I Bet You (Page 16)
Oh, he is such a scoundrel!
I’M NOT FASCINATED BY YOUR HAIR, I reply. Maybe I call you that because your face is rather long.
I think you want to touch my chest, he replies. Maybe later after Connor is gone I’ll take my shirt off for you. I bet you won’t touch my chest.
Go to hell, quarterback, I text.
I remember that time you saw me coming out of the shower at the Tau house with only a towel on. I saw your open mouth. You were…IMPRESSED. Do you have fantasies about my naked chest?
I’m going to slap you again next time I see you. Or pull out one of those hairs.
As long as I get to kiss you first, he says.
My breath sucks in. Oh, he’s just teasing me. Then he sends me a string of laughing crying emojis with a string of llamas. See. A joke.
What a player, I think with a small smile.
It was a great kiss, I tell him.
I roll my eyes. Thank you for getting him over here.
Another text comes in a few minutes later. By the way, where is Forks, Seattle?
It’s where the Cullens live. Hello, Twilight?
You’re really into bloodsuckers.
If he only knew. I have most of the books and movies memorized.
Edward’s face is on my pillow.
LOL, he replies. Maybe it’s time you gave up your book crushes and focused on real life more.
And I assume Sexy as Hell Athlete is the one to help me with that?
Did I not just get you Connor? Now stop texting me and talk to him.
I’m chuckling when I hear my name and look up at Connor. His face is inquisitive.
“I’m sorry.” I gesture to my phone. “Important message. Did you say something?”
“I asked if you liked to play pool.”
I squint. How did we get from school supplies to pool? I flounder, my eyes running around the store, trying to recall details of a game I played once or twice in my aunt’s basement when I was a kid. I reach into my purse for my lipstick, a sure sign I’m nervous. I know there’s an eight ball…
He gives me a slightly perplexed look. “You know the game with the balls and sticks? Billiards, if you’re fancy.”
“Oh, pool. I thought you said tool.” I laugh. “I played in high school actually, was even in a league with…teams and such.” God. Do they have those?
“I didn’t know schools had those.”
I nod. “They do! I went to a private school here in Magnolia, and it was all the rage.”
His face lights up. “That’s awesome. It’s one of my favorite pastimes since my dad owns a pool hall back in my hometown.”
I’ve read that widening your eyes when you talk to the opposite sex shows interest, so I flare mine open. “Where’s that?”
“Memphis.” He gives me an odd look. “You okay?”
I nod emphatically. “Yeah, why?”
“Your eyes got big.”
“Oh, just a speck of dust. It’s fine.” I wave dismissively. “I love Memphis! Graceland’s there, home of Elvis, right? It’s the best. Lots of dancing and music…stuff.”
He brightens. “You like Elvis?”
“Achy Breaky Heart guy with the great hair and shiny outfits? Totally.”
He frowns. “No, that was Billy Ray Cyrus, and I’m not sure where he’s from. Elvis sang in the 60s and 70s—and he’s dead. You know that, right?”
Oh God. I’m losing my mind. Of course, I know who the heck Elvis is! This is Ryker’s fault…somehow. My eyes shift over to the map display where I swear I can hear stifled laughing. I clear my throat. “Duh. My brain is mush today. First couple weeks of classes and all.” I pause and smile. “My favorite Elvis song is ‘Love Me Tender’. It’s very romantic.” I briefly shut my eyes in mortification.
What is this nonsense coming out of my mouth?
I need a reboot. Stat.
“Yeah.” He stares down at his hands for a moment before looking back up at me. “You know, I’ve wanted to talk to you several times, but I never seem to find the right time. I’m glad I ran into you today. Do you play chess?”
I blink at the non sequitur but smile at him, and he blinks a little, his eyes lingering on my lips. Thank you, cherry red lipstick. “Yes, I love it so, so much.” At least that much is true.
He grins. “I didn’t realize we had so much in common.”
“I know. Amazing.”
“I’m headed to a chess tournament this weekend, but maybe you’d like to get together soon—if you’re not seeing anyone?” He blushes.
This is so easy. All I have to do is agree with everything.
“That sounds great. I work a few nights at Sugar’s and at the library, but if I know in advance, I can ask for it off.”
He nods. “Cool. I’d love for you to come to Cadillac’s with me. Maybe show me some of your moves from high school?”
Cadillac’s is a local bar where students from Waylon hang out. There’s a collection of pool tables there. Dammit.
It’s like a soap bubble has burst.
“Uh…” I freak out internally as I emit a nervous laugh. “I may have to study…you just never know. I’ll check my schedule.”
He takes his glasses from his shirt and slips them on. He really is adorable. “Nah, just bring your books with you. We can go over whatever you need to do after we play.”
How in the hell am I going to fake play pool when I don’t even know what end of the stick to hold?
“So, it’s a date then? Maybe next week sometime?” God. He actually said the words…
Damn. Ryker did it. Connor actually said date.
I exhale. “Uh, yeah.”
He asks for my number, and I give it to him, my gaze flicking to the area where I know Ryker is lurking.
Connor offers to walk me to class, and I give him a nod then tag along.
We walk out of the student center and head to the science building for our class. We’re halfway there when I get another text.
You might need to brush up on your Elvis. And pool.
I smile to myself.
“Who’s that?” Connor asks.
I sigh. “No one.”
Penelope Graham. Damn.
Somewhere between hiding with her behind the plant and kissing her in the bookstore, something changed between us. I can’t put my finger on exactly what, but I do know I’m f*****g jealous as hell of a nerd who loves to talk about mechanical pencils and pool.
You have no right to your jealousy, I tell myself while I follow behind them as they walk through the quad.
Much to my surprise, I also notice that, at some point, she pulled up her sweatshirt and did some kind of tie thing on the side, so it shows off her heart-shaped a*s. She must have done it while they were walking out of the bookstore, and I was lingering behind the display.
I take in several pairs of male eyes roving over her as she sashays past them and it annoys me.
I shouldn’t be surprised they’re staring.
There’s something mesmerizing about her that calls to the caveman in me and brings all my alpha instincts to the surface. She’s part goofy but clever. Hot but innocent. Her lips are a perfect Cupid’s bow, full and red, and I admit to staring at them a little too long in the bookstore before we kissed. And her coppery hair that falls around her oval face? That’s the stuff of wet dreams.
I half-smile. She isn’t impressed with who I am, and that…that I f*****g dig.