“This is our first date.”
“Ah.” He nods. “I’ve seen him in here before. He always loses his ass. Every single time.”
Of course. Most everyone who walks into this place does, I’m sure. “So this is yours?”
“Well, mine along with my partners.”
“Who are your partners?” I’m almost afraid to ask.
“Your boy is in trouble tonight. My dealer’s on fire,” Shep says, changing the subject.
“Go easy on him,” I say softly.
“Not up to me.” He flicks his head toward the dealer who’s taking Steven’s one hundred dollar bill and cashing it in for chips. “Want me to grab you that drink? What do you prefer?”
“Please. Um, two beers. Whatever you’ve got.”
“One for you and your friend?” Shep raises his brows.
“Yeah,” I say slowly. Shep is actually wiggling his brows now, like some sort of demented cartoon character. “What is your deal anyway?”
“Tonight’s been pretty fucking funny.” He twists his mouth into a wry smile. “Sorry.”
Oo-kay. “No biggie.” I wave a hand. “Why’s it so funny?”
“Just weird stuff happening. I’ll go get your beers. Be right back.” He leaves before I can say anything else. I watch him go, shaking my head.
Guys are so strange. Shep was acting odd. I hope he’s not doing anything he shouldn’t be. I don’t want to know if he’s like, possibly cheating on Jade? They seemed so into each other at the Halloween party but hell, I don’t really know him.
I don’t know anyone here. Not Shep, not Steven, not Jade or Lucy or Gabe. Kelli is the only person I’m close to and she’s not here tonight. She went out with the rest of the girls—they invited me but I already agreed to go out with Steven so I had to pass.
Sort of a bummer I couldn’t go. It would’ve been nice, getting to know them better.
Deciding I need to use the restroom before I crack open a beer, I head down the darkened hall, spotting a sliver of light shining from beneath a closed door. I lift my hand, about to knock to see if anyone’s inside when I feel a big, warm hand clasp my shoulder. A shriek escapes me and I whirl around to find none other than Tristan in front of me, his gaze dark, standing so close to me I can hear him breathe.
“Alexandria,” he drawls like the arrogant bastard that he is. “What are you doing here?”
My heart is beating so hard I swear he can probably see it pounding beneath my sweater. “I could say the same to you.” I sound breathless and God, I hate that. He doesn’t make me breathless.
So why am I excited to see him? Because I am. I so am and there is no way I can admit that because he’ll just become even more arrogant, to the point of insufferable.
Fine. He’s already insufferable. I was just being nice.
He grins and moves closer, leaving me no choice but to back up until my butt hits the wall. “I own this place.” He pauses, tilting his head toward me. “And don’t try and tell me you didn’t know that.”
“I didn’t know it,” I immediately say. No wonder Shep didn’t want to tell me who his partners were.
“This is Gabe’s house. The three of us, we’re partners.” He props his hand on the wall, right beside my head, drawing himself even closer. “What are you doing here, Alexandria?”
I make a face. “Only my grandmother calls me Alexandria.” It’s true. She’s been dead for ten years but seriously. No one calls me by my full name unless I’m at an appointment or it’s the first day of class.
“I refuse to call you Alex.” He touches my chin, slips his finger beneath it and forces me to look up and meet his gaze. “How about Ali?”
My skin tingles where he touches me. The nickname is cute. Much more feminine. I refuse to let him call me something intimate and sweet. I’ll find more meaning in it than there really is and who wants that?
“I need to go find my date,” I tell him.
His smile is all knowing as he leans in close, his mouth right at my ear. “I guarantee he doesn’t even know you’re gone. That asshole doesn’t appreciate you and you know it.”
“Right, like you appreciate me?” I raise my hand to stop him, fingers splayed, palm flat against his chest. His heart is racing, I can feel it go boom, boom, boom against my hand and as if I have no control over my fingers I curl them into the fabric of his shirt. Pulling him closer…
“You know you want the big D,” he whispers as he tilts his head, his mouth just above mine. “Just give in to your urges, baby. I’ll be whatever you need.”
His words are like a bucket of ice water dumped over my head, snapping me out of the Tristan-induced haze I was falling under. I release his shirt and give him a shove, then duck underneath his arm so I can get away from him as fast as possible. “Stay away from me,” I demand as I start to leave.
Tristan grabs hold of my arm, swinging me around so I face him once more. “Where the hell are you going?”
I jerk out of his hold, rubbing my arm where he touched me. It’s like his fingers imprint themselves on my skin. “Do you really think you can win me over by telling me I want the big D?” I’m yelling but I don’t care. Let everyone hear me. He’s the ass who said it not me. “Despite what every other female tells you, I’m not interested in your dick, Tristan.”
He blinks, appearing shocked. “I didn’t mean—”
“Shut up, you so meant it.” I run up on him, get right in his face. Has anyone ever gotten in this guy’s face before? I doubt it. He’s a cocky asshole who’s gotten away with whatever he wanted for too long. Well, not anymore. He’s not getting me. I refuse to let him near me ever again. Screw that I’m-so-drawn-to-him- and-I-don’t-know-why vibe.
Clearly I was delusional.
“Shut. Up. Tristan.” I press my fingers against his mouth, silencing him. His lips are soft and warm and damn it, I have to resist the urge to trace them, learn their shape. He’s a complete prick. A sexy prick but that doesn’t matter.
It can’t matter.
“Don’t say another word,” I tell him, my voice soft, almost a whisper. “Are you going to be quiet and listen?” When he nods I drop my hand from his mouth and take a deep breath. “Girls don’t want a guy to come on to them like he’s the biggest sleaze ball that ever lived. If you really want to win her over, don’t tell her you know she wants the big D. That’s just gross.”
He doesn’t speak, those dark blue eyes stare at me like he can’t believe what I’m saying. Good. He needs to soak it up. This is much-needed advice, I’m sure. Whatever girls he’s been hanging around with, if all they like talking about is his so-called giant dick, then they need to get a hobby and fast.
“And don’t call a girl you barely know baby. It makes them think you can’t remember their name, and that’s super insulting.”
Still nothing from Tristan, so I continue.
“Lurking in the hall near the bathroom isn’t a great place to try and talk to a girl either. I don’t know if you’re into me or not. Clearly, you’re down to fuck. But guess what? I’m thinking you’re down to fuck just about anyone who walks into this place with a decent face and a vagina. Am I right?” When he remains silent I go on. “If you like empty fucking with nameless, faceless girls, then go on with your bad self. I’m sure you’ll have a great time fucking your way across campus, if you haven’t done so already.”