There was knocking at my door the next morning. I was painting my toenails, in only panties and a sports bra. That was what I wore to bed. “Come in.” I sang, gently stroking a pearl color onto my smallest toe.
Nicholas opened the door, then let out a curse. “Those are not considered clothes you know.”
I huffed out a breath. “Yet I’m allowed to wear the same thing on the beach in front of a hundred people, just that it’s water proof. Nice reasoning.”
He shut the door carefully, but didn’t attempt to cross the room. “What happened in the hallway last night, it can’t happen again. I’m sorry if I led you on, but there isn’t anything between us.”
I didn’t look up. He’d see the hurt. He’d see I was pissed, and I didn’t want him to see that. So I kept painting. “I didn’t think there was.” I replied calmly. “I mean, there was no chemistry in the kiss after all. I’d figured you’d say as much. I’m just glad you said it first.” I looked up and smiled at him in a glance, then looked back down and went back to painting.
“Oh.” he murmured. “Good. I’m glad you… feel the same way.”
“Uh huh.” I said, then popped my lips, nodded my head from side to side as if I had a song stuck in it. “Is that all then?”
“I was just wondering if we were still going to hang out today.” he said.
“Oh, I know I said I would, but Natalie called me last minute and she’s in tears because she ripped her favorite dress.” I rolled my eyes. “So I promised her we’d go shopping today for a new one, a better one. It calmed her down. Do you mind if we reschedule?”
I put the brush back in the bottle and screwed on the cap.
I looked up at him and waited for his answer.
He forced a smile, nodded. “Sure. How about tonight?”
“Can’t. Have a date.” I explained. I actually did have one, but I was going to cancel it until now.
“You have a boyfriend?” Nicholas asked.
“No, we’re not exclusive. Just friends with benefits.” I explained. I started blowing on my toenails.
Nicholas’ eye sharpened. “What kind of benefits?” he asked through his teeth. Was he jealous? Good.
“You know, making out, we go on dates, second base, blow jobs, hand jobs. We haven’t actually gotten to sex yet.” I was lying through my teeth. He hadn’t even gotten to second base and was only half way to first. But I wanted to make Nicholas mad. He deserved it.
“You let that sonofabitch touch you like that?” he demanded to know.
“Oh calm down Nicholas. He only does it when I ask him to.” I explained nonchalantly.
“You are too young to be doing stuff like that!” Nick yelled.
“Yeah?” I muttered, then looked up again. “And how old were you when you started doing stuff like that?”
“That is not the fucking point!” he screamed. “You’re seventeen!”
“Nick,” I said quietly. “I’m old enough to have a baby. And you don’t have an inch of room to talk because I know you’ve been doing things like that since you were thirteen so don’t even try to pull that shit with me.”
“You are never going to see him again.” he growled. “And you have my word on that!”
I stood up and glared. “Let’s get something straight right now, Nicholas. You are not my father, you are not my older brother, you are not my protector, and you are not my friend. Mind. Your. Own. Fucking. Business.”
He seemed taken aback. He looked hurt. And I knew I’d feel terrible for it but right now I was glad. Because he’d hurt me first and it was justice. Later I knew I’d see it as terrible revenge. He turned, opened the door and left the room. Then shut it quietly behind him.
I swallowed, then walked over to my closet. I grabbed my jean shorts and blue tube top, then changed my bra to strapless. I got dressed, then grabbed my phone and my purse. I left the room and walked downstairs. “Josh, I’m going to the mall-”
“You’re not going anywhere.” Josh said, in his very rare “Dad voice” which meant I was in huge trouble. “You and I are going to go upstairs to talk and if you’re lucky if you see the outside of this house in a year.”
I tried to figure out what I’d done, then it hit me. Nicholas had tattled on me! I looked at him, where he stood next to Josh, arms crossed. “You told him what I said!” I demanded to know. “I can’t believe you told on me!”
“Upstairs, now!” Josh ordered, his voice about twelve octaves higher than before.
I didn’t dare defy Josh when he was this way. I turned and went back up the stairs, stomping my feet. I stomped all the way back into my room. Josh came in, and slammed the door shut behind him. “I try to hard to be and nice and understanding and to not tell you what to do but this time you’ve gone too far Zac!”
“It’s not true.” I whispered. “And even if it was you know I would have told you about it by now, Josh. I respect you too much to keep something like this from you. I only told Nicholas those things to piss him off because he was being such an asshole.” I grabbed my pillow and hugged it to me.
“I know.” Josh replied, but his voice was still angry. “I’m not an idiot. But you saying those things to him is not okay at all.”
“He hurt me so I hurt him back.” I breathed.
“You know better than to lie. And if I had believed him Chet would be in a hell of a lot of trouble but you didn’t think about that poor kid now did you? So first, you’re going to break it off with him because he doesn’t deserve to be treated that way. Second, you’re grounded for two months for lying.
I don’t have a lot of rules in this house but you know what is okay and what I don’t tolerate and lying and using people are things that I have never and will never accept. So you can spend the rest of your summer thinking that over. I’ve never had to ground you before so we’ll have to go over the rules.
No TV, no phone, no I-pod. You don’t leave this room but to use the bathroom, for meals or unless I say you can. You’re not allowed to see your friends and I’ll call them all and let them know why. So call Chet, right now.”
“Yes sir.“ I sighed.