By MINA J. MOORE
“Fuck that!” Crystal yelled. “You need to get with the program here. How are you ever going to get laid in that get up?”
I cringed because I knew she was right. My oversized sweater in the middle of July didn’t make me very appealing. The sad part was… I didn’t care. I wanted to hide under layers of wool.
“I have no interest in getting laid, as you put it,” I told her. “I have my cat and my books. Don’t need anything else.” My one and only experience with sex had been a disaster. Ron Baker had been cute and attractive enough—personally, I wanted to get it over with. My virginity was like a looming sign over my head and I had wanted it gone. Come to find out, Ron had also been a virgin.
I watched as my childhood friend threw her hands up in the air, a sure sign of her frustration. She turned, swinging her thick blonde hair and placing a manicured hand on her slim hip. She was a knockout and I couldn’t possibly compare. I didn’t even want to. Crystal had always attracted the boys in school while I hid around the corner waiting for them to get lost. Dozens of dates later, she still hadn’t found “the one”. We were both in our third year of college and her list of boyfriends was as long as 8th Avenue. Nope, that was not where I wanted to be. I was perfectly content with my furry partner and my fantasy world of books.
“Jody Louise Maroni, you are going to cause me to have a solid fit! All my life I’ve watched you cower and hide what your mama blessed you with. I’ve given you time to adjust to college, praying that you would stop with this utter bullshit you insist on. It’s time to have fun. You’re in college, for God’s sake!”
I slammed the book I was currently reading shut. “That’s what you don’t understand. I don’t want too!”
A calculating look came into Crystal’s eyes and I should have bolted right then and there.
“What if I promised never to pester you on this subject again?”
I rolled my eyes and adjusted my glasses. “I should be so lucky.”
She shook her finger at me. “You just have to agree to one thing.”
I should have listened to my instincts and said no, but I was intrigued and desperate to stop Crystal’s insistence that I change. Taking a deep breath, I answered.
Her smile terrified me. “You have to come with me to Blake Steel’s annual bash.”
My eyes widened. The Blake Steel—as in the owner of the restaurant chain we both worked our part time jobs at? How the hell had Crystal even gotten an invite?
She reads minds.
“I know people and those people happen to like me. One of the managers is hot for me so I kissed him in exchange for an invite.”
My gasp made her laugh.
“Oh come on. It’s just a kiss and he is a hottie anyway. Now what will it be?”
“You’ve got to be joking. I’ve only seen Blake a handful of times in the last three years I’ve worked there. Won’t he wonder what the hell we are doing there?”
Crystal studied her French manicure. “I think we will blend in nicely.” She glanced up and smiled. “It’s a rooftop party. At his place in South Beach.”
I gawked at her. The possibilities for disaster were steadily increasing. Crystal in South Beach was potentially dangerous. I’d heard the morning after stories and they weren’t fun.
She crossed her arms and tapped her fingers against her elbows. “So what’s it gonna be? One night of party town and I’ll leave you alone.”
I glanced down at my book and wished I could just disappear inside of it and from the outside world. But I had to admit the possibility of not having to endure Crystal’s pestering was too appealing. So I dress up and mingle for a bit—what could be the harm?
I was about to find out…