Maybe Just One More

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Chapter 11. Is That What We're Doing?

Stormie

Avery’s truck was filled. Claire and I were in the front seat, smashed between Avery and Mason. Caleb, Ryder, and Howie were in the back seat.

“Dude, I can’t believe you came back at the end like that,” Caleb said.

“Just lucky, I guess,” Avery said.

The only one who heard the double meaning in his voice was me, which made me smile. My gaze flickered up to him, and he was looking at me too. He smiled wider at me and bit his lip, then looked away.

“What the hell was with you in the first half?” Mason asked.

“Not enough coffee?” Avery suggested and looked over at Mason.

I snickered and shook my head.

There was going to be a party at Alex’s house. Sometimes the party was at Avery’s home or Ryder’s place. Seldomly, it was at our house, but I had never been to one of them. Partying was never on my agenda.

As we drove up the dirt road, I felt fingers brush along my thigh between my leg and Avery’s. My eyes traveled down to my thigh to see his fingers trailing along my bare skin. It was too dark in the truck for anyone to notice.

My eyes flashed to his. His expression wasn’t playful like it had been a moment ago. There was something in his eyes that held mine, and I couldn’t look away.

Avery broke our stare and turned into a driveway. The house was modern and big. It was several miles past our homes.

“Alright, you guys got to find a different way home, tonight. When I go home, I’m just taking Stormie and Mason,” Avery warned. “I’m not going all over hell.”

The boys agreed to what Avery said.

“Actually, Claire and I are staying here tonight, so all you got to do is take Stormie home with you,” Mason said. Mason pulled Claire out of the truck and kissed her as he spun her in a circle.

Claire giggled. “Come on, put me down.”

Avery and I climbed out of the truck last. I started to head toward the house, but Avery turned me around to face him. I peeked around him to make sure nobody was watching us.

“Avery, one of these times someone is going to see us,” I warned.

“I know, I’m not–” he stopped and shook his head. “Just come find me when you’re ready to leave or vise versa. I don’t want to stay here all night and get drunk.”

“Oh, okay,” I said.

“Have fun,” he said.

We headed up to the house, and as soon as we made it to the stairs, Avery was pulled in one direction, and I was pulled in another.

“You owe us an explanation,” Peyton said. Her eyes danced in amusement, and Jade nodded in agreement.

“You guys don’t seriously want to hear this crap?” I asked.

“We have no life,” Jade said.

“Clearly,” I snorted.

They both arched a brow.

“I’m just kidding,” I said. “You know I love you guys.” I looped one arm in Jade’s and the other in Peyton’s. “I’m glad you guys came. I would have been bored out of my mind.”

As we walked through the door, we were all handed red solo cups. “What’s in this?” Peyton asked.

“Wap,” some guy answered her question. I didn’t recognize him.

We walked over to a quieter area that was away from everyone else.

“So, what is going on?” Jade asked impatiently.

I sighed and raised the cup to my lips.

A hand flashed out and took the cup from me.

The girls and I both looked to see who had ripped the cup from my hand.

Avery was looking at me with wary eyes. “Don’t drink that, shit,” he said. He said it like a warning.

“W-what do you mean? You knew I was probably going to drink. What’s your problem?” I asked.

Avery dumped the cup in a plant nearby, then grabbed Peyton and Jade’s cups as well and did the same.

Jade, Peyton, and I were staring at him like he had lost his mind.

Avery took something from someone behind him. Avery turned back to us and handed the three of us a bottle of beer that was still closed.

“What the fuck?” I raised both eyebrows.

Avery looked at the other two girls then back to me.

“They won’t say anything,” I muttered. “They know.”

“I don’t want you drinking out of open cups,” he said. Avery gave Peyton and Jade a skeptical look. “You two shouldn’t drink out of open cups either. Look, I don’t know for sure, but I have been at a lot of parties, and at least eight out of ten times those drinks are spiked.”

“Spiked with what?” Peyton asked, confused.

“I don’t know like date rape drug or some shit. Guys incapacitate girls so they can have sex with them,” Avery said. “When I came in, I saw you take it from some guy I didn’t even recognize. It’s just a party rule, okay? Don’t ever drink out of something that is open. Don’t leave your beer down to dance or even go to the bathroom. You go to the bathroom you take your drink with you,” he warned.

“Prince!” Someone yelled from the kitchen.

“Mason and I were going to tell you, but we both spaced. See you later,” Avery said, and his hand swept from my hip and across my lower back.

“Woah,” Peyton said. “How are you coherent around him? He’s gorgeous.”

“Yeah, been around him like...forever,” I said and chuckled. “We’re not secretly dating, but we might have kissed a couple of times, and we have been hanging out a lot.”

“That’s not all that happened,” Peyton said.

“Give us the rest of the story,” Jade agreed.

I sighed and looked over my shoulder at Avery, who was doing a keg stand in the kitchen. I turned back to the girls. “Well...” I trailed off.

***

“Let’s get the hell out of here,” Avery said.

“Sounds good to me,” I said.

We stayed for a couple of hours but not long enough for either of us to get drunk. I waved goodbye to my friends, who now knew the entire story.

The truck roared to life. Avery backed slowly out of the driveway, maneuvering around other vehicles.

“How much do they know?” he asked.

“All of it,” I said.

“I hope you trust them like a lot,” he said worriedly.

“I do,” I said. “They knew something was up. Maybe we shouldn’t be so obvious if we’re going to see each other or whatever it is we’re doing. Is there a word for that?”

Avery chuckled. “Yeah, you mean like dating?”

“Is that what we’re doing?” I asked.

Avery rubbed his face with his hand. “I don’t know,” he murmured. “I think we need to seriously talk about it.” He pulled a joint out of his pocket and lit it.

“Probably,” I agreed.

“My house or yours?” he asked.

“Yours,” I said. “My mom is home with Richard.” I made a disgusted face.

“Mine aren’t home,” he said.

“Where did they go?” I asked.

“Jay, who the fuck knows. My mom and brother went to my grandparents. Jay and Mom got in a big fight last night. Jay left last night and hasn’t come back. Mom and Austin left early this morning,” Avery said.

“Maybe you should call and check on her,” I said.

“I did. She’s fine,” he said and handed me the joint.

“She seems kind of miserable with Jay,” I said.

“Yeah, I think she is,” Avery said and shrugged. “I just don’t think she knew any other way to get over my dad. You know?”

“Yeah, I get that,” I agreed.

We pulled into Avery’s driveway. Avery took my hand in his and pulled me up to the back door. He unlocked the door and let me in. A Gold Retriever came barreling towards me. It was Sam. Sam was originally Avery’s dad’s dog.

“Hi, Sammy,” I said excitedly and pet from his head to the middle of his back.

Sam jumped up, excited, and tried to kiss my face.

“Your breath stinks,” I said and giggled, petting his head.

“Get off, Sammy,” Avery said sternly.

Sam jumped off of me right away and walked to Avery.

Avery patted him before taking my hand and pulling me upstairs.

“He listens to you so good,” I said.

“He should. He’s my dog,” Avery said.

“Wasn’t Sam your dad’s dog?” I asked.

“Well, yeah, but when dad died, Sammy wouldn’t leave my side the first few months,” he said.

We went straight up to the loft and sat down on his couch. “I’ve got to divide something up for tomorrow, but we can still talk.” He grabbed out a big bag of pot and grabbed his scale. He started weighing it and putting it into different bags. He sat on the floor in front of the coffee table.

“Can I turn music on?” I asked.

“Yeah, here,” he said and handed me a remote.

The soundbar was Bluetooth. I hooked my phone up to it and started playing music.

Avery grabbed a small paper and placed some weed in it. He rolled it in a matter of seconds. He held it up for me. “Want it?”

I took it from him and grabbed a lighter. “I think you should teach me how to do that,” I said.

He chuckled. “What? Roll a joint?”

“Yeah.”

“It’s easy. I’ll teach you next time I roll one if you remind me,” he said.

“Okay,” I said. I laid down on the couch. My face was only six inches from him. “Do you think it would be different if we were older?” I asked.

“The dating thing?” he asked. He shrugged. “Maybe, but I doubt it. I can’t ever see Mason being okay with it.”

“So, what are we supposed to do?” I asked. “I don’t want you two to fight because of me.”

He sighed. “Mason’s really protective of you, especially since your dad walked out. I mean, I get it. I don’t want anything to happen to you either. If we were seeing each other, Mason couldn’t know about it, and if he found out, that would be the end of it most likely.”

“So, what’s the point?” I muttered.

“That’s what I was trying to get across the day after we kissed the first time.” Avery stopped what he was doing and turned his head to look at me. “I don’t know what to do. All I know is I can’t stand the thought of seeing you with someone else. I never liked Chris because he had you. I’m pissed at Ryder for even talking to you. Guys, look at you, and something in me snaps. I fucking hate it,” he murmured. “The only way I can say it’s not okay for other guys to touch you is if I’m the one dating you. But I can’t date you because you’re my best friend’s little sister.”

“Maybe we should see where it goes first,” I said. “If we come to terms with the idea that it won’t work, then Mason will never need to know.”

“And if it goes further,” Avery said and glanced at me.

“Cross that bridge when we get to it?” I raised a brow.

He chuckled and nodded. “Yeah, maybe.”

We were quiet for a long moment. I started running my fingers through his hair. He tilted his head back, resting it on my chest.

“That feels good,” he said. His body relaxed.

“How did this happen?” I murmured.

His eyes opened and met mine. “I’m not sure. I’m still trying to figure that out, too,” he murmured. “I’m kind of glad it did, though.”

“Why?”

“’Cause now I can do this,” he said. He leaned in and pressed his lips softly to mine. He broke the kiss and put his head back on my chest.

“How long have you known?” I wondered.

“What? That I liked you?”

“Mhm,” I hummed.

He took a deep breath and looked up at the ceiling. “I’m not even sure. Maybe, I always knew and just pushed it away. Girls were never on the top of my priorities.”

I gave him a disbelieving look.

“Don’t give me that look. I probably haven’t slept with half the amount of girls you think I have,” he said. “I was always more focused on football and my friends. I stayed busy, mostly because of what happened with Dad and Ava.”

“I’ve heard a lot of rumors about you,” I admitted.

“That shit isn’t usually true. That’s like most people think your brother has slept with sixty different girls,” he said and chuckled.

“Ew,” I muttered. “I heard that, though. Someone said you slept with three hundred.”

“First of all, if I slept with three hundred women, my pecker would have fallen off by now,” he said and laughed.

“How many?” I asked.

“Me or Mason?” he asked.

“I’m not sure I want to know the real number for either,” I grimaced.

“You think about that and let me know,” he said.

I hit the joint and inhaled deeply. “Ah, fuck it. Tell me. You swear it isn’t as bad as the real number.”

Avery took a moment to count in his head. “Mason’s was eight, I think. Give or take one,” he said.

“Wow,” I huffed. “Not nearly as big of a whore as I thought.”

“Not as big of a whore as Claire thought either,” Avery said and chuckled.

I took another hit. My head was swimming. Maybe, I won’t remember the numbers by tomorrow. “You,” I said.

“Five,” he answered simply. He tilted his head up to look at me.

My mouth was wide open.

“Don’t leave your mouth open that big. It’s kind of turning me on,” he teased.

“Shut up,” I muttered and laughed. “Really? Less than my brother?”

“Mhm,” he hummed and nodded. “Your brother was always more focused on girls than I was. I didn’t care about girls. I like weed, football, and music. Beer is okay from time to time, but I can’t drink all the time.”

“I like weed better,” I agreed. “Football is fun to watch. Music is amazing.”

“Maybe we have more in common than you thought,” he said.

“You were mean to me,” I said.

“Seeing you mad was funny and kind of cute. I enjoyed doing that. I still do; your face is priceless,” he said and chuckled.

“You picked on me because you liked to get me worked up?” I asked in disbelief.

“Feisty as fuck, and I love that about you,” he said and let out another round of laughter. “I find you more interesting than other girls. You’re so short-tempered, and it’s kind of funny.”

I smacked his arm. “It’s not funny.”

“I didn’t want you to know how I felt about you. I tried to avoid getting too close to you, but it only grew stronger. When I gave in to it, it hit me like a fucking hurricane,” he murmured.

“I think I knew too. Maybe I just ignored it because I knew there was no way I would wind up with you. It wasn’t realistic at all. I still don’t get it. You’re popular, and I’m not.”

“Popularity doesn’t mean shit. High school is going to end. Popularity doesn’t get you a career,” Avery said. “Hard work is what matters. Not looks, not money, and not popularity.”

“Good point,” I said and yawned.

“Are you staying?” he asked.

“Can I?”

“Mhm,” he hummed.

“I don’t have pajamas,” I said.

“Come on; I’ll find you something,” he said.

We went down to the bedroom. He went to his closet and threw something to me.

I walked into the bathroom and didn’t look at what it was until I was undressed. The shirt he had tossed me was his football jersey. It was purple with white letters and numbers. It had Prince in capital letters on the top back of the jersey and the number twenty-one in the middle.

The jersey was plenty big enough on me because Avery was huge, and I was tiny. Nobody, especially me, ever thought I would wear Avery Prince’s jersey. We’re doing everything we both know we shouldn’t be doing.

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