I take Brenna’s arm and drag her toward what I hope is the kitchen. “I need a drink.”
“I need ten.”
I pinch the fleshy part of her forearm. “Stop being so melodramatic. It’s just a party.”
“It’s a Harvard party. Celebrating a Harvard win.” She shakes her head. “You’re turning out to be the most disappointing best friend of all time.”
“We both know you don’t mean that. I’m terrific.”
In the kitchen, we’re greeted by a blast of raucous laughter. The cedar work island is covered with various alcoholic beverages and stacks of red plastic cups and surrounded by a crowd of people, mostly male. No Weston or Jake, but the noisy boys at the counter are all big enough that they’re most likely hockey players.
Every single one of them sends an appreciative look in our direction, while the only females—two pretty blondes—narrow their eyes. Within seconds, they’re dragging two of the guys away, under the pretense that they want to dance. I assume it’s their boyfriends, and these chicks couldn’t have been any more obvious that they viewed Brenna and me as threats.
I’ve got bad news for them. If they’re this afraid their men will stray? It’ll probably happen. That lack of trust doesn’t bode well for their relationships.
A dark-haired guy in a gray Harvard hoodie checks us out and grins broadly. “Ladies!” he calls. “Come celebrate with us!” He holds up a bottle of champagne.
“Bubbly? Wow! You Hah-vahd boys are so fancy,” Brenna drawls, but I don’t think any of them pick up on her sarcasm.
Gray Hoodie grabs two empty glasses from a nearby cupboard—actual champagne flutes—and waves them at us. “Say when.”
Brenna begrudgingly slinks toward him and accepts a glass. Over her shoulder, she defends her actions to me with, “I’m a sucker for champagne.”
I hide a smile. Uh-huh. I’m sure she went over there for the bubbles and not the cute guy. At least, I think he’s cute. He’s got a mop of brown hair and a really nice smile. Plus, what I assume is a hard, ripped, lickable body underneath his sweatshirt and cargo pants.
God, I love athletes.
“Which one are you?” she asks him.
“What do you mean?”
“What name is on your jersey?”
He grins. “Ah gotcha. Number 61. McCarthy.”
She narrows her eyes. “You scored the tying goal in the third.”
McCarthy beams. “That was me.”
“Sweet wrist shot.”
My eyebrows soar. Wow. Is she actually complimenting him? I guess I’m not the only one who likes his smile—
“What’s the matter, your slap shot doesn’t have enough power behind it?”
“Ouch,” he says with a mock-pout.
I should’ve known better than to believe she’d give a genuine compliment to a Harvard player. Still, I can tell she’s warming up to the party. Her hips, ever so slightly, begin moving to the dance beat blasting from the living room, and she seems more relaxed now as she sips her drink.
I’m about to take the glass McCarthy’s holding out to me when my phone buzzes in my purse. And keeps buzzing. I fish it out, realizing it’s a call. The display tells me it’s Hunter.
“Keep the bubbly on ice for me. I need to take this call.” I fix each guy with a stern look, holding two fingers up to my eyes as I drift toward the doorway. “Don’t do anything stupid,” I warn them.
“She’s in good hands,” McCarthy promises. “I’m a total gentleman.”
“He’s a virgin,” one of his teammates says.
McCarthy nods solemnly. “I am.”
Brenna narrows her eyes. “Are you actually?”
“Fuck no.” He smiles again, and oh man, he has dimples. This guy is frigging adorable.
When I’m across the kitchen in a quieter spot, I answer the call. “Hey, what’s up?”
“Where you at, Blondie?” Hunter demands. “Figured you’d be home by now.”
“I ran into an old friend after the game and he invited us to a party.”
In the living room, someone raises the volume of the drum and bass track that just came on, and I swear the walls start expanding and contracting like a beating heart. The music drowns out Hunter’s response.
“Sorry, what? I can’t hear you.”
Suspicion fills the line. “Where exactly are you?”
“Cambridge. I told you, I ran into a friend from high school. Oh hey, you probably know him too. Brooks Weston?”
The silence that follows is thick with accusation.
“Are you kidding me right now? You’re at a Harvard party?”
“Yes, and before you start lecturing me about fraternizing with the enemy, don’t bother. I already got the speech from Brenna.”
“This is unacceptable,” he growls. “You can’t party with the assholes who beat us tonight.”
I smother a laugh. “Here’s the thing about sports, sweetie. Sometimes you win games and sometimes you lose them. It would be really petty—not to mention stupid—of you to hate every single player on every single team that’s ever beaten you.”
“We hate Harvard,” he says stubbornly.
“They’re not even your official rivals! That’s Eastwood College.”
“This is America, Summer. College hockey teams are allowed to have more than one rival.”
My laughter spills over. “May I go now, Hunter? I’m ignoring Brenna because of you.” Although a quick glance reveals that she’s not missing me at all. She’s giggling at something McCarthy is saying.
Den of Satan, my ass. She’s enjoying herself.
“Fine, you can go.” He sounds adorably grumpy. “But for the record, I wish you were here.”
A strange warmth fills my tummy. This flirtation with Hunter is confusing. I liked kissing him, but I live with the guy now. And I also live with Fitz, who I’m still attracted to despite how badly I want to punch him in the dick.
Like I said, confusing.
“You could always come here if you want,” I offer.
A loud snicker echoes in my ear. “To the fiery pits of Lucifer? No fucking way.”
Jee-zus. Do all Briar hockey fans think Harvard is Dante’s Inferno, or is it just the weirdos in my life? Harvard is a perfectly respectable school with a perfectly respectable hockey team that just happened to beat Briar tonight. Get over it, people.
“We’re having peeps over, anyway,” he adds. “That’s the other reason I called, to give you a heads-up.”
“Okay, cool. I’m—”
“Finally!” a familiar voice booms from the far doorway. “Where’ve you been!”
I grin as Weston strides into the kitchen. When I gesture to my phone and hold up a finger to indicate I’ll be a minute, he shrugs and turns to his teammates. “Beer me.”
“I have to go,” I tell Hunter. “I’ll see you at home.”
Catching up with Weston is a blast. We hole up in a room off the main living area, which might’ve been a dining room at one point but is now a second living room with two overstuffed sofas, a couple of armchairs, and a massive glass coffee table. Weston’s on one end of the couch while I’m perched on the arm of it. The music’s not as loud in here, which means we don’t have to shout as we fill each other in on what’s happening with the classmates we’d lost touch with.
On the other side of the room, Brenna looks mighty cozy in McCarthy’s lap. It’s obvious he’s super into her. He’s got an arm slung around her and a hand resting on her thigh as they peer at something on her phone. I’ve glimpsed them kissing a few times since they sat down, and I’ve had to fight a smile each time.
There’s no way I’m not rubbing this in her face later.
“Your friend is a smoke show,” Weston tells me.
“Right? And she’s fun to be around too.” I find it hard to believe that Brenna and I met only yesterday. I feel like I’ve known her forever.
“Speaking of fun…” Winking, he leans toward the table and taps out a line of the white powder I was pretending not to notice.
I’ve been around cocaine more times than I’d like to admit. It’s the preferred party favor for prep school kids with time on their hands and cash to spare. I tried it once at a party in junior year, but it wasn’t my thing. I prefer the warm buzz of alcohol to that frenetic, wired sensation.
I’m not surprised to see Weston doing it, though—he always did enjoy his blow. So did most of the Roselawn hockey guys, for that matter. Dean once told me that coke and hockey players are synonymous, and now I’m wondering if any of the Briar guys dabble in it too. I hope not.
Weston snorts his line, then rubs his nose and shakes his head a few times as if trying to clear it of cobwebs. “Sure you don’t want?”
“Not my jam,” I remind him. I take a sip of my beer. “Don’t you ever worry about drug testing?” My brother got fucked his last season thanks to a random drug test that was sprung on him.