“Really?” Cole looks over at Eli, wearing a look of boredom on his face. He’s holding a beer in one hand and his cell in the other. “Since when do we do dares that involve chicks?” he asks, then looks at me. “Not like Deke can’t get his dick wet on his own.” Cole craves the blood. The fight. He always has. His darkness is a hole that will one day swallow him whole if he allows it.

Eli lights his blunt and takes a long drag, his cheeks caving in as he lounges on the couch before his eyes meet mine. “What? We all know he has a crush on her.” He winks at me, a grin now playing on his lips. “This just gives you a reason to make your move. And nowhere did the dare mention him shoving his dick into her. Just a harmless kiss.” Eli does it for fun. Both of his parents are dead, so he lives with his older sister and her piece of shit husband. He does whatever the fuck he wants, and no one tries to stop him.

“Who says I haven’t already?” I ask.

He throws his head back, laughing. “Come on, Deke. You’re no Casanova. I’m doing you a favor. Now go get that taken care of.”

I rip up the piece of paper and throw what’s left of it into the glass bowl.

Kellan sits in the recliner. I can feel his eyes boring into me, but I ignore him. He hasn’t said much since last night. I used to think he did this for the hell of it, but it seems he has an agenda. I just can’t figure out what it is yet.

Maddox and Landen quietly talk to each other as they lounge on a futon up against the wall, and Cole finishes off his beer before lighting up a cigarette.

Walking over to the couch, I take the joint from Eli and bring it to my lips. Pulling in a long drag, the taste of citrus fills my mouth. I lean my head back and blow it out, feeling the burn in my chest. “Shit, your sister has some good weed,” I say, handing it back to him.

He grunts. “Yeah, Jerrold only buys the good shit.” Eli can’t stand her piece of shit husband.

“Quit stalling,” Bennett finally chimes in while he sits cross-legged on his parents’ basement floor with an open laptop in front of him. The guy lives on that thing. He’s obsessed with hacking shit. He’s not much for getting his hands dirty, but the guy does pretty well behind the scenes. “She’s up at the school.”

“Know her schedule, do you?” Is my friend into the girl I like? They all know how I feel about her. And they also know to stay the fuck away.

He shrugs. “My mother is on the PTA. Says she sees her up there with the cheerleaders.”

I frown. “Becky doesn’t cheer.” She doesn’t play any sports. She’s too good for that. Wouldn’t want to sweat her makeup off or mess up her perfect hair.

“No. But Demi does,” Eli informs me.

I never pay her little sister any attention. “And how do you know that?”

“I like staring at her ass in the short skirts they wear.” He smirks.

Cole chuckles, looking over at Eli, but he doesn’t say anything. He seems to know something the rest of us don’t.

I ignore it and snap my fingers at Eli. “Let’s go.”


I pull up to Collins High and park my SUV. I look across the almost empty lot and spot Becky’s car, a white Mercedes E400.

Eli points at the football stadium. “There she is. All by herself.”

I follow his line of sight and see a blonde sitting on the bleachers. She leans forward with her elbows resting on her knees while she looks out at the squad on the football field. “Wait here,” I order, getting out.

“Aww, man I wanted to hold your hand …”

I slam my door, cutting him off, but I give him the bird when I see his body shaking with laughter through the windshield.

As I walk across the parking lot, she rises to her feet and starts to descend the stairs. I slow my steps but don’t stop. She keeps her head down, typing away on her phone, totally oblivious to what is going on around her. Stupid girl. Don’t their fathers warn them of guys like me and my friends? The ones who see a situation where they can take advantage and seize it. We’re all the same. If a guy tells you otherwise, he’s lying. We all stare at your tits while we imagine fucking them. We all look at your ass. And we’re all thinking about you on your knees while sucking our cocks. It’s all about what we can do to get you undressed and underneath us.

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