She quietly nods. “Touché.”

We both look back up to her ceiling. I like that she was so easy to come around. I like that she didn’t argue about it, especially knowing how stubborn she is.


I like that I was right about her.

“The window comment from earlier?” she says. “You were just making a point about rumors? You really weren’t trying to be mean?”

I hate that she actually thought I was just being cruel, even if it was only for a minute. I don’t want her to ever think that about me. “I’m not mean, Sky.”

“You’re intense. I’m right about that, at least.”

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“I may be intense, but I’m not mean.”

“Well, I’m not a slut.”

“I’m not a gay-bashing asshole.”

“So we’re all clear?”

I laugh. “Yeah, I guess so.”

It’s quiet for another moment until she inhales a long, deep breath. “I’m sorry, Holder.”

“I know, Sky,” I say. I didn’t come here for an apology. I don’t want her to feel guilty about her misconception. “I know.”

She doesn’t say anything else and we both continue to look up at the stars. I’m conflicted right now because we’re both on her bed and as much as I try to ignore my attraction for her, it’s sort of hard when I’m inches from her.

I’m curious if she finds me attractive at all. I’m almost positive she does based on the tiny things she does when I’m around her that she tries to hide. Like the times I’ve caught her staring at my chest when I ran with her. Or the way she sucks in a breath when I lean in to speak to her. Or how she always seems to be struggling not to smile when she’s trying so hard to be mad at me.

I’m not positive what she thinks about me or how she feels, but I know one thing . . . she definitely doesn’t act indifferent toward me like she does toward Grayson.

Thinking about that incident and how just a few hours ago she was kissing him makes me grimace. It may not be appropriate to ask her about it, but I sure as hell can’t stop thinking about how much I hate the thought of her kissing anyone, especially Grayson. And if there’s ever a chance that I’ll be the one kissing her, I need to know that she won’t be kissing him again.


“I need to ask you something,” I say. I prepare myself to bring it up, knowing she more than likely doesn’t want to talk about it. But I have to know how she feels about him. I inhale a deep breath and roll over to face her. “Why were you letting Grayson do what he was doing to you in the parking lot?”

She winces and shakes her head ever so slightly. “I already told you. He’s not my boyfriend and he’s not the one who gave me the black eye.”

“I’m not asking because of any of that,” I say, even though I really am. “I’m asking because I saw how you reacted. You were irritated with him. You even looked a little bored. I just want to know why you allow him to do those things if you clearly don’t want him touching you.”

She’s quiet for a second. “My lack of interest was that obvious?”

“Yep. And from fifty yards away. I’m just surprised he didn’t take the hint.”

She immediately flips onto her side and props up on her elbow. “I know, right? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve turned him down but he just doesn’t stop. It’s really pathetic. And unattractive.”

I can’t even describe how good it feels to hear her say that.

“Then why do you let him do it?”

She keeps her eyes locked on mine, but she doesn’t answer me. We’re inches apart. On her bed. Her mouth is right here.

So close.

We both flip onto our backs almost simultaneously.

“It’s complicated,” she says. Her voice sounds sad and I definitely didn’t come here to make her feel sad.

“You don’t have to explain. I was just curious. It’s really not my business.”

She pulls her arms up behind her head and rests her head on her hands. “Have you ever had a serious girlfriend?”

I have no idea where she’s going with this, but at least she’s talking, so I go with it. “Yep,” I say. “But I hope you aren’t about to ask for details, because I don’t go there.”

“That’s not why I’m asking,” she says, shaking her head. “When you kissed her, what did you feel?”

I definitely don’t know where she’s going with this. But still, I indulge her. It’s the least I can do for showing up unannounced, then practically insulting her reputation before getting my point across.

“You want honesty, right?”

“That’s all I ever want,” she says, mimicking my own words.

I grin. “All right, then. I guess I felt . . . horny.”

When I say the word horny, I swear she sucks in a breath. She’s quick to recover, though. “So you get the butterflies and the sweaty palms and the rapid heartbeat and all that?” she asks.

“Yeah. Not with every girl I’ve been with, but most of them.”

She tilts her head toward me and arches an eyebrow, which makes me grin. “There weren’t that many,” I say. At least I don’t think there were that many. I’m not sure what number constitutes a lot at this point and even then, people measure things on different scales. “What’s your point?” I ask, relieved she isn’t asking me to clarify exactly how many there have been.

“My point is that I don’t. I don’t feel any of that. When I make out with guys, I don’t feel anything at all. Just numbness. So sometimes I let Grayson do what he does to me, not because I enjoy it, but because I like not feeling anything at all.”

I was absolutely not expecting that answer. I’m not sure that I like that answer. I mean, I like that she doesn’t actually feel anything for Grayson, but I hate that it hasn’t stopped her from letting him try to get what he wants.

I also don’t like that she admitted to never feeling anything, because I can honestly say when I’m around her, I’ve never felt so much.

“I know it doesn’t make sense, and no, I’m not a lesbian,” she says defensively. “I’ve just never been attracted to anyone before you and I don’t know why.”

I quickly turn and look at her, not sure that I heard her correctly. But based on her reaction and the way her arm comes up and immediately covers her face, I know for a fact I heard her correctly.

She’s attracted to me.

And she didn’t intend to admit that out loud.

And I’m pretty sure that accidental admission just made my entire year.

I reach over and slide my fingers around her wrist, pulling her arm away from her face. I know she’s embarrassed right now, but there’s no way in hell I’m letting this go.

“You’re attracted to me?”

“Oh, God,” she groans. “That’s the last thing you need for your ego.”

“That’s probably true,” I admit, laughing. “Better hurry up and insult me before my ego gets as big as yours.”

“You need a haircut,” she blurts out. “Really bad. It gets in your eyes and you squint and you’re constantly moving it out of the way like you’re Justin Bieber and it’s really distracting.”

I know she doesn’t have access to technology, so I let it slide that Justin Bieber cut his hair off a long time ago. I’m disappointed that I even know that. I tug at my hair with my fingers and fall back against my pillow. “Man. That really hurt. It seems like you’ve thought that one out for a while.”

“Just since Monday,” she says.

“You met me on Monday. So technically, you’ve been thinking about how much you hate my hair since the moment we met?”

“Not every moment.”

I laugh. I wonder if it’s possible for people to fall in love with a person one characteristic at a time, or if you fall for the entire person at once. Because I think I just fell in love with her wit. And her bluntness. And maybe even her mouth, but I won’t allow myself to stare at it long enough to confirm.

Shit. That’s already three characteristics and I’ve only been here an hour.

“I can’t believe you think I’m hot,” I say, breaking the silence.

“Shut up.”

“You probably faked passing out the other day, just so you could be carried in my hot, sweaty, manly arms.”

“Shut up,” she says again.

“I’ll bet you fantasize about me at night, right here in this bed.”

“Shut up, Holder.”

“You probably even . . .”

She slaps her hand over my mouth. “You’re way hotter when you aren’t speaking.”

I shut up, but only because I want to revel in the fact that this night has already turned out better than I ever anticipated. Every second I’m with her I like her more and more. I like her sense of humor and I like that she gets my sense of humor. She’s the first girl besides Les to ever actually give me a run for my money and I can’t seem to get enough of it.

“I’m bored,” I say, hoping she’ll suggest an interesting make-out session in lieu of staring at her ceiling. Although, if my options are limited to staring at her ceiling all night or going home, I’ll gladly stare at her ceiling.

“So go home.”

“I don’t want to,” I say resolutely. I’m having way too much fun to go home. “What do you do when you’re bored? You don’t have internet or TV. Do you just sit around all day and think about how hot I am?”

“I read,” she says. “A lot. Sometimes I bake. Sometimes I run.”

“Read, bake, and run. And fantasize about me. What a riveting life you lead.”

“I like my life.”

“I sort of like it, too,” I say. And I do like it. We already have the running in common. And she may not realize it, but we also have the fantasizing in common. I don’t bake, but I do like her baking.

That leaves reading. I read when I need to, which isn’t a lot. But I suddenly want to know everything about everything that interests her and if reading interests her, it interests me too. I reach over and pick up the book from her nightstand. “Here, read this.”

“You want me to read it out loud? You’re that bored?”

“Pretty damn bored.”

“It’s a romance.” She says it like it’s a warning.

“Like I said. Pretty damn bored. Read.”

She shrugs and adjusts her pillow, then begins reading.

“I was almost three days old before the hospital forced them to decide. They agreed to take the first three letters of both names and compromised on Layken . . .”

She continues to read and I continue to let her. After several chapters, I can’t tell if my rapid-fire pulse is a result of listening to her voice for so long or if it’s from the sexual tension in the book. Maybe both of them coupled together is what’s doing it. Sky should really think about a career in voiceovers or audiobooks or some shit like that because her voice is . . .

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