Music suggestion today is the beautiful "Stealing Cars" by James Bay, which you can listen to here when you see if you'd like. I discovered this song by accident and loved it from the second I listened to it.
The housing department always held an annual celebration the first week of May, sort of an end of the year celebration for all their employees. It was always in the Vidorra lounge, and it was always pretty boring until they started handing out the awards with scholarships attached.
It was a little more exciting for Michael this year now that Maria worked there, too. She showed up, thankfully, without Max in tow, so it was easy to spend time with her that evening. They mingled, making sure to stay close enough that they didn’t lose track of each other but far enough apart that they didn’t look like a couple. By the time they took a seat at one of the tables for the awards, though, Michael felt like he could barely keep his hands off of her.
“Thank you all for being here tonight,” Brody began as he got up behind a podium. “It’s that time of the evening now where I’d like to give some special recognition to the staff members who went above and beyond this year. Your contributions to our university’s housing system have definitely not gone unnoticed. So with that in mind, the first award for Outstanding R.A. goes to . . .”
Michael pretty much tuned him out as he announced the winner. His eyes drifted over to the beautiful girl sitting next to him. Damn, she looked good. She had on this black strapless dress, and her hair was down and wavy over her shoulders.
“What?” she asked him quietly when she caught him staring at her.
“You look pretty,” he told her.
Just as she always did whenever he complimented her appearance, she blushed. “This is Liz’s dress,” she admitted.
“I like it.” The strapless thing was a nice surprise, and he was digging how short it was, too.
As Brody continued on with the awards, Michael couldn’t help but grow . . . restless. If he didn’t get his hands on her soon, he was going to go crazy. So he scooted his chair a little closer to her, leaned forward, and lowered one hand beneath the table. First he just reached over and set it on her knee, then moved it back a little further to rub against her thigh. Her skin was so warm, though, that he longed to feel something even hotter, so he subtly slipped his hand underneath her dress in between her legs.
He grinned. Perfect.
She didn’t object as he touched her, right there in a room filled with dozens of other people. To her credit, she managed to stay pretty fucking calm and collected. She sat up a little straighter than she normally would have, and every once in a while, her eyes would flutter shut. But she’d quickly open them again, pretending to be focused on what was going on.
God, it was such a rush to get away with this.
Few things could have diverted his attention from the task at hand, but when Brody transitioned, “And now for our Outstanding Returning Employee award . . .” Michael snapped his hands back up to the surface, linked them together, and murmured, “Oh, please, please, please,” shutting his eyes in prayer. If he got this, he’d get a two-thousand dollar scholarship. And he really
needed scholarships for next year.
“This year the award goes to . . .” Brody drew it out for dramatic effect. “Spencer Burman.”
Everyone else clapped as Spencer went up to the podium, but Michael didn’t. “What?” he spat, outraged. Spencer?
That kid was such a dick.
“Thanks, Brody,” Spencer said, nudging him aside. He took a piece of paper out of his pocket and unfolded it. “If you don’t mind, I have a speech prepared.”
Brody did mind, though. He had to keep this thing moving. “Oh, actually--”
With total disregard for his boss, Spencer launched right in. “To some, housing may just be a two-syllable word.”
Michael rolled his eyes in contempt. What an arrogant son of a bitch.
Thank God Maria had the boldness to lean over and quietly ask, “Can we go upstairs?” Because he needed something good to take his mind off of losing out on this award.
“You don’t wanna stay for the New Employee award?” he asked. At the rate Spencer was going, it’d probably be another hour before Brody got around to presenting it, but hey, he could finger the hell out of her until then.
“Oh, please,” she scoffed, “there’s no way I’m winning that.”
Yeah, she probably wasn’t. Their time would be much better spent together in his apartment than it would be down here with all of these people. “Let’s go,” he said, getting up. They both tried to be quiet and inconspicuous as they slipped past all the other tables and walked out in the midst of Spencer’s monologue. Michael caught Brody giving him an inquisitive look, though.
It was worth it to leave early. Being alone with Maria felt like being in heaven.
They kept the lights off, so he could only see a silhouette of her standing by the window. He stood in front of her, watching her delicate fingers as they unbuttoned his shirt from the top down. She pulled his shirt open, and he shrugged it off, letting it drop to the floor. Her hands splayed against his chest for a moment, then slid lower to roam over his abs. As they hovered dangerously close to his groin, he gave her a small, encouraging nod. Eyes fixated on the ever-growing bulge he felt happening, she unfastened his pants, but she didn’t take his cock out. Instead, she turned around, pulling all her hair over her right shoulder, glancing back at him over her left.
He moved in closer, using this thumb and index finger to pull down on her dress’s zipper. The smooth skin of her back came into view, and his whole body tingled in anticipation. God, he wanted to have his hands all over her.
He slid her whole dress down for her, and she stepped out of it eagerly. Since the last item to rid her of was her bra, he wrapped his arms around her stomach, caressed her flesh insistently, and then snaked his hands upward to undo the front clasp. It fell to the floor, and her breasts fell into his awaiting hands. She leaned back against him, her head on his shoulder, moans escaping from low in her throat as he squeezed and kneaded them beneath his fingers. Her nipples were already pert and hard, desiring his attention.
He spun her around so he could bend down and use his mouth to lavish them with adoration. Alternating between sucking kisses and gentle licks and nips, he got the exact reaction he wanted. She arched her chest up into his mouth, tossing her head back as she got lost in the ecstasy.
Greed got the best of him, though, and he wanted more. So he sank down even lower, onto his knees. He urged her legs further apart and slipped his head in between them so he could get a taste of her. She was wet from the fingering he’d started earlier, and she got even wetter the instant his mouth made contact.
While he was thoroughly tonguing her, he found himself reaching down to free his cock from its confines. He stroked up and down his hard length, wishing he could replicate the feel of being inside of her. But nothing felt as good as that. Nothing even came close.
When she saw what he was doing, she got down to her knees, too, reached forward, and replaced his hand with her own, handling him expertly. He didn’t want to cum on her hand, though. He wanted to cum in her body.
They made it to the bed, and naturally, he found himself on top of her, comfortably nestled between her legs as he rolled his hips forward and moved into her. The pressure surrounding his cock felt so damn good that, with every thrust, he tried to push in just a little deeper, trying to bury himself in her so far that he might not ever find his way back out.
He kept his pace steady, not too slow, but not frantic, either. Every time she moaned or inhaled sharply, he knew he was doing something right. He didn’t need overly graphic dirty talk to know that she liked when he reached down and grabbed her ass, or appreciated when he took the time to rain hot kisses down on the side of her neck. Her body responded to his in the exact way a woman’s body was supposed to respond to a man’s, and it turned him on so fucking much.
His hand linked with hers, next to her head, fingers intertwining, holding on tight as their breathing became labored and skin began to sweat more. He kept his gaze fixed on her, refusing to look away as her face contorted in pleasure. She came hard, her release triggering his own, and he could have sworn he went somewhere else as spent himself inside her. Somewhere where the rest of the world didn’t exist, where this was
It was his whole
The shadier the neighborhood, the crappier the streetlights. The road Max was driving on became progressively darker as he neared his destination.
Dylan had called a few minutes earlier from Luke’s house. Apparently Luke’s mom had cooked some huge, extravagant dinner, and she was more than willing to let him stay there a little while longer, even though it was a school night. Worked for Max. He had things to do tonight anyway, things that Dylan couldn’t be around for.
“Alright, you make sure you tell Luke’s mom thanks for the dinner,” Max reminded his son. “And tell her I’ll be by in about an hour to pick you up. Alright?”
“Okay,” Dylan chirped. “Hey, Dad? Sorry about basketball camp, by the way.”
Max frowned inwardly, though he admired his son’s honesty. They’d talked about it on the way home from school today. “You don’t have to be sorry,” he told him. “It’s fine. I’ll see you later, alright?”
“Bye.” Max ended the call and pocketed his phone as he turned a corner.
He had to park a few blocks away, just to be on the safe side. He didn’t need his vehicle showing up on any surveillance videos of local businesses. He tossed a sweatshirt hood over his head and meandered down the sidewalk as if he walked these streets all the time. Nobody who passed him even took a second glance at him, and he eventually slipped into an alley behind a taco restaurant without any fear of getting caught.
A slender male figure emerged from the shadows, peeking over Max’s shoulder. “You good?” he asked.
“Yeah.” No one had followed him.
The man reached into the inside pocket of his coat and took out a small bag of cocaine. It wasn’t more than a couple of grams, and it must have been a shitty quality, because he wasn’t even asking that much money for it. “This what you want?” he asked.
“Yep.” Max took five twenties out of his pocket and handed them over in exchange for the drugs.
“Wait a minute.” The dealer squinted his eyes and peered at Max more closely. “I know you. Max Evans, right?”
He bristled, alarmed that he’d been recognized.
“I used to buy from you, back in Albuquerque. Man, you always sold the best stuff.”
Max relaxed instantly. This guy was still a nobody. It didn’t matter if he recognized him. Who the hell would he even tell?
“You still dealin’?”
“Nope,” he replied. “Not usin’, either.”
The dealer wrinkled his face in confusion, glancing pointedly down at the cocaine in Max’s hand.
Max shoved the bag in the pocket of his sweatshirt, grinning smugly. “It’s not for me.”
Effortlessly, it seemed, Michael fell asleep after they were done having sex that night. He spooned up behind her, shut his eyes, and within seconds, he was out. But Maria was on the opposite end of the spectrum: wide awake. And not by choice. It was just that her mind was racing and wouldn’t allow her to find the same rest he was.
She watched the clock on the nightstand, counting to sixty in her head over and over again as the red numbers ticked upward. 11:58. 11:59. By the time it switched to 12:00, her stomach started to knot up. Because it was officially a new a day, and where was she? Warmly tucked away in Michael’s bed, in Michael’s arms.
How could anything that was so wrong still feel so right?
she told herself. You have to go.
She’d been thinking the same thoughts for the past fifteen minutes, yet she’d barely moved a muscle.
Eventually, the clock switched to 12:01.
When she turned over onto her back, Michael stirred, but he still didn’t wake up. He was probably exhausted from having worked all day and . . . well, fucked all night. She gazed up at him, adoring the innocent look on his face. Michael Guerin was not
innocent by any definition of the word, but when he was asleep, he somehow managed to look that way.
“Michael?” she said, rolling over onto her side so she could face him.
“Hmm,” he murmured.
“Michael, wake up.” Too much was going through her mind right now. She needed to talk to him.
“I’m tired,” he groaned, eyes still shut.
So was she, but in a different way. She was tired of lying, of sneaking around, of being this horrible person she felt like she’d become. “I think . . .” She took a deep breath and then let it all out in one big rush. “I think I’m gonna tell Max.”
That was all it took for his eyes to snap open. In a split second, he went from a guy who was tired to a guy who was completely alert. “You mean . . . tell
him?” he questioned emphatically.
“Yeah.” She dreaded the thought, but it had to be done. “I’m gonna tell him everything.” She felt an unexpected sense of conviction when she said that, an overwhelming belief that this was the right thing to do, even if she was doing it late.
A smile tugged at the corners of his mouth, but he reigned it in. “Why the sudden change of heart?”
“Because . . .” She reached out and put one hand on his chest, over his heart. “It’s midnight.”
He frowned, perplexed.
“It’s late. I should leave,” she stated matter-of-factly. “I should’ve left an hour ago, actually. But . . .” She inhaled shakily and confessed, “I can’t leave. I feel like I can’t leave this bed.” Beneath the covers, she wrapped her legs up with his, craving the closeness. “I can’t keep doing it, Michael. I can’t keep leaving you. I don’t want to.”
He stroked her hair lovingly and said, “I don’t want you to, either.”
Even the simplest touch made her quiver with delight. At this rate, it’d be 2:00 before she made it home. “So that’s why I’m gonna tell him. And I know it’s gonna be really hard.”
“Yeah,” he agreed, wrapping his arms around her. His whole body felt so warm against hers, and that made her feel safe and protected. “You nervous?”
She swallowed hard, nodding. “You were right to tell Sarah when you did. I shouldn’t have let it drag out like this. It only makes it worse.” She felt like such a coward for the way she’d chosen to handle all of this. There were so many mistakes she’d made, but she couldn’t take them back. All she could do now was try her best moving forward.
“I think it’s the right decision,” Michael said supportively. And of course he thought that; he’d been advocating for it all along.
“He’s gonna hate me,” she fretted, already bracing herself for Max’s reaction.
“But I’ll still love you,” Michael reminded her. “I’ll always love you.”
In that moment . . . that felt like the sweetest thing in the world. She stretched upward, and he bent his head downward, and their lips met in the simplest of kisses, one that still managed to give her butterflies. That love that he felt for her was the same as what she felt for him. And it was because she felt it so strongly that she finally knew she could do this.
The housing party—if there had actually even been one—was clearly done by the time Max pulled into the Vidorra parking lot. It was practically empty, yet Maria’s car was still there.
He pulled into the empty space next to it and glanced up three floors at the window to the apartment he knew to be Michael’s. It was dark inside but safe to assume that they were still going at it like the world was ending.
A pair of drunken co-eds and their boyfriends staggered by, so Max waited until they were out of sight before getting out of his car and walking over to Maria’s. He punched in the numbered passcode to unlock the door and sat down in the driver’s seat. He reached over to pull open her glove compartment, but he caught sight of something on the passenger’s seat, illuminated by the parking lot lights.
Oh, you’ve gotta be kidding me,
he thought, picking up the small scrap of black fabric that somehow passed as underwear. Maria must’ve been really
thirsty to go inside without that.
He set the underwear back down and focused on the task at hand. Glancing over both shoulders quickly, he made sure no one was in close proximity and then took the small plastic bag of coke out of his sweatshirt. He stashed it in her glove box, behind a flashlight and a half-empty bottle of hand sanitizer. Then he shut it firmly, got back out of the car, and slammed the door shut.
Sweet dreams, Maria,
he thought, glaring up at the window to Michael’s apartment again.
The last day of Music Appreciation 2 was pretty much the worst. They all had to spread out and put a few empty seats in between them for the final, and it was a bitch of a final. Twenty pages, two-hundred questions. Barely any multiple choice. Lots
of fill in the blank, and there wasn’t even a word bank provided. Michael knew he was fucked from the first question onward.
He cast a glance at Maria out of the corner of his eyes, impressed to see her pencil moving at light speed. She looked significantly more prepared than he was, which made him feel simultaneously proud and envious.
When she noticed him watching her, she looked over at him and smiled. He smiled back.
Only because he was guessing his ass off, Michael finished before his girl, and he had to sit out in the hall and wait for her to be done. She emerged about fifteen minutes after he had finished, and together they headed outside.
“Well, that sucked,” he declared.
“I thought it went okay.”
“I bombed it, I’m sure,” he predicted. “That’s what I get for takin’ a music class.”
“One you didn’t even need to take,” she reminded him.
“But wanted to take. For you. So that’s romantic.”
“Hmm . . . kinda desperate.”
“In a romantic way. Yeah, that’s what I thought.”
She giggled, bumping into him playfully.
“So you think you did alright, though, huh?” he said.
“Yeah, I studied a lot of that stuff.”
He grunted. “Not with me you didn’t.” Truth be told, even though they’d tried
to study together, they just hadn’t gotten much done.
“No, with . . . with Max,” she mumbled, looking down at her feet. It had gotten to the point where even just saying his name seemed to fill her with shame.
“Right.” Leave it to Saint Max to be the success secret. He refrained from saying much, though, just because he knew it was a sensitive subject for her right now. “So did you decide when
you’re gonna tell him?”
She nodded, leaning into him as a kid—or possibly professor—on a skateboard flew past. “The end of the week, I think. After you’re done with all your finals. Does that sound like a plan?”
He would have preferred sooner, but logically, that made sense. It would be a shit-storm of drama, surely, so it was better to have all his finals out of the way by then. “Fine by me.”
Since Maria legitimately had to work for a few hours that afternoon, Michael was left with plenty of time on his hands. Time he knew he should use to study, or at least be productive in some
way. There were numerous piles of dishes in his sink just begging to be washed and laundry piled up on the floor of the closet. But if he was being honest with himself, he knew he’d find some excuse to not do any of those things.
The first excuse came in the form of a phone call from his mom. He flopped down on his bed and answered it, hoping she wasn’t going to ask him to come home this weekend. With everything going on, that would just be bad timing.
“Hi, honey,” she said when he answered. “Oh, you’re not in the middle of an exam, are you?”
“Would I be answering the phone if I was?” he pointed out.
“Right, right. You had one today, though, right?”
“Yep.” And he didn’t want to talk about it.
Unfortunately, she asked, “How’d it go?”
He sighed and sat up, raking one hand through his hair. “Not so great.”
“Look, Mom, realistically, none of my finals are gonna go well this semester,” he informed her.
“Well, what does that mean for your scholarships then?” she asked, her voice taking on a slightly shrill, panicked tone.
“I might lose some of ‘em,” he confessed. The ones with a lower GPA requirement would still be maintainable, but . . .
“And you’re just okay with that?” she shrieked. “I don’t understand, Michael. I thought school was a higher priority for you nowadays. What changed?”
“Nothing.” He wasn’t about to blame Maria. It wasn’t her fault that he’d slacked off.
“Obviously something has.”
“It’s just . . .” He had no one to blame but himself, and quite honestly, he was at peace with it. “Other stuff matters more.”
There was a slight pause, and then a concerned, “What other stuff, Michael?”
Oh, that was something he did not
want to get into right now. Thankfully, there was a knock on the door, so he had a chance to escape from answering. “Hey, I gotta go. Someone’s here,” he told her. “I’ll talk to you later, alright?” Without waiting for a response, he ended the call, flung his phone aside, and got up to go get the door.
Kyle came right in, talking excitedly. “Hey, so I had a vision,” he announced. “You, me, football field. For every pass you drop, you have to answer a psychology question. What do you say?”
Michael shut the door, only managing a “Yeah,” in response. He just wasn’t in the right headspace right now to muster up the same enthusiasm his friend had.
“ ‘cause I just thought, two birds with one stone, you know?” Kyle went on, as if he sensed he’d need to do some more convincing. “We work on psych and football at the same time. ‘cause you should be doin’ both next year.”
Michael nodded quietly. Man, Kyle was . . . a really good friend. A hell of a lot better of a friend than he probably deserved.
“What’s that look for?” Kyle asked suddenly.
Michael made a face. “I wasn’t giving you a look.”
“No, you were.” Kyle sat down on the arm of the couch, crossing his arms over his chest. “Come on, spit it out.”
Michael thought, resigned to talking about some stuff he’d gotten so used to keeping inside. Kyle knew him too well to just let it go, and honestly, if there was one person he should tell first, this was that person. It would be like a test-run for telling everyone else. It might do him some good.
“Alright, I gotta tell you somethin’,” Michael confessed, warning him, “You’re not gonna like it, but I want you to hear it from me.”
Kyle stood up slowly, his posture suddenly very tense, wary.
Michael exhaled heavily, working up the words. “Maria and I . . .”
As if he already knew where it was headed, Kyle shook his head, muttering, “Don’t say it.”
He said it anyway, because it needed to be said. “We’ve been sleepin’ together.”
Kyle kept shaking his head, looking away from Michael now. His jaw was clenched, and he looked . . . pretty fucking pissed, actually. “Dammit,” he swore. “Dammit, man, why would you . . .” He squeezed his hands into fists for a moment, then relaxed them. “How long?”
Too long for his liking, but . . . it was what it was at this point. “Since Sarah and I broke up.”
“This whole—this whole
time?” Kyle spat incredulously. “Well, no wonder your grades are shit then. That explains it.”
“It’s gotten . . . pretty intense,” he admitted, not sure where they were going from here. They didn’t exactly have a plan in mind, but if he had his way, they’d be living together soon enough.
“Oh, I can’t believe you, man,” Kyle ground out disappointedly. “How could you do that?”
“I’m in love with her, Kyle.” At the end of the day, how could he not?
“But you told me it was over. You said it was just gonna be the one time. And I believed you. I mean, I knew you still had feelings for her, but . . . an affair
, man? Really? You’d stoop that low?”
“I didn’t mean to . . . stoop.”
“Well, you did,” Kyle growled angrily. “And you lied to me.”
“I didn’t mean to do that, either,” he insisted. “I wanted to tell you, but I couldn’t.”
“There shouldn’t have even been anything to tell!” Kyle roared. “Cheating on Sarah was bad enough, but then to continue
cheating when you know damn well Maria’s with Max . . .”
“She’s gonna break up with him,” Michael made sure to interject.
“That doesn’t matter!”
“Look, I didn’t want this, okay? I wanted her to break up with him right from the start, but she didn’t want to.”
“No, no, don’t do that,” Kyle said, pointing an accusatory finger at him. “Don’t try to lay all the blame on her. Maybe that was her idea, but you went along with it. You guys both
“Well, that’s what I do, Kyle,” Michael reminded him. “I mess up all the fuckin’ time.”
“No, that’s what you did
in high school,” Kyle corrected adamantly. “But you’re not in high school anymore. You’re better than that.” Grunting, rolling his eyes, he added, “Or at least you should be.”
Michael sighed, nodding reluctantly in agreement. “I’m sorry,” he apologized, understanding why his friend felt betrayed by all of this. It was a lie of omission, and sometimes those were the worst. “I know I screwed up; I know it was wrong,” he admitted. “But I just wanted you to know about it before it all comes out and shit hits the fan.”
“So you haven’t told anyone else?” Kyle asked.
“No.” Maybe that would at least be some consolation, that, out of all the people he could have talked to about this first, he’d chosen Kyle and nobody else.
“Well, good luck telling Tess,” Kyle said warningly. “And your mom. And Tina.” He waited a moment, then added, “And Sarah.”
Michael’s stomach tightened up with dread. Sarah.
Shit, he hadn’t even thought about that conversation. Nobody would be more disappointed than she was. Nobody would be more disgusted with him. He’d already let her down so much these past few months, and this was just going to make it worse. He’d promised her that there would be no affair, and that was the only reason why she hadn’t said anything to Max. She was going to feel even more betrayed than Kyle did. And rightfully so.
“So he was really mad, huh?” Maria shoved a stack of Dylan’s t-shirts into the appropriate drawer and picked up the laundry basket as she walked out of the room.
“Yeah. Well, more like disappointed,” Michael amended as he followed her. “I felt like I was talkin’ to my dad.”
She stopped at the end of the hall and gave him a curious look.
“Well, not my
dad, but an actual good dad. So that bodes well for him, I guess.”
She set the laundry basket back down on the floor, leaning back against the wall, biting her already worn-down fingernails. “God, that makes me nervous,” she fretted. “If even Kyle reacts that badly, how’s everyone else gonna react?”
“Yeah, it’s not gonna be pretty,” he mumbled.
“He’s not gonna say anything, though, right?”
“Because Max needs to hear it from me. I at least owe him that much.” The only thing worse than the thought of having to tell Max everything was the thought of someone else doing it for her.
“He won’t say anything,” Michael promised.
“Who else are you gonna tell?”
He scratched his eyebrow, wincing as though he dreaded having to tell anyone else. “My mom and Teenie.”
She nodded, imagining that his mom would be sad and Tina would be furious. “What about Sarah?” That seemed like the obvious omission at this point.
He shifted uncomfortably and shrugged. “I think I’ll just let her find out on her own. Same with Tess.”
“Oh, god.” Just thinking about Tess’s reaction scared her. “That girl is going to kill
He nodded nonchalantly. “Probably.”
“How can you be so calm about all this?”
“I’m not calm; I just know it has to be done,” he said. “And it’ll all be okay in the end.” He moved in close to her, cupping her cheek, and bent down to kiss her. She had to admit . . . one little kiss did
sort of make it seem like it would be okay.
As always seemed to happen with them, one kiss quickly morphed into many, and before she knew it, they were full-on making out right there in the hallway. One of her legs came up to wrap around his waist, and his hands moved underneath her ass to hoist her up and pin her back against the wall.
And that was when it happened, one of the worst things that could have possibly happened in that moment: The front door opened, and in came Liz, holding Scarlet’s hand.
“Hey, Maria, are you--” She stopped short when she saw the compromising position they were in.
Michael quickly set her down, and she tried to push him away from her, but it was a little too late.
“Sorry,” Liz said, covering up Scarlet’s eyes. “I didn’t mean to just barge in. I should’ve . . .” She trailed off as the reality of what she was seeing seemed to fully resonate with her. Her eyes widened in horror, and her mouth gaped in shock.
“I can explain,” Maria whimpered, but could she really? Could she really explain
any of this?
Liz didn’t wait around. She lifted Scarlet up and hurried back outside.
“Wait, Liz!” Maria ran after her, catching up to her out at her car. “Liz, hold on a minute!”
Liz helped Scarlet into her car seat, then slammed the car door shut and whirled around. “Oh my god
, Maria!” she yelled, hands moving all around in the air dramatically. “What was that?”
“Liz, I’m so sorry,” she apologized. “I never meant for you to see that.”
“To see what? What did I see?” she demanded heatedly. “Aren’t you gonna tell me it’s not what it looks like, that it was all just some big misunderstanding?”
A week ago, or maybe even just yesterday, she might have actually attempted to do just that. But there was no point in that now. This whole scandalous chapter of her life was winding down, and Max wasn’t the only person she had to be honest with. “No,” she squeaked out.
“So then . . .” Liz made a face of disgust. “So then you guys are, like, hooking up or something?”
Maria thought. ‘Hooking up’ sounded way too casual to describe what they were doing.
my god, oh my god
!” Liz cried hysterically. “Maria! What’s wrong
with you? How could you do that?”
“I don’t know.” She’d wondered the same thing a lot lately.
“How long have you guys been . . .” Liz shook her head vigorously, as if trying to shake the image of what she’d just seen out of her mind. “How many times have you guys done that?”
“A lot.” That was going to have to suffice, because there was no way she could keep count.
“What’s a lot? Like, five or . . .”
Maria gave her a guilty look.
“Oh my god,” Liz said again. She narrowed her eyes at Maria, and clearly the pieces of the puzzle started coming together in her mind. “That’s why he broke up with Sarah, isn’t it?” she deduced. “Because of you. Because you guys started . . .” She trailed off and shuddered.
“It just happened, Liz. I didn’t mean for it to.”
“So you’ve been cheating on Max for months now?” Liz huffed in outrage. “Good God, Maria, how could you do that to him? After everything
he’s done for you, to be with you . . . you just throw it back in his face!”
“Liz, I’m going
to tell him. Please don’t say anything,” she begged. This was quite possibly the worst case scenario. As close as she and Liz were, there wasn’t a doubt in her mind that Liz and Max were closer. If there was anyone who would tell him everything without skipping a beat, it was Liz.
“God, I don’t even know you right now,” Liz growled, stomping around to the other side of the car. She sent Maria another nasty glare, shook her head in contempt, got in, and drove off in a hurry.
Maria wiped away tears she hadn’t even been aware were falling as she watched the car disappear out of sight. Had that really just happened?
TBC . . .