“Stupid rain,” I grumbled, grabbing one of the umbrellas by the door. I considered crawling back in bed when I opened the door.
I’d be soaked by the time I got to Hannah’s cabin. But the idea of spending the afternoon alone with my fucked up thoughts was worse than getting wet.
I ruined my friendship with Paddy by sleeping with him. Things were super awkward and weird between us. I could tell he wanted to talk about what happened in the treehouse. Paddy wasn’t one to avoid uncomfortable subjects.
I loved to put shit off for as long as I could get away with it.
Life was too short. That was the motto I lived by. I got that from my folks, I guess. They just did what made them happy, living each day to the fullest. And it worked for them. They weren’t materialistic. But they lacked ambition. That was the difference between me and them. I’d never be content to sit in a dingy apartment day after day, barely getting by while my kids wore secondhand clothes and went to bed hungry.
We were both exhausted by the time we got back to the lodge the night before. I pretended to be asleep when Paddy crawled into bed after his shower. He probably knew I was faking. But he left me alone. I needed a solid twelve hours of sleep before I could even consider engaging in the kind of conversation that inevitably happens after friends fuck each other’s brains out.
And the last thing my vagina needed was another round with that thing between his legs.
It’s not a thing, girl. It’s a cock.
Paddy’s dick was like something out of a porno. How did he walk around with that thing between his legs?
It’s not a thing!
Try and tell that to my poor, crippled vag.
Was that what it felt like after you gave birth?
I’d engaged in some pretty rough sex during my life. My pussy was no stranger to long, girthy guests. Osk was a well-endowed guy with a piercing, for crying out loud! I’d experienced the morning after limp on more than one occasion. But never this bad. And I wouldn’t use the word rough to describe sex with Paddy. Not even close. He was just so freakin’ huge.
I trudged down the rain-soaked trail to Hannah’s cabin, my ears tuned for any rustling sounds in the trees. I had the bear spray in my hand. Would that work on a moose? What other scary creatures were out there, just waiting to munch on an Alexis sandwich?
Hannah must’ve been watching for me. She opened the door before I reached the porch.
“You look like a drowned rat,” she laughed, taking my drenched coat and hanging it on a hook.
I kicked off my sneakers. My socks were dripping. I yanked them off and laid them in front of the fireplace. My jeans were next. Then I collapsed on the sofa in just my t-shirt and panties.
“Feel better?” Hannah asked with a wry grin.
“Yep. I hope Miles isn’t here.”
“He’s not. He went to jam with Lucy and the band in the lodge.”
I leaned my head back and closed my eyes, resting my feet on the coffee table.
“Can I get you anything?”
“An ice pack would be great. Or a donut to sit on. Some ibuprofen, maybe.”
“I thought you were limping a bit,” she chuckled. “I’m guessing something happened with Paddy?”
“Oh yeah,” I moaned, tucking a cushion under my ass.
“I want all the details,” she gushed.
“Make me a cup of tea first?”
Hannah returned with two steaming mugs and a bottle of ibuprofen. “Sorry. I don’t have an ice pack or a donut.”
I opened the lid and popped two pills in my mouth, swallowing them dry before taking a sip of tea. “How’s the baby making going?”
“I’m a little sore myself,” she admitted with a sheepish smile.
I laughed. “Old Miles still has lots of stamina?”
“Miles isn’t old, Lex.”
“He’s more like a thirty-year-old.”
“So, you and Paddy did the deed?”
“You want details?”
“He has a massive cock. And he’s a quick learner.”
“I’m more interested in what this means than the actual act,” she said.
“Too bad. Stop being such a prude.”
“I’m not a prude!”
“Paddy is definitely not a novice muff diver.”
“Really?” she whispered.
“I thought you said he’s never had a girlfriend?”
“He hasn’t. But I guess that didn’t stop him from getting some action anyway. He’s not the well-behaved virgin we all thought he was.”
“He wasn’t a virgin?”
“He was. But just for intercourse. He’s done oral.”
“How was the sex?”
“He was really gentle and kind of nervous the first time. But he started letting go of some of his inhibitions the more times we did it.”
“How many times did you do it?”
“Uh, I don’t know. I’m not weird. I don’t keep count.”
“Judging by your limp, I’m guessing more than a couple.”
“Yeah. We fucked a few times. There was nothing else to do. They wouldn’t let us leave our treehouse. I had to pee in a pail!”
She winced. “Ew. Did you have any privacy?”
“It didn’t really bother me.”
“So, what does this mean? Are you guys together?”
“We haven’t really talked about what happened.”
“Oh, Lex,” she warned. “You have to.”
“Paddy is in love with you, and you took his virginity.”
“I am well aware of that, Hannah.”
“You finally believe me?”
“Yes,” I sighed. “You were right.”
She settled back on the sofa with a smug grin.
“Don’t even think about it, Hannah.”
“I told you so!” she burst out, dodging the cushion I fired at her head.
We fell into a comfortable silence, sipping our tea while the rain hit the glass on the large picture window.
“I can’t lose Paddy,” I whispered.
“You’re afraid this is going to end your friendship?”
“You don’t want to be with him?”
“You mean as his girlfriend?”
“I can’t give him what he wants, Hannah.”
“Because I’m not good enough for him.”
“I’m just a hairdresser. And I’m a slut. And a college drop out.”
“Whoa,” she said, holding up her hand. “Back the pity train up. You aren’t just a hairdresser. That is a very condescending thing to say about yourself and your colleagues. Do you consider the famous chick who did my hair, as just a hairdresser?”
“No. She’s famous.”
“Exactly. But she didn’t start out that way.”
“You’re very talented, Lex. If you weren’t, a famous movie star wouldn’t want to talk to you. As for the slut thing, you’ve grown out of that. How many guys have you slept with in the past year?”
“Doesn’t sound very slutty to me. And Bill Gates was a college drop out.”
“I’m not Bill Gates,” I laughed.
“Are you going to call Chester Leemington?”
“I’m so excited for you, Lex,” she gushed, pulling me in for a hug.
“Thanks. I’m excited for you, too. You’re gonna have a baby.”
“I hope so,” she sighed. “But I’m thirty-one. It could take a while.”
“You’re not old.”
“Our fertility starts to decrease after thirty.”
She shrugged. “We’ll see what happens.”
“I bet you’re already pregnant,” I said, sniffing her hair. “You smell knocked up.”
“You’re a nut, little sister.”
“Did you have a fun afternoon with Cleo?” I asked.
“Yes,” Paddy replied, straightening his tie before he slipped on his suit jacket. “We did some crafts and played giant Jenga. Did you have a fun afternoon with Hannah?”
“Yeah.” I released a heavy sigh as I reached for my purse. This was awful. Neither of us knew how to tackle the elephant in the room.
“Are you ready to go?” he asked.
We walked to the main lodge in silence, our feet crunching on the soggy wood chip trail while an owl hooted in the distance. At least it stopped raining.
It was our last night in Alaska. Miles and Hannah were hosting a dinner and dance to mark the end of the trip, and thank everyone for coming.
Paddy opened the door, gesturing for me to go ahead of him. We entered the main lobby and headed to the banquet room. He didn’t make any attempt to hold my hand or touch me in any way. Tears sprung to my eyes, my heart heavy as I rode out a wave of confused emotions.
“Where do you want to sit?” Paddy asked gruffly.
“Let’s sit with the girls,” I suggested.
We joined Cleo and Lucy at a table for six.
“Where’s Madeline?” I inquired.
“She’ll be down in a few minutes,” Lucy said.
“She slept in,” Cleo announced.
“Slept in?” Paddy chuckled. “Is that what they’re calling it now?”
Cleo scowled. “She’s old. Old people nap.”
“Old people fuck, too,” I laughed.
“Alexis!” Lucy gasped with feigned shock. “Language.”
“Alexis drinks water from the toilet,” Cleo said. “There’s seventy-one toilets in this place.”
“Did you count them?” Paddy asked.
“Hold on,” I said. “I don’t drink water from the toilet.”
“I don’t like planes,” Cleo said. “I don’t wanna go on one.”
“I guess you’re gonna be stuck here then,” Paddy said.
Cleo handed me a napkin. “You have a potty mouth, Lexie.”
“What’s the napkin for?”
“To wipe your face.”
“After you drink from the potty,” Lucy explained. “Cause you have a potty mouth.”
“Oh. Okay. I get it.”
“Lexie is slow,” Cleo mumbled to herself.
“Why are you picking on me tonight, Cleo?”
“Good evening,” Madeline gushed, taking a seat in one of the empty chairs. Arthur joined her, both of them sporting an after sex glow.
I picked at my dinner, only half listening to the conversation at the table. Madeline and Arthur were planning to take an Alaskan cruise in a couple weeks. They already booked it. You would think they would wanna go somewhere different. But apparently a cruise was a different way to see Alaska.
My mood soured as I listened to them. They were madly in love with each other. And I was jealous. That should’ve been me and Osk. He was supposed to realize he was in love with me, and fight for me.
When we first arrived, he seemed jealous and annoyed that I was with Paddy. But as the week wore on, it seemed like he didn’t care anymore. He was too busy chumming with his new best buddy, my fake boyfriend Paddy Wagon.
“Can I have everyone’s attention, please?” Miles requested from the stage. “On behalf of Hannah and myself, we’d like to thank everyone for joining us this week to celebrate our wedding. We hope you enjoyed your stay up here. Lucy and I are going to play a couple songs we’ve been working on.”
“Where are you going?” Paddy asked when I pushed my chair back to stand up.
“The bar,” I muttered.
“Do you want to dance first?”
“Uh, sure,” I replied slowly.
He led me onto the dance floor where a few other couples were swaying to the slow love song Lucy was singing.
“Lucy has a beautiful voice,” I said.
“She sure does,” Paddy agreed as we started to dance.
He pulled me closer, caressing my back while we moved to the music. I lifted my head, sensing what he wanted before I even looked into his eyes.
My body flooded with warmth when his lips brushed softly over my mouth. We came together, our kiss hungry and desperate after more than twenty-four hours of starvation.
I ignored Osk’s voice at the mic. Paddy’s hands roamed over my body, his touch triggering a flood between my legs. I was about two seconds away from dragging him out of there and finding an empty bed when I heard my name.
“I love you, Alexis Taylor. Will you marry me?”