“Are you sure this isn’t your way of trying to see me without my shirt again?” I tease. This is how I’ve gotten through the last nine years. There’s nothing I take too seriously outside of family and football.
Her mouth hangs open as she looks from side to side then finds me again. “If all I wanted to do is look at a guy without a shirt, I’d stay home and browse Pinterest. At least the guys on there can’t talk back.” She pauses, a more serious look appearing on her face. “I just assumed you didn’t have a partner since you’re just standing here.”
“Well, you assumed right this time, but don’t make a habit of it. Most people are wrong about me.”
“Do you have a name?” she asks, tucking more hair behind her ear.
She’s not throwing herself at me or pretending she has a low IQ just so I take pity on her. She actually doesn’t have a fucking clue who I am.
“Drake. Drake Chambers.”
Her eyebrows pull in as if she’s thinking really hard. It’s actually kind of cute. “That name sounds familiar.”
“Maybe it’s because Gavin called me Chambers after you ran into me Saturday.”
She winces. “No, that’s not it.”
“You’ll figure it out eventually.”
She nods, her lips pulling up at the corners. “It’s nothing Google can’t fix.”
This girl is quick, and I kind of like sparring with her. It might be the highlight of my fucking day.
“Well, should we get started?” she asks as she wraps her arms tightly around her notebook. Her expression is hard to read. It’s like we’re in the middle of a poker game or business deal.
“It sounds like I don’t have much of a choice.” I let her lead the way, watching the way her shorts mold to her body as she walks. Her body curves in all the right places, and she’s toned where it counts. Not bad. Not bad at all.
We grab two seats near the front of the room, neither of us speaking at first. She’s reading her syllabus, or should I say, pretending to read it. I catch her eyes lifting from the paper a few times, watching me in the same way she watched me the other day. If she thinks she’s being sneaky, she’s wrong.
“You never told me your name,” I say, resting my arm across the top of my chair.
“I usually don’t share with strangers.”
Sitting up, I lean in close to her. “I think we’re moving past being strangers. What’s your name?”
She shifts uncomfortably in her seat, glancing up at the clock that hangs above the door. It’s good to know I can affect her in some way. “Emery.”
“Emery? That’s different.”
Ignoring my remark, she picks up her pencil again, working hard to keep her eyes off me. “Let’s get to work. We don’t have that much time left.”
“I’m going to be straight with you, Emery. I’m not going to be able to work on this much outside of class.”
Her eyes widen. “Seriously? You had time to play around with your friends Saturday.”
“Look, you picked me. I can’t do much with my schedule.”
She crosses her arms over her chest as her eyes narrow on me. Maybe I should feel guilty for the way I am, but I don’t. Besides, she’s even hotter when she’s pissed. “We’ll get a better grade if I just do it all myself anyway.”
Her comment should offend me, but she’s probably right. She has perfectionist written all over her. I bet she spends her weekends reading and studying, thinking that if she takes one day off, she’ll fail out of life.
She doesn’t say another word as she starts jotting things down in her notebook. I thought this was what I wanted, to sit back and watch her do all the work, but I have to bite my lip to hide my grimace. If this is what I want, why do I feel so fucking annoyed with myself?
“Emery.” She stops writing but doesn’t look up. Again, that unfamiliar guilty feeling hits me in the face. “Why don’t we exchange numbers, and I’ll try to find time to get together this weekend.”
“Are you sure you can squeeze me in?” she asks as she taps her pencil against her lower lip. Her tone is sharp, and for a second, I consider sticking to my original plan, but maybe she deserves a break.
My high school coach always said I was too cocky. He said it would hold me back, but so far he’s been wrong, and I’m not planning on changing anytime soon. This is who I am. It’s what my life has molded me to be. It’s how I deal with all the other shit.
“I can try to make an exception for you.”