This was it. The moment I had to decide. If I let him kiss me, there’d be no turning back. But I couldn’t keep denying it. I’d only be lying to myself. It was time to admit I wanted him. I closed my eyes and waited. His lips met mine, and a whole new world opened up to me. I reached out, pulling him closer, exploring every contour of his strong back with my hungry hands. His lips were every bit as soft as I’d imagined, and his tongue probed gently, until my lips parted and let him in. The hand, that had gently caressed my face a moment ago, pushed down the covers, searching for the smooth skin of my thighs, then eager for more, began to lift my T-shirt upwards. Our lips parted company, and he kissed a line down to my quivering stomach. I ached for more of his touch and threw my arms back to grab the headboard, arching my back to allow the T-shirt to continue its journey up and over my head. His mouth moved to explore my cleavage, and I entwined my fingers in his blonde waves, easing his face back to mine.

“I wanted you the first moment I saw you,” he whispered.

It wasn’t a time for talking. “Kiss me again.”

He grinned. “Yes, ma'am.”

“Earth to Sophie…come in, Sophie,” called Beth, later that afternoon.

I was back at the flat, sitting at one of the front windows, people watching, sipping a glass of white wine, and reliving my glorious morning over and over again, when Beth bounced back from the gym. I’m a big people watcher. They fascinate me. You’d be surprised at what you can learn about people, when they think no one’s watching.

“Hmm? Oh, hiya.”

“Look, I’m gonna grab a shower, and then I’d better be getting all the juicy gossip. Okay?”

Shit. What could I tell her? The world’s full of monsters and my boyfriend’s a werewolf. Did I really just say boyfriend? No. I couldn’t. I’d have to tell Beth as little as possible.

A sharp rap on the door interrupted my thoughts, and I looked over to find a rather cute delivery boy peering through the glass, with a wide grin on his face and waving furiously with his free hand. In his other hand was a gold, heart shaped box tied with a huge red bow. I wandered over and opened the door.

“You Sophie Crevan?”

I nodded. “Yeah, hi.”

“Someone’s popular,” he said, handing the box over.

“Mmm. Thanks.”

I closed the door and gave the box a quick once over. No card. I had no appetite, so I abandoned the gift on the kitchen counter and returned to my window seat.

A few minutes later Beth was back, drying her long curls on a fluffy pink towel.

“Wow…cool chocs! Are they from Sebastian?” she asked, helping herself to a glass of my wine.

“Dunno, it doesn’t say,” I said indifferently.

“Oh. So, start at the beginning, and don’t skip the good stuff. What happened last night?”

“We talked.”

“And?” she asked, perching on the windowsill in front of me.

“And I met his grandmother and his sister.”

“Ooo…what’s his sister like?”

“Erm, quiet.” How could I tell her the truth?

“Oh.” She sounded disappointed. “So what did you do all evening?”

“I told you, we talked…and read books.”

“Geez Soph…you know how to have a good time…not. What about the kissing?”

“There wasn’t any.”

“So no touching then?”

“Nope.”

“Where did you sleep?”

“In his bed.”

“Ah ha, I knew it!” she said triumphantly.

“It wasn’t like that. He was the perfect gentleman.”

Honey, there’s no such thing,” she drawled, laughing. “So let me get this straight. You spent all afternoon, evening, and night with the cutest guy around, a guy who undeniably has the hots for you, and a guy that I caught you in a compromising position with, only yesterday I might add, and you want me to believe that nothing happened? Yeah right.”

“Well you didn’t ask me about this morning,” I said, with a self-satisfied smile.

“Sophie Crevan, I swear if you don’t tell me right now what went on, I’ll never speak to you again. Did you do the dirty or not?”

“Not,” I said. Was that a tinge of regret in my voice? “But we kissed…a lot,” I said dreamily.

“You kissed. Well that’s a start. Was he good? Did you get nekked?

“Nearly. And yes, he was…really good. In fact, it was all going great, until we were interrupted by an urgent phone call from his dad, and Seb had to leave immediately for the city, so he just dropped me off home.”

“Bummer. Why did he have to go?”

“No idea. He didn’t say.”

“Do you think you would have…you know?” she asked, raising her eyes brows in a quizzical fashion.

“I don’t know. Maybe. But I don’t know if I’m ready. I mean it’s not that I don’t want to, or that I’m saving myself, or anything. I do want to. I really want to…eventually, but I don’t think that I want to want to. Do you know what I mean?”

Beth giggled. “No, honey. I always want to.”

She didn’t need to tell me that. Beth had lost her virginity at the age of fifteen, to a senior, in the supply cupboard next to the maths classroom. She was almost caught by Mr Percival, when she knocked over a stack of textbooks, post passion, but managed to escape just in time. A group of passing first years got blamed instead.

I ignored her attempt at humour and carried on. “I mean I think I’d enjoy it. I’m sure I’d enjoy it, but it’s a big thing, isn’t it?”

“I dunno. You tell me. Did you cop a feel?” she added, hopeful of exciting details.

“What? No.” I laughed, smacking her playfully on the arm. “Is that all you think about? You know full well what I meant.”

“I’m sorry. You know me. So when are you seeing him again?”

“I don’t know,” I said with a wistful look.

The new week passed by slowly…very slowly.

Patches of green started to appear over the hills once more, and the dirty brown slush on the pavements melted into the gutters, as if it had never existed.

Sebastian was nowhere to be seen. I tried to concentrate in class, but I was too distracted. Where was he? With his dad. Why hadn’t he phoned? He didn’t have my number. I’d lost my appetite, and I wasn’t sleeping properly. I just wanted him back.

By Friday, Beth was getting agitated. “Soph, I’m sick of those flaming chocolates staring at me. Are you going to eat them, or do you just like to torture me?”

“I don’t fancy them. They’re yours if you want. Only don’t make yourself sick eating the whole box.”

“You know me so well,” she laughed, settling down on the sofa and lifting the lid. The sickly sweet smell hit me immediately, and I had to go to the kitchen for a drink. By the time I returned, Beth was looking very pale, and her eyes had glazed over.

“You okay?” I asked, noting the empty spaces in the black, moulded tray. She didn’t answer, but her head started to quiver.

I gripped her shoulders hard. “Beth! Beth…answer me!” She didn’t, and the quivers turned to shakes. Desperately, I grabbed her mobile from her pocket and dialled 999. The ambulance was quick to arrive, but by then, Beth’s body had grown still.

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