06: The Party
Warning: Changing POV’s
No open drinks... I didn’t want to leave her alone for too long. It was a rule at our parties, but we couldn’t police everyone and Grace didn’t know the ropes. She was a fucking genius in everything but the fun side of life.
“Hey, where’s the fire?” Jacques asked when I almost bumped into him.
I paused and took a step back, gesturing to my soiled pants.
He raised an eyebrow. “Already making progress? I’m a little surprised. Didn’t think Grace would go for it so quickly.”
With both hands, I clutched the back of my shaking head. “You have no f*cking idea. I can’t-I just I can’t even tell you right now.”
Jacques darted after me as I made my way to his room in search of some new pants. I jerked the zipper of my pants down and discarded them as Jacques leaned against the wall.
“Can you tell me now?” he asked.
I settled my hands on his dresser, bent my head, and exhaled as I stared at him through his mirror. “I’m getting hard again.”
Jacques scowled. “Gross man. I know you and Kie don’t care where you get it from, but I do.”
“You’re not making me hard! What Grace said to me in the car, what she did to me in there... f*ck. That is making me hard. Oh shit!” I dropped my head against the smooth mahogany top.
“Go jerk one-off in the bathroom, or do you want me to go get you, someone?”
I lifted my head and scowled. “You know I don’t do that shit.” Cheating was for uneducated amateurs with an ego they didn’t deserve or to get even.
Jacques’s eyebrows rose high. “You’re already with her? F*ck me. I need to up my game or you’re gonna win again. There’s no way I’m letting you win this year!”
I sea-sawed my hand, “Eh, I’m not actually ‘dating’ her.”
“Did you or did you not bring her here tonight? Isn’t that a date?”
“First date. You know how some overly experienced women are willing to make your wildest dreams come true?”
One more inhale and exhale. I needed to prepare myself. “I just hit the mother f*cking jackpot!! Grace is extremely inexperienced and I mean to the point that she’s never masturbated. She doesn’t even know how to, but because of that beautifully intelligent brain, she looks at situations, like this, from a scientific “experimental” point-of-view. A point-of-view where sex is a basic, physical need. Watch her face, she analyzes everything.”
I turned, staring at Jacques so he would understand, “She wants me to teach her how.”
“How to--” Jacques trailed off, with his fingers wiggling upward.
I nodded, knowing he was going there. “How everything!”
“Damn. I’m starting to regret I stepped aside for you.”
I raised an eyebrow and shook my head as I slipped the khaki-colored pants on. “No. Don’t even think about putting yourself back in the game with Gracie.”
“Gracie is it? You better be careful this time around.”
Snorting, I rolled my eyes at him. “Why?”
“You’re already acting differently with this one.”
“That’s because she made me blow my load in five seconds!”
Jacques aimed a finger at me, “My point.”
“No. That’s one thing I won’t have to worry about. Grace is too leveled headed about this being a scientific teaching experience. Her heart won’t get in the way. She won’t let it.”
Jacques shrugged, “Wasn’t talkin’ about her heart.”
“Me? Please! I’ve never been in love and I don’t plan on it.”
“I’m just sayin’!”
I glared at him. “You always just ‘say’ that with every new conquest! It can’t throw me off my game and you know it. So, have you found your next one?”
Jacques shook his head.
“You’re not still with that blonde chick are you?”
“Nah, but you as much as anyone should know how rare it is to find a virgin nowadays. Kie’s little sister--”
“No! We all promised.”
Jacques held his hand up, “Not her, her best friend.”
A slow smile spread on my face. I loved it when I knew something and the other party didn’t. “She’s a lesbian dude.”
His lazy, slouching stance against the wall stiffened and with his left foot kicked himself forward, “You’re f*cking with me, I know you are!”
I placed my hand over my heart. “I would never, but if you don’t, believe me, I guess you can waste your time finding out yourself, while I’m probably a week away from winning. That’s fine! Just so you know, as someone who doesn’t care where I get it from as you so eloquently put it, my gaydar is on ten. And she’s not like me, she only bats for her team.” I swiveled around him and darted out the door, not wanting to waste any more time.
“Did you tell her it’s a pool party yet?” Jacques asked, keeping up with my fast pace.
“No. I’m sure she’s figured it out by now.”
But she hadn’t. In fact, we couldn’t find her at all.
I jogged towards Jacques backyard were the in-ground pool was. Jensen laughed as he splashed the girl in front of him and Kie drifted on a silver pool raft with a drink holder. “Hey, you guys seen Grace?” Jensen shook his had and Kie took his sunglasses off shaking his head.
I wasn’t worried. This was an exclusive invite and all thirty people, excluding Grace, were out here, swimming, soaking in the hot tub, or playing water volleyball. Jacques patted me on the back. “She probably got lost. Keep your cell phone on. I’ll help you look. Text if you find her.”
Nodding quickly, I followed.
“Oh my goodness, you are just so adorable,” I gushed over the dog who was so excited her entire body shook with her wagging tail as I let her out of her kennel. “Who’s a good girl?”
I lathered the Golden Retriever with attention. Reaching for her collar, I saw her name. “Jezebel. My goodness. Do you know the origin of that name, girl?” A few more kisses from Jezebel later and I went to open the next cage.
This dog looked to be a miniature greyhound. “What’s your name lovey?” I asked. This dog was a little timider and kept her affection to a shy lick of my hand at first. I let her sniff my hand longer than I had Jezebel, but soon enough she was wiggling just as much in excitement as she came to me for snuggles. “Another good gi--boy. Prince, huh? I thought you looked like a prince. This grey coat of yours is nothing but royal.”
The third dog was huge and actually looked more like a wolf with amazing light blue eyes watching my every move. The dominating stance he was taking as I approached the cage let me know I’d have to earn this pup’s kiss and snuggles. I paused and decided to put the other two dogs back in their cage first. When I walked back to the cage, those blue, black ringed eyes watched me with curiosity.
Ten minutes later and I was under Thor as he slobbered over my face. “You are huge. And heavy. Thor, I can’t breathe,” I said into his fur as I hugged him. I pushed my forearm up and pushed as hard as I could, but once earned this dog gave you all the love more. “Good grief.”
How was I going to get him off?
I stood in the doorway, watching her go through one dog after the other. She was a natural with animals and she knew that Thor needed to be approached differently than the other two. She’d sat a few feet away from him, Indian style, in the middle of the floor, staring at him. Never breaking eye contact. She won and Thor trotted happily over to her, accepting her dominance over him.
Sending a text to Blue that I found her and she’d be outside soon, I walked in. “Need some help?”
I chuckled as I heard her muffle a sigh of relief. “Thank goodness! He weighs a ton.”
“Come on, Thor,” I said, snapping my fingers and pointing to the floor in front of me. Thor lifted his gaze, yipped at me and his gaze went back to Grace. “Thor!”
Thor licked her face and then trotted over to me with a look that seemed to say ‘look, I made a new friend.’ I patted his head and then directed him back into his kennel. I glanced at Grace’s face and she frowned as I closed the gate. “I don’t keep them there all the time. Just during parties. With so many people going in and out, I don’t want to risk any of them getting lost. I mean I have them all chipped, but even a chipped pet an take a long time to find, you know?”
She nodded. “I understand. They’re wonderful dogs. They’ve been raised well.”
I smiled down at her and offered my hand. “Ready to go to the party?”
She shook her head. “I still have the cats, your snake--”
“Well, there’s an after-party after this party. Maybe five or six of us. Kie’s gonna do some tattoos, we’ll play some card games and I’ll let all my pets out at the time. Sound good?”
“So I will be at this after-party?”
“If you want, sure.”
She nodded. “Okay.
With his hand on my lower back, he directed me towards the room where a few people used to be. Frowning, I glanced around. “Where is everyone?”
“It’s a pool party.”
My heart dropped and my eyes widened. Resisting Jacques’s guidance, he stopped walking. “What’s the matter?” he asked.
“I-a-I-a,” I cleared my throat. “I can’t swim.”
He frowned. “Really?”
There was more to it than that. It wasn’t just that I couldn’t swim, it was that I was petrified of areas with large water.
Applying more pressure onto my back, he walked us outside. “It’s fine, there’s a shallow end.”
“I didn’t bring a bathing suit. Blue never said it was--”
“You have underwear and a bra on, right?”
Blue came forward, still fully clothed, and gave me a light peck on the cheek. “I was waiting for you,” he said, as he reached back and tugged the back of his shirt off and over his head.
For a second, a fraction of a second, gazing on his naked upper body was enough to make me forget my fear. I’d heard the phrase ‘you could bounce quarters off of those abs’ before, but only now did I understand as I gazed at his six-pack.
I bit my bottom lip. “I can’t swim.”
Blue’s hands paused at the waistband of his new pants and gave me a half-smile. “There’s a shallow end.”
“I don’t um--it’s not just that.”
“Okay. What else? Come on, Gracie, take your dress off!”
Why my body was moving, listening to Blue’s demand, I had no idea, and I reached behind my back, unzipped the dress, and shimmied out of it. It landed on the deck and I bent to pick up, clutching it to my chest. I took a step back from the pool when Kie swam over. He surfaced, shaking his head. Water droplets landed against my leg and I watched as he folded his arms on the deck, rested his head against them, and a playful grin graced his lips.
“Well, hello kitty,” he said with a chuckle.
“Blue,” a girl squealed. I recognized her voice immediately and frowned. Blondie was here?
She wrapped her arms around Blue’s bare torso. “Why aren’t you getting in?”
He gently detached himself from her grip, an act that pleased me more than it should. It wasn’t like I owned him after all, but it still made me feel good. “Gracie can’t swim.”
Blondie snorted and rolled her eyes as she stepped towards me. She circled around me and stopped just behind me, eyeing my black undergarments. “Are you serious with this underwear? Haven’t you ever heard of Victoria Secret?”
I scowled at her. “Of course I have. I don’t live under a rock, well at least not most of the time. Victoria’s Secret is way too expensive.”
She tapped her chin. “Oh that’s right, I forgot you’re that charity case scholarship student. No wonder these are little thin and flimsy.”
I folded my arms across my stomach and heaved an irritated sigh. Who had time to be so hateful? I sure didn’t.
“I bet she’s lying about not being able to swim,” Blondie said, and the change in her body was immediate. I knew what she was doing ten seconds before it happened, but I wasn’t fast enough to stop her.
The force of her push jerked my head back. I sailed over Kie’s head and the slap of the water made tears sting my eyes. And this wasn’t the shallow end. Six feet of nothing but water and everyone was too far away or just hadn’t noticed. I held my breath and struggled to the top, but to no avail. My chest burned and my vision blurred from lack of air. I was sinking further down, tiring myself out, and just as my eyes started to close, someone grabbed my hand.
A new force shot through me. The will to fight coming back as the male hand jerked me towards the surface. I blinked my eyes as I surfaced and screamed, rather gasped for air. My arms and legs shot forward and I clung to my rescuer.
“Please don’t let me go,” I cried out, plastering my face to the side of his, not caring who it was. He shifted, trying to keep himself above water at the same time, and I screamed, holding tighter to him. “Don’t let go!”
“I’m not. I gotchya.”
Kie. “Kie, please don’t let me go. I can’t swim. I’m not lying,” I cried into his face.
“I’m not gonna let you go, but you have to let me move enough so I can swim to the side, okay? Grace, can you do that?”
I nodded, but couldn’t loosen my grip. He went under but came back up spluttering. “She’s not letting me go. Jensen!”
Jensen, who had been apart of the volleyball team--all of whom stopped at the commotion--swam quickly towards them. When he got there he tried to pry my arms off him, but I screamed again.
“It’s okay, Grace,” Kie whispered into my ear.
“Just push us over,” Kie said to Jensen. “I’m starting to get tired treading water.”
“This is why you’re supposed to knock ’em out and another reason why you need to work out more, Kie,” Jensen mumbled, pushing at Kie’s back.
“Not all of us are sports junkie’s Jen,” Kie replied while running a soothing hand through my hair and transitioning to my shoulders.
I shivered against him, feeling my rapid heartbeat start to decelerate the closer we got to the edge. Kie’s arms dropped, and wrapped around my waist, hugging me tightly. My gaze shifted to his and his gray eyes were warm, consoling. “It’s okay, Gracie,” he whispered into my ear, while brushing wet, clinging strands of my hair off my face.
When we got to the side, Blue was there waiting with a towel, but it was Blondie who reached for me. I was too scared to be mad, but not scared enough to notice the genuine concern on her face. “Grace, I’m sorry. I really thought you were just being difficult,” she said.
I nodded, accepting her apology and as soon as I did that the concern drained from her face. Her face sneers back now that she’d pulled me out of the water and I was safe.
“It’s not like I care though. I can’t believe you don’t know how to swim. Loser,” she grumbled bumping her shoulder into mine.
Blue wrapped the towel around me and hugged me tight to his chest, but my knees were so wobbly that I ended up dropping to the ground. Blue followed. It took a while for the shaking to stop. Even though I was wrapped in a towel, being held by another body, and the setting sun was beating down as well over ninety degrees.
Eventually, I relaxed and Blue let me go to take a dip, but he didn’t go for. He managed to coax me to put my legs in. It took me a few minutes to relax, but when I did he placed his chin on my bare knee and grinned up at me. “Gracie, do you want to learn how to swim?”