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He was my uncle’s friend, and I was too young for him.
But in the heat of the moment, against the wall in a darkened hallway of an illicit club, none of those things mattered. It was just one night of giving in to what we both wanted.
I never expected to see him two years later, sitting across me during a family dinner, encouraging me to do my internship for his business.
On day one we both agree that repeating that night would be a mistake. But it’s a mistake we can’t help but make again and again.
The rules are simple. We can’t tell my uncle. We have to be content with our hotel rendezvous. And we won’t fall in love.
But we both know we’re liars.
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Remember that time I fucked an older man in a sex club?
I think that was when I peaked in life. Can you peak at nineteen?
I rubbed my thumb across the creased paper pinned to my Kate Spade planner. I’d folded and refolded it so many times, taking it everywhere with me as a memento. My fingers stroked across the sharp lines of his initial like maybe I could get back the feeling of touching him just by feeling the dent of his forceful strokes. Anything to cling to the night, I felt alive.
Thank you for last night.
“Please be sure to have your business selections to me next week,” Dr. Arden said from the front of the room. I slapped my planner closed and shoved it in my leather tote, standing with the rest of the students who were hustling to leave class. “I know a few of you have been procrastinating on making a decision. If you don’t come with a selection, one will be made for you from the list of local businesses.”
I was one of those people, and as I walked past her desk, I knew—just knew—that if I looked up, she would be pointedly staring at me with disapproval. So, I kept my head down and got out of there. I needed to find something fast because that list of her options was lame, and I didn’t want to spend the rest of the semester with a clock and jewelry owner. Not that I knew who I did want to intern for. Hence, why I’d been avoiding the assignment. We needed to find an unpaid internship for the semester and create a mock business based on what we’d learned.
I didn’t intentionally put it off; I was just waiting for something to excite me—to make me excited like I’d been when I first chose my business major. I took a deep breath of the cold air and tried to remember that feeling. A feeling that faded with each passing semester. I dropped my head back and exhaled hard into the blue sky, trying to figure out what was missing. Why I’d been plagued with this boredom. Boredom that wasn’t just in college. Boredom with life.
“Are you trying to see if the sky is falling?” my best friend, Oaklyn, said, walking up beside me.
“Nah, just hoping for a sign for my business project.”
“You still haven’t picked one?”
I stuck with the trend of the day and avoided her eyes too. At least, I tried. I peeked at her in my peripheral. She was currently swiping long wisps of her hair out of her face where the wind had blown it. It took the effect of her glare down a notch, but the sun making her light brown eyes shine gold like a little fire of accusation, boosted it back up.
I rolled my eyes at her glare and started walking.
“What about Voyeur? I’m sure Daniel would let you shadow him.” She barely got the words out around her twitching lips.
“Oh, yeah. That would be great. I can see the PowerPoint presentation now.” I deepened my voice and said, “And on slide seven, you’ll see that gang bang is the most requested performance among women.”
Oaklyn laughed. “Actually, it’s usually just a threesome.”
I stopped walking and stared at her. “And you just look so innocent.”
We laughed and started walking again.
“You know you could always go to your dad’s business,” she suggested falling in step beside me.
Another eye-roll. “Ugh. Gas and gas parts? No, thank you.”
“You’re such a diva.”
I opened the door to the dining hall and blew her a kiss when she walked past. “You love me.”
“Unfortunately,” she grumbled with a smile.
“Whatever, you’re lucky to have me. In fact, lunch is on me.”
“Olivia…” she groaned.
She hated when I paid, but I did it anyway. I had enough money to pay for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for her entire college term, but her pride prevented it. Her pride also prevented her sexy-as-sin professor-boyfriend from paying either. At least he got her to move out of her shit box apartment and in with him.
“How’s Callum?” I asked, changing the topic.
She put her wallet back in her bag with a sigh but took the bait. “Good. We’re good.”
“And the sex? How’s that?”
“Olivia,” she whisper-shouted.
“What? He’s ridiculously hot, and I may still have fantasies from when we had him for class.”
She glared and walked off to get in line, ignoring my laughter.
We had barely sat down when a deep voice spoke right behind me. “Hey, Livvie-baby.” I clenched my jaw at the nickname and looked across the table to find Oaklyn, not even bothering to hide the look of disgust from her face.
“Hey, Aaron.” I turned and smiled at him over my shoulder.
He sat his plate down and straddled the bench beside me. “You want to hang out tonight?”