“Maybe I’m not ready to close the deal with Jade yet,” I mumble, feeling under attack. What does it matter? Since when did these two care so much about my sex life?
“And there’s where it gets strange,” Tristan says, Gabe nodding enthusiastically in agreement. “One and done. Isn’t that something you’ve said countless times? Hasn’t that been your philosophy when it comes to girls?”
One and done. Yeah, it definitely was.
“Them’s the rules man,” Gabe says, his expression serious. “Three little words. One. And. Done.”
I throw my napkin across the table and it hits Gabe in the chest. “We don’t have rules or any of that bullshit. So fuck you both. I don’t want anything serious with Jade. Trust me. She’d probably wrench my balls off and hand them to me with a smile if I tried to make a move on her.”
Lies. I’m lying through my teeth. After the way she acted last night, the things we said to each other, I don’t think she’d mind me making a move on her. I should text her. Find out what she’s doing today. See if we can get together soon, maybe tonight…
“You’re thinking about her right now,” Gabe says, pointing at me. “You want her. Holy hell, I think you actually like her.”
I slide out of the booth as they laugh at me, sending them both a dirty look. Reaching for my wallet, I peel out a ten and throw it on the table, then shove my wallet back in my jeans. “Have a nice day, pussies.”
Their laughter follows me out of the restaurant but I don’t look back, though I’m tempted to give them the finger and tell them to fuck off only because they’re getting too close to the truth.
I like this girl. I was thinking about her. I want to see her again. I don’t care if I’m breaking the so called rules or whatever. I don’t want anything serious.
I’m thinking spending time with Jade beyond the one and done variety could be worth it.
Pausing at the streetlight, I wait for it to turn green so I can cross and get to my car. I pull my phone out and send her a quick text, shoving my phone back in my front pocket and not waiting for her to reply. She could be in class or still asleep. It could be hours until she responds. She might play hard to get. Worse, she might hate me. I never know with Jade. She keeps me on my toes.
I think that might be my favorite thing about her. Oh, that and her fucking incredible mouth.
My phone dings and I check it, surprised and pleased to see her answer.
Tonight? Are you serious?
Shaking my head, I answer.
Yeah. Are you busy?
I have class.
The light changes and I start crossing, typing as I do, earning a few dirty looks for my effort.
What time are you out?
I wonder if she’s lying to me. Maybe she doesn’t want to see me.
I can pick you up after.
She makes me wait and in turn, makes me sweat. Just a little bit. Not much. And it pisses me off. Girls don’t make me sweat. Nothing makes me sweat beyond my old man.
Finally, my phone dings with a text alert.
The second I walk out of the building I see him in the near distance, leaning against the front of his car. I’m walking with a friend from class, listening distractedly as she rambles on about the assignment for next week, my gaze never leaving him though he doesn’t notice me, not yet. She catches me staring though and stops short when she spots Shep.
“Ooh, he’s pretty,” Nicole breathes. “Looks like he’s waiting for someone too.”
I pretend for a moment he’s not waiting for me and I try my best to observe him objectively. It’s tough because I’m totally hot for him and I can’t blame it on alcohol, not tonight. He’s wearing a black T-shirt that molds to his chest and shoulders, the sleeves tight around his biceps. Dark rinse jeans, a baseball cap on backwards, his face lit in shadows from the lamppost just to the right of him. He looks…amazing, bent over his phone, the glow of the screen highlighting that gorgeous face.
My phone buzzes and I check it.
I laugh and he lifts his head at the sound, the upward tilt of his lips just for me. Even from such a long distance, I feel the impact of his smile all the way down to my bones.
“Wait a minute.” Nicole touches my arm, stopping me. “Is he waiting for you?”
She sounds surprised. I guess I can’t blame her. “Yeah, he is,” I say proudly, hitching the strap of my backpack higher on my shoulder.
“Wow.” She squints, studying him as we draw closer to the parking lot and Shep. “Is that Shep Prescott?”
“Uh huh,” I tell her, bracing for some what a player, he’s a total man whore remark from her.
But she remains blissfully silent. I can only assume she’s so stunned Shep would be waiting for me she doesn’t know what to say.
“Hey.” He lifts his chin when I draw closer, his gaze going to Nicole by my side. She’s gawking at him unabashedly and I’m almost embarrassed for her. Almost.
Really, I can’t blame her. I would totally gawk at him myself. Which I am.
“Hi,” I say as I nudge Nicole in the side. This helps stop the gawking. “Shep, this is Nicole.”
“Hello,” he says with a nod, his gaze immediately returning to me. “You look good.”
Those three simple words spoken in that low, seductive voice just about melt the bones in my legs. “Um, thanks.” I’m wearing my tightest jeans as per Kelli’s instructions and a blue and white plaid button up shirt over a white camisole with a built in bra, though that went against my better judgment, Kelli insisted. I’m definitely dressed up compared to my usual yoga pants and a sweatshirt outfit I normally wear for this Monday night class.
“You need a ride?” he asks Nicole and for some strange reason, my heart warms because he’s considerate enough to think of her and make the offer.
“No, I drove.” She shakes her head and flashes me a knowing smile, one that says you lucky bitch. “Nice meeting you, Shep. See you around, Jade.”
She walks over to her car, I can see one of the security guards that watch the parking lot nearby and I know she’s safe. We always walk in pairs or groups out here at night because you never know. Too many campus rape horror stories across the country and we don’t want to risk it.
“Are you two close?” he asks once Nicole is out of earshot.
I shake my head, and tuck a strand of hair behind my ear. “She’s more like a class friend. Not like we hang out, but we always talk before class, walk out together. Most of the time she gives me a ride.”
“You don’t have a car?”
“No, I can’t afford one. When school’s out I’ll go back home and get a job for the summer. I’m trying to save up for a cheap used car.” My mom can’t afford to just buy me a car. She drives an ’01 Jetta that’s a European heap of crap she’s constantly taking to the shop. What I make at Light My Fire pays for the extras but I couldn’t manage a car payment on my part time wages. I have no idea what it’s like to be outlandishly wealthy like the Prescotts.
Worry knots my stomach and I try to push it away. Just thinking about the wealth, the legacy Shep comes from makes me nervous. What is he doing with me? Half the time I wonder if he’s just trying to torment me.