#Nerd (Page 15)

Her Corolla was parked outside the dorm, and I climbed in and pulled out of the lot. I knew where to go. Even though I’d never been to one of the bonfire’s, I’d picked Ivy up there before.

It was only like a five minute drive and then the car dipped onto the dirt road that led to the field. I could hear the loud music and the rumble of the people. I wondered if Romeo was there.

Of course he is. He practically is the party.

Behind my glasses my eyes watered from sleep, and I blinked to clear my vision. Once the cars came into view, I didn’t bother to find a place to park. I just stopped right in the center of the lot and threw open the door.

I looked around for Ivy but didn’t see her anywhere nearby. I muttered to myself because the least she could do was wait by the road for me.

With a sigh, I reached in and pulled the keys out of the ignition. I weaved through the cars and listened to the laughter and off-key singing. My stomach twisted a little; this really wasn’t my scene. I could feel a few stray stares as people noticed me. The girls laughed as I passed, but I held my chin up high and kept moving.

I stopped and scanned the crowd for Ivy. It took a minute to find her, but then I did. She was in the back of some truck, dancing. Her butt was practically hanging out of her shorts, and I wondered how the hell she wasn’t freezing out here with so little clothing on. Of course, maybe that’s why she added the boots.

At two a.m., the sun was long set and the chill of an autumn night was in full effect. My fingers were almost numb as they tightened around the keys.

I walked a little ways toward her, watching her fling her hair and shake her junk as she moved. I finally managed to catch her eye and wave. She gave me a bright smile and hopped down off the truck, falling a little and laughing at her own drunkenness.

“Rimmel,” she said enthusiastically, linking her arm through mine. “You came to party!”

“You called me.” I reminded her. “For a ride.”

She laughed. “I gotta get Missy.”

She pulled me along through the field, stumbling as we went in search of her friend Missy.

A few minutes later, the heat of the fire was close and the feeling in my fingers came tingling back. It was a huge fire. Easily ten feet tall and probably just as wide.

Ivy spotted her friend, shrieked her name, and rushed off to get her. I knew Missy from when she hung out at the dorm, so I recognized the back of her dark head. She was plastered all over some guy and things looked like they were on the verge of going from heated to indecent right out here in the open.

Ivy pulled her back just a little, but the guy kept his arm around her. Ivy pointed at me and three sets of eyes swiveled around to stare. I lifted my fingers in a wave as my cheeks heated.

All three of them started my way. I bit back a groan.

“It’s you,” the guy said, coming up beside me.

My eyes snapped up to his and I realized I knew him. Well, sort of. He’d been with Romeo when I ran into him on campus. People never recognized me, so of course this guy did. Here. Now.

“You know him?” Ivy asked, turning to look at me.

“He’s drunk and confused,” I said. “Can we go now?”

“I’m not ready to leave,” Missy said, draping herself across Romeo’s friend.

“Let’s stay!” Ivy shouted.

“Oh no you don’t,” I said, grabbing her arm. “You called me to come get you.”

“I changed my mind.” She pouted.

“Too bad,” I said and started pulling her away. She dug in her heels.

I sighed. “I have cookies in the car,” I lied.

Her face brightened.

Drunk girls were idiots. I was never going to act like this.

I turned back to bribe Missy. Braeden wrapped his arms around her from behind and looked at me over her shoulder. For some reason, his actions made my stomach tighten. I wondered what it would feel like to have someone wrap around me like that.

“I’ll make sure she gets home,” he said.

I didn’t argue. I wanted to get the hell out of here.

Ivy linked her arm through mine again and I led her toward where I left the car. As we walked, some shrieking and yelling broke over the sounds of the party, and I glanced around for what was going on. Over on the other side of the fire, two girls were on the verge of what looked like a fight. I couldn’t help but stare because I was so surprised. One of the girls reached out and yanked a handful of the other’s hair. It was all downhill from there.

Beside me, Ivy laughed. “That’s what she gets for trying to steal someone’s man.”

I tore my eyes off the fight and glanced at Ivy. “Seriously?”

“Them bitches be cray-cray,” she slurred.

I didn’t understand what that meant, but I laughed because it sounded ridiculous.

Ivy giggled beside me and we started walking again.

That’s when I saw him.

Romeo wasn’t more than thirty feet away.

The smolder of the fire only enhanced his already superior good looks. He seemed sharper, more toned. The heavy shadows cast by the flames gave his cheekbones a more carved-out appearance. His lips seemed more defined and his body appeared larger against the black backdrop of night.

He was wearing a baseball hat turned around backward on his head. The edge of the material seemed to slash across his forehead, just above his naturally arched brows, and draw even more attention to his unbelievably blue eyes.

In his hand was a SOLO cup, and people crowded around him, laughing and slapping each other on the shoulders. There was a girl with long curly hair hanging halfway down her back who had affixed herself to his side, and he didn’t seem to mind one bit.

Our gazes locked.

Recognition flared through his body. I knew by the way he stiffened slightly even as his body turned toward us.

Please don’t come over here, I prayed to myself. The last thing I wanted was to hear him remind everyone that I was someone he was forced to know.

I turned away abruptly, breaking eye contact and tightening my grip on Ivy. “Come on,” I told her, my tone harder than usual.

“I wondered where he went,” she said, dragging her feet and craning her neck to look behind us. “Let go. I’m going to stay.”

“We’re leaving,” I said, trying to hold on to my patience.

She dug in the heel of her boot and rooted herself into the dirt. “No.”

With a frustrated sigh, I turned to face her, making sure my eyes stayed averted from where Romeo was standing. “You called me for a ride. I came. We’re leaving.”