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Best Intentions - Summer Camp Swingers: Wren Series Book 3

Nick Scipio


Best Intentions

Summer Camp Swingers: Wren Series Book 3

Nick Scipio

Free Dessert Publishing




Book 3

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21


About the Author

More Summer Camp Swingers

Also by Nick Scipio


Hello and welcome to Camp! If you’ve been here before, let’s talk about some changes.

First, the book titles. They’re new. Duh. But why? For starters, they’re more descriptive now. The old Volume X titles didn’t tell you a thing about the books, other than their order in the series.

The new titles are mostly for new readers. If you’re a fan from before, you probably don’t care what the books are called. But new readers don’t know me or my stories, and titles are an important part of the sales pitch.

Next, the series and universe, Summer Camp Swingers. Why the change? Amazon. Specifically, their search and recommendation algorithms. I don’t want my books to appear beside ones about regular summer camps. Adding Swingers should make it clear that mine are for grown-ups.

Okay, that’s enough about the changes. If you’re new to Camp, let me tell you how this all began.

Back in the summer of 2002, I had a story growing in my imagination. It started as a simple fantasy that sprang from events in my real life.

My family vacationed at a nudist camp in the seventies and early eighties. My parents were swingers at the time, although I didn’t figure it out until much later. And when I was a teenager, I knew a woman who was similar to Susan. As an adult, I always wondered what would’ve happened if she’d been more like the woman in my imagination.

So this “what if…?” story was growing in my head, and I kept remembering things and adding new details. It quickly became too much to keep track of, so I decided to write it down. I finished the first few chapters and posted them online. People liked them, so I kept writing.

In the process, my coming-of-age story evolved into something far bigger than I’d ever imagined. I added an overall plot: Who died? Who’s the wife? Then I sketched out the people and events in several more stories. Other writers wanted to play in my world, so I created the universe, Summer Camp Swingers. My own stories grew into books, and the books became series—five of them, as it turned out.

So, where are we now, with this book? Christy is the fifth and final series in the main Summer Camp Swingers saga. You don’t need to read the first four series to enjoy this one, but they add a lot of background for the people and events here. If you’re interested, the earlier series are available on my website.

Whew! That was a lot of introduction. Yeah, sorry. I’ve been writing Summer Camp Swingers since that fateful day back in 2002, so we’re talking about 30 books, nearly 2.5 million words. In any event, I’m sure you’re ready to start reading. You bought the book, after all, so let’s get to it!

Nick Scipio

August 1, 2020



Summer Camp Swingers has always been a serial, published a chapter at a time. So the books in this series don’t begin and end like normal ones do. They’re meant to be read as a complete story, one after the other. When you reach the end of this book, pick up the next one and keep going.

And when you reach the end of this series, start the next one. Keep going until you finish the Christy series. That’s 26 books in total, more than two million words.

The Epilogue in So Long, Summer Camp (book 8 in the Christy series) will wrap up the whole saga and answer the two big questions from the very beginning—who’s the wife and who died?

Book 3


After my morning run I cleaned up and headed for Siobhan’s studio. It seemed like a lifetime since the beginning of the quarter, but had only been three weeks. Wren had modeled for the Life Drawing class for the past two, and now it was my turn.

At least Christy wasn’t in the class. I hadn’t seen her since she’d stormed off, but I could easily picture her gimlet stare. Even in my imagination, her eyes bored holes through me and I had to look away.

Siobhan was talking to a couple of students when I arrived, so I gave her a quick wave and headed into her small office. I closed the door and slung my backpack into a chair. I started to take off my coat but then froze when I realized I wasn’t alone.

“What’re you doing here?”

Wren rolled her eyes. “Nice to see you, too.”

I recovered my manners, but still felt a little uncertain. “Yeah, nice to see you, but… um… what’re you doing here? It’s just me today.”

“I know, but I wanted to see you.”

“Does Trip know?” Much as I wanted to see her, I didn’t need any more bad blood.

She shook her head. “He’s in class.”

“You realize this isn’t a good idea, don’t you? Sneaking around on him, I mean.”

“I’m not ‘sneaking around.’ He knows we model together.”

“Yeah, but does he know you’re not supposed to be here today?”

“It’s none of his business.”

I snorted.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“You know.”

“No,” she said archly, “I don’t.”

“Hey, I’m not the one telling you how to live your life, so don’t get upset with me.”

She looked like she wanted to argue, but her expression softened instead. “Yeah, you’re right. Sometimes he just drives me crazy.”

Then why are you with him? I thought, but knew the answer. Love and hate aren’t far apart, and sometimes aren’t very different to begin with. I scoffed quietly—it explained a lot about my life, especially lately.

“Do you mind if I stay?” Wren said. “I’ll leave if you want, but…”

I didn’t know how I felt about getting undressed in front of her, but I’d have to decide sooner or later. Might as well be sooner, I thought with a sigh. “Stay,” I said, and took off my coat. “What’s Trip think about this? Modeling together, I mean.”

“He doesn’t like it.” She shrugged. “He doesn’t have a choice, though.”

“That probably doesn’t sit well either. He doesn’t like it when he’s not in control.”

“Then he’d better get used to it. I’m not his property.”

I gave her a calm, curious look. “Why are you so angry lately?”

“I’m not—!” She realized what she was doing and huffed. “I’m angry at him,” she said at last. “He’s being a butt. He’s miserable, but it’s his own fault. He’s so stubborn!”

I chuckled at the irony.

“He misses you, but he’s too pigheaded to admit it. He doesn’t think I can tell, either. Can you talk to him? Try to apologize again?”

“Uh-uh. I tried that once. Remember?”

“Couldn’t you try again?”

“Why? To give him the satisfaction of rubbing my nose in it?”

“But, please! Just this once?”

“No,” I said firmly, and felt a flush of anger and humiliation at the memory of the first time.

“Why not?”

Because! I’m not going to go crawling back.”

“But he’s so pigheaded,” she said, almost plaintively.

“Then I guess that makes two of us.” I jabbed my arms into my robe and closed it with a savage jerk.

“You’re right,” Wren said at last. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t’ve asked.” She shrugged. “I just thought…”

I felt my anger drain away. “I know,” I said gently, “but friendship’s a two-way street, and the ball’s in Trip’s court.”

She nodded, preoccupied by our little love triangle. I understood exactly how she felt, and I didn’t envy her. She forced a smile at last, but it was sad.

As if on cue, Siobhan tapped on the door and then opened it. “Ready, Paul?”

“Be right there,” I said, and looked at Wren. “Sorry. I tried once, and you saw what happened.” I thought about trying again, but then shook my head. “I’m not gonna waste my time on a guy who doesn’t want to be friends with me. You know?”

Wren sighed. “You’re right. It’s up to him.”

Awkward silence hung between us. I felt sorry for her, but I wasn’t going to set myself up for more disappointment.

“I’d better get out there,” I said at last.

“Yeah.” She reached for her backpack, but her eyes were far away.

When I emerged from the office, Siobhan was giving pointers on how to draw the male physique. She finished her thought and then introduced me. From experience, I knew that the first two weeks were simple poses, so I unbelted my robe and settled on the stool in the center of the ring of easels.

Modeling was actually pretty boring, especially by myself, and I usually thought about architecture. But this time I couldn’t stop thinking about Trip. And the future. Part of me was furious that my life was in a shambles. Another part was sullen and dejected.

I knew myself well enough to see a funk coming, so I took a deep breath and focused on the people around me. As usual, Siobhan walked behind them, commenting and critiquing, offering hints and advice and encouragement. She was a good teacher, and I saw why Christy liked her so much.

At the thought of Christy, I felt my temper rise, so I cleared my mind and looked for a distraction. My eye settled on a pretty girl with high cheekbones and a long, straight nose. Her sandy blonde hair was pulled back in a loose, twisted knot, which made her look older than she probably was.

I didn’t want to get caught staring, but something about her piqued my interest. Her clothes were normal enough, a cable-knit sweater and stirrup pants, so I couldn’t put my finger on why she’d caught my eye. She glanced up to get another look at me, although she didn’t notice me looking at her. Then our eyes met and she looked away quickly.

A blush crept up her cheeks, so I waited for her to recover her composure. She looked up almost hesitantly, and I smiled when our eyes met. Her answering smile was shy, and she went back to her sketch quickly.

I let my gaze move on, but watched her out of the corner of my eye. I felt a moment of panic, but suppressed it and tried to control my breathing. It was one of the first things I’d learned in judo, and I used it to center myself.

When I finally had my pulse and breathing under control, I casually met her eye and offered another smile, friendly and confident, but not too cocky. I spent the rest of class flirting with her, and could feel her eyes on me whenever she thought I wasn’t looking.

Oddly enough, I wasn’t worried about getting an erection. I definitely felt a spark of attraction, but she didn’t seem like the seductive type. From her blushes and shy glances, I thought she might be a virgin, and a part of me wondered if I really wanted that kind of responsibility.

I was still thinking about it when Siobhan drew the class to a close and thanked me. I gathered my robe and tried to look cool as I strode from the circle. But once past the students, I quickened my step and practically burst into the small office.

Wren looked up in surprise. “What’s going on?”

“Gotta go,” I said as I hopped and almost tripped when my foot caught on my boxers. “Sorry. Need to meet someone before my next class.”

Wren looked disappointed, but she closed her book and gathered her things. “Yeah, I need to get to class too. Business Finance. Ugh.” She walked toward me as I fastened my khakis.

I didn’t know what to expect, so I was surprised when she tilted her face up. We kissed on the cheek, and she gave me a resigned look when she pulled back.

“Sorry we didn’t get to talk more,” she said. “I really miss that. Maybe when we start modeling together.”

“Yeah,” I said quickly, “that sounds good.”

Wren was in her own world, so she didn’t notice my distraction. Instead, she gave a wan smile and left with a wave. I finished dressing and rushed out of the office. If I was lucky, I could catch the blonde before she got too far. I started to dash out of the studio but then skidded to a halt.

She was talking to Siobhan! I couldn’t believe my luck. I took a deep breath and tried to master my racing heart.

Siobhan was giving her hints on how to draw my shoulders. I glanced at her sketch and suppressed a wince. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t very good either. I couldn’t help but think of Christy, whose drawings were so lifelike. The new girl didn’t stand up to the comparison, and I wanted to kick myself for thinking of Christy in the first place.

“It just takes practice,” Siobhan told her. “Hello, Paul. I was just telling Daphne that your shoulders are hard to draw. It has to do with muscle definition.”

“I’ll try to be less defined next time,” I said dryly.

Daphne blushed and smiled.

Siobhan gave me a searching look. “Have you two met?”

“Not yet,” I said, and held out my hand. “I’m Paul.”

“I know.” Daphne shook my hand. Hers was warm and soft, and a little smudged from her drawing. She looked at it in embarrassment. “Sorry, I… um…”

“It’s okay,” I said as I rubbed away the graphite. “Mine get that way too.”

“Are you an artist?”

“Architect,” I said. “Well, not yet, but I will be.”

Siobhan realized what was going on, so she patted my arm. “Thank you, Paul. I’ll see you Thursday.” Then she glanced at Daphne. “Keep practicing. You’re doing well.” She said goodbye and disappeared into her office.

I turned to Daphne and thought about blowing off computer class. “So, um… do you have class now?”

She dashed my hopes with a nod.

“Oh, okay. Where’re you headed?”

“Just downstairs.”

“Cool. I’m headed to the computer lab. Wanna walk down together?”

“I guess.” She seemed unusually shy, but I wasn’t going to let the opportunity slip away.

I mustered my courage at the first floor landing. “I know we just met,” I said, “but maybe we could get together sometime. Do you mind if I call you? We could go to dinner or a movie.”

“I’m free tonight,” she said, and her cheeks immediately flushed.

“Ah, okay. Cool. I’m busy till six, but I can call you afterward. Can I get your number?”

“Um… I have to be on campus till five.”

“Oh. Okay. Then do you wanna just meet somewhere?”

She suddenly thought better of it. “I probably shouldn’t.”

“I really want to see you,” I said earnestly. “I’ll be the perfect gentleman. Dinner and a movie, and then I’ll drive you home. Maybe a kiss on the cheek at the door, but that’s it.”

“I don’t know about a movie…”

“But the rest is okay?”

The sincerity in my voice made her smile, and she nodded.

“Great! Do you want to meet at the Sports Bubble? I should be done by six. I can cut practice short if—”

“No, six is okay.”

The bell rang and I fought down my annoyance. Then I held her eyes and smiled. “I’m really looking forward to it.”

She looked down and tried to hide a smile of her own.

My grin widened. “See you at six!”

She nodded and walked into her class, and I broke into a run toward mine. Professor Liang was already lecturing when I arrived, so I slid into my seat as quietly as I could.

Gracie stared at me covertly as I took out my notebook. I knew she was curious about my goofy grin, but I ignored her and pretended to focus on the lecture. I didn’t really hear what the professor was saying, though, because I couldn’t stop thinking about Daphne’s smile.

Judo practice took a lifetime, since I didn’t know if Daphne would show up or not. I didn’t even know her last name, so I couldn’t call her if she didn’t. I tried to focus on Glen, but I couldn’t stop glancing at the door. Not surprisingly, I spent a lot of time on the mat, staring up at the ceiling and blinking to clear my head.

I still hadn’t seen her by the time practice was over, so I reluctantly decided that I’d been stood up. I talked to a few of the other guys as we gathered our things, but my heart wasn’t in it. Then someone whistled in a low cat-call.

“Sweet Jesus,” he said, and the rest of us followed his gaze.

My breath caught as I saw Daphne, tall and slender in a white coat with a fur collar. She’d changed clothes and fixed her hair, but she still had her backpack. Her nose and cheeks were red from the cold, and she looked a little lost.

“I think I died and went to heaven,” someone said, and the others agreed.

“Five bucks says I can get her number,” another guy said. “Any takers?”

“Sorry, guys,” I said, “but she’s meeting me.”

Several guys looked at me with undisguised envy.

“Bullshit,” one said.

I caught her eye and waved, and she visibly relaxed. Then a tingle of anticipation made my heart race as she smiled.

“Lucky bastard,” somebody muttered.

Glen shot me a grin as I waved farewell and headed toward Daphne. “Wow,” I said when I reached her.

She hid a bashful smile.

“My friends are all jealous.”


I couldn’t tell if she was playing hard to get, or honestly didn’t get it. “’Cause of you,” I said at last.


“Um… yeah.” I felt a little self-conscious in my gi, so I shrugged into my winter coat and used the time to think about what I wanted to say next. Faint heart never won fair lady, I thought, and decided to be bold.

“Listen, I know you probably hear this all the time,” I said, “but you look incredible.”

“Thank you.”

Flattery, I could do. Seduction, too. I usually screwed up the relationship part, but I definitely had a good handle on the first two.

“C’mon,” I said, “let’s head back to my apartment.”

She stiffened slightly.

“I need to take a quick shower”—I shot her a reassuring look—“alone, and find something to wear that won’t make you ashamed to be seen with me.” I didn’t honestly think she’d join me in the shower, but it never hurt to plant the idea.

I finished buttoning my collar and slipped into a sweater. Then I looked at myself in the mirror.

Hair? Check.

Teeth? Check.

Smile? Devilishly handsome.

I grinned at my reflection as I fastened my watch. After a final critical look, I opened the door and stepped into the hall. Daphne was looking at several drawings I’d taped to the wall above my desk.

“Did you do these?”

I stepped close and followed her gaze. “Uh-huh. That’s the Fountain of the Four Rivers in the Piazza Navona.”

“In Italy?”


“It’s beautiful.” She turned and looked at me, eyes wide. “Have you been there?”

I nodded.

She turned and studied the lines of the obelisk in the middle of the baroque sculpture. It was incredibly phallic, and her gaze raised more than my eyebrows.

“Would you like it?” I asked. The drawing… or the phallus?

“I couldn’t,” she said aloud.

“I want you to have it.” Er, them.

Her face lit up. “Oh, thank you. I always wanted to go to Italy.”

“Maybe I’ll take you there someday.” I flashed her a cocky grin. Then I carefully took down the drawing, rolled it up, and held it closed with a rubber band. “But let’s go to dinner first. Since you mentioned it, how ’bout Italian? I know a great place.”


I helped her into her coat and handed her the rolled-up drawing. I shrugged into my own coat in the foyer and offered to carry her backpack. I settled it on one shoulder and reached past her for the doorknob. “You’re really gonna like this place,” I said. “It’s—”

Christy pulled back in surprise, with her hand still poised to knock. She gawked at Daphne for a moment, but then her expression hardened into a glare.

“What?” I blurted, part indignant, part clueless.

“You don’t waste any time, do you?”

“Did I do something to you?” I snapped.

“What haven’t you done?”

“I don’t know, you tell me! You seem to have all the answers.”

She set her jaw and her nostrils flared. “If you don’t know, then I’m not going to tell you.” She turned and stormed away.

“Great answer,” I called after her. “I’m not a mind reader, you know!”

Daphne looked like she wanted to be anywhere else.

I stood there and fumed until I recovered my manners. “Sorry,” I said, my pulse still pounding, “that was totally uncool.”

“Is she your ex?”

“No way,” I said and closed the door behind us. “I don’t know what she is, but she’s acting like I left her at the altar.” I shook my head to clear it. “Sorry. Let’s just go.”

Daphne nodded, although she didn’t say anything until we reached the restaurant. I was in my own world, half brood, half simmer. What had I ever done to make Christy so angry? It wasn’t my fault we weren’t talking! Wren had forgiven me, so why couldn’t she?

I fumed until the maître d’ seated us and gave us menus. Then I realized where I was, and who I was with.

“I’m sorry,” I told Daphne for the third time. “I used to be friends with… that girl, but we had a fight.” I shrugged. “She’s been totally weird ever since. She just broke up with her fiancé, so that’s probably why.”

Daphne nodded.

I shook my head in irritation, again, and tried to focus on the girl I was with. I actually had a chance of understanding her. She was nervous, uncertain, and a little shy, but at least she was civil.

And attracted to me, I reflected. So I took a deep breath and tried to be polite. “Do you want some wine? It’ll take the edge—”

“God, yes!” Daphne said, and looked surprised at her own words.

Our eyes met and we burst out laughing. After so much stress and awkwardness, we couldn’t help ourselves. I barely held a straight face when the waiter arrived to take our drink order. He looked down his nose at us, which made Daphne break into giggles again, and we didn’t stop snickering until he returned and poured the wine.

“Oh, God,” I sighed after he left, “I needed that.”

“Me too,” Daphne said. “I’ve been…” She shrugged and gave me a helpless look.

“Yeah, I know. Same here.”

“Gee, you hide it well,” she said, and tasted her wine.

“More balls than brains, I guess.”

Her cheeks turned rosy, but she smiled.

We fell into a tentative silence and studied our menus. When the waiter came and took our orders, I used the opportunity to refill our glasses.

“So…,” I said at last, nervous in spite of myself, “what should we talk about?”

“Will you tell me about Italy?”


“When did you go?”

“After high school. For a month with my girlfriend.”

“The little princess?”

My face reddened at the thought of Christy. “No, not her. Another girl.” I didn’t feel a pang of regret at the thought of Gina, although it took me a moment to realize it. “Christy wasn’t ever my girlfriend. I told you that. Anyway, I don’t wanna talk about her. So, what do you want to know about Italy?”

I talked all through dinner and most of a second bottle of wine. Daphne listened as though I knew the answer to life, the universe, and everything (it’s 42, by the way). By the time the waiter brought the check, I had moved from Italy and architecture to my life growing up, minus the nudist part, of course. I felt a little vain talking about myself so much, but she seemed genuinely interested.

“How did you get into modeling?” she asked as we walked to the car.

“My girlfriend at the time,” I said. “She saw a flyer and thought it would be cool.”

“The girlfriend from Europe?”

“Um… no, a different one.” I cleared my throat self-consciously. “How come we keep talking about my ex-girlfriends?”

“You brought them up,” Daphne protested, “not me.”

“Then let’s talk about you instead.” A thought struck me and I wanted to smack myself in the forehead. “Hold on, you know my life story, but I don’t even know your last name! God, how self-centered is that?”

She flashed a shy grin. “Chase.”

“Nice to meet you, Daphne Chase.” I held out my hand. “Paul Hughes.”

I held her hand a bit longer than normal, and our eyes met. She blushed and looked down, so I opened the car door and handed her in. I let my eyes wander over her long legs, and imagined them wrapped around me. With a silent snort at my self-confidence, I walked around to the driver’s side. “So, what’s your major?” I asked as I climbed behind the wheel.

“Art Education.”

“Are you going to teach?”

“I hope so. I graduate in May.”

My eyebrows shot up. “This May? That soon? So that makes you… what? Twenty-one?”

“Sort of. I worked for a couple of years before college. Why? How old are you?”

“Uh-uh,” I chided. “Nice try, but you’ve been doing that all night. Every time I ask you something, you turn it into a question about me. So, how old are you?” I glanced at her and sized her up. “Twenty-three?”

“I thought it wasn’t polite to ask a woman’s age.”

“Who said I’m polite?”

She laughed. “You did!”

“No, I didn’t.”

“You said you were the perfect gentleman.”

“I said I’d be the perfect gentleman when I take you home.”

“Oh?” she teased. “And what will you do then?”

“Give you a kiss—just one—on the cheek.”

“That’s all?”

“Well, then I’ll probably go back to my apartment and think about how pretty your smile is.”

She showed it again, shy and inviting at the same time. “Is that all?

“No comment.”

She giggled.

“It’s our first date,” I teased, “and you’re already giving me a hard time.”

“Isn’t that what I’m supposed to do?”

My cheeks flushed when I realized what I’d said.

She giggled again.

“I think I’ll shut up now,” I said.

“No, I thought it was cute.”

“Well, at least one of us did.”

“Honest,” she said, “you’re cute when you blush. You don’t do it very often.”

The wine must have loosened her up more than I’d thought. I didn’t want to take advantage of her—well, I did, but I’d promised to be a gentleman—so I changed the subject.

“Nineteen,” I said, and saw that she didn’t follow. “I’m nineteen. And a half. I’ll be twenty in June.” I shot her a look. “Have you ever dated a younger guy?”

“Are we dating?”

“You know what I mean.”

She smiled.

“So… does it bother you that I’m younger?”

She actually thought about it for a moment. “Not really. Most college guys are kinda immature, but you’re not like that.”

“Sometimes I am.”

“Not tonight,” she said, low and suggestive.

I hid a look of surprise. Was she coming on to me? We’d been flirting since we left the restaurant, but this was something more, less girlish and more sophisticated. I cleared my throat. “Um… you need to tell me where you live.”

She smiled and gave me directions to a yellow Victorian house in Fort Sanders, on the other side of the Strip from campus. The big old house had been converted into several apartments, complete with two front doors and exterior stairs that led to the second-floor apartments. The house still had the dignified look of the Gilded Age, even with the shabby renovations.

“This is nice,” I said. “Do you live alone?” Part of me was hoping she’d invite me in, but another part wanted to stick to my promise, if only to prove that I could.

She shook her head. As if to underscore her point, a light came on in one of the first-floor apartments. “That’s mine.”

I smiled and walked her to her door. “I had a really good time tonight,” I said, and tried not to frown at the cliché.

“Me too.” She didn’t immediately reach into her purse for her keys, so I thought I might have a chance at a second date.

“I’d like to see you again,” I said. “Can I call you?” Then she did reach into her purse, and my heart stopped beating until she came out with a pen.

“Here’s my number,” she said, and wrote it on my palm. Our eyes met when she finished.

“I promised you a kiss,” I said. We were the same height, so I paused to admire her. Then I bypassed her lips and kissed her cheek instead. Her skin felt cool against mine, and I knew she could feel my breath on her ear.

“One kiss, on the cheek,” I said softly. “Just like I promised.”

Her breath caught.

I pulled back and grinned as she opened her eyes. “If I kissed you again,” I said, “I wouldn’t stop. And I’m a man of my word, so…”

Her eyes widened with disbelief. Then they narrowed slightly and her nostrils flared with a look of pure desire.

“I’ll call you tomorrow,” I said, and took a cautious step back. Then I took another, and another, until I reached the edge of the porch. I held her eyes and backed down the steps. “I’ll wait till you get safely inside,” I said at the bottom.

She broke the spell with a visible effort and rummaged in her purse. Then she dropped the pen and huffed in frustration. When she bent to pick it up, her keys fell onto the porch. She juggled her purse and barely kept everything else from spilling out.

When she finally stood, she looked mortified. I wanted to say something, to laugh it off, but she unlocked the door and disappeared inside.

I didn’t see a curtain pull back, but I knew she was watching me. At least, that’s what I’d be doing. So I lingered for a moment and let my guard down as I smiled at the memory of the brief kiss.

I walked back to my car and felt the weight of her watching me, so I looked back one more time. I couldn’t see her, but I smiled anyway.

Trip had been avoiding me all week by sleeping at Wren’s or coming home late. I’d been avoiding him too—I went for runs in the morning and skipped our usual mealtimes.

Despite all that, he still managed to surprise me in design class on Wednesday. He actually came up to Joska and talked to him right in front of me, without so much as a glance in my direction. I wanted to punch the stone-cold prick in the face.

Trip, not Joska.

Unfortunately, seeing Trip reminded me that I wouldn’t have a job over the summer. I was pretty sure I could renovate a house with a little help, but I didn’t know where to start.

After class I spent most of my workout thinking about it, although “obsessing” was more like it. I started making notes over dinner, but I simply didn’t have enough experience.

I wasn’t in the mood to talk to anyone when I got back to the apartment, but I’d promised to call Daphne, so I did. She made me forget all of my problems. She listened as I talked about houses, and even laughed at my stupid jokes.

“God, listen to me,” I said at last. “All I do is talk about myself.”

“You’re really interesting.”

“I’m glad you think so,” I said, “but I don’t know a thing about you.”

I could almost hear her shrug. “I’m not that interesting.”

“Sure you are. Tell me something about yourself.”

Before she could say anything, I heard someone call her name in the background. “Oh, I can’t,” she apologized. “My roommate just got home. I need to go.”

“I want to see you again,” I said before she could hang up.

“Me too.”

“Tomorrow, after Life Drawing.”

“I have class till two.”

“Okay, two it is,” I said, and hoped she’d go along.

“I need to go. Sorry. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”

Wren looked up from Siobhan’s desk. She smiled and gave me a small wave, and we traded pleasantries as I began undressing. Then she tried to sound offhand, “Christy said you had a date.”

I scowled. “Did I do something to her?”

“Who? Christy?”

“Yeah. Did I piss her off or something? She’s been treating me like dirt. I knew she kinda had a thing for me, but I didn’t think it was serious.” Unless you count fourteen pictures of my dick as “serious.”

“I… um… I’m not sure.”

“Does she have a thing for me after all, and I just didn’t realize it?”

“I don’t think she does… er, did… but I don’t know for sure. We haven’t talked much lately,” she admitted. “Maybe it’s just the thing with Simon.”

“Maybe,” I said, but didn’t entirely believe it.

“I’ll try to find out what’s up, but…” She finished with a shrug.

“Yeah, whatever. Thanks anyway.”

Wren changed the subject. “So, who’s the new girl?”

“Daphne,” I said with a nod toward the class.

“Which one’s she?”

“The tall blonde. The one with the dancer’s body.”

Her? I didn’t think she was your type.”

I arched an eyebrow. “Oh? And what do you think my type is?”

“You know… a petite brunette with a swimmer’s body.”

I couldn’t help but smile.

“So, what’s she like?”

“To be honest, I really don’t know. We’ve only been on one date, but she seems nice.”

Wren nodded thoughtfully.

“Anyway,” I said, and hooked a thumb at the door, “I probably need to get out there.”

Class took forever. I tried not to glance at Daphne too many times, but I couldn’t help myself. She was wearing a tight sweater, and my eyes devoured her body at least a dozen times.

Whenever I caught myself, I had to focus on something else until my nascent erection went away. I never got fully aroused, or even hard enough to get stiff, but I could almost feel the blood coursing through my shaft.

A couple of girls noticed, and one even blushed when I caught her looking. Daphne kept her eyes focused on her easel, except when she had to look up for her drawing. A part of me thought she was playing hard to get, but another part was convinced that she wasn’t interested anymore.

I debated with myself until Siobhan called an end to class. Then I met Daphne’s eye and my heart raced. Did she want to see me again? I held my breath and pantomimed, “Two minutes?”

She smiled and nodded, and I felt like an idiot for doubting myself.

“So, are you going to introduce me?” Wren said when I returned to the office.

“Are you kidding?

“No,” she said tartly.

“Um… maybe next time.”

“Why not? Are you hiding me or something?”

I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. I don’t have time for this. I started to say it aloud, but then thought better of it. “Look,” I said at last, “I’m not hiding you. I’m sorry it came out like that.”

“Then why won’t you introduce me?”

“Okay,” I said slowly, and paused to rethink my argument. “Imagine you’re kinda interested in a guy, and you think he is too. How would you feel if he introduced you to another girl? A pretty one? Like, ‘This is your competition’?”

“I—!” She fell silent and looked embarrassed. “Oh.”


“I hadn’t thought of it that way.”

“Exactly. So let me go out with her a few more times before I introduce her to a suspiciously pretty girl. Okay?”

“You don’t have to be so logical about it,” she said, but she wasn’t really upset.

I flashed her a grin and waited for her to leave. Then we had a silent battle of wills, part teasing, part serious.

“Okay, fine,” I said at last. “You can watch. But don’t do anything like ‘accidentally’ coming out to meet her.”

She tried to look offended. “I wouldn’t do anything of the sort.”

“Yeah, right.”

She protested again, but I wasn’t buying it.

“Be nice,” I said sternly. “I really like this girl, and I don’t wanna mess things up. Okay?”

“Oh, all right!”

I grinned to take the sting out of my words. “Wish me luck.”

Daphne was waiting when I emerged from the office, and I stopped breathing until she caught sight of me and smiled.

“Hey,” I said lamely. “Thanks for waiting.”

She just smiled, although her cheeks colored as she lowered her lashes.

We headed toward the stairs. “So, what do you want to do tonight?” I asked.

“Tonight? I thought it was supposed to be this afternoon.”

Oops. I’d gotten ahead of myself. “Well, yeah,” I said sheepishly. “But… um… I guess I’d like to see you tonight, too. If that’s okay. Maybe we could go to a movie or something.”

“Will you be a gentleman again?”

“Only if you want me to.”

She smiled demurely, but I thought I caught a glimpse of something more.

“Okay,” I said, “so where do you want to meet this afternoon?”

“Where will you be?”

“Probably my apartment, but—”

“Okay. I can meet you there, though I’ll need to go home before tonight.”

“So you want to go out tonight?”

“If you want.”

“Absolutely! I have practice at four, and I can drop you off then, if that’s cool. Then I’ll pick you up later… say, seven o’clock?”

“Okay.” She gave me a quick wave and walked into her classroom.

Once again, I took off at a run for the computer lab.

I took her to the local gallery and told her about Pope’s design. Then I took out my pad and sketched the Jefferson Memorial to show her how his style had evolved. She was fascinated that I could do it from memory, and I tried not to blush at her attention.

“Will you draw something from Italy?” she asked.

“Sure.” I closed my eyes and let scenes play across my memory. Then I settled on one and began drawing. I took my time and made sure I got the stairs right. I couldn’t draw all 138 steps—you can’t actually see them all from the piazza—but I heard Joska’s voice in my head as I carefully drew the lines.

Twenty minutes later, I added the finishing touches and gave it a critical look.

“It’s beautiful,” Daphne said.

“You like it?” I knew she did, but even I was proud of myself for how I’d shaded the afternoon light, as I’d seen it last. “It’s the Piazza di Spagna,” I said. “The Spanish Steps, looking up at the Trinità dei Monti.”

I pointed to the building on the right. “John Keats lived there.”

“Oh, neat. Is he a friend of yours?”

I opened my mouth and then closed it. Was she joking?

“What?” she said self-consciously.

I shook off my confusion and did my best not to embarrass her. “Um… Keats was a poet.”

“Oh, sorry,” she said, “I don’t know much about that stuff.” Then she flashed a hopeful smile. “Maybe I’ll read something by him. I love anything Italian.”

Then you’d better look under English poets, I thought dryly, but hid it with an encouraging nod. “Absolutely.” I looked at my watch to cover my reaction. “We should probably get back. I need to drop you off at your place and then head to practice.”

I gently tore the drawing from the pad.

“Aren’t you going to sign it?”

I thought for a moment and then smiled to myself. “For Daphne,” I wrote, “‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty—that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.’ Hughes ’83.”

She didn’t recognize the quote, but she beamed anyway. Her nose was red from the cold, and she looked more beautiful than ever.

“C’mon,” I said with a smile, “let’s get warm.”

Back at her apartment, I walked her to the door and told her I’d pick her up at seven. She gave me an impulsive kiss on the cheek and smiled as she held the Spanish Steps to her breast.

I was late for practice, and the guys teased me about being worn out from too much sex. I probably sounded like a prude, but denied it anyway. I didn’t think Daphne was a virgin, but something made me want to protect her—just not from myself.

After practice I raced back to my apartment to get cleaned up. Trip was studying in his cubicle for a change, so I made life difficult by talking to him… or at him. I even whistled a tune as I left, just to rub his nose in my good mood.

Daphne came out as soon as I rolled to a stop in front of the big Victorian. I didn’t even have time to get out and open the car door for her. She was wearing her white fur-trimmed coat, along with a pair of matching earmuffs, and her nose was red from the cold already.

“Hi,” I said. “Fancy meeting you here.”

She smiled, and her cheeks glowed from more than the wind.

“What do you feel like for dinner?”

“What do you want?”

“Let’s do something fun. How about pancakes?”

“Pancakes? We can’t eat pancakes for supper.”

“Sure we can,” I said with a grin. “And then afterward, I thought we’d see Tootsie. How’s that sound?”

It was late when the movie let out, but I didn’t want to take Daphne home. Unfortunately, I had to, since we both had class in the morning. So we laughed about the movie on the drive back to her apartment, where I walked her to the door.

“I had fun tonight,” I said. “I want to see you again.” It wasn’t a question, exactly, but I held my breath and waited for an answer.

“I’d like that,” she said. Then she lowered her eyes and shrugged. “Some guys down the block are having a party…”

Drinking… dancing… afterward…? I thought. “Sounds like fun. Can I take you to dinner before?”

I thought she’d offer a shy smile or something. Instead, she lifted her face and closed her eyes. I knew an invitation when I saw one, so I kissed her, long and soft. Her nose was cold, but her body felt warm and soft under my hands.

I grinned when we separated. “You still want me to be a gentleman?”

She hesitated, so I kissed her again. My tongue parted her lips and I kissed her deeper than before. Then I pulled her toward me and felt the swell of her breasts against my chest.

I was hoping she’d invite me in, but the porch light flicked on and off. It even managed to look annoyed.

“I’d better go,” Daphne said. “My roommate…”

I didn’t want to press my luck, so I smiled and nodded. Then I leaned in and kissed her again, long and lingering. She practically melted against me, so I supported her with a hand on the small of her back. When I pulled back, her lips were the color of rose petals, and they glistened in the harsh glare of the porch light.

“Pick you up tomorrow?” I said. “Seven o’clock?”

She finally opened her eyes and nodded.

“Okay. I’ll wait till you get inside.”

She nodded and fumbled in her purse. She almost dropped everything again, so I put a hand on hers to steady her. Then I kissed her, short and soft, but full of heat. She swallowed hard.

“Relax,” I said softly. “I’m just as nervous as you are.” Her eyes widened, so I grinned. “See you tomorrow.” I planted a kiss on the tip of her cold nose.

She managed to find her keys without dropping the purse.

I smiled and took a step back so she could unlock the door. I caught a glimpse of her roommate—a tall brunette who gave me a hard stare—but then Daphne shut the door.

I didn’t think she’d be watching through the curtains, but I decided not to float back to my car, no matter how much I felt like it.

I felt guilty for being a jerk to Trip, so I tried to talk to him before design class. His expression changed as soon as he realized what I was about to do. My heart sank, but I went through with it anyway.

“Hey,” I said.

He ignored me.

“Listen,” I said. “I’m sorry for the way I acted the past couple of weeks. I—”

He looked away indifferently, and I felt my blood boil.

“Oh, come on,” I snapped. “Gimme a break.”

He turned to his design partner and said, “Did you hear something?”

His partner had the good grace to look embarrassed and avoid my eyes.

I felt my anger drain away when I realized that I was going to have to be the mature one. “Whatever,” I said, resigned. “You know where to find me if you want to talk.”

Trip started a one-sided conversation with his partner, so I shook my head in disgust and returned to my table. Gracie gave me a sympathetic smile, and Freddie offered his usual “Fuggedaboutit.”

I managed to lose myself in my work for the next few hours. I didn’t even rise to the bait when Joska leafed through my drawings and grilled me on several of them. The encounter with Trip had sapped my will to fight.

What was the opposite of love? Oh yeah, indifference.

Daphne was in a strange mood when I picked her up. It suited my own, since I couldn’t decide if I was depressed or just numb. We ate dinner with sparse conversation, and I began to wonder if we were both just going through the motions. She seemed distracted, and I knew I was.

“I’m sorry I’m in a funk tonight,” I said at last. “I had… an argument… with my roommate.” That was an understatement, but I didn’t want to go into details. “I tried to patch things up with him, again, but he’s still pissed off.” I shrugged. “He’s being immature, but I probably deserve it.”

“I know what you mean,” Daphne said. “I had a fight with Sara tonight, before you picked me up.”

“Sara?” I said. “Your roommate?”

Daphne nodded.

“What was your fight about?”

“Nothing,” she said, like she regretted mentioning it. “What was yours?”

“I did something stupid. Well, lots of things. I said a few nasty things, too. I tried to apologize, but…” I shook it off. “Let’s talk about something else. Tell me about this party tonight…”

The party was four blocks from Daphne’s apartment, so we parked in front of the yellow Victorian and walked. Cars lined the street on both sides, and we could hear the music from three houses away. The crowd was a mishmash of people, from typical Fort Sanders bohemians to preppies and even a few punks.

Daphne and I were dressed more like the preppies, but everyone seemed friendly. The house was another stately Victorian, although it hadn’t been subdivided. Several guys lived there, and they obviously knew how to throw a party. They had a big stereo in the living room and two kegs on the back porch, and someone had filled the kitchen sink with ice and wine coolers.

I hadn’t thought to bring anything to drink, but the guys throwing the party had set out a big glass jar with “Buzz Donations” written on the label. I tossed in ten bucks and grabbed two coolers.

“So, do you know anyone here?” I shouted to Daphne as we drank our coolers in the corner.

She looked around and shrugged.

“No problem,” I said, and put on my meet-new-people expression.

We talked to a group in the kitchen and then moved to the parlor, which had a pinball machine and three couches. The place was crowded with people and full of cigarette smoke, but Daphne didn’t seem to mind. She actually looked like she was enjoying herself. Then again, anything was better than our gloomy dinner.

We talked and drank and even danced. Daphne was really good—so good that she made me look good. Both of us were comfortably flushed from the dancing and alcohol by the time we took a break and headed through the kitchen to the back porch. I grabbed a pair of wine coolers on the way out, and we drank half of them just trying to quench our thirst.

“This is fun,” I said.

She nodded and we each took another swig.

On impulse, I leaned close and whispered in her ear. “I was wondering…,” I said. “Hoping, really… that you wouldn’t want me to be a gentleman tonight.”

She didn’t answer aloud, but she swallowed hard and didn’t back away.

That was as good as a yes, so I kissed her pink earlobe. Then I slipped my hand around her waist to pull her closer.

She stiffened.

I clamped down a surge of anxiety and managed to sound normal: “What is it?”


I followed Daphne’s gaze and saw her roommate. She was talking with a group of people in the kitchen. She glanced out and saw me looking. Our eyes met and hers tightened, but she looked away quickly.

I took a moment to study her. She was tall and curvy, with glossy dark brown hair. She looked a lot like Daphne, with the same long legs and seductive body.

“I didn’t think she’d come,” Daphne said.

“Well,” I said slowly, “if she’s here, then no one’s at your apartment…”

Daphne hesitated.

I pulled her against me and whispered in her ear. “I’ll be a gentleman if you want, but…” I knew she could feel my trapped erection against her leg, so I kissed her earlobe again. “I want you.”

Her breath escaped in a soft moan of anticipation. The moment stretched into an eternity before she nodded.

I shot a glance at the kitchen. Sara’s back was turned, so I took the half-empty wine cooler from Daphne’s hand and set it on the picnic table. I left my own beside it and tugged her after me.

We slipped around the side of the house and I told her to wait at the corner. I returned with our coats a moment later. I pulled her against me and kissed her hard. Hand in hand, we broke into a run toward her house.

Laughing and panting, we bounded up her porch steps and she dug in her pocket for her keys. Her hand fumbled at the lock, so I put mine over hers to steady her. The contact sent an electric spark through both of us.

I turned and kissed her in one motion. She backed into the door and I pressed forward. My leg parted hers and I felt her breasts against my chest. Her nose was cold, but I ignored it and concentrated on kissing her.

I groped behind her for the doorknob. Her key was in the lock, so I turned and we staggered into the foyer. I thrust the door shut and dropped our coats. Then I pinned her to the wall and watched her chest heave in anticipation.

I kissed her again but then tugged her into the converted front parlor. I didn’t know whose bedroom it was, but I didn’t really care. It had a bed, and that’s all that mattered. I turned us both and kicked the French doors closed behind us.

Her legs hit the edge of the bed and we tumbled into it. She scooted toward the center and I crawled after her. We kissed again as I reached for the hem of her sweater. The wool scrunched against my wrist as I ran my hand under it and cupped her bra-covered breast.

She arched her back and whimpered into my mouth. I squeezed the silken flesh and felt her nipple stiffen. I pulled away long enough to take off the sweater and toss it aside. Her black bra was so thin that I could see her nipples through the sheer fabric.

I ignored them for the moment and returned to her lips. She arched her back and exhaled softly against my cheek. I cupped her breast again and teased the nipple with my thumb. Then I groped at her jeans. She let out a little moan of anticipation when I popped the snap and tugged the zipper. I thrust my hand into the warmth and pressed my fingers against her panty-covered mound.

Part of me wanted to rip off her clothes and fuck her then and there. But another part wanted to slow down and let the buildup continue. I listened to the big head and pulled back to admire her.

I thought she’d be nervous or self-conscious, but she watched me with an aroused sort of detachment. Then the front door banged open and we jumped in surprise.

A woman’s voice called out. “Daphne?”

Daphne froze beneath me, eyes wide.

“Daphne!” The French doors swung open. “You left your keys in the— What the…?”

“Hi,” I said dryly, “you must be Sara.”

Sara ignored me and fixed Daphne with an accusing stare. “What’s he doing here?”

My face grew hot as I controlled my temper. “I’m Paul, by the way.”

“Well…?” Sara said to Daphne. She crossed her arms. “I’m waiting.”

I felt ignored and insulted. “Hold on,” I said, and got to my feet, “who do you think you are?”

“I’m her roommate, dipshit. I live here. Who do you think you are?”

“I’m with Daphne,” I shot back, “and I think it’s time for you to go.” I moved toward her.

“Touch me and I’ll break your face!”

“Oh, come on. Gimme a break.”

She drew back a fist.

“Yeah, right,” I said. “Like y—”

I recoiled instinctively, but her knuckles still glanced off my cheek. I grabbed her wrist and pulled her into an arm drag on pure reflex. Then I caught myself and shoved her away instead.

She whirled and came at me again.

My body reacted instantly, although my brain stopped the hip-toss before I could slam her to the floor. I was working hard not to hurt her, and it was beginning to piss me off. She took another swing, so I caught her arm and twisted it behind her back. It was artless and rough, but completely effective.

“What the hell is wrong with you?” I grated. She tried to twist free, so I pinned her against the wall. I was trying to be gentle, but she grunted from the force of it. “Quit struggling,” I said to the mass of dark hair. “I’m not going to hurt you.”

“Then let go of me, you fucking asshole!”

“Are you gonna swing at me?”

“Are you gonna leave?”

“Don’t hurt her, Paul.”

I spared a quick glance at Daphne, who was standing by the bed. Her chest heaved with emotion, and she looked scared.

“I’m trying not to,” I snapped. “She’s the one taking swings at me!

“Please,” Daphne said, “I’ll do anything you want. Just don’t hurt her.”

I sized up the situation in an instant. I didn’t understand everything, but I knew enough to realize that I didn’t like what I’d gotten myself into. I turned back to Sara. “If I let you go, are you going to behave?”

Instead of answering, she stomped on my instep. I winced and pulled my foot out of range.

“Listen,” I snarled, “I’m not going to hurt you, so just calm down.”

She pushed against the wall with her free hand and arched in a vicious head butt.

I twisted and started to duck, but her head still smashed into my temple. Pain erupted behind my eyes and I swelled with rage. Sara cried out in shock as I lifted her. My first instinct was to ram her face-first into the wall, but some part of me balked.

“Don’t hurt her!” Daphne screamed.

“I’m trying not to,” I grunted, and heaved Sara onto the bed.

She came up with a feral snarl and wild eyes.

Time slowed to a crawl. The room seemed to brighten, and everything sprang into sharp focus. My skin tingled with a sudden chill as energy surged through my limbs. Then I controlled my breathing and settled into a judo stance. For the first time in my life, I was completely in control, balanced on the knife edge of violence.

That made Sara pause.

“If you come at me again,” I said evenly, “I won’t hold back. I’ve had as much of your shit as I’m willing to take.”

“Then get the fuck out.”

“Save your breath. I’m leaving.”

“I’m sorry, Paul,” Daphne said. “I never meant—”

“Shut up, Daphne,” Sara snapped. She glared at me. “You were leaving…?”

I straightened from my stance and ignored her. Instead, I looked at Daphne. “I’m sorry it turned out like this. You seem like a really nice girl.”

Sara drew back a fist and started toward me.

I stopped her with a look. “Try it,” I said flatly, “and I’ll break your arm.”

I didn’t like threatening anyone, much less a woman, but she wasn’t going to back down. It wasn’t an idle threat, either, since I didn’t see a way to stop her otherwise. She must have seen it in my eyes, because she settled on her heels and warily dropped her fist.

I had no idea what I’d done to her—well, I had an inkling—but I wasn’t willing to fight over someone I barely knew, much less with a woman.

Hell hath no fury…

I kept a wary eye on Sara as I backed out of the bedroom. I picked up my coat and felt for the front door without looking. The cold January air hit me like a refreshing whiff of sanity.

I was tempted to slam the door, but then I imagined Trip doing the same thing, so I pulled it closed without a sound. I even smiled, although no one else would appreciate the irony.

Daphne showed up at judo practice the next morning. I half-expected to see Sara burst in after her, but she didn’t. Part of me (the spurned lover) wanted to tell Daphne to take a hike. Part of me (the little head) wanted to invite her back to my apartment, where I could lock the door against her psycho roommate. A third part (the compassionate guy) felt sorry for her.

“I’m really sorry about last night,” Daphne said when I approached her after practice.

I shrugged. And as much as I didn’t want to talk about her roommate, I felt obliged to ask. “How’s Sara?”

“She’s okay,” Daphne said, a little surprised. “Her arm is bruised where you grabbed her, but nothing else.”

“She’s lucky,” I said simply, without heat.

“I know.” She looked relieved that I wasn’t upset. “I’ve seen you fight that big guy.”

I glanced over my shoulder at Glen. He caught the look and tossed his head in reply. He was my usual sparring partner, and we’d developed a kind of bond.

He was a better fighter, but I was quicker and had a lower center of gravity. I was also the only guy in the club who could match his strength, so he enjoyed sparring with me. I’d learned a lot since my first class, but I still lost most of the time. I must have looked good doing it, though.

“You really could’ve hurt her,” Daphne said.

I shook my head. “Part of what I’m learning is control. When not to hurt someone. I’m not very good at it yet, but…” I shrugged.

“Still…,” Daphne said softly, “thank you.”

I nodded.

“Um… is there somewhere we can talk?”

“I dunno…,” I hedged, “I don’t wanna come between you and Sara.”

“There’s nothing between us,” she said, a bit too quickly.

Why do I always find the crazy bi chicks? I wondered, and wasn’t entirely kidding.


I still wasn’t sure, and my expression probably said so.

“I just want to talk,” she said aloud, but her body gave her away—flushed cheeks and hard nipples are not signs of a desire for conversation.

“All right,” I said at last. The little head twitched in anticipation, but the spurned lover was dubious. Fortunately, the big head was still in control. “Do you wanna grab lunch?” I said. “We could go to the Strip.”

“Don’t you need to change clothes?”

I needed a shower too, but I didn’t want to take her back to my apartment. She and Sara definitely had a relationship—past or present was almost irrelevant.

“I promise to be a gentleman,” she said, which made me laugh.

Part of me knew I was making the wrong decision, but part of me still felt sorry for her. “All right,” I said at last, “since you put it that way…”

We walked back to the apartment in silence. I felt a little awkward, but I didn’t know what to say. I went through a half-dozen scenarios in my mind, from a polite kiss-off to a serious conversation.

Jeff and Meredith were leaving when we arrived.

“Luke’s here,” he warned, and cleared his throat awkwardly. “And… um… he’s with a friend.”

Meredith smirked.

“We need to study,” Jeff added, “so we’re going to Meredith’s place.”

“Study…,” Meredith teased, “right.”

Jeff turned bright red.

Great, I thought. A rutting Cajun… just what I need.

“Anyway, I thought I should warn you,” Jeff said, and tugged Meredith away. “See you guys.”

Daphne grinned shyly.

I didn’t have any choice but to go through with it, so I opened the door and ventured a glance inside. I didn’t see anyone, so I stepped into the foyer.

Luke seemed to have a different sorority girl every couple of weeks, but he was usually discreet. Still, he wasn’t the most consistent guy in the world, and I wouldn’t have been surprised to find them going at it in the middle of the living room. He’d done it before, albeit while the rest of us were in bed.

Fortunately, the living room and kitchen were deserted, and Luke’s bedroom door was closed. I didn’t want to leave Daphne in the hall at my desk, so I ushered her into my bedroom.

“Give me ten minutes to shower and shave,” I said. “Okay?”

I headed toward the bathroom. It was across the hall from Luke and Jeff’s room, and I could hear the bedsprings creaking.

“Peachy,” I muttered. I hadn’t had sex since Leah, and my right hand wasn’t nearly as attractive as Daphne. “Remember,” I told myself as I undressed and let the water heat up, “her roommate’s a psycho. Got it?”

The little head wasn’t so sure, and the spurned lover was beginning to come around. Even compassionate guy wondered what it would hurt.

After I finished in the shower, I looked down at my semi-hard dick. “Behave,” I said sternly, and wrapped the towel around my waist.

I brushed my teeth and shaved in record time, mostly because I could hear every moan and groan from Luke and his girlfriend du jour. Not surprisingly, compassionate guy was in full agreement with the others by the time I returned to the bedroom.

Daphne stood as I entered. Her expression was a mixture of shyness and pure come-on, and I had to brace myself not to react.

“Give me two minutes to get dressed,” I said, but then realized my mistake. I didn’t want to drop my towel with her in the room, and I didn’t want to kick her out, especially since she’d have to wait in the hall and listen to the Bayou Bedspring Band.

“Do you want me to leave?” she asked.

Yes. “No, it’s cool. You’ve seen me in class.” But we weren’t alone then. I reached into my dresser and pulled out a pair of boxers. If I was quick, I could—

Daphne moved closer. Her eyes flashed with desire and uncertainty. Part of me still felt sorry for her, but mostly I wanted to fuck her senseless. She must have sensed my indecision, because she dropped one of her bombshells.

“I’ll suck your cock.”

My eyes bugged, but my dick wasn’t a bit slow on the uptake.

She looked as surprised as I felt, but she swallowed hard and added, “You can come in my mouth.”

As if I needed more incentive. Ha!

I did the only thing I could: I dropped my towel. She closed her eyes with a strange little frisson and sank to her knees. She engulfed the head of my shaft and began sucking with long, wet strokes. She scraped me with her teeth a couple of times, but then settled into a rhythm.

I didn’t last long, and held her head as I exploded with a groan. She kept sucking when I deflated slightly, so I let her continue. When I started getting hard again, I lifted her to her feet and unbuttoned her blouse. The silk peeled away to reveal a lacy white bra, which lifted her breasts and made them look even fuller.

My erection bumped her thigh as I tugged the blouse from her shoulders and cupped her breasts. She reached down and stroked me, her fingers cool and firm on my shaft. I unsnapped her jeans with a twist and pushed them over her hips.

I kissed her again, and tugged her bra straps down her shoulders. The lace cups fell away, but I left the bra fastened around her middle. Her breasts were firm and round, with enough weight to fill my palms as I cupped them. Her nipples hardened quickly, and she gasped when I pinched them.

She didn’t resist when I guided her to the bed. She lay back as I lifted her legs and shucked her jeans. I threw them aside and nearly tore off her panties. Her bush was darker than her sandy blonde hair, and trimmed into a neat wedge.

She watched with her curious detachment as I spread her knees and settled between them. Her pussy smelled clean and fresh, with a hint of arousal. I planted a kiss on her labia and then parted the sparse hair with my fingers. She sighed and ran her fingers through my hair when I began licking.

I grinned to myself and circled her clit with my tongue. The little bead grew plump as I teased it, and she gasped and began rocking her hips. After only a couple of minutes, she started gasping and moaning. It seemed forced, but I kept licking anyway. Her moans turned into low cries as she gripped my head and bumped her pussy into my face.

Something didn’t seem right, but her pussy was wet enough. Still, I hadn’t felt a rush of heat or moisture. Her clit hadn’t pulled back either, and she didn’t feel like she was about to come. But then she dug her fingers into my scalp and cried out like she was caught in the throes of ecstasy.

Every woman was different, but some things weren’t. I’d seen strong orgasms and subtle ones, screaming and quiet and everything in between, but they all showed some signs. Daphne was different, although I couldn’t figure out why.

I crawled up her body and casually glanced at her chest and eyelids. They should have been flushed, a little or a lot, but her skin was creamy and barely pinker than when we started. She gave me a drunken smile like I’d just rocked her world, but that was easy to fake.

And then it hit me: she was faking it.

Part of me was offended, but mostly I was confused. Did she not like what I was doing? Did she not like men after all? She was pretty good at giving head, and that was a skill most women had to learn.

Then why did she—?

She rolled her hips, and I realized that I’d been on autopilot. My dick nestled against her opening, and I could feel her desire. Her nipples rose and fell with her heavy breathing, and a distracted part of me realized she’d taken off her bra.

The little head told me not to ask questions, and I reluctantly listened. She was hot and wet enough, despite her fake orgasm, so I slid into her easily. She arched against me with a small moan.

I began thrusting but then came to my senses. “I’m not wearing protection,” I grunted. “Are you on the pill?”

She shook her head. “Pull out when you’re ready.”

Sex without a condom was a Bad Idea, but I didn’t want to fumble for one. I didn’t want to look worried, either, or like I didn’t know what I was doing. Besides, I was already inside her, and I really wanted to keep going.

I rationalized that I could pull out before I came, but pre-come still contained sperm. Not much, but it only took one. She shifted and her pussy tightened around my shaft. I closed my eyes and had a silent argument with my conscience.

The little head won, which pissed me off. I hated that I didn’t have more control, but that didn’t stop me from fucking her. Hard. Worse, she seemed to enjoy being pounded, and urged me on with her body. She even faked another orgasm, which only made me angrier.

Many women couldn’t get off from fucking alone, and I didn’t think Daphne was one of the few who could. Most guys probably wouldn’t have noticed or cared, but I wasn’t one of them. So I slammed into her, angry at myself as much as her.

When my balls threatened to burst, I pulled out and straddled her chest. I didn’t even bother with niceties—I simply thrust my cock at her face. She held the backs of my thighs and opened her mouth as I finished the job with my hand.

She moaned when the first spurt hit her tongue, and my aggressive mood only made her more eager. She swallowed every drop, and sighed with the first honest signs of enjoyment. It wasn’t an orgasm, but it was closer than I’d seen all day.

When I finished, I climbed off and stood beside the bed, more confused than ever. She cleaned semen from her lips, and even licked her fingers. It wasn’t the same as what Leah did, but I couldn’t put my finger on why not.

My anger faded as my breathing slowed, and I realized I was being irrational. The chances of her getting pregnant were slim, and I blamed myself more than her. Besides, she seemed to enjoy herself, fake orgasms or not. At least, I was pretty sure she had. And I was pretty sure the orgasms were fake. If not, she was the only woman I’d ever known who could come without showing any of the signs.

She smiled up at me, and my anger disappeared completely. She made room for me on the bed, so I climbed in beside her and stroked the curve of her breast. She was built like a model, slimmer and less busty than Kendall, but just as beautiful.

I gazed at her for a long moment, and she watched me calmly. A million questions raced through my mind, but it wasn’t the right time. So I pushed them aside and caressed her nipple as we relaxed in the afterglow.

We went to lunch at the Old College Inn, and Daphne managed to draw me out without talking about herself at all. I thought she was hiding something—a lot of something, actually—but I couldn’t figure out what.

She wasn’t obvious about it, but she didn’t talk about herself. I’d ask her a question, and the next thing I knew, I was talking about myself again. I could be a bit self-centered at times, but I wasn’t that narcissistic.

She was good, though, and most guys wouldn’t have noticed. They’d be thrilled just to have a beautiful woman’s attention. But I wasn’t like most guys, and I’d had my share of beautiful women. More than my share, actually, and I felt comfortable around them.

Fortunately, part of that comfort was being able to leave when I needed to. “I hate to go,” I said with a glance at my watch, “but I need to be at the airport in fifteen minutes.”

“The airport? Sounds exciting.”

I blinked in appreciation. She hadn’t asked what I was doing, but her tone and body language were full of interest, and she’d made me feel important—all with one simple statement. Did she even realize what she was doing?

“It’s not, really,” I said. “Just a flying lesson.”

She knew I was a pilot, but she still acted interested.

“I’m working on my instrument rating,” I said, and kicked myself for taking the bait. Then I laughed silently and let myself off the hook—I knew what she was up to, but that didn’t make me immune.

“Sounds complicated.”

I’ll say! “It’s not,” I said aloud. “Just a lot of practice and memorization. Navigation, weather, stuff like that.” And how did you learn what you’re doing?

She lifted a perfect eyebrow, and I took the bait again.

“You wanna come along?” I didn’t think it would hurt to take her with me. Besides, I was still horny, and could probably parlay things into dinner and a movie, if not more. I spared a guilty thought for Sara, but then remembered her expression as she tried to punch my lights out.

“Could I?” Daphne said.

“Sure. Let’s go.”

Earl did his best not to stare at Daphne, but he was obviously smitten. He probably didn’t meet many coeds, especially ones with personalities like hers.

Or bodies, I thought, and admired her ass through her tight jeans.

Earl did most of the pre-flight, and I hid a grin as I tagged along. Daphne smiled and asked questions, and had him wrapped around her little finger by the time he opened the Cessna’s door. He had the good grace to look sheepish when he remembered that I was the student.

“Hey, Earl,” I suggested, “why don’t you give Daphne a lesson instead?”

Daphne demurred, but she obviously wanted to. She liked the attention, and I wasn’t the jealous type. Besides, Earl was happier than I’d ever seen him, and that alone was worth it.

“Sure you can,” he said. “It’s easy. Anyone can do it.” He looked at me. “You don’t mind?”

“Not a bit.”

“Well, you’re ready to get your ticket anyway,” he said, which surprised me. After my disappointment the year before, I must have focused on the work instead of brooding about the injustice. That hadn’t been my plan, but it had worked.

Note to self…, I thought with wry maturity. “For real?” I said aloud. I wouldn’t mind getting my IFR certificate, but I didn’t want him to do it simply because he was drunk on Daphne.

He must have sensed my deeper question, because he pointedly didn’t look at her. “Yeah,” he said, “you know your nav, weather, and approaches, and you handled everything I threw at you last week. So I reckon we should schedule your Practical when we get back to the office.”

“Wow! Cool. Thanks.”

He nodded in approval.

“Then I guess you’d better watch out,” I said, only half teasing, “or you’ll certify yourself out of a job. I mean, once I get my ticket, I won’t need lessons anymore, will I?”

He boomed a laugh. “Not until you discover multi-engine.”

“Sounds exciting,” Daphne said, and gave us a megawatt smile.

“Oh, it is, darlin’,” Earl said. “It is.”

Daphne did well on her lesson. Earl was all business, but he was completely under her spell. For my part, I sat in the back and relaxed for a change. I also watched Daphne’s performance, and came to the conclusion that “performance” was exactly the right word.

She wasn’t phony, but she played Earl like a Stradivarius. I thought she might have some ulterior motive—shades of Kendall—but I didn’t get the sense that she wanted anything beyond making Earl feel special. She was definitely a performer, though, with little gestures and expressions that made him feel like he was the only guy in the world.


That was a preview of Best Intentions - Summer Camp Swingers: Wren Series Book 3. To read the rest purchase the book.

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