With that, my fingers danced along the waistband of his pants. I could feel him through the denim of his jeans and I was instantly tired of talking about that girl. He leaned in to capture my mouth.

“Mmm… Emerson, I missed you,” he said on a moan.

He raised my shirt over my head. “I missed you too,” I said between our lips.

He lifted me with one hand while he unbuckled his belt and shoved his pants and boxers down with the other. The second I felt his warmth between my legs, I let out a ragged breath. When I leaned back to open the drawer of my desk, he clinched his fingers into my sides hard enough to keep me in place. I continued to reach for the drawer and when I pulled it open, I grabbed a small packet. He quickly took it from me and ripped it open. He reached down and ripped my panties into to two pieces of tattered silk and tossed them to the ground.

“I know all you want is to be friends. I’d rather have that than have you running away from me all the time,” he whispered in my ear, while sliding inside of me.

Damn. That is not where I was hoping this was going. I had spent all my time trying to make sure we were going to stay only friends, how would he know any different now? I knew I couldn’t have that kind of conversation right now, or if I knew how to have it period. I’d never been anyone’s girlfriend, let alone asked to be one. How could I yell at him to leave me alone multiple times and then expect him to turn around and do the opposite?

I felt a warm hand pulling my chin up to look in his eyes. “Hey, did anyone ever tell you how damaging it can be to a guy’s ego when the girl looks off into space during sex?”

I came up on my knees to stroke him again. Then I leaned up to kiss him and said, “I’m here.”

Thirty minutes later, I was sweating and collapsed on Jaxon’s chest, laying my head on his shoulder, panting. He had his head back on the headrest of the chair, equally spent and breathless. He was running his fingertips lightly across my bare back.

“Hey, so why did you come up to me in the courtyard this afternoon anyway?”

“Um… I just needed to get my journalism textbook back from you, I’m really far behind,” I said, chickening out.

“I’ll grab that for you,” he said, leaning into me and then he looked over my shoulder. “Damn, at some point we should have moved this over to the bed; it probably would have been easier on your legs,” he sucked in a heaving breath.

“Anytime you’re game,” I said, snuggling into his chest.

He suddenly lifted me up, moved us over to the bed, and shoved all my covers back. He fell back on the bed with me on top and he rolled me over to my back. When he positioned himself on top of me, I giggled. I hadn’t meant right now, but the way he was looking at me had me ready to go all over again. He pulled on my bunched up skirt until it was sliding down my legs, then he tossed it behind him, dove down, and started kissing my neck.

The next month and a half went by annoyingly normal. I was being a huge chicken. I just didn’t have the guts to fess up to Jaxon that I had real feelings for him, and that I wanted to give a relationship a shot. So, we just continued being friends, no matter how maddening it was to me. I had run a ton of sexually frustrated miles this past month. I was hoping that my runner’s high would compensate for the lack of other highs. But I couldn’t even reach that moment lately while pounding the pavement. I ran further and faster, doing anything to get that feeling, but I guess my runner’s high and my sexual fulfillment were connected in some way.

I found enjoyment in the nights when I wasn’t working and Jaxon was. I always stayed home to listen to him on the radio. He didn’t get a lot chances to talk because the main radio DJ did most of the chatting, while he ran around the office doing errands. But when he did, I would snuggle in closer, listening to that magnificent voice. It was comforting, even though he wasn’t actually talking to me.

Jaxon and I still hung out before and after our classes, and he would come over to study a couple of times a week. I would make him lunch on our short day together, and sometimes I would even make dinner for all five of us if I wasn’t working. We would fool around often times in the afternoons when everyone else was at school, but we hadn’t had sex again. I wasn’t sure why that was; we just never took it that far.

I ended up having to miss another game to make it up to Ed for skipping out for a week unexpectedly. I had been able to make all of the ones after that. Currently, we were undefeated and it was amusing to see how Dalton thought that Jaxon was his best friend now. I’m sure it had nothing to do with how good Jaxon made him look. Every party that we went to, Dalton would pull him in to be some kind of wingman for him.

Quinn and I had gone back home for the short, four-day Thanksgiving break. It was nice to have that time with Ellie and Charles. I was really looking forward to spending time alone with Quinn, but she sulked around the whole time, depressed about missing Cole. He had gone home with Jace and Jaxon to see their families. I don’t know why either of them bothered going home, because they spent the majority of their time on the phone together. I called Jaxon occasionally while they were gone and he seemed busy when he answered, so I let him go shortly after. He texted me a few times, but overall, nothing was going anywhere between us.

We had been to a bunch of fraternity parties over the last month. Cole and Quinn would usually dance together the whole time they were there. Jaxon would wind through the crowds dancing and talking to everyone. Jace would pop in and out, but he wasn’t a big partier.

It was second nature for me to go find some Frat boy and go upstairs with him to have a good time. A part of me wanted that old me back that could just hook up with some hot random guy and then go back to enjoying my night. Ever since Jaxon, I just couldn’t follow through with it and it was beyond frustrating. I would go upstairs with them and start making out. But for some reason, I just couldn’t get my body to go any further. Usually after about ten minutes of trying to make advances on me that I wasn’t reciprocating, or when they got tired of my rejections period, they would get up and leave me there.

The first couple of times it happened, I tried sneaking back down the stairs without people seeing me do my walk of shame. Even though I hadn’t actually done anything, everyone here knew my reputation. I was mainly trying to avoid Jaxon; it felt wrong for him to know about me being with someone else. After I had finally made it back down, he would ultimately always come seek me out to make sure I was okay. Eventually, I stopped caring if he saw me come down or not. His eyes would always find me coming down the stairs and he would give me the “okay” signal with his fingers. I always gave it back, gesturing that I was. I’m such a liar.

After Thanksgiving break, I was beyond frustrated; it had been way too long since I had sex. I was determined that if I wasn’t going to woman-up and talk to Jaxon, I needed to get laid by someone. We were all at the Sig Alpha, “Welcome back from Thanksgiving, let’s have a party” party. Seriously, any reason to drink, dance, and have sex, these guys would come up with a party for it. I had gone upstairs with Easton, one of the football/frat guys and he took his shirt off the instant we walked in the room. I’m not sure what I was thinking; Easton and I have hooked up before. I don’t remember him having a tattoo on his bicep, but maybe I had been too drunk to notice last time or it was new. I was determined to follow through, but the second I caught a glimpse at that tattoo I couldn’t take my eyes off of it. It reminded me too much of Jaxon’s, only Jaxon’s was ten times hotter. Then I just started thinking about everything Easton was lacking compared to Jaxon.

I was sitting on the edge of the bed and he came down with his arms on either side of me, trapping me while kissing my neck. I let him go for a while, hoping that my sex drive would kick in. Please just feel normal again, Emerson. After what felt like five hours, although it was probably only five minutes of the most awkward advances, I finally heaved him off of me with a frustrated blow of air.

“Fuck, Em. What is wrong with you?” Easton growled.

He sat up, pulling his shirt back on over his head. “It used to be so damn easy with you. You weren’t one of those chicks that needed sweetening up.”

I don’t know why he sounded so frustrated. He wasn’t the one that could only have sex with one person all of a sudden. I knew he would end up grabbing some other girl before the night was over. Me? I was going yet another night unsatisfied. I shoved past him and slammed the bedroom door on my way out. Out in the hallway, Jace had his back against the wall with a blonde leaning into him, kissing his neck.

When he saw my face, he stood up straighter and balanced whoever was attached to his neck with his hands on her shoulders. “Is everything alright, Emmy?” he asked concerned.

“I’m fine, Jace, don’t stop on my account.” I gestured to his date.

When I bounded down the stairs, there was no Jaxon in sight. That was probably for the best because if he gave me the “okay” signal, I probably would have given him the “middle-finger” signal right back for cursing me.

I went into the kitchen to find the tequila and a shot glass. When you sleep with a Frat guy, they usually end up showing you where they keep the good stuff, or maybe I just knew to ask. The Sig Alphas keep theirs hidden in the dishwasher because who the hell needs one of those when you only eat out of pizza boxes and drink from red plastic cups. I was throwing back my first shot when Easton came pounding through the kitchen past me to go straight out to the patio.

I looked out the kitchen window and noticed a group of guys sitting out there drinking, smoking, and talking. I spotted Cole and Jaxon in the mix with beer bottles in their hands. Easton hadn’t closed the door all the way when he came through, so I could hear them all laughing at some joke Garret had just made.

Right as Easton came out, I heard Jaxon’s voice. “What the hell’s wrong with you, did you f**king do something to Emerson?” He stood up from his seat.

“Chill the hell out, Riley, your precious Emerson is fine and f**king untouched. You don’t need to run in there and make sure she’s okay.” He was definitely frustrated.

All of them laughed and ribbed at Jaxon for always checking on me.

“You do realize we use to f**k her just fine before you got here. She was always okay afterward; she doesn’t need you to check on her,” Easton prodded him.

I heard a scuffle and then a loud pop followed by the sound of Easton groaning.

“What the f**k is wrong with you, Jax?” Easton yelled.

“Shut up, East, you deserve about twenty more blows for saying that shit. Keep your mouth shut or I’ll kick your ass alongside him,” I heard Cole growl.

I felt small hands on my back. “What are we listening to?” Quinn whispered over my shoulder.

“Nothing,” I snapped and pulled back from the window.

She walked up to glance out and smiled at me knowingly. I heaved a sigh at being caught eavesdropping on the guys.

“Did he do something to you?” she demanded, in an angry voice.

“Nothing besides speak the truth. I guess Jaxon doesn’t like that side of me.”

“Just what I need, another protective friend,” I grumbled.

She was about to comment on that, when we heard the guys start talking loudly again.

“Yeah, I swear I’ve taken her to my room four times this semester and she just zones out while we’re making out, and then pushes me away. Last year, she was much cooler,” I heard Blake say.

“Maybe it’s your moves, dude. I wouldn’t want to get with your ugly ass either,” Cole joked.

“I reached that f**king three-time limit, so I wouldn’t know how she’s been lately,” Micah griped.

The other guys chimed in with the same complaint as Blake. Traitors, all of them. Guys aren’t supposed to get together and chat about this stuff. It was also kind of embarrassing to hear about how many people I had gone upstairs with lately. If this was last year, I would have slept with all of them. Jaxon thought that’s what I’ve been doing.

“Hold up, what are y’all saying? None of you have slept with her this entire semester?” A familiar southern accent chimed in.

Crap. He was putting the pieces together.

When I heard a round of ‘no’s’, I downed another shot and scrambled out of the kitchen toward the front door. I knew he was going to want to know why, and I was still frightened to tell him that he was the only person I wanted to be with. That I had never felt so close and safe with someone before I met him. I was also terrified to explain to him that even though I wanted him, I knew I would be terrible at a relationship. I would mess it up and I would piss him off. At the same time, he seemed to have moved on, so maybe all this worry was for nothing.

Just as I was hitting the front door, I heard the back door open and Jaxon hollered, “Emerson!”

I kept going and knew he hadn’t seen me because, right before I slipped out, I overheard him ask Quinn if she knew where I was. Here’s hoping my best friend and sister has some sense of solidarity. When I reached the driveway, I realized I couldn’t drive home. I didn’t have the car keys and I was far too intoxicated. I reached Jaxon’s truck that was parked a of couple houses down the street and I laid the tailgate down to sit on it.

Since it was November, it was a little chilly out. Southern California doesn’t have much of a winter, but the breeze blowing off the ocean was giving me chills on my bare legs. Another reason I would never make it in the north; I loved wearing shorts and flip-flops year round. When you have to hunt down gloves, hats, scarves, and boots at any time of the year, that’s when I call it quits. I have a grandma that lives in upstate New York that we visited once for Christmas. I was miserable in the cold, I stayed indoors the entire week we were there.