by Lara Wilson

"Not so Bora-Bora-ing Pink or Kinki in Helsinki?"

Veronica glanced up from the latest issue of Marie Claire and pointed a toe at the bottle in Lilly's left hand. "I think I'll be daring for a change."

"Nail polish is not daring." Lilly set aside the rejected bottle and twisted the cap off Kinki in Helsinki.

"Maybe not for you. My dad'll skin me if he sees red polish on my toes."

"Yeah, but Duncan's reaction is the one that counts."

Veronica blushed and Lilly grabbed one of her feet and began to apply the polish. "What is it about painted toes and boys falling all over themselves?"

"Boys are very simple creatures. The more you decorate yourself, the more they drool."

"The reverse is the same, though. I mean, when Duncan wears that certain aftershave, my toes curl up."

Rolling her eyes, Lilly dipped the brush in the bottle. "It's all part of the mating process."

"You make it sound so clinical," Veronica protested, dropping the magazine and raising up on her elbows to watch her toenails turning red. "Where does love fit into that?"

Lilly shrugged. "Not sure it does." She blew across Veronica's toes, then set that foot down and went to work on the other one.

"You're too young to be so cynical."

"I was never young." She dipped her eyes so that Veronica couldn't see the haunted look she knew was reflected in them.


Duncan lifted Veronica onto the carousel horse and leaned in to kiss her softly. She giggled and wrapped her hands around the pole as the carousel began to move and the horse began to rise and fall. Duncan stayed beside her, his arm around her waist, nuzzling her ear as he whispered how much he loved her.

She wore a pretty red and white stripped sundress and her red painted toes gleamed in the sparkling lights. He'd noticed them and his mouth had gone dry and Veronica had known at that moment that while Lilly might be right about the decoration making boys drool, she was wrong about love.

In a darkened corner of the boardwalk, between a closed ring toss booth and the haunted house, Lilly wrapped her arms and legs around Logan and ground her body against his as they fervently kissed and caressed each other.

"Anyone could find us," Logan panted even as his hands tugged at her skirt.

"Makes it more exciting," Lilly hissed back, biting his ear lobe and quivering at the cry that broke from him. She might be the one pinned to the rough wall, but she was the one in control. Love was a tool. Power was what was important.


Veronica smiled up at her boyfriend as he dropped to the sand beside her and handed her a grape slurpee. His arm went around her and they leaned back against a water-worn rock to look up at the stars.

"I like your toes."

She wiggled them. "So, red was the right choice."

"Wicked," Duncan murmured and nipped her neck, his lips cold from his own cola flavored slurpee.

"You make me feel wicked." Setting aside her drink, she turned to him, cupping his face in her hands. "You make me want..."

He whispered, "Veronica," as her mouth descended on his, her lips parting his and her tongue slipping inside. There was nothing soft and hesitant in this kiss and it left them both gasping and on their knees facing each other, hands caressing bare skin, lips burning and wet at the same time.


Gasping loudly, he broke the kiss. "Not here. I want it...It has to be special, perfect." He smiled down at her, his body trembling with desire, and kissed her cheek. "My parents are going away this weekend. We'll have dinner and wine and..."

Veronica blushed and nodded eagerly. "It'll be perfect because it's us."


Lilly leaned back in the corner of the ferris wheel car, legs draped over Logan's lap, cigarette caught between her lips. Her body ached in all the best ways, and the sight of Logan limp and sated, gazing at her from those wicked, hooded eyes, made her tingle all over again.

"If only this thing would break down with us at the top. I'd give anything to ride you beneath the stars."

Logan snorted and took a sip from his flask. "You're going to be the death of me."

"What a way to go!" Kicking off one of her shoes she rubbed her toes along his groin, grinning at his involuntary reaction.


Duncan and Logan walked about fifteen paces behind the girls as they skipped and danced to the music blaring from conveniently placed speakers along the mile of boardwalk.

Passing the flask to his best friend, Logan asked, "So, did you and Veronica have fun on the beach? Get sand in naughty places?"

Duncan rolled his eyes and took a slug of tequila. "Get a grip. I'm not making love to Veronica for the first time in full view of half the town."

"No one was paying any attention, believe me." Logan took back the flask. "So, what are you waiting for."

"The perfect moment."

"It's never perfect." He took another snort and shook the alcohol through his body as memories of his own loss of virginity in the cramped backseat of his dad's Mercedes rolled through his fuzzy mind.

"This weekend will be. Flowers, candlelight, wine, no parents within five hundred miles."


Lilly glanced over her shoulder to catch Logan punching her brother in the arm, and rolled her eyes at their display of testosterone. "So, this weekend, huh?"

Veronica blushed and grinned. "Yeah. You'll..."

"Be gone, I promise. I'll leave Duncan a box of my favorite flavored condoms."

"Don't you dare!" The blush deepened. "Flavored?"

Grinning wickedly, Lilly slipped her arm through her best friend's and skipped her farther ahead of the boys. "Not that my innocent baby brother will have any diseases or anything, but the cherry flavored are my favorite."

"I'm not going to..."

"It's like eating a popsicle."


"Oh come on. Like you've never given it any thought."

"...Well, sure, but..."

"Though you probably should wait till after you do the deed because otherwise he'll probably come like a rocket and fall asleep drooling on your tits."

Veronica just laughed helplessly. "Why do I like you again?"


The weekend never happened. Two days later, Duncan approached Veronica in the school hall and dumped her with no explanation. She spent the weekend sobbing and deconstructing every single bit of the relationship with Lilly.

Lilly comforted her best friend as best she could, but her heart shrank a bit more as the cynic inside her grew stronger.

Love just really didn't exist.


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