We Don't Talk Anymore (The Don't Duet #1) - Julie Johnson Page 0,1

this party, who else will silently mock the masses with me? I need you, Jo. I’m not above begging…”

I folded faster than a freaking lawn chair.

What can I say? I’m powerless in the face of that persuasive smile. And that soft hair tug. And those bright, burnt-caramel eyes, fixed on mine with such playfulness in their depths.

Plus, I have to admit, Archer is probably right. This really is my last chance to quote-unquote ‘tear it up’ before graduation. Between the upcoming senior prom and commencement ceremony, things are winding down in a very real way. The film is turning it’s final reel. The curtains are about to close.


The end.

Hasta la vista, baby.

It’s almost tangible. Visceral. There’s something in the air. Sure, it could just be the marijuana haze or the smoke from the fire pit drifting through the open windows… but I think it’s more than that. We can all feel it. That bases-loaded, two-strikes, last inning sort of feeling has started to creep in. Responsibilities and college orientations and full-time jobs are hurling at us full force. In a few weeks, we’ll be walking across a stage, shaking hands with Headmaster Lawrence, collecting our diplomas, and bidding high school goodbye.

Bidding childhood goodbye.

But for tonight… we are still seventeen, carefree and crazy, drinking cheap beer from tapped kegs, dancing in the moonlight, skinny dipping in the sea, wishing for a summer that will stretch on forever. (Or… if you’re me… hiding out in a spare bedroom, listening to your best friend lose his virginity through the floorboards like the worst kind of voyeur.)

God, Jo.

You are seriously twisted.

Upstairs, Sienna lets out a moan loud enough to make a porn-star roll her eyes. I guess Archer is really living up to her expectations — and vice versa, since the mattress squeaks start coming faster and faster, a shrieking harmony to the pounding bass of my own frantic pulse.

Just finish, already, I want to scream at my best friend, feeling my heart contract in a surprising amount of pain. Aren’t virgins supposed to last, like, thirty seconds? Are you trying to set some sort of record up there?

I pull a pillow over my head to muffle the sounds of them together, wishing for the hundredth time that I had some way out of this hellish scenario. If I’d known this was how my night would play out, I’d never have agreed to come. I certainly never would’ve allowed Archer to drive us, leaving me without a viable mode of escape.

“Oh, Archer!” Sienna screams, her voice breathy with desire. “Yes! Yes! Yes!”

I tell myself to get up. To walk out of this room, back to the party, where the crappy pop music they’re blasting would overpower even Sienna’s most bombastic fake moan. But I’m paralyzed. Stunned immobile as a statue. Even more horrifically… there’s an unexpected, unwelcome pressure gathering behind my eyes.

Why the hell am I crying?

If I’m honest with myself, maybe in the back of my mind… some delusional part of me thought Archer and I might lose our virginity together someday. Just as we’ve done basically everything else in our lives together, from swimming lessons at five to sailing races at ten to our first contraband beers at fourteen to getting our learners’ permits at sixteen.

Given the three-point-five minutes of humpin-and-bumpin happening overhead, it seems my bestie would rather cash in his own V-card with the head cheerleader. It would be upsetting if it weren’t so utterly predictable.



It’s pretty damn upsetting. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t also a cliché cut straight out of some eighties movie riddled with high school stereotypes.

Former wimp locates testosterone summer before junior year, makes varsity baseball roster, becomes chiseled heartthrob, wins affection of high school Queen B.

No, not bee.

B, as in bitch, which is what Sienna Sullivan has been since age nine, when she not-so-gently suggested I quit our youth-soccer team because my periodic asthma attacks were putting her chance at a plastic league trophy in jeopardy.


(Literally. Someone please pass my inhaler, would you? That last offensive play really knocked the wind out of me.)

I hear a groan through the floorboards. Deep-throated. Masculine. I’d know it was Archer even if I hadn’t seen Sienna lead him into that bedroom. I know all his sounds. That little break in his laugh when he finds something really funny, actually funny, not when he’s just trying to be polite in front of my parents. That half-sigh he does when I’m exasperating. The catch in his throat when he’s worked