Chapter 5

Ash can tell Chloe really likes being smacked on the ass, more than she’s going to admit. God have mercy on him. As if her being eighteen wasn’t bad enough, now she’s going to want to play games, and the only thing that even approaches Ash’s love of toying with a woman’s body for hours is playing games with one. And her actually being younger, he loathes to admit, makes the prospect of it even more fun.

Ash shoves all of this as far as he can into the back of his head.

Because Chloe’s in his bed, her hair in those gorgeous mermaid tangles, and —

Someone’s banging on his front door.

Only one person would bang on his front door.

Fuck everything. He turned his phone on silent when he went to the theater and never took it off. He flips it back on. There are a ton of missed calls and texts, and they’re all from Thatcher. “One second.” He rolls his eyes. “It’s my bastard of a brother.” He pulls his clothes on.

“Why aren’t you picking up your damn phone?” Thatcher has his arms crossed.

“Is someone dead?


“Then why the fuck are you at my house?

“You weren’t answering my texts. I was worried.

“I’m allowed to not answer texts occasionally.

“You were fucking someone!” Thatcher sounds gleeful. “Who’re you fucking?

“None of your goddamn business. Don’t you have someone who needs fucking?

“She’s busy. And since when do you bring people home to fuck? Jesus. Who’d put up with the fossil museum?

Ash prays Chloe is smart enough to stay in the bedroom. But she decides otherwise, walks out in Ash’ bathrobe and gives his twin a dazzling smile. “Hi, Thatcher. It’s nice to see you.

“Oh my god, Ashton. You’re banging a teenager.

“I’m not ‘banging her!’”

“Why, is she still a virgin?” Thatcher raises his eyebrows.


Chloe looks beautiful right now, all that dark hair tumbled around and not afraid of Thatcher in the least. “What are you up to this morning, other than coming to see Ash?

Thatcher glares. “You are not a part of this conversation, darling.

She crosses her arms. “I’m sorry, I think I very much am, thank you. Being the subject of it and all. Ash can fool around without whomever he’d like. So why don’t you go back to your relationship and let your brother deal with his own?

Well, damn.

“Baby girl has a point.” Ash says “baby girl” just to piss Thatcher off some more.

“You gonna bring her home to Mama and Daddy? See how much they like you bringing the homecoming queen to dinner. He’ll say —”

“She’s a freshman starring in two of the biggest mainstage productions of the season and got into Julliard.

“Dude, if you played Never Have I Ever with her, you’d just sit and drink a handle of vodka alone.

“Get out.

Thatcher trails out the door. “Ash.” He’s wearing their serious face, the one with a wrinkled brow. “She’s gonna break your heart.

“I highly recommend you get your ass out of my business. Now.

Ash slams the door. His stomach knots. He hates fighting with Thatcher more than anything in the world. It’s almost physically painful. They haven’t fought like this in years.

“Hey.” Chloe touches his shoulder. “I’ll get my stuff and walk back, okay?

“Did you miss that entire argument?” Ash snaps at her, because once he starts it’s really hard to stop; the anger ends up shrapneling everywhere. “I definitely don’t want you to fucking leave. That was the biggest fight I’ve had with my twin in ages. Don’t leave and render that particular misery meaningless. Thatcher can be a dick. He likes his money and he likes being a playboy and he likes going to fucking brunch. Anything that jeopardizes that particular lifestyle is unthinkable. That includes seeing an eighteen-year-old who didn’t come out as a debutante, no matter how smart and gorgeous and talented she is, or how much she likes my turtle.

Chloe smiles a little.

“I’m serious. Thatcher doesn’t get it. He’d have said, nice sunset, can we get some brunch now?

“You’re really obsessed with that turtle, aren’t you?

“It’s emblematic.” He begins shedding his clothes again.

“Of what?” Chloe’s clearly watching him undress.

“You’re too smart to ask that question.

“Humor me.

He sighs. He really doesn’t want to have to put this into words. It’s hard and it’ll inevitably sound stupid. “You care. You think things are beautiful. And we sat there in the quiet for like, two hours together. We didn’t talk. We just … were. You can’t share that with most people. I know it’s stupid. Do you know how long I’ve wanted to take someone to Folly Beach with me? Do you have any clue? I gave up a long time ago, Chloe.

Ash stretches out on the bed next to her. He stares at the ceiling. It’s easier that way. “That’s what I mean when I talk about the turtle.

“You’ve been really, really lonely for a really long time.” She turns on her belly and lies next to him, fitting herself into the curve of his side.

“Yeah.” Ash almost chokes because he’s never said this to anyone. How can you be lonely when you have an identical twin who’s practically conjoined? He turns to her. “I don’t want to talk about this anymore.

“Okay. We don’t have to.” Her eyes search his face. He tries to keep it blank but he suspects that she can see him breaking open.

He finally breaks the silence. “What is it?

“Your family isn’t going to like me. I knew they weren’t.

“I told you, I don’t care if they like you are not.

“You will when they’re face to face with me and you have to explain yourself. If it’s any consolation, mine will think you’re a faggot rich boy and line up with their hands out if they meet you, so you’re never coming to my house. Ever. Forget it. Okay?

Ash smiles a little. “I guess we’re both sort of in the same boat there, then.

“Yeah, your parents will think I’m a gold digger, and my parents will be the ones secretly hating you while digging for gold.

He laughs. “This shouldn’t be funny. But my parents wouldn’t think that. They might have issues with your age. But not your background.

“Uh-huh.” Chloe rolls her eyes. “They think poor people are great until their boy’s fucking one of them.

Ash sits up on an elbow and looks her straight in the eye. “They might not be happy you’re eighteen. But they won’t give a shit where you came from or who your parents are. They’d like me to marry some rich bitch. But they’d never throw a fit if I brought home someone else.

“You have a trust fund, Ash. I have a pit bull. Parents tend not to like those kinds of matches.

Ash laughs. “I can say a lot of bad shit about my parents, and I’m sure you’ll hear it all. But I won’t say that.

Chloe touches his face. “Kiss me again. I want to feel you and touch you and be close to you again. You weren’t lonely last night.

Ash tilts her chin up to him. His lips find hers and move on them. She presses against him and oh God, her bare skin’s against his, her hand stroking down his back, over his sides, cupping his face. Her hands slide all the way down to his ass, and he rubs his cock on her. She purrs. Her nipples are hard little pebbles through the satin bra slipping against his chest. Ash’s cock rests against her pussy and slips on that same satin. They both gasp.

“I want that.” Chloe strokes his face.

“No.” It takes all his willpower to say it.

“You don’t get to decide that for me. I get to decide that for myself.

“And I get to decide if I want to do it. And the answer is no.

“Why? Virginity is a stupid concept anyway.

“Because when I do it, it will be absolutely perfect. It will not be spur-of-the-moment and it will not be a decision I make with my pants off.

The words “when” and “will” just come out. They startle him. Ash is especially startled when he realizes that he means them.

“Don’t worry about that right now. Just enjoy this.

“You said ‘when.’”

“Shhh. I was kissing you, and you were touching me, and I was about to —”

“No, you said ‘when.’” Chloe looks like she’s about to sit up. “What did you mean?

Ash sighs. “I meant maybe one day.

“Didn’t sound like maybe.



Goddammit, she is not going to let him off the hook on this one.

“Look.” He speaks all in a rush. “If I’m not wrong, and I could very well be very wrong, because I’m wrong about a lot of things and I’m probably not thinking very straight, but if I’m not wrong, I’d like to do that one day. Okay? Does that clarify anything? But you could turn out to be crazy tomorrow or decide you don’t like me or that I’m a weird recluse or I come with too much baggage or I could decide you come with too much baggage or what the fuck ever happens that always ruins everything every single time. Okay?

She nods. “Okay. So this is just for fun?

“I don’t know? I doesn’t feel like it but I guess yes, for now?

Chloe nods slowly again. “Okay.

“You don’t want it to be.


“Why?” Ash is on his back again, looking at the ceiling. Fuck Thatcher. Just fuck him. Chloe was palming his cock and he could have taken her to bed and played with her and they could have had a great time, taken a nap, gone to lunch. Then Thatcher had to blunder in and ruin everything.

“Because I’d rather take a chance. I’d rather see if I could fall in love than play friends with benefits who piece together a fossil turtle sometimes.

“I’ve liked girls. I’ve been in love once and it was a very long time ago and I fucked it up rather spectacularly.” Ash sighs. “Why the fuck am I telling you this? You’re an eighteen-year-old freshman. I should drive you back to your dorm so you can find a nice art school boy with floppy hair.

“I don’t want one of those.” She crosses her arms. “You can’t drag me through the last sixteen hours and then drop me off at my dorm like they never happened. You know that’s not okay. That’s like showing someone the world in color and dropping it down to black and white again and you know it.

Fuck. She’s right. And if he were going to fall in love, which he’s pretty much given up on, it would be with someone like her. And she’s actually arguing with him about it. Like she cares. Like she wants to try it. Like she doesn’t want to just let it go — and she’s risking a lot to do it, too, while he clearly drags his feet.

And he just fought with Thatcher about her. She cares. She thinks things are beautiful. She's eighteen. Goddammit.

“I wanna try.” Ash says it so quietly he doesn’t know at first if she hears.

“You wanna try what?” Chloe says. “Say yes or no, Ash.

“I wanna see if we fall in love.” He says it a little louder this time.

“Me too.” Chloe strokes his face.

“Then let’s try this first.” Ash turns to her again, tilts her chin up to him, and catches her bottom lip between his. She makes a contented little noise and moves against him. He plays with her lips; Chloe twines around him and her hands stroke all over him again, his back, his arms, his chest, his ass. Her skin is so soft. Ash slides a hand down her side; her nipples immediately harden against his chest. It only makes his cock stiffer, and he parts her thighs with his own. Chloe sighs against his lips and straddles him. This time, she isn’t shy about rocking her hips, and her pleasuring herself on him is maddening. When he moves his leg, she whines. When Ash flips on top of her, pulls his briefs off, and slips his cock against her satin panties, she gasps.

“You like me on top?” He makes his breath hot in her ear.

“Mmm-hmm.” She’s all wide eyes and kiss-swollen lips.

“I think you like this.” Ash moves his cock against her.

“Yeah.” Her breath hitches. “I like that a lot, Ash.

He slides against her again, the perfect friction of his cock against the slippery satin. Ash is starting to drip; Chloe’s getting wet and hot underneath him. He moves to the side, and yanks her panties down.

“I’m not going to have sex with you, so don’t get any ideas, honey,”

She nods.

His bare cock touches her wet folds. She’s soaked for him, and that perfect slickness against his cock is a wonderful torture. Chloe bucks up to him and moves her hips, digging her nails into his back and kisses him harder.

“God, Ash, that’s so good.” She barely takes her lips from his and thrusts her hips up at him. He groans and rests his forehead on hers.

“You’re so wet. How did you get so wet?

She laughs. “You’ve been playing with me.

“I’ve hardly touched you.

“I touched you.” Her voice is a whisper.

Chloe is completely wrecking him.

“Mmm, I like this, I can wrap all the way around you.” Chloe’s hands keep touching and stroking his back, but her legs draw up and wrap around him. He gasps. “Oh, that feels good.

It would be so easy, so terribly easy, just to slip into her. So simple.

Ash is so thankful he has some semblance of self-control.

Her pussy slides against all the sensitive parts of his cock, and his head must start catching against her clit, because she arches and cries out. Ash can’t do this anymore; he’s either going to come on her or fuck her. He moves to her side and she whines. “Why’d you stop? Ash, that felt so good.

“Because it felt that good. Shhhh. Be sweet.” His fingers find her and oh God, is she swollen and open, so slick. His finger slips into her without any resistance and she twists on it wantonly. Her hand’s on his cock, and Chloe grips him hard. He’s already slick with her and she uses it to slide her hand over him, slow but hard. She teases over his head. “You’re dripping again.” Her voice is still a whisper. “I wanna lick it off.

“Oh, God, honey. Not unless you want me to come in your pretty mouth.

“But you want to. I know you want to.” Chloe nips his neck. Ash draws in a breath: not just because he likes it, but because he’s never done that to her and she hasn’t done it to him. She’s getting adventurous.

“Not. Yet.” Ash clenches his teeth. He is being so goddamn patient. “Your hand feels so good.

“Ash.” Chloe stops. “I know you want more than a handjob.

“I’d rather go slower.

“Why, because I’m eighteen?

“No. Because I like you more than those girls whose mouths are open before their knees hit the ground. I just want —“ Ash takes a deep breath. “I just want it to be different. If we’re going to be different, I want this to be different.” He doesn’t let her go. Instead, he unhooks her bra with one hand. She laughs, delighted at the trick, as he pulls it off and tosses it. Ash holds her. They’re naked against other, him on his side, Chloe in his arms. She’s beautiful. He could lose himself in her long dark hair, those coltish legs, her perfect breasts, those big dark eyes.

She touches his face. “How did I end up in your bed? Look at you.

Ash’s face gets hot. It’s one thing to see it reflected in your twin. It’s another to have a beautiful girl in your bed say it. “The same way you ended up in mine. It wasn’t fair to pick you to play Puck. Pure typecasting, changeling.” He kisses her again, stroking her belly, but she bucks and whimpers. He laughs against her lips and can’t help but grind against her thigh, either, until her hand finds him again. She stops kissing him for a moment. “Can I have some of the lube?

Ash reaches behind him, into the bedside table, and tosses it to her. She slicks her hand and closes it over his cock and oh my god. Chloe finds his mouth again. He expects that now she’ll do it hard and fast, but she doesn’t; she holds him tight and jerks him slow, excruciatingly slow, rubbing her thumb over his head and the sensitive spot on his underside. He slides a finger into her. He almost loses it, her hand on his slicked cock and his finger in her tight, wet pussy at the same time. Chloe arches up to him; God, her whole body’s begging for him. Slowly, he moves his finger in and out of her, careful to stroke the place that she likes every time. His thumb brushes her swollen clit and she cries out.

“Please, Ash, please? Please, that feels so good.

He loves the way she always uses his name.

Ash rests his thumb on her. Chloe whimpers. He pets her in soft circles and her kisses get more desperate. He stops moving his finger in and out, just strokes that place inside her, loving the wet heat there, and instead carefully rubs her clit back and forth. She jerks his cock harder and faster. Ash gasps. He’s not going to last. Suddenly Chloe flips on her side, hooks her top leg over his so he can still touch her, and presses close to him. Her other hand cups his face. She’s jerking him right next to her pussy, and it’s so arousing he won’t hold it much longer. Chloe keeps breaking their kiss to make desperate, kittenish sounds, begging noises that increase in volume until her forehead is pressed to his and she’s almost yelling his name. Ash is so fucking close; he opens his eyes and finds himself staring into hers, half-shut with pleasure but still watching him.

He loses it, going hard, still staring at her, pumping and thrusting into her hand as he spills onto her wet, swollen pussy. She gasps at the feeling. “Oh God.” Chloe’s breathless.”Oh God, Ash, oh God.” She massages the base of his cock, like she wants every last drop of him on her.

He slicks her clit with come and strokes it quickly. It slides under his fingers, and she gasps. “That’s it, honey.” Ash does it a bit harder. “Come on my hand.” She gets wetter. She liked that, and he files it away. “That’s it, Chloe.” He never uses girls’ names in bed. Always honey or sweetheart or baby, never their names. He doesn’t realize it until he uses hers, and he wants to think about it, what it might mean, but he’s a little busy. Her legs tense; she whimpers with want. Ash presses inside her and strokes her clit quicker, more roughly. That’s it. She hits a plateau, holding it, holding it, desperate to let go, then comes hard on him with a cry, her pussy clenching his finger so that it almost hurts. She keeps peaking; he pets her until she comes down, eyes still wide, pupils blown.

Her hand still rests on his face. Neither of them ever closed their eyes.

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