#Nerd

Page 39


“I should stay.” I began. “You might need help.”

She was already shaking her head. “I can handle this. Besides, you have class tomorrow.”

“I’ll get her home,” Romeo said, placing his palm on the small of my back. My skin tingled beneath my shirt, and I felt like he was branding me.

“See you Saturday!” Michelle gave me a wave and disappeared.

“C’mon,” Romeo said softly, guiding me toward the door.

I went with him because I didn’t feel like walking. Outside, the air felt bitter and I gritted my teeth against it.

“You don’t like the cold much, do you?” he said, gazing down at me.

“I’m from Florida. Cold like this is just unnatural.”

He chuckled. “You could put that on, you know,” he said, gesturing at his hoodie.

“I’m good,” I replied and went over to climb into his Hellcat. The interior was still warm from when he drove over, and I sighed as I leaned back.

“You hungry?” Romeo asked when he got in. “I’m starving.”

“Sure,” I said.

He drove to the nearest drive-thru and ordered a bunch or burgers, some fries, and two milkshakes. “Is your roommate at your dorm?” he asked.

“I doubt it. She never is,” I replied.

“Good. We can eat there.”

He wanted to come upstairs?

“I’m not sure,” I said, recalling all my doubts.

“We need to talk, Rimmel,” he said softly. “You’re pissed and I want to know why.”

I snorted and pushed my glasses up on my nose. “You know why.”

“Maybe. But I want to hear it from you.”

No one was in the hall when we walked to my room. Thank goodness, because I could only imagine the kind of stir that would create. I hurried to let us in and held my breath, praying Ivy wasn’t here. She wasn’t, and I relaxed when the door closed behind us.

Romeo kicked off his shoes, flung his jacket over the end of my bed, and practically dived onto the mattress. It looked small with him in the center.

“Make yourself comfortable,” I said sarcastically.

He grinned and took a huge bite out of one of the burgers. As he chewed, he patted the mattress beside him. I hesitated but gave in and sat down because he had the food.

After rubbing some yummy-smelling hand sanitizer on my hands, I unwrapped a burger and took a small bite. Romeo was already on his second burger.

“Those jeans you’re wearing are hot,” he said around a bite.

I glanced up and noted his heated gaze and I felt it down to my core. Something stirred inside me and it felt a hell of a lot like desire.

I took a pull of the chocolate shake, hoping it would cool the flames. It didn’t seem to help, because he watched my lips wrap around the straw and his eyes darkened until they were sapphire pools.

I shivered.

He sat up and put his back to the wall and moved the bag of food onto his other side. He held out his arm like he wanted me to come closer. I moved just an inch, but it was enough. He caught hold of me and scooted me into his side beneath the crook of his arm.

My legs stretched out beside his on the bed. My feet didn’t even make it to the end of the mattress and his hung over. He looked so much more powerful than me as I compared our bodies. It made me wary and a little mad all over again.

“Tell me what’s eatin’ ya,” Romeo said, reaching for another burger.

I debated and then I thought, Why not? This was the way I was feeling. It wasn’t going to go away. I needed to speak up for myself because if I didn’t, no one else would.

Plus, maybe it would scare him away.

If it did, I wouldn’t have to feel like this anymore.

“I wore your shirt around campus this afternoon,” I said. “I left it on like you asked.”

“You probably looked cute as hell,” he murmured.

“Well, I sure did get a lot of looks and whispers.”

“Is that what you’re upset about?” he asked, still eating.

“When I was finished with classes for the day, I stopped back by the food court.” I began. “To grab something for later, and someone stopped me.”

He paused in eating and his body tensed next to mine.

“It was some girl,” I said, and he relaxed immediately. It made me curious and partially alarmed that he thought it might be someone else. “She had long black hair and was a lot taller than me.”

“Could be anyone,” he said.

I poked him in the ribs. “You saying I’m short?”

“Calling it like I see it, Smalls,” he quipped.

I told myself not to be charmed.

“She’d seen the shirt. Your name,” I said, the charm evaporating like water on a hot day. “She told me you were going to get bored, that you always get bored, and when you did, I would be just another notch on your belt.”

“Rimmel.” Romeo said my name with a sigh. He abandoned the burger to its wrapper and put his free arm around me to pull me closer. My body melted into him until I realized I couldn’t let him hold me. Not right now. I’d let everything and anything he said become the truth.

I pulled away and he let me go. I slipped off the bed and stood.

I felt his gaze but didn’t turn to look at him. I couldn’t. His blue eyes would weaken me.

“Girls are going to be jealous. The ones I hooked up with and the ones who want to,” he said.

I glanced at him then. “You’ve hooked up with a lot of girls,” I said.

“Yes, I have.” He looked straight at me.

I wasn’t expecting that. I wasn’t expecting such a straightforward, honest reply. He said it without trying to sugarcoat it. He said it without trying to soften the blow with his smile.

The wall I was holding up between us cracked.

I took a breath and kept going. “That’s the thing, Romeo. You could have any girl you want. Why are you here right now? Why did you insist on my wearing your name today?”

His eyes narrowed like something I said pissed him off. “Are you saying you aren’t good enough?”

I laughed and spread my arms out wide. “Seriously?” I said. “Look at me! I’m not tall and long-legged. I don’t like to party. I don’t have model perfect hair or designer clothes. I don’t wear makeup. I snort when I laugh and I wear glasses.”

“So you think I’m superficial?” he said, the muscle in his jaw ticking as he looked away.


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