#Nerd (Page 16)

“You’re not my mother!” she snapped and yanked her arm away forcefully.

I stumbled and stepped to steady myself, but the stupid too big, too long pants I was wearing got in my way. My foot got tangled in the fabric and I fell over.

I lay there stunned a few seconds as people around me laughed. Ivy stood over me, staring down with her mouth in a little O shape. I don’t know why she looked so surprised. This was her fault.

My wrist was stinging because I’d stupidly tried to catch myself when I fell. All that resulted in was me jamming it into the hard ground beneath all my weight. I sat up and pulled my hand into my chest, rubbing the sore area a little.

“Are you okay?” Ivy asked, reaching out to help me.

I pulled back and climbed to my feet alone. “I’m fine.”

I felt the stares of a thousand eyes. I hated it. “Look…” I began. “If you want to stay, fine. But don’t call me in an hour to come back.”

She didn’t reply. She didn’t even look at me.

Her gaze was fixed off to the side, her attention solely focused on someone else.

“Ladies,” Romeo said. The people standing around watching our little scene parted and he stepped through.

Ivy stuck out her chest a little and tossed her hair over her shoulder. “I’ve been looking for you,” she said.

“You found me,” Romeo replied, holding out his arms.

Oh. So he’d come over here for her. Well, that made sense. I really shouldn’t have thought he would come over here to see me.

“I needed a ride.” She went on, shimmying up to his side.

“I’ll walk you to your car,” he said, dropping an arm over her shoulders and steering her toward me.

Our eyes met briefly before I turned and led the way to where I left the Corolla. Ivy didn’t fight him one time.

Jerk.

At the car, I opened the back door and motioned for him to dump Ivy in the backseat. She’d likely pass out before we even got back to the dorm.

When she was in the car with the door shut behind her, I breathed out in relief and turned to climb into the driver’s seat.

“Hey.” His voice brushed over me. It was incredibly close. So close I could smell the beer on his breath.

I paused in opening the door and turned my head just slightly to look at him out of the corner of my eye. Romeo was standing just behind me, just like earlier at the library. “Yes?” I asked, my voice a little raspy.

“You okay?” The concern in his voice had me spinning around. He took a slight step forward and I backed up. My back hit the side of the car and I was effectively trapped.

“W-what?” I asked.

Romeo reached between us and lifted my wrist. “You were holding this like it hurt.”

My breath caught when he pushed the too long sleeve back to reveal my slender wrist. His fingers brushed over the skin on the inside and I shivered. My eyes shot up to see if he noticed. He said nothing, but the soft smile on his lips spoke louder than words.

I tried to pull my arm back, but he encircled my forearm with his thumb and pointer finger. “Looks okay, but maybe you should ice it just in case.”

He released me and I hurried to let the sleeve fall back in place like it was some kind of armor. “I will.” I lied.

He didn’t move. He didn’t say anything. He just stood there.

“You better not be ready to pass out,” I told him. “You’re way too big for me to pick up.”

He cocked his head to the side and regarded me. “And what would you do, Rimmel?” The way he said my name brushed over me like a fine caress. “If I passed out right here?”

He bent at the knees as he spoke so he could get closer to my eye level.

I saw the playfulness in his depths. I knew he was probably drunk and wouldn’t remember this tomorrow. I told myself beer made people do crazy things.

I lifted my chin and returned his gaze. “Well,” I said, wetting my lips with the tip of my tongue. “I’d just have to run over you on my way out.”

The whites of his eyes grew bigger when his they widened in surprise. Then he threw back his head and laughed.

I used the opportunity to wrench open the door. I slid in and moved to pull the door closed, but Romeo was faster. He caught the doorframe and held it open. His broad shoulders filled the opening as he leaned in. “I’d tell you to watch out for crazy drivers, but I have a feeling you’re one of them.”

“Where ever did you get that idea?” I asked, batting my eyes innocently.

He chuckled and moved back so I could shut the door. Behind me, Ivy was already snoring in the backseat. At least the ride home would be quiet.

Romeo stood there and watched as I performed a three-point turn and drove back the way I came. Before I disappeared around the bend, I glanced in the rearview mirror. He was still standing in the same spot, but he wasn’t alone. People already crowded around him.

For once, I kind of wished Ivy wasn’t passed out and was in the back giggling like an idiot. The quiet was a little too loud.

I had too many opportunities to replay the short conversation I’d just had with Romeo.

He hadn’t really said anything all that unusual, but I had.

There for a moment, I had actually been flirting.

Chapter Ten

Romeo

Guys were streaking naked through campus.

Eating challenges commenced in the eating hall.

Girls were running around taking selfies of themselves kissing every guy they saw.

Rush was in full swing. It was entertaining as hell.

I was given a couple tasks throughout the week, but they were almost lame. After the bonfire and Trent’s warning, I was expecting a lot worse.

Part of me thought it was the calm before the shit storm.

That’s okay. I was ready.

I was also getting kind of irked. Most the Omega pledges had their assignments of who they needed to sleep with. But not me.

Not one word, not one name had been sent to me. I was beginning to think Zach was waiting, letting the clock run down so I had less time to close the deal with whoever he chose.

Maybe it was his way of trying to level the playing field. But it didn’t matter. This was a game I knew how to play and I was going to win no matter how long he gave me.

Coach put us through the ringer at practice tonight, and I was dog tired. My muscles were shredded, and I really wanted to slip into an ice bath and let the frigid cold work out some of the worst.

But I couldn’t.

I had to be at the library. On top of it, I was late. Rimmel said she wouldn’t wait if I ever showed up late. Part of me was glad because I wanted to go home. Dark clouds crowded the sky and the air smelled like rain as I walked into the library.