“True.” An insensible part of me thought that tall, athletic volleyball players are immune to natural bodily functions.
I pause and glance over my shoulder, expecting to find Ryke to the right set of chairs. But that alcove is empty, only a couple bottles of water and splayed magazines. My eyes widen in realization. I gasp. “Ryke is missing.” I point to the bathroom door. “They’re screwing.”
Lo sits up, rising off my lap. I realize I am done giving him a terrible head massage. I’m surprised he hasn’t fired me before.
“They are dating,” Lo reminds me, powering off his tablet and tossing it on the cushion.
Ryke brought his “somewhat” girlfriend on vacation with us. In truth, Ryke doesn’t have real girlfriends. He just “dates” which is a loose term for seeing someone and hav**g s*x for a short period of time. At least, that’s how he explained it to me when Melissa stood at the airport with her rolling suitcase in tow.
Really, if I think about it, that’s what Lo used to do before we became an official couple.
I squint at the bathroom door, wondering when my X-ray vision will kick in.
“Why do I have the sudden urge to put my ear to that door?” My eyes grow big. Did I just say that out loud?
“You’re staying on the couch.” Lo tugs me onto his lap and kisses me lightly on the neck. I smile into our next kiss, his mouth meeting mine, but he draws back before I can deepen it. Damn.
My eyes flash back to the bathroom. “Can we? Later?”
He shakes his head. “I’m sorry, love.” He places a small kiss on the edge of my lips.
The bathroom door swings open, and I watch as Melissa struts out first, combing her fingers through her shoulder-length, honey blonde hair. I spring from Lo’s arms and rush to the bathroom as though I have to pee.
I just really want to catch Ryke red-handed. I think both Lo and I can agree that it’s overly fun trying to make his brother uncomfortable. I have yet to be successful. But one day, I’ll figure out what makes Ryke Meadows squirm.
When I look through the door frame, I find Ryke at the sink, washing his hands. He doesn’t even recoil in surprise.
“You are so busted,” I say. “I just saw Melissa leaving here.” I waggle my eyebrows for further effect, but he stays unblinking. Catching someone in an incriminating deed is not as fun when they don’t act like they’ve been caught. My mission: to make Ryke flinch for once.
“So?” He dries his hands on a cotton towel.
Being a cop can’t be nearly this annoying.
He says, “I’m sure you’ve spent plenty of time in a plane’s bathroom with someone else.” I have tried. None have been successful. But that’s not the point…right?
“We have a no-sex policy on this flight.”
“For you.” He gives me a stern look, and then his eyes float over my shoulder.
“You’re making her paranoid,” Lo says from the couch. “Wait until we land.”
My cheeks redden. Maybe confronting Ryke wasn’t the smartest idea. But at least Melissa has stuck earbuds in and flips through a magazine, settling in her chair among the empty alcove.
I shake my head at the guys. “No, it’s fine. Ryke, you can f**k Melissa all you want. Do it in the bathroom. On the couch, well not on the couch, I’m sitting there. The point is…” I take a breath. “Don’t let me stop you.” Because really, it’s my only distraction right now. Or maybe I just really want to hear it or something. No, I don’t. Okay, I miss p*rn way too much.
Ryke stares at me for a long moment, and I wonder if he senses my longing for p*rn too. Then Lo says, “Unless you want to start being in her fantasies.”
Ryke grimaces. “It won’t happen again.”
He slides out of the bathroom, and I return to the couch, and slap Lo lightly on the arm. There’s no way that Ryke would ever fill my fantasies, desperate or not.
Only when my gaze drifts, do I realize that the couch is lower than the chairs that Ryke, Melissa, Connor, and Rose sit on. I can clearly see their legs underneath the table. And while Connor’s knees knock with Rose’s, her ankles are modestly crossed.
Melissa and Ryke are a different story. It’s like the angels on my left side and the devils on the right. I should watch Connor and Rose’s chess tournament. Connor has won two games and Rose has won three. By Rose’s pursed lips, I can tell she’s losing the current round.
But I can’t deny the call of the bad.
Melissa may think she’s stealthy, but her hand runs up Ryke’s leg and towards the inside of his thigh. I even catch her unzipping his jeans. They sit side by side, and I have a worse view of Ryke, but his hands aren’t on the table either, if you know what I mean.
A sudden burst of jealousy infiltrates me. Because she can have sex on the plane. Twice. Or three times. She can even grope her somewhat-boyfriend, and he can run the bases with her.
“Try not to think about it,” Lo says. “And that probably starts with not looking at it.”
I turn to meet him, and he gives me a sympathetic smile. But he looks just as tweaked as me. “How are you doing?” I ask.
“I’d feel better if I knew you were okay.”
“When we land do you think we can…?”
He doesn’t answer me. He just pulls me to his chest and strokes the back of my head, his fingers lost in my hair. He finds the remote and turns the volume up on the television. I take his silence as an answer anyway.
I’ll have to wait.
The gold ornate lobby has dark green floors and large Mayan statutes along the tiled walls. Decked out with four pools, more than a dozen restaurants, and even more clubs, the resort is much fancier than I feel.
Melissa waits with me by a totem fountain while the others join the line to the front desks, hoping to check us into our rooms in a reasonable hour. Ryke’s somewhat-girlfriend runs her fingers through her blonde hair again. She wears no makeup, which reminds me a little of my youngest sister. Daisy can pull off that fresh-faced look but still be pretty enough to pose for a magazine. Melissa looks prepared for the cover of Sports Illustrated—perfectly toned arms and clear complexion. Beauty and brawn.
I’m still trying to nail down the beauty bit, and with my chicken legs, I don’t think I’d stand a chance to achieve the brawn part.
“Do you have a brush?” she asks. “My hair always tangles in the humidity.” She flashes an outgoing smile, and I suddenly feel badly for never instigating a single conversation before now.
Lo and I mostly kept to ourselves on the plane. I did cheer on Rose at one point—that was before she lost her chess tournament and knocked over Connor’s king in frustration. Connor tried not to gloat, but even the appearance of a smile irked Rose. She called a Scrabble rematch, which she won. So in Harry Potter’s epic final words, “All was well.”
But even in a tight, cramped space, Lo and I blocked out the rest of the world and whispered to ourselves. We have to work on that. So from this moment on, I make it my goal to be a better friend…or person…whatever you call someone who needs to work on her social skills.
And that starts with a brush—that I don’t have. I cringe. “Sorry, I didn’t pack one.” Has she seen my hair? “I’m sure Rose does.”
Melissa shrugs. “I can wait.” She snaps a blue band off her wrist and ties her hair into a small bun at the base of her neck.
“So…how did you meet Ryke?”
“At the gym. One of the machines wasn’t working, and he helped me.”
“Sounds like Ryke,” I say with a nod. He’s a fixer. “Did he punch the machine into submission too?”
She frowns, and I immediately regret my words. Oh my God. I’m an idiot. “I mean, because he’s kind of aggressive…” I cringe again. What is wrong with me? “Not in like a woman-hitting way. I don’t think he’d ever do that. He just, you know, punches first and asks questions later.” Lily, shut up!
She looks mildly freaked out—which isn’t too bad. She could be horrified to the point of darting away. “We haven’t been going out that long, but I’ve never seen him hit anyone.”
“Oh yeah, me too,” I lie, trying to find an out from this situation. She frowns again, because I’m obviously not making any sense. But it’s better that she now finds me insane and not Ryke.
I have seen Ryke throw a punch. First to protect me when some guy didn’t understand the word no, and then to protect Daisy at an out of control New Year’s Eve party. In fact, the only time I’ve ever seen him be aggressive is when women are treated badly. But I don’t tell Melissa this. I’ve already dug myself a big enough hole.
“What’s going on over there?” Melissa nods to the front desk. A long line spindles across the lobby, the place jam-packed from the Spring Break festivities. Three hotel staff in green collared shirts left their posts to talk to our group, and Rose’s hands are moving wildly in the air.
Something is definitely wrong.
I pay one of the bellhops to watch our luggage, and Melissa and I make our way to the front desk, weaving in and out of angry stares that think we’re cutting the line.
“Sorry,” I apologize a couple times.
I don’t dare near Rose, who is having some sort of verbal battle with the hotel staff, Connor right by her side with a narrowed gaze. Instead, I slide next to Lo and Ryke who stand off to the side. “What’s going on?” I ask Lo.
He runs his hands through his hair like he’s fixing it, but I think he’s more anxious than anything. “There’s a problem with the room,” he says casually. “It should be resolved soon, or so they say.”
“What kind of problem?” Melissa asks.
“They double booked,” Ryke says, leaning an elbow on the counter.
“Is there another room?” I ask.
“That’s what Connor and Rose are trying to figure out.”
Just as he says this, Rose pulls out her phone and walks off towards the exit. I frown. Where the hell is she going?
Connor slips past hoards of sweating tourists who just want their room keys, and he stops in front of us. He looks about ten times less stressed than my sister. “So bad news. The three-bedroom suite that we had booked is unavailable due to scheduling issues. Rose is going to call other resorts, but the probability of getting a last-minute suite during college Spring Break is slim to none. This resort, however, does have a room available. Two queens and a pull-out, so it sleeps six.”
His eyes flicker to Lo and me as he delivers the last line.
The bottom of my stomach drops down and down and down.
I can’t have sex.
I hate, hate, hate that I’m most worried about that. I hate that Connor and probably my sister are concerned about my sexual cravings. I don’t want to make this a big deal.
“That’s fine,” I say quickly, adding an assured nod. Even though I fiddle with my fingers and focus on not biting my nails.