Austin leads me toward the kitchen, through a deserted hallway, and up a flight of floating stairs until we’re on the second level. Opening a door, he pulls me into the room, then presses his lips against mine.

“Austin,” I murmur, out of breath with my hands on his chest. “We shouldn’t be up here.

He pulls away, his gaze exploring my face until he’s drawn to my lips. There’s a king-size bed in the room and a white sofa by the window. Taking my hand, he guides me to the sofa, where the two of us sit.

“So, did you open the envelopes?” he asks, yet much like me, we both try to avoid this topic tonight.

I nod, gently scratching the top of his hand.
“I got into all of them.

“What?” His expression illuminates. “That’s amazing!

“Yeah, it is…”

“Why the face? You’re not happy?

“I’m happy I got into three excellent schools, but… well… my father doesn’t exactly approve of me attending Yale. In fact, he said no.

“C’mon, Millie, you know he’ll come around.

“I don’t know,” I mumble, still unable to process his reaction. “I guess, if he does change his mind, you’re only two hours away at Harvard.

Austin pulls back, scratching the back of his neck. His body language changes, or perhaps my chaotic thoughts are reading too much into this.

“I got into John Hopkins.

My mouth falls open. “John Hopkins? I didn’t realize you’d applied. I thought you wanted to go to Harvard?

“Last-minute change.” He lowers his head, avoiding my gaze.

I turn away, my heavy stare shifting toward the window. Outside is nothing but darkness. Not even the moon cares to show itself behind the thick clouds.

We talked so much about this, where we applied and what we wanted to do. Never once did he mention John Hopkins. Part of me feels betrayed that he held this secret from me. No matter what, I’d have been supportive. I just didn’t understand why he felt the need to hide this from me.

“Baltimore,” I drag, trying to make sense of this all. “That’s further from Yale? Not that Yale matters if my dad has a say in the matter. Distance makes the heart great fonder, right?

“You know what?” His lips curve upward with hopeful eyes following. “Why do we have to worry about it right now?

“You’re right,” I agree, leaning in to kiss his lips.

With a sense of urgency, he takes my mouth and kisses me deeply.
His body slowly hovers above mine, pinning me down on the sofa. I let out a soft moan as his lips trail toward my neck, and his hand moves beneath my dress, skirting at the edge of my panties.

“Austin,” I gasp, trying to control my urges. “Not here.

It falls on deaf ears as he moves his hands over my panties, causing me to draw a breath in sharply.

“Austin,” I repeat, pushing his chest with more force. “I don’t want to have sex here. Not with everyone downstairs.

Slightly offended, he draws back. “I understand, but I want you, Millie. I want you.” He swallows, his tone nervous. “I want you to be my first.

We haven’t exactly discussed our past to a great extent. I know he dated other girls in school, and I’d assumed he’d had sex. From the few times we’ve been able to be alone, he knows just what to do. Never does he appear nervous or hesitant.

“I…” I stumble on my words, distracted by the noise downstairs. “I’m not ready, I’m sorry. I know that’s not what you want to hear. And yes, I am aware that I’m already eighteen, and even my sister has lost her virginity, but I just want it to be right, and this place doesn’t feel right.

“I understand,” he whispers, pulling away while struggling, my eyes diverting to his pants to see the reason why.

I pull him back toward me, kissing him hard and guiding him back on top of me. I may not have been ready to lose my virginity tonight, but I still want him and want to show him how much.

With fire in his eyes, his hands move back between my thighs. “Do you want me to stop?

I shake my head, holding in my breath.

Slowly, he slides his fingers into my panties while deepening his kiss, brushing himself against me as I moan into his mouth. His fingers plunge deeper, the sensation causing me to buckle down as my body begins to convulse with every thrust.

“Austin,” I cry, pulling him into me as I finish blissfully in his embrace.

With a satisfied smile, he kisses me softly on my nose. “I love you, Millie. I don’t know what will happen in the future, but right now, I love you.

I stare into his loving eyes and gently run my hands through his bronze hair, admiring how soft it feels between my fingers.

I may have been premature with my opinions on love, but I do know this—being with Austin is something I don’t want to give up. Never has anyone made me feel this way—the constant butterflies, the way we laugh together, these moments of intimacy where he makes my body come alive.

Our future may be undecided, but it doesn’t stop me from gazing into the eyes of the boy who has officially stolen my heart.

“I love you, too,” I whisper, then finish with a kiss to show him just how much.


“Is everything okay?

Andy walks up beside me, drawing his eyebrows together while eyeing Austin with his friends. They are doing shots, not sure how they snuck the bottles of tequila in or why Madison’s older brother and sister haven’t said a word. In fact, I don’t recall seeing them at all tonight.

“I’m fine, just had a talk with Austin.

“Right,” Andy chides, knowingly. “And what does he think about you and Yale now that you’ve officially been accepted?

“C’mon, Andy. As if my dad will let me go.

“Uncle Lex will come around. He always does.

“I don’t think so,” I confess, toying with the hem of my dress. “He was cold… like nothing I’ve ever seen before.

“But that’s just him.” Andy chuckles, refusing the beer offered to him by his friend passing by. “Lex Edwards didn’t become a billionaire because he plays nice. But with you, it’s different. You’re his daughter. Besides, Mom and Aunt Charlie will knock some sense into him, so I wouldn’t worry.

Perhaps Andy has a point. Aunt Adriana never has a problem with setting Dad straight when the situation calls for it. They argue often, the normal sibling rivalry you expect. Dad just gets annoyed when Mom doesn’t take his side which happens more than he cares to admit.

“Then there’s me and Austin,” I say softly. “What if I never find a love like him?

“What if you find better?

I purse my lips, quick to scold him for being such a male. “That’s such a guy thing to say.

“According to what Ava has to say in our group chat, college men are different.

I shake my head at my sister’s behavior. “I can’t control that girl. Good luck to Dad once I’m out.

“So, Yale it is?” Andy questions with a proud smile.

I lean in to hug him tight as I’ve done many times when I need reassurance.

“Moving across the country will be hard, but you’re only a train ride away.

“We’re going to have so much fun. Just stand your ground. In the end, Uncle Lex will be proud you fought him for what matters most to you.

A scream startles us, forcing our gaze to shift toward the pool where Giselle, Andy’s ex, has pushed another girl. The other girl, Seraphina, went to a movie last week with Andy. Judging by the way all eyes are on him, it’s our cue to leave.

“Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” I whisper, not to draw attention.

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