By: Deana Farrady

If she'd been another kind of person, everything would have been awkward after that. But she was cool. She joked around just the same as ever. Eventually she went off to college. And whenever I did see her, she acted like she'd forgotten the incident…and so did I.

I actually hadn't.

But I did this thing where I made myself forget. I'm focused, I can do that.

Point is, I moved on. I steered my cock in other, more age-appropriate directions.

End of story.

So, yeah, sure, I've been thinking about her a lot lately. Once I woke up from a dream where we were recording a parody song together in the style of Weird Al Yankovic.

See? Not sexy. No sex dreams about Charis Sloane were had by me—not for years.

Not that I remembered, anyway.

Well, not with any great clarity.

I told myself it wasn't about Charis. It was about hard-ons. Hard-ons happen. And when they do, I need a woman. Aura had been perfect for that. And I'd let her go.

Crap. Now I'd begun to doubt, and that angered me.

Action I can deal with. Decisions are necessary. Self-reflection can go fuck itself.

I'd already wasted too much time on Aura.

The solution was simple. I'd have to arrange some casual hookups to tide me over. Much as that lacked appeal, I had to have pussy in my life.

In the meantime, I knew what I needed. Who I needed.

Charis. Immediately.

My phone was already in my hand when I saw the text from Karl.

Good news. Alice problem solved. You'll be interested. Details to come.

Okay, that was weird enough to give me pause.

Our straitlaced great grandmother Alice had had this thing for my oldest brother—who was inked, worked in a coffee shop, and liked to walk around in his underwear. For some reason they'd always hit it off. She died last summer at a hundred and four, no lie, and left Karl everything in her will.

Since it amounted to a hill of beans, we all thought it hilarious. Especially the conditions of her will—that he buy a suit and get married before his thirtieth birthday. I'd forgotten he was turning thirty next month.

The text lifted me out of my funk, but not enough. I still needed Charis.

I didn't question it, didn't hesitate. I sent a text. Sorry I've been a lameass last few months. Coming over now. Bringing whiskey. Need anything?

Breezy as I sounded, I had no expectations. Ever since my exile with Aura, we'd been out of touch. Not a word, not a call, not a text—a vast, humorless wasteland, my life without this girl.

And it was late on a Sunday night. She'd say go fuck yourself, she had class tomorrow, she had a date, she wasn't in the mood. I'd have to humble myself and beg (which I would do. Yes, this was worth going down on my knees for).

I paced until I got the return text from her.

Pick up some Old Whisker's Blake for me dude.

AT TEN TWENTY, I KNOCKED ON Charis's door with a bottle of port and another of Hudson Bay Bourbon I reserved for serious need.

I leaned on the door post, gazing at the empty hallway with its plush gold carpet. Her apartment building was just off the original MCU campus, having been used as a dormitory way back when, before the university sold it and built fancy new residence halls closer to the quad. Now it just had somewhat pricey studios.

I happened to know Charis's parents funded her rent; she was piss-poor at getting money, didn't care about her digs, and if it were up to her, she'd live in somebody's basement.

Hell, if her parents ever fell through, she'd probably hit me up. I'd pay for her rent, too, no questions asked. Sometimes she whined about her parents so much, I wished she would ask.

The door swung open and I was greeted with a yawn that turned into a broad smile. "Well hey, there, handsome stranger. What's up? It's late. I thought you'd be studying for exams."

I looked into Charis's eyes. They weren't big, green and wide like Aura's. They were squinty, early Renee Zellweger eyes, the irises a light brown, with laughter lines already forming under them. Friendly eyes, warm and welcoming.

I looked her up and down. She wore a humongous black night shirt, a tee that came down to just above her knees. I couldn't tell if she was wearing a bra. I wasn't even sure she wore the things. She was, in her own words, a boobless freak.

Her neck, arms and legs were willowy, her calves pretty decent since she'd gotten into zumba last year. I liked to tease her about her bony knees. Her feet were bare. Her right little toe had a silver ring.

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