"If I drop this tower again, I'm gonna go insane," Maya muttered as she prodded at one wooden block out of a tower-constructed stacks of…blocks.

"Breathe!" Faye chuckled. "Or a fart could sneak up on you."

Maya spent her afternoon at Faye's apartment, taking a break from three hours of working on a paper for their class. What would be fun other than playing Jenga and watch yourself slowly losing your shit because you keep on dropping the tower?

The stacked-up structure fell for the sixth time, ultimately ending the game. "Dammit," Maya cursed.

"You know, I've been thinking about what you told me about Gregg," Faye was saying as Maya started piling up the blocks into its box.

Faye was very much like Gregg growing up, acting up like a five-year-old having temper tantrum to her foster family. Having lost her parents when she was thirteen, Faye didn't know how to handle the grief.

"I didn't have anyone else, but he still has you and Hunter," Faye added, pouring them each a glass of orange juice. "Sometimes what he needs is just spending some time with you. Preferably not at home because that would confine him. I'm sure you know what he likes."

"Other than MMA and WWE, he likes video games and heavy metal," Maya said, taking a sip on her juice. "Taking him to concerts or game convention? Sounds like a great idea. Unless there's an upcoming convention and concerts nearby, that's not happening any time soon."

Faye tapped her chin. "I was thinking of outdoor activities. You guys can go rock climbing or cave exploring. Or ask him what he wants to do. I'm sure he has a bucket list at his age."

Maya liked the idea, mostly because she had been an avid explorer herself. She knew Gregg would love it too. He'd been watching a lot of National Geographics when he wasn't locking himself in the solitude of his room. Her little brother might have cool, hard and stoic exterior, but he was every bit of a nerd like she was.

"I'll take your advise," Maya told Faye.

Faye smiled knowingly. Then she narrowed her eyes, biting her bottom lip- a gesture Maya was so used to when Faye was nervous about something. "Listen. I've been meaning to tell you this and maybe if you have an advise for me, I'd love to hear what you think."

"Shoot," Maya leaned over the table across Faye.

Faye's fingers twirled around the dainty bracelets on her wrist. "I have a date with Joel tonight."

Maya knew she shouldn't be surprised, but she almost choked on her orange juice. "You're talking about our J.C right? The quarterback?"

Most people around the campus called Joel by his initial J.C, for Joel Collins. He was one of the most popular guys in Berkeley; handsome, smart, a star athlete, an honor student, a southern gentleman and an all-around good guy. The cliché of quarterback being manwhore was just a crock- at least for guys like Joel Collins. Maya had known throughout the years of knowing Joel, having been in their small circle of friends. He had at least two steady relationships and never had been the one to mess around with random girls at parties they went to.

"I know it's a cliché, right?" Faye giggled nervously. "A quarterback and a nerdy girl coming together. I have a crush on him like, since freshman year, but he had a girlfriend back then, and now since he's been single for a year, he asked me out…so why not give it a shot? It's our last semester in college before he gets drafted to the NFL."

Maya smiled, happy for her friend. "Oh my god. I'm so happy for you. I mean I always knew you have a crush on J.C and he's a good guy. You don't need an advise from me, girl, you know what to do. Just be yourself."

"Yeah. I'm so glad I don't have to pretend anymore," Faye sighed. "Can you imagine the fluttering feeling you always feel when the person you have a crush on is someone who's in your same circle of friends? I've always felt that longing whenever I looked at Joel but never got to touch him, knowing he's been within our small group the whole time."

Maya didn't say anything. She just smiled and nodded at her friend. But her mind wandered too at what Faye had been saying. It was their last semester in college and the boys within their small circle of friends; Joel, Dallas, Braxton, Mark and River would soon get drafted to the NFL and they'd make it big, playing for their hometown. Everyone wanted to experience relationships at their finest with no one else besides the person they knew all along…

Maya wanted to have that too. "Can you imagine the fluttering feeling you always feel whenever the person you have a crush on is someone who's in your same circle of friends?" Faye's words played in her mind over and over again.

The melancholy feeling slammed into her and memories washed over, flashing back to the time when she first realized she had this strange feeling toward River…

When it actually started back then…

It was River's nineteenth birthday and Ralph hosted a pool party at their parents' mansion- with the absence of their parents of course. Maya was sitting on the edge of the pool in her black tankini while other girls parading around in their sexy Victoria's Secret bikinis.

Boys strutted around in their speedos, some stopped by her side to check her out and she gave them the side-eye, wanting to be left alone. Mark would come sit with her, but then he'd gotten too distracted by girls clamoring for his attention, twirling prettily in tiny bikini. Joel on the other hand, had to hide inside the mansion- away from the groupies.

Just then, River climbed out of the pool.

And she immediately froze- for the first time, this instant reaction in her at his presence, at the very sight of him.

The water dripped down his muscular body.

Sweet holy Jesus.

When did that happen to her best friend and why hadn't she ever notice it before?

Her eyes followed the flex of his tanned strong arms, trailed over the broad shoulders, big biceps and defined abs. He placed his hands on his tapered hips as he talked to Ralph. The trail of hair from his belly button disappeared into his trunks. The outline of his cock was thick and proud, not erected, but it was big. And when he turned around, she had a nice view of his very, very nice rounded ass.

Unbeknownst of her existence sitting few feet away from him, River turned his attention to a pretty blonde in sexy red bikini, Bethany. He gave her a devilish grin and immediately worked his hands just under the cracks of Bethany's ass, grasping her sides, pulling her flushed to him.

Maya bit her bottom lip, still watching intently as River lowered his mouth to engage in a fierce, passionate liplock that seemed to leave Bethany's knees trembling and her hands went up to entangle his wet, dark blond strands.

She narrowed her eyes to the blue water, feeling guilty and ashamed having to witness such raw intimacy that made her hot. Also, there was this jagged feeling sawing its way through her heart at the sight.

River would never look at her the way he looked at Bethany with that devilish grin- as if he wanted to devour her. The way he looked at Maya was very different ; it was soft, gentle and understanding- but she couldn't deny that look gripped at her heart as much as that cocky, predatory look he gave to other girls.

Sometimes, River looked at her as if she was his whole world. Nobody looked at her the way he did.

When he spoke to her, he could feel his emotions altogether, not guarded, unlike when he talked to their other friends. And she thought mainly because they were best friends.

Maya knew she had strong feelings for River back then.

The vindication came on the morning of Christmas eve that same year when he accompanied her to her parents graveyard; he took off his black wool coat and draped it over her shoulders, he smiled at her- it was so different than the cocky grin he gave everyone in campus, the one that rendered girls senseless. That beautiful, angelic smile- only for her, made her heart skip several beats in its wake.

But what changed?

Nick Butler happened.

Yes, Nick waltzed into her life and made her forget about her unrequited feelings for her best friend.

It happened one night at junior year housewarming party. Maya sat in a dark corner, lurking at her best friend who was in the kitchen with Bethany, like a fucking creep. River was nursing a beer while his one hand stroking the blonde's bare knee and trailed further upward, then disappeared under her mini skirt. Bethany's mouth fell open in a silent moan, her eyes shut as her head tilted backward and they were engaged in an open-mouthed kiss.

The pain in her heart intensified at the sight.

"Not nice to stare, gorgeous," a masculine voice patronized her. She turned to find a tall, handsome young man with startling hazel-green eyes smiling at her. "Can I get you a drink?"

That was her first encounter with the notorious Nick Butler; defenseman of Berkeley's hockey team. That night was the first night she had fun dancing with a guy, letting herself loose. Nick told her he'd been watching her for months; he looked forward to seeing her in classes they shared, catching the glimpse of her in the busy hallway, and how she would stare into a space as she studied in the library. He couldn't get enough of her, the next day he asked her out on a date.

They were together for almost a year.

Maya dated him because it was a habit she couldn't break. She hated to admit that she needed someone like Nick to forget her feelings and the whole frisson thing with River, and it eventually worked. Also, her relationship with Nick did put a strain in their friendship.

But Nick was a charming bastard and a two-timing asshole all in his shithead glory.

His flaw was so bad she couldn't see the good in him anymore.

Which was why she gave zero fucks when Nick and his hockey buddies stumbled into the café with three girls- their puck bunnies, as Faye and her were enjoying their iced latte there later that day.

"Huh, looks like Abby is a bunny now," Faye commented, inclining her straw toward Abby, who was all up on one of Nick's friends.

Maya shrugged. "She'll do as she pleased," she told her nonchalantly.

"I'm so glad you're over Nick," Faye added. "Back then you were so lost without him."

Nick was like a drug- or more like lint on her clothes that she couldn't get rid off easily.

"Hi, Maya."

She didn't have to look up to see who it was- that deep, masculine, silky voice she was so accustomed to, used to knock her off senseless, was now like a buzzing sound in her head.

"Are you following me, Butler?"

"I was about to say the same thing to you. Funny how we always seem to stumble upon each other," Nick sounded nonplussed.

"Yeah like Adam and Eve," Maya replied sarcastically and that earned a chortle from him. "What the hell are you laughing at?"

She wasn't sure if it was a happy laugh or I'm-about-to-lose-my-shit laugh.

Nick went sober then. "I just realized how much I missed that," he told her. "How much I missed you."

Across from her, Faye cupped her face with both hands. Maya didn't know if Faye was restraining herself from laughing or fighting the urge to strangle Nick.

"You fucked up, Nick," Maya muttered, looking up at him in the eyes. "Go back to your dickweed nest."

"You heard the lady," Faye finally pulled her shit together. "We don't want attention from your herd."

As usual, Nick didn't put up a scene. But he was sure not to give up on her either.

"I hate bachelor's party."

Maya turned and smiled warily at Lucy, who shared the same disdain toward the club's perverse nature with her. The bachelor's party was in full swing and the theme being Lingerie Night. All the ladies including Big Mamma Cheyenne, Lucy and Maya herself donned costumes suit the theme of the night. Maya was wearing a purple lace babydoll and she was relieved it came with a kimono robe so she wouldn't feel so exposed. Lucy was wearing the same set as well in pink color. Both girls were just busying themselves arranging drinks behind the bar, while the other girls were entertaining a group of wealthy men. Maya found out the groom-to-be was actually a son of the congressman.

"And why the fuck would they let a beautiful girl like you manning behind the bar?"

She wheeled around to see Ralph. Decked in all-black suit, flashing a wide smile that screamed all-American son of a bitch. Of course, he had to be the one to organize this type of party. According to him, the groom-to-be had been his repeated client.

"It's okay, Ralph. This is my job most of the time," she tapped a finger over a ring pull of a Guinness stout can. "No men here would like to spend their time with my boring ass," she deadpanned.

He shook his head. "Only an idiot would mind a little more time with you."

With Ralph, there was no back-handed dig. But again, he wasn't an asshole. He was actually okay.

"Dude, you gonna play or what?" River asked and tipped his chin toward Mark's hand of cards.

They were at the party in Berkeley's Football House. The football team would be having an away game against the Ravens at Baltimore in two days. Hence, the House hosted a small gathering. However, the congregation turned out to be a drunken party. The music was ear-splitting, and the boisterous noise from the throngs of sweaty bodies packed into the House was agonizing.

River thought parties used to be his scene, but it didn't feel like it anymore. His first thought was hanging out with Maya, but she had to work the night. Then, he contemplated to go home to bed and rest for the next twelve hours before their flight to Baltimore.

And didn't that fucking suck?

He lifted the can of beer to his mouth and took a long drink from it, acrid taste filled his tongue. He'd been nursing the same beer for the past half hour, and it wasn't even his second. He planned to not get his ass drunk, especially when his friends were starting to have shit hands.

Dallas was on the other side of the House, flirting with two girls. Joel and Braxton only appeared for the first ten minutes and then they went out on dates with their girls.

Mark tossed his cards on the table and slumped his back on the couch, scrubbing his hands up and down his face. "I need more beers!" he exclaimed.

"Chill the fuck out, man," River shook his head. "You've had at least half a dozen beers already."

"So what? Not everyone's like Brax the choirboy," Mark slurred. He just came up with a nickname for Braxton in his head few beers ago.

"What's this gotta do with Brax?"

Then River immediately regretted it. Braxton was out on a date with Elvann- the girl Mark had been pining over, while they were stuck in this lame-ass party.

"This is about Elvann, isn't it?" River wasn't going to beat around the bush. "Man, I thought everything's cool with you guys."

Mark shook his head dejectedly, his cheeks were flushed from alcohol. "She's too fucking nice and sweet for him. He's gonna ruin her."

"No. He won't. You said it to yourself. Brax is a choirboy, a good boy. We all know that."

Braxton was such a contradict to his childhood friend, Dallas- who was a rowdy bad boy. Braxton was raised in LDS household before his parents broke away from the belief when he was seventeen. Although he wasn't so sheltered anymore, he was as pure as driven snow. The angel among the shitheads in his small group of close friends.

Mark glared at him, his gray eyes were glossy. The guy was seriously shitfaced to the ground. "That doesn't stop him from taking advantage of a sweet woman."

"Really? Why would you think so?"

Mark pointed at his lap. "Because I have a dick. We all think with our dicks."

"Have you taken advantage of Elvann before?"

"No," Mark shook his head vehemently.

"But what if it's the other way round?" River was tempted to mess with Mark's drunken ass, for all those years of giving him shit for pining over Maya. "What if she's the one taking advantage of him?"

Mark glanced at him sharply. "Dude, you're fucked in the head, man."

"I was just kidding," River shrugged.

Mark looked around, looking aggravated as shit. "I need some pussy to fuck. This place is full of 'em."

The offering came in a shape of curvy ass and ample tits in his fucking face. River rolled his eyes when Leona, the girl who had a fling with Mark few months ago, made a run and plopped down on Mark's lap. "I missed you, Leony," Mark gushed at the petite brunette straddling him. He pretty much found the pussy he was looking for.

"Can I get you more beer, sexy?"

River turned to see the pretty blondie who was his first hook-up when he got into Berkeley, Bethany.

Bethany and her flirtatious smile, her big tits were all but spilling out of her shirt, her long-ass red nails dug onto his biceps as he fucked the shit out of her.

He mentally pondered on why he was wrapped in her long time ago. Bethany was so easy to get into bed and she didn't have any expectations of anything after. At the same time, he felt bad too…because he was using her. He was using her and other girls to combat his growing feelings toward Maya.

But he was tired of fighting.

He was a fucking idiot for fighting against something that'd only continue to grow from time to time.

"No. I'm fine," River said to her.

She gave him a coy smile. Those talented fingers of her trailed over his thigh. "By the way, you played amazing last Friday night. It was really hot."

Surprisingly, his dick didn't respond to that and it had been months since he got laid.

"I know," his expression crestfallen. "You commented on my Instagram."

Bethany edged closer to him, speaking in a low tone. "Can we talk somewhere quiet?" Her palm roamed closer to his crotch, fat tits pressed against his upper arm.

There was no talk. Everything would end up with fucking and River wasn't going to fuck Bethany while sober. Actually, he wasn't feeling it. He could take willing Bethany upstairs and fuck for a few hours- but he'd rather go home, jerk off to the images of his best friend and go to bed.

"I'd love to talk," he lied to her, "But I need to go return a call." He took out his phone and held it up, trying to back up his bluff. Bethany's lascivious expressions immediately switched into disappointment.

River took a walk outside the House, looking at his phone, continuing with the charade in case Bethany had been watching him. The message on the screen made his heart pound harder for a few beats.

Maya: Ralph passed out in the middle of the dance floor.

As soon as they reached the penthouse apartment, River pulled Ralph's heavy, sloshed ass out of his Bentley. Ralph had both River and Maya for support on either side as they dragged him toward the large entrance door.

"Exactly how much did he drink?" River grounded.

"He was drinking like a fish," Maya replied.

River dismissed the startled look given by the security guard who was manning the front desk of the penthouse apartment when the threesome passed over the lobby heading to the elevator.

River dropped his brother on the king-sized bed. Maya helped unconscious Ralph to remove his suit jacket and tie, then put the quilt over his body.

"He's going to hack green shit sooner or later," River murmured as he placed a glass and a pitcher of warm water on his brother's bedside table.

Maya made a face, "He already did on the dance floor."

River let out a quiet chuckle and poured the water out of the pitcher into the glass. Then, he ransacked his brother's medicine cabinet in the bathroom adjoined to the bedroom for a packet of Advil. When he came back into the room, Maya wasn't there anymore. He settled the packet next to the glass of water on the bedside table, knowing Ralph might be needing it any time soon. He shut the door behind him, cutting off the soft snores from his brother.

He walked along the hallway toward the living area to find Maya sitting on the long leather couch, taking off her five-inch heels and stretching out her legs. She already removed the long coat he lend to her earlier to cover herself, as she was only wearing what appeared to be a short nightgown over a silky robe- her costume for the night.

"You're going to have high heel hangover tomorrow," River teased her.

"I wish they could just allow me wear sneakers," she said, her fingers started massaging the arch of her feet.

In the dim glow of the living room, he let his gaze traveled from her dainty feet to her long, graceful, slender legs. The hem of the robe hiked up a little bit to show the soft-looking, creamy skin of her thighs. Her robe parted slightly and when she bent over, he'd get a great view of her cleavage. Heat flooded through him.

When her delicate fingers curled along the underside of her calf, his cock twitched against the zipper of his jeans.

Fuck. Down, boy.

"Do you have biofreeze?" Maya gave him a heated look and River knew he'd been caught staring.

His jaw clenched. "Be right back."

As he ambled down the hallway toward the medicine cabinet, he was pondering, figuring out how not to want to fuck his best friend.

When he came back with the muscle pain relief cream, she was rubbing the sore spot on her ankle. He dropped down on his knees in front of her, his hands cupping her ankles, "Let me help you," he murmured, his tone gruff.

Her hazel eyes darkened, bored into him. He could feel the heat of her stare burning him. After a beat of silence, she smiled lightly. "I should've known. You're way more experienced in muscle pain than I am."

He smiled back and narrowed his gaze to her bared legs, "I did everything myself," then he tapped the underside of her calf, "stretch your legs for me," he instructed.

Fuck him, it sounded like he was instructing her to spread her legs for him- and his cock surely took notice.

He squirted some cream on his palm and rubbed it on her dainty feet. She giggled when he gently squeezed her toes and the bent arch at the heel.

"That's ticklish," she cupped her mouth with her hand. The action made his heart seize in his chest.

"Stay still," he told her with a small chuckle.

He spread the cream on her shins and began working on her legs. He ran his palms along the length of her long, beautiful legs- one of the many parts of her he was so fascinated at. His thumbs pressed on the tense muscles of her calves, kneading tenderly. Her skin was smooth and felt like silk under his touch.

A soft, breathy sound escaped her and when he looked up at her, her eyes were closed and her lips parted a little. He started massaging slowly and lazily.

"Feels good?" he murmured, his voice husky.

"Yes," she replied breathily.

Fuck. He was thinking of filthy damn things, obscene images that had his dick throbbing and his balls drawn up tight. Like how to have her moaning his name and getting off all over his cock.

River rose a little as his fingers started kneading the back of her knees gently and ever so slowly. He bit his bottom lip to suppress the groan that was about to spill out of him while watching her and feeling the softness of her skin. She involuntarily threw her head back, exposing her slender neck. His mouth watered at the sight. The little sound she elicited was erotic and his cock jerked so fucking fiercely against his jeans.

He dropped his gaze to her knees and realized her legs were parted slightly. He licked his lips, imagining the moisture between her folds increasing. What he wanted to do with Maya was fucking filthy but in ways that'd make her scream his name and sated. Brazenly, his palms slid from her knees to her upper thighs.


He felt her warm fingers curled around his wrists, halting his ministration. She clenched her thighs together. Her cheeks pink and her hazel eyes blazed with emotions.

"I think we need to stop," her voice was low, intoxicating in his ears.

He blinked. "Right." She was right. He should stop before what little control he had snapped the fuck in half.

She cleared her throat. "It's late. I better get going."

He glanced at the clock on the high wall, "Mae, it's half past midnight," he cupped her knees, "Stay. You can sleep in my room."

At his words, Maya wore this strange expression on her face, one that was weighing her options; if she should stay or go home.

What do you guys think? Should Maya go home or stay overnight? I'm letting you choose. Next chapter will probably be up by next Friday or earlier.

Thanks to ForeverinDelirium, zooey will and sunkissed-skin (of course I remember you!) for the reviews.

Hope you enjoyed this chapter!

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