CRUSHED Preview – Chapter 2

Read Chapter 1


Brady and I prowl the edge of The Beach, watching the organized chaos of move-in day while searching for our friends. All around us, anxious parents and nervous new kids weave through the throngs of shrieking returning students. Brady and I take bets on what clumsy lame ass will trip as they cross The Beach’s makeshift obstacle course of boxes, mini-fridges, and suitcases.

As we’re contemplating the success rate of one particularly awkward-looking kid with a face full of acne, a ninety-something pound weight slams into my side and thin arms wrap around my waist.


A blond-and-red highlighted head presses into my chest before breaking away. “Hey, Paige,” I say, as she turns her assault toward Brady.

She’s barely dressed, and it’s fucking freezing. When she tiptoes to hit Brady on the head, her ass peeks out from her obscenely short denim skirt. She wears a gauzy shirt-thing over a bikini top and it highlights the perky fake tits her dad bought her for her sixteenth birthday. Reid says they feel exactly like real ones. I wouldn’t know, having never touched fake ones. Plus, Paige is off limits.

“Did you forget the rest of your clothes?” I ask.

She giggles. “No. It was like a million degrees in Orange County this morning. I’d look ridiculous wearing Uggs and fleece.”

Brady shrugs and smacks her ass. “You kinda look ridiculous now.”

Paige rolls her eyes and wags her finger. “Hands off, Pearson. I’m taken, remember?”

Freshman year, Brady dared our friend Reid to tell Paige she had hot legs. She doesn’t. But she’s cute. Plus, Paige knows how to have fun. And ever since he first screwed her sophomore year in one of the sound-proof music rooms, Reid hasn’t messed around with anyone else.

“Where’s Calista? I thought she was driving up with you,” Paige asks.

That was the plan, but I didn’t want to be locked in the car for two hours with her.  Calista, however, didn’t have a problem with it even though she’s avoided me for the past week.

But I don’t say that because I’m not that big of an asshole. Instead, I scrape the toe of my Converse through the damp grass and admire how the water drops cling to the surface of my shoe. Calista must not have told Paige what happened. “Her parents are driving her up. She should be here soon, I guess.”

Paige sighs. “Good, I thought you were going to say you didn’t get the car this year. Can you imagine how boring things would be if we couldn’t get off campus?”

My parents gave me a massive SUV on my seventeenth birthday, which I keep parked in the student lot near the Headmaster’s house. Harker allows seniors and day student cars on campus, although only a handful – myself included – actually have them. Junior year, Mom and Dad somehow convinced the school San Francisco was close enough for me to be considered a day student and that I’d come home on a regular basis. I don’t, and I didn’t.

The crowd on The Beach has thinned a little, but way too many parents still hang out. Acting like they care. Going on and on about how big their ‘babies’ are, when we all know the truth: they can’t wait to hand over their parental responsibilities and be done with the messy task of raising kids. All in the name of giving us a stellar education, of course.

“So,” Paige asks. “How was your summer?”

She’s asking Brady. Calista, no doubt, has already filled her in on mine, save for the details of the past week.

“Excellent,” Brady responds. “And yours?”

“It sucked oversized donkey balls.” Most girls, at least the ones at Harker, pretend to be all sweet and innocent. But not Paige. She’s a girl of very creative swearing and has been known to drop more f-bombs in a ten-minute period than Brady. “Do you know what it’s like to go three whole months with no sex? I may just rape Reid when I see him.” She’s talking to us, but her eyes search The Beach.

“Wouldn’t know,” Brady says. “That’s a drought beyond my comprehension.”

Paige rolls her eyes. “The two of you are awful. Seriously. Why girls throw themselves at you is beyond me.”

Brady plants his feet wide and gestures to his solid six-foot-two body. We’re the same height, but where I’m lanky, he’s all muscle. “Have you seen this? Really seen it. Because this body can do things to you Reid can’t even imagine.”

Paige interrupts her giggle with the longest scream ever. She launches herself across The Beach, running full speed until she slams into Reid’s skinny ass body. He drops the guitar case he’s carrying and lifts Paige so she can wrap her legs around him. Her skirt bunches up over her hips, flashing us her striped panties. They’re like, full-on making out, in front of everyone – teachers, staff and parents – and totally don’t care. Reid’s hand moves under Paige’s nearly invisible shirt and for a minute I think he’s going to untie the bikini strings.

It’s kinda hot, actually.

Brady jams his elbow into my side. “Busted.”

Mr. Thompson, face completely red, yanks Paige off Reid. From this distance, Brady and I can’t hear a word of what’s happening, but it involves a lot of hand gestures from Mr. Thompson, pouting from Paige, and stunned glances from parents.

Finally, Mr. Thompson walks away, and Paige guides Reid toward us. 
    “Can you believe that asshole? He gave us detention. We haven’t even started classes yet, and he gave us a fucking detention.”

And ‘hi’ to you too, Reid.

Brady shakes his head. “Dude, what did you expect? You were basically having sex on The Beach.”

Reid reaches around Paige and runs his hand over her arm, “accidentally” grazing her tit. “Whatever. Guy’s still an ass.”

Paige wiggles away from Reid and jumps up and down. Her tits barely move –it’s how you can tell they’re fake. There’s no bounce. “That’s going to be our signature drink this year. Sex on the Beach. It’s perfect.” The way she eyes Brady and I, I know what’s coming next. “In fact, extra points to whoever drinks a Sex on the Beach and has Sex on the Beach. Verified.”

Points. We’ve been engaged in a friendly game of points since freshman year. For every new place you have sex, you get points. Multiple points for especially challenging places, like The Beach. As far as we know, no one has ever done it there. Verified means someone sees you, either in the act or post-act, or you produce panties to confirm it actually happened.

Brady and I each have a serious collection of panties.

“Do you even know how to make a Sex on the Beach?” I ask her.

She shakes her head. “Nothing a little research can’t fix.”

Reid and Paige don’t earn points anymore. It wouldn’t be fair. At the end of last year, Brady was in first, I was a close second, and our friend Alex came in a distant third. Calista didn’t put up any points all year, or at least she didn’t report any.

“What the hell is wrong with your hair?” Brady grabs a fistful of Reid’s blue streaked hair. “Are you trying to be an oversized manga character? Seriously, this is the most jacked thing I’ve seen you do yet. And what the fuck are you wearing?”

“Ignore him, baby. You look hot,” Paige purrs.

“You’re only saying that because you’re horny,” Brady accuses.

Reid straightens the suit vest he’s wearing over a Felix the Cat t-shirt. “This is what everyone wears in Japan. It’s my culture, dude. Don’t make fun of it.”

Brady lets out an explosive laugh. “Dude, you are the whitest Japanese guy I’ve ever met. You’re from Seattle, and your name is Reid, for Christ’s sake. Reid.”

I nod in agreement, my eyes fixed on the blue hair, which, if I’m perfectly honest, looks kind of good. Not in a trying-too-hard way or anything. “Brady’s right. Besides, you’re only half-Japanese.”

“Don’t be a dick. It’s my culture as much as being white is. ”

“You spend one summer in Japan, and now it’s your culture? You’re American.” Brady says. “You’d never survive there – no pot and have you seen their porn? It’s weird. Not hot at all.”

“Whatever,” Reid says a little too quickly. He doesn’t appear mad, or really even seem upset, but something is off. He reaches into his jean pocket and produces a thinly rolled paper. “I need a smoke. Anyone else?”

“That’s bold,” I say pointing at the joint.

“Not here dumb ass. Over in the trees. Where no one can see us.”

“With all these people around, someone will smell it,” I counter.

He stares at the joint. “Well, shit. There goes that idea.”

I laugh. Reid is always just on the edge of being kicked out, yet he never is. His parents must make some huge donations or something, because I know for a fact his grades aren’t keeping him here. The only reason he even passed last year is because Brady and I helped him with his final papers and crammed a semester’s worth of shit into his pot-riddled brain over an intense two-day study session.

“Your room?” Brady asks me.

I flick my eyes around the Beach one more time. Thankfully, still no sign of Calista.

“Sure.” Even with all the parents around, the chances of us getting caught are slim on move-in day. Everything is too chaotic, and the RA’s are busy checking in students.

Once we’re behind my closed door, Reid produces an eighth and a pipe. “Can you make a spoof?” he asks.

I nod and grab a few t-shirts from my duffle bag before heading to the bathroom.  I throw the shirts in the sink and remove a roll of toilet paper from a stall. Since it’s too fat, I unwrap most of the layers and drop them in the garbage can.

Then I wring out the wet shirts and head back to my room.

When I swing my door open, the dank smell of pot surrounds me. “What the hell? Couldn’t you guys wait five minutes?”

Reid holds out the pipe to me. “Just testing it. That’s all.”

I ignore the pipe and stuff the damp t-shirts under the door before digging through a cardboard box. I find the dryer sheets shoved next to the laundry detergent and a cork board.

Brady tears off a few more layers of toilet paper and I pass him a handful of dryer sheets. He stuffs them into the toilet paper roll and tests it by blowing into it.

“And voila,” he exclaims, holding up his work for us to admire.

“Nice,” I say and hold out my hand. Since it’s my room, seems fair I get the first official hit. I inhale sharply, pulling the heat into my lungs, count to ten and exhale into the spoof. I pass the pipe to Brady. In less than an hour, we work through the whole eighth. When Brady bitches, Reid gets up, goes somewhere for what seems like forever, and comes back with another bag plus a few Xanax. By the time we pack the last bowl, I’m so fucked up, I can barely walk across my room to my bed.

Calista pounces on my lap, but not before messing up my hair. Her wild curls tickle my skin and smell like chlorine. Like summer.

It’s so hot. The sun beats on us. I want to go back under the umbrella, but she won’t let me, so I nuzzle her neck and tell myself to remember this. The smell of sunblock and the weight of Calista pressed against me. In a week, we’ll be back at Harker, and Cal and I will go on like we always do: friends but nothing more.

With sure fingers, I tug on the strings of her bikini top and it falls off.

She giggles and tosses it aside. I cup my hands over her firm tits. The camera she set up clicks. Keeps clicking as we fall backward onto the chaise, not talking.

Every breath I take mirrors hers, and our naked torsos move in unison. My eyes close, and I focus on the feel of her hands on my skin. They leave sparks of electricity in their wake.

A lazy smile stretches across her face as she lifts my hand to her lips and sucks on the tips of my fingers.

My body explodes with fire. She notices and traces her fingers lower, teasing me. I close my eyes again and inhale deeply. One breath. Two breaths. Three.    

Calista rolls off me and kneels next to my elbow. She lays her head on the edge of the chaise and bats her blue eyes.

I should stop her, but I don’t. I never do.

And then I wake up. Alone, on the bare vinyl mattress.

Like what you read? Add CRUSHED on Goodreads and make sure to pick it up on December 11, 2012.

Read Chapter 3.

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