#Nerd (Page 7)
What a douche.
“Being here doesn’t mean you’re in.” He went on, his eyes colliding with mine. Even in the low lighting of the candles, I saw the emotion that flared when he looked at me. This guy didn’t like me.
“It means you’ve been given a chance. A prayer, if you will.” He spread his hands. “To join the most exclusive, most epic fraternity ever.”
Cheers went up behind me. I grinned.
“What you do next will determine if you have what it takes to get in.”
“What do we have to do?” the guy next to me asked.
Zach stopped and stared at him. “You think you can hack it?”
“I know I can.” He smirked.
“All right.” Zach motioned at the line of pledges. “Take a good look, boys. This here is your competition for the next month.”
A month of pledging? That was insane.
We all looked around. I noticed a couple of the lingering stares sent in my direction. I was used to it. My football background, my parents’ connections, and my looks earned me a sort of campus celebrity status. It was one of the reasons I was surprised I hadn’t been allowed to pledge last year.
“During the next few weeks, you will be sent tasks either by note or text that you will need to complete. You don’t need to tell us you completed them. We’ll know.” Zach glanced at me again. “We’re always watching.”
I stared back at him. He didn’t intimidate me, and I was pretty sure he was trying to.
He glanced away, pacing in front of the flickering candles. I glimpsed around. It seemed like we were in a cave of some sort. But it wasn’t a place that was unused. The walls were unfinished, but there were throw rugs on the floor, leather club chairs and furniture around. Behind the candles, I could make out what looked like a pool table. Maybe this was some sort of club or hangout for the frat.
“You have twenty-four hours to complete a task once it is given. If you don’t, you’re out. No exceptions.”
That didn’t seem so bad. I could handle it, no problem.
“There’s one other thing,” Zach called, drawing back our attention. “You’ll have the entire month, just up until you’re inducted into the frat.”
The guys behind us snickered.
“Get a girl into bed—have sex with her.”
I felt myself smirk. He thought I needed a month for that?
I guess some of the other guys thought it was going to be easy because Zach grinned and held up his hand to silence all the boasting going around. “But not just any girl. We’ll be choosing for you.”
Ah, well, wasn’t this interesting?
Still, I wasn’t worried. I hadn’t yet met a girl I couldn’t charm.
From down the line, someone said, “It seems like some of us might have an unfair advantage.”
All eyes turned to me.
I grinned and shrugged.
I felt Zach’s stare so I looked his way. “Not to worry. This will be a challenge for everyone.”
I grinned wider. Bring it on.
“One other thing. Get proof once it’s done. A photo. You’ll be texted a number where you will text the picture.”
The bag I was wearing when I entered the room was shoved back over my head.
“Get the hell out of here,” Zach said like the sight of us underlings was making him sick.
We all shuffled back up the steep stairs and into the chilly air. So for the next month, I was to complete random challenges, sleep with a woman they selected, and take a picture as proof.
I thought rushing a frat was supposed to be hard.
The guys brought me back to my place and guided me into the backyard. I was pretty sure this wasn’t the same guy as before (my teammate) because he was a lot rougher and silent.
A few steps past the gate into the back he grabbed me roughly, making me stumble before I righted myself. He grabbed the bag over my head and yanked it away. I had two seconds to notice the spray-painted symbol of the frat on my front door before I was shoved forward.
The ground beneath my feet fell away and I felt my eyes widen as the crystal clear water of the pool rushed closer.
My body plunged into the depths and shock rendered my lungs frozen. My entire body jolted from the low temperature. The pool heater was currently not on, so I was left with the icy fingers of the water scraping me all the way to my bones.
My foot hit the bottom of the pool and I shoved up, rushing toward the dark surface. My head cleared the water and I dragged in a heavy breath. It was so cold it hurt to breathe.
I spun around to cuss out whoever shoved me in here, but the yard was empty.
I pulled myself out of the pool and quickly rushed inside, past the crudely painted symbol on the door, and into the bathroom where I turned the shower on as hot as it would go.
I looked in the mirror as I waited for the water to heat. My skin was red and splotchy from the cold and my lips were almost colorless, just like my fingers.
Let the initiation begin.
I showed up early and stayed late.
There was just something about this place that I needed extra of today.
Well, I knew what it was. The consistency, the fact that I knew what to expect here. I knew what I was getting when I walked in the door.
Animals were so much better than people. They didn’t expect anything, they didn’t judge, and they were real all the time. I loved the honesty animals lived by. Nothing about them was fake. They showed how they were feeling without apology.
It was why I wanted to become a veterinarian. I wanted to give back everything I’d been given. I wanted to be their voice when they couldn’t speak. I wanted to be the friend they always were. I wanted the ability to make them feel better when they were sick.
I wasn’t good with people… but animals… animals were my passion.
Once I was finished mopping the back room, I emptied out the bucket and set everything in place to dry. I flicked off the lights and wandered into the room where we kept all the cats.
Metal crates lined the walls, some stacked together. The floors were made of white tile and the walls were painted white as well. Posters of animals lined the walls along with some other images of celebrities that supported animal rescue. Against the far wall were a bunch of cabinets that held food and supplies for the cats.
Cats weren’t quite as open with their affection as dogs, but it was something I understood. Cats remained aloof and reserved; they were very independent. They liked to study people; they liked to really know who they were dealing with before they got too close. Some cats never bothered to get too close to anyone.