Scorched (Frigid 2) - Page 48

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Shit, I just needed a keg.

Screwing off the cap, I flipped it onto the counter with a sigh and watched it spin dizzily across the granite. As I stood there, the bottle cool in my hand, I struggled to put a name to the cause of the restlessness crawling across my skin. It wasn’t just Tanner. God, it was never just one thing. It was always a bag of stupid crap that had me feeling this way.

All day I’d been stressing over a lot of things—the phone call with my mom, going back home, being stuck in life when everyone else was moving on, and of course, what was going on with Tanner. And for some reason, I started thinking about what I’d said the first night with Tanner, about how I felt when I’d been going down on Tanner. Had I been forced before? None of the guys had pressured me. I’d gone home willingly with all of them, but had gone under the impression they were expecting something from me. After all, why else would they be taking me home? That pressure… God, it was inside me. Nothing they had done that I could recall. But it was me. I’d felt that pressure to do it, to avoid the actual sex, because why else would they be with me?

Why else had Tanner been so nice to me? He’d obviously wanted some and he’d gotten some. He hadn’t even really had to work for it. I’d just handed it right over.

I wanted to bang my head off a wall, because it sounded so pathetic, like the way Tanner had looked at me when we’d talked about my past experience with guys.

This was stupid.

Everything was stupid.

I sighed again. Great. I was moving from happy, I-don’tcare-about-anything buzz, to go-stick-my-head-in-the-oven buzz. I winced the moment that thought completed itself. That wasn’t cool. Not cool at all.

“Andrea.”

I jumped, and sticky beer sloshed over my hand. “Jesus.” I turned around, finding Tanner standing on the other side of the island. “What are you doing? Stalking me?”

“Yeah,” he replied blandly. “That’s why I called your name, because that’s what stalkers do when they are trying to be stealth.”

“Really stupid stalkers would do that.” My heart slowed in my chest. “Get what I’m saying?” As soon as I asked that, I felt like the ass, but anger…anger had always been so easy to grasp onto.

His shoulders rose with a deep breath. “You’ve been avoiding me all day.”

“Have not.”

He cocked his head to the side and raised both brows. “You practically hid in your room or attached yourself to Syd all day.”

“I was…I was spending girl-time with her,” I said. “And napping.”

“Andrea…”

He’d been right. I had avoided him. Apparently, I wasn’t doing that great of a job at it.

“The same with last night. You barely talked to me.”

“What?” Dumbfounded, I felt like screaming that word. “I barely talked to you? You ignored me.”

He stared at me. “Andy, I—”

“This is stupid. This whole thing is stupid.” I lifted the bottle.

A moment passed and he asked, “Do you really think you need another beer?”

Annoyed, I slowly brought the bottle to my mouth and took a long drink. “Does that answer your question?”

The hue of his blue eyes deepened. “Look, I’m not trying to be a dick—”

“You might want to try harder. Just sayin’. Might just be my opinion, but thought I’d share.”

He opened his mouth and then snapped it shut. Several seconds passed. “You know, I didn’t say that shit to you to piss you off.”

I wanted to point out everything he’d done to piss me off, but…but shit on a brick. Anything that I told him would betray how I felt about him, and well, I was already embarrassing myself enough without going there. “You breathed,” I decided, nodding, and totally proud of myself. “How about that?”

Shaking his head, he rested his elbows on the island. “You can usually do better than that.”

“It’s not worth my time to do better.” I flounced past him. Well, I might have staggered past him, but in my head, I flounced like a Grade A Uppity Chick, and it was awesome.

“I wish you wouldn’t drink so much.”

My feet stopped. Dammit. My feet had a mind of their own, and they had stopped because he’d said that so quietly, not with an ounce of derision or scorn. Actually, it sounded like a plea. The alcohol churned in my stomach. All I could see was his look of pity.

“Why do you drink like this?” he asked.

To relax. To not act like a freak. To forget. To remember. To be funny. To have people like me. To not care if they do or don’t. To have fun. To just not care. A burning sensation rolled down my back as my head continued to shout out the answers. I just didn’t want to care.

I didn’t say any of that. “You drink.”

“I do. And sometimes I drink and I get drunk, but not every time.”

Slowly, I faced him. He wasn’t looking at me. His eyes were on the island. “I don’t get drunk every time.”

He shook his head again. “Andrea, you either get plastered or damn near close. Every time.”

“That’s not…” I trailed off, and yeah, even I could see where he was right. I could probably count on one hand how many times I’d only had two beers or two shots and then stopped. Come to think of it, I wasn’t sure if I ever had.

“My dad got shitfaced all the time,” he continued. “Never thought that I’d be interested in a girl who was the same way.”


Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout Frigid Romance
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