“So what’s the job?” Claudia asked as the three of them got on the first elevator.
“I have a book to review by Monday. Sex position manual creatively entitled THE MANUAL. They call it ‘The Joy of Sex for Generation Y!’ complete with exclamation point.”
“What’s Generation Y?”
“Got it. We’ll find someone to do you. Someone generation Y.”
“I like older men. Gen X works, too.”
“A couple of the groomsmen are single,” Claudia said. “Jake’s here.”
“No way. He always wears too much body spray. I’d need to wear a hazmat suit. Hazmat suits are not sexy.”
“Speak for yourself,” Keaton the bellhop muttered.
“Jed?” Claudia suggested.
“We hooked up in college. He’s terrible in bed.”
“Really?” Claudia sounded stunned. “He seems so confident. Cocky even.”
“It’s a cover. Guilt. Momma complex. You have sex and then fifteen minutes later he’s giving you the ‘I don’t think we should do this anymore’ routine. I told him his cock wasn’t worth cutting through the red tape for.”
“You go, girl.” Keaton nodded his approval as the elevator door opened.
The three of them disembarked and headed for room 424.
“Well…there is one other option,” Claudia said as they reached Beatriz’s hotel room.
“Not worry about it since you’re getting married in five days?” Beatriz asked.
“Not that. Getting you laid is much more fun than me getting married.” Claudia helped Keaton with the bags.
“Then what?” Beatriz asked.
Claudia smiled at her. It wasn’t a good smile. It was a “don’t kill me” smile. Immediately Beatriz thought of a plethora of ways to kill Claudia.
“Ben’s here, isn’t he?”
Claudia winced. “Sort of. He’s one of the groomsmen.”
“You told me he wasn’t coming,” Beatriz almost shouted.
“He wasn’t coming because of a work thing. Then he got a promotion. So now he is coming. I mean, he came.”
“So Ben’s here?” Beatriz glared at Claudia.
“Who’s Ben?” Keaton asked, leaning against the luggage rack and smiling.
“My ex-nothing,” Beatriz said.
“She was in love with him in college, but nothing ever came of it. She’s still a little bitter.”
“I’m not bitter. I’m just still mildly disappointed in him. You know, as a human being. Because he never fucked me, and he should have.”
“Yes, he should´ve,” Keaton said.
“Thank you. I owe you money, right?” Beatriz asked.
“I wouldn’t want to impose.” Keaton waggled his eyebrows.
Beatriz handed him a five-dollar bill. He gave Lincoln a quick kiss and headed for the door with the luggage rack.
“You should leave the rack,” Claudia said. “She’s having crazy sex this week with someone she doesn’t know yet. She may need that.”
“If she needs it back, call the front desk,” Keaton said as he pulled the luggage rack out of the room. “Put the wheel brake on first. Voice of experience.”
Alone now in the room with Claudia, Beatriz started to unpack.
“I can’t believe you didn’t tell me Ben’s here,” Beatriz said, angrily removing her underwear from her suitcase.
“I didn’t want you bailing on the wedding.”
“I wouldn’t bail on the wedding. But if I knew he was going to be here, I would have mentally prepared myself to see him again.”
“Mentally prepared as in?”
“I would have brought a date with me. I have a male escort who owes me. Although I think one of the Real Housewives has him booked this weekend.”
“Your life is weird, Bea.”
“What? Because I’m a sex education blogger?”
“For starters. Are you mad at me?”
“No, I’m not mad. He’s one of Henry’s best friends so of course he’s here. He should be here.” Beatriz hung her dresses up in the closet and started sorting through her shoes. “I just don’t want things to be weird.”
“It shouldn’t be. You haven’t seen him since college.”
“True, but we didn’t part on the best of terms. The day he graduated I went to his room in a bathrobe, took it off and stood naked in front of him. I told him to fuck me like he’d never fucked anyone before. I knew I’d probably never see him again so why not? No strings attached. No pressure. Only beautiful sex. My graduation present to him.”
“I never knew you and Ben had sex.”
Beatriz’s heart stuttered at the memory of standing naked in front of Ben in his dorm room. He’d already packed everything up. Nothing remained but the bed, the sheets, him and her. The way he’d looked at her when she dropped the robe, she knew she had him. Not only did he want her, he adored her. He drank up the sight of her like a man who’d walked across a desert and found his oasis. Or she’d thought.
“We didn’t. He said he was sorry, but he wasn’t interested. He asked me to go.” Beatriz would never forget the burning sting of humiliation. Her whole body had blushed at his rejection of her.
“What the hell? What straight man in his right mind says no to that offer?”
“Ben did. So I said something horrible to him, put on the robe and walked out. I cried all night. The next morning, I decided he was dead to me.”
“Beatriz…why didn’t you tell me this?”
“You were graduating, too. You had more important things on your mind. Plus, it was so humiliating. Definitely not my finest moment.”
Claudia sat on the bed and looked up at Beatriz, who tried looking at anything but her sister and the pity in her eyes.
“And here we are—it’s just like college again. You’re with Henry, and I’m stewing over Ben.” Beatriz sat on the other bed across from Claudia. “It’s just, I loved him, you know? I didn’t let myself love anyone else but him. And maybe that’s for the best. But I spent an entire year trying to be with him, and he said he didn’t want me. That’s fine. No one is supposed to want me. But then why did he kiss me like he did that night we met? Why did he tell me he wanted me on a Thursday, but by Friday it was poof—gone?” She blew into her fingertips.
“I don’t know. I thought he was crazy about you, too.”
“He took me for a tour of campus. You remember that? My first week at Brooks? I told him I was born in El Salvador and only made it to the U.S. when I was ten. You know what he said?”
Claudia shook her head. The sadness in Beatriz’s voice clutched at her throat.
“He said, ‘Más vale tarde que nunca.’”
“What does that mean?”
“Better late than never.” Beatriz smiled. She’d been so impressed that Ben, this blue-eyed all-American boy, spoke Spanish and spoke it so well. He hadn’t asked her any questions about her past, about why she’d come to America, where her parents were. People did that, even total strangers, not realizing that if a ten-year-old girl had to leave her family and her country behind, then it was probably not the sort of story you’d tell to someone you just met. No. Ben said, “Better late than never,” as if he was the reason she’d ended up in this country. And at that moment she’d believed he was.
“I know you loved him. I remember.” Claudia sat on the bed next to her. “Your freshman year was tough. It broke my heart watching him break your heart.”
“It was like I had two hearts and both of them were in love with him. I never knew you could feel that much. And he just had the one heart and it wasn’t interested in me.”
“I thought for sure he’d come around about you. I’d never seen two people more perfect together than you two. Not even me and Henry.”
“In college Henry wore his underwear on the outside of his pants.”
“Now you kn
“I’m very happy you’re getting married to Henry,” Beatriz said.
“I am, too. Now we just have to find you someone to be happy with.”
“I am happy, I promise. Spain was amazing, but it’s great to be back in the States again. Great to be here with you.” She smiled at her sister, a bright, genuine smile that she hoped convinced Claudia not to worry about her. She was so happy for Claudia and Henry. They belonged together. And Claudia needed to focus on her own wedding and not her foster sister’s five-year-old heartbreak.
“You’ll be okay?” Claudia asked, squeezing Beatriz’s shoulder.
“Totally okay. Promise. Or I will be as soon as I find someone to have sex with this week,” Beatriz said.
“God, it really is like being back in college.”
Claudia slammed the hotel door behind her and raced to the bed. Henry groaned as she threw herself on top of him.
“Easy, babe. I had too much to drink.”
“Two beers?” she asked, planting kisses along his jawline.
“And a half.”
“You’re such a lightweight.” She threw her leg over his stomach and he caressed her thigh. “I love you anyway, even if you do have the drinking prowess of a ten-year-old girl.”
“Hey, I’ve known some hard-drinking ten-year-olds.”
“Liar. Kiss me, I’m horny.”
“Best four words ever spoken.” He kissed her on the mouth and rolled her onto her back. “Thought you’d be too tired tonight.”
“Never too tired for you inside me.” She grinned up at him. Her newly manicured hands slid through his dark blond hair. A ravenous twinkle shone in his eyes.
“Dirty talk from my angelic bride? Someone’s been talking to Bea.”
“She just puts me in the mood. I think she’s like a sex goddess. You get near her and you want to have sex with anything that moves.”
“Anything that moves?”
“Or anything stationary. I don’t want to limit my options.”
“How’s Miss Bea-havior doing?” Henry asked as he slid his hand under Claudia’s shirt. He cupped her breast lightly and caressed her hardening nipple with his thumb.
“Miss Bea-having, as usual. She brought her work with her this week.”
“Oh, damn. Did she have the bellhop cart up ten boxes of dildos and vibrators?”
“Worse. She has to review a sex position manual. She’s on the hunt for a fuck buddy.”
Henry unhooked her bra.
“Well, I’d volunteer, but I’m too busy being your fuck buddy.”
“What do you think about Ben?”
“I could be his fuck buddy.”
“I mean for Bea. I still think they’d make a great couple.”
Henry groaned and rolled onto his back.
“Hey, no. Hand back on the boob,” she said, grabbing Henry’s hand and putting it back where it belonged.
“Sorry,” he said, moving her bra out of the way and pressing his hand to her bare breast. She sighed with pleasure. “But Ben’s still got it for her, I think. At least he’s still pissed at himself for not going after her when he had the chance. It could get ugly and weird if those two get together.”
“Or sexy and awesome. Why not? What happened with them anyway? Did Ben ever tell you why he flaked out on her? Because I swear it was love and lust at first sight when we introduced them.”
Claudia remembered that night. She’d been relieved Beatriz had decided to follow her to Brooks College. Beatriz had battled some problems in high school and at least Claudia could keep an eye on her baby foster sister for her first year of college. Newly single Ben had shown up at her dorm room looking for Henry. Beatriz saw Ben. Ben saw Beatriz. Claudia had laughed out loud as her feisty, fearless sister turned the full force of her considerable charm on Ben. Poor gorgeous Ben, who owned any room he walked into, had turned tongue-tied as Beatriz interrogated him. Did he like Brooks? Yes, he loved it here but couldn’t wait to graduate. What was his major? Business administration. What did he plan to do with a business administration degree? Administrate businesses, maybe? Would his work help or hinder the progress of the human race and specifically the rights of women in underdeveloped countries? Um…yes?
Claudia had to cover her mouth with her hand to hide her smile that night. She’d wished she’d had some popcorn to watch the Beatriz and Ben Show. Beatriz had found Ben’s answers entirely acceptable and had proceeded to ask him to show her around campus. Such a simple request and yet Ben had smiled as if he’d won the lottery. As soon as they walked out the door, Claudia had told herself that those two would be engaged by graduation. She knew it in her heart. Well, her heart was wrong.
She looked at Henry across the pillows and saw he wore a guilty look on his face.
“What?” she asked. “What’s wrong?”
“Your hand is no longer on my boob and you look like you just killed someone. I don’t really care if you killed someone just as long you get back to the boob job.”
“I didn’t kill anybody.”
“But I did sort of do something bad.”
Claudia sat up and looked down at Henry. He sat up and leaned back against the headboard.
“What did you do?”
“Don’t call off the wedding, okay? I did it for us.”
“Tell me. Tell me right now.”
“I was in love with you. Crazy in love with you. And I wanted you to be in love with me, too, just as much. Then when Ben met Bea, and he told me he had fallen hard and fast for my girlfriend’s baby sister, I saw the end of the world. So I kind of asked him not to pursue her.”
“You what?” Claudia nearly yelled the words at him. She picked up the pillow ready to hit him with it the moment another stupid confession came out of his mouth.
“She was a freshman. Barely eighteen. And Ben was almost twenty-three. And he’d had ten girlfriends in the last two years. Ten, Claudia. Ten.” Henry held up two hands and wiggled all ten fingers. “My best friend dumping your baby sister? Not good. The opposite of good. Bad even. When Ben told me he’d met the girl of his dreams, I saw the apocalypse.”
“The SEXpocalypse. Ben already had a job offer on the West Coast. Did you really want him having sex with her all year and then dumping her the day he graduated?”
“Well…not really,” Claudia admitted.
“And Ben was an old senior. You know he was twenty-three and she was eighteen? You remember that part?”
“I sort of forgot that part.”
“You would have hated Ben for dumping Bea and then hated me because he was my best friend. I couldn’t face that. I told him you wouldn’t want him dating your sister because of the age difference. So he did what I asked and backed off.”
“Yeah, but he didn’t. Because I was with you and she was with me, they were together for the entire school year. And she was in
Misbehaving by Tiffany Reisz / Romance & Love have rating 5.6 out of 5 / Based on39 votes