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Burnt Toast & White Wine

Eden woke to the smell of burning toast. Smiling to herself, she knew her older sister, Ellie, was making breakfast.

Eden jumped out of bed and quickly washed. She wrapped a bathrobe around her body and ran off to see Ellie. Ellie usually wasn’t home-- her office shift clashed with Eden’s night schedule.

Feeling like a child on Christmas, Ellie ran into the kitchen excitedly.

“Ellie! Finally, you’re home-”

As soon as Eden walked into the room, Ellie gave a squawk of surprise and covered her chest. Ellie was on the counter shirtless, fervently kissing her boyfriend Diesel. Her bare legs were wrapped around his shirtless torso.

Eden turned around and screwed her eyes shut, trying to drown the image from her head.

“Not on the counter,” Eden pleaded. “Not on the counter...”

Diesel gave a grunt of annoyance, and Eden turned into the kitchen, trying hard to ignore them.

“So... what have you been up to?” Ellie asked Eden in a wild moment.

“Uh, nothing much. Hanging out with Taylor. Work. That’s about it.” Eden answered.

Moving to fill her plate, she noticed the food in the skillet was burnt to a crisp. Angrily, she turned to Ellie.

“I just bought all of this yesterday- the bacon, eggs, toast... That wasn’t cheap you know.” Eden said trying to keep her anger at bay.

Ellie rolled her eyes, “Accidents do happen Eden.”

“Accidents? No one asked you to have fucking sex on the counter! All you had to do was watch it for a second!” Ellie shouted at her.

Diesel moved protectively in front of Ellie. Eden loathed him--found his disgusting even. His black hair was greasy and hung in a low, black curtain. His big, yet built frame was enough to intimidate just about anyone.

“You’re always finding a reason to be bitching,” Diesel said, slowly advancing on Eden. “Appreciate your sister for once.”

“Money isn’t easy around here. And you know that.” Eden said, turning angrily to Ellie.

“Aren’t you getting tips from that strip club you worked at?” Diesel barked at her. “Oh, I forgot, you’re too self-conscious to get on a pole. Ha!”

Eden turned to stare at Diesel. She hadn’t told him she was working at the club... she turned to Ellie who promptly turned red.

“Yeah, tell him our whole life story while you’re at it, won’t you.” Eden spat angrily at Ellie.

Ellie called for her to explain, but Eden didn’t care to listen. Eden ran to her room and got dressed. In that same second, Diesel appeared in the doorway, watching her with a hungry expression.

“Maybe I’ll swing by your club... I’ll pay for a dance.” Diesel whispered.

“Get out! GET OUT!” Eden screamed, throwing a shoe at his head.

Diesel left, chuckling. Tears were stinging in Eden’s eyes, as she grabbed her phone and purse and ran out of the doorway. Rushing down the steps in the hallway, she heard a loud smack and Ellie screaming.

Eden hurried out of the building.

*~*

“Where are we going today?” Eden asked, watching yellow taxi cabs swerving to pick people up.

“Brooklyn. Remember the officer guy I was talking about? We’ve been seeing each other, and he wants me over at his apartment today.” Taylor said, grinning.

They drove along the busy streets of Manhattan, singing and dancing their hearts out to the radio. Finally, they reached the apartment. Unlike Eden’s apartment, this complex was well-groomed, with a fresh-cut lawn and lively trees.

Taylor bounced up the stairs and pressed the intercom.

“It’s me!” Taylor sang into the intercom. The door buzzed and unlocked. Taylor and Eden climbed up.

The door opened, and an insanely handsome man stood at the doorway. He had dark brown hair that was voluminous with curls and striking green eyes. He smiled at the sight of Taylor, who gave him a warm hug.

“About time you came.” He breathed into Taylor’s hair.

Taylor promptly turned red and turned around to Eden.

“Brad, this is my best friend Eden. Eden, Brad.” Taylor said, moving from the threshold.

Brad and Eden shook hands and moved inside his apartment. On the clothes hook, his duty belt was hanging.

“Don’t get any ideas now,” Brad said jokingly, watching Eden eye the taser and guns hanging off the belt.

“Just a precaution,” Eden said, grinning.

“Make yourselves at home. I’ll get you guys something to drink.” Brad said, gesturing to the creme colored couch.

Taylor and Eden plopped down. Taylor craned her head to make sure he was out of earshot and excitedly turned to Eden.

“What do you think? I brought you because I knew you’d be honest.” Taylor asked.

Eden looked around the apartment. Unlike Taylor’s past boyfriends, Brad kept a tidy house. A flat-screen t.v. was mounted on the wall, and a bookcase full of books and tiny succulents ran across the same wall.

“He seems okay. I don’t know him that well, but he seems sweet. Funny. Smart. Your type of guy.” Eden answered truthfully.

Taylor smiled widely, and Brad walked into the room with a bottle of white wine and three glasses.

“Now, I don’t know what kind of drinks you ladies prefer, but I thought the wine was a safe option,” Brad said, putting the glasses out in front of them.

Taylor and Eden shared a look. White wine? This was a man of class.

“Oh, I can’t drink, I’m 20...” Eden said.

Brad gave a short laugh and shook his head, “I’ll turn a blind eye this time. Just don’t tell my boss.” Brad said, winking at Eden.

Brad and Taylor engaged in lively chatter, which Eden drowned out with her own thoughts until she heard Brad ask something strange.

“Don’t you have class today? I was surprised when you called to come over.” Brad said sipping his wine.

For a fraction of a second, Eden turned her head towards Taylor questionably, but then returned to her deadpan at the bookshelf.

“Uh, I didn’t have classes today, my professor canceled off last minute.” Taylor lied between her teeth.

There was a long stretch of silence, in which Taylor refused to make eye contact with Eden.

“Well, we should be going now. We’re going shopping.” Taylor said, standing up.

She gave Brad a hug, and he responded by sweeping her off her feet. Taylor gave a squeal of surprise, and squirmed about, laughing and demanding he let her down.

Eden continued past the threshold, feeling incredibly lonely. She couldn’t help but feel a twang of jealousy-- of course, the gorgeous and seductive Taylor could land an equally smart and handsome man.

“Not letting you go until I get a kiss!” Brad said playfully.

“Take me on a date first and you’ll get one,” Taylor whispered fiercely.

Eden felt like she was intruding on a private moment, but couldn’t remove her eyes from the scene. Her heart throbbed for that kind of love.

Brad let Taylor go with a smile.

“Fine, next week. I’ll text you.” Brad promised.

“Bye Brad,” Taylor said with a smile.

Eden and Taylor left the building and got into her car. As Taylor drove off, Eden turned to her questionably.

“′Classes’? Taylor, please don’t tell me you told him you’re in college.” Eden said.

Taylor’s hand tightened on the wheel, as she impatiently brushed her blonde hair to the side.

“What do you want me to say, Eden? ′Hi, my name is Taylor, and I’m a stripper by night? Doesn’t make for a great introduction, does it?” Taylor said angrily.

“No, but he’s going to find out eventually. There’s no way he won’t.” Eden said cautiously.

“No, I’ll make sure he doesn’t find out,” Taylor said, her angelic features hardening into something more sinister. “Even if that’s the last thing I do.”

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