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by Cari Quinn
Category: Erotica/Menage Erotica/Romance
Description: Genre: Contemporary Menage
Caitlyn Sachs has a great life. A family she loves, check. An incredible design job working with her best friends, Tristan and Matt, check. An amazing home she shares with the guys, double check. But her upcoming twenty-fifth birthday and the desire to shed the burden of her virginity have spurred her to consider something shocking. All she wants is one uncomplicated night with one of her best friends, no strings attached. But how can she choose?
Except there's another problem. Tristan and Matt are already involved sexually with each other, much to Cait's shock. And both men have long harbored feelings for Cait that go way beyond friendship. When they whisk her away for her birthday to a cabin in the mountains, she discovers the extent of their lust--and her own. The gift they give her is one she'll never forget.
But when the weekend's over, will she retreat to the safety of the status quo, if they'll even let her, or will she finally embrace what she's secretly craved for so long?
Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual situations, graphic language, and material that some readers may find objectionable: anal play/intercourse, male/male sexual practices, menage (m/f/m, m/m/f).
eBook Publisher: Loose Id, LLC, 2011
eBookwise Release Date: February 2012
4 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [327 KB]
Reading time: 207-291 min.
When plotting to finally lose your virginity, being swarmed by children--cute as they may be--definitely added a douse of cold water.
Caitlyn Sachs took brief comfort in the fact that her nieces and nephews had been herded out of her mother's painfully small kitchen. But their ever-present scent of peanut butter and talcum powder lingered. Much as she loved the smell of babies, she really didn't want to focus on that angle of the reproductive system right now.
Or for a good decade, give or take a couple of years.
With a sigh, Cait grabbed the only available seat in the room and tried not to roll her eyes at the chaos unfolding around her. The children wailing down the hall. Her sisters arguing. Her mother scowling as she flipped the peppers and onions in her frying pan.
"I cannot believe you let yourself get in trouble again. Three kids already and not yet twenty-two," her mother said to Marnie, the second oldest of her four girls.
Ding ding. And so round one began.
She could be out Christmas shopping. Getting a manicure. Maybe even seeing a movie with one of her best friends, assuming she could drag Tristan away from his desk or Matthew away from the game on TV. But no, she'd come home to do her duty, though at the moment she would've preferred to be anywhere else.
Caitlyn, as the eldest, was the one her mother counted on to be the "good girl." So far she hadn't let her down on that score. And she wouldn't. She had her hormones under control--except for that pesky little problem of her virginity--and her goals mapped out to the nth degree.
Besides, she had a plan to handle said virginity. Specifically, getting rid of it. She intended to ask her best friends which one of them wanted to do the honors.
C'mon, it'll be quick. A couple of thrusts and done!
She suppressed a grin. Yeah, sounded kinda sketchy, but the idea actually made plenty of sense. It wasn't like she could choose between Matt and Tristan. She loved them both equally. Plus they were hot as hell. That the three of them lived together in the loft above Tristan Design, their graphic design business, only made it that much easier to coordinate. Slide in, slide out, cross the hall, and shut the door.
This weekend, she'd make her proposal. Whether that proposal would be well received was anyone's guess, but she suspected that was part of why she felt so antsy tonight. She needed to speak up before she chickened out. Instead she'd retreated to the safe madness of home.
"I'll be twenty-three before I have the baby," Marnie replied. "He's not due for five months."
"Five months?" Cait interrupted, crossing her arms over her chest. "You don't even look pregnant." She looked her younger sister up and down, noting the flatness of her stomach. Her breasts, however, were the opposite of flat. Cait had gotten the typical round hips and bubble butt of the women in her family, but up top? Nothing.
"I do here," Marnie said smugly, patting her cleavage.
"Like you can tell the difference."
"I so can. Went from a C to a D already."
Cait narrowed her eyes. How unfair was that? She was a solid B. Though she wasn't about to get pregnant to increase her bust size. She definitely wanted kids someday, but they wouldn't enter the picture until she could give them a stable family. A father, a mother, both gainfully employed. Nice house, maybe even a retriever.
She wasn't settling, and she wasn't compromising her dreams. Any of them.
Tristan and Matt flashed in her mind. Again. Wanting them--one of them--to be her lover didn't have anything to do with her life plan. She just didn't have a boyfriend right now, and she was going to turn twenty-five next week. How much longer could she wait?
It seemed logical to lose her virginity to them. Separately, no matter what deviant scenarios her mind insisted on coming up with.
Her cheeks heated as she glanced down at the classifieds on the kitchen table. Because a threesome would be...
Amazing. Mind-blowing. Incredible.
This was what she got for watching the cable channels late at night. Worse, watching them with Matt as she had last week. Tristan had been out on a date, and she and Matt had been eating chips and gabbing like they usually did. Half the time they ended up watching cheesy pirate movies--Matt loved to tease her about her kidnap fantasies--but that night they'd come upon a show about alternative lifestyles.
The guy with four wives? Yeah, that was weird. But the woman with two men, who looked happy enough to light up the studio with her smile? Cait hadn't known what to make of her. So she'd gone with the theory that these must not be professional people with public reputations to consider, though it turned out the woman was a lawyer and the guy with four wives worked in insurance.
Whatever. Different strokes for different folks. But not her. She was boringly traditional.
"Besides, I'm going to get my tubes tied," Marnie added, snatching the classifieds off the table. She'd circled at least five ads, most of them low-paying clerical positions.
Cait shook her head and reached for her glass of water. Yet another reason her family frustrated her so much. It wasn't just that they'd had kids. Their poor choices of mates loomed as a much bigger issue. Where were those men to help support their children? Not in the picture nearly enough, that's where.
Her sisters--and her mother for that matter--weren't stupid. They could've done anything they wanted to, but their decisions had limited their choices. She hated that they'd been forced to sacrifice their dreams.
Once upon a time, Marnie had been a dancer. Who knows what she could have been? Ginny had been interested in law, but law school never entered her vocabulary anymore. Her mother...Cait had no clue what she'd wanted to be. All she'd ever been since Cait could remember was tired.
If someone dreamed about having kids and starting a family, fine. But her mom and sisters always cooked up small business ideas that they struggled to make work because they were so exhausted by life. She didn't want them stuck in menial jobs they hated just to make ends meet.
At least they'd provided her with the perfect example of what not to do. She'd never let sex or love interfere with her goals. At almost twenty-five, her record was virtually spotless. Sure, she'd had a few broken relationships and spent a couple of nights with guys. And that virgin thing? Merely a technicality, because she'd certainly done her share of messing around.
She was tired of having the expectation of her first time looming ahead. She knew it would probably be shitty, so she needed to get on to having good sex. Finally. Her irrational fear of an unplanned pregnancy was getting old. She'd gone on birth control as soon as she'd made the decision to have sex, and she'd insist on condoms too.
See, she was thinking practically. Another reason she'd chosen to sleep with Tristan and Matt. This would be on her terms. She could control the parameters, say when it began and when it ended. They'd never push her.
In the meantime, she had to push herself and get home. She had a deflowering to arrange. Though in her case it wasn't deflowering so much as a...deadheading. She grinned. Yeah, that worked. She'd be snapping off a worn-out worry she'd carried around way too long.
She rose to her feet as her mother and Marnie started arguing about how they'd fit a nursery into an already crowded three-bedroom apartment. Before she could leave, her baby sister, Valerie, rushed through the back door into the kitchen, her golden hair hidden by her hooded sweatshirt. Under her arm she carried the basketball that seemed to be her constant companion. Keeping her eyes straight ahead, she jogged through without stopping.
"Val?" Cait hurried forward to grip her elbow. Out of all of them, Val was her favorite. Cait still had hope she could reverse the typical Sachs pattern. At fourteen, Val was a straight-A student and already on the varsity basketball team. "Where's the fire?"
"Gotta study," she said, not meeting Cait's gaze.
"Midterms week, huh? One reason Christmas sucks." Smiling, Cait rubbed her shoulder. "Grades still good?" she asked, raising her voice above her mother and Marnie's continued argument. Thank God Ginny had herded Marnie's two kids and her own two into the living room or she wouldn't even be able to hear herself think. "Should we expect another perfect report card?"
Val yanked back her sweatshirt, revealing the sunny twin ponytails she usually hid under hoods and ball caps. "Grades are fine."
Cait frowned. Normally Val was a chatterbox, but tonight she seemed unwilling to say much at all. Strange. Maybe the family drama was getting to her. "You know, you could always come stay with me at the loft for a couple of days," she said in an undertone. "You could get more studying done."
"No, thanks." Val gave her big sister a weak smile. "I just lock myself in my room."
"But you share a room with Ginny. How can you get any privacy?"
Val gave her an odd look. "Why would I need privacy? All I ever do is schoolwork and play basketball."
That was a good thing at least. She'd never mentioned a boyfriend. Thank God. If Valerie turned out like the rest of them, fighting for a decent job when she'd had the world at her feet, Cait would lose her mind.
Val was so smart and pretty and athletic. God, she didn't have to settle. And she wouldn't, if her older sister had anything to say about it.
"Basketball going okay? I'll be at the game on Sunday. Can't wait to watch you guys destroy the Thundercats." She grinned and waited for Val to grin back.
"I'm not going to be playing Sunday," she whispered.
"I got suspended from the team."
And so it begins. Cait sucked in a breath and tried not to panic. "How come? What happened?"
"It's no big deal. I'll be able to play again after Christmas."
"No big deal?" Basketball was Val's life. Or it had been. "Games like this are what get the scouts interested. Even this early in your high school career, you need to start thinking about scholarships. You're one of the best guards in the state. Believe me, colleges are already watching your performances."
"It's no big deal," Val said again, brushing off Cait's hand. "I've gotta study. See ya later."
"Val--" Cait called as her sister tore out of the room, long ponytails flying.
She released a breath and forced herself not to run after her sister. Val was in ninth grade, and that was a tough year for even the most well-adjusted kids.
Somehow she'd get Val through whatever difficulty had led to her suspension. If Val wouldn't tell Cait what was going on, she would call her coach directly. No matter what, she'd be there for her and get her back on the right path. She'd missed her chance with Ginny and Marnie, but she wouldn't miss it with Val.
Cait glanced at her sister and her mother, who'd now moved their spat to the small pantry off the kitchen. Apparently that would be the location of the nursery.
She grabbed the box of breakables her mother had packed up for her and headed for the back door. She had to get out of there before the smell of burned onions sank into her clothes, never to be washed away.
On the way out of her mom's parking lot, her cell chirped. She checked the readout and dutifully stopped the car, a smile already forming. "Hey, you."
"Hey." Tristan's warm voice flowed over the line. "Where are you?"
The sounds of a scuffle ensued, complete with colorful curses. "Yeah, where are you? And wherever it is, can you bring back food?" Matt chimed in, coaxing forth a laugh.
"You have a car. Go get your own takeout. What do I look like, your maid?"
"How about French maid? I can see you in one of those little black-and-white outfits. With one of those lacy things on your hair and a really short skirt--"
"Her skirts are already plenty short," Tristan put in after yet another scuffle. "We thought you'd be around for dinner."
"I headed out to my mom's. Didn't Matt tell you?"
"You know how he is. Half-witted."
"If he didn't spend all his time playing computer games, he might eventually make it to a full three quarters," she replied, knowing Matt would have some smart comment.
"Watch the insults," Matt interjected. "Or else I'm going to torch all your clothes and fill up your closet with slut gear."
She grinned and tried to ignore the typical flutter in her stomach at that word. Slut. The word she'd heard her younger sisters called in school. The word she'd done everything she could not to be labeled with herself. But if she knew anything, it was that Matt and Tris would never hurt her--with names or otherwise. "You again. Don't you have anything to do but spy on personal phone calls?"
"Dickweed put you on speakerphone."
"I feel the love." She laughed. "Try not to go at each other too badly before I get home, 'kay?"
"We'll try to control ourselves." Tristan's dry tone made her laugh again. "So how's the fam?"
"They're fine." She wet her dry lips. "Um, I got some of Abe's stuff done. Well, I started thinking about it anyway."
"Thinking's a definite plus. So you're leaving us on our own tonight?"
She glanced out the windshield as icy flakes started to drift down from the dark gray sky. Nightfall came so early this time of year, and she really wasn't a fan of driving around in snow. But she needed just a little more time.
"Not the whole night. I'll be around in a while. Probably by ten." Her growling stomach provided a handy excuse. "I'm going to go grab some food, but then I'd like to talk to you. If you have time."
"I always have time for you. Have some right now, actually."
"Oh sure, food. Right." Matt let out a pitiful moan. "Leave us here to starve."
She ignored Matt. "Nah, later's good. Anytime this weekend works. It's not urgent."
Her hymen might say otherwise, but she'd chosen not to heed its silent screams. Besides, if she'd waited this long, she could wait another few hours or even a day or two to have the big talk with her boys.
"Whatever works for you. I'm ready, willing, and able."
Just like that, her mind zoomed into the gutter. She had no doubt at all how able he was. Or little, anyway, since she couldn't know for sure until she'd gotten him naked. But if imagination counted, she'd already slept with him a dozen times. Probably more.
"Thanks. I'll see you in a bit. You boys be good."
"Always. See ya."
"Bad's better," Matt said just before she clicked off with a smile.
They were insane, both of them. Matt more so, but Tristan had his own streak of crazy. And she loved them so damn much.
After she'd roamed around the mall and run out of ways to stall, she headed back to the loft. It was nearly nine when she walked into the big open communal office area--currently devoid of her partners--that served as the headquarters of Tristan Design.
Three big desks formed a spaced-out L, making it easy for her to toss balled-up paper at Matt across the aisle. That Tris got annoyed at the paper waste increased her enjoyment. He was militant about keeping office expenses down. Anything else, spendingwise, was fair game. His wardrobe in particular. The guy had a suit for every damn day of the week. But when it came to equipment and supplies, he watched Cait and Matt like a hawk.
Not that they took him seriously. A couple of bats of her blue eyes and he was putty in her hands.
She grinned and set down the box from her mom's on the counter of the kitchenette in back where they ate most of their lunches and just as many of their dinners. They worked late a lot, especially at this time of year. Everyone wanted to get their spring ad campaigns finalized before the end-of-the-year holidays, so Cait and Tris were designing their asses off. Matt, as their de facto tech guy-slash-accountant-slash-web designer, kept everything running smoothly.
Tomorrow she'd start the new series of ads they were designing for one of their biggest clients, Abe Donnelly of Donnelly Clothiers. She couldn't wait. Abe always pushed her for the most cutting-edge layouts, and she relished rising to the challenge.
She glanced at her watch. Though it was still early, her friends weren't anywhere in sight. Weird. So much for hoping to talk to Tristan tonight. The plan had been to mention her ideas for Abe's project; then maybe if her nerve held, she'd segue into the discussion she hoped to have with him and Matt about other, more carnal matters.
She'd told him she wouldn't be back until closer to ten, true, but she'd overestimated her ability to waste time driving around as the snow worsened. Of course if she hadn't rushed out of her mom's house, she wouldn't have had that problem.
Her chest constricted, and she frowned. Yep, right on cue. She always got a case of the guilties after escaping back to her ordered, happy life.
She should've stayed longer. Her family annoyed the heck out of her sometimes, but she loved them. All of them. And it was almost Christmas. The kids must have been bouncing off the walls over Santa. At least the ones old enough to have a clue who Santa was, anyway.
Next time she'd stick around. Better yet, maybe she'd knock off work early tomorrow night and go take the kids to the movies. Give her sisters and her mom a night off.
She yanked open the fridge door and poked her head in. Soda? Or better yet, something with kick? She grabbed a beer and uncapped it, sighing as the cold brew slid down her throat. While she drank, she rummaged through the packages of snacks on the counter. Pretzels, meh. No diet food near Christmas. Why bother? She grinned and eyed an unopened bright orange bag. Cheese puffs were a much better option.
Tucking them under her arm, she stepped into the back hallway that led upstairs. All quiet. Even the stray kitty Tristan liked to feed wasn't curled up in the box he'd set up for him to stay in on cold nights. Maybe Tris hadn't been able to round him up tonight.
She smiled. It was always so cute to hear Tristan calling, "Hey, cat!" as he walked around outside with a handful of treats.
Cait ascended the spiral staircase, then stopped at the top to listen. For what, she wasn't sure. The guys probably weren't home. Maybe they'd gone out to grab a pizza. Or maybe one of them had had a last-minute date. It was Friday, after all. And they were sexy single guys.
Too single. Too sexy.
She wrinkled her nose. Not that she cared that they dated eagerly and often. Their hookup with her--whichever one of them turned out to be the lucky candidate selected for her virginity search-and-destroy mission--would be a one-time thing. Then all would return to normal. Hey, if she got an orgasm or two out of the deal, she'd consider the maneuver a rousing success.
She strolled down the hall that branched off into three sections. Matt's was first, hers in the middle. But instead of heading straight for her set of rooms, she hesitated.
It was too quiet. Unnaturally so.
A line of sweat trickled down between her shoulder blades. Slowly, she unwound her scarf. She'd forgotten to take off her outer clothes. No wonder she was hot. She had no reason to be nervous in her own house.
Then she heard a heavy scraping sound, like furniture being moved, and she pressed her back to the wall. Oh God. She'd known something was wrong. The lights were off, so who the hell would be moving furniture? Maybe someone had broken in and overpowered the guys. They could be tied up even now or worse. Maybe the serial killer was rolling their bodies up in the rug in Tristan's living room.
She shoved her fist into her mouth to keep from making a noise. The smart thing to do would be to run downstairs and get help. Maybe the police would arrive in time.
A groan ripped through the air, disturbing the silence so fully that the sound echoed. And it sure didn't seem like pain. Well, not regular pain. She'd heard that particular sound before when guys--
Again. A long, low sound of pleasure. She bit down on her knuckles, forgetting the cheese puffs she held under her arm. The bag clattered to the floor, but whoever was boinking in the bedroom couldn't hear. Not when they were now screwing so loudly that the bed was moving. Tristan's bed. That had been the noise she'd heard. They were going at it so hard that the frame kept slamming against the wall.
Creak. Creak. A pause. Slam.
Her stomach twisted, hard. The beer suddenly tasted rancid on her tongue.
Why should she be jealous? Stupid. He was a talented lover. Of course women wanted him. Matt too. Women wanted Matt, she amended, only half-aware that her feet were carrying her closer to the bedroom instead of away.
The door to Tristan's section was shut. Though this level had been split equally into three distinct areas, the doors that separated them from one another were usually only closed when someone had a girlfriend or boyfriend over. Even then Matt in particular could be counted on to leave the door cracked, as if he got off on the idea of making his roommates listen to his bedroom antics. He was noisy as hell in bed, grunting and yelling with the best of them. Honestly, she envied him. She sure hadn't ever experienced anything to elicit sounds like he regularly made. Moans, sure. But grunts wrested from the depth of her soul?
That would be a no.
She stopped, her throat convulsing at the new groans reverberating down the hall. That wasn't Tristan. No way. Matthew was in Tristan's apartment, but why? Did they have a girl in there? Were they having a threesome? They'd never told her they did stuff like that, but single guys in their late twenties were apt to do any damn thing.
More than ever, her virginity felt like a giant weight pressing down on her chest. And other overstimulated parts of her body.
If they were having a threesome, why hadn't they asked her? She was their frigging best friend. The one who cleaned them up and dumped them into bed when they'd had too much fun on Saturday night, the one who picked out presents for Matt's mom because he hated to and sent out office Christmas cards because Tristan's handwriting looked like a mass murderer's. They were a trio, and as such, if they'd progressed to menages, it only made sense that she be the third spoke of their sexfest.
She rubbed her knuckles against her hip and inhaled deeply. Wait, what? What in God's name was she thinking? She didn't want to have a threesome. With them or anyone. Ordinary twosome sex was vexing enough.
Fisting her hands, Cait continued on until she reached Tris's door. She pushed it open as quietly as possible and stepped inside the darkened living room. Silence prevailed but only briefly. Then the bed banging erupted again, more violently than before. The moans that sliced through the night mixed and mingled, though each was distinct and completely recognizable.
Their earlier conversation flashed through her mind, tinged heavily with a sense of betrayal she couldn't repress. She never liked being left out, but this brought that feeling home with a vengeance. Just when she'd made a decision to take a definitive step toward embracing her sexuality, they had to reenact some kind of tawdry movie mere feet away from her own bed.
"Try not to go at each other too badly before I get home, 'kay?"
"We'll try to control ourselves."
Lie of the century right there. Control themselves? Not hardly.
Tristan and Matt were in that room. In the three years they'd lived together, she'd heard them more often than she could count, and she knew she was hearing them now.
"So you're leaving us on our own tonight?"
Man, they'd jumped all over her absence, hadn't they? She was thrilled she'd helped them get lucky.
Her heartbeat quickened as the groans hit a crescendo. The lump in her throat became a rock, keeping out the oxygen she couldn't gulp in fast enough.
Still she kept moving toward Tristan's bedroom. Crazy or not, she had to know who was in there with them. The woman must be the quiet type. She'd just ease open the door, peek in, get the scoop, and back out with no one the wiser. They'd never know.
But the door was already open, just a little. Just enough for her to see the action on the bed and the two figures going at it.
The one beneath fisted his hands in the sheets, sheets that were already more off the bed than on. A strong grip was all that could anchor him in place with the force of the thrusts into his ass. Each one sent the frame clattering against the wall. Probably leaving scuff marks. Probably tearing strips out of the floor. They'd spent hours varnishing that hardwood, lovingly restoring it after the previous owners' lackluster care. Now it would be ruined.
Everything had been ruined. Everything.
"Fucking hell, I'm coming."
Tristan's exclamation sent her careening back into her body, ripping away thoughts of the floor, of life as she'd known it before she walked out the door that night. In its place was something entirely different, a new reality she couldn't quite focus on as her eyes struggled to behold what her mind couldn't--wouldn't--comprehend.
"Me too. Shit."
She clutched her beer, her heart rampaging so hard she feared she'd pass out. Her nipples puckered, and her vision blurred. Their long, muscled, perspiration-sheened bodies doubled. Even so she was incapable of looking away from the erotic tableau spread out in front of her.
Tristan reared back to tear off the condom, then gripped his long, erect cock--maybe she still had double vision, because he couldn't be that big--and pumped it over Matt's flexing back until long streams of cum shot off like a fountain. Tristan groaned and tipped his head forward, working his erection for every drop.
She breathed through her mouth, stunned and aroused beyond belief. Wrong. This was all wrong. But she couldn't turn away, and she couldn't shut off the longing knifing through her lower belly.
It took all her will not to fling herself over the threshold and beg him to take her the way he'd seen fit to take their best friend. Hard. Untamed. That was what she craved. She didn't want Tristan to treat her as if she were a delicate, breakable doll, his innocent Caity Bait, the name he'd christened her with in college because she'd been younger than everyone else and too tempting for the older guys.
She needed to be possessed in the way he'd possessed Matt. Ached to be caught beneath that spray of cum. Except she wanted it on her breasts, where she could use her fingers to mop it up. Then she'd taste him, let the flavor of his release explode on her tongue. Drink up every bit of him and ask for more.
To keep from moaning herself, she took a quick swallow of beer. It still tasted off. Not like it had tasted even minutes ago.
Matt stroked his own cock now, fast and rough. Any instant now, he'd go off too.
She'd never seen two men together before. Never realized she wanted to. Especially her men. But God, it was so hot. So unbelievable.
Matt shifted slightly, giving her a better view of the show. And then he came with a wild cry, his spurts disappearing into the tangled sheets, making her clench with unfulfilled want.
Cait gasped and took a step backward. Her knees locked, making further movement impossible. Jesus, what was her problem? She could process what she'd seen later, after she was safely in her own bedroom, far from the pants and shudders that had arousal pooling in her panties.
But she'd only managed a step when Matt shifted his head as he fought to catch his breath. His eyes met hers for one long, charged moment.
"Holy shit," he whispered.
Tristan laughed, but he didn't respond to Matt's curse, probably figuring it had to do with his spectacular finish.
Matt looked as shocked as she felt. Gobsmacked, actually. He started to get up, but Tristan bent, still holding his cock, and licked a trail up between Matt's shoulder blades. Matt fisted his hands in the sheets again and closed his eyes as aftershocks racked his body.
Tristan licked for a while, careful to clean up every remnant of the mess he'd made. Matt barely whimpered, but she could tell from his rigid stance over the bed he would be ready to go again in no time. If she hadn't been there, he would probably already be rolling over and taking hold of Tris's cock, bringing the still-stiff length to his lips and swallowing the salty tang of the release she yearned to taste.
A hot wave of urgency swept over her. She quivered, her tight nipples pressing against the bodice of her wool dress. She couldn't watch this anymore. Not unless she intended to become part of the scene and not just a voyeur.
Not that they'd invited her. No, the party she'd crashed was clearly just for two. And she'd already overstayed her welcome.
Though she stumbled, she managed to turn and get the hell out of there.