He shakes his head before dropping his gaze to his scuffed boots. “I don’t like mind games and I definitely don’t like drama,” he mutters.
“Fitz.” Wariness curls around my throat. “What are you actually mad about right now?”
His jaw clenches tight. For a moment I don’t expect him to answer, but then he mumbles, “You could’ve gotten hurt in there.”
Surprise jolts through me. That’s what this is about? He was worried for my safety?
“But I didn’t,” I assure him. “Trust me, I know how to handle myself. I’m scrappy.”
I shake my head irritably. “Why couldn’t you say that from the start? Summer, I don’t like the idea of you getting hurt. There. Easy. Instead, you shout at me like a maniac and then act like there’s something wrong about me thinking you’re hot when you’re angry?”
Slowly, he lifts his head.
I suck in a breath. He levels me with a hot, needy look that has me desperately squeezing my legs together. The throbbing is back, and it’s worse now. Nobody has ever looked at me this way.
“You think I’m hot when I’m angry?”
“Yes, I do. You were sexy-shouting and it got me going. So sue me.” I glare at him. “Just because you’re not attracted to me doesn’t mean I’m—”
“Not attracted to you?” he interrupts incredulously, and the next thing I know he’s snatching my hand and placing it directly on his crotch. “Feel this? This is what you do to me. You make me hard. Constantly.”
He presses my palm tighter to his body, and a moan gets stuck in my throat. I’m mesmerized by the thick ridge beneath my hand. He’s impossibly big. I mean, I guess I expected it. He’s a big guy. Tall, muscular, huge shoulders. Big hands… But that isn’t always a reliable indication of wiener size. I dated a tight end once with bear paws and size fourteen shoes and a teeny little ding dong. The kind of penis that makes you cry real tears because it’s so depressingly disappointing.
Fitz? He doesn’t disappoint. I wish I could wrap my fingers around him, put my mouth on him. But his stupid pants are on, so I settle for rubbing the tantalizing length of him. Just slightly, and yet the fleeting contact is enough to summon a deep, tormented moan from his throat.
“You think it’s fun walking around with this damn thing all day long? You so much as breathe in my direction, and you do this to me. You’re on my mind twenty-four-seven.”
“But…” I swallow. “You think I’m fluff.”
“For fuck’s sake. Are we back to that? I only said that shit to Garrett because I was trying to convince myself not to get involved with you.”
I falter. “Really?” I experience a burst of hope…until the last thing he said registers, bringing a flicker of hurt. My hand drops from his groin. “Why didn’t you want to get involved with me?”
“Because you drive me crazy. Wanting you is exhausting, Summer. Being around you is exhausting.” He throws his hands up before dragging them through his messy hair. “I’m an introvert, and you’re the very definition of social. And exhausting. Did I mention you’re exhausting?”
I frown. “I don’t—”
“Everything okay out here?”
We both whirl around at the sound of Hunter’s voice. Our roommate strides across the lot, my parka slung over one arm. He holds it out for me, and, despite the heat still coursing through my blood, I take the coat and shrug it on.
“Thanks,” I tell Hunter. “And everything’s fine.” I’m dying to look at Fitz, but I’m afraid of what I’ll see.
He solves the dilemma for me by walking to his car. “Make sure Summer gets home safe,” he says.
Not even a backwards glance.
A moment later, his huge body disappears into the driver’s seat, the engine sputters to life, and he peels out of the lot without even waiting five seconds to defrost his windshield.
Tears sting my eyes. I blink hard and fast, but they still manage to break free. The adrenaline from the bar fight (both my fight and Fitz’s) is suddenly sucked out of my body as if someone stuck a vacuum hose on me. It leaves me feeling weary.
Hunter draws me toward him, wrapping one arm around my shoulders. “Hey, don’t cry, Blondie.”
I bite my lip, blinking faster to ward off the tears. “Sorry. Adrenaline crash, I think.”
“I get it.” There’s humor in his tone. “I mean, you did kick someone’s ass tonight.”
His free hand reaches for one of mine. He lightly caresses the inside of my palm with his thumb. “That was so badass of you, by the way. Defending Brenna like that.”
At least someone thinks so. “Thanks.”
He chuckles softly. “Though I’m pretty sure that catfight gave Mike enough spank-bank material for at least a year.”
I make a face. “Oh God, I hope not.”
Hunter’s callused fingers graze my palm before linking through mine. Holding his hand is both comforting and unsettling, but I don’t have the strength to pull away. I’m currently using most of my energy to try to make sense of everything Fitz said before his abrupt departure.
I drive him crazy.
He finds me exhausting.
He wants me, but he doesn’t want to want me.
“Blondie,” Hunter says roughly.
“Hmmm?” My mind continues to race, making it hard to concentrate. Or rather, making it harder to concentrate. My ADHD already gives me a handicap.
“Next Saturday,” he starts.
“What about it?”
“We don’t have a game.” He hesitates. “Do you want to go out that night? Grab some dinner?”
It’s my turn to hesitate. There’s no mistaking his intentions. He’s asking me on a date. And maybe if Fitz wasn’t in the picture, I’d—
Are you fucking kidding me right now! my inner Selena Gomez shrieks.
Wow. A rare F-bomb from her. Inner Selena is usually far more proper and composed. She doesn’t let the exasperating behavior of men affect her pure, elegant way of living her life.
But she’s absolutely right. I have one guy who doesn’t want to want me, and another one who’s proud to declare that he does—and I’m leaning toward the first one?
Why? Really. Why. Why is this even a choice? Hunter is gorgeous. He’s a great kisser. And he’s actually making an effort to be with me instead of running away every chance he gets.
I like Fitz, but he’s too confusing. He thinks I’m playing mind games? He’s gone from telling Garrett he’d never date me, to comforting me about my midterm and offering to help me, to confessing he’s attracted to me and then saying I’m too exhausting to be with.
Uh-huh. I’m exhausting.
I want a man with clear intentions. A man who makes an effort and is excited to spend time with me. A man who actually wants to want me.
If he has to fight himself to be with me, then chances are he’d never fight for me if it came down to it.
What woman would ever choose somebody like that?
I rest my head on Hunter’s shoulder and allow the warmth of his body to seep into my tired bones. I squeeze his hand and say, “I’d love to have dinner with you.”
In the past, I’ve felt judged by my female friends. My circle in high school was super competitive, which inevitably led to trash-talking, backstabbing and outright in-your-face betrayal. Even with the girls I (more or less) trusted, I’d try not to share every aspect of my life. That’s probably just a good rule to live by, though. Always keep part of yourself hidden.
Fitz is very good at that, but he does it to the extreme. And me, I haven’t mastered it completely. I’ll still share certain personal details with my friends, like whether I kissed someone. Who I’m interested in. Whether I enjoyed or hated a date.
But admitting that I went from essentially giving one guy an over-the-pants hand job to agreeing to go out with another one? Um. No. If I’d confessed that to any of my high school friends or Brown sorority sisters, the slut rumors would already be traveling across campus. And don’t get me started on all the sub-tweets and social media bullshit I’d have to deal with.
Typically, I’d have no problem confiding in my mom, but this time I’m too embarrassed to confess what happened. How do I even phrase it? Hey Mom, I put my hand on a guy’s dick yesterday. Discuss.
But for the first time in my life, I think I actually found a friend with whom I’m comfortable providing all the dirty little details that other friends would pass judgment on. I have the utmost confidence that Brenna can be trusted and won’t try to make me feel bad about my actions in some catty, passive-aggressive way.
So, I don’t regret telling her everything.
I do, however, regret telling her while we’re sitting in public.
“You touched Fitzy’s dick?!” she shouts.
Awesome. I probably should’ve called her after it happened last night. But I needed to mull. And I was mulling this morning too. And this afternoon. It wasn’t until we arrived at the Briar arena tonight that I decided I need advice. Brenna and I don’t even ask each other to go to home games anymore. We just assume that we are. Tonight I get to meet some of her friends, though, which I’m excited about. We’re meeting them at Malone’s for drinks after the game, and she’s promised me they’re really cool chicks.
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