"Lust is the craving for salt of a man who is dying of thirst."

Frederick Buechner

"Just you wait until we get home tonight."

The music in the club is overpoweringly loud, but his words, spoken so close to me that his lips brush my ear, send an involuntary shiver down my spine. I try to suppress it, but the smirk on his face lets me know that he's noticed. He always notices.

As I turn towards him, a sarcastic reply only half-formed in my mind, he leans forward so his lips brush mine, before pulling back and staring at me, scandalised. Another shiver of pleasure runs through me.

"Not until we get home, Summer," he chastises me mockingly, and I only just have time to shoot him a sardonic look before he turns his back on me and wanders away to buy another shot with someone at the bar. I stare after him for a few long seconds, trying to work out how he manipulates me like this before heading to the toilets to regain my composure.

I'm drunk, and so is he, otherwise he wouldn't be taking risks like that in public, but it's a dangerous game we play together, each trying to go a bit further and a bit more scandalous than the other. I examine myself in the grimy toilet mirror, the light too bright in comparison to the dark club and wrinkle my nose. My eyes are too bright, my cheeks flushed. I look as though I've just had sex. Or as if I'm just about to. Great.


I push the illicit thoughts out of my head and plaster a fake smile on my face as I turn around and Ella envelops me in a massive hug. She's drunk too and I have a pang of wistfulness for the days when I could be drunk like Ella is, happy drunk, and not worried about who's going to be in my bed at the end of the night.


I agree wordlessly, although more alcohol is probably the exact opposite of what I need right now, and follow her out of the toilets, purposefully not looking for him as we pass through the throngs of people. Ella is chatting to me about something inane, something I can't hear because of the music and that I don't care about anyway. A quick glance at my phone tells me that it is far, far too early to be thinking about going home just yet. If I wasn't numb from the alcohol, I'd probably be shocked at myself that I'm counting down the hours to go home with him.

"Hey El!" As we reach the bar, someone turns to Ella and I realise it's him. He wraps his arms around her waist and pulls her to him, his hands wandering to her hips and skimming over her ass. She jumps up excitedly against him and he laughs, mussing her hair and earning himself a playful slap on the shoulder. I observe the interchange with an eyebrow raised, trying to look like his actions aren't making me spectacularly angry. He catches my eye over her shoulder and smirks in a way that tells me he knows exactly what he's doing to me. Oh, he is going to pay for that.

Spontaneously, I turn to the stranger who is the other side of me at the bar, flicking my long hair over my shoulder and smiling flirtatiously.

I'm almost ashamed of myself as a trashy chat up line leaves my lips, but not quite. I'm caught up in the game, and I have to do this to get one over on him. The stranger smiles at my words and drapes his arm around my shoulder, shouting to the bar man to get another drink and I smile back, shrugging myself closer to him. He smells of beer and aftershave, and I repress a shudder, definitely not one of pleasure this time.

We down the shots together and then his hands are moving down my body, trying to pull me towards the dance floor. I resist, but not much. I'm still angry at him for being so all over Ella, (she's my best friend, how dare he?) so I haven't yet put a limit on what I will allow this stranger to do to me. He's almost dragging me through the crowds of people and I'm wondering about whether this was really a good idea or not, when a hand on my shoulder stops me in my tracks.

"I think it's time we went home, Summer."

I turn around and stare at him. His tone of voice was cold anger. "Drew...,"

The stranger has turned around as well and clings me to him even more tightly. "Mate, what are you doing?"

Drew smiles at the stranger, but it's not a friendly smile. It's the smile I get when I've pushed him too far, and even though I know it's ridiculous, it makes me nervous.

"This is Summer. And she's coming home with me tonight." The way he states it is fact, allowing no room for argument. The noise around us seems to be drowned out in the heavy silence that stretches between the three of us. Irrationally, I wonder where Ella has gone and then more rationally hope that she's far enough away to not be witnessing this interchange. I look up at the stranger and apologise quietly, so quietly that I don't know whether he's heard me or not.

"I'm sorry, 'mate'. But this girl appears to have chosen me for tonight," the stranger replies, and his tone is sour. Guess he didn't hear me.

Drew gives him a withering look, and then his eyes flick to me and his blue gaze becomes angry. "Come on, Summer."

Wordlessly, I detach myself from the stranger, irritation preventing me from murmuring another apology. Drew nods once at the stranger, now claiming me with his arm around me and I have time to hope that no one we know saw that. As soon as he's led me away from the dance floor I wriggle out of his grasp and we exit the club together in silence, the music and shouting around us mocking our anger at each other.

Out on the rainy street, I turn to him. "What the hell do you think you're doing?"

He gapes at me. "What the hell do you think you're doing, Summer?!"

"I can't believe you just did that in public!"

"Who the fuck was that guy?"

"That guy was the equivalent of what you were doing to Ella. Doesn't feel so great when it turns around on you, does it?"

He breaks eye contact with me and makes a violent movement with his arm as if he was going to hit something. I've made him really angry, and the fact that he's got so wound up about this winds me up as well.

"God, get over yourself. You're the one who started this stupid game; you can't just get mad when you don't win for once!" I'm shocked to find I have to repress a tremble in my voice. Shit, I didn't know it was going to be one of these nights.

"I didn't win? You whored yourself out to some strange man, and you won? God Summer, this is fucked up. We're fucked up."

"We? There isn't a we, Drew. This-what we do-it's not even allowed. We've both got partners. So how the fuck can you justify us being 'we'?"

We stare at each other for long moments, oblivious of the taxis driving past us and the rain falling around us. It would probably be cold if there wasn't so much alcohol in my system. The instant is broken by the buzzing of my phone. I pick it out of my bag and swear when I see who it is.

"Alex?" Drew second guesses me, and I nod once. More long moments of inactivity. He looks at the floor eventually, backs off from me. "Answer it."

Sighing, I compose myself before pressing the green button and trying to put on a cheery and fairly sober tone for my boyfriend. Disgusted at me? I am.

"Hey babe, are you okay? It's late."

Drew paces up and down in front of me as I reassure Alex that I'm okay and not too drunk, and that I love him, then when I hang up he meets my gaze again and all the anger has gone out of him.

"You know what? Let's go back in with the others. It's not worth having them find out about this for."

I roll my eyes. "I'm not messing about, Drew. We've both gone too far tonight and I'm not risking that again for our little games."

"You were the one that was about to go have dance floor sex with some boy!"

"You were the one that pushed me that far."

His tone is angry again and mine is calm and cold, before he grabs me by the shoulders and kisses me roughly, pushing me until my back hits the cold stone wall behind me. Oblivious of the taxis and who might be looking now, I kiss him back, all my anger, frustration and guilt disappearing at the feeling of his lips on mine.

"Don't forget the number of times you've begged me to do this," he growls against my lips, and his words bring goosebumps up the back of my neck and I press myself to him harder, so that our bodies are flush against each other. He is warm on my front compared to the cold stone wall behind me and the contrast is sensual. The wrongness of the situation is exhilarating.

"We need to get a taxi," he murmurs in my ear, dipping his head to bite my neck gently and my breath catches in my throat at the sensation.

"Fuck, yes," I reply and if I wasn't drunk I'd be embarrassed how close it was to a moan. It's at this point, (it's always at this point), where I realise that I'm his, and nothing will stop me from doing this tonight. The taxi ride home is torturous, sitting on opposite sides of the back seat with my legs spread far too wide to be decent, and his fingers tracing patterns on my inner thigh.

We stumble up to his room, shutting and locking the door behind us and my mind flickers briefly to my own room, just across the landing, cold and unlocked. But that's ok. None of our flatmates will think to check when they get in.

"Get that dress off," he tells me as he pushes me onto the bed, then goes to his desk to send a text. Both of us know and neither of us care that it's to his girlfriend. It doesn't matter anyway, because 2 minutes later he's on the bed with me, straddling me, and I can feel him pressing against me.

"You want it tonight, don't you?" he asks, grinding against me and smirking. I smirk back. The games have begun again.

"Feels like you're the one that wants it tonight, Drew," I reply, wriggling out so we're laid side by side. "I'm just going to sleep."

A hand lodges itself tightly in my hair. "You're not getting any sleep tonight, Summer."

It's at this point (it's always at this point) that I have this weird habit of looking at the situation from the outside. What it would look like from an objective point of view.

It's at this point that I hate myself for loving this.