His smooth palm, pink and white, almost babyish, sits between us like the apple in the Garden of Eden. And part of me is tempted. Colin is clever and sneaky and vengeful. He probably has a whole book on how to mete out retribution. But what would be the point?
“No.” I shake my head. “Hurting him doesn’t make me feel better. And I don’t want to contemplate exactly how I’m supposed to exact revenge. Sleep with you?”
“If that’s how you want to play it.” He gives me a fake leer.
“What happens? We videotape it and send it to him?” I shudder. “No thanks and no offense, that’s not my thing.”
“Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it,” he responds lightly. But despite his smug words, his eyes show a hint of relief. I don’t think that was his thing either.
I push my hands through my short hair in utter frustration. “I don’t get it. I can’t believe he’d do this to me. You know, he never dated North Prep girls before.”
“How come?” He’s genuinely curious.
“His brother says you don’t shit where you eat.”
He purses his lips together and nods slowly. “Makes sense. His brother live by that rule too?”
This makes me laugh. “No, Nick sleeps with everyone. That way no one’s feelings are hurt.”
“Damn that’s smooth.”
We share a grin as I briefly forget what is sitting on my computer but my memory loss isn’t long lasting. The scene nags at me. The whole setup doesn’t feel right. Nate having sex at a party. Nate sleeping with a girl from North Prep. Nate videotaping this. Nate cheating on me. None of it makes sense.
“And with Greta. He doesn’t even like her.”
“Hate to tell you this but if he cheated on you by having sex with a girl he a) doesn’t have to like her and b) that’s not dating.”
“But his girlfriends have all been either older, like college, or other schools. Like Jefferson West or something.” I try to understand.
“CC, he’s not dating. It’s not his girlfriend. It’s a hookup. A shag. A fuck.” He emphasizes the last graphic word as if I don’t know what the meaning is.
“I know.” I whimper and I can’t stop crying which embarrasses me to no end. I shove my palms hard against my eyes as if the pressure can stop the river of tears but they keep coming.
“Oh fuck. I’m sorry. It’s none of my business.” He dabs his sleeve on my face. “Shit, please just stop crying.”
“I’m sorry,” I blubber. “I’m trying.”
He stands up abruptly. “Come on.”
“Where are we going?” I ask. His swift change of subject jerks me out of my self pitying episode.
“I’m watching this stupid video.” He marches out of the room and I trail behind.
“What number?” he demands as we exit the common room.
I tell him our suite number.
“Nice, I’m a floor above you.”
We take the elevator up in silence and are down the hall in no time.
“I heard the elevator,” Dad explains as he opens the door.
“Hey Mr. Charlotte’s Dad.” Colin offers his hand and Dad shakes it, his eyebrows raised.
“Don’t worry. I’m a eunuch. The radiation kills my equipment. We’re going to watch a movie,” Colin lies.
Dad frowns, his gaze drifting south briefly and then jerks his eyes back up to Colin’s. Clearing his throat, Dad gruffly directs us to my room and wanders off.
“Is that really true?” I whisper as we scurry into my room.
“Nah, I made that up so he wouldn’t stand there with the door open. I’m guessing you don’t want him to see this.”
No I did not want my dad to see the video. Colin sits down at my desk, acting as if he owns the place. Flipping open the cover, he watches the video as I lay on the bed with a pillow over my head. He watches it a couple of times without sound and twice more with sound. The pillow does nothing to mute the voices or the moans.
“Shit, this guy is totally passed out. You kill Greta’s cat or something?” He says.
I bolt upright, the pillow still clutched in my hands. “What do you mean?”
“This, what’s his name, Nate? He’s not even moving.” Colin gestures with disgust toward the screen.
“He moved his hand all over her breast,” I protest.
“No, she held his had against her tits.” He says these words slowly as if I’m too dumb to comprehend and maybe he’s right. I lean forward as he explains, “He isn’t moving even once. And if a guy’s got two hot chicks grinding their pussy all over him and he ain’t moving, guy is dead or passed out.”
“Why would they do this?” I argue. I want to believe him but I’m afraid.
“Revenge. What’d you do?”
“I didn’t do anything,” I cry. “I’ve been here. And before I was sick. I didn’t go to parties or anything.”
“So it’s him. Did he do something to one of them?”
“I don’t even know the guy or the girl. Just Greta and…” I stop. “He mentioned to me that he’d had a run-in with her but I wasn’t there at the time so I don’t really know what went down.”
“Meh. This isn’t even good porn.” Colin kicks out his legs and folds his hands behind his head. He’s officially over the video.
“Thank god.” I guess I can be done too. Although I’m still feeling hollow inside. I don’t know if it’s relief or the remnants of fear. I son’t I’ll be whole again until I talk to Nate.
“What? We can’t be friends without having watched porn together.”
“You watch porn with all your friends?” I give him a skeptical look.
“Not the guys cuz that would be weird.”
“I’m not watching porn with you.”
“You are such a killjoy Miss C.”
I do not want to talk about porn with Colin but I recognize his act. He’s trying to make light of something to feel better which is actually kind of nice, porn references notwithstanding. “What do you think I should do?”
“About this?” He jerks his head toward the computer. I nod. “Call your boy. Tell him you love him and get back at Greta.”
“Why are you being nice to me?”
“Eh, why not? Being an asshole to you takes effort. You’re too nice. It’d be like kicking a kitten.”
“There was a compliment in there somewhere.”
Colin rises and stretches and then ambles over to give me a kiss on the top of my forehead. “It is. Wish I had a girl like you Miss C. I’ll see you tomorrow. Let me know how it goes.”
I ring Nathan almost before Colin has left. He doesn’t answer.
I hang up and dial again. It would be early evening there. It rings several times.
I get on the computer but he’s not available on Skype.
I text him.
Love you babe. Miss you.
I text Nick next.
Hey miss you. Hope to be home soon. What’s happening.
He responds immediately. Miss you too. You shouldn’t have left. We’re a mess without you.
I haven’t heard from Nate. He okay?
There’s a long pause.
I decide to confess. Got the video.
Shit. He did not cheat on you. He was totally out of his head. They drugged him.
Colin was right. Greta?
Yeah and this guy from Northwestern that Juliette Waite brought. She set us up so we’d fight them then bc the asswipe got his pants kicked, he decided to get back at Nate. N would never do this to you.
No, I know. I figured it out. I don’t mention that I needed help. But I texted him and called him.
He’s sick. He’ll call you promise.
Okay. Tell him I love him. Give him a kiss for me.
Yeah, not doing that. But love you too. Take care of yourself. Hurry back.
And with that, a few of my hollow parts fill out.