Fallen Fourth Down

Page 51

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I wasn’t an idiot, and I never engaged. Averting my eyes and not talking to her were the only tactics I used. Other times I would’ve been an asshole, telling her straight out that it wasn’t going to happen, but sometimes that backfired. The girl would come on to me harder. So again, like all the other times, I ignored her and glanced at the last girl. Unlike the redhead, this one seemed more like the old Marissa. Her brown hair was frizzy. She kept taking her glasses off and pinching the top of her nose. Her sweater was too baggy for her. When her elbows went to the table, her sleeves kept falling down and she would tug them back into place.

She sat right next to Marissa. Comparing her to the new Marissa, who was wearing a tight pink shirt and leggings that looked like jeans, almost made me miss the old Marissa.

The redhead asked, “Are you in a hurry to leave?”

I turned to her. She was rubbing her lips together. “Yeah. I need to study. Are we done here?”

Her eye twitched, and she stopped rubbing her lips together. “I don’t know.” She glanced to the guy beside me. “I was thinking of having everyone over for dinner? Are you guys interested? We can celebrate being done with our presentation?”

The guy’s leg jerked under the table, and he immediately grabbed for his crotch. He was too excited. Under her knowing gaze, he swallowed again. His hand moved to his leg and he flattened his palm out, stopping his leg from jumping so much. “That sounds cool.”

His voice trembled, but he caught it, cleared his throat, and covered it with a smooth, “I don’t know how long I can stay, though.” He glanced at me from the corner of his eye.

I tried hard not to react. He was a buck thirty. My leg had more muscle than he had in his entire body, but the guy wanted to bang the redhead. Good luck, buddy. They both looked at me, and I saw everyone around the table was waiting for my response.

“No.” I scowled.

Marissa bit out a laugh. “Why am I not surprised?”

I lifted an eyebrow. This was new.

She waited, then shook her head as another laugh came out. “You don’t even give a shit, do you? You aren’t even going to ask me what that means.”

“I already know.” Where was this going? “I’m an asshole. You know that.”

The redhead’s eyes got big. “You know each other?”

“No.” Marissa kept shaking her head. She sounded sad. “We really don’t.”

My eyes narrowed. I’d been patient with her, but that was gone. I didn’t like dealing with head games, and I was starting to think that was Marissa’s new forte. “What do you want, Marissa?”

She stiffened, but her eyes went to mine. A small glimmer of fear appeared there. “What do you mean?”

“You waited for me outside the stadium for what? To tell me you didn’t like me, then you’re in my class and there’s no conversation between us. You go out with Nate and his fraternity and then show up for lunch with my brother and my girlfriend. Now we’re in a group together, there’s no small talk from you, and this? You’re throwing attitude at me? Why? Have I summed this up enough for you, or do you want me to keep going?” I leveled her with a hard stare. “I don’t like chicks who are passive aggressive and I really don’t like chicks who try to mind-fuck someone. Be straight, tell me what you want, and I’ll give you a straight up answer.”

I already knew she wouldn't like being put on the spot like that.

“Whoa,” the redhead murmured, leaning back in her chair. The others seemed like they wanted to disappear, but Marissa kept staring back at me.

“Forget this.” Shoving back her chair, she grabbed her books and left. Storming off seemed too dramatic for her. She just, left.

No one said a word for a moment, but I didn’t care. I started gathering my books together as well. Taking it as a cue, yellow polo dude took off and the junior Marissa look-alike wasn’t far behind him. I lingered; Matteo and Drew should be coming soon. I saw the redhead was still standing by the table. I glanced up. “Yeah?”

“You’re an asshole.”

“I said that.”

“But you’re right. From the sounds of it, she doesn’t want to hear ‘no’ from you, and that’s all you’re going to give her.” Pressing her lips together, she pushed them out like she was going to kiss something, and tilted her head to the side. She grinned. “Girlfriend, huh? How faithful are you?”

I didn’t bat an eye before answering, “I made out with one other girl while I was with my girlfriend.”

Excitement filled her eyes.

“I was setting her up to take the fall for my girlfriend. Some other asshole wanted to hurt someone I cared about.” Seeing Matteo and Drew come through the doors, I stood. “I gave him someone else that I gave no shits about.”

The excitement vanished immediately. Her shoulders dropped, and she gave me a cold look instead. “Wow. You really are an ass.”

I shrugged. I’d own it. I walked past her.


Logan wanted to fight. I could tell.

The football challenge was scrapped. Heather’s tactic had been so successful the two declared an all-out war. She was carted off the field, giving him the middle finger, yelling that he was too controlling over me while Logan looked a mix of confused and enraged. The drill team hadn’t wanted to leave. They hated Heather, so of course they wanted to hear her demise happen. Anyone who went against Logan would see that end, but it’d be different this time. As soon as Heather was carried past me, she gave me a small wave and called out, “Please do damage control. I love you.”

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