Captivated by Him(9)

By: Terri E. Laine

That had been easy, as I’d been a hermit crab the last several months and my bottom was showing it.

“I’m more worried about your state of mind.”

He was a friend of my ex’s, though we’d become close. I was sure he thought I was still upset over my breakup, but my thoughts had been tangled in Gavin, who made me forget I was a good girl.

“It’s not about Derrick.”

He gave me a warm smile that all but meant sure you’re not.

“If you ever want to talk…”

I nodded. “We should go in.” I pointed at the pane of glass through which my fellow trainees were watching us.

He squeezed my arm before letting go. I turned away and tried to find that sunshine that filled the sky outside. In fact, I turned toward the doors that led there and spotted him.

Gavin stood sporting an unreadable expression. I found the strength to reverse the frown that had grown on my face before I disappeared into the room to sweat out all my frustrations, sexual ones included.

By the following weekend, joy had once again become my constant companion. I put makeup on in the bathroom mirror, ready to have a night out of fun.

“Seriously, we don’t have to go,” Reagan said for the fiftieth time.

I finished my eyeliner before facing her with my hands acting as a cushion between my butt and the counter. I’d mentally prepared myself for her trying to get out of going.

“This is not just for me—you need to get out of here. How long can you claim to be twenty-one?” Before she could answer me with a mathematically correct answer, I added, “Only a finite amount of time, I know. Trust me, if you don’t go and enjoy college, you will regret it.”

She pursed her lips and I countered it by flashing my teeth like the cat in Alice in Wonderland.

“Who do you have your eyes on now? Because that’s really why we’re going, isn’t it? You know it’s okay to be single, right? You’re taking your serial monogamy to another level.”

For a second I was mystified, and then I remembered who I was talking to.

“You realize no one says monogamy but our parents?”

I couldn’t stop a giggle. God love her, she was cute. Her mother had homeschooled her until she talked her way into going to college.

“Whatever,” she said. “You have nothing to prove to Derrick by finding the next guy.”

For anyone else, I would have made an excuse. But there was something about Reagan that was disarming.

“I know that. But it’s hard to pretend that everything’s fine when he walks around campus with some girl. And not many girls, but one in particular. Which means—” I took a breath before continuing my rant. “—that he lied about not wanting to settle down. He just didn’t want to settle down with me.”

She came in for the hug and I let out the frustration I’d been feeling. I didn’t want it to get to me, but in a small way it had.

“He didn’t deserve you. He’ll figure that out. Why don’t we stay home and watch a movie while eating ice cream?” She wiggled her eyebrows a little.

I pulled back and shook my head. “No, he won’t steal my joy. We are going to have fun tonight.”

She eyed me suspiciously. “Is Gavin going to be there? For the record, I think you should stay far away from him. He’s a one-night stand walking.”

Though I’d initially wrote off that idea, I was warming to it. “Maybe that could be a good thing.”

Her eyes rolled as I tried to wrap my head around it. Doing something so out of character for me might be liberating…even though none of the guys I’d dated recently had been worthy enough for me to do something so reckless. Gavin, however, was so obviously not boyfriend material. He was uber-hot and all, and guys like him didn’t settle when half the females on campus were willing to do him just for the privilege. Maybe he was what I needed.

“I’m warning you it’s a bad idea. You should date someone like Kevin.”

“Kevin? The guy at the float-a-boat race?”

“The Great Bamboo race.”

“Whatever. The guy who looked like he creamed himself when he saw me. No offense, but if I’m going to have loose morals for a night, I want to make sure the guy knows what the heck he’s doing.”

Her frown turned grave.

“Okay, that was mean. But seriously, he could potentially be boyfriend material. He seems super sweet. But let’s be honest, I’d crush him like a bug.”

Not just mentally, but physically. The guy was paper thin. My butt weighed more than he did.

There was nothing wrong with a nerdy guy, but Kevin wasn’t sexy. He practically drooled all over me. I didn’t think I was above him by any stretch of the imagination. But he would like me more than I liked him, and having been on that end of things before, I had no desire to do that to another person.