Jordyn threw her head back and laughed. “Cole, you’re such a liar. You so did not!”
It was just after 2am, and Jordyn and Cole were in the kitchen. Jordyn, wearing Cole’s dress shirt and nothing else, sitting on the kitchen counter while he made hot chocolate for the both of them.
“I swear on my life, Jordyn,” he said, stirring the hot chocolate and giving her the steaming cup.
She took it and raised her eyebrows. “You fell off the boat and got stranded for two hours on an island?”
He raised his right hand. “You got a Bible?”
“How did no one see that you were gone?”
“Most of them were about as drunk as I was. I swam to the little island and waited for someone to see me. They never really got out of my sight the whole time, but I did fall asleep. For a little while, I thought it was going to be like Blue Lagoon. Except I was alone.”
“And in the middle of Lake Cedar,” Jordyn laughed, taking a sip of her hot chocolate.
Cole smiled and nodded, stepping between her legs, and putting his hands on her hips. “How are you?”
She smiled. “Good.”
She was better than good, actually. Their first time together hadn’t been bad, but the second time had been better. She was relieved it was over, that she’d finally gone through her first time, but at the same time, she couldn’t help but wonder what was next?
But she reminded herself that their perfect night wasn’t over. They were sipping hot chocolate now, planning to go to the living room, in a few minutes and bundle up watching a movie.
“Was I, uhm, OK?” she asked.
He just smiled and kissed her, his tongue tasting like cocoa. “You were perfect, Jordyn.”
She smiled. “I’m cold. So, how about we get to that movie?” She leaned in to kiss him. “Then we can get to the rest of our night.”
“Mm, I can’t wait. I can’t remember the last time I had such a good homecoming.”
Jordyn smiled, hoping like crazy she was partly the reason for that. “Me, too. I’m gonna run to the bathroom, really quick, and I’ll, uhm, be right back?”
He nodded, and Jordyn hurried off to the bathroom. There, she stepped in front of the mirror, taking in her reflection. Same facial features, same blue eyes, same blond hair as she had when they left homecoming, but something was different now. It was almost like she had a big stamp reading “I had sex with Cole” on her forehead.
She couldn’t believe it, still. She couldn’t believe the deed had been done, and she was no longer a virgin. And Cole Anderson had been the one to do it.
She turned around as he walked back into the living room. He’d pulled on a pair of sweatpants, and was stretched out on the couch under a blanket, the DVD menu of the movie they’d chosen on the small, ten-year-old TV screen.
She wasn’t sure if it had anything to do with last night, though she was certain it did, but standing there in this room with Cole, with her boyfriend, now her lover, knowing everything they’d shared, she realized she was in love with him. She was sure she had been since before last night, but she’d shared something with him, given something to him she’d never shared before. He had something of hers now that he would always have, no matter what. And she was happy he was the one to get it.
“Well, come on,” he urged. “I’m freezing over here. I need you to keep me warm.”
She laughed and crossed the floor, crawling under the blanket with him.
“So, you’re OK with, well, everything?” he asked her.
She smiled up at him. “Yes, I’m OK. I’m more than Ok. You were wonderful.”
He smiled and kissed her again. “You were wonderful, too. I promise it’ll be better next time.”
“Tonight was perfect, Cole. It couldn’t have been more perfect. Thank you. For everything. Being patient with me, being so sweet about everything. You’ve been just, wonderful.”
“I love you, Jordyn.”
Jordyn’s heart skipped a beat. He’d said it. He’d said it, and she could see by the look in his eyes he meant it.
“It’s OK, Jordyn,” he said when she didn’t reply. “You don’t have to say it back. I just want you to know how I feel.”
“I feel the same way, though,” she said. “I mean, I love you, too.”
And just like that, they forgot all about the movie. Their clothes were strewn back on the floor, and his lips were on hers.
Right now, the only thing on Jordyn’s mind was Cole Anderson, and nothing else in the world mattered.
“Where have you been?”
Jordyn closed the front door behind her, and saw her dad and Ty sitting on the couch with a football game on TV. It was after 1:00 on Saturday, and she’d really meant to be home earlier, but prying herself away from Cole had been harder than usual, especially after the night they’d had.
“I was at Alice’s,” Jordyn said. “I told you I slept there last night.”
“So, I heard you two had an eventful night last night,” Jack said. “Cole and Natalie the homecoming king and queen, huh?”
Ty nodded. “Yeah, it was a lot of fun. Until the end.”
Suddenly, Zara had appeared in the living room, an angry scowl covering her face. “Where’s that dress, Jordyn?”
Jordyn looked at Ty, who shrugged. “I was pissed. I told mom and dad.”
Jordyn sighed, and reached into her bag, pulling out the ruined dress.
Zara gasped. “Oh my goodness. That dress! What is that girl’s mother’s name?”
Jordyn shrugged. “I don’t know, mom.”
“Oh never mind that, I’ll find out myself. I’m calling that woman today. Somebody’s paying for this dress.”
“Oh, mom, don’t call her mother,” Jordyn pleaded.
“Do I need to remind you, Jordyn that the dress was $200.”
Jack and Ty perked up.
“$200?” Jack asked.
Jordyn wasn’t sure when money had become this huge thing with her parents. Not since the inheritance and move to Pennsylvania. But Ashley wasn’t even worth $50, so maybe she should have considered this a big deal. She was more pissed about the embarrassment of it, and the act itself than she was the price of the dress.
“Tyler, do you know this girl?” Zara asked, headstrong and determined as she reached for the cordless phone.
Ty nodded. “Her name is Ashley Moore, and I can find out who her mom is for you.”
Jordyn scoffed. “Please, you two. The situation with me and Ashley is bad enough without mom calling her mom. I’m not eleven. This will be all over school Monday.”
“I saw it happen, Jor,” Ty said. “And if anyone can take care of Ashley, it’s mom.”
Jordyn knew it, which was exactly why she didn’t want Zara calling Ashley’s mother.
“Mom, look, I—”
They were interrupted when a knock came to the front door.
“I’ll get it,” Jordyn sighed. She walked over, yanked open the front door, and was more than surprised to see two familiar faces.
She narrowed her eyes at the sight of Leah and Shari on her porch, solemn faces on the both of them.
“What do you two want?” she asked.
Shari sighed. “Can we talk outside?”
Jordyn followed them out, closing the door behind her. She folded her arms over her chest, shivering at the still crisp air. She looked at the two of them, waiting for their bizarre reason for showing up on her front porch.
Leah and Shari exchanged glances, like they were both waiting for the other to say something first. When neither of them did, Jordyn sighed. “Look, it’s cold out here. What is it, Ashley send you with some red wine to pour on me?”
“We came here to apologize to you,” Leah said.
“Yeah,” Shari said. “Ashley’s a bitch. To us, too. And what she did to you last night? That was so uncalled for.”
“She was just pissed off,” Leah murmured. “She was sick of you taking over, which is stupid.”
“Taking over?” Jordyn asked, incredulous. “What am I taking over?”
“Well, for starters, she used to be the best at Miss Maggie’s,” Shari said. “Then you showed up and you’re freaking amazing.”
“Then you got Cole,” Leah said. “She’s had a crush on him for a long time.”
“Then you got Natalie treating you like you’re her little sister,” Shari said. “But Natalie never liked her.”
“I know,” Jordyn said, shrugging.
“Anyway,” Shari said. “Uhm, we had no idea she was planning that. And I know it probably doesn’t mean anything to you, but she feels bad.”
“I appreciate your misplaced apology,” Jordyn said, her arms still over her chest. “But you two didn’t do anything. Why isn’t she over here apologizing.”
“She’s going to stick with ‘it was an accident’ until the heat is off her,” Leah said. “People who saw what she did to you are pretty pissed at her.”
“Well, I’m pretty pissed myself,” Jordyn said. “But like I said. I appreciate you two coming over here.”
“And look,” Shari sighed. “Uhm, I’m sorry about everything. Like, since your first day. I’m really sorry.”
“So am I,” Leah said. “Cole obviously really likes you.”
“And you’re an amazing dancer, Jordyn,” Shari added. “You deserve all the attention you get.”
Jordyn smiled. “Thanks. Both of you. It means a lot. But I’m not worried about Ashley. She’s a pain in my ass, but she’s not important.”
They gave her small smiles, waved, then walked off her porch. Jordyn returned to her living room, where she found Zara punching in numbers on the phone.
“Mom found the number,” Ty explained.
“No,” Jordyn said, shaking her head and hurrying over. “No, mom. You don’t have to. I can take care of Ashley.”
“I don’t want you taking care of someone, Jordyn,” Zara said. “Whatever that means, and I don’t want to know what it means. It’s about the dress that I paid for, and will be reimbursed for.”
Jordyn gave up. Zara wasn’t budging on this one, she knew. So she just shrugged, and started up the stairs. She hadn’t talked to Alice since the dance, and she had a lot to tell her; all the way from the incident last night with Ashley, to her night with Cole, and this weird visit today; not to mention there was the trip to San Diego she needed to bring up.
“Hey, who was on the porch?” Zara asked.
Jordyn thought about how to answer that, then she smiled and said, “Just a couple of friends.” Then she turned on her heel and hurried up the stairs.