Broken and screwed 2, p.9
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       Broken and Screwed 2, p.9
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         Part #2 of Broken and Screwed series by Tijan

  There was silence.

  One.

  Long.

  Moment.

  Of silence.

  My eyes were pressed tight and I bent down. Touching my forehead to the cool metal of the Ferrari, I wanted to take it back. I couldn’t. The words were out. He could see into me now. I had exposed myself with those three words.

  Then he asked, quiet and strained, “What did you say?”

  I shook my head. Nothing. I said nothing. Please let it go.

  The gravel ground under his feet and I knew he was coming. I tensed, unsure what he was going to do or say. When his hand touched the back of my elbow, I pulled away and rounded to his side of the car. Running away was stupid. I’d need to deal with this, but I couldn’t look at him. There’d only be rejection in his eyes. I couldn’t see that, rejection and pity. My heart withered up. It would completely shatter me if I saw it, but I already knew that he pitied me. He had to.

  I was pathetic.

  “Look at me, Alex.”

  My shoulders stiffened. I couldn’t do it. Nothing would be the same after that.

  He stepped closer. I heard the gravel once more, but I kept myself firm. I couldn’t keep running. I was going to see what I was going to see. If he rejected me, if he pitied me, I’d deal with it. I had to. Going in circles around the car was only putting it off.

  Slowly, so slowly, as my heart pounded, I forced my neck to turn. Then I saw him, but there was nothing.

  He was bristling in anger. His hands were in fists pressed to his legs and his jaw was clenched tight while his eyes were glistening with repressed emotion. He wrung out, “You must have an extremely low opinion of me if you think that.”

  This wasn’t right.

  I shut up. What the hell?

  My heart was pounding like crazy, but what he said didn’t make sense. “What do you mean by that?”

  He threw his head back and barked out a laugh. “Are you kidding me?”

  “No.”

  “You think I’m going to leave you. You’ve always thought that. What’d your friend say, that I’m not going to treat you right? Oh, wait. That’s right.” His eyes hardened and he clipped out, his tone ice cold, “That I’m not going to be patient with you, that I wouldn’t go the extra mile. The best one was that I’m not boyfriend material.” He frowned as his jaw clenched. “No, I have a better one. That I wasn’t a good guy, your friend, Angie, said I wasn’t a good guy. I might not say nice things and I might not do nice things all the time, but I don’t think that makes me a bad guy.”

  Oh. Goodness. My heart began thumping against my chest. I knew he had heard, but I hadn’t thought about it. He was right. Angie had said all those things about him and I hadn’t defended him.

  I hung my head. “I’m sorry, Jesse.”

  “No, no. Don’t do that. Don’t apologize to someone like me, who’ll treat you like dirt. It’s a shame I’m not like Eric Nathans, right? He’s the good guy. He’s going to treat you right.” He took a step closer. His eyes were gleaming at me. “He’s boyfriend material. He’s going to be patient with you. He’s not going to do the shit things I did to you. Right?”

  He bit out that last word and I flinched from the intensity behind them.

  My throat started to burn as I remembered that day. I couldn’t bring myself to defend what I had done or defend what Angie had been saying. She’d been wrong. I’d been wrong.

  The burning turned into liquid pain. It flowed everywhere in me.

  Jesse wasn’t done. He ground out, “What the hell did I ever do to you?”

  My head snapped up then. Baring my teeth at him, I couldn’t hold back the anger anymore. “Are you kidding me?”

  “No.” He never flinched.

  “You ignored me.”

  He flinched now. “I didn’t—”

  “You did!” I took two long steps and shoved at him. The small ball of control in me snapped. I kept shoving at him. “Ethan died and a week later you took my virginity. You never called me after that. You never called at all. You fucked me and you walked past me at school. You didn’t even look at me, you asshole. You just walked away.”

  The pain was agonizing. I wanted to bend over, maybe that would ease it. I pushed past it, so much damn hurt blazing inside of me. I reared back to shove him again, but he caught my hands. Trapping them against his chest, he turned so I was pushed against the car. Then he crowded me in, his thighs on either side of me and his chest was pressed against me. I tried to shove him back, but the fight was leaving me.

  An image of that day was on repeat, playing over and over again in my head.

  We were in the hallway. Angie had been talking to me and I looked up. He was there with two of his buddies. I opened my mouth to call out to him, but he went past. I was air for him to walk through, a ghost that he couldn’t see. He made me feel like that for the rest of the year until Ethan’s birthday.

  The fight suddenly left me. I was weaker because of it.

  He came to me the second time. His touch made me alive. I’d been starving for it. I continued to hunger for him until the next summer, until the anniversary of Ethan’s death. Jesse found me again. Then again in August. He came to me. And again. And again. He kept coming for me, but I hadn’t been the only girl. He told me there’d been others and I had heard about the ones in high school. He told me about the ones during his freshman year at Grant West.

  I couldn’t handle that, not again.

  “Hey.” He captured the side of my head and lifted up. “I’m sorry. I was a mess that first year.”

  “So was I,” I said.

  “I know.” His chest lifted up and down. “Shit, I know. I’m sorry.” Pressing a soft kiss to my forehead, he moved to my eye and pressed another one. The other eye got a kiss, then my nose, then both sides of my cheeks. He lingered above my mouth, whispering against them, “I was trying to do the right thing. I was trying to stay away from you.”

  My heart clenched. I couldn’t believe him. It’d hurt so damn worse if I did…

  His lips moved against mine. “Your friend was right. I wouldn’t have been a good boyfriend. I was hurting. I was stupid. I was an asshole. You’re right about all of that, but it wasn’t because I didn’t care. I did care. I cared too much.” His hand pressed against my hip as he ground into me. He began to breathe heavily. “I still do. Only you can reduce me to this.”

  “To what?” I asked, my breath held in my throat. My heart was a continuous pounding now. I wondered if he could feel it. I could feel his. It was racing.

  A dry chuckle left him. “To trapping you here. You make me crazy. You might not know it, but you do.”

  Hope kindled in me. It was starting to build. I couldn’t let it so I shook my head. “Stop, Jesse. We should stop this before it gets worse.”

  “Worse?” He cupped the back of my head and pulled away. His eyes held mine, searing into me. “I tried to give you space. I did. I stayed away from you after Vegas. I was tempted not to get a new phone, then I would have to leave you alone. But you came here and all I wanted was to see you every single night.”

  I closed my eyes. The hope had mingled with another emotion, one I didn’t dare let myself feel. It was too dangerous. “Stop, Jesse.”

  “No.”

  “It can’t get worse than that. I’m not trying to be crude, but my dick’s been twitching since I heard your voice on the phone. I’ve been hard for six fucking days.”

  Everything went flat for me. “That’s what this is about?”

  “What?” He edged back a step. His eyes widened when he saw the anger in mine. “No. I meant—my dick has been hard, but this is more. I promise.”

  I shoved him back. Damage done. “Can you take me back?”

  He didn’t argue, but watched me warily. “Are you okay?”

  “No.” Why lie? There was nothing to lose.

  “Really?” His voice hitched on a note.

  I frowned. That couldn’t have been panic. Jesse
Hunt did not panic. He did not grovel. He did not feel anything except for lust. The memories of two years ago flooded back to me. Every time he looked away, every time he walked past without a hello, every time I saw him touch another girl, all flared in my memory. I cringed and clenched my teeth to keep from sobbing before I could stop the memories. They were haunting me.

  “Alex?”

  “Just take me home.” I’d been put through the emotional wringer. I wasn’t about to sign up for round two.

  For the ride over, he kept looking at me. Every look sent my nerves on edge. My blood was already boiling, but if he kept that up, I was going to snap again. The only thing that held me back was the car. I didn’t want to die in a car accident like Ethan. A harsh laugh ripped from me at that last thought. Just like Ethan. God, Ethan.

  Paralyzing pain filled me again. I hadn’t thought about Ethan in so long. He’d been buzzing around me at home. All day long, every day, every night, I felt his presence. I hadn’t felt him once since coming to Grant West.

  I missed him.

  Closing my eyes, I bit down on my lip and tried to keep from crying. I hadn’t let loose tears over him since coming here. I knew that if I did now, I wouldn’t be able to stop. Too much else was going on. I was barely holding it all in.

  The ride took too long and not long enough. When Jesse got to my dorm, he had to go to the front door. The backdoor was locked from midnight to six in the morning.

  He parked and started, “I know that I haven’t—”

  I clambered out of the car and shut the door before he could say anything more.

  Hurrying into my dorm, I ignored the startled front desk clerk and shot up the stairs.

  I avoided everyone for another week. Or, I thought I was avoiding them. The truth was that no one probably cared. I hadn’t heard or even seen Beth in the hallways. Since the professor hadn’t given us a group project, there was no reason to interact with Cord. I caught a few glares from his friend, but after the third one, I realized they were directed at the girl in front of me. She still snickered together with her two other friends, but that was the only interaction between them and Jamie. It’d been quiet from Jesse too. I didn’t know if that was good or not. I didn’t want to contemplate that.

  It was Hannah that broke the week of isolation.

  My books were spread out on a table in the outside food court when her bag made the first arrival. It was sent soaring through the air until it landed on the seat across from me. My head jerked up, but before I could look around, Hannah plopped down next to her bag.

  She began riffling through her bag as her blonde hair slid over her shoulder, masking her face from me. When she glanced up, the same aviators were on and she grinned at me. “Heya stranger. I heard some interesting tidbits about you this weekend.”

  I stiffened.

  Her lips curved up in a smirk. “Relax. It’s nothing real juicy.” She paused for a second, her mouth pursed in a thoughtful frown. “Is there something juicy? I’m intrigued…no. No, I’m not. Never mind. You’re all closed off and sheltered. I’d have to kiss your ass for you to spill. I don’t care enough to do all that work.”

  Did she dismiss me?

  And I wasn’t sheltered.

  The strap of her top slipped, showing off her bare shoulder and a tattoo design of birds flying down her collarbone. “You can stay all elusive and shit. Fine with me.”

  I frowned. This girl was something else, but my own interest was piqued. “What’d you hear this weekend?”

  Her lips curved in a sultry come-hither smile. “That you told my sister off. High marks for that one.”

  I let out a breath I hadn’t been aware of holding. I thought she was going to say something else, maybe about Jesse, but it was about Tiffany. That wasn’t something I cared about. “Oh.”

  A deep chuckle came from her.

  As she laughed, her head tilted to the side and her shirt slipped farther down her arm. The girl was oozing sexuality and I glanced around. The guys around our table had taken notice. A few seemed ready to join us. I sent them a glare. That stopped them in their tracks. Nope, I saw one reinforce his smug grin as he strode towards us.

  “Heads up. Pick-up Line at three o’clock.”

  Hannah glanced over and the sultriness went up a notch.

  The guy stumbled in his footing. He almost tripped and fell, but caught himself. Normally this would’ve ended the approach. Not with this guy. His smile never budged. His shoulders rolled back and his cockiness rose.

  He was a determined little bugger.

  A low deep-throated chuckle came from her again. It was loud enough so I heard, but no one else did. I had to give her some credit. She was good.

  When he stopped at the table, I heard one of the worst pick-up lines I could imagine.

  “Do you come here often?”

  I snorted.

  He shot me a glare. It was gone in the next second when Hannah teased, “You mean to this exact table or to this school? Because I do. I go to this school.”

  “Oh.” A flush spread from underneath his shirt.

  Hadn’t thought that one through, buddy? I shook my head. I was betting that he used that one at the bars. We were in a city with three other colleges. His chances were better off campus.

  “Hannah, this guy bothering you?”

  Her sister’s boyfriend to the rescue. From the gloating in his voice, I could imagine his entrance. White horse, metal armor, and maybe even a javelin? I shook my head. When I snuck a peek from underneath my eyelids, he wasn’t alone. Cord was with him, along with Kara’s boyfriend. No Jesse. Why did I never see Jesse with them?

  I ignored the disappointment that fluttered in my chest.

  “Keep going, guys,” Hannah clipped out.

  She was annoyed and glaring at both Cord and Jamie.

  “Walk, numbnuts.” Jamie warned the guy with a dark look. “She’s off-limits.”

  “Shut up!”

  Blood drained from Pick-Up Guy before he left. If he could’ve run without looking like an idiot, I knew he would’ve. Instead, his power walk rivaled some housewives I had witnessed in the mall. They wanted to burn rubber in bright spandex and would’ve been envious of his speed.

  “You shut up, Hannah. I’m not going to listen to your sister bitch at me because I didn’t stop another guy from climbing in your bed. That’s all she complains about now. You! I’m getting sick of it.”

  Derek clapped him on the shoulder. “At least she’s not bitching about you, man.”

  Some of the tension lifted from Jamie, but not much. He continued to glower down at Hannah. “Stop being a whore on campus.”

  My eyebrows shot up. The guy had balls.

  Cord frowned. “Hey, man. We should get going.”

  Hannah slammed her hands on the table and shoved to her feet. She glared right back. “Are you kidding me? You are a bigger whore than me. Why don’t you stop dicking around on my sister?”

  He moved back a step, but the glower never left. “Whatever. You’re such a bitch.”

  “And you’re an asshole. We’re even.”

  Derek stepped between them. “I think it’s a good draw. Let’s call it, hmmm? Jamie, march.” He jerked his head in the opposite
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