Chapter 4

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Zach

"You've got a problem. A big, fucking problem."

Brett and I were hanging out alone on the dock, our feet dangling in the water like two kids gone fishing except for poles, we had joints. Sure, I knew Emma hated my occasional habit, but she never said a word. Every once in a while it was nice to take the edge off and relax. I had the year from hell coming up, and the time for slacking would be over.

"Oh, yeah, what's that?" I asked, taking a long puff.

"Emma was sniffing around, asking about Bianca."

I sat up straight. "She asked you today?"

"Yup. While we were making pizzas."

"And you tell me now?"

Brett's face crunched up. "When was I supposed to tell you? While we were eating? In front of everyone? Man, sometimes you're a real dumbass."

Me? The dumbass? "What did she want to know?"

"She asked if I've seen Bianca. I told her she's been out of sight, that her parents probably found out what she did . . ." he paused. "I might have suggested that you had a hand in Bianca's parents finding out."

I wanted to push him in the water and hold him under with my feet. "Are you serious?"

"I was just talking. What's the big deal anyway?"

"You are a super dumbass. You're the dumbass to end all dumbasses. Why would you say that to her?"

Brett's eyes opened wide. "Why are you freaking out when you should be chilling?"

"Because I specifically told Emma I wouldn't contact Bianca, and now you've implied that I have."

Brett slunk back. "Okay, I see your problem. I didn't say you did tell her parents."

"Please don't do me any more favors. And if Emma asks you anything else, keep your trap shut and talk to me first."

We were silent for a couple of minutes. I had to keep my anger in check while contemplating what to do next. Going to Emma and telling her I knew about the conversation she had with my idiot best friend wasn't an option. She'd know she couldn't trust him in the future. And it was quite possible she was making conversation and there wasn't much to it in the first place. The one thing I did know was that Brett was lucky we were smoking otherwise he'd be lying face down in the water.

#

I woke up the next morning but pretended I was still asleep. Emma was up and showered, a towel wrapped around her and her wet hair hugging her shoulders. Every part of me was suddenly wide awake. She took a towel and hand dried her hair, then slipped out of her towel. This was the point in a relationship when I got bored, thought about escape routes, how to let them down easy, but not this girl. With each passing day I wanted her more than the day before.

"I know you're awake. You're so busted," she said, throwing the towel she'd used for her hair at me.

I caught it before it slapped me in the face. "How'd you know?"

"You were talking in your sleep and you stopped."

She slipped on a pair of pink panties then put on the matching bra. Her breasts, small and delicate, were perfect for her body and my hands. I'd play with them all day long if she'd let me.

"What was I talking about?" I asked, sitting up and stretching.

"Gibberish mostly. You know you talk in your sleep sometimes."

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