AN: I'm sorry about the long wait for this chapter. Life has been very hectic. Hopefully, I'll be able to get the next chapter up in a more timely manner. I want to thank all my reviewers for your support. Look for responses in your inbox. As always any and all comments are welcome and appreciated.
My mind blanked as Ben stood dripping before me. My mouth dried, and I tried to stop myself from giving him a once over, but I couldn't help it as my eyes roamed over his toned chest and abs. Lacrosse did him well.
He laughed, and I knew I'd been caught, although the heat forming the blush in my cheeks probably didn't help any.
"Who else is here?" Ty asked, breaking our awkward silence.
"Besides us, there's Fiona Sanders and that group, Kent Richards and his group, and I saw a couple sophomores yesterday."
"That's at least half of your class."
"Pretty much. So how did you guys find yourselves here?"
"It's an early birthday present from my dad," I replied. "I don't get to see him much because he travels a lot so he decided to surprise me."
"Your birthday's coming up? When is it?"
"A week from Tuesday."
"Well happy early birthday."
"Thanks. But we have to get going. I told my dad we were going to meet him for lunch."
"Hey, if you're not doing anything tonight there's a bunch of us who are going to this outdoor nightclub thing if you guys want to join."
"That sounds like fun," Livvie said.
"I'll see you guys later then?"
"Sure," I replied with a smile before leading Ty and Livvie back towards our suite.
Later that night, I sat on the bed in our room and watched as Livvie changed into yet another outfit.
"What do you think of this one?" she asked of the jean skirt and lacey blue tank top.
"I like it," I admitted, truthfully.
"Are you sure it's not too casual?" She glanced at herself again in the mirror.
"No, I think it's fine. You're not usually this indecisive, Livvie. Are you trying to impress someone?" I casually asked.
Her cheeks burned a bright red, giving me my answer even as she stammered, "No! I just like looking nice."
"Who is it?" I pressed.
"No one. I already told you." She turned her back fully on me now.
"You know I wouldn't tell anyone, right? Not even Ty."
She slowly turned back towards me. "I know. It's just kind of complicated and unexpected actually. I just haven't come to terms with it enough to talk about it with anyone just yet. I'll let you know when I can, okay?" She smoothed her skirt down and looked up at me.
"Okay," I conceded, knowing Livvie hated to be pressured too much. "But you look good, regardless. So I think we should get Ty and head out."
"Okay, let's go."
We walked out into the suite to find Ty sprawled on a couch, flipping through the TV channels.
"Ready, Ty?" I asked, getting his attention.
"Yeah." He turned the TV off and looked over at us. His eyes slid over me before resting on Livvie for longer than they probably should. I glanced sideways at her and saw the pink tinge her cheeks were taking on and wondered what was going on with her.
"Let's go then," I said, breaking the two out of whatever had just transpired.
"Right." Ty got up from the couch and opened the door for us before following us out.
We made our way up to the top deck, following the pulsing music to where a huge group of people around our age were dancing and attempting to be heard over the music. Livvie let out a little squeal, and the awkwardness that had fallen over her lifted as she pulled me onto the dance floor with a "Let's dance!"
I wasn't much of a dancer, but the music was good, and I found my body moving to the beat and a smile spread upon my face. We danced for several minutes before we realized that Ty hadn't followed us.
"Where's Ty?" I half-shouted.
"I don't know. I'll go find him," Livvie half-shouted back. I nodded and watched her make her way through the crowd back the way we had come.
"Alyssa!" I turned at the sound of my name to find Ben standing behind me with a couple of other guys I recognized.
"I was wondering if you'd make it. Where are..." He trailed off, and I realized that I had never actually introduced him to my friends.
"Livvie and Ty?" I finished. "I'm not quite sure actually. Livvie went to find Ty and hasn't come back yet." I did a quick scan of the crowd and shrugged when I didn't see them.
"I'm sure they're around here somewhere." One of the guys behind him nudged him, and he seemed to remember something. "I almost forgot to introduce you. Alyssa, these are my friends, Chase and Parker. Guys this is Alyssa."
They both reached forward to shake my hand and chorused, "Nice to meet you."
The four of us stood awkwardly around each other before Chase broke in, "Parker and I were going to get something to drink. Did you guys want something?"
"I'm fine, thanks," I replied. Ben said the same, and the two left.
"Do you want to dance?"
"I should probably find Livvie and Ty first."
"I think they're over there." He gestured somewhere just over my right shoulder. I turned, and sure enough Livvie and Ty were dancing. A little closer than I thought they ever would.
"Oh yeah," I finally replied.
"So, do you want to dance?" he asked again.
I turned back to look at him and hesitated for a moment but realized my friends were caught up in each other and had forgotten about me. "Sure."
His hands found purchase on my waist, and I let my arms hang loosely around his neck as we began moving to the music.
It took me a few songs to really feel comfortable, and once I did, I found myself having a lot of fun. When we were dancing he didn't let his hands wander, and his gaze never left my face. When we got tired of dancing, we found some lounge chairs and settled down. Ben was funny and had me laughing most of the night.
Ben was just finishing up a story about how he and his friend got stuck in Chicago and had to stay in this hotel that had bars on the windows and smelled like rotting wood when a sudden bout of tiredness came over me. I let out a yawn without meaning too, and Ben laughed.
"You should have told me I was boring you, and I would have shut up."
"You're not boring at all. I'm just suddenly exhausted. I'm sorry."
"Don't be. I mean it is almost 2:00 in the morning," he commented after consulting his watch. "We should probably call it a night."
He stood up and held out a hand for me. "Come on. I'll walk you back to your room."
"Thanks." I took his hand and couldn't help the shiver that went through my body at the contact. His hand dropped mine once I was standing, and I instantly missed the warmth of his hand encasing mine.
We walked in comfortable silence back to my room and stopped just outside.
"I had fun."
"Me too." I looked up at him as he leaned a little closer.
He looked like he was about to say something before shaking his head slightly and stepping back. "Night, Alyssa."
"Night, Ben." I slid my card into the door and gave him a smile before entering the room. I closed the door softly before turning and almost screaming. Livvie and Ty were on the couch. His hand was under her shirt and their mouths were attached. I heard a moan and practically sprinted to my room.
Once they were out of my sight, I took several deep breaths in order to try to calm myself down and understand what I had just seen. Ty and Livvie were making out in the other room.
Livvie and Ty, my two best friends, were making out. With each other. I couldn't quite wrap my mind around it and almost opened the door to take another look just to make sure I had actually seen what I did before I stopped myself. I knew what I saw. I just couldn't believe it.
Livvie and Ty, together?