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Our Last Summer

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Cora and Erica sat slumped on the couch, trying to plan their last free summer. They were graduates finally, alumni of BHHS. And they had done nothing. Nothing worth noting anyway. But they wanted something, anything that would give them an exciting story to take to college. They knew from experience that Cora's older siblings had both ended their summers with a long list provocativestories prepped and ready. They were just asking for one but thus far, Cora and Erica had none and the summer was already well underway.

 

They couldn’t brag about the old PS2 games they'd revisited or the runs on the Preserve. That wasn’t exciting; it was mediocre at best. They needed… something. Anything really Erica thought.

 

As time passed Cora and Erica began to sink lower into the couch, allowing the humidity and boredom overtake them as they took pointlessly to their phones, looking for the answer on the endless web. Occasionally one of them would pitch an idea but it would always end with the same inevitable conclusion; it wasn't exciting enough. It was too predictable, something they were sure half the class was already doing this summer.

 

At about quarter past noon the front door opened and hit the entryway table with a light tap. Cora waved away Erica's curious look with the comment, “It's okay, it's probably just Laura.”

 

Erica's brow rose, clearly unsatisfied with the answer, and she shifted her position on the couch so she could see over the back once more. A loud gasp escaped her lips, and Cora, now curious herself, rose from her slump to see Derek making his way into the house, dufflebags in each hand.

 

Screams of joy escaped the girls as they surged off the couch, practically tackling Derek to the ground in their excitement. His only saving grace, his substantial muscle mass, was all that kept him from actually toppling over as the girls attached themselves to his sides.

 

“I guess you both missed me then?” He asked, arms wrapping around the girls and squeezing gently.

 

“We didn't think you'd be home yet,” Erica mumbled into Derek's chest, savoring the the return of her foster brother.

 

Cora grinned and looked up at her brother, “You said you'd be on the road for at least another week.”

 

“I wanted a chance to surprise you,” Derek chuckled and shrugged, leaning down to kiss the top of her head. “Mom thought you needed some mystery in your life.”

 

Cora rolled her eyes, “Erica and I are looking for something exciting to make our last summer memorable. Not mysterious.”

 

Derek only laughed and should his head at the two, “My apologies.”

 

Eventually a small cough came from behind Derek and the girls turned to see to see a hulking figure standing in the entrance of the door. Much bigger than even Derek. As if remembering suddenly, Derek untangled himself from Cora and Erica, motioning the mysterious man inward with one of the dufflebags he still held.

 

“Erica, Cora, this is one of my roommates, Boyd. We've been traveling home from NYU and I told him he could stay for a bit.”

 

“Pleasure,” Erica said reaching in close to shake his hand, Cora could tell her blonde companion was most definately interested in him but she put the thought to rest as she took her turn saying hello properly. They’d both agreed that getting summer flings would be too common and had crossed it off their list. It was a shame though, Erica would have had a good time with him, he was charming enough Cora thought she might have had a good time with him herself...

 

Releasing Boyd’s confident handshake Cora couldn’t help but return his open smile, easily becoming enraptured in his eyes. She started suddenly when Derek laid a hand on her shoulder,

 

“Boyd and I are gonna go get him settled in the guest room. We’ll be back in a bit yeah?”

 

Cora nodded and gave her brother another hug before releasing him into the wilds of the house. It was hardly a moment after their footsteps left the top stair that Erica was dragging her longtime companion into the living room with a clear vendetta in mind.

 

“You want to change the rules of our last summer don’t you?” Cora said sadly as she sat back down on the couch.

 

“Cora, have a little more faith in me please,” Erica rolled her eyes as she descended sharply onto the couch; practically on top of Cora, “We agreed no summer flings because they were too mundane right?”

 

“Right…” Cora parroted slowly, uncertain what possible avenue Erica was looking down if she wasn’t suggesting they each find romances.

 

“What if,” Erica smiled teasingly, delighted with the wickedness and unpredictability of her own thought, “We both dated your brother’s roommate, together.”

 

Cora’s brows rose in surprise, “Like a threeway?”

Erica tilted her head a little and nodded a few times, saying without actually using the words, ‘ Well of course ’.

“We might not be able to come up with an idea for a great story this summer so why don’t we work on putting a twist on one of the most common?”

 

Put a twist on summer flings, Cora had to admit she liked the idea of it… And Boyd, he was, easy on the eyes to say the least. Erica wasn’t too bad herself.

 

“How do you know he’d even be interested in us? He’s already a sophomore in college… He could already have a girlfriend!”

“He doesn’t,” Erica said with her usual sense of confidence and direction. Cora couldn’t count the amount of bad ideas Erica had lead her into with that troublesome look. She had to admit though, they’d always been very profitable decisions in the end. “And he’s interested, believe me, I could tell.”

 

“Well then,” Cora said, a slight giggle rising her her throat, “I guess we have some planning to do. We’ve only got a little time to get our summer story.”

 

“Planning? What about a little practicing?” Erica asked devilishly, ignited by her own unpredictable fire. She felt invincible in this moment, absolutely delighted by the thought of executing her plan.

 

Cora’s brows furrowed together, “Practicing?”

 

Leaning over, Erica capturing Cora’s lips on the couch, relishing in the surprised squeak she gave out.

 

---

 

“Erica, c’mon we’re juniors in high, not middle school. Who seriously plays spin the bottle anymore?”

 

“Tonight you do, you agreed I could pick remember? This is my choice,” Erica swept part of her long hair back defiantly and watched from Cora’s bed as the brunette debated the validity of her statement.

 

“Alright,” Cora’s chest was pounding as she agreed to the game. Playing it with Erica she might actually get a chance to kiss her. Was that Erica’s intent? “But no weird stuff, no destroying the house or anything. Mom would never forgive us.”

 

“I thought everyone knew that. Jeez we’re not monsters,” The fiery redhead in the corner of the room said, seemingly too absorbed in her photo taking to notice what was going on around her. It was a fool’s thought to think that however, and everyone knew it.

“Well?” Lydia looked up briefly from her phone to see Cora blushing at heaven knew what, “Are you going to get everyone or should Erica and I?”

 

“I’ll get them,” Cora mumbled, shaking the thought of Erica’s lips from her mind.


Downstairs Cora found the rest of their merry holiday band gathered in the kitchen, mulling over what had once been the annual supper feast. Explaining what had happened, Cora dragged the group upstairs, forcing them to abandon their after dinner feasting.

 

“Alright Erica, you’re on,” Lydia waved her hand over to the blonde, as if bestowing upon her her some unspoken rule over the room. Being that it came from Lydia, it of course worked. The rules were, as everyone had already learned in middle school, simple. One person was to spin and whom ever it landed upon had one of two options, to confess a truth or to accomplish a dare. True to Hale fashion Laura convinced everyone to waive their right to pass on a spin, increasing the stakes tremendously.

 

The game started off simple enough as it always did, a small truth revealed here, a small dare done there. The game felt almost tame, that is of course, until it was Lydia’s turn. She was the one who really got the party started.

 

“Laura,” She said the name clearly and with purpose, “truth or dare?”

“How about both?” Laura’s laughed at her own challenge. The redhead rose one perfectly plucked brow before responding with a sly grin,

 

“There’s someone in this room you like, tell us by kissing them.”

 

Then it was Laura's turn to raise her brows but she complied with the request, making quite the dramatic scene as she targeted the redhead, landing a surprisingly passionate kiss on her lips. Lydia’s response was more than enthusiastic and Cora could tell she’d planned for this from the start of Erica’s game. Beating Laura with her own ego, Lydia truly was a great match for her.

 

After the incident the circle ran abound with a perverse nature, luring the true teen spirit out of the kids. Finally, when the bottle came around to Laura she spun it with flare. After a few minutes it finally landed on Erica and Cora sucked in a sharp breath seeing the gleam in her sister’s eyes.

 

“Truth or dare?”

 

“Dare,” Erica grinned giddily.

 

“I dare you…” Laura paused for dramatic effect, her gaze drifting over the crowd to ensure their full attention was on her,  “I dare you to kiss Cora, on the mouth.”

Cora’s ears were burning before Laura could even finish her sentence and she wished so badly that she could slip under a rug and slink away. Her feelings for Erica were supposed to remain a secret between sisters. Cora should have known Laura couldn’t keep her mouth shut, especially when she saw an opportunity to ‘help things along’.

 

“Alright,” Erica responded to the dare enthusiastically. Leaning into Cora she carefully took her chin, directing the scared girl’s eyes to her own. Erica gave her a smile and Cora thought her heart was going to explode out of her chest.

 

It did of course, after their first kiss. Cora had never felt anything quite like it before and hardly felt as though she would feel anything so special again.

 

They never dated officially, never made themselves an item even after their first kiss. It was beyond fantastic in it’s novelty mind, they just had always felt that there was something missing… Something they needed to find first. What they had developed was a blurred line of a relationship that couldn’t qualify as dating but could never be called a friendship either. It was, complicated.

 

---

 

Coming down the stairs, Derek was only mildly surprised to find his little sister and Erica making out on the couch. The same could not be said for Boyd, who, though he didn’t make any actual comment on the situation, gave Derek a very distinctive look of disbelief.

 

Stomping the last few steps down the stairs Derek made their presence know the girls, “We’re finished for the moment. Gonna grab some lunch.”

 

“Okay,” They giggled, falling from view as they carried on laughing at being seen.

 

Derek rolled his eyes and led Boyd into the kitchen, opening the refrigerator to rummage through it’s sorely missed contents.

 

There was some sense of quiet between the two men as Boyd took some time to mull over what he had seen on the staircase. It had been a bit of a shock to see the girls so intimate and, in a way, it had been disappointing as well. Boyd had thought they were both rather beautiful when they’d met. He respected Derek and his own morals too much to ever approach them now that he knew they were a couple.

 

“Egg salad or waffles?” Derek asked, pulling out the two plates of leftovers for inspection. Boyd chose the waffles, stuffing them in his mouth with vigor as he attempt to squash the small sting of disappointment he felt over the two girls. It was quite an insane feeling if he thought about it rationally. One was Derek’s little sister and the other was already in a relationship with said sister. Besides he’d only just met them, he knew practically nothing about them save the stories Derek had told of his family at college.

 

“So, which one are you thinking about?” Derek questioned, examining Boyd’s carefully blank features.

 

“Neither man, jeez. Is that all you think of me?” Boyd shoved off the question, stuffing another waffle into his mouth to cover up his small gape of surprise.

 

He could fool almost anyone with his indifferent gaze but Hale always managed to figure out what he was thinking somehow. It was normally comforting not having to waste time explaining what Derek could already read about him but this time Boyd really wished he wouldn’t.

 

“Seriously?” Derek rolled his eyes and shoved an overfilled spoonful of egg salad into his mouth, “You’ve seen girls all over each other before and you’ve never even bat an eyelash. Clearly something’s up.”

 

“Drop it,” Boyd growled, embarrassed by Derek’s demands. He didn’t want Derek to think poorly of him for thinking of his little sister and her childhood friend the wrong way.

 

“Is it Cora?” Derek peered at him, calmly chewing another spoonful of the salad, “Erica?”

 

“Knock it off Hale,” Boyd growled again, shoving Derek’s shoulder a little.

 

“Both?!” Derek declared in astonishment, “You dog you.”

 

Boyd wanted nothing more than to knock the smug grin off Derek’s face when he discovered his deduction was in fact correct but the burn in Boyd’s cheeks made him flee the table with his empty dish instead. After taking care of the kitchen Derek took Boyd out back and they shot hoops for a while, not really talking. The conversation from the table was all but abandoned, Derek’s only comment on the matter,

 

“They’re not dating, just so you know. They always said they were missing something together. I think they were just afraid.”

 

---

 

After a family filled dinner Erica and Cora take refuge on Cora’s bed to discuss the finer aspects of their newly formed plan. There’s talk of the plan but there’s also a lot of what Erica calls ‘practice’. Cora doesn’t mind, especially not when she gets to watch Erica change into the pajamas she’s borrowing for the night.

 

It’s hard to say but Cora feels like she’s touching the tip of something gigantic, something that is going to change everything for her but she’s not afraid.

 

This change has brought about a difference in her relationship with Erica.

 

A change Cora hopes can stay.

 

---

 

Getting Boyd’s attention proves to be the easy part of their plan, convincing him to act upon it is the tricky part.

 

For all of Erica’s gentle brushes and Cora’s tempting words Boyd seemed too nervous to approach the pair even when it becomes evident to the rest of the household that the girls are a little more than interested in Derek’s roommate.

 

“Erica, what if you were wrong? What if he doesn’t like us?” Cora questions agian one afternoon that follows yet another round of unsuccessful flirting.

 

"Trust me Cora, I'm right about this," Erica taps away at her phone, responding to a message from someone.

 

“Erica, focus,” Cora exasperates, slipping into her lap with a pout. The blonde doesn’t respond at first, leaving Cora to feel as though she’s being ignored. But as soon as the phone signals the message has sent Eirca ditches it and grabs Cora’s waist tightly, squeezing her lovingly.

 

“I am focused,” Erica smiles up at Cora from her two new found pillows, “I told you we’d get our twisted summer fling and we will. We just need to speed up the clock on it.”

 

“Speed up the clock?” Cora asks, her fingers finding their way into Erica’s wavy curls as though she’s searching them for the answer.

 

“As in…” Erica purs, “We take a more direct root about this whole thing.”

 

Cora gasps as Erica lifts her, tossing her into the place she had once been sitting.

 

“Now, I think it’s time for some more practice Hale… It’ll help me focus.”

 

Cora knows her friendnotfriend is full of it but she obliges her none the less. It feels amazing letting her have what she wants, what Cora wants too. Erica’s got something up her sleeve and it’s guaranteed to be spectacular if Cora’s memory of the blonde is anything to go by.

 

Erica’s always had a way of getting what she wants, Cora has as well. She shouldn’t doubt herself, even if it leads to this…

 

“Really guys, do you have to do this in the living room all the time?” Derek exasperates, swinging off the stairwell pilar into the kitchen. Honestly he doesn’t know how much more he can take of their intentions toward Boyd. Somebody needs to say something, soon.

 

---

 

“We want you to take us to the fireworks in town,” Erica presents the proposition to Boyd who currently shooting hoops with Derek again.

 

Boyd, far more startled by the directness of the question, looks to Derek for instruction but hardly finds any as he lines up for a shot. Before he shoots however, Derek winks at him and Boyd knows that's the only advice he’s going to get out of him.

 

“Both of you?” Boyd asks almost hesitantly, “Like the three of us together? Won’t people in your town think that’s weird?”

 

“And we’re supposed to care what they think because…?” Cora retorts back, finding herself impatient for the answer.

 

“I guess I’d love the pleasure of taking you two,” Boyd offers up the answer with an easy smile that Cora’s come to learn her doesn’t just give to anyone. It gives her a sense of confidence as well as a sense of relief to hear the words. She can’t believe another one of Erica’s terrible ideas is working out for them yet again.  

 

---

 

The fireworks are astonishing this year, even Laura’s girlfriend Lydia thinks so and her evaluations of the explosions are usually borderline cynical.

 

This year Erica and Cora lay on their blanket with Boyd in between them, heads in his lap as they stare up at the fireworks in awe. Boyd loves the fireworks they learn, because he loves the spectacular feeling he gets with each explosion, like a new emotion painting the sky.

 

The fireworks last for several hours and the three take the opportunity at the end to make their way to a food stand and order an unhealthy dinner. Boyd tries to pay for his meal but Erica insists on fotting the bill,

 

“I’m the one that asked you guys to come with me. Let me be the gentlewoman.”

 

She gets a good laugh from her companions with her over the top pronounciation of the last word.

 

The night ends at the top of the Hale staircase, Erica once again spending the night there.

 

“Thank you for taking me out Erica, thank you for coming too Cora,” Boyd says turning face face each of them as he talks.

 

Cora feels a slight blush on her cheeks, much like the one she feels when Erica kisses her. “You would-, or rather could I give you a kiss?”

 

Boyd’s eyes widen a little, surprised to see how flustered Cora looks at the suggestion, “Of course.”

 

Stepping in close, Cora has to stand on her tippy toes to reach his lips, gently bestowing a kiss before lowering to the flat on her feet again. A fire burns throughout her skin but Cora doesn’t try and hide it, she feels exhilarated by it.

 

Erica doesn’t have to reach as far but Cora still notices that Erica’s heels lift off the ground as she kisses him. Together they say a brief good night, parting their separate ways, all with a tingle on their lips.

 

---

 

The summer doesn’t end with the date to the fireworks and indeed the three of them finds many more activities to involve themselves in. The girls may or may not have the most exciting summer stories to tell at college, they’ve still got a few months left, but they’re also beginning to realize that just because something’s been done before doesn’t mean they can’t do it a hell of a lot better.

 

Eventually, around the second official date or so, Erica confesses to her idea to her idea of the threeway spring fling and Cora admits her part it but Boyd hardly seems to mind. He’s learning to appreciate what an ingenious mind Erica has and he loves Cora’s sweet but occasionally rough personality she develops when she’s nervous. He knows that, without the prodding from Erica’s plan, he probably wouldn’t have even thought twice about the possibility of all of them.

 

The elder Hale siblings, with all their pride, sit back and enjoy the way the summer lays out before them, their own participation in Cora’s relationship pleasing them to no end.  Cora can hardly stand how big Laura’s ego’s grown and she promises herself that she’ll talk to Lydia about it soon.

 

It comes to Boyd’s attention later in the summer that his fling with Cora and Erica is coming to a close but then he has an epiphany, who says summer flings can’t become something more? Who says they can’t extend this into many more summers to come? Boyd definitely thinks it’s worth looking into.


End