had decided not to mention the Kissing Incident, since we’d come to an agreement not to let it happen again.

“I was beginning to wonder,” Kendall said. “But you’re here now.”

“We’re here now,” I agreed.

She had a pile of bags in the living room. I had no idea how I was going to fit it all in the Jeep, since Wren’s and my things already occupied most of the back seat.

“Hi, Paul,” Melissa said as she emerged from the kitchen. Then she called to Drew, who came up from the basement with Sherrie.

After introductions all around—Adam had come in from the garage—Drew and I loaded Kendall’s things in the Jeep. By the time we finished, the interior looked like the baggage hold of an airliner, packed from floor to ceiling.

I was the only one who wouldn’t have something under my feet or in my lap, and that was only because I had to drive. I seriously considered strapping things to the spare tire, bustle-style, but the girls assured me that they’d have enough room to sit comfortably.

Before we left Kendall dragged me into her room, ostensibly to have me grab one last bag. As soon as she shut the door, however, she kissed me fiercely.

“Oh my goodness,” she said, “I’ve missed you.”

“I’ve missed you too,” I said.

“Did you and Wren have fun?” she asked, waggling her eyebrows.

I shrugged.

“What did you talk about?”

“Just stuff.”

Kendall, being Kendall, saw through my evasion.

“It’s not what you think,” I said quickly. “I asked her why she didn’t have a boyfriend, and she told me.”

“What’d she say?”

“I’ll tell you later,” I said. “But anyway, after that, I guess we weren’t in the mood to tease each other.”

Her face fell. “Oh.”

“Why?”

She blushed.

I repeated my question.

“I guess I was getting a little worked up thinking about the trip back to Knoxville.”

Before she could continue, her mother called to her.

“Just a minute, Mom,” Kendall called back. “We’ll be right out. Paul’s helping me get something out of the top of the closet.” The closet was right behind the bedroom door, which would explain why we’d closed it. “We’ve only got a minute or two,” she whispered to me, “and I wanted to show you something.”

With that, she raised my hand to her mouth. Her blue eyes sparkled as she gave my index finger a little blowjob. Then, to my surprise, she pulled up her skirt and shoved my hand under it. She wasn’t wearing panties, and my saliva-slick finger easily slid into her pussy, where I felt—

“The Ben Wa balls,” she whispered excitedly. “I’ve been using them every day since you left. At first, I had a little trouble with them, but now they fit inside me almost as snugly as you do.”

I practically leered at her.

“I thought it’d be fun to wear them on the trip back to Knoxville,” she added. Then she leaned close. “And I can’t wait till we get back to school.”

My dick twitched in anticipation. Then I pulled her close and kissed her. Unfortunately, we couldn’t delay any longer without arousing suspicion, so we composed ourselves and returned to the living room.

Wren smirked at us.

“What’d you need from your closet?” Melissa asked Kendall, who became flustered.

“It was her overnight bag,” I said glibly. “But we already loaded it.”

Melissa tried to suppress a smile as she accepted my explanation.

“So we’d better get going,” I added, heading off any further conversation.

With that, we exchanged goodbyes and climbed into the heavily loaded Jeep.

“I can’t believe we forgot to get something out of the closet,” Kendall said as we backed out of her driveway.

“Yes,” Wren said, grinning. “And what were you two doing instead?”

Kendall’s eyes glowed with anticipation as she turned in her seat and faced Wren.

In the rearview mirror, I caught a glimpse of Wren as she grinned.

The girls talked for a few minutes, but then out of the blue, Kendall said, “You’re not going to believe what Paul gave me for Christmas.”

Wren arched an eyebrow.

“They’re called Ben Wa balls, and they’re these little gold balls….”

I shook my head in amazement and shifted my growing erection to a more comfortable position.

Kendall didn’t spare a detail as she and Wren talked about the balls, vibrators, and more. I was hard the whole time, of course. I almost choked on my tongue, though, when Kendall mentioned her gifts to me, especially the fur-lined handcuffs.

“I have this fantasy,” she admitted sheepishly, “where I want Paul to handcuff me and have his way with me.”

Wren’s eyes widened and then she arched an eyebrow at me.

I’m sure my face was glowing.

“Does Paul ever let you handcuff him?” she asked, turning her attention back to Kendall. “’Cause that sounds like fun.”

Kendall looked at me demurely.

“No way,” I said, shaking my head.

“Why not, Paul?” Wren asked, sing-song taunting. “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.”

“No it’s not.”

“Sure it is,” she continued relentlessly. “I’m sure Kendall would love to handcuff you and have her way with you. That sounds like fun, doesn’t it, Kendall, darling?”

To my utter amazement, Kendall half-nodded. When she saw me gaping at her, however, she immediately shook her head.

“Oh, don’t be shy, Kendall,” Wren urged. “If he likes to handcuff you, then it’s only fair that you get to handcuff him.”

“Hold on a second,” I said. “It’s not my idea to handcuff her.”

“But she gave those fur-lined handcuffs to you, not the other way around.”

I saw where Wren was going with the conversation. “Uh-uh,” I said. “No way.”

“Why not, Paul?” she asked, her tone deceptively sweet. “Don’t you trust her?”

“Sure, I trust her, but—”

“Don’t you want her to enjoy herself too?”

“Yes, but—”

“Don’t you want her to know what it’s like to be in control?” she asked, pressing the point home.

“She is,” I protested. “She’s the one who wants to be handcuffed in the first place.”

“But you’re the one who actually does the cuffing,” Wren said, to which I had no response. “That’s what I thought,” she said, as if she’d won the point. “So, when’re you gonna let Kendall handcuff you? I want to know, so I can get the full story afterward.”

“How about ‘never’?” I answered. Then I looked at Kendall, who was staring at me intently. I didn’t need her insight to tell how excited she was. At that, I threw up my hands and muttered about how the conversation had turned on me.

Wren laughed.

After a moment, Kendall tittered nervously.

“I can just imagine it,” Wren said from the back seat, “big, strong Paul, flat on his back, cuffed and gagged—”

Gagged?!” I squawked.

“Don’t talk,” Wren said, “you’re gagged, remember? Anyway, where was I? Oh, yes, cuffed and gagged, doing his best impression of the Washington Monument. So, Kendall, do you think you’ll be able to cuff him, or will you need, ahem, reinforcements?”

I shook my head in disbelief as Kendall slowly warmed to the conversation. Wren was obviously baiting me, but I detected a kernel of hidden desire in her suggestions.

Good God, I wondered, how do I get myself into these situations?

By the time we neared Knoxville, the girls had plans for me to serve their every whim, waiting on them hand and foot. Kendall had even suggested that they do away with the gag, “since he’s good at… um… you know… cunnilingus.”

Wren howled with laughter at my expression, but I caught her giving me an appraising glance. She already thought I was a good kisser, and I watched the wheels turn in her mind as she made a few short logical leaps. Then she grinned mischievously.

“I bet I know what you two’re gonna be doing as soon as you drop me off,” she said.

Kendall’s look was practically an open invitation to have sex with her right then and there.

“Uh-huh,” Wren said, to me, “I thought so. So, super stud, are you gonna let Kendall use the handcuffs?”

“No!”

“Why not? Don’t you want her to get you all worked up and then have her way with you?”

“No. The old-fashioned way works just fine.”

“For you, maybe,” Wren shot back. “But what about Kendall? Don’t you care about what she wants? Hmmmm?”

“That’s not what I’m saying and you know it.”

“So why won’t you let her handcuff you? Why won’t you do what Kendall wants? You don’t want to, do you?”

“You’re twisting my words,” I said. “I didn’t say I wouldn’t do what she wants.”

“But she wants to handcuff you. So what about that, big boy?”

“What about it?” I asked heatedly.

“If I was in bed with someone as hot and sexy as Kendall, I’d definitely let her handcuff me.”

Kendall and I looked at each other in shocked silence.

“I mean, if I was a guy, that is,” Wren added hastily.

“If you were a guy,” I said, seizing the opportunity to put Wren on the defensive.

“Of course.”

“But would you let her handcuff you?” I asked. “If you were a girl, that is… which you are.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“What do you think it means?” I asked.

“Don’t be disgusting,” she shot back, her eyes flashing angrily.

I wasn’t convinced. And judging by Kendall’s soft gasp, she wasn’t either.

“That’s gross,” Wren added.

Kendall and I shared another look and then I let the subject drop.

The rest of the drive to campus was quiet and a bit awkward. When we unloaded Wren’s things in front of Morrill Hall, she declined my offer to help take her bags up to her room. Then, once Kendall had said goodbye and returned to the idling Jeep, Wren pulled me aside.

“I’m not like that,” she whispered harshly.

“Like what?” I asked, feigning ignorance.

“You know, like that. I like guys, okay?”

“Sure,” I said. “I understand.”

She nodded.

“But it’s okay to like girls too.”

Her eyes darted from side to side.

“Calm down,” I said, stepping close. “I know you like guys.”

She relaxed, but not completely.

At that point, I decided to go for broke, so I leaned down, my lips close to her ear. “But you know what?” I waited two heartbeats before I continued. “One of the sexiest things in the world is a girl who likes guys and girls.”

She stiffened.

“And Kendall’s very sexy,” I said. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Wren glance at the Jeep, at Kendall. “And I think you’re sexy, too,” I continued, my voice husky and suggestive. “But are you sexy enough to admit it?”

“I’m sure I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she said primly.

I pulled back and studied her expression.

She looked away.

“That’s too bad,” I said, as nonchalantly as I could.

She met my eyes defiantly. “I said I’m not like that.”

“Okay,” I said at last.

She set her jaw, but didn’t say anything else.

To her surprise, I laughed, short and sharp, defusing the tension.

She looked wounded at first, but then her eyes flashed dangerously.

“You’re even more beautiful when you’re angry,” I said, still chuckling.

She huffed.

“And I don’t care what you say, I still think you’re sexy,” I added.

“You’re impossible!

Still grinning like an idiot, I nodded.

“Impossible!

“Uh-huh, and you like me that way.”

“No I don’t. I hate you.”

“Well, you’ve got a strange way of showing it,” I said. Then I switched tacks, “Now, are you sure you don’t want me to help carry this stuff up to your room?”

Her eyes flashed. “I can get it myself.”

“Suit yourself,” I replied, my lips quirked up in a half-smile.

She huffed again and stomped her foot.

“I’m impossible, I know. And you’re Beautiful.”

She crossed her arms, glaring at me.

“But maybe you need a new nickname,” I mused. When her eyes widened in growing fear and understanding, I grinned. “I think I’ll call you… Sexy.”

“You wouldn’t dare….”

“Well, you are,” I said, nodding smugly.

She made a wordless growl of frustration.

“G’night… Sexy.”

“Don’t call me that.”

I didn’t respond. Instead, I simply winked at her.

“Men!” she said, throwing her hands up and gazing skyward. “Ugh!”

Grinning like an idiot, I turned toward the waiting Jeep.

“Why do I always do this to myself?” Wren muttered behind me.

Before I got into the Jeep, I turned. “I had fun tonight.”

She stared at me defiantly.

“Have a nice night—”

Her eyes flashed.

“—Wren. I’m sure you and Kendall will have lots to talk about. And I’ll see you in class.”

With that, I swung into the Jeep and shut the door.

“What was that about?” Kendall asked.

“I’ll tell you later,” I said. “Right now, I’m gonna find someplace where I can fuck your brains out.”

“I’m feeling pretty brainy tonight,” she said as we roared off.

“Good. ’Cause I’m feeling pretty horny.”

✧ ✧ ✧

✧ ✧ ✧