Setting the Stage

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* Photo of Ophelia James to the side

Grace wasn’t expecting the way in which her best friend tried to give his apology and make everything better. She was waking up, faintly aware that her body was throbbing and almost painfully aroused. She felt someone biting on her shoulder, sucking a little bit of the skin into their teeth and their hands were doing some awfully interesting things. Sparks of excitement shot from where he teased at one nipple down to between her legs where his other hand stroked out pleasurable nonsense on her. As he’d been the one to show her what self gratification was a couple of years ago, this wasn’t the first time this had occurred, but as Grace shook she swore this had to be the last time it occurred. As her best friend worked her body over the edge of ecstasy, Grace couldn’t help the moans that started to slip out. Nate left his attack on her shoulder to turn her face to his and he kissed her, swallowing the sounds she made as he teased her to completion.

His hand left the front of her and he stopped kissing her to peck her temple and whisper, “Happy birthday Graceless,” before he got out of the bed. Grace panted a little and glared at him but her words were knocked out of her head when she saw undeniable proof that teasing her had had an effect on Nate. He seemed unconcerned with the erection that bulged in his boxers as he pulled on his pants and hunted down his shirt. Then what he said to her sunk in and she rolled her eyes, her birthday was at the end of February and they were almost at Halloween, idiot.

She grunted a little and covered her eyes until he was dressed completely. She heard him chuckle in his throat and walk back over to the bed to sit down next to her. She opened her eyes to see him pulling on his socks. “You can’t keep doing that Nathaniel. I mean it. I’m not your girl. And I refuse to be one of your bimbos.” Grace stated, voice strong even thought she had to keep her voice soft. One of the downsides to still living at home was dealing with her father, the Cubano who’d spent the bulk of his youth in one gang or another. To call him over protective would be an understatement. Although unaware of the boundaries his daughter’s friendship with Nate crossed, West was aware enough of the young man’s personality to suspect, and yet he approved of the friendship anyways. Grace suspected that her father expected her to fall for her best friend sooner or later and that he might as well get to know the young man now. Since she had no intention of that ever happening, Grace just accepted that her family was weird. Considering that her father was all too eager to traumatize any other boy Grace brought home, she didn’t understand his double standard where Nathaniel was concerned.

“I’ll stop doing it when you stop needing it Graceless.” Nate promised and surprised her with a quick kiss. “And you’ll never be a bimbo. You’re better than all of them.” He said softly, and then walked back over to the window. “Oh yeah, your mom let me know that I was invited to breakfast, but to not let your father know I’d spent the night again.” Nate grinned and slipped back out the window.

Grace stared after her best friend and groaned, slumping back into the pillows. She couldn’t deny that it had felt great but now she definitely needed a shower. Giving in to the inevitable, Grace got up and went to shower before Nate came back up, using the stairs and front door this time, to ‘wake her up’. His methods the second time around might not be as enjoyable.

She refused to be one of those girls that got all jazzed up on the weekend unless she had a reason to, so Grace pulled on a pair of loose denim jeans and a t shirt she sniffed to make sure was clean. She kicked the leg of her bed and hopped to the door one footed, cursing and holding the injured foot. “Stone of a peach, stone of a peach.” She muttered, not wanting to curse outright over a stubbed toe. It wasn’t hurt enough to earn a god d***.

Tripping only slightly on her way down the stairs, Grace yawned wildly and noticed the amused expression on her mother’s face as she shuffled in. Nate was already there, probably having climbed down the tree to knock on the front door. Madison, Grace’s mother, was already shoveling food in front of Nate, as happy to mother him as she was her own daughter. Grace was an only child, which she knew her parents lamented. They loved having her, but they’d always wanted more children, it just never happened. And with Grace’s parents being close friends with Nathaniel’s parents, it meant that the Vega children were as often as not treated like family. Grace decided not to focus on what that made her relationship with Nate turn into, and instead sat down next to her best friend and pulled a plate heaping with food to her setting.

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