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Thirty

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No one would ever have called Abby impulsive. John in fact considered her “the most boring lesbian I know.” But just because she wanted stability and family and the sense of belonging she’d lost the night her parents hadn’t come home didn’t mean she went after those things with a clear head.

She’d been to therapy, all right? She knew her own bullshit.

She was on it right now, yanking open the door to the drag bar, searching for Riley’s profile, her dark hair, the set of her shoulders. The image of Harper leaning into her ex-boyfriend’s space had burned itself into her chest, like a brand. Heat radiated out so she felt flushed and a little light-headed when she spotted Riley shrugging into her coat.

Abby saw her first, so she had the time to back down. To turn around and go back to the house. To wait for Harper to text or just come the fuck home.

But she hesitated long enough for Riley to turn, watching Riley flip her hair free from inside the collar of her coat. The moment she saw Abby, she blinked, and her expression—already muted—went carefully blank. But she put her hands in her pockets and picked her way through the crowd toward Abby, and the confidence in her stride, or maybe just the length of her legs sent that burning heat from Abby’s chest down to her belly.

She’d always had a thing for tall girls. And they seemed to have a thing for her.

“Hey,” she said as Riley approached, her voice rough and too quiet to be more than a vibration in her throat. But Riley answered.

“Hey. You all right?”

It couldn’t be more obvious that she wasn’t.

“Is there somewhere we can go?” she asked, a little louder.

Riley’s eyebrows knit together. “This is somewhere,” she said. “This is where I brought you.”

Abby shook her head. “No, that’s not what I meant. Somewhere quiet. Somewhere private.”

Those dark eyebrows lifted. “I’m staying with my parents for the holiday, so…there’s my car.”

Abby was turning thirty this year, and it was too fucking cold outside. If she was going to detonate a relationship anywhere, she would do it someplace warm. Before she could think any more about it, she took Riley’s hand and pulled her back through the crowd, toward the bathrooms.

And John thought she was a boring lesbian.

The door swung shut behind them, shutting out the house music and most of the noise, and Abby dropped Riley’s hand so that she could pace in front of the sinks. “I don’t know what I’m doing,” she said in a rush. “I just know that I can’t stand this—this person I’m with. I can’t stand the way I feel when I’m with her. She’s fucking up, and I—I had no idea what I was walking into. I feel like such an idiot.”

Abby stopped and leaned her ass against the sinks. There were feet under the stalls but she didn’t give a shit. She crossed her arms over her chest and looked desperately at Riley, not sure what she wanted to see but still immensely glad for her steady presence and expression.

“She’s fucking up, and I—I want to fuck up, too.”

She didn’t have to spell out her meaning. Riley pressed her lips together and dipped her chin in a gesture of understanding. “I see.”

“I can’t stand to feel this way. This betrayed.” She wanted to crawl out of her skin. She wanted Harper to witness it.

One of the stalls emptied out, and Riley moved in a swirl of her long coat, this time grabbing Abby’s wrist and tugging her inside. She slammed the flimsy door and threw the latch before turning to meet Abby’s gaze. Abby backed up until she came up against the toilet, but Riley hesitated only a moment before she reached for Abby’s face, gripping her jaw in both hands.

“This is pretty fucked up,” she said.

Abby nodded. “I know.”

Riley shifted one hand to the back of her skull. “You’re someone else’s girl. But you’re not just anyone’s—you’re Harper’s.”

“I know.”

Riley’s mouth quirked. “I’m in. I’m down. Bring it.”

Abby huffed a short sound, the situation too messed up for a laugh. She reached inside Riley’s coat and found the waist of her pants, her lacy blouse tucked neatly inside. Everyone in this town was so fucking put together.

Thumbing open the button, she dipped her fingers down the moment before Riley pulled her into a kiss. It wasn’t a nice kiss, but Abby probably couldn’t have handled a nice kiss. Riley bit at her lips as Abby curled her fingers over the mound of her pussy, hot through her sensible cotton underwear.

Medical resident, her brain supplied. She rubbed the heel of her palm in small circles and pressed with her fingers, and Riley groaned into her mouth. Wanting to disappear into this as quickly as possible, Abby turned her head to the side, breaking the kiss, and dropped onto the toilet seat. She tipped her head to look way up at Riley and spread her knees, dragging her between them by the hand still cupped between her legs.

Riley’s cheeks were stained with a warm flush, and Abby didn’t know what to think about this—about attraction and affection and kindness. That wasn’t what this was about. Right?

Dragging Riley’s dark jeans down her hips, she stared for a long moment at the patch of dark hair between her legs. She rubbed her thumbs over the knobs of Riley’s hipbones and glanced up once before nosing into her curls and tasting her. Riley’s eyes were dark as midnight, unblinking.

That image burned into her, too.

*

Riley’s thighs trembled as she came a second time on Abby’s tongue, and she clenched her fist tight in the back of Abby’s hair, her knees turning to jelly.

“You have to stop,” she gasped, “or I’m never gonna let you stop.” Riley would have winced at the breathless way her voice escaped her throat, but Abby was a fucking poet with that tongue, furious in her heartbreak, and Riley could only take so much of that.

Reaching down, she tugged Abby to her feet and dragged her into a salty, tangy kiss, her chin shiny, her lips redder than red.

“Your turn?” Like an idiot, Riley’d phrased it like a question. And Abby shook her head, no, a short twitch and a grimace. But she craned up for another kiss, twining both arms around Riley’s neck this time. Riley grabbed her around the waist and lifted her to her toes, kissing the hell out of her, because this would be her only chance.

Abby’d laid out the terms. This was vengeance. And Riley could get with that. Harper’d ruined her life for a lot of years. Riley was over it; of course, she was. She’d turned thirty this year. But if she dug her fingers into Abby’s sides hard enough to pinch, hard enough to leave a mark, that was her business.

She managed not to make wild offers or suggestions out loud—let’s get a room for the rest of the holiday; you never have to go back there—but she said them to herself. Fuck, why did she always go for the brittle, breakable ones?

Eventually, Abby drew away, her heels sinking back to the floor. She wiped her mouth on her sleeve and straightened her shirt, averted her eyes while Riley tugged her jeans and underwear back into place. She was still obviously rumpled though, the strap of her bra stretched and twisted between her collar and the side of her neck. By reflex, Riley smoothed it down and tugged Abby’s shirt collar to cover it. The thought of Abby mostly undressed and entirely rumpled beneath her in a wide hotel bed made her ache.

Abby dug her fingers back through her hair, attempting to untangle the mess Riley had made of it. She bit her bottom lip and said, out of nowhere, “You got a girlfriend back in D.C.?”

Riley blinked, then narrowed her gaze. “No,” she answered, drawing the word out.

“Why not?”

She exhaled a sharp laugh. “Hmm.”

“Sorry, sorry. Doesn’t matter, I guess.” Then she reached into her back pocket and checked her phone, her brows plunging into a scowl. She shoved it away and looked up. “Want another beer? I’ll get this round.”

Riley smiled before she could stop herself. “Yeah, all right.”