~~"Hey," I said as Beau walked in, "how're you?"
"I'm good," he replied, walking over to me. He kissed my lips softly. "What about you?"
"Better," I said. "Now that you're here."
Beau smiled and kissed me again. Then he pulled back and walked into our room. "Luke and Jai wanna come over."
"Do they now?" I asked, placing my book down and standing up. "Well, they didn't ask me."
Beau reappeared. "I told them I wouldn't be here, anyways. I'm meeting James for some guy time."
"Again?" I asked, pouting. "You've already hung out with him two nights in a row."
"I know, babe," Beau said. "I'm sorry. I'll be here tomorrow, I promise."
I walked over to him, placing my hand on his face and pulling it close. I kissed him, gingerly inserting my tongue here and there. I let my other hand play with the hair at the base of his neck. He sighed happily.
"Maybe I can get a rain-check," he murmured when I pulled back.
"No," I told him. "Go ahead and go. I'll make something for Luke and Jai."
He frowned. "I don't want them coming over if I'm not here."
"You don't trust me?" I asked, pulling away from him. "That hurts."
"Babe," he whined.
I smiled. "I'm kidding, baby. You can trust me. Why would I want them when I have you?"
He grinned. "I love you."
"I know," I responded. "Now go have fun."
Beau walked to the door but turned around just as he reached for the handle. "I mean it, you know. I really love you."
My expression softened. "I love you too."
Then he was gone, the screen door banging behind him.
"Hm," I said, thinking for a moment, "I choose truth."
"Is it true," Luke started, "that you and Beau fuck every night?"
"Of course," I said, smirking. "Why wouldn't I take advantage of having a hot boyfriend?"
Luke sat back, looking briefly annoyed.
"Truth or dare?" I asked Jai.
"Dare," he said.
"I dare you to lick Luke's foot," I said smugly.
Jai shrugged, picked Luke's foot up, and licked it. I scrunched my nose in disgust and gagged.
"That's so gross!" I exclaimed, holding my stomach.
"Luke, truth or dare?" Jai asked.
"Dare," Luke said.
"I dare you to kiss Emma."
Luke looked at me and smiled, slowly crawling over to me. He placed his hand on my cheek and brought my face closer, his lips barely brushing mine. Then we were kissing hard. He pushed his tongue into my mouth as I laid on my back. He had me pressed against the floor, still kissing me even as Jai tugged at his shirt. I wrapped my arms around his neck, jerking him closer, which caused his body to land on top of mine.
About thirty seconds later, there was no Luke on me anymore. Only an angry Beau staring at his brother.
"What the fucking hell?!" Beau yelled at Luke. "That's my girlfriend! Mine!"
"Calm down," Jai said, stepping in front of him. "I dared him to."
"What the fuck?" Beau said.
"It was stupid," Jai said. "Just calm down. They're both drunk."
"She's drunk?" Beau's eyes got wide. "You let her drink?"
"What's wrong with her drinking?" Luke slurred.
"Everything! God, Luke, you don't understand," Beau said, reaching out to grab me. "She's fragile."
"She sure can hold her liquor, though," Luke commented.
"I know that," Beau snapped, steadying me as I rocked back and forth. "Now get out."
Beau helped me upstairs and into bed. After I was situated, he took his shirt off and crawled in next to me. His breathing slowed so I knew he was asleep. I was about to snuggle with him when I smelled it.
Beau was cheating again—with the same girl. I'd already caught them once. He promised he wouldn't do it again. But he lied, apparently. I decided not to confront him. If he told me about it, I would seriously think about giving him another chance. If he didn't, well, he wasn't getting another chance. I rolled over and scooted as far from him as possible, then I closed my eyes, slowly drifting to sleep.
I woke to the smell of bacon. I sat up and rubbed at my eyes, flecks of yesterday's makeup smudging onto my hands. I got up as I pulled my hair up in a loose ponytail. I walked down the stairs and into the kitchen, seeing Beau place a plate of bacon and eggs on the table. He smiled at me as he danced over to me.
"How's my lovely girlfriend?" he asked, pecking me on the cheek.
"Not in the mood," I growled, shoving him away.
He smirked. "That'll teach you to get drunk without me."
Yeah, I thought, but it won't teach you to stop being a douche bag. "Yeah, I just have a headache."
"Well, we can watch movies today," he suggested as I sat down.
I shook my head after stuffing my mouth with eggs. "No. I have work."
He frowned. "After?"
"Jacee's birthday," I said, taking a bite of overly-cooked bacon. "And then I'm staying over at Bri's."
"But...," he whined. "Baby, we haven't had sex in three days!"
"I don't care," I snapped. "I'm taking a shower after this and then going to work."
"Can I join?" he asked quietly.
I glared at him, but he was my adorable boyfriend, and I loved him, so I softened. "Okay, babe."
He grinned, his smile going from ear to ear. I felt my heart thump, wondering what would happen if I ever lost him. We raced upstairs and got undressed, preparing for what was supposed to be a shower.
As Beau kissed my neck softly, the doorbell chimed. He growled but pulled away anyway. He stepped out of the shower, wrapping a towel around his waist loosely. I waited for two minutes until I heard the door open and then I let out a shaky breath.
"What're you doing here?!" I heard Beau say angrily as I crept up to the top of the stairs, only a towel covering my body. Luke was standing at the door, frowning.
"I came to apologize," he answered. "It was wrong for me to do that."
Beau sighed. "It's fine. I mean, you were both drunk anyway."
Luke nodded as his eyes flitted to the stairs. They travelled slowly and stopped, almost bulging out of his head, when he saw me. I raised a hand and waved to him, giving him a big smile. He blushed and looked away. Beau smiled.
"See you tonight, okay?"
Luke smiled a fake smile. "Yeah. Bye."
As the door shut, I quickly returned to the shower. Beau came in two minutes later, dropping his towel to the floor. He got in and smiled.
I was about to take off my apron for break when the door chimed. I sighed, dropped my hands, and looked towards the door. Today had been slow; hardly anyone wanted to come during the harsh winter winds. I waited as he slowly approached me. He was looking at the ground, a gray beanie perched on his head, covering his hair. He didn't think I could tell, but I knew who he was.
"Luke," I stated.
He looked up, a smile playing on his lips. "I can't get past you."
I smiled at him. "No, you can't."
He leaned on the counter. "Get me your favorite."
"One Caramel Brûlèe Frappe it is," I said, grinning.
I fixed his drink, handing it to him. He gave me a ten dollar bill. "Keep the change."
I smiled. "Thanks."
"Yeah." He had stopped smiling, instead inspecting my face very intently. "What do you remember about last night?"
"Not much," I said, which was true. All I remembered was being put to bed, then smelling the perfume on Beau. "Why?"
He frowned. "Just wondering."
I looked at him strangely when my phone beeped, signaling the beginning of my break.
"Wanna hang? I've got 30 minutes to kill," I told him.
He nodded eagerly. I laughed and took my apron off, placing it on the hook in the back. Then I came back and went around the counter, immediately bumping into Luke. I lost my footing and was about to fall when his arms shot around my waist. He pulled me close, my hands gently pressed against his chest. I looked up at him. His face was only an inch away, and he was just staring at me, a pale blush on his cheeks.
"Can I help you?" I asked him quietly.
Then the warmth of his arms suddenly disappeared. "I'm sorry. I don't know what came over me."
"It's fine, Luke. Thanks for catching me," I said.
"I should go," he said. "I really should."
"Wait," I said. "Why'd you want me to remember last night?"
He shook his head. "No reason. It doesn't matter."
Then he was gone, the door slowly closing behind him. I noticed his drink still on the counter and frowned. What was going on with him?
"Hey, what's wrong with Luke?" I asked Jai later that day.
He shrugged as he took another sip of his beer. "I have no idea. Why?"
"He came into Starbucks today and was perfectly fine. But then I slipped and he caught me, which caused him to freak out for some reason."
Jai set his bottle down, looking at me. "Oh, yeah. I know why."
"What is it?"
"He wants you to remember last night," he said casually.
"Why?" I pressed.
"He kissed you last night," he told me. "And you kissed him back."
"I what?" I asked, staring at him. "I kissed him?"
Jai nodded. "You guys were making out when Beau walked in. Man, was he pissed."
I sat back in my chair, a frown taking over my face. "So, like, I kissed him?"
Jai's mouth twitched. "Yeah."
I leaned over the table again. "Let me get this straight; I kissed him?"
Jai finally grinned. "You like him."
"What? I do not," I said, crossing my arms over my chest. "I love Beau."
"Mhm," Jai mocked. "You like Luke."
"I love Beau."
Jai stared at me, his eyes wide. "What?"
"Beau's cheating," I repeated. "I smelled her perfume."
"The same girl?"
I nodded. "The same cheap perfume."
Jai grimaced. "God, he's stupid. I'm really sorry."
I shrugged, mixing the whip cream of my Caramel Brulèe Frappe-chino into the coffee. "I mean, it's not like it's the first time it's happened."
"But it is the second," Jai said, suddenly angry. "He really doesn't deserve someone like you."
I didn't look at him. "Or maybe I don't deserve someone like him."
Jai slammed his fist on the table. "Dammit. Don't ever say that. You're too good for Beau. Beau doesn't deserve you in any way."
Silent tears slipped from my eyes. I didn't answer Jai, instead just looking at the whip cream swirls. Jai sensed something was wrong so he got quiet, putting his hand on my shoulder.
"You need to talk to him," he said.
I shook my head. "No. If he doesn't tell me, I'm done for good. If he does, I'll forgive him."
He frowned. "Emma, I know you have faith in Beau, but he won't tell you. He'll keep cheating until you find out."
And then sobs took over my body. I shook and shook and shook, some strange noise coming out of my mouth. Jai just sat there and hugged me, gently rubbing my back. I hugged him back.
While this little scene was going on, Luke walked in. He saw us, dropped the book in his hand, and rushed over to me. Jai gently removed himself from me while Luke knelt in front of me. He was frowning.
"What's wrong?" he asked quietly, placing his hands on my knees.
I shook my head, covering my mouth with my hand.
"Beau's cheating again," Jai told him.
Luke got angry but not before wrapping me in his arms. He held me as I sobbed into his shirt, soaking it. He just held me and held me and held me until I couldn't cry anymore. I knew Jai had left about ten minutes earlier, claiming he was going to get some food. But Luke stayed put, not moving or talking, while I cried. Finally, I stopped. And then I slept.
I woke up in someone else's bed. I knew I wasn't home because Jai and Luke would never make me go when Beau was being an ass. I could hear talking down the hallway. Someone started yelling.
"Beau, I can smell it! You're cheating!" Jai yelled. So he hadn't told Beau I knew.
"I know," Beau said. "I'm sorry."
"Fuck being sorry. If you were sorry, you wouldn't be doing this," Luke growled.
"I was drunk," Beau declared. "I was drunk and horny, and Emma and I hadn't had sex in three days. It was driving me crazy!"
"You don't cheat," Jai told him angrily.
"Look, it's over," Beau stated. "It's over. I'm never going to see her again."
Luke ignored him. "How long?"
"How long have you been cheating? Don't lie to me," Luke said.
Beau sighed. "A couple of weeks."
There was a moment of silence before glass shattering against the ground.
"Dammit, Beau!" Luke yelled. "What the actual fuck?!"
Beau's voice was tight when he answered. "Where is she?"
"She's in Luke's room," Jai answered, suddenly tired. "She stayed the night because she thought you were out with James and her friend was drunk and Bri was sick. So she called me and I picked her up."
There wasn't an answer, just foot steps down the hallway. I closed my eyes, pretending to be asleep, as the door opened slowly. Beau sat beside me on the bed, his hand resting on my waist.
"I love you," he whispered. "Okay?"
I pulled the blanket around my neck even tighter. Beau leaned down and kissed my temple. I felt his fingers comb through my hair before his weight vanished from my side. The door closed, and I was alone once more.
"So," I started.
"So," Luke said.
Jai had left, leaving Luke and me to scrounge the house for something to do. We ended up sitting on opposite couches, staring at each other. Luke kept licking his lips unconsciously while I stared at his lip ring. His tongue passed over it many times, causing me to shiver.
"Okay," he finally said, shaking his head. "We can't keep doing this."
"I agree," I said, crossing the room to reach the other couch. "We have to do something to relieve the obvious sexual tension."
He gulped. "That's not what I meant."
I put my hand on his leg as I leaned over, giving him a clear view of my cleavage. "That's exactly what you meant."
"You're with Beau," he reminded me, eyeing my chest.
"Beau's cheating," I shot back.
He smirked. "True."
I was up on him know, my hands on both his legs, my face near his. I was so close to touching his lips with mine. So close. Then I pulled back.
"But you're right," I said, standing up. "I'm with Beau, and, unlike him, I stay loyal."
"You didn't that night," he muttered, sulking.
I snapped at him, and he shut up. Then we went back to staring at each other. Luke and I just stared and stared and stared, until, finally, Jai walked in. He had McDonald's, and I suddenly realized I was starving.
"God, I haven't eaten in two days," I said, jumping up at the sight of the greasy French fries.
Jai grinned, reaching into the paper bag and pulling out a bacon cheeseburger. I snatched it away, immediately unwrapping it. I picked the bun up and removed the pickles before taking a big, juicy bite. I groaned as I chewed, happy.
"Wow," Jai laughed. "Foodgasm or what?"
I grinned. "God, it's better than sex with Beau!"
Jai laughed again, and Luke cracked a smile. They knew what I was getting at.
"So, do you want the French fries or not?" Jai asked.
"Of course!" I practically yelled, stuffing the last of the burger into my mouth. "Give me that!"
I grabbed the French fries, putting three in my mouth at a time. I groaned again. I was just so hungry.
"Yeah, I thought you might be hungry," Jai said, looking at me. "You haven't eaten in two days."
I nodded. "Thank you so much."
"No problem," he said, giving me a quick hug. "You know I'm always here, okay? You and Beau will get through this; I know he loves you."
I smiled sadly. "Maybe. It all depends."
Jai frowned. "Yeah, I know."
I pulled away from Jai's arms and finished my fries. I sat on the couch and pulled my feet up under my knees. Then I closed my eyes, letting out a shaky breath. Luke was over at me in a minute, his hand quickly finding mine. It took him a few seconds to intertwine our fingers, but he did, holding them in his lap. I leaned on him, my head on his shoulder. Then I fell asleep.
"Get up," somebody said. "Time to go home."
I knew it was Beau, shaking me slightly. "Urrrrrrgggghhhh, I don't wanna."
He laughed. "Baby, come on. You haven't be home since Monday."
"Neither have you," I retorted, turning over.
He was getting angry. "Get out of the bed."
"No," I said again, pulling the blanket over my head.
He snatched the blanket away, grabbing my wrists. He was face-to-face me when I opened my eyes. I knew he could see how scared I was when he looked into my eyes. His expression softened, but the grip on my wrists only intensified.
"Beau, you're hurting me!" I wailed.
He let go as Jai burst into the room. "What's going on?"
"Nothing," Beau said as I rubbed my wrists, already seeing the bruises forming.
"What's wrong, Emma?" Jai asked me.
"Nothing," I answered. "Beau just fell on top of me and it hurt."
"Sure?" Jai said.
"Yeah," I said, looking at Beau. "I'm sorry. I'll go home now."
Beau looked at me, sad and defeated. "Are you sure?"
I nodded too quickly. "Yeah. I haven't been home in two days."
He sighed then helped me up, making sure to cover my wrists from Jai. I gathered my stuff—which wasn't much—and left the room. Beau followed, quickly saying something to Jai before catching up to me and putting his hand on the small of my back. He guided me out the door and to his car and helped me in. I buckled my seat belt as he got in.
"I'm so sorry, baby," he whispered, taking my wrists in his hand. "I didn't mean to." He kissed my wrists gingerly. "I'm so sorry."
I pulled them away, placing them in my lap as I looked at the window.
"Emma," Beau said quietly.
"Can we just go home?" I asked impatiently. "I have work today."
Beau didn't say anything more as we headed home.
"What can I help you with?" I asked the elderly lady as she picked up a pair of men's socks.
"I need to b-buy a pair o-of socks for my h-husband," she answered, wheezing.
"Are you okay, miss?" I asked her.
"I'm f-fine," she told me. "I j-just have a cold."
I looked skeptical but helped her with socks anyways. By the time I was ringing her up, she had started wheezing continuously.
"Are you sure you're alright, ma'am?"
She nodded, wheezing too much to answer. She shuffled towards the door. As soon as she walked past the glass doors, she fell to the floor. I jumped and ran over to her, immediately dropping to my feet. I pressed my ear against her chest and determined she wasn't breathing.
"Someone call the ambulance!" I yelled and then started to perform CPR.
I pressed and pressed and pressed. Finally, I knew I had to do the inevitable. I took a deep breath and put my lips over hers, pinching her nose. Then I breathed into her. I did that a couple of times, checking to see if it helped, then I started pressing again. The sirens were just within earshot when her eyes shot open. She looked over at me while I sat back with a sigh of relief. I helped her up while the medics rushed in.
"What's wrong?" he asked, sounding very angry.
"She just fell and stopped breathing," I told him. "So I did what I thought was necessary."
He looked over at the lady. "Well, thank you. We would have never gotten here in time. You saved her life."
People around me started to clap slowly, hearing what the medic said. Soon it was cheering. I just stood there as people praised me and asked the lady if she was alright. About ten minutes later, everyone had dispersed and I went back into the store. My boss was waiting for you.
"Good job," he said.
"Thanks," I told him as I walked past him.
"I think you should take the rest of the day off," he said.
"You had just a hectic time," he told me.
"I can still work," I said, even though I was feeling a bit jumpy.
He smiled. "Emma, go home. You did enough today. Charlette can manage with her and Wilson."
"What?!" Charlette exclaimed. "She gets the day off?!"
"She just saved Ms. Long's life," my boss retorted.
"She's not married?" I asked.
"Her husband's dead, idiot," Charlette snapped.
"Charlette! The only reason I haven't fired you is because you're my niece!" he yelled.
"Oh," I said. "Well, she was buying a pair of socks for her husband...."
"Poor soul. She misses him dearly and forgets he's actually dead."
I just looked at him for a minute. "Okay. I'll see you tomorrow."
My boss smiled and nodded as I left.
"Hey, hero," Luke said to me as I got into the car.
I rolled my eyes. "You heard?"
"It's on the news," he told me, smirking. "So, why does an old lady get more kisses than me?"
"Because she was dead, and I'm dating Beau," I growled.
Luke smirked before leaning over the console. "Whatever you say, sweetheart."
"You want a kiss?" I asked quietly, putting my hand on his cheek. "You're going to have to get me drunk."
He smiled. "That shouldn't be too hard."
I laughed. "Okay, Luke. I dare you to get me drunk."
He smiled as he pulled away. "Challenge accepted, sweetheart."