Bad For You: A Seabreeze novel, Page 2Abbi Glines
Jasmine seemed to have a bit of a temper with that red hair of hers. Normally, I was amused but not tonight. I was moody.
The music was already going when we started up the stairs. There was no doubt it was coming from our apartment. Matty, our drummer, always grabbed a girl or three quickly and left the club after we finished our gig. But most of the time he got to the apartment first if his females didn’t slow him down.
“Looks like the party has already started. I’m gonna step out early and go find somewhere to study,” Green said as he slowed to walk beside me.
Green was almost done with law school. He would be taking the bar exam in six months. I was proud of him, but I also knew things would be changing soon. He wasn’t going to be able to pursue law and live like we were living. He rarely stayed for the parties. He always escaped to go study. Eventually I would lose him, but I wanted him to succeed.
“We should move the parties to Matty’s from now on,” I said, feeling guilty that Green had to leave his place to be able to study.
Green shook his head. “Hell, no. The dipshit doesn’t ever clean up, and his apartment is tiny as fuck. Besides, let’s not mess with a good thing. I’ve made it this far doing it this way. It works.”
Since we’d been kids, Green had been the smart one. The one who always sacrificed. He made things happen. But somehow I had always been the one in the spotlight. Didn’t really seem fair.
“Just say the word when you want to change that,” I told him, then glanced over at the closed apartment door we were passing.
A smile tugged on the corner of my lips. Damn, that girl had been adorable twirling around her apartment. I had never seen such long thick hair that was so dark, it was almost black. Then those eyes of hers had been fucking amazing. I wasn’t even sure what color they were exactly. They looked like they were hazel, but they reminded me of jewels. They’d been startling at first.
Although she had been wearing baggy-ass sweats and an even larger T-shirt, I could see the curves underneath. Sucked that I was only going to have to imagine what they actually looked like because I wasn’t touching that. The innocence pouring off that girl was thick. She had barely been able to form words to talk to me.
Fucking adorable was what it had been. And I didn’t do adorable. Ever.
Jasmine’s hand slid down over my jeans and cupped my balls. “I like to suck,” she whispered in my ear.
“Good. You can show me how much as soon as we get in the room,” I told her, and reached around to cup her ass.
That had been all the reassurance she needed apparently, because she started unbuttoning my jeans before we reached the door to my apartment. Green turned back to say something to me and saw her hand busy at work with my jeans. He laughed and rolled his eyes then walked into our apartment, which was already full of several of the guys who lived around us, and a few locals who we partied with regularly. Of course, there were plenty of girls. Just in case Jasmine didn’t work out.
The sun broke through the blinds on the windows, waking me up much sooner than I’d wanted to. I reached for my pillow and covered my face with a groan. It had been sometime after three before the noise upstairs had ended and I had been able to fall asleep. I kept waiting for the cops to show up and shut the party down. Surely there had been other people in this complex who had been trying to sleep.
But the cops never came. The music continued blaring, and the banging on my ceiling had only gotten worse. I hoped they enjoyed themselves, celebrating whatever it was they were celebrating, but I hoped they never did it again. I still had a week before my classes started. Which meant I had a week to get the things I needed and get settled in my apartment.
Even exhaustion couldn’t keep the smile from creeping across my face. Wearing panties and a tank top, I was about to get up and go fix myself breakfast. Then I was going to sit and eat it in on the sofa and not worry about anyone making me feel unwelcomed. I was free. I was finally alone, and there was no one to disapprove of me.
Kicking off my covers, I got out of bed and looked down. Normally, the first thing I did when I got up was make the bed or suffer punishment. Now I wasn’t sure if I would ever make my bed again. With a spring in my step I headed for the kitchen to make coffee and toast a bagel.
Then I would make a list of things I needed for school and my apartment. Although it had come with furniture that Pastor Williams had said was part of the monthly payment, it didn’t have things like curtains or a can opener. The shower curtain was also a plain white. I wanted to add some color, and because I wasn’t supposed to paint the walls, I had to add color elsewhere. Maybe I could find some pillows for the sofa and some pictures for the walls. I didn’t have an unlimited budget, so I needed to be careful.
I also didn’t start my job for another week, and then it would be another week before I received my first check. Some things would have to wait until later. But I could get started today.
Clothes. I needed a few outfits that weren’t oversize hand-me-downs or had come from the thrift store. I really needed to buy a few basic things to get me through the next few months of school and work. I couldn’t go to work in what I owned right now. I knew that clothes wouldn’t change the way I looked, but they would at least help me appear more presentable. I decided to keep the pillows that came with the sofa. And the pictures for the walls could wait.
* * *
It took me a little over an hour to find two pairs of shorts and a denim skirt that all hit above my knees. I had never worn anything that showed off my legs before. It was both terrifying and exhilarating. Even better than leaving my bed unmade. Then I had bought one pair of jeans that actually fit me. Almost too well. Once I had bottoms, I went to look for tops. I had bought four blouses and two tank tops. Finally I picked out a pair of tennis shoes that would work best for work and school. They were all I really needed, but the pretty pink high heels kept drawing my attention. I had never had shoes with heels, or shoes that could be considered pretty, for that matter. These weren’t very dressy and could be worn with the skirt and two of my blouses. I could even wear them with the shorts. I had seen girls do that before.
I tried several times to walk away from them, but in the end I picked up the box with my size and walked to the register to pay for them before I could change my mind again. I was going to live differently here. These heels were a symbol of that new life.
Carrying all the shopping bags up to my apartment wasn’t exactly fun. I was on the first floor, but I was also on the beach. So I had to walk up a flight of stairs just to get to the first floor. The people above me had even farther to walk. There were no elevators here since it was just the two floors. It took me five trips up and down to get everything into my apartment. But then my energy was renewed with the thrill of getting to put things in their places.
When I turned to close my apartment door my eyes locked with the electric blue ones I’d seen yesterday. That guy was standing there again, leaning against the door casing with his arms crossed over his chest and a smirk on his face.
“Looks like someone went shopping bright and early this morning,” he said with that husky voice of his that made my body do funny things.
I nodded, afraid of the stupidity that would come out of my mouth if I tried to talk to him again. I suddenly wished I had put on one of my new outfits and worn it home. Which was silly. I shouldn’t care what I looked like for this guy.
“My band plays at Live Bay on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. You should stop in one night and see us. I’ll even buy you a drink during my break,” he said with that amused grin still on his lips.
Was he teasing me?
I had to respond this time. Nodding again would be rude. “Okay. I’ll do that one night . . . maybe,” I replied. I wasn’t sure if I would ever go to Live Bay—wherever that was—but telling him no seemed impossible.
“I’ll look for you then.” He straightened up from his
relaxed stance. “I never got your name.”
My name. He wanted to know my name. I could answer that easily enough. “Blythe?” I replied, wishing it hadn’t sounded like I was asking him instead of telling him.
He winked. “Fits you,” he replied, then sauntered off without another word. He hadn’t told me his name, but I remembered it from yesterday when his friend had called for him. Krit. It was an unusual name. I wondered what it was short for. Walking over to my door, I closed it and forced all thoughts of how sexy Krit’s eyes had looked without black eyeliner far from my mind.
“I need something more than shitty beer,” Legend, our keyboard player, grumbled, sinking down into an overstuffed chair that belonged to Green.
I leaned forward and kissed the ear of the girl who was in my lap, and I relaxed on the couch. “Why don’t you go fix Legend some whiskey on the rocks, love.” It wasn’t a question, and she knew it. Britt was one of the girls I saw off and on. I didn’t see most girls more than once, but there were a few who were good with no attachments. The fact that Britt was nice and flexible, she was one who I got in the mood for every few weeks or so. Sometimes we saw each other more regularly. Just depended on how things were going in life.
Legend was busy watching television that couldn’t be heard over the music and voices. There were over thirty people in my apartment. Several were watching the football game on my flat-screen. It was an early night for us. I hadn’t planned on a party tonight, but the guys had shown up, and Green had been free of studying for once. So it happened.
Britt sashayed over to Legend and bent over while she handed him his drink to make sure I got a good view of her ass. It was barely covered up with the skirt she was wearing. Chuckling at her attempts, I took a drink of my beer and lifted my eyes to see Green standing and talking to someone at our open door.
Normally, people just came on in, but whoever it was wasn’t coming in. They were just talking to Green. He waved his hand and stepped back in invitation. It was Blythe. Her eyes scanned the room of people nervously, but she didn’t step inside. She also didn’t seem to notice me. Then Green reached out and took her hand and pulled her into the room.
I only noticed Green’s stupid grin before my eyes snapped back to Blythe. Holy shit, she wasn’t in baggy clothes tonight. Those curves I had thought I had seen hiding beneath those awful clothes were right there for the world to see. A pair of black shorts that showcased legs from fucking heaven was only outdone by the tank top that covered an impressive set of tits. Then put that all together with the glasses perched on her cute little nose. She hadn’t had those on before, but damn, they were sexy.
I realized Green was walking her over to me. Britt slipped her arm around me, plopped herself back in my lap, and began nibbling on my neck.
“Uh, dude, can you break free long enough to come here a sec?” Green asked, sounding uncomfortable. Blythe’s eyes grew wide as she watched Britt. Fuck, that innocence was there, shining like a warning sign. As if I needed it. I knew the girl wasn’t my speed. But damn, she was tempting. I wanted to reach up and undo that messy bun she had her hair pulled up in.
I moved Brit off of my lap and stood up. Blythe’s eyes went from Britt to me, and then she dropped her gaze to study the floor. I noticed Green’s hand resting on her arm as if he was there to jerk her from harm’s way if needed. I didn’t like that. I wasn’t sure why, but I didn’t. She was letting him keep his hand on her too.
“Did you decide to come join the party, love?” I asked, keeping my grin in place so I didn’t scare her with the snarl I was tempted to give Green. He was a horny bastard. Blythe wasn’t his speed either.
“No, that’s not why she’s here. Can we take this outside where we don’t have to talk so loud?” Green asked me with a pointed stare. What was his deal?
Blythe looked back longingly at the door like getting out of there was all she wanted in the world.
“Sure,” I replied, and Blythe spun around and hurried for the door.
Green shrugged and turned to follow her.
I glanced back at Britt, who was watching us closely. I motioned to her that I would be right back, then headed toward the door.
Green was standing there asking Blythe her name, and Blythe gave him a shy smile that was more than I had ever gotten from her. What the hell? Green wasn’t the charmer. I was.
“What’s the problem?” I asked as I joined them in the hallway. The annoyed tone in my voice didn’t go unnoticed by Blythe. Her eyes widened, and she started wringing her hands in front of her nervously.
“Krit, this is our new neighbor, Blythe. She lives directly underneath us,” he said in a tone that was obviously trying to make up for mine.
“We’ve met,” I told him, swinging my gaze to hers.
Her cheeks turned bright pink. Why? I hadn’t said anything to embarrass her.
“Oh, okay. Well, we are being inconsiderate with our noise level. This is two nights in a row that we’ve partied, and Blythe isn’t getting much sleep.”
So she was here to complain. Interesting. No one had ever complained before. This apartment complex was known for parties. Had she not known that when she moved in here?
I studied her face as she bit down on her bottom lip and looked ready to bolt. She thought she was going to make me mad. I was pretty damn sure that a girl who looked like her was incapable of making me mad. She gave off the “I need protecting” vibe in a big way. Add that to the heart-stopping face of hers, and she had a winning package deal to get away with all shit, even from me.
I stepped closer to her, which forced Green to move back some. Reaching down, I pulled one of her hands she was gripping so tightly into mine and ran my finger along the inside of her palm.
“Why don’t you come inside me with just for a few minutes? Meet some of your neighbors, and then when you’re ready to go, I think I have something that will help with the noise,” I told her as I kept my gaze locked with hers.
“I, uh, I’m not good with crowds,” she said with an apologetic tone.
I tugged on her hand until she was almost pressed against me. “I won’t leave your side, and I’m fucking amazing with crowds,” I replied with a wink to let her know I was serious.
“Don’t make her—” Green started to argue, but I cut him off.
“Not your business. Back off,” I warned him before sliding my hand around Blythe’s waist and walking her to the door.
I didn’t want to do this. Why had I come up here? Because I was tired and frustrated with the noise. That’s why. I had spent hours writing, then, when I got ready for bed, the noise had started up again. Did these people not need sleep? I just wanted to ask them to be a little quieter. I hadn’t wanted to be forced into staying at the party. I just wanted to go to bed.
“I really don’t want to do this,” I told Krit, who had his hand on my back and was firmly guiding me inside.
“Why not? They won’t bite you. I promise, because I won’t fucking let them,” The amusement in his voice bothered me. I wasn’t kidding. I didn’t want to go into this party.
“Please. I’m sorry I came up here. I will figure out how to sleep through this. Just let me leave.” I was ready to beg now. Whatever I needed to do to get away from this place. I could feel people staring at me. I hated that feeling. I knew what they were thinking. What they saw. I had come up here with my glasses on because I’d needed to see the computer screen, and my hair was in a mess on top of my head. My heart began to race. I had to get out of there.
“Shit, love, you’re shaking.” Krit’s voice was no longer amused. He stopped walking, and slipped his finger under my chin to tilt my head back. The frown on his face as he studied mine was new. He normally looked constantly amused.
“Come with me,” he said quietly, and reached down to take my hand. Then he walked down a hallway toward a closed door.
My panic escalated. That was a b
edroom. I wasn’t going into a bedroom with him. I had to get away. I tried to tug my hand loose from his hold, but he threaded his fingers through mine and tightened his grip. No one had ever held my hand before. I stared down at his hand in mine and lost my train of thought for a moment.
It was a warm feeling having someone’s palm pressed against yours. His fingers laced with mine made me feel like I wasn’t alone. Like I was connected to someone. Had I ever felt that before? I wasn’t sure.
A door swung open, and Krit pulled me inside before closing it behind me.
“Don’t look so terrified. I’m not going to do anything you don’t want me to. Just wanted to get you away from the noise a minute so we could be alone and talk.”
“Talk?” I asked as his hand released mine. The cold lonely feeling was back. I clasped my hands in an attempt to hold the warmth there. I had liked that warmth.
“You confuse me. Most girls don’t confuse me. But you, little dancer, have me playing guessing games. Why is that?”
He called me little dancer again. I wasn’t a dancer. Not even close. But I liked that he had a special name for me. It made me feel like I belonged.
“I didn’t really get into a social scene growing up. Not very good at that. I don’t fit in.” I hated pointing that out to him. For some reason he didn’t seem to get that I didn’t fit in, and I hadn’t wanted to be the one to break the news to him.
Krit cocked an eyebrow. “You say that like it’s a bad thing. Most people want to stand out.”
Stand out? That wasn’t what I meant. I shook my head. “No, that’s not . . . I mean, I don’t . . . I’m not appealing to be around.” That probably made less sense. I wasn’t about to open up to this guy about what was wrong with me. If he didn’t see it, then good. I liked that.
Krit frowned and stared at me like I was insane. Great. Now he saw the real me. Whatever he had been missing, I had just pointed it out to him. Why hadn’t I kept my mouth shut?