39 - I'm Not Durnk Yet

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I invited our three guests inside, taking the rather heavy bag of alcohol out of Lisa's hand.

She gasped when she walked in, immediately turning to give Rian the stinkeye. 

"You live here?" she asked petulantly. "And you only let Hanna come over?"

Rian rolled his eyes, but a smile tugged at the corner of his lips nonetheless. "Believe me, I didn't let her do anything," he drawled. "Your friend is a bona fide criminal, you know that?"

I gave him a cheeky grin, ignoring the confused look on Lisa's face. Rokim stepped in after her, Isaac in tow. They had pretty much the same reaction Lisa did.

"Oh, man, this is just unfair," Rokim complained. Rian's grin broadened, and, to my utter shock, he reached over and clapped him on the back. Rokim wasn't even mad. He was actually smiling!

What dimension was this?

"You shouldn't be allowed to exist," Rokim grumbled good-naturedly. 

I gaped. When they were standing side-by-side, not arguing or threatening violence, they made quite a nice pair. Rokim's fluid blond highlights contrasted Rian's pitch-black locks. Their builds were pretty similar, too; both lean, both tall. Though out of the two of them, Rokim was the more slight.

I got the sudden impression that if they were ever seen together in public, they'd be mobbed by hormonal suitors. It was a chilling thought.

"Um," squeaked a quiet voice, distracting me. "Hi."

I turned, placing the bag of whiskey on the counter. Isaac stood before me, fidgeting nervously. I grinned at him—so adorable—and brought him in for a hug.

"Isaac!" I gushed. "So good to see you!"

He tentatively returned the hug, blushing furiously when I pulled back. "It's nice to see you, too. Actually, I, um, have something for you?"

I glanced in down in surprise as he held out a clean white handkerchief, freshly washed and pressed. 

Upon seeing my confused expression, he rushed to explain. "Oh, it's just the handkerchief Rian gave me at the ball. When I cut my finger."

"Ah," I said, smiling warmly. I took it from him, glancing over at Rian across the room. He was busy talking to Rokim and Lisa. "Thanks. I'll make sure he gets it."

I tucked it into my pocket and slung an arm around his shoulder. I led him closer to the throng of people. "So, did you meet Prof? How'd you like our class?"

His eyes lit up with excitement, and he launched into an impassioned description of his visit. "Yeah! He was so nice! The university is really pretty, too, and Mr. Profeta introduced me to his husband, Adrian, and then they offered me ice cream—"

He barely even stopped for breath. I chuckled as he continued to outline his experience, listening attentively and nodded along. However, in the back of my mind, I knew that Isaac's happiness meant one other thing: Rian would no longer be the class AC. The tether that held him here was officially gone.

But then I caught Rian's eye. He smirked wickedly at me, and that was all I needed to banish my fears. He wouldn't leave. There was no chance.

I turned back to my conversation with Isaac, failing to notice when Rian's smirk melted away, or when the dark glimmer in his eyes spread over his face like a shadow. 

He returned his attention to Rokim and Lisa, the quiet torture in his gaze going unnoticed.

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