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Lately, all Reed has to do is say my name, and I start to flush. Trying to distract him and myself, I keep talking about my mom.

“She looks bad. I kind of feel sorry for her. She was crying, and I had to hear this whole speech about how she was always plain and I’m beautiful. It makes me feel bad for her… kind of,” I say slowly, listening for any sounds indicating Reed is still masturbating.

He’s silent for a moment. Then it sounds like he is moving around. I can’t lie; I’m a little disappointed.

“Kitten, you are one of the kindest people I know.” There’s the sound of a door shutting. “Now, Olive Oyl, she’s pathetic. Serves her right. She makes herself look like a freak.”

“You have to stop calling her Olive Oyl.” I bite my bottom lip so as not to laugh. He is right though. She does resemble the cartoon minus the black hair.

“It’s my birthday. The whole place is decorated. She worked super hard on it, so try to be nice to her.” Lying back on the couch, I picture Reed shirtless, his toned abs flexing down to that V that makes me drool.

“You’re playing the birthday card today, huh? What will you give me if I’m on my best behavior? Actually, fuck that. Beyond good behavior. I’m talking major ass kissing.” His voice is husky.

Bolting up, I ask, “What do you want?” sounding way too enthusiastic.

“I want to have you all to myself tonight. Me and my birthday girl.” My heart races and my stomach flips again. As I rub my legs together, a ripple of pleasure zings straight to the inside of my legs. Reed and I have been doing some major make-out sessions. But he hasn’t gone any further than my breasts. I wonder what he is going to do to me tonight. I hope he makes me come—I want him to.

“Deal,” I whisper. My eyes dart around as I wait for my mother to explode into our sphere.

“What was that, Kitten?”

I smile into my phone. “You’re such a brat… deal, I can’t wait!”

“Neither can I. I’ll be over around two. Claire still insisting we wear suits?”


“Prepare yourself for prince charming. I love you,” he says, his voice low and gravelly.

“Love you too.” Hanging up, I literally start singing, not caring that my voice is average at best. I’m happy, so I belt out the Beatles’ “Birthday” as I roll around the couch.

My singing is cut short when our doorman calls, alerting me that Brance is on his way up. Throwing open the door, I stare, fascinated. Brance is hauling three large garment bags and is accompanied by a girl covered in tattoos. She has pink hair and follows him, pulling a makeup bag on wheels.

“Brance, what the hell have you done? It’s just us!”

He pushes some metallic streamers out of the way and kisses me on the lips. “No arguing with me, Tess. It’s your birthday! Claire is going to need all of my attention.” He huffs. “Tess, this is Tilly.” He wraps an arm around Tilly’s shoulder. “This woman is mind-blowing in the art of makeup. Between the two of us, I am confident we can tape up your mother’s eye. Where is she?” His chocolate eyes roam the room and he no doubt takes in the ridiculous explosion of party decorations, paper lanterns, streamers, and tinsel dangling from the ceiling. “Thank God, is that coffee I smell?” He veers toward the kitchen.

Laughing, I say, “What would I do without you?”

I turn to the girl with pink hair. “Hello, welcome to the insane asylum.” I wave my hands like I’m Vanna White. She looks around in awe.

“Can I get you a cup of coffee?” I offer, having no idea where Brance found Tilly. She is clearly much older than we are.

“That would be awesome. Wow… I always wondered who actually lives in places like this.”

“Yeah, don’t hold it against Tess. She can’t help that she’s rich and some decorator puked glitter all over her apartment for her big day.”

My eyes widen. “Excuse me, what are you?”

He ignores me as he opens the fridge.

“Oh my God!” Tilly has her hands over her mouth. “That is your refrigerator? It looks like a cabinet!”

Brance and I glance at it, both of us numb to such extravagant things. She walks over to it, her hands touching how it all blends in with the wooden cabinets. “So cool.”

Smiling, I say, “Two coffees, coming up. Tilly? Do you like anything in yours?” I’m already scooping two large spoonfuls of sugar into Brance’s cup.

“Just a little crème if you have it.”

“Of course.” I hand them both their cups.

All of us turn as we hear the door open. Maria and her sister Letty bustle in carrying all kinds of bags filled with food and alcohol.

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