Friday, October 13, 2017

Loving Storm by Carian Cole ~ RELEASE BLITZ ~

 


Title: Loving Storm
Series: Ashes & Embers: A Sequel to Storm
Author: Carian Cole
Genre: Contemporary Romance
 Release Date: October 13, 2017



Blurb

Evie

I met him in a snow storm...

We spent forty-eight hours trapped in the back of his pickup truck.
We fought.
We touched.
We fell.
Hard.

Storm

She literally crashed into my life...

The last thing I wanted was a relationship. Especially with a quirky chick who drove me insane. But something about her got under my skin, and into my heart.
And I had to have her.
All of her.
Now.

Falling in love in the back of a truck, just the two of us, was easy.


Dealing with psycho fans, jealous exes, and demons from the past....not so easy. 

*While Loving Storm can be enjoyed as a STANDALONE, it is best read after reading Storm





Purchase Links

Only 99c!

AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

Free in Kindle Unlimited






Also Available


99c for a limited time

It is encouraged to read Storm prior to reading Loving Storm so that you can fully enjoy the story.

AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

Free in Kindle Unlimited



Author Bio

I have a passion for the bad boys, those covered in tattoos, sexy smirks, ripped jeans, fast cars, motorcycles and of course, the sweet girls that try to tame them and win their hearts. My debut series, Ashes & Embers, follows the lives of rock band members as they find, and sometimes lose, the loves of their lives.

Born and raised a Jersey girl, I now reside in beautiful New Hampshire with my husband and our multitude of furry pets and spend most of my time writing, reading, and vacuuming.


Author Links

Holding Onto Forever by Heidi McLaughlin ~ RELEASE BLITZ ~

Title: Holding Onto Forever
Series: The Beaumont Series - 
Next Generation #1
Author: Heidi McLaughlin
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 12, 2017


The road for Noah Westbury has been carved out for him, long before he knew who his father was. Making sure he worked hard to deserve the opportunities provided to him, Noah is exactly where he dreamed of being - starting QB for Portland Pioneers. Together with a Victoria Secret's model girlfriend by his side, life couldn't get much better. Except for the fact that standing in his path is Peyton Powell-James, his life-long friend and the one woman he can never have.
Peyton Powell-James always knew her future would be in football and dreams of having a successful sports journalism career once she graduates college. After being given an assignment to cover a professional game from the sidelines, Peyton believes that everything is going to plan, until one fateful night changes her life.
Harsh reality sets in for Noah and Peyton. One could lose everything, while the other one struggles to keep the families together.

“It was PERFECTION!” - Embrace the Romance 5 Stars

“HOLDING ONTO FOREVER just became my new favorite Heidi McLaughlin read to date!!” - Amber Boyd 5 Stars

“This story will leave you breathless page after page.” - Amy 5 Stars
“One of the best books I have read.” - Nancy Metsch 5 Stars

Heidi is a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author.
Originally from the Pacific Northwest, she now lives in picturesque Vermont, with her husband and two daughters. Also renting space in their home is an over-hyper Beagle/Jack Russell, Buttercup and a Highland West/Mini Schnauzer, JiLL and her brother, Racicot.
When she's isn't writing one of the many stories planned for release, you'll find her sitting court-side during either daughter's basketball games.
Heidi's first novel, Forever My Girl, will be in theaters on October 27, 2017, starring Alex Roe and Jessica Rothe.
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Ride Wild by Laura Kaye ~ EXCERPT REVEAL ~ SALE ~

   

Get Ready for RIDE WILD with an exclusive excerpt AND a Sale on RIDE HARD!

OMG you guys! I’m so excited! Because the first book in my new Raven Riders series is on sale for just $.99 for a limited time AND I’ve got an advance excerpt from the newest book here for you to enjoy! The Raven Riders is a sexy contemporary romance series, and a spin-off from my Hard Ink world, about a different kind of a motorcycle club with a protective mission. Ride Hard tells the story of a sheltered woman on the run who’s been rescued by the jaded and tormented president of the Raven Riders, who learns that she’s strong enough to save herself and the man she loves, too. Ride Wild is the story of a sexy single father wild with grief over the death of his wife several years before and the strong survivor he hires to be his nanny. It’s hot and emotional and I adored writing it! I hope you’ll check both out – plus they’re standalones, so you can jump in anywhere!

Also, did you know that I’m donating a portion of all my sales from Ride Wild through 11/5 to Noah’s Arks Rescue? AND that you can get a bonus story for grabbing your copy?

Now, enjoy this delicious tease from Ride Wild, coming 10/31/17, and grab your copies of BOTH! Thanks for reading! ~ Laura Kaye

  From Ride Wild:

“I don’t know how I’m going to do this.” “Do what?” Of course, healing from this was going to take some time. And he’d help her with that however he could. And forgiving herself, well, even when there was nothing to forgive, it was possible to beat yourself up till the end of time. Slider knew that too damn well, didn’t he? As for getting justice—or revenge—the Ravens had already taken care of that when they’d killed her degenerate drunk of a father at their racetrack the night Haven’s father attacked the club. But none of that was what she meant. Instead, she surprised the hell out of him—not with what she revealed, exactly, because he had an inkling. But instead she surprised him with her courage. “Pretend that I don’t have feelings for you,” she said. If she hadn’t owned him already, she did as of that very moment. Emotion this in his throat, he tried to tell her. “I’ve been such a fucking wreck, Cora.” “I know. I didn’t admit that to try to make you say anything back.” He cupped her face in his hand, because he sure as shit was going to respond to that. “I’m a wreck, and I’d convinced myself that I always would be. But lately, I’ve been trying. I’ve been better. Hopeful, for the first time in years.” Admitting that should’ve been freeing, and it was. But, maybe ridiculously, it was also scary as fuck. Because when you’d become wed to a certain narrative of your life, letting go of it threatened to crumble the ground beneath your feet, leaving you with no idea where you’d be left standing when the dust settled. Her expression went so, so soft. For him. “I’m really glad of that, Slider. So glad you feel better.” “It’s you, Cora. It’s me, too, some. But you worked your way into my heart and my head and my house and my whole life until I could see again that I had a life. One I’d been neglecting. One I hadn’t been appreciating. So I don’t know how I’m going to pretend either. And frankly, I don’t want to, not anymore. Because I care about you, too. And not just as a friend.” “You…really?” she asked, her eyes so wide and her face so damn pretty. God, she didn’t get it, did she? Just how much she’d done to change his life…But he was going to make sure she did from here on out. “Really. I don’t know where we go or what we call it or how public we go with it, but there’s something here. And I want it. I want you.”  



 
About Ride Hard (Raven Riders #1)

Now on sale for $.99 for a limited time!

 

Brotherhood. Club. Family.

They live and ride by their own rules.

These are the Raven Riders…

Raven Riders Motorcycle Club President Dare Kenyon rides hard and values loyalty above all else. He’ll do anything to protect the brotherhood of bikers—the only family he’s got—as well as those who can’t defend themselves. So when mistrustful Haven Randall lands on the club’s doorstep scared that she’s being hunted, Dare takes her in, swears to keep her safe, and pushes to learn the secrets overshadowing her pretty smile.

Haven fled from years of abuse at the hands of her criminal father and is suspicious of any man’s promises, including those of the darkly sexy and overwhelmingly intense Ravens’ leader. But as the powerful attraction between them flares to life, Dare pushes her boundaries and tempts her to want things she never thought she could.

The past never dies without a fight, but Dare Kenyon’s never backed down before…

 

Order on Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

Add to your Goodreads

   

About Ride Rough (Raven Riders #2)

Brotherhood. Club. Family.

They live and ride by their own rules.

These are the Raven Riders…

Maverick Rylan won’t apologize for who he is—the Raven Riders Motorcycle Club Vice-President, a sought-after custom bike builder, and a man dedicated to protecting those he loves. So when he learns that the only woman who has ever held his heart is in trouble, he’ll move heaven and earth to save her.

Alexa Harmon thought she had it all—the security of a good job, a beautiful home, and a powerful, charming fiancé who offered the life she never had growing up. But when her dream quickly turns into a nightmare, Alexa realizes she’s fallen for a façade she can’t escape—until sexy, dangerous Maverick offers her a way out.

Forced together to keep Alexa safe, their powerful attraction reignites and Maverick determines to do whatever it takes to earn a second chance—one Alexa is tempted to give. But her ex-fiancé isn’t going to let her go without a fight, one that will threaten everything they both hold dear.

 

Order on Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

Add to your Goodreads

   

About Ride Wild (Raven Riders #3, 10/31/17)

Brotherhood. Club. Family. They live and ride by their own rules.

 These are the Raven Riders...

Wild with grief over the death of his wife, Sam “Slider” Evans merely lives for his two sons. Nothing holds his interest anymore—not even riding his bike or his membership in the Raven Riders Motorcycle Club. But that all changes when he hires a new babysitter. Recently freed from a bad situation by the Ravens, Cora Campbell is determined to bury the past. When Slider offers her a nanny position, she accepts, needing the security and time to figure out what she wants from life. Cora adores his sweet boys, but never expected the red-hot attraction to their brooding, sexy father. If only he would notice her... Slider does see the beautiful, fun-loving woman he invited into his home. She makes him feel too much, and he both hates it and yearns for it. But when Cora witnesses something she shouldn’t have, the new lives they’ve only just discovered are threatened. Now Slider must claim—and protect—what’s his before it’s too late.

 

Order on Amazon | B&N | iBooks Kobo | Google

Add to your Goodreads

     

PREORDER RIDE WILD & HELP MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

Animal rescue is a big part of the storyline of Ride Wild, and that’s something that's close to Laura’s heart, so Laura’s giving to the cause by donating a portion of all preorders and sales through 11/5 to Noah's Arks Rescue, a fantastic organization that serves as a source of inspiration for the book. When you grab your copy of RIDE WILD, you're helping a great cause AND you'll get a bonus story when you submit your order info, too!

 

Submit Your Preorder Info to Get A Bonus Story:https://a.pgtb.me/HRn7Bc

 

Learn More about Noah's Arks: http://www.noahs-arks.net/

     


About Laura Kaye:

 Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over twenty books in contemporary and paranormal romance and romantic suspense, including the Hard Ink and upcoming Raven Riders series. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

    


 

Wendy"s Review of From This Moment by Melanie Harlow ~ BLOG TOUR ~

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From This Moment, an all-new sexy and emotional standalone from USA Today Bestselling author Melanie Harlow is available NOW!

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From This Moment by Melanie Harlow

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Publishing Date: October 10th, 2017

 
It was like seeing a ghost.
When my late husband’s twin brother moves back to our small town, I want to avoid him. Everything about Wes reminds me of the man I lost and the life we’d planned together, and after eighteen long months struggling just to get out of bed, I’m finally doing okay. I have a new job, an amazing support group, and a beautiful five-year-old daughter to parent. I don’t want to go backward.
But I’m drawn to him, too. He understands my grief and anger and guilt like no one else—and I understand his. Before long, that understanding becomes desire, and that desire becomes uncontrollable.
He says he doesn't care what people think, and love can never be wrong. But life has taught me its cruelest lesson--love doesn't always win.
If only my heart would believe it.
 

Excerpt:

“Want to go out in the canoe?” he asked. “Okay.” I ditched my flip-flops on the small, beach-level deck, and we set our wine glasses and the bottle on the deck’s little round table. Wes was already barefoot. Together we dragged the forest green canoe from the tall beach grasses on the side of the deck down to the water’s edge and tipped it over. “Let me rinse it out a little,” Wes said, frowning at the dirt and spider webs inside. “Want to grab the paddles? They should be in the shed.” “On it.” I went to the small shed on the embankment, opened it up and grabbed the oars, which stood in one corner. On the shelves were life jackets and sand toys and deflated rafts that probably had holes in them, and scratched into the wooden door among other graffiti was WP + CB. Huh. I’d never noticed that before. Who was CB? I glanced over my shoulder at Wes, who’d taken off his T-shirt and tossed it onto the sand. My stomach full-out flipped. Quickly, I shut the door to the shed and brought the oars down to the canoe. Wes stood up straight and stuck his hands on his hips. He wore different sunglasses than Drew had worn, more of an aviator than a wayfarer. The body was similar, though Wes’s arms seemed more muscular, especially through the shoulder. Other things were the same and caused a rippling low in my body—the soft maroon color of his nipples, the trim waist, the trail of hair leading from his belly button to beneath the low-sling waistband of his red swim trunks. In my head I heard Tess’s voice. Arms. Chest. Shoulders. Skin. Stubble. Muscle. The smell of a man. The solidity of him. “What’s the law on drinking and canoeing?” he asked. What’s the law on staring at your brother-in-law’s nipples? I wondered, swallowing hard. What was wrong with me? “I think we’re okay,” I said, handing the oars to him. Our hands touched in the exchange. “Let me grab our glasses.” “Perfect. If you hold them, I’ll take us out.” I retrieved the wine glasses from the table and walked carefully across the sand to the lake’s edge, taking deep, slow breaths. A sweat had broken out across my back. I was wearing a swimsuit beneath my cover up, a modest tankini, but I didn’t want to remove it. Wading ankle deep, I attempted to step into the canoe, but it wobbled beneath my foot. “Whoa.” Wes took me by the elbow and didn’t let go until I was seated at one end, facing the other. “Okay?” I nodded. Despite the heat, my arms had broken out in goose flesh. “All right, here we go.” As he rowed us away from shore, the breeze picked up, cooling my face and chest and back. “Drew and I used to have canoe-tipping contests.” I snapped my chin down and skewered Wes with a look over the top of my sunglasses. “Don’t even think about it.” He just grinned, the muscles in his arms and chest and stomach flexing with every stroke of the oars through the water. Momentarily mesmerized, I allowed myself the pleasure of watching him. It was okay if we were both thinking about Drew, wasn’t it? In fact, it was only natural that I was intrigued by the sight of Wes’s body. He was my husband’s identical twin, for heaven’s sake, and I missed his physical presence in my life. I missed looking at him naked. I missed feeling the weight of him above me. I missed the feeling of being aroused by him, of my body’s responses to his touch, his kiss, his cock. Deep in my body, the rusty mechanism of arousal creaked to life. My nipples peaked, my stomach hollowed, and something fluttered between my legs. Oh, Jesus. I sat up straighter, pressed my knees together, and closed my mouth, which I realized had fallen open. Hopefully I hadn’t moaned or anything. After another sip of wine, I turned my head and studied a freighter off in the distance. My heart was beating way too fast. It’s only natural. It’s only natural. Wes stopped paddling and set the oars in the bottom of the canoe, their handles resting against the seat in the middle. “We’ll have to bring Abby out here.” “Definitely.” Did my voice sound normal? “She’ll love it. Here, want this?” I held his wine glass toward him and he reached out to take it. His fingers brushed mine, and I pulled my hand back as if the touch had burned me. “Thanks.” He tipped the glass up then looked along the shore. “I’d like to find a place on the lake. Maybe not along this stretch of beach, though.” I caught his meaning and smiled. “A little too close to home?” “Yeah. But I don’t want to be too far away. I’d like to get a boat too.” “What kind of boat? Drew always talked about it, but we never quite settled on one.” “Not sure. Maybe just a little fishing boat, something to ski behind.” “That sounds fun. Drew loved to ski.” “We’ll have to teach Abby.” I laughed. “You, not we. I managed to get up and stay up a few times, but I am not the expert.” “You can teach her to cook, I’ll teach her to water ski.” “Deal.” Separate activities seemed like a good idea. “Breakfast was incredible.” “Thanks.” I tucked a strand of hair that had escaped my ponytail behind my ear, but the wind blew it right back into my face. “I really like working there. I’m so glad Georgia suggested it to me.” “How long have you been there?” “Since spring, when they got busy. I’m not sure what I’ll do this winter when it slows down. I’m dreading it, actually. Abby will be in school full time, and it will just be me at home alone.” This was something else I hadn’t talked about with anyone, how worried I was that the gray skies and cold weather and silent hours would set me spiraling into depression. “I always thought I’d have another baby to take care of, but life saw things differently.” “You’re still young, Hannah.” I shook my head. “I’m really not. And I feel even older than I am.” Please don’t go Grief Police on me and tell me I’m being ridiculous, I begged him silently. This isn’t the life I chose. It was handed to me and I’m doing the best I can. But he didn’t say anything more, just sipped his wine and looked out at the horizon. I was grateful. “What about you?” I asked. “Think maybe you’ll get married now that you’re back? Have a family? Abby won’t have any siblings so she needs some cousins.” “That seems to be a popular topic of discussion around here,” Wes said, shaking his head, “but I really have no idea.” “Small town. We like to know everyone’s business.” I smiled. “Hey, what about CB? I saw your initials carved with hers on the door of the shed. Maybe she’s still around.” He groaned. “Is that still there? Jesus. That had to be twenty years ago.” Hugging my knees, I leaned forward. “First love?” “Not even.” He hesitated, as if he were trying to decide whether to confess something. “Come on,” I cajoled, carefully reaching out of the canoe, and splashing water toward him. “Tell me. I’ve been spilling my guts for an hour.” “First kiss.” I squealed. “And?” He cringed. “It’s too embarrassing.” “Wes, I had a completely humiliating breakdown in front of you last night. I got snot on my arm.” “This is worse.” “Get it out. You’ll feel better.” “Let’s just say it was a very awkward, very fast experience.” I gasped. “You lost your virginity to her?” “No. Just my dignity.” Laughing, I tilted my head back and felt the sun on my face, the wind in my hair, and something like joy in my heart. It had been a long time.

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Read Today!

Add to GoodReads https://goo.gl/J3ogH4




REVIEWED BY WENDY
4 stars

From This Moment was full of emotions and heart. Hannah and Wes were fantastic characters and I was fully invested in their journey. It wasn’t an easy one but I could see the love and affection. I was just rooting for these two. And Hannah’s daughter Abby was adorable. I loved the sweetness and innocence. This book had all the feels. A great mix of love, sexy, sad, and happy. Melanie made these characters and this story so real. I couldn’t get enough of it. I truly enjoyed this book. A heartfelt, beautiful story that hits you deep. 



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READ THE FIRST CHAPTER TODAY!

 

About the Author:

Melanie Harlow likes her martinis dry, her heels high, and her history with the naughty bits left in. When she's not writing or reading, she gets her kicks from TV series like VEEP, Game of Thrones, House of Cards, and Homeland. She occasionally runs three miles, but only so she can have more gin and steak. Melanie is the author of the HAPPY CRAZY LOVE series, the FRENCHED series, and the sexy historical SPEAK EASY duet, set in the 1920s. She lifts her glass to romance readers and writers from her home near Detroit, MI, where she lives with her husband, two daughters, and pet rabbit.


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Connect with Melanie:

Twitter: @MelanieHarlow2
Sign up for Melanie’s Newsletter: http://www.melanieharlow.com/subscribe/

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Jill's Review of Tempt The Playboy by Natasha Madison ~ BLOG TOUR ~















REVIEWED BY JILL


4 stars for - Tempt The Playboy - book two in the Tease series by Natasha Madison. Book one does not have to be read first in order to read this one, but I found it absolutely hilarious and it introduced us to all of the characters in this book so if you have the chance you should definitely check it out. A bit of a warning though - the timelines for books one and two do overlap so some of the material is a bit redundant in the beginning.
Kaliegh is the polar opposite of her sister Lauren. She owns her own yoga studio is a die hard vegan and changes men like she does her mind. Since living with her sister to help with the kids she has spent more time with her family than out on dates but that changes when she meets Noah.
Noah is a total ladies’ man going through women almost nightly. Being a lawyer himself and the child of wealthy parents he has lived a life of privilege. Never wanting to settle down he enjoyed “playing the field”, but the minute he started spending time with Kaliegh he didn’t want anyone else. 
This book was another example of the witty dialogue and amusing characters that Ms. Madison delivers. When you have the comic relief added to the steamy sexy times you get this great romantic comedy that I highly recommend.


















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play·boy
ˈplāˌboi/
noun
a wealthy man who spends his time enjoying himself, especially one who behaves irresponsibly or is sexually promiscuous.
Synonyms: socialite, pleasure seeker.



Noah
I have it all, money, looks, and any woman I want.
Till I meet her and my universe is knocked on its ass and she wants nothing to do with me.

Kaleigh
My motto: never date the same man twice. I have less chance of breaking my heart that way.
Till my eyes land on the only man I’ll break my rule for.

She thinks she can run. That I’ll let her get away.

He thinks he can handle a woman like me.
He has no idea.

A man who has it all needs one thing and one thing only. A temptress.

Watch me Tempt the Playboy.











Watch the trailer HERE





























Noah



I wave goodbye to the blonde standing at her door wearing her pink kimono and nothing else as I am pulling away from the curb. I turn on the music, but it’s not on long before I see a call coming in from Austin.



“Go for Ho,” I say to him.



“Where are you at eight a.m. on a Sunday?” he asks me.



“That you even ask this makes me question how well you know me.”



“Fuck off. You can go a Saturday without having sex and your dick won’t fall off. You know this, right?”

Is he serious with this question?



“I don’t even know who you are right now. I think the problem is that you haven’t used your dick since Lauren fucked your balls up.”



“My balls became the fucking size of watermelons. That shit was not funny.”



I burst out laughing. “Dude, they were not pretty. I thought they’d explode and you’d have just your testicles left on the floor.”



“You better have deleted those fucking pictures that I saw you take.”



“Delete them? Fuck, it’s my screen saver at work and on my phone. I might get a T-shirt made with that image.”



“You’re an asshole.”

I smirk at his insult.



“I’ve been called much, much worse,” I inform him. I mean, just last week I was called a cocksucker, which is totally not true, because I will not be sucking any cock at any time. Ever.



“Anyway, brunch, pick me up at noon,” he demands.



“You live next door now. Can’t you walk over?” He moved in within two weeks of seeing the house. It was so fast and came almost furnished, so he was in within a day.



“Fine, I’ll walk over at noon. Be ready.”



“Later, princess.” I disconnect the call as soon as I arrive home, pulling my car into the garage. At noon he knocks on the door, opening it, and coming in before I have a chance to make it downstairs.



“Let’s go. We’ll take my car,” he yells from downstairs.

I run my hand through my still damp hair before walking downstairs.



“You’re so antsy today.” I look at him as he bounces on the heels of his feet. I follow him out, getting inside and leaning my head back, closing my eyes.



When we show up in front of a house, that is when Austin fills me in.



“Where the fuck are we? I thought you said we were going to brunch.” I look over at all the white picket fence houses.



“Yeah, pit stop first. I have to pick up my dry cleaning at Lauren’s,” he tells me, getting out of the car.



Once we make our way around her house, I ask him, “Why are we at her house?”



“She’s having a brunch.” He shrugs. “I may have sent her some penis decorations,” he says to me before walking to the fence at the side of the house.



The first thing I see are all the balloons. Fuck, my hand goes to my mouth. “Holy shit, she is going to cut your dick off with dental floss,” I say before he knocks on the gate and walks into the backyard.



Austin stops in his tracks, mid-step. I almost run into him when I see that it isn’t just a small brunch, but there are about fifteen or so people scattered around the yard.



“Holy shit,” I whisper, looking at Lauren. “Dude, I think she’s going to cry.”

Austin’s eyes snap straight to Lauren.



But I’m not looking at Lauren anymore. In my eyesight is the blonde standing next to her. She’s a knockout. Actually, that isn’t even a good enough word for her. She is breathtaking. Her blond hair moves a bit with the wind. Her blue eyes are almost like the Caribbean ocean that you want to plunge into. I can’t stop looking at her. I don’t even hear what Lauren and Austin are talking about. Instead, I watch the woman, who finally looks over at me. I’m about to say something to her when I hear something about a chocolate willy.



“No, you cannot have a willy chocolate. We are going to eat in a minute.” She turns and storms inside.



“This is not good for anyone. You must be Asshat.” She points to him. “You’ve poked the bear now.”

I don’t say anything else since he turns and follows Lauren inside.

The blonde turns to me. “So, how you doing?” she says in her best Joey Tribbiani voice.



That she is trying to use the best line to ever be said I smirk thinking I might have found my soul mate. Okay, maybe my sex mate, for the night. “It’s looking up now. I’m really hoping it’s going to look up more tonight.” I wink at her and smile.



When she starts to drag her eyes up and down my body while she licks her lips like I’m her next meal, my cock suddenly starts to stir, wanting out.

I hear Rachel yelling, “Daddy, look, a willy.”



“Fuck, this just got interesting. The ex is here,” she says, looking at the gate where a man just walked in and is kissing Rachel’s head. “I better go save Austin and warn Lauren.” She walks away.

I watch her ass sway from side to side. I look down at my hands. Yup, definitely a good fit. I run after her as she closes the back door.



She’s about to knock on the door when we hear Lauren’s voice go high.

“Didn’t you get your revenge already? You penis-bombed my parents’ anniversary party!”



I move behind the blonde and notice that her head goes up to my lips. My hands go directly to her hips. Her head turns to the side. “I want to hear what they are saying.”

She just smiles at me and I’m feeling my hard cock against her back.



“Should I bend over so you can put your ear to the door?”

Fuck me, I think I just jazzed in my pants.



I pull her even closer to me. “You bend over and there will be one more penis added to this party.” I’m about to lean forward and kiss her when I hear Austin finally yell back.



“You made my balls swell to the size of fucking grapefruits. I thought they were going to explode.”

I laugh at that.



“They were fucking huge. I have the pictures to show. Lauren was a pain in his balls, that’s for sure.”

She leans into the front of my chest.



“I did no such thing.” She tries to deny weakly. “But this, this... You pushed it too far.”



“How about we call a truce?” Austin tries to plead. “I don’t think I can take any more. I almost died, and my testicles almost exploded.”



“Fine,” she complies.



“Truce.” I hear whispered.



“You think they’re fucking in there?” We both lean into the door to hear.



“My sister wouldn’t fuck with a party in her house.”



“That’s a shame. Is this a family trait?” I try goading her to see what line she will pass.



“I have no problem having sex with people around.” She winks at me. “I mean, if he was really, really worth it.”

This woman will be the death of me, or I might faint from all my blood going straight to my cock. Which is as hard as a marble statue.



She lifts her hand to knock on the door. “Hey, I don’t mean to interrupt, but, um, Jake is here.”



The door unlocks, swinging open with Lauren standing there with a pink tint to her cheeks and Austin has his hand rubbing his neck.

“What do you mean, Jake is here? Why is Jake here?” she asks with her voice rising with each question.



“Hi”—the woman pushes Lauren aside—“I’m Kaleigh, her favorite sister,” she introduces herself.



“She’s my only sister, and she will be homeless in a second if she doesn’t get out of my way.” Lauren’s voice is angry.



I chuckle behind her. Lauren turns and points at me. “You, if I find out you helped him, it’s going to be on,” she hisses and leans in closer to me when she continues, “like Donkey Kong.” And then she walks away.



“What the fuck does she mean, like Donkey Kong?” I turn to Kaleigh, looking for an answer.



“Oh, I was on that list only once”—she leans in closer to me—“and I begged and cried to get off of it.” She looks at Austin then back at me. “It was like living in that movie The Shining, but worse.”

I feel my face pale at that little tidbit of information.



I point at Austin. “If I get it like Donkey Kong, I’m going to put the pictures of your swollen, abnormally large testicles on a billboard in Times Square,” I threaten him, while Kaleigh just watches us.



“Who the fuck is Jake?” Austin finally asks.



“Her ex. This should be fun,” Kaleigh claims, walking away from us.



“You took a picture of my nuts?” he asks when Lauren storms out.



I shake my head at him. “No, I took a burst of shots of your nuts.” Then I walk out, following Kaleigh. My dick leads the way to her. He hasn’t even met her yet he’s already on radar for her.



“What are you doing here?” I hear Lauren ask a guy who must be Jake.



While I take in the scene, I turn my head, catching one of the waiters passing around some canapés. I also grab champagne from another tray.



“What the fuck are you doing?” I hear Austin hiss at my side while he watches Lauren and her ex.



“I’m eating and drinking,” I say, showing him my full hands. “I mean, this is a party. You did bring me to a party.” I finish off the food. “You should try those mushroom things. They are really good,” I say, finishing off the champagne and signaling the waiter for more. I grab another glass. “Did the ex leave?” I ask Austin as I drain my second glass.



“Yeah, he came to get the kids and forgot it was the party. Guy looks like a douche,” Austin says.

Kaleigh informs Lauren that we are sitting at their table.



“They aren’t staying,” Lauren says before she turns around, heading inside.



“Oh, come now, Lauren. That would be rude,” Dede chides. “You can sit at our table.” She turns to Frank. “Let’s go sit down, honey.”



Once everyone is seated, I look around our table. It’s Kaleigh, Frank, Dede, Lauren, Austin, and Josh, who I found out is a doctor and bears a striking resemblance to Newman from Seinfeld.



He sits next to Lauren, standing up when she gets to the table and pushing her chair in. She looks over at him and smiles. I watch all this take place and then see the tic in Austin’s neck start to throb.



He grabs his glass of wine and downs it in one gulp. “Slow down there, slugger. We don’t want you flying off on one of those penis balloons,” I whisper in his ear while he glares at me.





“So,” Josh starts, looking at Lauren. “I hear congratulations are in order. You’re back in the work force now.” He continues in that annoyingly nasal voice of his, “How does this weekend sound?” He blushes and looks down at his hands. What a putz.



“Oh, um, she can’t do it this weekend,” Kaleigh answers for Lauren. “She’s having her bikini area waxed and styled,” she explains, nodding her head.



“What?” He looks confused.



“Well”—Kaleigh leans in and whispers—“it’s like the Amazon down there.”



I spit water from my mouth, almost fucking choking while their mother puts her hand to her mouth and Lauren throws her fork down on the plate, the clatter hushing the whispers at our table.

“Kaleigh,” she grates out, her jaw ticking.



“What?” she asks. “Was it a secret?” She shrugs. “So sorry.” She brings her glass of wine to her mouth in an attempt to hide her smirk.

My eyes shoot to each of them like I’m watching a tennis match.



“Dear,” Lauren’s mother questions, “are you okay? Is this procedure normal?” She gives her daughter a look filled with concern.



“Mom—” Lauren starts before she is cut off by her father.



“Lauren, it’s been a while since Jake left. Maybe if you”—he gestures with his hand in a circle and his finger sliding in and out—“you won’t be so stressed.”



She slams her hands on the table, the glasses clinking and rocking with the force of it. “I'm not having any hair removal procedures done, because it is not necessary. Can we please just—” This time, she is cut off by her mother.



“So, you’ve had sex since Jake?” Dede asks her, a smile on her face. “This is so good to hear.” She claps her hands together then leans over and puts her hand on Lauren’s. “I thought you had that glow about you.”



“I’m going to the bathroom,” Lauren excuses herself as she gets up and points to Kaleigh. “You”—she growls—“come with me.”



“Oh,” Kaleigh replies, completely unperturbed, “I’m good. I don’t need to go. I’ll just wait here. Keep the guests entertained.”



“Not a word. Or else Donkey Kong,” she promises before she storms off.



“So,” Dede starts, turning to Austin. “How long have you two been dating?” She looks at him and then at the door Lauren just walked through.



Kaleigh laughs. “Oh, they aren’t dating, Mom. He’s her boss,” she helpfully points out. “He sent all these penis balloons.”



Frank looks over at Austin. “You sent all these balloons and ruined all her hard work?” he asks.



“Um, sir, if I could just explain.” Before Austin can say anything else, Frank puts up his hand to stop him.



“I like you,” he declares right before someone clinks their glass and the speeches start.



I put my hand around Kaleigh’s chair while my thumb rubs her exposed shoulder. I lean in to whisper in her ear, “So since we are talking about bikini waxes and everything, will I need a machete?”



She puts her shoulder into my arm, fitting there perfectly. “No machete needed. You see, I have a very well-manicured lawn.” She raises her eyebrows at me.



“We should have a picnic. I heard eating well-manicured lawns can fill up a person.”

Her cheeks pinked.



“I’ve never eaten manicured lawn before, but I have eaten some pretty good sausages.” She bites my ear, making me almost groan, but then Austin kicks my chair to get my attention.



My eyebrows shoot up when Austin says urgently, “Gotta go,” then glances over at Lauren, who is coming straight for us like a bull and Austin is the one waving the red cape. “Now would be good.”



He throws his napkin on the plate in front of him. “This has been fun,” he murmurs, trying to escape.



“Running off so early, guys?” she sing-songs as she comes up behind us. The way she says it, even my balls are inverted.



“We intruded,” Austin says. “Thank you for having us. Dede, Frank, I wish you many more years of happiness.” We rush out on a wave, out the side gate.



“Run,” Austin says the minute the gate closes behind us, and he doesn’t have to tell me twice.

“What the fuck just happened? I didn’t even get Kaleigh’s number,” I whine, getting in the car, not even buckling in before he races away.



“I may have had male strippers show up,” he says, looking into his side-view mirror.



I turn my head, seeing about twelve men all getting into a big bus of sorts. “Yup, you’ve done pissed off the fucking Donkey Kong. She’s going to rain down on you. I suggest you run, move, and don’t look back.” I buckle myself in. “Oh, and don’t tell me where you’re going because I’ll fucking tell her.” I grab my cock in my hands. “She’s not getting next to my pride and joy.”



“She’ll be fine.”



I laugh at him. “You think?” I shake my head. “You have no idea.”







Kaleigh



I don’t know what is going on, but one second I’m talking about eating sausages on my manicured lawn and the next Lauren is storming across the lawn and Austin and Noah are running away.



I get up. “What did I miss?” I look back and forth from the gate where it just slammed and to my sister.



“The entire cast of Thunder From Down Under just arrived.” She looks around to see if the guests are okay.



I get up, raising my skirt a little bit to show off more leg. “Where? Are they inside? Shit, do I look okay?” I fluff my hair.



“Kaleigh,” she whisper-hisses, “they aren’t here anymore. I sent them away.”



I groan and slam one hand on the table. “Why? Why would you do that?” I get up and run to the side gate to see if they’re still in the driveway. “Buzz kill,” I call her as I pick up Rachel. “Can you protect me from Mommy?” I whisper in her ear before blowing kisses in her neck while Lauren sits down and starts her meal of wine.



The rest of the afternoon goes by without any further penis-related incidents. All cupcakes have been consumed, minus the penis cake toppers that Lauren removed before serving them.



Once everyone has left, Lauren plops down into her chair and throws her feet up on the one Austin sat in. “That was fun, right?” I ask, grabbing a strawberry.



“You told people I had a strange excessive hair issue on my hoo-ha that required a complicated bikini wax and styling.” She glares at me.



“I was trying to get Josh to imagine that you're a woman with a hairy bush so he doesn’t ask you out again!” I drink from the wine glass I’m holding in my hand. “You’re welcome.” I smirk.



“What the hell are we going to do with all those penis balloons?”

She looks around. “Asshole,” she grumbles under her breath.



“What’s the story with Noah?” I try to ask casually, thinking back to the conversation we had. I would have let him plow my lawn.



“No idea. He’s Austin’s best friend from what I gathered,” she tells me while looking at Rachel, who is running in circles with, unfortunately, a penis balloon in her hand. “Ten minutes to bath time!” she calls out, hoping she acknowledges her, but she just continues her one-girl—with a penis balloon—parade.



“Mom,” we hear Gabe call from behind us. “Can I go to Jesse’s house to kick the ball around?”



She checks her watch before answering. “Only for thirty minutes, okay?”



“So, what are you going to do to Austin for all of this?” I ask, pointing to the balloons.



“Nothing.” She smirks. “We called a truce.”



I sit up and put my glass down. “I know that smirk. I’ve been on the receiving end of that smirk!”



“I mean, we called truce today, right? We didn’t call truce on Wednesday when he made me run back out for a fucking crisp kosher pickle, because the one that came with his sandwich was limp, right?” she asks me with a perplexed smile on her face. It’s almost like you’re looking into evil.



“What did you do now? From the pictures, his balls were almost the size of Gabe’s soccer ball.” I think back on Noah’s phone that he took out when he got a text from someone. His lock screen was of swollen balls.



She slaps the table. “You saw pictures?” Her mouth is hanging open.



I nod. “I did. Not the actual frank, though, just the beans. But they were ginormous.” I motion with my hands, forming them into huge round objects in the air. “Now, what did you do?”



“Nothing that will make any part of him swell. I will never, ever do something like that again.” She shakes her head. “I may have shredded one of his parking tickets that had to be paid by yesterday so he could avoid his car getting booted,” she confesses quietly, looking into the glass she picked up from the table.



“Holy shit. I hope you kept the photocopies, because you can’t not pay that. He is going to know it was you,” I warn her.



“I know, I know. I kept them, so just relax.” She puts her hands on her hips and states defensively, “I’m going to pay them.”



“When?” I ask her again, earning an eye roll from her.



“Next week,” she replies. “Rach, bath time.” She walks to the back door. “Don’t you dare sit there and judge me, missy.” She points at me. “By the way, the potatoes had butter in them. That’s for the bikini wax,” she says before she turns her back to me and walks inside with the sound of her curses filling my ears.



“Are you fucking insane? I’m vegan. That’s fucking wrong.” I shake my head, picking up a penis straw and throwing it at her, where it nose dives on the table.



I sit down, finishing the rest of my wine while the cleanup crew comes and starts taking down everything.



“Excuse me, ma’am,” one of the men calls me. “Where do you want all the balloons?” he asks me.

I smile at him.



“In my sister’s car.” I point to the gate door. “The minibus in the front, just pile them in there.” He smiles at me and nods, the balloons following him as he walks to the car, shoving most of them in there.



“Take that, Donkey Kong Bitch.” I smile into the wine glass, finishing off the last drop.



I walk inside, closing the door, then walk upstairs right as Lauren comes out of the bathroom. “Are the guys still cleaning up?”



“Yeah, they are almost done.” I smile at her, walking to my room and closing the door. I turn on one soft light in the room, undressing, tossing my dress into the basket. My phone buzzes and I pick it up as I lie on the bed and see I missed out on quite a bit.



There are messages from the studio about a change in the times. Then there is another one from an unknown number.



Hey, I hope I have the right person. Do you have a manicured lawn?



I throw my head back, laughing at the message.



It depends on who is asking. How did you get my number?



I jump onto Facebook while I wait to see if he’ll answer right away.



It’s called stalking 101. I went on Lauren’s Facebook, went to her friends list, found you. Clicked your page, and on your about section I saw your studio name. Clicked the studio and then boom, I got my prize.



I shake my head.



Wow, you put a lot of thought into this process. Well, I should make it worthwhile. I take a picture of my bare legs.



Holy shit, are we exchanging pictures already? This is fantastic news.

The picture is of him lying down, wearing a pair of basketball shorts, on the bed. The elastic rides very low, showing you he’s a landscaper also. His chest perfect, his abs defined. He’s not a muscle man, but it’s the side abs that get me. Cut and lean. That is the best way I can describe him.



Thanks for that. It made it into my spank bank.



I got a lot more where that came from, but I don’t give it away on the first night. Have dinner with me?



When?



Tomorrow.



I shrug my shoulders, thinking what the worse that can happen is.

Sure, where?



My place, your place, the fucking park. I don’t care as long as you're sitting in front of me.



I giggle.

That’s a good one. How about I meet you at your place say 6 p.m.



Perfect. What’s your favorite thing to eat?



I smirk at myself while I answer him.



Cock. Lots and lots of cock. See you tomorrow, Noah. Send me your address.



974 Sherville Rd. Oh and that answer made this happen.



The picture that comes through is his shorts, hiding a very erect cock.



See you tomorrow, beautiful.



I turn on my side, watching the stars twinkle outside. Closing off my light, the lights from outside stream in. I yawn and slowly close my eyes and drift off to sleep, dreaming of blue oceans and eyes that make me get lost.



My night dreams are of the beach, chasing the waves, running, doing cartwheels in the sand. Sitting in the middle of the sand, taking in the beauty of the sun going down. My alarm wakes me with charm bells. Slowly at first, soft, going higher and higher till it’s like a siren.



“Aunt Kay.” I hear Rachel outside my door. “Mom said to get your bony hind downstairs and get the willy balloons out of the car.”



I turn over, laughing while I throw the covers off, grabbing my robe and going to the door. I open the door and Rachel is still standing there. “You’re in big trouble, missy.”

She leans in, whispering as I pick her up, bringing her close to me, “She used her mom inside voice.”



I lean back, my eyes going wide. “Oh, dear.”



“Yes,” she says, nodding, “she talks like this.” She imitates Lauren talking with her teeth clenched.



“Oh, well, I better go get dressed and bring my behind downstairs.” I kiss her neck. “Go brush your teeth while I get dressed.” I put her down, watching her run into her bathroom.



I walk to my drawer, taking out my pink yoga capris with the matching bra. I head downstairs while Lauren gives the ten-minute warning.



I smile as I step into the kitchen. “Good morning, sunshine.” I stop at the coffee machine.



“Did you put the penis balloons in my car?” She turns to ask me, stuffing papers into Rachel’s backpack.



I bring the cup of coffee to my lips. “No.” I shake my head, hiding my smile while I take a sip. “I didn’t put them in your car.” I’m not lying either. I myself didn’t put them in her car.



“My whole car is filled with penis balloons.”



I put the cup down as Lauren yells bus up the stairs. Rachel comes hopping into the room, grabbing her backpack, with Gabe right behind her. He grabs his bag from Lauren, kisses her cheek, then comes over to me and does the same.



“Have a kick-ass day,” I tell him.



“I’m going to kick ass today,” Rachel says, walking out the door.



“Watch your mouth,” Lauren says and follows them outside to the bus.

I pick up my cup and watch them walk to the bus stop. The bus arrives right on time. I wave goodbye to them as Lauren returns.



“You okay to work today?” I ask her, knowing that somehow things between Austin and her aren’t quite what they seem to be.



“I’m more than okay. I’ll be fine now that we have all”—she waves her hand in the air—“that animosity out of the way.”



I laugh at her. “Is that what you’re calling it?” I hold the cup with both hands, taking another gulp.



She glares at me, opening her car door, one helium penis balloon floating up into the sky. We both watch the balloon float off. She opens the back door and the rest slowly float out. “Let them go, Lauren,” I say loudly as Mrs. Flounder comes outside, her hair still in curlers, with a scarf around her head. “It’s raining penises, Mrs. Flounder. They are raining down on us.”



I raise my hand to the sky. She claps her hands together. “I would like to be rained down on.” She winks at Lauren. “For a whole five minutes. That would be my dream.”



I raise my cup to her. “Here’s hoping.”



“I don’t have time for this,” Lauren says, closing the back door, then climbing into the front seat. “Don’t forget the kids.”



“Aye aye, captain,” I say, saluting her. “I have a date tonight.” I wiggle my eyebrows. “A date I hope to become the pretzel.”

She laughs as she pulls out of the driveway.



By the time I make it to the studio doing my routine and making it back home where I get the kids ready and settled, I have just enough time to throw on a dark blue summer dress. I pick up my purse from the bed, tossing the bra and panties that I am happily going without.





















When her nose isn't buried in a book, or her fingers flying across a keyboard writing, she's in the kitchen creating gourmet meals. You can find her, in four inch heels no less, in the car chauffeuring kids, or possibly with her husband scheduling his business trips. It's a good thing her characters do what she says, because even her Labrador doesn't listen to her...

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<span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">play·boy</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">ˈplāˌboi/</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">noun</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">a wealthy man who spends his time enjoying himself, especially one who behaves irresponsibly or is sexually promiscuous.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Synonyms: socialite, pleasure seeker.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span></div>
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<span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: italic; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 700; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Noah</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">I have it all, money, looks, and any woman I want.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Till I meet her and my universe is knocked on its ass and she wants nothing to do with me.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: italic; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 700; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Kaleigh</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">My motto: never date the same man twice. I have less chance of breaking my heart that way.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Till my eyes land on the only man I’ll break my rule for.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">She thinks she can run. That I’ll let her get away.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">He thinks he can handle a woman like me.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">He has no idea.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">A man who has it all needs one thing and one thing only. A temptress.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Watch me Tempt the Playboy.</span></div>
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<span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><img height="296" src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/d1NyJLnqsKO1t8CV8uTHyHF23pQBuIzb27WP2eCdun-CU_d3olhrCBpsRNmeUoxmr8Ot_pKaQkQGOx4IVhLhh30JnEY-TYLbzIep9i2Rqmc2qEsLNn-Qew5uqnArzRnmbaC_HusN" style="-webkit-transform: rotate(0.00rad); border: none; transform: rotate(0.00rad);" width="624" /></span></div>
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<span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 20pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 700; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Watch the trailer </span><a href="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FAuthorNatashaMadison%2Fvideos%2F926779604154510%2F&amp;show_text=0&amp;width=560" style="text-decoration: none;"><span style="background-color: transparent; color: #1155cc; font-family: Arial; font-size: 20pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 700; text-decoration: underline; vertical-align: baseline;">HERE</span></a><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 20pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 700; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span></div>
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<span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><img height="195" src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/WU4eVZ7D0YSNcBBqZvOWLc-OsEIr9xstnX1kE2cgYboKGzT9CVxcjFgq6Py4eFgOtTFOSlFOFtECF3Gv5GuuP-Rj-S6ZB8O2FaJSkLX24X5isGZZX1PzyY02YbhQPlguJcQtnymg" style="-webkit-transform: rotate(0.00rad); border: none; transform: rotate(0.00rad);" width="624" /></span></div>
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<span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Noah</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">I wave goodbye to the blonde standing at her door wearing her pink kimono and nothing else as I am pulling away from the curb. I turn on the music, but it’s not on long before I see a call coming in from Austin.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“Go for Ho,” I say to him.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“Where are you at eight a.m. on a Sunday?” he asks me.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“That you even ask this makes me question how well you know me.”</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“Fuck off. You can go a Saturday without having sex and your dick won’t fall off. You know this, right?”</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Is he serious with this question?</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“I don’t even know who you are right now. I think the problem is that you haven’t used your dick since Lauren fucked your balls up.”</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“My balls became the fucking size of watermelons. That shit was not funny.”</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">I burst out laughing. “Dude, they were not pretty. I thought they’d explode and you’d have just your testicles left on the floor.”</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“You better have deleted those fucking pictures that I saw you take.”</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“Delete them? Fuck, it’s my screen saver at work and on my phone. I might get a T-shirt made with that image.”</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“You’re an asshole.”</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">I smirk at his insult.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“I’ve been called much, much worse,” I inform him. I mean, just last week I was called a cocksucker, which is totally not true, because I will not be sucking any cock at any time. Ever.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“Anyway, brunch, pick me up at noon,” he demands.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“You live next door now. Can’t you walk over?” He moved in within two weeks of seeing the house. It was so fast and came almost furnished, so he was in within a day.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“Fine, I’ll walk over at noon. Be ready.”</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“Later, princess.” I disconnect the call as soon as I arrive home, pulling my car into the garage. At noon he knocks on the door, opening it, and coming in before I have a chance to make it downstairs.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“Let’s go. We’ll take my car,” he yells from downstairs.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">I run my hand through my still damp hair before walking downstairs.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“You’re so antsy today.” I look at him as he bounces on the heels of his feet. I follow him out, getting inside and leaning my head back, closing my eyes.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">When we show up in front of a house, that is when Austin fills me in.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“Where the fuck are we? I thought you said we were going to brunch.” I look over at all the white picket fence houses.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“Yeah, pit stop first. I have to pick up my dry cleaning at Lauren’s,” he tells me, getting out of the car.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Once we make our way around her house, I ask him, “Why are we at her house?”</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“She’s having a brunch.” He shrugs. “I may have sent her some penis decorations,” he says to me before walking to the fence at the side of the house.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">The first thing I see are all the balloons. Fuck, my hand goes to my mouth. “Holy shit, she is going to cut your dick off with dental floss,” I say before he knocks on the gate and walks into the backyard.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Austin stops in his tracks, mid-step. I almost run into him when I see that it isn’t just a small brunch, but there are about fifteen or so people scattered around the yard.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“Holy shit,” I whisper, looking at Lauren. “Dude, I think she’s going to cry.”</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Austin’s eyes snap straight to Lauren.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">But I’m not looking at Lauren anymore. In my eyesight is the blonde standing next to her. She’s a knockout. Actually, that isn’t even a good enough word for her. She is breathtaking. Her blond hair moves a bit with the wind. Her blue eyes are almost like the Caribbean ocean that you want to plunge into. I can’t stop looking at her. I don’t even hear what Lauren and Austin are talking about. Instead, I watch the woman, who finally looks over at me. I’m about to say something to her when I hear something about a chocolate willy.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“No, you cannot have a willy chocolate. We are going to eat in a minute.” She turns and storms inside.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“This is not good for anyone. You must be Asshat.” She points to him. “You’ve poked the bear now.”</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">I don’t say anything else since he turns and follows Lauren inside.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">The blonde turns to me. “So, how you doing?” she says in her best Joey Tribbiani voice.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">That she is trying to use the best line to ever be said I smirk thinking I might have found my soul mate. Okay, maybe my sex mate, for the night. “It’s looking up now. I’m really hoping it’s going to look up more tonight.” I wink at her and smile.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">When she starts to drag her eyes up and down my body while she licks her lips like I’m her next meal, my cock suddenly starts to stir, wanting out.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">I hear Rachel yelling, “Daddy, look, a willy.”</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“Fuck, this just got interesting. The ex is here,” she says, looking at the gate where a man just walked in and is kissing Rachel’s head. “I better go save Austin and warn Lauren.” She walks away.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">I watch her ass sway from side to side. I look down at my hands. Yup, definitely a good fit. I run after her as she closes the back door.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">She’s about to knock on the door when we hear Lauren’s voice go high.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“Didn’t you get your revenge already? You penis-bombed my parents’ anniversary party!”</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">I move behind the blonde and notice that her head goes up to my lips. My hands go directly to her hips. Her head turns to the side. “I want to hear what they are saying.”</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">She just smiles at me and I’m feeling my hard cock against her back.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“Should I bend over so you can put your ear to the door?”</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Fuck me, I think I just jazzed in my pants.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">I pull her even closer to me. “You bend over and there will be one more penis added to this party.” I’m about to lean forward and kiss her when I hear Austin finally yell back.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“You made my balls swell to the size of fucking grapefruits. I thought they were going to explode.”</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">I laugh at that.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“They were fucking huge. I have the pictures to show. Lauren was a pain in his balls, that’s for sure.”</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">She leans into the front of my chest.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“I did no such thing.” She tries to deny weakly. “But this, this... You pushed it too far.”</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“How about we call a truce?” Austin tries to plead. “I don’t think I can take any more. I almost died, and my testicles almost exploded.”</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“Fine,” she complies.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“Truce.” I hear whispered.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“You think they’re fucking in there?” We both lean into the door to hear.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“My sister wouldn’t fuck with a party in her house.”</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“That’s a shame. Is this a family trait?” I try goading her to see what line she will pass.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“I have no problem having sex with people around.” She winks at me. “I mean, if he was really, really worth it.”</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">This woman will be the death of me, or I might faint from all my blood going straight to my cock. Which is as hard as a marble statue.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">She lifts her hand to knock on the door. “Hey, I don’t mean to interrupt, but, um, Jake is here.”</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">The door unlocks, swinging open with Lauren standing there with a pink tint to her cheeks and Austin has his hand rubbing his neck.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“What do you mean, Jake is here? Why is Jake here?” she asks with her voice rising with each question.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“Hi”—the woman pushes Lauren aside—“I’m Kaleigh, her favorite sister,” she introduces herself.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“She’s my only sister, and she will be homeless in a second if she doesn’t get out of my way.” Lauren’s voice is angry.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">I chuckle behind her. Lauren turns and points at me. “You, if I find out you helped him, it’s going to be on,” she hisses and leans in closer to me when she continues, “like Donkey Kong.” And then she walks away.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“What the fuck does she mean, like Donkey Kong?” I turn to Kaleigh, looking for an answer.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“Oh, I was on that list only once”—she leans in closer to me—“and I begged and cried to get off of it.” She looks at Austin then back at me. “It was like living in that movie The Shining, but worse.”</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">I feel my face pale at that little tidbit of information.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">I point at Austin. “If I get it like Donkey Kong, I’m going to put the pictures of your swollen, abnormally large testicles on a billboard in Times Square,” I threaten him, while Kaleigh just watches us.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“Who the fuck is Jake?” Austin finally asks.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“Her ex. This should be fun,” Kaleigh claims, walking away from us.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“You took a picture of my nuts?” he asks when Lauren storms out.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">I shake my head at him. “No, I took a burst of shots of your nuts.” Then I walk out, following Kaleigh. My dick leads the way to her. He hasn’t even met her yet he’s already on radar for her.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“What are you doing here?” I hear Lauren ask a guy who must be Jake.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">While I take in the scene, I turn my head, catching one of the waiters passing around some canapés. I also grab champagne from another tray.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“What the fuck are you doing?” I hear Austin hiss at my side while he watches Lauren and her ex.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“I’m eating and drinking,” I say, showing him my full hands. “I mean, this is a party. You did bring me to a party.” I finish off the food. “You should try those mushroom things. They are really good,” I say, finishing off the champagne and signaling the waiter for more. I grab another glass. “Did the ex leave?” I ask Austin as I drain my second glass.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“Yeah, he came to get the kids and forgot it was the party. Guy looks like a douche,” Austin says.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Kaleigh informs Lauren that we are sitting at their table.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“They aren’t staying,” Lauren says before she turns around, heading inside.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“Oh, come now, Lauren. That would be rude,” Dede chides. “You can sit at our table.” She turns to Frank. “Let’s go sit down, honey.”</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Once everyone is seated, I look around our table. It’s Kaleigh, Frank, Dede, Lauren, Austin, and Josh, who I found out is a doctor and bears a striking resemblance to Newman from Seinfeld.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">He sits next to Lauren, standing up when she gets to the table and pushing her chair in. She looks over at him and smiles. I watch all this take place and then see the tic in Austin’s neck start to throb.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">He grabs his glass of wine and downs it in one gulp. “Slow down there, slugger. We don’t want you flying off on one of those penis balloons,” I whisper in his ear while he glares at me.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“So,” Josh starts, looking at Lauren. “I hear congratulations are in order. You’re back in the work force now.” He continues in that annoyingly nasal voice of his, “How does this weekend sound?” He blushes and looks down at his hands. What a putz.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“Oh, um, she can’t do it this weekend,” Kaleigh answers for Lauren. “She’s having her bikini area waxed and styled,” she explains, nodding her head.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“What?” He looks confused.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“Well”—Kaleigh leans in and whispers—“it’s like the Amazon down there.”</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">I spit water from my mouth, almost fucking choking while their mother puts her hand to her mouth and Lauren throws her fork down on the plate, the clatter hushing the whispers at our table.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“Kaleigh,” she grates out, her jaw ticking.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“What?” she asks. “Was it a secret?” She shrugs. “So sorry.” She brings her glass of wine to her mouth in an attempt to hide her smirk.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">My eyes shoot to each of them like I’m watching a tennis match.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“Dear,” Lauren’s mother questions, “are you okay? Is this procedure normal?” She gives her daughter a look filled with concern.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“Mom—” Lauren starts before she is cut off by her father.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“Lauren, it’s been a while since Jake left. Maybe if you”—he gestures with his hand in a circle and his finger sliding in and out—“you won’t be so stressed.”</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">She slams her hands on the table, the glasses clinking and rocking with the force of it. “I'm not having any hair removal procedures done, because it is not necessary. Can we please just—” This time, she is cut off by her mother.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“So, you’ve had sex since Jake?” Dede asks her, a smile on her face. “This is so good to hear.” She claps her hands together then leans over and puts her hand on Lauren’s. “I thought you had that glow about you.”</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“I’m going to the bathroom,” Lauren excuses herself as she gets up and points to Kaleigh. “You”—she growls—“come with me.”</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“Oh,” Kaleigh replies, completely unperturbed, “I’m good. I don’t need to go. I’ll just wait here. Keep the guests entertained.”</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“Not a word. Or else Donkey Kong,” she promises before she storms off.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“So,” Dede starts, turning to Austin. “How long have you two been dating?” She looks at him and then at the door Lauren just walked through.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Kaleigh laughs. “Oh, they aren’t dating, Mom. He’s her boss,” she helpfully points out. “He sent all these penis balloons.”</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Frank looks over at Austin. “You sent all these balloons and ruined all her hard work?” he asks.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“Um, sir, if I could just explain.” Before Austin can say anything else, Frank puts up his hand to stop him.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“I like you,” he declares right before someone clinks their glass and the speeches start.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">I put my hand around Kaleigh’s chair while my thumb rubs her exposed shoulder. I lean in to whisper in her ear, “So since we are talking about bikini waxes and everything, will I need a machete?”</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">She puts her shoulder into my arm, fitting there perfectly. “No machete needed. You see, I have a very well-manicured lawn.” She raises her eyebrows at me.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“We should have a picnic. I heard eating well-manicured lawns can fill up a person.”</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Her cheeks pinked.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“I’ve never eaten manicured lawn before, but I have eaten some pretty good sausages.” She bites my ear, making me almost groan, but then Austin kicks my chair to get my attention.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">My eyebrows shoot up when Austin says urgently, “Gotta go,” then glances over at Lauren, who is coming straight for us like a bull and Austin is the one waving the red cape. “Now would be good.”</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">He throws his napkin on the plate in front of him. “This has been fun,” he murmurs, trying to escape.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“Running off so early, guys?” she sing-songs as she comes up behind us. The way she says it, even my balls are inverted.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“We intruded,” Austin says. “Thank you for having us. Dede, Frank, I wish you many more years of happiness.” We rush out on a wave, out the side gate.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“Run,” Austin says the minute the gate closes behind us, and he doesn’t have to tell me twice. </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“What the fuck just happened? I didn’t even get Kaleigh’s number,” I whine, getting in the car, not even buckling in before he races away.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“I may have had male strippers show up,” he says, looking into his side-view mirror.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">I turn my head, seeing about twelve men all getting into a big bus of sorts. “Yup, you’ve done pissed off the fucking Donkey Kong. She’s going to rain down on you. I suggest you run, move, and don’t look back.” I buckle myself in. “Oh, and don’t tell me where you’re going because I’ll fucking tell her.” I grab my cock in my hands. “She’s not getting next to my pride and joy.”</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“She’ll be fine.”</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">I laugh at him. “You think?” I shake my head. “You have no idea.”</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Kaleigh</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">I don’t know what is going on, but one second I’m talking about eating sausages on my manicured lawn and the next Lauren is storming across the lawn and Austin and Noah are running away.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">I get up. “What did I miss?” I look back and forth from the gate where it just slammed and to my sister.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“The entire cast of Thunder From Down Under just arrived.” She looks around to see if the guests are okay.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">I get up, raising my skirt a little bit to show off more leg. “Where? Are they inside? Shit, do I look okay?” I fluff my hair.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“Kaleigh,” she whisper-hisses, “they aren’t here anymore. I sent them away.”</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">I groan and slam one hand on the table. “Why? Why would you do that?” I get up and run to the side gate to see if they’re still in the driveway. “Buzz kill,” I call her as I pick up Rachel. “Can you protect me from Mommy?” I whisper in her ear before blowing kisses in her neck while Lauren sits down and starts her meal of wine.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">The rest of the afternoon goes by without any further penis-related incidents. All cupcakes have been consumed, minus the penis cake toppers that Lauren removed before serving them.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Once everyone has left, Lauren plops down into her chair and throws her feet up on the one Austin sat in. “That was fun, right?” I ask, grabbing a strawberry.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“You told people I had a strange excessive hair issue on my hoo-ha that required a complicated bikini wax and styling.” She glares at me.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“I was trying to get Josh to imagine that you're a woman with a hairy bush so he doesn’t ask you out again!” I drink from the wine glass I’m holding in my hand. “You’re welcome.” I smirk.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“What the hell are we going to do with all those penis balloons?”</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">She looks around. “Asshole,” she grumbles under her breath.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“What’s the story with Noah?” I try to ask casually, thinking back to the conversation we had. I would have let him plow my lawn.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“No idea. He’s Austin’s best friend from what I gathered,” she tells me while looking at Rachel, who is running in circles with, unfortunately, a penis balloon in her hand. “Ten minutes to bath time!” she calls out, hoping she acknowledges her, but she just continues her one-girl—with a penis balloon—parade.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“Mom,” we hear Gabe call from behind us. “Can I go to Jesse’s house to kick the ball around?”</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">She checks her watch before answering. “Only for thirty minutes, okay?”</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“So, what are you going to do to Austin for all of this?” I ask, pointing to the balloons.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“Nothing.” She smirks. “We called a truce.”</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">I sit up and put my glass down. “I know that smirk. I’ve been on the receiving end of that smirk!”</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“I mean, we called truce today, right? We didn’t call truce on Wednesday when he made me run back out for a fucking crisp kosher pickle, because the one that came with his sandwich was limp, right?” she asks me with a perplexed smile on her face. It’s almost like you’re looking into evil.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“What did you do now? From the pictures, his balls were almost the size of Gabe’s soccer ball.” I think back on Noah’s phone that he took out when he got a text from someone. His lock screen was of swollen balls.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">She slaps the table. “You saw pictures?” Her mouth is hanging open.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">I nod. “I did. Not the actual frank, though, just the beans. But they were ginormous.” I motion with my hands, forming them into huge round objects in the air. “Now, what did you do?”</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“Nothing that will make any part of him swell. I will never, ever do something like that again.” She shakes her head. “I may have shredded one of his parking tickets that had to be paid by yesterday so he could avoid his car getting booted,” she confesses quietly, looking into the glass she picked up from the table.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“Holy shit. I hope you kept the photocopies, because you can’t not pay that. He is going to know it was you,” I warn her.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“I know, I know. I kept them, so just relax.” She puts her hands on her hips and states defensively, “I’m going to pay them.”</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“When?” I ask her again, earning an eye roll from her.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“Next week,” she replies. “Rach, bath time.” She walks to the back door. “Don’t you dare sit there and judge me, missy.” She points at me. “By the way, the potatoes had butter in them. That’s for the bikini wax,” she says before she turns her back to me and walks inside with the sound of her curses filling my ears.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“Are you fucking insane? I’m vegan. That’s fucking wrong.” I shake my head, picking up a penis straw and throwing it at her, where it nose dives on the table.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">I sit down, finishing the rest of my wine while the cleanup crew comes and starts taking down everything.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“Excuse me, ma’am,” one of the men calls me. “Where do you want all the balloons?” he asks me.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">I smile at him.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“In my sister’s car.” I point to the gate door. “The minibus in the front, just pile them in there.” He smiles at me and nods, the balloons following him as he walks to the car, shoving most of them in there.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“Take that, Donkey Kong Bitch.” I smile into the wine glass, finishing off the last drop.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">I walk inside, closing the door, then walk upstairs right as Lauren comes out of the bathroom. “Are the guys still cleaning up?”</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“Yeah, they are almost done.” I smile at her, walking to my room and closing the door. I turn on one soft light in the room, undressing, tossing my dress into the basket. My phone buzzes and I pick it up as I lie on the bed and see I missed out on quite a bit.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">There are messages from the studio about a change in the times. Then there is another one from an unknown number.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Hey, I hope I have the right person. Do you have a manicured lawn?</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">I throw my head back, laughing at the message.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">It depends on who is asking. How did you get my number?</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">I jump onto Facebook while I wait to see if he’ll answer right away.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">It’s called stalking 101. I went on Lauren’s Facebook, went to her friends list, found you. Clicked your page, and on your about section I saw your studio name. Clicked the studio and then boom, I got my prize.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">I shake my head.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Wow, you put a lot of thought into this process. Well, I should make it worthwhile. I take a picture of my bare legs.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Holy shit, are we exchanging pictures already? This is fantastic news.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">The picture is of him lying down, wearing a pair of basketball shorts, on the bed. The elastic rides very low, showing you he’s a landscaper also. His chest perfect, his abs defined. He’s not a muscle man, but it’s the side abs that get me. Cut and lean. That is the best way I can describe him.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Thanks for that. It made it into my spank bank.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">I got a lot more where that came from, but I don’t give it away on the first night. Have dinner with me?</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">When?</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Tomorrow.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">I shrug my shoulders, thinking what the worse that can happen is.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Sure, where?</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">My place, your place, the fucking park. I don’t care as long as you're sitting in front of me.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">I giggle.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">That’s a good one. How about I meet you at your place say 6 p.m.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Perfect. What’s your favorite thing to eat?</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">I smirk at myself while I answer him.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Cock. Lots and lots of cock. See you tomorrow, Noah. Send me your address.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">974 Sherville Rd. Oh and that answer made this happen.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">The picture that comes through is his shorts, hiding a very erect cock.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">See you tomorrow, beautiful.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">I turn on my side, watching the stars twinkle outside. Closing off my light, the lights from outside stream in. I yawn and slowly close my eyes and drift off to sleep, dreaming of blue oceans and eyes that make me get lost.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">My night dreams are of the beach, chasing the waves, running, doing cartwheels in the sand. Sitting in the middle of the sand, taking in the beauty of the sun going down. My alarm wakes me with charm bells. Slowly at first, soft, going higher and higher till it’s like a siren.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“Aunt Kay.” I hear Rachel outside my door. “Mom said to get your bony hind downstairs and get the willy balloons out of the car.”</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">I turn over, laughing while I throw the covers off, grabbing my robe and going to the door. I open the door and Rachel is still standing there. “You’re in big trouble, missy.”</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">She leans in, whispering as I pick her up, bringing her close to me, “She used her mom inside voice.”</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">I lean back, my eyes going wide. “Oh, dear.”</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“Yes,” she says, nodding, “she talks like this.” She imitates Lauren talking with her teeth clenched.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“Oh, well, I better go get dressed and bring my behind downstairs.” I kiss her neck. “Go brush your teeth while I get dressed.” I put her down, watching her run into her bathroom.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">I walk to my drawer, taking out my pink yoga capris with the matching bra. I head downstairs while Lauren gives the ten-minute warning.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">I smile as I step into the kitchen. “Good morning, sunshine.” I stop at the coffee machine.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“Did you put the penis balloons in my car?” She turns to ask me, stuffing papers into Rachel’s backpack.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">I bring the cup of coffee to my lips. “No.” I shake my head, hiding my smile while I take a sip. “I didn’t put them in your car.” I’m not lying either. I myself didn’t put them in her car.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“My whole car is filled with penis balloons.”</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">I put the cup down as Lauren yells bus up the stairs. Rachel comes hopping into the room, grabbing her backpack, with Gabe right behind her. He grabs his bag from Lauren, kisses her cheek, then comes over to me and does the same.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“Have a kick-ass day,” I tell him.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“I’m going to kick ass today,” Rachel says, walking out the door.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“Watch your mouth,” Lauren says and follows them outside to the bus.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">I pick up my cup and watch them walk to the bus stop. The bus arrives right on time. I wave goodbye to them as Lauren returns.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“You okay to work today?” I ask her, knowing that somehow things between Austin and her aren’t quite what they seem to be.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“I’m more than okay. I’ll be fine now that we have all”—she waves her hand in the air—“that animosity out of the way.”</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">I laugh at her. “Is that what you’re calling it?” I hold the cup with both hands, taking another gulp.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">She glares at me, opening her car door, one helium penis balloon floating up into the sky. We both watch the balloon float off. She opens the back door and the rest slowly float out. “Let them go, Lauren,” I say loudly as Mrs. Flounder comes outside, her hair still in curlers, with a scarf around her head. “It’s raining penises, Mrs. Flounder. They are raining down on us.”</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">I raise my hand to the sky. She claps her hands together. “I would like to be rained down on.” She winks at Lauren. “For a whole five minutes. That would be my dream.”</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">I raise my cup to her. “Here’s hoping.”</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“I don’t have time for this,” Lauren says, closing the back door, then climbing into the front seat. “Don’t forget the kids.”</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“Aye aye, captain,” I say, saluting her. “I have a date tonight.” I wiggle my eyebrows. “A date I hope to become the pretzel.”</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">She laughs as she pulls out of the driveway.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">By the time I make it to the studio doing my routine and making it back home where I get the kids ready and settled, I have just enough time to throw on a dark blue summer dress. I pick up my purse from the bed, tossing the bra and panties that I am happily going without.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span></div>
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<span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><img height="195" src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/7X9bDO5Nj0R8dw5rrTK9DnG68pBrKijhif3eK883_mOaYXU51sRhGmTnyu8A0oDuyCxwZHwOPP34_QmTEaZkFiZ0zYUOpCB9a3X3JAUzx3YdwA5C9btPlTOSYIG42kPkAjEBBFmO" style="-webkit-transform: rotate(0.00rad); border: none; transform: rotate(0.00rad);" width="624" /></span></div>
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<span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">When her nose isn't buried in a book, or her fingers flying across a keyboard writing, she's in the kitchen creating gourmet meals. You can find her, in four inch heels no less, in the car chauffeuring kids, or possibly with her husband scheduling his business trips. It's a good thing her characters do what she says, because even her Labrador doesn't listen to her...</span></div>
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<span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 700; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Author Links</span></div>
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<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15371222.Natasha_Madison" style="text-decoration: none;"><span style="background-color: transparent; color: #1155cc; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 700; text-decoration: underline; vertical-align: baseline;">Goodreads</span></a><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 700; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> &nbsp;</span><a href="https://twitter.com/NatashaMAuthor" style="text-decoration: none;"><span style="background-color: transparent; color: #1155cc; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 700; text-decoration: underline; vertical-align: baseline;">Twitter</span></a><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 700; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><a href="https://www.facebook.com/Natasha-Madison-647676165398190/" style="text-decoration: none;"><span style="background-color: transparent; color: #1155cc; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 700; text-decoration: underline; vertical-align: baseline;">Facebook</span></a><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 700; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><a href="https://www.instagram.com/natashamauthor/?hl=en" style="text-decoration: none;"><span style="background-color: transparent; color: #1155cc; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 700; text-decoration: underline; vertical-align: baseline;">Instagram</span></a><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 700; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> &nbsp;</span><a href="https://www.amazon.com/Natasha-Madison/e/B01JFFMPP8/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1483857637&amp;sr=8-1" style="text-decoration: none;"><span style="background-color: transparent; color: #1155cc; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 700; text-decoration: underline; vertical-align: baseline;">Amazon</span></a><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 700; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span><a href="https://www.facebook.com/groups/1152112081478827/" style="text-decoration: none;"><span style="background-color: transparent; color: #1155cc; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 700; text-decoration: underline; vertical-align: baseline;">Readers Group </span></a></div>
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<span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><img height="119" src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/7vq95VgbDX2wNq_ZTZeCKVDMtQyMGqCUkCQCtBurWqvKVFlvN2xiR9HU_PCVi26dek0WAUh3E8j3_4V7yRRYFQVCu6NoFST4dk3pwi5VXlG0tw151HnjX-d54sO82Ztfg6RXhGpJ" style="-webkit-transform: rotate(0.00rad); border: none; transform: rotate(0.00rad);" width="624" /></span></div>
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