"I'm younger than Rob. That's all I'll say."

She crossed her arms. "Huh." Then her face softened, and she sat on the ground next to the tub. “You don't seem like a guy who'd hang out with him. Or us. Aren't you in school?”

I nodded. “Yeah. So?”

“I don't know. What are you doing here? I don't understand how people in school come and get drunk with us like that.”

“All work and no play...” I said.

She looked at me like I had antennae. “You're so weird.”

“Why am I weird?”

“You're like an old man.

I frowned. “You're weird. Why are you even with Rob? He's a burnout. A bushy, hairy burnout. You're fuckin' hot.”

“Why are you with him?” she countered.

“I'm not!”

“Sure you are. You know you are. You come over here all the damn time.”

“I'm not.”

She just looked at me. “And you never talk to me. Asshole.”

“I'm talking to you now.”

“Wow! Caleb's talking to Bette! Everyone gather 'round!”

“Shut up,” I laughed. “People are gonna wonder what we're doing in here.”

“No they won't! They all know you, don't they? They won't wonder.”

“Damn,” I said. “I'm not that obvious. And it might be fun. We could pretend.”

She punched me in the arm. “Weirdo.”

“Oh God!” I yelled. “Bette! Oh yeah! just like that! Don't stop!”

“Oh Caleb! Yeah! C'mon!”

That went on for a few moments before she moaned particularly grotesquely.

I wrinkled my nose. “Okay. I think we should start seeing other people.”

“Or the same people.” She was quiet for a moment. “What's with Rob anyway? He's such an idiot. Like all the time.”

“You're dating him,” I said.

“He makes me laugh.” She pursed her lips. “He wants you to come to bed with us tonight."

"I know."

Her eyes searched my face. "What do you think about that?"

I shrugged. “Not sure what to think quite yet.”

She got to her knees and tried to crane her head so she could look up at my face. "I mean, that's weird right?"

"It's only weird if you think it's weird, I guess." And then I leaned down from where I sat and kissed her on the cheek. "He talks about you a lot, too. By the way," I said. "How's your stomach?"

She stood, and after a moment, "Better." Then she left me sitting in the bathroom.

Later, when everyone left the house, I stayed. It was quiet, and I made my way to the bedroom. A soft glow filtered from under the bathroom door, and I heard the repetitive swishing of someone brushing their teeth.

Rob was there on the edge of the bed, taking off his socks. "Hey," he nodded.

I stared at his bare feet, and even though I'd seen them before, I couldn't look away. Here, in the context of the situation, there was something obscene about them. He had hair on his toes. I sat, and the bed caved beneath both of our weight. He reached up, squeezed my shoulder and I felt the tension leave me.

Bette emerged from the restroom, looking more present and bright-eyed than earlier. I saw movement to my side, and Rob's shirt was gone, and then his shorts. I followed his lead, pulling my own shirt over my head. Everything went dark as it passed over my face, and when I could see again, Bette was looking at me.

This time, when she smiled, it reached her eyes.

The End

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