“Then you should find some hot dude to pass the time with until you leave for college.”

“Now you sound like Megan,” I said. “But maybe I will find someone to pass the time with. Preferably a hot dude who likes to read and is interested in history.”

“That sounds like relationship material. I was just talking about Netflix and chill.” Her tone was dry. “Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.”

I laughed as I took a sip of water.

Abbi turned as Megan danced her way over to where we stood. She stopped in front of us, shoving her sunglasses up. “Guys, you’re not going to believe what I just heard.”

“What?” I asked, happy for the distraction.

Excitement buzzed in Megan’s voice. “Griffith and Christie just left with Steven to meet up with some shady-ass dudes from the city to buy coke.”

I lowered the water bottle. I was so not expecting that to be what she was going to tell us.

“Not surprising,” muttered Abbi. “Didn’t they do that in July? Christie got all kinds of messed up. Keith almost called 911.”

Megan’s mouth dropped open. “You knew about this? Is it something regular they do?”

“Regular enough that they’re going to get it now, apparently,” she shot back.

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I was still stuck on the whole randomly-leaving-to-buy-coke thing, like they were going to the store to pick up some chips and dips.

Jesus, that seemed hard-core.

I wasn’t naive, but I was surprised that they were the ones going to get stuff. Really, I would have been surprised if anyone I knew was doing coke or heroin.

“Well, hell.” Megan looked down at her red cup. It had been refilled. “Phillip is thinking about trying it tonight. Like, he almost left with them. Can you believe that?”

Abbi curled her lip. “Idiot.”

“Right?” Megan took a drink. “I’m going to go yell at him. Be back later.”

My brows rose as I watched her walk away. “That’s... Wow.”

“Do you think Keith does it?”

I tucked my hair back behind my ear. “I didn’t even know they did, so I have no idea.”

“Well, that would explain the Speedo,” she said with a heavy sigh. “You would have to be high to think that was a good idea.”

I giggled. “So true.”

“Hey.” Sebastian’s voice was in my ear a second before his arm curled around my shoulders. A puff of air left me. His warm, hard chest pressed against my back. A tight wave of shivers wound down my spine as heat blasted my face. “Where’ve you been?”

Abbi stared at me, brows arched.

I quickly focused on the pool. “I’ve been right here. Where’ve you been?”

“Everywhere,” he replied, and he turned me around. The baseball cap was on backward again. Our faces were inches apart, nearly as close as we were at the lake. So close I could smell the faint trace of beer on his breath. “So, I have this idea. It involves me. And it involves you...getting wet.”

My mouth dropped open as my mind belly flopped into the gutter.

Oh my God.

“Really?” Abbi chirped. “I cannot wait to hear more about this idea.”

Oh. My. God.

He grinned as he reached over and plucked the sunglasses off my face. He put them on top of his head. “Well, I’m more of a show versus tell kind of person.”

All I could do was stand there and stare at him, because I felt like I’d slipped into some alternate reality—the kind that existed in the super-adult romance books I read, where public declarations of love were abundant and happy endings were promised. I couldn’t look away from his heavily lidded eyes, which were so blue they almost seemed unreal. We were so close I could see the one tiny freckle he had under his right eye.

“What are...?” I whispered, completely losing my voice.

Sebastian dipped his chin as he slid his arms down my back, hooking me around the waist. He drew me up against him, and my heart was beating at a near-deadly pace.

This was actually happening. Surrounded by our friends, this was actually happening.

His head tilted to the side, and our mouths were lined up. “Lena, Lena, Lena.”

My eyes drifted shut, and I felt his warm breath on my lips. Every muscle in my body tightened. I was breathless with anticipation, want and need.

It was happening and this time it would end differently.

CHAPTER NINE

My hands landed on his chest and slid up to his shoulders. Shouts of laughter and beats of music sounded miles away. Sebastian shifted against me, dipping down and sliding an arm under my legs. He lifted me up, and my eyes popped open.

Sebastian kissed the tip of my nose.

Then I was flying through the air, so suddenly that I was too shocked to scream.

I hit the cold water butt-first and my lungs locked up as I dropped under the surface, arms flailing. I sank like a water buffalo. My feet hit the bottom of the pool, and I stayed there for a second in disbelief.

What had just happened? Oh my God.

I thought he was going to kiss me, but it was just a game. It was something Sebastian would do to his friend. He was just messing around, like nothing had gone down between us on Monday, and I...I was a complete idiot.

And I knew how it must’ve looked to everyone standing around us. Me with my eyes closed and my hands on his shoulders.

I was such a fool.

And I was going to drown.

Lungs burning, I pushed off the floor of the pool and broke the surface, sputtering water as I cursed, “You asshat!”

“Hey, I was just helping you out.” Sebastian stood at the edge of the pool, a smug smile on his striking face. “You looked like you needed cooling off.”

“I don’t think that was the kind of wetness Lena was hoping for,” Abbi replied drily.

Sebastian’s head swung in Abbi’s direction, and Megan, who had appeared beside Abbi while I was drowning in my own dumbness, choked on her drink and whirled around, marching away from the pool. Her hand flapped at her face.

I sank back under the surface, imagining myself strangling Abbi. I was so going to kill her.

More embarrassed than I’d been in a very, very long time, I swam over to the shallow edge and then rose, dragging myself out of the water. Sebastian walked around the pool, a beach towel in his hand.

“You look so cute wet,” he said.

“Shut up.” I climbed the wide steps.

“I kind of like you this way.”

Bending over at the waist, I brought my hair over my shoulder and wrung it out. Fat drops of water splashed and pooled under my waterlogged flip-flops. “I kind of want to hit you.”

“You’re so aggressive.”

I pulled at my T-shirt, but it was no use. It clung to my upper body. All I could be thankful for was that my shirt wasn’t white and my shorts weren’t loose enough to slide off. “I’m about to get real aggressive up in your face.”

He tipped his head back and laughed loudly. “I might actually like that.”

“Oh, you’re not going to like it.” Stretching up, I grabbed my sunglasses off his head and put them on. “Trust me.”

Keith strolled by. “You really know how to get a girl wet, Seb.”

My face caught aflame as I balled my hands into fists.

“Yeah, neither of you have a clue,” Abbi shot back.

Keith’s dark brows flew up. “Oh, baby, I would get down on my knees right here and now if you’d let me prove to you just how good I am at getting girls—”

“That’s all I need to hear to know you have no idea what you’re doing.” Abbi raised her hand, silencing him. “If you did, you wouldn’t have to announce it.”

“She has a point,” Sebastian commented.

Keith laughed as he reached out, yanking on Abbi’s pigtail. “I can totally prove you wrong. Give me five minutes.”

“Five minutes?” She snorted.

Snatching the towel out of Sebastian’s hand, I shoved past him and walked over to where the patio led to the pool house and the horseshoe pit to avoid doing something like, say, punching him in the throat.

“That was kind of stupid, wasn’t it?”