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“Hi,” said an unfamiliar voice behind you. A hand landed on your shoulder, but the voice told you it wasn’t one of your boys. Immediately, you went on the defensive.

You turned away from your locker, eyebrows together. You found a boy, a little taller than you, with brown hair and dark eyes. He dropped his hand from your shoulder, but you could tell he wasn’t anywhere near finished.

“Uh, hi,” you said, looking around to see where his friends were. See if it was a set-up: talk to the freak who hangs out with the Bowers gang, see what happens.

There didn’t seem to be anyone with him.

But you looked back at him, and he was giving you a once-over. You knew that look — you got it all the time from Henry. It meant he was thinking about your dick.

“I just wanted to say the presentation you gave in English was super cool. The Phantom of the Opera, right?”

“Uh, yeah, that was me. Not to be rude, but why are you talking to me?”

He was taken aback.

“I told you, I liked your presentation. Why would I not talk to you?”

“Dude, no one talks to me. You know who I hang out with?”

“Yeah, Henry Bowers and his goons. I’m not scared of them,” he said.

“Boy, that’s the wrong thing to say. Don’t let them hear you say that shit,” you said, taking a step closer to him, hoisting your backpack higher on your shoulder.

You’d hoped that by being closer to him, he’d lower his voice. He didn’t. He smiled, obviously thinking that your step forward was about wanting him to be closer, not quieter.

“I just wanted to say I think you’re cool.”

“That’s nice of you. But listen — you should leave now.”

He put his hand back on your shoulder. He rubbed a circle with his thumb, and your stomach grew tight.  

“What if I don’t want to leave?

“You fucking should. Whatever you want, you’re not gonna get it from me.”

“You don’t have to be so rude.”

“Oh, but I do. Leave. Now.”

He left, scowling at you. You rolled your eyes. Some guys couldn’t listen to save their lives, and that wasn’t your fucking fault.

You sat through your last class of the day, unfocused. You kept thinking about that boy’s eyes on you, about how the guys would act if they knew. But they wouldn’t know. They’d probably been on the other side of the school when it was all happening. And you weren’t about to tell them.

When the last bell of the day rang to dismiss you, you got up and went back to your locker, shoving everything inside and leaving, glad you had no homework for once.

Then, you went outside to where the Trans Am was parked.

You knew you were fucked just by seeing your boyfriends’ faces. Even from far away, you knew they were angry.

“Hey, guys,” you said, finally arriving at where they stood.

“Don’t,” Henry barked.

“Don’t what, say hi to my boyfriends?” you asked, trying and failing to cut the tension.

“How ‘bout you say hi to that other guy?” asked Vic, who was looking at his fingernails. “What’s his name again? Toby? Some stupid fucking shit like that?”

You blanched. So they definitely hadn’t been on the other side of the school. So they had definitely seen it.

 “Listen, I don’t know why the fuck he decided to talk to me, but it was fine,” you said. “It was just about like, class and shit. The presentation I did for English.”

“Whatever,” said Henry. “He was flirting with you, anyone could see that.”

“Henry —”

“Don’t. I don’t want to ever see you talking to that asshole ever again,” he said.

“Okay,” you said, voice small.

“You’re ours, baby,” said Belch quietly.

You looked at him, and you found anger, more than you thought you would.

“I know that,” you said. “I know that, I mean it. But I also mean it when I say it was nothing.”

“It doesn’t matter if it was nothing to you, it was clearly something to him,” said Vic.

You had hoped that they wouldn’t have noticed.

“I —”

“Shut up and get in the car,” said Patrick.

Henry shoved the passenger seat forward and you crawled into the middle of the back seat. Patrick followed you and Vic sat on your other side. Patrick draped one arm around you and pulled you close to him. It would have been a comforting gesture, except he was still dangerously mad at you.

You smiled at him, and he glared back, reaching up and pulling on your hair, hard.

You gasped, and tears came to your eyes.

“I didn’t mean to,” you said.

“Uh huh,” he said.

It was clear that while the other boys understood it wasn’t your fault, he didn’t agree.

“Baby, seriously,” you said.

“Don’t baby me,” he said. “You’re not getting off that easy. Don’t even try.”

You hid your face, looking at your hands. Then, you climbed into his lap, curling into him. He didn’t hold you for a long moment, then wrapped his arms around you, possessively holding onto you.

“I’m sorry,” you said.

“Uh huh.”

“I mean it.”

“So what?”

You had no answer for that.

You arrived at Henry’s house, trailing after your boyfriends as they stomped up the stairs and into the house.

When you were all inside, Henry turned on you.

“You’re ours,” he said.

“I know,” you said.

The ride with Patrick had taken all the air out of you, and you had no energy to respond to him with.

“Do we have to punish you? Remind you who you belong to?” Vic asked.

“No.”

“What was that?” asked Belch.

“I said no. I know who I belong to.”

“I don’t think you do,” said Patrick. “Come here.”

You turned and walked up to him, looking at your feet. He lifted your chin so you were forced to look at him.

“You’re ours,” he said.

“I know,” you said.

“We gotta remind you,” he said. “No fucking flirting with some random asshole just ‘cause you think we’re not gonna see.”

“I wasn’t flirting —”

“I don’t care what you say. You let him put his hands on you. That’s enough for me.”

“I tried to get him to stop.”

“You didn’t try hard enough, sweetheart.”

You swallowed, looking away from him.

“I know.”

“Tell me you belong to us.”

“I belong to you. All of you.”

“That’s good.” Then, he paused, thinking. “Come here.”

You stepped closer to him, and he leaned down, breathing in the juncture of your shoulder and neck. Then, he bit down, hard. You gasped and squirmed, trying to get away, but he had your arms in a death grip, and you couldn’t go anywhere.

When he pulled back, you could feel a bruise forming on your neck.

“There,” he said. “Now you look like someone no one should flirt with.”

“What about you?” you said. It was a little joke. Not much of one, but just a little. “Can I flirt with you?”

He grinned at you like he wanted to skin you.

“Sure, baby, com’ere.”

He pulled you onto the couch, on top of his lap. You curled into him, and the other boys piled on the couch after you. Vic sat on Belch’s lap and played with your hair.

“I still don’t like that he talked to you,” he said.

“I don’t like it either. He wouldn’t leave me alone, I had to basically tell him to fuck off.”

“Well, okay.”

Then he leaned in and began sucking a hickey on the other side of your neck. Something to match Patrick’s mark.

God, you didn’t know how you’d explain this to your parents. Maybe they’d just look right past you like they always did — maybe they just wouldn’t notice.

When he was satisfied, he pulled back, wiping the spit from your neck with his fingers.

“Belch?” he asked. “You wanna go?”

“Sure.”

Belch was still angry, but he didn’t take it out on your neck. Sure, he sucked a hickey right under your jaw, but it was the gentle gesture you’d come to expect from him.

Then, Henry knelt in front of you, pulling the collar of your shirt down. He sucked a line of love bites on your collar bone, and you were surprised. It was more private than the other boys’ marks, something just for you.

“So you don’t forget who owns you,” he said after he was done, patting your cheek. Then he sat down next to Patrick, one hand in his hair.

“Am I —” you started, then took a breath to think about what you were about to say. “Am I off the hook?”

“Sure,” said Vic, just when Patrick said, “No.”

“Well then, what the fuck?” you said, a little frantic.

“Just ‘cause they want to be easy on you, doesn’t mean I do,” said Patrick.

“Yeah, yeah, Patrick. Why don’t you just admit that you’re jealous and stuff,” Vic said, yawning a little bit.

“I’m not jealous of that fucking fag,” said Patrick.

“Baby, I thought we talked about this. If you’re with us, you’re a fag, too,” you said, reaching back to tuck a piece of his hair behind his ear. He moved into the touch.

“Whatever,” he said. “I’m gonna fuck you later. Remind you who you belong to.”

“Why not now?” asked Belch.

“’Cause Vic’s about to fall asleep, and I know he wouldn’t want to miss it.”

Sure enough, you looked over at Vic, whose eyes were already closed. He snuggled closer to Belch’s chest, and you laughed. You reached over and messed with his hair and he sluggishly swatted your hand away.

“Fuck off,” he grumbled.

“Not without you watching, sweetheart,” you said.

“Yeah,” he said, tucking his head under Belch’s chin.

You sighed.

It went about as well as you could have expected. Which was to say, it was a tiny disaster. But if it ended in a nap and a fuck, you couldn’t quite complain.