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Excerpt

Excerpt

The V Club

Chapter Six

Danny yanked Debbie's shirt off over her head, then grabbed the back of her neck and pulled her to him. Debbie gasped. If there was one great thing about fooling around with Danny Brown, it was that he was very self-assured. Not like those guys who were so afraid to go in for the kiss, they bumped noses with you awkwardly before finally mauling you with their tongue. No. Danny definitely knew what he was doing. No wonder Liana Hull was still so tweaked that he'd broken up with her.

They fell back on his bed together and Danny moved in on top of her. She was kissing his neck when she felt his hand sliding toward the zipper on her skirt.

"Danny...no," she said firmly, pushing his fingers away.

"Come on, Deb," he said in her ear. "I've got condoms."

"Goody for you. Maybe you can make some water balloons or something. Because I'm still not going to do it with you." Debbie kissed him on the shoulder. "How many times are we going to go through this?"

"All right, fine. But one of these days I'm going to break you down," Danny said, nuzzling her neck.

In your dreams, she thought.

"God, you're so hot," Danny whispered. In the dark his voice and his touch sent even greater waves of pleasure through her.

Danny moved down her neck and started kissing her shoulders and chest, giving Debbie a perfect view of the digital clock on the dresser at the foot of his bed. The red numbers read 9:55.

"Damn! I gotta go!" she said, sitting up straight and knocking Danny right off her.

"Seriously?" he asked, his breath ragged and loud in the darkness. "Now?"

"I'm supposed to be home by ten," Debbie said, groping around for her T-shirt.

She felt the weight of the bed shift as Danny got up and crossed the room. The overhead light flicked on and Debbie found the light blue cotton shirt balled up at her feet. She grabbed it and yanked it on.

"Sorry I have to run," she said, shoving her foot into her boot.

"Whatever," Danny said. "I promised my dad I'd work on my Penn State application tonight anyway." He pulled a form over to him and opened to the first page, scratching at the back of his blond crew cut.

"You're applying there?" Debbie asked as she twisted her skirt around.

"Yeah. It's my first choice," Danny said. "Plus I might be able to walk onto the soccer team."

Debbie glimpsed a fat blue Penn State catalog on the corner of his desk and leaned over him to pick it up. It couldn't hurt to look through the thing, right? See what other majors they did have -- just in case. As much as she didn't like to think about it, FIT was by no means a sure thing. It might not even be a possibility, what with the stiff competition for the Treemont scholarship. Maybe Penn State could still be her backup plan. As her mother had said, it would make her father happy, and even though she changed her mind every five minutes as to whether or not that was important, she might as well consider the possibility.

"Mind if I borrow this?" Debbie asked, flipping through the pages.

"Knock yourself out," Danny said with a shrug.

"Thanks." Debbie shoved the thick book into her bag. "I'll see you tomorrow."

"Later."

Debbie rushed down the stairs and out to the car. If she made all the lights, she would only be five minutes late. When it came to Debbie Patel's parents, it was all about keeping them just happy enough and just enough in the dark.

• • •

Eric leaned Mandy back against the arm of the couch as he kissed her, shifting until he was lying next to her with one leg hooked around hers. He slipped his hand up under her sweater, tickling her skin. Mandy tried to concentrate on him. On his lips and his hands and his gentle touch, but she kept feeling herself going rigid. Her fingers were flat on the couch instead of clutching his shoulders or pulling his shirt out from his jeans so she could touch his back. She couldn't stop thinking about that argument she'd overheard her parents having. And if there was one thing that could kill her libido dead, it was her parents' faces looming across her mind's eye while Eric's hands were cupping her breasts.

Ew.

Eric slid his lips along her jaw and down to her neck and Mandy sat up. Eric fell half off the couch in surprise.

"Hey, baby. What's wrong?" He pushed a tendril of hair behind her ear and looked at her with concern.

"Nothing," Mandy said as she pulled her French notebook onto her lap. "I just...I'm kind of distracted."

"A big French test tomorrow or something?" Eric asked. He pushed himself up next to her on the couch and looked down at her notes.

"Not tomorrow," she said. "It's Friday, but this chapter is impossible. So I guess I kind of want to work on it."

"Oh. Okay," Eric said. He cleared his throat and smiled. "I'll just work on this, then." He grabbed his copy of Hamlet before settling back into the couch.

Mandy leaned in next to him and stared at her French book. The truth was, she knew the French chapter inside out and backward, but she just couldn't stop thinking about everything she had overheard. Was it possible? Could her father have done what they said he'd done? And if so, what did that mean for her family?

"Hey, listen," Eric said suddenly. He turned toward her. "Did you think any more about your birthday?"

"Um, not really."

"Oh, okay," he said, forcing a smile. Mandy took a deep breath. She had planned to tell him today -- tell him that she was ready and willing. But she hadn't said it before gym. She hadn't said it before practice. Now was the perfect time, yet something was still stopping her. She just wanted their first time to be perfect. And with everything else that was going on right now...she just felt like nothing could feel perfect. Not with this IRS thing looming and her parents fighting and the fact that she was going to have to find another way to pay for Princeton. It was just too much.

Well, there is one easy out, she thought. The perfect temporary excuse.

Mandy looked at Eric. God, he was so beautiful. And she wanted him so much. She hated that she needed an out.

"What?" Eric noticed her staring. "What's up?"

"Well, it's just. You know that scholarship? That Treemont thing?"

"Yeah. What about it?"

"I'm going to apply for it."

"Why?" Eric asked, sliding backward on the couch for a better look at her face.

"I don't know, I just figured -- "

"It's not like you need it."

"I know," Mandy said, looking away. Why did everyone feel the need to point that out? "But it's...it's open to everyone, so I thought I would try for it."

"Okay," Eric said slowly. "But I'm not sure I understand. What does that have to do with your birthday?"

"Well...apparently the Treemont woman only wanted the scholarship to be awarded to a virgin."

"Yeah, I heard something about that. But how are they going to know whether you are or not?" Eric asked.

"I don't know, but we've been together so long...," Mandy said. "People probably assume we've already done it."

"And oh, how wrong they are," Eric said.

"Eric," Mandy pleaded.

"Sorry." He tossed his book aside and turned to face her fully. "It's just, if they already think we have, then you're screwed anyway, so we might as well just do it, right?"

Mandy suddenly felt sick to her stomach.

"Um. Wow. Okay, that was romantic," she said, standing up and taking a few steps away. She felt momentarily dizzy and had to shut her eyes to steady herself.

"I'm sorry, sweetness," Eric said, getting up and walking over to her. He slipped his strong arms around her from behind and kissed her cheek. "You know I only want us to be together when you're ready. It's just...if you are ready, we shouldn't let this scholarship get in the way. Especially since you don't really need it...."

Mandy opened her eyes and took a deep breath. "I know," she made herself say. "And you know I want to. Just...I don't know, just let me think about it."

"Not a problem," Eric said. He turned her around and touched his forehead to hers. "I love you."

"I love you too." Then her stomach lurched in a way that she couldn't ignore. "I'll be right back," she said, her eyes burning. She rushed to the bathroom and sat down on top of the toilet bowl lid, leaning forward with her head between her knees. Breathing in and out slowly, Mandy told herself to calm down. She just wasn't used to hiding things from Eric. Mandy held her hand over her abdomen. She hadn't eaten much today because of the nervousness in her stomach, which only seemed to be getting worse. And now she had yet another layer of stress, the scholarship. Because even though she'd brought the scholarship up as an excuse, the fact remained that what Eric had said about the scholarship was right. How was she going to convince a panel of faculty members that she -- a person who had been caught making out with Eric in the auditorium, in the stairwell, even in the girls' locker room -- was pure in body and in spirit?

Just breathe. Just breathe. Mandy carefully started to stand. She felt weak but was able to hold herself up fine. As she turned around, a headline on one of the old magazines that Eric's mom kept in a basket by the toilet bowl caught her eye. She sat back down and grabbed the wrinkled issue of Newsweek, barely believing what she was seeing.

The words Teen Virgins were spelled out in huge letters next to a picture of five kids her age, all grinning out at her. Intrigued, Mandy flipped to the article and started to read.

"Saving themselves...pure by choice...healthy decisions...Support clubs raise self-awareness....Virginity clubs are somewhat of a trend...."

Slowly Mandy smiled. She had an idea.

Excerpted from THE V CLUB © Copyright 2003 by 17th Street Productions, an Alloy Company. Reprinted with permission by Simon & Schuster. All rights reserved.

The V Club
by by Kate Brian

  • Genres: Fiction
  • hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • ISBN-10: 0689867646
  • ISBN-13: 9780689867644