The Hazards of Sex on the Beach(8)

By: Alyssa Rose Ivy

“All right, want to walk us home?” Juliet leaned into Reed.

“Oh, you girls don’t have to stay at the house.” I knew they’d prefer to stay with their boyfriends. I finished off my first cup of beer.

“We don’t have to, but we want to.” Mallory squeezed my hand. Her boyfriend, a freshman, had taken over a vacant room at the Kappa house. I was pretty sure the only reason he had traded his dorm for the frat house was so he could have Mallory stay over with him.

Reed put an arm around Juliet. “I’m willing to give Juliet up for a while since it’s for a good cause.”

“But it’s not a good cause.” I nudged Malloy so she’d let me get up. “I want to be alone tonight anyway.”

Mallory blocked my exit. “You stayed back at the house last semester when I needed you.”

“This is different. I want to be alone.”

“No, you don’t.”

“I do. Please, guys.” I hoped they heard the desperation in my voice. Seeing them there would just remind me that they weren’t with their boyfriends—their caring boyfriends who weren’t screwing their ex’s.


“At least let me walk you home.” Reed’s eyes were so kind. I could tell how much he hated the awkward situation he was in. Being stuck between your best friend and your girlfriend’s best friend couldn’t be fun.

“Fine, if you don’t mind.”

“Of course he doesn’t mind,” Juliet quickly answered. “And I’ll be back before class tomorrow so we can walk together.”

“What do I have to do to prove to you guys that I’m okay?”

“Stop pretending to be.” Mallory put a hand on my arm. “You’re allowed to be upset. You’re supposed to be upset.”

“I’m more numb than anything.”

“That’s normal too.” Reed smiled. He was trying really hard.

“Maybe once classes start tomorrow things will feel more normal.”

“I bet they will. You’ll get used to being back.” Mallory didn’t sound very convincing.

“Guys, I’m fine.”

“You’re fine? You had sex with a random guy on the beach. That’s not fine.” Juliet put a hand over her mouth.

“Uh… should I not be here?” Reed looked between Juliet and me.

I swallowed hard. “I have no regrets.”

“Which scares me.” Mallory reluctantly slid out of the booth.

“I needed to live. I needed to feel alive. What’s so wrong with that?” I could feel tears stinging behind my eyes. I needed to get away. I’d thought I could handle being back on campus, but now I was starting to doubt it. There was only one thing that was going to take my mind off Aaron, and that involved getting back to my room.

Reed rested his elbow on the table. “Juliet, you’re in charge. I’ll walk Cara home and be right back.”

“Does that mean I’m supposed to stay too?” Mallory asked.

“Yes.” Juliet grabbed Mallory’s arm. “We love you, Cara. Try to get some sleep.”

I forced a smile and headed for the door.

Reed caught up with me before the door closed behind me. “This situation sucks.”

“Yeah, it does.”

“But maybe you need to look at it differently. Maybe you’re lucky.”

I turned to look at him. “Lucky? I can’t wait to hear this.”

He stuffed his hands in the pockets of his pants. “Just that you found out now instead of months from now.”

“Did you know?” I asked in barely a whisper. I’d have never asked in front of Juliet.

“No. I’d have made him tell you.” Reed was telling the truth. He was just like that.

I nodded. “I figured that much, but I had to ask.”

“So, who’d you have sex with on a beach?”

We turned onto my block. “You can’t ask me that.”

“Why not? We’ve known each other a long time.”

“You’re Aaron’s best friend.” I sped up as we passed the Kappa house.

“We’re friends too, aren’t we?” He matched my pace.

I nodded. “His name’s Chase.”

“Nice. Just know that I’m here if you need a guy to talk to or anything.”

I stopped short two houses down from mine. “Why are you being so nice?”

“Because you’ve always rooted for me with Juliet, you’re an amazing friend to her, and I care about you. What Aaron did sucks. There’s no way around that, but you’re going to get over him eventually.”

“I’m already over him.” At least I wanted to be.

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