Mutual Benefits – Chapter 8

I thought I made a lot of progress when it comes to being able to talk to people and talking with confidence and speaking in full sentences. There was no bigger reality check for me than having to ask Taylor’s mom for a ride home that night.

Credit where it’s due, she did her best to make conversation with me, but of course, any question was met with me staring at the floor and responding in as few words as possible. I didn’t feel guilty for asking her to drive me home, just… childish, I guess? There was something, but I couldn’t put it into words.

“I’m home!” I called to Mother, who was in the kitchen. She knew that I had another late night, but she also knew that this was hopefully the last studying session, and that I got paid for my time. In what, I wasn’t ready to disclose.

“You missed supper,” she told me sourly. “This had better be the last time. Your father has already gone to bed.”

“It’ll be the last time, Mother,” I reassured her. “The final is coming up soon, and I’ll make sure all of my studying sessions with Taylor will be before sundown.”

Mother chuckled to herself. “Taylor.” She shook her head, laughing, moving around the kitchen. “You have to be careful with her, Quinn. What if she is your girlfriend to use your brain?”

I feigned confusion. “Taylor, my girlfriend?”

Mother paused. “Yes, you told me this.”

“Mother, I didn’t say Taylor was my girlfriend, I said Morgan was!”

Mother stared at me incredulously. “Who the hell is Morgan? You say you have feelings for Taylor and that you two are dating now!”

“Mother, I never said that at all,” I countered. “Morgan is Taylor’s friend. She’s the one I have feelings for.”

“I distinctly remember you saying, ‘I have a feeling for Taylor,’” Mother protested. “And now you are saying you fall for some other girl. Quinn, you are turning into a, uh… huāhuāgōngzĭ.

“Really, Mother?!” I asked exasperatedly. I guess this was my punishment for trying to solve my problems by confusing her. “I don’t recall ever having feelings for Taylor. I have feelings for her friend I met through her. Her name is Morgan, and we’re having a date on Saturday.”

“A date?!” both Mother and, of course, Kevin asked in unison. I didn’t even notice he was in the living room, but at that, he paused his game and marched on over.

“You have a date with Morgan?!” Kevin asked incredulously. “Morgan Jones?”

I shrugged. “Do you know any other Morgans?”

“But like, Morgan with the…” Kevin stealthily stepped behind Mother, who wasn’t looking in his direction, and mimed groping a pair of two huge breasts.

I sighed. “Morgan with the team leader instincts? Morgan who cares about her family and friends? Morgan with the really nice smile? Or did you have another Morgan in mind?”

Kevin gave me a sarcastic smile as Mother continued. “I am confused. Are you dating a girl, Quinn?”

“I am going on a date with a girl on Saturday, yes.”

“And is her name Taylor or Morgan?”

“Her name is Morgan. Taylor is the girl I’m tutoring.”

“But you told me you have feelings for Taylor. That’s why I allowed you to tutor her!” Mother protested.

“The plot thickens~!” Kevin practically sang.

I glared at him. “I think there was a miscommunication somewhere, Mother. At any rate, what does it matter? You never met her.”

“Although, if you’re wondering, Morgan is also white,” Kevin chimed in, earning another glare from me.

Mother sighed in annoyance. “I could guess that,” she remarked. “Okay. You’re going on dates with Taylor, or Morgan, or Steven for all I know. You keep changing her name, Quinn. It makes things more exciting, I guess.” She turned back to doing the dishes. “There are leftovers in the fridge if you’re hungry.”

Kevin and I made our way back to the living room. Mother was within eyeshot, but with the volume of the TV, we knew she wouldn’t be able to (or even care to) hear us talking with our voices low enough.

“I think she’s disappointed in you,” Kevin remarked as he unpaused. “You did totally say Taylor the first time, didn’t you?”

“Yes,” I admitted sourly.

“Just don’t know which girl to go for, huh? Probably a good guess going for the one that actually has a crush on you.”

“Jeez, you really do have connections everywhere, don’t you?” I asked, surprised.

He shrugged. “It helps to care about people. But mostly I’m nosy as fuck.”

“But anyway, I actually told Mother I had feelings for Taylor purely to get her off my back. I don’t have any romantic interest in Taylor. Plus she’s-”

“With Joel, yeah. Kind of a boner killer to go for a girl that has, like, the alpha male at her side, huh?”

“What, you believe in the alpha-beta thing now?” I asked.

Kevin blew a raspberry. “No. If the conventional alpha-beta thing were true, I wouldn’t be popular. The world belongs to those that play their cards right, not who’s the leader of the Boxing Club.”

There was a bit of a silence between us. “It helps though.”

“Oh fuck yeah it helps,” Kevin agreed. “But I got shit going for me too.”

“Are you dating anyone right now?” I asked.

He shook his head. “Nope, def not. I don’t really want to, to be honest. I got something fun going on right now, and I feel like getting a girlfriend right now of all times would just tie me down.”

“‘Something fun,’ huh?” I parroted. “Do I get to kn-”

“Nope, you don’t,” Kevin laughed.

I laughed too. “Yeah, I expected that.”

“No offense or nothing. It’s just kinda complicated. And as you now know from experience, the less people who know it, the better,” Kevin reasoned.

“Although you now know that I’m dating Morgan, and your rumor-mongering already got me in trouble once…”

“Hey, hey,” Kevin bashfully protested. “I still maintain that I had nothing to do with that. Hell, I didn’t even hear that rumor, and I’m like the most plugged-in guy at the school, so clearly it didn’t even get far,” he retorted. “But yeah, I’ll keep my mouth shut until you’re ready to declare your love to the world or some shit.”

“Thanks,” I replied. “Who knows, it may not go anywhere. It may not even happen.”

“Well, I hope it does,” Kevin replied, pausing the game again to look at me. “I meant it when I said I wanted you to dig yourself out of that self-pity hole. And you seem to notice more about Morgan than her tits.”

“…One might even argue that I don’t notice her ‘tits’ at all,” I rebutted.

“Well, c’mon, you’re not blind. Anyway, I bet that’ll be nice for her, and who knows? She may even be nice for you.” He shifted in his seat, eyes back on the TV. “Anyway, stop thinking I’m your enemy. I didn’t do nothing wrong. Hell, I watch out for you.”

“I’m not a child,” I defended myself.

“Yeah, but family watches out for each other. Like, oh, I dunno, putting in a good word for each other when they’re suddenly among the popular crowd…”

“I thought you said you didn’t want a girlfriend right now,” I replied, confused. 

“Connections, dude. Connections! Hell, you only got to Taylor in the first place through Mrs. Li. Everybody is important in some way or another. But if you never make that connection, you never get to see what could have been,” he reasoned, losing yet again to Vicar Amelia. “Son of a bitch!”

***

It was a week until the first final. We had four classes a semester, so finals only lasted the four days. Sometimes, they’d all take place in the same within the same week, and that was painful, but luckily, the first final was on Friday, seven days from now. 

Still there was a certain frantic energy that filled the hallways. All students had different takes on finals, but there were effectively two categories – people that would pass no matter what grade, and people that wouldn’t. Even though I was firmly in the former camp, I wanted to pass with as high a grade as possible, so I was definitely among the more frenzied crowd. 

It was trendy if you were a senior to look as little like you cared about finals. Some kids, like me, didn’t really get the memo there, while other students clearly did, with Taylor’s group leading the way in terms of the trend. Every time they walked down the hallways, they did it with almost more swagger and confidence than normal, seemingly looking at everyone and yet no one as they went by. Even though I knew them as individuals, it didn’t exactly undo who they were as a group, nor the hierarchy of high school. Groups still made way for them as they walked, and a lot of people, particularly boys, would try to catch their attention as they walked by.

I tried to avoid being that guy, and cheerfully waved hello to Taylor, leading the group, as they walked by. She noticed and waved back in that ‘polite yet disinterested’ way, which was fair enough. After all, in about two weeks, we were probably as good as strangers. 

And yet still, I couldn’t help myself after they walked by, turning around to look at Morgan. I had to admit, she did look good. I didn’t make a habit of looking at girls in the hallways – it ran the risk of looking them in the eye, which felt practically chastising to me – but since we were going on a date tomorrow, I felt like I had earned a pass.

I think people saw people and latched on to their most obvious trait. Like, Morgan had a big chest, to the extent where it was even slightly noticeable from looking at her from almost purely behind, but it was like ‘big’ by high school standards. Ever since Kevin made me aware what people thought of Morgan, I listened in more on discussions in my classes surrounding her – all of the boys liked to talk about whether she had a ‘D or DD’ or something, but that metric was a mystery to me. All I knew was, she looked very pretty in her tank top, light jacket, and workout jeans. And I had to admit, her butt was… cute. Was I allowed to think that?

All of this happened maybe one second after the group passed, and as if she sensed me (or maybe because she was thinking about me too) Morgan turned around while walking to look at me. Luckily, my eyes had moved up from her butt at this point. I looked straight into her eyes and froze like a deer. 

Morgan blushed slightly in seeing that I was looking at her, and gave me a small smile. But not a polite one. Something… different. I couldn’t help smiling back.

At the point when she turned back around, and the group was out of eyeshot, one more person turned around. Milo turned to look at me, his expression remaining the same – eerily blank – the whole while. The smile was quickly wiped off my face, and I gave a quick shudder. Did I do something wrong? Did he know something? Were we fighting now? I didn’t like that I had to ask these questions.

***

How do you prepare for a date if you’ve never had one before? I wasn’t sure, so I covered the basics – clothes, hygiene, and asking your over-controlling family for terrible advice. 

“You want to know what you are getting into,” Mother continued. “Ask about genetic weaknesses. See if her family has a history of disease. Cancer is the big one.”

“As romantic as that sounds,” Kevin cut in, “maybe go for what she likes. You know, play to her interests. Figure out what she’s into, then try to only talk about that. Bonus points if you can make it seem like you already know a lot about it.”

As I had done for the past ten or so minutes, I ignored them. “This looks silly,” I complained, staring back at my mirror image of me in a dress shirt. “Why can’t I wear what I would normally wear around her?”

“You need to impress her!” Mother protested. “Let her know that you don’t come from a poor family.”

In a symbolic motion that I hoped would be lost on Mother, I surveyed our relatively small apartment, then turned to Kevin. Kevin shrugged and nodded his head, understanding.

Morgan would be here in a few minutes, getting a ride from… somebody. I didn’t ask. I assumed it would be a family member, since getting Taylor to drive her would be all too perfectly terrible. I straightened my hair once more, making sure it looked okay, even though I was not the person to ask.

“Yeah, looks okay,” Kevin mumbled, seemingly reading my mind. As dopey as he was at giving dating advice, I could certainly count on him for knowing how to present oneself. I nodded, finally tearing my gaze away from the mirror, and headed for the front door.

“Got your phone?” Kevin asked, eager to be helpful here.

“Yes,” I replied.

“Got a game plan?” he continued, smiling mischievously.

I playfully shoved him. “Shut up,” I mumbled, before heading outside, figuring Morgan would be here soon. The last thing I wanted was for her to see the chaos that was my family’s apartment.

Within minutes of me stepping outside the apartment building, a car came into the parking lot and Morgan stepped out of it. Her hair was nicely done, but apart from that, she wore the same clothes that she normally wore around school. The one upside to the idea of her coming up to the apartment is that I could have gestured to her, turned to Mother, and told her, “See?!”

She waved to me when she got out of the car, then turned back to what looked like her brother and said a few things. Her brother looked older, and like he definitely would have been in the popular crowd at high school too. He gave me a gesture I could barely see through the tinted windshield of the car. I wasn’t sure if it was friendly, like a wave, or a threatening one. I started to raise my hand to wave, but second-guessed myself and retracted it. I then nodded in his direction, then realized he may not see me, so I nodded again in an exaggerated motion. 

He said some more things to Morgan and she smiled like he told a joke, then he rolled up his window and off he went. Morgan cheerfully waved to me again and walked up to me, clearly sizing me up. “Dress shirt, huh?” she asked.

My hands flew to my pockets. “My, uh, family insisted,” I explained. “I’m wearing a normal t-shirt underneath though, because I figured… or I guess I knew… that it would be stupid.”

Morgan gave a single patient laugh. “Well, you can do either. You, uh, look good in it.”

“Thanks, you too!” I blurted out. “Like, in your outfit. You look really good.”

She gave a small smile in acknowledgement, and looked around. “So, you know the area. We’re going on a walk, right?”

“Right.”

“So, which direction should we go in?”

“Oh. Uh…” I looked around, eventually settling on the westbound direction. “How about this way? There are a few interesting things we can pass along the way.”

“Sounds like a plan!” Morgan said in her usual emotionless tone, albeit with a bit more enthusiasm than normal. I wasn’t sure if it was natural or not. With that, the date began, with the both of us walking aimlessly, and about a full meter of space between us.

“You know,” I began, “Walks like these are going to be really cool once Pokemon Go launches.”

“Oh yeah?” Morgan asked.

“Yeah, have you heard of it?”

“No I haven’t, tell me about it.”

“Well, it’s like a video game, but it’ll be on your phone, and it uses GPS to…” I turned red, not looking up from the floor when I began talking. “You know what, you probably don’t even care about this kind of thing.”

“I mean, I probably won’t play it, but it seems like it matters to you,” Morgan replied. “This is a date. You’re supposed to talk about yourself to some extent.”

“Yeah, but isn’t the polite thing to ask about what you’re into and go from there?”

Morgan stopped where she stopped, forcing me to stop and look her in the face. She had something of a glint in her eyes. “Did Kevin tell you to do that?”

I smiled in response, letting a single chuckle fly out. Seeing my smile as confirmation, Morgan smiled herself. Her smile still amazed me with how beautiful it was, and it was amazing how I knew she existed for years before even getting to see such a common thing as a smile completely transforming her face. 

“Yeah, thought so,” she replied, continuing to walk. “Go ahead, tell me about Pokemon Go.”

“Okay, so, last year or something, Google did this April Fools Day prank,” I began, in a conversation that would last a surprisingly long time. It was kind of weird. With Taylor, I needed a few full days to be able to actually have a conversation with her. Granted, I met Morgan through Taylor, and already had a few conversations with her – a few of them unfortunately unsavory – but when I was with Morgan like this, I was able to open up surprisingly quickly. I didn’t know what it was, but it was nice.

And it wasn’t all that one-sided. Granted, I had to push or search for it once or twice, but there were a few things Morgan was clearly interested in too. Or at least, had strong opinions on. We passed some building with a poster of a horse on it, and as we passed it, she turned to me. “Do you like horses?”

“Never really experienced one. Or like, ridden one. I don’t think I’ve even seen one in person. Or, in horse,” I babbled. 

“I feel like every girl ever has this thing for horses. Like, ‘oh, look at this majestic thing, I wanna ride one, I wanna own one,’ but I have never even cared about horses,” she began. “Like, it just seems like a big responsibility. What can you even do with a horse? It’s like a big living motorcycle or something. I guess it’s like a pet, but I dunno, big pets seem like way more trouble than they’re worth.”

“I like small pets. I’ve got a pet cat, her name is Nuo. I’ve never owned a horse, though. I don’t really care about them either.”

“Aw, I love cats! Do you have a picture of her?” Morgan asked, almost giddily.

“Um, yeah, probably!” I replied, fishing my phone out of my lap and going through the pictures on my phone. Almost instantly, a picture of Taylor’s pussy flew up onto the screen, prompting me to less-than-subtly angle the phone away from Morgan. She wasn’t walking behind me so there was very little chance she saw, but it was still enough to scare me to death. I coughed nervously, looking through my pictures, trying to evade the not-safe-for-work ones. Whether Morgan saw or didn’t, it was in my best interest to pull up a picture of Nuo as soon as possible.

“Um, it looks like I don’t have one,” I remarked, putting my phone away, glad to have it out of my hands. “I’ll have to take one for next ti- well, I, y’know…”

Morgan laughed to herself. “Sounds good,” she replied smoothly. “I love cats. And dogs. I just can’t get one as long as Cheesecake is in the house.”

“…Why? Do they have allergies?” I asked dumbly.

Morgan turned to look at me in a polite but still-stinging “are you serious?” look. “Cheesecake is the name of my pet rat.”

“Oh! I see. That’s a cute name for a rat,” I replied.

She smiled. “I’m glad you said that,” she told me. “Most people just go, like, ‘ew, rats, how gross, you should get a horse or something instead.’” She rolled her eyes and started scrolling through her phone, eventually holding it up to me. “See? Cute, right?”

I looked at her phone and immediately started to blush. The picture wasn’t of a rat at all, but Morgan at the beach, with someone else clearly holding her phone for her. She was in some sort of swimsuit and posing provocatively for the camera, more in a ‘just goofing around’ way than anything explicitly erotic, but still, clearly enough to get a rise out of me.

“Um… Morgan…” I could barely get out, my words caught in my throat.

“What?” Morgan asked, looking back at her phone. “Oh fuck,” she immediately added, blushing a little herself. “Yeah, that was not the picture I meant.” She laughed nervously, and swiped right on her phone once. “Here we go. Sorry.”

I looked at her phone to see a picture of a little grey rat in a cage, playing with some kind of toy. It looked a little silly, but definitely not gross or anything. “Yeah, it’s cute,” I replied, feeling all hot.

Was that… deliberate? Did she see my picture or something, and was trying to communicate a kind of, ‘it’s okay, here’s mine’? No, probably not. She probably didn’t even see the picture, just a coincidence. Plus, even if she did, it was a horrible invasion of privacy to Taylor. It would not have been polite to either girl to show one of them her best friend’s genitals. 

“But, uh, the other picture… was cute too,” I awkwardly interjected, trying to alleviate the situation. 

Morgan chuckled, eyeing the ground. “Yeah,” she mumbled. “Thanks. I got to go to the beach a few weeks ago with Crystal when the weather was nice. It was fun.”

“I haven’t been to the beach since I was a kid,” I remarked.

“You should find a reason to go!” Morgan replied. “Actually, fuck that, just go. That’s your reason. You want to go. That seems like a good reason to me.”

I giggled to myself. “I wish I had your worldview sometimes,” I said out loud.

“My what?”

“Your worldview. Like, your perspective, how you see the w-”

“No, I know what it means,” she cut in. “I just wasn’t expecting that.”

I shrugged. “I just like how to-the-point you are. You cut out a lot of the red tape or whatever of overthinking. If I think about the beach and want to go, I have to decide whether my desire to go is matched by the effort I put in, and then I have to figure out how to get there, and whether I’ll look like a dork or something for going alone, and when I go, and how much of my regular schedule I’ll have to miss if I am going, and…” I trailed off, looking at her expectantly. 

She gave me another one of her dazzling smiles. “So do I,” she told me warmly.

I paused. She – huh. Okay. “Really? That’s, uh, cool,” I mumbled.

“Super cool,” she echoed, her voice going back to normal. She looked around at our surroundings and turned back to me. “So, do you walk around here often?”

“Not really,” I answered honestly. “I, uh, don’t leave the house much. But I’ve been here a few times. It’s not like downtown, but we’ve passed by a few shops, and I think there are a few more at a strip mall if we keep walking. There’s a pet food store, and a bubble tea place, and a-”

Morgan perked up at that. “Ooh, bubble tea! Can we stop there? I love bubble tea.”

“Yeah? M-me too!” I replied with a smile on my face. 

“Hey, sweet, looks like we’ve got a plan,” she softly remarked.

“And, and! Since it’s a date, I will – I shall pay,” I continued, coughing out the lump in my throat afterwards. Morgan replied just by smirking at me with one eyebrow raised, saying nothing. I faced forwards, feeling my face get a little bit redder.

I don’t know how long we walked until we got there. It was at least a full hour. Luckily, we never went too long without something to talk about, and more importantly, any time there was a pause, I didn’t feel the need to find a topic immediately. It felt… comfortable to not have to talk the whole time. It was kind of nice! It was like going on a walk to clear my head, except one of the most popular girls at school happened to be there.

Eventually, we saw civilization re-emerge as the lonely streets with empty lawns and gravel fields got replaced with roads with signs, cars, and buildings. The strip mall was within sight, and with it, the bubble tea place. I was relieved to have the option to get some fluids in me – I didn’t want to admit it, but given the trek we both went on, I was starting to get sweaty.

When we got to the place, I rushed ahead and opened the door to the place for her, earning another smile and a “thanks” from her. 

When I got inside after her, she gave me a look as if she was waiting for me to go first. “Do you not know what you want?” I asked her.

“I do, but, aren’t you going first?” she asked me.

I cocked my head. “Why? You got here first. Go ahead.”

I don’t know why she smiled at that as if I was doing her a favor, but she did. Hey, if it made me look good for doing the bare minimum, screwing up this date would be a lot harder than I thought it would. She ordered first – a sago taro milk tea – then almost paid for it, before I coughed loudly into my hand. She chuckled, and with a soft, “Oh yeah,” she told me it was part of a joint order and stood aside, letting me order. I wasn’t fancy – I got a standard pearl tea.

We received our drinks pretty quickly, then left to enjoy them outside. I rushed to the door, holding it open for her again. I followed her outside, and the two of us looked at the sky as we started sipping our drinks. It wasn’t quite sunset yet, but it was that little period between the afternoon and sunset, where the sky was just beginning to change color. I didn’t really stare at the sky much, but Morgan seemed to be having a moment doing it, so I followed suit. 

“So… what’s in sago taro?” I asked.

“To be honest, no fucking clue,” Morgan dryly replied, staring at her cup. “Every time I go to a bubble tea place, I get something new, in case something becomes my new favorite. It was right there on the menu, so, I ordered it.” She took a sip. “There’s this stuff in the bottom. It’s thick and sweet. Kind of like I’m drinking a cake. Here, try some.” She shoved the cup in my face. Upon seeing my hesitation, she gave a half-smile. “I’m not a germaphobe if you aren’t.”

I took her cup in my free, shaking hand and took a sip. “Woah,” I mumbled as I handed the drink back to her. “Am I allowed to say I’m not a huge fan of that?”

“Yeah, the texture is weird or something,” she mumbled back. “Oh well. The thick stuff is at the bottom. The top half is fine.”

“Here, take a sip of mine too,” I offered. “If you need to, um, cleanse your palette or something.”

Already focused again on the sky, she turned herself away from the sun as if she was intently focused on it. She grabbed my drink and took a sip, then went back to her own. “I guess having a familiar taste is nice, huh?” she remarked.

“I guess I’m more of an ‘if it works, go with that’ kind of guy,” I told her. She nodded, reaching down to her pocket or something, and pulled out some sunglasses, looking back at the sky. “The sky’s nice, huh?” I asked, trying to make more conversation.

“I just like looking at it,” she replied. “It’s just so beautiful, and like, really constant. It’s always there. No matter what, it’s always been there. Something about that is really nice.” I let her words hang in the air and joined her in looking in the general direction of the sun, although without sunglasses I had to squint a little more than she did. 

Our conversations were a lot more light from that point on. We graduated from standing to sitting on the front step of the strip mall as we watched the sun go from moderately high in the sky to starting the sunset, with little sprinkles of conversations thrown in along the way. At some point, mid-conversation, for the first time since sitting down, Morgan shifted her entire attention – face, body and all – to me.

“I guess you’ll never be the first one to initiate anything, huh?” she asked, in a casual way, like this was normal to ask out of the blue.

And if it was to her, I guess it would have been impolite to act like it was weird. “I… guess so, yeah,” I laughed nervously. “I’m sorry. Was there a protocol or cue I missed?”

Morgan laughed out loud at that. “No, no, you’re fine,” she reassured me with a giggle still in her voice. “It was just curiosity.” She waved her hand in the air, waving away any insecurities I should have over her question. “It’s actually kinda reassuring in a weird way.”

“Weird, huh?”

“It’s… new.” She turned back to the sunset beginning, and cleared her throat, pulling out her phone and checking it. “Though I should probably get back home sometime soon.”

“Right, of course,” I instinctively replied in earnest. “Well, this was… thank you. This was really nice.”

“It was,” Morgan agreed with her usual expression, though I bet if she removed her sunglasses I would have seen that glint in her eye. I could hear it in her voice. “Actually – this is funny – I think at this point I’m closer to my place than yours. We walked perfectly in the direction of my place.”

“Oh, so you’re just going to walk home from here?” I asked.

Morgan took off her sunglasses. She didn’t do it earlier so I could see the glint in her eye, but she did it now to let me know she was looking at me as if I was dumb. “No, I’m going to call my brother for a lift,” she clarified.

“Oh! Uh, good plan,” I clumsily replied. 

“Thanks,” Morgan jokingly replied. 

“I should probably start walking home myself. I’ve got a bit of a ways to go,” I said, eyeing the way we came from.

“Do you want my brother to give you a lift? I’m sure he’d be cool with it.”

Her brother. I shuddered. “No no no! I’m good, I’m fine. I actually like walking like that. I want to do more of it. But, uh, thank you for the offer.”

“Okay. I guess this marks the end of the date, huh?” Morgan asked. 

“I guess it does. Um, thank you,” I told her.

Morgan laughed again. “Yeah. Thank you too, Quinn.”

“This was really fun. See you next time… or… y’know,” I replied, finishing strong as I turned around and started to walk before she could see me turn pink. I kind of didn’t even want to see how she reacted to that, in case it was negative or something. I didn’t know what the heck I was doing, and… I kind of feel like I made a fool of myself.

When I was sure that the strip mall and Morgan were out of sight, I got my phone out and texted Kevin, telling him I’d likely be home right as the sun set if I walked, unless Father wanted to give me a lift. I knew Father was the one that wanted me to be home for supper the most tonight – followed shortly by Mother – so I opted to communicate where I was and when I’d be home as clearly as I could. A few texts later, and I headed for the nearest landmark, texting Father where I was and waiting for him. I would have gladly walked home – I was starting to think what I said to Morgan was actually true – but my duty to family came first.

True to his nature, Father didn’t say much when I was in the car with him. Just the usual obligatory questions. Anything that I didn’t need to say was met with his usual, “hm,” said in response. He wasn’t a cold person by any means, just a quiet one. From the outside, the car ride might look awkward or something, but I was in my element. 

It’s almost a genetic impossibility Kevin was his spawn. As soon as Father and I were home, Kevin was on me like white on rice, cornering me and asking me a barrage of questions. Most of them were able to be dodged, but as long as Mother and Father were out of earshot, the one he kept pestering me with was, “Did you get lucky?”

He knew we went on a walk, right? Where would we even – whatever. I didn’t even know how to formulate such a response, but when I opened my mouth to speak, a buzzing caught my attention instead. Even though Taylor and I were texting more frequently, it happened rarely enough that my phone alerting me to a message was enough to pause whatever I was doing. I opened the phone to see a message from Morgan.

Hey, just wanted to say, your a gentleman. I know im bad at showing feelings & stuff, but that was a really nice date. Im looking forward to the next one

I smiled reading it, while Kevin looked at me expectantly, eventually clearing his throat. “Need help reading it?” he asked.

“Sorry,” I mumbled, unable to stop smiling, putting my phone away. “What was the question again?”

He looked around to make sure our parents weren’t paying attention. “Did you get lucky?” he asked with a pressuring tone to his voice.

My smile got bigger. “Very.”

***

“And that’s the last of it?” Taylor asked as we looked over the textbook.

“I think so!” I confirmed, looking it over. “Don’t look twice, but I thiiiink we’re finished with all of the material for the year!” I closed the book, making a big motion of it. “And you barely struggled with any of it tonight.”

“Oh my god!” Taylor cried out happily. “I can’t fucking believe it! I’m gonna pass! I’m gonna pass!”

“With these answers, you’re probably going to do better than just pass,” I told her with a smile. 

“Ugh, that’s such a relief,” she sighed contently. “And it’s all thanks to you!” 

“I don’t know about it all being thanks to me…” I replied, standing up.

Taylor followed suit, looking me in the eyes the whole time. “No, I mean it. This could never have been possible without my helpful, smart, sexy tutor,” she continued, her voice getting into a low murmur. 

This was to-the-point, even for her. “Taylor, c’mon, I-”

No… more talking,” she interrupted, the ‘no’ sharper than a Benihana chef’s knife. “Quinn, you don’t seem to understand what’s going on here.”

“I, uh… feel like I understand something…” I muttered, while Taylor’s hands snaked their way up my sides.

She began to hold me closer. “Quinn, you helped me get through this course, and helped keep me… uh, sane throughout the whole thing,” she told me, with both of us laughing softly at the last part. “But you also actually cared. You cared, and you wanted to help me, and you wanted to please me… Quinn, do you know how few people would do what you did?”

Yeah, so few people in the school would want to please Taylor Wise sexually. “I-”

“I’m feeling confident now,” she purred. “I feel like I can take on the world. And do you know what happens when I feel that way? Do you know what happens to the men that make me feel that way?”

I returned the motion of her arms, grabbing her by the waist. “I can guess,” I told her in a low, confident voice, and dove in, beginning to kiss her neck. Taylor instantly moaned in approval and ground her body up against mine, wrapping her arms around me, surrendering her body to me. 

I only had to kiss her neck for under a minute before I could feel her wetness through her shorts. It was so easy to turn her on. My hands went south to grab her cute little ass as I brought my lips up from her neck and looked her in the eye. “Bend over,” I instructed. 

Taylor looked at me submissively and bit her bottom lip, nodding at me like a good girl. She turned around cutely, turning her head around and grinning at me while wiggling her cute little butt around. I grinned at her, stroking the outline of my cock in my pants, drawing her attention to it. The grin was wiped from her face as she stood, transfixed, watching it, eventually slowly trailing her eyes back up to mine as if to ask, ‘is it time?’ 

And it was time. With my help, she lowered her cute little shorts and her underwear in one solid motion, revealing her little butt, just barely hiding her petit pussy from my view. What little of her pussy that I could see was glistening for me, wet and eager, knowing exactly what was coming. She gripped the wall in anticipation as I undid my belt and lowered my jeans, making sure to make it as noisy as possible, knowing she was looking ahead so she’d have to hear, not see, everything that was going on ahead of her getting slammed from behind. 

Sure enough, after a few seconds of anticipating bliss, she felt the head of my cock rubbing against her slit, and a low, guttural moan escaped her lips. I had heard Taylor moan for me before, but never anything like this. This was new. It told me just how eager she was, just how much she appreciated me, and perhaps most importantly, just how much she wanted me. 

I wanted this just as much as she did. I was unable to allow myself to enjoy the moment for perhaps a few seconds before finally giving in to the urges that had been building inside me for weeks. I forced my hips forward, and with the head of my dick already wet from her ample juices, I slammed my cock inside of her, filling her for the first time.

The feeling was indescribable. It felt so right, so perfect. Every adjective I would have used wouldn’t have done it justice. Every second I spent inside her just made me want her more and more, and to do more and more to her. I went on autopilot, beginning to thrust myself into her without even thinking about it.

And clearly, Taylor felt the same way. She met my hips with her own in a rhythm that was almost too perfect to be human, matching me and then some, using everything the little minx knew about sex to milk my cock and make this just as much an unforgettable experience for me as I was ensuring it would be for her. My left hand went to my hips, helping me thrust myself inside her, and my right hand went to her butt, enjoying the feel of her soft fleshy cheek. The sounds, smell, and feel were all palpable in the room. Taylor was moaning incomprehensible sounds as she leaned against the wall, even her arms giving out against the assault I was giving her.

I matched her dissipating energy by giving it my own, moving myself closer to her so that she didn’t have to lean back to meet me. Eventually, she was smashed against the wall as my cock thrust up inside her again and again, no doubt her mind going blank in the face of the brutal treatment my cock was giving her. In the face of such an assault, I was astonished she could even breathe. 

I don’t even know when the shockwave hit me. I heard the door open, and I saw the face, but it feels like it didn’t fully register at first. Morgan had burst through the door. At some point, Morgan barged into Taylor’s basement, and was now staring at us, still fucking, unable to stop, a horrified scowl painted on her face. If I thought her smile was magical, if I thought that was something else, I wouldn’t begin to describe her scowl. It could make any human being’s blood run cold. I felt in some way like my life was over, like everything was crumbling down, just from one discovery. I had successfully stopped pumping into Taylor, opening my mouth, attempting to make words spill out, but nothing could. 

After a few seconds of her eyes scanning over the room, the scowl of shock still on her face, Morgan turned and bolted from the room. All I could do was pull out of Taylor and feebly take one or two steps forward, yet, for some reason, I was frozen in place beyond that. I couldn’t move a single muscle, in fact. I was completely and utterly frozen. She had looked me in the eye. I saw the kind of betrayal she felt, just by looking in those eyes. It was killing me, and I was just feeling it for her. I couldn’t believe myself.

My eyes shot open, a gasp building in my throat. I saw nothing but blackness, and felt my world returning to me. Where was I…? My room. My bed. I was not in Taylor’s basement. Taylor had not been my first. Morgan still knew nothing of us.

I knew the phrase ‘waking up in a cold sweat’ from other people saying it, but actually living it was not fun. I got out of bed, sitting on the edge, careful not to wake Kevin as I stretched and looked out the window. The moon was relatively full, so the light was bleeding through the blinds, painting the room with an ethereal glow. It looked peaceful, serene, and yet with what I was feeling, any light looked ominous for some reason. 

It was a betrayal to never tell her, I told myself. There was no way I could continue what I was doing, certainly after the first date, without letting her know. I didn’t care what kind of crap situation Taylor saw high school as. I was making my own reality here, now more than ever, and I didn’t need someone else’s rules of what high school was to define how my first relationship – hopefully my first relationship – was going to pan out. I reached to the desk and pulled my phone away from its charger, and booted up the messenger app, quickly finding my conversation log with Morgan.

I’m really looking forward to the next one too. Could we meet at lunch tomorrow? I’d really love the chance to get to talk to you.

Concise, even if it used more words than I normally did with people. Send. 

I looked off, out the window, towards the moon. No more secrets. This shit ends now, whether it means blabbing about Taylor, or stopping with her altogether.

***

Over the phone, Morgan was diplomatic, asking me where and what time to meet when she woke up. In person, she seemed like she was back to her usual self, with a blank expression and no clear emotion nor motivation on her face. 

Which was good, frankly. I wanted to address her about the Taylor thing – if today was the day she decided to stop with the emotionless routine and tug on my arm and grin like a schoolgirl, I doubt I’d have gone through with it. That said, it was Morgan, so the hesitation likely would have been chiefly because I was too weirded out to continue.

Where else but the elevator hallway? It was starting to become something of a tradition. When Morgan followed me there, she looked at me questioningly, pointing out, “This isn’t exactly the comfiest-looking hallway. There are benches and stuff in other hallways.”

“I know, but…” I stumbled. “I… I’d prefer this one.”

“Oh. Why?”

“It’s… more private.”

At that, Morgan gave me something of a sarcastic smirk. I laughed nervously and put my hands up. “Not like that. I just… wanted to talk about something.”

“We should have gone outside then. We’ve talked there before,” she reasoned.

“Yeah, but… people were there.”

She paused. “How secret does this need to be?” she asked, half-jokingly, half serious. 

I exhaled, and she stepped into the hallway, accepting her fate. “I just wanted to make sure something is clear,” I clarified.

She only looked more confused. “Is this about our date?”

“No, it’s just… a…” I closed my eyes and started to talk slowly. “In the case… in the situation where we… where we, hypothetically, might keep dating and become a couple… I’d rather be communicative with you about… all of the factors involved.”

She was still confused, but gave me a little smile. “You’re weird, Quinn.” She eventually said. “Okay, though. Tell me what you want to say.”

“Thanks. So, uh… you… y-you got introduced to me through Taylor, when I was her tutor,” I began, with the both of us sitting down in the hallway.

She nodded along with me. “And you still are, right?”

I was about to say, ‘no, our final session was last night,’ but my stupid self forgot that was a dream. “Yes,” I replied. “And there’s been… something weird there, right? I mean, she asked you to n-not talk to me.”

Her expression got slightly more clouded. Whether in worry or just thought, I couldn’t say. “Okay…” she replied slowly. 

“So I…” I started, but lost my steam. I closed my eyes and tried my strategy of talking slowly and choosing my words deliberately, but it didn’t work. My eyes shot open. I knew what I wanted to say; I just didn’t have the guts to say them.

“I…” I tried again. Morgan patiently watched over me, listening intently.

I tried a few more times before growling in frustration, when I suddenly felt a new presence. I looked down at my hand on the floor. Morgan had gently placed her hand on top of mine, in a show of support.

You know, it was funny. I had Taylor’s mouth on my genitalia before. Hell, her hips were on my abdomen as she gave me what felt like the world’s most stimulating handjob. And yet, Morgan placing her hand on top of me, with me being able to feel her warmth enter me through her hand… it felt like the most intimate thing in the world. I trailed up from her hand to her face with my eyes, and she met mine with a sweet smile, a kind I hadn’t seen from her. She liked to smile in solidarity, when she liked something, but this was a smile that told me, without words, ‘it’s okay.’

I smiled back, then cleared my throat. This is what Morgan was doing for me. So help me God, I was going to get out this sentence, no matter what. She deserved to know. She cared. She needed to see that I cared enough to tell her the damn truth. 

“So, I was-”

“The fuck is this?”

That didn’t come from Morgan. My eyes followed the source of the intrusion, as did hers, to find Taylor standing at the entrance to the hallway, her hands on her hips. 

Her eyes weren’t on me. They were on Morgan. “The fuck have you been?” she asked Morgan, her eyes only moving from Morgan’s face to her hand, on top of mine. Upon seeing where she was looking, Mogan quickly removed her hand from mine.

“Taylor-”

“Are you fucking serious?!” Taylor all but blew up, shaking her head in angry disbelief and storming off, leaving us to look on from our positions, sitting on the ground.

“What…?” I barely wheezed, feeling a little bit like this was just that dream again, and that I’d wake up any second. I had no clue what Taylor was so mad about, but she looked furious, and it felt somehow like I fucked up, even if I don’t know what I did.

Morgan sighed exasperatedly. “This is…” she trailed off, standing up. She never finished her sentence.

“She looked like she was going to blow up like a volcano,” I remarked, uneasily. “What’s happening? Did we betray her or something?”

Morgan pouted in thought. “I dunno,” she eventually said, then saw my sullen expression. “Hey,” she commanded, making me look up at her. “It’s clear she’s not happy, but if Taylor is Taylor, she’ll be okay in a bit. Definitely, like, tomorrow.”

“You think?” I asked uneasily. “I still don’t know what this even… is.”

“Yeah, neither do I, to be honest,” Morgan commented. “Actually, I should probably go after her. I’m really sorry, but can we get back to what you wanted to say another time? I don’t think I should leave her alone like this.”

Care reflected in her words. It was almost disarming. “Uh, yeah, of course,” I mumbled awkwardly, my face hot. “No worries.”

“Thanks,” Morgan replied, already halfway out of the hallway. Before long, she left me there, standing alone like an idiot. What was that? What the hell was Taylor so upset about? Did Morgan know something? Did I do something? 

And why did I feel so goddamn guilty?

________________________________________

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