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“Are you kidding me? Even if I could forgive him for sleeping with half of Manhattan, I can’t ever forgive him for Lexi!”

“Well, that’s a bit dramatic considering you two are not even together.”

Leaning my head back, I absently think this might be the most comfortable seat ever. I stare up at the top of the Ferrari. “Let’s not talk. It makes me want to kick you.”

He bursts out laughing, and I have to turn my head. It hurts how much they look alike.

We sit in silence for a moment, and I feel Jax’s warm hand on my leg. Looking over at him, he is still grinning. I have to fight myself not to smile back.

“How long you going to make Reed grovel before you gift him with your golden cherry?”

“Jax!” I fling his hand off my leg. “I have no idea what you are talking about,” I snip.

He’s full-on laughing now. “Come on, Tess. This is me you’re talking to.”

Glaring at him, I say, “You’re going to get a ticket. I’m pretty sure the speed limit isn’t one hundred and three miles per hour.”

“Shit.” He lets up on the accelerator and the car purrs as she slows down.

Now that everything is not flashing by, I’m able to admire the view outside my window. The green trees and tall grass sway with the breeze. It’s like seeing an old friend again. If we weren’t going to Lexi’s family’s home, I would be excited. There is something magical about the water and the Hamptons in general.

“Don’t try to change the subject.”

When I look over at him, his eyes are full of mischief. He is obviously not going to give up until I give him something. “What makes you think I haven’t already given up my cherry?” I ask, trying to sound confident.

“Golden cherry, Tess. Don’t sell yourself short.”

I shake my head at him. “You’re absurd,.” Looking out the window again, I stay that way before he can see my smile.

“It’s in your eyes, Tess.”

“Whatever, Jax.” I bite my lip.

“Also, I know you. You would never give your virginity to anyone but Reed. He’ll be all your firsts. The good and the tragic.”

My eyes snap to his. What a telling thing to say. Is that what Reed and I are? Good and tragic? I reach to turn the radio on. U2’s “With or Without You” fills the silence. Turning away from Jax, I mumble, “Wake me up when we get there.”TESSThe party is a hit. I mean, it’s crowded and loud. Lots of girls in bikinis and boys without shirts. And alcohol, lots of it. There’s even a DJ over by the drink cabana pumping out his own kind of dance-rap mix.

Smiling as I take in the crowd, I scan the area for the familiar dark curls. I’m even drinking beer, which I despise, but I’m choking it down because I’m with Jax and it’s his birthday. And if I’m honest, I’m having fun. Maybe all my worrying is for naught. I mean with the size of this place, there’s a good chance I will never even see Reed.

“Oh my God! Tess? Is that you?” Glancing over Jax’s shoulder, I notice Tiffany as she stumbles toward us. Clearly, she’s intoxicated and not very graceful. Grabbing ahold of Jax’s shoulder to stabilize herself, she laughs as if not being able to walk is hilarious.

I groan into my plastic cup and take a quick sip of warm beer.

“Tiffany! How great to see you,” I gush, then want to gag. Maybe it’s the stale beer or I’m making myself sick at my phoniness. Her eyes sweep me from top to bottom. Unfortunately, it seems Tiffany has not found a new muse. Her brown hair is still cut exactly like mine three years ago. Her hand stays on Jax’s shoulder as if she needs him to stand.

“Wow, you’re a blonde.” Her voice is wistful. “I was thinking about going blond too.”

“Jesus Christ.” Jax pulls her hand off him. “Pull it together, Tiffany.”

She frowns, then gets distracted by a drone someone is flying. It hovers right in front of us buzzing away in our faces.

“Hey,” she screams. “It’s my turn to fly that thing.” She marches toward the guy, who turns and runs, taking the drone with him.

Jax wraps an arm around me. “See, same old shit. You do know Tiffany will be blond tomorrow.”

I laugh. “Only if she can remember today.”

“That reminds me—I need to remember today.” He pulls out his phone and positions us for a selfie. We make stupid faces. I turn and take the phone to check the picture. I’m still surprised when I see myself. Clearly the blond hair still hasn’t sunk in.

With a shake of my head, I say, “I used to pour over Instagram and Facebook, wishing I was at one of these parties. I was a complete stalker you know.” When I look up at him, the sun is in my eyes, so all I see are dark dots, but I feel him tap my nose.