Safe Bet (The Rules 4) - Page 35

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Almost like she spurred me on.

“It was—good.” That’s all she says. Well, and her pink cheeks say a million words too, none of them she’s actually speaking out loud.

“Did you enjoy it?”

Sydney blinks those pretty blue eyes up at me, and I feel like I can see a myriad of emotions sparkling within them. Not a one of them I can decipher either, and that makes me uneasy. “It wasn’t real, right?”

Her question stumps me. No, it wasn’t real. Yet…it was. It felt real. Her tongue was in my mouth. My tongue was in her mouth. We were touching each other. Hell, she was practically grinding on me and gave me an immediate hard on. If that’s not real, I don’t know what is. “What exactly do you mean?”

“What happened between us this morning, I think we just got—caught up in a moment.” She nods, like her explanation makes all the sense in the world. More like she just convinced herself it makes sense. “Yeah, that’s all it was. A total moment we got caught up in.”

She’s repeating herself. Making me wonder if she’s still caught up in a so-called moment.

“What about last night in my truck?” I give in and touch her again. Just drift my fingers along her bare forearm, my fleeting touch making goose flesh dot her skin. Thank Christ the tables are small so I can reach her easily. “What was that?”

“For the cameras.”

Ouch. Sydney’s brutal right now. “And what about earlier? Right after the game?”

“For the cameras again. This is all for the cameras. Remember our agreement, Wade? We’re putting on one big performance to save my ass from being called the ‘Naughty Nanny’ ever again. And to keep Drew and Fable’s image squeaky clean.” She pulls away from my touch as she slides out of the booth until she’s standing by the end of the table. “I’m going to the restroom.”

Without another word she leaves and I watch her go, fighting the disappointment that wants to wash over me. She’s mad. At me? I sure as hell hope not, but maybe she is. I don’t know what’s going on, but she seems on edge. I’m sure the encounter with that asshole on the field earlier doesn’t help matters. I think all this pretending is starting to get to her head.

I know it’s gotten to both of mine.

Sydney’s quiet the rest of the time we’re at the restaurant. It’s like she’s thrown up an impenetrable wall that I can’t push my way over, no matter what. She’s responsive when she needs to be, answering my questions and keeping up with our polite yet stilted conversation, but otherwise, she’s silent.

Eerily so.

It fucking sucks. There are no other words for it. Granted, I get that she’s upset after what happened with the guy on the field, but I don’t think that’s the only thing bothering her. Something else is going on. Something I think that has to do with…


It’s probably all this fake crap we’re putting ourselves through. Maybe it really is messing with her head. Sydney and I are compatible in the chemistry department, and maybe that’s a problem for her. It might feel far too real.

I know I’ve experienced that once or twice. I’ve enjoyed it too, despite my knowing how it’s all going to end.

And it will end. I can guarantee that.

After I pay the bill, we leave the restaurant and head back to Drew and Fable’s house so I can drop Sydney off. I crank up the music on the truck radio—anything’s better than the dead silence between us—and tap my fingers against the steering wheel, keeping the beat.

“You’re good at that.” When I look at her weirdly, she explains further. “Keeping rhythm. You’re doing it perfectly.”

I shrug, my gaze focused on the road ahead. If I look at her for too long, I might get distracted. And I don’t need that right now, especially since I’m driving. Thank Christ I didn’t drink much beyond that one beer at dinner. My head is clear. I need to keep it that way. “Once upon a time, I wanted to be a drummer in a band.”

“Why didn’t you become one?”

“Who said I didn’t try?” I slide her a quick glance.

“So you, what? Played drums in the school band?”

“In middle school,” I say with a one-shoulder shrug.

Sydney bursts out laughing. “That doesn’t count. What, you played in the band for two years? Three?”

“Four, if you count the fifth and sixth grade,” I say indignantly, which only makes her laugh harder. “What’s so funny?”

It takes her a few minutes to regain her composure, which in turn pisses me off even more. I can’t even begin to explain why her reaction is upsetting me so much. “I can’t imagine big, badass Wade Knox playing drums for the band in middle school.”

“Well, it’s true. I did play in the school band for four years,” I stress. “Though I don’t know if I’d call me big and bad back then. I was pretty small.”

“Oops, sorry. So you were small, tiny Wade Knox playing the drums for the middle school band,” Sydney says, barely able to contain her laughter.

“I don’t see what the big deal is,” I mutter, shaking my head.

“It’s just…” She waits a moment for her laughter to die before she starts talking again. “I’ve been in middle school band. I know how that works. I’m going to guess you were a terrible player.”

Tags: Monica Murphy The Rules Romance