Authors: Colina Brennan
Tags: #Romance, #romance sex, #Young Adult, #sex addiction, #Contemporary, #sex, #new adult, #contemporary romance
“And yet you pick the one girl who hates
you,” Will said with a pointed look at Finn’s sketchbook.
Finn groaned. He closed his sketchbook,
abandoning it completely as he pushed to his feet. “Want a beer?”
“And since then, I’ve had a new appreciation
Old Lady stopped talking, and a stunned
silence fell. Leah’s teeth clacked painfully as she snapped her jaw
shut. Her mind filled with disturbing images of tinfoil and a
The counselor had asked everyone to recount
their most degrading sexual experience, presumably in an attempt to
remind them why they attended the meetings and to perhaps motivate
them toward recovery. She was pretty sure it was because of what he
had witnessed between her and Blue Eyes last week.
At least that must have been the theory. In
practice, all it meant was that she was receiving an education in
deviance that surpassed even her own experience.
How would the counselor have felt having
planned today’s session only to find one of the people who’d
inspired it hadn’t returned? Well, she would never know because
here she was.
And she still couldn’t believe herself. For
months, she had been counting down the weeks until she would be
free of these pointless meetings, and yet, after fulfilling her
promise to Helena, here she was again. By choice.
When she left the
apartment earlier, she’d had every intention of going to the
library to catch up on her poetry assignments. Instead, she had
somehow found her way back to this stuffy room, unable to resist
the compulsive desire to see
“W-why don’t you go next,” the flustered
counselor said to Packers Cap.
Packers Cap rubbed his hands together
gleefully. The counselor gave him a weary look, but gestured for
him to begin anyway.
“So I was at this football game, right? And
there’s this woman sitting right in front of me, body completely
painted green with a gold string bikini and a wedge of cheese on
her head that said, ‘Eat me.’” His smile transformed into a
What had Leah been thinking coming back
She tuned him out. She would need a shower
after this. As for herself, she had no idea which memory she would
dig up from the recesses of her brain. Compared to these people,
her sex life had been tame.
However, she was looking forward to hearing
Blue Eyes’ story.
Packers Cap finally finished with something
about a hot dog, a football, and a multipurpose foam cheesehead.
The counselor looked ill. Stilettos was snickering. Old Lady had
probably fallen asleep the moment her turn had finished, and Blue
—was looking at her. Seeing him reminded her
perfectly of why she’d come back here. A lump formed in her throat,
and she looked down.
God, was she actually being coy?
She scowled into her lap.
That was better.
As a second stunned silence lingered in the
room, she resisted the urge to say, ‘Hey, you know you’re sick when
you shock the other sick people.’
The counselor shook his head sadly at
Packers Cap. “That must have been terrible,” he said in a voice
that dripped thoughtless compassion.
“Yeah,” Packers Cap said with a dirty smile.
“Now,” the counselor said, eyes still glazed
but focusing on the guy who had recently taken over Leah’s entire
brain without a shot being fired. “How about you?”
His body language was relaxed, but his blue
eyes showed a different story. They looked a bit uncertain, which
Leah hoped was in reaction to the stories being told and not
because he couldn’t decide which of his torrid affairs to reveal to
“Can you come back to me?” he asked.
The counselor gave him a kind smile and
nodded. “Of course.” He fixed his eyes on Leah next, and she
mentally groaned. “When did you realize that your sexual behavior
She crossed her arms and glared so fiercely
that the counselor actually looked a bit taken aback.
“I haven’t and it isn’t,” she said.
Stilettos snorted. “Then why are you
Because she had poor
loud, she said, “Bad luck. I slept with someone who robbed my
apartment, and then got blackmailed into coming here by my
roommate. She’s the one who thinks I have a problem. She’s
Blue Eyes was giving her a look that she
couldn’t figure out beyond the fluff that filled her head every
time she looked at him. His expression might have been almost like
… hope? Weird.
The counselor, on the other hand, gave a
disapproving cluck of his tongue but didn’t press her further.
Leah settled back into her chair and
listened vaguely to Stilettos recount her leopard print and
steel-toed booted voyages into the world of genital friction. But
it was Blue Eyes who maintained Leah’s attention. He was wearing a
pair of jeans and a T-shirt. Just a perfectly ordinary pair of
jeans and a totally standard black T-shirt. But the way he wore
them, the way they molded to his muscles in just the right places,
neither too tight nor too loose, made Leah’s knee caps melt. Under
those clothes was surely the most beautiful body. Anything else
would be false marketing.
But she also wanted the chance to talk to
him again. For the first time that she could remember, she was
looking forward to learning more about a guy.
Usually, faces and conversations were pretty
irrelevant to her. It was bodies that mattered, anonymous bodies
that let you share quick and mutual pleasure and didn’t ask
anything else of you. At least that was how it had worked in Leah’s
world since discovering sex and the ability to be close to someone
without sacrificing herself in the process.
Blue Eyes was different.
After her talk with Helena, Leah had wondered if she was falling
for him. However, after thinking about it all week, she had decided
she was wrong. She had no time for such neediness, such hearts and
flowers crap. But she couldn’t deny the warmth in her stomach when
she looked at him
. Part of it was lust.
The rest of it was something else, something born from that first
meeting and that first tense exchange between them.
And now the object of Leah’s mood swings and
helpless staring was talking and nervously lacing and unlacing his
fingers as he did so. The vulnerability of it made her ache.
“Well,” Blue Eyes began, glancing at her and
then away again. “I suppose that my most unhealthy sexual
experience was …” He looked around the circle of addicts,
hesitation in his bright eyes, and then his gaze settled on
He watched her for long seconds, long enough
for the counselor to tilt his head and look uncomfortable. Long
enough for the warmth in her stomach to ignite into a low flame
that spread through her skin.
“There was this girl,” Blue Eyes said at
last, his voice quiet enough that Leah had to lean forward a little
to catch each lilting word. “I never knew her name. As soon as I
saw her, I knew we would be together. Sex, I mean. It was
inevitable. Eventually, I got her alone and before I knew it, we
were kissing. She began undoing my pants and sinking to her knees,
but I stopped her. I wanted to do it for her instead.” His gaze on
Leah was so intent, so heated, she wondered how she didn’t combust.
“I slid my hands over her hips, her thighs. Pushed her dress up. I
got onto my knees in the dirt and...” His gaze faltered, and he
looked down. His lips quirked into a small, enigmatic smile. “Well,
I’m sure you can imagine what happened.”
It wasn’t until he stopped talking that Leah
realized she was clinging to her chair so tightly the skin over the
back of her knuckles felt like it might split open. She released
the breath she’d been holding slowly, shakily. Blue Eyes had told
that story to her and only her. There had been no one else in the
room. Their eyes had locked, and she had almost felt his hands,
seen him kneeling there, felt his breath hot against her skin.
Mouth dry, heart pounding, clothes too
warm—all the familiar sensations of arousal, of anticipation, the
kind of human interaction that she was used to, the kind that she
secretly felt was all she had a right to. And yet, somehow, there
was also the inexplicably powerful, and completely unreasonable,
feeling of jealousy that any other girl had ever touched Blue
The mental alarms going off in her head
shocked her into clarity. She needed to either avoid Blue Eyes or
just sleep with him before her feelings got any more complicated or
contradictory. Before she went completely crazy. And then she
needed to stop coming to these meetings and never see him
Will stopped typing and grimaced at his
notes. They were pathetic. More like meeting minutes than anything
else. Certainly not up to the standard expected of a psychology
major in his junior year. And he still felt a bit uncomfortable
after summarizing the stories the other members had told during the
meeting. ‘Oral hijinks’ were two words he’d never expected to use
together. He didn’t think James needed to know the details, but his
boss had insisted Will be thorough and that was the least he could
do at the moment.
He gave a frustrated sigh and closed the
file. Then he attached it to an email to his boss and reluctantly
hit ‘send.’ No doubt once James read his notes, he would punish
Will for his pitiable work by sending him off on some cruel and
unusual task like posing for the art department’s nude drawing
Will wouldn’t have minded if his grumpy
beauty had said she was an art major.
He closed his laptop before gathering up his
jacket and shrugging it on. Bonny tangled around his legs, and he
reached down to scratch her head.
“Sorry, Bonny. I’ll play with you
She made a sound that was decidedly
indignant as he shut the door behind him. Even though he didn’t
live far from campus, driving through rush hour meant the short
drive took three times as long. Parking around the University was
usually terrible, but at least by now, most of the students had
cleared out for the evening.
Will tugged the collar of
his jacket up around his ears—the nights were getting cooler—and
made his way across campus toward Wellington Center. The play Finn
was starring in was called
, and it was about, you guessed it,
a banker in New York during the roaring twenties who got on the
wrong side of the mob. Finn and his cast mates were doing a dress
rehearsal, and he was supposed to meet Will outside afterward to
grab some pizza. Will was early though, because he wanted to catch
a bit of their rehearsal. He was curious about this Kat whom Finn
was so infatuated with.
He waved to a pair of students he knew from
one of his psych classes and headed inside the building. From the
front, Wellington Center didn’t look very big, but once inside, it
was easy to get lost in all the corridors and wings. There were a
dozen conference rooms in varying sizes, a food court, several
lecture halls, and the theater, which was used both for plays and
Paintings by students hung along the
walls—forest landscapes, portraits of people he didn’t know, bowls
of fruit, and abstract shapes. He didn’t quite see the point of
looking at random blobs of color just for the aesthetic, but he
supposed that was why he wasn’t an art student. That, and the fact
that he didn’t possess an ounce of artistic talent.
Taking the stairs down a single flight, he
came to a long, narrow lobby. The opposite wall was set at long
intervals with pairs of metal doors. He tugged one open and was
immediately met by the sound of a girl shouting. She sounded
furious. He quickly ducked inside to avoid interrupting the
The shouting was predictably coming from the
stage. A backdrop of a cityscape at night draped down over the back
of the stage while a handful of people stood around taxi cutouts
and other props. The girl in question was wearing a red flapper
dress and a wig with a feather headband. She made angry, jerky
gestures as she shouted her lines at Finn, who stood opposite her,
looking cool and unaffected in a gray suit.
At his entrance, which brought a bright
rectangle of light down the dark aisle between seats, Finn’s gaze
flicked over. Will waved and took a seat in the back row. He could
see very little of the darkened audience, but he could just make
out the dark shapes of a few others scattered throughout the
stadium-style seating, so Will figured it was okay to watch. Finn
acknowledged him with a nod.
The girl in the flapper dress paused and
glanced over her shoulder to where Finn was looking. Even though
the door had shut and Will sat in the dark, her gaze found him, and
she gave him a look that would have buckled concrete. She looked
different with the wig, and her features were unfocused from all
the way down to the stage, but he concluded she was likely Kat. The
adoring look Finn cast at the back of her head was an obvious sign
An old guy Will assumed was the director
flailed at them from off stage while yelling about why they’d
stopped. Kat’s red lips moved, but he couldn’t hear what she was
saying. When she fell silent, Finn scowled, tugged down the jacket
of his suit and nodded. The director made a broad gesture which
Will took to assume was permission to begin, and Kat started
shouting her lines again.
He wondered if that was cathartic for her,
considering Finn’s claim that she hated him.
The lights had been switched off everywhere
except on the stage so after ten minutes of watching them
repeatedly rehearse the same scene, Will closed his eyes and
allowed himself to doze. To the University’s benefit, these seats
were actually really comfortable.