Main She's the One

She's the One

Whenever her friends talk about the hot guys on campus, Maisie is bored. Not only does she not find these particular guys are hot, she’s beginning to realize that she doesn’t think men are attractive in general. Besides, she has more important things to do than chase after men such as gaining the friendship of Star.

Star's a brilliant, intriguing, captivating girl who makes Maisie's heartbeat a little faster. After spending time with Star, Maisie begins to realize that her feelings aren't very sisterly. Has she discovered something important far too late?
Volume:
4
Language:
english
Series:
Castile Family Series
File:
EPUB, 137 KB
Download (epub, 137 KB)

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The Puzzle of You

Language:
english
File:
EPUB, 421 KB
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Speechless

Language:
english
File:
EPUB, 404 KB
Whenever her friends talk about the hot guys on campus, Maisie is bored. Not only does she not find these particular guys are hot, she’s beginning to realize that she doesn’t think men are attractive in general. Besides, she has more important things to do than chase after men such as gaining the friendship of Star.





Star's a brilliant, intriguing, captivating girl who makes Maisie's heartbeat a little faster. After spending time with Star, Maisie begins to realize that her feelings aren't very sisterly. Has she discovered something important far too late?





Contents




Chapter 1



Chapter 2



Chapter 3



Chapter 4



Chapter 5



Chapter 6



Chapter 7



Chapter 8



Chapter 9



Chapter 10



Epilogue





Also by Ella Goode



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Chapter 1


Maisie





“I want to be ruined by him.”

“Dicked down until I can’t walk.”

“He’s the type of guy that you should apologize to if he cheats.”

“That’s going a little far, isn’t it?” I ask, trying for a mild tone since my friends all call me a killjoy when it comes to thirsting over guys.

All the girls’ eyes at the table swing toward me.

“Maisie, are you blind?” my friend Becky says. Indignation colors every word. “Mack Castillo is the reason I’m failing chemistry. I can’t concentrate on the lecture. I actually created an Instagram account for the sole purpose of following him and if there isn’t a new selfie every day, my day is ruined.” She says it like that’s not the least bit crazy.

“Look at him. He’s so gorgeous he’d make a nun forget her vows,” chimes in my roommate Dally. She waves her hand in Mack’s direction. “He has it all. He’s tall with the perfect kind of muscles—the ones that are defined but not so enormous that it looks fake. His face is literally perfect.”

All the girls nod vigorously in agreement. “We have the same biology class and the professor had him stand up in the front and used him as an example of a symmetric face. Both sides of his face are exact replicas of the other. Plus, the distance from his eyes to hi; s mouth is precisely one-third of his face. So, basically science agrees with us. He’s the hottest man alive,” Dally finishes, using science to prove her point.

I tap my spoon against the lunch tray and take a long look at the object of my friends’ obsession sitting three tables away. Mack is everything that my friends said he was—tall, muscular, with a face that doesn’t make me want to puke. Still, I feel unmoved by him. Not a spark of attraction. The idea of being dicked down until I can’t walk sounds uncomfortable and not sexy.

I try to envision him naked but the image of the last unsolicited dick pic I received flashes in front of my eyes. The cafeteria lasagna starts to climb up my throat and I hastily avert my eyes, but not before Mack catches me staring.

“Oh my God,” Becky whisper-screams. “I think he just winked at you.”

“He’s getting up,” hisses Heidi.

“He’s walking this way!” Dally nearly shouts. I’m not sure if that’s panic or excitement in her tone.

I want to sink into the floor.

“If he asks you out, you have to say yes. Say yes, go home, fuck his brains out and come back and tell us everything,” Heidi breathes into my ear. That sounds horrible on every level.

I close my eyes and send out a prayer to the universe. Please let it be that he’s just walking to get more milk. If he does stop at our table, have him talk to Dally. Heidi’s taken so Dally or Becky can have him. Just not m—

“Hey, Maisie, right? I think we had calc last semester.”

I know I should smile, raise my head, and shake this boy’s hand, but I don’t want to. I don’t want this kind of forced interaction. Why is he coming over here simply because I looked at him? It wasn’t an invitation. I was inspecting him, like a scientist would inspect an insect. Be nice, I can hear my mom saying. It costs you nothing to be nice.

Actually, it costs me time and energy, I retort in my head, but good manners win out. I lift my chin, paste on a smile and give the boy a nod.

“Yes, calc. It was terrible.” I suck at math and hope I will never have to solve another equation again.

“Oh, I didn’t know you hated it. You should’ve said something. I could’ve helped you out.” His eyes twinkle in a way that I think I’m supposed to find enticing but it only makes me uncomfortable. I drop my gaze to his chin, fighting my need to fidget but that’s a mistake because now I’m staring at his stubble. Why do guys think that’s attractive? It looks like dirt stuck to his skin. “Any math subjects this semester?”

I force myself to pay attention and not be rude. “No. I plan to live my life in such a way that I will never need to do any calculations that are beyond the scope of my phone’s calculator.”

Mack throws back his head and howls with laughter. I look to my friends to find out what’s so funny but they’re dumbfounded too. Becky wiggles her eyebrows, signaling Mack is hooked and now is the time for me to reel him in. I feign ignorance. It’s time to wrap this little encounter up before Mack gets any bad ideas. The last guy that I turned down lit a bottle of Coors Light on fire and threw it at the front door of my house. The landlord wasn’t very happy and it took a lot of cajoling along with one of my famous layer cakes to stop him from kicking me and Dally out.

“That’s cute,” Mack says after his chortling winds down.

“You’re cute,” Becky replies. “Isn’t he?”

Everyone choruses, “Hell, yes.” Even the girl at the next table over. They are all in agreement when it comes to Mack’s level of attraction. I remain quiet.

Becky kicks my leg. “Isn’t he, Maisie?” Dally fights not to laugh.

“Ow.” I cast a dark look at my roommate because she isn’t saving me like normal, but nod because I don’t want to have two sore shins. “Yes, very cute.” Even saying the words sounds weird on my lips. I know he can tell my response is forced and I’m okay with that. My plan is to say whatever it is that I need to so that he’ll go away as soon as possible.

Mack smiles and every single girl in the room sighs. I swear for a second he’s almost uncomfortable. Every girl reacts to him besides myself and one other. The other is Star, a violet-haired girl sitting at my favorite table, which is tucked into the corner. I love that spot because it’s peaceful and overlooks the pretty garden the horticulture club works so hard to keep up. Star looks like a flower from that garden so it’s probably perfect that she’s sitting at that particular table. She has things scattered all over the table and it looks as though she may be sketching or doodling. It’s hard for me to tell from this distance.

I sigh, putting my chin in my hand. Every time I see Star, the girl has been either reading or drawing in her notebook. No matter what’s going on in the world, Star seems to be able to block it out. There was a massive fight in the quad a couple weeks ago between two guys. I can’t remember what instigated it. Dally insists that it was something related to me—about how I let one guy open a door for me but didn’t let the other guy do the same? I’m sure that can’t be the reason but regardless, it happened right in front of Star and the girl never looked up from what she was doing, not even when a punch sent one of the guys to the bench beside her. I would love to reach that level of unbothered.

I channel a little inner Star and pick up my tray. “Nice to meet you. Good luck in your future math classes.”

I practically sprint to the exit, shoving the tray onto the discard assembly belt and bolt out the door. Outside, I realize I forgot my purse and backpack next to the table. I peek through the windows and see that Mack is still with my friends. Dally is speaking animatedly while Mack leans back from her, trying to make a little space between them so one of Dally’s hands doesn’t hit him. I brighten. Maybe he’s asking Dally out.

“Um, you’re blocking the door,” a voice says behind me.

I whirl around to see Star glaring at me. I feel my face turn bright red. “I-I’m sorry.”

“Okay, but can you move?” the small girl asks with a bite of impatience. “I’ve only got thirty minutes before my tutoring appointment starts and I’ve got to drop something off at my advisor’s office.” She runs an agitated hand through her soft purple hair. I don’t know why she’s so irritated with me.

My eyes track the movement. Star’s hair is always so shiny. I wonder if she uses a keratin treatment or argan oil to get it that glossy or whether it’s natural? I suspect it’s natural because there’s nothing about Star to suggest she spends much time in front of the mirror, despite the fancy hair color. The shorter girl is always dressed in track pants or jeans, an oversized T-shirt in the summer and a big flannel button-down in the winter. I think the clothes are borrowed from her boyfriend although I’ve never seen Star with anyone. The thought of her with a boyfriend bums me out for some reason I don’t fully understand. I’m not sure why I would even care.

Star clears her throat. “The door?”

I jerk to attention. ”Oh, right. Sorry. The door.”

Beet red, I slide to the left, which just so happens to be the exit door, and immediately lose my balance as my two friends come barreling through. I stumble and reach out to steady myself, not realizing that the thing I grabbed is Star’s arm. There’s a horrifying ripping sound. I release the shirt but it’s too late.

“I’m so sorry,” I say, reaching out with both hands although to do what, I’m not sure. It’s not like I can stitch the thing back together.

Star is full of the same skepticism. She pulls the sleeve up uselessly and backs away. “It’s all good. I’m sure it can be fixed. Just...let me through, okay?”

“Sure. Sure. But here.” I whip out a notebook, scribble down my phone number and tear the sheet out. I thrust the torn paper toward Star. “Take this. I’ll have the shirt fixed. Please tell your boyfriend that I’m sorry for ruining his shirt. Your shirt. Whatever.”

Star gives me a weird look—one that suggests I’ve been smoking too much weed—but takes the paper from my hand. “It’s fine. And I don’t have a boyfriend. Why would you ever date a guy when there are all these cute girls around?” She shakes her head like I’m the dumbest person she’s ever encountered and then takes off.

“What was that all about?” Dally says. I stand there shocked as her words penetrate my thick skull. For the first time when it comes to dating that actually sounds right. I suddenly feel like a piece that’s been missing clicks into place.





Chapter 2


Star





“You get her number?”

I smack my brother’s giant chest to make him move out of my way. He’s standing in the entryway to the kitchen. We share a place near campus. I don’t know how we ever shared a womb. My brother is big all over. I’m guessing because I’m so small. It’s the only way both of us were ever able to share a womb in my mom. I’m surprised my mom was able to lug us around since she’s as small as I am. Mack’s giant body fills up the whole doorway to the kitchen.

“Move.” I thump his chest again. Not that it does any good. Mack is unmovable. The only way he’s moving is if he wants to. He’s grown bigger than our dad and that’s saying a lot. My dad Maddox looks like he should have once graced a football field and not the head of a boardroom.

“Answer me and I’ll move.” He folds his arms over his chest. “I saw her give you a piece of paper.”

“Yes. She gave me her number.” I roll my eyes, trying to play it cool. I don’t usually get silly crushes. That might be the problem I have with Maisie. I don’t think this would be only a crush. I can see myself falling off the deep end for her. She is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. She takes perfection to a whole new level. Her most appealing quality is that she doesn’t know her level of attractiveness. Even if she does, she doesn’t act anything but humble.

Mack finally steps aside, letting me into the kitchen, happy he got the response he wanted. He’s all smiles. He’s smitten with himself. He doesn’t need to be. Every girl in the world already is with him. He doesn’t need to add himself to his own list.

“Thank God. Her friend Dolly is—"

“Dally,” I correct him. I think he knows her name. He knows everything so I don’t know why he says it wrong. Yes, I know who her friends are too. I also know she and Dally share an apartment. I don’t know why but something about Dally rubs me the wrong way.

“Whatever. She’s scary. I was almost assaulted by her animated hands. She’s a toucher.” The smile he’s been rocking drops from his mouth and I can’t read the expression on his face. It’s one I’ve never seen before.

Mack doesn’t like being touched except by family. I think it’s because one too many girls have done it to him. They usually fall all over him. It’s always been that way and he can’t stand it. Mack is a genius but people often miss that about him because he’s so handsome.

“You’re the one who went over there and talked to them,” I remind him as I search for something to eat. There is always something packed in here. Mack inherited our aunt MJ’s cooking skills, where I am more our mom and burn water. I never worry about the contents of the fridge, knowing that if Mack doesn’t have the time to cook, my mom will be by to stock it with some goodies.

“’Cause you’re always looking at her but never do anything about it.” He shrugs, leaning up against the doorframe. I’d be jealous if I hadn’t known what my brother was up to when he went up to Maisie and her friends.

“She’s hard to miss.” I point out the obvious. Mack shrugs. Okay, maybe not that obvious to him. The two of them really could be kindred spirits. Mack has girls falling all over him, while everything with a dick is trying to get near Maisie. Half the time she doesn’t notice and the other half of the time she looks like a deer caught in headlights. She has no idea how beautiful she is. It’s hard to focus on my book sometimes when she’s near. I have to will myself to pay attention to what I’m doing. I am one of the many who want to fall all over her, which isn’t like me. I don’t go chasing after girls. I definitely don’t pine over one I don’t think I have a chance with.

Sure, I play for the same team. I just don’t crush on girls who are straight. At least I think she is. To be honest, I’m not real sure what she’s into. She almost has this innocence to her that makes me think she’s not even sure what she wants herself.

I’ve never seen her take up with any of the men who are always hitting on her. In fact, like my brother, she is always trying to get away from them. She panics when one tries to hit on her. Mack is more smooth about getting himself in and out of situations with girls. Her face was pure shock when I told her I’m not into men. She assumed I have a boyfriend and that I’d been wearing his clothes.

These are all mine. It is my favorite shirt, in fact. My mind flashes to her wearing my shirt. Her bare long legs that go on forever, making it barely cover her ass. Her eyes filled with sleep as she strolls around my bedroom looking for her panties that I’d tossed away when we’d fallen into my bed.

“She’s pretty.” Mack jerks me from my thoughts. He smirks, knowing it’s going to irritate me that he’s commenting on her looks. “I know you’re into her,” he adds quickly, before I can smack him again for good measure.

“She probably doesn’t know we’re related,” I point out. I’m not sure what Mack thought he was doing when he went over to their table. I saw him do it out of the corner of my eye. “What if she had wanted you?” I slam the fridge door just thinking about it. “I don’t need a wingman,” I remind him for the millionth time. He doesn’t want to date but here he is trying to set me up all of the time.

My focus is school. It is the one thing my brother and I have in common. It is the Castile in us. We are a driven bunch. I don’t need a crush taking up my every thought. I could feel it already taking hold when Maisie thrust her phone number at me. I shouldn’t have taken the paper from her but I did.

“Trust me. That girl has no idea I exist. It’s refreshing.” Mack pushes off the door, going to the fridge. He pulls something out and starts to make a plate I know is for me. I reach into my pocket and pull out the number that’s been burning a hole in it. I stare down at it. Her handwriting is as perfect and beautiful as she is. She reminds me of one of those models that wears a set of wings on the runway. I think they are called angels. It fits her, with her big green eyes and her blond hair that’s so long it drops down to her pert ass.

“Are you smelling that?”

I jerk the paper away from my nose. I wasn’t smelling it! My face heats and I bet I’m as red as Maisie had gotten when she ran into me. I’m guessing I don’t look as sexy as she did when it happened. Her look was so adorably flustered that my whole body had lit up. Then I was a jerk to her.

Mack laughs as he puts the plate into the microwave. I’d laugh too if I was him. The paper smells like lemon. It reminds me of her, bright and sunny. A wave of guilt washes over me at how rude I acted toward her.

“I was rude to her,” I admit to my brother. I drop the paper down onto the kitchen counter. I tell him most things but I haven’t told him about my crush on Maisie. It isn’t a secret in my family that I am into girls. It’s always been known. I am never shy or worried that any of my family cares. We are a loyal bunch and nothing can change that. I think I haven’t mentioned Maisie to Mack because I don’t think it can go anywhere. Still, he picked up on it. I should have known he would. He notices everything.

“Text her.” He pushes the paper toward me. I pick it back up, staring at the beautiful script. “Star.” His tone grows more stern, sounding like our dad. The microwave dings. “When do we back down?” I look up from the piece of paper I’m holding tight in my fingers to meet my brother’s gaze that matches my own.

“Never.”





Chapter 3


Maisie





“Soooo, that girl Star. When she said she only likes girls, does that mean she only likes girls?” I ask my roommate as we pick up dinner at the deli. I’ve been thinking about Star’s statement all day and I’ve conjured up a lot of scenarios based on it, but I’ve jumped to conclusions before and been totally wrong. When I first received Dally’s information in my orientation packet, I thought she was a guy. To be fair, her full name is Dallas McCormick. That sounds like a jock’s name, right? Anyway, I wanted a female roommate and wrote this long angry letter to the college about how I deserved to live in a safe space on campus. They forwarded the letter to Dally, who sent me a picture. That’s all. Nothing more. Nothing more was needed, I guess. Dally was a girl.

“Yes, Maisie. I’m pretty sure that’s what she meant. Do you want chips?” Dally holds up a bag of Doritos.

“Is the sky blue?” I grab the bag from her hand. “I’ll get a Diet Coke to offset the calories in the chips.”

“With anyone else, I’d say it doesn’t work that way, but you’re Maisie London and for you, it does.”

I make a face but I can’t deny it. I have a good metabolism and have been lucky enough to not have to count calories. Dally, on the other hand, looks at food and gains weight. I think she looks good curvy and often wish I had her chest and ass, but Dally doesn’t want to hear it. She says my opinion doesn’t count because I love her, but if the opinions of the people you love don’t count, whose do?

“We can walk on the treadmill at the Union later tonight if you want,” I offer.

This perks Dally up. “Yes!” She fist pumps.

She loves the Union gym because the treadmills have this nice rubber track but there are so many gross, smelly guys there that are always coming over to interrupt our gossip sessions. Like, we’re having a conversation. Why do they think they need to be part of it?

“I need a good workout after the debacle that was my history class today,” Dally continues as we pay for the food. “The guest lecturer was going on and on about how the tennis court revolution would’ve never happened if the poor people had enough food which, duh. No one with a full stomach ever fights for anything. I didn’t need fifty minutes and a dozen slides to hammer that point home.”

“School is dumb,” I agree. “I’m not learning anything right now that I can see will help me either get a job or function as an adult out of college. I probably shouldn’t have chosen communications as a major. It’s so boring and dumb. Think of your audience! Be creative! Choose your words carefully! I could’ve written the textbook for that.”

“Why are we even here?” Dally ponders.

“Because this is what we were told to do.” My parents went to college. My older brother went to college so that’s what I’m doing, even though I’m not sure what I’m going to do with a degree. The idea of sitting in a cubicle at some company typing things into a computer or reading over forms bums me out. My mind flashes to Star. Every time I’ve seen her, she’s so engrossed in whatever is in front of her. I wonder what it feels like to be that engaged with something. “Have you ever had a class with Star?”

“Nope. I heard she’s an art major.”

“Oh.” I can’t even draw stick figures.

“Why are you so interested in Star?”

“I don’t know. Why not? She seems like an interesting person.”

“Have you ever talked to her?”

“No.” I grab my sandwich and follow Dally out the door. “But I see her around and she always seems so cool and interesting.”

“You say that like you aren’t cool and interesting.”

“If you’re talking about my face, that’s nothing. A million other girls are prettier than me. Look at Instagram. Girls that look like me are a dime a dozen. Girls like you and Star, though, you’re rare.” Dally’s smart. So so smart. She can do hard math in her head. She knows words in the dictionary that I didn’t even know were words. And she’s curvy. I’m flat as a board and could pass as a boy if I tucked my long blond hair into a cap and put on a pair of khakis. Plus, Dally is funny as hell. She makes me laugh all the time. Girls like her are unique. Anyone can have a pretty face. You can buy those at a doctor’s office. You can’t buy kindness or smarts or wit.

“No, Maisie, not everyone looks like you but let’s not argue because I know after living with you for three years that you’ll never believe me.”

“Looks don’t matter,” I insist. “Looks are superficial. How can I get someone interesting to like me if I’m not interesting?”

“How are you not interesting?” Dally asks, throwing open the door to our apartment building. Two guys in the hallway drop their belongings and rush over to hold it.

“Thanks,” I tell them.

One guy blushes and stammers out, “N-no problem, Maisie.”

The other guy sticks his hand out in front of me. “I can carry that for you.”

“Carry what?”

“The bag.”

I look down at the sandwich bag in my hand. “My dinner?”

The guy gulps and nods his head vigorously. “Yeah. I don’t want you to strain yourself.”

“It’s a sandwich, dude.” I cast a confused look to Dally, who is rolling her eyes.

“But you live on the fourth floor.”

“We have elevators.” I point toward the doors that are sliding open.

“But you still have to hold it for four whole floors!”

“Uh, I’m good.” I scurry away and dart inside the elevator cab before the doors close in front of my face.

Dally rushes in as well and faces the wall. Her shoulders shake. I smack her across her back, which only generates muffled choking noises.

“Everything okay?” the guy who offered to hold my sandwich asks.

“We’re good!” I say cheerily and jab my finger against the button to close the doors. They slide shut too slowly but once the cab is moving, Dally collapses to the floor.

“Not interesting,” she howls. “You think you’re not interesting!”

I kick her lightly. “Stop it.”

“That guy thought you were so interesting that he wanted to hold your sandwich as you rode up the elevator!” She’s nearly crying now.

“I hate you.”

“Dude, if you were any more interesting, you wouldn’t be allowed to walk across campus. The guys would be lining up to carry you.”

I fold my arms across my chest. “Guys are dumb. All he knows is that I have a pretty face. I could be the biggest bitch in the world. I could be one of those maneaters that devours their essences and leaves them empty husks.”

This only makes Dally laugh more. I have to help her off the elevator when it reaches our floor. “I think half the guys in this apartment would kill each other to be one of your leftover empty husks.”

“We live with a bunch of stupid men then.”

“Never said we didn’t.”

“Maybe Star was right,” I say.

“About what?” Dally asks.

“That with all these girls out there, why date men?”





Chapter 4


Star





“And you wonder how I knew you had a thing for her.” Mack drops down onto the sofa beside me. Well, kind of beside me. I’m sitting on the floor with all my crap scattered on the coffee table as I try and study. I’m not great about staying on task. I do what needs to be done but I’m always doing three things at once. Like now, I’m studying, drawing and watching a baseball game. Oh, and checking my phone every three seconds to see if I have a text.

“What?” I glance over at him as he sets down a giant plate of nachos that have my mouth watering. I steal one off his plate.

“You’re always drawing her.” My eyes go back to where my hand is still moving over the sketch pad. I can draw her with my eyes closed, from memory. There isn’t a curve, line or expression of Maisie’s that I don’t know. I’m an expert at putting her beauty on paper. Even though my sketches could never compare to the real thing, they are still beautiful. Drawing has always been second nature to me. I hadn't planned to major in art. Mom and Dad gave me the shove I needed to do it. My brother, not that I will ever admit this out loud, is smarter than I am. It’s only by a little so let’s not get carried away. I have to be honest, I was worried about majoring in art at first. That I might not be able to do anything with it in the future.

Mom and Dad often remind me that I don’t need to worry about that. I’m a trust fund baby but it feels wrong not to try and make it on my own. Everyone in my family is driven. Maybe a little too much at times. We can be borderline obsessive if we’re not careful.

Dad gave me a small guilt trip, saying that he and my grandparents worked hard so we can have all the things in life we’ll ever want. Dad adamantly told me that if art was my passion than that’s what I should major in. So I’ve done it. This is my last semester. I’ll be graduating soon and all I can seem to draw lately is the same girl over and over again. Maisie’s perfect face fills up my pad. I’m putting in the finishing touches which include her three small freckles that are near her right ear. How many times have I wondered what it would be like to kiss her there? Would she shiver in excitement as I whispered sweet nothings in her ear? Would her pussy get wet for me as I traced them with my tongue?

“I don’t know how you do that,” Mack says, breaking me from my daydream. The sound of him crunching on a nacho sort of put a damper on my fantasy.

“What?” I’m unable to pull my eyes away from the pad now. How can someone be so breathtakingly beautiful?

“I mean, the girl is gorgeous.” I turn to glare at my brother, who is gazing down at my drawing. “Seriously, Star. I’m not into her. It’s just an objective fact. Anyone can see that but when you draw her—” He shakes his head, almost looking as if he’s at a loss for words. That’s something Mack never is. Usually I can’t get him to shut up whether I want his opinion or not. “You capture something about her. I can’t place it.”

“I know,” I admit. “I think it’s her innocence.” Mom always says it’s crazy how I can pull out who people are in a picture. Dad says it’s because I’m good at reading people. Maybe I am. It only takes me a glance to size someone up. I feel protective of Maisie for some reason. Even when it comes to my sketches. I never let anyone but Mack look at them. I don’t want anyone’s eyes to see what I do in my own sketches.

“The guys on campus don’t say anything fucking innocent about her,” my brother grumbles. I flip my pad closed, hiding her away. I’ve heard them talk too. I’ve wanted to punch a few in the mouth.

“She doesn't date,” I grit out. They wouldn't know if she is innocent or not. Though somehow I know she is. I’ll go as far as to say she’s never been kissed. I grab another one of his nachos. Why the fuck are they talking about her if they aren’t even dating her? They should keep their mouths shut.

“I know. I asked around.”

“Of course you did,” I say with a mouth full of nachos. Always the protective brother. I want to tell him to mind his own business and to stay away from her, but I also know my brother is a good protector and it doesn't hurt that he’s keeping an eye on her too.

“She text back yet?”

“Since when are you so into my dating life?”

“Since one of us got one?” He picks up his plate so it’s out of my reach. “You want me to freaking make you one? Jesus.”

“I’ll take a Dr. Pepper too while you’re at it.”

He gives me a look that says get it yourself but a minute later he’s standing to go make me a plate.

“Love you!” I say with a laugh.

“I love you too but answer the freaking question if I’m getting you food and a drink,” he says as he comes back, putting my can of soda down for me.

“No.” I drop back to lean against the sofa. I texted her three hours ago and not a peep back. I know she’s not in class. I sadly stalked and know her schedule. No matter how many times I told myself I wasn't going down the Maisie path, it is like all roads lead to her at every turn. Not only do I think she’s way out of my league but I also think she hasn’t put together that she might play for my team. As much as I get off on the idea of being her first, it also scares the crap out of me. My biggest fear being that I open her eyes to this part of herself and she doesn’t want me long term. I want her for myself. This is why I’ve always been hesitant to try with her. I will never recover if I get a taste of her and she leaves me. I would be opening her eyes to all the other girls of the world who would be falling all over themselves to be with her. My girl might be innocent but she also has heartbreak written all over her.

“What did you text?” Mack asks as he heads back into the kitchen to make me a plate. I let out a long sigh. Why is this so hard?

“I told her I’d take her up on her offer to replace my shirt.” Mack turns to look at me like I’ve grown a second head.

“That’s what you went with? You’re probably the richest person on campus and you asked her to replace a shirt that looks like it should have been replaced ten years ago?” He throws his head back and laughs. I ignore him, grabbing my phone. I should tell her I am joking. That it’s no big deal.

Mack walks back over to me, snatching my phone from my hand. “Let me.”

“Oh, like you have game?” I look up at him. Girls might fall all over him but he’s good at getting them away from him. Not luring them in. They are already on the hook when it comes to him. Not Maisie, though. She doesn’t look at Mack like the other girls do. In fact, her eyes lit up when they met mine, a sweet blush tinting her fair, silky skin.

“Give me my phone back.” I hold my hand up in the air for him to hand it to me just as it dings. It dings over and over again. Mack practically drops it and I catch it mid-air. The only person who blows up my phone like that is our mom. Mack holds his hands up, stepping back. “I don’t really see anything.”

“What are you talking about?” I look down at the text. A string of pictures of Maisie in flannel shirts floods my screen. One after another of her trying on different ones in a barrage of different changing rooms. Her long legs are bare and in a couple of them I can see her simple white panties peeking out. Some of the shirts are too small for her. It is hands down the sexiest thing I’ve ever seen. Even the flustered, adorable look on her face is sexy. She is really trying to replace this shirt for me. I’ll burn all my clothes to have these pictures alone. She has no idea how fucking good she looks right now. It only shows more of the innocence she embodies. Her hair is tousled from changing from one shirt to another. My fingers itch to run through it.

Maisie: Do any of these work?

Maisie: Sorry it took me so long. I wanted to get as many options as possible. I’m so sorry about your shirt.

Maisie doesn’t only have heartbreak written all over her. She is going to ruin me. Maybe she already has.





Chapter 5


Maisie





“She likes this shirt.” I hold up a blue and lavender flannel. “I think it’s because it matches her hair.”

Dally and I are sitting on my bed, eating nachos, with the discarded shirts strewn around us. It took us all day to find suitable replacements.

“Or maybe it’s because you can see your underwear in the photo that you sent her wearing it.”

I grab the phone from Dally. “What? You can see my underwear? Why didn’t you tell me?”

Dally shrugs and sticks a chip in her mouth. “I figured it was intentional. You weren’t wearing any pants.”

“I meant to just show off the shirt.” I scroll up and cringe at all the skin I’m showing.

“You suck at taking selfies, you know, but somehow all your photos turn out great. It’s disgusting. Good thing I love you.” Dally retrieves the phone and examines the photos. She taps one and then turns the screen to face me. “Look at that. You look like you’re doing an ad for these shirts.”

”Eh. They’re okay.” I’m not a fan of looking at myself. All I see are my flaws. In these photos, it looks like my spindly legs are sticking out awkwardly, like I have weird chicken legs. I wonder what kind of girls Star is into.

“Do you think this is a good idea?”

“What?” I ask, flipping over to Instagram and looking at Star’s account again. She’s not much into selfies, either. Most of her page is full of sketches—really amazing sketches. She does all kinds of stuff, but predominantly it’s faces. The faces vary a great deal. Some are old, some are really young. There are many that wouldn’t be considered traditionally pretty but she makes those faces arresting, interesting. They’re all people that you’d want to meet because you can tell they have stories.

“Hooking up with Star. Do you think that’s a good idea? I mean, I’ve known you for three years and you’ve never shown any interest in girls. Are you sure you’re just not bi-curious or something like that? Like some kind of kiss-a-girl Katy Perry phase?”

“I don’t know.” I thought about it all last night. What would it be like to kiss Star? To touch her breasts, lick her nipples, place a kiss between her legs? It didn’t turn me off, that’s for sure.

“Maybe you should have a dick first, just to test things out. That way you won’t always wonder what you missed out on if you hook up with Star.”

Try out a dick? The thought makes me want to gag. I’ve seen enough of them—been on the receiving end of so many unsolicited dick pics, I could probably be a dick sommelier. This twenty-year-old version is dusky rose with a slight curve and a hairy bottom. I shudder. “I’d rather be a virgin forever.”

“Dicks are good, though,” Dally asserts.

I scowl. “How would you know? You’re a virgin, too.”

“I just assume that they are. Girls are doing dumb stuff for dicks all the time. Remember how Liza Conrad walked through the quad naked because the guy she was hot after told her he thought public nudity was hot and then he took pictures of her and posted them on his Instafeed, making fun of her tiny tits?”

I cover my own tiny tits in remembered horror. “Yes. That was terrible. What happened to him?”

“Dunno, but my point is that his dick must’ve been spectacular to convince her to do that. Ergo, dicks are good. It’s a fairly simple syllogism.”

“I don’t know what that is, but okay.”

“Simple logic test. If dicks make you do stupid things, their power must be grand,” Dally explains.

“Okay, but I am completely unmoved by dicks. In fact, I find the penis to be awful with all its veins and its weird shaped head bobbing up and down. Plus, they’re hairy. Do you remember the last dick pic I got? I finally understand why they call it a bush.” I push my tongue out and make a gagging sound.

“To be fair, that was old dick.” It was old. It was from my math prof who’d promised me a good grade if I was a good girl. I reported him to the dean and got my good grade anyway. “Maybe the hair grows more wild with old guys,” Dally continues.

I wince. “Can we not talk about it anymore? I’m going to have nightmares tonight if we do.”

“Sure. But my point is, I feel like you need to be certain that girls are your thing before you start racing after Star. It’s the only fair thing.”

“But I don’t know. I mean, I’ve never thought about another girl in a sexy way before. No offense, but when I look at you, while I’m thinking, damn Dally’s gorgeous and I wish I had a rack and ass like yours, I’m not wanting to stick my fingers between your legs.”

Dally crosses said legs. “I would hope not. That would violate our roommate contract.”

“I know.” I drag my palms down to my cheeks and squeeze my face tight, hoping that the right answer pops into my head.

She taps her fingers. “Do you have sexy thoughts about Star?”

I nod.

“Do you want to, uh, go down on her?”

I raise my shoulders a bit. “I mean...I’m not going to say no.”

“Hmmm.”

I drop my hands. “What’s that mean?”

“It means that I have zero attraction to women and the thought of going down on another girl does nothing for me. You’re gorgeous but that’s like a universal truth and I definitely think women’s bodies are generally speaking more beautiful than men, but unlike you, the idea of getting dicked down by someone like Mack turns me on very much. In fact, I had a very nice fantasy about him holding me down with one of his thick hands while basically driving me through the mattress last night.”

I try not to show my distaste at this very graphic hetero scenario but must do an absolutely pitiful job of it because Dally starts laughing.

“Okay, maybe you are a total lesbian and you are now having your gay awakening. Go forth and grab your Star.”

I slap a pillow across Dally’s head. “You don’t even know if she’ll have me.”

“There’s not a person alive who could resist you.”

I slap Dally again because she’s wrong, but there’s no point in arguing. She’s so stubborn that an actual rejection could happen in front of her face and she’d say it was because the other person got embarrassed or some shit like that. Dally opens her mouth to say something but our doorbell rings. We exchange a surprised look.

“It’s after ten,” Dally says with annoyance as she throws herself off my bed.

“I’ll get it,” I say, pulling a hoodie over my head. Dally’s only wearing her nightie and the closest robe is my silk one which really doesn’t cover much but it looked pretty in the store, which is generally my criteria for anything. If it looks nice, no matter how impractical, I feel like I should own it. It’s why I have six-inch-heel stripper shoes in my closet that I never wear. Looked good in the store, but they’re actual hell to walk in. Major props to any girl—or guy—that manages to walk in those things. I couldn’t even make it from the closet to my bed without twisting my ankle.

Barefoot and dressed in a part of short pajama pants and my pink Aerie hoodie with the butterfly pockets, I make my way to the door.

“Oh my God,” I exclaim when I see the person on the other side.

“I take it you’re surprised,” Star says, her pretty mouth turned down in a frown.

“I mean...I wasn’t expecting you.” Her lavender hair is wound up on the top of her head in a messy bun and she’s wearing another unbuttoned flannel shirt over a white T-shirt with black lettering that says “You can’t sit with me.”

“There’s a whole thing called a peephole.” She reaches around me and taps the little eye on the door.

“Oh, that thing. We never use it.”

Star shakes her head. “How are you still alive?” She holds up her phone. “You really shouldn’t be sending pics like these.”

“Oh?” My heart’s beating kind of fast.

“Or they’ll show up at your door.”

Really fast. And I’m getting hot. Very hot. “I, um, just wanted to replace your shirt.”

“Is that all you wanted?”

I run a hand across my forehead. What do I say? No, I’ve got other ideas but I don’t really know if I should tell you about them because Dally says I need to be sure and I’m not sure because I’ve never done anything like this with anyone, let alone a girl?

Star’s blue eyes search my face and whatever she sees there isn’t appealing because her plush lips stay turned down at the corners.

“Never mind,” she says and turns to go.

My stampeding heart leaps into my throat. I lunge for Star, grabbing her wrist. The apartment door closes behind me.

“Wait,” I say. She pauses. “You forgot your shirt.”

She sighs and twists her arm free of my grip. “I can afford a new shirt. Keep them.”

Her voice sounds dejected, like I’ve hurt her. I hate this. I’m not good at flirting or with hookups or with anything like that. I’ve never done it before.

“Wait,” I repeat. “I...I would really like…” Star turns back and arches an eyebrow. God, Maisie, grab your ovaries and woman up! “I would really like it if you came inside.”

“Why?” Star’s impatient, like I’m wasting her time.

And maybe I am. Fuck. This is so hard. I clear my throat. “I don’t know if I’m a lesbian. I’ve never been attracted to anyone before—not a guy or a girl. All I know is that women are beautiful but who doesn’t think women are beautiful, right? It’s just that you’re so cool and interesting and every time I see you, I want to go and sit next to you and hear what your thoughts are about this world. Do you sit at the table in the caf because you like looking at the garden and if so, what’s your favorite part? What do you read? Why do you find it interesting? What are you doing with your notebook that’s always in your hand? Do you think you want to be friends with me?”

“Friends?” She’s taken a step closer.

With that tiny bit of encouragement, I keep barreling on. “Yeah. But more than that because I have friends like Dally and others. And I don’t think about Dally like I think about you.”

She takes another step and it puts her within arm’s reach. I clench my hands at my side, wanting to touch her, but too chicken to do it.

“How is it that you think about me?”

I turn tomato red and gulp. I don’t think I should really put into words how I think about Star. It’s rude. Profane. Filthy. “Um, differently.”

She closes the small gap between us until her toes are nearly against mine. My bare digits curl into the cold tile of the apartment hallway. She’s shorter than me. Her nose is right above my chin.

“How?”

It’s like she wants me to say these things. These highly inappropriate things. I open my mouth, trying to put those pictures into words, but nothing comes out. It’s hard to talk when her lush lips are within kissing distance. When I could lift my hands and cup her breasts, feel the weight of them, mold the shape of them. When I could run my hands down to circle her waist or slide them behind her to cup her ass. She’s all curves and softness. In my dream last night, I explored those valleys and the hills. I traced the line from her neck down to her nipples with my tongue. She arched like a cat under my touch. The nerves between my legs pulse in excitement.

“Did your thoughts make you wet, Maisie?” Star whispers. And her tone sends shivers down my spine.

“Y-yes.” I squeeze my thighs together, trying to ignore how damp my thin silk panties have grown.

“Did you touch yourself when you thought of me?”

I nod slightly, because the memories are making me lightheaded. I didn’t just touch myself. I rubbed myself. I dipped my fingers into my sex, slicked them all up, and then rubbed myself until my toes curled and my back stiffened and my body shuddered with release.

“How innocent are you, Maisie?” Star asks, her fingers moving up to move a strand of my hair away from my face.

“Not very,” I say. My dreams weren’t innocent. They were dirty. They involved me sucking on Star’s nipples until the nubs were hard and pointed. They involved me kissing her until I couldn’t breathe unless my tongue was in her mouth. They involved me rubbing my wet pussy against her wet pussy until no one could tell where she ended and I began.

“Liar,” Star says softly. “But that’s okay. I can take care of you now. You don’t even need to tell me what you want. I can see it.”

Her finger trails down from my hairline, creating an electric path from my cheek to the base of my throat where my pulse is thumping wildly. “You want me, don’t you, Maisie?”

I nod slowly. “Y-yes.”

“And you’ve never felt this way before.”

“Yes.”

“And you’re afraid.”

“Yes.”

“But excited.”

“Yes.”

“And you need me to lead the way.”

“Yes.”

Her hand drops down to mine. “Then let’s go.”





Chapter 6


Star





I grip my hand in hers as I pull her from the front of her apartment. I should probably take her up on the offer to go inside her place but I have this need to get her into my space. I want the smell of her on my sheets and filling my room so that if tomorrow she changes her mind, her scent will still linger there for me. It might hurt like hell if I only have this one time with her but I want to be able to look at my bed and remember every second of Maisie in it. I want to memorize every sound that I’m going to pull from her lush lips as she offers herself to me. My mouth will finally get to experience every curve of her that my hand has drawn a thousand times.

“Hey, you can’t steal my roommate.” I stop walking to turn to look back at Dally standing in the open doorway to their place. The two of them are always together if not in class. Dally stands there in a nightie. My hand that’s still holding Maisie’s tightens. I never thought the two of them were a thing but I also never thought Maisie could be mine. I don't like the idea of her hanging out with anyone that is wearing something like that. I feel jealous for the first time in my life. Hoping that Maisie only has eyes for me.

“Go inside.” Maisie steps in my line of sight of Dally, blocking my view with her height. She is a few inches taller than me but a strong wind could probably take her down. Not that I’d let it. “Put some clothes on!” she whisper-yells at her friend. The pretty pink color she turns when she gets out of sorts tints her skin again. Fuck I love that color on her.

“I didn't come here for your friend. I came for you,” I tell Maisie, enjoying her jealousy more than I should. I don’t like feeling it when it comes to her. I don’t want her experiencing it either. It does give me a spark of hope that maybe Maisie could be all mine. She’s obviously not a fan of me seeing Dally in the nightie. I give her soft hand a squeeze, pulling her into my side.

“I got her,” I tell Dally with a nod. She smirks at me.

“Have fun, girls.” Dally wiggles her dark eyebrows before stepping back into their apartment and closing the door. I watch as Maisie turns another shade of pretty pink at Dally’s words. I hope to see how far that blush goes over her fair skin. I know my sketches of her don’t even come close to the perfection that she is. She tries to hide herself under baggy clothes but I see everything. Her smile lights up a room. I want to be the one that puts one on her face every day. Her laugh is beautiful and when she speaks it’s as if angels are singing. There is no hiding someone like Maisie; she stands out in a room whether she wants to or not.

Maisie’s tongue darts out as she licks her lush bottom lip. “Come on.” I pull her toward my place before I end up kissing her for the first time outside for everyone to see. The first kiss is going to be all mine. I don’t want to share that special moment with the world. I want it all to myself. We are not far but it’s still a short walk across campus. She starts to rattle on, talking about the most random things. From her classes to her family and even what she ate for dinner. Her nervous chattering is adorable and turning me on. In my eyes the girl can do no wrong. I start to find myself getting a little nervous the closer we get to my place. I want to do this right. I need to make sure she enjoys every second of what I can do to that body of hers. I’ll show her that there’s a reason why I’ve been the only person to be able to wake it up. I’ll prove to her that she was made to be mine. That I will worship her as long as she’ll let me.

We reach the door of my apartment. I dig out my key and unlock it. Before we enter, I stop and turn toward her. I take both of her hands in mine and look into her eyes. I don’t want her to be nervous. I want this to be right. For her to feel comfortable with me. To know she can say and do anything in front of me and I won’t give her anything but support. Even if she asks to leave. It might rip me in half but for her, I’d do that. As much as I want Maisie in my bed, I want her trust and friendship just as badly. I’ve seen both of those things between my parents. Even though the two of them can gross me out sometimes I know I want what they have. Watching them over the years has shown me how two people in love are with each other. That it’s more than being intimate.

“We don’t have to do anything you’re not comfortable with once we’re inside. I want you to know that before you walk in.” It’s the first time she’s been quiet since we left. She nods her head and I proceed to let her into my place.

My first thoughts are maybe I should have cleaned up the stuff I have all over the place. I wouldn’t blame her if she high-tailed it out of here just from seeing my mess. I give her a small little tour as we make our way to the living room. My nervous chatterbox is back again as she rambles on about my place and random things as I pull her to the couch. Before she sits down she goes quiet again. Her eyes are fixed on something she sees on the floor. My own follow her line of sight to see my sketch pad is open.

“Is that me?” she asks, picking it up.

“Yeah,” I admit. Now I’m the one with a pink face. She doesn't see it, though, because her eyes are on the drawing as she traces the lines of her own face that I’ve drawn.

“You make me look so beautiful,” she says with awe. The girl really has no idea how rare she is. It isn't skin deep either. It’s all around her. She has a sweetness that needs protecting. A painting so precious and rare it needs to be guarded for its own protection.

“Maisie.” I put my finger under her chin to make her turn her face to look at me. “Beauty isn't skin deep. There’s so much more to it. You can’t just be pretty. You have to carry something so special in you that you might not see it but others do.”

“I feel special when I’m close to you.” She moves toward me on the sofa so our legs are touching. I curse myself for having not worn shorts so I could feel the softness of her thighs. Then I think fuck it. She wants to know what we can have together, I’m going to show her. I rest my hand on her silky thigh, gauging her reaction. Her eyes light up as she leans more into my touch. I don’t know if she realizes she’s doing it, but her thighs spread a little in invitation.

“Maisie.” I say her name. She wiggles under my touch and I know what she needs. My own body is having the same reaction. A need to touch her everywhere. To taste her on my lips. First I should move us to my bed, but before I can, Maisie throws herself at me. She catches me off guard but I grab her, pulling her into my lap for her to straddle me. Then her mouth comes down onto mine. I know in this moment as her mouth meets mine with the same hunger I’ve felt for her that she’s my one. My girl is finding herself and I am going to be there to lead the way. I want her mind, body and soul. This first taste of her has solidified that she belongs with me and I’ll do everything I can to keep her.





Chapter 7


Maisie





This is...wild. I never thought it would feel like this to be with someone. It’s not like the songs say. Kissing Star isn’t like kissing myself because well, I’ve never kissed myself, but also because Star is her own person. She has soft lips. One of her front teeth juts out slightly from the other one. I run my tongue along it and feel her lips curve up under mine. Her shoulders are slight, sloped down with gentle curves. Her hands dig into my hips and draw me closer. I willingly go, needing her help to guide me. I feel both overwhelmed and settled at the same time. As if I’m coming home for the first time. Excited to be here but not sure what to do now that I’ve found it.

I wriggle forward until I can press my sex hard into her lap. Her hips surge upward to meet mine. It’s lovely, rocking against her. It feels so right. Unlike other people’s touch. Her mouth leaves mine to trace my jawline and find my earlobe. I gasp when she makes contact. Each of her touches shows me what I’ve been missing. Why I haven’t understood my lack of attraction to others. I’ve been waiting for her.

Excitement flutters against my breast. I want to touch her, figure out what parts of her body make her squeak in excitement. Her breath rings uneven in my ear. I want her to feel the same things I am feeling. I want her to feel like she’s coming home too.

“Is there anywhere I can’t touch?” I ask. This is so new to me. I don’t want to get it wrong but I want it so badly. I know I can’t stand when other people randomly touch me. Not Star, though. She can touch me anywhere she wants. I don’t want her to ever stop touching me.

She huffs out a laugh and even that gust of air sends shivers down my spine. “No, go ahead.” Her mouth forms in a smirk like I said something funny.

I push the flannel off her shoulders. Her heavy breasts bounce lightly under the thin cotton of her shirt. Her nipples are already hard. I slide my hands down the front of her chest until I reach those hard nubs. I rub them slowly, feeling them tighten under my light touch.

“Are you sensitive here?” I ask. I try and read her face but I’m not the best at reading people.

“A little.”

“Does this hurt?” I roll one between my thumb and forefinger and give it a small pinch.

“N-no,” she chokes out. My sex clenches at the rasp in her voice. Did I do that to her? It spurs me on.

I grin. So she is sensitive. I apply a little more pressure and that makes her head fall back. I run my tongue along my lower lip. I want to feel that tight tip in my mouth. “I want to kiss you here.” I tweak her again, silently begging for her approval.

She nods. It’s a race to see who can get her shirt off first. The T-shirt flies over her head and we both send it sailing across the room. Star falls back, her nipples quivering and exposed.

I eat her up with my eyes, taking in the upward slope of her honeyed skin and the dusky circle that frames her puckered nipples. She’s full of beautiful curves and sexy shadows. I draw a finger in the valley between her two ripe breasts and watch as her skin prickles in response.

“You’re so beautiful,” I whisper in amazement. This is what’s been missing from my life. Her.

“Not like you,” Star protests.

“Not like me at all,” I admit. “If I had boobs like yours, I’d never get anything done. I’d just be playing with them all the time.” It’s part joke and part true. I curl my palms around the underside of her breasts and push them up, enjoying the weight and warmth in my hands.

“Who says I don’t?” Star retorts, but she’s blushing, her golden skin turning rosy. I see that same flash of something in her eyes I caught when she was standing in my doorway.

“You should. They’re spectacular.” Big, but pert, lush on the top and the bottom. Like perfect globes on top of a sexy cake. “I bet they look amazing in a lace bra. A demi-cup. Maybe a polka-dotted one. I like polka-dots,” I tell Star with a grin. Suddenly my mind is filled with seeing her wear different things. I wonder if this is what she felt when I sent all those pictures. If she felt like I did right now then I understand why she showed up.

“Polka-dots forever,” she says, giving me a thumbs-up.

It’s funny, I think, because I never imagined that I’d be in the middle of a sexy situation talking about bras and favorite patterns but here I am and I love it. I feel like I could tell Star anything and she’d be interested in talking about it. No judgment from her. No telling me that I’m silly or frivolous. That she actually listens to what I’m saying. I want to tell her my truth. She showed me she’s a little unsure about this. I want to show her I am too. That I’m scared she’ll get a look underneath the pretty everyone is always calling me and see something she doesn’t find pretty anymore.

“I’m not ambitious,” I blurt out. “I’m kind of lazy, not super smart, and I just kind of want to make things pretty.” It’s the truth. I do things because they are what I’m supposed to be doing. Not because I long to do them. I move through the motions of the day. Only little things excite me. Until Star. As corny as it sounds, she’s been the star in my life since I spotted her.

“So?”

“So...is that okay with you?” I sit back on my haunches and bite the corner of my lip. Someone like her could have someone who is so much more. She is full of passion. The only thing I’m passionate about is well. Her. “You’re always doing...something. And I’m not a doer. I’m a watcher. I’m a...I’m good at giving support and telling people they’re doing awesome, but I don’t do stuff myself.”

Star struggles to a seated position, her boobs bouncing slightly. My eyes fall to them, unable to help myself. She’s so perfect.

“Eyes up here, babe,” Star orders.

I snap to attention. “Sorry,” I mumble.

“It’s okay. I know I’m hot,” Star proclaims, but again I can see that’s all bravado. She’s not used to anyone telling her she’s hot or sexy, which is weird because she’s so hot and sexy that it’s making it hard for me to concentrate on words and crap. “You do know that the reason that everyone likes you is because you tell people they’re awesome and that you give people support. I mean, I guess you don’t know, but that’s why people fight over you. Because you’re beautiful inside and out.”

Now it’s my turn to blush. I soak in what she’s saying. Hearing her say that about me makes me feel as though someone sees me for who I am for the first time. She looks past the layer of pretty that everyone else is always commenting on. It means everything to me.

“Anyway, since I’m an artist, I need constant support and encouragement. So much of it that you’ll probably get sick of me,” she continues.

I shake my head vigorously. That actually sounds wonderful. I could spend the rest of my life doing those things and be happy. “Never,” I breathe out. I can’t wrap my mind around not wanting that.

Sick of Star? Sick of watching her draw? Sick of seeing her face light up with joy about her work? Sick of being next to someone so interesting and talented? It could never, in a million years, happen. That sounds like a dream come true.

“And I won’t ever get tired of hearing nice things. Okay?” she reassures me.

“Okay.” I beam. This is perfect. More perfect than I imagined a relationship could be. I am now beginning to understand why people are always seeking out another half. Because you have to find the other person who makes you whole and I believe my person is Star. Wait. We are in a relationship? “We’re a couple now, right?” I ask.

Star bursts out in laughter. “Yes, we’re a couple.” My heart gives a happy flutter. That feeling of home settles over me again.

“And we’re exclusive. You don’t get to kiss other girls or other guys,” I push. The thought of Star with another person makes me ill. “I’ll get mad,” I add. I want to make sure we’re on the same page. I know I can get things mixed up sometimes and I want to get this right.

“Um, no I’m not kissing anyone else.” She cocks her head. “What happens when you get mad?”

I make a face. “I cry, mostly.”

“Well, that’s disturbing. I don’t want you to cry.” She reaches up and strokes my cheek.

“It’s a terrible thing,” I admit. “I have weird power when I cry.”

“I can see that.” She fights a smile.

“Okay, since we’ve decided that we’re a couple and no one else exists—” I move back toward us. Closing the space I’d made. “I want to kiss you again.” I lick my lips, tasting her there still. I want more. “Kiss you other places too.” My face heats as I admit what I want.

Star laughs helplessly again. “I can see being with you is going to be a sweet ride.”

I don’t care as long as she gets on. Okay, maybe off too.





Chapter 8


Star





“I like this ride,” she says, her mouth coming back to mine. She takes the kiss she wanted. I don’t know how Maisie has gone this long in life without someone else snatching her up. I think whatever gods there are out there must have saved her just for me. It’s a miracle that I’m the only person that’s ever snagged her attention. I’ll handle her with care and never take her for granted. As the years go by both of our looks will fade. I want us to have a solid foundation that we can build a future on. For her to know this is more than skin deep. She needs that. The same as I needed to hear her voice her attraction to me. I hope that our friendship will be as strong as our attraction to one another.

Her hands and mouth are eager. She might blush a pretty pink but she isn’t shy about asking for what she wants. She has no idea how sexy her questions are. Her words are laced with pure innocence and truth. I remind myself that I have to handle her with care. Not only that but I don’t want anyone seeing her. Not even my brother. I need to take her to my room. I want the comfort of knowing we have complete privacy as we explore one another for the first time.

“Come,” I say, standing. I take her hand in mine. She doesn't resist, following me willingly down the hallway to my bedroom. I close the door behind us and lock it. She opened up to me. She saw that I’d grown unsure and she willingly threw out her own insecurities without question. I tried to make a joke or laugh to ease the moment because I was unsure how to handle it. She laid herself bare to try and make me feel less uneasy. She is already putting me before herself. I don’t think she realizes she does it and that’s what makes her so much more attractive. The sweetness and pure-heartedness of her actions. It’s rare for someone to give of themselves without expecting something in return. Although she’s caring and compassionate, she makes sure to say what she’s thinking. Even I don’t have the balls to come right out and say some things. She obviously does. Once she knows what she wants she goes for it and I respect the hell out of that. It makes me feel more settled about us. Hope blooms in my chest thinking about us being an actual couple. My future feels brighter knowing that she’ll be a part of it.

“Sit down, Maisie.” I want to call her beautiful girl but I stop myself. She’s heard those words so many times from strangers that they are meaningless to her. I’m not going to say them. I’m going to show her how breathtaking she is by worshiping every part of her. “Lie back.” She does as I ask, allowing me to guide us. Her hair spills out onto my bed, making every wet dream I’ve ever had about her come to life. My fingers itch both to touch her and grab my sketch pad at the same time.

Maisie slides up toward the headboard and props herself up on her elbows, putting her gorgeous tits on full display for me. I unbutton my pants and slide them off. Her eyes burn with not only lust but curiosity as they trace my body. I can feel the wetness that slicks my underwear at the way she’s watching me. I reach down to slip my panties down my legs.

“Don’t,” Maisie says before I can pull them off. “I want to be the one that takes those off of you.” Her tongue comes out to lick those luscious lips of hers. Images of her licking my pussy have me on edge. I want to taste her as badly as I want her to taste me.

I kneel on the bed and climb toward her. I linger over her for a second, taking her in. How many times have I thought about having Maisie in my bed under me? Every day since the first day I saw her on campus. She'd been walking across campus playing on her phone. She was oblivious to the world around her, even walking straight through a small football game that was happening. She had no idea everyone paused to look at her as she almost tripped over her own feet not paying attention. It was adorably sexy. I’ve been gone for her since then. I’ve only been lying to myself that I’m not hung up on her. That the reason I don’t care for her friend Dally is because I want to be close to her. Even if it is only as her friend like Dally is.

She grabs my hair and pulls me toward her mouth. “Kiss me,” she whispers against my lips as she tightens her grasp on my hair. I do as I’m told as I own her mouth. I pour everything I have into our kiss. I can’t get enough of how close and hard she holds me. Her little sounds of pleasure are driving me insane. I break apart from her and trail kisses down her neck until I reach her breasts.

“You’re perfect. I’m going to make you feel so good you’ll never want to leave my bed,” I say against her nipple before I take it into my mouth. Her back arches off the bed, pushing her more into my mouth as her fingers dig into my hair.

“Star.” She moans out my name and I wonder if I could make her come with only my mouth on her pert tits. I bet I could. She’s wiggling below me, trying to get friction to her clit. I’m too greedy to find out if I could get her off like this. I want to taste her orgasm on my lips.

I release her nipple. She lets out a whimper of need. “I’ve got you,” I reassure her as I slide down her body. My fingers pull her shorts off with her panties and I toss them away. I’ve waited long enough for my taste of Maisie. I am done denying myself. She is giving herself to me and I am going to take her. Every last lick of her.





Chapter 9


Maisie





I’m a mess. A shivering, out-of-control, lost my mind mess. I’ve thought about sex before—not exactly the act of it like penetration or being dicked down like Dally talks about. But I’ve imagined my pussy being licked. I’ve imagined my tits being sucked. I’ve given myself orgasms. But none of my fevered dreams came close to reality. None of it prepared me for how my body would react with a girl’s soft lips between my legs, how I’d lose my mind when her tongue delved inside of me, how my orgasm would be so long and hard I’d lose feeling in my legs.

“Star...I...please,” I croak as she slides a finger inside of me. My walls clench hard around the digit.

“I know. It’s too good, isn’t it?” she croons.

Before I had Star’s head between my legs, I’d have said that too good is a dumb statement because how can anything good be too much? Now I know the truth. It is too good. She’s too good. My body’s too sensitive. My heart’s too full.

“Yes. Soo good. I love—it.”

Her lips curve against me in a smile. I bite my tongue to keep my imprudent confessions of love to myself. Just because she’s willing to have sex with me doesn’t mean she wants to hear me shout out that I love her.

“You’re going to love this even more. Spread those legs for me, babe. Don’t be shy.”

I do as she tells me. I don’t have to be shy with Star. Her body parts are the same as mine. There isn’t anything down there that she hasn’t seen before or touched before on her own body. There’s something immensely freeing about that.

She slides in another finger, making my tight virgin channel clench with excitement. “Oh, you like that, don’t you? Told you that you would.”

She sounds smug as fuck. Her confidence turns me on too. That she can take the wheel for me. I often need that.

“One of these days we’re going to use some toys. See how much you can handle.” She strokes me slow and sure.

“Toys?” I’m intrigued. “One of these days?” I prop my torso up on my elbows and peer down at her. I itch to reach down and touch her violet hair. To touch her.

She gazes at me through a curtain of sweat-soaked bangs. “Yeah. I can tell that you haven’t used any before because you’re tight as fuck, but you’ll like them.”

A dark thought crosses my mind. “Have you used them before?”

I hadn’t thought of her being with another girl or even another guy, but Star’s gorgeous. Who wouldn’t want to be with her? She’s probably had—

Her finger comes up to press against my lips.

“Shh. I’ve used them on myself,” she says, somehow reading my mind. “I’ve not done this with anyone either.”

My brows crash together. “How can you be so good at it, then?”

She shrugs. “I thought about what I like when I touch myself. I like it slow, with a lot of pressure. But I’m also paying attention. Like when I do this.” She pinches my clit. I yelp and collapse on my back. “Yeah, see, you’re sensitive on your tiny clit. Also here.” She uses the fingers still inside of me and rubs up against a small patch of nerves that has me arching off the mattress. “Very sensitive.” The smug grin is back.

I blow my own bangs out of my eyes. “I’m getting you back for that,” I warn her.

She sparkles with anticipated excitement. “I can’t fucking wait. Until then, it’s time for you to have another orgasm...or five.”

She reapplies herself—tongue and fingers and there’s nothing I can do but close my eyes, dig my hands into her hair and give myself over to her ministrations, letting her blow my mind again and again.

My pussy quivers and weeps as she finger-fucks me, dragging the tips of her digits along my super sensitized nerves. Every inch of me is alive, full of liquid fire coursing through my veins. She works every spot, giving me the most pleasure a person can receive. I writhe against the sheets, letting myself go in a way I didn’t think was possible, trusting her to catch me. And she does, again and again, until she’s wrung so many orgasms out of me that I’m nothing more than a shell of a being with my spirit hanging out on some astral plane that can only be reached through true Nirvana.

She flops down beside me and I draw her close. Her nose rests against my hot neck. One leg drapes across my thighs. I feel a wetness against my hip as she rocks against me. I reach down for her but she captures my hand, bringing it to my lips.

“Let me do this,” she tells me. She rocks against me, rubbing that sweet snatch against my bone. Her breath grows ragged and her grip fierce. I turn my head to the side and capture her mouth, telling her with my tongue and my lips how much I want her, how sexy she is, how I’ll love her forever.

She comes, shuddering from her spine to her toes. The molten honey of her ecstasy coats my side. She lets me roll her over onto her back and doesn’t stop me as I slide down until I reach the fragrant valley between her thighs. She parts them, the sound of the skin moving against the sheets intensely erotic to my ears.

The dew of her orgasms glistens on her upper thighs, like diamonds blinking in the sun. I taste her, a tiny drop drawn off her skin. I let the spiced warmth of her tumble inside my mouth and down my throat. The flavor is addicting. I lap up more and more until there’s nothing left on her skin and I have to dive inside her hot sex for more.

I don’t know what I’m doing. I’ve never kissed a girl’s pussy before but I apply Star’s technique of doing what feels good to me and watch for her response. When she shivers as my tongue traces over her clit, I do it again. When she cries out as I part her sex with my fingers, my own cunt clenches with excitement. When she comes on my tongue after I’ve worked her with both fingers and lips, I nearly come again myself.

This is beautiful. Our communion is beautiful. And I love it. And her.





Chapter 10


Star





I let out a whimper. Maisie’s soft tongue traces my clit. She’s so eager and timid at the same time. I reach down, wanting to touch her soft hair as she pleasures me. I’ve noticed she enjoys when I guide her and I enjoy doing it. My eyes fly open when I jerk awake, realizing I was dreaming about last night.

I sit up in bed naked and there’s not a trace of Maisie anywhere. I can still taste and smell her. I scramble from the bed but stop dead in my tracks when I hear her infectious laughter coming from inside my condo. Our condo. That means only one thing. I fling on something to wear before bursting out of my bedroom. I’m not sure what I’m expecting to find. I know my brother doesn’t want Maisie but I feel a little possessive of those giggles. I want all of them to myself. I know it sounds ridiculous but I only just got her and I’m not ready to share her with anyone.

“No way! Your aunt is the Mad Chef.” Maisie’s eyes are round as she holds up a giant knife in her hand.

“Yep,” Mack answers her. He’s not even looking at her. He has his eyes on whatever he’s got on the stove. I’m guessing French toast and bacon from the smell.

“Star!” Maisie half shouts when she sees me. My heart does funny shit in my chest at how her whole face lights up at seeing me. She looks damn good standing in my kitchen in nothing but one of my shirts. Her blond hair is a mess all around her. There is no missing what we did last night. Her normally lush lips are even fuller than normal from how many times I kissed them throughout the night. It might have been a lot of firsts for the both of us last night but we spent most of the night making up for lost time. Each of us exploring the other’s body. Discovering that our connection was so much deeper than only on a physical level. We lay for hours holding one another and talking about our hopes and dreams. What our lives could be like together.

Mack doesn’t even look over at Maisie as he snatches the knife out of her hand, reading my mind. It is scary how sometimes we can be on the same wavelength. Maisie throws herself at me. She might be taller than I am but she is light as air. She molds herself against me as she openly kisses me. There is no hesitation. I deepen the kiss for a moment, getting my hands into her hair like I’ve wanted to since I woke up this morning. Mack clears his throat. I take one last taste of her sweet mouth before I begin to break our kiss.

“She can cook,” my brother says as I pull my mouth completely from Maisie’s. Her cheeks light up a pretty pink. The same color they did as I brought her to her first orgasm last night. My eyes drift down to her long, toned bare legs, remembering how she looked with them spread open for me. Inviting me to taste her sweet cunt. I shake those thoughts from my head and try to focus on the conversation.

“I’m not bad with an oven. I’ve gotten myself out of trouble with some of my baked goods.” One of her delicate shoulders gives a shrug. I’m going to have to get her pants because I can’t stop myself from peeking over at her gorgeous legs. Hell, I think maybe a place of our own but I like that she and my brother are getting along.

“I didn’t know your brother was Mack.”

“Twins.”

Her eyes dart between us. Her pretty eyes are now wide with disbelief as she blinks those long eyelashes girls would kill to have.

“He told me he came over because he wanted us to—" She trails off, those cheeks getting pinker.

“You’ll learn I have a family of meddlers.” I guide Maisie over to the table. “Sit. I’ll make us a plate since you cooked.” I kiss her again before she can protest. Mack only smiles as he helps me get the food together to put on the table.

“This feels normal,” I half whisper to Mack.

“She’s cool. You two fit. Knew you would before I walked over to talk to her. Just giving you two the nudge you needed.” He cocks a smug grin. I punch his arm.

“Nothing to do with you always looking at her roommate.” I raise an eyebrow at him. His cocky smile drops from his face a little too fast.

“Mom loves her,” he responds instead. I let that go for now. I have enough on my plate. Then his words sink in about Mom.

“Mom?” I ask. How the fuck?

“I was on FaceTime with her when Maisie came strolling into the kitchen.” He lets out a shrug like it’s no big deal.

“I’m sorry.” I turn to see Maisie standing in the doorway to the kitchen again. She’s running one of her purple painted toes up and down her calf with her bottom lip worried between her teeth. Jesus she is fucking adorable all the damn time. I walk toward her, taking her hand in mine.

“Why are you sorry?” I ask as my other hand reaches up and caresses her face.

“Your mom automatically assumed I was here for Mack so I set the record straight with her. I told her that I am here for you. I hope that’s okay.” I smile, realizing why my girl suddenly got so nervous. She doesn’t realize that my parents already know I play for the other team. “I didn’t think about it before I blurted it out,” she says before I can tell her. She’s doing that nervous rambling thing again. I do the only thing I know will calm her instantly. I kiss those pretty lips of hers and slide my tongue in her mouth to show her that I’m happy as fuck that she wanted to claim me.

“Mom knew who she was here for. She was poking,” Mack says, breaking into our kiss again. Yeah, we’re definitely going to need our own place.

I’m not surprised my mom played dumb to get more information. She still reminds us how she was once a private investigator and it’s how she snagged our father, even though I think he technically captured her.

My brother doesn’t date. Everything to him is about school. It doesn’t help that at one time he was super chubby and went through a growth spurt one summer. He came back to school with the girls falling all over him. Ones that once wouldn’t even look his way if he asked to borrow a pencil.

A knock sounds at the door. “I made extra. There is no stopping her,” Mack says as he heads for the door. I can already hear my mom.

“I’m fine. Those stairs came out of nowhere!”

“I’m going to start carrying you everywhere,” my dad grumbles from the other side of the door.

“Getting her pants.” I snag Maisie by the wrist, pulling her down the hallway and back to my bedroom, where I shut the door. “You okay?” I ask her. This is a lot to take in. The poor girl didn’t even know she was into girls until yesterday. My family can be a lot. They are a little crazy and over the top but lovable. They are also loyal and accepting.

“Yes.” She beams at me. She doesn’t look scared about meeting my parents. She looks excited now that I told her it was okay about my mom.

“I know this is a lot.” I step into her. Her back hits the wall. “This is all happening fast.”

“It’s true love,” Maisie says wistfully. An adorable ah in her voice.

“Love?” I question. My throat goes tight. I know I’m in love with her. There isn’t a thing about her not to love. She is love personified.

“Well, yeah.” Her face drops as her eyes meet mine. “That’s what this is. Right?” I watch as panic starts to set in. Her button nose scrunches. The morning sun pours into my bedroom window making the freckles on her nose show.

“Yes. This is love, Maisie. I love you.” I give her the truth. She always gives it to me and I will always do the same with her.

She gives me that bright smile that gets me every time. The one that lights up the whole fucking world.

“I love you too,” she tells me instantly. The words leave her lips so easily, as if she’s been waiting to say them. I believe her and I’m going to make sure I hear those words from her for the rest of my life. Over and over again because she’s the one.





Epilogue


Maisie





“Dally, can you grab the tongs? And Star, don’t forget—“

“I got it, babe.” Star sweeps by, holding a tray of silver and black macaroons I made last night and slaps me lightly on the ass.

“Is this real silver?” Dally asks as Star deposits the cookies on the table.

“Yup. Had to. It’s the silver anniversary after all.”

“Can you eat silver leaf?” Star is dubious. “You can’t poison my parents on their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary.”

“Your parents hate macaroons,” I point out. “I made them for the Mad Chef.”

Star’s auntie still rules social media even as she’s aged. I love Star’s family, and they immediately took me to their bosom. Not that my family was bad either. My mom said she wasn’t surprised at all that I turned out to be a lesbian since I showed zero interest in boys forever. Dad made some slightly homophobic comment about it being a damned shame that a pretty girl like me ended up with another pretty girl but Mom took him to the metaphorical woodshed and since then he’s never treated me or Star with anything but affection and respect. He even goes to Pride marches now and gives out hugs to kids whose parents aren’t as welcoming.

Star pops one in her mouth. “I’m still alive,” she announces after swallowing it.

It’s my turn to swat my wife’s ass. “You’ve eaten my food for nearly three years. If I wanted to kill you off, I had plenty of opportunity.”

“But I didn’t get that life insurance policy until this year,” Star points out. “You have new incentive.”

“Your trust fund could keep me in Kate Spade for two generations. Technically, you’ve always been worth more dead than alive.”

“This is true. Why do you keep me around?”

I tap my cheek. “Because I have stars in my eyes.” Everyone groans. “Get it? Stars”—I point to my wife—“in my eyes.” I point to myself.

Star grabs my finger. “Try not poking your eye out. I like you with two eyes.”

I curl my hand around hers and jerk her close. “Better to see your fine ass with,” I agree.

“MACK!” Dally screams toward the kitchen. “Get your ass out here. Your sisters are about to make out and I’m sick of it.” When Mack doesn’t make an immediate appearance, she stomps over and forcibly separates us. “It’s been three years, you guys. Can you stop acting like you just hooked up? All this PDA! Keep your hands to yourself.”

I tweak Dally’s cheek. “You’re just sad you haven’t found your own star yet.”

“I am sad,” Dally grumps. “Men these days have the emotional capacity of a thimble.”

“You should’ve been a lesbian,” I tell her.

“Like I have control over that. You think if I choose, I’d want to be straight? And have to choose from the guy who watches football all day and scratches his balls or the one who spends all day in the lab scratching his balls.” She shudders.

“Why are all the men you encounter scratching their balls?” Star wonders.

“Because that’s a thing they do,” Dally exclaims, throwing her arms out. “Every time I see them, they’re doing that.”

“Doing what?” Mack appears suddenly.

Dally’s arms collapse by her side and she turns pink. “Nothing. I said nothing.” And then the girl scurries away.

Mack looks after her, confused. “What was that all about?”

“She wants to scratch your balls,” I conclude. I think Dally’s had a thing for Mack for a while now but has done nothing about it.

Star makes a gagging noise. “Can you not talk about my brother’s junk?”

“It’s not like I want to dwell on it either, but, Mack, maybe you should think about making a move on Dally before she gives up on you and moves on to greener pastures.”

My brother-in-law’s face turns red and then dark. “Gives up? Moves on? What the hell are you talking about?”

I exchange a resigned look with Star, who rolls her eyes. “You can lead a big lunk of a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink, babe.”

“Are you calling me fat?” Mack protests. “I’ll have you know, these are abs of steel.”

He pulls up his shirt and flashes his eight-pack at us. I avert my gaze while Star makes her gagging noises again. There’s a crash on the patio. We all turn to see Dally with her hands suspended in midair and her mouth slightly ajar. At her feet is the contents of a platter of caprese salad.

Mack lets the shirt drop down to cover his stomach and runs over to Dally. “Are you okay?” he shouts. “Are you hurt? Don’t move!”

“So you think they’re finally going to hook up?” Star asks.

“Dunno. Maybe if Dally remembers she has ovaries, she’ll lasso your brother and drag him into her lair.”

“She’s not big enough for that,” Star observes.

“It’s a metaphorical comment.”

“I think Mack has to be the one, but he still views himself as this chubby kid who others made fun of so he’s too shy to make the first move, whereas Dally’s so hot after him, she turns into a mess and can’t even speak.”

“It’ll happen. They’re too cute not to be together.”

“You sound pretty confident,” Star says, leaning into me.

I let my arm drop around her shoulders. “We found each other, didn’t we?”

My wife snuggles close. “We sure did.”





I’d been thinking about Maisie for a long time and when I was invited by Alexa Riley to participate in the Read Me Romance podcast, I felt that it was the perfect opportunity to write this love story. I know it’s different than what I’ve done before, but love is love.





Before you ask, yes, Mack and Dally have their own story in My Only One which you should download immediately. Love you!!





Ella





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Three of Us (Twins #1) and Belong Together (Twins #2) Their Private Need (Michigan, Easy and Annie) His Bold Heart (Chelsea & Wrecker) Her Secret Pleasure

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The Last Christmas Present: Billionaire Holiday Romance (a Daddy story) The Wolf’s Mail Order Bride

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