Page 15 of Before (After 5)

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I walk through the crowded party, pushing my way through a group of wasted assholes playing some sort of drinking game to occupy their time while trying desperately to fit in. Their bloodshot eyes and stupid grins make me nauseous as I pass them. One by one they give me the same “he’s an asshole” look¸ while tossing plastic balls into beer-filled cups and cheering as if they’ve won some sort of medal for being completely brainwashed into drinking the cheapest beer from shared cups.

When I get to the crowded hallway, I spot Steph and her tagalong. The blond girl looks clueless, completely out of place in the swarm of moving bodies. A drink is pushed into her hand, and she smiles politely, despite the fact that she doesn’t want it. I can tell by the look in her eyes. She takes it, though, bringing the red cup to her mouth.

Another follower. Surprise, surprise.

“Helloooo, Earth to Hardin!” Molly’s voice cuts through the noise. I glance down at her, noting the annoyed expression on her face while she rests her hand on her hip. Her eyes are on Tessa and Steph.

“What were you staring at?” she asks, voice tight.

“Nothing. Mind your damn business.” I continue on, up the stairs and toward my room. Behind me I hear tacky and excessive jewelry clanging in the most annoying way. I turn back to Molly and her puppy-dog eyes. “Are you following me for a reason?”

She flips her pink hair from her shoulder. “I’m bored,” she complains.

“And . . . ?” I pull my phone from my back pocket and pretend to be doing anything but listening to her.

Molly runs her hand down my arm. “Entertain me, asshole.”

I look her up and down, enjoying the way her tiny dress shows off all the things I’ve already seen. Her nails push into my skin, and her smile grows.

“Come on, Hardin, when was the last time you got off?”

She has no shame. I like it.

“Well, considering you blew me two days ago . . .”

Her lips are on mine before I can get another word out. I pull back, she pushes forward.

Ah, may as well. She’s not half bad, and there are worse things I could be doing with my time. Like Steph, hanging out with Goody Theresa all night. That would put anyone to sleep.

Molly leads me to the farthest bedroom on the right; she already knows better than to try to go into my room. No one comes into my room. The door closes behind her, and she’s on me within seconds. Her mouth is hot, her lips painted with sticky gloss.

The act of touching, be it with Molly or someone else, gives me an escape. Doesn’t make much sense to me, but when my mind is turned off for a while, it’s easier. It’s a rush, the only time I really feel much of anything.

Molly leads me to the bed, an empty one without so much as a sheet on the damned thing. These small details don’t make a difference when you don’t feel any of it. Molly lays her small body on mine, grinding herself against my leg. I wrap her pink hair around my fist, pulling her mouth off of mine

“No,” I warn her. She groans, whining like she usually does when I remind her not to kiss me.

“You’re such an asshole,” she complains, but shifts to straddle my waist.

The door clicks open, and she stops moving her hips. Turning around, she sits up, and I lean up on my elbows.

“Can I help you?” Molly’s tone is harsh with impatience and need.

And of course—of course—standing in the doorway is Tessa, Steph’s roommate, with a look on her face that tells me she’s more embarrassed than Molly and I put together.

“Oh . . . no. Sorry,” she stammers. “No, sorry, I was looking for a bathroom; someone spilled a drink on me.” She frowns down at her soiled dress as if it was evidence. This girl spends a lot of time looking down, it seems.

“Okay? So go find a bathroom,” Molly mocks with a flip of her hand. “Go find a bathroom.”

Tessa leaves the room immediately and closes the door.

Still, as Molly starts in on my neck, I can see the shadow of Tessa’s feet under the doorway. Is she listening to us? How fucking weird. A few seconds later she disappears and Molly reaches her hand down between my legs.

“God, that girl irritates me,” she complains.

For someone who isn’t very well liked herself, Molly sure has a lot of people who “irritate” her.

“Should I have asked her to join us?” I shrug my shoulders, and Molly grimaces.

“Ew. No way. Bianca or Steph, maybe, but that Tessa dud, no way. She’s not even hot, and she’s twice my size nearly.”

“You’re a bitch, you know that?” I shake my head at her. Tessa, plain and all, has a nice body—the kind of body that men love, the kind of body that I would devour in a heartbeat if she could learn to tame that attitude of hers.

“Whatever. It’s just her tits that you like.” Molly’s mouth latches on to my neck.

“I don’t like her,” I say, feeling the need to defend myself.

“Well, obviously you don’t like her.” Molly draws back to look at my eyes. She smiles like we’re in on a secret together or something. “That doesn’t mean you wouldn’t fuck her.”

Her mouth catches my jaw, nipping at the skin there. Her hands grip me, one over my cock, and she continues to move her small body over mine.

“No more talking.” I reach down between her parted thighs and run my fingers over her. She groans against my neck, and I focus on the pleasure she’s providing me. Molly is more like me than she would ever admit. She, too, finds her days bleak and unexciting. She, too, uses sensation to escape her own head. I don’t know much about her really, and she’ll never share, but I can tell it was rough.

Molly’s body shakes as I pump my fingers into her, knowing by now how to get her off quickly. Just as she moans, I catch the sound of “Lou,” but she quickly recovers and says my name.

Lou? What the fuck? I try not to laugh at the thought of her talking about Logan, saying his nickname while I pleasure her. She knows better than to think he would give her the time of day. He’s nice enough to her—simply because he’s a nice guy—but the guy has standards.

If I cared, I would call her out on it, but I simply don’t give a fuck. I use her and she uses me—we both know this. My mind wanders to the party downstairs. I wonder how many times Steph’s roommate has cried so far. She’s quite the emotional one, with her ranting and sassy attitude that belies a frailty.