Home > Coming Up for Air (Hundred Oaks)(5)

Coming Up for Air (Hundred Oaks)(5)
Author: Miranda Kenneally

“I didn’t bring anything to wear to a party.”

She scans my body. “My neighbor plays basketball. She’s about your size. We can raid her closet!”

I grin, glad this is going okay so far. Sylvia tells me to wear comfortable shoes because we’ll be walking off campus to the basketball house. My black boots and distressed jeans don’t look all that bad with the sparkly silver top I borrowed from her neighbor. Normally I don’t dress so sexy. I’m showing a lot of skin.

Sylvia eyes me up and down. “You look hot.”

“Are you sure?”

“You have a killer body. You won’t be able to keep the guys away at the party.”

Really? Just because I’m wearing a slinky top instead of my usual sweats and T-shirts? I mean, I’m still me, and attracting guys has never been my forte.

I text Levi a selfie to see what he thinks of my outfit.

Levi: You look really pretty, M.

Me: :-)

He sends back a picture of himself. Levi: What do you think of my outfit?

He’s resting at home tonight since he swam doubles today, and looks relaxed in that gray New Wave sweatshirt I want so bad.

Me: You’re red carpet ready!

Levi: Have a good time tonight.

I ask Sylvia, “So do all the basketball players live in this house?”

“Some of them. It’s kind of a cesspit, to be honest.”

“But we’re going to a party there?”

“Well, yeah. The basketball team will be there. And I’m hoping this guy Sean from the football team comes. We made out last weekend.”


Sylvia’s only a year older, but it seems like she’s a lot more mature than me. Even though I’m technically almost an adult, I feel like I haven’t had any truly adult experiences. Except for, like, getting my own debit card and flying on a plane here by myself. To be honest, I haven’t had many life experiences at all. I’m seventeen. I’ve never had a boyfriend. I certainly haven’t been in any sort of situation where I needed to escape without my shirt on like Hunter did.

“Are you dating anybody?” Sylvia asks.

I avoid her eyes. “Not right now.”

I’m too embarrassed to admit that other than Hunter’s horrid kiss during truth or dare, I’ve never done anything with a guy. Much less date one. This isn’t the first time I’ve felt behind experience-wise: Levi, Hunter, and Georgia have all had sex. Meanwhile, I’m Snow White.

She squeezes my arm. “You’re gonna meet lots of guys tonight. And you won’t have to feel guilty about flirting with any of them. Once you get to college, most people don’t have relationships.”

“What? They don’t?”

“No. They hook up.”

Maybe this party would be a good place to cut loose.

I’ve always wanted to seriously make out with a guy, but haven’t had the chance. Nothing is stopping me tonight. And honestly, after seeing Roxy, I want to have some fun and take the edge off.

With a deep breath I tell Sylvia, “Yeah, I’d love to meet some guys. Introduce me?”


Sylvia leads me off campus.

Berkeley is quite hilly. I feel like we’re going up and down, up and down. Plenty of people ride skateboards to get from point A to point B, but I can’t see myself doing that.

San Francisco is just across the bay, but I can’t see it through the fog on the brisk walk to the basketball house. Lit up with lights, music blares from inside, and cars line the street. The front door opens and laughter spills out.

My heart races.

We walk inside, and I gaze around the crowded foyer. It’s about a hundred degrees hotter inside than out. A guy comes rushing up to Sylvia, kisses her check, then pushes his glasses up on his nose. “Hey, babe.” He continues on to a couch, where he squeezes in between two other guys and picks up a video game controller.

“Wow, he was cute,” I say.

She smiles. “They all are.”

I think I’m going to like college.

Sylvia goes to the keg and comes back with two very full cups of beer, balanced carefully in her hands. I take mine and sip. It tastes pretty gross, so I decide to simply hold it. Will Roxy be at this party? I scan the room.

Sylvia introduces me to her friends from the dance team, and then a couple guys wander over to us. Sylvia nudges me with her elbow. She introduces me to one named Dylan, a sophomore who plays for the lacrosse team. He shakes my hand, giving me a friendly smile. I like the way his hand feels warm in mine.

He’s so ridiculously cute it’s not even funny. Cuter than the guy on Roxy’s arm earlier today. Blue eyes, buff body, longish blond hair swept back behind his ears. His hair reminds me of Levi’s. Looking at Dylan, I feel a strong tug in my stomach, starting at my belly button and shooting down.

“Maggie’s coming to school here in the fall,” Sylvia tells him.

“I can’t wait,” he says, his smile becoming a full-fledged grin directed at me. Another guy grasps Dylan’s shoulder, speaking quietly to him. They bump fists and do macho handshakes.

Sylvia catches me staring at Dylan and whispers, “He’s single.”

I raise my eyebrows, and a sly smile forms on her face.

“He’s also very nice,” she says. “And I hear he’s great in bed. Come find me if you decide you want to leave. I need a second round with that football player.” She takes off, leaving me alone by the staircase. Crap. This is exactly what I was afraid of. I’m a wallflower at my first college party.

But when I glance up, I find myself looking into Dylan’s eyes. He’s an inch or so taller than me, and the delicious smell of his cologne pulls me into a trance.

I think about what Sylvia said, that once you get to college, most people don’t have relationships. They hook up. I don’t want to leave for college without some experience.

Besides, lately, I’ve been getting these urges. Sometimes I will see this hot actor who plays a werewolf on TV or some sexy musician dancing, moving his hips, and I get all hot and bothered. Sure, I can touch myself, but it never seems to work right. It feels nice, but I don’t think I’ve had an orgasm, and it seems like I’d know. Anyway, I’m always left wanting. I have those urges, and I don’t know how to satisfy them. I think I need a boy to do it. Georgia agrees.

She says there’s nothing like a guy kissing you everywhere.

And god dammit, I want a guy to kiss me everywhere.

I smile at Dylan.

He smiles back.

And then the worst thing ever happens: my stomach rumbles. Loudly. I’m about to die of embarrassment, but he chuckles.

“Hungry?” he asks.

I touch my stomach. “You have no idea. We didn’t get dinner before Sylvia brought me here.”

“C’mon,” he says, taking my hand and tugging me down the hallway. Feeling his skin against mine makes my heart pound even harder. We arrive in a spacious kitchen, complete with an island and a long table that must seat twenty people. Basketball players take up a lot of space. A guy and girl talk quietly next to a set of doors leading to the backyard. Another couple leans against the dishwasher, making out. A group of guys play beer pong on the table.

Dylan opens the fridge and peers in. “We’ve got the makings for a PB and J.”

“Sounds perfect.”

He pulls jelly out of the fridge and takes a loaf of bread from the bread box.

I sit on a barstool as he works. “I thought this was the basketball house.”

“Other athletes live here too. So do you play basketball?”

“No, I swim.”

He pulls a butter knife from a drawer. “I figured basketball ’cause you’re so tall.”

“It’s a curse.”

“A sexy curse. Some of the sexiest women are tall. Like Gisele. Or Taylor Swift.”

“True. I’m not sure why I said that. I love being tall. It helps me in the pool.”

“See? There you go. It’s a sexy curse.”

I let out a shaky, flustered breath. “Enough talk. Get back to my sandwich already.”

He salutes me with the butter knife, then spreads jelly on one side of the bread and peanut butter on the other.

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