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Lila has a reputation to uphold. Her parents are rich, she’s the youngest of five, and she might finally outdo her oldest brother by becoming a lawyer. Not to mention her popularity and her hot, star quarterback boyfriend that she doesn’t love – or even like – but that’s irrelevant. She’s been fine pretending her life is perfect and she’s perfect and everything is just so damn perfect

 

And then Rebecca Sutter crashes into her life. Well, technically, Lila crashes into Rebecca’s life, but that would make this partly Lila’s fault, and this is not Lila’s fault. It’s not Lila’s fault that she’s staring down at her phone and walking when someone walks into her. It’s not Lila’s fault that she’s walking in the middle of the sidewalk, completely unaware of her surroundings. That is all Rebecca’s fault, and it’s Rebecca’s fault for hauling Lila’s ass off the pavement so she can look her in the eye when she glares and says, “Watch where the fuck you’re going.”

 

Lila’s jaw falls open, her text conversation with Griffin briefly forgotten. (God, who knew being the girlfriend of the school’s beloved quarterback could be so hard?) “You watch where you’re going,” Lila immediately fires back.

 

Rebecca raises her eyebrows, and Lila gives her a quick onceover. Dark hair, braided. Dark eyes. Dark makeup. Two piercings in her face. Black jacket, leather. Black shirt beneath it. Black jeans. Black shoes. No wonder Lila didn’t see her. Lila does recognize her, though. It takes a few seconds to click, and when it comes to Lila, she has to resist the urge to snap her fingers and announce it: she’s a bartender at Griffin’s favorite bar. In fact, Lila knows her name is Rebecca because Griffin brought her up once.

 

The bartender chick – Rebecca – she’s pretty hot. Scary, but in like, a hot way.

 

Lila mentally agrees and shakes it off as what? Thinking another girl’s hot doesn’t make me any less straight.

 

“Just look up once in a while, will you?” Rebecca says, breaking Lila’s train of thought. Rebecca maneuvers around Lila, and Lila turns and watches her walk off. Lila’s jaw is still hanging open, and she doesn’t shut her mouth until Griffin texts again – where r u???

 

Griffin offers to pick her up – on one condition. He doesn’t name the condition, but Lila agrees, because one, it can’t be that bad, and two, her heels are killing her. She waits outside of some restaurant for Griffin to show up. He’s ten minutes later than he said he’d be and doesn’t apologize. Lila swallows her contempt and reminds herself that once she graduates, she can dump his ass. Lila buckles her seatbelt and asks, “So? What’s the condition?”

 

“We’re going to the bar,” Griffin says.

 

Oh, damn it.

 

Griffin drives nine over the speed limit and doesn’t seem to notice Lila’s unusual silence. She knows what going to the bar consists of: sitting at Griffin’s side while he tries to out-brag his loser friends and drinks himself into oblivion, which means Lila has to drive him home. Every time. Except this time, the bartender she was rude to will probably be there. Serving their drinks.

 

Lila finds out there’s no “probably” about it when they walk into the bar. Rebecca’s standing behind the bar, making drinks and looking vaguely pissed off about it. Lila decides she’s not drinking anything at all. Rebecca will likely spit it in – if not worse.

 

Griffin grabs her hand, snapping her out of her thoughts, and plows through the crowd to get two seats at the bar, directly in front of Rebecca. Griffin doesn’t notice Lila’s unease; he immediately turns his back to her so he can talk with his friends.

 

“Some boyfriend you’ve got,” Rebecca says, startling the hell out of Lila. She raises her eyebrows like she did earlier and grins. “Hey, you’re the girl who ran into me and refused to take the blame. Like a half an hour ago.”

 

Lila smiles sheepishly. “Yeah.” Rebecca’s jacket is gone, leaving her in a black tank top. Lila’s eyes rake down Rebecca’s torso, and before she can wonder why, Rebecca clears her throat, regaining Lila’s attention. “Hmm? What?” Lila says. She hopes it’s too dark for Rebecca to see her blush.

 

“I asked if you wanted anything to drink,” Rebecca says, not bothering to conceal her smirk.

 

“Uh, no, I’m fine. Griffin probably does, though. Hey, Griff. Griff. You want something to drink?”

 

Griffin orders a light beer – seriously, Lila’s dating this guy? – and while he misses Lila’s eye roll, Rebecca doesn’t.

 

Rebecca leans forward on the bar and says, “Like I said, some boyfriend you’ve got.”

 

Lila rolls her eyes again and mutters, “Yeah, he’s wonderful.”

 

After Griffin’s successfully wasted, Rebecca returns to Lila just to say, “So wonderful,” with a pointed stare in Griffin’s direction. He’ll be spending his Saturday in the bathroom puking his guts up.

 

“At least I don’t have to hold his hair,” Lila jokes, and Rebecca cracks a smile but Lila can see the pity woven into her features. Maybe Rebecca knows. Maybe Rebecca knows that Griffin’s a shitty boyfriend. Maybe Rebecca knows that Lila’s only staying with him because she has to keep appearances up. Maybe Rebecca knows that Lila doesn’t even want to be friends with Griffin, let alone his girlfriend.

 

Rebecca shrugs. “Sucks for you,” she says. She grabs the second bartender as he walks past and says, “I’m running to the bathroom. Cover me, will you?”

 

When Rebecca doesn’t emerge for two minutes, Lila slides off the stool and heads to the women’s restroom. She can tell before pushing the door open – with her heel – that it’s going to be a disgusting bathroom. And it is. The stalls are painted an ugly green and the light’s dim and there’s mold everywhere. Lila makes a face and looks over at the sink where Rebecca’s hunched forward, washing her hands.

 

“Well, I figured you were lonely – and maybe a little desperate – but I didn’t think you’d follow me into the bathroom,” Rebecca says. “You’re Lila Stangard, right?”

 

“How’d you –?”

 

“Everyone knows who you are. I’m Rebecca.”

 

Lila nods.

 

“Okay, since you followed me into the bathroom for no real reason, I figure you owe me an answer to a question.” Rebecca pauses, waiting for protest, and when she gets none, she asks, “Why are you with him? You obviously don’t like him, and he doesn’t seem to give a shit about you.”

 

Lila opens her mouth to answer, but no words come out. She can’t say I can’t ruin my reputation by dumping him. She can’t deny Rebecca’s claims – which aren’t even claims, they’re facts. So Lila shuts her mouth and shrugs.

 

“You can do better,” Rebecca says, drying her hands.

 

“How would you know?” Lila demands.

 

“Please,” Rebecca snorts. “It’s obvious.”

 

Lila wants to argue, but she has no argument. Rebecca’s right. And then maybe Lila blacks out or something, because when she looks back at it, she can’t remember what – if anything – happens between the time Rebecca says it’s obvious and the time Lila shoves Rebecca back into the wall and kisses her, hard. Lila squeezes her eyes shut and waits for resistance but gets none.

 

She takes that as a good sign and grips onto Rebecca’s biceps to keep herself standing. Lila tries to remember the last time she had sex – sometime before she met Griffin, so more than a year ago. He barely kisses her. And while he’s wasted with all of his friends, she’s going to fuck a girl she hardly knows in a gross bar bathroom.

 

Yeah, sounds about right.

 

Rebecca stops and pushes Lila back by the shoulders. Lila groans at the lack of contact, fingers still digging into Rebecca’s biceps, probably hard enough to bruise. Lila can easily read through the millions of questions Rebecca’s eyes hold. Are you sure? What about your boyfriend? Is this really what you want to do? And Lila doesn’t want to face any of that.

 

Is she sure? No, not really.

 

What about her boyfriend? What about him? He sucks, next question.

 

Is this really what she wants to do? Yeah, she’s been celibate for long enough and Rebecca’s hot – which is a problem for later.

 

“Just fuck me already,” Lila growls, popping the button on her jeans herself. Rebecca accepts that answer and kisses Lila again. Lila continues gripping onto Rebecca’s bicep with one hand as her other hand slides up Rebecca’s shirt. She briefly thinks about how brave Rebecca must be, to not wear a bra when she works in a bar filled with gross men, but then Rebecca’s hand is in her pants and she forgets everything.

 

X

 

Lila quickly fixes her clothes and her hair and leaves the bathroom a little before Rebecca in an attempt to avoid suspicion. Lila walks back into the bar to find that Rebecca’s delayed departure was unnecessary.

 

Griffin’s gone. And when Lila rushes outside, so is his car.

 

One of his friends must’ve driven him home. One of his sober friends.

 

“Where’d your boyfriend go?” Rebecca asks, materializing behind Lila.

 

Lila jumps, clutching at her chest, and Rebecca doesn’t even smile. Her eyes go from Lila to the empty parking space in front of them. Lila finally shrugs. “I don’t know.”

 

“Need a ride?” Rebecca offers.

 

She could walk. Kappa Kappa Theta isn’t that far. Okay, like, two miles, and it’s after midnight, but she could do it. Even in her killer four inch heels. “Yeah,” Lila sighs. “Kappa Kappa Theta. Hopefully that’s not too far out of your way.”

 

“Not at all,” Rebecca says, but Lila wonders if she’s lying. “I’m parked down the street.”

 

Rebecca has a small sedan, which, surprise, is black. Her car smells like smoke and alcohol and maybe sex, but there’s also one of those tree shaped air fresheners hanging from the rearview mirror. Rebecca’s driving is worse than Griffin’s. She drives fifteen over the speed limit and brakes at the last second. Lila’s probably got whiplash by the time they reach Kappa Kappa Theta, but she just smiles and thanks Rebecca for the ride.

 

“Yeah, no problem. Maybe I’ll see you around.”

 

“Yeah. Maybe.”

 

“And maybe you’ll work your shit out with your boyfriend.”

 

Rebecca drives off before Lila can reply.

 

X

 

Lila calls Griffin right when she walks in the door. It goes straight to voicemail, meaning his phone probably died. Or he’s ignoring her. She still can’t believe he left without her, though.

 

“So, Griffin finally broke, huh?” Ashley says, grabbing Lila’s arm before she can go upstairs.

 

“What?”

 

“You totally had sex. Look at you.” It takes a second, but Ashley catches on. “Oh my God. You cheated on Griffin. I didn’t know you had it in you. And ha! Marissa owes me twenty bucks.”

 

“What?” Lila says indignantly.

 

“We made a bet, like, months ago that you wouldn’t be able to last,” Ashley says. “I said you would crack, and Marissa said you wouldn’t. And you did. So ha! I at least hope it was worth it. But either way, thanks. I’m twenty bucks richer.”

 

Ashley walks off, and Lila rushes upstairs to look in the mirror. She doesn’t look like she just had sex, right? How could Ashley have known? Did she just take a stab in the dark and Lila gave it away or? There’s no way –

 

Lila looks down. Her shirt’s untucked – and it had definitely been tucked earlier – and she never buttoned her pants. Lovely. Cursing, Lila takes a fast shower and calls Griffin one more time before she goes to bed. She gets voicemail again, and this time, she leaves a message.

 

“Call me back when you get this. I have to talk to you.”

 

X

 

Griffin doesn’t call back. Lila wakes up and checks her phone. Nothing. She calls him at noon. Nothing. It’s weird, even for Griffin.

 

The afternoon news answers her questions. On the screen, in big, bold letters, is FATAL CRASH INVOLVING MIDDLETON QUARTERBACK.

 

Lila gasps and covers her mouth with her hands, but she doesn’t cry. She should be crying. This is her boyfriend, and she knows it is, because they show his picture a few seconds later. Why isn’t she crying?

 

The rest of the sorority is suddenly talking over one another, trying to console Lila even though she isn’t crying – she isn’t even that upset. In fact, it feels like a weight’s been lifted off her shoulders. Griffin’s dead, and he was the only one in the car. Alcohol was definitely involved.

 

Ashley stares knowingly at Lila, and Lila cringes under her gaze. Ashley pulls her aside later, just to say, “You know you have to play the grieving girlfriend role, right? So you better figure out a way to cry.”

 

X

 

Reporters are knocking on their door the next day. Hayley makes the mistake of answering, and reporters are yelling questions at Lila, cameras are flashing, and Lila has to shove them out and slam the door. She locks it, but the reporters don’t go away for another hour.

 

“Nice job,” Ashley says. “You handled that very well.”

 

“Shut up,” Lila snaps.

 

X

 

Every reporter is gone by the time night falls, but Lila sneaks out just in case one’s hiding somewhere close. She rushes to her car and drives herself to the bar. She doesn’t drink anything alcoholic, so she isn’t exactly sure why she’s here.

 

“Heard about your boyfriend,” Rebecca says, filling Lila’s glass with water. “If I didn’t know any better, I’d think you had something to do with it.”

 

Lila glares and takes a sip of the water. It tastes like dirty dishwater, and she thinks for a moment that maybe it is. “You of all people should know I didn’t,” Lila mutters. “Considering I was busy –”

 

“Getting fucked in a bar bathroom?” Rebecca offers.

 

“God, keep your voice down,” Lila hisses. “The last thing I need is for someone to find out I wasn’t faithful the night Griffin died.”

 

“You don’t seem very upset about it,” Rebecca observes. She puts her arms on the bar and leans toward Lila. Her face is close, just inches away, and if Lila leaned in just a little, their noses would be touching. “Are you okay?” Rebecca finally asks.

 

“More okay than I should be,” Lila says, drinking more water to give her an excuse to lean away. “His mom called me earlier. She was, like, sobbing and shit, and I had to comfort her and try to sound like I was really upset.” Lila stares down at her hands. “I told her I was in the bathroom when he left and had to get another ride home. I told her I assumed one of his friends had taken him home in his car.” Lila’s eyes prick with tears she hasn’t shed yet. “I could’ve stopped him if I hadn’t been – if I hadn’t been cheating on him in the bathroom.”

 

“This isn’t your fault,” Rebecca says gently. “Even so, he got drunk, he got in his car, and he tried to drive himself home. He was surrounded by his friends. One of them could’ve stopped him. If anyone’s at fault, it’s his friends, not you.”

 

Lila shakes her head, swiping away the few tears that do manage to fall. “I’m not even crying because he’s dead,” she says, laughing bitterly. “I actually feel like my life’s just gotten easier. Isn’t that horrible?” Lila sniffles, and Rebecca produces a box of tissues out of nowhere and holds it out. Lila takes one with a quiet, “Thanks,” and wipes her eyes. Her makeup is probably a mess now. “Does that make me a bad person?” Lila asks.

 

Rebecca shrugs. “I don’t know. Depends on where you draw the line.” Rebecca pauses, and her eyes scan the bar quickly. “Drink that water,” she orders. “You don’t look hydrated.”

 

Lila raises an eyebrow and wearily asks, “When did you become my mother?”

 

“Fine. Be dehydrated then.”

 

Lila sighs, watching Rebecca walk down to the other end of the bar. Her eyes stay on Rebecca’s ass longer than she’s willing to admit.

 

Lila drinks her water.

 

X

 

Lila is eventually interviewed. She manages a tearful speech about how much Griffin will be missed, how much she loved him, blah, blah, blah. She watches it with Rebecca in her apartment. They’re lounging on Rebecca’s bed, a bowl of popcorn between them, eyes fixated on the TV like this is some kind of soap opera or something.

 

Rebecca takes a swig of her beer and says, “Not bad. You convinced me.”

 

Lila rolls her eyes. “Please. I just said exactly what I’m expected to say.”

 

“Yeah, and you cried. It worked. Just watch.”

 

X

 

When Rebecca’s right, Lila owes her twenty bucks. Lila slaps the twenty dollar bill into Rebecca’s hand, ignoring the smirk on her face.

 

“What did I tell you?” Rebecca says, stuffing the bill into her pocket. “It worked.”

 

X

 

Two weeks later, Lila’s heel breaks. She stops walking and holds the shoe up to inspect it. She stares at the shoe for ten seconds and bursts into tears. And she doesn’t even like these shoes. She walks to Rebecca’s apartment with the broken shoe in her hand and pounds on the door until it swings open. God, she must look terrible. Tears flowing down her cheeks, makeup smeared, and her hair’s messy thanks to the wind.

 

All she can do is hold up her broken shoe and choke out, “It broke.”

 

Rebecca nods and ushers Lila inside, shutting the door behind her. “Give me that,” Rebecca says softly, prying the broken heel from Lila’s grasp. She tosses it aside and makes Lila take off the other heel. “It’s alright,” Rebecca says. “It’s just a shoe.”

 

Lila shakes her head violently. “No. No, it’s not just a shoe. Griffin bought me those shoes, and now it’s broken and Griffin’s dead and – and I’m a fucking disaster and – and –”

 

And Lila’s run out of things to say, so she just shakes her head and cries and swipes tears away, but there’s always more to replace them. Rebecca just stands uncomfortably in front of Lila before finally wrapping her arms around Lila’s back and pulling Lila into her so she can sob into Rebecca’s shirt. Lila gets a death grip on the shirt at Rebecca’s back, so it doesn’t feel like it fits comfortably, and there are tears running down Rebecca’s neck, and she’s just so bad at this whole comforting someone thing.

 

Rebecca pats Lila on the back a couple of times, and when she realizes no one’s going to swoop in and rescue her, she keeps one hand on Lila’s back and uses the other to stroke her hair until she calms down. It takes ten minutes, but Lila does stop crying, and she does release Rebecca’s shirt.

 

“Alright,” Rebecca says, clearing her throat. “You should drink some water.”

 

X

 

Lila sleeps in Rebecca’s bed – in the middle of Rebecca’s bed. All the crying exhausted her, and once Rebecca made her drink some water, Lila collapsed on Rebecca’s bed and fell asleep.

 

After two hours of arguing with herself, Rebecca lies down on the edge of the bed and hopes she doesn’t roll off.

 

X

 

Lila wakes up in the morning feeling like shit and also there’s a body behind her. Like pressed against her. Complete with an arm wrapped around her waist. Boobs, too. She can definitely feel boobs against her back. It’s not unpleasant at all, which scares Lila and excites her at the same time. Lila slowly lifts the hand attached to the arm and sees that the nails are painted black, so the body belongs to Rebecca. Rebecca’s breathing evenly, and Lila can feel every exhale on the back of her head.

 

She closes her eyes, lets herself enjoy it for a few more minutes, and then she carefully lifts Rebecca’s arm and slides out of the bed. Rebecca shifts onto her back but luckily doesn’t wake up. Lila quietly walks into the bathroom, and God, she looks awful. There’s no time, though, so she collects her shoes – including the broken one – and catches a cab to Kappa Kappa Theta.

 

X

 

“You never did tell me who you cheated on Griffin with,” Ashley says when it’s just the two of them in the house.

 

“You don’t know them,” Lila mumbles, half hoping Ashley mistakes “them” for “him” so she doesn’t have even more explaining to do.

 

“Oh, c’mon. We’ve been friends for how long now? Nothing? No details? That is so unlike you.”

 

Lila shrugs half-heartedly. “Nothing special.”

 

Ashley scoffs. “Please. You’re lying, and you know I know it.”

 

“It doesn’t even matter. Griffin’s dead now, anyway,” Lila snaps.

 

Ashley doesn’t bring it up again.

 

X

 

Rebecca and Lila start hanging out on the roof of Kappa Kappa Theta. More often than not, Rebecca brings beer and stories from the bar. Other times, they just sit and stare out at the city in silence.

 

“So,” Lila says one night after consuming approximately four beers, but maybe it’s five or six, depending on how many of those bottles are Rebecca’s.

 

“So what?” Rebecca says when Lila doesn’t follow up.

 

“So I met a guy,” Lila says.

 

“Yeah?”

 

“Yeah.”

 

“One that’ll fuck you or are you back to virginity pacts?”

 

Lila laughs, and if she wasn’t buzzed, she wouldn’t have. “We haven’t done anything but fuck.”

 

“Ah. So not a one night stand but not a relationship?”

 

Lila turns her head toward Rebecca and says, “He has a wife,” even though she should probably keep that detail to herself.

 

“You’re kinda fucked up, Stangard.”

 

“I know. I mean, I fucked you in a bar the night my boyfriend died.”

 

“And now you’re fucking a married man.”

 

“Not just that. He’s my professor.”

 

“Dude,” Rebecca says. “Are you trying to ruin the rest of your life?”

 

“Please. It’s harmless.”

 

“I mean, fucking a married man is one thing, but a married man that’s also your professor? What’s wrong with you?”

 

Lila sighs. “I don’t know.” After a prolonged silence, she adds, “At least I’m not in, like, an actual relationship with him.”

 

X

 

Her words don’t hit home until later. She’s still not in a relationship with “Mr. Darcy” as Rebecca knows him, which means she’s free to pursue…other relationships. “Other relationships” meaning she and Rebecca get drunk and fuck on the roof of Kappa Kappa Theta and pass out on blankets feet away from the water tank and a half empty vodka bottle.

 

Lila wakes up well after two in the afternoon and realizes she missed her psych class. She decides it’s worth it, though, because her head’s killing her, and Rebecca’s still asleep on top of her, and their shirts are nowhere to be found – no, seriously, where is Lila’s shirt? She can’t see it – she can’t see any shirt, and she’s afraid that maybe they threw them off the roof or something, and if they did, then they’ll have to go downstairs wrapped in the blankets, and that’ll totally give them away if someone sees them –

 

And then Lila finally spots them over by the water tank and breathes a sigh of relief. She’s uncomfortably warm, though, and Rebecca shows no signs of waking. Lila feels gross and really wants to shower, but she supposes she won’t get too many moments like this, especially not with Rebecca.

 

But why does she even care? It’s not like she and Rebecca are even a thing.

 

Before her train of thought goes too far, Lila shakes Rebecca awake and says, “Wake up. I want to shower, and I already missed my class.”

 

X

 

Lila fucks Sam once her hangover passes, just to compare him to Rebecca. He doesn’t know that, of course, and she gets questioned about why she wasn’t in class.

 

“My alarm didn’t go off and I slept through it,” she says, which is only partly a lie. Her alarm didn’t go off because she never set one, and she did sleep through the class. Sam doesn’t question her further, and Lila thinks of everything but Sam the whole time.

 

By the time she leaves, she’s figured out the major difference. Sam makes love – or, at least, he believes he does. He’s slow and gentle and says shit like “I love you” and wants to have meaningful conversations after.

 

Rebecca is the opposite of all that. Rebecca does not make love – and Lila’s grateful for that. Rebecca’s rough and she bites and she would never be caught dead saying “I love you” and she absolutely does not want to talk after; Rebecca rolls over and sleeps like the dead. Plus she’s a lot better with her tongue.

 

Lila always thought she’d want something closer to Sam. Maybe not quite as old and, you know, married, but someone like him. When she envisioned who she would marry, it was a nice guy like Sam, gentle and sweet.

 

She wakes up in Rebecca’s bed and realizes she’s been wrong.

 

X

 

She avoids Sam as much as she can. She sort of avoids Rebecca – mostly she just avoids situations that end with them fucking. She doesn’t sleep in Rebecca’s bed anymore, and she stays sober. At least until she figures shit out.

 

People have stopped expecting her to grieve over Griffin. She can’t exactly step out with Sam or Rebecca, though. Sam’s married, and that’d ruin both of their reputations. And Rebecca’s a bartender that wears too much black and is all sarcastic and brutally honest – and she’s a woman, and Lila knows what happens to Stangards when they aren’t straight.

 

Lila has accepted the fact that she isn’t straight. She doesn’t know what she’d call herself, but it’s not straight. And precisely no one needs to know.

 

X

 

“What’s up with you, loser?” Rebecca asks, turning her attention from the view of the city to Lila. “You’ve been acting…weird. Weirder than usual.”

 

“Nothing,” Lila lies with a smile that makes the lie feel like the truth. She thinks she may have even fooled Rebecca.

 

Rebecca. Stupid Rebecca with her stupid pretty face.

 

“Then what are you deep in thought about?” Rebecca asks, startling Lila. Rebecca laughs, and Lila curses her laugh, too.

 

“Things,” Lila says lamely.

 

“Ah. Fine. Don’t tell me then. Just keep it to yourself and explode later on.”

 

X

 

Lila’s going to explode. She sits down at her desk and writes up a list of all of the shit she’s learned about Rebecca since meeting her.

 

It’s a long list, and it’s nowhere near complete. Probably never will be. Lila marks a few of her favorites, though.

 

Rebecca is surprisingly deep. She reads, like, poetry and shit.

 

Rebecca never eats apples. She hates them. No real reason why.

 

She’s attracted to men and women but greatly prefers women thanks to the men she’s witnessed in the bar.

 

She owns eight different crop tops, and even though she’ll go to work without a bra on, she’ll never wear a crop top to work.

 

She has a thing for redheads.

 

That last one concerns Lila – and gives her hope.

 

She shuts the notebook she wrote in and shoves it in a drawer.

 

X

 

Lila caves. After weeks of avoiding Sam, she goes back, sleeps with him, and lies about having an appointment the next morning so she doesn’t have to stay the night. She showers and heads over to Rebecca’s apartment. They get halfway through a movie before there’s a pounding on the door.

 

“Rebecca Sutter, open up!” a male voice shouts.

 

Lila looks to Rebecca. Rebecca’s busy racking her brain, trying to figure out what the hell she did wrong. “You should really get the door,” Lila hisses.

 

“Hang on a sec,” Rebecca mutters. Her face pales. “Oh shit.”

 

“Open the door!” the guy repeats, and Rebecca listens this time. She isn’t surprised to see cops or a warrant, but Lila is.

 

“What the hell’s going on?” Lila demands, jumping off of Rebecca’s bed. Yeah, she must look so threatening in her sweatpants and Middleton sweatshirt. She doesn’t even have makeup on.

 

“Rebecca Sutter, you’re under arrest,” the guy says while spinning Rebecca around.

 

“Wait, what?” Lila interjects. Her eyes meet Rebecca’s, and Rebecca’s are loud and clear: just shut up. “Where are you taking her?”

 

Lila is ignored as Rebecca’s handcuffed and hauled down the stairs. Lila follows them to the bottom of the staircase when one of the officers tells her to go back upstairs. He also takes pity on her and tells her where they’ll be keeping Rebecca. On drug charges, apparently.

 

Lila bails her out as soon as she can. The only thing Rebecca says is, “You didn’t have to do that.”

 

Lila purses her lips and walks out of the station with her arm linked through Rebecca’s. “Yeah, I did.”

 

X

 

Lila misses a period. As soon as she realizes she’s missed it, she thinks back to the last time she slept with Sam.

 

She buys a pregnancy test on her way to Rebecca’s house. “What’s in the bag?” Rebecca asks when Lila shoves her way in.

 

Instead of answering the question, Lila blurts, “Oh my God, I might be pregnant. I missed a period and I slept with Darcy, like, not that long ago.”

 

Rebecca barely reacts. She pushes Lila towards the bathroom and rips the packaging open after reading the directions. “Just, pee on the stick or whatever,” Rebecca says, holding the pregnancy test out to Lila.

 

“I can’t if you’re watching,” Lila glares. Rebecca turns to leave, but Lila says, “No, wait. Stay. I need you to hold my hand.”

 

“Gross.”

 

“My other hand, idiot. Just – look the other way.”

 

Rebecca rolls her eyes but does as she’s asked. Lila keeps a tight grasp on Rebecca’s hand while they wait for the results. Rebecca taps her foot on the tile until Lila puts her foot over Rebecca’s to stop the movement.

 

“Oh thank God! Negative,” Lila announces, and she finally lets go of Rebecca’s hand. Rebecca grumbles and rubs her hand, watching Lila throw the pregnancy test away. She washes her hands, dries them, and throws herself into Rebecca’s arms. “That was close,” she says.

 

“Yeah. You should probably use protection,” Rebecca says.

 

“It was just the one time.”

 

Rebecca gives her a sharp look. “Didn’t anyone ever tell you that it only takes one time to get pregnant?”

 

Lila shrugs. “Whatever.”

 

X

 

A new guy moves in next door to Rebecca, and Lila has the pleasure of watching Rebecca slowly fall for this guy. He’s tall and kinda quiet. Pretty nice, as far as Lila can tell. He makes her decision for her. She breaks up with Sam, tells him she can’t see a married man anymore, and if anything, he seems pretty relieved to have her gone. So basically it’s now or never.

 

On a night Lila knows the neighbor is home – Wes? – she storms into Rebecca’s apartment and strips. The walls are thin. He’ll get the message. Lila stands naked in front of a stunned Rebecca and waits. “Well?” she says, hands on her hips.

 

“Well what?” Rebecca questions carefully. Lila watches Rebecca’s eyes drift down then quickly snap back up. “Are you okay?”

 

“No! Obviously not, Bec. Geez, how dense can you be?”

 

“Pretty dense apparently.” Rebecca stands cautiously, as if Lila just pulled a knife on her. “Seriously, what’s bothering you? You remember when I said you’d explode? I kinda wasn’t joking. So maybe you should put your clothes on and we can talk this out.”

 

“I kinda just want you to fuck me. I broke up with Darcy and I – you – just help me out, okay?”

 

“I think you’re upset and should –”

 

“I’m not upset!”

 

Rebecca nods, now standing right in front of Lila. “Right,” Rebecca says. She grabs Lila by the biceps, forces Lila to look her in the eye. “Put your clothes on, and we’re gonna talk this out or sit facing each other until you decide to talk, okay?”

 

X

 

Lila puts her clothes on, and they sit on Rebecca’s bed, cross-legged, saying nothing. Lila refuses to talk. Rebecca’s cool with that. She doesn’t have any plans. She gets to sit and watch Lila’s inner turmoil in her eyes.

 

After nearly twenty minutes, Lila faces Rebecca and says, “I love you.”

 

Rebecca freezes. “You what?”

 

“You heard me. I love you. That’s what’s bothering me. Are you happy now?”

 

“No.”

 

“Great. Then I guess I’ll just leave –”

 

“I didn’t say you had to leave.”

 

“I don’t care. I’m going –”

 

“You can’t just say you love me and then leave!”

 

“Sure I can!” Lila shouts, getting off the bed and heading for the door.

 

“Oh yeah? Well, I love you too, so how are you going to leave now?”

 

Lila pauses with her hand on the doorknob. “Wait, what?”

 

“You heard me!”

 

“Okay, that’s just mean. Don’t throw my words back at me.”

 

Rebecca rolls her eyes. “Oh my God, you’re so difficult.”

 

“It’s not like you haven’t known that since I ran into you and then blamed you for it.”

 

Rebecca cracks a smile. “Fair enough.”

 

Lila gives her a look that says yeah, duh and asks, “So now what?”

 

X

 

Lila wakes up in the morning with a body behind her. Pressed against her. With an arm around her waist. They fit together perfectly.

 

Lila smiles.

 

X

 

Someone spots them and recognizes Lila as a Stangard. A picture or two is taken, the story goes around, and the world knows she’s gotten over Griffin – and gotten with a woman.

 

Her family practically disowns her. Not before they force her to show up for dinner with Rebecca. Her parents, as expected, hate her. “She doesn’t meet Stangard standards,” her mother says while Rebecca’s in the bathroom.

 

“Maybe I don’t want to reach ‘Stangard standards.’ Did you ever think of that?” Lila sasses, and she has to stop herself from clamping her hands over her mouth. Her mother raises an eyebrow at her youngest child, but Rebecca returns from the bathroom and kills anything her mother might have left to say.

 

“You alright?” Rebecca asks.

 

“No,” Lila replies. She takes Rebecca’s hand and pulls her to the front door.

 

Lila’s oldest brother intercepts them, and Lila sends Rebecca to the car. He looks from Rebecca to Lila and nods. “Don’t listen to them,” he says. “She makes you happy. Please, be happy.”

 

X

 

Ashley hears it from God knows who and bombards Lila with questions. “How’d you meet her? Where’d you meet her? Oh my God – you cheated on Griffin with her, didn’t you? Not judging, I swear, just say yes or no. Yes! I knew it! Good. She’s hot. Too far?”

 

X

 

Lila doesn’t quite outdo her oldest brother, but she becomes a lawyer, has a hot girlfriend – and her life is about as perfect as it can get.