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Mutual Benefits – Chapters 6-10

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Chapter Six

It definitely wasn’t just wishful thinking, nor a coincidence – Taylor and I were seeing each other more and more. We went from seeing each other once a week and maybe doing something sexually at the end of the study session, to seeing each other once every two days or so, with at least half of our time spent with our tongues busy working on one another.

“Mmmh,” Taylor moaned as she engulfed my cock with her mouth for the second time that day. We hadn’t moved on from oral, and I was probably doing it to her twice for every one time she did it to me, but I was perfectly okay with that. I actually really enjoyed giving it to her, especially since she was very eager to receive and, plus, I knew that if I asked, she’d blow me as often as I ate her out – I was just too shy to ask.

She bobbed her head up and down, not bothering to wear anything but her bra. I had already eaten her out today, and the sight of her bottomless sucking me off with appreciation and eagerness in her eyes was absolutely breathtaking to behold.

Before long, Taylor had me shifting in place, practically whimpering with anticipation, which as I figured out, she really enjoyed hearing. She practically purred as she took her mouth off of me and eagerly watched my cock, her one hand jacking me off, her other hand encouragingly playing with my balls. “Come on, Quinn. Cum for me.”

What a fucking dream world I was living in. I gave one more groan and shot my first load, feeling like it must have travelled about a foot into the air before coming down. Smaller ropes of cum quickly followed, and I found myself breathing heavily on the floor, staring straight up at the ceiling.

I could do nothing but stare and pant until I had the strength to look up again. I chuckled, seeing the paper towel Taylor had placed next to me, and began to clean myself off. Taylor was working her pants back up her legs, smiling at me.

We didn’t speak for a bit, opting instead to finish cleaning and dressing back up before I spoke. “So, uh… do you think you’re all caught up now?”

Taylor smiled at me. “In more ways than one.”

It wasn’t even that clever, but I had to chuckle. She’d definitely gained a confidence with me I hadn’t seen from her before. It was either that or familiarity. “Cool, so then maybe do you want to reschedule for next week, or…”

Taylor widened her smile at me, as if we were sharing a joke. “Tomorrow. And… what do you say we try something more tomorrow?”

Despite ejaculating so recently, I felt my dick respond to that. “N-new? Like…”

Taylor shrugged in her usual playful way. “Who knows? Let’s make it tomorrow then, my place, after school.”

“Well, I’ll need to see. I’m pretty sure it’ll be fine, but-”

“Quinnnnn,” Taylor practically sang. “You’re talking too much again. It’ll be fine. And a lot of fun,” she finished with a wink.

“Okay, but can you at least tell me what you were thinking of? Like, if we’re moving in that direction, like, all the way, shouldn’t one of us pick up some… protection or something?”

Taylor only laughed and shook her head in that telltale ‘Oh, Quinn’ way, without answering me.

***

I could barely concentrate during the first two periods the following day, especially knowing I’d be sharing last period with Taylor. I knew she wouldn’t try anything that would compromise herself there – at school, she basically treated me like a stranger at this point – but that didn’t stop me from feeling nervous as all hell.

Even at lunchtime, I found myself walking around nervously, and watching my back more than usual. Too much, in fact, given I accidentally walked right into someone without noticing it.

“Sorry,” I replied immediately, before looking up and realizing I bumped into Joel Lowry, because of course. Joel was one of those guys in the school. I had no clue if he was more of a jock or a prep. No matter how hot it was that day, he always wore either a Letterman jacket or what may as well have been a Letterman jacket. He was on our practically non-existent football team, was this year’s leader of the Boxing Club, and was definitely going to be the valedictorian. Every stereotype about jocks being dumb? He proved them wrong at every turn. Word around the school was, the only reason he didn’t run for Student Council President was because he was friends with Abby, the year’s current President.

“Hey, the fuck’s your problem?” he asked in a sour tone. “I’m just standing here. You wanna use your eyes or what?”

His crowd turned to me. Most of the guys were people I’d never even made eye contact with, but sure enough, there was one familiar pair of eyes in the group.

“Yo! Quinn!” Bryce blurted, clearly happy to see me. “You saved my fuckin’ life, man. Those answers were fuckin’ primo.”

Primo? Enh, whatever. I smiled and nodded awkwardly in acknowledgement and Joel’s eyes went from me to Bryce, back to me, and his gaze softened. I already knew he wasn’t going to beat me up or anything – the nice thing about the more well-educated jocks was that they were way less likely to use violence – but it was clear the encounter made him second-guess himself.

“Ah, I’m guessing you’re our little Cliffnotes buddy?” Joel asked.

‘Little.’ I was pretty sure I was older than him, even if I was half a foot shorter. “If you want to call it that,” I replied.

“Huh. Well, you’re not bad. I totally wouldn’t have aced my test without you.” All the guys in the group murmured their agreement. Apart from Bryce, none of them were in the group Bryce was in when I first handed him the sheet. I knew word traveled fast in Hazelwood, but it only became clear now just how fast.

“I even hear you’re helping my girl Taylor with her data management stuff,” he continued, clearly forgetting about me bumping into him by now.

My brow slightly furrowed. “Your girl? Are you two dating?”

He chuckled. “I dunno about ‘ing,’ we’ve just gone on the one so far, but I dunno. I guess. Labels, dude. Who needs ‘em?”

I tried as hard as I could to not let my face betray me. This was new. This was probably very important to know.

“Anyway, no hard feelings. Just, y’know, look straight forward next time,” Joel continued. “And, uh, nice job looking out for my bros. I know the school doesn’t understand the kind of stuff you’re doing, but we do. It’s pretty cool.”

“Thanks,” I replied, leaving promptly. I made my way to the cafeteria, knowing I needed to talk to Taylor ASAP.

Halfway to her table, I stopped in my tracks, seeing the group of five at their table, talking and laughing away. I had told Taylor I wouldn’t be seen with her in public. What the heck was I going to say to her when I approached? Asking her point-blank if she had a boyfriend and ‘why didn’t you tell me that sooner’ was going to raise more than a few eyebrows. And asking her if we could talk in private, even if I said it was about studying stuff, was probably just going to be as suspicious.

I realized I was frozen in my tracks and staring at them when Milo lifted his head, cocked it a little, and gave me a confused wave. Snapping out of my trance, I waved back, did a 180, and walked away. No, clearly I was going to make things worse by asking her in public. I was now a part of high school drama, and I had to think before I acted. Everything had positive and negative consequences. It was cool to know that if Taylor was dating someone, he liked me, but that raised a very obvious question…

If Taylor was dating someone, when was she planning on telling me?!

***

As usual, after school, I hung out in the hallways for a bit and waited for Taylor’s signal. As soon as it was given, I walked to her car, waving to her when I got close.

She gave me a chipper smile and unlocked her car door. “Ready? Let’s go.”

“Actually…” I began sharply, though immediately my voice softened. “I was wondering if I could ask you about something before we left. It’s kind of important.”

“Um, does it have to be here?” she asked, looking around. “We’ll have a lot of time and privacy at my place. Y’know, in between lessons of course. We don’t want to get distracted.”

She said that in such a straightforward voice. I didn’t know if she was playing the part in public or attempting to share an in-joke with me. “Okay, I guess. But I’ll want to ask about it before we study.”

Taylor shrugged and got in the car, with me following. I could have asked her in the car, but given it was a convertible that Taylor loved to have open, I would have had to shout for her to hear me anyways. Running my tongue over my teeth in thought, I just allowed the ride to go on silently until we were at our destination.

I wanted to ask as soon as the car was off, but before I knew it, Taylor was out of the car, bringing her stuff down to the basement before I so much as had my seatbelt undone. I knew I was just noticing this stuff now because I was paranoid about Joel, but something didn’t seem right here.

Maybe it was a misunderstanding though. Maybe they went on one date before our studying even turned sexual and it was a weird long-term on-off thing. It’s not like I was the foremost expert on high school relationships and how they played out.

When I got to the basement, Taylor was down there waiting for me, sitting in her beanbag chair, texting or something. She smiled slightly at the sight of me, and waited for me to close the door.

“So about the thing I wanted to ask…” I began.

Taylor smirked playfully. “Okay, no, it’s obviously not, like, all the way, but I thought of something fun we could do after the lesson. Or, like, before, if you wanted.” She finished her last remark with a wink.

I chuckled nervously. I think Taylor took that as incentive, but I held my hands in front of me. “Before we get to that… I have something important to talk about.”

Taylor gave me a weird look. “It’s not about that? What is it?”

“So today, I was walking around – I bumped into – I talked to Joel Lowry.”

Taylor’s face was unmoved, still giving me that look. Practically frozen.

“He – we were talking about you and – well, not really, we were just talking about helping people with schoolwork and – okay, this is off-topic. You were brought up, naturally, in conversation. And he referred to you as ‘his girl.’ So, I ask if you’re his gir-”

Taylor held up a hand to stop me. “I get where there is going. But you and me, we were never romantic. So I don’t get why you’re coming to me all jealous and like this.”

“Oh, no. No no, I don’t mean it like that!” I clarified myself.

“Well, that’s how you’re coming across,” Taylor replied. “So maybe we should just drop this topic entirely, okay? It’s just going to lead to more misunderstanding.”

It was my turn to give her a weird look. This was not at all how I thought this conversation was going to play out. “But… I didn’t even get to ask my question.”

“Quinn, why can’t we just drop this?” Taylor asked exasperatedly.

“Because I want to be able to communicate openly with you, and I’d really appreciate being able to ask my full question without you cutting me off and assuming I’m saying something else before you even heard me out.”

She stared at me for a few seconds, her lips tightening. “Fine, whatever,” she eventually bitterly huffed. “But try to word your, like, things a little better.”

“Okay,” I replied with a bit of confusion in my voice. “Anyway, yeah, he said you’re his girl, so I ask if you’re his girlfriend. Well, I don’t ask that, I ask if you’re dating. And he basically says yes.”

“Basically?” Taylor asked.

“Like, he said that you went on one date so far, I think, with another planned in the future. So I just wanted to ask… mainly because, y’know, this is new to me… Why are we doing stuff if you have a, you know, boyfriend?”

Taylor kept staring at me and eventually broke into a small smile. “Quinn, you really don’t know how high school works, do you?”

“Apparently not, but that’s why I’m asking,” I replied.

“Okay, so, yes, me and Joel did go on a date…”

Joel and I.

“…but that doesn’t mean anything yet. We’re not, like, boyfriend and girlfriend or anything. That’s why the words boyfriend and girlfriend exist. They’re there for the exclusivity. But we’re not a couple, so I can do whatever…” She walked over to me and boldly put her hand on my pants. “…or whoever I want. If me and Joel go exclusive, then we should talk about it. But we’re doing this in the first place so you get practice with girls, and I get to have some fun with a guy who doesn’t think he’s some master of orgasms when he can’t even give me one. Got it?”

I was nervous about her being so close to my face. I felt like I couldn’t even speak. I could only nod at her.

“Good boy,” she nearly sang, giving me a little kiss on the cheek (which made me blush profusely) and sliding her hand up and down the front of my pants, before letting her hand drift off. “Now, where were we?”

She certainly was a woman on a mission. I wasn’t sure she was going to open her textbook at all during this studying session, but all thoughts of data management flew out of my head as she took off her shirt and began to take her bra off. She smiled and never broke off her eye contact with me as the undid the hooks in the back, then slowly let her bra slide off of her chest. She slid her hands up her bare chest, grabbing her boobs and gently squeezing them, her smile growing. “Is there something you want, Quinn?”

It would have been fun to tease her back or even play coy, both of which I was physically incapable of doing. I nodded dumbly and walked forwards like a zombie, with both of us fully knowing just how ensnared by this girl I had become.

We ended up on the floor, with her giggling and panting with pleasure as I lay on top of her, my head buried in her chest, one hand on each boob. It took me a second to notice that my crotch was perfectly aligned with hers, with both of her legs spread open on either side of me. As I sucked and playfully squeezed her perfect boobs, I couldn’t help but begin to grind my painfully hard cock, confined inside my pants, over her pants.

I could feel her body tense up and hear her breathing change over this new contact, with her pussy slowly but surely beginning to grind right back against me. I lifted my head from her boobs to look in her eyes and saw an expression I hadn’t seen before – an almost timid expression in the face of Taylor’s lust. It was clear that our crotches making contact meant as much to her as it did to me, and it was having a similar effect on her. I knew that I was being driven crazy with my lust and that, in that moment, I wanted nothing more than to put it in her, but it made me twitch and surge to know she was likely thinking the exact same thing.

I don’t know what made me do it, but instead of going back to her breasts, I kept my eyes on hers as I resumed humping her. I could practically feel her horny teenage pussy pulsing while we ground our crotches together, our lust and desperation getting more and more apparent in our eyes.

We remained like that for a few minutes until either the spell was broken for Taylor or she had made her mind up about something. She shook her head and regained her usual playful smirk, shooing me off of her and removing her pants. I figured she was just going to ask me to eat her out again, but, Taylor being Taylor, she had a way of surprising me.

“Take off your pants.”

I gave her a slightly confused expression, but followed her orders. I removed my pants quickly, normally being shy or reserved but at this point being too horny to care. My cock sprung to life, painfully hard in front of me, twitching with anticipation. And I could see I wasn’t alone – Taylor’s pussy lips were visibly puffy and presented outward, more aroused than I had seen them before, glistening with her juices. And just like I was doing with her, she was starily hungrily right at my cock.

“I was thinking… Would you want to do it at the same time?” she asked, almost shyly. It was interesting to see that she liked having control, but the hornier she got, the more bashful and submissive she became. Once I got more experienced, I was hoping I could use that to my advantage someday.

I nodded, trying to be confident but clearly nervous. “Y-yeah. I really would.”

Taylor raised her eyebrows twice seductively, then winked at me, sitting down on the floor. “Come on. Don’t be nervous.”

It was really clear that my nervousness drove up her control factor. I desperately wanted to be all confidence and see if that could push the dynamic, but I was an unpopular nobody who was faced with a popular girl asking if he wanted to sixty-nine with her. I was helpless.

I sat down next to her and she gently lay down next to me, in one of those “paint me like one of your French girls” expressions. “Flip over,” she commanded, and so I gently lay down opposite her, still looking her in the face, despite her pussy now being inches from my face.

I felt dumb, but I still had to ask. “So, uh, what happens now?”

“Lay down. I’ll get on top of you. I, like, don’t weigh much, so I think you’ll be able to support me,” she laughed. I could do nothing but laugh in return, and I did as I was told. I laid down and Taylor maneuvered on top of me, trying to angle herself correctly.

My heartbeat started to quicken as I realized that Taylor didn’t exude her usual confidence she normally had with our sexual adventures at this moment. Realization hit me – she had never done this before. This was as new to her as it was to me. I was going to be her first sixty-nine.

She wasn’t exactly good at hiding it, either. As she was maneuvering, she paused. “Wait,” she finally said. “Take off the rest of your clothes first.” I did as she told, and she followed suit. Before long, we were both fully naked. “There,” she laughed. “That probably makes this easier.”

She was so pretty. Even though I was getting accustomed to seeing her naked, it didn’t awe me any less. Everything, from her cute little chipmunk smile, right down to her perfect short legs, with one of her thighs even boasting a cute little birthmark, some kind of big freckle. Her perky tits on full display, her nipples telling me just how excited she was to get to sixty-nine with me. Her puffy labia, clearly ready and wanting this, although I could see that just from the excitement in her eyes.

Over the next few minutes, we figured ourselves out until finally we got to a position where she could lower herself onto my face and I could please her without dying of suffocation. It helped that she was decently small – even though I was kind of short, I still was taller than her, and I bet even with my lankiness, I weighed more than her too.

The knowledge of her possibly giving me her first sixty-nine made me want her even more. From the moment her thighs made contact with my face and her pussy was within a good distance of my tongue, I went to work on her.

The effect was instantaneous. Taylor was on her way to lean down and take my cock but my tongue’s first few movements made her stiffen her back and moan. “Fuck, Quinn,” she panted. “And I thought I was a fast learner.”

Cheesy. I didn’t stop, and closed my eyes in passion, continuing to lick and explore Taylor’s love tunnel. She gave a few chuckles in appreciation and lust, gently wiggling her hips on top of my face as she bent down and started lovingly licking up and down my shaft, preparing me for her mouth.

Even with her on top of me, I couldn’t stop myself from shuddering when her tongue made contact with me. I could hear her laughing at my reaction, knowing exactly why I’d temporarily stopped eating her out. As soon as I had stopped, I was back to work, worshipping her with my mouth, using everything she had taught me to be a good pupil.

And she was responding in kind. My efforts spurred her on and soon she was bobbing her mouth up and down on my cock as I kissed, sucked, and licked my way up her slit, from the bottom right up to her clit. I could tell I was getting good at knowing when and how to pleasure her clit, if the moans she was making on my cock were any indication. Here she was, the object of every single one of my classmates’ desires, moaning like a slut while taking my whole dick in her mouth. I couldn’t stop obsessing over how amazing that was.

I was the first to cum. I wasn’t able to warn her with my mouth full of her sex, so I could only moan frantically and hope she got the message. And she had really turned me on, so oh what a message it was.

“Holy shit,” I heard her mumble when the fourth or fifth rope shoot out of my cock, her hand replacing her mouth now that I was cumming. “I must have quite an effect on you, huh Quinn?”

She couldn’t hear or see it, but I had a smile on my face. That said, I wasn’t going to stop. Even with the waves of pleasure surging through me, I was determined to get this beautiful girl off. She was amazing, she was sexy as fuck, and she was riding my face, sucking my cock not ten seconds ago. I definitely wanted to finish her off.

And it was clear she was enjoying the moment. After my cock deflated, she straightened her back and took full advantage of the situation, grinding her pussy on my face and just riding me like I was hers. And suddenly, she was quite the talker.

“Unf, yeah, Quinn, take my fucking pussy, eat me, oh, ohhh…” she moaned, her voice husky and thick with lust. “Yeah, I bet you really like eating my pussy, don’t you? You like when I ride your face like this? Do you? You’re such a good boy…” she babbled on and on.

Despite cumming so recently, her words were definitely having an effect on me, and soon my cok was bouncing wildly in the air as Taylor’s grinds on me got desperate, hungrier, and even more controlling, as if that was possible.

“Oh, fuck yeah Quinn, this is so fucking good…” she panted in a high-pitched voice, her hand reaching behind her to grab the back of my head and grab scrunches of my hair. “Keep going, just like that, don’t stop, don’t you dare fucking stop, you’re gonna make me cum, oh yeah, oh fuck yeah, just like that baby…”

She ground her face against me just like that as she rode out her climax, her juices getting on my face, my tongue eagerly lapping it up and my cock twitching and throbbing. She remained like that, soaking in all of the pleasure and enjoying my tongue, for the next few seconds, before I felt her whole body relax, practically melting on top of me.

The only trouble was, her relaxing shifted some more weight on top of me, and now I genuinely couldn’t breathe. At first I made an “mmph” or two, but luckily, after I started frantically slapping her thigh with my hand, she got the jist, with a half-laughed, “Sorry!”

Afterwards, she got off of me and we just… breathed together. I don’t know if we ended up doing that for one minute or ten, but it felt really right to just sit there and soak in the moment. Although, speaking of things we did and didn’t get up to, we never even ended up opening our textbooks that entire night.

***

Gamestop was a pretty easy job. A lot of it was just busywork. Not hard, just tedious. When it wasn’t being an awkward salesperson, it was finding game cases and tidying up and doing inventory. When that was done, the higher-ups made us reorganize the store for seemingly no reason. Suffice it to say, it was every minimum-wage job you could expect.

I actually kind of liked the customers. I could never learn to talk to other human beings by talking to one person that wasn’t my brother, especially since more and more of our conversations were starting to revolve around sex and end with our genitalia in each other’s mouths. So, all in all, it was likely healthy that I was talking to people that I wasn’t ending up… entangled with.

It was easy to tell when someone came in for someone else, or was lost or something. I may not have known much about people, but I knew a gamer from a non-gamer. Sometimes people came in asking about the newest Call of Halo because their son or daughter wanted it, and sometimes confused middle-aged men came in asking about other stores in the strip mall, as if we at Gamestop knew anything about them. But sometimes, things got… stranger.

“…But the coolest looking Pokemon? In all of Gen One, it has to be Tangela,” my coworker James finished his point as we stood around talking, late one night during a shift. “Even if it’s kinda useless in battle. But hey, he’s a clump of vines. They had to start him out with Vine Whip. Shitty move, but, y’know.”

I blinked in thought. “Are you sure? I don’t think that’s right.”

James, a tired-looking guy in his late twenties, rolled his eyes. “What part? Are you really gonna Rain Man-style fact check me?”

“I think that when Red and Blue came out, Tangela couldn’t learn Vine Whip. It wasn’t until Yellow came out that it could learn the move. So it didn’t start out with Vine Whip.”

James stared at me, dumbfounded. “…Y’know, I thought I was a useless dump of Pokemon info, but you’re really giving me a run for my money. Do you just memorize this stuff when you’re, I dunno, bored or something?”

I shrugged. “I didn’t talk to people much growing up.”

“I can tell,” James quipped, looking my claims up on his phone. After a few minutes, he stared at me, completely weirded out. “You’re a hundred percent correct. How can you possibly know that off the top of your head?”

I shrugged, hearing the door open but wanting to finish the conversation. “Hey, you made the claim. I made a counterclaim. I turned out to be right.” I turned lazily to the front, no doubt where the customer had come in and stopped. “Can I help you find anythi-”

Morgan. Morgan was in here. Not only that, it was clear she was lost as all get-out. She was wearing a baggy hoodie, and gingerly removing the hood, covered in rain from the outside. Not only that, but she didn’t seem fazed by me. “Hey, Quinn,” she acknowledged me.

James looked from her to me. “Classmate or relative?” he asked.

“If anyone in my family looked like that, my mom would kill them,” I quipped. I joked to James before about my mom’s view on… shall I say, ‘race purity.’

“Ha!” A hearty chuckle escaped James’ lips, and he turned back to his inventory sheet.

I returned my attention to Morgan and walked out from behind the desk towards her. “So… what are you doing here?” I asked, hoping it didn’t come out as impolite as it sounded. “I mean, you don’t seem like much of a gamer.”

“Oh yeah, I am one,” Morgan replied, cool as a cucumber, looking off at some shelf. “…Not. I’m not one. I don’t know why I said that. I’m here to pick up something for my brother.”

“Oh, well, if he’s a gamer, you’re in the right place,” I replied. “Because, y’know, we sell games here.”

“That’s probably why they call it Gamestop,” Morgan replied quietly, still staring off at the shelf. Why was she not looking at me? Was she seriously still upset at me?

“…Well, if you want me out of your hair, I’ll just be behind the desk. But if you need my help finding a specific thing you’re looking for, I can help.”

“I, uh, don’t have anything specific in mind. It’s a birthday present,” Morgan replied. I could barely hear her at this point.

“Oh, um, okay. Well, you said you’re not a gamer, right?”

Morgan mumbled something.

“What was that?”

“I said yeah.”

“Okay, well, do you want me to see if I can recommend something?”

“Yeah, that would probably be best.”

“Did I do something to piss you off?”

Morgan looked at me for the first time since coming in after I blurted that out. Her face didn’t really emote much, but she gave me a puzzled look. “No, why do you ask that?”

“Oh. Um, I dunno,” I mumbled, losing confidence given her answer. “It just seemed like… you were quiet and looking away from me, so I was wondering…”

“I was looking at the games they have on display,” Morgan explained, pointing off to the shelf.

“Yeah, sorry,” I conceded, looking at the shelf.

“And I guess I’m just quiet today,” she continued.

“I guess so!” I agreed. Suddenly I was the one looking at the shelf and not her. After a bit, I realized we were both silent and no one was saying anything, or making a specific movement.

I cleared my throat. “So what console does your brother have?”

“A PS4.”

“Ahh, good choice. I have one too,” I admitted. “Okay, so what kind of stuff is he into?”

“In general or when it comes to video games?” Morgan asked.

“In general,” I joked with a flat tone, then immediately followed up with, “I’m joking. Video games.”

“Well, he really seems to like sports games… and racing games,” Morgan replied slowly, still looking over the same shelf.

“Okay, well, let’s see… I assume he has Fifa 16?” I began.

She nodded.

“…And we can’t exactly go with Fifa 17, that comes out in September I think, and by then we’ll be around half a year late.”

“Well, not really. His birthday is in July,” Morgan replied, then scrunched her eyes shut immediately.

I thought for a second. “…It’s May.”

“Yes Quinn, it is,” Morgan replied in an almost pained voice.

I stared at her for a bit and my eyes returned to the shelf, where hers were. “Ooookay…” I slowly exhaled. “How about… Uncharted 4? It might be a bit ‘old news’ in July, but maybe you can give him his gift early. Since you’re here early and everything. It’s a new release.”

“What’s it about?” she asked.

“Oh, it’s about, um… an adventurer. Like, he goes to – he’s a treasure hunter. The game plays like Tomb Raider, but with more action-adventure elements and somewhat less puzzles.”

“So it’s like Indiana Jones?” Morgan asked.

Defer. “Hey James, is Uncharted like Indiana Jones?” I turned to ask him.

He was already looking at us. “Kinda. Same macho hero thing going on. It is the fourth in the series, though. If he doesn’t have the other thr-”

“I’ll take it,” Morgan interrupted him.

I shrugged at James. “Sounds confident,” I remarked to him, or just out loud to myself. I took the case off the shelf and went behind the desk, looking for the disk. I rung it up, and Morgan paid for it, saying very little all the while. The rain poured on outside the store, the sky dark, the atmosphere in the store an almost audible grey.

“Okay, you’re all set. Good to, uh, see you, Morgan,” I awkwardly told her.

“Yeah,” she agreed quietly. She turned to leave and then turned back, then exhaled. “It was good to see you too, Quinn. Can I ask a really weird favor?”

“Um…” I fumbled. “Yeah, s-sure, go ahead.”

Her eyes flickered to the ground, then back at me. For the second time since she arrived, her brown intentful eyes were staring at me. “Can you… not tell Taylor that you saw me here, please?” She clamped her teeth together in response to what she just said. “I mean, like, if anyone else asks, that would be… fine… just not Taylor. Don’t ask why. Is that okay?”

The dominant part of my mind was absolutely baffled. This was her favor? Why? What could she have possibly gained from asking this? Why did it matter?! Why would Taylor, of all people, give a shit that her friend was at Gamestop buying a game for her brother’s birthday, two months early? Why did Morgan assume I was telling Taylor about the intricacies of my job? What in the hell was going on with that group??

On the other hand, it dawned on me right in that moment that I also had completely forgotten something. Whatever Morgan’s goals were, swearing to secrecy was in my best interest too. I had agreed to not talk to Morgan at all, and quite frankly, I fully forgot about it until now. Hell, according to Taylor, Morgan was the one spreading rumors about us, so maybe Morgan was worried about Taylor… getting even using this? Was “hey, my tutor/fuck buddy saw Morgan buying a video game” even drama? Was this drama? Was this what drama was?

“Uh, yeah, you got it,” I replied lamely, not understanding anything anymore.

“Thanks,” Morgan replied, giving me some version of a small smile, before turning exactly one-eighty degrees and powerwalking out.

As soon as she was outside, James turned to me and shook his head, laughing. “Jeez.” He raised his eyebrows at me, as if we were sharing a joke. “Enh?”

“…What?” I asked. “Did I say something wrong?”

“Oh my god, you don’t know?” James laughed and turned away, shaking his head. “Rain Man. Fuckin’ Rain Man.”

“Stop calling me that!” I protested. I didn’t even know what that meant. Was the fact it was raining significant? Why the hell did everyone seem to know everything that was going on but me?!

***

“Does ‘Rain Man’ mean anything to you?” I asked Kevin, approaching the school with him.

“Nah, never seen it,” he replied casually. “Hey, you doing well?” he tossed over his shoulder to someone walking past him.

“Oh, so it’s a movie?” I asked him.

“Yeah. Two autistic guys go to the casino or something. I dunno. Again, never seen it,” Kevin replied.

Oh. So, was James being mean? I was used to the ‘haha you have autism’ jokes from classmates that didn’t like that I knew classroom answers but not social skills, but I always wrote it off as something immature shits that didn’t know anyone with autism said because they wanted an excuse to say the r-word without getting in trouble. Using ‘autistic’ as an insult was something I was expecting to be free from when I finally entered university. Not only did I deserve better, but autistic people deserved better too. I didn’t expect James to be like that. But then again, I didn’t know what his intent was. Maybe he didn’t mean all that. After all, I didn’t even know it was a movie until now.

“Y’know,” Kevin began dryly, “this is why I’m worried about you. I give you the elevator pitch for a movie and now the look on your face tells me you’re thinking of ending your life.” He playfully shoved me. “Cat got your tongue?”

“I just got a lot on my mind,” I admitted. “Want to do lunch today?”

“Ah, dude, I’d love to, buuuut, I got plans,” Kevin gingerly replied. “Tomorrow, though! Enh? Tomorrow.” He pointed at me in his confident preppy way and walked away backwards, pointing at me the whole time. I rolled my eyes and made my way to my locker. I was just about done with getting my stuff when I heard a shy “hey,” from behind me.

Without moving my body, I turned my head around to see Milo. It was odd seeing him without the group, but I guess at this point I’d seen practically everyone from that group solo, or at least in pairs, so why not.

“Are you saying hey to me?” I asked him. He nodded. “Well, uh, hello, Milo,” I replied.

“I was wondering if we could talk about something,” he said, shuffling his feet.

“Class starts in ten minutes, but I guess I’m available for lunch,” I replied. Thanks, Kevin.

“It won’t take that long. But I just wanted to ask you in private, if that’s okay,” he continued.

Where even was ‘private’ in a public school? “What’s it about, do I get to ask that?” I asked as I turned around.

Credit to Milo, I think he could sense my discomfort, and also sense how fed up I was about my particular situation. “Okay, so, it’s about Taylor, and-” I started to protest but he held up a finger. “-it’s super quick, possibly just one question, and depending on… stuff… it may contain stuff that I really think you should know.”

In American History class, I recalled my teacher, Mr. Anton, talking about World War One. He taught us that World War One happened not because there was a clear-cut good guy and bad guy, but because of the domino effect of treaties and the Powder Keg of Europe and rising tensions between countries. World War One itself was like an entity, a dark fog hanging over Europe, sucking in countries and forcing them to fight and do horrible things for causes the countries themselves didn’t believe in. The war itself was the terror, not the people involved, and if anyone got too close, they were not just a victim of the war, they were also now a part of it, keeping the war going.

…Anyway, that’s how I felt about high school drama in that moment. I clearly just got too close to Taylor, the Austria-Hungary of our school, and now Serbia was dragging me into this mess too.

“Okay. Sure. Stuff. Why not?” I closed my locker and sighed loudly. “Lead me to wherever is private.”

“Thanks, Quinn. I promise, it’ll only take a bit.” He walked down the hallways, peering down each of them to survey the number of students in each, and I followed, my eyes half-closed, feeling more and more cynical about high school with each passing second.

After about a minute, Milo audibly went, “Aah!” and led us down a hallway with an elevator at the end, reserved for the one or two students at the school who were wheelchair-bound. If the elevator were open to anyone, no doubt students would use it all the time, but it needed a key, so the elevator was rarely used and as a result, the little hallway connecting the elevator to the main hallway was also rarely used.

I walked in and folded my arms. “Okay, so, what would you like to talk to me about?” I asked.

Milo exhaled in nervousness, walking to the end of our little hallway to peer out before walking back in. “Okay, so, I’m not asking this because of any, like, anything related to you. I just know some stuff and wanted to see if you were caught up in it. But, in exchange, I want a promise.”

I was doing a lot of promising lately. “What is it?”

“If none of this applies to you, I really need you to forget I ever asked. Seriously. The question is kind of… provocative, and I know we like to be curious and nosy. But I really can’t tell you anything you don’t already know. And, I can tell, you seem to really roll your eyes at teen drama-” Again my mouth opened in protest, and again he held up a finger, “-and I get that. Honestly, I do. I agree a lot of the time, it sucks. So, if this doesn’t apply to you, not asking me anything afterwards will really minimize any drama or fallout or anything like that. Okay?”

I nodded. “I understand what you’re saying. I just don’t know how I’m supposed to react or how I will react or whatever until you ask me.”

Milo sighed. “Yeah, fair enough. That’s totally fair enough.” He looked around one last time and lowered his voice. “Okay, here we go. Are you currently having sex with Taylor?”

I made a committed effort to keep my face frozen in place, not giving away anything in either direction. I thought about my answer in my mind, and rehearsed it internally a few times. “Did I give the impress-”

“That’s not what I’m asking.” Milo clarified, interrupting me. “Again, try to believe me, as best as you can. This isn’t about you, or anything you did.”

“How can you ask me that and tell me with a straight face it has nothing to do with me or anything I did?!” I asked incredulously. In answer, Milo cocked his head slightly, but his expression remained unchanged. He was good at this.

I ran my tongue over my teeth in thought. Something was definitely up. This was time for my overthinking brain to activate and play some 4D chess. Was Milo asking on behalf of Taylor, to test my trust? Was he an agent of Morgan, trying to see if the rumors were true? Or, according to Morgan, becoming true? Was he his own little independent agent? If so, what was his end goal? Was he snooping? Did he know something important to me? Did he know something important to Taylor? Was he protecting her from me, or me from her? Or us from a third party?

Bwaah, too many possibilities. “Hùnzhàng,” I muttered aloud, to no one in particular. I knew he was expecting an answer, but I also knew that Taylor was expecting me to be loyal to her, and loyalty meant secrecy. “I don’t know what you think is going on, but we’re literally just studying,” I told Milo in a low voice, trying to sound like a mixture between angry and weirded out. “If you’ve heard some rumors, let me save you some time: they’re not true. Taylor is Taylor, and I’m me. Of course we’re not having sex.”

Milo stared at me for a bit. “Okay,” he finally told me, coldly, his expression not changing. “Thanks for the info. Have a good day, Quinn.” With an ominous calmness, he walked right out of the hallway, and that was the end of that.

I honestly thought I was going to feel regret or guilt for lying, but honestly, I only felt proud. I stuck up for myself, and I knew Taylor would be happy with what I did. Part of me was wondering if maybe I should report to Taylor that I was being asked this by Milo.

I started walking back to my locker, thinking to myself. No, I really should just keep my mouth shut. Adopt the Morgan approach. I saw no one, and no one asked me anything.

But Milo did ask me something. He asked me if I was having sex with Taylor, hitting the bullseye. And… it ‘had nothing to do with me.’ How was that possible? Sex takes place between two people. Without it, it’s just… masturbation. Granted, Taylor and I weren’t having full-on sex, but…

…but we were having some form of it. And Milo was asking me, without me having to do with it. So… it wasn’t getting out that I was the one having sex with her? What could that mean? There was a rumor going around that Taylor was having sex with someone, and people wanted to find out who?

No, that was dumb. If someone was spying on her, they’d see both of us, not just her. And if she was leaking it herself, she wouldn’t need me to shut up about it.

But then… what? If it genuinely had nothing to do with me… then why would Milo even ask me? He seemed like the least drama-hungry of the group. Or power-hungry. He had nothing to gain. And he was… trying to get me to admit to sleeping with Taylor? Or, wait, if it had nothing to do with me, he was trying to find out who was having sex with her.

But why? What does it mean when the only missing puzzle piece was who someone was sleeping with?

I don’t know how it started. Maybe it started with the bad feeling in my stomach. Maybe my legs made up their mind before my mind did. All I knew was, in a matter of a minute or so, I was walking – nay, running – after Milo.

I barely caught him before he disappeared inside what must have been his first period classroom. At the risk of making a scene, I called out – “Milo!” – to him.

He turned around, his expression still unchanged. He just stared at me as I jogged the last few steps up to him. Neither of us said anything for the longest time. Eventually, I just started nodding at him.

“Yes?” he asked.

“Yes. The answer to your question is yes. Is there something I need to know here?” I asked, out of breath.

“I thought it might be,” he muttered. “Yeah, there is.”

Chapter Seven

Whatever it was that Milo had to tell me, he clearly felt as awkward as I did discussing it in the middle of a hallway, even though the halls were mostly empty by this point. Class was about to start, and I wasn’t one for skipping, but curiosity won over me. Before long, we were back in our little elevator hallway, with him looking from wall to wall, thinking about where he’d begin with this.

“I’m not normally one for drama,” he began, “but I think this is important for you to hear. So, you’ve… been doing stuff with Taylor, right? No need to say what.”

I nodded, staying silent.

“So, this could be nothing, or this could be something, but Taylor’s been kind of… dropping hints that she’s gotten… “ He sighed. “How do I word this…?”

“She’s been telling you guys that she’s been having sex with me?” I offered. It was weird, thinking of her making me swear to secrecy then blabbing to her group.

Milo shook his head. “Not quite. She’s been… uh… I guess the word is ‘bragging’ to her friends that she found a guy that she can control. Sh-”

“Wait, control? What does that mean?” I asked.

“She was basically saying that – okay, so, Taylor has a thing with guys. She usually goes from guy to guy, looking for them to have sex with her. But she usually just ends up being their good little girlfriend or something. So, she wanted her own thing. A guy she had wrapped around her finger.”

“Okay…” I replied slowly. “And you all guessed that it was me?”

“No, I don’t think the others care.”

“So why do you?” I asked, in a calculated and removed tone.

He stared at me for a bit. “I guess because if that was me, I’d want to know. I’m just nervous if you give your first time to her thinking it’s special or something, and you only find out after that she – actually… Have you two had full-on sex yet?”

“What’s full-on sex?” I asked.

“Fourth base. Train in tunnel. What our Sex Ed class likes to pretend doesn’t exist.” He stared at me for a bit. “Penis in vagina.”

“Oh,” I replied dumbly. “Um, no, we haven’t. Just oral and stuff.”

“Well, congratulations I guess,” he replied. “I just kinda jumped to worst-case scenario in my head, and figured that if this was me, I’d want to know about it. If, like, the sex meant more to you or something.”

I wasn’t exactly clear on this. I mean, it was a little insulting that she was bragging about having sex with me but I wasn’t allowed to say it, but I guess if I said I had sex, it would be clear who, and if she did, it wouldn’t be as obvious.

“Also, again, I hate the drama train as much as you do, but in case she hasn’t told you… she has a boyfriend.”

“Joel, right?” I asked.

Milo looked surprised. “Oh, so she did,” he mumbled. “You know what? Good for her. I’ll be honest, I thought she would try to hide that. Love Taylor to death, but she, uh… yeah, sometimes, she just likes to hide the stuff she’s less proud of, or stuff she thinks you don’t need to know. She, uh, likes to dodge responsibility a lot.”

“Well, Joel also isn’t her boyfriend, they’ve only gone on one date, right?” I asked.

“Maybe like half a week ago. They’ve gone on two dates since. They’re really hitting it off. Facebook official and everything,” Milo replied.

I stayed silent, and Milo picked up on that. “That wasn’t disclosed, huh?” he suggested.

“I didn’t even find out about Joel through her,” I bitterly confided. “I bumped into him in the hallways.”

“Well, th-”

“Literally bumped into him.”

“…Well, that’s Taylor for you, I guess. I’m sorry. I’m not trying to drive a wedge between you two, but… In case you’re one of those types where your first time means something to you, yeah. I’d rather you have, like, caution than regret.”

I nodded. “What do you think I should do?”

“I’m one of those assholes that think you shouldn’t sleep with a girl who’s dating another guy,” he joked. “It’s not my place to judge, but that’s where I’m at.”

“So, either way, you were looking for whoever Taylor was fooling around with to stop doing stuff with her,” I concluded.

He shrugged. “Kinda, yeah. I’m not just doing this for you. You seem cool and all, but I barely know you. And I like Joel, and I want things to work out between them.”

“Hey, it wasn’t exactly my idea to be doing stuff with Taylor,” I defended myself, only realizing afterwards that in actuality, it was kind of my idea. “Especially not while she’s with another guy.”

“Right, but now you know. So, y’know, keep it professional. School year is ending soon anyway, should be a piece of cake.” As the conversation went on, it was clear through his tone that this wasn’t as much ‘friendly advice’ as it was ‘a gently worded command.’ “I’m sorry that she didn’t tell you the whole thing, or blabbed about using you, even if no one but me knows.”

There was a thought. “How do you know no one else knows? What if someone from your group pieced it together?”

Milo smiled. “Because if they did, they’d have asked her by now. None of the girls in the group know how to keep any secrets to themselves.”

That was not a comforting thought at all, especially given everything Milo just told me about Taylor. I thought to myself about what he said, and realized, maybe that was why Morgan was acting differently towards me. Maybe she knew.

“What about Morgan?” I asked. “Do you think she knows?”

“I can’t answer if you ask about anyone other than me. I just think the group doesn’t know.” He paused. “Why Morgan specifically?”

I shrugged. “I dunno. She’s… maybe it’s stupid, but she’s been acting weird around me lately. I feel like I may have upset her, or maybe she’s angry that Taylor’s hanging out with someone like me… a bit ago, she even came to my job – I work at GameStop – and I swear, it was like she didn’t even need to buy anything. Call me paranoid, but it was like she was just there to spy on me or something.”

Milo’s grin began at the start of my rant, and by the end, it was practically ear to ear.

I hesitated. “And call me crazy, but it sure seems like you know something here.”

Milo chuckled bashfully. “Quinn, uh… I’m sorry, I honestly am, but I don’t think I have the right to be the one to tell you what’s going on there,” he told me, his grin never stopping.

“So you do know something!!” I protested loudly.

“I… have my guesses. I really shouldn’t say it though, okay?”

“No. Not okay,” I complained.

“Believe me, relax. It’s not like there’s a conspiracy against you or something. I’ll say… I’ll say that it isn’t a bad thing, okay?”

I stared at him in confusion.

“Look, we’re getting off topic here. All I’m saying is, you should probably stop doing stuff with Taylor. She has a boyfriend, like full-on official boyfriend. You don’t like drama, and… and other reasons. I’m counting on you to do the right thing here.”

“It doesn’t sound like you came here to give me a choice,” I told him.

“If you’re half as good of a person as I think you are, you’ll know there really isn’t a choice at this point,” he rebutted.

***

“How was lunch?” I asked Kevin as we started to walk out of the school together.

“Enh, it was dumb. Believe me, I would have rather spent it with you,” he replied, walking down the hall with me. He pointed at someone walking in the other direction. “Yo, my man, good work today! But remember, you got lucky.” He met my eyes and shrugged as we kept walking. “Debate club buddy.”

“I don’t even know how you remember all of these people,” I mumbled to myself.

“Not gonna lie, Quinn, I kinda envy your life sometimes,” Kevin admitted. “Sometimes, the more people you know, the more shit you get sucked into.”

“Yeah, I think I’m starting to get that,” I mumbled, holding the school door open for him.

He walked through, then looked at me for a bit. “This isn’t still about you thinking I started the school thinking you and Taylor fucked, is it?” he asked exasperatedly. “Because I even checked the grapevine for stories about Taylor, and-”

“No, no, I’m not blaming you. You’re good,” I replied, the two of us moving to the sidewalk. “Just… the smallest things suddenly mean so much. Like, Taylor and I are just hanging out to study, but suddenly, to everyone in her friend group, and I mean every single one of them, it’s like the biggest event on the planet.”

Kevin stared straight ahead to the clouds. “I bet every guy in high school feels that way. We’re getting better at talking to each other but we’re not perfect. So, we miscommunicate. We’ve never had miscommunications with such high stakes before, so we feel like this is the biggest thing. And it happens to all of us, but it feels so silly that it feels like it can’t happen to us, like we’re the only one. I bet there’s like a dozen you’s running around right now, going all, ‘Why is this being treated like such a big event? Why’s this only happening to me?’”

“Wow, Kevin. Deep,” I said, half-jokingly, half impressed. “I mean, just because it’s happening to a dozen people right now doesn’t make it any less impactful. Or any less stupid.”

“No, but it does make it more commonplace,” he retorted. “I think it’s just a part of growing up.”

“What, so this kinda stuff is happening to you?” I asked.

“Ohhhhhh yeahhhh,” he replied with an exaggerated voice. “You said it yourself. The more people you know, the more shit you get sucked into.”

“…You were the one who said that,” I pointed out.

“…Oh. Well, I was right,” he declared. We didn’t say much more for the rest of the walk home, mostly talking about small stuff like assignments and video games. My mind was somewhere else anyway. It didn’t help that shortly after I got home, I’d need to prepare for work.

When I got home, I dropped my stuff off, ate a quick snack that Mother had prepared for me, and caught her up on my life, leaving out as I always did, any and all adventures with Taylor. In fact, I took lengths to make any interactions worth mentioning to her as banal as possible. The last thing I needed was for her to think the girl with a popular jock boyfriend was my girlfriend, in case Taylor had to come over for an emergency or something. That would have ended disastrously.

Taylor occupied all of my thoughts as I walked to work, and even for the first hour or so of my shift. Was I obligated to end things with her now that I knew she had a boyfriend? Wasn’t she the one that had to tell me? More importantly, if we stopped, would we stop being friends? We didn’t exactly have much common ground.

I would have kept overthinking, but after a bit longer standing around and giving people vague buying advice, who else but Morgan walked back into the store. The mood felt a lot lighter this time – it helped that it was sunny instead, but mostly it was because she was looking up instead of anywhere but at me.

She addressed me first, waving in a reserved fashion. “Hey, Quinn,” she opened casually. “So I was thinking, maybe this game wouldn’t be the best fit for him,” she held up the copy of Uncharted she bought a few days ago in her hand. “Am I allowed to return this?”

“Uh, yeah, we give you a thirty-day period,” I replied. “Did you want money back or did you want to return it for another item? Since you probably want to get your brother his gift and all.”

It was clear my choice took Morgan by surprise. “I, um, I guess I’ll exchange it for something else…” she replied slowly. She was looking at me the whole time, but only then was she looking into my eyes.

Why was my heartbeat getting faster? I instinctively looked away from her and cleared my throat. What was wrong with me? Morgan was just giving me her usual Morgan look – a blank, non-emoting face, probably getting more annoyed with me by the second.

“Okay, what would you like?” I asked, still looking in the opposite direction of her, pretending to look at a shelf or something.

“I’d like it if you could look in my direction so you’d know when I point to a game,” Morgan softly replied. “I don’t know what I’m looking for.”

“Right, yeah, of course,” I mumbled, bringing my face up to look at her, but not really wanting to.

“Are you blushing?” Morgan asked me.

Backed into a corner. “Yeah,” I admitted.

“Why?”

I shrugged, staring straight ahead at the shelf in front of me.

I felt a hand touch my arm, and instinctively shuddered. I looked from Morgan’s hand, down her arm and into her eyes. She was staring back at mine. “Are you going to be okay?” she asked, her voice reflecting slight concern.

Her face told me she was only slightly weirded out and concerned, but… she was slightly blushing too. It was the first emotion I’d seen from her in a while. I nodded and then she followed suit, letting go of my shoulder.

I had no clue where this came from. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I couldn’t even say today was the first place this feeling had started, just… the first time I had actually felt anything. I didn’t even know what it was I was feeling. Or maybe I did, but it felt too silly and dumb to say it out loud.

Morgan and I talked about video games for a little bit longer. She wasn’t kidding, she really knew nothing about them, and much like with Taylor, I discovered quickly that I had to modify how I approached the subject to even get her to begin getting the ‘language’ of what I was talking about. Weirdly enough, without those data management lessons, I doubt I could have had this talk with Morgan.

I eyed my watch after having what felt like a ten-minute talk with Morgan. “Oh my gosh,” I blurted. “It’s five minutes to the end of my shift. We probably should wrap this up.”

Morgan nodded, also looking at my watch. We had talked for over two full hours. “Yeah, I should probably get home soon. This was helpful though. Thanks for having this talk escort with me.” She paused and looked at my face again. “The end of the semester is coming up. Are you still tutoring Taylor?”

“Yup, probably until final dates. She’s really worried about the final,” I replied.

Morgan was probably trying to hide it, but some bitter disappointment splashed across her face for a fraction of a second.

“…Why do you not like that I am? I thought you said you were okay with me,” I replied in confusion.

“No, you’re fine. There’s just a…” she trailed off. “I probably shouldn’t tell you. So can I just return this a-”

“Tell me.”

I don’t think I ever said something more assertively in my life. I had no clue what came over me. I don’t know if it was because I had already told off Morgan once, or if I had heard ‘it’s a secret’ one too many times, but I did know that I was sick of this game of “Quinn can figure it out later.”

“Really, Quinn, I want to tell you, but it’ll really only complicate things. For her, and for everyone,” Morgan protested.

“If you want to tell me, tell me. You have no idea how many people have told me, ‘Oh, I can’t tell you,’ or, ‘oh, you’ll see in time.’ I’m so sick of everyone assuming I can’t be let in on things. I can keep a secret if you want, but this keeps happening to me, and I’m allowed to say that enough is enough, aren’t I?”

Morgan stared right at me and chewed her lower lip in thought. Eventually she looked around and whispered, “Just… not in here. Your shift is over, right? Meet me outside.”

That was definitely the best offer I’d gotten so far. I nodded, and returned to the desk, issuing her refund and waiting around for the next few minutes until James gave me the all-clear. I did a few quick chores then got my sweater, ready to leave.

Morgan was waiting for me outside, leaning against the wall. “You took more than five minutes,” she commented.

“Yeah, I can’t believe you’re still here,” I quipped. Morgan smiled in acknowledgement of the joke. Morgan smiled so little that her face kinda changed when she lit up. Her normally lifeless face looked vibrant when she smiled. I really liked it.

“So, what was the big thing that GameStop can’t know?” I continued.

Morgan shook her head. “It’s not that GameStop can’t know, I just thought it was kind of a can of worms. So…” She paused, looking off in another direction. “Taylor… didn’t want anything to interfere with her getting a good grade. She didn’t want your peer-tutor relationship to get complicated or anything.”

Bit late for that.

“So, she asked me to… kind of not talk to you. I know that sounds weird, but I actually get it. Things were kind of complicated between you and the group from day one. She’s had peer tutors before, but usually they kept to themselves and they didn’t really have any drama surrounding them.”

“Wait, you’re telling me that I was the dramatic one of the bunch? Me?”

“I think it can happen to anybody, and it happened to happen to you,” Morgan reasoned. “Happened to happen… there’s gotta be a better way to phrase that. Anyway, I guess because she’s aware we had a… difficult beginning, she asked me not to talk to you until you two are finished.”

“She really asked you not to talk to me until we were finished Data Management? That’s such a weird stipulation,” I commented out loud. In response, Morgan blushed again and bit her bottom lip, looking down at the ground.

Something clicked for me in that moment, after remembering my conversation with Milo. “She asked you not to talk to me at all,” I realized. “You just figured that if you needed to talk to me, she wouldn’t care about how we saw each other after she was done tutoring me.”

Morgan nodded slowly.

“But wait, why do you need to talk to me? That part I don’t get. Are you telling me you didn’t actually need to go to GameStop in the first place, or what?” I asked her.

She looked up at me with half-closed eyes. “Wow, you really aren’t going to make this easy for me, are you?”

“Make what easy?”

“You hate secrets, right?”

“More than anything!”

“Do you still not get that I have a crush on you?”

My mouth was open but nothing came out. For maybe like the next ten seconds, nothing was said. I felt myself blushing, and looking away. “…What?”

Morgan gestured around her. “We’re adults. Can I not just say that?”

“No, no, you can, I’m just…”

“Did you really not even suspect it?”

“I, uh…” I tried to find the words, but it was like my brain was all jumbled up. “I guess I’m… kind of oblivious…” I shyly replied.

“Yeah, I guess,” Morgan replied quietly.

“So, you…”

“Yup,” Morgan replied flatly, looking at me with her usual emotionless expression but clearly slightly blushing herself. “…Do I get to live long enough to know if you feel the same way or not?”

Fuck me sideways. This was such a complicated situation. Part of me was wondering if Taylor knew about Morgan’s crush and wanted to keep it from me to make sure no conflicts of interest arose. Thank the overthinking, but I was now acutely aware that I was damned if I said yes, and damned if I said no, regardless of how I really felt.

And this could be blamed on the teenage hormones, but I had absolutely no idea what I even did feel. If I asked myself if I definitely had a crush on her, the answer would be ‘I’m not sure.’ If I asked myself whether I should just say no, once again, ‘I’m not sure.’

So what the hell could I answer?

“To hell with Taylor,” a voice met my ears. “You free this weekend? I want to do something with you. It can be a movie or a walk or something.”

That voice was mine. I was nervous, but I was exhilarated. Besides, Taylor was quite literally dating someone else while all of this was going down. Why the hell would she be the only one allowed to do that?

Morgan smiled again, but a much different kind of smile. A kind of ‘I wouldn’t have expected this reply in a million years’ kind of smile. “Um, yes. I mean, I’m not, but I’ll make sure I am. I’d like that. This weekend, right?”

“Yeah. Um, I don’t have a car.”

“Me neither, but I could probably get a ride or something. Where do you live?”

I gave her my address, then realized something. “But I can just meet you outside,” I offered. “My family are really, uh, nosy.”

“I know the feeling,” Morgan replied all too quickly. “Okay. We can go on a walk and find something to do. Saturday?”

“Saturday works for me,” I confirmed.

“Okay, sounds good,” Morgan replied quietly. “I’m going to go now.”

“Yeah, I should get going too,” I replied. As Morgan started to walk away, I added, “Thanks!”

“For what?”

“I dunno. Wanting to go out with me.”

Morgan did that popular girl thing where they smile with a confused or slightly shocked expression. It looked confused, but it felt like it was done because she liked me, in a ‘you’re so cute’ way. As far as I knew, no one ever had a crush on me before. That smile made my heart soar.

***

“I’m still not getting it,” Taylor confessed as we lay sprawled on her basement floor. This time, we elected to not start with sex, at my suggestion (though I hid my exact feelings as to why), which meant we were actually studying for the first time in way too long.

Which, of course, meant that Taylor was fairly behind again.

I sighed. “That’s okay,” I told her. “Just go over the problem again. You have the formula in front of you, so plug in the numbers like I showed you and find the percentage. That’s the ultimate goal here, remember that. You just need to know what means what.”

She stared at the page until I swear I saw the beginnings of tears in her eyes. “I’m not getting this,” she finally admitted. “I’m not getting any of it. I need a break.” She closed her book, thoroughly disgusted with it, and went over to collapse into her beanbag chair.

I let her wallow for about half a minute before deciding to interject. “You know, you still get most of the formulas. It’s not like the final is just going to be questions like that. Even now you’re still looking at a pass here.”

“Oh my God, Quinn, no,” she protested. “I’m a fucking idiot. I’m going to forget, like, all of the formulas as soon as the paper is in front of me. I need to know all of them if I want to have, like, any kind of chance at all.”

I guess I could understand that. “Well then, we’ll pick it up after you have a moment to yourself,” I offered.

Taylor sighed to herself and brought up her phone. “I feel, like, really underprepared. Can we do more studying on Sun-… no, shit, I’m busy Sunday… Saturday?”

I winced. “Actually, sorry, I’m kind of busy on Saturday.”

“Yeah, really funny. I’m being serious.”

“So am I.”

Taylor looked up from her phone. “Wait, what? Really? What’s going on, is it a work thing?”

How much was I able to disclose here? It would have been really cool to brag to the most popular girl that I had a date and she would have to wait for me, but that would have likely been the worst thing to do in that situation.

“I have a date on Saturday.”

Teenage hormones and the desire to brag won me over.

“A… a date?!” Taylor asked, half in anger, half in shock. “Wait, what? You’re having dates now? When were you going to tell me?”

“You didn’t tell me when you were going on dates with Joel,” I argued back.

“That’s different!”

“Yeah, I guess it is, aren’t you his girlfriend now? Why was I the one that had to convince you that we shouldn’t begin this studying session by fooling around with each other?”

“Oh my God, Quinn, I can’t have this convers-” She stopped herself mid-sentence. “Wait. I never said to you that Joel and I were boyfriend and girlfriend now. Did he tell you that?”

“No,” I admitted, instantly wishing I lied.

“…So what, this is just, like, your own intuition?” she asked.

I can’t imagine me implicating Milo, or even putting a possible spotlight on him, would do any good for this conversation now, so I just shrugged. “I heard through the grapevine you went on a second date with him and that things were getting serious. Passing by, hearing conversations, stuff like that.”

“So what, you’re trusting what you overheard in the main hallway and taking it as, like, the truth?” she asked. “You could just ask me instead.

“Okay, fine, are you and Joel officially a couple?”

“No, we’re not!” she protested. At this point, either she or Milo was a liar. They both clearly had their potential reasons to lie, and I had to figure out who.

But I wasn’t going to figure it out today. “Okay, I’ll believe you. I’m just nervous fooling around when there’s the possibility of, y’know, cheating on the table.”

“And does the person you’re about to date know that you’re doing this with me?” Taylor challenged me.

“No, but that’s because I know that you don’t want me talking about anything to anyone about us,” I answered promptly.

“Well, yeah, but I’m not blabbing about us to anyone either,” Taylor countered.

“Not using my name, sure, but I know you’ve been bragging to your friends about having a boy you can contr-”

Oops. There was no way I could take that back. It was out. Taylor’s cute little chipmunk face was now twisted into a scowl, and her eyes were staring daggers into mine. Immediately, they softened. “Okay. I’m sorry.”

That was such a relief. “I don’t mind, I’m just confused. I thought you didn’t want the fact we slept together getting out.”

Taylor sighed and looked around the room. She held up a finger as if to wordlessly say, ‘one second,’ and walked to some other part of the basement, eventually coming back with some kind of alcoholic drink.

She popped it open, and looked at me slyly. “If you want to do something later, I’ll tell ya while I’m sober, I consent,” she told me with a dry smile, as if we were sharing a joke.

“Wait, hold on, halt,” I frantically said before she put it to her lips. “How am I going to get home later?”

“Oh, mom can give you a ride. She knows I drink sometimes. It’s no biggie.” She took a swig. “Okay, so, yeah, on some level, like, yeah, I don’t want it getting out. The big people this can never reach are your brother and Mrs. Li, for obvious reasons.”

I nodded in agreement.

“I think, out of everyone, my friend group knowing would be the least… bad.” She took another drink. “They know me. They wouldn’t judge me too hard. I’ve done worse.” She offered me the bottle out of courtesy, knowing my answer would be no, before taking another drink. “But clearly, you already know that. Was it this mysterious ‘grapevine’ too, or is it one of them?”

“If, hypothetically, it was one of them, would I have to say which one?” I asked.

Taylor grinned. “You’re making this too easy for me, Quinn,” she told me. “No, you don’t. Okay, so one of them blabbed to you, so I guess they put the pieces together. So I guess they all put the pieces together.”

Except Morgan, right? I gotta imagine Taylor’s best friend wouldn’t ask me out knowing I was still doing stuff with her, right?

“Can I ask about Joel?” I inquired. “Would it be bad if he knew?”

“Yeah, you had to ask about him, didn’t you?” Taylor mumbled, practically to herself, then took another generous swig. “I dunno. Probably? Quinn, I told you half the story before. You wanna know what high school is?”

I nodded.

“I think every single boy I’ve been with has cheated on me. Every damn one.”

I took in that information. “So… it makes you not trust boys?”

“Well, yeah, obviously, but like, it made me… realize I can do whatever. If Joel is cheating on me, all I do by cheating on him is lose the fuckin’ high ground.” She took a sip and thought to herself. “And, like, it’s not like I was gonna use it anyways. I confront him, he makes a big thing about his parents divorcing or what-the fuck-ever excuse it is with this boy, he makes me cry, I stay by his side.”

“So it’s an open secret in high schools? Cheating?” I asked.

“Never heard the term before, but, like, probably,” she replied. “I didn’t get to choose this shit, but like, if every boy is gonna do this to me, it feels nice that I can at least be allowed to do the same shit.”

“An equally oppressive system is still equal to both sides,” I mused. “It would be better if he wasn’t, y’know, cheating at all…”

Taylor took her lips off the drink. “Wow, insightful, Quinn. Never fucking thought of that. My problems are solved.”

“Yeah, point taken.”

“So, are you mad at me?” she asked.

I didn’t answer immediately. “I don’t think I am,” I replied slowly.

She sighed. “Good. So, me and Joel are like… open. And if any drama shit hits the fan, you can just pin it on me, sound good?”

“Well, I’m not afraid of consequences as much as I just don’t want to hurt you… or him…” I mumbled.

“Him? What did he ever do for you?”

“I don’t think anyone needs to do anything for me to make me want to not hurt them,” I replied.

“Well, then you can decide right here and now, are you going to want to continue doing this with me, or do you want to go home right now?” she asked.

“…And what about the studying?” I asked.

Taylor frowned. “Ugh,” she conceded.

I don’t know why I thought of this right there and then, but I felt the familiar rush of adrenaline as soon as I thought of what came out of my mouth next. It was time to be bold again.

“I can’t do Saturday, but I’ll write you a reference sheet and I’ll do anything you want tonight if you, drink in your system, can finish the lesson tonight.”

Taylor paused, her drink at her lips, and gave me a sly smile. “Anything, huh?”

“Excluding going all the way.” Milo was right: I wanted to save that for someone I was dating.

And I guess I was going to be dating someone soon…? I shuddered, thinking of Morgan in that way.

Though I needed to push that to the back of my mind now. Taylor clearly took up the offer with eagerness, and practically leapt out of the beanbag chair, opening her textbook. “What page, what page?”

***

Taylor was an absolute champion. As early as ten-ish minutes into the new session, the drink started to hit her, and yet still she persisted. I did not get how, but it seemed like the drunker she got, the more she balanced it back out with her own determination.

To be honest, I didn’t really think she would do it. I also didn’t think she’d be as eager as she was. I just figured that it might have been a good suggestion to get the studying back on track, and to avoid giving a yes-or-no answer to her ultimatum.

The trouble was, as the drink hit her more and more, she got more and more suggestive. She was still doing her best to concentrate on the lesson, but something told me she was trying to distract me, as if she just needed to prod me enough and I would be the one to say, “Okay, we’ve studied enough, let’s go fuck.”

But she hung on until the end, and surprisingly, the end came. If I didn’t know any better, I’d almost say she was a better student when she was drunk… well, heavily tipsy and motivated.

“Zero point seventy-seven,” she finished, not drunk enough to slur her words yet tipsy enough that I could hear the alcohol affecting the way she talked. “Did I get it right?”

I stared at the page in amusement. “Yeah, you did,” I mumbled. “Huh. I don’t suppose they allow alcohol at finals, do they?”

Taylor just laughed and flopped onto her back, grinning at me. The entire time we were studying, she would wiggle her butt in my direction, knowing I was looking. Sometimes she’d grin and look back at me, knowing what I was looking at the entire time.

Her eyes flickered down to my crotch. “So, were you distracted by something?” she practically purred.

I felt like such a lothario. The most popular girl in school got motivated to study because, as a reward, she would get to suck my dick. All the while, her best friend told me she had a crush on me.

Adrenaline surged through me. I grabbed my crotch, tracing the outline of my hard dick in my shorts, and smiled at her. “Were you?”

Taylor gave me an ‘ooh, you devil’ smile, then stood up. “Well, aren’t you getting… bold,” she told me, leaving her shirt on but unbuttoning her pants. She got them off, having to wobble once or twice, no doubt the drink affecting her. Eventually, she was just in her shirt and panties. She motioned for me to come closer while hooking her thumbs into her underwear and letting them ride down.

“I want you to eat me while I’m still standing,” she practically moaned, the excitement making her eyes glossy.

My eyes widened at her request. My dick jumped in my pants. I started to get up to walk over to her, but she held up a hand.

“You know the deal,” she almost sang. “Crawl.”

I smiled in disbelief. It didn’t really get any less shocking hearing that come from her. It was clearly what she wanted though, so I was happy to oblige. I slowly got back down to the ground, getting lower and lower, matching her hand until my face was next to the floor. Exhaling into her shag carpet, I began to slink myself along her floor as she kicked her panties to the side, getting ready for what was to come.

She bit her lip as she saw me getting closer, inching closer and closer to the object of my desire, her pussy. It was already slightly glistening with her anticipation, and I couldn’t help but run my hands up her legs as I approached her and straightened myself out.

“You love this pussy, don’t you?” she asked me.

“I do,” I told her, staring straight at her womanhood, transfixed.

“You do… what?” she asked me, a smile growing on her face.

I looked at her, lost, and her smile grew. “You do… mistress,” she told me, her smile turning mischievous.

I felt my cheeks burning. “I… y-yes, mistress,” I managed to say.

“Good boy,” she told me, moving so that her legs opened slightly more. Taking the hint, I rose up further, catching her scent as my head got closer and closer to her. She was already wet. If I had to guess, she was probably wet for a while. I bet those panties she discarded were soaked with her juices, and this was just what was left. It just made her mathematical feats that much more impressive – her thoughts had clearly been clouded with lust for a while.

The physics of eating out a girl – no, not a girl, the only girl I had ever eaten out, Taylor – were much the same. Instead of on the floor though, on equal ground, now I was going up. My tongue only needed to start tracing its way near her labia before Taylor started gripping my hair. Clearly, alcohol made her horny like a wild animal.

When my tongue first ran along her slit, for the briefest moment, a flash of Morgan entered my mind. Was I doing something wrong here? Was I wrong to acquiesce to Taylor like this? Should I have shown more restraint?

I dismissed the thought. Morgan and I haven’t even gone out yet. We didn’t declare our monogamy. Taylor made it perfectly clear how high school worked. And now, she was making something else perfectly clear – she was hornier than I had ever seen her.

She started grinding her hips into my face and moaning a little loudly for my taste, especially knowing her mother was likely just upstairs, and I’d have to share a no doubt awkward car ride with her later. I prayed she wouldn’t hear this, or if she did, that she wouldn’t ask any questions. My tongue made contact with Taylor’s clit, and all hope of being quiet and subtle went out the window.

I could practically feel the pleasure flowing through Taylor, and I couldn’t help but get into it myself. I started using my hands too, at first running them up and down her sexy, smooth thighs, then using a thumb to rub her clit as my tongue worked its way along her vaginal slit, then switching places with my tongue on her clits and two fingers in her pussy. I could tell by the way she moaned (and by the way she could barely stand up, even against the wall) that this trick worked particularly well on her. Had she been on the ground, she would have been writhing around with the moves I was pulling on her.

“Fuck yesss, Quinn…” she was moaning, grinding her hips into my face with a ferocity she hadn’t yet shown me. “That’s a good boy… such a good boy… keep fucking me with that tonuge, yes, yes, oh fuck…”

Eventually, she had to keep a hand over her mouth just to get herself to shut up. She still rode my face like that for a good five or so more minutes, well after the point where my tongue felt like it was going to start cramping. Still, I persisted, knowing that my Mistress worked hard and did her math work, so the least I could do was let her gush on my tongue.

And gush she did. With her standing up the way she did, I could feel her entire body contract as her orgasm approached. I had learned from her that if a woman’s orgasm approached, don’t ‘really let her have it’ or anything that one would read in a porn story (Did people really read those for sexual advice, anyway? I hope not), just keep going at the same pace. It’s the pace that got her on the road on an orgasm in the first place.

She rode that trail as best as she could, getting the full motion of her hips into it, making sure she was riding my face for all her worth. The moment her orgasm hit was almost audible, as I felt her entire body relax and yet climax as torrents of pleasure crashed through her, causing her body to shake and practically lose control. Her mind, and body, was giving way to the feelings she was feeling.

Only trouble was, who was under that body? Me. At first she felt like she was mashing her pussy into my mouth again, but as quickly as a second later, it was clear that her body was crashing to the floor with me hopelessly stuck below. I had to clumsily both evade her taking me down, head-first, with her, as well as assist her down as she moaned and panted and practically couldn’t see straight in orgasmic bliss.

She slid down the wall with me carefully helping her as she struggled to regain her breath, a good kind of struggle I should think. In between breaths she was biting her lip and adjusting her hips, as if trying to remember or recreate the moment that just transpired for her.

“Wow, Quinn,” she breathed, her first words since she clamped her hand over her mouth. “Fucking wow.”

I smiled at her warmly, not exactly breathing normally myself. Eating her out always excited me – from the erotic moaning to her smell to, frankly, the way she ordered me around and called me her good boy. All of it was so tantalizing to me, and it always left my cock screaming for more.

This was a fact that did not escape Taylor’s notice, as her eyes drifted lazily to my crotch once she had regained some kind of consciousness or autonomy. “I think… you’ve earned yourself a little something, Quinn. Take off your pants.”

Even in a state like this, even with what had happened, she was asking me this. “Are you s-”

“Take. Off. Your pants,” she ordered, her voice mostly sharp, softened only by her tipsiness.

They were shorts, not pants, but still, I was happy to oblige. I started to get up to take them off, but Taylor held up a hand, motioning for me to stay on the floor, grinning tipsily as she did. Chuckling to myself, I remained on the floor and wiggled my way out of my shorts, feeling almost a little silly as my cock sprang forth, my shorts still barely only halfway down my legs.

Evidently, Taylor decided that halfway was good enough. In one motion, she sprang forth and landed on top of me, smiling at me, looking me in the eyes, and running her fingers over the head of my needy, eager, ready cock. Her fingertips found a bead of precum oozing from the tip and began to circle it around the head, coating it in my own eagerness as I had seen from her vagina only moments before.

She teasingly ran her fingertips over the head of my cock for a few more moments before giving up on that process and engulfing my entire cock, too hungry and horny to pretend she was going to give me the slow treatment. Her expert mouth began working its magic, with every muscle in her mouth stroking my shaft in just the right way.

Taylor wanted to look right into my eyes while blowing me, as the first few seconds of this blowjob proved, but pretty soon her eyes blissfully and slowly closed and she began moaning on my cock. I could feel movement happening beneath my feet, and realized the little minx was, just moments after her last orgasm, fingering herself and moaning on my cock as she blew me! I quickly made a mental note that, if we were to keep this up, I’d need to see if we could have another night when she wanted to drink, because the experience was out of this world.

Taylor looked so cute with her eyes closed in concentration, her mouth full of my cock, and her head bobbing up and down on me, especially knowing that she was now furiously rubbing her clit at the same time. In the best way possible, Taylor was a total pro, and here I was getting to enjoy all of the fruits of her labor! It definitely helped that she had such incredible skill when it came to doing a blowjob.

I was getting better at lasting longer with her – no doubt something that was part of Taylor’s long-term plan, since it was evident she loved sucking cock – but at this point after all that teasing and now through her efforts, there was no way I was going to last long at all.

I could barely make any guttural noises, let alone warn Taylor in words, that my own orgasm was approaching quickly, but luckily, she got the message. And when she did, I was treated to a visual that I thought I wasn’t going to see in a million years.

Taylor stayed true to not having any penetrative sex with me, but in a surprisingly coherent way given her state, she quickly sat up on me and started jacking me off with her hand, the head of my dick resting right above her pussy. Think if a girl was riding me cowgirl style, but instead of on top of my cock, she was slightly further down my body, resting on my thighs. I could even feel her pussy making contact with my balls, leaving some of its wetness on them as they bounced up and down with her hand’s thrusts.

Taylor looked me in the eyes as she jacked me off, her hips grinding against me. She still had her shirt on, which made it even more erotic – this image of a tipsy good girl grinning naughtily as she practically rode me, her hand jacking me off, both of us clearly pretending I was inside her. “Come on, Quinn,” she begged in a lusty yet controlling voice. “Cum for me. You know you want to. Fucking do it.”

There was no way in Hell I was going to last with her doing that. With a feeble groan, I started spurting shot after shot high into the air, practically feeling my vision blur while Taylor Wise’s hand completely drained my balls of any and all cum they had inside them.

I threw my head back and groaned, feeling the electric fire of my orgasm spread throughout my entire body, still feeling Taylor grinding herself against me, eventually letting go of my cock and getting herself off of me, sitting down next to me. With a grunt of strength I lifted my head up to see she was looking over my no doubt cum-splattered body, biting her lower lip and lazily fingering herself.

“Oh, uh, sorry,” I awkwardly began. “I think I got some of me… on your shirt,” I pointed out. I knew girls didn’t like to have that kind of stuff happen, because it can stain their clothing or something.

She looked down at the splotch, smiling. “I know,” she murmured slowly, and quietly, bringing her free hand to it and rubbing her finger in it. She moaned. “Mmm. It feels warm.”

I had died and gone to heaven. Taylor was fucking unbelievable. Every time she managed to surprise and shock me, from our sexual antics to… to everything! The way the school year was ending was absolutely bonkers, and I had a funny little feeling that things were definitely not winding down anytime soon.

Chapter Eight

I thought I made a lot of progress when it comes to being able to talk to people and talking with confidence and speaking in full sentences. There was no bigger reality check for me than having to ask Taylor’s mom for a ride home that night.

Credit where it’s due, she did her best to make conversation with me, but of course, any question was met with me staring at the floor and responding in as few words as possible. I didn’t feel guilty for asking her to drive me home, just… childish, I guess? There was something, but I couldn’t put it into words.

“I’m home!” I called to Mother, who was in the kitchen. She knew that I had another late night, but she also knew that this was hopefully the last studying session, and that I got paid for my time. In what, I wasn’t ready to disclose.

“You missed supper,” she told me sourly. “This had better be the last time. Your father has already gone to bed.”

“It’ll be the last time, Mother,” I reassured her. “The final is coming up soon, and I’ll make sure all of my studying sessions with Taylor will be before sundown.”

Mother chuckled to herself. “Taylor.” She shook her head, laughing, moving around the kitchen. “You have to be careful with her, Quinn. What if she is your girlfriend to use your brain?”

I feigned confusion. “Taylor, my girlfriend?”

Mother paused. “Yes, you told me this.”

“Mother, I didn’t say Taylor was my girlfriend, I said Morgan was!”

Mother stared at me incredulously. “Who the hell is Morgan? You say you have feelings for Taylor and that you two are dating now!”

“Mother, I never said that at all,” I countered. “Morgan is Taylor’s friend. She’s the one I have feelings for.”

“I distinctly remember you saying, ‘I have a feeling for Taylor,’” Mother protested. “And now you are saying you fall for some other girl. Quinn, you are turning into a, uh… huāhuāgōngzĭ.”

“Really, Mother?!” I asked exasperatedly. I guess this was my punishment for trying to solve my problems by confusing her. “I don’t recall ever having feelings for Taylor. I have feelings for her friend I met through her. Her name is Morgan, and we’re having a date on Saturday.”

“A date?!” both Mother and, of course, Kevin asked in unison. I didn’t even notice he was in the living room, but at that, he paused his game and marched on over.

“You have a date with Morgan?!” Kevin asked incredulously. “Morgan Jones?”

I shrugged. “Do you know any other Morgans?”

“But like, Morgan with the…” Kevin stealthily stepped behind Mother, who wasn’t looking in his direction, and mimed groping a pair of two huge breasts.

I sighed. “Morgan with the team leader instincts? Morgan who cares about her family and friends? Morgan with the really nice smile? Or did you have another Morgan in mind?”

Kevin gave me a sarcastic smile as Mother continued. “I am confused. Are you dating a girl, Quinn?”

“I am going on a date with a girl on Saturday, yes.”

“And is her name Taylor or Morgan?”

“Her name is Morgan. Taylor is the girl I’m tutoring.”

“But you told me you have feelings for Taylor. That’s why I allowed you to tutor her!” Mother protested.

“The plot thickens~!” Kevin practically sang.

I glared at him. “I think there was a miscommunication somewhere, Mother. At any rate, what does it matter? You never met her.”

“Although, if you’re wondering, Morgan is also white,” Kevin chimed in, earning another glare from me.

Mother sighed in annoyance. “I could guess that,” she remarked. “Okay. You’re going on dates with Taylor, or Morgan, or Steven for all I know. You keep changing her name, Quinn. It makes things more exciting, I guess.” She turned back to doing the dishes. “There are leftovers in the fridge if you’re hungry.”

Kevin and I made our way back to the living room. Mother was within eyeshot, but with the volume of the TV, we knew she wouldn’t be able to (or even care to) hear us talking with our voices low enough.

“I think she’s disappointed in you,” Kevin remarked as he unpaused. “You did totally say Taylor the first time, didn’t you?”

“Yes,” I admitted sourly.

“Just don’t know which girl to go for, huh? Probably a good guess going for the one that actually has a crush on you.”

“Jeez, you really do have connections everywhere, don’t you?” I asked, surprised.

He shrugged. “It helps to care about people. But mostly I’m nosy as fuck.”

“But anyway, I actually told Mother I had feelings for Taylor purely to get her off my back. I don’t have any romantic interest in Taylor. Plus she’s-”

“With Joel, yeah. Kind of a boner killer to go for a girl that has, like, the alpha male at her side, huh?”

“What, you believe in the alpha-beta thing now?” I asked.

Kevin blew a raspberry. “No. If the conventional alpha-beta thing were true, I wouldn’t be popular. The world belongs to those that play their cards right, not who’s the leader of the Boxing Club.”

There was a bit of a silence between us. “It helps though.”

“Oh fuck yeah it helps,” Kevin agreed. “But I got shit going for me too.”

“Are you dating anyone right now?” I asked.

He shook his head. “Nope, def not. I don’t really want to, to be honest. I got something fun going on right now, and I feel like getting a girlfriend right now of all times would just tie me down.”

“‘Something fun,’ huh?” I parroted. “Do I get to kn-”

“Nope, you don’t,” Kevin laughed.

I laughed too. “Yeah, I expected that.”

“No offense or nothing. It’s just kinda complicated. And as you now know from experience, the less people who know it, the better,” Kevin reasoned.

“Although you now know that I’m dating Morgan, and your rumor-mongering already got me in trouble once…”

“Hey, hey,” Kevin bashfully protested. “I still maintain that I had nothing to do with that. Hell, I didn’t even hear that rumor, and I’m like the most plugged-in guy at the school, so clearly it didn’t even get far,” he retorted. “But yeah, I’ll keep my mouth shut until you’re ready to declare your love to the world or some shit.”

“Thanks,” I replied. “Who knows, it may not go anywhere. It may not even happen.”

“Well, I hope it does,” Kevin replied, pausing the game again to look at me. “I meant it when I said I wanted you to dig yourself out of that self-pity hole. And you seem to notice more about Morgan than her tits.”

“…One might even argue that I don’t notice her ‘tits’ at all,” I rebutted.

“Well, c’mon, you’re not blind. Anyway, I bet that’ll be nice for her, and who knows? She may even be nice for you.” He shifted in his seat, eyes back on the TV. “Anyway, stop thinking I’m your enemy. I didn’t do nothing wrong. Hell, I watch out for you.”

“I’m not a child,” I defended myself.

“Yeah, but family watches out for each other. Like, oh, I dunno, putting in a good word for each other when they’re suddenly among the popular crowd…”

“I thought you said you didn’t want a girlfriend right now,” I replied, confused.

“Connections, dude. Connections! Hell, you only got to Taylor in the first place through Mrs. Li. Everybody is important in some way or another. But if you never make that connection, you never get to see what could have been,” he reasoned, losing yet again to Vicar Amelia. “Son of a bitch!”

***

It was a week until the first final. We had four classes a semester, so finals only lasted the four days. Sometimes, they’d all take place in the same within the same week, and that was painful, but luckily, the first final was on Friday, seven days from now.

Still there was a certain frantic energy that filled the hallways. All students had different takes on finals, but there were effectively two categories – people that would pass no matter what grade, and people that wouldn’t. Even though I was firmly in the former camp, I wanted to pass with as high a grade as possible, so I was definitely among the more frenzied crowd.

It was trendy if you were a senior to look as little like you cared about finals. Some kids, like me, didn’t really get the memo there, while other students clearly did, with Taylor’s group leading the way in terms of the trend. Every time they walked down the hallways, they did it with almost more swagger and confidence than normal, seemingly looking at everyone and yet no one as they went by. Even though I knew them as individuals, it didn’t exactly undo who they were as a group, nor the hierarchy of high school. Groups still made way for them as they walked, and a lot of people, particularly boys, would try to catch their attention as they walked by.

I tried to avoid being that guy, and cheerfully waved hello to Taylor, leading the group, as they walked by. She noticed and waved back in that ‘polite yet disinterested’ way, which was fair enough. After all, in about two weeks, we were probably as good as strangers.

And yet still, I couldn’t help myself after they walked by, turning around to look at Morgan. I had to admit, she did look good. I didn’t make a habit of looking at girls in the hallways – it ran the risk of looking them in the eye, which felt practically chastising to me – but since we were going on a date tomorrow, I felt like I had earned a pass.

I think people saw people and latched on to their most obvious trait. Like, Morgan had a big chest, to the extent where it was even slightly noticeable from looking at her from almost purely behind, but it was like ‘big’ by high school standards. Ever since Kevin made me aware what people thought of Morgan, I listened in more on discussions in my classes surrounding her – all of the boys liked to talk about whether she had a ‘D or DD’ or something, but that metric was a mystery to me. All I knew was, she looked very pretty in her tank top, light jacket, and workout jeans. And I had to admit, her butt was… cute. Was I allowed to think that?

All of this happened maybe one second after the group passed, and as if she sensed me (or maybe because she was thinking about me too) Morgan turned around while walking to look at me. Luckily, my eyes had moved up from her butt at this point. I looked straight into her eyes and froze like a deer.

Morgan blushed slightly in seeing that I was looking at her, and gave me a small smile. But not a polite one. Something… different. I couldn’t help smiling back.

At the point when she turned back around, and the group was out of eyeshot, one more person turned around. Milo turned to look at me, his expression remaining the same – eerily blank – the whole while. The smile was quickly wiped off my face, and I gave a quick shudder. Did I do something wrong? Did he know something? Were we fighting now? I didn’t like that I had to ask these questions.

***

How do you prepare for a date if you’ve never had one before? I wasn’t sure, so I covered the basics – clothes, hygiene, and asking your over-controlling family for terrible advice.

“You want to know what you are getting into,” Mother continued. “Ask about genetic weaknesses. See if her family has a history of disease. Cancer is the big one.”

“As romantic as that sounds,” Kevin cut in, “maybe go for what she likes. You know, play to her interests. Figure out what she’s into, then try to only talk about that. Bonus points if you can make it seem like you already know a lot about it.”

As I had done for the past ten or so minutes, I ignored them. “This looks silly,” I complained, staring back at my mirror image of me in a dress shirt. “Why can’t I wear what I would normally wear around her?”

“You need to impress her!” Mother protested. “Let her know that you don’t come from a poor family.”

In a symbolic motion that I hoped would be lost on Mother, I surveyed our relatively small apartment, then turned to Kevin. Kevin shrugged and nodded his head, understanding.

Morgan would be here in a few minutes, getting a ride from… somebody. I didn’t ask. I assumed it would be a family member, since getting Taylor to drive her would be all too perfectly terrible. I straightened my hair once more, making sure it looked okay, even though I was not the person to ask.

“Yeah, looks okay,” Kevin mumbled, seemingly reading my mind. As dopey as he was at giving dating advice, I could certainly count on him for knowing how to present oneself. I nodded, finally tearing my gaze away from the mirror, and headed for the front door.

“Got your phone?” Kevin asked, eager to be helpful here.

“Yes,” I replied.

“Got a game plan?” he continued, smiling mischievously.

I playfully shoved him. “Shut up,” I mumbled, before heading outside, figuring Morgan would be here soon. The last thing I wanted was for her to see the chaos that was my family’s apartment.

Within minutes of me stepping outside the apartment building, a car came into the parking lot and Morgan stepped out of it. Her hair was nicely done, but apart from that, she wore the same clothes that she normally wore around school. The one upside to the idea of her coming up to the apartment is that I could have gestured to her, turned to Mother, and told her, “See?!”

She waved to me when she got out of the car, then turned back to what looked like her brother and said a few things. Her brother looked older, and like he definitely would have been in the popular crowd at high school too. He gave me a gesture I could barely see through the tinted windshield of the car. I wasn’t sure if it was friendly, like a wave, or a threatening one. I started to raise my hand to wave, but second-guessed myself and retracted it. I then nodded in his direction, then realized he may not see me, so I nodded again in an exaggerated motion.

He said some more things to Morgan and she smiled like he told a joke, then he rolled up his window and off he went. Morgan cheerfully waved to me again and walked up to me, clearly sizing me up. “Dress shirt, huh?” she asked.

My hands flew to my pockets. “My, uh, family insisted,” I explained. “I’m wearing a normal t-shirt underneath though, because I figured… or I guess I knew… that it would be stupid.”

Morgan gave a single patient laugh. “Well, you can do either. You, uh, look good in it.”

“Thanks, you too!” I blurted out. “Like, in your outfit. You look really good.”

She gave a small smile in acknowledgement, and looked around. “So, you know the area. We’re going on a walk, right?”

“Right.”

“So, which direction should we go in?”

“Oh. Uh…” I looked around, eventually settling on the westbound direction. “How about this way? There are a few interesting things we can pass along the way.”

“Sounds like a plan!” Morgan said in her usual emotionless tone, albeit with a bit more enthusiasm than normal. I wasn’t sure if it was natural or not. With that, the date began, with the both of us walking aimlessly, and about a full meter of space between us.

“You know,” I began, “Walks like these are going to be really cool once Pokemon Go launches.”

“Oh yeah?” Morgan asked.

“Yeah, have you heard of it?”

“No I haven’t, tell me about it.”

“Well, it’s like a video game, but it’ll be on your phone, and it uses GPS to…” I turned red, not looking up from the floor when I began talking. “You know what, you probably don’t even care about this kind of thing.”

“I mean, I probably won’t play it, but it seems like it matters to you,” Morgan replied. “This is a date. You’re supposed to talk about yourself to some extent.”

“Yeah, but isn’t the polite thing to ask about what you’re into and go from there?”

Morgan stopped where she stopped, forcing me to stop and look her in the face. She had something of a glint in her eyes. “Did Kevin tell you to do that?”

I smiled in response, letting a single chuckle fly out. Seeing my smile as confirmation, Morgan smiled herself. Her smile still amazed me with how beautiful it was, and it was amazing how I knew she existed for years before even getting to see such a common thing as a smile completely transforming her face.

“Yeah, thought so,” she replied, continuing to walk. “Go ahead, tell me about Pokemon Go.”

“Okay, so, last year or something, Google did this April Fools Day prank,” I began, in a conversation that would last a surprisingly long time. It was kind of weird. With Taylor, I needed a few full days to be able to actually have a conversation with her. Granted, I met Morgan through Taylor, and already had a few conversations with her – a few of them unfortunately unsavory – but when I was with Morgan like this, I was able to open up surprisingly quickly. I didn’t know what it was, but it was nice.

And it wasn’t all that one-sided. Granted, I had to push or search for it once or twice, but there were a few things Morgan was clearly interested in too. Or at least, had strong opinions on. We passed some building with a poster of a horse on it, and as we passed it, she turned to me. “Do you like horses?”

“Never really experienced one. Or like, ridden one. I don’t think I’ve even seen one in person. Or, in horse,” I babbled.

“I feel like every girl ever has this thing for horses. Like, ‘oh, look at this majestic thing, I wanna ride one, I wanna own one,’ but I have never even cared about horses,” she began. “Like, it just seems like a big responsibility. What can you even do with a horse? It’s like a big living motorcycle or something. I guess it’s like a pet, but I dunno, big pets seem like way more trouble than they’re worth.”

“I like small pets. I’ve got a pet cat, her name is Nuo. I’ve never owned a horse, though. I don’t really care about them either.”

“Aw, I love cats! Do you have a picture of her?” Morgan asked, almost giddily.

“Um, yeah, probably!” I replied, fishing my phone out of my lap and going through the pictures on my phone. Almost instantly, a picture of Taylor’s pussy flew up onto the screen, prompting me to less-than-subtly angle the phone away from Morgan. She wasn’t walking behind me so there was very little chance she saw, but it was still enough to scare me to death. I coughed nervously, looking through my pictures, trying to evade the not-safe-for-work ones. Whether Morgan saw or didn’t, it was in my best interest to pull up a picture of Nuo as soon as possible.

“Um, it looks like I don’t have one,” I remarked, putting my phone away, glad to have it out of my hands. “I’ll have to take one for next ti- well, I, y’know…”

Morgan laughed to herself. “Sounds good,” she replied smoothly. “I love cats. And dogs. I just can’t get one as long as Cheesecake is in the house.”

“…Why? Do they have allergies?” I asked dumbly.

Morgan turned to look at me in a polite but still-stinging “are you serious?” look. “Cheesecake is the name of my pet rat.”

“Oh! I see. That’s a cute name for a rat,” I replied.

She smiled. “I’m glad you said that,” she told me. “Most people just go, like, ‘ew, rats, how gross, you should get a horse or something instead.’” She rolled her eyes and started scrolling through her phone, eventually holding it up to me. “See? Cute, right?”

I looked at her phone and immediately started to blush. The picture wasn’t of a rat at all, but Morgan at the beach, with someone else clearly holding her phone for her. She was in some sort of swimsuit and posing provocatively for the camera, more in a ‘just goofing around’ way than anything explicitly erotic, but still, clearly enough to get a rise out of me.

“Um… Morgan…” I could barely get out, my words caught in my throat.

“What?” Morgan asked, looking back at her phone. “Oh fuck,” she immediately added, blushing a little herself. “Yeah, that was not the picture I meant.” She laughed nervously, and swiped right on her phone once. “Here we go. Sorry.”

I looked at her phone to see a picture of a little grey rat in a cage, playing with some kind of toy. It looked a little silly, but definitely not gross or anything. “Yeah, it’s cute,” I replied, feeling all hot.

Was that… deliberate? Did she see my picture or something, and was trying to communicate a kind of, ‘it’s okay, here’s mine’? No, probably not. She probably didn’t even see the picture, just a coincidence. Plus, even if she did, it was a horrible invasion of privacy to Taylor. It would not have been polite to either girl to show one of them her best friend’s genitals.

“But, uh, the other picture… was cute too,” I awkwardly interjected, trying to alleviate the situation.

Morgan chuckled, eyeing the ground. “Yeah,” she mumbled. “Thanks. I got to go to the beach a few weeks ago with Crystal when the weather was nice. It was fun.”

“I haven’t been to the beach since I was a kid,” I remarked.

“You should find a reason to go!” Morgan replied. “Actually, fuck that, just go. That’s your reason. You want to go. That seems like a good reason to me.”

I giggled to myself. “I wish I had your worldview sometimes,” I said out loud.

“My what?”

“Your worldview. Like, your perspective, how you see the w-”

“No, I know what it means,” she cut in. “I just wasn’t expecting that.”

I shrugged. “I just like how to-the-point you are. You cut out a lot of the red tape or whatever of overthinking. If I think about the beach and want to go, I have to decide whether my desire to go is matched by the effort I put in, and then I have to figure out how to get there, and whether I’ll look like a dork or something for going alone, and when I go, and how much of my regular schedule I’ll have to miss if I am going, and…” I trailed off, looking at her expectantly.

She gave me another one of her dazzling smiles. “So do I,” she told me warmly.

I paused. She – huh. Okay. “Really? That’s, uh, cool,” I mumbled.

“Super cool,” she echoed, her voice going back to normal. She looked around at our surroundings and turned back to me. “So, do you walk around here often?”

“Not really,” I answered honestly. “I, uh, don’t leave the house much. But I’ve been here a few times. It’s not like downtown, but we’ve passed by a few shops, and I think there are a few more at a strip mall if we keep walking. There’s a pet food store, and a bubble tea place, and a-”

Morgan perked up at that. “Ooh, bubble tea! Can we stop there? I love bubble tea.”

“Yeah? M-me too!” I replied with a smile on my face.

“Hey, sweet, looks like we’ve got a plan,” she softly remarked.

“And, and! Since it’s a date, I will – I shall pay,” I continued, coughing out the lump in my throat afterwards. Morgan replied just by smirking at me with one eyebrow raised, saying nothing. I faced forwards, feeling my face get a little bit redder.

I don’t know how long we walked until we got there. It was at least a full hour. Luckily, we never went too long without something to talk about, and more importantly, any time there was a pause, I didn’t feel the need to find a topic immediately. It felt… comfortable to not have to talk the whole time. It was kind of nice! It was like going on a walk to clear my head, except one of the most popular girls at school happened to be there.

Eventually, we saw civilization re-emerge as the lonely streets with empty lawns and gravel fields got replaced with roads with signs, cars, and buildings. The strip mall was within sight, and with it, the bubble tea place. I was relieved to have the option to get some fluids in me – I didn’t want to admit it, but given the trek we both went on, I was starting to get sweaty.

When we got to the place, I rushed ahead and opened the door to the place for her, earning another smile and a “thanks” from her.

When I got inside after her, she gave me a look as if she was waiting for me to go first. “Do you not know what you want?” I asked her.

“I do, but, aren’t you going first?” she asked me.

I cocked my head. “Why? You got here first. Go ahead.”

I don’t know why she smiled at that as if I was doing her a favor, but she did. Hey, if it made me look good for doing the bare minimum, screwing up this date would be a lot harder than I thought it would. She ordered first – a sago taro milk tea – then almost paid for it, before I coughed loudly into my hand. She chuckled, and with a soft, “Oh yeah,” she told me it was part of a joint order and stood aside, letting me order. I wasn’t fancy – I got a standard pearl tea.

We received our drinks pretty quickly, then left to enjoy them outside. I rushed to the door, holding it open for her again. I followed her outside, and the two of us looked at the sky as we started sipping our drinks. It wasn’t quite sunset yet, but it was that little period between the afternoon and sunset, where the sky was just beginning to change color. I didn’t really stare at the sky much, but Morgan seemed to be having a moment doing it, so I followed suit.

“So… what’s in sago taro?” I asked.

“To be honest, no fucking clue,” Morgan dryly replied, staring at her cup. “Every time I go to a bubble tea place, I get something new, in case something becomes my new favorite. It was right there on the menu, so, I ordered it.” She took a sip. “There’s this stuff in the bottom. It’s thick and sweet. Kind of like I’m drinking a cake. Here, try some.” She shoved the cup in my face. Upon seeing my hesitation, she gave a half-smile. “I’m not a germaphobe if you aren’t.”

I took her cup in my free, shaking hand and took a sip. “Woah,” I mumbled as I handed the drink back to her. “Am I allowed to say I’m not a huge fan of that?”

“Yeah, the texture is weird or something,” she mumbled back. “Oh well. The thick stuff is at the bottom. The top half is fine.”

“Here, take a sip of mine too,” I offered. “If you need to, um, cleanse your palette or something.”

Already focused again on the sky, she turned herself away from the sun as if she was intently focused on it. She grabbed my drink and took a sip, then went back to her own. “I guess having a familiar taste is nice, huh?” she remarked.

“I guess I’m more of an ‘if it works, go with that’ kind of guy,” I told her. She nodded, reaching down to her pocket or something, and pulled out some sunglasses, looking back at the sky. “The sky’s nice, huh?” I asked, trying to make more conversation.

“I just like looking at it,” she replied. “It’s just so beautiful, and like, really constant. It’s always there. No matter what, it’s always been there. Something about that is really nice.” I let her words hang in the air and joined her in looking in the general direction of the sun, although without sunglasses I had to squint a little more than she did.

Our conversations were a lot more light from that point on. We graduated from standing to sitting on the front step of the strip mall as we watched the sun go from moderately high in the sky to starting izmit escort bayan the sunset, with little sprinkles of conversations thrown in along the way. At some point, mid-conversation, for the first time since sitting down, Morgan shifted her entire attention – face, body and all – to me.

“I guess you’ll never be the first one to initiate anything, huh?” she asked, in a casual way, like this was normal to ask out of the blue.

And if it was to her, I guess it would have been impolite to act like it was weird. “I… guess so, yeah,” I laughed nervously. “I’m sorry. Was there a protocol or cue I missed?”

Morgan laughed out loud at that. “No, no, you’re fine,” she reassured me with a giggle still in her voice. “It was just curiosity.” She waved her hand in the air, waving away any insecurities I should have over her question. “It’s actually kinda reassuring in a weird way.”

“Weird, huh?”

“It’s… new.” She turned back to the sunset beginning, and cleared her throat, pulling out her phone and checking it. “Though I should probably get back home sometime soon.”

“Right, of course,” I instinctively replied in earnest. “Well, this was… thank you. This was really nice.”

“It was,” Morgan agreed with her usual expression, though I bet if she removed her sunglasses I would have seen that glint in her eye. I could hear it in her voice. “Actually – this is funny – I think at this point I’m closer to my place than yours. We walked perfectly in the direction of my place.”

“Oh, so you’re just going to walk home from here?” I asked.

Morgan took off her sunglasses. She didn’t do it earlier so I could see the glint in her eye, but she did it now to let me know she was looking at me as if I was dumb. “No, I’m going to call my brother for a lift,” she clarified.

“Oh! Uh, good plan,” I clumsily replied.

“Thanks,” Morgan jokingly replied.

“I should probably start walking home myself. I’ve got a bit of a ways to go,” I said, eyeing the way we came from.

“Do you want my brother to give you a lift? I’m sure he’d be cool with it.”

Her brother. I shuddered. “No no no! I’m good, I’m fine. I actually like walking like that. I want to do more of it. But, uh, thank you for the offer.”

“Okay. I guess this marks the end of the date, huh?” Morgan asked.

“I guess it does. Um, thank you,” I told her.

Morgan laughed again. “Yeah. Thank you too, Quinn.”

“This was really fun. See you next time… or… y’know,” I replied, finishing strong as I turned around and started to walk before she could see me turn pink. I kind of didn’t even want to see how she reacted to that, in case it was negative or something. I didn’t know what the heck I was doing, and… I kind of feel like I made a fool of myself.

When I was sure that the strip mall and Morgan were out of sight, I got my phone out and texted Kevin, telling him I’d likely be home right as the sun set if I walked, unless Father wanted to give me a lift. I knew Father was the one that wanted me to be home for supper the most tonight – followed shortly by Mother – so I opted to communicate where I was and when I’d be home as clearly as I could. A few texts later, and I headed for the nearest landmark, texting Father where I was and waiting for him. I would have gladly walked home – I was starting to think what I said to Morgan was actually true – but my duty to family came first.

True to his nature, Father didn’t say much when I was in the car with him. Just the usual obligatory questions. Anything that I didn’t need to say was met with his usual, “hm,” said in response. He wasn’t a cold person by any means, just a quiet one. From the outside, the car ride might look awkward or something, but I was in my element.

It’s almost a genetic impossibility Kevin was his spawn. As soon as Father and I were home, Kevin was on me like white on rice, cornering me and asking me a barrage of questions. Most of them were able to be dodged, but as long as Mother and Father were out of earshot, the one he kept pestering me with was, “Did you get lucky?”

He knew we went on a walk, right? Where would we even – whatever. I didn’t even know how to formulate such a response, but when I opened my mouth to speak, a buzzing caught my attention instead. Even though Taylor and I were texting more frequently, it happened rarely enough that my phone alerting me to a message was enough to pause whatever I was doing. I opened the phone to see a message from Morgan.

Hey, just wanted to say, your a gentleman. I know im bad at showing feelings & stuff, but that was a really nice date. Im looking forward to the next one

I smiled reading it, while Kevin looked at me expectantly, eventually clearing his throat. “Need help reading it?” he asked.

“Sorry,” I mumbled, unable to stop smiling, putting my phone away. “What was the question again?”

He looked around to make sure our parents weren’t paying attention. “Did you get lucky?” he asked with a pressuring tone to his voice.

My smile got bigger. “Very.”

***

“And that’s the last of it?” Taylor asked as we looked over the textbook.

“I think so!” I confirmed, looking it over. “Don’t look twice, but I thiiiink we’re finished with all of the material for the year!” I closed the book, making a big motion of it. “And you barely struggled with any of it tonight.”

“Oh my god!” Taylor cried out happily. “I can’t fucking believe it! I’m gonna pass! I’m gonna pass!”

“With these answers, you’re probably going to do better than just pass,” I told her with a smile.

“Ugh, that’s such a relief,” she sighed contently. “And it’s all thanks to you!”

“I don’t know about it all being thanks to me…” I replied, standing up.

Taylor followed suit, looking me in the eyes the whole time. “No, I mean it. This could never have been possible without my helpful, smart, sexy tutor,” she continued, her voice getting into a low murmur.

This was to-the-point, even for her. “Taylor, c’mon, I-”

“No… more talking,” she interrupted, the ‘no’ sharper than a Benihana chef’s knife. “Quinn, you don’t seem to understand what’s going on here.”

“I, uh… feel like I understand something…” I muttered, while Taylor’s hands snaked their way up my sides.

She began to hold me closer. “Quinn, you helped me get through this course, and helped keep me… uh, sane throughout the whole thing,” she told me, with both of us laughing softly at the last part. “But you also actually cared. You cared, and you wanted to help me, and you wanted to please me… Quinn, do you know how few people would do what you did?”

Yeah, so few people in the school would want to please Taylor Wise sexually. “I-”

“I’m feeling confident now,” she purred. “I feel like I can take on the world. And do you know what happens when I feel that way? Do you know what happens to the men that make me feel that way?”

I returned the motion of her arms, grabbing her by the waist. “I can guess,” I told her in a low, confident voice, and dove in, beginning to kiss her neck. Taylor instantly moaned in approval and ground her body up against mine, wrapping her arms around me, surrendering her body to me.

I only had to kiss her neck for under a minute before I could feel her wetness through her shorts. It was so easy to turn her on. My hands went south to grab her cute little ass as I brought my lips up from her neck and looked her in the eye. “Bend over,” I instructed.

Taylor looked at me submissively and bit her bottom lip, nodding at me like a good girl. She turned around cutely, turning her head around and grinning at me while wiggling her cute little butt around. I grinned at her, stroking the outline of my cock in my pants, drawing her attention to it. The grin was wiped from her face as she stood, transfixed, watching it, eventually slowly trailing her eyes back up to mine as if to ask, ‘is it time?’

And it was time. With my help, she lowered her cute little shorts and her underwear in one solid motion, revealing her little butt, just barely hiding her petit pussy from my view. What little of her pussy that I could see was glistening for me, wet and eager, knowing exactly what was coming. She gripped the wall in anticipation as I undid my belt and lowered my jeans, making sure to make it as noisy as possible, knowing she was looking ahead so she’d have to hear, not see, everything that was going on ahead of her getting slammed from behind.

Sure enough, after a few seconds of anticipating bliss, she felt the head of my cock rubbing against her slit, and a low, guttural moan escaped her lips. I had heard Taylor moan for me before, but never anything like this. This was new. It told me just how eager she was, just how much she appreciated me, and perhaps most importantly, just how much she wanted me.

I wanted this just as much as she did. I was unable to allow myself to enjoy the moment for perhaps a few seconds before finally giving in to the urges that had been building inside me for weeks. I forced my hips forward, and with the head of my dick already wet from her ample juices, I slammed my cock inside of her, filling her for the first time.

The feeling was indescribable. It felt so right, so perfect. Every adjective I would have used wouldn’t have done it justice. Every second I spent inside her just made me want her more and more, and to do more and more to her. I went on autopilot, beginning to thrust myself into her without even thinking about it.

And clearly, Taylor felt the same way. She met my hips with her own in a rhythm that was almost too perfect to be human, matching me and then some, using everything the little minx knew about sex to milk my cock and make this just as much an unforgettable experience for me as I was ensuring it would be for her. My left hand went to my hips, helping me thrust myself inside her, and my right hand went to her butt, enjoying the feel of her soft fleshy cheek. The sounds, smell, and feel were all palpable in the room. Taylor was moaning incomprehensible sounds as she leaned against the wall, even her arms giving out against the assault I was giving her.

I matched her dissipating energy by giving it my own, moving myself closer to her so that she didn’t have to lean back to meet me. Eventually, she was smashed against the wall as my cock thrust up inside her again and again, no doubt her mind going blank in the face of the brutal treatment my cock was giving her. In the face of such an assault, I was astonished she could even breathe.

I don’t even know when the shockwave hit me. I heard the door open, and I saw the face, but it feels like it didn’t fully register at first. Morgan had burst through the door. At some point, Morgan barged into Taylor’s basement, and was now staring at us, still fucking, unable to stop, a horrified scowl painted on her face. If I thought her smile was magical, if I thought that was something else, I wouldn’t begin to describe her scowl. It could make any human being’s blood run cold. I felt in some way like my life was over, like everything was crumbling down, just from one discovery. I had successfully stopped pumping into Taylor, opening my mouth, attempting to make words spill out, but nothing could.

After a few seconds of her eyes scanning over the room, the scowl of shock still on her face, Morgan turned and bolted from the room. All I could do was pull out of Taylor and feebly take one or two steps forward, yet, for some reason, I was frozen in place beyond that. I couldn’t move a single muscle, in fact. I was completely and utterly frozen. She had looked me in the eye. I saw the kind of betrayal she felt, just by looking in those eyes. It was killing me, and I was just feeling it for her. I couldn’t believe myself.

My eyes shot open, a gasp building in my throat. I saw nothing but blackness, and felt my world returning to me. Where was I…? My room. My bed. I was not in Taylor’s basement. Taylor had not been my first. Morgan still knew nothing of us.

I knew the phrase ‘waking up in a cold sweat’ from other people saying it, but actually living it was not fun. I got out of bed, sitting on the edge, careful not to wake Kevin as I stretched and looked out the window. The moon was relatively full, so the light was bleeding through the blinds, painting the room with an ethereal glow. It looked peaceful, serene, and yet with what I was feeling, any light looked ominous for some reason.

It was a betrayal to never tell her, I told myself. There was no way I could continue what I was doing, certainly after the first date, without letting her know. I didn’t care what kind of crap situation Taylor saw high school as. I was making my own reality here, now more than ever, and I didn’t need someone else’s rules of what high school was to define how my first relationship – hopefully my first relationship – was going to pan out. I reached to the desk and pulled my phone away from its charger, and booted up the messenger app, quickly finding my conversation log with Morgan.

I’m really looking forward to the next one too. Could we meet at lunch tomorrow? I’d really love the chance to get to talk to you.

Concise, even if it used more words than I normally did with people. Send.

I looked off, out the window, towards the moon. No more secrets. This shit ends now, whether it means blabbing about Taylor, or stopping with her altogether.

***

Over the phone, Morgan was diplomatic, asking me where and what time to meet when she woke up. In person, she seemed like she was back to her usual self, with a blank expression and no clear emotion nor motivation on her face.

Which was good, frankly. I wanted to address her about the Taylor thing – if today was the day she decided to stop with the emotionless routine and tug on my arm and grin like a schoolgirl, I doubt I’d have gone through with it. That said, it was Morgan, so the hesitation likely would have been chiefly because I was too weirded out to continue.

Where else but the elevator hallway? It was starting to become something of a tradition. When Morgan followed me there, she looked at me questioningly, pointing out, “This isn’t exactly the comfiest-looking hallway. There are benches and stuff in other hallways.”

“I know, but…” I stumbled. “I… I’d prefer this one.”

“Oh. Why?”

“It’s… more private.”

At that, Morgan gave me something of a sarcastic smirk. I laughed nervously and put my hands up. “Not like that. I just… wanted to talk about something.”

“We should have gone outside then. We’ve talked there before,” she reasoned.

“Yeah, but… people were there.”

She paused. “How secret does this need to be?” she asked, half-jokingly, half serious.

I exhaled, and she stepped into the hallway, accepting her fate. “I just wanted to make sure something is clear,” I clarified.

She only looked more confused. “Is this about our date?”

“No, it’s just… a…” I closed my eyes and started to talk slowly. “In the case… in the situation where we… where we, hypothetically, might keep dating and become a couple… I’d rather be communicative with you about… all of the factors involved.”

She was still confused, but gave me a little smile. “You’re weird, Quinn.” She eventually said. “Okay, though. Tell me what you want to say.”

“Thanks. So, uh… you… y-you got introduced to me through Taylor, when I was her tutor,” I began, with the both of us sitting down in the hallway.

She nodded along with me. “And you still are, right?”

I was about to say, ‘no, our final session was last night,’ but my stupid self forgot that was a dream. “Yes,” I replied. “And there’s been… something weird there, right? I mean, she asked you to n-not talk to me.”

Her expression got slightly more clouded. Whether in worry or just thought, I couldn’t say. “Okay…” she replied slowly.

“So I…” I started, but lost my steam. I closed my eyes and tried my strategy of talking slowly and choosing my words deliberately, but it didn’t work. My eyes shot open. I knew what I wanted to say; I just didn’t have the guts to say them.

“I…” I tried again. Morgan patiently watched over me, listening intently.

I tried a few more times before growling in frustration, when I suddenly felt a new presence. I looked down at my hand on the floor. Morgan had gently placed her hand on top of mine, in a show of support.

You know, it was funny. I had Taylor’s mouth on my genitalia before. Hell, her hips were on my abdomen as she gave me what felt like the world’s most stimulating handjob. And yet, Morgan placing her hand on top of me, with me being able to feel her warmth enter me through her hand… it felt like the most intimate thing in the world. I trailed up from her hand to her face with my eyes, and she met mine with a sweet smile, a kind I hadn’t seen from her. She liked to smile in solidarity, when she liked something, but this was a smile that told me, without words, ‘it’s okay.’

I smiled back, then cleared my throat. This is what Morgan was doing for me. So help me God, I was going to get out this sentence, no matter what. She deserved to know. She cared. She needed to see that I cared enough to tell her the damn truth.

“So, I was-”

“The fuck is this?”

That didn’t come from Morgan. My eyes followed the source of the intrusion, as did hers, to find Taylor standing at the entrance to the hallway, her hands on her hips.

Her eyes weren’t on me. They were on Morgan. “The fuck have you been?” she asked Morgan, her eyes only moving from Morgan’s face to her hand, on top of mine. Upon seeing where she was looking, Mogan quickly removed her hand from mine.

“Taylor-”

“Are you fucking serious?!” Taylor all but blew up, shaking her head in angry disbelief and storming off, leaving us to look on from our positions, sitting on the ground.

“What…?” I barely wheezed, feeling a little bit like this was just that dream again, and that I’d wake up any second. I had no clue what Taylor was so mad about, but she looked furious, and it felt somehow like I fucked up, even if I don’t know what I did.

Morgan sighed exasperatedly. “This is…” she trailed off, standing up. She never finished her sentence.

“She looked like she was going to blow up like a volcano,” I remarked, uneasily. “What’s happening? Did we betray her or something?”

Morgan pouted in thought. “I dunno,” she eventually said, then saw my sullen expression. “Hey,” she commanded, making me look up at her. “It’s clear she’s not happy, but if Taylor is Taylor, she’ll be okay in a bit. Definitely, like, tomorrow.”

“You think?” I asked uneasily. “I still don’t know what this even… is.”

“Yeah, neither do I, to be honest,” Morgan commented. “Actually, I should probably go after her. I’m really sorry, but can we get back to what you wanted to say another time? I don’t think I should leave her alone like this.”

Care reflected in her words. It was almost disarming. “Uh, yeah, of course,” I mumbled awkwardly, my face hot. “No worries.”

“Thanks,” Morgan replied, already halfway out of the hallway. Before long, she left me there, standing alone like an idiot. What was that? What the hell was Taylor so upset about? Did Morgan know something? Did I do something?

And why did I feel so goddamn guilty?

Chapter Nine

It took me a few minutes after Morgan rushed out to even think of doing something other than sitting there. Eventually, I had stood up, wondering if I should search for them like Morgan was doing for Taylor. And yet, another part of me realized – or at least thought – that that could have been a very dangerous idea. Eventually, I uneasily walked out of the hallway and decided to go to my next class early.

I didn’t see either of them for the rest of the day. That was normal for Morgan, but for Taylor, it was like some kind of calm before the storm. An ominous warning. To add insult to injury, when Mrs. Li was taking attendance and noted Taylor was missing (and she took attendance well into the class, so even Taylor’s usual lateness couldn’t have been a factor) she turned to me and asked if I knew where she was. I could only meekly shrug in response.

It’s not like I was completely powerless. I had both of their numbers, and a working cell phone. Even if I didn’t receive an answer, I could have easily texted either one of them, shrugged, and told myself, “I did what I could; the rest is up to them.”

Instead of that, because I’m me, I ended up staring at Morgan’s contact info on my phone screen as Kevin and I walked home. Kevin, being Kevin, leaned over to look at my screen and quipped, “Most guys stare at pictures of their girlfriends, but Quinn Shen, nah, he can’t get over how beautiful her phone number looks.”

I looked at him with lowered eyelids and put my phone away, saying nothing to him.

Which, of course, was permission to continue as far as he was concerned. “Are you trying to memorize it?”

“No,” I replied. “I want to text her, but…” I trailed off.

“But…?” he goaded me on. When I didn’t continue, a smile grew on his face. “Ah, your face says it all. Morgan’s upset, but she says, ‘no, I’m fine, why do you ask? Should I be upset?’ Girl trouble, dude. Happens to the best of us.”

I said nothing, preferring to walk in silence. Kevin was having none of it.

“Do you want my advice?”

I sighed. “Do I even get to cho-”

“I say, text her anyways. Let her know she’s here for you. As long as you don’t double-text, ‘clingy guys’ don’t even exist to girls. They love that shit. They want you knowing you’re thinking about them twenty-four-seven. That way they’re less likely to suspect you’re cheating on them.”

I felt a burning in my cheeks. I really hoped Kevin didn’t notice.

Luckily, he was too busy talking to remember I even existed. “Of course, even the most paranoid girl wouldn’t be worried about you cheating on them. Your first date, like, ever? What’re the odds another girl is gonna come on to you? Nah, you ask me, you’re in a uniquely good position to be trusted, Quinn. You shouldn’t worry about that shit at all, dude.”

Please stop talking, Kevin.

“So she’s a little mad. Honestly? It’s probably projection. She had a bad day or something, and wants to see the bad in everyone she’s around. Everyone she can change. And who does she likely have wrapped around her finger? Spell it out. Q-U-I-N-N. You, man. Watch out, she’s gonna say, ‘I just find it funny how…’ Next thing you know, you’re not allowed to say ‘carrots’ or some word around her because her ex was super into carrots and made her feel weird or some shit. Manipulation. Every popular girl does it, and it works the best when it’s guys that feel they should just be grateful she’s into them in the first place. Trust me, don’t fall for it.”

I turned to him slowly. “I stared at a phone and you just wrote a bad Emmy-winning teen drama series based on it,” I told him. “She and I are fine. I’m just nervous about something. Something private. You don’t need to poke your nose into everything.”

“But Quinn…” His smile turned big again. “How else am I gonna win that Emmy?”

I couldn’t help but smile and shake my head at him. I wish I was as carefree as him. It must have been paradise inside that head of his, at least compared to mine.

***

The next day, I decided to have lunch with the Gifted Kids again, something I hadn’t done in frankly too long. It was nice sitting with them, talking about projects and memes and video games. No gossip, no “did you hear what Tiff did third period? Whore,” and no real pressure to be someone other than the loser I formerly was.

Unfortunately, good things don’t last forever. I must have only sat down for ten to twenty minutes before I felt a hand on my shoulder, a hand of someone dainty yet authoritative. I turned around to see Crystal with a veneer of a kind friend hiding the look of someone that just wanted me to fix something for them.

“Hey Quinn, could I talk to you about something real quick?”

I looked around the table to see the other kids had all looked up from their meals to look at her, then at me, then, almost in unison, go back to their food, too awkward to even bring up the weirdness of this encounter. I didn’t even say anything; I just grabbed my food, stood up, and accepted my fate.

I followed Crystal to the table where they all sat, noting that I was taking one of the two vacant seats – Morgan’s and Taylor’s. I could guess what this was about, but didn’t really need to.

“So, we need to talk about something,” Milo began. “This is the second lunch period in a row where we haven’t seen either Taylor or Morgan.”

“Okay…” I replied slowly, waiting for Milo to continue. When he didn’t, my expression turned to frustration. “I’m not their – I don’t know. Where they are.”

Lexi cut in. “I think you’re lying. You’re Taylor’s tutor, she’s basically only around you or Joel if she’s not around us, and Joel hasn’t seen her either.”

“But I’m here, and she’s not, so clearly she’s not with me,” I reasoned.

“That’s not the point,” Milo cut in. “It’s true, you’re connected with Taylor, and plus… well, I think it’s obvious Morgan’s got a thing for you.” He looked around and met the eyes of his fellow friends.

I held an expression of stone. “I don’t get it,” I flatly said.

Crystal rolled her eyes. “She’s drooling over you,” she replied.

“Milo told us,” Lexi cut in.

Milo blushed slightly and quickly added, “She said she had a date on the weekend and we’ve seen little signs before that. But now they’ve both been busy, at lunchtime, and neither of them told us where they were, even though we always tell each other when we’re missing lunch and why.”

“Okay okay okay!” I replied exasperatedly, caving. “Yes, the date with Morgan was with me.”

“How far’d you go? Second base? First?” I shot Lexi a look and she gasped. “Don’t tell me it was third.”

“Ignore her. The rest of us do,” Milo quipped. “Just tell us, do you know if something is going on between them? You seem to be a kid of… thread connecting the two.”

I sighed and hung my head. “Okay, I give,” I said to no one in particular. “I don’t even know who’s angry with whom.”

“But you do know something?” Milo asked. I gave no response, so he lifted my head up. “We’ve been here before. I’ve been here before. Be honest with us and we’ll help with this. Be a coward and we can’t do anything to help, either you or them, and we’re always going to remember that you had the chance to help us and didn’t.”

Jeez. Milo could be fierce when he wanted to be. I’m sure my face gave away just how thrilled I was with his little outburst, but I nodded. “Yeah, whatever. I’ll be honest.”

“Were you the one that went on a date with Morgan?” Crystal began.

I opened my mouth but Milo cut in. “Yes, he already admitted that,” he replied.

“Did. You. Fuck?” Lexi asked, standing up.

“We went on a walk,” I answered, hoping that would make her realize how dumb of a question that was.

It didn’t. She gestured around. “That doesn’t answer my question at all!”

“They didn’t,” Milo replied to her.

“How do you know?” Lexi asked.

“We didn’t,” I reaffirmed.

“Finally, thank you! As I suspected.” Lexi sat back down.

“What do you know about Morgan and Taylor? Did you see them yesterday?” Milo asked.

I bit my top lip in thought, unsure to what extent I should answer them. “Yesterday, I was talking to Morgan in the hallway when we ran into Taylor, or rather, she ran into us. She seemed really angry at Morgan for something. My guess is they had a fight or something, or Morgan was supposed to do something for her.”

“And this had nothing to do with you?” Milo asked.

I shrugged. “If it does have something to do with me, I don’t know what it is.”

Crystal had the next question. “Has your relationship with Taylor been completely… professional?” she asked. “Like, has it just been tutoring, or did something happen between you two too?”

Milo craned his neck to answer Crystal, but something held him back. He paused, and eventually turned to face me, waiting to see what I would say.

Milo knew that the answer was “no, we hadn’t been completely professional.” He knew that something happened between us. But I thought, or at least hoped, he understood what I understood about the group when I gave my answer.

“Jeez, Crystal,” I replied, realizing I was almost overacting it. “No. Taylor and I never did anything romantic or sexual. I’m just her tutor.”

Milo stared at me, his expression unchanging, saying nothing. Crystal seemed satisfied with my answer, but Lexi did not. “I think he’s lying,” she announced, to no one in particular. No one responded to her, so she continued. “He lied about not knowing what was going on with Morgan and Taylor, so-”

“But I wasn’t lying about that,” I cut in. “I don’t know what was going on. I just happened to witness Taylor getting mad at her.”

“I still think you’re lying, and that you’re hiding something with Taylor,” Lexi persisted.

I exhaled noisily. “Thank what you want, Lexi. Alright? Think what you want.”

“Do you know where they are now?” Milo asked.

I shook my head. “I don’t even know if they’re in the school. Yesterday Taylor didn’t show up to data management.”

“Morgan was in chem, so, like, she’s in the school,” Crystal interjected.

Milo looked at her, then at me. “I guess I should go find them,” he announced.

Something in the pit of my stomach churned at that. I didn’t know for sure if the Morgan-Taylor thing was my fault, or if it had to do with me, but I was pretty sure it did, somehow. The idea of Milo looking for them, finding them, and finding out more about me was a thought I wasn’t really comfortable with.

“Shouldn’t I go instead?” I asked. “You said yourself that I’m the connection between the two. I have some good ideas where they might go-”

Milo lowered his eyebrows. “We’ve known them for years, Quinn. Don’t act like you’re the only one that knows either of them.”

“…Okay, but, still, I might be able to find out more about what’s going on. Like, if I am the link here, they might be more willing to talk to me about it. If they were willing to talk to you about it, they would have sat down with you guys and hashed it out as a group, right?”

I wasn’t sure if I convinced them, but Milo sighed and looked at his posse. “Alright, whatever. If you wanna do this, go right ahead,” he conceded. “But I’m going too.”

“Just give me until the end of lunch, okay?” I asked. “Pretend this is a favor.”

“Why does this matter so much to you?” Milo asked me, looking me dead in the eye.

“Honestly? I’m just as worried this is about me. I don’t know if I’m being selfish, but I want to find out firsthand what’s going on. Even if we find them together, they might… withhold more details about it.”

Milo shrugged, moving his head. “Alright, that’s actually a fair point.” He held his phone up to me. “Here’s my number though. All I ask is you let me know if you see them.”

I copied down the number on his screen into my phone and promptly left, not saying much more to any of them, making a beeline for the elevator hallway.

I couldn’t stop myself from fiddling with my hands as I walked. I withheld the fact that I was pretty confident this was my fault – Taylor seemed more angry that we were together than anything – but that was a problem future me had to deal with. And only a problem created because Milo had to be nosy.

Well… caring. He cared about his friends. In a nosy way.

The elevator hallway had nobody in it, but I kind of expected that. The school was big, and if people wanted to have private conversations, there were a lot of hallways where you could meet. I checked my watch – I had time. Making a map in my head, I started wandering to different floors, trying to keep my eyes and ears open the whole time.

Searching for two students in a school the size of Hazelwood may have been a challenge, but knowing that at least one of them could be shouting makes the search a lot more easy. I wasn’t sure if I was glad or horrified when I heard raised voices coming from a particular hallway; Taylor’s voice, to be precise. Whatever was going on, it was clear Taylor was doing most of the talking.

As I got close enough to hear the words she was shouting, it suddenly dawned on me how much I missed being a nerdy nobody. I had to confront what was essentially my nightmare scenario – turn the corner and walk into a shouting match that I had no business walking into, all for the woman I was dating and the woman I had fooled around with. Nerdy nobodies don’t have to deal with that kind of bullshit. Our lives were less exciting, but on the bright side… our lives were less exciting.

I took a deep breath and steeled myself, turning the corner and walking into the pair of them.

I wasn’t sure how much I liked Morgan, but I was sure I had some kind of feelings for her at this point, and looking at someone you have a crush on with a hand over their mouth and teary eyes just sucks. It was like a sucker punch to the gut. I didn’t say anything, I just stood there awkwardly, no doubt with a face half-stricken with sadness, half nervousness.

Taylor yelled a few more words (“…stabbed me in the fucking back!” to be specific) before noticing me and hesitating, just for a second. A second of silence hung in the air, before she quietly, gravely, let one word escape from her mouth.

“You.”

It was probably reasonable to assume I was connected to this somehow. I stood there, standing my ground, as Morgan quickly became the second person to notice me. When her eyes met with mine, her face did this wincing thing and she bolted out of the hallway, her hands gripping her sides insecurely, her puffy red eyes closed in shame, the cheeks streaked with tears. I tried calling out for her, but in an instant, she was gone.

I watched her leave, then my eyes slowly trailed back to Taylor, who came marching up to me. I looked around nervously for anyone else in the hallway, but as far as we knew, we were alone.

She aimed her gaze squarely at me. “One. Simple. Request,” she barked. “Don’t talk to Morgan. Was that so fucking hard?! Jesus fucking Christ, you’re so exhausting,” she gushed angrily, practically every word accompanied by some sort of vague angry gesture.

“Wha- what’s…” I started.

“For fuck’s sake, you never even liked Morgan,” she continued, pacing up and down the hallway. “You don’t even like drama. So why, like, start up all this bullshit?!”

“I never said I don’t like Morgan!” I fired back, now getting invested.

“Yes you did!” she argued. “You said it plain as day. It’s why I asked you to not talk to her in the first place!”

“Taylor, you’re the one that insisted I don’t even like her. You asked me if I don’t, implying the answer was yes, and I never answered.”

“Implyi- wha? Quinn, speak fucking English. This isn’t debate club.”

“I never said I didn’t like Morgan. You made it up.”

Taylor mock-laughed. “So what, you always liked her? This was all a ploy to get at my friend? Is that what you’re fucking saying, Quinn?!”

“Taylor, what’s all this about?” I asked exasperatedly. “Does this have something to do with you and me? Is that why you two were fighting?”

Taylor shook her head at me in anger. “You don’t even get it, huh?”

“I swear I never seemed to get anything since I started tutoring you.”

“I just – like, why would you talk to her? I made it clear that it would be a bad idea.”

“But it was only a bad idea because you got mad when we did!” I protested, then something hit me. “Taylor… are you jealous?”

“No,” she asserted confidently. “It’s not about that. I have a boyfriend.”

Well, at least now she was acknowledging his existence around me. That was progress. “Then what’s it about?” I asked.

Taylor stared at me a bit, anger still in her eyes but visibly cooled down. I hated to admit it, but she still looked cute as fuck when she pouted like that. “We’re studying tonight,” she told me flatly.

“Are we?” I asked. “What if-”

“You’re free tonight, Quinn. Don’t play games,” she told me in this low voice. It was like a new voice for her. “You told me yourself you don’t do other things, and I, like, know you don’t have a date tonight.”

Ouch. That one stung. I said nothing, staring at her.

“We’re hanging out tonight, Quinn. My place. Bring your data management book. Say yes.”

I said nothing for a bit, trying to stare her down. She met my gaze evenly, and took a single step towards me.

“Yes,” I conceded embarrassingly immediately. She was scary.

Without smiling or anything, she nodded and left, not saying another word. I was left there, alone in the hallway, remembering my promise to Milo maybe a full minute after she left. I brought my phone up to my hands and opened a text message to Milo, and… stared at the screen. What the hell was I going to tell him? I was no closer to the truth.

It wasn’t like I had much face to lose with him if he found out I met them and learned nothing, and I doubt he would have believed me if I told him I found them and ended up more confused. I put my phone back in my pocket, and wandered off towards my next class.

***

I would have thought Taylor would lose her smoulder by the time the end of the day came, but if anything, it was more apparent. She gave this half-smile to me when we first got settled in the basement, but apart from that, she had a darkened expression the whole time. And, most scarily, she was intensely focused on studying.

“What’s the holdup?” she barked as I flipped through the pages. “Did I finish percentages or didn’t I?”

“You did, you did, I’m just trying to figure out which unit came next,” I replied diplomatically. This was new for me, but I wanted to defuse the situation as best as I could. She clearly had a rough day and the last thing she needed was for me to be impatient with her, I guess.

When I had found the page, she was angrily texting someone on her phone. “Son of a bitch,” she muttered to herself. “Fuck off and die.”

“Friend of yours?” I inquired dryly.

“Some fucking boys are so inconsiderate,” she replied bitterly. “Y’know, my dad’s a black belt. Karate. I could, like, stick him on people.”

I shrugged. “That is the white dad stereotype,” I replied. I hunched over and mimed holding a shotgun. “If yew ever come near mah daughter…” I continued in a terrible Southern accent.

That was the closest I came to seeing a genuine smile from Taylor the whole night. She composed herself. “Anyway, like, some guys are just…”

“Is it Joel?”

“No, but he’s being a jerk too,” she commented. “What’s the next unit?”

“You seem to have a lot of things going on,” I pressed her. “Would you like to talk ab-”

“What’s the next unit, Quinn?”

I sighed, looking at her for long enough for her to return my gaze before answering her. She looked at me for a brief moment before, amazingly, looking down at the floor. That was good enough for me and my eyes returned to the book, ready to resume studying.

We kept it up for the next hour or so, taking only a short break along the way. Taylor was clearly preoccupied on her phone, so much so that she kept asking “when I thought we’d be done,” but at least in the last twenty minutes or so, seemed focused on the task at hand, so much so that we beat my projected finish time by at least fifteen minutes.

Taylor closed her book, smiling for the first time that night; a satisfied smirk. “I’m, like, gonna ace this,” she mumbled to herself.

“Here’s hoping,” I replied. “So, are we going to address today?”

“Huh?”

“What you said to me in the hallway. Your not-jealousy over Morgan and me.”

Her expression soured. “Boy, you can’t just, like, let that go, huh? She must mean a lot to you. When were you going to tell me you went on a date with her of all people?”

“I…” I sighed. “I probably should have told you when it first happened, but even by then you forbade us from talking. We met outside school by chance, and we found out about her crush by chance too. Kind of.”

“Quinn, you moron…” Taylor commented, shaking her head. “It wasn’t by chance. It wasn’t, like, an accident.”

“Well, even if it wasn’t, so what? We should be allowed to talk. We shouldn’t be forbidden from doing it.”

“It makes everything complicated, Quinn. You said you hated drama, so I was trying to help you.”

“Wait, you were trying to help me by forbidding me from talking to someone that was developing feelings for me, all because some drama could develop? Drama that you caused?” I asked, anger flaring in my eyes.

The same anger flared in hers, accompanied by the beginning of something welling up in her eyes. “Quinn…” she began in a quieter voice than usual. “…am I not allowed to dislike things?”

“Huh?” The question took me aback.

“Am I, like, allowed to see things coming, feel… feel threatened, and just use what I have to try to keep things okay?”

“So what, you thought if I liked Morgan, we wouldn’t be able to keep studying? Or keep ‘studying?’” I used my hands for air-quotes with the last word, displaying a joking smile.

“It’s not funny.”

My expression soured. “I’m trying to make jokes after hearing you basically manipulate your friends and their feelings just to feel in control.”

“Shut up. That’s, like, blowing it way out of precaution.”

“Proportion.”

“Sure, whatever. Weren’t you the one that said you wanted to be friends with me, and you were worried that without studying, we wouldn’t have a friendship?” she asked exasperatedly.

“So what, you didn’t want me making friends because it might mean I’d have someone else in the world other than you?”

“Quinn, whenever any guy has anyone in the world other than me, they choose her. Every fucking time.” The welling up in her eyes produced a single tear that streamed down her face. “Can you really hate me for trying to fight when he’s… when it’s just one friend?”

I sighed in sympathy. “Taylor, I don’t hate you” I began softly.

“If she asks you on a date and I want to study, you’d pick her every time,” she pouted.

“If you asked me out before her, I probably would have said yes,” I replied back in earnest. “And you have someone like that now anyways.”

“I just wanted you to not… get bored of me, I guess,” she continued. “And now it’s like, I already know we won’t get to… you know…”

I stared at her, not finding words.

She continued. “…and I want to. Everyone else gets to, even while they’re dating me. But now, I feel like… there’s already this, like, wall between us. Either tell me there isn’t a wall and we can still do what we’ve been doing, or there is a wall and I can’t be blamed for what I did.”

I chuckled. “Taylor, you really want to avoid responsibility, don’t you? ‘Either let me have what I want or tell me I was justified when I was being selfish.’ I don’t have to pick either of those two things.”

“Oh fuck you, Mister High and Mighty,” Taylor snapped. “Of course you ‘see the light’ or some shit now that you have a date. A date you wouldn’t have if you hadn’t, like, met me.”

I chuckled again. “Is that it? Do you want me to thank you? Well, sure.” I stood up and made an exaggerated gesture of gratitude towards her. “Thank you. Thank you, Taylor. I appreciate everything you did for me, and without you, I wouldn’t have gotten this chance with Morgan. I’m sorry that it means you no longer have a monopoly on my social life. If you want that in a man, may I suggest you either find a man who’s currently serving a prison sentence in solitary confinement or grow the fuck up.”

As much of a zinger as that last line was, I knew it was crossing the line before it even made its way out of my mouth, and in case I didn’t, the slap in the face Taylor gave me made me well aware of that.

Pain shot from my cheek across my face like electricity. She gave a hell of a slap. It ended up being so powerful that I started to lose my balance, and fell over onto my back. I wanted to tell her sorry, but some kind of shock reaction from the slap made me unable to speak, unable to do anything other than fall onto my butt and grab my cheek, looking at her.

She clearly wasn’t satisfied with just the slap though. Clearly going for the maximum effect, she crawled over to me and sat herself down on my abdomen, forcing me to do nothing but look her in the face from under her.

“I’m, like, in a really bad mood, so just listen,” she ordered. “I’m not asking you to only pay attention to me. I’m not asking you to only talk to me, and I’m not asking you to only fuck me. I just want to feel, for once, like I’m not this replaceable little doll who just exists for other guys to look at, have, like, fun with, and then they throw me away or something. I’m allowed to say I deserve more than that. I thought something complicated was going to happen with Morgan. To be honest, I thought you two were gonna fight, after the first few, like, conversations you had. So yeah, I stepped in. That’s not a crime. It’s perfectly reasonable. And I don’t care what happened, or what happens, between you two. What matters is the, like, principle. I asked you not to talk to her, and you said you wouldn’t and did. I asked her to do the same too. Even my own friends. Can’t even be honest with me. Fuck.”

The fact that she was cute when she pouted unfortunately did not stop during her little rant. I listened as best as I could, but the fact that I was getting treated to a face full of cuteness plus knowing that she was on top of me, pinning me down… one could guess how my body was reacting. After a bit, I started blushing and shifting around.

She was in mid-sentence when I started shifting, and slowly stopped talking. “What are you- wait…” She looked behind her, to my crotch, revealing to her eyes the tent forming in my pants. “Are you serious?! Have you paid attention to anything I’ve been saying??”

I raise my hands up in front of my face. “I-I can’t help it! It’s my body’s natural reaction! You thought Morgan and I were going to fight, you tried to stop it, you’re not asking me to only like you, and you didn’t like that I didn’t tell you and you’re worried about getting used and thrown away. I listened, alright?”

Taylor said nothing, still at her awkward angle from when she saw my erection and yet with her gaze pointed right at my face. “Hmm,” she finally said, her stare returning to my crotch. She adjusted her body so she was fully back on me again, moving my body slowly backwards, sliding down my torso. Her face darkened again.

It was weird. She still looked angry, but like… determined. Like she was making a choice. Eventually, her body slid over my crotch. I winced as she slid the crotch of her own pants off of me… and then back on. It took a few of these to realize she was grinding her crotch against mine.

“Tay-”

“No. Not another word. Unless the word is ‘stop,’ I don’t want to hear it, Quinn,” she ordered. “Tell me to stop, and I will. Forever, if you want. But you have to say that.” She looked me dead in the eye and continued to grind on me, her look still determined and slightly angry.

I stared at her for a while, a look of steel likely on my own face, as I tried to figure her out. What was her game here? Did she even have a game? Was this her way of trying to tell me that we both have feelings and what was happening was inevitable? ‘I won’t tell if you don’t?’ Whatever it was, I only stared back at her. A part of me wanted to open my mouth and tell her to stop, or just tell her anything, but for the life of me, I couldn’t. And I couldn’t ignore it – my heart rate was rising. My breathing quickening. My fucking hormones be damned… I couldn’t just ignore the hottest girl in the school grinding on top of me, looking at me like she wanted to mount me right then and there. We could get along great or fight, but one thing was abundantly clear – we wanted each other, badly.

Slowly, trying my hardest not to make it timid, I started grinding back against her. As soon as she felt it, the smallest semblance of a smile formed on her face, and she nodded. She leaned forward, setting her hands down on the floor on either side of my head, and put her whole body into it, grinding her entire body up against mine.

I wanted so badly to not do this. Some rational part of me was screaming about how wrong this was. But I was hooked on her, and wanted more. As she moved her body against mine, I couldn’t hold myself back and grabbed my ass with both hands, holding it and squeezing it, helping her grind herself against me.

“You like this ass?” she moaned for me.

I could only groan in response.

A sheen of sweat began to appear on her face, and she was getting more and more into it. Hell, so was I. I could have exploded in my pants if I wasn’t careful, and if it wasn’t for our previous ‘studying sessions,’ I likely would have. I wanted nothing more than to mount her and fuck my seed into her at that very moment, throwing her against the wall and drilling her like the bitch in heat she was.

Her pants began to evolve into little erotic moans, high-pitched and needy. We were both completely clothed and yet, after doing this clothed grinding for a couple of minutes, it was like this was the hottest thing in the world to us. The teasing and yet the fully understood mutual desire to fuck each other’s brains out… it was palpable. We could both feel it. We both wanted it. We were both just laying there, desperately moving our bodies against each other, wanting it so badly, waiting for the other to make the first move. We were two teens addicted to each other’s bodies, sharing that awkward teen lust of waiting for the green light.

“I want you to fuck me. I want to go all the way.”

I had my eyes closed in concentration, but they shot open at that moment. I gave her an ‘are you serious?’ look, and in response, she bit her bottom lip and nodded. Any and all steely determination was gone, replaced with a pouty, begging, almost pathetic desire to go all the way. She was like a dam that was going to burst with just a little more pressure. She lost control of herself. She just wanted more. She wanted me. My cock. Inside her. Desperately, as if she couldn’t bear to be without it.

In hindsight, this was probably one of my strongest moments ever. Here I was, equally pathetic, grinding back against her, wanting nothing more than to be inside her, to fuck Taylor Wise, to claim her as my own little horny bitch, and heck, to give her payback for everything she just put me through. And yet…

I shook my head, unable to stop my hips from moving even as I said what I said. “I don’t think we should,” I replied.

“I don’t care, Quinn, I don’t care what we should do. I just want you so badly, and fuck, you want me. My pussy is yours, just take it…”

God damn, she was making this painful. “No,” I asserted.

She pouted, but nodded. “Okay,” she backed down, understanding, still moving her hips too. Even though we weren’t going to do it (and I just turned down a golden opportunity I might never have again), neither of us could stop our teenage hormone-addled bodies, both hot as firecrackers and ready to blow at any second.

Wordlessly, not needing to say anything more, we went at it for a while longer. Minutes? Hours? I couldn’t say. It was a bit uncomfortable after a bit, but neither one of us wanted to stop, as if a spell would be broken if one of us so much as shifted. As far as I was concerned, unless divine intervention got in the way, we could have dry-humped each other until one of us died of starvation.

I had closed my eyes in concentration periodically, just to prevent myself from going too crazy or shooting a load into my pants, so I was both acutely aware and slightly disappointed when Taylor started to slow down. I lazily opened my eyes to see if she was okay or if something was on her mind or something like that, and found she was staring off at some part of the room. I followed where her eyes were leading.

Dreams seem to have this prophetic quality. Maybe we dream because we can sense these things coming. It still didn’t make my heart stop any less than when I saw Morgan standing in the corner of the room, arms folded, expression blank, saying nothing.

Was this a dream? Was I dreaming? Was my mind just going to worst-case scenario? No matter what it was, I panicked. Not thinking straight, I practically shoved Taylor off of me, feeling the color drain from my face, and awkwardly stood up, backing away from Morgan to the opposite wall.

Painfully, Morgan didn’t speak. I guess she didn’t need to. Taylor just sat there, having recovered from me pushing her, staring at Morgan as if she was trying to stare her down. I couldn’t see Taylor’s face, so I didn’t know what she looked like. All I knew was that Morgan’s blank expression was driving me mad.

I attempted to speak, but all that came out was a dry nervous squeak. I cleared my throat, swallowed, and tried again. “H-how long have you been s-standing there? W-why are you standing there??”

“About a minute,” Morgan replied in this ominously calm voice. “And because I was invited.” Unfolding her arms, she turned to stare down Taylor again.

Taylor stood up as I processed what I was being told. “So… you knew about us?” I asked incredulously.

Morgan turned back to me as if I was the least important person in the room, and gently nodded. “I got the tears out when I was first told. I think you saw that.” She turned to Taylor. “Though I bet someone here was expecting more tears. Well, I have no more tears to give, Taylor. I’m just tired. Tired of you.”

Even from behind I could see Taylor open her mouth to speak, but she was quickly shut up by the second slap of the night. At once, Morgan’s expression changed from blank to completely furious, and yet, her expression for the most part seemed calm. Her mouth hadn’t changed, nor her nose, or any other part except her eyes. Her eyes contained a storm of fury, all centered on Taylor.

“This is what you wanted, right? For me to see? Did you think I’d blame it all on him and just forgive you? Did you think I’d never get tired of this shit?” She raised her hand again, causing Taylor to clearly cower and brace herself, but simply lowered her hand again. “I believed you when you told me. Showing me isn’t proving, it’s taunting, and you know that, you psycho.”

I was stuck between feeling my heart sinking through the floor in guilt, and thanking my lucky stars that I hadn’t taken Taylor up on her offer to fuck her.

Wait…

I exploded at Taylor. “Was this why you tried to-”

A single finger from Morgan, as well as the most deadly serious expression a human being ever gave me, stopped me mid-sentence. “I want to do the talking,” Morgan simply told me. “Have your turn later.”

She turned back to Taylor but was still addressing me. “This has less to do with you than you think, Quinn. That might sound harsh, but it’s true. This isn’t the first time this happened, and I was dumb to think the first time would be the last. She just does this.” She shook her head at Taylor. “She can’t help it.”

“Fuck you,” Taylor spat, the first words she said since getting caught, though getting caught was clearly her intent. “You’re the one that keeps doing this to me. I’ll stop when you do.”

Morgan sighed, her normal expression returning. “I thought about inviting Joel over, you know. Give you a taste of your own medicine. You clearly wanted me to see, why shouldn’t I want the same for you?” She paused. “If you’re feeling scared imagining if that happened, then try to imagine how I’m feeling.”

“He would have blamed Quinn though,” Taylor pointed out.

Morgan lazily turned to face me, then turned back. She sighed again. “I hate that you’re right,” she mumbled. “What will it take for you to stop acting like you get to control everything?”

“So this is just something she does?” I couldn’t help asking. “Or, at least, something she’s done once? So you’re not mad at me?”

“I thought I asked you to let me speak,” Morgan rebutted me calmly. “I am mad at you. Of course I’m mad at you. But you never had the idea to do this…” She looked back at Taylor again as she finished her thought. “…just the lack of willpower.”

I shivered as Taylor turned to face me. “I told you, Quinn. Every guy cheats.”

I felt my blood boil. “You’re the one that caused this!” I blew up. “You cornered me into this! I wanted to stop this and even told you that!!”

Morgan izmit sınırsız escort intervened. “I reserve the right to be mad at you for not stopping it. If you don’t think that’s fair, I don’t know what to tell you. Are you also angry that Taylor isn’t taking responsibility for her actions? How about you set the standard and take responsibility for your own?”

Jesus fuck, Morgan could be terrifying without even raising her voice when she wanted to be. She was still looking at me without saying anything, so I felt compelled to speak. “If I had… if we were boyfriend and girlfriend, like, officially, then I would have held my ground more,” I defended myself. “Taylor explained to me the distinction between just dating and in a relationship, and only now I’m realizing she may have just been telling me what she wanted me to believe…”

Morgan looked at Taylor in confusion. “The difference between…?” she repeated.

“Way to, like, throw me under the bus, Quinn,” Taylor mumbled at me angrily. “I was just telling him about my own experiences, and like… my…”

“Outlook.”

“Outlook, yeah. That part is not my fault.”

I cleared my throat, wanting to keep Morgan’s attention while I still had it. “I have learned from this, and I don’t want anything to come between us. I think I really do want to be your boyfriend, Morgan. I’ll make the offer now, if you’ll have me.”

Morgan’s look of confusion intensified as she turned to me. “Quinn, read the room,” she scolded me. “Now is probably the worst time to make me that offer. It will take me a lot longer to make my own decision about that, especially now.”

I hung my head, chastised, as Morgan turned back to Taylor. “I just don’t get it,” she began softly towards her. “You hate it, more than anything, when your heart is broken. You don’t shut up about how all men just break your heart and sleep around with every girl they can find. So why the hell are you trying so damn hard to be the other woman?”

That broke some kind of barrier for Taylor. With the way she spat even the first word, I could tell she was furious. “Me?! You’re the other woman here, not me! I knew Quinn first, and we had that connection first, and I bet you couldn’t handle that! You always have to have what I have, even after I finally get the one guy that gives me what no other guy could!”

I was feeling confident about that last part until Morgan gave the game away. “Submission and loyalty? Really? Coming from the girl that has a boyfriend?!” Her face unhinged as she talked. Finally, anger spread throughout her face, and it was even scarier than I thought. I could only shrink down into the corner I had backed myself into, as the catfight continued.

…And continued, and continued… shows, movies and books did a good job of making these kinds of fights look more short and concise, and less pointless and… repetitive. Over time I was realizing two things. A, they had gotten to the point where they had recycled the same talking points to each other three frigging times, and B, it was getting late. I really did not want to have to be the one to intervene and be assertive, but some sixth sense in me was telling me that when teenage girls got like this, they’d do it for hours until they burnt themselves out, and I didn’t have the patience for that.

As if I had any right, I got up and marched into the middle of the room, physically separating the two, still mid-yell.

“This is stupid and has gone on for way too long,” I yelled to both of them. “You’re getting nothing done yelling at each other, so find a place to sit down and listen to what I have to say for a bit.” Taylor opened her mouth to protest so I quickly added, “Don’t argue, just do it!”

That seems to have done it. I felt good, like I was Ben Manibag when I said that or something, though realistically speaking I probably looked more like Napoleon Dynamite. Morgan didn’t argue, sitting on the floor (albeit with her trademark blank-yet-displeased expression) and Taylor sat in her beanbag chair, her sourness evident on her face.

I began talking, not really having a plan in mind but feeling confidence flowing in my veins. “This situation is a lot like math in two important ways,” I began. “One, the solution will be made clear if we ask the right questions, and two, if Taylor doesn’t pay attention, she’s doomed to just repeat the last year over again.” I pointed to Morgan. “So, first question. Do you want to break up with me and never date me again?”

Morgan was taken aback by the question, though clearly equally not amused by it. “This isn’t the time to ask me.”

“Yes it is,” I asserted.

“Well then I can only answer that I don’t know,” she concluded defiantly.

I shook my head. “Not good enough. But, tell you what, Taylor and I will be silent and allow you the space to think until you do have an answer.” I maintained eye contact with Taylor as silence filled the room. It was a really good sign that Morgan was still willing to listen to me, and to my ideas.

Finally, Morgan spoke. “I think, given the circumstances and knowing Taylor, I’m willing to give you another chance.”

I nodded, weirdly not even caring about her answer as much as where I wanted this to go, and turned to Taylor. “Can you understand why Morgan was hurt?”

“Yes, but-”

‘Yes’ was all I needed. “What were you trying to accomplish here, with me?”

Morgan cut in. “She was trying to break us up. That was her main goal, that’s what she was gunning for, and that’s a big reason why I’m giving you another chance.”

Spite. Awesome. That’s a reassuring reason to stick by someone. Taylor interjected, finally giving her reply. “I was trying to, like, show to Morgan how this kind of thing can, like, really fucking hurt,” she said plainly. “Like, yeah, she was hurting, but I was hurting too, and it’s like she wasn’t even aware of it, or didn’t even care, until I hurt her back.”

“Taylor, that’s not fair,” Morgan argued. “You two were, correct me if I’m wrong, just friends with benefits. No offense, if even that. You two weren’t in a relationship. A relationship wasn’t even on the table for you two.”

“Exactly!” Taylor almost shouted. “We weren’t anything. You were something. If you asked him to be exclusive, he would have done it. Fuck, you didn’t even ask and he was still like, ‘oh, I dunno, what if my date wants to be exclusive and didn’t tell me yet?’ You didn’t even care about him until I did. You didn’t even have, like, an interest in him until I was doing stuff with him, just like with Derek.”

Morgan sighed and softened her expression once that name was brought up. There was clearly history here. “Taylor, hey, look, I totally get why you were angry about the Derek thing, but we already talked about it. And I told you, Derek went for me first.”

“So then why is this any different? Why can’t you get why I…” Taylor couldn’t even finish her sentence. She was tearing up.

Morgan sighed an empathetic sigh and got up, moving over to the beanbag chair. In one motion she got over to Taylor and enveloped her in a hug. A slow, understanding hug, full of support and care. It was kind of sweet to witness.

The hug lasted a decently long time and afterwards, the two gave polite half-smiles to each other, then Morgan looked at me and Taylor just thought to herself. I realized I was going somewhere with my line of questioning.

“Oh, right. Morgan, if you knew, and you were thinking about bringing Joel, why did you come at all?”

Morgan shrugged. “I fully knew, believed, and processed by that point what was going on between you two. It was easy to believe, if I can be honest. You’re naive, you two were weirdly close for just studying, and I think Taylor suspected me for a bit. If she and I were going to talk about this, I’d rather it not be in school, you know? I wasn’t sure if you would be here or not, but yeah, two birds, one stone. And I made the choice to come in quietly just to see for myself. That was… a choice.” She got a far-away look in her eyes. “It’s weird. For most people I think that would be, like, traumatizing. For me it’s almost comforting if I suspect it. Confirmation, you know? ‘Hey, look, it is really happening.’ I’m over the shock of it, all that’s left is… witnessing it, addressing it, seeing what happens next.”

“And what happens next?”

Morgan shrugged. “You’re the one with the questions and the solution. Keep going.”

I winced sheepishly. “Actually, those were all the questions I had. I thought I would have a more concrete solution by now.”

“I have a question.”

Both Morgan and I turned to face Taylor, who had clearly composed herself and was ready to rejoin. “You know what’s going on. You know why. Can I keep doing stuff with him?”

I scrunched up my face. Jeez, what a charmer. If nothing else, was this really only a question for Morgan? C’mon.

Morgan stood up, her steely look returning. “You still have a boyfriend, Taylor. Take some respo-”

“You were the one to tell me about him and Abby.”

Morgan stopped mid-sentence at the assertion and her eyebrows eventually lowered. Still a steely look, but now… sad. Like she had been cornered. Something in their clique’s logic spoke to her. She slowly looked at me, as if trying to gauge my face for a response, and gave me one of the biggest shockers of the night in response.

“Up to you, Quinn.”

After she said that, with her trademark blank expression, she began walking towards the stairs. “Woah, wait,” I quickly replied, chasing after her. “I can’t have heard that right.”

“You did,” she replied calmly. “Any damage this could have done is done. I don’t think doing it any more will hurt me more, and stopping won’t undo the hurt. So at this point, it’s up to you.” She didn’t even stop walking as she talked.

“So this really is okay with you?” I asked incredulously.

Morgan was at the top of the stairs, near the door, soon out be out of the room and the conversation. She turned to me and shrugged. “More like I never had this conversation in the first place. And what I don’t know about doesn’t hurt me. Can I go? My brother is waiting in the car.” Not even waiting for my answer, or anything more from Taylor, Morgan left, leaving a stunned me and a visibly elated Taylor in the room.

“Holy fuck, did you hear that?” Taylor asked me in celebration. “We can, like, keep doing this! I mean, if you want, of course, of course.”

I was still dumbfounded. I guess her reasoning was sound, but… people didn’t reason like that. We were always emotional creatures, even an antisocial git like me knew that. No, this was wrong. Something about this was very wrong.

Taylor and I debriefed after Morgan left – nothing huge, no revelations. It was mostly stuff already revealed in that confrontation, along with actual apologies from Taylor for what she did. I insisted on those.

“And you understand why what you did was wrong, right?” I asked her.

“Of course I do,” she admitted. “I just… when the world is against you, you make dumb decisions sometimes just to keep feeling okay.”

“And you’ve learned you don’t need to make dumb decisions now, right?” I asked, hoping she wouldn’t realize that being this dumb and petty ultimately got her everything she wanted.

“Mhm!” she nodded enthusiastically. “I’ll be good. I’m so glad that things worked out like this! And hey, since they did work out like this, who knows, maybe it turns out we will keep talking over the summer after finals.” She gave me a wink.

I couldn’t accept that. Some part of me just couldn’t. I couldn’t say why I felt this way, but I felt like this was all just a big… something. Like a loyalty test. Morgan gave me a trick answer and wanted to see if I’d go along with it. Well, like hell I would. Taylor may have gotten Morgan’s forgiveness, but if there was one thing I had clearly learned tonight, it was that as much as I had a primal animal lust attraction towards Taylor, she was manipulative, no matter her reasons, and more importantly, she was just secondary. Of the two, Morgan was clearly the more important one to me, and I needed to prove that – not just to her, but to myself.

Chapter Ten

It was hard to read Morgan. I know there was this whole stereotype that ‘when a woman tells you she’s not upset and it was not that big a deal, she’s very upset and it was the biggest deal’ – Kevin in particular was sure to drill that into me. But not trusting someone I was dating seemed kind of silly. If she told me she was not upset and I was supposed to take that as ‘I am upset,’ when the heck would I ever think she was truly not upset?

Granted, this situation was a bit unique. This wasn’t exactly a small matter. It wasn’t like I told her she only ‘kind of’ looked pretty in a dress – she caught me grinding on her best friend. Some part of me was amazed that it wasn’t game over for our relationship right then and there.

I was both relieved and weirded out that it seemed like this wasn’t the first time Morgan had to deal with this kind of thing from Taylor. She seemed more… exhausted than surprised. I was equally relieved, as well as a little nervous, when Morgan texted me early in the morning and asked if we could meet up and just talk about what happened last night with no Taylor in the room.

I agreed instantly, thanking my lucky stars I was up early enough, and rushed to school. I was about an hour early, with no pre-school extracurriculars or anything lined up, so we had ample time. Given very few other students were there, we decided to just walk around the halls and talk.

We didn’t speak for a minute or so after we said hello to each other and decided to just walk. After a minute of just walking, Morgan sighed loudly. “I guess I’ll have to be the one to bring it up, huh?”

“I don’t know what you want me to say about it. You asked me to meet up,” I softly replied.

“Yeah, fair. I guess, is there anything you wanted to ask me now that Taylor isn’t there?”

I stopped and shuffled in place, before continuing when I realized that Morgan didn’t stop walking. “I guess I’m just amazed that you don’t seem to… mind it. Not as much as I’d have thought.”

Morgan turned to me, her face plain and emotionless. “That’s not a question.”

I coughed nervously. “Do you really not mind this situation, or did it bother you more than you wanted to… show?”

She rolled her shoulders and leaned back against a wall. I stopped with her. “Well, yeah, of course when I first heard about it it bothered me a lot. It bothered me even more that Taylor told it to me as if she was testing you or something.”

“She was te-”

She waved a hand in front of me. “Don’t worry. I know you weren’t. She just wanted to use this to get to me and try to make herself look as innocent as possible.”

My face soured. “Taylor’s a snake,” I spat.

“No, she’s just… complicated,” she replied. “It’s not right of her to care so much about this, like, revenge of hers, but it is a fact that I did hurt her in the past. She has a hard time getting over things. At this point you can’t name-drop half of the boys in the school to her without setting her off somehow.”

My sour expression remained, but I got a bit of sympathy for her. “She sounds… damaged.”

“‘Damaged’ is an extreme word,” Morgan replied, still leaning against the wall. “Not inaccurate, though. I think she feels as though she’s been hurt so much by some guys here, she has this free opportunity to hurt whoever she wants as long as she gets her own safety or something.”

It probably would have been betraying Taylor’s trust to admit to Morgan that she hit the bullseye with that one, but I couldn’t help remembering Taylor practically said as much to me before.

“So in this weird way, I don’t mind,” Morgan continued. “It’s pretty clear you two were doing stuff before our date, and I get that would have been hard to bring up.” She got up from the wall and looked directly at me. “That doesn’t change the fact that it hurt a lot when I first found out, but… the tears are out now, I guess. I’ve had time to think about it and process it. It happened. I don’t think I’m going to get hurt any more than when I first found out. I meant it when I said I won’t care if you two continue. I get that it’s hard to say no to that kind of thing and as long as it doesn’t change our situation, I don’t think you two doing your own thing is going to emotionally affect me.”

She said a lot there, but one thing stuck with me. “I’m sorry that it hurt a lot, Morgan,” I admitted. “I didn’t want to hurt you, and I feel awful that I did. “

Strangely, she smiled at me. “I appreciate that that was the part you cared the most about,” she told me softly. She gave me a small hug, which, out of awkwardness, I barely returned. To top it off, when the hug was over, all I could do was blush and look down.

She laughed pityingly at me. “I really will have to make the first move for everything with us, huh?” she asked rhetorically. “If you can’t hug me because of last night, we clearly have to have a whole other type of talk.”

I blushed again. “No, no, it’s not that,” I replied quickly.

“But I will have to be the one to start everything, won’t I?”

“That… might be the case,” I admitted. “I’m just worried about… going too far when I initiate or something.”

“Don’t you think we’re through the looking glass?” she asked with a smile. “I know you don’t have a hard time getting into the groove, even if you’re not dating the person.”

I looked down in shame, and she slowly brought my head back up. “Nope, none of that,” she commented lightly. “I may be cool with it, but I’m allowed to make jokes about it. It happened. Joking about it is how I deal with it.”

“Okay,” I sighed. “But it’s so much easier when someone else does it and you just go, ‘okay.’ I don’t know how far you want to go, or if you want it, or what the right time is, or…”

“Quinn, you’re overthinking,” Morgan cut in. “I’m challenging you to make the next step with us without worrying about that.”

“What does that mean?” I asked.

She shrugged. “I won’t initiate anything until after you do. To give you some practice.” She smirked at the silliness of her own comment. “I want you to not think about any of that stuff. I just want you to feel out what the next step is for us, and do it when the time is right. I appreciate you thinking about what I want, but you keep second-guessing yourself. You’re just going to keep telling yourself not to show you care for me in case I think it’s weird or too much, and I won’t. Odds are, whatever you choose to do with me… I want it too.”

I gave her a confused expression. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

Morgan gave a small laugh. “Quinn, if I told you, that would defeat the whole point of this, wouldn’t it?”

I wasn’t laughing with her. “It feels… weird to press on after last night. Especially so freshly after last night happened.”

Morgan dropped her laughing face and looked at me with complete seriousness. “Maybe that’s actually a big part of why I want to move forward. It we’re just awkwardly saying semi-sweet things to each other, but you and Taylor got to… you know…”

It was my turn to smile. “What, are you jealous?”

She gave me a sarcastic smile. “We’re obviously not there.” We shared a small chuckle at that. “But, I mean, kind of. If she wanted me to see that shit, am I entitled for wanting to see…?”

“See what?” I asked her.

“Not see. But, y’know,” she replied, shrugging.

“I’m not sure I do.”

“Well, that’s not my problem. I gave you your challenge.”

I stared at her for a bit, chuckling in discomfort, before looking down again. “Gahh, I’m not good at this,” I mumbled to myself.

“That’s okay,” she soothed. “I’m not looking for how good you are. I’m just asking…” She gestured vaguely.

I looked at her for a bit. She wasn’t saying anything more. Was she asking me to…? No, I couldn’t just assume that.

…Huh. Okay, I was overthinking. That’s what she was talking about. Realizing that made me kind of terrified in a weird way, because I knew what I had to do, and what she was asking, but every second that I let pass was making the moment weirder. I steeled myself, trying to push those feelings of anxiety and hesitancy back down into my stomach, and walked calmly towards Morgan. I walked closer and closer, invading her personal bubble, not allowing myself to think enough to back out of this. I practically held my breath as my face got closer and closer to hers. I felt so weirdly nervous, afraid I was going to screw it up or be a novice compared to her and not know how to do it or whatever, but luckily, my brain was too focused on those thoughts to stop me from closing the gap between us. My face came up to hers, and before I knew it, we kissed.

It felt so… new. Not bad, too nervous to be good. Just a simple closed-mouth kiss, one small peck on the lips. Feelings were surging through me. I backed away from her and cleared my throat, feeling my voice quivering like a loser.

“S-something like th-that?” I managed to ask.

Morgan could help but giggle at me. “You look like you’re going to pass out.”

I nodded. “Y-yeah, I feel like it too,” I admitted.

“So how was it? Did I do okay? I wasn’t too hard on you, was I?” Morgan asked, obviously joking.

“Hey, you have experience, I don’t,” I defended myself. “It’s easier to just do it once you’ve done it before.”

Morgan folded her arms and gave me a ‘wait for it’ look. A second or so later, my own point dawned on me.

“Oh. Huh.”

“Mhm,” she giggled again.

“Can we uh… do it again? I want to try again,” I replied quickly.

“I dunno, Quinn. I guess I’ll just stand here and see how you decide to answer that,” she replied in a playful voice.

My first kiss turned into my second, then my third, then my fourth over the next couple of minutes. Once the third or so was out of the way, I could confirm – kissing was fucking awesome. It was definitely a good thing. They were still closed-mouth kisses, but I got more comfortable and bold with each one. After about ten or so, both of us came up for air.

“Uh… got any tips?” I asked jokingly, no doubt blushing.

“Yeah. Believe in yourself a little bit more,” she replied. “And kiss me whenever you want to.”

“I kinda really want to right now,” I admitted.

“Then come here,” Morgan laughed, and we resumed kissing, daring to not leave it at little pecks. We didn’t exactly make out or anything – or did we? Was ‘making out’ just kissing that wasn’t closed-mouth? I’d have to ask Kevin later. At any rate, we kissed for what seemed like forever, and for what probably was longer than we meant to. Before long, there was the occasional student passing by us, not crowding around us or anything, but definitely noticing us and what we were doing.

“Oops,” Morgan commented, looking around. “PDA.”

“Is it a bad thing?” I asked, going in for another kiss.

She readily accepted it, but backed off from me afterwards. “I think a lot of students see it as kind of tasteless. Even if it isn’t, like, making out or anything.”

Huh. So okay, that wasn’t making out.

“But I think a few students saw us. This’ll be really awkward for the rumor mill.”

“Wait, what do you mean?” I asked, worried that there was something else about high school gossip everyone else knew about but I missed.

“Oh, I’m just saying, imagine the scandal, if two students, one of them a kind of popular girl, kissing in the hallway, and neither of them have even asked the other to be their boyfriend or girlfriend yet…” Hints were rolling off of her voice in waves.

I couldn’t help but chuckle. “Is that your-”

“You don’t get to ask,” Morgan butted in.

I huffed annoyedly. “Hey, Morgan, would you want to be my… or… would you like me to be your boyfriend?”

Morgan chuckled with her best ‘Oh, Quinn’ face. “Yes to both,” she laughed, wrapping her arms around me. We exchanged one more kiss before deciding that the walls of Hazelwood had seen enough.

***

And boy, could Hazelwood get the word out. By lunchtime, it was clear that Morgan and Quinn were the story of the day. Of course, the response to that was usually, “Quinn who?” but apparently a lot of the seniors knew me as ‘the school’s study buddy’ because of that thing I did that one time (thanks Kevin) so people could figure out who Quinn Shen was. It was weird; I was known before now, but at this point my name was known. Even by the time Morgan and I were holding hands between the first two classes, people were figuring out, ‘hey, that’s Quinn Shen’ before even needing to ask Morgan.

And it was all because I was being seen with Morgan. I knew the group was popular, but I really underestimated just how popular she was. Either that, or the entire populace of Hazelwood really needed to get a social life. Or a combination of the two.

The most nervewracking part of it all was when Morgan asked me to sit with her group at lunch. At first I was hesitant – the events of Taylor’s basement weren’t even twenty-four hours old – but a gentle squeeze of my hand and a gentle reassurance later, I was begrudgingly walking to her lunch table, my hand in hers.

I felt childish for doing it, but I avoided Taylor’s gaze most of the time I was there. I was just too nervous to look at her. It was just as well that I didn’t concentrate on her, or even anyone except for Morgan. Milo and Crystal barely spoke to me, Lexi kept asking Morgan intrusive questions about us, and Taylor was oddly silent the whole time.

I tried my hardest not to feel insulted at the team’s group effort to ignore me, especially since I was kind of their first conversation topic – or more specifically, what happened yesterday. Taylor did most of the talking, and, I have to admit, did a weirdly good job of never lying and yet leaving so much critical information out that it somehow seemed like they had a fight about something else entirely. It seemed like misunderstandings and even fights might have been commonplace of the group, since they did a dissection of yesterday’s situation that lasted all of five minutes, then moved on as if it were nothing. Part of me wondered if Milo was going to hold a grudge for never texting him, but either he forgot or was really good at not showing it.

Near the end of lunch, Taylor said something out of the blue and instinctively I looked up from my food to meet her gaze. What was weird was that there wasn’t a hint of malice on her face, not for last night and not even for clearly ignoring her for most of the lunch period. Once she saw that I was looking at her, she simply gave me a warm smile and chuckled, “Hey Quinn.”

“Uh…” I awkwardly looked down before looking again at her. “…Hey Taylor.”

“You two look really happy together,” she observed, the warm smile still on her face. There wasn’t anything foreboding in her tone, no apparent trick she was playing. “It’s really nice to see.”

I didn’t reply, but Morgan was quick to. “Thanks,Taylor,” she replied. “Kinda crazy how this all worked out, huh?”

Taylor’s smile got bigger as she shot Morgan a look. “Weird how only we know how crazy it, like, really was,” she pointed out. The two laughed politely at that, but I couldn’t help but bury my face in my hands. I could not figure out either of these two girls for the life of me. Hell, I couldn’t figure out any of the four girls or the boy for that matter. It’s like I got in a relationship with an alien or something. A cute, spunky alien that I really liked kissing a lot.

***

It only really hit me at the end of the day that I was truly Morgan’s boyfriend now. After school, she texted me asking to meet her in the main hallway, and when I got there, I found out that it was for no real reason. Once I got there, I was expecting some sort of purpose or point to it, but once I got there, she smiled and just started talking to me, with her friend group one by one joining us, as well as one other guest.

“Why, hello, ladies! And Milo,” Kevin greeted us. “You holding my brother ransom? I’ll go, hmm, ten dollars. Tops.”

Crystal shook her head at him. “You think you’re so charming,” she observed with an annoyed tone.

“Hi to you too, Crystal,” he rebutted. “Quinn and I always walk home together. I’m just waiting for him. I can either do it over here, or I can awkwardly stand over there and stare at him, your choice.”

“Either way, you’ll be awkward,” Lexi cut in.

Kevin looked comedically around at the height of all of our heads, clearly above Lexi’s, doing an exaggerated searching motion. “Who said that?”

Lexi rolled her eyes as Morgan answered him. “I was hoping to just talk to him for a bit. You waiting around breathing down his neck might be kind of weird. I’m sure you could handle it if you walked home yourself like a big boy.”

Kevin shook his head. “I don’t even get what I did to you all to get this kind of treatment.” He donned a goofy face and mimed adjusting a tie. “I don’t get no respect.” He paused for effect. “No? It’s Rodney Dangerfi- never mind. Do you mind if I ask Quinn to speak for himself, or do you already have him wrapped around your finger?”

“There’s a lot of tension here,” I mumbled quietly. I turned to Kevin. “I honestly don’t know how long I’ll be here. Can we just assume it’s like one of my studying days or something?”

“I was actually going to ask him about that,” Taylor cut in, notably for the first time since she got there. She gave Kevin a small smile. “I’m sorry for making it short notice. It’s just a year-ending thing.”

It was cool of her to stick up for me like that, and in a much more diplomatic way than any of the girls there, including Morgan. Milo was just silently staring at him too. Kevin shrugged and said, “Alright, it’s cool. See you later, Quinn,” and like that, he was off.

Once he was away, Talor turned to Morgan and shrugged. “See?” she asked.

Morgan gave her a look – clearly there was some bigger thing there – and started talking to the group about him and the other guys. I was a bit confused as to why they called me here just to keep talking about their usual topics – it’s not like I was going to be good at gossip – but amidst some kind of conversation between Morgan and Crystal, I turned to Taylor.

“Thanks for defusing the situation with Kevin,” I said. “You thought really quickly on your feet telling him that.”

Taylor smiled slightly. “I was actually gonna ask you about that. Could we study today? I mean, finals are beginning tomorrow, and this might be our last chance…”

I shouldn’t have been so obvious about it, but the first thing I did when she asked was turn towards Morgan. By now, Morgan either was done with her conversation or cut it off, and was clearly looking at me out of the corner of her eye.

She was testing me, I told myself. I couldn’t say yes. Or, wait, I should say yes so it was clear Morgan didn’t have a monopoly on me and who I could hang out with, but then deny Taylor sex afterwards. No, wait, I should respect what she said earlier and assume there was no trickery.

I really couldn’t tell you why Morgan thought I was an overthinker.

Realizing the gravity of what Taylor was telling me, and knowing I really did want to see her succeed, I slowly nodded. “Yeah, I think I can make time tonight,” I told her.

Taylor beamed. “Thanks, Quinn. Let’s kick this final’s ass.”

I nodded with determination, then turned back to Morgan. She was no longer looking at us, having gotten back into a conversation with Milo.

“Do you think we should go now? Just to make sure we have as much time as possible,” Taylor continued, looking at the clock on the wall of the hallway.

If I already said yes, I didn’t really have a vested interest in when we go, and even though Morgan called me here, it clearly wasn’t for any important reason, so I figured she wouldn’t hold it against me if I cut it a little short. “Yeah, sure.”

“Cool,” she replied with a smile. “Yo, bitches! Anyone need a ride?”

Lexi and Crystal shook their heads. Milo held up his hand casually, also declining. Morgan, turning back from Milo, thought about it for a second and nodded her head. “Thanks, Tay.”

“Let’s get going, I don’t wanna stay at school any longer than I have to,” Taylor addressed the group, even though only Morgan and I had agreed to go with her. Amazingly, the whole group started moving, even though half of them weren’t even going with her. Just more power Taylor had over the group, I guess.

Taylor ended up walking ahead of us, far enough that Morgan felt confident tapping me on the shoulder and turning to me. When I did, she got really close and whispered in my ear. “I know Taylor can be pushy. If she wants to fool around, only go for it if you want to. Let her know how you feel. I won’t mind either way,” she whispered, before giving me a slight kiss on the cheek. I couldn’t help but smile at Morgan’s words, and when she retracted from the kiss enough to look me in the eyes, I leaned in and kissed her right on the lips.

She readily and heartily accepted the kiss, moving in to passionately hug me as I kissed her. I tried responding in kind, moving into her too, enjoying the feeling of her body on mine as our lips never parted. We heard a loud echoey cough from down the hallway and Morgan pulled back, the two of us seeing an annoyed Taylor looking at us.

“Are you coming or not?” she asked in a huff, decently far from us at this point. Morgan only chuckled and kept walking, with me in tow. What a crazy fucking situation this was.

***

“Three red marbles and two blue marbles,” Taylor answered with confidence in her voice.

I grimaced in response, reading from the ‘answers’ section at the back of the book. “Try again.”

She huffed angrily. “Maybe the book’s just wrong, maybe it’s that.”

“Fine, give me the question,” I replied, and she turned her book around so I could read it. I hastily wrote some notes down, figuring out the problem and finding the answer. After about a minute, I shrugged. “Nope. Book’s right. Try again.”

“Fuuuuck me,” she sighed as she turned the book back and went back to scribbling. “I’m going to feel, like, so fucking good when this class is over.”

I didn’t say anything so she could continue concentrating on the assignment. First and foremost, that was most important. Even though Taylor and I had become what I’d gingerly call friends, and fooled around a couple of times along the way, the primary reason we were here, and hanging out at all, was making sure she was going to do well on her data management final. I’d be remiss if I allowed anything to get in my goal’s way.

“Okay,” Taylor said, mostly to herself, as she concentrated. “Okay. Okay. Hold on. I’ve got this.” She scribbled some more, and stared at the paper for a bit. “Ffffffffour blue marbles and two red ones…?”

I was unmoved. “And how did you figure that one out?”

“Oh my God, Quinn, tell me if I’m right,” Taylor spat at me.

I probably couldn’t stop a small smile from forming on my face. “Show me your work! Then I’ll tell you.”

“I’m gonna kill you,” she playfully said as she practically lunged at me, pinning me to the ground in what now felt like a familiar scenario.

“You know what’s gonna happen next,” she almost growled at me. “Tell me if I got it. I have my ways of making you talk.” She purred her last few words as she ground her crotch against mine.

“Are you just always ready to do this kind of thing?” I asked her, and she smirked and wiggled her eyebrows in response. “Okay, get off of me, let me get the book.”

She lowered an eyebrow and smirked at me. “Nice try, Quinn,” she asserted. “You definitely remember what the book said. You even did it yourself. Four blue marbles, two red ones. Was that the correct answer?” She continued her assault on me as she asked.

According to Morgan, the choice was mine when it came to how I responded to this. Obviously I was getting hard with Taylor grinding her crotch against mine, especially knowing from our previous encounter, or at least betting, that she wanted me inside badly, and was working on getting me horny enough that I would throw caution to the wind and just thrust myself inside her. I bet it would feel amazing, not only to get to fuck her, but also to get to fuck her, Taylor Wise, with the consent of my own hot girlfriend no less.

Taylor took my silence in thought as a victory, slowly forming a grin as she kept up with grinding her now-wet pussy on me. “So easy, Quinn,” she murmured, though with a bit of a husky voice.

“I could say the s-same thing to you,” I challenged her.

She merely shrugged. “What can I say?” she asked in an overly innocent voice. “I’m just sitting here, trying to get comfortable. Why, is there something on your mind?”

Of course there was. I was unable to stop myself from wondering what it would be like to fuck someone. I bet fucking Taylor would have been amazing. Not only did she have an amazing body for it, she was definitely experienced, and ridiculously eager for me. I could almost feel a wet spot growing on my own pants through her actions.

I sighed, feeling her clothed pussy make contact with my raging hard-on over and over again. I caved pretty darn quickly. “Yes, y-you were correct,” I breathed. “Can I g-get up now?”

“Thought so,” she chuckled. “So easy, Quinn. But if oyu don’t wanna get up – if you want me to keep on sitting here and doing this with you – that’s okay, you know.” Her grin deepened.

My body was reacting but my voice still showed hesitance. “I don’t think we…” I managed to get out, not stopping her at all.

“Oh yeah? What, was it Morgan? I saw her whispering to you earlier. She was trying to guilt trip you, wasn’t she? She already said that she was okay with us doing this, y’know…” She was putting on her best seductive voice for me. “She’s fine with it. I even talked to her myself.”

“Actually, sh-she wasn’t trying to guilt-trip me,” I panted, now grinding back against her. I wanted to be strong, I really did, but my teenage hormones, the anticipation of knowing I could finally have sex if I caved, and all of our history was weighing down on me like a boulder. “She was a-actually giving us her blessing.”

Taylor sighed contentedly and threw her head back as she continued grinding on me. “Fucking right,” she breathed. “Just… let’s skip the foreplay. I’ve literally been asking for this… how many times? Let’s get you inside me. Let me show you how to fuck, Quinn.”

“That… d-doesn’t mean you have mine.”

“What?” She slowed down her grinding, her body’s touch on mine now practically delicate. Her head rose back up to look at me quizzically.

I grunted. God, this was so difficult. “I… am in a relationship now. And-”

“But she said-!” Taylor tried to interrupt me.

I held a hand up. “Let me get this out, please. I’m in a relationship now, and that changes a lot of things for me.” The grinding had fully stopped by this point. “Even if Morgan says she’s fully okay with it, I’m not sure if I even want to have sex with anyone else. Believe me, out of everyone, it would be you… but…” I shrugged in lieu of a good finisher.

“So what, you’re just gonna throw the opportunity away? Quinn, do you know how many guys would kill to be in your position?”

I smiled meaningfully. “Yeah, I’m very lucky,” I replied. “But a lot of guys would have killed to get to do what we already did, or to be with Morgan. I got to do both, and I’m really grateful for it, but I think I want to just step back and… re-evaluate things. This isn’t even a ‘no,’ but this is at least a ‘not now.’ If I’m in a relationship now, I think it’s important to step back and think more about whether I even want to have sex with another girl. And, it may be silly, but… I think maybe I should reserve my first time for someone I’m dating.”

Taylor made a shocked face at that, but not shocked as in ‘didn’t expect it,’ but shocked as in, ‘oh, wanna bet?’ “Seriously?” she asked me. “It’s, like, so clear that you want to fuck me. Like, it’s written all over your face. I just don’t get why you’re denying it.”

“I’m not denying it. If it, uh, helps… yeah, I really badly want to have sex with you, Taylor,” I chuckled. “But… I’m feeling like I shouldn’t. And that’s important, right?”

Taylor sighed. “Yeah, it’s important,” she conceded.

“And, not to be that guy, but you are still together with Joel, and he doesn’t know about this, and it’s important that we-”

“Oh my God, Quinn. How many times are you gonna bring that up?” Taylor asked with heat in her voice as she finally got off of me. “Seriously, would it just make you happy if I just broke up with him or something?! What do you want here?”

Remembering how Morgan’s cooler composure saved the day the last time she got this angry, I tried to remain stone-faced. “No, of course I don’t want you to break up with him,” I clarified. “I just think this is a bad idea for a lot of reasons right now. It feels like you really want to rush this, and I don’t know, maybe that combined with the Joel thing makes me feel like there’s more motives at work here, so I’m really hesitant.”

“Huh? I don’t get it.”

I sighed. “It feels like you’re trying to do something more than just have sex with me. You keep trying to get me horny enough to say yes to you. I really appreciate that you listen when I say no, but it’s just a little weird.”

Strangely, Taylor started laughing. “Haha, wow, I’m a fucking monster,” she mumbled, mostly to herself. “If you had told me anyone else was doing that to you, I’d be saying, ‘yeah, welcome to my world.’ It sounds like what a lot of guys did to me. Keep doing. Keep doing to me.”

“That’s very mature of you to admit that,” I commented, not knowing what to say.

“Doesn’t change that I’m doing it,” Taylor mumbled again. “I’m sorry. I don’t know if you’re willing to believe me, but it is just sex. I just want it so I can, like, I dunno, prove to myself that I can get sex from more than just assholes? I mean, what kind of person am I if I can’t even get the school nerd to fuck me? No offense, just speaking in, like, clichés here.”

“I get it,” I replied, knowing that she was being insensitive again but also knowing pointing that out would solve nothing. “Like I said, this isn’t a no. It’s just… not now. It doesn’t feel right. And if you want to prove that we can, you know, have sex, it only makes sense that we should wait until it feels right.”

“I would have felt bad fucking you if Morgan didn’t say okay,” she replied slowly, almost with a dry throat. “I want you to know that. Like, yeah, I played the part, but I don’t think I could have gone through with it.”

“I believe you,” I lied. In truth, I had no clue if she would have or not. But I would have been lying to say I truly believed that she wouldn’t have done it. “Do you feel bad about the Joel thing? If I get to ask.”

“No,” she replied immediately. “He’s doing the same thing. As far as I care, we’re in an open relationship too, but as soon as one of us brings it up, we’ll fight or something.” She turned to me and cracked a small smile. “Mutual cheating is like being in an open relationship with don’t-ask-don’t-tell in it.”

“No it isn-”

“I know it isn’t, I’m making a joke,” she clarified. “But my choices are, talk to him about it and be single and known as ‘queen of the bitches’ to all of his friends tomorrow, or I can be a good girl and suffer in silence, or I can live in his world and have my own fun.” She stood up, looming over me. “Which one would you choose?”

“I’d talk to him about it,” I replied earnestly.

“That’s cute, Quinn,” she replied, helping me up. “And that’s what sounds the best to say. But I bet that’s not what you’d actually do. Remember yesterday?” I shivered. I hated to admit it, but… maybe she was right. Wordlessly, I accepted her help and stood up.

“Good job on the review,” I mumbled awkwardly, not knowing what else to say. “I think you’re going to do really well on the final.”

“I fucking hope I do,” she said. “Do you wanna go home?”

“Yeah, I think I do,” I replied.

***

Planning a date is so much easier and less anxiety-inducing when you have already gone on one before. My first final went successfully and to celebrate, Morgan and I planned going out to the movies together, with her older brother acting as our chauffeur. I wasn’t crazy about that last part, but I went along with it.

Because I paid for our bubble tea, Morgan insisted on paying for the tickets and the popcorn, which I thought was a kind move, until I realized that meant she had full control over the movie we’d watch. Unfortunately I discovered my error too late, and I swear at the exact moment I opened my mouth to voice my concern, Morgan, still at the ticket machine, turned her head to me and gave me her rare smile, in the form of a mischievous grin, as she produced two tickets.

The name of the movie alone made me want to hurl. It was everything I was fearing from the land of pointless movies. Some sappy romance with completely unrelatable characters – no doubt the guy would be rich, good-looking yet alone, and confident except in the ways that others could capitalize on. The woman would be frazzled and claim that her life is ‘a mess right now’ even though she’s weirdly calm and cool in a crisis about it.

Well, at least Morgan would be able to find a character to relate to.

One large popcorn later, we were finding our seats in the theater. I couldn’t help but notice that there weren’t too many people there – mostly other couples, most of them older than us, most of them guy-girl. No doubt I wasn’t the only victim of their girlfriend dragging them to this movie.

I turned to Morgan expectantly and she rolled her eyes and picked our seats for us. It was odd – the theater was mostly empty, so we could have picked some really good seats in the middle, but out of all of them, Morgan picked some seats near the back.

More oddly than that, Morgan’s response when I pointed it out was shock. “Hey Morgan, don’t you think we’d get a better view of the movie if we were around the center? These are kind of out of the way, don’t you think?”

I swear, for a second, Morgan looked at me as if I was stupid or something, but she quickly shifted her expression. “Do you think so? I’ve always found that these seats always give you the best sound, and, I mean, the screen is pretty big anyway, it’s not like we won’t be able to see it.”

Oh. Huh. Sound. I hadn’t heard about that before, but then again, the last time I went to see a movie was with the family for Kevin’s and my birthday back in primary school, so I simply shrugged and accepted that Morgan was probably more adept at movie watching than I was.

Once the movie began, my worst fears were confirmed: I was going to hate this movie. I already didn’t watch too many movies; they weren’t really my thing. It didn’t help that this movie showcased the exact type of people I cared the least about, in the most overdramatic way possible.

I probably had a terrible poker face, though in this case it was more like a poker body. I found myself enjoying the movie so little that I was constantly shifting and squirming in place. I wanted to tough it out for Morgan’s sake but the movie was testing me.

I guess I was squirming a little too much, because during a quieter moment in the movie, I could hear Morgan giggling next to me. I turned to her to see that she was paying no attention to the movie by this point. “Enjoying the movie?” she asked sarcastically.

I smiled sheepishly. “These types of movies just aren’t my thing, I guess. I’m sorry if it looks like I’m making a scene, I’m actually trying to have a good time.”

“Well, there’s no need to be dishonest,” Morgan continued, talking in a whisper since it was still a quiet moment during the movie, despite most of the rest of the moviegoers being decently far away from us. I guess they didn’t care too much about sound. “Is there anything we can do to make sure you have a good time here too?”

I paused. “Not really, I guess. We can just talk for longer next time about which type of movie we both enjoy.”

Morgan looked at me through half-closed eyes until I began to feel weird. “What?” I asked.

“You are so lucky you made the first move at school, Quinn, otherwise I wouldn’t be doing this,” Morgan snarked before moving her head in towards me. Completely oblivious, I just stared at her head getting closer before her lips met with mine and she gave me a long, sensual kiss.

I could feel my eyes close as I felt her lips on mine. God, I had missed this. Up to this point we hadn’t kissed again, and it had been a few days since I last got to kiss her. As our first kiss ended, my eyes remained closed and I moved into her retracting lips with a second kiss of my own.

That was all Morgan needed. It seemed she responded well to initiative, as if waiting for me to prove that I actually did like kissing her. Her vigor renewed, she reached around my head to pull me into the kiss and kissed me back with more passion than the first time. I responded in kind, not even thinking, just putting my arms around her in whatever way felt right and kissed her with as much passion as I could muster.

God, this felt so good, so right. Kissing was fucking awesome. Kissing Morgan was even better. I really liked this.

Even the feeling of her soft lips massaging mine was amazing, but the feeling of her mouth opening and her tongue dancing along my lower lip made me tingle all over. I couldn’t stop the slight moan that escaped my mouth when I felt her tongue on my lip, which as I could hear (and feel), made Morgan giggle.

I had, go figure, exactly zero experience french kissing, so I had to do a lot of guesswork with what happened next. Morgan seemed happy and eager for me to experiment with her, and before long, we were wrapped in an embrace, our tongues interwinding and dancing with each other, both of us getting more and more into our little kissing session, our hormones building and our tongues battling for dominance.

Much like with Taylor, once I got going I got bloder and it became harder and harder for me to stop myself from doing what I wanted. As Morgan and I kissed and made out, our kisses getting larger and our faces getting wetter, my hands couldn’t hold themselves back, and first made a grab for their waist, before traveling up her body and caressing her amazing (and I had to admit, large) breasts.

At once, I broke off the kiss, realizing that I may have gone too far, and immediately whispered, “Sorry!” I hoped she hadn’t minded my boldness.

Morgan opened her eyes, possibly for the first time since we started kissing, revealing to me that she looked like she was under a spell. She had some kind of crazy hunting look in her eyes as she practically moaned, “Shut up,” and got up to sit on my leg. She grabbed my hands, placed both of them on her breasts, then grabbed my face and began kissing me again.

It was like we didn’t pause at all. We went right back into being crazy for each other, feverishly making out with me caressing her beautiful breasts through her shirt. Even with the shirt and bra in the way, it was becoming very clear that she was getting turned on, and from the way she was moaning into my mouth, it was also clear that Morgan was particularly into having her breasts played with. She kept arching her back and shoving her breasts into my hands, starting to grind on my leg. If I thought Taylor could be passionate, Morgan was something else, grinding on me like a girl in heat, desperate for my touch. Possibly desperate for me inside her.

It’s not like we were going to full-on fuck in the movie theater, but even the idea of her wanting me badly enough to make me think of it was making me hard as steel and straining my pants to the point of pain. We kept it up, making out and playing with each other’s bodies, for God knows how long.

When we inevitably came up for air, we just stared at each other, the movie at this point not even existing for us. She looked at me with the mix of a bashful smile and pure unbridled lust, and I’m sure I looked back at her the exact same way.

“Is it weird to say this feels like my first time doing anything?” I asked breathlessly. “I mean, this just feels so… special. So new.”

Morgan laughed quietly. “I mean I haven’t had a proper boyfriend in forever, so I know what you mean. It feels so good to do this with you.”

“I don’t want to stop.”

“Then keep kissing me, and you can have your hands under my shirt this time.”

I didn’t need to be told twice. With renewed energy, we began kissing again, our previous passion for each other still wet on our faces, and I reached under her shirt and began to feel up her stomach, my hands traveling upwards.

Morgan was hot. Literally. Her skin felt noticeably hot to the touch, like her whole body was burning up. I wondered if this was just her passionate reaction to me, and I felt my confidence swell, realizing that if this was her body’s reaction, she wanted me just as badly as I wanted her. I mean, I knew we were making out, but there was always that little voice, that self-doubt, defying all rationality. Somehow, of all things, it was her body temperature that made me feel like I was actually the guy she wanted here.

My hands travelled up her body, reaching her bra (which was very tight on her skin, impossible to get my hands under). I figured unclasping it would be a lot of work, and plus, under her shirt, possibly not worth the effort, especially with the effort needed to stealthily put it back on in a movie theater afterwards. Still, I had Morgan’s bra-covered tits in my hands, and she was arching her back and moaning into my mouth at my efforts, so who the fuck was I to complain?

Our passion lasted for the length of the rest of the movie. I had no clue when we started, but it simultaneously felt like we were making out and grinding and feeling each other up for forever, and yet not long enough. And even with the both of us wearing jeans, when Morgan got up off of my leg as the movie winded down and we realized we shouldn’t have been like that when the house lights went up, there was a clear damp spot on my leg. I looked at the spot, then at Morgan smugly.

“That’s a new look for you,” Morgan noted, clearly still somewhat out of breath. “Confident. It’s sexy. Do it more.”

This girl was fucking amazing. “You’re fucking amazing,” I told her, my voice practically unhinged at how pent up I was. I wasn’t planning to be sexually overt on this date, but it was clear that as soon as I got home I was going to have to jack off, quickly.

Morgan said nothing, but began to clean up (especially our popcorn, since most of it ended up on the floor after we attacked each other halfway through the movie like hungry animals). Once we were out of the theater, I noticed that she had a deep blush across her face… still. I wondered if I was the only one of us two who was going to masturbate as soon as we got home, but also was not about to ask her such a crass question.

When Morgan’s brother came around the theater to drive me (and then her) back home, Morgan called shotgun, then reached into her pocket to get her phone, texting someone something. She nonchalantly put her phone back in her pocket and started to walk off to the car when I felt a buzz in my pocket.

My mind was already swimming with thoughts about whatever the heck Morgan texted me, but even my imagination didn’t stop me from being happily surprised when I read Morgan’s text.

Im only in the front seat to keep up appearances. I want to be beside you for the whole ride home so badly. Lets go on another date soon.

My heart, and dick, swelled when I read her message. Stopped in place, I could only look at Morgan. She was still making her way to the car, but, never missing a beat, turned her head around and gave me a sly smile that sent my heart soaring.

There was no way in hell I’d be able to stay focused enough to study for finals at all this weekend. With how much this incredible girl was now dominating my thoughts, there was room for nothing else. Was I in love? I hoped so.

_______________________________________________

Author’s Note: Thank you for taking the time to read this story, especially if you have read all ten chapters. There’s more to come soon! I hope you enjoyed it.

These stories were made possible in part by the generous donors at patreon, dot com, slash BashfulScribe. If you’d like to support my work, get some cool perks, and help these stories come out faster, please consider supporting my work. Once again, thank you all for reading! Votes and comments, in any direction, are enjoyed and appreciated.

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