Page 43 of The Keeper

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“Unfortunately, it is not. I’m not in Vegas. I’m at the Hirsch compound under strict house arrest.”

“What? Why?”

“It’s my dad’s big birthday bonanza weekend. Ditta hasbig plans. Huge.”

“Wow, and you didn’t call me in for backup? I’m wounded.”

I don’t have the heart to tell him I invited Cal as backup. Stuart is always my plus-one, which never freaks my mom out because she knows it’s not like that between Stuart and me.

“Are you wounded?” I ask, grinning. “Really?”

“No, not really,” he says. “Well, actually, a little. I thought I was your go-to man for awkward family events?”

“Don’t take it personally. I wasn’t even sure I was going to come.”

“That’s a line if I’ve ever heard one. You may be oil and water with your mom, but there is no way that you’re missing David Hirsch’s birthday.”

“There’s no getting anything past you, Stu.”

“Because I know you. What are you not telling me?”

“Nothing!” I laugh to try to prove the point.

He makes a dubious face, lips pushed to one side, one eyebrow raised, and says, “Well, either way, I’ve got something I want to tell you when you get back.”

“Tell me now.”

“No, it’s a face-to-face thing.”

“You’re pregnant?”

“Har, har,” he answers, rolling his eyes.

“Okay, well, I’ll try to keep my raging curiosity at bay. We’ll hang out when I get back.”

“Deal. Have a fun party that you didn’t invite me to.”

“Have fun planning out the thing that’s so important you can’t say it on the phone to my face, which you can see just like you could see it in person.”

“Have fun annoying your mother all weekend at the party you didn’t invite me to.”

“Have fun being a jealous little bitch that I’m hanging out with the great Kit Hirsch at the party I don’t want to go to except for the fact that I love my dad.”

“Okay, hang up.”

“You hang up.”

Finally, grinning, I hang up. But as I do, I think about Stuart’s jealousy at not being invited, about his desire to talk in person when I get back. It makes my stomach flip with anxiety, wondering what’s on his mind.

And then, of course, my thoughts jump to Cal, to the way he made me feel tonight. Like I could really talk to him, really share. He listened, and that meant something. He couldn’t have cared less that I was born to Hollywood royalty. He didn’t push me to use them to get access for my band. He just listened. And he understood, because his family expected him to follow a line of legacy as well, but he went his own way.

There is something between us, so it won’t be a hardship on my end to pretend he’s my fake boyfriend this weekend. And then I think about his kiss in the line earlier…delicious.

The heat between my legs is back as I think about the different kinds of smiles I got from him tonight. Several grins, which would have been a coup, except I got a joke from him. An actual joke and a real smile. It was glorious and turned me on.

If I hadn’t already slept with him, hadn’t already had him inside me, I might have been able to calm down. But no. I know what we can do together. I know how our bodies fit and how he can make me feel. And I want more. Once wasn’t enough.

I think about calling him and about asking him to stroke himself while I watch through the screen. I think about showing him as I touch myself, strumming my clit like a guitar, making myself come with him on my mind. And before long, that’s exactly what I’m doing—stroking myself alone, in the dark of my childhood bedroom, willing myself up the mountain, feeling the precipice looming. I slide my fingers over my tingling clit, desire so painful I have to use two fingers, then three, to fill myself. I stroke in and out, my pussy slick with arousal, pulsing as I inch closer, frustration starting to set in.