An Illicit Pursuit
unable to look
anywhere else. Is he thinking I’m showing him my boobs because I’m
a slut who seduces any man who crosses her path? “It’s impossible
not to notice it,” I point out, aiming to sound casual and working
on a smile to support it.
    Eleanor strolls in, surprising me, but stops
short when she notices Jack. “Oh, you’re here.” Her eyes wander
everywhere else in the kitchen, except for Jack, as if she too
flashed him her boobs.
    “Hi, Eleanor,” Jack says, also avoiding her
direction. We three will put the people with real social anxiety
problems to shame. “How have you been?” Jack asks silently.
    Eleanor moves toward the sink and fills a
glass of water to drink. “Good. How was your trip? Did the Italian
girls meet your expectations?” Whoa. That’s snaky and a tad too
jealous. Maybe she really showed him her boobs and some more.
    “I didn’t have much time to hang around. Mom
kept me busy for the better part of the trip.”
    He’s obviously lying. Hadn’t he just made a
comment about some hot girls to Adam before he noticed me?
    Golden! There’s definitely something going on
between the two. The handsome best friend of the older brother. The
cute younger sister of the best friend. I wish I could find out
what went on between the two. Maybe I could write a song about
them. Being within touching distance but aren’t able to or aren’t
allowed to feel each other.
    You’re here, yet far away,
    depriving me of the loving stares
    you used to shower me everyday.
    I wonder what Adam thinks of them. Most
likely he hasn’t noticed anything, though the not-so-subtle
electricity radiating between them is impossible to miss.
    “Whatever.” Eleanor leaves as quickly and
silently as she came, and Jack remains staring after her. I wish I
could ask him what went on between them. Jack grabs a beer from the
fridge and settles on a chair beside the kitchen island, while I
busy myself placing the dirty dishes into the dishwasher.
    “Adam tells me your boyfriend studies at
UCLA,” Jack says.
    I pull my eyebrows together and nod. “That’s
right.” He indeed has heard a lot about me.
    “Are you two… serious?” he asks. In normal
circumstances I’d reply him, “None of your business,” but the
apologetic and earnest look on his face makes me think he’s not
asking it out of nosiness but to protect his friend.
    “Yes, we are, but go and try to explain it to
    His lips curl up to a smile, though the rest
of face looks stiff. “He’s dead-set on getting you.” His honesty is
refreshing, making me marvel at the type of relationship he has
with Adam.
    When I’m done with the dishes, Adam emerges,
showered and changed into a white, button-up shirt with sleeves
rolled up to his elbows and blue jeans. I can’t help but stare at
him, although I’m sure Jack is clearly studying my evident
    Among the six outfits I’ve seen on Adam, this
is by far the best. Even better than the jersey he looked so wildly
sexy in during the basketball game. White brightens up the tan of
his skin, the black of his hair, the hazel of his eyes, and this
particular white shirt is revealing enough to leave none of the
stuffed muscles underneath to imagination. To top it off, the clean
smell of soap sans his usual cologne causes my stomach to flutter,
much to my annoyance. How he looks or smells shouldn’t matter to
me. If anything, it should repulse me, particularly when my Zach is
suffering for his parents. I’m the worst girlfriend possible in the
whole wide world.
    I gulp down hard, forcing myself to rip my
abusive stare from his chest, where his shirt is undone and some
smooth skin is showing. He’s enjoying being under the spotlight and
more than that, having me gawk at him, and I can’t help but give
him that pleasure.
    “Pat,” Nikki calls from the living room.
“Want to see some super embarrassing pictures of Adam when he was a
    I raise my eyebrows, unable to hide the smile

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