When they arrived at the gym, Ryan and Jason took off with their dates to find an empty table – for four.
Reagan watched them happily walk away, no doubt glad to be rid of the fifth wheel.
She anxiously looked around for Archer. She couldn’t find him and began to worry that he might not show up.
Finally, she saw Enid sitting alone at a large table, flooding her with relief. Enid saw Reagan at the same time and motioned for her to join her. Reagan gratefully went over to sit with her.
“Hi Reagan,” she said looking her up and down. “Nice dress. Archer will approve.”
“Thank you,” she said, even as she felt a little jealous and threatened by her. How does she know what Archer likes? Regardless, she was glad Enid thought he would like it. It had been hard to decide what to wear. She didn’t know Enid well enough to call her yet and she didn’t have anyone else she felt comfortable talking to.
“He really likes you, you know,” said Enid, interrupting her thoughts.
Reagan blushed. “I like him too. He’s sweet.”
Enid snickered. “Sorry, Reagan, sweet just isn’t a word you often hear associated with Archer. But he really is a good guy. I’ve known him for a long time. He’s like a brother to me.” She paused as if measuring her next words and Reagan thought she looked sad before she hid it with a smile. “He helped me out of a jam a few times.”
Just then she felt a hand on her shoulder and jumped. When she turned around, Archer was standing there looking down at her grinning. “Sorry PR, I didn’t mean to scare you,” he said and let out a low whistle, “Stand up and let me take a look.”
Reagan stood up and quickly sat back down, uncomfortable being the center of attention.
“You look hot,” said Archer as he sat down, “I think I might be outta my league with you. What do ya think Enid?”
“I think you you’re headed for nothin’ but trouble with this one,” she said with a smirk, “Or if you’re lucky, maybe she’ll straighten your ass up. You know we all have bets. Rainbow’s holding the cash.”
Reagan felt her cheeks growing warm again with Enid talking about her like she wasn’t even there. Archer looked at Reagan, but was talking to Enid. “I hope you bet on Reagan,” he said. Then he looked directly at Enid, changing the subject. “I brought a little sauce for the punch bowl. Why don’t you sneak it in while nobody’s over there? Get this party rocking?”
“Hell yeah!” said Enid, “Where is it?”
Sauce? wondered Reagan, were they were going to spike the punch? For the whole school to drink? It made her a bit nervous. She had never drank alcohol before, although she was pretty sure Ryan had.
Archer looked at Reagan and winked. “We’ll just do one and keep the other one virgin,” he said as Enid made her way over to the punch bowl.
Reagan was embarrassed at the double meaning he intended when he said virgin. Uncomfortable, she looked around and saw Ryan and Rosa across the room watching, so she smiled at them. Archer followed her gaze.
“Ah, so Ryan is keeping an eye on his sister? What’s the matter? Don’t you trust me?”
“I do. He doesn’t. You have a reputation,” she explained.
“I’m glad you trust me,” he said grinning, because I really like you Reagan. You have spunk.”
“I like you too,” she said softly.
“Hey Arch!” said Jerry as he walked up with Rainbow and Pete. “We’re here. How long we gotta hang before we move this party to the clubhouse.”
“The clubhouse?” asked Reagan.
“Yes. I figure you can get us in, right? Then we don’t have to worry about ‘chaperones’,” said Archer.
Reagan looked up at Jerry. “You mean the clubhouse at the park? I don’t know….” she said, “I mean, I have to ask Ryan how he gets in.”
“Here he comes now, ask away,” said Pete.
She looked around and sure enough Ryan and Rosa were walking towards them. Oh crap!
“Hey Rea, how’s it going?” he asked, eyeing Archer like he might want to kick his ass, just for principle, even though Archer was twice his size.
Before she could answer, Jerry spoke up. “She needs to know how to get into the clubhouse – kid.”
Ryan looked back and forth between her, Archer and Jerry. “I am going to be using it tonight. Sorry dudes.”
Jerry gave Archer a look that said this boy’s crazy. “Think again – dude,” he said.
“Sit down, and shut the fuck up Jerry,” said Archer.
Jerry glared at Archer but did as he was told.
Then Archer directed his attention to her brother. “Hey, Ryan, isn’t it?” said Archer, and put his arm around Reagan, “Maybe we can make ourselves a little deal here. You see, I wanna leave this rockin’ party early and take my girl here, and my crew, to the clubhouse. How many you got goin’ tonight?”
My girl? thought Reagan and it made her nervous and excited at the same time.
Ryan looked at her trying to decide what to do. Reagan begged him with her eyes not to cause a scene. He swallowed hard before answering. “Me, Jason and our dates. Four of us.”
“Got room for – ,” he looked at the four others that had assembled behind him, “six more?”
Ryan glanced at Reagan. “Yeah, sure,” he conceded, “Meet us outside at 9:00 and you can follow us over there. We can walk from here. It’s only a few blocks.”
“We have rides, you’ll go with us,” he said and then looked at Reagan, “Now, I need to dance with my girl. See you later – Ryan.”
Ryan, thankfully took his hint and he and Rosa went back where they had been sitting with Jason and Kenzie.
Archer wasn’t kidding. He immediately pulled Reagan to the dance floor. He enveloped her in his arms, pulling her close to his body. She quickly forgot about Ryan and everyone else in the gym. The warm feeling of being surrounded by him was new and unexpected. He made her feel safe and wanted. She felt like she belonged in his arms.
They didn’t talk while they danced. She laid her head on his chest and reveled in the feeling. She swore she could hear him smile.
She looked up to see if she was right and she was. Oh how she wanted to kiss him again. And this time, if he tried to use his tongue, she would be ready. But he didn’t try to kiss her, he just smirked at her. “Later,” he whispered, making every nerve ending in her body hyper sensitive.
She was sad when the song ended. When they turned to go back to their seat, she saw Taylor staring at her in disbelief. Well just stare all you want, she thought. You’re not the only one that can get a hot date!
They sat back down and Archer made a point to sit on the bench seat so he could put his arm around her. She enjoyed the way he made a show of saying they were a couple.
Reagan relaxed enjoying the feeling of warmth radiated by Archer’s body close to hers. They were all laughing and joking about stuff, speaking in a code that only they understood so she stopped trying to follow the conversation. She just kept watching the clock, waiting for it to be 9:00 so they could go to the clubhouse and maybe he would finally kiss her again.
Finally, they all met outside and everyone began to get into the cars.
As soon as Archer had Reagan in his truck, he pulled her next to him. Then he did what she had been wanting him to do all night. He kissed her. This time it wasn’t awkward like the first time, and she actually made a little noise because it felt so good. He stopped and laughed. “You like that PR?”
“Mmmhuh,” she said a little embarrassed.
“Good, because I do too, you’re a fast learner,” he said and leaned in to kiss her again.
This time when he added his tongue to the mix, she was ready. It was a strange, yet exciting sensation, and that feeling deep in the pit of her stomach intensified. After just a few minutes, he pulled away. “Damn. I’m not going to be able to drive if we don’t stop. Let’s go.”
Reagan giggled softly. She was pretty sure she knew exactly what he meant.
At the clubhouse, a nervous Ryan let everyone inside. But Reagan wasn’t nervous. Not anymore. All she could think about was somehow finding a way to be alone with Archer again.
When they got downstairs, Jason turned on the music and Ryan went to the bar and began dishing out soft drinks. She was glad the alcohol was locked up, although it appeared they had brought their own.
When Reagan saw the liquor, that’s when she began to get a little nervous. Archer noticed her mood change. “What’s wrong PR?” he asked.
“I don’t want to get in trouble. I’m worried about things getting out of control. I will be grounded for life,” she said miserably.
“Ahhh. Can’t have that now can we?” Archer put his fingers in his mouth and whistled loudly. “Listen up you losers. We are here out of the goodness of pretty Reagan’s heart and if you want to enjoy this again, don’t fuck it up! You mess it up, you clean it up.” Then he looked directly at Jerry and Enid. “And Bonnie and Clyde, hands off the merchandise.”
His pronouncements were met with a couple of groans. “Don’t like it, you can leave now,” he said with an air of authority that dared anyone to challenge him.
“Wow. Thanks Archer,” she whispered. She noticed that even her brother seemed to relax and had pulled Rosa into his arms. Everyone went back to what they were doing, whether it was making out on the couches, playing video games or just talking.
“Anything for you PR,” he said. “Now, I really want some alone time. Where can we go?”
“Um, well, there is a dining room upstairs. Otherwise, just the bathrooms I guess.”
“Dining room it is. Lead the way,” he said.
Reagan swallowed hard and ghosted a glance at Ryan. He was already making out with Rosa, in a corner booth.
She preferred privacy, so she took Archer by the hand and led him upstairs to the dining area.
Archer sat down on the couch and pulled her next to him. No words were spoken. They weren’t necessary. He began to kiss her and it quickly became heated.
After awhile, when he began to trail kisses down from her mouth to her neck, Reagan got a little nervous he might try to mark her and wiggled away.
“What’s wrong?” he asked grinning, “you ticklish there?”
“No, it was…nice. I just – I don’t want you to leave a mark. I’ll be in trouble,” she mumbled embarrassed.
“You sure do worry a lot about getting in trouble. Is your dad an asshole or something?”
“No. Yes…sort of. I don’t know,” she said, remembering how bad he yelled at her and Ryan for nothing.
“Don’t worry. I don’t wanna get you in any trouble,” he said, brushing her hair back from her face and pulling her into his lap. Then he trailed his fingers down towards the top of her breast as he kissed her. “How about if I put a love bite where only you and I can see it? Then, when you see it, you will think of me?”
Reagan swallowed hard. That sounded so – intimate – and exciting – and scary. She began to breath hard. She wanted him to but was afraid to say okay.
“What do you say?” he asked as he continued to lightly stroke the top of her breasts, sending more chills and funny feelings all over her body. She didn’t want to say no as much as she was afraid to say yes.
Without waiting for an answer, he pushed her back and began to kiss her again, moving lower to where he had touched her with his fingers. Then he began to ease the strap of her dress down. She froze again and wiggled away from him.
“I’m sorry Archer. I’m guess, I’m just not ready,” she said sheepishly. He looked disappointed and she felt bad.
“It’s okay,” he said, “It was too much, too fast. We’ll take it slower.” He pulled her back against him and kissed her mouth again.
This she could do and eagerly responded to him, relaxing once again. While they kissed and experimented with their tongues, she kept thinking about what he wanted to do and got brave. “Archer,” she whispered before she lost her nerve, “it’s okay, if you want to.”
He smiled. And without a word, leaned her back and began to kiss down her neck again. But this time, he touched her breast through her clothes. She wasn’t expecting the rush it gave her to have him touch her there, and she inhaled sharply.
At that same moment, the lights came on and they both jumped up. “Shit!” he yelled looking around for the culprit.
“Reagan!” yelled Ryan frantically from the top of the stairs, “Thank God, I’ve been looking all over for you!” Then he looked at Archer. “What the fuck were you doing to her asshole?”
“Nothing she didn’t want me to do,” he said calmly, “not that it’s any of your goddamn business. And for the record, I would watch out who I spoke to like that, unless you have the balls to back it up, asshole!”
“Stop it!” yelled Reagan stunning them both into silence. “It’s okay Ryan. We were just kissing. Nothing you weren’t doing in front of everyone else downstairs with Rosa. At least we opted for privacy.” Archer didn’t say anything else. Just smirked.
Finally Ryan found his voice. “Rea, we gotta go. The driver’s on the way to pick us up. We’ll be in deep shit if we aren’t there.”
She was deflated. “I gotta go Archer. I’m so sorry,” she said.
Archer pulled her to him and kissed her, tongue and all right in front of Ryan. “Bye PR. See you at school,” he said then looked at her brother, “Ryan – I’ll get my crew to clean up.”
“Ummm…they already did,” admitted Ryan, “come on, let’s go Rea.”
“In that case,” said Archer, “I’ll take you both back, it’ll be faster. Can’t have my girl gettin’ in trouble.”