Seth and the Talk
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"It works," said Seth to Blake on their way to the senior parking lot where Blake had been parking since freshman year. He squeezed her closer to him and said, "Because, honestly, the only people that have my new phone number would be my mother, you, and Jake. Jake hasn't used Advice Tree this entire year, so there aren't any worries there."
"Hmm," said Blake. "Come to think of it, you really do have an empty phone. I like how your dad got you an unlimited texting plan, even though you don't text anyone."
Seth leaned against the car and said, "But, you know, the administration isn't happy. Apparently, Advice Tree's news is detracting from the more important news—the cafeteria is now serving slushies."
"Huh," said Blake, "I guess the freshmen won't have to ditch class to go to 7-Eleven, then."
They got into the car and sat down, not bothering to put on their seatbelts. It was not even close to after school. It was, actually, lunch, and Blake excused them from their typical table on the pretense of, "I need to talk to my counselor."
The January air was biting, so Blake kept the roof of the car up and sank into her seat with a weary expression on her face. Seth glanced over at her briefly and said, "Blake, you know, it doesn't seem like it, but I do have a lot of leverage over the basketball team and I could probably end all this nude picture business."
Blake covered her face with her hands, and for a second, Seth thought she was going to cry, until she snapped, "Seth, that's irrelevant information. I get even, and just stopping the damage isn't going to cut it."
"It was just a suggestion," muttered Seth. He leaned towards Blake and eased one of her hands into his. "Blake, you don't have to pretend that it's affecting you, especially around me. If you just tell me what you're feeling…"
"I'm feeling angry. And sad. And frustrated. And worried. And scared." Blake glared straight ahead. "And you know what, Seth? I don't know what I would do if you looked at those pictures. I don't want anyone to look at my body, especially not you."
The statement surprised Seth, who asked, "What do you mean by that? I wouldn't think any differently of you, Blake."
But really, Seth got it. He got it 100%, and seeing Blake so distraught, leaning against her steering wheel with a sullen expression, practically drowning in her too-large cable knit sweater, tugged at something in Seth. He wanted nothing else but to protect her, make her smile, even if it meant taking away her chance at closure and revenge.
Blake sat up very slowly. "I mean that I would not want your first chance at seeing a naked woman be a grainy picture of your girlfriend on a cell phone. Things like that should be done properly and in person, romantically. Don't look at me like that. I rescind my comment. We are not moving to second base, Seth."
"I wasn't suggesting that."
"But you were thinking that." Blake locked eyes with Seth, trying to sort through his expression. In spite of the serious conversation they had been having, Seth couldn't help but smile (a slight twitch in the cheek, but just enough for his dimples to show) at how accurate Blake was. "Ugh, men. You're all dogs, even gentlemen like you, Seth. That Addison slut always alludes to the fact that we've been dating for a year and haven't had sex. Can you believe that girl? Sex requires love. And passion. And actually knowing the guy's name. She throws herself at any and all attractive boys. Like you."
"Very true." Seth frowned and pulled a grapefruit-flavored cough drop out of the glove compartment. "Blake, about that, she's been flirting with me while I'm teaching her algebra, and that is a problem." He unwrapped the lozenge and popped it into his mouth.
"Lead her on," Blake said. "Seth, we're going all in. Just don't initiate contact with her."
Blake jabbed her knuckle against her chin. "Girls like her and Cherry really irritate me. You wouldn't believe how many times Cherry's asked me about, well, you know…"
Actually, Seth didn't know, but in his mind, it was something sexual. Before his imagination could run wild (and his blood pressure get any higher) he said, "Blake, we don't have to do anything right now if you're not comfortable going further than, um, we've been going."
He took a peek at Blake to see what her reaction was, but she was as poker-faced as she was a second ago. Seth continued, "But, since we are in love, I think that anything we do is appropriate and if you want we can, well, do more, uh, stuff."
Blake mulled over the statement. "Fair enough, Seth." She smiled suddenly. "Despite all this craziness, I feel better. Talking to you has just gotten me into a pretty good mood, and I'm just going to totally ignore the fact that nude pictures of myself are being sold and that we have a group project in APUSH and that Addison is out to get me."
Seth's mouth quirked into a little smile. "Blake, I'm not sure that attitude—"
"It's fine." Blake fluffed up her hair in the rearview mirror and said, "Just for right now. It's good to get some things sorted out."
"This conversation is over, Seth." Blake opened the door and slipped out, fluffing her hair against the cool wind. "I'll make it worth it. Promise."
Exiting the car, Seth asked, "Make what worth it? You can't just use an ambiguous pronoun and expect me to know what you mean, Blake."
With a dastardly smirk, Blake turned around and held Seth's hands in hers. She closed the distance between them so that their bodies were flush, and then went on her tiptoes to kiss Seth's jaw. Seth leaned down, taking the height difference away, and locked lips with his sometimes bold, sometimes mild, almost always unpredictable Blake.
Seth felt Blake's tongue swirl inside his mouth and was about to meet it with some action of his own before Blake pulled away, taking with her the cough drop.
"Kissing you when you're sick makes me sick, Seth." Blake threw her arm around Seth's waist and gave him a tight squeeze. Seth reciprocated the action around her shoulders. "We have classes to ace and bitches to fuck up."
Seth kissed the side of Blake's head and said, "I love you a lot, Blake."
"I know, Seth. And I love you more than a lot."