He reached out his hand to me. “C’mon, Anne. We must defend our fake sex life.”
“Shit.” I took his hand, letting him pull me up too. “Don’t let me bounce off the side. And don’t hit your head.”
“I’m not gonna hit my head. Would you stop being such a grown-up for a minute? Relax, have some fun.”
“Harder, Nate!” Came from next door.
Mal’s cleared his throat, loudly. “Anne!”
“Louder,” he hissed, as we started to bounce. The wooden frame of my bed made startling creaking noises. The kind it hadn’t made in a very long time, if ever. If only it were due to us being horizontal and naked. That would be so great.
“You’re such a nice girl, Anne,” Mal projected for the sake of our neighbors. “I really like you a lot.”
“Seriously? That’s your version of sex talk?”
“Let’s hear you talk dirty, then. C’mon.”
I shut my mouth. It stayed shut.
“Coward.” Mal turned his face to the wall we shared with Nate and Lauren. “You tastes so fucking good.”
“Like what?” I asked breathlessly, thigh muscles tightening. The man was lucky I didn’t just attack him with my vagina. “What do I taste like?”
“Well, like honey and cream and … I dunno, bread?”
I scrunched up my nose. “Bread?”
“Yes. Sexy bread that I could eat all the time because you are so delicious and full of wholegrain goodness.”
The next round of giggling made my stomach muscles seize up, but I kept bouncing. How weird to be laughing and jumping and turned on at the same time. Some friends of Lizzy’s and mine had a trampoline when we were growing up. It’d never been as much fun as this, however.
Then Mal jumped particularly high and hit the ceiling with his head.
He dropped onto his much-coveted ass, rubbing the top of his skull. “Fuck. Ouch.”
“Are you okay?”
The bed suddenly collapsed, one end of the wooden frame crashing to the floor. The noise was most impressive. As was the sudden silence from next door. I stumbled and slid and wound up landing half on his lap. Fortunately, an arm went around me, stopping me from bouncing further. We sat there, basically chest to chest, with one of my legs thrown over both of his.
“We’ve broken my bed,” I said, stating the obvious.
“In battle, sacrifices must be made, pumpkin.”
As suspected, Lizzy squealed like a loon. Both Mal and I winced. “Oh my god, Anne loves you. She had an entire wall of her bedroom dedicated to you.”
“No!” Shit, how had I not seen this coming? Fear choked me. Someone had to tackle my sister, now. Take her down and lock her in a cupboard. It was absolutely for her own benefit, but mostly mine. I tried to lunge at her, but strong arms held me trapped. “Lizzy. Shut up. Please shut up. He doesn’t need to know that.”
“Tell me more, Lizzy,” demanded Mal. “A whole wall, did you say? That is fascinating. I definitely need to know more.”
“No you don’t.”
“Hush, Anne. I’m listening.”
My arms weren’t long enough to cover Lizzy’s mouth. I had to settle for Mal’s ears. I fought him, but he shook off my hands far too easily, the wily man.
“She used to write your name on her thigh in permanent marker,” my traitorous wench of a sister reported. It was official: Lizzy sucked. There was a good chance I’d soon be an only child if she kept talking. Given mom rarely noticed she had children at all, the loss shouldn’t be too debilitating long-term.
“That’s a lie!” I cried, break ing out into a cold sweat.
“Did she write it on her inner thigh? I bet it she did, the minx.” Mal grabbed my wrists, holding them against his chest. An effective means of stopping me from beating him bloody. “Did she draw little hearts with arrows sticking out of ’em too?”
“I don’t know.” My beloved sister settled into the wingback, crossing her legs. “But she did practice signing her name as Anne Ericson all the time.”
"I am so touched you’d take my name, pumpkin.” Mal attempted to smooch my fists. “No shit, that’s awesome of you. Means the world to me. My family is gonna love you.”
“La–la-la-la,” I sang at the top of my voice, drowning them both out as best I could.
“And she’d watch Stage Dive videos over and over. Except for the one where you kissed that girl.” Lizzy clicked her fingers, her face tensed in concentration. “’Last Days of Love’, that was the one. She flat-out refused to watch it, would leave the room if it came on.”
Beneath me, Mal’s body shuddered because he was laughing his ass off. The man was in hysterics. Even his eyes were bright with unshed tears, the douche canoe. A big hand curled around the back of my head, pressing my face into his neck. “Aw, Anne. Were you jealous?”
“No.” Yes. Horribly, horribly jealous. That kiss had ravaged my teenage soul and made me listen to sad songs for almost a year.
“My poor girl.”
“I didn’t mean to kiss her. My mouth slipped,” he said, trying for earnest and failing. “I swear I was trying to keep myself pure for you. Tell me you believe me, please.”
I called him something foul.
He laughed even harder, making the whole couch shake.
Given he wasn’t letting me go any time soon, I hid my hot face in his neck as invited. Everyone in the room, I hated them. I hated them hard. It was tempting to bite him but he’d probably enjoy it. He’d certainly spent quality time nibbling at my lips and jaw after cornering me yet again at the party last night. His kissing crusade had almost undone me, but it had taken my sister to do the real damage, my own flesh and blood.
Now Mal knew everything. I was doomed.
“Lizzy, be a good girl and fetch me a pen,” said Mal. “I need to write your sister’s name on my junk, right now.”
“Will you please put that away?” I laughed.
Instead he grabbed the back of my head, dragging the length of his warm, damp tongue up the side of my face. I froze against the onslaught. “You did not just do that.”
“It’s a sign of affection. You think I salivate on just anyone?”
“You … I can’t even.”
“There are women who would kill to have me licking their face. You do not even begin to appreciate just how lucky you are to have my spit. Now lick me back.” He pointed to his jaw, demandingly. “Anne, do it. Do it now, woman, before I get offended.”
Labels: Book Review, Kylie Scott