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Sweet Filthy Boy(10)

By:Christina Lauren

As predicted, Harlow lifts her shot glass in Finn’s direction. In the process, much of it slops over the side and onto her skin. Like the classy woman she is, she bends, dragging her tongue across the back of her hand before saying to no one in particular, “I’m probably gonna fuck him tonight.”

Finn smiles, leaning closer to her and whispering something in her ear. I have no idea what he’s just said but I’m sure I’ve never seen Harlow blush like this. She reaches up, toying with her earring. Beside me, Lorelei groans.

If Harlow looks you in the eye while she takes her earrings off, you’re either going to be fucked or killed. When Finn smiles, I realize he’s already figured out this rule and knows he’s coming out on top.

“Harlow,” I warn.

Clearly, Lola can’t take any more, because she grabs Harlow’s hand to haul her up and out of her chair. “Meeting of the minds in the ladies’ room.”

“WHY IS HE calling me ‘Cherry’?” I blink up to my reflection in the mirror. “Does he think I’m a virgin?”

“I’m pretty sure he’s talking about your blowjob mouth,” Harlow says, winking. “And if I may, I’d like to suggest that you hit that French boy like a hammer tonight. Is his accent not the hottest thing you’ve ever heard?”

Lorelei is already shaking her head. “I’m not sure Mia is the best one to be talked into a one-night stand.”

I finish dragging the wand of my lip gloss across my mouth, press both lips together. “What does that mean?” I hadn’t planned on having a one-night stand with Ansel. I’d planned on staring at him all night and then going to bed alone, where I’d fantasized that I was someone else and he would in fact teach me the ins and outs of hallway sex. But as soon as Lola says this I feel a rebellious pull in my ribs.

Harlow studies me for a beat. “I think she’s right. You’re a little hard to please,” she explains.

“Seriously, Harlow?” I ask. “You can say that with a straight face?”

Lola’s eyes are similarly wide in disbelief as she turns to me. “That’s not what I meant.”

“Oh, I’m definitely impossible to please,” Harlow admits. “I just love watching men try. But Mia takes about two weeks before she converses without a thick sheet of awkward.”

“Not tonight, she doesn’t,” Lola mumbles.

I shove my lip gloss back in my clutch and give Harlow a look. “Maybe I like going slow and getting past that weird need people have for nonstop conversation. You’re the one who likes to bang off the bat, and that’s fine. I don’t judge.”

“Well,” Harlow continues as if I haven’t spoken. “Ansel is adorable and I’m pretty sure from the way he stares at you, he won’t need you to do much talking.”

Lorelei sighs. “He seems really sweet and they’re obviously both into each other, and what’s going to happen?” She shoves everything back in her clutch and turns to lean against the bay of sinks and face us. “He lives in France, she’s moving to Boston, which is only marginally closer to France than San Diego. If you have sex with Ansel,” she says to me, “it will be solid missionary with tons of talking and soft-focus eye contact. That’s not one-night-stand sex.”

“You guys are freaking me out right now,” I tell them.

“Then she can just insist on doggy, what’s the problem?” Harlow asks, bewildered.

Since I’m clearly not needed for this conversation, I push my way out of the bathroom and back to the bar, leaving them to decide the rest of my night, without me.

AT FIRST, IT’S as if our friends metaphorically evaporate into the background as they, too, grow more comfortable (or drunk) together and their laughter tells me they’re no longer listening to everything we’re saying. Eventually they head to the blackjack tables just outside the bar, leaving us alone together only after delivering their meaningful be careful stares to me and don’t be pushy stares to Ansel.

He finishes his drink and puts the empty glass down on the bar. “What did you love most about dancing?”

I’m feeling brave, whether from the gin or Ansel, I don’t care. I take his hand and pull him to his feet. He steps away from the bar and walks beside me.

“Getting lost in it,” I say, leaning into him. “Being someone else.” That way I could pretend to be anyone, I think, in their body, doing things maybe I wouldn’t do with mine if I thought about it too much. Like leading Ansel down a dark hallway—which, though I might have needed to take a deep breath and count to ten first, I do.