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The first thing you're aware of when you wake up is the pounding in your head. The second thing you're aware of is that you're laying on someone. You open your eyes slowly against the light streaming in through your windows. You look up at a gorgeous man and smile as the memories of last night replay in your head. God, even just sleeping he is the most beautiful thing you've ever laid your eyes on. You sit up carefully, trying not to wake him up and hold your head. This is the worst hangover you have ever had. You remember that your phone died last night and you pick your purse up but its not in there. You look on the table beside your bed and it's already plugged in and fully charged, Zev must've plugged it in for you last night. You unplug it and turn it on. You set it down and stretch and your phone starts chiming over and over loudly as missed calls and texts come through. You hurry to put it on vibrate and put it back down, holding your pounding head.

"Jesus fuck."

"Hungover?"

You jump and Zev sits up and rubs your back.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to scare you."

"It's ok, I'm sorry my phone woke you up."

"I was only half asleep. I felt you get up."

"Oh ok."

You pick your phone back up and check your messages. You have thirty missed calls from Griffin and a bunch of texts from him. You have one text from your mom asking why you called and hung up. You'll call her later. You sigh and tap on Griffins messages. The first one was sent at eleven.

"Want to come over?"

The next text came two minutes later.

"Are you really still mad?"

The rest of the texts were all sent within one minute of each other.

"Are you seriously ignoring me? Text me back Lana."

"Lana answer your phone, I've been calling for over five minutes."

"This isn't funny Lana. Answer the phone."

"Lana come on! You said fine when I said to find a ride, you can't be this pissed. It's not even that big of a deal."

"I swear to god if you don't text me by the time I wake up, there will be hell to pay."

You sigh and put your phone down and Zev sits next to you on the bed. He put his arm around you and you lay your head on his shoulder.

"What did he say?"

You give him the phone and he reads the texts.

"How many times did he call you?"

"I had thirty missed calls."

He puts your phone down and looks at you.

"I don't like this. He could hurt you."

"I told you, he never laid a hand on me. We just argue."

"For now. You don't trust him, do you?"

"I don't know. I don't think he would get physical."

"I hope you know what you're doing."

"So do I."

Zev's phone rings and he looks at it.

"Shit. Be quiet, ok?"

You nod and he answers his phone.

"Hey Griff. What's up?"

He waits for him to talk and he looks annoyed.

"I don't know man. I just got home from work and I kind of just want to jump in the shower."

He pauses as Griffin talks then looks at you.

"I guess I can make it."

He makes a face and you laugh quietly.

"Sounds good. See you soon."

He hangs up and puts his phone down.

"He's going to call and ask you if you want to go to lunch."

"He isn't going to ask."

"What do you mean?"

Your phone rings and you answer it.

"What?"

"Someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed."

"Yeah because a psychopath was calling me all night."

"So you were ignoring me?"

"What do you want?"

"Get dressed. We're going to lunch."

"I don't want to go anywhere."

"Too bad. I'm on my way."

He hangs up and you put your phone down.

"Told you he wasn't going to ask."

"Break up with him."

"I can't."

"Lana, you don't love him. There's no way you could love him, I used to be his friend and I completely regret ever meeting him. He isn't a good person, you're too nice to be treated like this."

"You don't know what I feel."

"And you do?"

You look away and walk to your closet.

"I have to get dressed and you have to go. He's on his way."

He gets up and puts a hand on your shoulder and turns you around.

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to upset you, I'm just worried about you."

"Why? You don't even know me."

"We spent the night cuddling. I don't do that with someone I don't like."

"You like me?"

"What's not to like? Besides your willingness to put up with bullshit."

He smiles and you do too. Your phone rings again and you answer it.

"Yeah?"

"Are you ready? I'm almost there."

"Yeah. I'll be out soon."

You hang up and rush back to your closet and grab a shirt and pants.

"You have to go. I'm not dressed and Griffin is almost here. Wait, where did you park?"

"In front of your house."

You turn to him in a panic and start pushing on his chest.

"Oh my god! Go! He's going to see your car, you suicidal lunatic!"

You're both laughing but you're actually scared. Griffin will completely lose his mind if he finds out you even let another guy in your house.

"I'll see you soon ok?"

You nod and he kisses your cheek and leaves. You hurry up and change and as your brushing your hair, you hear your front door open and close and Griffin comes upstairs and into your room dressed in a suit. He looks at you and shakes your head.

"No. Wear something else."

"Why are you dressed up for lunch?"

"I decided to take you to a nice restaurant. Change."

You open your closet and pull out a black tank top and skirt and he sighs.

"Move."

You step back and he rummages through your closet and pulls out your skin- tight short black dress.

"Wear this, you have to do something with your hair and fix your make up. And wear those black boots that go up to your thighs."

"You never told me what to wear before. Why is it important now?"

"Because Zev is going to be there."

"So?"

"So you need to look good."

"Why?"

"For me to show you off."

Your mouth drops open and you just stare at him. Is he fucking serious? Show you off? You're not a damn gold medal.

"I'm not a fucking trophy Griffin."

"Now you are. Get changed, I'll wait downstairs."

He walks out and you sit on the edge of your bed with your dress in your hands. Now you are? Tears fill your eyes and you sniffle and strip. You put on your strapless black bra and slide your dress on. It comes to a little above halfway down your thighs. You slide your boots on and there's a little gap between the top of the boots and the bottom of the dress. You go into the bathroom and wet your hair in the sink. You brush it out and put mousse in it to make it curlier. You spray it with hairspray then put on foundation and eyeliner. You look like a model, guess that's what Griffin wants. You feel worthless. You walk into your room and put on your black choker with your birthstone embedded in the middle and it fits snug to your neck. You spray some perfume before putting your phone in your purse and go downstairs. Griffin stands up when you come down and moans in approval and the way he's smiling makes your stomach turn.

"That's what I'm talking about. Ready?"

"Yeah."

He takes your hand and you go outside. You lock your door then get in his car. He starts his car and goes to the restaurant. You wonder if he told Zev where to go, he must've. He pulls into the parking lot and you see Zev leaning against his car waiting, looking even more handsome than he did earlier. Griffin pulls in next to his car and you both get out. You can feel Zev staring at you and try to ignore it. Griffin puts his arm around your shoulders and pulls you to his side roughly causing you to stumble. He kisses your cheek and you still look at the ground.

"Doesn't she look great?"

"Yeah."

"You ready to go in?"

"Yeah."

You all go in and a waiter walks up to you.

"Table for three?"

"Yes."

He leads you all to a table and you sit.

"Here are your menu's. What can I get you to drink?"

Griffin and Zev get a beer and you order wine. The waiter walks away and you all look at the menu. You read through it but don't see any kosher foods. A small voice at the back of your head warns you not to ask but there's a lot of pork on the menu. The waiter comes back with your drinks and you almost decide to just order a salad.

"Are you ready to order?"

Griffin speaks up first.

"Yeah, I'll have the porkchops. So will she."

You look at him and as much as you want to stay quiet, you can't.

"I can't eat pork. I'm so sorry, but do you happen to have any kosher options?"

Griffin groans and you close your eyes. Here we go.

"Lana, it's just meat. Eat the porkchops."

Before you can say anything, Zev clears his throat.

"Kosher? Lana, you're Jewish?"

You nod but don't look at him. He turns to Griffin and straightens up.

"Dude, Jewish people don't eat pork."

"It isn't going to kill her. She can eat it just fine, she just thinks its bad for some stupid reason."

"Dude.. the animals that Jewish people don't eat are predators while the ones that they do eat, aren't. The Torah explains that non-kosher animals have negative characteristics that Jewish people would absorb by consuming them."

"Yeah. Like I said, stupid."

"It's not stupid!"

Zev is angry now and the waiter looks like he's unsure about what to do. You speak up before things escalate.

"I'll just have salad."

"No, she'll have a steak and I will too."

"Of course sir. And you?"

He turns to Zev with a smile.

"Honestly my man, I'm not really hungry. I'll just have a salad."

He nods and walks away and you just want to go home. You knew this would be a disaster, it always is. Zev gently taps your foot with his but you don't look at him. You just keep your eyes down.

"So, what did you do when Lana and I left last night?"

Zev narrows his eyes at Griffin and your heart pounds. Please don't say it, please don't tell him.

"Drank with a friend."

"What friend?"

"Lachlan."

"Who's Lachlan?"

"I met him where I work."

"Where do you work?"

"Your mom's house.. Jesus Christ dude, enough questions."

"Why are you so mad?"

"I'm mad because you tried forcing your Jewish girlfriend to eat pork, knowing damn full well she can't. That's not right dude, you were borderline Anti-Semitic. That's your girlfriend."

"You're right. She is my girlfriend."

Griffin takes a drink of his beer and it's quiet until the waiter returns with the food. Griffin starts eating his but you don't.

"Eat."

You look up at Griffin and he's staring at you. You feel like you're going to throw up but you cut into the steak and eat a piece. You know Zev is looking at you but again, you ignore it. Griffin drinks the rest  of his beer and stands up.

"I have to go piss."

He walks away and Zev watches until he disappears around a corner. He leans close to you and puts his hand on your arm.

"Lana, break up with this fucking piece of shit already. I'm begging you."

"I can't. I love him."

"This isn't love Lana, it's fear! I could see you shaking from here. He doesn't love you, you know he doesn't."

"It wasn't always like this. He changed."

"No he didn't, he just stopped pretending."

You don't reply and he pulls his phone out.

"What's your number?"

"Four-one-eight, four-two-four, seven-three-zero-one. Why?"

Your phones vibrates in your purse and you look at it. It's a text from an unknown number.

"Just in case."

You look at Zev and he smiles at you. You smile and save his number. You put your phone back in your purse and it starts ringing. You look at Zev and he laughs.

"It's not me."

You take your phone back out and your mom is calling. You answer it.

"Hey mom."

"Hey baby girl. Why did you call and hang up last night?"

"My phone died when you picked up."

"Oh. What did you need?"

"A ride home. I ran into a friend though."

"A ride? What's wrong with your car?"

"Nothing. Griffin and I went out and we got in a fight and he left."

"He left? You mean he left you stranded in the middle of the night with no way to get home?"

"It's ok. Like I said, I ran into a friend and they took me home."

"That's not the point. Tzameret, I know you care for that boy but I don't like the way he's been treating you and neither does your father. I mean, he's not even Jewish."

"Mom, we've been over this."

"I know baby, we just worry."

"I'm ok mom. I promise."

"Ok. What are you doing? Can you come by?"

"I'm out at lunch with Griffin and a friend of his."

"Can you come by after your done?"

"Sure."

"Ok baby. See you later. I love you."

"I love you too mom."

You hang up and put your phone in your purse. Griffin hates going to your parents house, this will be fun.

"You lied to your mom."

"About what?"

"You're not ok."

"You don't know what I am."

"Do you?"

You ignore him and Griffin comes back in and sits down.

"We have to go to my parents house when we're done. My mom called."

"I don't want to go to your parents house."

"Then drop me off at home and I'll go by myself."

"I want you to come home with me."

Your anger bubbles to the surface and you shake your head.

"Griffin you dictate every single thing I do, you are not telling me that I can't go see my parents. I'm going whether you go with me or not."

"Fine. Don't come over later then."

"Oh, I won't. Matter of fact, I'll get a cab home. You don't have to drop me off."

"Why are being such a bitch?"

Zev pounds his fist on the table and you both look at him.

"That's too fucking far man. Don't talk to her like that."

"She's my girlfriend, remember. I'll talk to her how I want."

He gets up and puts money on the table and turns to you.

"Answer your phone later. I wouldn't ignore me again."

He walks out and you sigh and drop your head to the table. Zev moves his chair closer to you and nudges you with his arm. You turn your head and look at him.

"You look gorgeous, I mean.. damn."

You smile and sit up.

"Thanks."

"I thought you pulled out a shirt and pants though?"

"I did. Griffin made me change. I pulled out a tank top and skirt and he told me to move. He picked this out and told me to put it on. He told me to do my hair and make up too."

"Just to come here?"

"No."

"Then why?"

"He wanted to show me off because you were gonna be here."

He clenches his hands into fists.

"And you just took that lying down?"

"No."

"What did you say?"

"I told him I'm not a trophy."

"And what did he say?"

"Now I am."

He stands and runs his hand through his hair and you find it extremely sexy. Your eyes drop to his lips and you bite yours unconsciously. He notices you staring and sits back down.

"What?"

You shake your head and look at your hands.

"Nothing."

"What were you staring at?"

You look at him and he has a big smile on his face. You can't help but smile too.

"You."

"Why?"

"Cause I'm allowed. It's a free country."

"You have more of a backbone with me than you do with Griffin."

Your smile fades and you look down again. He gently grabs your hand and you look back up again.

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean that in a mean way, I was just messing around."

"I know. I'm just not looking forward to later. Or a smelly cab."

You pull your phone out to call for a cab and it rings. It's Zev. You look at him and raise your eyebrows.

"Really? I'm right here?"

"So is your cab."

He hangs up his phone and you put your phone away.

"You don't need to take me home. I can take a cab."

"I know you can but you won't. Besides, I would love to meet your parents."

"Really?"

"Of course. I want to meet who raised such an amazing girl."

You smile and he raises his hand for the check. The waiter walks over and smiles.

"Is there anything I can get you before you leave?"

"No."

"Thank you for coming in, come back soon."

He puts the check on the table and you pull your wallet out.

"What are you doing? Griffin left money."

"For his. I pay for mine."

"Wait, what? He takes you out and makes you pay for your food?"

"Yeah."

"Oh my god. Lana.."

He looks at you sadly but there's also another look in his eyes. He's hiding it well but you notice. He counts Griffin's money and lays down the difference.

"Hey, I can pay for mine. I didn't even eat it."

"I know you can but like the cab, you won't. Griffin needs to learn how to treat a lady."

He stands and holds his arm out for you.

"M'lady."

You laugh and put your arm in his.

"M'lord."

You laugh and walk out to his car together. He opens your door for you and you give him a weird look.

"What?"

"Why did you open my door?"

"Are you serious? What am I saying, of course you are. You're with Griffin and I doubt he ever held a door for you."

"He didn't."

"Shocker. You gonna sit?"

You get in and he smiles before he closes the door. He gets in his side and starts his car. He keeps looking over at your hand and you know he wants to hold it. You get butterflies just thinking about it. You give him the directions to your parents house and he looks over again. You smile and hold your hand out.

"I won't tell if you don't."

He beams and doesn't hesitate to hold your hand tightly in his. It feels like you've been struck been lightening and you have to resist the urge to kiss him. He isn't yours and he's only being nice. You're Jewish, he probably doesn't date Jews. How does he know so much about Judaism? He pulls in front of your parents house and you reach for your handle. He practically jumps out of the car to open your door before you do. You laugh and he smiles and holds his hand out. You take it and he helps you out of the car. You can tell he doesn't want to let go of it but he does. You walk up onto the porch and open the door.

"Mom? Dad? It's me."

Your mom walks in and smiles.

"Tzameret, you look beautiful baby!"

"Thanks momma."

"Tzameret?"

Zev looks lost.

"It's my Hebrew name."

"Oh right, of course. I'm an idiot."

Your mom turns to Zev and holds her hand out.

"I'm Mai, Tzameret's mother. And you are?"

He shakes her hand and smiles.

"My name is Zev."

"He's the friend we were out with."

"Oh, your Griffin's friend?"

She lets go of his hand and he blushes lightly.

"I wouldn't call it that. I don't like him, I actually just ran into him and met your daughter last night."

"Yeah, he gave me a ride home. He even stayed to make sure I was ok."

Your mom looks at him, a smile on her face. She holds his hand and pats it.

"Then you're alright to me. Thank you for looking after her."

"It was no problem at all. If you don't mind me asking, what's your Hebrew name?"

"Shoshana."

"That's pretty."

"Thank you dear. What is your religion?"

"Tzameret, my sweet girl! Look at you, you look like you should be in one of those gameshows your mother watches."

You laugh and hug your dad, who came in from the kitchen. His favorite place in the house besides the bed.

"Thanks dad."

Zev steps forward and smiles at your dad.

"Yaakov?!"





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Brittney Jeannine Benard
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