Some Girls Wander By Mistake
by alejandra

The other day Summer was wandering through the living room and picked up Herbivore. That meant to, like, eat only plants or something. And it was a magazine about eating only plants. Like anyone could survive on salad? No thank you. She tossed it back onto the stack of magazines and escaped before the monster could corner her and make her go to a yoga class or try cupping or something. Just because Gwyneth was doing it didn't mean everyone needed to.

There are magazines all over the house -- Natural Living, Herbivore, Mother Jones. Obviously the stepmonster has decided that it's time for her to get involved with the community and become "part of the solution."

Summer thinks maybe she's going to puke. What's the monster going to do, go off her eight million pills and go pick fruit in Carmel Valley with the migrant workers? Yeah, right. More like she's going to insist that everything have tofu in it for the next three weeks, and Summer will be forced to eat all of her meals somewhere else, because if there is a food substance more icky than tofu, Summer doesn't know it.

This is Summer's reason for spending so much time with Cohen. Plus Zack hasn't even called. Summer thinks she's done with him -- he wasn't too much fun anyway. He had some issues, and a weird obsession with Seth that Summer isn't sure she's entirely comfortable with. Let them have their dumb comics club; Summer doesn't need a boyfriend. Especially when she's gonna be able to hang out with the Cohens without actually having to date Seth. That's definitely a plus for Marissa being all related to them now.

Also a plus: not actually being involved in their crazy weird family Dynasty drama. She gets to just watch.

So a week later, the monster is still on this kick -- for breakfast this morning, Rosa served Summer a salad with fruit on top of it. What the fuck? Summer ate the fruit and tiny little nuts out of the lettuce, and then took off. Summer decides to spend her day doing Summer-focused stuff. She takes her credit card and a vague idea of a pair of lavender shoes, and goes to the mall. The parking lot is totally full, but she cuts off an SUV and maneuvers into a spot at the back of the lot -- far away from the mall, but close to the exit. She doesn't mind walking -- she minds fighting to get out of the fucking parking lot. Of course, she could have her car valet-parked, but wouldn't that mean waiting an hour to get her car back later? Probably. No thank you.

When she gets into the mall and looks at the crush, she realizes this was really bad idea, since it's, like, the day after Christmas or whatever. The mall is filled with amateur shoppers who think that the post-Christmas sale is the best time to buy diamonds. Uh, whatever, losers. Summer ditches the idea of the shoes -- for now -- and decides that she should just leave and drive around until she sees something she wants to do. Maybe, once it's after noon, she can call Coop and wake her up and they could see a movie or something. Right near the exit is the cookie stand, and it smells really good. Her stomach growls -- fruit and nuts aren't a breakfast. Waffles are a breakfast. So are cookies. She stops at the cookie stand and gets a chocolate chip cookie, still gooey, well worth the twenty minutes on line. And a lemonade, because you can't have one without the other, especially when it's totally fake lemonade, with the same plastic lemon slices floating in it that were there when she was in the second grade and got lemonade with her mother.

There's a bench near a tree, and she sits there. It's chilly, a little, and she's glad she's wearing a sweater. She's wishing for a cigarette, but not feeling like getting off the bench to go to her car and get one from her stash, when someone sits down next to her.

"Uh, hello, rude much? This is my bench," she says, turning. "Oh, it's you."

"Yeah, me," says Ryan, and leans back, sips his own lemonade. "You were ahead of me in line. You look like you could use some company."

"Yeah, well, my look was lying," she snaps. Like she needs a reminder that she's all alone? No wonder Chino can't keep a girlfriend.

"Uh-huh," says Ryan. "Okay. Whatever, Summer." He sighs. What a drama queen. But when he stands up to leave, she sees a pack of cigarettes peeking out of his back pocket, his ubiquitous white t-shirt caught on the foil.

"Wait," she commands, and he actually stops. Excellent. "Can I have a cigarette?"

Ryan turns back to her; she catches him rolling his eyes. "Sure," he says, and shakes one out for her. Camels. Filtered, but barely. What a fucking badass. "Need a light?"

"Yeah," she says, and he cups his hand around a match, and she puts her hand over his, looks up at him, and feels kind of bad. "Come sit down." She pats the seat. "I'm -- uh. I am just a little cranky."

It's as much of an apology as he's going to get, because she doesn't really believe in apologizing, and she didn't do anything wrong anyway. He looks at her for a moment, then sits down, relaxes again. His lemonade drips a little on the seat where he set it to pull out his own cigarette, and Summer realizes that he actually lit the match for her with one hand. That's kind of hot, in its weird, Chino, badassery way.



"So," says Ryan, and lights another match with one hand, and blows smoke from the corner of his mouth. "I'm surprised you smoke. Seth never mentioned it."

"Seth doesn't know everything about me," says Summer.

"Uh-huh," says Ryan, and smiles.

"What?" Yeah, what?

"Seth used to have this little book and he wrote down everything about you in it. I think he got rid of it when you started dating. Also I am pretty sure that now I have broken some kind of friend code and he's going to take a hit out on me." Ryan smiles again, takes a sip of lemonade, takes another puff.

Summer realizes that she has been forgetting to actually smoke her cigarette now that she has one. Her hidden stash is a pack of some kind of weird cigarette that cost fifty cents. They're tiny and not very strong; she got them when she visited Anna in Pittsburgh over the summer. Now they're stale, and don't taste anything like these Camels. She coughs a little.

"You okay?" says Ryan.

"Yeah," says Summer. "Whatever. I can't believe Cohen kept a book about me. Actually, I can believe it, and it's totally flattering, but it's weird."

"That's Seth," says Ryan. He stretches one arm along the back of the park bench, and crosses his legs at the ankle. He looks relaxed. Summer wishes she could feel as relaxed as he looks.

"Yeah, that's totally Seth." She crosses her legs at the knee, facing away from Ryan, and takes a long drag off the cigarette, wills her throat to just suck the smoke down. Before the fifty cent pack, she had taken three months to smoke a pack of Benson & Hedges, because back when she was dating Seth, she hadn't smoked almost at all. When Seth was dating Anna, she'd smoked Marlboro Menthol Lights. It was like smoking peppermints. A pack a week, sometimes more. She should buy a pack today.

She smokes the cigarette almost down to the filter, not looking at Ryan. That's okay -- he's not looking at her either. What the fuck are they even doing? Well, Summer does kind of like him. He's a good guy who didn't deserve Coop being so annoying or Theresa getting pregnant or any of that stuff. He doesn't deserve Seth being annoying now, and the entire Cohen family falling apart. He's just a guy and he's alive, right?

That's kind of how Summer rationalizes her own situation too. She's just a girl and she's alive and there's really nothing else to be said about it, right? Like, sometimes the world sucks and sometimes it doesn't, and no matter what she tries to do about it, nothing ever changes, or works out the way she wants it to. And it's when she thinks that shit is all going her way that it is actually really shitty.

"What are you thinking about?" asks Ryan as Summer crushes her cigarette out under her toe. "You look really unhappy."

He takes a last drag on his cigarette and crushes it out too.

"I'm thinking about that girl Lindsay, actually," says Summer, and stands up. She's got one bite of cookie left; she offers it to Ryan.

"Thanks," he says, and bites into half of it, and gives the other half back. A badass and a gentleman. That should be a movie or something.

"Thanks," she replies, and pops the last half into her mouth. Now it's like they've swapped spit, the way she did when she was a little kid with Marissa. Spit into each others' mouths and swallow, and you're best friends forever.

Or until you're seventeen. Summer doesn't even know what colleges Coop applied to. Summer applied to USC and UCLA and Brown and NYU. And a bunch of other ones that she'd never heard of that her guidance couselor told her would be good backup schools. Like she can't go anywhere she wants? Whatever. She might not have the best grades, but she got a 1460 on her SAT, and that doesn't suck.

"Summer?" says Ryan.

"Sorry," she says. "I was thinking."

"Yeah, I got that." He finishes his lemonade and stands up to toss it into the trash, puts his hands into his pockets. "See you whenever."

"What are you doing today?" she asks before he can walk away.

"Driving Kirsten around." He shrugs. "She needed some stuff, someone to carry heavy pieces or something. I dunno. I think she just, you know, didn't want to be alone."

"Yeah, I know," says Summer. "Okay, whatever. See you at school or whatever."

He nods and she nods, and then they walk in opposite directions. Summer sits in her car and stares out the windshield and chainsmokes the cigarettes from Pittsburgh. Four left, and she smokes them all. On her way home, she stops and buys a pack of Camel Lights. In her head, that's a compromise between her cigarettes and Ryan's cigarettes, and now she can offer him one the next time they meet at a bench in a mall parking lot.

Anyway, Camels are the brand that Summer's mom smoked. She's never smoked one of them before. It didn't suck totally, except for the choking part that Chino was too much of a badass gentleman to mention. Yeah.

She doesn't actually want to go home, but going to the movies by herself is the height of lame, and she doesn't want to call Coop, because the more time she spends away from Coop, the more she's kind of annoyed by her. There's more than an entire week before school starts again, and Summer resigns herself to spending it totally alone, trying to avoid the stepmonster and her tofu.

She parks her car, calls Coop. No answer. She leaves a message, though -- "Call me, Coop; let's do something tonight" -- and goes inside, changes into her bathing suit. Not the two piece -- the one piece. She's not just going to sit by the pool. She's going to swim, which she does sometimes, but not a lot. She does laps. Four laps in each stroke she knows, start over. First the doggy paddle and then the crawl and then the breaststroke and then the backstroke and then the sidestroke -- once for each side -- and then the trudgen. Then repeat, except mostly she skips the doggy paddle because it's boring and exhausting. Kind of like life.

The stepmonster comes out after a while and stands by the edge of the pool, watching Summer cycle through strokes. Summer sees her -- who could miss her? -- but ignores her. When she stops and leans against the other side of the pool, the monster says, "We're going to eat supper as a family tonight."

Summer stops to squeeze water out of her hair. Then she hops up onto the landing and walks around the pool. "Sorry," she says. "I wish you'd said something this morning. I have a date tonight."

"I'm learning to cook," says the monster.

Summer shrugs and picks up her towel. "I can't cancel. Maybe next time." She walks away, doesn't let the monster stop her.

"Your father is going to be unhappy!" says the monster loudly, and Summer rolls her eyes. What's going to make her father unhappy is the monster cooking tofu and trying to get him to eat it, so whatever. But now Summer has to, at least, find someplace to go for a couple of hours, and she has to leave before seven. That really sucks and is totally annoying, especially because Coop still hasn't called back and it's been at least two hours. And it's totally after noon already, which means Coop definitely got the message and is ignoring her or whatever. Maybe she's out doing the Cohens' yard guy.

Summer smirks at herself in the mirror and steps into the shower. Who else could she call? She could call Zack, but it would seem kind of like begging, since he didn't return her last phone call, and was all ignoring her at school before the break. She could call Cohen, but she doesn't want him to get the wrong idea, which he definitely would if she tried to make, like, plans instead of just running into him randomly. She could callŠ Holly. Ha ha ha.

Okay, whatever. Summer can be alone. She's done it before. She's not good at it, but she can do it. So she washes her hair and carefully applies her makeup and chooses a killer outfit and puts on the highest heels she owns, which are red embossed satin ones, stilettos.

The she sits in her room and stares at the wall until seven, and leaves. Gets in her car and puts on the radio and drives in circles around Newport Beach until she can't listen to one more Avril Lavigne song without killing herself. Plus her ankles hurt from driving in heels, but she can't drive barefoot because the groves on the gas pedal hurt her toes.

She pulls into the darkest corner of the mall parking lot that she can find, and sits in the backseat of her car. There's a Cosmo from three months ago in it, and she reads her horoscope, and decides to write a letter to the editor complaining that the horoscopes are totally wrong. On the other hand, maybe there's something about Newport Beach that screws up the stars.

The backseat of her car is surprisingly comfortable. She lies down and props her heels on the window and admires the shape of her feet. She has nice feet -- high arches and pretty toes that are all shaped properly. The big toe is the biggest and the little toes are all diagonal the way they are supposed to be, and her ankles are slim and taper appealingly into her legs. Or, rather, her legs taper appealingly into her ankles.

When a face appears, squished into the window between her feet, looking in past the dark tint, she screams. Then there's a knock on the window, and she realizes: it's Ryan. She sits up and leans over and rolls the window down.

"What the fuck are you doing?" she snaps at him.

"I saw your car." He looks down. "What are you doing?"

"Avoiding my stepmother." She runs her tongue over her teeth to make sure that her lipstick hasn't smudged onto it. It's that Max Factor stuff that isn't supposed to smudge, but sometimes it does anyway, when she's not looking.

"Why didn't you come over?" asks Ryan. "I mean, there's always -- you know. Room."

"Yeah, I want to hang out with my ex-boyfriend," she replies. Now it's her turn to look down. She sighs. "Wanna come in?"

"Sure." She opens the door and he climbs into the car, closes the door.

"Close the window," she directs.

He does, but says, "It's kind of hot in here, don't you think?" "I didn't just want to let the car idle or whatever," she says. It is hot, but she's not sweating or anything. It's just stifling. "But I don't want people looking in."

"You're kind of dressed up, aren't you?" he says. He's sitting very still, liked if he moved around, he would scare her or something. Whatever. He's so stupid, she can't even handle it.

"What are you doing here?" she asks instead of answering his question. He leans over and picks up one of her heels from the floor.

"These are nice," he says, and she grabs the shoe away from him, holds it in her lap. Stares. "I'm avoiding the Cohens," he finally says. "It's weird over there."

"It's always weird over there," says Summer. She runs her fingers over the embossing on her shoes. It's flowers and snakes; she's always liked that. Sweet and vicious at the same time -- and no one notices. People who look at the shoes just see pretty lines.

"It's weirder now. With the Caleb thing and all of that." Ryan runs one finger over the embossing on her shoe. "That's cool."

"Thanks," she says, and throws the shoe back onto the floor. "So you were just driving around or whatever?"

"So you were just driving around or whatever?" he repeats back to her, and she smiles.

"Life sucks," she says.

"Yeah, but what are you going to do about it? And it's not so bad." Ryan stretches out and crosses his legs in front of him. He's short -- as short as she is. Well, maybe a little taller, but he'd be a midget if she was wearing heels and standing up.

"No, it's not, but it still sucks," says Summer. She leans against the door, faces Ryan.

"You're dressed up for avoiding," he says again.

"I told them I had a date." She snorts. "I haven't had a date in weeks."

"Me either," says Ryan. "Not since the concert."

"Yeah, same," says Summer. She stretches out her feet a little, and he takes the hint, lifts them into his lap. They're kind of smelly from being in her shoes while she was driving, but Ryan doesn't seem to notice -- if he notices, he's not saying anything, and she appreciates that. His thumb kind of rubs that little space between her ankle bone and her heel, but otherwise his hands are still on her feet, and she appreciates that.

"Lindsay doesn't want to see me anymore," he says. He's not looking at her -- his head is resting on the seat and his eyes are closed. "You know, because we're almost related."

"It is, like, not normal," says Summer.

"Yeah," he says. "I know."

She doesn't know what to say to that. It's not like she can really be comforting, because it is not normal to be dating your -- she pauses to work out the family relationship -- foster half-aunt. It is also not normal to even have a foster half aunt who is of datable age when you're seventeen. Except maybe Ryan is already eighteen -- Summer doesn't know. She doesn't rremember if he's had a birthday. Well, obviously he's had a birthday, but she doesn't know when it was, or if they celebrated it or anything. Maybe she did celebrate it and just doesn't remember. The time she spent dating Cohen is a blur, and the time before that is a blur. Like her life kind of started when she and Cohen broke up and she had to, like, take control of everything. Really take control of everything, not jjust do it accidentally because no one else will. Now she's, like, in charge.

So in charge that she can't find a date and is sitting in a parking lot with her best friend's ex-boyfriend. Yeah, in charge. She is taking life by the horns.

She shifts and one of Ryan's fingers digs into her arch. She doesn't suppress the groan -- nothing has felt that good since -- well, since a long time. He digs his finger in again, but doesn't say anything, and she shivers, and he uses his thumbs to press her arch and smooth the skin from her heel all the way up to the ball of her foot. It's better than a pedicure. He rubs each toe, wiggles them, rolls her ankle around in a circle, massages her arches and her instep and the space where the bottom of her heel turns into the side of her foot. Then he puts her foot back into his lap and starts on the other one.

Summer braces herself against the seat with her hands under her butt and slouches her shoulders a little. She keeps her eyes closed, because she doesn't want to see if Ryan is looking at her. The car is definitely getting hotter and she's sweating now. She moves the foot Ryan isn't working on, presses it against him to make the tingling stop, and he hisses.

Oh. She moves her foot again, rubs it against him, points her toe so that the arch of her foot covers his erection and moves her foot up and down, moves her leg, like a leg lift. It's like aerobics or yoga -- she isn't, like, jacking off Ryan. No.

His hips are moving, just a little, but it's enough. And he hasn't said stop. She makes a deal with herself: as long as she can keep her eyes closed, this isn't really happening and it doesn't count. She's bored, he's bored -- it's like a panel discussion of a way to ease boredom.

Ryan stops rubbing her foot, and groans a little and says, "Sum --" and she says, "Shut up," fiercely, presses her foot harder, lets her other foot fall to the floor to give her some leverage. He's getting a really nice view of her thong, if he's bothering to look up her skirt. Maybe his eyes are closed too -- she doesn't open her eyes to check. And he's silent now, except for hismoans, so he can't be too upset. She focuses on moving her foot, on listening to the sounds of the parking lot -- cars starting, people laughing. It's all coming from far away; there wasn't anyone parked near her when she parked, and no one came up. Not even Ryan is parked near her -- he must not have wanted to scare her away. She can't help but feel badly for him -- he's definitely just a guy and alive and trying to get through. She's a girl and she's alive and she's just trying to get through too, without, preferably, having to eat too much tofu and salad with nuts and fruits. So they are totally a panel discussion.

One of his hands is on her thigh, the thigh of the leg that's touching him, he's leaning over a little. The other hand is holding something -- the door? She can hear the plastic creaking under his grip. His hips are moving higher and higher, lifting her up by one leg. He's strong. She knew he was strong -- Coop used to tell her stories about how when they made out, he would lift her up and down and move her around like she didn't weigh anything. But Summer has always weighed more than Coop. She's lost a little in the past year -- Seth wasn't a heavy drinker so she didn't drink much, and the amount of weight she lost just from cutting out jello shots at parties is kind of disturbing.

Her leg is starting to cramp and Ryan's fingers are digging into her skin -- she's going to have a bruise in the shape of his fingers. That's not an unattractive thought, except it means avoiding the pool and her tanning sessions with Coop until the bruises are gone. She's getting frustrated with this position too, and she keeps thinking about what it would be like to actually give a blowjob to someone who could appreciate her long tongue and wide mouth. Seth never did -- he didn't know enough about sex to know that she was really good at it and he was really bad. Ryan, thoughŠ Ryan definitely knows about sex. She can tell. It's in the way that he walks, the way that he sometimes looks at girls when he thinks no one is watching him, the way he raked his eyes over her the first time she saw him after she did it with Cohen.

Summer sits up straight, pulls away from Ryan -- and keeps her eyes closed. Very important to keep her eyes closed. She crawls forward and leans over. Her hair falls into her face. She touches him, finds his shirt, pulls it up. His skin is warm, like hers, and slightly slick. He's breathing hard.

"Summer," he says, but his hand is on the back of her head.

"Shh," she says, and finds his pants. She unbuttons them, unzips them. "Lift up," she urges, and he does, so he's there, he's with her, they are on a fucking panel. She tugs his pants down, pulls his boxers or whatever with them, and gets hit in the face with his cock for her trouble. Flattering. She breathes in -- he smells like boy. It's been too long since she's smelled boy, sweat and musk and whatever it is he's wearing. Some kind of cologne, really faint. She slides, lets her knees go back, crosses her legs at the ankle. Ryan holds her hair, doesn't let her move, and she's about to get pissed off when she realizes he's turning, sliding a leg between her body and the back of the backseat. She is leaning on his legs now, bracing herself on her breasts. She hopes this won't pop her water bra -- she wore it for the cleavage effect it had with the deep V neck of her shirt, not because she thought she'd be on her stomach in front of Ryan fucking Atwood -- fucking Chino -- with her mouth open.

Eyes still closed.

She slides one hand underneath, cups his balls, grabs his dick with the other hand and measures it. Maybe it will fit into her mouth, maybe it won't -- he's not small but he's not like a porno star or whatever. Not like she's seen more than the two or three pornos Luke used to show at parties after Coop left.

Summer opens her mouth and slides her tongue around the top of Ryan's dick. Salty, kind of bitter. She licks around it, spits a little, gets it wet, then starts to move her hand. She was always the best at patting her head while rubbing her stomach, and she uses those skills now. She always knew being able to do two things at once would come in handy. She rubs his balls, massages them the way he massaged her feet, but gently; she doesn't want to hurt him.

He's breathing really heavy now, and she's feeling totally self-satisfied. That's right -- welcome to the O.C., bitch.

She leans forward as much as she can, and swallows around Ryan's cock until it's all the way in the back of her throat and she's choking, but that's the only way to get it really wet and when she pulls up, sure enough, it's dripping. She pulls the moisture away from the head of his cock with her hand, strokes over his shaft. He starts to groan. His hands are still in her hair, tightening every time she swallows around his cock. She hums a little every time he hits the back of her throat -- or tries to. Whatever she ends up doing, he likes it. He's shaking. Her jaw starts to hurt after a while, but it's cool, it's totally okay, because she's kind of enjoying this -- especially with her eyes closed. She doesn't have to wonder about what she looks like or whether her lipstick is smudging onto his skin because she can't see anything -- and if he's smart, he's got his eyes closed too, and he's not thinking about what he looks like, and he's definitely not thinking about how this is really happening, in a fucking mall parking lot, like some kind of trashy novel.

Summer always did like trashy novels though.

Her shoulders hurt, and she slips a little, and her finger hits his asshole, and he stiffens up, but doesn't move away or pull her hair or anything. Interesting. She goes back to his balls and gathers up spit and sweat, moves her finger back down to his asshole, traces it, but doesn't go in. That's kind of gross.

Not that anything that makes people feel good is really truly gross, but -- it's, like. It's her finger! Not going up his butt.

She doesn't stop taking his cock into her throat, or jacking him off, and when he says, "Summer -- just -- faster -- I --" and his hips jerk, she pulls him all the way to the back of her throat and holds her breath and makes her throat convulse around him. Her eyes start to tear but she doesn't stop, and he pulls at her hair, tries to pull her off, but she doesn't stop until she's choking on thick, bland liquid, and his cock is softening in her mouth.

And she didn't open her eyes, not once.

She licks him clean, sighs. His hands are still in her hair, so she just kind of turns a little so she can lay down on her side with her head on his thigh. She sighs again, coughs a little. Her mouth tastes awful and her throat is sore and her lips feel chapped, and she'd bet her red heels that her eyeliner and mascara are all over the place. Ryan's stomach muscles are jittery -- she can feel them shake a little as he moves, even from his thigh.

He lets out a long breath, a kind of weird quavery breath, like he's going to cry. But she knows that breath -- that is the breath of coming after a really long time of not coming. It's never quite good enough when you're by yourself, she knows -- and that breath means that he hasn't been sleeping with anyone.

Well, she hasn't either. And she's probably destroyed her black lace thong, because that was totally hot, and she's soaking wet. She's probably destroy the back seat of her fucking car, because her thighs are wet, and her skirt is wet, and everything is wet.

She digs her nails into his thigh.

"What the fuck, Summer?" he says, but he doesn't sound angry -- kind of drowsy and relaxed, but not annoyed. Good, because if he was annoyed, she'd be fucking pissed as hell.

She opens her eyes. His thighs are hairy and his cock is kind of weird looking, the way all penises are. She looks up and him and he kind of laughs. "Your makeup is everywhere," he says.

"Is my lipstick still on?" she asks.

"Yeah," he says, and leans over and kisses her. It feels weird after giving him a blow job to be kissing him -- but he doesn't seem to care. Her lips feel all rubbery, and he bites her bottom lip. She sits up, he pulls her up, then he pulls away.

"Okay, pants," he says, and moves back, pulls them up, tucks his dick back in and zips up. She feels weird -- maybe guilty? Ashamed? She's not sure, she can't identify this, but she's definitely going to cry. And she wants to come -- she wants him to put his head under her skirt and squish his face between her thighs and bite at her skin and shove his fingers inside her. She rubs her fingers under her eyes and comes away with tears and sweat and black. Lots of black.

"Shit," she says.

"Come here," he says.


"C'mere." He's ordering her, like how he pulled her hair before. "Come. Here." He grabs her thighs and pulls her onto his lap, and tugs at her thong. She hears it tear. She looks past him -- they've steamed up the windows. That's kind of cool, because they're in, like, Southern California. It's not like they are in Pittsburgh, where just sitting in the car in a summer night will steam up the windows.

"Your pants," she murmurs into his mouth, and he says, "Shhh," like he's mocking her, but pulls her closer and slips fingers into her. She can't tell how many, but she's starving for touch, and ssqueezes her muscles around him. She can hear squelching noises, which are definitely not sexy -- but he thinks it is because he's kissing her and moving his hand faster, and it feels really good, but hello, she needs him to touch her clit to get her off, thanks.

"Ryan, please," she says, and lets her head fall back. Ryan gnaws at her neck -- there's going to be a mark there, but she doesn't care. Her water bra hasn't popped, it's still pushing her breasts into her neckline, and he buries his face between them. Her eyes are closed again -- this isn't happening, god, this can't be happening, but she kind of likes it and wants it to happen. Ryan fucking appreciates her, knows what it's like to get fucked by the Cohens, maybe even kind of likes her, and not because he has to because they've been friends since kindergarten or whatever.

They're moving, she can feel it, and she's flat on her back. She opens her eyes and stares at Ryan's feet, clad in boots, banging against her window. He pushes one of her legs onto the floor, and pulls the other over his shoulder. He can't be comfortable, but his face is right up in her, and he just dives in, licking and sucking and it's exactly what she wants. She can't help but compare him to the last person who did this -- Seth -- who was so less than skilled. So way less than skilled.

Ryan knows exactly where to go, and not to use teeth on her clit, and he puts his tongue inside her almost immediately, runs it around, sucks on the skin, then tongues her clit with an even pressure like he knows that it's the rhythm that's going to get her off. He puts his fingers back inside her and she can feel his thumb sliding against her asshole, and it feels kind of funny. She pushes against him and his thumb slips in a little and his fingers hit something inside her, way up high, and she screams, lets go of the door, grabs his hair.

"Oh, god, yes, Ryan, yes," she chants. She kind of feels like she has to pee and shit all at the same time, and she's definitely crying, squeezing her leg around Ryan's back, and he's shoving his fingers into her hard, so hard, but the pressure and the rhythm are still the same, and when she comes, she sees stars and maybe even screams a little.

Ryan stays down on her, licking gently, not moving his fingers but not taking them out of her either. She doesn't try to catch her breath too quickly, just lets herself relax. Because that was fucking great, and it's been way too long since she just did what she wanted, when she wanted, with whoever she wanted.

When she comes back to herself, her thighs are dry but sticky, and Ryan is crumpling up a napkin or a tissue or something, sitting back against the door. Rubbing one of her feet. Crazy.

He notices her looking at him and his eyes crinkle at her. She smiles. Drowsy. Lethargic. Totally blissed out.

Ryan opens his mouth.

"Do not say anything," she orders. She bites her tongue to keep from adding "Chino" to the end of that sentence. She's not usually too involved with how her words make other people feel, but that whole Marissa/Yard Guy thing -- DJ, his name is DJ -- has made her a little too conscious of whatever weird differences there are between people who have money and people who don't. And she doesn't want to remind Ryan that secretly he's really poor and she's really rich.

"Whatever, Summer," he says, but he's still smiling at her, a little half smile. He reaches into his pants and every muscle in her stomach tenses, but he just pulls out a pack of cigarettes, shakes two out, and lights them both at the same time, then passes one to her. BADASSERY. Who can light two cigarettes at once? That's amazing.

She smokes it, cracks the window open a little bit, blows the smoke out into the night. The parking lot is totally emptying -- the last stragglers will come out after midnight, after the last late movie gets out.

There are so many things that Summer doesn't want to bother to think about, she can't even begin to list them all. Mostly she doesn't want to think about the world outside her car. She also doesn't want to think about how much she wants more sex, more orgasms, more of Ryan's mouth on her, everywhere. But she has to think about that, has to examine every feeling, pull it all apart and put it back together. She doesn't mind liking him, but she doesn't want to. Like. Get emotionally involved or whatever. Because that would be too complicated.

Luckily, there are no weird emotional stringy feelings attached to him. Just a really firm desire to do him.

"I'm not going to fall in love with you," she announces, and flicks the butt of the cigarette out the window.

"Uh," says Ryan.

"That's not a trick question or anything." She pauses. "Can I have another cigarette?"

He hands her the pack and the matches, and she lights her own, throws the match out the window.

"SoŠ" says Ryan.

"So I'm not going to fall in love with you. I just thought I'd let you know right now, because you complicate things." Summer leans her head to the side and cracks her neck. Ahhh, yes. "Now rub the other foot."

Ryan obediently switches from her left foot to her right foot, and rests her left foot in his lap. He's kind of hard again, but mostly not. She wiggles her toes against him and winks dramatically, and he laughs.

She wonders if he would do everything she told him to do. Like, he had pretty good instincts down there between her legs, but that wasn't it -- she'd always wanted to try tying someone up, or. You know. Stuff. Whatever.

"Okay," says Ryan. "You complicate things for me too, you know."

"What? Whatever, that wasn't what I meant." She rolls her eyes. "You're totally a drama magnet. You complicate things. Like, yourself. Come on, Ryan. You know what I'm talking about."

"No, I don't actually." His voice is doing that tight thing, and he's all squinty at her.

"Don't even try to play me," she says. "Just chill out. I was giving you an out, okay? I was telling you -- this is cool. I like it. I just am not Coop."

"Oh, I know." His voice sounds nasty, but that might just be the fact that everyone has always compared her to Coop -- everyone except Seth, who was too busy comparing her to Anna.

"Whatever, Chino" she says. She can be nasty too. She pulls her feet away from him and sits up straight, folds her legs into lotus, holds her knees, and arches her back until her spine cracks. The smoke from the cigarette dangling out of her mouth tickles and burns her nose, but she refuses to let it show that it bothers her.

"Whatever, Newport," replies Ryan, and he opens the door, and gets out of the car.

Summer sits there as he slams the door. There's so much she could say -- mean stuff, but nice stuff too. She could be like, "Wait, I'm sorry -- I didn't mean it," but she doesn't apologize. She could be like, "Wait -- whatever, Ryan." Maybe that would work. She could be like, "Don't be a drama queen," and crawl across the seat and pull him back into the car by his neck, and pull him on top of her.

But she doesn't. She just lets him leave, and smokes the rest of the cigarette. When she's sure that he's totally gone, she crawls into the front seat and examines herself in the rearview. Her eyeliner and mascara are totally gone, streaked down her cheeks. So gross. Her lipstick, though, is still perfect.

She drives home barefoot, her feet feeling especially sensitive, but she doesn't want to crawl back into the backseat and take her shoes out. Her skirt is totally ruined, and her breasts hurt, and her throat is marked up, red, abraded.

There's a note on her bedroom door from the stepmonster. Baked tofu sandwich in the fridge with a baked blue potato. Uh, yum? It sounds like the height of fucking ick.

She takes a shower -- there's bruises on both thighs, inside and out, and she's all distended and weird looking. Fucked up. But nice -- it feels good to feel so used. She gets into bed with her hair still wet, and turns on her television, falls asleep watching Ina Garten make beef stew.

In Summer's dreams, Coop comes to her house and stands over her, one hand on her hip and the other holding a drink with a pink umbrella.

"Don't you think you ought to lay off the sauce, Coop?" says Summer.

"Don't you think you ought to lay off my boyfriend, Summer?" says Coop, then sips her drink through a neon green bendy straw.

"You aren't dating him anymore," says Summer, and Coop rolls her eyes.

"Is that how you defend yourself?" she asks nastily. "You always were a total slutbag."

And Summer starts to cry, and feels like a stupid shit for crying, because she knows she's not a slutbag, but Marissa isn't wrong necessarily -- doing Ryan isn't something best friends do, and even if Marissa isn't acting like Summer's best friend, that doesn't mean that Summer gets to break all the girl codes.

"I hate you," says Summer through her tears. "You always fuck up everything I want. I hate you."

And Marissa disappears, but her drink remains, and when Summer sips it, it's lemonade, and a hand is stroking her forehead, and a soft voice says, "Don't cry, baby."

When Summer wakes up, she's sweating, and her hair is curly from being air dried, and her face itches where the tears dried.

"Talk about Freudian," she says to her ceiling. "Whatever."

She calls Coop again: "Coop, man, what is up with you? I need backup! Stepmonster is on a tofu kick. Come on, be my best friend." It sounds like pleading, but it's not, because it's on purpose, making fun of people who have to beg other people to be their friend. Summer doesn't have to bend anyone.

She digs through her drawers until she finds an old bathing suit. It's a little too big, but it works -- the bottom half is shorts, long enough to cover the bruises. It's orange, which means she'll just look a little sunburned, instead of totally ravaged. She hits the pool before she eats -- she's not hungry for tofu breakfast sandwiches or salad with fruit and nuts.

There's something wrong anyway, and she can't quite put her finger on it, like maybe the dream disturbed her more than she thought it would, or maybe she's feeling guilty about Ryan. Whatever, it's annoying.

When Summer gets out of the pool, there's a tray with fruit and two different kinds of pancakes with butter and syrup and waffles with chocolate chips and whipped cream and a mug of cappuccino. The staff must be getting just as annoyed with the stepmonster as Summer is. She eats two of the waffles and three of the pancakes and drinks the entire pitcher of water and stirs some of the waffles' whipped cream into her cappuccino.

No calls from Coop. Summer is kind of surprised that it's already the afternoon. She squints up at the sky: the sun is definitely high above her. What can she do tonight?

The stepmonster comes walking out, a silky robe swishing around her ankles. She looks like she's gaining weight on this new diet, which is interesting. Summer sniffs at her.

"Are you available for supper tonight?" asks the stepmonster. Summer is about to say no, but the monster sighs and looks kind of sad, and that's so weird that Summer is thrown off her game.

"Yeah, sure," says Summer. "But I'm going out a bit later."

And then her phone buzzes with a text message from a number she doesn't recognize. She knows the message though: sorry. tonight? same time same place? Yes ok she texts back, then smiles up at the monster. She totally wasn't lying; she does have plans tonight.

The rest of the day, she just watches television and waits for Coop to call. Sure, she could go do something, but who wants to? She can't even focus on the television. She borrows some yarn and knitting needles from Rosa-the-cook (Mexican, unlike Rosa-the-maid who is from Ecuador) or her daughter or someone, and tries to follow along with a show about knitting, but she keeps losing her place and forgetting to count the stitches. She ends up stabbing the needles into the yarn and leaving it on the couch, and soaking in the tub until dinner.

It's not so bad, actually -- the monster doesn't cook. Rosa makes mushrooms and mashed potatoes in some kind of gravy, with fried tortillas covered in something that Rosa assures the stepmonster is cactus juice or something, not honey. Whatever, like Summer cares? As long as it's good. The monster talks through dinner about melting polar ice caps and buying Summer a hybrid car. Summer and her father exchange smiles and eye rolls and it's actuallyŠ kind of cool.

Except for at the very end when Summer stands up and says, "It's almost eight -- I have to get going," and Summer's father says, "Oh, who are you going out with? That Zack?" and Summer says, "No, it's like a group thing," and her father says, "Not that Cohen boy," and Summer says, "No, it's not a Cohen, dad," and leaves. But she's kind of fuming, because hello? Her dad does not get to tell her who she gets to date. Not like she'd date Cohen again anyway, but whatever. That's not the point. Also, Zack? Is such a loser. He's so gone -- been gone. Whatever.

Summer slicks on lipstick and changes into an old tennis skirt and an old tank top and flip flops. What, she needs to dress up for this shit? No way. She doesn't wear underpants, though, all special-like. And she doesn't wear a bra. The tank top has one built in, but she wouldn't wear one anyway. Maybe she'll invite Ryan back to the house and sneak him in through the back, and get more than one orgasm out of him.

Maybe she is a slutbag.

On her way to the mall parking lot, she decides that she's not -- she's just bored.

Kirsten's big black SUV is already parked in the dark corner, and Summer has a brief -- very brief -- thought about the polar ice caps. She parks her car, and lights a cigarette, and steps out of the car, walks over to the SUV, knocks on the window. The door opens and when she gets in, Ryan is sitting up behind the steering wheel. The radio is playing something Bruce Springsteen -- no, it's a cd.

Oh, puke.

"Hey," says Ryan.

"Hey," says Summer, and gets into the car. She looks in the back -- there are no seats. She looks at Ryan and raises an eyebrow.

"It's not -- I was -- Kirsten," he says and she grins.

"Whatever, it's perfect," she says, and gets into the back. There's a blanket folded in one corner. It smells like the beach. She unfolds it and spreads it out. Ryan turns off the car, and Bruce's whining is silenced. Summer sits down on the blanket and crosses her legs demurely. Ryan is just looking at her.

"I thought we could hang out," he says.

"In the corner of the mall parking lot?" she replies.

"We could go see a movie." He looks kind of desperate.

"We could not," she says, and uncrosses her legs, and lets them fall open. "Come here."

He stays still.

"Come here," she repeats, more forcefully this time.

And he's got to have been fucking her, because by the time he gets to her, which is seconds, not even, because his clothes are off and he wasn't wearing underpants either. But she isn't in the mood for this shit, and if he was fucking with her, he is in it deep.

"Lick me," she says, and just in case he doesn't get the message, she points down. "Now."

He bends his head to her like he's been waiting to do this all day -- and maybe he has. Definitely she entertained the thought in the bathtub that afternoon, and maybe even masturbated a little, but she couldn't get herself off, and now he's going to. He'd better.

She lies flat and stares at the ceiling and takes deep breaths and decidedly doesn't think about any of this, because who really cares? They aren't hurting anyone.

Ryan takes his time, builds it up, works his fingers into her slowly, makes her wet, makes her come once silently, twice shaking, and a third time, screaming. She pushes him away, panting.

"Don't," she says. "I need a minute." She turns over onto her side, away from him, curls into a ball. She can't stop shaking -- it's so totally fantastic. Tears leak out of her eyes, but she was clever this time and didn't put on any eye makeup. Just the lipstick, which she knows is still there.

"Are you -- okay?" says Ryan, leaning over her.

She twists up and kisses him, pulls him down. He's twisted over her, she's twisted underneath him. "Condom?" she whispers into his mouth, and he slides his hand under her shirt, pushes it up, pulls it over her head.

"Don't rush," he replies, and kisses one breast, than the other. He's pressing against her and he's totally hard, leaking onto her leg, which is kind of gross, but also nice. Weird but cool. Totally hot. He sucks on her nipples while he puts the condom on, lifts her top leg over his thigh and hip, and shoves in, twists his hips, shoves in again.

The floor of the SUV is hard and not at all nice for this kind of thing, even with the blanket. Summer is getting bruises on top of her bruises. Plus, the sex? Not exactly what she was imagining. Ryan's kind of wide, and it hurts a little, even though he stretched her out with his fingers.

"It hurts," she says. "Stop."

He sucks on her neck and she shivers.

"Okay," says Ryan. "Turn over." She starts to turn to face him, but he moves her face down, leans over her, doesn't disconnect their bodies. This definitely hurts less. She's on her elbows and he's kind of hunched over her, his hands on her breasts, his fingers twisting her nipples, his legs holding her legs together. He's hitting into her slow and steady, speeding up, speeding up, slowing down.

Her knees hurt, but she's hot again, and she leans her weight onto one arm, slides her hand down, rubs at her clit, tries to reach his balls. He knocks her hand away, replaces it with his, and gets her into a weird rhythm that nevertheless works, and when she comes, she falls hard onto the floor of the SUV, her legs stretching out under his. He jerks her hips up; his fingers dig in hard and she's definitely going to have more bruises. He keeps pounding into her, harder and harder, and it's like aftershocks or waves or something fucked up because she just keeps coming. This is what sex is supposed to be like, all scratchy and sweaty and painful and nonstop pleasure.

When he's done, he falls onto her a little, then moves to the side. She turns over, watches him take the condom off. She can't keep her eyes closed -- she has to see everything. He ties off the top of the condom and puts it into an empty cigarette pack, closes the pack. Very clever; he's thought of everything.

They lay facing each other, not touching, just staring. She counts his eyelashes. She doesn't know what he's looking at. She reaches out and kisses him. Every muscle in her body hurts. Her stomach feels like someone punched her; she's not sure she can walk, her thighs hurt so bad. He sighs into her mouth, slides his hand around her neck, pulls her closer. It's like she falls into his mouth. His tongue is rough and hot. He tastes like salt and sugar and cigarettes.

"I mean it," says Ryan. "I mean, I meant it."

"What?" She wants a cigarette and a drink and maybe a shower, and then definitely another round. In a bed. That doesn't shake or move, that is soft and full of pillows and blankets, and more condoms.

They barely talked at all -- just grunts and groans and moans and sometimes screams or a giggle -- but her voice is hoarse. She clears her throat. "What are you talking about?"

"We could hang out," says Ryan.

"Whatever," she says. "I told you I'm not in love with you."

"Yeah, I know, but -- nevermind," says Ryan, and sits up, starts looking around. For his pants? For a cigarette.

"I want a cigarette," she says. "Don't be annoying."

He pulls cigarettes out of the pocket of his pants, tosses them to her, then pulls on his pants. No badass double lighting tonight. She tries lighting two and starts coughing. He glares at her and snatches the pack from her. She feels totally cool, sitting naked in the back of an SUV smoking a cigarette and looking at this badass across from her.

"I'm just trying to. I dunno." Ryan looks down, then back up at her. "Be something."

"Whatever. We can hang out if you want to, but I feel like we are not into the same things. Wanna go get a manicure? Bikini wax?" She raises an eyebrow.

"I'll pass on the bikini wax, thanks," he says wryly, and her heart twists a little. She's bored, but he's, like, lonely. Maybe she's a little lonely too, but he's, like, totally alone.

"Wanna come home with me?" she says. "Also, can you open a window?"

He leans over and opens one of the triangle windows. "Home with you?"

"Yeah, you know -- a bed and a television and more condoms and something to drink. Plus good ventilation so we don't sweat so much. And a shower." She nods to herself. "A shower, yeah."

Ryan looks at her, takes a long drag off his cigarette. "More condoms?"

"Yeah," she says. "Well, we'll have to stop and get some. But then there will be more."

"Uh-huh," says Ryan, and smiles, and she knows she's totally won this round.

"Also I want to tie you up," she says, and crawls across the floor to him. Her knees are dying, but she knows it's hot. She flicks her cigarette out the window and wraps her arms around his neck. "I'm going to tie you to my bed and get on top." She licks his mouth, then licks into his mouth, and he kisses her, runs his hands over her back, down her butt, over her thighs, pulls her hard onto him. He pulls away, kisses her with his mouth closed. She sighs, kisses him, scratches down his chest, kisses him again. Her eyes want to fall shut, she wants to fall back, but she makes them be open, makes herself stay upright.

"Let's go," she says in a growly voice that doesn't sound like hers at all. "Come on."

He kisses her again, climbs into the front seat, and turns on the car. She lies down on the back again, stares at the ceiling again, but this time she's totally naked. He turns on the air conditioning. She feels the cold air wash over her, and she shivers. Her car is still in the parking lot, but that doesn't matter -- she can get it tomorrow. She wants him to go faster, wants to see him in her pink bed, in her pink bathroom.

Her mouth starts to water. She positions herself so that she's in sight of the rearview mirror, and runs her hand down to her clit, uses her other hand to pluck at her nipples, smirks at him when he sees her in the rearview. Maybe she'll even invite him to eat breakfast with her and the stepmonster -- the monster would be scandalized, and watching Ryan eat tofu would be excellent.

The SUV is stopped, like at a light or something. Summer can see it through the window. She catches Ryan's eye in the rearview mirror, runs her fingers down, fits two inside, bends her legs up and pushes, moans, and her eyes close.


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