By: Megan Hart

"Your sorry is shit." Kira spoke into the phone next. "It's me. Come pick me up. Yeah, I know what time it is. I'll be waiting at Tom's Diner on Second Street. Harrisburg, you 'tard."

She hung up and stalked off down the sidewalk without looking back.

"Kira!" She flipped me the bird without even pausing. There was no way I was going to run after her, not in my four-inch fuck-me pumps. I managed a hobble, though. "Kira, c'mon. Wait."

"You're supposed to be my friend," she said, and the quiet affront in her tone was worse than an insult or a punch. "God, Paige. Just because you can doesn't always mean you should, you know? This isn't high school anymore."

I stopped trying to follow her. "No shit, really? And calling out some dude on the street when he's with another girl, that's not straight out of high school?"

"That's different!"

"How is it different?"

"You knew how I felt about Jack!" Kira shouted.

We'd have attracted more attention if it wasn't Friday night just after the bars all closed, but as it was we were just two more drunk sluts fighting over a guy. In high school I'd have shouted back at her, maybe even done a little hair pulling.

But as we'd already established, we weren't in high school anymore.

I trapped my tongue between my teeth to stop myself from shouting back, but even then my voice came out clipped and sharp. "I said I was sorry. You weren't with him. You never even dated him. And you weren't even speaking to me at the time."

She faltered for a moment, her lashes batting and her mouth working as though she meant to say something really awful but could only come up with "…Yeah, well. You shouldn't have."

I didn't point out the number of boys I'd liked that Kira had fucked, or tried to fuck, or lied about fucking just to needle me. I said nothing, just stared, and she at last had the grace to cut her gaze from mine. She shrugged instead of speaking.

If you're lucky, the friends you make when you're sixteen stay with you for the rest of your life. If you're smart, you know when it's time to let them go. I stopped walking. I watched her walk toward the diner, where drunk and hungry people would order eggs and stiff the waitress and steal the silverware. I let her go there, even though she'd been drinking and she needed a ride home and I couldn't be sure the person she'd called would come to get her.

Yeah. Some friend.

Chapter 04

"I'm really glad you came," Austin said this as soon as he opened the door.

I said nothing.

He closed it behind me as I moved past him and into his living room. I recognized the chair and the couch. It had been mine, once. The chair had been his and he'd been welcome to it, but I'd paid for that couch.

The couch didn't matter.

"You want something to drink?"

I turned to look at him, this boy grown into a man. "No. I didn't come here to drink."

Austin smiled. "So, what did you come here for?"

I pulled him forward by his belt. Two steps. He didn't stumble, but he did put his hands on my upper arms. I must have caught him by surprise. I looked up, up into his face. But when he bent to kiss me, I turned my head.

"Let me guess," he said into my ear. "You didn't come here for kissing?"

"You can kiss me." I took his hand off my arm and put it between my legs. "Here."

I looked at him, then, and his expression gratified me immensely. His fingers curled experimentally against me and pushed at the soft cloth of my skirt.

Austin blinked, slowly. His smile didn't fade so much as leak away. "Paige?"

"We both know what I came here for." I curled my fingers around his wrist and moved his hand down to the hem of my skirt, then up again to replace his palm against my panties. "Let's not pretend anything else."

I thought, for one brief, strange second, he was going to turn me down. The heat of his hand seeped through my panties, but the flash of ice in his eyes left me cold. Suddenly I had no trouble remembering why I'd left him.

He didn't let me pull away. "Fine. I'm not pretending."


"Good," he said. His fingers slipped inside my panties and found me already wet. Again, his gaze flickered. "Fuck, Paige."

"Yes, please," I said.

He'd always been bigger than me, but in the years since we'd broken up he'd gone from a bulky football player's build to the harder, leaner muscled frame of a man who made his living working with tools. He might have quit the construction job with his dad's company, but whatever he was doing kept him in tight, hard shape.

At first I thought he might not kiss me. We'd done it before, fucked without kissing each other on the mouth. We'd fucked angry, rough. We'd done it tender-soft, too, and sweet.

So when Austin pulled me closer and brushed his lips across mine, I was already tense and waiting. He kissed me softly and pulled away. He looked into my eyes.

"I was sure you'd bail on me."

I frowned, not wanting to talk, and when I opened my mouth he took my words away with another kiss and the restless stroking of his hands. I'm not ashamed to admit I stretched under his touch, so familiar no matter how long it had been. We kissed for a long time, all the way up the stairs and down the hall to his bedroom. I kissed him with my eyes closed, trusting him to lead me so I wouldn't stumble. We kissed the way we always had, but it was different, too. We stopped just inside his bedroom door and pulled apart, both of us breathing fast and hard. I couldn't remember how long it had been since anyone had seen me the way he did.