Elegy / Page 24

Page 24


“Yeah, he’s really sweet.” She paused before adding, “He’s a pretty good kisser, too.”

Marcy wrinkled her nose in disgust. “Gross. You kissed him?”

“We dated for like a minute.” Gemma waved it off. “It doesn’t count at all. If you’re into him, then by all means, have at him.”

“Saliva stays in your mouth for three months after you kiss someone, so his mouth is all full of your germs,” Marcy said.

“I’m pretty sure that’s not true. And even if it is, I’m not all that germy. I promise.”

“Whatever.” Marcy handed her plate to Gemma, then wiped her hands on her jeans. “I’m going in.”

Gemma picked at what little food Marcy had left on her plate and watched as Marcy went up to Kirby. She considered moving closer so she could overhear them because she couldn’t imagine how Marcy flirted. But Kirby was a nice enough guy, so it hopefully wouldn’t be a total disaster.

ELEVEN

Flirtations

“Hey, Gemma,” Harper said, and Gemma glanced over to see Harper and Daniel approaching her, hand in hand. “Sorry it took so long for us to get here. Daniel had to clean up and get the set ready for tomorrow.”

That’s what Harper said, but she lowered her eyes when she said it, and her dark hair looked a little mussed. Daniel’s shirt was also buttoned crooked. If Gemma had to guess, she would’ve said they’d stayed behind a little longer to get in a quick makeout session.

Not that she blamed them. They were new to this long-distance thing, and as much as they both insisted it was fine, being away from each other had to be hard. So it was good when they could get a moment alone together.

“I understand,” Gemma said, smiling to herself.

“You were great in the play tonight, by the way,” Daniel said. “Or at least you looked that way from backstage.”

“Thanks,” Gemma said. “The set looked amazing.”

“It really did,” Penn chimed in, and Gemma had to fight back a groan as Penn smiled up at Daniel. “You are quite the handyman.”

Daniel had been here for all of a minute before Penn found him. Gemma didn’t completely understand what was going on between the two of them, but whatever it was, it couldn’t be good. She trusted Daniel not to do anything to hurt Harper, but Penn’s interest in him was definitely getting more intense.

“Hello, Penn,” Harper said, smiling tightly at her. She’d been holding Daniel’s hand, but he let go and moved away from her slightly. “I didn’t know you were coming to this party.”

“I wouldn’t miss it for the world.” Penn winked at Daniel, who shifted uncomfortably. “So how are your studies going, Harper?”

“Better, now that you’ve taken my roommate off my hands. It’s much quieter.” Harper kept smiling at her. “So thanks for the favor.”

“You know me.” Penn’s tone got even more seductive than normal. “I love to serve.”

“I think I’m gonna go get a soda,” Daniel said, taking a step away. “Do you want anything, Harper?”

“A bottled water, please,” she said.

“I’d like a glass of wine,” Penn told him before he’d escaped.

He hesitated, glancing between Harper and Penn, then asked, “What kind?”

Penn smiled broadly. “Red. Merlot.”

“I’m not sure if the bartender will serve me without ID, but I’ll see what I can come up with,” Daniel said, and hurried away to the bar.

“Your boyfriend is very eager to please,” Penn told Harper as she stared after Daniel.

“Liv seems eager, too,” Gemma interjected, and pointed to Liv. “She’s coming on pretty strong, actually.”

She was mostly just trying to change the subject because the tension between Penn, Harper, and Daniel was almost painful. But Liv had gone beyond flirting. She and Aiden were all over each other, and they were still standing right in the middle of the room.

Penn glanced over at Liv. “She can handle herself.”

“Aren’t you supposed to be babysitting her?” Gemma asked. “If she hasn’t fed yet, she’s dangerous.”

“Trust me, Gemma—she’s plenty dangerous even when she has fed,” Penn said in a way that made her blood curdle. “If you don’t like what she’s doing, you can stop her.”

“She’s not going to listen to me,” Gemma countered.

“She’s as much your problem now as she is mine,” Penn replied coolly. “Remember that.”

“How is she Gemma’s problem?” Harper asked sharply. She’d probably been trying to bite her tongue, but Penn had gotten to her. “You’re the one that made her. Don’t you have any sense of responsibility?”

“Not really, no.” Penn shook her head. “Liv can kill anyone she wants. She could turn this party into a bloodbath, and I wouldn’t care. You’re the one with a superiority complex. If you don’t like what she’s doing, deal with it.” She smiled widely at Harper’s apparent shock. “Hell, if she wanted to have a feast tonight, I’d probably join in.”

Daniel arrived back, just in time to keep Harper from freaking out on Penn. “Here you go, ladies.” He handed the water and the wine to Harper and Penn. “The bartender wasn’t going to give it to me, but when I told him it was for you, he obliged, so hopefully it’s to your satisfaction.”

Penn took a sip, then moaned. “Mmm. You always know how to keep me satisfied.”

Daniel cleared his throat. “It was more the bartender that’s trying to satisfy you, not me.”

“This is getting gross, and I think Liv is going to mount Aiden, so I’m going over there,” Gemma said. “Mostly so I can be not here.”

She didn’t think Penn would kill Harper right in the middle of the room, and she really didn’t want to be a part of that ridiculous conversation. Besides that, Liv and Aiden were getting out of hand, and since Penn had no plans to intervene, Gemma knew she had to do something before Liv lost control.

“Oh, yeah?” Aiden whispered, his lips hovering just above Liv’s as she pressed her body against his.

“Hey, you two,” Gemma said, loudly and forcefully so they’d pay attention to her. “I don’t know if you realize this, but you’re standing in the middle of a crowded room, practically making out. So maybe you should cool it.”


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