But he hadn't recognized me, and I made sure to say as little as possible so he wouldn't recognize my voice. The sensation was thrilling—having someone who I’d spent so much time with in the past not have a clue who I was. Especially someone as cocky and impossible as Hendrix fucking Malone.
"Are you going to tell me what's going on in that epic, beautiful brain of yours?" London asked. She tapped her polished nails on the marble, impatiently waiting. She knew I would tell her. I told her everything. As I had since the day we shared a dorm room freshman year. Thank God we’d upgraded to our own apartment since then. A shiver raced down my spine just remembering the dorm rooms.
A few months and that would all change. Both of our aspirations of going into sports management would be solidified with our degrees. And I’d made double sure of that. I’d wanted to get out of college so quickly—because of my celebrity dad status and the fact that I didn't care for school much—I'd taken the accelerated track. That meant summer school, extra classes, and a grueling schedule that made my mind numb on some nights, but I was right on track for graduating early. And after that?
I didn't want to think about that right now. Not when this idea was drumming through me like it had its own heartbeat.
"Is this about what Trevor did?" London asked when I didn't answer. "Are we plotting against him again? Because I already told you I'm more than happy to throat-punch the shit out of him."
I smiled down at my best friend, my heart swelling at her fierce protectiveness over me. She may be small, but she packed an endless well of passion. She was as sweet as a fluffy white kitten, until she wasn't. The girl had claws, but not many people ever got to see them.
"Come on," London urged. "Spill it. Now."
"All right," I said, shrugging and scanning the dance floor one more time. I easily spotted Hendrix talking to Roman across the room. "I'm going to use this anonymity to my advantage," I said.
"Meaning?" London asked warily.
"Meaning," I said, a smirk shaking my lips as the idea fully took shape in my mind. "If my virginity is that sought after…” I swallowed hard, the sting from what Trevor had done sizzling in my chest. “Then,” I continued. “I’m going to stop playing the game and decide who it goes to. And who better than Hendrix Malone?"
London gasped, her blue gaze following mine across the room before snapping back to my face. She stepped into my line of sight, or as much as she could being a head shorter than me. "You've got to be kidding me," she said. "I get what Trevor did was bullshit. What that whole frat house did was complete and utter bullshit. But you can't—"
"I can," I interrupted her, allowing her to see the seriousness in my contact-covered gaze. My features softened as I looked at her and tried to will her to understand. "I'm so tired, London. I'm so fucking tired of having people either be too scared to get to know me, or only interested in getting to know me because what my status can do for them." I swallowed down a mouthful of acid, my thoughts raging at my ex.
My one and only ex. The charming boy I’d thought was different. And boy was the right term because where I thought I’d dated a man, I had been completely and utterly wrong. A silly boy with a silly agenda. Disgusting.
London pressed her lips together, that same flicker of anger and understanding swirling in her eyes. She glanced over her shoulder again, quickly glancing at Hendrix and then back to me.
"Why him?" London asked.
I gaped at her. "Well, I'm certainly not going to choose one of our delightful collegiate peers," I said with all the sarcasm I could muster.
London rolled her eyes at me in an obviously sort of way. "I'm not saying going for an NFL player is a bad idea," London said. "I mean, we've all been around perfect bodies and competent attitudes for years now," she continued. "But there are at least fifty-two other players on the Raptors roster that might be more suitable than the most renowned playboy on the team." She shook her head, that beehive wig threatening to come off again. She fixed it and continued, "Hell, I might even go for a hockey player. I know a few, remember? I can get you their numbers."
It was my turn to roll my eyes at her. "I know Hendrix," I said. "I know who he is. His playboy status isn’t hard to miss."
"Exactly," London said. As if that explained everything. "He'll break your heart."
"My heart isn’t on the line. It's not part of this play. Only my body is." My tongue darted out to wet my lips as my breath caught. "And I sure as hell trust him with that."