Cheater, Cheater

Disclaimer: I do not own anything you recognise. The characters, setting and plot are otherwise mine. I'd appreciate it if you do not steal.

Advance Warning: This story is a little more physical than my other stories. It's nothing to warrant a 'M' rating, but still, for those of you have gotten used to my otherwise simple writing, it might come as a shock.

Grant Harper and Tabitha Simons had always had a mostly odd relationship; one that even they found hard to define.

The two – like a lot of high school friends– had met in pre-school. There hadn't been any kind of instantaneous friendship or attraction. For Tabby, Grant was the guy that every girl wanted, and for Grant, Tabby was just the girl in the background. As the years had passed, they'd become closer and closer, until people got used to seeing them together. They were just constants. Grant and Tabby, best friends for life.

Things would have continued along that pre-ordained path, if it hadn't been for the summer before their junior year, when Grant and his parents went to Italy, and Tabby's family went to California. Because when they returned and saw each other again, all the trouble began.

It was an extremely hot day towards the end of August. Grant was sweating heavily as he made his way up the path to the front door. He pressed on the doorbell and waited. A few moments later, the door was opened by Lorraine, Tabby's younger sister.

When she saw him, Rainy squeaked. It was a well-known fact that she had a rather futile crush on Grant. She was pretty, no doubt, but she was also three years younger than him and that was uncomfortable. Not to mention her older sister was his best friend.

"Hey, Rainy." Grant said. "Tubby home?"

Tabby, while she had never been fat, had always been on the tubby side, hence Grant's unflattering pun on her nickname. He had been calling her that for years, and it almost never failed to piss her off. Rainy had always either found it amusing, or mean. But today, for some reason, at the sound of the nickname, Lorraine began grinning widely. Grant was confused.

"She's upstairs." Lorraine said. There was a knowing twinkle in her eye. "But you can't call her that anymore."

"Why not?" Grant asked, confused.

"You'll see." Lorraine said. She stepped aside and traced her eyes up and down Grant. "You've changed." She said. "Did you guys make some sort of pact?"

"'Pact'?" Grant echoed. "Not to my knowledge. Why?"

Lorraine looked delighted. "No reason." She suddenly turned. "Hey, just tell Tabs that I'm going out, okay?" And she began whistling as she left the house, shutting the door behind her.

Grant shook his head. Thirteen year olds were extremely difficult to understand, specifically those of the female kind.

But Grant could not deny that he was a little piqued by Lorraine's ambiguity. So, he took the steps two at a time and slid to a stop outside Tabby's room. As usual, her music system was blasting some weird band or the other and her warbling, horrible voice was singing out-of-tune.

"Guess who's home?" Grant bellowed, ploughing into the room without warning. When he caught sight of her, Grant froze in the doorway and his jaw fell.

Tabby was absolutely unrecognisable.

Her beautiful waist-length hair had all been sheared off to a shoulder-length cut. She had definitely gone up a cup size, and had lost so much weight that her stomach was flat. Her legs were as beautiful and endless as her smooth skin. She looked more like a pin-up model than his Tubby.

And of course, all the changes were starkly visible because Tabby had been dancing around in a pair of lacy red boy-shorts and a bra that barely left anything to the imagination.

Decidedly un-best-friend-like thoughts were going through Grant's mind– most involved divesting Tabby of all her clothing and throwing her on the bed. He had no way of knowing that if Tabby had known what was running through his head, she wouldn't stop him from acting them out, because of course, Tabby was not unaffected by him.

Grant had always been on the tall side– six-one, he had last boasted to her. But over the last two months, he appeared to have shot up at least an inch or two. His body had been big, but now, he was huge– all muscle, but not the vein-popping kind. In fact, he looked kind of sexy because his casual shirt and jeans couldn't hide the impressiveness of his physique.

For a moment, both Grant and Tabby were frozen. Then, Tabby came to her senses, shrieking loudly enough to bring the house down.

Grant whirled around. He could feel his face heating up, unable to get the image of her out of his head.

"What are you doing here?" Tabby shrieked. "You're not supposed to be back until next week!"

"Early flight." Grant stammered. "Tabby–"

"You idiot!" She yelled, cutting over him and not giving him a chance to talk. "Can't you knock? What the hell's wrong with you?"

"I'm sorry!" He spluttered. "I thought you heard me!" He made to turn.

"Don't you dare turn around!" She shrieked. "I'll kick you so hard that you'll never be able to have sex!"

"Sorry, sorry!" He hastily said, knowing that she probably would.

Despite trying hard not to think about it, Grant's mind drifted to Tabby. He would have never guessed that she could possible possess curves like the ones he'd seen on her. She had the kind of body most girls died for. And there had been something sexy and innocent about her underclothes. He shook his head, telling himself that this was his best friend he was thinking about.

A few moments later, there was a sigh from behind him. "You can turn." Tabby stuffily said.

Grant obediently turned. She was more covered up in a pair of modest shorts and a fairly tight shirt, leaving almost nothing to the imagination, and consequently no room for disappointment.

"I'm sorry." Grant repeated himself. It was painfully hard to keep his eyes off her chest or her seemingly endless legs, now that he knew how impressive both were. His eyes were dark with lust that Tabby didn't recognise. He resisted the urge to hit himself, and instead just told himself not to think about it.

"It's fine, you didn't know." Tabby stiffly said, as though sensing his thoughts. "How was the trip?" She changed the subject.

"Okay." He said, dismissing the topic. He didn't want to talk about that. Grant narrowed his eyes at her. "What did you do?" He asked.

"How do you mean?"

"I mean, what did you do?" He demanded. "You're all… pretty."

Tabby rolled her eyes. "Well, thanks." She sarcastically said, taking her seat on the bed.

Grant sat on her desk chair and looked at her. "Let's be realistic. You weren't like this before. And I was wrong. You're not pretty. You're hot, sexy, gorgeous– choose your adjective."

Maybe it was because he'd seen how fair the rest of her skin was, but Grant noticed her blush more prominently. "Thanks." She said, genuinely this time. "But are you sure you're not saying that just because you saw me almost naked?"

It was just like them to tackle the issue head on instead of hedging about it like two normal people would have done.

"No, that's not why I'm saying it." Grant said. "Though that did highlight it a bit. What did you do?"

"Nothing." Tabby shrugged. "Just went to the gym and went running. And watched my food. Surprisingly, it actually helps."

Grant looked at her carefully. "Well, you look fuckable hot."

Tabby's blush was deep. "Shut up." She hissed, swatting at him. It wasn't much of a good idea, mostly because her hand came in contact with one of his biceps and then couldn't leave. "What about you?" She demanded. "What happened to you?"

Grant shrugged nonchalantly. "There was this girl in Italy." Tabby's face twisted into an expression of distaste that only Grant could read. "And then there was her boyfriend. He was hot, so I had to be hotter. And so, I am."

"Did she fall for you?" Tabby asked, trying to keep her voice neutral. For a reason she couldn't understand, she was woefully jealous of the girl in Italy.

"Yup." He smirked.

"Does she know how old you are?"

"Nope." He grinned.

Tabby shook her head. She recognised this pattern. Grant would get a date with a woman who would turn out to be older than him, and who would throw a fuss when she found out his age, then try to seduce him, only to realise that he was one of those guys who would wait until he fell in love to have sex.

"Utterly shameless." She muttered, removing her hand because she realised how stupid it was to keep it there. To her surprise, Grant caught her hand and intertwined their fingers, squeezing her hand. She kept her head down.

"So I hear." Grant grinned.

Over the first month of junior year, things were extremely tense between Grant and Tabby.

She had always maintained that the friendship between them was more like those that siblings shared. And before he'd seen her all but naked, Grant would have agreed.

But ever since that day, there had been some decidedly un-brotherly thoughts in his head– most of which resulted in dreams, which consequently lead to a lot of cold showers in the night. Now, thanks to the dreams, instead of seeing her in lacy underwear every time he looked at her, he saw her naked. He couldn't help but wonder what Tabby would do to him if she heard the thoughts.

Grant wasn't quite sure what was going on with him. He couldn't look at her without feeling his entire body heat up. He had never thought of Tabby in that way, probably because she'd never looked like that in all the years he'd known her. It was faintly disturbing that their friendship had come to this.

It hadn't only been her appearance had changed, but even her mannerisms. Everyday, Grant caught horny teenage boys greedily staring at her. He could see why– she was short, but her legs were fairly long and their creamy smoothness was almost always showcased by the almost non-existent shorts that she had begun to sport; her shirts were always way too low-cut and too tight around her breasts, and when she flipped a strand of her hair behind her shoulders, she revealed a band of skin on her stomach.

Because of the lecherous stares, Grant had taken to wrapping his arm around her, trying to shield her from views. Tabby just rolled her eyes and told him not to be over-protective.

Grant didn't know how to tell her that he wasn't been over-protective, he was being possessive. He didn't want those other guys eyeing her, but he didn't mind looking at her. In fact, if she wouldn't have noticed, he could have stared at her chest, legs and ass forever. What disturbed him was that given the chance, he probably would've even done more than just look.

Over the last few weeks, Grant had come to terms with the fact that he was sexually frustrated and had no other hot girls to look at and so, even looking at his best friend was enough to painfully turn him on. He didn't think it meant anything more than the fact that he needed to get some ass.

One evening, a month after the disastrous naked show, the two were in Grant's house, alone. His younger sister was out with hers, and his parents weren't home either. The two were on the couch in the living room, her head against his shoulder, his arm around hers, watching a horror movie. He kept laughing at the scary bits, while she ducked her head and couldn't watch, begging him to tell her when it was over.

"It's over." Grant lied, waiting to see her reaction.

Tabby didn't even twitch. "Don't lie, you bastard." She snapped. Grant laughed again.

"It's really done." He said, a few moments later. "You wanna get up and put on another movie?"

She glared at him. "You do it." She said, shaking her head.

"Nope." He said, popping the 'P'. "I'm not moving my fat ass. You move yours."

"I will not." She said.

Grant leaned in closer to her, mock threateningly. She matched his movement and they tried to stare each other down. Except, somewhere along the line, it stopped being about intimidating her and Grant instead started noticing the different beautiful colours in her mundane looking eyes. She was really beautiful.

A little thrown off by the intensity in his eyes, Tabby bit her lower lip, which didn't turn out to be the wisest decision. His gaze flickered down to mouth. There was something stirring in him– something that wanted to bite that lip too.

And suddenly, he couldn't take it anymore. Without over-thinking what he was going to do, he just leaned in and kissed her.

It was like an awkward first kiss, mostly because despite how he'd started to see her, she was still Tabby, his best friend and could-be sister– the girl who had occasionally eaten mud-pies with him when they were five. And thinking about her as being five made him pause with his lips meshed against hers. Both their eyes were wide open and she was looking at him like she was going to have a heart attack. But then, he remembered that he'd been five back then as well and sometimes friendships changed into something more but there was no rule saying that they couldn't still be friends.

So, he raised a hand and put it on the back of her head, burying it in her hair. Her eyes slid shut and he took that as a sign of assent. He tilted her head back, shut his eyes and pressed his lips more firmly against hers, putting the other arm around her waist and effortlessly drawing her into his lap. She was much smaller than him, as most people were. Ever since she'd changed, she'd seemed even tinier and his perpetually large frame all but engulfed her. He was about ten inches taller and his arms could wrap around her twice.

Grant thought that she would have needed more coaxing, so he was eternally surprised when she wrapped her arms around his neck and leaned into him, immediately kissing him back.

It was like nothing he'd never experienced before. He'd always thought that girls saying that they saw fireworks when they kissed the guy of their dreams was rubbish. After all, it probably had nothing to do with meeting your 'soulmate'– you only had to like the person in that one moment to see fireworks. But with Tabby, the intensity of the kiss was almost too much.

And despite the fact that he'd been in love many times before and had kissed many girls, Grant had never felt so whole, or right. So complete.

It was she who pushed him on his back, lying on top of him. She ran her hands through his hair. He cupped her face between his hands, and found that despite her being so small, she was oddly sexy. And she really knew how to kiss well.

A few moments later, the two broke apart and stayed still, her face still in his hands, her hands still in his hair. Their breath was mingling as they just silently looked into each other's eyes, their minds racing along an identical path. Both knew that they'd just changed their dynamics for ever.

The moment was too sweet for words.

"I'm not sorry." Grant finally said, not surprised that his voice came out husky and deeper than usual.

Tabby leaned forward again, a blush on her cheeks. She pecked the corner of his mouth. "Nor am I." She whispered.

Grant didn't ask where this left them, she didn't answer. They both realised that they had crossed a line, but neither wanted to think about that. Neither wanted to speak about the girl that Grant had been planning to ask out, nor about the guy who had asked Tabby out.

And so, both of them quieted the unspoken words by kissing again.

After that, Tabby and Grant's relationship became even more difficult to define.

They didn't touch or kiss in public, with other people watching. Grant didn't ask her out, Tabby didn't expect it. When they hung out alone together, it wasn't a date. But that didn't stop Grant from groping her ass or fondling her when they were out of the sight of others.

When Tabby got a boyfriend, Grant was the one who kissed her to show that no matter what other people thought, she was his. And when Grant asked a girl out, Tabby's eyes narrowed in jealousy and she gave Grant the time of his life.

The first time they slept together was Christmas of their junior year– two months after they'd first kissed. They did it in Grant's bedroom, while his parents were downstairs with hers, and their younger sisters in the room next door, singing along to carols. The threat of being caught made everything all the more sweeter.

Afterwards, Grant still on her, Tabby cried. She knew she would never forget the way the snow was falling outside the window, the way the carols had muffled the few noises that the other's mouths hadn't been able to swallow, and the warmth of Grant's body. She couldn't have asked for a better first time.

After that, Grant climbed into Tabby's room every night, using the wrought-iron staircase that wound around the back of the house to Tabby's room. And every night, Tabby would lie awake, waiting for him. And then, they'd be together.

Despite doing everything that two people in a relationship did, they didn't officially go out. Both were rather afraid to date the other because that would really change their relationship to a point of no return– not that them having sex hadn't already. But neither wanted to– neither could– leave the other alone. They needed each other, but they didn't want to acknowledge that.

And so, through their junior and senior years, they continued their weird relationship, where they cheated on their boyfriends and girlfriends because they were afraid to admit what lay between them.

When the time came, neither of them could break away from the other. They decided to go to college together. Since their parents didn't know of the relationship they shared, both sets shelled out enough money for Tabby and Grant to share an apartment. Grant's bedroom being big enough for the both of them, they kept the extra room as just one for show.

It was the first Saturday of college that both Grant and Tabby met Peter. A sophomore, good-looking, and one of the next 'big men' on campus.

Tabby was on the treadmill in the gym, the first time she saw him. He was shirtless and bench-pressing with one of his friends. Grant, lifting weights nearby, saw the way her eyes widened and darkened at the same time. A burning jealousy filled him.

The guy straightened and his eyes immediately caught Tabby's. Grant saw the way she licked her lips and tentatively smiled. The guy grinned right back, and still shirtless, got up and sauntered over to Tabby.

"Hey." He said, stopping in front of her. "I'm Peter." He said, holding his hand out.

Tabby stopped the treamill and, panting, turned to him. "Hi." She smiled, taking the proffered hand. "I'm Tabby."

"Nice to meet you." Peter grinned. "So, you come here often?"

Tabby laughed. "Didn't anyone ever tell you that that line only works in bars?" She teased him.

He grinned. "Nope. So, which year are you in?"

"Freshie." She smiled. "You?"

"Sophomore." He said. His friend called to him, and he turned and nodded. When he looked back at Tabby, he was looking slightly apologetic. "I've got to go. But it was awesome meeting you. Maybe I'll see you around?"

"Maybe you will." She coyly said, smiling.

After he was gone, Tabby remembered Grant with a shock. She paused and then turned to look at where he had been pulling weights. He wasn't there anymore. He was actually over by the water-cooler, his tongue down the throat of a girl who looked like a junior.

Tabby turned away from the scene, jealousy burning in her. But, she guessed that she deserved it.

Two weeks later, Peter asked Tabby out on a date. She said yes before she even thought about it. She really liked Peter.

But at the same time, she needed Grant there for support. So Peter agreed to go on a double date, and Grant secured himself a date. Tabby made the reservation at one of the most expensive restaurants of the city.

Grant asked out a girl called Mina because she was one of Peter's ex-flings, and since she was still crazy for Peter, Grant figured that the arrangement made sense, because while Tabby and Peter made eyes at each other, Mina could look at Peter and Grant at Tabby.

On the night of the date, Grant picked up Mina, and took her to the restaurant, where they were supposed to meet the other two. The booking was in Tabby's name, and the two took seats, making awkward conversation. Mina looked nice in her dress that suited the place's posh atmosphere, but Grant's eyes belonged to Tabby.

The other two arrived a few moments later. When he saw his best friend, Grant nearly had a coronary. She looked stunning. Her dress was up to her mid-thighs, completely off the shoulders. Her hair was let loose and her long legs were on display.

Grant wondered how long he could keep his hands off her if she looked like that. He wondered if Peter felt the same, because he couldn't keep his eyes off Tabby, nor could he hide the predatory glint in them.

"Hey." Grant said, when they were close enough, noticing his voice had changed to that smooth timbre it reserved for Tabby.

She shyly looked up at him through her lashes. "Hi." And for a moment, Grant didn't see her as sexy. He saw her as heartbreakingly cute, and wanted to hug her. The thought made him smile.

They shuffled around before deciding where to sit. Tabby and Grant ended up next to each other, their respective dates opposite them. There was silence, while they placed their orders and then, Tabby masterfully directed the conversation, managing to involve everybody.

Grant wondered whether Peter could see the way he was looking at Tabby. Because he didn't glance once at Mina, instead watching Tabby and the way her eyes sparkled in the candlelight, the way she threw her head back and heartily laughed, the way she flicked her hair over her shoulder… the list was endless.

It was somewhere after Tabby's third glass of wine that she began to quietly lose her inhibitions. She 'accidentally' knocked his knife down. Grant shot her a surreptitious raised eyebrow but she just smirked at him in an uncharacteristic way.

Getting the hint, Grant bent to retrieve it and felt anger bubble in him when he saw the way Peter was playing footsie with Tabby under the table. He straightened, understanding that she was in the mood to made him jealous.

So, continuing to eat carefully, Grant moved his unoccupied hand onto her knee. Tabby faltered in the conversation, but regained her bearings. Grant resisted a smirk and began tracing lazy patterns on his skin. Her face flushed, but it could be passed off as the effect of all the wine she'd drunk.

Grant casually moved his hand up her thigh and she choked. He grinned openly. He squeezed her and she turned to glare at him. The other two appeared oblivious as Grant looked at Tabby with hooded, desire darkened eyes.

"Stop that." She hissed at him, grabbing his hand.

"You started it." He whispered back smugly. He checked that the other two were still engrossed in their conversation before he moved his hand higher still. Her eyes narrowed.

"Grant." She whispered. He knew he heard a longing hint.

"Let's go." He murmured. "Come on."

Grant waited for her answer. Tabby looked at him for a moment before quickly putting the last bite of her cheesecake in her mouth and signalling for the bill.

Peter's expression screamed that he thought he was going to get some. Grant smirked because it was Grant who was going to get any. Peter would drop Tabby home, she would kiss him and bid him goodnight. And then, she'd saunter into the bedroom which Grant shared with her and then, they'd do what they did best.

But before then, Grant had another battle to win. The waiter was rushing forward with a check. And even though Tabby would call it a 'whose dick is bigger' competition, and though neither wanted to pay for the expensive meal, both Grant and Peter wanted the check to come to them, to prove their manhood.

Grant's smirk nearly burst out of his face when the waiter gave a simpering smile and put the check in front of him. Peter scowled and Tabby shook her head as Grant flashed the credit card his parents had given him for his eighteenth birthday, and passed it to the waiter.

Tonight was really his night.

Except, Grant really didn't get any. Peter asked Tabby to be his girlfriend that night, and Tabby said yes. Grant walked back whistling to his apartment, only to find that Tabby and Peter were making out fiercely outside the door.

For the first time since they'd moved in, Tabby slept in her own bedroom.

Grant couldn't explain the myriad of emotions in him at the sight of Peter and Tabby strolling along like the perfect couple. It rankled him, but there was nothing he could do about it. Especially since Tabby started avoiding him, despite the fact that they lived together. She didn't even sleep in his bedroom anymore.

He had always scoffed at people who told him that no one knew what they had until it was gone. The thing about Tabby was that she'd had her first boyfriend in junior year of high school– by which time, she and Grant were already finding empty classrooms to make out in.

And so, Grant had never had the opportunity to not find Tabby laughing beside him when he cracked a joke, or needed something urgently, or when he was feeling frustrated and wanted her, or just when he needed to hold her.

But with Peter in the picture, things had changed so rapidly that Grant had no idea what was going on. Tabby appeared to like him more than she'd ever liked any of her other boyfriends, and that terrified Grant. Moreso, when she started ignoring him.

Tabby always used the excuse that she didn't have time for him between classes and Peter. She ate lunch with Peter and his equally idiotic friends. She shared a couple classes with Peter too, so after school was either spent tutoring him– because he needed it– or going on dates with him.

And without Tabby there for him, Grant had no clue what to do. Tabby had always been a staple in his life and not having her around was fucking so much with his mind, that he decided he needed to speak to her.

And so, Grant decided to skip the last lecture of his day, because he knew that Tabby had some crap class that she could afford to miss too. He hovered in the hallway, waiting for her. As usual, it was only once the corridor was empty, that Tabby came flying down it, already late. From her dishevelled appearance, she had clearly been making out with Peter.

Grant scowled. "Tubby!" He called, resorting to the ill-fitting nickname to get her attention.

She stopped and turned around. Grant, who had taken a step towards her, paused. Usually, when Grant called her– even if he used the detestable nickname– Tabby's entire countenance would light up. But when she saw him now, her face fell and she bit her lip. Grant was disconcerted.

"Can I talk to you later?" Tabby asked, not meeting his eyes. "I have a class."

That jolted Grant into moving closer to her. "So do I, but I'm not rushing away. I need to talk to you and now seems like the only time you ever have."

Tabby looked longingly towards escape before sighing and making her way to him. Silently, they veered off into an empty lecture hall. Once they were both standing, Tabby looked at him.

"So, what's up?"

Her shifty tone of voice and restless nature made Grant's eyes narrow. "Why don't you tell me? I feel like I haven't seen you in ages."

That was an observation, but Tabby took it as an accusation. "I've been really busy!" She defended. "I have school and a boyfriend, you know! I'm sorry that you can't deal with the fact that you're not the only guy in my life!"

Grant reeled backwards. "Whoa, whoa." He said, holding his hands up in a gesture for peace. "What the hell?"

Tabby wouldn't meet his eyes. "I don't have time for this, Grant. I have to go." She made to leave, but he stepped in her way.

"Wait." He said, putting his hands on her shoulders and for one brief, distracted moment wondering what it would be like to put his lips there. But right then hardly seemed like the most appropriate time. "What the hell is going on, Tubby?"

She snapped. "I've told you a million times not to call me that!" She screamed. "Just leave me alone, Grant!"

Grant felt his brows sloping together in frustration, but he didn't let go. "Tubby." He gently said. "What's going on?"

She still wouldn't look at him. "Go away, Grant." She said, sounding tired.

"No." He said. "You're my best friend and I want to know what's wrong."

Tabby violently shook her had. So, Grant tipped her head up and met her eyes. And then, he reassured her in the only way he knew how. He leaned down and kissed her.

As always, when their lips collided, they exploded.

Tabby threw herself at him, wrapping her arms around him, pressing their bodies together. Grant picked her up and put her on the professor's table. She drew him to her, legs wrapped around his waist. Their kiss got more heated and she leaned back, pulling off her shirt, before doing the same for Grant.

Grant's lips lowered to her neck and he began kissing and suckling on the skin, causing her to grin. Every feeling, every sensation seemed more heightened because of the fact that they hadn't been together for almost three weeks. Grant was just about bursting with frustration.

Then, to his surprise, Tabby suddenly gasped and pulled away from him. She placed her hands on his shoulders and pushed him. She had never pulled away since they had first slept together, and the action shocked Grant enough to let her push him backwards.

Without meeting his eyes, Tabby stooped and grabbed her shirt. "I have to go, Grant." She said, voice soft.

Grant took her hand. "Tabby, what the hell's going on?"

She looked up at him, her eyes shining. "I like Peter a lot, Grant." She whispered. "So much that I think I might love him. And I don't want to ruin this thing that he and I have. I might really have a chance for something here."

"You and I are something!" I hissed. "We've been something since we were four!"

"But what are we?" Tabby asked, shaking her head. "With Peter, it's all clear. He's my boyfriend, Grant, and I really, really do like him."

"You like me." Grant whispered.

"He likes me." Tabby sadly said. "Loves me too, I think."

"I like you." Grant muttered. "A lot."

"Yes," Tabby agreed, "but he's not afraid to show me that, is he? Can you say the same?" Grant could not. "I thought so." She murmured.

She placed her hands on his bare chest and let them roam for a few seconds, almost wistfully. Then, she stopped herself and stepped away. "Tabby, don't." Grant whispered. "Please. I'll fix this."

"But it's not broken." Tabby shook her head. She smiled. "See you around, Grant." And with that, she left, the sound of the door shutting echoing in the empty hall.

And it was only after she was gone did Grant allow himself to realise that he had already fallen hard and fast for his best friend– another guy's girlfriend.

Tabby didn't move out, but she and Grant avoided each other like the plague. She had enough sense to not bring Peter over to the apartment, and he didn't bring any girls over either. There were just some things that no one in their right minds would do, and that was one of them.

But despite the way Peter and Tabby's relationship was progressing, Grant couldn't kill the flame of hope in him. Tabby never lasted long with her boyfriends. She was a one-man woman– Grant's woman. And he had enough faith in her desire for him to know that she wouldn't stay with Peter forever.

Of course, in the way of their relationship, Tabby had to prove him wrong.

It happened the night before they were due to go back home for Christmas vacation. Grant, who had been out with a couple of friends, was in an unusually good mood. Perhaps when she saw the place where they'd first discovered each other– his bedroom– Tabby would finally dump Peter for him.

He quietly stuck the key into the hole and opened the apartment. The first thing to strike him when he entered was the soft, romantic music playing. And then, he realised that the apartment was filled with candles– the only source of illumination.

And then, he saw them on the couch. Tabby was in Peter's lap, naked but for her underwear. His face in her neck and he was as unclothed as her. Her head was thrown back and she was making the noises that Grant loved– the noises that only Grant had ever made her make.

It had been an unspoken agreement to not bring their partners into the apartment, and ever since that fateful winter night in their junior year of high school, it had also been implicit that they were not to sleep with anyone but the other. And Grant had kept to his end of the bargain, but Tabby clearly hadn't.

Since she was facing the door, she caught sight of Grant standing there. When she saw him, Tabby's eyes widened and she froze. He could only stare, unable to fathom how it could hurt so much. Her eyes begged him for something, but he didn't understand what. All he knew was that it really was over and there was nothing for them anymore.

And so, he turned and left.

Miraculously, Grant managed to avoid Tabby through their entire vacation and for a week after they got back to school. He didn't look at her, he didn't speak to her, he didn't arrange to meet her. He had managed not to frequent all the places she usually did. If he saw her heading for him, he turned on his heel and went the other way.

Grant wasn't really a confrontational kind of guy. He was content to just let their friendship and 'relationship' fizzle out. He understood now, that they were truly over. She'd sent the message across plain and clear.

On the second anniversary of the first night they had slept together, Grant went out on a date with a girl from high school. He had wanted to sleep with her, but when push came to shove, he found himself unable to think of anyone but Tabby.

But then, his luck ran out. A week after they returned, Grant was hurrying towards the office, ready to ask whether there was an empty dorm room for him. He had been staying at a friend's apartment for the previous week, unable to look at Tabby.

Their situations were oddly reversed when this time, Tabby cornered him in the corridor. Just the sight of her was enough to send a sharp spike of want through Grant. He needed her. But, he realised, he couldn't have her. She had said it herself.

"Leave me alone, Tabby." He commanded her, side-stepping her. "I don't want to talk to you."

"What happened to 'Tubby'?" She demanded, sounding injured.

Grant raised an eyebrow at her. "I thought you told me not to call you that. Besides, that girl died a violent death a while ago." He looked at her pointedly

"Grant." She said, her face falling. "You had no reason to get angry–"

"Of course." He sharply cut her off. "Because I'm not your boyfriend, or anything, am I? I'm the just the idiot who fucked you repeatedly for two years– the utter moron who was stupid enough to want you."

"Grant, it's not like that." She said, her face twisted in an expression he didn't understand.

"Oh really?" He demanded, raising an eyebrow. "Then how do you explain the fact that I walked into the apartment to find that asshole practically naked, you on top of him? On the couch on which we've fucked millions of times before, no less?

Tabby flushed. Grant knew that he was throwing her off, possibly scaring her with his rather explicit, vulgar language. But he was extremely angry and cursing and being coarse was the only way he knew how to get rid of it.

"He was kind of insistent." Tabby murmured.

Grant shot her a glare. "Didn't look like that to me. It actually rather looked like you were enjoying it."


Grant stepped up to her and took her by the shoulders, pulling her to him– unable to help himself. He looked down at her.

"No, Tabby. Don't. I know that I haven't done right by you– kissing you, sleeping with you, doing everything without going out with you or stating my intentions. And I know I've fucked up many, many times before. And I only showed desire for your body, not you. But I'm only human, and a guy at that. The point is that I don't want that anymore, okay? I don't want to just be the backup. I want to be able to kiss you and hold you whenever I want– in front of everybody. I want to be able to touch you and fuck you without wondering what my girlfriend or your boyfriend is doing at that very moment. I don't want to have to do it on the sly.

"I'm fucking crazy for you, okay? I fucking love you. And you can't give me what I want, so just leave me alone."

After the long speech, Grant was breathing fast and desperately needed to punch something. He pushed her away and turned from her, shaking his head. All of his anger drained out of him, when Tabby tipped her head back, her eyes shining with trust and innocence, and said, "Peter and I didn't sleep together. I broke up with him."

For a moment, Grant couldn't believe her. He couldn't speak. "You what?" He demanded finally.

She smiled and shrugged. "Grant, I fucking love you, too." There was a teasing hint to her words.

"What?" Grant choked.

She was still in a very playful mood as she looked up at him. "I don't want that anymore either. I don't want you to just be the backup. I want you to be able to kiss me and hold me whenever you want– in front of everybody. I want you to be able to touch me and make love to me without you wondering what your girlfriend or my boyfriend is doing at that very moment. I don't want to have to do it on the sly either."

"Tabby." Grant breathed, moving his hands to cup her face and draw her closer. "Stop mocking me. What the hell are you trying to say?"

Her face became sober. "Grant, what I'm trying to say is that I'm crazy for you, too." She whispered. "There's only ever been one guy for me– you. And when you said that you love me, I thought I was going to burst. I'm so happy, I can't even put it into words. My mouth feels like it's going to never stop grinning. No one has the right to be this ecstatic, Grant. I love you that much."

Just at that moment, the doors burst open and the corridors flooded with people, most of whom froze when they saw Grant and Tabby together, looking at each other in such an intimate way. But the two were woefully oblivious to the presence of others.

"Will you be my girlfriend?" Grant whispered, looking deep into her eyes. "Properly this time? So we can do everything together– legitimately?"

The grin really did burst across her face, lighting it up and taking his breath away. She reached up and began peppering his face with kisses, making him laugh enthusiastically, because he knew her answer. But then, she was kissing him everywhere but his lips, so Grant wrapped his arms around Tabby, drew her flush against his body and kissed her properly– legitimately.

A/N: Hm, not so sure about this one. It felt like I was giving back-story even three-fourths through the story. But still, I tried hard and couldn't fix it. And I don't think it's bad. Still, just review and let me know what you think, please.