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Just like he’s lunging for his phone.

Here and then gone.

He hopped out of the pool as soon as his phone started ringing. I’ve never seen anyone so anxious when their phone rings. I want to find out why he gets like that, but I also hope I never find out because that would mean we’d have to have another conversation.

Sagan answers his phone as he’s walking out of the pool room. I’m alone now. It’s kind of creepy, so I jump out of the water and grab the last towel. I also grab the key card and my stuff and head to the bathroom to change.

Honor has a fresh face of makeup and she’s currently brushing her hair at the sink. She’s already changed out of her bathing suit. “Is everyone ready to go?”

“More than ready,” I say, closing the stall door behind me.

“I’ll be in the van,” she says on her way out the door.

I finish changing clothes, but I don’t bother brushing my hair or applying makeup like Honor did. I just don’t care as much as she does.

When I make it back to the front desk to return the key, Sagan is in the lobby, still on the phone. Honor hands him his dry clothes and he smiles at her and then walks them to the bathroom. Honor and Utah both walk outside and once again . . . I’m all alone. Because the front desk clerk is nowhere to be found.

“Angela,” I say, tapping the key card on the counter. I’m not sure if I should just leave it on the counter and go, or if I should wait on her to return to the desk.

“Coming,” she says, a little too cheerful. The door to an office opens and she slips out, smiling a little too widely. She combs through her hair with her fingers.

“Just returning this.” I slide the key across the counter to her. I’m about to walk toward the exit, but I pause when Luck emerges from the office Angela just came from. He’s still wearing the shorts he had on in the pool. I look at Angela, but she darts her eyes away, tucking the back of her work shirt into her skirt. I look back at Luck.

“Is everyone ready?” he asks casually, as if I didn’t just interrupt whatever was happening in that office.

I nod, but I don’t speak. I just walk away quietly because I’m speechless.

Did that seriously just happen?

Luck was in the middle of a conversation with me a mere fifteen minutes ago when he got up and walked away. How—in the span of fifteen minutes—did he end up having sex with a girl he doesn’t even know in the office of a hotel?

I’m angry and I don’t even know why. I couldn’t care less who Luck has sex with. I don’t even know him. I’m angrier about the fact that I wouldn’t even know the first thing about having sex, much less a quickie with a guy I’ve never met before. Sex seems like such a monumental thing. It should take months to lead up to, and he accomplishes it in fifteen minutes.

The door is open when I reach the van. Honor is sitting in one of the two middle seats, so I save the other one for Sagan and take the backseat this time. I’m not sure I want to sit by anyone at this point.

Sagan walks outside and climbs in the front seat.

“Where’s Luck?” Honor asks.

“He’s getting dressed,” Sagan says.

“He got held up,” I add. “He was busy screwing Angela in the back office.”

Honor spins around in her seat, wide-eyed. “Shut up! Angela is dating Russell!”

I really don’t care.

“Is she really?” Utah asks. “Isn’t that Shannon’s older brother?”

Honor turns around in her seat. “They’ve been dating for like two years. I can’t believe she’d do that to him!” Her words make it appear that she’s upset about Angela cheating on her boyfriend, but her voice is way too eager over the possibility of it happening. Honor has always loved gossip. It’s one of the many things she and Utah have in common.

Luck finally returns to the van, pulling his shirt over his head as he takes his seat. He closes the door and Honor doesn’t waste any time. “Did you really just have sex with Angela?”

Luck turns around in his seat and faces me. “Really, Merit?”

I feel guilty for telling them now. It seems like I came straight out to the van with gossip, but I only told them because I was . . . I don’t know. Why did I tell them?

Luck turns back around in his seat. “I don’t kiss and tell.”

“She has a boyfriend,” Honor says.

“That’s lovely,” Luck says, uninterested.

“You’re going to make things even worse for us,” Honor says.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“The Voss family already has a terrible reputation around here, thanks to our father and Victoria. Now we’ve added you to the mix and you’re a man-whore.”

Luck laughs. “Do people not have sex in this town?”

“They do,” I say. “But there’s usually more than a one-minute screening process.”

“Yeah, well, sex doesn’t mean as much to me as it must mean to you guys.”

“What if it meant something to Angela?” Honor asks.

Luck rolls his head and looks at Honor. “Believe me. It didn’t.”

“Says a lot about your performance,” I say with a chuckle.

Luck turns around and hugs the seat, looking at me. “Speaking of sex,” he says, challenging me with his stare. “Have you ever had sex with that guy you have a crush on? What’s his name again?”

I shake my head, silently begging him to shut up, but I can tell I’ve upset him by starting this whole conversation. He very well might bring Sagan into the fold just to get back at me.

“You look embarrassed,” he says, narrowing his eyes. “Are you a virgin, Merit?”

Sadly, I’m probably the only virgin out of this whole group. But I’m not about to discuss that with anyone in this van.

“Are you?” Luck asks again.

“Stop,” Sagan says from the front seat. His voice is shockingly authoritative.

Luck raises an eyebrow and then slowly turns back around. Sagan glances in the rearview mirror and finds me. I have no idea what thoughts are going through his head, but they don’t seem to be in my favor. He holds eye contact for a few seconds and then looks away. I close my eyes and press my forehead against the back of Luck’s seat.

I shouldn’t have come tonight. This is why I never hang out with any of them. It never ends on a good note.

Chapter Seven

There are only twenty-four hours in today, just like every other day, but today seems twice as long.

We got back to the house a little after ten from swimming. Sagan took a shower first and then Honor took one. Utah has a shower in his bedroom, so he and Luck took turns using that one. By the time I got a free shower, there was no hot water left. I couldn’t even wash my hair, but I honestly don’t care. I’ll take a shower when everyone is gone tomorrow.

I pulled the drawing Sagan did this morning out of my dresser and hung it on the wall next to my bed. I decided I wanted to look at it all the time. I’m looking at it right now as I sit on the floor next to the wall that separates mine and Honor’s bedrooms. She and Sagan just started arguing and I want to hear every word of it. However, I only get bits and pieces because Sagan is too quiet in his rebuttals. Honor is the one raising her voice.

“You knew this when we met!” she yells.

He quietly responds with something inaudible and then she says, “You sound like my father.”

He says something else and she completely loses it. “I am not!” she yells. “I knew him before I knew you, so don’t you dare make me feel guilty!”


That sounds bad.

A few seconds later, the door to Honor’s bedroom slams shut. Then the door to Sagan’s bedroom slams shut. Then someone knocks on my door.

I jump up because it’s probably Honor and the last thing I want her to see is me sitting on the floor next to the wall, eavesdropping on her conversation.

I open the door, but it isn’t Honor. It’s Luck.

“Oh,” I say. “Hey.”

“Can I come in?”

I open the door wider and he walks in, assessing my room. I close the door while I assess him. He’s wearing a pair of navy blue sweatpants and mismatched socks. He doesn’t have a shirt on, but he’s wearing a scarf.

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