THE LOVE OF SEX AND CANDY

1

The twins got out of Will's car at the infamous Mingus Farm that was out in Prosperity. Vehicles lined the dirt driveway that lead to the main barn. They were starting to spill out onto the gravel back road that snaked its way through the mostly unpopulated Pennsylvanian countryside. The twins went to school with Bethany Mingus when they were in junior high. According to Will, she became a party girl and often held parties at the farm since she entered high school. Sounded like she changed a lot since her somewhat conservative style in junior high.

The area was mostly dark with the exception of lights on in the main barn and a bonfire. There was a crowd in the barn since that was where the kegs of Bud Light were located. People crowded around the kegs, some waiting to get beer and others just standing there with beer being dicks for not letting others through.

"Riley Tereshchenko," a girl called out. Riley instantly recognized that voice. She turned around to see Olivia Tabler rushing toward her. She and Riley had been good friends since the twins moved to the US. Olivia wrapped her arms around Riley, giving her a giant hug. The two hadn't had much time to talk since the twins moved to Liberty Falls.

"It's so good to see you," Olivia said. "When Will said he was coming I hoped he'd bring you along."

"I'm actually surprised your parents let you come."

"Actually, I had to tell them I'm staying with Megan to let me go out."

"Megan Sole?"

Olivia nodded. "Yeah, she and I became pretty close during our freshman year. She got me to join the softball team. Still play basketball?"

Riley nodded. "Soccer too."

Olivia looked past Riley to see Ryan approaching. "There's the most sarcastic person I've ever met."

Ryan stopped dead in his tracks and looked around in a panic. "Where? Where?" He looked back at Olivia with a smile on his face.

"Still have a thing for Tessie?"

"Why? Is she here?"

"Yeah and single."

Ryan's eyes widened. "Where is she?"

"I last saw her by the barn."

She barely finished her sentence before Ryan became a torpedo on its way to its target. He spotted her blonde hair in a sea of brown and black hair. The only other blonde person in that particular crowd was a guy. Either he was hitting on a girl or he was gay. Judging by his hand gestures, it looked like the latter. Once Ryan got close enough to hear the guy's voice, it was clear he was batting for the other team.

"What's up, Tessie?"

"I didn't expect to see you here," she said.

"Well, I can leave if you'd rather hang out with these people." He motioned to the rest of the group who all mocked offense.

"Nice to see you too, Ryan."

"What? No!" Tessie said latching onto him. "You're staying right here with me."

"No argument here."

"How's life in the Falls?" one of the girls asked. Her name was Adrienne. She sat near Ryan in one of his classes in junior high. He remembered she asked him one day which one was better: Dukes of Hazzard or Walker: Texas Ranger. His answer was Dukes of Hazzard which she agreed.

Ryan wondered if he'd be popular had he stayed at Trinity. He wouldn't have gone through all the strife he's endured so far. He'd have many friends, and possibly even be a starter for the football team. Steven would still be around as they met because their parents work together. And he'd have Tessie as a girlfriend. He wouldn't have had to go through the issue with Alyssa and watch JiaHui holding hands with Jonathan. Maybe tonight would be the closest experience he'd have to that life.

Ryan and Tessie separated themselves from the group and joined Riley who was still talking with Olivia.

"You wanna join us?" Olivia asked.

"Nah, I'm here with Will and I think maybe–"

Olivia nodded. "It's okay, I understand. Give me a call and we'll hang out sometime."

"Definitely," Riley said. "We should've done it sooner."

"Right. It's not like we live super far away or anything."

Olivia said her goodbyes before turning to get in the passenger seat of a nearby car. Ryan took that moment to go find a place to relieve himself. He had been holding it for a while wondering where he could find a good place to go before realizing anywhere in the cornfield would be fine. He carefully stepped through the darkness hoping not to step on anything that would cause injury or on anyone that might be having sex. Parties at the Mingus Farm had a reputation of people hooking up. He was never sure how true those stories were. The only certainty was that people liked to spread rumors. One of the famous rumors that came from a party was about some girl who liked to use beer bottles on herself. As amusing as it was, he assumed the story wasn't true.

He looked for a spot in the tall corn stalks that towered over him hoping no one would spot him. The last thing he needed was someone seeing him taking a piss and make a spectacle about it as if no one else does it.

He just zipped up his pants when three people, one girl and two guys, came around the corner stood next to one of the sheds. They stood against the backside of the structure so as not to be seen by anyone else. They unknowingly failed in that regard. The trio began to quickly undress as they made out. The girl alternated kissing between the two guys. Mingus Farm was holding up its reputation in Ryan's eyes. Ryan debated whether he should wait it out so that they wouldn't see him or should just walk by and act like he didn't notice them. There were several feet between them so it would be feasible to get away with acting like he didn't notice. They weren't making much noise either. The girl bent over between the two guys, with one in front of her and the other behind her.

Ryan stood there for a few moments trying to decide how to return to his group. Loud cheering suddenly erupted from the main barn which seemed to drown out any noise the girl was making. The noise was loud enough that would possibly mask his footsteps through the cornfield.

Ryan crept through the cornfield away from the threesome before deciding to emerge from the stalks and rejoin the party.

Riley and Tessie stood with the cheering crowd watching two guys get into a fight. Most of the punches were didn't connect. One of them put the other in a headlock and they rolled around on the ground. Will returned with some cups of beer about a minute or so before Ryan returned.

"Took you long enough," Riley said.

"I got trapped because some girl was getting pig roasted."

"Really?"

Will's eyes shifted upward as he tried to think what that meant. All he could think about was the literal meaning but he seriously doubted there was a girl being roasted over a fire the same way a pig would be.

"That doesn't make any...ohhh," Will said. "Who was it?"

Ryan shrugged. "I don't know. I didn't recognize her. If she's a Trinity girl then she came after we left." He looked at the two guys fighting. "So, who's winning?"

"Not sure," Tessie said. "We're hoping they'll ending rolling down the hill into the creek." A few minutes later, that's exactly what happened and the crowd cheered.

"So, I was thinking after this thing we could–"

"Hey," Ryan said. "That's her." He pointed to a girl walking up to the keg.

"That's Lacey Milliken," Tessie said. "She came to Trinity last year. I'm actually not surprised. She's pretty infamous."

"Did everyone become a whore after we left?" Riley asked. "Who were the two guys?"

Ryan shrugged. "I don't know."

"Was it those two?" Tessie asked pointing to the two guys who were walking from the same direction from which they saw Lacey coming. Ryan nodded. "Tim Duvall and Corey Myers. They graduated two years ago."

"That's why we don't know them," Riley said. "But what's it say about guys who graduated from high school but still come to high school parties?"

"They have a reputation of being players."

"That would explain it."

"So, what do you guys have planned after this?" Tessie asked. "I was thinking I could show you around my dad's office." She held up a set of keys. "I have keys."

"Why do you have keys?"

"He got me a job as an assistant to the department head and some stuff I have to do requires a key so I have keys to her office, my dad's office, storage rooms and the building itself."

The four of them ditched the party and drove from the depths of Prosperity to the Washington and Jefferson university campus. It was just after midnight when they pulled up to the gate that led straight to the building known as Old Main. An old red brick building with two white-tipped Victorian pillars stretching toward the sky. It was reminiscent of some old insane asylum pictures Ryan had seen.

Sticking to the shadows, not that there were many of them with the light posts lining the walkway that led to the building's main doors. Fortunately, there wasn't anyone around at the moment. They reached the doors without incident and with the turn of the key and the lock clicking so loudly that it would wake all of campus, they were in.

The lobby was a typical grandiose area showing off the college's prestige. Pictures of the college's namesakes, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, flanked another door. Ryan had to get close to see them as the only light was the moonlight. The stairs wrapped along the walls on either side. Tessie took Ryan's hand and led him up the stairs on one side while Riley and Will went up the other. Both pairs reached the second floor about the same time but Riley and Will continued up to the next floor.

"Office or classroom?" Tessie asked.

"Classroom."

She led him to the closest classroom and as soon as the door closed, he had her up against the wall. There was no need for the awkward talking beforehand. They both knew what they were there for and time was of the essence. He pressed himself against her and grabbed at her with pent up almost primal energy.

2

As Will drove his 1996 Ford Taurus with Riley in the passenger seat, Tessie rested her head on Ryan's lap in the back. Will offered to take everyone home. Tessie was going to be the first one to be dropped off. She had hitched a ride with some friends to go to the party. Her house was south of the Washington area near Trinity West Elementary School. Then he'd drive all the way down to Liberty Falls to drop off the twins before returning home.

Ryan stroked Tessie's hair as he leaned his head back, looking up through the rear window. He wasn't paying attention to what the two upfront were talking about. He was focused on what Tessie was doing. He wasn't sure if the two upfront knew what was going on in the backseat. If they did know then they didn't make it obvious.

The hand that wasn't stroking her hair was up her shirt. He was tempted to slide his hand into her pants but then that would alert the other two. It was already awkward enough to know that both pairs had gone off to have sex somewhere in a college building at the same time but it was something else to be in the same vicinity.

Suddenly, as a reflex, he squeezed Tessie's breasts hard as she let out a muffled moan. There was no way the other two didn't know now. They burst out laughing. She sat up and wiped her mouth as Ryan fixed himself. He smiled at her and she couldn't help but smile back.

Before anyone could say anything further, everything went into a spin.

Ryan awoke at the sounds of sirens approaching. His body ached all over but his shoulder was what screamed with pain. He also couldn't move very well. He slowly blinked as regained consciousness. Right in front of his eyes was blonde hair. It was beginning to register what he was looking at and the surroundings. The car had flipped onto its side and Tessie had landed in front of him. He tilted his head to see the rest of her body was hooked onto the passenger seat. It wasn't in an unnatural position so she might still be okay. Will was unconscious with his seatbelt the only thing keeping him in place. He couldn't get a visual on Riley.

"Riley?" No answer. He shook Tessie. "Tessie?" No response. He unlatched his seatbelt and struggled to reposition himself so he could stand. It wasn't easy while avoiding stepping on Tessie. Her lower half covered Riley. Ryan couldn't tell how badly she was hurt. He pulled Tessie off of his sister and sitting her down on the door that he was pressed up against moments ago. The tight quarters made it difficult to maneuver but the blown-out back window helped.

He leaned on Riley's seat and shook her while calling out her name. The worst possible thoughts invaded his mind and he couldn't shake them. With each unanswered call, more tears appeared in his eyes.

3

Riley finally came to while in the ER. By then, her wounds had been bandaged up. Ryan came out of the accident virtually unscathed aside from some cuts and bruises. Riley had some cuts on her face but didn't appear to have hit her head. There was still no word on Will or Tessie. Their request for information had been ignored.

Their mother finally arrived shortly after Riley returned from her CT scan. She hugged both of the twins as tightly as she could. It was one of the few times they saw their mother so overwhelmed with emotion that she cried.

"You two okay?" They both nodded. She guided Ryan to his seat but never took her hand away from his uninjured shoulder.

"Earlier tonight we responded to an accident near Prosperity. One of the girls killed in the accident was Olivia Tabler."

"What?" Riley said through her quivering lip. "We just saw her at the party. She left before we did. We were going to make plans to hang out soon." Their mother hugged Riley and let her cry into her shoulder. Riley's screams and tears were absorbed into her mother's firefighter jacket.

A double knock on the wall alerted them to the doctor's arrival. He was a middle-aged man whose job had aged him past his actual age.

"Do you have a minute?" he asked motioning for their mother to join him outside of the room. They couldn't make out what the doctor was saying. It was as if he knew just how low to speak so he wouldn't be heard by those in the room. However, they heard their mother mutter "aw shit" while talking to him. She came back in a moment later. She looked at the floor either to avoid the twins' eyes or she was thinking about how to tell them what the doctor told her.

"What did he say?" Riley asked. "Is Will okay?"

She met Riley's eyes first. "Will is paralyzed from the waist down." Then she met Ryan's. "Tessie didn't make it."