Sofia breathed heavily but Sarah could tell she was trying to calm herself. She sounded like a little girl and Sarah wished she could be there to hug her.
"Alex told Eric to stay away from me."
Sarah dreaded asking why but she did anyway. She listened quietly while Sofia told her the whole story at times breaking down and crying again. After she'd calmed though she sounded more determined and angry than anything.
"It's not fair, Sarah. Eric's been nothing but a gentleman with me. It was all me and I told them."
"Yes." She sounded pleased. "I told them it was my tongue down his throat."
Sarah let out a gasping laugh. "No, you didn't?"
Finally Sofia didn't sound so sad. Sarah even thought she heard her laugh. "It's the truth. Eric always holds back. He's so gentle with me." She sighed. "It drives me crazy. So then I become the aggressor."
Sarah still couldn't believe Sofia would say such a thing. In some ways she wished she'd been there, but good God, of all the brothers to catch them it had to be Alex? Knowing she would've felt terribly uncomfortable she was relieved she hadn't been there. "What did Alex say when you said that?"
Sofia told her about how they'd all been speechless, even described the stunned look on Angel's face. For a moment it seemed Sofia had escaped her dejected mood. But when she got to the end she started sniffling again.
"Eric texted me, but only to see if I was okay. He said he didn't want to chance my brothers checking my phone. I told him I wanna try to talk to Angel about this. He didn't think it was a good idea and made me promise I'd tell him before I did."
Sarah tried to concentrate, but just hearing his name had rattled her. Angel wasn't the most reasonable person she knew. But under the circumstances she didn't see how it would hurt.
"What would you say? You can't tell him you guys have been keeping it from him all this time. He'll be furious. Trust me."
Sarah had already begun to worry about how Angel might be feeling right now. She knew he felt completely betrayed by her, and now this? Eric was one of his closest friends. Her heart ached for him.
Sofia said she would think about it and run it past her before she did to see what she thought. The talked for a little while longer and Sarah fought the incredible temptation to ask about Angel and if Dana had been at the party. But she decided not to torture herself. The fact that he hadn't bothered to even send a generic happy birthday text said it all. He was done with her.
As usual Angel hadn't gotten much sleep. He was up early and walked over to Sofia's room, careful that he didn't wake Alex. He needed to get to the bottom of this whole Eric thing and he didn't want Alex there riling Sofia up to the point where'd she say something absurd like she had last night.
He'd known Eric too long and trusted him completely. There had to be more to the story. This wasn't a conversation he was looking forward to. He wouldn't even know where to start but he had to do it fast before Alex was up.
He knocked softly on Sofia's half opened door before peeking in. To his surprise she was already up and on her computer. She minimized the screen she was on when he walked in.
To his relief he didn't have to think of something to say. She spoke first. "Are you mad at me?"
Angel lifted a shoulder. "I don't know."
She stood up and closed the door behind Angel. The expression on her face reminded him of when they were kids. Little Sofi had always been handled with care. It's what they were taught for as long as he could remember. And it stuck real well. No one messed with little Sofi. Not then. Not now. Angel sat on her bed and she took a seat back at her desk.
"Look, what happened last night was my fault. I take complete responsibility." She spoke in a hushed voice and her eyes seemed to plead. "Angel, he gave me a new year's hug and I kissed him."
Angel stared at her. "Why?"
She looked at him then away. "I like him. I always have."
This was not what Angel had wanted to hear. He shook his head. Eric was like family and Sofia was, well, his baby sister, damn it. He stood up, not sure what to say.
"No, what?" Sofia stood up in front of him.
"Why not? Jesus, you guys act like I'm a baby. I'll be seventeen this year. Sarah's age when she started dating you."
Angel's jaw locked. "That's different."
"It just is, Sof."
Angel tried to walk around Sofia to leave. This conversation was over. Alex was right. Eric would just have to stay away. But Sofia didn't let him by her. She put her hand on his chest and looked him straight in the eye.
"You and Alex are going to have to face it sooner or later. I'm not a little girl anymore."
Angel wasn't used to her being so dauntless and he didn't like it. "Dad won't have it either."
"I'll handle daddy, Angel. Just promise me you won't be mad at Eric. It really wasn't his fault."
Angel nodded and she let him by. That hadn't gone exactly as planned but he was relieved he wouldn't have to be mad at Eric. Alex was a different story. The image of Eric kissing his baby sister would be branded into his hard head for a while. But he'd have to get over it eventually. Unless he wanted Sofi reminding him over and over that she was the one who initiated the kiss. Angel shuddered just thinking about it.