Sean smiles. The way it spreads across his face makes me melt. Oh my god. “I did say that, didn’t I?” I nod. “Well, we haven’t had dessert.”

I twist out of his arms, laughing lightly. “I am not eating dessert with you.”

“Who said we’d be eating? You’re the dessert,” Sean says tugging my arm playfully. “And I can’t wait to taste you.”

I can’t wipe the smile off my face. Laughing, I pull away from him again. “I have to leave. Go eat a KitKat.” He follows me across the parking lot to my car. I stop in front of my door, expecting him to try and kiss me, but he doesn’t. Sean remains two steps away. “Thanks for dinner.”

“My pleasure.” There’s a look in his eye. It makes me want to be chased.

I open my car door and grab the can of ether. I spray the engine, walk back to my seat, slip in and close the door. Sean is sitting next to me in the passenger seat. “So, dessert.”

“Seriously?” I laugh. “This is the car from hell, or have you forgotten?”

“Oh, I have not forgotten. This car is vividly seared into my memory.” Sean takes my hand and lifts it to his mouth and presses his lips gently. A light tugging sensation snakes through my body, pulling me toward those lips like they’re magnetic. Sean lifts his sapphire eyes and looks at me.

I forget to breathe. I forget everything. I take a jagged breath and pull my hand out of his. “I need to go.”

“I’m going with you.” Sean takes his seat belt and pulls it across his lap, ready to shove it into place.

“I wouldn’t do that.”


He does it anyway. The metal clicks and his seatbelt is buckled. “Tell me not to come if you don’t want to see me.” Sean watches my face as he says it, knowing that I don’t want him to leave. He lifts his hand to my face and trails his fingers down my cheek. Images of slippery bodies passes through my mind.

“That’s not it.” I breathe. He’s an inch from my lips. That tugging consumes me. I want to close the distance and press my mouth to his, but I don’t.

“Then what is it?” he replies softly.

I’m quiet for a moment. I’ve forgotten what I’m talking about. His eyes are so beautiful. The curve of those lips is hypnotic. No wonder why I can’t think around him. I find my brain and tell him. “That seat belt only buckles. It’s doesn’t unbuckle.”

Sean grins wolfishly, like he just deflowered an entire flock of virgins and I’m next. “I guess I’m going with you, then.”

Shaking my head at his tenacity, I start the car. It lurches out of the parking spot and I get onto the road. Sean reaches for the heater. I tell him not to, but it’s too late. A puff of white smoke shoots out of the vents. Reaching for the switch, I flip it off. “Don’t touch anything.”

“There’s no heater?” he balks, but when he glances at me, he looks concerned. “Why aren’t you ever wearing a coat?”

“Because I don’t have one. They’re expensive and it seemed like a waste of money. When it’s really cold out, I have a sweater I can wear.”

“You mean that other oversized ball of yarn I saw you wearing?” I nod. His eyes flick to the window, where it’s cracked open next to my head, blasting me with cold air. “Why are you still driving this thing? It’s a death trap.”

I shoot him an evil look. “Seriously? You’re asking me why I’m driving a shitty car? Because, I don’t have eight grand to blow whenever I want. I can barely keep this thing running as it is.” There must be something about the way I say it, because Sean doesn’t press me. Instead the topic shifts to him.

Sean’s fingers are at the top of the window, and he looks outside and up at the sky. “I haven’t been here at this time of year in a long time. I forgot how much I like it. The air smells like snow.” He gives me a half smile and asks, “Where are we going?”

“You’ll see.” I drive into a park. It’s past dark and there aren’t many lights along the road once we’re inside.

Sean looks around and says, “If I wasn’t stuck in my seat, I’d be worried you were going to hack me up and leave me in the woods.”

Grinning, I reply, “I have to get you out of the seatbelt somehow.”

“You’re a little twisted, you know that?”

“Oh, and you aren’t?”

“I never said that.” Sean gives me a look and shakes his head.

“What then?” I say, driving past the building I was looking for. There are a few cars in the parking lot. I drive around back and stop the car. It shudders and dies.

“You surprise me, that’s all.” Sean looks around and asks, “Where are we?”

“At the skating rink.” I get out of the car and walk around to his side. I yank open the door to find him trying to free himself from the seat. “I’ll get it. Wait a second.” I flip open the glove box and grab a screwdriver. I lean across his lap and shove the screwdriver into the buckle. I can feel Sean’s breath on my cheek. His scent fills my head as I jiggle the screwdriver and the buckle comes free. “There.” Sean’s gaze is intense, like I just did something so sexy that he’s going to die. The way he looks at me, makes every nerve in my body feel like it’s strung tight. I want to scream in giddy excitement and laugh.

“Thanks,” Sean says, his voice a little too husky. I turn and walk away from the car. Sean steps out of the old car and slams the door. “What are we—?” he asks but doesn’t have a chance to finish before getting hit in the face with a snowball.

I laugh hysterically, standing next to the enormous pile of ice shavings from the rink. After they fix the ice, all the shavings are dumped out back to melt. It’s the funniest thing to grab some snow and hurl a snowball at someone when it’s summer. Since it’s cold outside, there is a lot more than normal because it hasn’t melted yet, but still—Sean doesn’t expect it. The look on his face is priceless.

Sean turns toward me in slow motion, his eyes taking in the pile of snow. “You took me here to have a snowball fight?”

I nod. “Well, I can’t exactly take my chastity belt off for just anyone. You have to earn it, man.”

“I thought I bought it,” he says, walking slowly toward the pile of snow. It’s taller than both of us. It looks like the huge snow piles you see in parking lots after the plows push all the snow aside.

I back up the hill, grinning like a lunatic. “You bought the belt, not the key.”

“I’m going to pretend that I’m not in metaphorical hell and—”

Smack! I hurl another snowball at him. It hits his cheek and explodes into powder.

“You talk too much,” I giggle and start grabbing snow and throwing snowballs as fast as I can.

Sean doesn’t hesitate. He runs up the pile of snow in his black suit and tailored black coat. He runs up the hill so that he’s higher than me. I nail him in the stomach with a few throws before he has time to retaliate. A snowball clips my ear and the snow goes down my sweater. My hands start to sting from my lack of gloves, but I don’t really notice. We’re laughing and jumping around on the snow hill, pegging each other like little kids. Sean laughs so much that his eyes water. When I least expect it, he charges me running straight at me. Sean’s body collides with mine, and he pins me in the snow, holding my hands down at my sides.

I yelp as snow goes places it shouldn’t. “You suck! Let me go! Lemme go! Lemmegahhhh!” My laughter turns into hysterical screeches when he yanks my feet and snow gets shoved up my back. I try to twist away, but he doesn’t let me.

Flailing, I kick my legs out of his grip and swing. My leg clotheslines him and Sean falls next to me. I take my chance and jump on top of him, straddling him and shove snow in his face. “You’re so mean!” I laugh, trying to make him eat snow.

Sean grabs my wrists and pulls me down on top of him. Our eyes lock and I can’t look away. I’m freezing, but I don’t care. I want him. Leaning in slowly, I think about kissing him, about how it would feel. That’s when someone opens the backdoor to the ice rink and starts yelling.

“You damn kids! Get the hell out of here!” He can’t see us, it’s so dark, but we’ve been so loud up until now that he knows we’re here. He shines a flashlight at the snow pile.

My eyes go wide and I stifle a laugh. I get off Sean and pull him to his feet, dragging him by the wrist around to the back of the snow pile. We stay there for a second, until the guy gives up, and then burst out laughing.

“Holy shit,” he says, doubled over and breathing hard. “I haven’t gotten yelled at like that since high school.”

“Yeah, what’d you do then?” I say, laughing.

“Toilet papered the principal’s car… and got caught by said principal when he left for lunch early.” Sean snorts a blast of laughter and shakes his head. “He let me have it.”

I smile at him as we head to my car. It feels like I should take his hand in mine, but I don’t. We smile at each other and get back into the car. Breathing hard, I look at him. My face is frozen and I’ve been smiling so much that it’s stuck like that.

“Thanks,” I say.

“For what?” Sean looks at me, but he doesn’t know it yet. There’s a stain that mars my life. It hangs over me like a lead balloon.

“I haven’t laughed so much in a really long time.”

Sean takes my hand and holds it to his lips, cradling my frozen fingers between his. “Neither have I.” Sean opens his mouth, like he wants to say more, but he doesn’t. Instead he releases my hand and I drive him back to the restaurant where he grabs his bike and we part ways.


By the time I get home, I’m cold and tired. My head is spinning, unable to understand how tonight went from disastrous, to bliss. The laugh lines on my face seem like they’re going to be etched onto my skin until I walk into my dorm room. Amber is on top of some guy, riding him like a horse, and they’re both nak*d. I look away, but it’s not before I get an eye full of her bouncing boobs and sex noises that I could have lived without hearing. Again.

I go into the shower and lock the door. I stay in there forever, hoping they’ll both pull their groin muscles or something. After a while, the hot water beats on my back and I start thinking about Sean. I wonder if I’ll ever be like that. Amber’s a skank. I wonder what made her that way, and hope to God that it doesn’t happen to me. When I get out of the shower, I wrap myself in a towel and pad out into our room. The monkey loving is over, and I head to find clothes.

Amber is sitting up on her bed with a pink sheet draped over her body. The guy she was with is gone. Disgusted, I say, “Was that the fourth guy this week?”

“Yes, no thanks to you. Dennis tried to dump me after you blabbed.” Amber grabs a pack of cigarettes and smacks them into her palm after opening the window. She’s smoking again. Wonderful.