I Bet You (Page 35)
“I’ve shocked you.”
He stares out the front windshield and rakes a hand through his hair. “That’s a lot to take in.”
“I don’t advocate lying. I didn’t plan to do it, but when you asked me about pool, I wanted to impress you. I’ve always thought you were studious and just my type…” I stop. I’m rambling.
He turns the car off and turns to face me. “Okay.”
I take another breath. “And I hit you with that ball tonight. Actually, it was the first time I’ve even picked up a pool stick, so it’s no wonder I nearly killed you. God, you should have seen that white ball flying through the air…it just zeroed in on you, like fate was trying to tell me something. I really thought it was going to hit you in your man parts.”
“I mean, thank God it didn’t.” A small laugh comes out of me. “Ryker really wanted me to learn how to play…” I bite my lip.
Connor shakes his head and adjusts his glasses, looking befuddled. He pauses. “Do you even like Elvis?”
“Yeah. I suck.” I exhale, my fingers undoing my seat belt. “Anyway, I’m really sorry, and I completely understand if you never speak to me again. We do have class together, but I won’t be offended if you just ignore me and keep on walking.” I smile wryly at him.
He frowns. “I would have liked you anyway.”
“Again, I’m sorry.” I put my hand on the door handle. “Thank you for the ride.” I take a deep breath and get out of the car, shutting the door.
“Wait.” He gets out and comes over to where I’m waiting at the curb. “You did all that just to go out with me?”
“Not my most shining moment.”
“It is flattering though.” A sheepish grin grows on his face. “I’m not a hot jock, ya know, so I’m surprised you went that far.”
I smile, feeling a teensy bit better. “You’re a unicorn. Any girl would love to be with you.”
He studies my face. “So do you still want to go out? With no pool playing involved?”
“Ah…you’re very nice, Connor, but…”
The silence grows as we look at each other.
I shake my head. “You really aren’t my type.”
He shakes his head and points a finger at me knowingly. “Ah. Ryker. I knew it. It’s been him since the beginning.” His eyes widen. “Wait—was that kiss in the bookstore real?”
I sigh and shrug.
“Interesting,” he says, sticking his hands in his pockets. “You know I saw the whole thing, right? I also recall your arms were around him, so—”
“I was there,” I say.
“Mmhmm.” He laughs and looks down at his feet. “Look, I should have noticed you sooner and asked you out a long time ago, and maybe this would have all gone down a lot differently—”
“Let’s try something,” I say, interrupting him and taking a step closer. “Kiss me.”
He laughs and shakes his head. “What? Why?”
“Let’s call it an experiment,” I answer. I need to know if I’m just such a hard-up virgin, any kind of male attention gets me going.
He studies me for a moment. “You’re not going to slap me?”
I smile. “Nope. I promise.”
I straighten as if preparing for battle as he cups my shoulders and leans in. His head lowers, and his lips touch mine, the pressure gentle.
He eases back a few second later. “Anything?”
“No,” I murmur. Not even a twitch. “But you’re great,” I add brightly.
“Damn.” He grins. “Friends?”
I nod. “Yeah. For sure.”
“Good luck,” he calls out to me as he walks back around to his side of the car.
He pulls away and I watch him go.
And there you go. Welcome to the end of an era. Maybe he was always built up in my head anyway, a way to keep myself occupied and distracted from other things.
Like my mom.
I take the sidewalk up to the front porch and see a white piece of paper tucked between my door and the frame.
I rip it open, remembering the last time I found a note on my porch.
I bought you a tire and changed it. You shouldn’t be driving on a spare. Call me in the morning, and I’ll take you to the Waverly to get it before class.
PS. Don’t worry about that agent dude. You got this.
My fingers trace the llama he drew at the bottom.
God. My heart dips. Ryker Voss is one complicated man. He did all this—yet he pushes me as far away from him as he can.
I go inside, and I’m a little giddy from not having the hassle of messing with my car. Part of it, too, is that I told Connor everything. Acceptance is a beautiful thing, and I want to revel in it.
“Pen! S**t!” Vampire Bill’s squawk makes me smile as I walk past him. I give him a cracker from the box next to his cage.
I grab my phone and a glass of prosecco then head to my bedroom, where I change into a camisole and a pair of lace shorts. After that, I get Vampire Bill situated on the desk in my room, tell him good night, and crawl into bed.
I’m right in the middle of reading when my phone pings and I dive on it, expecting Ryker.
It’s my dad. I quickly scan the messages he sent earlier that I didn’t see. I skim past them to read the most recent one.
When I didn’t hear from you, I called Walter. He gave me the rundown. I’m sorry things didn’t work out.
I sigh and respond. It’s okay. I appreciate the help. I didn’t expect you to do that. Thank you.
Good night, he sends, and I respond likewise.
On a whim, before I can change my mind, I type out, I’ll come over for lasagna soon.
I set my phone down, moving on and thinking about Ryker. My fingers pluck at the edges of my sheets.
Forget waiting until morning to talk to him.
I drain my drink and dig deep for the nerve to initiate a text. It’s easier than talking to him face to face anyway. Perhaps it’s because when we text, we don’t worry about the repercussions of our words. We just talk and there’s no pressure.
Thank you for everything, I send to Ryker. I owe you.
His reply is immediate.
Of course, I reply.
Are you in bed?
Yes. My heart kicks up, and my chest rises.
Is your head against Edward’s face?
I laugh out loud and Vampire Bill glares at me. “What?” I say to him. “Ryker’s funny.”
The sparkly vampire is on my pillow, I reply.
So, if I shave my chest hair off and toss on some glitter lotion, you’ll be into me?
I burst out laughing. Maybe.
OMG. Stop teasing me. I’m giggling.
Who said I was teasing?
I smirk. Okay, so the next time we watch a movie, you get to pick.
I’ll pick the Avengers.
I can get down with Thor.
On second thought, I’ll go with Texas Chain Saw Massacre.
I sigh, a smile on my face.
I need to go, he types a few minutes later after we’ve been texting for a while and I’ve lost track of time. We make plans for him to pick me up at eight in the morning the next day to take me to get my car.
I wanted to say something first. My heart thunders as I nibble on the inside of my cheek. I told Connor the truth. He knows.