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world lights up at its edges

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The first time Sam sees her is on the field behind the gym building.

It's early and cold, sun just burning the frost off the grass. Sam watches as she gets pitched out the back door by the varsity basketball coach with a shout of "Run it off, McNally!" The sounds of the practice follow her out for a minute, new floor squeaking and squealing, but then the door shuts and it's silent.

Whatever she did must've been bad; the coach chucked out her with her court shoes still on, skinny bare legs sticking out the bottom of her shorts. Her dark ponytail swishes at the back of her head. Sam, who's gotten thrown out of his fair share of gyms (and classrooms, and cafeterias), half-expects her to throw a bit of a tantrum--kick the door, maybe, or huff over to the bleachers for a sulk. She's a freshman, he thinks, scrawny Grade 9 body underneath the varsity uniform. It's not actually out of the realm of possibility that she'll burst into tears.

Instead: she runs it off.

She's fast, too, head down like a racehorse, those skinny limbs turning muscley in motion. Her breath comes in white puffs in the chilly air. Sam watches her lap the track twice before she even notices he's out there. When she finally does, she trips over her own two feet.

She eats dirt hard. Sam can actually hear the thud as both knees go down on the gravel, her sharp "Crap!" floating out over the field. It wouldn't be so bad if the track was standard-issue, that rubberized industrial stuff that's sticky-smooth and shock-absorbing, but they have a shitty high school with shitty athletic equipment. Sam stands up when he sees blood.

"It's fine!" she calls. "I'm fine, it's not--" She breaks off in a noisy hiss of breath. The puff lingers in the air as she stands, limping stiffly over to sit on the grass. By then Sam's already crossed the 40-yard line.

"I've done worse, I swear," she continues once he's in range, holding up her hands. She's got a nervous, friendly grin. "It's really not that bad."

It really is. It's not gonna keep her from playing or anything, but it must hurt like a motherfucker. Sam sighs. "Yeah, okay. Want help to get to the nurse's office?"

The girl--McNally--shakes her head like a tough guy. "I'm good, really," she tells him, plucking a piece of gravel out of her skin bare-handed. Sam winces. He's not squeamish, but jesus. "Last year in volleyball I got slammed into by this giant girl from St. Mary's and got a compound fracture in my wrist. A compound fracture is, you know, when the bone--" She gestures oddly to demonstrate, then turns her attention back to her busted knees. "So."


"Uh." Sam shoves his hands deep in the pockets of his beat-up leather jacket. He's caught somewhere between annoyed and fascinated, weirdly involved without particularly wanting to be. "You sure?"

"Yeah yeah, totally." She bites her lip, trying with what looks like limited success to dig another piece of grit out of there with her fingernails. Blood's starting to trickle down her shins. "Okay. Maybe--" Finally McNally stops what she's doing, looks at him for real for the very first time. "Yeah. Um. Possibly I need to go to the nurse."

Sam raises his eyebrows (she's pretty, he notices when she tips her face up, wide mouth and these big dark eyes. For winter in Toronto, she's real tan). "Okay," he echoes.

For a second neither of them actually does anything, this weird Mexican standoff of inaction. Then McNally blows out a breath, narrowing her eyes at him for a beat before holding out both hands to be lifted up. "You go here, right? You're not just--" The rest of the question gets swallowed by a sharp noise when Sam pulls.

"Just what, hanging around the field like some freak?" Her palms are damp, sticky with gravel and blood; the gesture surprised Sam so much he almost didn't grab hold for a second. "No, I go here." He tries to figure what to do now that he's got her upright, ends up grabbing under one skinny elbow. Technically she can hold the weight--it's not as if she busted anything--but it probably hurts like a bitch to straighten her legs out. "Uh. You need to tell your coach?"

(It's just--it was trusting, is what it was, her holding out her hands. Like she was absolutely sure he would pick her up.)

McNally shrugs. "Nah, first bell's about to go anyway. Practice is probably over. Um." She looks at him for a second, wavering; she's favouring her right leg, Sam notices. "So, like. How do you wanna do this?" She brushes her hands off a bit, wipes them on the seat of her shorts. "Probably piggyback, right?"

Sam blinks. That is...not what he was expecting. "Uh," he says again, rubbing at the back of his neck. Hauling a bleeding freshman through the hallways beast-of-burden-style wasn't exactly what he had in mind when he came out here for a smoke before homeroom. "Sure."

"Or--" McNally frowns and hesitates, like maybe she's worried she read him wrong. He's not sure if it's the cold or a blush pinking up her sharp, open face. "I mean, I could just--"

"No," Sam interrupts, surprising himself a little. "Ah. Piggyback's fine."

"You sure?" McNally asks; then, without waiting for him to answer, she smiles. She's got a good smile on her, cheeky and sheepish. Sam wipes his own hands on his jeans. "Thanks."

"It's fine." He hunches over a bit so she can climb on without jostling around too much, though actually she's nearly as tall as he is. Up close she smells like body spray and sweat. "So how come I've never seen you before?" she asks him conversationally, as they cross the dead-ish grass towards the main building. The backs of her knees are very warm. "If you're not just a freak hanging around the field?"

Sam shrugs inside her rangy grip, her chin bumping softly against his temple. "Big school," is all he says. Actually he's only been going here a couple of months himself; new placement, the usual system-kid bullshit. In a couple of months he'll turn eighteen, age out. "What'd you do to get tossed from practice?"

McNally huffs out a noisy sigh that whuffles across Sam's ear. "It was stupid," she says. "I slammed the ball down and it hit Nikki in the face. Which was an accident--" She breaks off, reaching over his shoulder to yank open the double doors. Sam walks backwards a step to help, and for a second her skinny chest is pressed all along his back as she braces herself. There's some give there he didn't expect, soft under the armor of the sports bra.

"--But, you know,” McNally finishes, oblivious. “Nikki's the captain."

"Huh." The halls are dead empty, like possibly the first bell already went. "Were you pissed when you slammed it?"

"Well, yeah." It sounds as if she's rolling her eyes at him. "But I meant to take it out on the ball."

Sam grins. "Just luck that it hit Nikki's nose then." He's pretty sure he knows which Nikki, this tall girl who sits near the front of his English class, forever putting up and taking down her mess of blonde hair. When she discusses Lord of the Flies it sounds like she's speaking with authority.

"Whatever," McNally scowls. "Anyway, coach loves her, so."

"So," Sam echoes. They're almost at the nurse by this point, so Sam sets her down in the outer office, easy. He doesn't want to hurt her. "Well," he says, shoving his hands back into his pockets. Now that he's not holding her anymore he feels weirdly awkward, not a hundred percent sure how he got here in the first place. "Take it easy, all right? Maybe watch the aggression some."

"Shut up," McNally says, grinning. "Thanks for helping me out, anyway." Then she sticks her hand out, like she's running for office. "I'm Andy."

"Sam," he tells her. She's got a real firm shake, almost like a guy. "Don't mention it."

"Yeah, well." She's still smiling, head cocked to the side and her ponytail curling over one shoulder. Sam finds himself smiling back without quite knowing why. She's a freshman, he reminds himself firmly. "See you around, I guess," she says.

"Yeah," Sam parrots. "Guess so."

And he does, as a matter of fact: that same day in the cafeteria, giant band-aid on either knee, sucking face with that dude Callaghan who's goalie on the hockey team.

So, Sam thinks, tossing half an uneaten sandwich into the trash and heading for the exit. That's...pretty much that.


Except it isn't.

A few days later Sam goes to a kegger with another kid from his foster group (Sarah keeps bugging him over the phone about 'settling in', so Sam socializes the most painless way he knows how--with beer) and presto, there she is again, sitting on the counter next to a bucket of ice. It's a party in another school district, half an hour out into the burbs, but there's no mistaking that ponytail.

McNally spots him almost immediately. "Hi!" she calls, waving. Her grin is dialed up eleven, megawatt bright.

She's also completely hammered.

Sam shakes his head (and like, who at this party is giving a grade nine beer? She's probably all of fourteen). He finds himself walking over anyway.

"Hey, hey, buddy!" The guy leaning next to McNally's hip starts gesturing at Sam excitedly, cool-guy head nod on repeat. "You know her?" He turns to McNally. "Andy, you know this guy?"

Sam recognizes the kid, he thinks, another jock from the hockey team. He shrugs. "Kind of."

"Yep," Andy announces proudly, kicking both legs out in front of her. She's wearing jeans and a hoodie, like maybe they're all partying in her living room. "We totally know each other." Her socks have reindeer on them.

"Okay, listen man," says the kid--Shaw, Sam remembers, Shaw. "Can you watch her for a sec? Her boyfriend's around here somewhere, I swear. I've just gotta do a beer run."

Sam hesitates. "Uh, I don't really--" he starts, but Shaw's already bobbing his way through the crowd in the dining room, on to the next thing. Sam rolls his eyes a little, looks at McNally. "We gotta stop meeting like this," he says.

"Like what?" Andy replies, blinking. Her beer is empty, and she reaches for his. "Can I have a sip of this?" she asks, then takes it without waiting for him to answer. "Just one sip." When she hands it back there's a lip-gloss imprint on the rim of the plastic cup, sticky pink. "Thanks."

Sam raises his eyebrows. "Don't mention it." She's kind of a charming drunk, actually, cheerful and silly. Probably that's 'cause she ought to be home watching cartoons. "What are you doing all the way out here, McNally?"

"Came with Luke," she says, gesturing vaguely in several directions at once, like possibly Luke is off in one of them but she'd be hard-pressed to say which. Then she perks up, remembering something. "You're new," she declares, kicking at him with one stocking foot. She's not gentle, and he's not expecting it; Sam grabs her ankle like a reflex. "That's why I never saw you before. I asked my friend Traci about you."

That gets his attention. "Oh yeah?" he asks. He drops her foot, though if she minded him holding it she wasn't letting on. They're the only two people in the kitchen. "What'd your friend Traci say?"

"That's it." Andy shrugs. "Too busy to snoop more. She's pregnant, which I am not supposed to tell anyone, so don't say anything, okay?"

Sam smiles, he can't help it. "Okay."

"Seriously, I can't believe I just told you that." Andy's frowning now, like somehow the conversation's gotten away from her. She looks like somebody's kid sister, face flushed as if she was running around outside. "You gotta swear not to tell."

(Well. All her shiny dark hair, those beauty marks at the side of her mouth--not like his sister, that's for sure.)

"I swear," Sam promises. McNally makes him hook pinkies to seal it, chipped glitter nail polish and athletic tape around her two middlemost fingers. Her grip is blood brother tight.

"'Kay," she says warily after releasing him. "Guess I trust you. S'big deal, though, okay? Her mom doesn't even--" She breaks off, blowing out a long breath and pulling her knees up under her chin. There's a hole in her jeans, scraped-up skin showing through. She must have taken off the band-aids. "Whatever. Just don't tell."

It's an odd look on her face now, older and younger all at once. Sam wants that smile back a truly dumb amount. "You want another drink?" he asks. And he knows, he knows he has no business giving an already-drunk freshmen alcohol, but he's pretty sure he can find the liquor cabinet (over the sink; it's always over the sink in houses like this) and he wants one himself. Besides, he can always mix hers watery.

It even sounds like an excuse in his head, christ.

Andy perks up. "Sure," she says, marginally brighter, dropping both knees to the side to sit cross-legged. She watches with interest as Sam drags over a chair to boost himself up. And yep, there it is--the highest cabinet, right next to the hood fan.

"You can watch me make it," he assures her, pulling down peach schnapps and Sour Puss, the sweetest crap he can think of. Maybe if she can't taste it over the juice she won't notice how little he's putting in.

McNally laughs, bright and noisy. "I trust you not to roofie me, dude." She pushes at him a little with her foot again, those ridiculous socks. "Where are you from, then? If you're new?"

Sam takes his time with her drink instead of answering, mixing it up with a butter knife he finds on the dishrack and crossing over to the fridge to track her down some ice (it'll melt eventually, he figures, maybe get some water into her. Also, it'll take up space in the cup). "All over," he tells the inside of the freezer, hoping she's smashed enough not to ask any follow-up questions. "Moved a lot."

"Cool," Andy says. She's wrong, but that's fine; she's distracted anyway, lighting up when he hands her the drink. Sam thinks of this chocolate lab they had at one of his placements a couple years ago, how it would drop whatever it was chewing if you shook its bag of kibble loud enough. "That's good," she declares, taking a sip and looking at him expectantly. "Does it have a name?"

Yeah, pineapple juice. Sam shakes his head, smirking. Pours himself a jack and coke. "Putting a cocktail menu together, are you?" he asks.

"What? No." Andy pouts at him for a second. "I just thought all drinks had, like, funny names." She kicks at the cabinets a bit with her heels like maybe she's considering trying to kneecap him again. Decides against it and smiles. "I'm gonna call this one The Piggyback."

"Oh yeah?" Sam feels his eyebrows go up, surprised; he doesn't get this girl, exactly, if she's flirting with him or not. "That our inside joke now?"

"Could be," Andy says, sassy. Raises her eyebrows in kind. They look at each other for a minute. Sam's standing between her knees at the counter--not like, crazy close or anything, but enough that all of a sudden he's real aware her hockey player boyfriend and half a dozen of his buddies could walk through the door at any minute. He takes a purposeful step back. "What about you?" he asks, downing the contents of his cup more quickly than is perhaps necessary. "You always lived around here?"

"Uh-huh." Andy starts to nod, then shakes her head no instead. "Well, in the suburbs when I was a kid."

(So, this morning?  Sam thinks and doesn't say.)

"Why'd you move?" he asks, only half-listening. He should really take a hike, is the feeling he's getting here, find a friendly face for McNally and split. Maybe jack some of the more expensive booze on the way out. The place he's at right now doesn't do mattress checks.

Andy's heels thud against the cabinets again, hard enough to make him jump. "Just did," she shrugs, voice like a closed door.

That gets Sam's attention. (It isn't a question he'd have asked another system kid, that's for sure, the why's and how's of relocation or whatever; he just thought McNally's wholesome ponytail meant those rules didn't apply to her. Is kind of surprised to find that they do.)

Cool, Sam starts to say, blowing it off, only then what actually comes out of his mouth is, "That sucks."

Andy blinks at him. "Yeah," she says eventually, even. "It does."

There's a long moment where they just sort of look at each other, dumb and wordless. Sam thinks about cupping a palm over one of her banged-up knees, feeling the shape of the bone. Just that, just that one touch. Nothing else.

"So, um." McNally rolls her skinny shoulders back, walks her fingers down the seam of her jeans. "Apparently there's a trampoline out back."

Sam raises his eyebrows. No one in their right fucking mind is out back now, sub-zero wind chills and frost setting in practically every night. (That might be her point, though, a really stupid, really perverted voice thinks. Going where no one else would--)

Sam never gets to find out either way: "Andy!" someone calls from the doorway. McNally hops off the counter like her ass is on fire, ends up tucked under Callaghan's blond jock arm.

"Hey, man." Callaghan looks stone-cold sober, which is good news; he's got keys in his hand. Sam braces himself for the hit he's abruptly sure he's about to take.

It never comes. "Ollie said he made you sit with her," Callaghan says, thumbing behind him at Shaw. "Dick move. You didn't have to. I mean, we know everyone here."

From where? Sam wonders. He shrugs, burying his hands in his pockets. "Wasn't a big deal."

"Ready to go?" Callaghan asks her. McNally nods, yawning hugely. She's well and truly done, it looks like; Sam'd put good money on her passing out in Callaghan's (probably expensive) car before they're even out of the driveway. She's not looking at Sam at all.

(There's no reason for that to annoy him, he guesses. Not like he came here to talk to her.)

"Later, man," Callaghan calls over his shoulder. Shaw turns around before they take off.

"Thanks, brother," he says seriously, nodding. "You're a good dude."

Yeah, Sam thinks once they're gone, pouring himself another drink. He's the greatest.


He's way past curfew, so he sneaks in through the fire exit; they leave a piece of tape over the lock for this exact reason. Takes a shower before he goes to bed. He rubs one out while he's in there--it's the only way to do it with any privacy in this fucking place, jesus--eyes shut tight and free hand braced against the tile. Warm water sluices down the back of his neck.

The ancient computers in the study room here all have that porn-blocking software but he's got a couple of Playboys shoved at the back of his sock drawer and Sam tries to keep picturing the girls in there, fake tits and those coy, knowing expressions. He must be tired or drunker than he thought, though, because his mind keeps boomeranging back around to McNally, her smile and her busted knees. He thinks about sliding his palms up under that hoodie, about what she might possibly have had on underneath it. About taking her out back to that fucking trampoline and--


She's a freshman, Sam reminds himself harshly. Comes all over his fucking hand.

Chapter Text

Three days later he's coming out of the locker room after gym and finds her waiting in the hallway, biology textbook clutched against her chest. "Hi," she says.

Sam shoulders his bag, pushing past her to drop his sweaty gym clothes off in his locker. "Hey." He doesn't mean to be a dick, exactly, he just could really stand not to look at her face right now. She's wearing mascara today, eyelashes all starburst-wide and clumped.

"Um." McNally's notices the cold-shoulder right quick. She leans against the locker next to Sam's, curling into herself a bit. "Listen, I don't-- do you have a car?"

Huh. That is-- not where Sam thought this was going.

"I need to pick someone up," McNally continues, not even waiting for an answer. "Like. Right now."

Oh for the love of-- what, are her freshman friends stuck at Dairy Queen or something? Sam yanks the lock open with perhaps more force than necessary. "Doesn't your boyfriend have a car?"

"Yeah," Andy says. And then doesn't say anything else.

Well. Never let it be said Sam's not the master of the gist. "Oka-ay. Well, I don't, so." McNally's face falls so sharply it's almost funny. "We can always call you a cab," Sam hears himself offering. And what the fuck is this 'we'?

Andy looks embarrassed. "I don't have any money." Sam starts to turn away, pulling out his calculus book, but apparently she's not giving up that easy. "Do you--?"

Jesus. He pulls out a twenty anyway, feeling like the world's biggest push-over. Only then McNally practically trips over herself reaching for it, this expression like he's her own personal jesus. Sam's starting to think this isn't about Dairy Queen.

"I swear I'll pay you back," McNally promises, rushed. "It's my dad, and he always has cash, so it'll be no problem."

Sam doesn't let go of the cash. "Where's your dad?" he asks, as she tugs on it. She's got a big smudge of blue ink along the pinky side of her hand, like possibly she was drawing with markers right before this. Her shiny hair's all stuck in the collar of her shirt.

Andy sags a bit like she was hoping he possibly wasn't going to ask that particular question. Chews her bottom lip for a minute. "Clery's," she says eventually, and it comes out sounding an awful lot like a dare.

Clery's is a grimy-looking bar not far from where Sam's living, no windows and a banged-up metal door. It's eleven in the morning. Sam blinks. He remembers her talking about moving out of the burbs the other night, just did. Feels hugely sorry for no reason at all.

Suddenly Andy lets go of the money. "Look, don't say anything about it, okay?" she asks--abruptly pissed off at him or something, or probably more along the lines of defensive. "Forget it. Keep your money. Thanks anyway. I shouldn't have asked you, I just thought--"

"Easy," Sam says quietly. He thinks about putting a hand on her arm, steady, the way you'd calm an animal. Decides against it. "I might know one car we can take."

Which is how they wind up sneaking out into the senior parking lot fifteen minutes later, the keys to his buddy Jerry's ten-year-old beater jingling in his hand. "The fuck you need it for?" Jerry asked when Sam caught him on the way into calc class, offered to write his next two English responses in exchange for the favor. "This about a chick?"

(Sam...has no idea what it's about, honestly. And now he's gonna have to read a fucking Margaret Atwood book on top of everything else.)

"Thanks again for doing this," Andy says again, trotting along behind him through the cold, grey morning. She basically hasn't stopped talking since he said he'd help. Sam thinks maybe she's nervous or something, her sharp constant chatter; he wants to tell her it's okay, that everything will be fine, except he doesn't actually know if that's true.

"S'no problem," he says instead. They're in front of the windows now, one of the grade ten chemistry labs, but there's not a fuckton Sam can do about it except hope that no one's looking. Freshmen aren't allowed off-campus during school hours.

(She really looks like a freshman, McNally. Not all grade nines do, this giant doof on the junior soccer team that Jerry swears is a ringer, but Andy's got too many angles on her to be anything else. It's a specific kind of skinny that reminds Sam of badly-applied lipgloss and training bras, braces in every picture.

Which, of course, makes this whole thing that much worse.)

The car's right where Jerry said, gym bag in the back and chips spilling across the dash. McNally pauses with her fingers on the door handle. "Hang on," she says, staring Sam down over the roof like this problem is possibly just occurring to her. "Can you drive?"

Sam raises his eyebrows. There are two ways to answer that one, actually; can he drive as in safely handle the car (yes), and can he drive as in legally (not so much). He got dinged for a joyride a couple months back, wrong place, wrong time. He was in the backseat, sure, but still: license stripped.

Sam opens his mouth to explain. McNally's watching him hopefully, shivering inside her stupid hoodie. Her breath puffs out in worried clumps, animal fast.

Jesus Christ. Option A it is. "Sure can."

McNally smiles brilliantly, teeth like the fucking sun coming out. From what Sam can see she's never needed braces a day in her life. "Great."



They make it to Clery's without incident, thank god, no cop in their right mind pulling traffic checks at eleven AM. Andy motors her mouth off for the first stretch--her biology test next week, how much shit she'll be in for skipping class--but the closer they get the more she clams up. By the time Sam pulls in she's nonverbal.

"Stay here," she instructs, once he's jacked the parking brake. It's the first thing she's said to him in six blocks. She's got her bony shoulders tensed and rounded in a way that reminds Sam of birdcages, this grimly determined expression on her face like she's psyching herself up. It occurs to Sam to wonder if maybe this is a thing she does a lot. "I'll be right back."

"You sure?" It feels weird to take orders from her, how young she seems everywhere but around the eyes every once in awhile. He honestly has no idea how the fuck he wound up here this fine morning. Still, when McNally nods once and opens the car door, bottom lip clamped between her teeth like she's about to rip off a bandaid, suspects it's going to hurt, and would prefer to do it privately:

Sam stays.

She's gone a long time. Sam looks outside the window for awhile, flips through the radio presets. Pokes around in the car a bit. Jerry's got a couple of condoms in the center console, shoved in there alongside a flattened pack of gum and some napkins from McDonalds; Sam slams the lid back down and puts his hands back on the steering wheel, ten and two.

(Just, like. She's in there getting her fucking pops.)

"Okay," she says suddenly, back door opening and McNally pushing somebody inside it, the whole car smelling hugely and immediately of booze. Sam didn't see them coming. She must have come out a different way. "Buckle your seatbelt, Dad, you hear me? Dad." She's all business, this brittle efficiency in her voice that makes her sound a lot older than she is. "You need me to do it?"

"I got it." That's the body in the backseat. Sam glances over his shoulder as quick as he can to get a look, a million drunk Irish stereotypes clanging through his head at once. The guy's got a shiner, dried blood around his nose. It looks like maybe he tried to sleep it off inside the bar. He gazes back at Sam, skeptical. "Who the hell are you?"

"This is my friend Sam, Dad," Andy says briskly. Slams the back door and climbs into the passenger seat, stares Sam dead in the eyes. "And Sam, this is my dad."

The way she says it it sounds like a warning, fuck off and don't you dare tell anyone. Sam nods sharply, looking away from her cut-glass glare; he knows how this goes. "Hey, Mr. McNally."

For a second there's nothing but heavy breathing, alcohol-soaked air drifting around the car. Then: "Hey."

Sam deliberately doesn't look in the rear view. "Where to?" he asks Andy, normal as he can keep his voice. Puts one careful arm around her seat to back out. For how tall she is she looks real small right now, hunched way down like she's trying to hide. Sam wants to lift her hair free of her collar, rub at her skinny neck.

"1755 Jane." Her face is fierce, practically daring him to say something. Sam doesn't take the bait.

"You got it."

The drive over is dead silent, even the engine on Jerry's old junker. It makes Sam jumpy; Jane isn't a street he's particularly anxious to cruise down without a licence, beefed-up cop presence in the interests of Keeping The City Safe or some crap. When they pull up he breathes a sigh of relief.

"Right." McNally reaches down and unbuckles her seat belt, click ringing out like a gunshot. "Thanks. This shouldn't take that long."

"Okay," Sam says slowly, wondering what exactly she's planning to do here. Her dad's passed out cold in the backseat, heavy head tipped forward. Sam's not sure if she's just playing it cool on the off chance he hasn't noticed, or if she's actually got some super-secret ninja strategy for getting the guy upstairs on her own. Both scenarios seem about equally probable at this point. "You need a hand?"

"Nope," Andy says immediately, shaking both her head and her dad's beefy shoulder. "I got it. Dad, come on. We're home." Shakes him again. "Dad."

Mr. McNally grumbles something wholly unintelligible, makes absolutely zero moves other than that; he's not in any immediate danger health-wise, Sam doesn't think, but it's also pretty obvious he's not about to march himself up to bed anytime soon. Andy keeps trying, though. "Daddy," she hisses, lower this time like maybe that'll somehow keep Sam from hearing. "You gotta work with me here."

"I can help you," Sam offers again, facing forward. "You want me to--?"

"No," she snaps. "I can do it, I just--fuck," she says, and it's the closest she's sounded to losing it all morning. Sam's never heard her swear before, and it's odd. "Dad, come on."

"Okay," Sam says quietly. He gets her wanting the space to handle it, truly, but enough is enough. He climbs out of the car and nudges her gently out of the way, her posture like a defeated general's. Gets her pops out of the car and up the walk. "You got keys?"

"Of course I have keys." Andy looks like she's about to burst into tears any second. "I can get him usually," she tells Sam, like it's very important he understand this. "Usually I can get him on my own."

"Well," Sam says, shrugging. "Today you've got me."

The first thing he notices about the McNallys' apartment, once they finally make their way up there: how weirdly frozen it feels, like one of those abandoned Chernobyl hospitals. It's got all the components of a family home, albeit one set-up by a single dad--matching sofa and loveseat in vaguely hideous prints, coordinated curtains on the windows, even a goddamn welcome mat--but everything looks sort of old and dusty, like someone threw it together back in the early nineties and then just gave up. Even Sam's group homes are more lived-in than this.

Andy takes over as soon as they all troop across the mat, muscling her way under Sam's arm. "One sec, okay?" she says. Sam ends up standing aimlessly in the kitchen, watching her narrow back as she pilots her dad away down the hall. They slump against the wall for a second, losing contestants in a father-daughter three legged race.

This time Sam shoves his hands in his pockets, lets her handle it alone. He's moving better now, Mr. McNally, like possibly he's aware a bed is somewhere nearby. Sam keeps back. Pretends if he’s not looking then everyone can keep their dignity.

The kitchen is the same as the rest of the apartment, empty and quiet. The only signs of life are two cereal bowls stacked neatly in the sink, spoons lined up on the drying rack. No empties anywhere, which is odd. Sam checks the fridge and there's none there either, just milk and cheese and eggs, half a rasher of bacon. Someone's been doing the groceries at least.

Andy floats back into the kitchen and catches him looking. "He doesn't drink here. Just bars." She's holding herself like a soldier discharged from battle, military posture all dressed up with nowhere to go. "And like. Not that often, okay? He didn't even do it when I was little."

"Okay." A beat, then: "He all right in there?"

"Yup." McNally nods her tough-guy nod, firm. "Thanks."

Sam shrugs and shoves his hands in his pockets. "You're fine," he says. He expects her to chase him out of here as quickly as humanly possible but instead she just stands around looking at him, arms crossed like she's waiting for him to do a trick or something. Sam waits. He can hear the neighbor's TV through the wall, a talk show it sounds like, the vaguely lonely feeling of an apartment building in the middle of the day.

"Probably you ought to tell me something nobody else knows about you," she decides suddenly. "So we're even."

Sam raises his eyebrows, thinks better than reminding her of the fact that he's only here because she asked him for a fucking favor to begin with. Thinks some more. It occurs to him that odds are he could tell her the truth, probably, an actual secret instead of the bullshit kind that are usually his go-to at moments like this. She's not--she's not whatever the hell he thought she was, that's for sure.

Still: "I really hate eggplant," is what comes out.

McNally huffs out a little breath, like maybe she's disappointed. Her knockoff Chuck Taylors squeak against the linoleum as she shifts her weight. "Eggplant is gross," she says, smiling faintly. Then: "We should go, shouldn't we?" she asks, like he's the one leading this little expedition. "We can probably make seventh period if we hurry."

Sam nods and follows her out into the hallway, watches as she deadbolts the door. He gets the distinct sense that he might have just played that one wrong, missed out on something he can't put his finger on, which is why he's so completely surprised when she pops up onto her tiptoes on the landing halfway down the stairwell and kisses him, her clumsy mouth butting up against his.

It's fast. Sam's still frozen in place when she pops back down again, snatching her body away from his and backing into the railing.

"Um." She looks like a cornered rabbit, all dark dark eyes and coiled energy. "Sorry."

Sam scrubs at his neck. He can taste her sticky lip gloss, the lingering smear of it making the kiss feel wetter than it actually was. His scrambled brain cycles through a couple responses, finally settles on: "Sorry for what?"

McNally bites her lip, looking confused. Sam wants to follow her into the warren of the railing, back her into the corner and show her how to kiss slow. The only thing stopping him is the distinct impression that she might run. "I just--" She shrugs, this violent up and down that's more of a whole body twitch. "I wanted to say thank you?" She pitches it like a question, like possibly she isn't sure what she wanted.

Sam has absolutely no idea how to play this one. "Told you you didn't have to." She's a freshman, he reminds himself. A freshmen who has a boyfriend, jesus. (At least, Sam thinks she does. With half of twelfth grade breaking up and getting back together every week, it is possible that--) "My sister and I got split up when I was eight," he hears himself saying. "Is a thing no one knows."

Andy's eyes go wide. "Oh." She's easing herself back to him a bit, pushing off the railing until both arms are at full extension. "I'm-- that sucks."

Sam nods slowly and doesn't add any details, their parents or why they got separated or what happened to Sarah after that. One thing, is what she asked for, and he delivered. "Yeah," he says. "Pretty much." In the stairwell it smells like somebody's cooking, garlic and onions. It occurs to Sam to wonder why people in apartment buildings insist on making garlic so much.

"You get to see her?" McNally asks. She's let go of the railing at least, nervous hands buried back in her pockets. "Your sister? Is she older, or--?"

One thing Sam thinks again, but answers anyway. "Older," he says. He leans back against the wall, not wanting to spook her. "And no, not really." In theory he could have gone to live with Sarah a few years ago, once she aged out the system herself, but it turns out it's hard to get declared a suitable legal guardian when you're nineteen years old and in and out of psych hospitals all the time. Sam doesn't blame her. Everybody else, maybe, but not her.

"That sucks," McNally says again. She's creeping closer now, inching her way across the landing like some kind of shy, wary animal. "So where do you live?"

"Yeah." Sam smirks. He likes her--and fuck, he realizes, articulating it to himself all of a sudden, he really does, he's gonna have to watch himself--but there are limits. "Nice try."

McNally frowns all exaggerated-like--a pout, almost, like she's being playful now. Apparently she's forgotten all about getting back for seventh period. "So ask me something, then. If you want, like. Collateral."

The way she's leaning, Sam's pretty sure he can convince her to try that kiss again. Which (of course, of course, he's the dumbest human alive) means the first thing that pops out of his mouth is, "Where's Callaghan?"

Andy blinks. "Mrs. Whattam's World History," she says slowly. "I think they're learning about the First Sino-Japanese War."

Apparently Sam's mouth isn't done: "And what, you didn't want him to miss out on the shifting power balance in East Asia?" He tries to keep his voice friendly but already she's sinking into herself, both hands so deep in the kangaroo-pouch of her hoodie she's dragged the fabric down halfway to her knees. No way she's letting him touch her now. He doesn't even know what he wants her to admit here, jesus, just knows that he can't get the image of them falling all over each other in the cafeteria out of his head. (Just--she looked like she knew what she was doing then, McNally. From what Sam could see, at least, bubble-gum pink tongue flashing between the gaps in the kiss.)

Andy doesn't say anything for a second. Sam can still hear the tv upstairs, canny talk-show laughter filtering down to fill in the silence. "Luke doesn't know," she explains finally. "Okay? His family is like-- whatever. It doesn't matter." She brushes past Sam on her way down the steps, all renewed purpose like she's been dying to make it to seventh this whole time. "We should go."

The car ride is silent again, worse this time around. Sam drops her off by the side door just as the bell rings. But apparently he hasn't quite blown it the way he thinks: McNally's got one foot on the ground when she pauses, leans back inside to press a sticky kiss onto his jaw. "I meant the thank you," she whispers. Then she's gone.

So. Whatever that means.

Chapter Text

What he does wonder, though, thinking about it that night after lights-out, half a dozen dudes breathing all around him, all their smells and sounds: how she knew right off the bat that his family's not anything like Callaghan's.

(Or if maybe she just doesn't care what he thinks.)

In any case, it's not like he's going to ask her about it. In fact, he hardly sees her at all for weeks after their excellent adventure, save every once in awhile in the hallway and once at some assembly on community service, both of them nodding with this weird recognition and moving right along. The girls' basketball team makes quarterfinals. Sam googles The Handmaid's Tale, writes Jerry's paper, and hooks up with a sophomore from student government a couple of times. It's cool. It was what it was, he guesses.

Only then: Callaghan and McNally break up.

Shaw's the one who tells him, actually; they've got chem together, him and Sam. Not too long after that night at the party Shaw's lab partner got mono and everybody got shuffled around, so him and Sam share a bench now. He's a decent enough guy, Sam thinks. Dates a junior named Zoe he's ass-crazy over, this drama girl who wears a lot of vests.

Anyhow, Ollie’s rambling about this of his buddy who cheated with his ex-girlfriend for half the damn period before Sam realizes he's talking about Callaghan and McNally. Then the penny drops, and just like that Sam's way less interested in calculating the pH of the solution in front of him.

"She was kind of a tease, it sounds like," Shaw's continuing, totally oblivious. "But still, kind of a dick move. He invited her to Mexico with his family for spring break and everything."

(McNally cheated on Callaghan too, Sam guesses. He doesn't know why this feels worse.)

He wants to ask how she's taking it, but: "A tease?"

"Oh, yeah." Shaw looks vaguely uncomfortable for a second. "Like. She's in grade nine or whatever, so I guess-- and Jo and Luke were pretty much doing it on the regular before they broke up, so."

So. Jesus, this should absolutely not be a piece of information Sam even knows, let alone is interested in (it's just, if she hasn't yet, then at least it wasn't with a guy who was going to-- yeah). "Gotcha," he tells Shaw, trying not to grit his teeth. The litmus paper doesn't seem to want to turn a recognizable colour, hovering halfway been two pH values like it can't make up its mind.

"Jo's nice, though," Shaw continues, swirling around their other beaker of anonymous liquid. They're supposed to be figuring out as much about the composition as possible then making their best guess as to what it is; already Sam know they're going to fail. "They knew each other since they were ten and like, his mom really likes her." Shaw notices finally notices Sam's issue with the litmus paper. "Fuck it, brother. I'm putting it down as a 6."

They don't talk anymore about Callaghan or his blue balls after that, thank god. Sam runs a few final half-hearted tests (one of them involves sticking his ruler surreptitiously into the left beaker) before Shaw finally manages to sweet-talk the girl behind them into giving up the answers. "But only because you two are such idiots," she says good-naturedly. Sam thinks her name might be Noelle. "Now, one's hydrochloric acid and one's NaOH. Don't label them backwards."

Later, after a vaguely-suspicious Mrs. Marchand hands over their A, Sam dumps everything in his locker and swings by the lunchroom. He usually goes out with Jerry for burgers or whatever--god knows he never brown bags it--but today he grabs a plate of greasy cafeteria fries and starts weaving through the rows. Doesn't think too closely about why.

(He knows, though.)

Sure enough, there she is: table by the window. She's sitting way hunched down into herself, surrounded on all sides by a bunch of other underclassmen. One of them, a black girl with smooth braids and a tired face, is wearing a sweater about six sizes too big; she jostles McNally's shoulder when she sees him coming. Sam bets everything he owns that that's the famous Traci.

"We gotta go," Sam hears Traci saying when he gets closer, grabbing her bookbag off the floor and elbowing the girl sitting on her opposite side. "We've got that thing to do, remember you guys? See you later, Andy." To Sam, as he approaches: "Hey. We were just getting up, so."

"I'm not going anywhere," one of the other freshmen protests, a sleek-looking blonde with a lot of eyeliner on. "I've still got half a sandwich here, and I intend to eat it."

"Gail," Traci says sharply. She seems a lot less exhausted now that she's got McNally to look out for. Sam thinks it's funny how that works. "Come on."

Gail rolls her eyes and heaves herself up off her cafeteria chair, dramatic. "You kids be good now," she says to Sam before she goes.

"Ignore her," Andy tells him. It's the first time she's opened her mouth throughout the whole exchange, just sitting there watching like all the heart's gone out of her. "She's just...Gail."

Sam shakes his head. "It's cool," he says, sitting down across from her cautiously. He thinks of that day on the stairwell, the feeling that she might be liable to spook any second. "What's up?"

Andy shrugs. She's got a different hoodie on today, one of those ones with the logo of a fake sports team across the front of it. She keeps picking at one of the strings. The cafeteria's noisy and warm, some juniors at the table behind her daring one another to shotgun cans of Diet Coke. "Nothing really," she says.

Oookay. Sam tries again. "How's your pops?" he asks.

Andy's eyes narrow. "Fine." Then, unexpected: "You know, you don't have to come over here and be nice to me," she blurts. She looks like she wants to scrap all of a sudden, like she's got all this extra energy and doesn't know what to do with it. "Just because you" She makes a face, shrugging one more time. "Whatever you heard."

I didn't hear anything, Sam almost lies, then thinks better of it. "Who says I'm being nice to you?" he asks instead, nudging his plate of fries in her direction. "This was just the only table with an open seat."

For a second she almost believes him, glances around the brightly-lit room to double-check. Looks back at him. "No it's not," she says.

Sam tries not to smile, and mostly fails. "No," he concedes after a minute. "It's not."

McNally makes another face like she doesn't know what the hell he wants from her, but--

She takes the fries.

Sam searches around for another conversation topic (and god, he's honestly not looking to hit on her, those gawky knees and her sad drooping ponytail, he just-- he would maybe not mind seeing her smile, is all) but in the end McNally beats him to it: "I mean, I'm fine," she announces, ripping open the packet of ketchup Sam brought. She doesn't brown bag it either, Sam notices, even though Weston has maybe the crappiest lunch program ever. "If Luke wants some slut from CW who's going to--whatever--then that's cool. He can have her." One fry gets mashed into the plate real hard, like she's grinding out a cigarette or possibly Callaghan's nuts.

"Right." Sam hands her the second packet he shoved in his pocket, watches her wring out every last bit of ketchup. Something tells him he's mostly irrelevant to this conversation. "Um. How long were you guys dating?"

(It can't have been that long, right? Unless Callaghan was actually going over to Marchant Middle to pick up tail--)

McNally shrugs. "Since September. I didn't even know he had an ex."

"Ah." He prefers her angry, he thinks. At least this way she's got some fight.

"And like, now it's all over the school, how he went back to her 'cause I wouldn't--" All of a sudden she looks like she wants to run again, sharp face screwing up into an anxious frown. She isn't wearing any makeup today that Sam can see, chapped lips as pink as the new skin under a scab. She looks tired as hell, too, these purplish-blue rings under her eyes like she hasn't gotten a full night of sleep in a week.

Sam thinks of Callaghan telling his buddies she's a tease, of her hanging out by herself in that weird flash-frozen apartment. The whole sum total of the situation kind of makes him want to punch someone and jump off a bridge in equal amounts. But still, he's surprised to hear himself actually ask her: "You wanna get out of here?"

Andy stares at him, half-chewed fry inside her mouth and this expression on her face like he just switched to speaking French all of a sudden. "What, now?" she asks, once she's swallowed. He's got a bottle of Dr. Pepper and she raises her eyebrows to ask permission. Sam hands that over, too, and she takes a long gulp. "You mean, like. Cut class?"

Sam gets that feeling again, like he wants to smile at her but thinks it's probably smarter not to. "Yeah, McNally, now, " he says instead. He doesn't know what makes him use her last name, like he's her basketball coach or something. The fake sports-team hoodie, maybe. "Nothing you haven't done before, right?"

Andy bites her bottom lip, like she's thinking about it. "I mean, yeah, but that was like. Special circumstances. I don't usually do stuff like that." She looks at him a little more closely, as if the fact that he just suggested ditching for a reason besides pouring her alcoholic dad into bed means he's possibly more dangerous than she'd previously considered. "Why, do you?"

Now Sam really does smile (this girl, he just--). "Sometimes," he admits, catching the soda as she slides it back across the table. "If there's someplace else I'd rather be."

"Oh." For a second it looks like she's considering it (like she's more than considering it, actually, like she's just on the cusp of saying yes; automatically Sam's brain starts running through a catalogue of places they could possibly go). In the end, though, McNally turns him down. "I probably shouldn't," she tells him, shaking her head with what might or might not be actual regret. "Gail said Ms. Lamartine gave a pop quiz in her math period this morning, so. I'm probably going to have it this afternoon."

There is--jesus fuck, there is no reason for Sam to feel disappointed by that answer. "Okay," he says, and shrugs. He tried with this girl, he guesses. Whatever it was he was trying for. "Just a thought."

"I could hang out after school, though," she says suddenly. "If you--" She breaks off, bossy shoulders moving. "If you wanted to, I mean."



Sam spends the whole of Calculus wondering where to take her, walking distance or the bus, places a girl who just got dumped might like. Mrs. Greely is trying to demonstrate matrix multiplication for the second week in a row, no-credit worksheets she's taking them through all together. Her voice sounds a bit like Sarah's. Sam doodles in the margins and wonders what movies are out.

In English he borrows thirty bucks off Shaw on the assumption that McNally's as broke as he is, all the money from his last job finally dried up. Shaw hands it over easy, that friendly lack of concern that comes from never being hard up. Sam had planned to offer another essay trade--turns out Jerry's "Dystopia in Atwood" got an A--is sort of surprised when he doesn't even have to make the pitch.

(Shaw's good people, he decides. Weird theatre girlfriend and all.)

The plan works, too: McNally's pleased as punch to be going to a movie. She chats cheerfully on the bus ride over, a wad of purple gum tucked into her cheek and this fraying monster of a backpack that keeps unbalancing her. The other commuters skirt around her warily. Finally Sam just stands behind her and holds the damn thing up by the top handle.

"Whatcha wanna see?" she asks, pausing eagerly in front of the marquee. There are a million other kids streaming around them from all sides, all the high schools in Toronto letting out at once.

Sam shrugs. "Whatever." It's possible that when he came up with the idea, the main attraction of going to the movies was not, in fact, the movie itself.

(He just-- he blew his first shot. Her and Callaghan might not stay broken up.)

It's Cheap Tuesday so the thirty bucks gets them pretty far, concession stand popcorn and a cardboard tray of nachos, two giant cokes. McNally seems a bit surprised when he pays. Sam has to wheedle out which snacks she actually wants, like maybe she's worried about wasting his money.

"McNally, it's fine," he promises. Andy looks at him for another minute, biting her lip. Adds a bag of Sour Patch Kids to the pile.

Sam grins.

She's done worried about being too demanding by the time they actually make it into the theater, it seems like, dragging him way up to the first few rows. "Closer is better," she declares confidently, which is...maybe not exactly what Sam had in mind? But when they finally edge into their seats the first thing she does is flip the armrest between them up out of the way, so.

(Closer is better, Sam thinks to himself, and hands her the already-congealing tray of nachos.)

She picked a buddy comedy, something she thought he'd like Sam guesses, unless she's just really into Vince Vaughn. They're the only people sitting in their row. He can smell her shampoo or body spray or something, a fake cupcake kind of smell. Sam thinks of vanilla frosting, wonders if she tastes the same as she smells. Tries to stop wondering.

A third of the way through the movie and he's thinking he might be getting his chance, though; McNally's relaxing into him a little, leaning some of her warm weight against his arm. Sam glances at her out of the corner of his eye. He can't really get a good look at her face, that long curtain of hair in the way, but a minute later her head drops down onto his shoulder, so he's thinking it's all systems go. He shifts a bit to get his arm around the back of her chair, turns his face close to hers, and--

she's fucking asleep.

Sam freezes automatically, her soft even breaths puffing out against his neck. For a minute he has no idea what the actual fuck to do. (Just--seriously?) Her mascara-free eyelashes are very, very fine.

What finally startles him into action: the crowd laughing around them, Vince Vaughn dropping a well timed f-bomb. McNally's falling into his chest a little now, heavy head lolling. Sam wipes his popcorn-greasy fingers off and cups the curve of her skull, lifts until he can work his arm back down between them. After a bit of wiggling he's free to set her securely on his shoulder again.

Well. Sam guesses she's not that into buddy comedies then.

She sleeps through the entire movie, Sam barely breathing for fear of disturbing her. Vince Vaughn is going to remind him of artificial cupcake until the day he dies. He finally wakes her after the very last of the credits roll by, screen going dark and the red-shirted staff coming in to sweep up discarded popcorn. Nudging her doesn't work so he touches her cheek lightly, just the tip of his finger. Sarah used to have a velvet dress she'd let him touch like that, one their mom bought special for church and birthday parties; McNally's cheek is about as soft.

Either way it works: she's up immediately, so fast you'd think he fired a starting pistol.

"Sorry," is the first thing out of her mouth. "I, uh. Didn't sleep a ton last night." Her voice is sleep-slurred, close to her drunk voice but not quite.

"S'no problem." Sam feels oddly caught out for letting her sleep, is the weird thing, which is just about the stupidest emotional sequence ever. For god's sakes, he was being polite.

Andy shakes her head a bit like she's trying to clear it, reaches for her soda and takes a long sip. Glances around the theatre, eyes widening, like it's just dawning on her that--

"I missed the whole thing?" she demands shrilly, looking really embarrassed all of a sudden, and Sam has to admit it's kind of stupidly endearing. The usher's already finished with his perfunctory sweep-up and is shuffling out the door, apparently happy to ignore both the two of them and the way his feet stick to the grimy floor with every step. McNally whacks Sam in the bicep. "Why didn't you wake me up?" Then, without waiting for him to answer: "God, I'm the worst date ever. No wonder Luke--"

Well, Sam's happy enough to stop that train of thought in its tracks, thank you: "Oh yeah?" he interrupts her, teasing a little. Her bangs are sticking up where she was leaning on him. He has to fight the urge to smooth them back down where they belong. "This is a date, huh?"

And god, if he thought she looked embarrassed before-- "I mean," she starts, hands fluttering in front of her like she doesn't know what to do with them. "It doesn't have to be, definitely, I just--"

Sam grins so she knows he's only kidding. Pushes at her skinny knee with his. "I guess you did already kiss me," he tells her, mostly just to see how she'll react.

Andy opens her mouth, automatic, but for once absolutely nothing comes out. She shakes her head sort of helplessly instead, lips curving up into a sheepish smile. There's a blush on her for sure, Sam can see it even in the dim light. It makes him want to touch her that much worse.

"Um-- yup," she says finally. Her tone is bossy, brazening it out, but her face, her hands, her bony tucked shoulders--absolutely everything else about her is shy.

Sam leans his knee against hers a little heavier. She's warm straight through two layers of denim. "Guess it's a date then."

The door to the theatre opens and closes behind them, this sharp startling thud; McNally looks away at the sound. When she turns back her expression is marginally more confident. "Guess so." She's tipping her pink cautious face at him a bit, looking up from under those messy bangs. "And now, you know. Now it's the end of the date."

It takes Sam a beat to understand what she's getting at, the expectant angle of her chin. (The usher is gone, he notices. That's what the door banging was.) But when he finally clues in--

"Okay," he says quietly, reaching up to slide a hand under the warm waterfall of her hair. Andy watches him all through the lean-in like a catcher watching the ball across the plate.

It's not the same as the time in the stairwell of her building, that's for sure, the way she waits for him to do it, her baby-fine lashes lowered in expectation. Her mouth is really, stupidly soft. She lets out the tiniest little sound when their lips touch, not quite a sigh, and braces one hand flat against his chest like she's feeling for a heartbeat. Sam's fingertips slide further into her hair.

(Frosting, seriously. It smells like it's all over him. Sam...yeah. Definitely doesn't mind.)

They kiss for a while, Sam's eyes open to see her face and her warm pink tongue wrestling his a little harder than she needs to. He gets two hands on her face to make her go slow. He tries to remember the last time he made out like this, just kissing and nothing else, and can't really--the student government girl wasn't really looking to be romanced, and with Corinne, his last girlfriend, they were always in a rush before her Catholic mom got home.

(It feels nice though, kissing McNally. Feels like something Sam wants to do for a long time.)

As a matter of fact, they're still at it twenty minutes later, when the door at the back of the theatre opens and a university age couple walks in for the next show. "Oooops," the guy says loudly, his girlfriend smacking him in the shoulder, hissing shh. "Uh. Sorry, guys."

Well. McNally's up so fast you'd think the theatre was on fire. Apparently she never got the memo about walking, not running, to the nearest exit.

Sam is... probably not going to be able to do either for a bit, actually. He sits for a second, trying to get himself together, but he can still taste the animal-tang of her tongue (just-- twenty minutes). Finally he gives up and tucks his dick surreptitiously under his waistband. If he's gonna date a freshman, probably he better get used to calming down.

The other couple is still hovering in the entranceway, McNally a few metres behind them looking flushed. The guy gives Sam a nod as he shuffles past, this grin that says he thinks they're pretty cute. Sam has to stop himself from ducking his head sheepishly.

"So." Even to his own ears, his voice sounds thick and weird. He can just hear the girl cooing something about teenagers before the door shuts behind them. "You wanna go?" Out here in the light McNally looks kissed, all smudgy mouth and bright cheeks.

She nods silently, blinking a little like she's coming up from underwater. Her posture reads tense, something getting ready to take flight, but her face is definitely still dazed. Sam decides to try touching her, just to check on the degree of spooked he's dealing with here.

Not too bad; as soon as he starts smoothing down her hair McNally leans her whole self into him, one hand coming up to brace on his chest again. Sam actually has to shift her a bit, steer those skinny hips away from his hard on. "You're a pretty good date," she tells him after a minute.

Sam cranes to see her face and runs headlong into that grin. "You're not bad yourself." His voice just sounds stupid now; McNally grins harder.

They make out some more in the back of the mostly-empty bus, this time with Andy half in his lap. It's starting to hurt a bit actually, keeping his dick trapped like it is, but there's not much else Sam can do. McNally skims quick fingers across his stomach a few times, getting way the fuck too close.

She won't let him walk her all the way to her door. "I'm fine," she insists, and Sam guesses she's worried about her pops. At the foot of her building she pushes him away from the streetlight and gives him maybe the dirtiest kiss he's had out of her all night, twisting tongue and her crotch right against his. Then she dashes away up the steps like her ass is on fire. "Bye!" she calls.

So. All told, Sam limps back to the bus stop feeling pretty pleased with himself.

Chapter Text

It's snowing by the time he gets back, just flurries, but it keeps up all night and there's a foot and change on the ground the next day, dirty windowpanes of the dorm frosted right over. It's windy enough to rattle the glass.

"You're in luck, gentlemen," Frank tells them, beefy arms crossed in between the rows of bunks. Frank's their Residence Director, which basically means warden, but he's not such a bad guy all things considered. Sam's had worse, anyway. "School's closed today."

Sam blinks awake, runs a hand over his face. He is...surprised by how bummed out he feels about that, honestly.

(Wonders what McNally's gonna do with her day off.)

He lies in bed most of the morning, sleeping and thinking of the soft curve of her jawline, how warm her body felt through the hoodie. Adjusting a bit underneath the blankets. Finally Frank comes in, kicks the metal bedframe.

"Look alive, Swarek," he says, not unkindly. "You're wasting the day in here."

The guy has a point, Sam guesses. Eventually he gets dressed and wanders downstairs to the study room, waits for one of the ancient computers to grind to life. She wrote her email address on his hand in felt-tip pen before they got off the bus last night, never mind the fact that, judging from the size of her backpack, she probably had about eleven five-subject notebooks on her. She caught her tongue between her teeth while she did it, marker tickling a little. The ink's still smudged faintly across the meat of his palm.

Building a snowman? he types finally. Hits send before he can think about it too much.

The reply takes about an hour and a half. Sam eats breakfast in stages, coming in to hit refresh between sips of OJ. (And like, there's no reason McNally should even be on the computer today, he guesses, so really--) He more or less eats his toast over the keyboard anyway. The other guys think he's fucking insane.

He's typing up a chemistry lab, squinting at Shaw's illegible margin notes (there’s a drawing of a pipette that looks suspiciously like it has balls) when she finally hits him back. come over. were going sledding.

Sam wastes about half a minute wondering who we're is--it is possible he wants her alone, is all--before he logs out and goes hunting for gloves.

The company turns out to be a bunch of freshmen, Traci and the blonde from yesterday at lunch, plus two boys Sam's never seen who look like they'd be more at home in grade seven. The whole troupe is clustered around McNally's living room, sweating it out under varying levels of winter gear. The kid McNally introduces as Dov has snowpants, of all things, suspender-straps bunching across his chest when he takes off his coat.

"My parents are at work," McNally explains loudly, before muscling Sam into the kitchen for a very nice hello. She's got cheap men's gloves on, black and waterproof with these thick padded fingers. "Don't tell," she whispers against his mouth. Her hair's up in a Lara Croft action braid. "S'weird, okay?"

"Okay." Sam is less concerned with the lie than the rest of the message, honestly. (Alone, christ, they could--) But: tobogganing. At the very least he has to get rid of the rest of these kids.

"He really is at work," McNally continues anxiously. She's got mascara on today, a lot of it. "He's a cop. Snow days suck for cops."

"Okay," Sam says again. And god, the whole bus ride over here (extra long and stupid because of the weather) he kept trying to remind himself that she's a freshman: that their first date was yesterday, for fuck's sake, and that if whatever Shaw said was true then she's definitely not anywhere near ready to--jesus. On top of which, she just got dumped. Sam keeps trying to give himself that particular talking to, only she's sweating a little bit through her parka and pressing him up against her fridge like either she has no idea what she's doing to him or like she does, and Sam just--yeah.

(Sam would really like to get her by herself for a while, absolutely--

but he also, like.

Wants to take care of her, or something.)

Her friends seem more than happy to have him along, meanwhile: "So you're a senior?" Dov asks eagerly, trotting alongside him towards the park near McNally's house. His duck boots crunch in the already-dingy snow on the sidewalk. His buddy Chris is equally cheerful. There's something going on between him and the blonde, Gail, Sam's pretty sure, or at the very least he follows her around like a Labrador retriever and gives her his hat--which has ear flaps--when she complains hers isn't warm enough.

"What are you, too cool for sledding?" McNally asks, tramping over to where he's standing near the top of the hill, squinting a bit in the winter-white glare of the afternoon. Her neon plastic sled drags behind her, cheeks flushed an appealing shade of pink.

Sam grins. "Pretty much," he admits, tugging her closer by both fringe-y ends of her bright red scarf. He thinks about kissing her and doesn't, all her friends hanging around.

"Lame," Andy pronounces. Smiles back.

The sun starts to set while they're out there, how it gets dark at four o'clock this time of year. Dov's mom comes and picks him and Chris and Gail up in her minivan. Traci begs off too, has to get home and help with dinner, so finally it's just him and McNally standing on the front stoop of her place.

For the first time all afternoon, she looks a little nervous. Which-- yeah, Sam doesn't like that one bit. (Doesn't want her to think he expects--) Still, she doesn't send him home:

"You can, um. Come up for a while if you want," she announces after a minute, this cool guy shrug like she doesn't give a damn either way. "My dad won't get back until seven."

Well. Sam sure as fuck doesn't need to be told twice. He follows her clomping boots up the stairs without another word.

He's still giving himself that talking to, though. When they pass the landing where she kissed him that first time--too hard and too quick, her sticky-sweet mouth and how fast she backed off--he resolves once and for all to keep his hands to himself. Something about the line of her shoulders in that stupid parka is making him lean towards the taking care of her end of the spectrum.

It seems to be the right call. Once they're inside the apartment McNally starts banging around the kitchen like she's looking for excuses to stay away from him, taking her sweet time microwaving them both some hot chocolate. She stirs the Nesquik in real careful, tongue sticking out in concentration. "How many scoops?" she asks Sam. He holds up two fingers. She snorts and gives him three, herself four. Both mugs get mini marshmallows too, the weird coloured kind with the fruit flavouring. Whatever else Sam thinks about Mr. McNally, he can admit the guy keeps a pretty stocked kitchen.

McNally herself picks that moment to speak: "Gail says dating two guys back to back is slutty," she says suddenly, absolutely out of noplace.

Ah. So that's-- well. Sam's glad she isn't afraid he's going to jump her at least. He fishes a slimy marshmallow out of his coco, considering. "When'd she say that?" he asks finally.

"On the last Krazy Karpet run." McNally looks surprisingly enigmatic for a girl who just wiped off a milk moustache. She's standing in the middle of the kitchen in her wet woolen socks, too far away for Sam to touch.

He keeps his ass firmly planted at the table. "I think cheating on your girlfriend is probably sluttier," he tells her after a second. "Just me."

McNally thinks about that for a bit, slurping on her coco. Her eyes narrow like she's weighing her options. "Are we dating?" is what she has for him next.

Sam blinks. He guesses she's right to ask, right to wonder exactly what he's after with her here. Sam's been wondering that, himself. "You want to?" he asks after a minute, not a hundred percent sure that she does.

Andy frowns. "That's not fair," she says immediately, shaking her head with such vigor the hot chocolate almost sloshes right out of her mug. "No way. I asked you first."

She did. Sam hesitates. He likes her, fuck, he likes her way too much--he took the bus all the way the hell out here on a snow day to go sledding with a bunch of freshmen, it's not exactly like he's playing hard to get--but. It's been a long time since Sam had a girlfriend.

(It's just--it didn't end so great with Corinne, is all. Eventually they got to the point where she was real bent on getting him to tell her shit, stuff about Sarah and his parents and all this other junk it wouldn't do either of them any good to talk about. And then his placement got changed, and he moved here, and--that was that. She dates a college guy now, he's pretty sure.)

McNally takes the look on his face as a personal thing, like maybe he's not that into her after all, thinks she's too much work or something. She lets him off the hook right away: "Okay," she says, all noise and bluster; it's gotten dark enough outside that Sam can see her reflection in the window above the sink, the damp curl of her braid down her neck. "That's fine, we definitely don't have to, I--" Now she really does lose the coco, a trickle of it down the side of her hand and creeping toward the sleeve of her thermal. Sam wants to lick it off.

"Andy," he says instead, quiet as he possibly can. He can feel the tick of his heart in the back of his throat. "Come here."

Andy stops and looks at him, suspicious. Eventually, though, she comes. Sam reaches for her hand and tugs her down 'til she's sitting on his lap--no funny business, just perched on his knee like she might spring across the room at any moment like the tiger from Winnie the Pooh. Her ass is chilly even through both layers of denim. "Screw Gail," he mutters, real low down by her ear. This close she smells a little steamy, somebody cold getting warm again. "You wanna be my girlfriend?"

McNally tips her head and looks at him for a minute, those dark dark eyes. Then she nods.

Sam smiles, he can't help it. Her face is so goddamn serious. (But she wants to, she actually wants--) "So, then." He jostles her a bit, presto. "You're my girlfriend." It feels pretty nice to say, actually, Corinne and Gail and whoever the fuck else notwithstanding. Her curves a hand around McNally's hip to tug her closer. The rivets on her jeans are cold to the touch.

"Okay." Finally the grin splits across her face, all those white teeth lined up perfect and braces-free. "Cool."

She leans down confidently, getting ready to seal the deal with a kiss, Sam guesses. The coco is sloshing dangerously again, though, so he dodges her and grabs the mug instead, setting it on the table (it's just, it's possible he has an agenda here, her pretty ear and her cold pink neck so close). McNally barely has time to pout before he's licking off her sticky wrist for her, listening to her surprised giggle as he sucks at the thin skin. She tastes like dried sweat and chocolate. When he puts his lips on her neck she stops laughing immediately.

"Oh," she says, just quietly.

Sam grins. Oh.

He keeps her there for a while, strictly PG below the waist and both hands squarely on her narrow back. After a few minutes she gets wonderfully breathy about it, these soft little gasps each time he licks. When Sam pulls away to check her face is pink and worked up.

"Um," she says.

Sam looks at her a minute, the way her chest is rising with the force of it every time she takes a breath in. When she swallows he can see the muscles in her throat move underneath her skin. It seems like she likes it, how bright her eyes are, but: "That okay?" he asks--like. Just to be sure.

(My dad's a cop, she announced this afternoon.)

But: "Yes," Andy says immediately, then (and it's hard to tell if she's blushing, or it's from the other stuff. Sam feels sort of warm, himself): "I mean, yeah. It's fine."

"Okay." Sam smiles, noses along her jawline. Ducks his head down to lick some more.

This time, McNally does it back.

She's real shy about it at first, like she's worried there's some trick to it she doesn't know about (and seriously, what the fuck did she and Callaghan do, even? Sam wants to know and really doesn't in equal amounts). Her tongue is stupidly soft against the tendon in his neck. She gets braver after a minute, though (possibly Sam lets out a sound that makes her braver, actually, this low involuntary hum into her skin). Sucks a bit. She's shifting her weight in his lap a little, scooting forward and trailing one hand through the hair at the back of his neck. Her skinny fingers slip inside the collar of his thermal, whisper-light.

(He's been half-hard for a while, as soon as he got his mouth on her basically. The squirming is more than enough to get him all of the way there.)

"Okay." Now McNally's the one pulling away to check. Sam can't tell if she's noticed or not, but-- yeah. What's happening here isn't exactly subtle. "Hang on. Can we, um." She's lifting herself off of him a bit, weight on the floor instead of Sam's thighs. For a moment Sam thinks that's that, is gearing himself up to walk with her to the door for a chaste goodbye kiss and some see you tomorrow promises, reassure her he's not only after one thing (and god, he really isn't, he likes her a big stupid bunch). He isn't even all that disappointed, honestly. The mechanics of being a boyfriend are something he remembers just fine.

It, ah. Turns out McNally has other plans.

"Is this okay?" she asks nervously, sitting herself back down--in a full straddle, jesus h. christ. Her ass has warmed up pretty good by now, enough that Sam starts sweating under his jeans immediately. "I want-- just for a sec, okay?"

Sam makes his voice go dead even. "Okay." She's still perched down his thighs a bit, room for the holy ghost or whatever (provided the holy ghost is a real pervert), but it's near enough. Sam wants to move her up that final inch so bad he can feel it in his teeth. And from the way McNally's biting her lip-- fuck. He twines both hands safely in her loose braid.

Andy hums at him, pleased. This time she comes after him first, confident and tentative all at once. Sam lets her for a little while, concentrating real hard on doing nothing, but it's possible all the blood rushing to his dick is a legitimate health hazard. The next time she comes up for air, he gets his teeth on her neck and bites.

Andy squeaks--that's the only way to describe it, actually, this high, surprised sound Sam's not a hundred percent sure how to interpret. She pulls back to look at him, wet pink mouth just slightly open; he's about to apologize when she tucks her head back down into his shoulder, her breath warm and damp against his ear.

"Do that again," she murmurs.

Well. Sam doesn't need to get told twice. He does it again, careful, fast little nips at the thin delicate skin above her collar. Andy whimpers softly, clammy fists opening and closing on his shoulders.

(Turns out she slides forward that last inch all on her own.)

Sam groans quietly before he can stop himself, how embarrassingly good it feels to have her there, her whole warm front right up against him and the press of her zipper at his. It takes every ounce of self control he's got not to buck up mindlessly. He goes a little tense with the effort.

"Sorry," Andy says immediately, backing up like they knocked heads or like she stepped on a dog's tail by mistake. "S'that--m'I hurting you?"

Sam huffs out a noise that's halfway between a laugh and a cough, trying to keep it together. "You're not hurting me," he manages after a second. Tugs her right back to where she was.

They make out like that for awhile, coco going cold on the table beside them and the darkness pressing in at the window above the sink. Sam makes himself think about cars. It only half-works, though, wet muscle of her tongue and that vanilla cupcake smell everywhere, and--yeah. If she didn't realize what was going on before, there's no way she hasn't figured it out by now. She's still squirming just the slightest bit though, these tiny shifts of weight that might be on purpose and might not be, and shit Sam is not not not going to come in his pants in her fucking kitchen of all places, but--


"Okay," he says suddenly, this intake of air that's a little humiliating for how shaky it sounds. "Okay, you just--I need--" He bumps his nose at hers a bit, this weird thing they used to do to say goodnight in his family when he was a kid. "I should probably go."

McNally pulls back to blink at him, surprised. "Why?" she practically whines. "My dad won't be home for an hour." Sometime in the last five minutes her hands got possessive, curling into Sam's hair like she's no longer worried that she's doing it right. (Which-- yeah. Sam bets his giant fucking erection was her first clue.)

Speaking of, McNally's still wiggling a little; Sam scoots her back to give himself some room, trying real hard not to imagine why it only makes her pout harder. God, if he starts thinking about her interest level in any kind of detail-- "S'not your pops I'm worried about, sweetheart," he explains, gritting his teeth. It is sort of painful now, actually, the weird angle he's bent at inside his jeans.

Andy's gaze flickers between his face and his lap. "Oh. Um." She pats a hand across his chest, conciliatory. "Huh. Does it-- s'hurt?"

Sam cannot believe they're having this conversation. Oddly, McNally looks about a hundred times less embarrassed than she did when they were throwing around the word 'girlfriend'. "Yeah," he tells her finally, laughing. "It, uh. Definitely hurts a bit."

"Oh." Andy bites her lip. And christ, the expression on her face right now, like she is profoundly and sincerely sorry about his sore dick--Sam would kiss her if he wasn't so worried about losing it. "Is there any way to, like. Fix it?"

Sam grins. "I don't know, McNally, try talking about Newton’s second law for a few minutes." Since they're already discussing it he reaches down to adjust himself a little, just so the angle isn't so fucking sharp. Andy's eyes bug out a bit, watching, but she definitely doesn't look offended.

"I won't take physics until next year," she tells him absently.

Then she goes and puts her hand on his thigh.

Sam breathes in fast and hard. "Andy," he says sharply, baring his teeth for a second; it feels like her fingertips are electric, sending charges zinging through his entire body. He wants her to never stop touching him, and he absolutely needs her to cut it out right now. "Seriously."

'Really?" McNally's eyebrows go up, curious, like she's real interested in the mechanics of it all of a sudden. She scratches a little, nails zipping along the denim. "Just me doing that?"

"Um." Sam swallows, concentrates. He can move her hand himself if he really needs to, he guesses. Possibly he's still got this under control. "It's not really helping, no."

Andy nods thoughtfully like she's absorbing that information, filing it away for later in case she needs it. She's in a couple honors classes at school. "What about this?" she asks, real quiet. She flips her hand and brushes her knuckles up along the length of him, so light she's hardly even making contact, but--

"Shit," Sam hisses loudly. It hits him so fast he doesn't have time to warn her or even get his eyes closed, jesus. Instead they just stare at each other the whole time it's happening, warm and messy and humiliating and weirdly good in spite of all that. Sam tries not to groan too hard. McNally just watches him, silent, eyes wide and her bottom lip clamped between her teeth like possibly she just got a hell of a lot more of a reaction than she was expecting.

Well. So much for not embarrassing himself in a kitchen chair, he guesses.

He closes his eyes as soon as he thinks to do it, coming down with one last shuddering exhale. "Fuck," he mutters softly, head thudding back against the chair. "Sorry." McNally doesn't answer, which can't be a good sign. She's holding stock still in his lap. Sam gives himself the talk one more time while he's waiting for his heartbeat to get back to normal, freshman and not ready and breakup and Gail says. Finally braces himself enough to open his eyes.

She's grinning.

"So, yeah." Her hand is hovering and she brings it down on his thigh, close enough to make him jump. McNally grins harder. "Guess that doesn't really help either."

Sam's breath rushes out in a surprised whoof. He hadn't even realized he'd been holding it. "Depends on your definition of help," is what finally works itself out of his mouth. The afterglow does feel sort of stupidly good, actually, how long and hard he'd been waiting. Probably he should have jerked off before he came over.

"Guess so." She's smug, Sam realizes, finally placing the expression on her face. Which-- yeah, okay, he guesses having a dude come all over himself next to your dishwasher is probably pretty validating. He's super glad he was here to boost her self-confidence.

Christ, he definitely did, too: Andy leans back down carefully, frosting smell closing in again and one hand raking solicitously through the hair on Sam's neck. "Feel better?" Her voice is low and cocky.

Jesus. Sam chances touching her, palming up her skinny thighs. He feels sticky and embarrassed, is how he feels, but also-- "Yeah, actually," he admits. "Pretty much."

McNally grins a curly grin, settling close enough that she's more or less touching the wet spot. "Good," she says, tilting her bossy chin up for a kiss. Sam gives it to her, both hands cupped around her pink ears.

It's kind of a relief to be able to focus on the kissing and not on the throbbing pain in his rig, actually. Mess aside, now that he knows she's not upset about it Sam's kind of not even that embarrassed anymore. He's noticing a lot of shit he was too distracted to pay attention to earlier, is the other thing: how heavy she's breathing in between kisses, for example, like maybe she just had to run suicides at practice. The way her damp, hot hands are clutching at him, from his neck down to his shoulders to his back.

(Also, the weight-shifting thing? He's like, ninety-seven percent sure it's on purpose at this point.)

So. It is possible that Sam kind of, like. Really wants to return the favor here.

(Like. Really.)

He thinks about it for a minute, still kissing her. This is clearly going to take a little bit of finesse. Which feels stupid to even think to himself, jesus, considering he just blew his load in his fucking Levis: any Cassanova-type moves are pretty much off the table at this point, seriously. Not that Sam really had very many to begin with. Still, he's gotten girls off before with a reasonable amount of success--not a ton, okay, but a few. There's no reason for him to feel nervous all of a sudden.

(No reason for touching McNally to feel like a whole different ball game.)

He runs his hand up her side first, just checking to see if she's cool with it. Andy scoots even closer, licks along the line of his jaw; she's got a sports bra on underneath her thermal, Sam can just feel the wide-banded outline. Between that and the hoodies she's always wearing he has no real idea of her shape. Which, incidentally, is something he'd be pretty interested in correcting, but-- yeah. Probably not here. He traces the bump the elastic makes with his thumbs instead, follows it around until they meet in the middle at the front of her ribcage. So far McNally's seemed fine with everything, nosing around his ear like she hasn't got a care in the world, but Sam wants to be 110% sure.

"McNally," he starts, then switches it up. "Andy. Do you want me to..." He trails off and lets his thumbs do the talking, dragging them down her stomach to the button of her jeans.

That gets the message across, all right. "Oh. Oh. Um." Andy's abs tighten up under his hands automatically, sucking in as the penny drops. You're skinny enough, sweetheart, Sam thinks, and grins. Chances sliding a few fingers beneath her waistband. The skin on her belly is idiotically soft.

McNally shifts nervously, but she doesn't move his hand. "I--" She breaks off, swallowing. "If you want to, I mean," she says finally, like Sam just offered to carry her goddamn backpack or something. "Is that--have you done it before?"

Sam thinks about that one, cycling through a few replies before finally settling on, "Yeah." For some reason he feels like honesty's the best policy with this girl.

McNally seems to agree: "Well, okay. Because I, uh. Haven't."

(She's not saying no, though, is something Sam's noticing. She's not moving away and she's not saying no.)

"Okay," he tells her after a second, nice and calm and quiet. He curves one hand around her waist to steady her out a bit. Brings the other one down slow and cautious to rub between her legs.

Andy whimpers.

"That good?" Sam asks, swallowing a little. She's like a thousand degrees and sweaty-damp even through the denim, is shifting in his lap as she nods. Her eyes have gone wide and fever-bright.

"Yeah, I--" She breaks off as Sam flips his hand sideways, gives her something to grind against. "Yeah.".

"Good." Sam kisses her then, he can't help it--the way she's looking at him, jesus, that pretty mouth just slightly open. He bites her bottom lip and keeps on rubbing until she keens. Sam smiles.

(He thinks he can get her there, actually. He was nervous, but now he's pretty sure he can.)

"Okay," Andy breathes after a couple of minutes, her skinny hips moving fretfully. "Okay, Sam Sam Sam, just--" Her short nails are digging into his shoulders.

"You want me to stop?" Sam asks, breathing a little heavily himself. He will if she wants him to, obviously, but it's--huh. He's like, possibly kind of invested in the outcome here (wants to watch her come so bad it feels like a physical thing). His fingers go still against the fly of her jeans.

"No," Andy says immediately, urgent. Her dark eyes flick down to his hand at her zipper, back up to his like she's trying to work some serious ESP here. Sam has no earthly idea what she's trying to tell him. "Don't stop. Like--" She rolls her hips then, once and desperate and purposeful. "Please."

All of a sudden Sam gets the message, lightbulb going on inside his head. He looks down between them, takes a breath before he does it. Pops the button on her jeans.

"Please," Andy says again helplessly, ducking down to hide her damp face in his neck. She's shivering everywhere, fast and humming like a greyhound puppy left out in the rain. Sam lets go of her zipper tab for a second to rub both hands all over her, from the nape of her neck to her ass in one hard sweep. From her shudder it doesn't seem to help much. Sam can't tell if she's nervous or overstimulated or both.

"Don't worry," he tells her, reaching back down between them. The rasp of the metal teeth coming apart is almost obscenely loud. "You can't possibly do anything more embarrassing than I did." He's starting to get hard again, actually, slimy-gross boxers and all; he tugs Andy up an inch so she's sitting on him directly, just in case the added feedback makes her less shy.

In any case, she laughs, although it turns into a gasp when Sam worms a couple fingers under her thermal underwear. "True."

There really isn't a fuckton of room to manoeuvre here. Sam lifts her up a bit and rolls her jeans down to her thighs, keeping her tiny printed boyshorts on. He almost doesn't, but McNally's blushing like the side of a fire engine, right to the tips of her ears, and they're in her kitchen, and-- Sam gives himself that not ready talk again and leaves the damn things where they are.

"Here we go," he murmurs, slipping a hand under the ridiculous neon waistband. Both of them watch as his knuckles stretch out the fabric. (And seriously, there are like cupcakes on these things, they're from the kids department or something, Sam doesn't even know.) He rubs his fingers down over the scratchy hair, opening her up some, and-- yep.

She is, uh. Pretty wet.

Sam swallows again, trying to focus. It's just--he knew she was turned on, like, theoretically. But. It's different to feel.

(Different to know that he's the one who--yeah.)

She makes a great, gasp-y sound as he finds her clit and starts rubbing, her hands twitching on his shoulders like a car getting a jump. Sam hums an encouraging noise. He goes real slow at first, more pressure than anything else. The hair between her legs is warm and rough against his palm.

(Possibly he is really regretting leaving her underwear on right about now.)

Sam watches her pretty face, looking for clues. It definitely seems like she likes it, eyes squeezed shut and her bottom lip caught between her teeth, so he takes a chance and slips his hand a little lower, tries pushing one finger inside. She's so worked up it's a ridiculously easy slide past the first knuckle, but when he angles for any deeper than that--

"Um," McNally says, eyes flying wide open and a little bit fearful. Every single muscle in her body tenses up. "I don't--" she breaks off, helpless. Her fingers tighten in the fabric of his shirt.

Because I never have Sam reminds himself. Pulls out slow enough not to startle her. "Okay," he murmurs quietly, goes back to rubbing her clit. "Easy. You're okay." He thinks a minute, then reaches up and pries one of her hands off his shoulders. Tucks it into her boyshorts on top of his. "You show me, okay?"

"Seriously?" Andy blinks, dumbfounded and possibly a little suspicious. Sam laughs a little, he can't help it, although hopefully she gets that it's not at her.

"Yeah, McNally," he says, rolling his hips up underneath her. She's so stupidly warm, jesus; he's definitely back at all-the-way hard. "Help a guy out."

McNally bites her lip, considering. When she finally moves it's all in a rush: tugging Sam's hand out of her shorts and standing, shucking her jeans the rest of the way off in one decisive jerk. Sam barely has time to process anything (long long legs, banged up knees like she hit the court hard, underwear askew enough that he just can see an edge of--) before she's back in his lap.

"Is this okay?" She wiggles around, getting comfortable. "I want to feel--"

Getting situated, Sam realizes, cluing in with a jolt. She is right the fuck on top of his cock. "Andy."

"I know." But she's lifting up again all of a sudden, pink and rushed, fingers stealing down to his belt-buckle. She has it open before Sam can blink, shoving the denim out of the way. "I know, I just really, really want to-- There." It comes out as a sigh, like she's finally satisfied. Her full weight settles in on him again, their sticky underwear the only thing left in the way.

"Fuck." Sam knocks his head off the tops of hers, groaning. "'Nally, sweetheart, if we do this I'm definitely gonna--" She's completely fucked his brain in is what she's done, her last name and nickname rolling off his tongue in one single cotton candy blur. He's hurting with it again already.

Andy picks up his hand and puts it back on her lower belly, real pointed.


She does show him this time around, actually, her fingers on top of his fingers on top of her clit. It seems to be working for her okay too, these noisy little gasps and her eyes shut tight like she's concentrating. But she's just sitting there, a soft pressing that's both crazy good and not enough, and christ, Sam can actually feel the outline of--

"Andy." His hips buck up once (and god, yes, a freshman, he knows--but the talk just isn't working this time). "Please."

Andy's not listening to him, though--or she is, and--either way, Sam's pretty sure it's the please that does it for her at the end, that's got her crying out nice and loud and pressing his fingertips steady against her clit. She bites down on that bottom lip hard enough to draw blood. Sam watches her the whole entire time it's happening, momentarily forgetting how much he wants to come again himself--she's just so distractingly fucking pretty, jesus, flushed face and her braid totally done at this point, dark hair everywhere. Sam holds still and lets her rock herself into it, easy. Holds his breath against the friction.

(Already he wants to make her do it again.)

"Um," she sighs as she's coming down, eyes blinking open like a baby animal's, searching for his. The muscles in her naked thighs are twitching a little. "Wow."

"Yeah?" Sam grins at her, sort of stupidly pleased. Eases his fingers out of her messy underwear. He has a two-second flash of slipping them into her mouth for her to lick clean. "Good?"

"Mm-hmm." Andy scoots forward even more, going sort of boneless against him and wrapping her skinny arms around his neck. Her face finds the crook of his shoulder, presses there.

Sam shifts again underneath her--he's back to aching for it, and thinking about her sucking his fingers definitely didn't help--but in the end he wraps her arms around her and squeezes, petting up her back and counting the notches in her skinny spine. He remembers earlier this afternoon, that feeling of wanting to take care of her. Rubs a bit at the base of her neck and lets her hide.

They're still sitting there when the phone rings a minute later; McNally's up off his lap and across the kitchen like Frosty the fucking Snowman come to life. "Hello?" she asks breathlessly, grabbing for the receiver, then: "Hey, Dad."

(Just like that, Sam's hard on is suddenly not such a problem anymore.)

She paces across the kitchen and faces away from him as she talks, so he only gets bits and pieces of the conversation: "sledding" and "Traci and Gail" and "fine." All of a sudden she stops moving though, brings one socked foot up to scratch at her opposite knee. "No, that's okay," she tells him, no intonation in her voice at all. "I can nuke the hotdogs. Yeah. Yeah, no, that's fine." A pause, then: "Love you too."

McNally hangs up a minute later, takes a beat before she turns to face him. Her expression doesn't give anything away. "My dad's going to be late," she announces, no explanation one way or the other. Sam's got three guesses and the first two don't count.

"Okay," he says, and nods.

She climbs back into his lap after that, kisses him long and hard with her eyes shut tight tight tight. "We, um," she murmurs finally, more into his shoulder than anything. "We could go into my room."

Sam's first thought is to worry about the fact that he doesn't have a condom. His second and third thoughts, though-- "Andy." He pets her thick tangled hair and tells himself to nut up, that there's no way on god's green earth he's having sex with her for the first time (for her first time) because she's sad her pops is out drinking. "I'm not so sure that's a hot idea," he says finally. She looks way the fuck too young right now anyway, cold weather thermal and that Old Navy underwear. Sam should really leave her to her microwave hotdogs.

Andy tightens her grip on his neck. "I don't mean-- Just to lie down." She butts her face up against his a bit, that same nuzzle Sam taught her earlier. "Sam. Come lie down with me."

And god, god, it is such a terminally bad idea, on top of which her cop father could literally arrive home at any second, all liquored up and ready to start shooting, but.

Yeah. Sam comes. (It'll be fine, he tells himself. He's not a fucking animal. He can cuddle her for a bit without blowing his load.)

Those good intentions hit a rocky patch pretty quick: Andy peels off her shirt as soon as they shut the door behind them, the static-cling so intense Sam can actually hear the crackle. She leaves everything else on, sport bra and panties, but either way--it is not exactly the move of someone who wants to lie quietly together in the dark. Sam is so hard he can barely walk.

"Come on," McNally demands, impatient. She has a belly button ring, of all things. She stretches out across her bed, this tiny metal-frame-and-mattress affair that's barely big enough for her alone, sock feet bumping up against the railing. There's nowhere for Sam to go but on top of her; he shucks off his shirt and consigns his soul to god.

"I don't want to tonight," she murmurs in his ear when he settles. Her face is golden and glowy, yellow nightlight plugged into the outlet by the door. "But, like, eventually. Soon."

Which is how Sam ends up rubbing one out against her bony hip, Andy's sweaty hands on his back and the firm instructions to "get it on me, not the bed". He's pretty sure she's shy of jacking him off more than anything else, but it still feels like just about the dirtiest thing he's ever done with a girl. He makes a complete mess of her, getting off on it way more than he should.

"Should go," Andy tells him eventually. Their stomachs are more or less glued together by now, come and sweat. Sam is going to need the shower of his life when he gets back to the group home. "Bar's gonna close."


He kisses her by the front door for another five minutes anyway, one hand on her warm yawning face and the other on her sticky belly. Andy finally shoves him out, grinning. She doesn't look sad anymore at all.

(What Sam thinks about that night as he's lying in bed: soon. She said 'soon'.)

Chapter Text

So. They're dating after that, for sure: he sits with her in the cafeteria. They make out in the library stacks. He takes her to the Starbucks around the corner from school and watches as she sucks down an enormous chocolate-chip Frappucino, smiling at him around the green plastic straw. Sam kisses her up against the side of the building afterward, tastes caramel drizzle and whipped cream.

(What he forgot about having a girlfriend, meanwhile: how expensive it is, jesus. Pretty soon Sam's writing two, three extra papers a week just to pay for her large fries and Orange Crush at McDonald's at the mall.

Weirdly: he completely doesn't mind.)

"My mom left," she tells him all of a sudden one afternoon, curled into his lap on the sofa in her living room and Sam's hand still rubbing at one thigh inside her sweatpants. She gets real honest after an orgasm, is a thing he's starting to figure out. "That's why we moved here."

Her mother's a social worker, McNally explains, picking at a fray in the shoulder of Sam's thermal. Says her folks got divorced a couple years ago. What the hell kind of social worker leaves her only kid with an alcoholic cop in a crummy apartment on Jane Street, is a thing Sam would like to know, although something tells him it's probably a useless question to try and ask. Adults are full of shit most of the time, that's all.

"What happened to your parents?" she asks then, pulling back to look at him, all her warm squirmy weight against his chest. "Hmm? That you and your sister got split up?"

There it is. Sam figured she'd get around to asking eventually, but he'd still kind of hoped-- well, whatever. It's out now. "It's a long story," he hedges, sliding his hand back into her underwear. Another thing he's noticed since they started fooling around on the regular: she likes getting off a lot, McNally, like it's this great new trick she can't get enough of. Sam wonders about that sometimes, how much she was doing it on her own before he came along.

"So?" She's opening up her legs though, making room. Sam tries a finger, something that usually only works after she's come once, gets it all the way past the second knuckle no problem. Andy whines.

She doesn't stay distracted for long, though: "I told you mine," she gasps, twisting her hips away. "Do you just not like to talk about it?"

Sam huffs. "Yeah, McNally. I don't like talking about it." He tries for a finger again, wrestling her a little.

Which turns out to be a mistake; McNally grins hugely, grabbing his wrist like it's a game. "Oh yeah? Betcha I can make it worth your while." She looks at him through her eyelashes, a puppy that knows exactly how cute it is. "How 'bout if I let you see my boobs?"

And that is-- huh. He hasn't yet, only had her down to her underwear that one time, how they keep having to screw around in semi-public places. She's shy about it too, he knows, muttering about being flat when he tried for some under-the-shirt, over-the-bra action a week back.

"You totally want to," Andy sing-songs gleefully; he must have a hell of a look on his face 'cause she starts giggling like gangbusters, like she totally thinks she's won here already. Sam can feel the rumble of her laughter in his ribs. "Come on," she says, taking the hand that's not tucked underneath her waistband and pressing it over the gentle rise of her chest, warm through the blue cotton of her top today. Sam rubs his thumb across her nipple like a reflex, feels it get hard. Andy stops laughing. "Tell."

Sam thinks about it for a second. He's never talked about it with anybody but Sarah, not even Corinne; he had a different placement when he was dating her, an actual house with an older lady and just a couple other kids, so it was easier to keep the lie up for longer. When she started asking him questions, that's when they hit the rocks. It feels way too soon to start down that road with Andy. He likes her way too fucking much.

On the other hand: he really, really wants to take her goddamn bra off.

Finally he just says it: "My dad's in jail," he tells her, not bothering to sugarcoat it. In fact, it's kind of perversely pleasurable to say out loud. Sam gets like that sometimes when he thinks about it too much, a little mean in a way he knows people don't always deserve. "And my mom's...not alive. So."


For a minute McNally doesn't say anything, her eyes gone dark and dinner-plate enormous. She tucks her bottom lip between her teeth. And see, this is exactly why he didn't want to talk about it; she's going to feel stupidly bad for him or something and he's going to have to spend the rest of the afternoon reassuring her that he's fine, it is what it is, he doesn't need to have some healing Dr. Phil cry about it. Sam feels himself start to get annoyed before she even opens her mouth. "Look," he starts, more loudly than he means to, but McNally cuts him off.

"A deal's a deal," she says quietly. Tugs her shirt up over her head.

Crap, now Sam kind of wants to slow down and talk about this (doesn't want her to feel pressured by his sad sack broken family, of all things). "McNally, come on, this is dumb." He squeezes her skinny thigh, baby-fine hairs ghosting across his palm. She only ever shaves up to where her basketball shorts start. "You don't have to."

Andy narrows her eyes. Already her shoulders are tucked forward protectively, like she's making herself a smaller target. "What, you don't wanna look?" This sport bra's a bit fancier than the last one, Nike swoosh across the chest and a neon camouflage pattern that would maybe let her blend in with some Mario Kart foliage. Sam can see the outline of her nipples clear as day.

"I--" God, who the fuck is he kidding. He wants to look worse than he's wanted anything in a while, can almost forget that it's pity that's giving him access. (And when she finally lets him at her boobs? He bets he can make her forget it was pity too.)

McNally must read something in his expression. "I don't welch on promises, Sam," she continues seriously, squared army shoulders like it's a real point of pride for her. Sam thinks over the story she just told him and reevaluates her motives.

When she actually takes off the bra, though-- yeah. Sam stops wondering whose mommy issues prompted her to do it more or less immediately.

Sam actually feels his mouth get dry, this sticky sound when he tries to open it. Knows his chest is moving every time he breathes. He was hard anyway, which to be honest is basically his default state of existence lately, but just looking at her is like--jesus. General half-naked girl, yeah, but more than that it's just McNally, these small puffy nipples and and tan lines from last summer's two-piece. She is...really not as totally flat as she (and the sport bra) made it seem. Probably in this particular moment he'd tell her any fucking thing she wanted to know.

"Okay," she says finally, shifting her weight in his lap a little, all elbows. When Sam finally pulls it together and looks up she's blushing bright tomato-red. "Now you're just, like. Staring."

Which--that is pretty much a fact, yeah. Sam grins and brushes his knuckles over the curve of her, just testing. Flips his hand and cups a bit. She's so soft, god, it's actually kind of crazy how different her body is from his; somehow the vanilla smell is stronger with her bra off, like maybe all it is is just her skin. Sam gets his thumb in his mouth, uses it to circle her dark pink nipple. Andy gasps. "You didn't say I couldn't stare," he points out.

"True," she admits shakily, arching into it just a little. She's got her chin tilted down to watch what he's doing. Between her legs he can feel her getting wetter, warm and slippery where he's got his other hand tucked just below the V of her thighs. "I guess I didn't."

Sam twists his fingers a bit, lets her grind herself into them. "You're pretty, you know that?" he asks her, ducking his head to try using his mouth some. "Shit, Andy. You're really pretty."

It's like touching his tongue to a live wire. "Sam." Out of the corner of his eye he can see both her arms fly up, hands opening and closing reflexively. But then she just leaves them hovering there beside his ears, like she isn't sure what to do or how to proceed. "I--" Sam doesn't know if it's the compliment or his mouth that's got her sounding so surprised, but either way he likes hearing his name like that.

He's actually got less experience with this than with getting girls off (places he's fooled around, there isn't always a lot of time for uncovering anything but the essentials) so he starts out slow. Just licking at first, but everywhere. Thoroughly. He could stand investigating McNally like this for a while is the truth, feeling the soft wobble when he pushes with his nose, powdery cupcake skin like a scratch-and-sniff sticker. He wasn't lying at all; she is really fucking pretty.

Eventually Sam pulls back and tries blowing, this trick Jerry's always on about ("Brother, for the love of god, stop talking about boobs and finish this proof," Ollie said the last time, loud enough that the librarian looked over at them and frowned). Inappropriate or not, Jerry's not actually wrong: McNally gasps, nipple standing up so pink and stiff and immediate it nearly kills him.

"Um," she says. Her hands have found his hair, pushing.

Yeah. Sam gives her what she's after.

As soon as he starts sucking McNally arches her back and holds his head in place, hips working hard against the finger he slipped back inside. It's the most demanding he's ever seen her, and also the quickest; after barely a minute's lead time she's twitching like a marionette, mouth open in a silent whine. She collapses back against his chest, boneless. Sam grins.

After a second her slump turns purposeful, though, this hard squeezing grip on the wrong side of desperate. Sam isn't too worried; she gets like this after an orgasm sometimes, overwhelmed maybe. He pets her back reassuringly, hums some nonsense into her hair. Just as he's trying to figure out how to direct her attention back his way, though: "M'sorry about your mom."

Shit. Sam feels his heart--and his hopes of maybe getting her sweaty hand down into his boxers to finish him off--plummet like a broken elevator to somewhere around his knees. For a second he has no idea what to say to get out of this. And yeah, it was probably stupid of him to think he could distract her into forgetting his sorry-ass system-kid upbringing with a well-timed orgasm--even if it was, from the looks of things, a damn good one--but. He had hoped. "It's okay," he finally mumbles into the dark, shampoo-smelling fall of her hair. "Not your fault."

"I know, but--" Andy pulls back to look at him. It's a weird combination actually, that rosy satisfied flush all across her face and neck and chest with how worried her expression is. She tucks her feet underneath the sofa cushions, like she's cold or just feels fidgety. "Do you remember her?" she asks quietly, reaching up and rubbing her thumb along his ear. Her nail polish is bright blue and chipped. "I mean, how old were you when---?"

Sam exhales. God, he doesn't want to have this conversation; not ever, but especially not now when she's half-naked in his lap and they're wasting valuable time alone in her apartment. He glances down without entirely meaning to, sees her nipples are still a little spit-shiny. "Five," he says. "So yeah, I remember her some." It's only a handful of images in his head, really, his mom reading him Berenstain Bears before bed and this ice-pack shaped like a dinosaur that she used to keep in the freezer for when he fell and hurt himself. The flowery-smelling powder that she used. He's got a picture of her from when she was real young that he keeps at the back of his bottom drawer; it's been folded so many times it's almost ripping, this big crease right across the front of her dress.

Andy nods, still thumbing at his earlobe. Sam clears his throat. He can see her wanting to ask how it happened, that she's wondering if it's connected to the dad-in-jail thing, and it occurs to him that a good boyfriend would probably just tell her everything right now. Still, she must be afraid to press him on it, because she scoots forward in his lap again instead of asking any other questions, and Sam sure as shit doesn't volunteer.

Later they kiss goodbye for even longer than usual, Andy standing in the doorway in an undershirt she stole from him like a week and a half ago, this thin white ribbed thing that's basically see-through. Sam...kind of really likes how she looks in his clothes. "See you tomorrow, okay?" he tells her quietly. All of a sudden he feels kind of weirdly bad that he wasn't more up front with her about stuff. She deserves a better boyfriend, McNally. "Maybe if you're nice I'll bring you Timbits before homeroom."

"Yeah." Andy nods, shifting her weight a bit. It looks like she's got something else she wants to say to him, though; Sam's half-made up his mind that he's going to give her a straight answer to whatever she asks when she says, "So, um. My dad's on nights at work starting next week."

Sam feels his eyebrows climb clear up to his hairline. "Oh yeah?"

"Yeah." She's blushing now, pink crawling all down her throat. "So, like. You could come over." Her hands are still tucked up under his jacket, sweaty-nervous. Before Sam can work out an answer that isn't about a thousand times too eager, her sharp face folds in on itself. "Oh, is that-- Crap, do they even let you? Where you're staying, I mean. Are sleepovers allowed?"

Sleepovers, christ. Sam is definitely, definitely not planning on sleeping a wink. (All night, god, eight uninterrupted hours of playing house with McNally in her little kid bed, where he can lay her out and take off her clothes and--) "It's a group home," he tells her, working his hands back into her hair. "Down on Fulton. And yeah, they let you go to sleepovers." He'll have to get someone to sign him out; Jerry's mom does sometimes, ever since Sarah moved to that new institution out in Alberta. "I'll make it work."

"Cool." Andy holds her face out for a kiss.

They don't end up saying goodbye for another ten minutes.


Sam's a little worried things are going to be weird at school, dead moms and how he's pretty sure they just obliquely set a date for McNally to lose her virginity (not sure sure or whatever, but like--sure enough to go out and buy condoms). He brings her Timbits anyway, finds her in a gaggle of freshman standing around by the third floor lockers. She's wearing a button-up today, weirdly adult. Sam doesn't know when he started noticing her clothes. "Here."

McNally apparently missed the 'awkward' memo, though, grabbing the box with glee and popping up on her toes for a kiss. "Hey," she grins breathlessly. A longer kiss. "Yeah, um. Hi."

"Gross," pronounces Gail. They've all got the same blue nail polish on, the freshmen girls, like maybe they've been passing the bottle around in math class.

McNally shrugs amicably. "So go away," she tells them, handing over the Timbit box. Another eyeroll from Gail and they do, Traci looking rounder and rounder under that sweater. Sam wants to find that girl a helpline in the worst way.

"Gail likes you now," Andy volunteers once they're gone. "Says it's not slutty 'cause you treat me so well."

"Gail says, huh?" Sam smirks a little, although in truth he doesn't actually hate hearing he's a hit with McNally's friends. He was...not so much a hit with Corinne's, which kind of sucked sometimes. "What else did Gail say?"

"Nothing." Andy smiles and leans against the lockers a bit, shoulders tilted back against the metal like she's waiting to see if he'll look. The top two buttons of her shirt are undone. Sam's pretty sure she's wearing glitter on her collarbones. "I can't hang out after school today, though. She's taking me shopping." She raises her eyebrows mischievously. "For, like. Girl stuff."



"Girl stuff," Sam repeats slowly, his mind pinballing around in a hundred different directions. Girl stuff could be anything, he tells himself. Girl stuff could be, like, tampons. Still, the way she's looking at him, like the two of them have this awesome, exciting secret--all of a sudden Sam is sort of more than pretty sure he wasn't wrong to get the condoms. "McNally," he starts, feeling his face get oddly warm, but he gets cut off when the bell rings. McNally grins like a cute, crazy monkey, kisses him one more time. "See you at lunch!" she calls, scampering off down the hall.


He thinks about it pretty much exclusively the rest of the week, honestly--what it's gonna be like, how to make it good for her. Sam's never actually done it with a virgin before. He comes real close to breaking down and going to Jerry for advice--he's full of shit a lot of the time, sure, but the blowing trick definitely worked, so maybe he knows something else Sam doesn't--but Barber gossips like a fucking girl, and Sam really doesn't want to chance it getting all the hell over school before anything even happens. He's pretty sure Ollie and his girlfriend lost it to each other, but the Callaghan thing makes it seem weird to ask. He's so desperate that for a second he even thinks about trying Noelle, the girl who sits behind them in chem lab--she hangs out with them in their study hall sometimes now, and after all, she seems to be an expert on every other fucking thing in the known universe. He's so busy trying to figure out how he'd even frame a question like that it takes him a minute to realize Ollie's kicking his chair hard to get his attention; up at the front of the room, Mrs. Marchand's giving him a look to peel the paint right off a wall.

"Mr. Swarek," she says sharply. From the irritated tone in her voice, this clearly isn't the first time she's calling his name. "Are we interfering with whatever deep and profound thinking you're trying to accomplish back there?"

Basically: it's a pretty long week.

Chapter Text

Sunday comes eventually, though; Sam spends most of the afternoon fidgeting around the dorm feeling like he can't settle to anything, all this weird wired energy he can't shake. "For god's sake," Frank says, the third time Sam makes a lap through the TV room without actually bothering to stop and check out what's on the set. "Don't you have homework or something?"

Sam stops. That... is maybe not such a terrible idea, actually. "Yep," he tells Frank, and bolts for the computer station like his ass is on fire.

The first thing he does is pull up a Wikipedia page on Austria-Hungary, just in case he needs to minimize in a hurry. It probably won't matter--the boys all have logins and the computer definitely records history--but Sam would prefer getting an awkward safe-sex lecture at some later date to being caught and booted off right now. The dinosaur modem chews over loading the long list of post-World War I successor states, giving him time to think about what to type into Google. The question isn't any easier to frame when he's asking a white box, as it turns out.

how to--

He ends up on this weird thread on Ask MetaFilter, some guy named chrisfromthelc wondering how to handle his late-blooming girlfriend's virginity. Sam thinks about McNally's age and winces. Either way, the advice is all basic stuff like lube lube lube and go really fucking slow and it's going to hurt, so get off fast. Plus foreplay and something about multiple fingers. Sam X's out before his dick can get any ideas.

But before he does: Advil afterwards, someone is suggesting about halfway down the page, which--christ on a crutch, seriously?  Sam is maybe a hundred percent more nervous than before.

(Not too nervous to jerk off, though.


McNally is the one who finds him Monday morning, waltzing up excitedly like a person who hasn't been worrying about whether or not she still has a hymen. The standard hoodie is back in rotation, looks like, but she's got her hair all soft and loose and Sam gets hit all over again by how pretty she is. God, he emphatically does not want to hurt her, any way, shape, or form.

"I got booze for tonight," she announces, pulling back from their good-morning kiss. Sam would feel a bit silly always giving her one, except he's definitely seen some of the other senior guys eyeing him jealously, so. "Not a lot," she continues. "Just vodka."

Sam feels his eyebrows go up. She's looking at him like she's expecting praise for a job well done, only--yeah. You know what does not feel like such a brilliant idea to Sam? Getting his freshman girlfriend liquored up before he has sex with her for the first time.

(Then again, maybe it will relax her?

Fuck, maybe it will relax him.)

"That so?" is all he ends up saying, but he must have a worried look on his face because Andy's eyes narrow. All around them lockers are slamming, the smell of five hundred kids all warming up at once. "What?" she asks, that wide pink mouth turning down.

"Nothing." Sam threads a finger through her belt loop, tugs a bit. "Just--are you sure that's a good plan?"

"What?" McNally says again; then, voice lowered urgently: "Do you not want to sleep over?"

Which--fuck. "No no no." Sam feels his stomach drop in panic, basically falls all over himself telling her she's got it wrong. "I want to sleep over. I really want to sleep over." He shakes his head, gets two hands on her face and kisses her again. "I just mean, like. The booze thing."

"Oh." McNally frowns again, like she's thinking about it, and shrugs. "Whatever." She smiles at him then, a little shyly. "You can be kind of a huge girl sometimes, you know that?"

And Sam--yeah. Sam knows.


The day drags on endlessly, calc and chemistry and gym, where Sam plays better basketball than he ever has in his life, that's how keyed up he is. "9 o'clock," Andy reminds him at lunch, like possibly she thinks he forgot. Then she grins. "I'll see you later, okay?"

Sam takes a swig of warm Coke so his throat remembers how to swallow. "Yeah."

It's almost criminally easy to get himself out of the dorm for the night; Frank takes one look at the note from Jerry's mom (forged) and shrugs. "You better be in all your classes tomorrow," is all he says. Sam hasn't made any real trouble at this placement, too busy with--well, whatever, he's been distracted--and obviously it's paying off in spades now. Frank fucking trusts him, which is weird and cool in equal amounts. It makes sneaking out to bone feel about ten times more illicit, sure, but Sam bets he'll get over the guilt as soon as he sees McNally's face.

"Hey," she chirps, opening the door at five past nine looking pink and excited. She's got pyjamas on already, like maybe this really is just a G-rated sleepover with a side of vodka, but when Sam leans down to kiss her he feels underwire (plus like--god, a lot more moulding than he's used to, no question). Her lips taste fruity and artificially pink.

Yeah. Just like that Sam is completely over the guilt.

"Do you want dinner?" McNally asks, tugging him inside and taking his coat like they're real grown-ups. "I ate, but there's pizza. Or um, chicken, I think, but it might be gross." She's talking in a nervous rush. But it isn't, Sam's noticing, anxious-nervous. It's more along the lines of... impatient.

(Really, really over it.)

"Hi," he says, tipping her face up for another kiss, more to calm himself down than anything. Andy hums as he licks his way into her mouth, winding herself around him like a vine. Her bra is definitely doing some pretty special things under that t-shirt.

Sam exhales shakily when they come up for air, reminds himself she probably won't let him spend all night making out with her in the front hallway. "I don't want food," he tells her, cupping her bossy jaw. The condoms feel like they're burning a hole in his pocket.

"Oh no?" Andy grins at that, sudden and bright like possibly it's only just occurring to her that she might have the upper hand with him here. That she's had the upper hand the entire time. She gets even closer, her warm skinny body pressed right against his. He can feel the bony jut of her hipbones through her flannel pants. "What do you want?"

Sam huffs a laugh against her temple (and jesus, they haven't even done anything yet, there's no reason for him to already be as hard as he is). "McNally," he says, a little helplessly. It's pretty fucking obvious what he wants, isn't it? Up until right this minute Sam hasn't really let himself think about it without some kind of qualifier, protecting himself against the possibility that it might not happen at all: maybe he wasn't going to be be able to get himself out of the dorm on a weeknight. Maybe she was going to change her mind. Realizing it's actually going to happen--that it's actually going to happen now--knocks him back on his feet a little bit. For a second he presses his face against her hair. "Come on."

Andy keeps grinning. "You come on," she says, catching him by the hand and pulling him down the hall towards her bedroom. On the walls are school photos from when she was real little, pigtails and that same goofy smile. The desk lamp is on inside her room, math book open like maybe she was factoring some quadratic equations before he got here. "Gail and Traci said I should get candles or like, put rose petals on my bed or something," she says, faceplanting on the comforter and then rolling over to face him, nose wrinkled like she's embarrassed. Her sheets have neon peace signs all over them. "To make it, like, more romantic."

"Oh yeah?" Sam hovers near the dresser, hands shoved in his pockets. He doesn't know what to do all of a sudden, if he should get on the bed with her or wait for her to invite him, if maybe he should have brought her flowers or a necklace or something. He wonders about the least awkward way to take his socks off. His heart is pounding, like. A stupid amount.

"Uh-huh." Andy bites her lip and watches him for a minute, one knee pulled up and fidgeting. Then, all in a rush: "So are you gonna come over here, or what?"

Well. Sam nods. "Yeah," he says, voice breaking a little bit like it hasn't since we was twelve. He clears his throat and gets both knees up on her tiny mattress, crawls up her body until he can settle himself on top of her. Keeps his weight on his elbows so he isn't crushing her ribs. Her breath is coming in these rapid little bursts anyway, though, her dark eyes wide and, like, trusting; just for a second, Sam wonders how you're supposed to know if you're in love with somebody or not.

"I'll make it romantic," he tells her quietly, ducking his head down to kiss her. "Just, Andy. I'll--yeah. I'll make it romantic."

"It's okay if it isn't." She's got both of her hands resting delicately on his back, like she isn't entirely sure where to put them. They haven't made out lying down a ton. "I'll, um. Still like you anyways." Her face is suddenly absolutely serious, hair spread out across the peace signs like a coppery shadow. "And we can always practice."

God. Sam had been so focused on the first go round he forgot he'll probably be allowed to see her naked on the semi-regular after this. (Multiple times. They can do this multiple times until it's--) "Let's aim high anyway," he says thickly, petting her hair where it lies across the pillow. It always feels weirdly cool when it's away from her body, a smooth shiny sheet he can lift and separate. "And I'll still like you no matter what." Even as he says it he's wondering about other l-words again, her heartbreak-serious face and her promises.

"Good," Andy says with finality, tucking her feet behind his knees. Sam drops down between her open hips obediently, hissing when she starts pushing herself at him right away. The way she's moving has intent all of a sudden, like she's got a real clear idea where this is going. Sam slimes up his boxers with precum just thinking about it. "Shirt off," Andy demands after another minute. Her hands have gone serious too, the left one creeping it's leisurely way across his ass. Sam can't decide which way to buck.

"We're gonna go slow," he tells her as he pulls back, trying to sound authoritative. Andy nods like they're agreeing on the gospel truth, and Sam remembers all over again that she's the one this is supposed to hurt. "Arms up," he says after he drags off his own henley. Andy nods at that too, and suddenly they're both bare to the waist.

Which-- yeah, okay. That bra is definitely new.

"Maybe we should have done shots before," Andy says, shoulders curled like she's just now getting nervous. Sam tries to figure out if he should console or look: there's underwire all right, neon lace and this plush curve to her he's never seen. Shopping for girl stuff, jesus christ at Christmas.

"You wanna go do shots?" he asks, a little breathless. Sam doesn't, particularly; Sam doesn't particularly want to do anything that requires getting up out of this bed--ever, maybe, but definitely not before he finds out whether her bottoms are the same bright frilly purple as her top. Still, if it'll make her more comfortable--he tugs one of the cups down while he waits for her to answer, licks a bit at her pretty pink nipple. Tries biting, just super-soft.

Andy gasps, hips stuttering up off the mattress and the hand on his ass squeezing hard. Sam groans before he can stop himself. "Um," she says, swallowing loudly, head whiffing back against the pillows. Already her face is flushing red. "Um, no, I guess not."

"You sure?" Sam slips his fingers out of the bra, the satiny cup easing itself back into place once he lets go, and pushes himself up some. He's not sure how much of a chance he should give her to change her mind. "Andy, seriously. I mean it. We can do whatever you want."

Andy shakes her head with conviction. "No, it's okay." She adjusts so her leg's wrapped all the way around his, skinny hips butterflying out. "Stay here." She reaches down for his hand and puts it back on her chest, curls his fingers back inside against her warm warm skin. "Do that again," she tells him softly.

Sam grins at her in the half-light. "What, biting?" he asks, which--jesus. That's hot.

Andy clamps her eyes shut, nodding. Opens them again. "Mm-hmm," she admits, like maybe she's feeling shy about it. Sam gives her what she's after in any case, the barest hint of teeth--it's kind of ridiculous how much he likes making her feel good, honestly. She whines a little every time he does it.

They fool around like that for a while, this slow heavy grind and her hands on his back and chest and shoulders, kissing until Sam's lips actually get sort of chapped. It feels like every single nerve ending in his entire body is jacked to ten. He keeps trying to remind himself that he doesn't have to hurry, that they've got the whole entire night, but his dick is definitely not in the mood to listen; when he can't take it one more second he fists his hand in the flannel of her pajama pants, tugging them down her legs a ways, and--

yeah. She matches, all right.

"Christ." He leans his head into hers helplessly. The skin on her cheek feels like silk against his raw, swollen mouth. "So pretty," he tells her, voice way down deep in this register he barely recognizes. Andy whimpers as he runs his fingers along the satiny waistband, kicks her legs until the pj's are all the way off.

"No rose petals," she murmurs, pressing her hot face into his. "But, like. I figured these were at least..." She breaks off with a shrug.

Sam lifts up a little to look at the full picture, top and bottoms together. All their fooling around has wiggled her bra down far enough that one puffy nipple is peeking out. "Yeah. God. Yeah." Her hips butterfly open again and fuck, the fabric between her legs is soaked. "Andy. Can I--?" Sam doesn't even know what he wants, honestly, just that he has to do something. He rolls the waistband down an inch, looking up for an okay.

Andy nods, teeth deep in her lower. Her eyes are wide and interested.

"I'm just gonna--" Sam's hands are shaking, for god's sakes. "Still slow, okay?" he promises, mostly to remind himself. His dick is so hard it hurts. "I just wanna see you."

The bottoms slip off easily as anything until they're just a damp ball in his fist. Andy keeps her legs together once they're gone, shy, but the dark 'V' of hair is still more than enough to have Sam sucking in his breath. He's never, ever had her naked like this before.

"Okay," he says, easing himself back down on top. For some reason he feels better talking, like it's steadying both of them out. "You want-- what do you want?" He puts his hand on her fever warm thigh, slides it underneath until it's cupping her ass. Andy lets her legs fall open a bit at that, and he gets his first glimpse of pink wetness. It's too dark to see how he wants.

Andy doesn't answer--not with words, anyway. Instead she arches up enough to reach behind her and pop the hooks on the bra, spaghetti straps slipping down off her shoulders before she pulls her arms all the way free. Sam holds his breath. She drops it onto the carpet next to the bed, looks up at him anxiously, and Sam--jesus. Hormones or whatever, maybe, but by now he's pretty sure it's more than just like.

"Okay," he says again, not entirely sure which one of them he's talking to. He kisses his way down her body open-mouthed, the clean lines of her rib cage and her stomach muscles jumping under her skin. The stone in her bellybutton ring is a bright, unnatural blue. Andy's hips are still working, a little fretful; Sam slides one cautious hand down between her legs, spreads the wetness around, and she pushes herself into his touch right away. When he tries kissing past where the hair starts, though--

"Sam." Andy comes flying up onto her elbows then, staring at him incredulously like it hadn't even entered her mind that that was a thing he might try and do. Her hair is completely, totally mussed. "I--are you--?"

"Is that okay?" he asks her quietly, still rubbing. Incredulous, yeah, but the thing is he's pretty sure she just got even wetter. "If I--" Instead of saying it he kisses her again, a little lower; works the tip of his middle finger inside. He really, really likes how she smells.

Andy makes a low, helpless sound. "Do you want to?" she asks nervously. One hand comes down to rub along the top of his ear a little bit, fingers twitching. "You don't think it's like, gross or whatever?"

Sam slides his finger a tiny bit deeper. Ducks his head back down and licks. "Don't think it's gross," he tells her, but then he thinks she might not hear him over the sound of her gasp so he says it again: "I promise I don't think it's gross."

Andy looks at him skeptically for a moment; still, she must remember what he told her, no matter what, because. She lets him.

Sam's never actually tried this before, doesn't have much of a clue what he's doing, although he guesses with any luck she might not actually be able to tell. She stays propped on her elbows to watch.

Jerry said some crap about making letters with your tongue once, which Sam figures is about as good a place to start as any. Only then that isn't getting him near her clit basically at all (A, B, C, and D all trace around it, for christ's sakes, which has her whining at him out of impatience more than anything else) so Sam gives up on that and starts licking lowercase L's over and over. She's slippery and strange, the skin between her legs not quite the same texture as everywhere else. Sam has just enough time to figure out she likes the flat of his tongue better than the tip before a hand clamps down on his hair and she starts clenching like crazy.

(Which-- fuck, he didn't know she was that close. Sam eases his hips up off the mattress so he doesn't inadvertently copy her.)

Andy keens. And god, getting her off is always fun, but right now--with her smeared messy all down his chin, the private animal smell of her absolutely everywhere--it's hotter than any skin flick Sam's ever seen. "Sam Sam Sam," she gasps noisily, head dropping back until he can see the pointy line of her chin.

It makes for a pretty picture. She stays up on her elbows as she arches, tight girl-breasts pointed straight at the ceiling; Sam's so transfixed he actually stops licking. But by then she doesn't even need the help, soft-wet muscle closing around his finger like a vice as she finishes up.

"Feel good?" he asks, wiggling the finger a little. Andy whines in answer, hips bucking. She can do two orgasms back to back no problem, Sam knows, sometimes even three. "How's this?" He slides the finger out and starts working in two instead, keeping them as pressed together as humanly possible.

It-- it does not feel like they're going to need the lube.

"Oh." Andy's eyes fly open as he bends down to lick again. "Um, that's--"

Sam stops at the first knuckle, working his tongue from side to side. "Hurt?"

"No, but like--" Andy gulps, pulling her legs up a little; Sam's fingers slide in another accidental inch. "--Full," she finishes on a groan, pulling her legs back even more. Sam can see the whole of her now, coral pink and swollen. The way she's breathing, 'full' doesn't necessarily sound like a bad thing.

Sure enough it happens again maybe a couple of minutes later, Sam's fingers almost all-the-way deep and her actually moving herself up and down on them a little, his tongue pressed hard and flat against her clit. She says his name again while she comes. Sam feels her body clutching, stretching against the pressure and jesus, this is definitely a thing he's going to want to do to her a lot in the future. He kisses the inside of her thigh as he eases out.

"Okay," Andy says after a moment, sitting up shakily. She looks a little dazed. "Okay, like--" She pushes her hair out of her face and tugs him back up the bed so he's the one lying down with his head on the pillow, her dark gaze flicking over his body like he's a word problem she's trying to figure out how to set up. She bites her lip a bit, then goes for the button on his jeans.

"Andy." Sam groans even as he's one hundred percent lifting his hips up to help her, shucking the denim and his sticky boxers off all in one go. For a second Andy just blatantly stares, eyes bouncing from his dick to his face and back down again: she's never had him naked like this either, he guesses. He's leaking all the hell over his stomach, the head all slick with it. Andy swipes one experimental finger over the slit and Sam's whole body jerks. "Jesus," he manages, all ragged breath and both hands fisting instinctively in her neon sheets.

Andy smiles. At first she just runs the tips of her fingers up and down the length of him, almost unbearably gentle, but after a minute she wraps her hand all the way around. Her palm is very, very warm. She jacks a couple of times, just slowly, tightening her grip and then loosening it again like she's not totally sure how he likes it: "Am I doing this right?" she asks him, glancing up worriedly, and her voice is so uncertain it kind of kills him a little bit. "I don't--you'd tell me if I'm doing it wrong, wouldn't you?"

"You're perfect," Sam says almost before she's even done talking: she is, too, knees curled underneath her and the way her hand looks wrapped around his dick. "Seriously, Andy, I--" He almost says it then, stops himself for some reason he's not entirely sure of. "You're perfect."

And--huh. She likes hearing that, apparently; not ten seconds later she's tucking that pretty brown hair behind her ears and ducking her head down, and--oh jesus christ in a prom dress, he is never, ever gonna last.

"You don't have to," he tells her, hoping like all fucking hell she won't listen even while it's coming out of his mouth. "Just because--"

Andy shrugs. "You got to try," is all she says.

She's so close he can feel her breath on the underside, warm and humid. Sam actually considers tucking his hands under his back so he doesn't reach for her. "Andy..." he groans, trying not to sound as desperate as he feels. He's had this done to him a couple times before, Corrine and then again in the student government girl's basement tv room, but that definitely doesn't mean he's in any way used to it.

Andy blinks up at him through her eyelashes, considering; she's got just enough mascara on to look startled. "Alright," she says after a beat, business-like. "So, like. Definitely let me know if I'm doing this the right way, okay?"

You couldn't do it wrong, Sam thinks about telling her, but then she opens her pink mouth and he completely loses all words. Her tongue is obscenely warm. Sam gets halfway through a Hail Mary before he's confident he isn't going to lose it someplace he wasn't invited.

Andy's eyes stay glued to his face the entire time, razor-sharp and curious. At first she just licks, soft pulses everywhere like she's testing him out, and it takes Sam a minute to realize what she's actually doing is cleaning him up, how messy he got himself without even being touched. Which-- "Jesus."

So. That's the Our Father then, and twice before Sam can even think about untangling his fists from the sheets. When he checks back in Andy looks like she's grinning. And god, watching is probably the worst thing Sam could do to avoid blowing his load, but-- yeah. He props himself up on his elbows anyway, gets a front row seat to Andy McNally closing her swollen lips around his dick.

(Jesus, Mary, and Joseph--)

"Is this all right?" she asks nervously, pulling off right away and then sinking back down again. On the second pass she sucks, and Sam twitches so hard he falls nearly out of her mouth.

"Sorry," he gasps. He wants to be polite in the worst way, he really does, but already her lips are shiny with something that isn't spit. "You're perfect, Andy, I swear."

Those are the magic words, apparently; she ducks back down with a pleased hum he feels everywhere. And yeah, okay, this time it was more of a line--she isn't taking him deep at all, for starters, teeth knocking a bit every third bob when she forgets to be careful with them--but it's possible her clumsy mouth is working for Sam in a huge, disproportionate way. "Okay," he gasps after another minute. "Stop now."

Andy pops up like a jack-in-the-box. "Stop?" She's got an expression like a kid who got her apple juice snatched away before snacktime ended.

"Yeah," Sam laughs. When her face is still blank he raises an eyebrow. "I'm gonna--"

"Oh! Oh." Her brows stays furrowed. "Do you--how do I--?" It takes Sam a beat to figure out she's asking how he'd like to finish.

Which--fuck. In your-- he thinks reflexively, and then absolutely refuses to think any further. "Just--" Sam manages, embarrassingly breathless. He tugs her up beside him on the pillows, kisses her sloppy and wet even while he makes sure and holds them apart from the waist down. He doesn't want to take any chances. "Give me a sec, okay?"

"Sure." Andy's still looking at him kind of curiously. And yeah, odds are even if he came all over the place right now he'd be ready to go again in no time, but he just--he wants--

"Andy," he says finally, one sweaty hand cupping her jaw and his thumb at the very corner of her bee-stung mouth. "You wanna try...?"

"Oh," she says again. She trails a hand down his chest and stomach, palms his aching dick--firmly this time, like she's gotten more comfortable or she's feeling possessive or something. Sam twitches hard against her touch. "I--yeah."

"Yeah?" He tries not to grin, and mostly fails. "You sure?"

"Mm-hmm," Andy says, and smiles back. She sits up a bit, curling her arms around one knee: god, but she's a pretty girl, all these long smooth lines that make Sam want to stare and stare. She pushes her messy hair behind her ear, makes a face. "Um. Do you have, like--?"

Sam nods. "Yeah, I--definitely." He leans down off the bed and grabs his jeans by the ankle, pulls them up and roots around in the pocket. It's possible he spent like twenty minutes trying to decide how many to bring. He settled on three, in the end--not grossly presumptuous, he doesn't think, but there's still room for a margin of error in case they, like, mess up somehow. Andy scrapes her short nails lightly over his shoulder blades while he rips the packet open.

"You have freckles back here," she tells him softly, her warm breath raising goosebumps at the base of his neck. "Sam. Did you know that?" Sam shakes his head and turns around to kiss her, kind of weirdly pleased that she likes to look at him, too. He nudges her out of the way and eases down onto his back: it's better if she's on top the first time, according to Ask Metafilter. Which--yeah, Sam can see how that would make sense. "You scared?" she asks, as he tugs one of her legs over so she's straddling his thighs.

Sam hesitates. There's no reason for him to be, really--after all, he's the one who's done it before, he's not the one it's supposed to hurt--but still his hands aren't a hundred percent steady when he rolls the condom down. "A little," he tells her, which is honestly kind of an understatement. "You?"

Andy shakes her head, warm body and those dark dark eyes. "Nope," she says.

Sam's heart does a funny, lurching thing, like it's throwing itself against his breastbone to get at her. "That's good," he murmurs finally, palming her bony knees. The view is, uh. Not bad from here, Andy sitting up tall with her shoulders back and her wet self pressed against abdomen all slippery-warm. "Don't be." Sam's mouth sticks around the words, like possibly they aren't the ones he wanted.

(Telling her now would be just--

Well. Sam doesn't have the nuts anyway, so it's a moot point.)

Andy grins at him. "You look like I'm about to shoot you." One hot hand slips between them to palm his dick, getting used to the latex. "S'weird," she tells him after a minute. Her fist has a space-age glide to it now, good and odd all at once. "Does it feel weird?"

And--yeah, actually. Enough to cool Sam down a hair, at least; it's been awhile since he wore a rubber. "Not bad-weird," he promises. It feels like his own palms are glued to her knees with nervous sweat.

"Okay." Andy leans down to give him a perfunctory kiss. "I'm going to try--" Her brow furrows as she tilts him at a different angle, lowers herself until they're touching. Even through the latex, she's so warm it's unreal. "Trace said it was like inserting a tampon," she says nervously. "But, um--"

Sam figures out the problem after a beat, reaches a hand down to line himself up gently. After all their fooling around, he has the angle of her pretty much committed to memory. "There," he tells her, clearing his throat. He can just feel the ring of muscle."Now just, like. Push, I guess."

So. Good thing they already established that this didn't need to be romantic. Andy nods hard, though, like possibly he just gave her really detailed instructions and she's worried she's going to forget them somehow. "Okay." She gets her bottom lip between her teeth and does it--the tip of his dick just barely stretching her, only an inch or so maybe. Sam gasps anyway. "Um," Andy says sharply, eyes going wide.

"You okay?" Sam's got his hands on her waist to steady her, squeezes a bit. She's so, so tight. Being inside her even this much already has him kind of weirdly overwhelmed, knowing nobody else has ever seen her like this, how it feels as she works herself open on him. In the yellow light from the desk lamp she's kind of the most intense thing he's ever seen. "Andy?"

"Mm-hmm." Andy nods again, eyes cast downward; it looks like she's concentrating. She goes slow, easing herself down little by little, backing off a bit and then trying again, and god, god, Sam definitely should have let her get him off once before they did this. Every time she moves he's afraid he's gonna come.

Meanwhile, he's pretty sure she's holding her breath: "Andy," he says again, just quiet so he doesn't like, startle her or anything. He can feel her muscles twitching under her skin. "You sure?"

Andy keeps nodding, but she's still not looking at him, and he wants like hell to make it easier for her and he doesn't know how. She's halfway down at this point, where his dick gets thicker. She's got two sweaty palms braced against his ribs. "Yeah," she says after a minute. "No, can you just--can you, like, talk to me for a sec maybe?"

Sam nods back. "Yeah, absolutely, of course." Only then he doesn't know what to say, what she wants exactly--if she's looking for, like, distracting conversation or dirty talk or what. Already it feels way too late to ask her to clarify, though, so: "You're doing great," he tells her finally, which makes it sound like he's trying to teach her to swim or something. "Jesus, Andy, you're so pretty, you're doing awesome, seriously, I love you so much."

Andy slides down the last couple inches all at once.

"Oh," she whines, barely enough breath behind it for him to hear. "I--" Sam can't tell what it is she's reacting to exactly, pretty pink mouth gone slack with shock. She curls herself down towards him a little, close enough that Sam can prop himself up on an elbow, tuck her damp face against his. She is so goddamn tight. "Mean it?" she pants, but she sounds distracted. Then: "God, Sam. Hurts."

Just like that Sam has no problem keeping himself away from the edge. "Get off," he tells her urgently, clutching at her hips. "Sit up, or--"

But Andy shakes her head, hard skull butting into his. "Nu-uh," she insists, touching their noses together. "Wait a sec." She keeps her forehead right close to his, focused; when she finally opens her eyes Sam actually sucks in a breath. It feels like the first time she's looked at him in forever. "Talk to me," she pleads again. "Are you--did you--"

Sam knows what she's after this time. "Yeah," he gulps, fingers closing convulsively. "I mean-- God, Andy, I really, really do. I love you. I swear." Not the most articulate confession, maybe, but whatever. He feels weirdly weak now that he's said it, a rush of adrenaline that came and went and left him shaking.

He doesn't need to worry long: Andy's answering smile is a dead giveaway. "Yeah? You sure?" She sounds a little wobbly but fuck, the way she's grinning. Her face flickers on like a light bulb, degree by degree of radiance until it's lit up so bright and blatantly happy it stops the breath halfway down Sam's throat. "Sam," she murmurs, this soft thrilled sound he's never forgetting until the day he dies. "I love you too, obviously. But Gail said you'd freak out if I said so."

"Oh, Gail said?" But Sam's completely grinning back. He can't get his hands off her face, wants to hole up somewhere alone with her for a week and learn everything there is to know, baby pictures to her middle name. They smile stupidly at each other until Andy winches, shifting on him a bit. "You okay?" Sam asks immediately. For a moment there he actually forgot about his aching dick.

Andy nods. "Just--" She grabs his hand, shoving it down against her clit. "For a little bit, okay?" she asks, like possibly she's worried he might get bored fingering her. Sam smiles. Then just as suddenly he stops: she's wet, he realizes as he rubs, enough to suggest that maybe this isn't the horrible experience he and Ask Metafilter had it pegged to be.

"Is that--?" He twists and gets his thumb on her, one finger dropping down to investigate where they're joined. "Andy. Tell me how to make it better."

"I don't--I'm not--" Andy wriggles around on top of him for a moment, like she's still trying to get used to it. Grinds herself just a little against his thumb. Sam reaches up and strokes the back of his hand over her boob, which is a thing he knows she likes--the roughness of his skin there, he guesses, how it's so different from hers. He flips his hand, works her nipple with two shaky fingers. She's still wet as anything down in between.

"Easy," he says softly. Her face is damp and flushed. She's restless, fidgeting around a bit more now, trying different angles; Sam's not entirely sure if it's 'cause she's uncomfortable, or because she's...not. He eases up on her clit a little, just to be sure it's not more than she can handle.

Andy's eyes widen, alarmed. "Don't stop," she gasps, short nails pricking his shoulders. "Just--um. Please."

So. There's his answer, he guesses. Sam kisses the side of her face. "Not stopping," he promises, and doesn't. He shifts his hips a bit underneath her--just experimental, hardly even a thrust at all. Andy whimpers anyway. "Too much?" he asks, but Andy shakes her head again; "You try," he tells her anyway, voice sounding thick. He thinks it might work better for her that way; also, he wants to watch her do it. "Move, like. Up and down a little. See if it feels good."

Andy nods and shifts her weight to her knees so she's got some leverage. Lifts up off him just the slightest bit. "Oh, god," she says as she sinks back down again, almost to herself. "O-okay."

"That's it." Sam sets his teeth against the drag of it, this crazy push-pull and the hot-tight grip of her body. When he looks down between them he can see her taking every single inch. He rolls her nipple a little harder, stretches his hand out as far as he can so he can touch both at once. "Still hurt?"

Andy makes a helpless noise. "Kind of," she says after a moment, eyes closing and opening again. "But it's weird, like, it also--" She breaks off all of a sudden; then: "Sam," she says urgently. "Crap, Sam, I think I'm gonna--"

Fuck, yeah she is.

"Andy," he groans brokenly, shocked. There's no mistaking that internal flutter. "God, yes, like that. Just like that." Her hips are starting to go for real now, these baby little thrusts as she fucks herself with the same inch of dick over and over. She's wrapped around him like muscle on bone, so tight Sam doesn't understand how she's moving at all. "You're so good," he babbles. "You're perfect, you're--" He's maybe fifteen seconds away from giving up the ghost himself.

Andy shoves herself down one last time to stay, keening. Her dark head tips back and Sam holds off in favour of watching her, greedy clenching and this big hungry noise that fills up the whole room. (Because this is the first time, he reminds himself. The first time she's ever--)

"Oh my god," she gasps finally, collapsing forward onto him in a boneless heap. "Sam. Holy crap, Sam." Her hot mouth glances off everything in reach, messy kisses that are mostly just breath and spit. The bed doesn't smell like artificial cupcake any more, just girl sweat and Andy, that salt-loam taste Sam's got all over his fingers and face. He wants to roll her back and forth across the sheets until the smell sticks.

"Hurt now?" he asks, grinning at her crazy kisses. One glances off the edge of his his mouth, wet; Sam wraps a hand around the back of her neck and holds.

"Yes," Andy gasps after a minute, pulling away to laugh. "But holy crap, Sam, that was like. Crazy good." She looks like she can't quite believe it.

Sam actually feels himself twitch. "That's good," he parrots stupidly. It's official; he is really ridiculously into making her come. "But Andy, I mean, if it still hurts... You should probably get off." It kills nearly him to say it, fucking Ask Metafilter and it's Advil recommendations. Apparently cold compresses are also supposed to help.

Andy's smile turns wicked. "But you haven't got off yet," she points out, rolling her hips, which-- yeah. That right there almost does it. "Don't worry. S'not a bad hurt."

"What the heck is a good hurt?" Sam asks, but it's possible he went from wondering about painkillers to wondering if it's okay to thrust in less than three seconds flat. He leaked so much while she was clenching he's probably half done anyhow. Still: "You sure?"

"Mm-hmm." Andy nods and plants a row of kisses along his jawline. "I'm sure." Half a second later she's lifting off, though, swinging her leg over and flipping onto her back. Sam sits up, a little confused. It's freezing cold everywhere she's not touching anymore. "Come here," she says, looking up at him, tugging at his shoulder so he'll climb on top of her. "Wanna try something."

Oh, god. Sam hesitates. He wants to--wants her spread out underneath him bad as anything, legs open wide and her dark hair everywhere--but. "Andy," he says warily, eyes flicking up and down her prone, pretty body. "It's probably gonna, like-- I don't know."

Andy pouts. "Come on," she wheedles, eyes gleaming. "I just wanna try it." Sometime in the last couple minutes she got confident, hand wrapped around his bicep and pulling like a girl on a mission. "We'll go back to the other way if it hurts too bad."

So. Sam crawls on top and wraps a fist around the base of his dick, takes a second to line himself up just right. The condom is slimy inside his hand. "Hey," Andy says, just as he makes contact, reaching up to flatten her palm against his chest right before he notches himself inside. "Love you."

Sam grins, drops down to kiss her. "Love you too, McNally."

(Other things he is officially really ridiculously into, it is possible: that.)

He pushes in as slow as humanly possible but Andy hisses anyway, her legs drawn up to make space for him and her hot hands squeezing his shoulders tight tight tight. "Want me to stop?" he manages after a second. He would, obviously, he'd stop in a heartbeat, but the truth is it feels even better this way, her smooth warm thighs all open and Sam being the one doing the moving. It's an easier slide this time, to get all-the-way deep.

Andy shakes her head. "Good hurt," she reminds him, locking her arms around his neck. Sam drops his face down against her sternum.

"God," he mutters, pausing as he finally fits himself in. Then: "Fuck. Fuck." The pressure's so crazy it honestly wouldn't take a whole lot extra at this point. Andy scritches along his back in reply, slow and careful. For a second it feels like maybe she's the one soothing him.

"Good?" she asks after another minute, butting her head at his impatiently. Sam gives her the eye-contact she's after and has to grin: her expression is goofily thrilled, like fucking him is some hugely awesome accomplishment. If he had to guess, he'd say she's pretty proud of how it turned out. "Trace says it'll be way better the second time," she announces breathlessly, not even waiting for his answer. "And apparently it doesn't hurt at all by the third. Also, I want to try it from behind next because Gail says she likes that best."

Sam's exhale sounds embarrassingly close to a squeak. "It's, uh. Pretty good this time," he promises weakly, actually wincing a little at how tender his dick is. Probably he needs to come soon if he wants to avoid blue balls. He can't even begin to process the idea of a 'next' right now, let alone what position McNally wants to accomplish it in. "Can I-- Can I move?" he asks. "Or is that--"

Andy nods about six times in rapid succession. Still: "Slow, okay? Just at first."

So. Sam shifts his weight onto and drags himself out millimetre by millimetre, watching her face like a hawk the whole time. It feels unreal, doubly so when he pushes back in, no apparent signs of pain from Andy. "That okay?" he pants.

She nods again. "Go faster."

Jesus. Sam does, his whole brain lit up like a pinball machine on TILT at the careful push-pull. He's pretty sure his dick is in shock, because he should have come about three thrusts ago. "Fuck," he gasps, hips stuttering forward all sloppy and rhythmless. Next time around he's really going to have to work on his finesse. "Andy. Fuck." He wants to stop talking, but he's pretty sure wordless noises would be worse. "I can't--"

Andy crosses both arms behind her head, look supremely self-satisfied. Her breasts are furled up high and tight. "Gonna come?"

Which--yep. Sam definitely is.

His whole head goes snowy like a broken TV set as it happens, the feeling of it sparking at the base of his spine and radiating all up and down his body. Sam lets out a loud, desperate sound. He buries himself deep like a reflex, eyes flying wide at Andy's sharp inhale: "Sorry," he gasps, cringing even as the orgasm's still steamrolling through.

Andy shakes her head, urgent. "You're fine," she promises, grinding her hips up into his like she's trying to drag it out for him, make it better; Sam doesn't know where in the hell she learned that trick, but fuck if it doesn't work really, really well. His eyes squeeze shut again for a second while he rides it out.

(It's never shredded him up so much, the other times Sam's done this. He thought he knew what to expect, but he was wrong.)

He blinks alert a few beats later, the last of it wrung out of him and replaced with this warm, satisfied humming in his muscles. McNally's peering at him with a combination of curiosity and glee. "That was hot," she pronounces, grinning. It takes Sam a second to realize he's still got one hand fisted tightly in her hair; when he lets go his fingers actually ache a little, like he was holding on way harder than he thought. "I like making you do that."

"Oh yeah?" Sam smiles back and ducks his head to kiss her. He can smell the two of them mixed now, familiar and also weirdly new. When he goes to lift off her, Andy tugs him right back down on top. "Me too."

They make out for a little while longer, sleepy-slow, Andy apparently unwilling to let him go anywhere and their skin hot and sticky everyplace they're pressed together. Eventually Sam can feel himself starting to slip out of her, though, so: "Andy, sweetheart," he murmurs, prying her strong-skinny arms gently from around his neck. "Give me a sec, yeah?"

Sam gets up to flush the condom before they've got even more of a mess on their hands, knees like jell-o all the way down the hallway. When he gets back to the bedroom Andy's lying there with her legs sprawled open, nothing shy about her at all. "I'm glad it was with you," she tells him quietly, while he stands there like a statue and just looks at her. "Like. The first time."

Sam--yeah. He kind of wishes she'd been his first time too. "I love you," he says, feeling like he can't say it enough. All of a sudden he's thinking long term, him graduating and her with three more years left in the till. He used to imagine going to Montreal after aging out, maybe looking for work in construction, but... Then again, maybe not.

Andy grins, wriggling happily on the bed. "Come here," she demands, beckoning imperiously. She looks like her pictures on the wall right then, the ones from when she was a little girl. Sam crawls back between her legs and gets a kiss for his trouble, her skinny arms locking around his neck like a vice. They keep pulling until he lies down on top again, his weight sinking both of them into the mattress a bit.

"Isn't it too heavy?" Sam whispers, but Andy shakes her messy head. She's holding on with arms and legs both, the scritch of her pubic hair against his thigh wonderful and distracting all at once. Sam kisses her ear and tries again: "Want to sleep for a bit?" According to her wall clock it's barely eleven, but Sam's so relaxed he bets he could manage it no problem.

Andy nods. "M' dad won't be back til after second period," she mumbles, pressing her face into his neck. Then, with a little more enthusiasm: "We could always get up early, do it again."

"Sure." Sam grins to himself, rolling over until she's on top. Andy whines sleepily in protest at first, but when Sam starts petting her hair she goes dead-weight so fast it's like all the bones in her spine dissolved simultaneously.

"Keep doing that," she instructs.


She stills smells like cupcakes a little bit, right on the soft skin behind her ear. Sam closes his eyes and breathes in.