Alcohol had long since stopped causing Roxanne's stomach to churn but, as she took the plastic glass offered to her by Taylor, it protested violently. It was purely a psychological response, she was sure.

Standing there in the darkened club with the sticky, tacky floor thumping with the beat of the music and surrounded by plenty of people who were well on their way to being qualified as 'drunk and disorderly', 'that night' could have been yesterday. The sickly sweet smell of the alcoholic drinks, acrid stench of a large mass of bodies, even the brief whiff of Alex's and Logan's aftershave as they moved past her brought the memories of 'that night' to the forefront of her mind.

And her main worry. He wouldn't be here, would he?

Venue wasn't usually Adam's scene, as a couple they had always headed to the club on the university campus or one of the uni bars. Venue was a considerable walk down into the town centre; a walk Adam had never seemed too keen on making. Not to mention the slightly elevated door price and a DJ with a more current style, although tonight the tunes mostly adhered to a Christmas theme.

Adam had evidently only come to Venue that night in the hopes that, were Roxanne to go out, they wouldn't cross paths. But why go to her brother's favourite hangout? Had she ever mentioned to him that that was where Alex, James and the guys tended to haunt on a night out? Perhaps she hadn't, a shame for him.

"Bottoms up girls!" Taylor's friend Maisie yelled as she eagerly shared out a tray of shot glasses between the group of girls.

Maisie Kercher was a long legged blonde with a small waist and a more than generous bust who'd unfortunately been gifted with a large, less than flattering nose. Roxanne had only met her a few hours previously and had already been told more than once about how men would approach her after seeing her from behind and, after seeing her face, would make a hasty and very embarrassing retreat. Humiliating for the both of them.

Roxanne hadn't believed her to begin with, she knew guys could be arseholes sometimes but to do that to a stranger seemed a bit much, then she had witnessed it happen, twice in fact, despite the short time that they'd been in the club.

"Bottoms up? Who says that?" Jenny laughed before tipping her head back and downing the vibrant green liquid.

Roxanne pushed back her growing anxiety over whether she would have to face seeing Adam and the large possibility that he wouldn't be alone and, with a shaking hand gripped so tightly about her glass that her skin turned white, threw back her shot.

She grimaced as she placed the glass back onto the tray, the sour taste burning her throat. She looked up from the metallic table top and caught her brother's eye. He and Logan stood over at the bar with the guys – James, Jake and a few she didn't know – who had steadily been moving further away from the group of girls all night.

She rolled her eyes at his concerned expression and mouthed 'I'm fine, relax' to him. He'd already given her the 'don't drink more than – you know what, don't drink' talk after they'd made plans to attend the student Christmas party, and again just before they left the flat that evening. He'd even done a quick recap as the group parted and joined their respective gender queues in front of the bouncers much to the embarrassment of Roxanne and the amusement of the twenty bystanders.

Alex's expression remained unchanged, however and, were it not for Logan leaning in to his ear to speak over the music, she had no doubt that he would have continued watching her like a hawk. Honestly, one mistake and she was being treated like a delinquent teen with an ASBO. Jesus, Alex was worse than she was!

"The guys look hot tonight! Do they always look like that?" Maisie asked, leaning across the table, her eyes intent on the other half of their group.

"Oh, I'm sure that's just the Sambuka goggles you're wearing." Taylor laughed, glancing over herself only mildly interested.

"And the festive cheer leaking from all those mistletoes." Jenny added, looking up at the green decorative leaves hung up on every square foot of the ceiling.

Roxanne had to disagree. She hadn't consumed enough alcohol to have altered vision and she could admit that even James with his too big ears looked pretty good tonight. She looked each of them over, passing over Logan quickly and skipping her brother entirely, before turning her attention back to the girls. She bit back a laugh. Maisie, Taylor, and Jenny were staring over at them like predators. It was surprising the guys hadn't felt their attention on them just from the pure intensity.

Maisie sighed wistfully. "I bet they all have girlfriends. And a waiting list besides."

"Actually," Roxanne said, "three are single, one's chasing some girl who's taken and I don't know who the other three are."

"Really?" She raised a perfectly manicured eyebrow and leaned in. "Which are the singles?"

"Depends." Taylor pursed her lips. "Single single or damaged single? The dark haired guy paying the barmaid –"

Roxanne glanced over to the boys to see Alex was leaning across the bar, note in hand.

"—he's single but messed up and probably not interested. He's slowly dying of a broken heart."

"He is not!" Roxanne protested.

"The tattooed one is seeing someone on the quiet, I hear –"

"What? Jake's seeing someone?" She gaped at her. Now that was something she didn't believe, normally she would have heard about something like that from listening in on Alex and Logan's conversations. They tended to talk and forget she was in the room; either that or that didn't care about being over heard.

Taylor shrugged one shoulder in a would be off-handed manner, looking slightly uncomfortable. "—the redhead and the brown haired guys have long term girlfriends, and the lanky guy on the end I'm pretty sure is gay. The other dark haired one is single but has his eye on someone - Hannah something or other. It doesn't usually last long." She paused then, staring at the only guy she hadn't mentioned yet. Roxanne could practically see the cogs turning as she considered Logan. "The tall blonde? He's been on and then off again with that barmaid he's talking to for over a year. I'm not sure what they are currently."

Roxanne looked over to him. She'd been avoiding looking at him too much, and not just because of Jenny's 'all knowing' look when she caught her staring at him, she was also thoroughly aware of how much she was enjoying the sight of him tonight. Dressed in dark denim jeans and a buttoned up black shirt that he was gradually unbuttoning as the temperature in the club crept nearer and nearer to oppressive, he was dressed to impress. Not to mention she'd been slightly obsessed with thinking over what could possibly be the event with Charlotte that might or might not have influenced Logan's decision in changing course.


The girls snapped their attention to Roxanne at the sharpness of her tone. Even she was a little taken aback by it and she dropped her gaze away from him, almost feeling guilty.

She coughed. "He er hasn't seen her since last school year, definitely not since I moved in with him."

"So he's single then." Taylor amended.

Roxanne picked at the metal trim on the table, eyes downcast. "I don't know. I think he's seeing a girl named Freya."

"Freya?" Taylor frowned. "Are you sure? He tutors her, I wouldn't have thought –"

Roxanne didn't hear the rest; the sudden triumphant yelling in her head drowned out Taylor's next words. Of course! He tutors her. It all makes sense now. Their meeting in the library, the cafe, the phone call . . . but would he really have her in his bedroom to tutor?

Her spirits sank as quickly as they had risen. She hadn't even realised it had bothered her that much. Why should it? She'd slept with him once, and not even for the right reasons, that hardly made him hers, or gave her any right to feel possessive. She couldn't deny, however, that ever since that night Logan had become more and more appealing. Appealing in the same way that he used to in that awkward stretch of time between orchestring her falls and breaking her best friend's heart, and that was dangerous territory that she didn't want to even think about traversing again.

She wouldn't fall into that again. It had been a long climb out the first time. She was over that. People say you shouldn't make the same mistake twice, right?


Roxanne looked up to find Maisie grinning and nudging another shot towards each of them. She shook her head, trying to decline hers but Maisie pushed it to her, instant.

"Uh uh, honey. You don't want the shot, then you do the dare."

"Dare?" She blinked. Had she missed a vital point of this conversation? "What dare?"

Maisie didn't answer. She stared over at the guys, twirling her shot glass gripped between the tips of her fingers. "Which do you reckon is the hottest?"

"What?" She asked. Which? Who, not which. Now that really did make the boys sound like inanimate objects or perhaps puppies or something, not people.

"Alex." Jenny said.

Roxanne stared at her. "Alex? As in my brother, Alex? Since when?"

Why was everything taking her by such surprise tonight? She felt so out of the loop, like she was on the outside of the circle looking in. When did Alex stop being the annoying older brother to Jenny? The one who Jenny had thought bossed Roxanne around too much, never letting her do anything fun? Admittedly he had had every right; Jenny's idea of fun at the rebellious age of fifteen was borderline illegal.

"Your brother?" Maisie said. "I didn't know one of them is your brother. Which is he?"

She rolled her eyes. "The dying one . . . apparently."

Taylor grinned, eyes sparkling with her amusement as she sipped at her wine. "Alex, huh? You know what might fix a broken heart? A kiss under the mistletoe from a pretty girl who's not the ex."

"Is that a dare?" Jenny asked, slipping from her seat on the only barstool at their table.

"Uh huh." Maisie nodded, leaning her hip against the empty stool and folding her bare, bony arms.

Roxanne watched, frozen in a sort of fascinated horror as Jenny stalked up behind her brother and tugged on his arm. When Alex turned to face her she slung her arms around his neck and pulled his head down to hers.

Ignoring the guys jubilant congratulating and questioning, Roxanne stared as her best friend made her way back to the table.

"I know it's all a game and meant to be fun, but . . . don't mess with my brother." Roxanne said, leaning across the table so that she could be heard. "Jenny you know –"

"Alright. I guess you're right." Jenny conceded, a little too quickly for Roxanne's liking. "I suppose the same goes for Logan too, eh Roxie?"

Roxanne blinked, standing up straight immediately, panic lancing through her as she became thoroughly aware of Taylor's sudden intent interest, and as much as she had been ignoring Jenny's pointed stares all evening she knew the reason behind them. "Logan? Why?"

"Oh, well," Jenny said, putting on a falsely bright smile. "He's like your brother too, right?"

Most definitely not.

"Er—" Roxanne started, her voice shaking.

"Damn, well are any of them available to be kissed." Maisie grumbled good naturedly, a fake pout gracing her lips for a brief second. Her eyes swept from boy to boy. "The tall blonde?"

"Uh uh," Taylor said, "that would be Logan."

"Well don't the good genes run in your family."

"He's not my brother." Roxanne interjected but Maisie continued as though she hadn't heard.

"Which is the playful, not serious one that doesn't stick to a girl?"


Taylor pointed him out, "That one."

Maisie jumped up and stalked over to him. Roxanne couldn't help but worry over James' reaction to her. While he did flit from one girl to another, he did have standards and the bar was set quite high. Personally she didn't think there was much wrong with Maisie but James might disagree with the nose.

She needn't have worried. When Maisie reached him he looked up at the ceiling and then accepted her kiss in good humour, appreciating her figure as she walked back to the girls.

It wasn't long before Taylor gave them a grin and was confidently sauntering over to Jake, Jake of all people, and pushing herself onto her tip toes to reach him. Jake looked surprised but he didn't fight her off.

It was as Taylor made her way back to the table that Roxanne's stomach sank in realisation that she was next. Though judging by her brother's expression he had also realised and forfeiting was her only option.

"So what's it gonna be, Roxie?" Taylor asked. "Shot or dare? I'm intrigued as to who you'll pick."

Roxanne bit her lip, her fingers reaching out to grip the shot glass.

"Oh don't. Go for it." Maisie said.

"I think I know." Jenny said, her face a picture of masked worry.

Roxanne brought the glass up and tipped her head back.

"Ohh," Taylor and Maisie cried.

She swallowed through the burning and pushed back from the table. "Dutch courage."

The walk over to the boys seemed so much longer at that moment, and she could feel the girls' gazes burning into the back of her head. Feeling incredibly self-conscious, she picked her steps carefully, her eyes on the floor. The last thing she needed was step on a bottle and fall, especially now that she had the boys' attention too, for the most part.

Giving Alex a broad smile at his narrowed eyes, she stopped beside him. "What's got you all grumpy?"

He didn't answer. With his eyes still narrowed, he stared down at her, daring her to do anything like what Jenny, Maisie, and Taylor had right in front of him.

Roxanne ignored his stare and leant her back against the bar, forcing herself to relax. The guys soon lost interest and went back to jokingly eyeing up a group of girls next to them. When it didn't look like Roxanne had any plans to join in with whatever crazy game the girls playing, Alex relaxed beside her.

That was when Logan turned back from the bar, water bottle in hand, to find her in-between him and the guys. He said something that was lost to the music and she mouthed 'what?' back up at him.

He leaned down to her, his breath hot on her ear and the smell of his cologne surrounded her until she didn't think she could breathe. "You ditched the girls?"

She shook her head. "Not exactly."

Roxanne considered him, trying to pinpoint his mood and predict his reaction. When he had leant down to her she had got a clear memory of being in this position before. She'd found it so easy that night to lean up and kiss him. Sure she'd had more Dutch courage at that point but she'd done it all before, she could do it again. Right?

She swallowed nervously and her eyes darted over to the girls. Maisie looked mildly interested but it was Taylor and Jenny who had her focus. They both looked on avidly, like she and Logan were a scene from the new all the craze programme everybody was watching.

"Erm. . . well, you see, the girls have this game thing going. Drink or dare."

"What's the dare?"

She swallowed again before shaking her head. For God's sake, she wasn't a coward, nor was she weak. This was a game; she could bloody well tell Logan she thought he was the hottest.

"To kiss who we think is the hottest – out of you guys, not the whole club, or I don't think any of you would have won." She grinned up at him.

"So that's why Jenny kissed Alex? You might want to tell him, he's worried about letting her down."

"Right." She laughed weakly.

"What?" he asked then, seeming to realise that talking about Alex wasn't the reason that she was here.

"I'm not going to kiss you."

"Okay?" he said slowly, before smiling a bare impression of a smile. "Should I be suitably hurt?"

"I'm not going to kiss you, but I should – for the game."

Any trace of amusement slipped from his face, he looked genuinely surprised, and then slightly embarrassed and smug. "Oh. Well er thanks..." He glanced over to the guys. "I like to think I'm better looking than these guys too."

Roxanne laughed. It was a bubble of relieved giddiness.

He turned back to her, his eyes trained on her face, considering her a moment. "So why aren't you? Never took you for a coward, 'Foxie little Roxie'." He glanced over her head quickly to where the girls were watching and then back down to her. "I know why you aren't but – don't you think it's more noticeable to not go through with it than to join in with a game everyone's playing?"

She opened her mouth to reply and then stopped. He had a point, really. She stared up at him stumped. "Well, er. . ."

"Er?" He prompted. His mouth twitched into the well practised half smile before he quickly straightened out his features again.

Roxanne took a deep breath. "I don't – I don't think it's a good idea."

"Why's that? I'm not going to get the wrong idea. I know you won't mean anything by it."

No, Roxanne thought, but with the way her heart skipped at the very suggestion that she kiss him, she suspected she might, and she really didn't want to be getting any kind of ideas where Logan was concerned. He already haunted a good percentage of her dreams and the little niggle of curiosity about what their night together that she couldn't quite remember had really been like didn't need further encouragement.

"I don't kiss people." she blurted out. "They kiss me, I never go in first." It was only after the words were out that she realised Logan might take them as an invitation.

Instead he laughed, not his usual snort of amusement but an actual full laugh. "Now I know that's not true."

"What?" She frowned.

"I didn't come on to a girl that just caught her boyfriend cheating. You kissed me."

Of course she had.

He'd been looking down at her, in a position not unlike the one they were in now, with such pain in his eyes as though he was sharing her emotional agony and she'd felt so thankful, so cared for that it'd felt only natural to lean up, to seek solace in him.

Only now was she realising that the pain in his eyes was probably more to do with all of her extra drinks he was downing in some desperate way to save her from alcohol poisoning when she stubbornly refused to stop buying them and definitely didn't want to leave the club, than any sort of empathy for her emotional upheaval.

"Did—" she stopped short the question flowing from her and shook her head. She didn't need to know, didn't want to know.

But as usual Logan wasn't one to let things drop.

"Did?" he prompted.

Roxanne sighed. "I kissed you, I remember. Did you – did you ever kiss me?"

Logan raised an eyebrow before his brows pinched in thought. "Maybe."

"Then 'maybe' you owe me." She grinned up at him in triumph.

His answering smile was instantaneous and, after flicking his eyes quickly skyward, he leaned down closer to her. "Well, since you are standing under mistletoe."

Roxanne's breath rushed out in a sound of amusement lost to the loud music. "It's impossible not to be."

He ducked his head and pressed his lips to hers, smile still in place and then there was no time to think, and all amusement was wiped clean from her mind. The kiss she'd anticipated was nothing like the one he gave her. The kisses the other girls had given had been passionate and fast, even Jenny's and Alex's had been pretty full on. She hadn't expected Logan to break that mould, had been geared and armoured against a kiss like the ones she'd been witnessing all night. Logan's was nothing of the sort.

Where the other couples had come together and apart in a matter of a few heated seconds, Logan appeared to be taking his time, either that or time had frozen. His kiss was languid and slow, and so very different from any kiss she remembered giving him. His lips moved against hers in a soft caress, coxing a response from her. It was as her mind registered his large, warm hands loose on her hips that she realised her own hands were fisted in his shirt and were such a telltale sign of his affect on her that she tore herself free, flashed him a quick smile and hurried off.

She supposed he thought a slow, very unheated kiss would be better for them considering their not so distant past. She might have agreed before the kiss he'd just given her, but now she could see it for the massive err in judgement that it was.

Roxanne stumbled back to the girls table, shaken and struggling not to visibly tremble even as her entire insides quaked. Her lips tingled, burning from the recent touch and she could still feel two very distinct hot spots on her hips where his hands had held her. She tried to act normal, allowing herself to look a little embarrassed. Any lack of embarrassment would have been just as suspicious as too much.

When the girls congratulated her, especially on making the guy kiss her and not the other way round, and continued on with their drinks, Roxanne sat back, congratulating herself on a job well done.

"Yeah," a quiet voice by her ear said and she looked up at Taylor hurriedly. Taylor stared over at the boys thoughtfully and Roxanne followed uneasily. Alex was deep in what looked to be a serious conversation with Logan who, head bowed, had his back to her.

"So Logan's like a brother, huh?" Taylor swung her eyes to Roxanne, amusement sparking in their depths. "What's going on between you two? That was some kiss."

Some kiss? Compared to everyone else's, Logan's kiss had been positively tame and definitely in-front-of-family-member appropriate. Outwardly it had looked innocent, surely? It was all the feelings inwardly she was reeling over, worrying over. Hell. It had been some kiss.

"N-nothing." Roxanne stared at the table, and because her disagreement had sounded far from truthful, she said, "What about you and Jake?"

Taylor's smile slipped. "Me and Jake?"

"You said he was seeing someone on the quiet and then it's him you pick to kiss? You might be all about telling the truth but I'd imagine you'd have more respect for the girl he's seeing than to kiss her boyfriend." The more she talked, the more Roxanne became sure that she was right.

Taylor smiled wryly. "I'll tell if you will."

"You know how you were saying all those things that might help me recover from Adam? Back at the flat that night? He was my one night stand."

Taylor's mouth gaped into a small 'o' and she stared at her wordlessly before turning to stare at Logan. "Was he good?"

"I don't remember."

"Oh, honey," Taylor said, looking back to her, grinning. "You have got to go there again and tell me all about it."

Roxanne's cheeks warmed at the thought and she quickly pushed it to the back of her mind. "I used him and he let me. Then the next morning I accuse him of taking advantage. Somehow I don't think we'll ever go there again."

"Does Alex know?"

She nodded, and because this conversation was becoming more and more excruciating, she said, "So, Jake?"

"We're sort of seeing each other, I guess. It's early days and didn't start out as a serious thing but that might change."

"So you like the whole Indy – grunge – tattoo thing?"

Taylor laughed. "Surprising huh?"


They turned to see James and Logan approaching their table. Behind them Roxanne could see that Jenny and Maisie had left their table while she and Taylor had been preoccupied and were now talking with the guys by the bar.

Roxanne caught herself staring at Logan's mouth and hurriedly looked away. If her cheeks weren't already hot from the almost overwhelming heat of the club she suspected they would have been turning red.

Logan leaned against the metal rim of the table beside her. "We're heading back soon."

"Okay, let—is that Anna?" Taylor stared off over Logan's shoulder to the edge of the dance floor.

They followed her gaze to see that it was Annaleigh. Annaleigh with her best friend Luke looking permanently attached to her mouth, or at least he did until he pulled back and together they disappeared into the crowd.

"Damn, man." James muttered lowly. If he hadn't of been standing right by her side, Roxanne wouldn't have heard him.

"What should we do? Do we tell him or . . ." Taylor stared of after Annaleigh and Luke, brow furrowed.

"What should we do?" Logan echoed, frowning. "Nothing. We leave it. What's the point –"

"Hey Logan."

The small group turned to face the smiling barmaid. Charlotte grabbed a couple of empty glasses off of the nearby table and placed them in the milk bottle rack she carried.

"Charlotte." he replied. His jaw tightened as he clenched his teeth and glanced her way briefly. It was a glance that was just enough to be polite – barely – but definitely didn't encourage further conversation.

"What's the point . . .?" Roxanne prompted, returning her attention to Logan, too focused on the matter at hand to fully acknowledge the sudden uplifting of her spirit.

"When it's over, done with? Why hurt him over something that has nothing to do with him anymore? He doesn't need to know."

"I don't know." She chewed on her lip. "If he found out we knew and never mentioned it, he'd –"

"How will he find out exactly?"

". . . I don't know." She shrugged uncomfortably under his intense stare.

"He doesn't need to know." Logan repeated and then he turned, heading back towards the rest of the group. "Let's get him out of here."

Roxanne shared a worried glance with Taylor who looked just as unconvinced as she felt before they followed him and James back to the others. It wasn't long before they were ushering out a protesting, slightly drunk Alex out of the club.