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Your dad turns to Zev and they both laugh and hug.

"Hey son! I didn't know you knew Lana."

"I didn't know you were her dad! It's nice to see you."

"Yes, you too."

"Shoshana, you asked what my religion is and actually I'm in the process of converting to Judaism. Yaakov is the Rabbi that is sponsoring me."

"Wow, I'm impressed. What made you decide to convert?"

"I always loved it. I had some friends that were Jewish. I mean, are Jewish. It's not like they're gonna stop right?"

You all laugh and your dad pats Zev on the shoulder.

"He's a very bright and nice young man. He has a lot of heart too. He's very passionate about Judaism."

You smile warmly at Zev. Fucking hell, he's perfect. It's infuriating how god damn perfect this man is. He smiles back at you and your mom grabs your hand.

"So where is Griffin?"

"He went home."

Your dad grunts and mutters good before he goes out into the kitchen. Your mom leads you and Zev into the living room. Your mom turns to Zev and holds his hand. Your mom loves to touch people.

"When did you decide to convert?"

"I'm not really sure to be honest. Pretty much since I was able to understand exactly what religion is.. if that makes any sense."

"It does. You know, some of us believe that if someone wants to convert to Judaism, it's because that person was Jewish in another life."

"Well I don't know about that but I definitely will be Jewish in this life."

You all laugh again and your dad comes in carrying a glass of some kind of liquor.

"What are you drinking dad?"

"Scotch."

"No wine?"

"Felt like scotch today."

"Fair enough."

You stand up and take his glass and down it.

"Hey, that was mine."

"I'll get you more."

You get up and walk into the kitchen and grab the scotch off of the table. You pour some in the glass and go back in, bringing the bottle with you. You give your dad his glass and take a drink from the bottle.

"Tzameret, go get a cup."

"Why? It comes in it's own."

"You know your mother doesn't like how much you drink."

"I know."

You take another pull from it then put the bottle down and shrug at your mom.

"Sorry momma."

"So what happened with Griffin last night?"

At the sound of Griffin's name, you stare longingly at the bottle.

"Fuck it."

You pick it back up and take another long pull. Your mom looks down and you feel guilty but the liquor will help with that too.

"Is he driving you to drink?"

"No."

Zev speaks up.

"Yes."

You turn to him and shake your head.

"No."

"Lana, you got trashed last night because of him and you're trying to do the same thing now because of what happened at lunch."

"Damn narc."

"What happened at lunch?"

"Nothing."

"Tzameret.."

"Mom I know. I make bad life decisions, I always have. I don't know why you expect it to change. Excuse me, I need some air."

You get up and walk outside. You can feel tears in your eyes so you take a deep breath and try to force them to go away. The door opens and Zev comes out.

"Do you want to talk about it?"

"No."

"I kind of do."

"That's nice."

He doesn't reply and you sigh and turn to him.

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to snap at you. I'm not upset because of you."

He surprises you by hugging you hard. You can feel his entire chest on yours and his arms wrapped tightly and strong around you. It feels like nothing you've ever felt before. You hug him back and close your eyes. He always smells so good. He sways gently and it's so comforting. He pulls away and looks at you and you look at his lips. He's so close, it's nearly impossible to resist the urge to close the distance. He must be able to tell because he lets you go and steps back. Disappointment courses through your veins and you feel your face get hot.

"Are you ok?"

"Fine."

"Don't lie. Not to me."

His phone rings and he sighs. He looks at it and groans then answers it.

"What Griffin?"

He rolls his eyes as Griffin starts talking and you sit down on the porch.

"What do you think dude? You were a complete dick at lunch."

Griffin talks again and it sounds like he's mad.

"Whatever. What do you want?"

Zev shakes his head and laughs.

"I don't need your help to find a date."

You look at Zev and jealousy takes over everything else. You look away and take a deep breath. No Lana, he isn't yours.

"A double-date? I don't think so man."

A double-date? That will be torture. You can't watch some girl get up close and personal with Zev. He's incredibly hot, there's no way she wouldn't be all over him.

"Fine dude. When?"

You feel like your chest is being crushed. Why do you care so much about this?

"Alright. Bye."

He hangs up and runs his hand through his hair.

"So.. double-date tomorrow."

You nod and close your eyes. He sits next to you and his shoulder is touching yours.

"I won't let him treat you bad. I promise."

That's not even why you're upset but you can't tell him that.

"Hey, what's wrong? What are you thinking about?"

"Nothing."

"Lana.."

"Why did you agree?"

"What?"

"To the double-date. Why did you agree?"

"Griffin won't let it go."

"Right. I'm gonna go say bye, I'm tired."

You stand up and go inside and Zev follows you. Your parents are in the kitchen talking and you pause when you hear your name.

"..Tzameret has to open her eyes and realize that boy of hers isn't going to change."

"We can't force her to break up with him. It's her life."

"Well, she's screwing it up. She could've been married to a nice Jewish boy by now. We should've never let her move out. She can't take care of herself."

You recoil like you were slapped and run into Zev. You're hurt and humiliated and you can't stop the tears from pouring from your eyes. Your parents are disappointed in you and Zev heard it all. You run out of the house, slamming the door behind you and run as fast as you can in your heels. You get winded and stop and lean against the side of a building about a block from your parents house. Zev pulls up in his car and gets out.

"Get in."

You shake your head.

"No. Go home."

"No. Not until I know you're ok."

"I'm fine. You should be worrying about your date tomorrow. I'm gonna get a cab home."

"Lana, please get in."

"Just go home."

He looks hurt and nods sadly.

"Ok. I'll check on you later?"

You shrug and don't meet his eyes. He looks down and gets in his car. He starts to roll his window down but shakes his head and drives away. Another tear slides down your cheek and you wipe it away and pull out your phone. You have a text from Griffin.

"Hey. Can you come over after you're done at your parents? I think we should talk."

You sigh and call him.

"Hey baby. You home yet?"

"No. Can you pick me up?"

"Where are you?"

"About a block from my parents house."

"Where's your car?"

"Home. I just got a cab to my parents house."

"Did you get in a fight?"

"Sort of but not really. Can you please come get me?"

"Of course. I'll be there soon."

"Ok."

"Lana?"

"Yeah?"

"I love you."

More guilt floods your brain and you try to ignore it.

"I know. I love you too."

"I'll be right there."

"Ok."

You hang up and lay your head back. Why do you feel so lost? A guy walks by smoking a cigarette and you stare at him.

"Hey."

He stops and turns around and walks over to you.

"Yeah?"

"Can I get one of those?"

"Oh, sure."

He pulls a pack out of his pocket and hands you one.

"Thank you. Got a lighter?"

He hands you his lighter and you light it. You cough like crazy after inhaling the smoke, you've never smoked a day in your life. There's a first time for everything.

"Is this your first time smoking?"

"Yup."

"Having a hard time?"

"Yup."

He nods and gives you three more cigarettes.

"Enjoy."

"Thank you."

He walks away and you take another drag from the cigarette. You cough again but it's getting easier. By the time you finish it, you're used to it and have a small buzz. Griffin pulls up and gets out.

"Hey beautiful."

"Hey."

He walks over and hugs you and steps back.

"Why do you smell like smoke?"

"I asked some guy for a cigarette."

"Damn, how stressed out are you?"

You look down and he holds your hand. He surprises you by opening your door. You give him a weird look but get in. He closes the door and gets in his side. He drives to his house and you don't talk. You don't really feel like it. He pulls in front of his house and you both get out of the car and go inside. You take your shoes off and sit on his couch. Griffin sits next to you and pulls you close.

"I've been an asshole and I'm sorry. I hate that we keep fighting. I really do love you."

"I know you do. It's ok. Eventually, we'll be alright."

"Eventually?"

You can feel a fight coming. You start to talk and he shakes his head.

"You're right. We'll be fine."

Wow, he didn't argue for once.

"You hungry?"

"Not really?"

"Thirsty?"

"Not for water."

"Beer?"

"Ok."

You don't really like beer but you'll drink it at this point. He goes into his kitchen and brings in some beers. You open yours and chug it and Griffin laughs.

"Well, look at you."

You reach for his and he gives it to you. You chug his and he raises his eyebrows.

"What did you and your parents fight over?"

"We didn't. I went outside for some air and when I went back in, I overheard them talking in the kitchen. My dad said they shouldn't have let me move out because I can't take care of myself."

"What does that mean?"

You lie.

"I don't know. All that matters is that they're disappointed in me."

"I'm sorry."

"It's ok."

He pulls you on his lap and kisses you and grips your waist. He moans and pushes you down onto him and Zev creeps into your mind. You push that thought away and try to empty your mind but you can't. Griffin pulls away and looks at you.

"Are you ok?"

"Yeah, I'm sorry. Just a little distracted still."

"Want another beer?"

"Yeah."

You get off of his lap and he gets you another beer. You shotgun this one and he laughs.

"I didn't know you knew how to do that."

"I've been to college."

He laughs again and turns his tv on. He puts on some kind of action movie and you don't really pay attention, you hate action movies. He gets more beers and some popcorn and you sit and watch the movie together. You end up falling asleep and when you wake up, you're in Griffin's bed. He out cold and has his arm around you. You slowly get up and go downstairs to find your purse. You pull your phone out and you have missed calls from your mom and from Zev. Zev also texted you.

"Please text me back. I just want to know you're ok then I'll leave you alone if you want."

You don't want that but you should. You text him back.

"I'm alive."

You put your phone back in your purse and lay your head back on the couch. You didn't look at the time when you got your phone out so you pull it back out and check the time. It's midnight. You groan and lay your head down on the cushion. Your phone vibrates and you look at it. Zev texted you back.

"Where are you? Are you alright?"

You think about ignoring him but you have to text him back. You don't want to ignore him.

"I'm at Griffin's house. I'm ok."

He replies almost immediately.

"Are you fighting?"

"No. He's asleep upstairs."

"Oh. Did you.. make up?"

"That's what were calling it? No. At least, I don't think so. I fell asleep watching a movie and I woke up in his bed."

"Did he do something while you were sleeping?!"

"What? No, calm down."

"Good."

"I'm going back to sleep."

"Alright. I'll see you tomorrow."

"Yeah."

You put your phone away and walk back upstairs. You lay down and try to fall asleep but you can't. By the time you start to doze off, the sun is up and Griffin is kissing your neck. You groan and push him away and he pulls you against him from behind. His hands slide all over your body and you feel like you're a cornered dog about to snap.

"Griffin, not now. I didn't sleep well."

"You were sleeping just fine during the movie."

"I woke up at midnight and I've been up since. I couldn't fall back asleep."

"What did you do all night?"

"Laid here and tried to sleep."

"You really don't want to fool around?"

"Not really."

He groans and gets up.

"I'm getting a shower."

He goes in the bathroom and you sigh and lay on your back. You're exhausted. Griffin's phone chimes and you look at it. It's a text from someone named Shelly. You look towards the bathroom and hear the shower turn on. You pull down the notification bar to read the text so he wouldn't know it's been opened.

"When are you coming over again?"

What the fuck is this? Who is Shelly and why did he go to her house? You put his phone down and lay back down. He wouldn't cheat on you.. would he? He turns the shower off and you roll back over and pretend to be asleep. He comes in and gets dressed and you hear him pick his phone up. He laughs quietly and walks out and you hear him talking to someone.

"Hey. What are you doing later?"

Is he talking to Zev?

"I'm going out to lunch later with my buddy. I can stop by tonight.. or I can spend the night."

Nope, definitely isn't Zev.

"Oh yeah? What does it look like?"

You cover your ears. You've heard enough. That son of a bitch. He treats you like shit and you take it and he has the audacity to fuck around on you? You take a deep breath and try to calm down. You'll talk to him about this after the date. You want to see how many lies he can spin before he gets caught in them. He walks downstairs and you can't hear him anymore. You eventually fall sleep and dream about nothing.


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Brittney Jeannine Benard
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