A/N: This was written in response to the weekly prompt over at The Slash Pile on livejournal. Warnings for mild drug use.

I fiddle with the cigarette lighter, just making sure that I know how to work it in case he wants a light. The ad didn't say if he was a smoker. I know his weight, his height. I know the size of his dick. I know he's cut. I don't know if he's a smoker.

I jam the coil back into the dash and sit back, force myself to relax a little, take a few shaky breaths of chill, stale air. It's May, not quite Winter yet, but I was driving with my window down and the night-damp has settled into the car seats. I buff a little dust off the steering wheel with my sleeve and then zip my hoodie up out of habit. Rethink that. Unzip, smooth my t-shirt out, straighten my belt buckle, pull at the seat of my jeans so the seam is sitting where I want it.

The rain is sheeting down the windscreen, obscuring everything; the park, the sidewalk. I can see a dim orangey light emanating from the public toilet block. I run a hand through my hair. It's been 20 minutes already. I find myself considering the worst possible scenario every time headlights come sweeping past out of the black. It's the cops. It's security. It's my parents.

Shit. I can't see. I wonder if I should have left the engine running, if he's waiting for some signal. I twist the keys in the ignition and flip the wipers on. Nothing. The park's still empty as far as I can see. I tug the lever for the high beam. There's a couple of cars parked at the far end of the street near the restaurant. I squint and then flop against the backrest once more. The screen's pretty fogged up now anyway. I consider turning the de-misters on and then on second thought kill the engine. It's mum's car. I don't want to use any more fuel than is necessary. I'm playing with fire as it is -my red P-plates hastily stuffed in the glove box. I hope he's not the curious type.

Another car comes sliding out of the darkness, headlights washing everything in blue-grey. I make a conscious effort to stop my leg jiggering.

He looms into my peripheral so suddenly that I jump. In the heartbeat I have before he clicks open the door I'm frantically unbuckling my seatbelt, throwing it off me and affecting a nonchalant slouch even as it recoils in its bracket.

He bundles into the little car so quick -a blast of frigid, rain-speckled wind, the crash of cars moving through the rain- that it rocks and squeaks in its suspension. Then the door is closed and it's quiet again but for his soft pants and the creaking of his rain-lacquered jacket.

He doesn't bother sorting himself out, just turns around in the seat and gives me a long, wide-eyes stare, chest lightly heaving. He licks his lips, gives me a half grin.


I nod. I know if I say anything just this second there's a ninety percent chance I'll stammer.

He waits a moment, slightly uneasy. Then he clears his throat and drags a hand over his forehead. "Pissing down isn't it. I'm Nathan."

"Nate," I say stupidly. Your profile said Nate.

"Yeah sure," he says, straightening his cuffs. He's wearing a leather jacket, something expensive enough to bunch in just the right places on his arms. He's dressed up which I suppose makes sense, he had said he'd be in a dinner-meeting til nine o'clock. Still, I feel a little underdressed.

"I hope you don't mind if I call you Austin though," he says, "Austin_8point5 is a bit…"

I manage an awkward laugh. "Yeah…"

The corners of his mouth twitch. He's got hot lips.

"Were you waiting long?"

"Nah." I know he can see me staring at them but I can't help it. "Did you, uh…Nice dinner?"

He rolls his eyes, gold-lit as a car rolls past. "It was a fucking client meeting. And I've had better. You eaten? I know you said you like Japanese food. There's a neat place I saw on my way in, it does sushi or if you like, I heard it's the place for buckwheat-pancake in Perth. After that stodgy crap I could go for some soy sauce and edamame?" His voice is just ever so slightly breathless, over-excited or nervous I can't tell.

"I already ate." Sausages and peas mum glad-wrapped and put in the fridge for me before she flew out. Thursday was lamb stir-fry.

He looks a little put-out. After a moment he buckles his seat belt and I do the same.

"Nice car."

It's not a nice car. It's a wagon. A 1992 Ford Laser. And it's an automatic, since I failed my manual twice. He reaches over with a crinkling sound of wet leather and fingers the circular smudges where my P-plates adhere. I clear my throat.

"Uh thanks. So…where to?"

He smiles. He's got a great smile, I can see that, even in the dark. His hand shoots out as if he's dared himself to do it and strokes a feather of hair off my face while I try hard to act like it's no biggie and not flinch. My heart is going to beat its way out my throat I know it. I just hope he can't see it.

"Anywhere in particular you want to go?"

I've got $200 in my pocket. The most I've ever had to withdraw out of an ATM. But I want a nice hotel. I don't want-. Yeah. I just… want somewhere nice.

"Well, we're pretty close to the city so…The Mercure?"

A small line forms between his eyes. He blinks.

"The…Mercure." His voice is flat.

"Yeah…or, you know, wherever." Shit.

He seems to pull himself together with a minute shake of his head. "Ok," he interrupts, "Stop me if you know, no -but I have some friends in town. Cool friends. They've got some space. A bed. If you want to…" His hand slides out to rest on my leg, the heat scorching through the denim. His eyes are intense and searching. Yes? No? My stomach clenches.

"Sure," I hear myself say, "Whereabouts?"

"Just head for Oxford Street, it's a bit of a tangle from there."

I nod like an idiot and thank God for the drilled motions of starting the car up and moving out of the bay. I'm so nervous I forget about the de-misters until he leans forward and flicks them on.

"Wait just a sec," he says as I'm about to put her in drive. He looks like he wants to say something, smiles to himself. Starts to say it again.

It's painfully awkward in a way I wasn't prepared for.

He finally settles on what he wants to tell me with a defeated-sounding sigh and a long glance out the passenger window as if the answers are out there in the rain.

"You said in your profile you liked to party…?"

From inside his jacket he's pulling out a small plastic baggie, smeared with powder, two pills inside.

It looks so sinister in the palm of his hand. I want to tell him that yes, haha, he does have unusually crooked fingers just like he said.

"I've got to drive…" I say uncertainly. I try to look like it's a downer for me, a practiced grimace that feels odd on my face.

I guess it works because he says, "I…can drive if you want, I've done it before. They take a while to kick so if you want …"

I swallow audibly. "No, it's alright. I had a Red Bull like half an hour ago so…"

He looks a bit uneasy.

"You should do it though, it's cool."

"O…k," he looks really put out that I'm not going to do it. If he asks again I'll say yes. Anything he wants I'll say yes.

"Well, if you mind I guess…?" He rattles the bag and I nod.

We drive for a while in silence and he swallows the pill without water.


"Do you want to listen to some music?"

"No, it's ok. I'd rather talk to you," he says. Sexy voice. God, sexy voice. It crawls all the way down my back and jerks my cock to life.

I sneak a glance at him at the next set of traffic lights. He's blond, like it said in the profile. And in the red caste he looks a lot younger than 30. He's cute, baby-faced. He wears his pants fitted and I can see his cock hard along his thigh. All the spit dries up in my mouth. He catches me looking and gives another million-dollar smile.

"So is this your first time doing this?" I ask to distract from my blush.

"…Not exactly like this no. But I travel a lot for work so…" he trails off. I'm not sure what he means. I swallow.

"You're an accountant right?"

"Yep. And you're…studying?"


He gives a short, deep laugh. "How old are you?"

"Nineteen," I lie.

Another laugh. "You look older." The hand is back, hot, sliding up the inside of my thigh, fingers firm. I concentrate on not steering us into the bush.

"So," I say, relieved when my voice comes out steady, "You like your job?"

He laughs outright at that. "Shit no! I mean, it's good that I get to travel and the pay's not bad but I work for a big company, they send me to all corners of the country and expect me to keep perfect work hours. I've been in Perth for twenty hours already and I've had three lunches and no sleep. I'm sorry I was late, by the way."

"No worries."

"So, you're a student then. You like to party?"

"Yeah, sure." His thumb is drawing circles in the crease of my thigh, thumbnail alternating sharp lines perilously close to my shaft. I follow the off-ramp onto Vincent Street and then Oxford, hands clenching the wheel.

"Right at the end and then right again at Cherry." He purrs Cherry. He knows. "So, Austin...Have you ever done this before?"

I shake my head. "No." Traffic light.

"Listen-" he starts but then seems to have a change of heart, his eyes are soft, imploring. "You're gorgeous."

The light goes green. "Shit," I hiss, stepping on the accelerator and moving off a little jerkily.

He laughs, it's almost a sigh, but when I glance at him he's grinning at me. He catches my eye and lunges forward playfully, nips at my ear.

I snort. "Stop that."

He laughs, does it again, pecks a dry kiss at the side of my jaw and then again on my cheek just ever so slightly open mouthed. I think I just groaned.

"Left here," he says.

Finally we turn into a traditional-style home, small, long front lawn, slightly unkempt flower garden. There's a light on on the front porch and I can see people moving. The friends then.

I fumble locking up as he leans against the hood with a knowing smile. He's as tall as he promised, just over 6'1", broad shouldered, fit. He does a little spin for me when my eyes linger. He's wearing a grey dress-shirt, tucked in, black slacks that fit him just right. He makes sure to push his jacket up and back so I can get a good look and I find myself laughing.

"Now you."

He whistles as I do a clumsy spin, spreading my hoodie out with my hands stuffed in the pockets.

"You'll do," he says, breathless, eyes fixed between my pecs where my shirt is cut. He's gotten close. I couldn't smell it in the car, what with the scent of the rain and my own familiar deodorant, but he's wearing something, something deep and salty and complicated that sends a spike of pleasure through my gut.

We kiss. In the dark surrounded by the cloying, sweet scent of the new soil after the rain. He must have shaved at the airport. His skin is butter-soft, his lips burning and forceful. I open my mouth but he pulls away, redirects to pressing a series of hot, quick, open-mouthed kisses across my cheek and then down my neck. I moan so loud it scares me. His feet scrape one the gravel driveway and he steadies himself, hands warm and tight on my biceps. A girl on the porch whistles.

"Come on," he laughs. "I better introduce you to them or they'll be all over my ass." He tugs at my sleeve and we move out of the shadowed drive and into the soft light spilling over the porch steps.

The veranda is wide, illuminated only by a naked bulb over the open fly-screen door. It's obviously a share-house. There's a disarray of deck-chairs, arm chairs, blue-plastic chairs nicked from someone's school. A skateboard and a muddy pair of sneakers are strewn over the welcome mat. There's a few dozen empties -mostly Corona- stacked on top of the closed barbecue. In two of the cane armchairs are his friends, both girls, somewhere between his age and mine. One of them gives me a lazy smile and a wave from her chair, the other is already up, embracing Nate in a fierce hug, kissing both his cheeks. Between them is an overturned crate for a table and on it is a citronella coil, an ashtray and a near-empty bottle of Sierra Tequila -the cheap type with the little plastic sombrero on top.

"You're late you crazy boy, we started without you. When did you get in?"

He gives me a sympathetic look as I too am embraced and kissed. She's stoned. I can smell it even through her perfume. She's wearing a short dress made up of gold-sequins and they catch and scrape all along the soft fabric of my shirt so that when she pulls away it half-comes with her.

"Sometime 'round midnight. Eric picked me up."

"Oh he should be here later," says the reclined girl, flicking a shiny mass of curls over one thin shoulder and picking the blunt back up with graceful, practiced movements. "We're going to the Shed, you in?"

"Actually Austin and I were thinking we might stay in. Back room free?"

I hope I don't look too much like a puppy when I follow him over and pull a seat up next to his. The girls share a knowing look.

"Austin huh?" says the one smoking. Her eye make-up is intense, smokey-black flecked with something metallic that glints in the light. She has a semi-sleeve of vividly inked tattoo from shoulder to elbow. "How old are you Austin?"

"Don't be a bitch Shaz," says sequins, straightening her cleavage in her tiny dress. She has her legs stretched out in Nate's lap. Her shoes are crazy.

Shaz passes me the joint and I nod, grateful.

"He's nineteen," Nate says sternly, passing me a beer.

"Cheers." I take a sip to wet my throat and then take a short puff before passing the joint back. It's weak, grassy. I cough more from the cold than the smoke and Shaz laughs.

"Billie? The room?"

"Oh! Yeah, sure," says sequins, "Georgia's staying with Pete this weekend so it should be all good. I don't know what she sees in that loser."

Shaz agrees and pretty soon all three of them are involved in a conversation about this Pete character. I toke three more times and then Nate rolls another joint, a stronger one and we share that. Every now and then raucous laughter filters down the hall, or someone sticks their head around the fly-screen to say hello or ask Shaz where something is -beer, keys, bathroom. I'm starting to get a buzz on, talking more when I can. They talk about accounting for a while, Shaz's bitch mother, Billie's string of boyfriends.

"How did you two meet?" Billie says finally, poking Nate's middle with her heel so that he winces.

"Online," I say with a grin. Nate gives me a heavy look, pupils blown. It's started to rain again outside but I'm warm.

"Oooh I know a scary story about that," says Billie, finishing the last of the tequila.

Shaz rolls her eyes. "You don't know shit about scary, Bill. You thought Pirates of the Caribbean was scary. Anyway, Austin doesn't want to hear your lame stories."

"They were zombies, how is that not scary!"

Greg, Shaz's roommate swings out onto the porch to grab some papers off Nate.

"We're gonna head soon, Eric's just got off work. 15 minutes?"

The girls nod and he disappears back inside.

"So I used to work with this girl, Laura, right-"

"Oh god, Bill, no one wants to hear your stories. It's not scary," she says to me, like a disclaimer.

"I want to hear it," I say with a smirk. Shaz throws her hands up.

"Yeah Shaz let her tell her story." Nate reaches out and tugs a bit of my hair and this time I lean into it. We've somehow shuffled our chairs closer.

Billie looks pleased, sitting up straighter and snubbing her cigarette out in the ashtray. "Ok so Laura, she's one of those up-tight, I'm single because no one's good enough for me types you know?" We all nod because that's just what you do when Billie's talking I've figured out. "Which is re-tar-déd because she works at fucking Boost Juice, you know. We serve middle-aged men in their bike pants their morning smoothie for fuck's sake."

Nate is rubbing my cheek with his knuckles.

"So she finally gets it into her head to go online-," she snickers.

Shaz sneers. "What, has she not heard about the craigslist killer?"

"I hope she didn't just ruin the ending of your story."

Billie doesn't look phased, just smacks her friend on the leg so loud it must sting but Shaz barely flinches.

"No my ending is even scarier," she sing-songs.

"So she makes a profile -and she lies too, says she's like, a D-cup. I'll eat my own face if she's bigger than a B. And anyway she gets a few calls and nothing makes it for her. Then she meets this guy, says his name is Angel." We all groan. "Yeah, I know, anyway he says he's 6'2", built, black hair, blue eyes. He says he's a photographer and can she send him some pics because she "sounds beautiful" -she told me all this like I cared by the way. So I guess they have gross cyber or something, she would, and finally it's not enough for him and he wants to meet. He wants her to come to Sydney. Sydney, by herself. He says he'll meet her at her hotel that night, yada yada. And the bitch agrees. She's telling me this like every work day "Oh Angel says I could be a model. Angel says I have legs-for-miles. Angel says he loves me for my soul."" She makes a gagging gesture.

"She doesn't really go does she?"

"Oh yeah. She phones me from the hotel room in tears because he's late. Me! I don't even like the bitch. I didn't even know she had my number. Anyway, so she's sobbing and making excuses about how he must have been delayed in traffic, how maybe she got the time wrong. And I'm telling her she needs to just forget about it."

"Not to mention it's dangerous," Shaz says with a hard look at Nate. He shrugs it off.

"So I'm still on the phone with her," Billie goes on, oblivious, "And I hear a knocking in the background. And I'm screaming "Laura, Laura stay on the phone with me" but I guess she drops it or something because I can hear her footsteps and the door unlocking in the background. And then I hear this voice-"

"Last call!" Greg interrupts, slamming out the door with a motley bunch of people behind him. Billie's story is swept up in the crowd of people, saying their good-byes, saying hello to Nate. A girl introduces herself to me but I forget her name almost straight away. A few people don't seem to get that we're not coming. Then they're swapping keys -Eric's pulled up- and sliding into their separate cars and Billie's running inside to grab her bag. And then they're gone and it's just me and him, and somewhere in the house, another of Shaz's roommates who's studying for an exam.

"It's kicking off," he says vaguely, finding his feet and heading inside.

I follow him down the hallway, hoping I don't look too much like a puppy.

The bedroom is dark and he doesn't bother turning the light on, just pulls me in through the door, kisses me roughly and then shoves me back. The back of my legs hit the bed but I don't fall over. The kiss stings.

He peels his jacket of and dumps it on the floor and I ignore the urge to pick it up and hang it. He stares at me for a while, eyes dewy in the silvery streetlight creeping through the blinds.

"You sure you don't want…" I know for some reason that he's talking about the E. Maybe I should. The pot's making me loose-limbed, horny. But I want to feel it more.

"Uh, sure ok."

He pulls out the little baggie again and presses the pill into my palm, fingers of one hand lightly brushing the side of my face. His breathing is ragged.

"Do you mind if I…?" I jerk my head in the direction of the bathroom.

He nods. "Of course. Yeah, that's a good idea."

My lips feel kind of numb but I grab for him, make him kiss me, shove my tongue in his mouth before he's laughing, pushing me toward the bathroom.

I shut the door and flick the light on. A brown moth is skittering, dazed, across the ceiling.

I pull my hoodie off, check my hair in the mirror. It's a bit windblown and my cowlick is playing up but otherwise it's held. I look kind of flushed. It's hard to concentrate. I check that yes, I'm hard. My jeans have slid down a bit so that I can see the muted blue fabric of my briefs. I've sweat a bit through my shirt so I tug that over my head. Check my hair again.

The pill is pale-pink. I let out a shaky breath and stare myself down in the mirror, drink a couple of handfuls of water then check my phone for the time. It's 11.45. Just as I'm flipping it shut it starts vibrating and I swear under my breath, dropping it in the sink. Someone has left crusty streaks of toothpaste on the porcelain and now that's all over my new phone. Fuck. I fumble it out, wipe it on my hoodie. One missed call from mum.

The pill goes in the toilet. I feel kind of bad. They're meant to be expensive.

He's waiting, naked. He's switched the lights on and oh- I feel my whole body tighten at the sight. He's heavier than any guy I've seen naked before, muscled. He's well built up top and his stomach's flat, trim but not too cut. He's only got a little chest hair, not much more than me, just some around his nipples and in the centre. He's waxed from the navel down. The line of his legs is perfect. Hard thighs, curving musculature at the knee. I want to tongue the veins popping over his forearms.

His dick. His dick is half-hard, dark -almost purple- leaning to the right. Cut, like promised.

He shifts on his feet. "Come here," he rasps.

I feel like I'm gliding towards him. His hands are fumbling my belt off before I even remember I wanted to do it myself and make a show of it. He gets impatient with the buckle, groans and kisses my abs, trying to take a biteful. I work my fly out for him and shove the jeans down. They're too tight. I wish I'd worn something I could get off faster. He doesn't seem to mind though, one hand playing with his dick idly while he watches me hop from foot to foot, peeling the denim off, getting it rucked hopelessly about my shoes.

"Austin I want- oh!" He grabs my shoulders hard when I thumb his cock-head. He's already slick. I can smell it. He doesn't let me really get into it though, shoves me backwards and this time I do fall onto the bed. Jeans, underwear, still clinging to one foot. He jams his thumbs under my thighs and hoists my legs up and apart. The stretch is in itself, exquisite. I feel arousal uncoiling along my spine even before he gets his mouth on me.

I don't make a sound, just drive my head back into the duvet, gasp like a fish. He uses the blunt edges of his teeth, his tongue, his lips, the wall of his cheek. Everything. No one's done it like this before. He's hot, wet, creating just enough suction to make me think I'm fucking, grinding my hips up into his face, and he just moans on and on and takes me deeper.

He pulls off with sloppy noise that makes me twitch.

"I want to suck you off. Can I suck you off?" he says, like he hasn't just had my dick in his mouth. His voice is stretched thin, breaking low.

I make a shaky noise of permission and he swallows me again, fingers up in my balls, massaging around. He's not even holding my legs up anymore, that's all me, thrusting up, clenching. I can't get enough of the hot rush flooding into my head, the electric tug of nerves in the back of my legs, in my ass. I want him to finger me, to feel it better.

I don't even feel the first digit. The second stretches, but too brief and he doesn't hit my spot. Then he's grabbing me under my back and yanking me down the bed, pushing me upright and shoving his mouth down on my trail, teeth nipping relentlessly. The vertigo is too much for me, if I didn't have his hands at my waist I'd topple over. All the blood from my head goes cruising south. My hands seek out his hair on automatic, breaking up the gel til all that's left is soft, gorgeous hair just long enough to grab. He shoves his thumb up under my taint, stroking in short, hard motions that make my stomach flip over and my nuts seize up.

He's jamming his tongue in my split with no warning and it's too much, way too much. I'm gonna-

"Oh god, oh god, I-. Shit! I'm-" I tighten my hands in his hair.

His whole body shudders with his moan, the vibrations travelling to the root of my cock. He gets desperate, licks all over my balls, sucks them into his mouth, rubs at the spot behind…It's too much. He barely has time to get his mouth over the head before I'm coming, legs locked, trembling. It's hot flushes wracking my body, relentless, full-voltage pulsations of white-hot pleasure converging in my gut. My cheeks feel wet. The moist slapping sound of him jerking off makes me shoot again with a helpless groan, and then I'm falling back once more, spineless on the covers while he comes on my legs, hot and sudden with a grunt. My dick twitches at that. God. I grab myself, try to stop the aftershocks.

He comes for a long time, his ejaculate dribbling uncomfortable down my shin and his chest quaking against my knees. His hands rake over my stomach and I flinch -over-sensitive- and grab them which seems to be what he wanted anyway. I hold him through it. He kisses the inside of my thigh when he's done. I feel dizzy. Footsteps on the carpet as he heads for the bathroom.

I pull my undies on, and my jeans, annoyed that the damp has settled into the denim. The clanking of my belt flopping open and closed as I dance the jeans up over my hips seems overloud in the stillness of the room. I grit my teeth at the sensation of stuffing my sopping cock into my boxer-briefs. My crack feels wet too.

He comes back smiling, still naked.

"You don't have to wear those. She keeps some of Pete's shorts around if you want."

"Nah," I say, "I'm ok."

He looks a bit disappointed. "Right, well…do want to lie down for a bit?" He scratches at the back of his head and my dick gives a throb remembering the texture of that hair under my fingertips. This is awkward. I don't want to read him wrong but he said he likes to party. We didn't agree on anything like this.

"Uhh…I think I'm just gonna head. It's pretty late."

He bites his lip and fidgets with something, my hoodie I realise, my hoodie which he's brought back from the bathroom with the toothpaste stains on it. He sees me looking and holds it out, deliberately far out from his body like he doesn't want me to get too close.

"Thanks." I put it on, zip it up. My eyes feel itchy. I'm not stoned anymore, just kind of raw and tired.

"Right well, Austin?…I'm going to stay the night so…"

"Oh, s-sure." I start forward just as he does and there's an awkward moment where we kiss. He gives me just a tease of tongue, forgetting that we already got where that goes. I can't blame him. I forget a bit too, the warmth from his body, the faint smell of his sweat…

When we pull apart his eyes are wide, like they were in the car. He's smiling, waiting for me to say goodbye.

"Okay then," I say, because I don't want to say thanks, or, let's do this again. Because he's cute and kind and a bit out of my league and I'm just a high-school student who needs to get his mum's car back in the garage.

I break away and virtually spin out the door, quick and brutal so that I'm not drawing it out. I imagine him laughing once the door clicks shut, running his hands over his face in disbelief. Maybe he'll have another drink and then hit it, wake up in the morning and fly out to some new city and some new hook-up. I'll still be shitting myself over the whole thing, replaying every noise in my head, jerking off, trying not to jerk off, deleting my profile, vacuuming the car seats, getting ready for school on Monday.

I run into Billie just inside the front fly-screen. She's got one hand on the wall, steadying herself as she takes one of her shoes off. Her mascara's smudged a bit and her hair is frizzy, the dress has slipped so you can see just a little too much of her tits, but otherwise she looks like she made a clean night of it.

"Hey," I say, hands in pockets up to the knuckle. The jeans are too tight to actually get my whole hand in there.

"Oh heeeey," she says cheerfully, dropping the second shoe onto the glossy floor-boards with a loud clomp. "Headed home?"


She gives me an uninterpretable smile. It's kinda sad. "It was nice meeting you."

"You too," I say, pushing past her out onto the veranda. The citronella coil's gone out and there are mozzies clinging to the light bulb. The rain's let up. I grab my keys and then remember something. "Hey!" I call out, pulling open the fly-screen before it's even swung shut.

She turns around.

"You never told me, what happened to that girl. Laura. The scary story?"

She looks stunned and then lets out a high-pitched laugh. "Oh it's scary alright. Come get some water with me, I'll tell you." She nods her head in the direction of the kitchen at the opposite end of the hall.

I jingle my keys. "Uhh…"

"Come on. He won't come out. You look like you need a glass of water anyway. Your eyes are kind of red."

I smile nervously. "Heh, ok."

On the way she throws her shoes through the open door of what I assume is her room.

The kitchen's a mess. Empty Coronas, a wine skin, an almost empty bottle of Coke, a broken wine glass in the sink. There's an uneaten pizza gone cold on the table, and someone's disassembled mobile phone. I kind of want to clean up but I'm too tired and besides, that's pedantic and it's not even my house. The skin under my eyes feels red hot.

Billie digs into the pizza without qualms.

"So…the story?"

She nods, chewing. It takes her forever to eat the slice so I fix myself a glass of water from the sink and check the time on my phone. 12.55.

"Where was I? Oh yeah, so," she starts, "So I can hear him knocking in the background and she must have forgotten her phone's still on and I can hear them saying hi and shit. Then I hear them make-out." She wrinkles her nose. "And then they just talk, all night. I swear to god, they didn't even bang, you know." She smacks her hands together on 'bang'.

Billie grabs another piece of pizza. "They hit it off. She lives there now. How scary is that?"

"Shaz is right. That story sucks."

She shrugs. "Why does no one like a happy ending but me."

I give her a 'who-knows' look and head back down the hall, pausing at Nate's room. Well, Georgia and Pete's room, but the room where Nate is at. I shiver.

Shit. I left my shirt in the bathroom. Shit shit shit. I almost groan. This is going to be awkward. I hope he's on the phone or something so I can slip past casually.

I twist the knob and push the door open before I can psych myself out.

It's dark, he's turned the lights out. I don't see him at first but he's on the bed, lying on his side, eyes open, staring at the split in the blinds where the streetlight knifes in. He jerks up, squinting when the light from the hall hits him.

"What?" It comes out kind of accusing.

"Ah, it's just-. My shirt…" I make to head for the ensuite.

"Wait. It's…" He grabs up something from the bed sheets. My shirt. He almost throws it at me.

"Um, thanks."

"No problem," he says flatly as I stuff it in the back of my jeans.

"Night then."


I turn around.



"You going?" he asks, it's slightly hopeful.

And…I think I get it.