Playing Favorites – Chapter 10


Christopher

My jaw drops. Before I can think of something to say, Hell, before I can think at all, it happens. She kisses me. She is kissing me. Jacinda is kissing me. And I’m kissing back; you bet I am. And, no, I won’t pretend it’s only because she called in her favor. Her lips press against mine, wet and surprisingly warm. But they’re warm in a good way, like a hot, hearty meal I’m savoring. A spicy meal, at that. Yes, Jacinda tastes spicy, though thankfully not as much as the edible fireballs her dad cooks. I joked about her being addicted to my scent, but I’m seriously at risk of jonesing for her taste after this one sample.

Her tongue sneaks past my open lips. At first, she just prods timidly, as if I was going to bite it, but soon she gets bolder and all but sticks it into my throat. She pushes against my own tongue, then entwines it with hers, holding it like she owns it. A moan echoes in our mouths; I think it’s coming from me.

The entire world has stopped existing, at least as far as I’m concerned. I don’t care about it, I’m barely even aware of it, any more than I’m aware of the fact that I’ve just slipped a hand beneath Jacinda’s shirt to caress her back. My other hand brushes the fine line between her hip and her butt, and does not -yet?- dare going further south. Her paws are pushing on my shoulder blades, bringing us closer. Her breasts press into my chest. I feel her claws digging into my skin, making me shiver.

There is a lot going on in this kiss. This is no peck on the lips, nor the timid first kiss of two kids playing around, nor two teens playing spin the bottle. This is the sort of kiss exchanged by two adults -well, young adults- who want to mix more body fluids than just saliva. The sort of kiss that freezes all thoughts but her, and erases all feelings but bliss. And I’m not just saying that because it’s draining all the blood away from my brain and sending it down to my cock.

I’ve never had a kiss like that. Hell, I’ve never kissed like that either.

An eternity later, and at the same time an eternity too soon, our lips separate, our tongues untangle, and the kiss ends. The both of us are panting like we’ve just ran a marathon. Jacinda’s eyes shine even brighter than they usually do. They’re so alluring I’m having trouble looking at her in the boobs.

“Wow,” I breathe out.

“Ditto,” she says.

We chuckle.

Jacinda goes to sit up properly on the bench. I pick up what’s left of my lunch, and finish it with comparatively less enjoyment. I can’t help it: I’ve just found a new appetite.

I try to appraise the situation, and to not freak out too much. A new level has been reached between us. What just happened was both a good and a bad thing. You see, those things we did previously were rather confusing. And that confusion had a positive aspect to it: it helped with the denial. But that kiss has just made things between us clear. It’s not just lust; not just some passing craze. This… might actually be the real thing.

So… Yeah. What now?

“Hey, just so you know, that still doesn’t count as a favor,” I tell Jacinda.

“Because you would have done it anyway?” she says.

I nod. You bet I would have.

“Well, I guess that time in the library didn’t really count as a favor either,” she confesses, blushing deeply.

“Which time?” I ask with a smirk.

“The first one.”

“So you would just show your tits on demand?”

“Not to everyone,” she retorts, frowning, her voice suddenly edgy.

Oy. Did I accidentally touch a nerve?

“No, of course not,” I say. “I didn’t mean to imply that you would.”

A moment passes, and she visibly cools down. “It’s fine, I know you didn’t.”

Yeah, there’s definitely something there. I wonder if it has to do with this middle school stuff she alluded to earlier. Best to change the subject for now; if she wants to talk about it, she will. Plus, one secret a day is enough.

“So, wanna finish the aquarium tour?” I say.

She nods happily.

The aquarium proves a nice distraction, even though I expected we’d be too taken by each other to pay attention to the fishes. Jacinda seems to know everything about every species exhibited, and often gives a small lecture. It’s entertaining how nerdy and passionate she gets. The river otters in particular make her giddy, as she goes on about how they’re semiaquatic mammals, and how those differ from aquatic mammals. When we get to the octopuses’ -right, the octopi’s– tank, I can no longer suppress my laugh.

“What’s so funny?” she says, crossing her arms.

“You. You’re so adorable when you talk about this stuff.”

“Oh, I’m adorable, huh?” she says.

“I mean that in a good way. Seriously, it’s engrossing the way you talk about all this. You’re really into marine biology, huh?”

“I’m more into zoology; land animals in general.”

“Well, your enthusiasm is contagious. Are you going to make that your major?”

“I mean…” She shrugs. “Maybe? I haven’t decided yet. I know Berkeley offers an Integrative Biology major, but I haven’t really looked into it yet.”

“What else are you considering?”

“Well, err… I don’t know. I’m just doing my Gen Ed requirements for now, I think I’ll decide my major next year.”

“But you really love this stuff,” I say. “What’s holding you back?”

“I don’t know, I just- I don’t know. When I think about becoming a zoology major, I keep expecting to feel all excited, but instead, I just feel… torn, I guess.

“Why torn?”

“Because…” She takes a deep breath. “What if it’s not like I imagined? What if it’s too hard? What if I end up hating the thing I used to love? What if I don’t make it?”

“Don’t make it? Why would you not make it? You’re great at this stuff.”

“I’m just reciting stuff I’ve read on plaques beside the tanks,” Jacinda says. “That’s not great, that’s just memorizing.”

“I’m not talking about that. You’re doing great in class. You’re a hard worker, and it shows.”

“I… Yeah?” she says.

“Yeah, of course. Why do you think I hate you so damn much?”

She barks out a laugh. “I’m giving you a run for your money, huh?”

“I admit, having you nabbing at my heels has kept me motivated.”

“Nabbing at your heels? Your grades are not much higher than mine! I actually scored higher than you a few times.”

“Yeah, a few times. I’m just that magnanimous.”

“Jerk,” she says, swatting the back of my head before reporting her attention back to the octopi, beaming. I’m starting to really like that smile of hers. Her beautiful fangs go well with her eyes. And her lips… I can even see her tongue. Oh crap, that’s because she’s talking.

“Hey.” She flickers my ear. “Are you listening?”

“Not one word,” I say, smirking. “I’m guessing you were saying something super-nerdy, like explaining the difference between octopi and squids.”

“Smartass!” Jacinda growls, grabbing me by the collar.

“Name-caller!” I growl back, clutching her paws and trying to pry them off me. Damn, she’s got one Hell of a grip. Also, wow, I never realized how soft her fur was on the back of her paws.

There’s that staring again. I gaze into her sanguine orange eyes, she gazes into mine. Liquid euphoria fills my veins as I understand what this is leading up to. Well, not so much “understand” as “hope”. Jacinda’s ears flutter, and her lips part. She half-closes her eyes. But then, she says:

“Hey, about that kiss…”

“Yeah?” I whisper.

“I, um…”

“Do you regret it?” I blurt out, unable to keep from sounding panicked. Because there’s no goddamn way I’ll be able to live without kissing Jacinda again. I’m already hooked. Her lips are worse than crack.

“Huh? No. No! Do you?”

“Hell no.”

She breathes out in relief. So do I.

“Good.” She smiles. “No, what I was going to say is… I’m going to tell Nova about it. That’s okay with you, right?”

My lips twitch in amusement. “I figured you would. I mean, you told her about the flashing, and the spanking.”

“We tell each other everything,” Jacinda says, her face darkening as the blood rushes to her cheeks again. “In fact… me kissing you, that was kinda her doing. In a way.”

“Remind me to send her flowers, then.”

“Don’t bother. The smugness she’ll get from being right about us will be enough of a reward.”

Us. One of the shortest, most common words in the English language; one I’ve heard and spoken more times than I can count. By all accounts, it shouldn’t make me as damn happy as it does.

But then again, how could it not? Us. Jacinda and I are an “us”! Wait. I don’t want to leap before I look.

“So, this is… err…”  I point to her and me. “This is a thing?”

There were probably about a thousand less awkward ways to phrase that question, but I don’t care.

“A thing?” she says, taunting. “What kind of thing?”

“You know…”

“No, I don’t. What kind of thing do you mean? The kind you eat? The kind you wear?”

Oh, so this is what it feels like. Well, if she thinks she can out-smartass me, she’s got another thing coming.

“Oh, definitely the kind you eat. Or, given that it’s you, I should say “the kind you gulp down without chewing”.”

Jacinda snarls. There might be something wrong with me, because I find that cute too. Still holding me by the collar, she drags me behind a poorly-lit corner, near a door marked “employees only”. Those strange lines are appearing along her cheeks again.

“Is it time for your snack?” I say. “Start with my liver, I barely use it.”

The corner of her lips pucker up, but the smile that appears a moment later is more mischievous than amused. I’m reminded of that key-dropping incident over a week ago. Uh-oh.

“I think I’ve finally found how I’m going to use my first favor,” she says.

“Ah?” I gulp down my saliva. Is that going to be good or bad? Or both?

She brings her face close to mine again; I can feel her breath tickling my lips.

“I want you to stay perfectly still,” she whispers.

“Until wh-”

Jacinda silences me by slamming her lips against mine, immediately taking possession of my mouth, and pushes her body against mine. The kiss is more dominant than passionate, this time around; her goal is clearly to make me mellow and compliant, and damn if it’s not working. I reflexively put my hands on her back, but she grabs them and pins them against my sides. Then, one of her paws goes to caress the front of my pants. I nearly jump when I feel it sliding under them… and beneath my panties. My breath catches in my throat, and my cock goes hard instantly.

“Good boy,” she purrs. “Now don’t move…”

Oh my God, no. This is a terrible idea. I take a glance at the main corridor, about ten feet away from us. There isn’t much passage, and we’re in a pretty dark area, but this is still a uniquely stupid idea. Someone could see us. And there’s that “employees only” door. If someone comes out of there, it’s game over. I have to put a stop to this. I… Fuck, fuck, fuck, why does her paw have to feel so soft? She’s just holding my member lightly between two furred fingers, and it’s enough to make me lose control over the lower part of my body.

“Hnnnh…” I moan.

“Shhhhh…”

She puts her other paw over my mouth. Down below, she begins moving. Slowly, of course. How could she possibly resist the temptation to tease me some more? Out of my mouth come some embarrassingly high-pitched sounds; those don’t even qualify as moans, they’re more like squeaks. Jacinda pulls down on my pants, just enough to take a gander.

“Damn, it’s almost as long as my paw,” she says under her breath.

I look at the main hallway again, scared that I’m now exposed to the world. Thankfully, Jacinda has now positioned herself so that a lookie-loo wouldn’t be able to see much. They could possibly notice a couple being very close, but nothing NSFA -Not Safe For Aquariums. Thank God for that. While California has a reputation for being a lot more tolerant than the rest of the US when it comes to that kind of thing, said tolerance does not apply to family-friendly spaces.

She starts moving her hand faster. My eyes roll back in my skull as I groan in pleasure. The delicate fur lining the inside of her paw is setting my nerves on fire. She lets out a throaty chuckle, clearly proud of the fact that I’m almost literally putty in her hands. Her thumb goes to rub the head of my cock, and I nearly lose it. My knees buckle. I twitch with every stroke. But my pleasure is marred by a growing frustration. As pleasant as her gentleness is, she’s going too slowly to actually get me where I want to be. She takes her paw off my mouth and slides it around my throat, holding it softly but firmly, just enough to make me understand that I’m hers right now. As if there was any doubt.

“Fuck, Jacinda…” I say, my tone almost reduced to a whine.

“I take it I’m doing a good job, then?” she breathes in my ear.

“Yea-”

I choke as I feel something else in my ear, something wet and warm. That’s not her breath, this time. That’s her tongue.

“Betcha I could make you beg,” she says, her voice deliciously throaty.

“Please don’t.”

“Are you begging me to not make you beg?” She chuckles.

“I’m… I’m not gonna… Uhhh…”

I’m trying my hardest to say something coherent, but you can’t expect a red-blooded heterosexual teenager to remain level-headed when the hottest girl he’s ever met is giving him a handjob. Oh my God, her fur is so smooth I want to wrap myself in it.

“You need to cum?” she says. That word in her mouth is almost enough to make me.

“Yeah!”

“Pity.”

She immediately pulls away from me, straightens herself up, and starts walking back to the main hallway. I blink, half-convinced that this is some kind of joke. When she doesn’t so much as look above her shoulder, I run after her, sputtering curses.

“What the fuck, Jacinda?” I whisper-roar in her ear, trying to put on a poker face for the people -mostly kids- around us.

“Well, you didn’t want me to make you beg, so…”

“You… You bitch.”

“Damn right, I am.”

She leads me to the exit of the aquarium, and decides to make a detour by the gift shop. As she browses a pile of dolphin plushies, I say:

“You know I’m just gonna finish myself at home, right?”

“Yup. And you know it’s not gonna be nearly as good, right?”

Agh. I hate that she’s correct.

“And you know that I’m getting you back for this, right?” I insist.

“And you know I’m planning on that, riiight?

Damn it! If she keeps turning me on like that, I might have an aneurysm.

“Oh, I’m taking this one,” she says, grabbing an otter plushie and brushing it against her face.

“Wait a minute, you must have come through this shop about a thousand times. Don’t you have a ton of those plushies?”

“This is actually the very first thing I’m buying here. The very first two things, actually.”

She shoves an identical plushie in my arms.

“Uh, thanks, but I’d be more partial to those shark-shaped candies.”

“I thought you’d want a souvenir.”

Jacinda pushes our otters’ heads together, in an admittedly adorable plushie kiss. I agree; I definitely want something to remember that day -not that I’ll need much help to do so. She pays for her gifts, then we make our way back to her car.

“Okay, that killed a few hours,” I say. “What do you want to do for the rest of the day?” Faking innocence, I add: “Remember, you can still call in one favor.”

I can tell that Jacinda’s imagination is reeling from this. If I had a mustache, I’d be twirling it. 

“Well, actually,” she says, “I told you that that time in the library didn’t count as a favor, so I guess I still owe you for the homework. So, that makes us even.”

Wait, what? How dare she use logic against me?

“No-no-no,” I say. “You can’t retroactively un-call a favor. I owe you one, and that’s final.”

But she’s not listening. Dammit.

“Ah, crap,” Jacinda mutters as rain starts pouring on the windshield. The wipers automatically turn on. “I wanted to go to the park near my house, but we can forget about it now.”

“Guess we’ll have to-”

“If you say “take a rain check”, I’ll actually abandon you by the side of the road.”

I chuckle. “I was gonna say: guess we’ll have to go back to your house. But I bet you wanted to hit another museum, my queen of nerds.”

“No, I didn’t,” she lies.

“Come on. Which one were you thinking? Wells Fargo?”

“It’s closed on Sundays,” she mumbles.

“What then? Not the Modern Art Museum, I hope.”

“I… kinda like the Musée Mécanique.”

“There you go. Attadork.”

“Oh my gods,” she groans. “Lots of people go there. It’s not dorky.”

“Yeah? I bet you got the highest score on some of the old-timey pinball machines.”

“No!” she doth protest too much. “And even if I did, being good at something is not dorky either. Betcha I could kick your ass at those.”

“Could you? Let’s make it a proper bet then.”

“Let me guess: we’ll be betting another favor.”

“Worked for us so far,” I say.

“Fine, but you had better bring your A-game. You’re not gonna like how I use my favor.”

“You think you’re gonna like how I use mine?”

We both grin, and shoot each other a look; game on.

I’m not very surprised to find out that the old Lizardman volunteering at the museum is on a first name basis with Jacinda. She and Yukio -that’s his name- chat for a while, mostly about the new machines they’ve received and are currently renovating. Jacinda seems a bit bummed that one of her favorite games -because of course she has a few- has been removed; apparently, the upkeep was getting expensive, and they needed the room for something newer. Eventually, Yukio has to get back to his job, and Jacinda comes back to me.

“So which one of your favorite games will I have the pleasure to humiliate you at?” I ask.

“How about a game of foosball?” she says. “It should be right up your alley, so you almost have a fair chance.”

“I’m up for that, but you have to promise me not to cry.”

“Oh, it’s so on. Hey!” She brandishes a claw. “No spinning, no jarring, no tilting.”

“Obviously. How many points?”

“Let’s say ten.”

“Ten it is.”

We take one of the two foosball tables available. I pick the reds. Well, I want to pick the reds, but so does Jacinda. We eventually flip for it, and sadly for me, tails never fails. When will I learn?

“You ready?” Jacinda says holding the ball above the game area.

“I was born-”

Before I can finish this stock repartee, Jacinda drops the ball and strikes it with a powerful turn of the rod before it can touch the ground. The ball smashes in my goal with a loud metallic sound.

“One-nothing,” she says. With a faux-apologetic smile, she adds: “Sorry, I thought you were ready.”

There are children around, Chris. Don’t throw her on the table and rip her clothes off.

“My turn,” I say as I grab the ball, my voice eerily calm.

I lightly toss it in the air. Jacinda prepares for its landing; her jaw tenses and her ears lower -I try not to think about how much I’d like to tickle them. The ball drops down… on the back of one of my wooden players, where I hold it.

“Hey! That’s against the rules,” Jacinda says.

“Is it?” I shrug. “Fine.”

With a flick of my wrist, I bounce the ball up, then, with another move, strike it mid-air. Shlang! That’s the sound of me getting even; and I don’t just mean the score.

“It’s like that, huh?” she says.

“It most certainly is.”

What ensues is a battle so epic it would make a high fantasy writer feel inadequate. We fight with spirit and bravery, taking no prisoners and recognizing no limits. The Hague, eat your heart out. But, in spite of my soldiers’ tenacity, it quickly becomes obvious that they will soon fall before the relentlessness of Evil Empress Jacinda’s troops. Time to try an underhanded tactic; after all, it’s not cheating when the good guys do it.

I take off my varsity jacket, revealing my sleeve tattoos she seems to like so much, and the fact that I’ve been sweating. From the way her nostrils flare, I can tell we’re close enough that it gives her a good whiff of my body odor. She gives me a sharp look.

“This game has gotten me heated,” I say.

“Oh, that is low.”

“Don’t know what you’re talking about.”

I flex my arms above my head. Yeah, get a good look at my ink, Jacinda. You really like my tats, huh?

“No, really, that is low,” she says, slowly bending over the foosball table. Oh shit, I had almost forgotten about her top. “So. Very. Low.” She underlines every word with a sharp move of her torso, making her boobs shake.

Focus on the game. Focus on the game. I have to. Focus. On. The. Game. Our duel resumes, even more intense. The ball is kicked back and forth, so fast I can barely keep track of it. My hands start reacting before my brain can tell them how. And suddenly -bang!- I score my tenth goal, ending the game.

“And the crowd goes wild!” I yell, throwing my arms in the air.

Jacinda roars in frustration and stomps her foot, making my victory even more delicious.

“Fine,” she says. “I guess now we’re even.”

“Wait, what?” I say.

“We were playing for a favor. You won, so that erases the favor you owed me.”

“Hey, hold on. I don’t agree to that.”

“What?” She blinks.

“You keep your favor, and I get mine.”

“Why?”

I smirk. “‘Cause you’re not getting out of this one.”

She mutters something, and her cheeks darken. “Fine.”

We move on from the foosball table and go to look at the various games. We try some of -okay: most of- the pinball machines. Jacinda tries to challenge me again at a few of them; but I’ve seen how she plays, there’s no way I’m stupid enough to try. Instead, I use that time to think about what I’m going to make her do with that favor. Or do to her. Something risky, something embarrassing? Something sexual? Ah, what am I saying?… As if there was any doubt it’s gonna be sexual. Why not? She herself admitted that she was hoping for it -well, she said “planning on it”, but same diff’.

It’s when we get back into her car, and into the dense traffic, that I get an idea. I glance at Jacinda, who’s hunched over her steering wheel, looking bored as can be. A little tense, too.

“Are you on self-drive?”

“Yeah. Not that there’s anywhere to drive to, anyway.”

This is true. We have been stuck in a line in front of a traffic light for a while now. Every time it turns green, it stays that way juuust long enough to let one or two cars through. Given that there’s about fourteen or fifteen cars in front of us, we’re going to be here a while. Which is perfect.

“You’re gonna hurt your back if you stay like that,” I point out as she lightly bangs her forehead on the wheel out of boredom, hunching her back even more.

“Yes, Mom,” she says, rolling her beautiful eyes, but leaning back in her seat… thus giving me access.

“You seem tense, too,” I say.

“Geez, I wonder why. Anything else you’d like to point out? Like, should I tie my hair up so it doesn’t get everywhere?”

“That’d be a shame,” I mutter, taking in the lovely, shaggy mess that flows off her head and down her back. “I just think you need to relax a little.”

“Now you’re just trying to piss me off.”

“Nope. Just the opposite.”

I lean towards her, gently putting my hand on her stomach. Her eyebrows jump up.

“What-”

“Hush,” I say, grabbing her jeans’ zipper between my thumb and my index finger. I pull it down, taking my sweet time, just like she took hers earlier. “I’m calling in my favor.”

“You’re kidding me,” she says, looking spooked as she glances out of her window. There are no pedestrians on the sidewalk on my side, and the few on her side are too far to really see much, especially through the tainted windows. I open her pants’ button. She places her paw over my wrist, but doesn’t actually stop me.

“No, I’m not,” I say.

She gulps her saliva as her panties appear. Does she ever wear anything but boring panties? Ah, but after all, doesn’t matter the package, it’s what’s inside that counts. I brush over them. They’re warm. I bury my other hand in her long hair. Jacinda shoots another nervous look out the window.

“How does it feel when the shoe’s on the other foot?” I whisper in her ear, making it flutter. Speaking of, I can’t help but wonder how her furred feet would feel around my cock. Next favor, I guess.

Jacinda breathes in deeply, trying to calm herself down. She refuses to meet my gaze, and makes obvious efforts to keep her composure. I don’t mind; it makes it funnier for me.

A damp spot has appeared on her panties, similar to the one I saw during our spanking session. Deciding that she’s ready for the next part, I slid my hand, minus my thumb, under the cloth, caressing her skin. She breathes in sharply like she’s about to dive underwater. While her panties were warm, the skin beneath is hot, especially the patch of fur above her pussy. Between that and how wet I can tell she is, it must feel like a hammam inside her. Let’s find out.

My index and my middle fingers reach my prize, in the form of her nether lips. I get hard again immediately when I feel how soaked they are. The tip of my fingers brush alongside those swollen, wet lips. Jacinda’s mouth opens, but she doesn’t speak a word.

“Nothing to say?” I murmur, my breath teasing her neck. “No sassy comment, no snappy retort?”

“You-”

I immediately slip my middle finger between her pussy lips, and whatever comeback she was about to throw dies as she shudders.

Dear God, she’s even hotter inside. I begin moving my finger in and out of her, still in no hurry. Her left paw clutches the edge of her seat. My index finger goes to join the other, and I dare to venture deeper inside. Meanwhile, my thumb slips past her panties as well, determined to get to her clitoris.

A strangled exclamation escapes her when I find that sweet little button, both soft and burning to the touch. Jacinda slides her hips forward to give me better access, and I immediately seize this opportunity to slide in a third finger. All I’m doing so far is exploring her, discovering the nice warmth of her snatch while drawing circles around her clit, but she’s so turned on it’s enough to drive her half-crazy. I’m impressed by how much she’s restraining herself, though. Her face remains impassive, she’s barely fidgety, and her breath is mostly under her control. For now…

My lips meet her neck, planting soft kisses and blowing lightly. She sighs, her eyes closing, and her tail wagging against her seat. That gives me an idea. While I quicken the pace of my fingering, my other hand leaves her neck and goes down her back until it approaches the birth of her tail. I tickle her clit some more to make sure she doesn’t notice.

“Chris…” she moans, and I swear some precum just shot out of my cock simply from hearing her say my name like that. “Nnnnh…”

Then, as the wave of pleasure she’s riding gets higher and higher, I abruptly grab the base of her tail, trying to remember how I did it last time. With a good squeeze, she finally surrenders to the pleasure.

“Nnnnaaaaaaaah!” she screams, her eyes shooting wide open.

Jacinda’s O-face is nothing short of divine. I only had a glimpse of it back in the library before she ran away, denying me that spectacle. Her tongue poking out and the drool dripping off it makes it a bit silly, but the way her eyes shine, her blissful smile, the shudder that shakes her entire body, the way her ears perk up, make it one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. She drops back against her seat, short of breath, and finally meets my gaze.

I slowly withdraw my fingers from her pussy. They are completely coated in their juices. Said juices have a thick and syrupy look; it’s like I dipped my fingers in actual honey. Out of both curiosity and horniness, I put my index finger in my mouth and start licking it clean. Jacinda’s honey tastes… like fire. It’s rich and powerful, and it stings my tongue. Heck, it’s even tingling my nostrils.

“You’re gonna share that?” she says.

I raise an eyebrow. “You want to taste… yourself?”

“Just curious. I’ve actually never tried it before.”

I offer her my middle finger -not like that-, and she wraps her lips around it. Jesus. This girl. She could have just given the tip of my finger a quick lick, but no. She chooses instead to take it entirely in her mouth and suck on it. Once again, there’s no way she doesn’t know what she’s doing. I have to be careful around her; a heart attack seems like a definite possibility.

She releases my finger, and makes a face.

“Not to your liking?” I say.

“I taste… a little bland.”

“Bland?! Girl, your pussy tastes like paprika!”

“Maybe for you, white boy.”

The light turns green again, and the car finally passes the intersection. Hurray, only one hour left before we make it back to Jacinda’s house.

“Well, I guess that’s another thing to tell your sister tonight,” I say.

She giggles, then puts on a serious, somewhat worried look.

“Hey, um…”

Her fingers drum on the wheel.

“Yes?”

“Today was, err…”

“It was pretty great,” I say. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome. I mean, it was pretty great for me too. But I need to ask… Was it a date?”

“I mean…” I chuckle. “Yeah. I guess it was.”

All of a sudden, I slap my forehead.

“Ah, shit.”

“What’s wrong?”

“Hayley.”

“Oh,” Jacinda says, her expression darkening ever so slightly. “What about her?”

“Remember that date we had on Friday?”

“Yeah,” she says, “Yeah, I remember.”

“Well, I kinda asked her out on a second date at the end. I have to tell her it’s not going to happen. God, I’m such a jackass. She actually asked me if there was anything between you and me, and I said no.”

“Oh. Well…” Jacinda says, hesitating. “You don’t have to end things with her, if, err, if you don’t want to.”

“What?”

“I mean, we’re young, we’re in college, and… well, we’ve only been on one date. What I’m saying is, if… if you want, you can still date Hayley.”

I shoot her an incredulous look. “You’d be okay with that?”

“I…”

She gives a small shrug. The silence that accompanies it is the loudest non-answer I’ve ever heard.

“Well, I wouldn’t be okay with that,” I say.

Jacinda turns to look at me. I meet her gaze with a smile.

“You think I could be satisfied with mayonnaise now that I’ve tried paprika?”

She laughs.

“Plus, looking back, our date didn’t go so well,” I sigh.

“Why did you ask for a second date, then?”

“Hell if I know. I guess I thought I was supposed to. Like, you’re supposed to ask for a second date unless the first one went really badly.”

“Was it your first date ever?” Jacinda asks, amused.

“No, I had a girlfriend before.”

And that’s when it hits me. Amy. The memories flow back. The fear comes back, crushing my lungs and tightening my throat. The rubber band, quick. I pull on it, then again, then a third time. Closing my eyes, I focus on my breath, forcing the air in and out of my lungs. Reality comes back into focus, but the adrenaline doesn’t go down.

What was I thinking? I can’t do this. This is too dangerous. I have to… This has to stop. What if…

No. No! I can’t let fear make my decisions for me.

My eyes open again, and set on Jacinda. She’s looking up something on her car’s onboard computer, and has thankfully not noticed my panic. As she puts on some heavy metal music to which she hums along, I try to force myself to believe that things will be okay. Even though I have no reason to think that, and many reasons to think otherwise. It is dangerous.

But here lies the real problem: the danger is not just on me. There are others that can -and probably will– suffer if I don’t make the right choice. Others I’ve grown to care a lot about.

I feel shitty even considering it, but it is obvious what I have to do.

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