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THANK YOU FOR 100 AMAZON REVIEWS!

As promised, I have a deleted scene from Evermore that's six delicious pages long. Please keep in mind that this scene was deleted. The events in the scene may not happen exactly as it occurs here (or even at all) in The Punk and the Plaything. Thank you so much for your support, and as always, please keep reviewing!

xoxo -B
 

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THE PEER
 
   The elegantly carved door slammed shut cutting off the sound and image of our classmates and teachers doing the fucking Cha Cha. The line dance had definitely been my cue to leave. The only one who seemed eager to stay was Jamie until he caught his date making a speedy retreat. I wasn't sure if Jamie had brought Bee to torture her or because he genuinely couldn't imagine this night without her. I'm sure to Jamie his motives were one and the same. 
   Last out the door, I took Four's small hand in mine and kissed it, earning her blush and dazzling smile. No matter how many times I made her melt for me, I could never get enough. We followed our friends down the poorly lit path until a soft glow in the distance began to light the way. It beckoned us despite the questioning glances we exchanged with one another. We'd decided to leave the revelry behind for the quiet solitude, but that didn't mean trouble wouldn't find us instead.
   "You guys," Tyra cautioned, "I'm pretty sure we're not supposed to go towards the light." 
   Vaughn quickly scooped her off her feet when she stopped in her tracks. "Don't be a baby," he teased before tossing her over his shoulder. 
   "Can you blame her?" Jamie teased. "We all know the black characters are always the first to go."
   "Exactly," Tyra chimed shocking everyone. She wasn't usually so agreeable to anything Jamie said or did. I guess there was hope for the frenemies yet. 
   The music had almost faded when we eventually stumbled upon a small gazebo. Vines and rose garlands wrapped around the stone columns while pink gossamer curtains draped the entrance like a canopy. The filigree carving the iron of the domed ceiling allowed the full moon to cast its welcoming glow despite the lanterns. Pink rose petals littered the ground and were crushed under our feet as we reached the end of the path sloping up onto the small hill.
   The intimate setting held much promise, and I was sure Jamie, Vaughn, and Wren all shared my thoughts. The girls were oblivious to our lascivious thoughts as they rushed up the short steps leaving us behind. A silent battle of wills immediately ensued over who'd get to enjoy the space…alone. 
   "Are you kidding me?" Wren hissed. 
   After a full minute of getting nowhere, Vaughn and Jamie had faced off with their fists lifted over their palms. 
   Vaughn shrugged as he and Jamie pounded their fists three times. "Rock-paper-scissors, bro. It's the only way to avoid bloodshed."
   After a lustful glance at an oblivious Lou, Wren sighed and held up his fist while staring back at me expectantly. We both knew it was too good an opportunity to pass up. 
   "Best two out of three?"
   A jerk of his chin was the only agreement I got before we joined in, pounding our fists into palms. In no time, Vaughn lost to Jamie, and when Wren lost to me, he looked like he might actually shoot me, so I wisely refrained from gloating. 
   It was now down to Jamie and me. We'd just finished facing off, fists raised, when I heard a throat clear. Four stood next to me, arms crossed, and as beautiful as ever in that forest green gown. I wanted to kiss that scowl off her lips until she begged me to kiss her in other places. 
   Everyone pretended not to notice Jamie sliding his hand around Bee's waist who'd also pinned him with a withering glare. He didn't even have to pull her close because she swayed into him, allowing Jamie to skim his lips across her forehead. It all happened in the blink of an eye. If anyone had, we would have missed it. They stepped away from each other lips curled, and for the first time that night, I was reminded that they weren't together. They weren't even friends. Not anymore. 
   At that moment, I also realized why they hated each other. Or instead fooled themselves into believing they did. 
   Jamie and Bee resented each other for the power they held over one another. And when you couldn't trust the one person who made you the most vulnerable… 
   "You guys weren't seriously playing rock-paper-scissors to decide who gets laid out here, were you?"
Wren nervously scratched the back of his neck under Lou's line of questioning. If he were smart, he'd plead the fifth. 
   Glancing down, I found Four still watching me. "What?" I asked feigning innocence. Instead, my voice came out all squeaky and high-pitched making it clear that I was guilty. I watched her lips purse and grinned before pulling her back inside the gazebo. 
   After the rest of our crew followed suit, Vaughn slyly pulled the cord holding the curtains open until we were hidden away inside. We all seemed to stand around awkwardly, resigned to share the space while Jamie pressed a few buttons on his phone. He tossed it on the single, long bench just as Iris by the Goo Goo Dolls began to play. 
   I didn't think twice when I pulled Four into my arms. Her lips parted in surprise, and when she braced her hands against my chest, my heart fell into my stomach. What would I do if she pushed me away? 
She was nervous but so was I. 
   Dancing wasn't exactly a talent of mine either, but this night was special. Nothing short of having her in my arms would do. 
   Leaning down, I offered her the only assurance that mattered. "No one else is here. It's you and me. Always and forever." 
   I held my breath as I watched the indecision in her eyes fade away. The last thing I noticed as our feet begin to move and the rest of the world faded away was Vaughn pulling Tyra into his arms and Wren and Jamie doing the same with their dates. 
   Nothing else mattered.
   Four and I both had two left feet, but somehow we made it work. Having my toes stepped on a few dozen times had been totally worth it. I didn't even bother to conceal my disappointment when the song eventually ended. 
   Four was notably silent as I turned her in my arms, putting her back to my chest, so I wrapped my arms around her waist in case she had plans of running away. The time for that had passed. She was mine, and I was hers. I was done with the technicalities. 
   "One day," Jamie announced, "when our kids are old enough, we're going to start our own little league." Pretending he hadn't just been slow dancing with his first love, he put his hands together and swung his arms as if hitting a baseball with a bat. A wide-eyed Bee was now sitting on the stone bench with her fists clenched tight in her lap. She looked beautiful in that red ball gown, and I wondered if Jamie had bothered to tell her so. 
   Four tensed in my arms and the apprehension in her voice couldn't be missed when she spoke. "How many kids are you guys expecting?" 
   "Two," I answered with a little too much confidence. I really needed to learn to tone that shit down.
   Breaking free of my arms, she faced me with narrowed eyes. "That's mighty presumptuous of you."
   I rubbed my hand down her naked arm and admired the red flush creeping up her neck. I wanted to rip away that gown she chose just for me and see where else she was red. "We both know how lonely it was as an only child." 
   Chewing on her lips, she rose on the tips of her toes as if she would kiss me, so I leaned down to meet her halfway.
   "Get a room," Lou coughed into her fist. Trance broken, I glared at Lou over my girlfriend's shoulder. She flashed an innocent smile that I didn't believe for a second. Wren would forever have his hands full with that one. 
   "What about you?" Tyra asked Vaughn already looking ready for a fight. 
   With a meek smile, he answered. "Two." 
   Nodding, she looked away seemingly placated, and that's when he flashed a devious grin over her shoulder. 
   We were both lying through our teeth.
   "Four." 
   No one bothered to act surprised when Lou answered for Wren. 
   "I like things even," she continued. "Two boys, two girls."
   Wren sighed and rubbed his forehead as if already feeling the pressure of Lou's demands. "Baby, that's not the way it works."
   Lou stubbornly shrugged. "Well, then we'll keep having kids until it does."
   Our entire crew snickered at Wren's startled look. 
   "And you, Jamie?" Four questioned when the laughter died. "How many kids do you want?" 
   "Ten," he announced while lighting a cigarette, and he didn't stop there. "Each spaced a year apart." He blew smoke from his nose and said, "I want them to be close." The grin he let loose let us know he wasn't done. "Besides, if I give her the chance to snap back, she'll only worry about messing up her figure. We put in the extra effort, get them out back to back, and in ten years, boom, we're done."
   Crickets could literally be heard in the seconds that followed his declaration. 
   "Jamie," Tyra uttered incredulously. She was the first to break our stunned silence. "It's not like paying off a mortgage."
   "Of course not," he agreed with another wicked grin. "Making babies is a lot more fun than paying off a mortgage. And in case you haven't readlized, Ty-baby, I'm rich as fuck."
   Without much thought, our sympathetic gazes traveled to Bee, who was suddenly visibly pale. 
   "How do you know the mother of your children will even be skinny?" Lou argued with a tilt of her head. "When you saw a picture of Eliza, you couldn't stop drooling, and she'd never be caught dead wearing a double zero."
   Slowly, his gaze lifted from flicking ashes on the ground and boldly zeroed in on Bee. "Because I know." No one had a chance to figure out a response to his blatant display of ownership before he switched gears. "And if Eliza is interested, tell her to give me a call. A lot of powerful men have outside children." As if he hadn't just stunned everyone to silence yet again, he hopped the rail and casually strolled away until the darkness swallowed him whole. 
   "He didn't mean that," Lou said sympathetically. No one had to question who she'd offered the assurance.
   Bee blinked at her in alarm before looking away with a shrug that no one believed. "Then you obviously don't know him very well."

👗 👗 👗

THE END!
 
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