I sigh. I am desperately envious of a two-dimensional girl’s orgasm, worthy of fireworks and sparklers and red velvet cake.
Suddenly, the lock to the front door clicks, and since Ryke’s apartment resembles a flat (the living room connected to the kitchen) I have a direct view of anyone who walks towards the couch. I quickly shutdown Tumblr and log onto Hollywoodharlots.net, a site that has been incredibly gossipy about my addiction. They even snapped a blurry photo of Daisy exiting Connor’s apartment and captioned the pic: Younger Sister of Lily Calloway: Future Sex Addict?
It makes my stomach churn.
“She wasn’t hitting on you,” Lo says as the door swings open.
“Are you sure?” Ryke asks. He shuts the door and pockets his keys. “She looked like she knew where she was going.”
“She was definitely lost.”
Both shirtless with only running shorts, sweat glistens their toned bodies. Morning runs relax Lo, and all week I have been searching for my anxiety-reducing activity. But those funny positions in yoga revert my mind to sex, and meditation causes me to fantasize. So I started looking at p*rn again, but I’ve been economical about my usage. I won’t get carried away this time.
Lo plops down on the couch beside me, his eyes flickering to my computer screen. “You read anything interesting?”
“Besides the fact that I’ve officially screwed up my sisters’ lives…”
“Rose and Daisy can handle it,” Lo reminds me. But the whole point of pretending to be in a fake relationship for three years, of keeping this giant secret, was to avoid all of this from happening. I never wanted to hurt anyone.
“I re-watched the SNL skit,” I admit. “I think I found it funnier the second time around.” On Saturday, a comedian impersonated me. She drank so many cans of Fizz that she acted drunk and stumbled into a brothel. A few humorous quips later and I sufficiently turned into a caricature.
“You have to admit, the comedian nailed your hair perfectly,” Ryke says with a grin.
“Yeah, but she gave me a terrible accent.” I don’t have a regional dialect, but she layered on a thick, obnoxious Philly drawl. I’ve also zeroed-in on the least offending thing about the entire skit.
“To her credit, she’s probably never heard you speak.”
“Whose side are you on?” I ask him, but I already know the answer. If anyone has been making it easier to make light of the situation, it’s Ryke and Lo.
“I think your first press release should be in that accent,” Lo tells me. “How funny would it be if everyone thinks you actually speak like that?”
I smile. It would be a good prank.
Lo leans over to grab my computer. “Let me see this for a second,” he says.
My guard rises and fear spikes. I grip the console as if I’m trying to protect a fairy kingdom from goblin invasion. “What? Why?”
He edges back a little bit, eyes narrowed with skepticism. “I want to see if my dad had a press conference yet.” It must be hard to stay silent towards his father throughout all of this, but it’s probably best that they’re not on speaking terms. Jonathan Hale has always been Lo’s trigger to drink.
“Uh…I can check.” I type quickly into the search engine. It’s not that I have anything incriminating on here, but I fear random pop-ups from a p*rn site that I visited yesterday. When the time is right, I plan on telling Lo that I’ve found a way to be a healthy porn-watcher. Definitely not now, though.
“No,” I tell Lo after a couple minutes. “He hasn’t even released a statement.” Same as my parents. I wonder if they’re both waiting to speak to their children first.
And right as I turn, the computer leaves my hands. Lo sets the device on the coffee table. My heart slows down when his lips touch mine, and then it speeds up again when his hands dip to my waist. I lose myself to the way his tongue slides into my mouth and the way he sucks on my bottom lip. Out of the corner of my eye, I catch Ryke entering the living room and bending in front of my computer.
I’ve been tricked!
I pull back abruptly, my bottom lip caught between Lo’s teeth. I tug away and jump off the couch, charging for my laptop before Ryke can. But Lo grabs me by the h*ps and throws me over his shoulder. Oh man.
“Hey!” I yell, lifting my body off of Lo by pressing my hand on his back. “That’s mine.” Ryke doesn’t seem to care. He takes the laptop casually and sits back against the couch. “Lo, put me down!”
He pats my ass. “You don’t like it up here?”
“Are you taking me to the bedroom?” I ask, rethinking my dislike of hanging upside down. If it ends with me on a bed and having crazy sex, then I wouldn’t complain.
“I can give you head,” I offer.
“I’m still in the room, Lily,” Ryke reminds me, his eyes on my computer screen. I flush only a little. I have become terrifyingly more comfortable mentioning sex around Ryke.
“You don’t care, do you?” I ask Ryke, egging him on a bit. He has my computer after all.
“I care,” Lo replies instead. “It’s almost noon.”
“That’s why they call it a nooner.”
I clench my teeth, hating that I’m making him say the word no over and over. I should be better like I was in Cancun. But ever since the leak, I feel like I’ve regressed a little. I just…need to figure out how to return to where I was, but finding that path proves harder every day.
Ryke taps the keyboard, the clicking incessant while his eyes dance around the screen. “I don’t really understand why you’re so f**king obsessed with bl*w j*bs anyway. You’re a sex addict. What the hell do they do for you?”
“Ryke,” Lo snaps.
“What? It’s an honest f**king question.”
I don’t want to tell Ryke the truth. That before I dated Lo, it was just a means to an end. Foreplay. Getting a guy hard. Pure and simple. Now, since I’m not even allowed to be on top (lest I become too compulsive) giving head is really the only thing that makes me feel in control. And I just really, really like making Lo come.
I smile at the thought.
“You’re not going to answer me?” Ryke asks. “I thought we were friends now.”
I may be comfortable saying some things in front of him but definitely not that. “What are you doing on my computer then?” I ask. “And why am I being held hostage?” I try to wiggle out of Lo’s grip.
He slides me down to my feet, and before I dart to the computer, his arms slip around my waist again, pinning my chest to his. He stares past me, and disappointment and dread begin to fill his amber-colored eyes.
What? I crane my neck over my shoulder. Ryke grimaces at something on the screen. My heart flip-flops and somersaults. “What’s wrong?” I say in a small voice.
“Your history is f**king filthy,” Ryke tells me in a serious tone.
But…that’s impossible. I clear my history. All the time. Lo lets go of me, cold replacing his warmth, which stings the most. I stay frozen by the coffee table, and he joins Ryke on the couch, scanning the long list.
“I don’t understand…” I mutter.
“I checked your history yesterday,” Lo says, his eyes grazing the screen like Ryke’s. “It was all erased. I thought that was suspicious. So I told Ryke this morning, and he said there’s a backup installed on expensive computers to revive it.” He finally meets my gaze, and before he speaks this time, I interject.
“I can explain,” I say quickly. “I started looking at it a few days ago, but only for a few minutes at a time. I’m learning how to portion control. I was going to tell you after I talked to my parents. It’s a good thing actually. I can watch it like a normal person now.” My voice becomes unnaturally high.
Ryke, surprisingly, keeps quiet and turns to Lo.
I’ve already framed his response. He won’t condone my p*rn usage, that I’m sure, but he’ll tell me he understands how hard it is for me and that I have to do better. I wait for his sympathetic words.
“I hope you enjoyed it,” Lo says with edge, “because that was your last time on the internet.”
My mouth falls open, too shocked to speak. He closes my computer and snatches it from Ryke’s lap. I imagine him tossing it in the trash, and my voice suddenly reanimates. “Waitwaitwait!” I throw up my hands. “I have school. I need to write papers and do research.”
Lo walks to a cabinet and places my laptop inside. “Then I’ll sit with you when you do them, but obviously you can’t be trusted with a computer right now.” His eyes hit mine. “Have you been looking at p*rn on your phone?”
I stare at the cabinet in a fog. I can’t believe this is happening. Lo has never practiced tough love with me. The only love I know is either the sweet kind or the kind that makes me come.
I blink. “A little.”
His chest rises and falls heavily, hurt or angry or maybe a bit of both. “There is no a little,” he says roughly. “It’s either yes or no.”
I shake my head. “I was making it work,” I defend.
“Porn is not like sex. You’re not allowed to look at the photos for an hour and be done.”
“Why not?” I ask. “If I’m not being compulsive about it—”
“You’re addicted. It doesn’t feel like a compulsion now. But two days later that hour on your computer turns into three. A week later, you’re losing sleep to the habit. Then in a month, all your free f**king time is consumed by checking your phone, logging onto websites, falling asleep to movies. Lily…” He walks over and cups my face, brushing fallen tears from my eyes. “I have watched p*rn eat away your time and your life. I’m not going to let it happen again.”
Before I can wrap my head around my feelings, his hand slips into my back pocket, and he retrieves my cell phone. “On the way to your parents, we’ll stop and buy you a flip phone. One that doesn’t have internet.”
He slides the cell into his own pocket. His eyes fall to mine, still serious.
“Have you been masturbating?”
I feel the heat of my rash-like embarrassment flooding my face. I glance hesitantly at Ryke, not wanting to discuss any of this with him in the room. They have banded together, and I can’t deny that Ryke has made Lo stronger.
“Lily, you asked to give me head in front of him,” Lo reminds me. “You can’t be embarrassed now.”
“I’m not…I haven’t.” I don’t mention how I’ve contemplated the act and almost succumbed to the temptation (more than once) in the shower.
“You promise?” he asks, still disbelieving. “Because there are ways I can check. I could smell your fingers right now or go through your box of toys.”
I scowl. My stomach turns in a mixture of anger and hurt. “You don’t have to do that,” I say. “I’m telling you the truth.”