I Bet You (Page 26)
His chest rises. “F**k, Red. To get you off. Make you come. Have you ever had an o****m?”
My eyes lower. “Oh, definitely. I’m just waiting for a special person to give myself to completely.”
With scarcely a movement, he leans in and brushes my lips with his.
“What was that for?” I whisper as he stares down at me.
“Because…s**t…I don’t know. I wanted to.” He sighs.
I twist my hands in my lap, my mouth saying something I don’t intend it to. “A guy has never given me an o****m. I mean…I have had one, but not caused by an actual human male.”
His chest rises up and down in quick succession and he swallows. His eyes darken. “I see.”
I pick at one of the loose threads on my cardigan. He watches me. “Sometimes I wonder if the feeling itself is different, you know, with a guy. If it’s still that intense burst that goes off in your head and makes you warm and tingly.” I let out a ragged breath I didn’t know I was holding. “I think about it a lot. Who I want it to be…”
He stands abruptly.
He opens his mouth to say something but then shuts it and takes off for the kitchen. I’m not even sure he knows where he’s going, so I hop up and follow him.
“What’s going on?”
“I need some water. With ice, preferably.”
From behind him, I watch as he flings cabinets open and shuts them.
“Glasses are on the right side, next to the fridge.” I move in closer in case he needs help.
He opens the right one, grabs a glass, and fills it up with ice from the dispenser. Then he turns to the sink and starts filling up the glass. It overflows.
He doesn’t notice.
“It’s overflowing,” I say.
He curses and pours out some of the water then lifts the glass and drinks it down.
“Um, I have some Gatorade if you’re really thirsty.”
His shoulders are tense, and he hasn’t turned around, and my heart beats double time at the sparks in the air.
He sets the glass down on the counter and takes three huge breaths before facing me.
His expression is conflicted, a range of emotions flitting across his chiseled features. I can’t read them, and I suspect he doesn’t want me to.
I’m not sure what’s going on. I shake my head. “I’m sorry if I went too far. I’m just comfortable with you. It’s like we have this easiness when we’re together—”
“No, stop. This isn’t your fault.” His voice is husky.
I ease over to my sucker drawer and pull one out. I’m so fast, I have the wrapper off and the candy in my mouth in three seconds. I ignore the fact that my hands are shaking. “Want to tell me what’s going on then?”
He dips his head and rakes his hands through his hair. “F**k. Red.” He says my nickname like it’s torturing him.
“What’s wrong?” I’m a little shrill now.
He sticks his hands in his pockets, looking unsure as he glances around the room. Anywhere except at me. “I shouldn’t be here.”
My jaw tightens. I enjoy him being here.
He scrubs at his jaw. “I just—don’t need a distraction right now. I have to keep my head in the game.”
“Why is me being a virgin a distraction to you?”
He groans. “It’s not—you are.” He waves his hands at me. “The whole vibe you have.”
“Me?” I walk closer, being tentative because he looks like he might bolt at any moment. “What do you mean?”
He tugs on the ends of his hair, as if he’s debating. “I’m into you, okay? I think about you a lot. Something about that kiss…” He groans. “I think about kissing you, f*****g you—then f*****g you some more.”
My heart roars like a jet plane ready for takeoff. It’s so loud I’m sure he can hear it. I swallow. “Me? A girl who’s never seen an actual peen except on Tumbler?”
He nods, his eyes finding mine. His are low and heavy. “You. And you’re into me, Red. I already know you are. I see it when we have our little stare-offs. I sure as hell saw it out there when we talked about third base.” He looks down at me. “Your pupils are f*****g dilated, babe. You’re hot for me. Put that with how I feel…and it’s dangerous.”
I sputter. He isn’t wrong, but…
He gives me a hard look. “Tell me, did you go to lunch with Connor?”
I recall our conversation at Sugar’s when Connor texted me. “No, I had too much to do. Why? What are you saying?”
He glares at me. “You know what I’m saying. Do you really want him?”
I don’t say a word. I’m afraid of revealing too much.
He lets out a heavy exhale. “I haven’t had sex with anyone since last semester—since all that s**t happened. It’s the biggest dry spell I’ve ever had since I was a teenager.”
“Four months,” he tells me.
“Is it because you can’t get it up?”
He throws back his head and laughs and then sobers. “F**k no. I’m hard as nails right now. For you.”
I toss a glance down at his pants, and yep, there it is. My body gets hot.
“I just…I’ve been trying to focus on doing everything right with football…until you.” His ocean-colored eyes swirl with emotion. “And, dammit, I don’t want to hurt you. You’re a nice girl—a virgin, even—and I don’t know how the hell to deal with—”
“I don’t want to be hurt either, Ryker.” My chest feels heavy, as if someone has poured concrete on it.
“I won’t let it get that far, Red. We’re friends, and that’s something.” I watch as he seems to gather himself, shutting the cabinet door he left open and pushing his glass back from the edge of the counter. His eyes find mine. “It’s late. I need to go.”
I frown. “You’re leaving after that little bomb? Now?”
He gives me a curt nod, his jaw grinding as if he’s keeping words from coming out. “Goodbye, Red.”
And then he’s walking down the hall and opening my door and slipping into the night.
I’m rooted to the floor. I realize he didn’t even ask to see my journal when he won the bet.
But that doesn’t matter.
My breath catches as the truth hits me.
Ryker Voss hasn’t been with a girl in months, and I’m the one he wants.
But he’s afraid.
I am too.
I don’t need a quarterback f*****g up my life.
Tangled emotions rise up, and I suck in a shuddering breath. No matter what I tell myself, he’s stealing my heart, bit by bit, and it’s going to take everything I have to resist falling.
The next day, I hop in my car and cruise to the Chi Omega house. Now that I have Ryker and Connor coming to the party, I signed up via email to help with the planning committee.
I park by the curb and waltz inside, putting my purse on the pink high-backed Queen Anne style armchair next to the door. My eyes take in the oak paneling, medallion wallpaper, and Victorian furnishings.
This place needs a Property Brothers makeover, but it’s the same one my mom pledged. My gaze lingers on the chair where I just dumped my purse. I’ve seen pictures of that very piece of furniture in my mom’s albums, and it makes me feel close to her. She was here…just like I am.