Alpha Testing Phase 1 – Innocent Corruption
The next chapter in my too long, slow burn story. Read the prologue here.
This Josh kid, I was giving him whatever his teenage heart desired.
Sure his ‘heart’. Let’s cut the crap. You tuned it into whatever the kid wanted to fuck, and let reality shift to whatever was bubbling around his hormonal daydreams.
Not to trivalizie the shitstorm that followed, the automated system performed beautifully. I mean, when we first cracked Master-
Mark, shut the fuck up.
What, are we still pretending this wasn’t all reverse engendered from some mythical freeware ‘MasterPC’ that you stumbled on-
*audio file corrupted for next 30 seconds*
Ahem. Our FULLY in-house breakthrough did have some surprises. DIDN’T IT MARK.
Oh yes, ha. I mean, it would be LUDICROUS to think we could know everything this stuff could do. Even if WE BUILT IT COMPLETELY FROM THE GROUND UP!
Christ, man. You don’t have too sell it that hard…
Three days earlier…
Josh waited around the corner from the house, killing time, trying not to show up too early. He’d had a crush on Ashley since he’d first seen her in Econ 101, and he’d spent the first week of orientation working up the courage to talk to the striking brunette two seats over.
Ashley was one of those rare hot girls who seemed to be oblivious to just how attractive she was. Some innocent Facebook stalking revealed a timeline of a slightly chubby, but unabashedly cheerful teen that had struggled with acne. Sometime after senior year, Ashley had taken up running, shed the awkward adolescent baby fat. Her skin had cleared and bam, the ugly duckling was a jaw dropping swan.
While in some alternate universe, Josh may have actually had a shot with this beauty. They got along great, had the same tastes and humor. Once they began jogging together, Josh almost had the balls to ask her out. It was between out-of-breath banter (fuck, Ashley was hot when she was flushed and sweaty) when she dropped the news her boyfriend, Grant, would be visiting for the weekend.
To top it all off, this boyfriend from high school was just a great guy. Josh had been prepared to hate his guts, but the dude was just as charming and chill as Ashley. As much as he hated to admit it, Grant and Ashley were perfect for each other.
So hot, funny and unavailable. Well, at least he had a solid wingman. Ashley had taken to trying to set him up with Megan, a redhead from her dorm that was unquestionably out of his league. Ashley had set up a thinly veiled attempt to matchmake by inviting Megan and Josh to join her and Grant for pizza and studying.
Ashley had the suspiciously cushy job of house sitting some tech millionaire’s cookie-cutter mansion in this well-to-do subdivision. So Josh sat sweating in his beat up, hand me down car, wishing he had saved enough this semester to fix the AC.
God time was crawling. He’d already gotten some sideway glances from the preppy looking assholes at adjacent golf course. As much as he hated to admit it, the he was jealous of the pink polo wearing yuppies, especially when their tanned, fit wives dropped off some cold drinks on the green.
Hate the preppies, but jealous of their snobby bimbos. Is that hypocrisy? Or am I just dying of thirst?
It was still a little early, but Josh decided the humility of showing up now was better than sitting in this pathetic sweat-box.
“Yay! Josh is here!” Ashley gave Josh a friendly hug, not noticing his blush behind his already heat-flushed face. “God, you look completely overheated!”
“AC’s still broken,” Josh squeaked as he shuffled through the foyer. “Sorry if I’m early. First one here?”
“Nooope! You boys will need to catch up!” came a loud, slightly slurred exclamation from the living room.
“Hey Megan.” Josh called out, making his way to the voice. “I guess studying’s off the table?”
Megan was sprawled out on the sofa, face in her phone. In front of her was a half-empty bottle of vodka and a sweating pitcher of lemonade.
“Come one geek, it’s college! You need to learn to multitask!” Megan didn’t look up, but loosely gestured to the pitcher. “Solo cups are on the kitchen counter.”
“Umm… I think I’ll wait for the food.” Josh muttered.
“Megan, I’d like to introduce you to the campus lightweight.” Ashley said, putting a hand on his shoulder. “You always give me shit for getting tipsy off one drink, but this boy’s even worse.”
“Ha! Didn’t think that was possible!” Megan finally looked up, and Josh was immediately struck off balance by her smile. She was gorgeous all right, but any chance of impressing her probably just evaporated. Now she was going to think he was some buzzkill…
Who was really, really smiling at him. How drunk was she?
“Ashley, Ashley, Ashley…” Megan put on a half pouting face and pulled herself off the couch. “I told you I like them innocent, but you’re making it too easy.”
Josh was at a loss for words. Was Megan really coming on to him? Was he really this lucky?
“I’ll take good care of Joshy boy tonight… I promise to get his pants off before he passes out,” Megan said with a wink. “Consent is the word. I want you to remember anything that happens tonight.”
“Well, mix him a drink then! I just ordered pizza and Grant will be here soon.” Ashley responded with an eye roll.
“Errrr…” Josh was still struggling to find a reply. Megan was laying it on thick, and Ashley seemed oblivious to how freaky this was. Megan had always brushed Josh aside, and normally was Miss Ice Queen at parties.
“Hey,” Ashley leaned into Josh to half-whisper “I told you she was totally into you!”
“What the hell are you talking about? You never said-” Josh was cut off by a vibrating phone.
“Oh, it’s Grant! Hold on a sec, Josh.” Ashley swiped left and put the phone up to her ear. “Running a bit late? That’s…”
“That’s totally cool! K, see ya soon!” Ashley put down the phone. “Guys pizza will be a little late. They’re really busy tonight. Guess we’ll just have to start drinking now!”
Josh was confused. “Pizza? I thought it was Grant calling? I saw his name on the ID. Is he bringing the pizza?”
Both girls looked at him with confusion.
“Who’s Grant? Did you invite another guy, Ashley?” Megan asked. “I thought tonight we’d… you know…” She gave a not-too-subtle shrug and wink.
“You bitch!” Ashley said with teasing humor, slapping Megan’s arm. “I told you that when I was drunk!”
“Hey, umm… “ Josh was painfully curious where this was going, but he couldn’t get things straight. “So is Grant coming tonight?”
“Is this code or something?” Megan said, pouring herself another vodka lemonade. “You two are so fucking cute with your inside jokes! I wish I’d met the love of my life back in highschool. If you and Ashley aren’t going to let me in on the joke, I’m going to be jealous.”
Something was seriously off here. Was it something in the drink? Or a strange joke?
“Awww, Megan’s getting jealous again!” Ashley leaned on Josh and gave an overly loud kiss on his cheek. “Isn’t she cute when she’s jealous?”
Ashley leaned in and licked Josh’s ear, causing him to jump away.
What the fuck…. He was torn between the strangeness of the situation and the sudden hardness in his pants.
“Ha!” Megan nearly did a spit take. “You scared him. Hey, no need to be shy! I’m cool with some PDA… and then some.” She winked at Ashley, who shot a death glare back at her friend.
“Megan! I told you not to say anything!!” Ashley was legitimately blushing. She added through clenched teeth “Not yet at least!”
Josh had zero idea what was happening, but decided to just play along.
“Well, let’s kill some time before the pizza gets here. Unless you’ve got something else planned, baby?” He raised he eyebrows at Ashley.
“Uummmmm….” Ashley looked genuinely embarrassed. “Cups! You don’t have a dink yet, you need to catch up!” She bolted to the kitchen, avoiding eye-contact with both of them.
”Ha! Her face gets so red when she’s nervous! Josh, does she blush in bed? I bet she does!” Megan grabbed Josh’s hand and dragged him along to the kitchen.
Ashley was pulling the cups out of the plastic, still beet red.
“Hey Ash!” Megan jumped onto the counter next to Josh’s inexplicably new/long-time girlfriend. “Josh said he’d totally be cool with what we had planned! Right Joshy?” Megan winked and tilted her head at Ashley.
Josh just shrugged. He had no earthly clue what was going on, but he was loving it, Now if only there was some way to keep cool. Collected. Confident.
Hell, if those country club jocks across the road could pull in the Stepford Bimbos, he could navigate this.