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Sugar Plum Isabella Starling, Jenika Snow 2022/8/5 16:59:13

“I asked where the party was.” Bastian’s voice was cool and collected like it always was. “Tell me, sugar plum.” But there was an edge to it. He was angry.

“The Kappa Delta Phi house on campus. Why?” I furrowed my brow. “My dad knows I’m here, if that’s why you’re asking.”

“I’m asking,” he went on, “because I’m going to pick you up.”

My stomach erupted in butterflies and I could barely hide my excitement. “Okay, Bastian. I’ll wait for you.” I blew a kiss into the phone, giggling before I cut the call.

Stumbling back inside the house, I located Rosie on the couch, downing another drink. I gently pried the glass out of her hands and filled her in. I soon realized she was barely listening. I’d had too much to drink, but Rosie had even more. I sat with her on the couch, cradling her head on my lap, while I waited for my knight in shining armor. I didn’t have to wait for long.

Bastian’s electric presence took up the whole room the moment he entered. With my eyes fixed on the front door, I saw him the moment he walked in, his expression dark and stormy as he scoured the place for me. Our eyes met across the room and I swallowed thickly, feeling the pressure rising between us. He looked mad a moment ago, but the moment he saw me, his gaze softened, a smile taking over his face and his eyes crinkling as he made his way toward me.

“Got yourself in some trouble, sugar plum?” he asked me as he stopped in front of the couch.

“Don’t worry,” he went on, kneeling next to me and Rosie in my lap. “I’m here to help.”

“Thank you, Bastian,” I managed. He looked so out of place here, among all the college fraternity boys. But I still only had eyes for him—no one else mattered. “Are you going to take me home?”

“Of course.” He smiled affectionately at me. “And your friend. Rosie, was it?”

“Hello, Mr. Silver Fox,” Rosie slurred, making me groan out loud.

Bastian got up and held a hand out for me, helping me to my feet. “I need to get her to the car. Can you open the doors for me, Holly?”

I felt jealous as hell as he picked up Rosie like she weighed nothing at all. I loved my friend, but I couldn’t help the feeling of pure jealousy turning and twisting my stomach. I opened door after door for Bastian as he carried my friend out of there and put her in the backseat of his car. He even covered her up with a picnic blanket he had in his trunk.

Maybe he liked Rosie. Not me.

The thought was awful, filling me with self-doubt. Rosie was a gorgeous girl. Of course he’d like her over me. She was pretty, fun, and bubbly where I was an introvert, sweet but still stuck in a phase between girlhood and being a woman. Rosie had more experience, even though her parents didn’t let her date or have boyfriends. Self-doubt filled my head as I got into the passenger seat, feeling it eating me up from the inside. I didn’t trust myself to speak, too afraid the tears would spill the moment I mentioned something to Bastian.

He got into the driver seat. “You got your friend’s address?”

I recited it. Rosie lived in a bad part of town, but Bastian didn’t comment on it as he put on some Christmas music and started driving to the address I’d given him. I was still twisted up with jealousy, but he didn’t comment on my mood as we made our way through the city.

The drive took twenty minutes, and neither of us said a single word on the way there. When I glanced at Bastian out the corner of my eye, I saw the troubled expression on his face. Surely this wasn’t his ideal way to spend a Friday night. If it were up to him, he’d probably be dining at an expensive restaurant with a beautiful woman on his arm, not rescuing two silly college girls from a fraternity party. I hated myself for the feelings of envy that twisted my gut, but I couldn’t help it.

He was mine, and I was his.

How long would it take Bastian to figure it out?

“Here we go.” He pulled to the side of the road in front of Rosie’s house. “Can you help me get her inside?”

We got Rosie to her feet. She seemed to have sobered up a bit already, though she was still wobbly on her feet as Bastian and I walked her up to the house. He rapped on the door, and I cringed inwardly knowing how angry Rosie’s Dad would be when he saw her.

My friend wasn’t as lucky as I was. She was from the wrong side of town, and her dad… well, he got tipsy on a good day. On a bad day, he got drunk and threw insults in his daughter’s face easily. I felt for Rosie, which was the reason she spent so much time at our place.