A Harmless Drink and a Hopeless Romantic

“It’s harmless,” Alex had told his roommates after the party. They’d scoffed at him, which he found especially rich since Beck was clearly falling fast for Corrie and Spencer was already sleeping with Gus.

He wasn’t even dating Rachel. It was just a drink.

Then two.

She liked sipping the glittering kind slowly, twirling the small umbrella between her fingers; a tropical aroma wafted in his direction whenever she laughed.

Rachel laughed a lot.

She was delicate, fine-boned like he’d always imagined faeries to be. Then again, he was a Lit major and the most hopeless of romantics–even he knew he had a history of building fantasies out of human girls.

In myth, Alex mused after drink number three, faeries had sharp claws and used their magick for ill as well as good. So it was a flawed metaphor anyhow.

She blushed when he looked at her for too long. He couldn’t imagine her hurting another living being.

“Did you want…” He gestured at her glass, then the bar, and Rachel shook her head.

“No, thanks. Three is my limit. I should really head home, anyway…my parents are kind of, well, crazy-protective.”

“Nobody’s told them you’re an adult yet?”

“Apparently not. Only-child problems, it turns out, last beyond childhood.” She beamed at him. “Walk me home?”

“Of-of course.” He paid, barely registering the cash he dropped on the table as he followed her out. In a tank top and jeans, she was dressed modestly, especially compared to the night when they met on the dance floor–but her shirt rode up as they left, exposing glowing olive skin.

It was ridiculous the way he had to swallow hard and get himself under control. Three drinks wasn’t anywhere near his limit, so he couldn’t blame it on the alcohol.

It was Rachel. She was intoxicating. He wanted to put his hand just there, at the small of her back, and see if she was as soft as she looked.

Instead, he held back. They didn’t even kiss on the walk home. Rachel took his hand as though it were the most natural thing in the world, strolling down the sidewalk together. There was an innocence about her that affected him more than the scotch.

He went home drunk on her, and fully aware that he would never live it down. Their harmless drink had been anything but.

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