I Bet You (Page 4)
He blinks and clears his throat. “Um, I actually have this cleaner stuff that I spray on my practice clothes. It’s a miracle worker. You’re welcome to borrow it. Of course, you’d have to come by the football dorm to pick it up. We could even do laundry together if you wanted?”
He says the words softly, as if they’re nothing, and I’m staring at him full on.
Do our laundry together?
I suspect Ryker Voss is flirting with me, though not well. The pimply-faced checkout boy at Big Star has better lines than this.
Something warm grows inside my stomach and then flutters around, the sputtering of newborn butterflies. He is the hottest guy on campus. Still, I remind myself he’s a player, gather my resolve, and shoot those butterflies down.
“You’re being weird, Ryker.”
“Because I’m being nice? Yeah. New year, new start. I want to forget all the bad stuff from last semester.” He pauses. “And the article you wrote.”
“Is that right? Even the part where I said you dishonored the sport and were a disgrace to college players everywhere?”
He stares down at his hands. “I had my reasons for what happened.”
So I heard. He got involved in the fighting to help his friend and fellow teammate Maverick save his disabled sister.
“Ah, well, I did write a follow-up article, but it wasn’t nearly as popular as the first one.”
He shrugs, and somehow, he’s closer now. I stare into his thickly lashed cerulean eyes and blink at the force of them. His irises…God, someone should name a crayon after them.
“So…do you want to do laundry together sometime?”
This again? My mouth parts. “What? Like a date?”
I blink rapidly, my brain trying to wrap about this new Ryker. “No. I’m sure you already have jersey chasers lined up outside your dorm vying to do your laundry. I’ve heard they actually beg to rub your shoulders and do your homework. I imagine they even fight to be the one to suck your sweet little toes.” I come to an abrupt halt. Suck his toes? SUCK HIS TOES? OMG. Where did that random comment come from? I don’t have a foot fetish. I blame it on his presence and carry on. “And don’t worry about me—I don’t need your laundry advice. A little ketchup never hurt anyone.”
Determination crosses his face and with a flurry of movement, he drops a small piece of paper onto the tray I’m holding.
I stare down at it. Sexy as Hell Athlete is written in masculine handwriting with a phone number after it. I look back up at him, my eyes tracing the enigmatic half-smile on his face.
“I wrote it down for you earlier and wanted to give it to you after the ketchup thing, but I chickened out.”
Several seconds go by.
“Will you give me yours?” he asks after a few moments of us just standing here.
“Number.” He grins.
I indicate the tray and my obvious impediment. “I don’t have any paper on me.”
“Just tell me. I’ll remember.”
I’m flustered, and that’s the only reason I rattle off my phone number. He grins and repeats it back to me.
He lowers his voice in a conspiratorial way. “So…you’re watching someone, I take it. Anyone I know?”
Feeling bemused by his attention, I shake my head, quickly losing control of this situation.
“For a writer, you seem to be at a loss for words. Do I make you speechless, Penelope?”
I scoff. “No.”
“I’m curious as to what has your attention back here.” He slides in next to me behind the plant, his shoulder brushing against mine. He’s a giant next to my slender frame, and all at once, I feel protected and safe, which is entirely wrong. It’s probably his male pheromones, lulling me into softness before the kill—and damn if it isn’t working. He murmurs something about us hiding together and spying on people, but I’m distracted because my face is up close and personal with the chest hair that pokes out of his shirt. I want to trail my fingers through it and see if it’s as soft as it looks. He smells like alpha male and sex. Hard, passionate sex that makes you o****m fast and furious.
Not that I have any firsthand knowledge of that, of course, but I have my fantasies.
Gird your loins, Penelope.
Resist the quarterback.
But I’m getting sucked in.
I blame it on the dimple that appears when he smiles. My stomach does that fluttering thing again, and this time, I can’t shoo the butterflies away. I’m weak. I move my eyes up the strong column of his tanned throat to meet his gaze. At least ten seconds go by as we take each other in.
What. Is. Happening?
“You’re pretty,” he murmurs. “Have I ever told you that?”
“We don’t usually talk except for when I take your order.”
His hand reaches up and briefly touches a piece of my hair that’s fallen out of my topknot. He rubs it between his fingers. “Your hair…it’s—”
“Auburn,” I manage, clearing my throat.
“It reminds me of a new penny, the way the amber color catches the light…” His voice trails off, and he bites his bottom lip. “God, that has to be the stupidest thing I’ve ever said.”
“You have worse lines. Tell me, is doing laundry code for sex?” I say, staring up at him. I’m itching to straighten my glasses, a nervous reflex, but my hands are holding the tray.
“I only use lines on jersey chasers. You’re the kind of girl I have to work for.”
“What about your discriminating tastes?”
“Pure bluff. I think we have a real connection, Penelope.” His face is closer now, and I swallow, wondering how we must look to everyone else in the restaurant. I realize that in the process of talking, we’ve backed up to the wall behind the plant, and I figure the only table we’re visible to is the football one, but I don’t tear my eyes away from Ryker to check.
“You smell like rainbows,” he says.
My chest rises. I’m enjoying his full-court press. It’s…intoxicating. “What does a rainbow smell like?”
“Sweet and delicious.”
“It’s the suckers.” His eyes land on my lips, and it almost feels as if he’s touched them. Heat rushes over my skin. “The red ones are my favorite. I think they’re cherry or strawberry or raspberry…definitely not cranberry…that’s disgusting,” I say, rambling, feeling disoriented.
“It’s crazy, but I really want to kiss you right now,” he murmurs.
My eyes drift over his shoulder to where Connor’s table is. I can’t see his face, but I know he’s there, and even though I’m drugged by Ryker’s proximity, I remind myself he’s the one I should kiss.
Ryker is a player—just like my dad was.
He watches the direction of my gaze and follows it. “You’ve been watching Dimpleshitz, haven’t you?” he says, a frown line appearing on his forehead. “Are you into him?”
My stomach dips. “Why would you say that?”
“Because you hightailed it over here when he walked in and you’ve been hiding ever since. So, I figure he either did you wrong or you’re infatuated, and since I haven’t heard any gossip about you and him, I’m guessing you must have a thing for him.”