Misbehaving(7)

By: Tiffany Reisz



“I mean for Bea. I still think they’d make a great couple.”

Henry groaned and rolled onto his back.

“Hey, no. Hand back on the boob,” she said, grabbing Henry’s hand and putting it back where it belonged.

“Sorry,” he said, moving her bra out of the way and pressing his hand to her bare breast. She sighed with pleasure. “But Ben’s still got it for her, I think. At least he’s still pissed at himself for not going after her when he had the chance. It could get ugly and weird if those two get together.”

“Or sexy and awesome. Why not? What happened with them anyway? Did Ben ever tell you why he flaked out on her? Because I swear it was love and lust at first sight when we introduced them.”

Claudia remembered that night. She’d been relieved Beatriz had decided to follow her to Brooks College. Beatriz had battled some problems in high school and at least Claudia could keep an eye on her baby foster sister for her first year of college. Newly single Ben had shown up at her dorm room looking for Henry. Beatriz saw Ben. Ben saw Beatriz. Claudia had laughed out loud as her feisty, fearless sister turned the full force of her considerable charm on Ben. Poor gorgeous Ben, who owned any room he walked into, had turned tongue-tied as Beatriz interrogated him. Did he like Brooks? Yes, he loved it here but couldn’t wait to graduate. What was his major? Business administration. What did he plan to do with a business administration degree? Administrate businesses, maybe? Would his work help or hinder the progress of the human race and specifically the rights of women in underdeveloped countries? Um…yes?

Claudia had to cover her mouth with her hand to hide her smile that night. She’d wished she’d had some popcorn to watch the Beatriz and Ben Show. Beatriz had found Ben’s answers entirely acceptable and had proceeded to ask him to show her around campus. Such a simple request and yet Ben had smiled as if he’d won the lottery. As soon as they walked out the door, Claudia had told herself that those two would be engaged by graduation. She knew it in her heart. Well, her heart was wrong.

She looked at Henry across the pillows and saw he wore a guilty look on his face.

“What?” she asked. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing.”

“Your hand is no longer on my boob and you look like you just killed someone. I don’t really care if you killed someone just as long you get back to the boob job.”

“I didn’t kill anybody.”

“That’s good.”

“But I did sort of do something bad.”

Claudia sat up and looked down at Henry. He sat up and leaned back against the headboard.

“What did you do?”

Henry winced.

“Don’t call off the wedding, okay? I did it for us.”

“Tell me. Tell me right now.”

“I was in love with you. Crazy in love with you. And I wanted you to be in love with me, too, just as much. Then when Ben met Bea, and he told me he had fallen hard and fast for my girlfriend’s baby sister, I saw the end of the world. So I kind of asked him not to pursue her.”

“You what?” Claudia nearly yelled the words at him. She picked up the pillow ready to hit him with it the moment another stupid confession came out of his mouth.

“She was a freshman. Barely eighteen. And Ben was almost twenty-three. And he’d had ten girlfriends in the last two years. Ten, Claudia. Ten.” Henry held up two hands and wiggled all ten fingers. “My best friend dumping your baby sister? Not good. The opposite of good. Bad even. When Ben told me he’d met the girl of his dreams, I saw the apocalypse.”

“The apocalypse?”

“The SEXpocalypse. Ben already had a job offer on the West Coast. Did you really want him having sex with her all year and then dumping her the day he graduated?”

“Well…not really,” Claudia admitted.



“And Ben was an old senior. You know he was twenty-three and she was eighteen? You remember that part?”

“I sort of forgot that part.”

“You would have hated Ben for dumping Bea and then hated me because he was my best friend. I couldn’t face that. I told him you wouldn’t want him dating your sister because of the age difference. So he did what I asked and backed off.”

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