“On Monday we’ll have tickets ready to pick up. This year we’re asking everyone to sell twenty. All the details about the Children’s Hospital charity we’re sponsoring are in your email, along with the dress code. Remind people when you sell them a ticket that formal attire is required. And I’m serious when I say black tie. Period. If the men don’t show up in a bow tie or a dazzling sequin gown, they aren’t getting in. Stephanie, I’m talking to you.”
Rayna cuts a glare at the sister barely concealing a guilty grin. Last year Steph’s date arrived dressed as Goth Rock Zombie Jesus. It did not go over well with the donor alumni.
“Can we do it in Boston this year?” Jules whines. “The banquet hall smelled funny and there wasn’t any parking. I bet I could get my dad to—”
“No,” Rayna snaps back. “The more we spend on a venue, the less money goes to charity. We’ll be in the Hastings banquet hall again, but this year we’re contracting with the church across the street to use their parking lot for overflow parking, and we’ll have valet onsite.”
“Everyone,” Charlotte chimes in, “is required to sign up for a volunteer committee for the Spring Gala. VIP planning, decorations, whatever. Rayna’s got the lists. If your name isn’t on one, I’m picking for you.”
Sasha pokes me in the ribs. She’d committed a hostile takeover of the music committee at the last meeting and conscripted me to her campaign. Mostly that involves us going through her Spotify playlists to find the right balance between danceable and inoffensive to our distinguished guests of a certain age. Last year Sasha kicked the DJ out twenty minutes into his set and ran the whole thing from her phone.
Needless to say, we’ve found it’s easier to let Sasha have her way.
After Charlotte dismisses the meeting, Abigail corners me on my way to the hall bathroom. She’s been to her bleach dealer, it seems. Her hair is now a shade of white that somehow absorbs all natural light and reflects only blinding bitch.
“You’re awfully smug these says,” she says, standing between me and the door to prevent me from peeing. I should pee on her fancy Louboutins just to prove a point about the repercussions of bathroom barriers.
“I can assure you I’m not. Now if you’ll excuse me—”
“You know hockey boy is going to get bored and dump you soon. He never dates anyone longer than a few weeks.”
“Why do you care?”
“We’re sisters, Tay-Tay,” she coos, cocking her head in that way that makes her look like a broken marionette. It’s fucking creepy. Or perhaps it’s all the blood rushing to one side of her brain to give her the ability to form words. “I wouldn’t want you to get your heart broken.”
“No worries.” I shove my hand out and force her to dodge it so I can push forward. “Our relationship is solely based on having lots of sex, so…”
I brush past her and do my business, then wash my hands and step back into the hall. Where Abigail is still standing. Doesn’t she have better things to do than obsess over my love life?
She tails me down the hall toward the foyer. As I’m opening the door to leave, none other than Abigail’s boyfriend Kevin struts inside. Lovely. He who smells like too much body spray and Cheetos.
Every time Kevin sees me there’s a brief blank stare and then his eyes drop to my chest and it’s like spotting someone you know in a crowded airport. His face alights with recognition. “Taylor, hey.”
“Taylor,” Sasha shouts at me from the staircase. “Get your ass up here.”
“Look at it this way,” I chirp, sliding past Abigail and her gross boyfriend’s leering stare, “when I’m done with hockey boy, you can shoot your shot.”
A thrill of excited energy pours through my blood. Standing up to Abigail, even just a little, feels good. Powerful, even. Taylor Marsh, able to leap tall bitches in a single bound.
“We should talk to Charlotte about having paramedics standing by,” Sasha says as we climb the stairs to her bedroom. “Abigail’s liable to drop dead of jealousy any minute.”
“I don’t know about jealousy.” In Sasha’s room, I plop down in her beanbag chair and toss my hair over one shoulder. “I think what drives her crazy is that her cruelty backfired into actually making me happy.”
Sasha sits on the other beanbag and fixes me with a serious look. “So this is legit then? You and Conor are a real thing now?”
“It’s something,” I say for lack of a better word. “I don’t know what.”
“But it’s real.”
I swallow hard. “I think so. I mean, we’ve kissed and whatever. Messed around a little in Buffalo.”
“You drove seven hours for a booty call,” Sasha says, laughing. “I hope it was more than a little.”
“Six and a half hours. And fine, it was a little more than a little.”
“Do you still have your V-Card?” she demands.
“I’m as yet unacquainted with his penis.”
That earns me snort. “All right. So. Where’s your head at? Is this like a fine-for-now thing, or is it headed in a linear direction?”
“I don’t know. I mean, I’m into it. Things are a solid A in the fooling around category. He’s sweet and respectful and makes me feel comfortable.”
“But,” Sasha says for me.
“But I’m still hesitant. He’s been nothing but wonderful to me, and yet I can’t shake the idea that if I have sex with him, I’m still a number on a very long list. It feels…” I trail off, unable to find the words.
“That’s the patriarchy talking. Who gives a shit how many women he’s slept with? Did he cheat on them? Did he promise them a ring to get them into bed and then sneak out in the middle of the night? Is he posting sex selfies on Insta and passing trophies around to his friends?”
“Not that I’m aware of, no.”
“So fuck it, then. Or him.” She wiggles her tongue impishly. “If you want to. When you feel like it. If the mood strikes.”
“Okay,” I say, rolling my eyes. “I get it.”
“Society tells boys to divide and conquer, and tells girls to save ourselves for some younger future version of our father. Just doing some quick math in my head and…yep, that comes out to a bunch of hypocritical bullshit. Your self-worth is not tied up in your vagina or how many girls came before you.”
“No pun intended.”
I haven’t fingered a girl this much since high school.
Taylor lies in my bed on her side, cheeks flushed and lips parted slightly. Her bra is tossed across my desk in the corner. Her shirt is pulled up to expose her perfect tits for me, jeans pushed down only enough for me to get my hand beneath her skimpy white panties. I haven’t even seen this girl fully naked yet, but she’s the most erotic thing I’ve ever witnessed. Blonde hair splayed over my pillow and warm little body wrapped around mine while she writhes against my hand. Her eyes clench tighter every time I swipe my thumb across her clit. I could do this all day.