“You play?” I ask, nodding toward the game systems.
“Of course not,” she retorts as she shuts the door. “But my roommates do.”
I raise a brow. “How many people do you live with?”
The girl doesn’t give an inch when it comes to personal information. “And what are their names?”
“Not like you know them,” she says and I send her a look that makes her roll her eyes. “If I tell you, will you leave?”
“Only if I can see your room.”
“How old are we again?”
“I’m twenty-one. Almost twenty-two,” I inform her with my most charming smile. It doesn’t seem to charm her whatsoever. “How old are you?”
“If I tell you, then will you go?” she asks hopefully.
“Let me take this to your room while you answer my questions, and then I’m out of here,” I promise.
She waves a hand and starts walking down the short hall. I follow her, shifting the garment bags from one arm to the other. Whatever the hell is in here, it’s pretty heavy.
“I’m twenty-one,” she tells me as she stops in front of a door near the end of the hall. She opens it and steps out of my way so I can enter in front of her. “And my roommates are Felisha, Conrad and Jeff. Now leave.”
“Conrad?” I ask incredulously, turning to look at her. I’m ignoring that now leave remark. The look on her face tells me she’s beyond irritated.
“Yeah. Conrad. He’s a real sweetheart.” She nods and points to a wicker chair in the corner of the room. “You can set the garment bags over there, thanks.”
I do as she requests, glancing around her room, looking for…what I don’t know. A sign? A glimpse of her personality in whatever might be hanging on the walls or sitting on top of her dresser, or resting on the bedside table? Maybe even old photos I can check out of a young Alexandria?
But there’s nothing. Standard white furniture that looks straight out of an Ikea catalog and a perfectly made bed covered with a pale blue and white printed comforter and way too many pillows for me to handle.
Chicks and their pillows. It’s like a fucking sickness.
“So you live with guys?” I say when I turn to face her. She immediately goes to her dresser and pulls open a drawer, snagging something neatly folded and black from within before she shuts it. Hope makes me take a step closer. If she opens a drawer full of panties or bras, I’ll consider that a small victory.
“I do.” She whirls around, holding what looks like a pair of leggings in front of her chest. “You need to go.”
I frown. “No ‘thank you, Tristan, for helping me out after a rough afternoon getting caught in the rain’?”
She rolls her eyes. Again. “I already said thanks but in case you didn’t hear it the first time—hey thanks, Tristan. I appreciate the ride, even though I told you not to bother.”
This girl is fucking tough. I remember how Jade put Shep through the ringer and he seemed to love it, the sick bastard.
Not me. I’m discovering that I sort of hate this kind of thing. It shouldn’t be this difficult. If she thinks she’s playing hard to get and I’ll keep chasing, she’s mistaken.
“You’re welcome.” I salute her. “See you around, Alexandria.”
I walk out of her bedroom without another word and lo and behold, she follows. All the way to the front door, which she even opens for me. “Call me Alex,” she says as I start to walk outside.
Pausing, I turn to face her. “It’s a man’s name,” I say.
“Your eloquence knows no bounds,” she says and I narrow my eyes at her. The rain is dripping off the edges of the overhang, the wind whipping those drips into the back of my already damp shirt but I don’t move.
“It’s not an insult. You’re too pretty for the name Alex.” I clamp my lips shut. Being near her, I somehow say the stupidest shit ever. Like I’m interested in her.
Her cheeks flush pink and she drops her gaze from mine. “Well, it’s my nickname.”
“It’s a bad one.”
She lifts her head, eyes a blazin’ like she’s seriously pissed. “You’re incredibly rude.”
“So are you.”
She rests her hands on her hips. “You should go.”
“Trust me, I’m leaving.” I don’t move. My feet feel like they’re cemented to the damn floor.
“I’m going to shut the door in your face,” she threatens, gesturing like she’s going to slam it.
Reaching out, I stop the door’s progress, pressing my palm flat against the thick wood. “Now who’s the rude one?” I raise a brow.
“You’re infuriating.” She makes this sexy sort of growling noise and I tell myself to ignore it. Ignore her. She’s pissed at me. This has zero chance of going anywhere and all I want is to get in her panties.
“You should go out with me.” The words blast out of my mouth like I have no control. I’m an idiot. “Friday night. I’ll take you to dinner.”
The smile that appears on her face is nothing short of smug. “Sorry. I already have plans. A date. With Steven.”
Steven? Oh. Fuck. Steven. The dude from the bar. Really? She can get someone so much better.
We stare at each other silently for at least a minute. Maybe even two. Finally I turn and head down the sidewalk toward my car, walking slowly like no big deal. I don’t care that the rain is soaking through my clothes. Fuck it.
“Your loss,” I yell at her from over my shoulder.
“You’re an asshole!” she screams back.
I catch a glimpse of her angry face just before she shuts the door and I unlock my car, climbing inside and breathing in her lingering scent. Why is this girl so damn hard to resist?
Punching the steering wheel, I exhale loudly. Stare at my dashboard as I grit my teeth. I shouldn’t let her bother me. I don’t care if she’s going on a date with some nice guy who probably has no clue how to treat her. He’s probably so fucking overwhelmed that a beautiful girl actually wants to go out with him he’ll end up kissing her ass the entire night.
And she’ll walk all over him. They deserve each other.
I reach over and start the car, getting the hell out of there before I do something even more stupid.
Like chase after her and tell her to forget that Steven guy.
She should go out with me.
The restaurant Steven takes me to is nice without being too over the top expensive, and the food is delicious. Our conversation flows easily, he’s made me laugh more than once and he’s so incredibly sweet. Considerate. Truly interested in what I have to say and I’m returning the favor as best I can.
I sit there and nod and smile and laugh in all the right places, but my mind keeps straying to Tristan. Which is awful and unfair to Steven because he’s nice. Cute in an unassuming way. A bit of a nerd who loves video games—he actually knew Conrad when he came to pick me up for our date and they promised to get together some other time to play the latest version of Call of Duty.
Guys and their video games, I get it. But I swear Steven seemed more excited to discover that I live with his friend versus going on a date with me. At least with Tristan, I know he’d be into me—to the point where I’d probably want to push him off and tell him to take a chill pill.