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“Yeah. You’re probably going to be banned from being my friend.”
“They’ve already tried.” He shrugged. “I won’t listen. I never do.”
“I’m sorry.”
“For what?”
“I put my dad shit above our friendship just now. I’m sorry, Nate.” And I was. It had been the wrong thing to do. He’d be hurt by it. I wouldn’t. That was the sad thing. My dad would come home and pretend I wasn’t there. It’s how he dealt with life. He would continue to do his own thing and pretend there were no consequences.
I had started out the door, but turned back to Nate again. “Yeah?”
“Spend time with Logan tonight. Just the two of you do something together.”
“Because being around your brother always seems to help you.”
Guilt and shame shot through me, and the hole in me grew bigger. “You’re a good friend.”
“So are you.” He flashed me a half-grin. “Maybe not today, but you are. I’ll sneak over tomorrow.”
“Sounds good.”
“See you.”
He shut the door behind me and I walked away. I didn’t feel better at all.
A girl in a tight shirt and jeans came over with a beer. I skimmed an eye over her—she looked fine—tight body, decent rack for our age. Her bra was showing; girls did that shit on purpose. They wanted us to see it. When Nate saw my approval, he flashed me a grin and took off. We were at one of Fischer’s parties, but it was still early in the evening. Logan insisted on coming, but he was in the corner with his girlfriend draped all over him.
A grin teased the corners of her lips. “Do you know who I am?” She placed the top of her bottle between her lips, sucking on it lightly.
Did it matter? That thought flashed in my mind, but they never liked it when I called them on their bullshit. I slowly skimmed her up and down, and this time, I tried to place her. When I couldn’t, her grin fell and she straightened to her fullest height, frowning instead.
Kate came over, her own frown on her face. They were dressed the same, but Kate’s pants were ripped around the crotch and her shirt exposed a lot more of her rack than this girl. As she stopped at our little group, she glared at the girl. “Sarah Cast.”
I grinned. “Your name is Sarah.” I nodded at Kate, but said to Sarah. “Cast. Sarah Cast.”
She snorted and grinned again. She turned to Kate. “Do you mind? I was hoping to talk to Mason alone.”
Kate moved so she was closer to me, her back brushing against my arms. It was a gesture for boyfriends to put their arms around their girlfriend, but I didn’t. I kept my hand in my pocket and never moved from the counter that I was leaning against. Kate shot me a dark look, but I flashed her a grin. We weren’t a couple. We’d have to have the same conversation again, but she wouldn’t want it to happen in front of the new chick. She said that was embarrassing. A sound of disgust came from her. “Are you kidding me?”
Sarah glanced between the two of us.
I lifted an eyebrow. I wasn’t in the mood for Kate today. “I’ll be in the mood tomorrow.”
Anger flared in her eyes, and she stormed off. “Whatever. I won’t.”
She would. She always was. I turned to the new girl and kept that information to myself. “You go to FCP?”
She nodded, but glanced down for a moment. When she looked back up, she was biting her bottom lip. I frowned, wondering if this was the same sexy appeal she was going for. She seemed cautious, not sultry now. “My mom works for your dad.”
“A lot of people do.”
“Yeah. True.”
She started looking around. When she saw her friends, they gave her a thumbs-up sign and she rolled her shoulders back, lifting her gaze back to mine again. What was going on?
“What do you want?”
She tensed. “What do you mean?”
“You came over here looking like you wanted one thing and now you’re playing at something else.” I didn’t like games, and this girl was throwing out too many different signals. She was a head trip. “Look,” I started. I shook my head. “I don’t know what you’re playing at, but girls don’t come over to me unless they have one thing in mind. I don’t date. Girls know not to even try with me. So…” I drew out the last word and let it linger between us.
She didn’t react. She knew what she was doing. Realizing that, I narrowed my eyes. Then I asked, “Did they put you up to this?”
She looked too and frowned. Her friends realized we were talking about them and squealed, turning around so their backs were to us. All their heads went together and Sarah sighed. “You saw that before?”
“Was this like a dare? I dare you to go up to Mason Kade and what? Kiss me or something? What’s the end goal?”
Her eyebrows shot up. “Jeezus. You’re straight to business, aren’t you?” She went back to biting on her lip, but she rolled it out so it looked like she was pouting. “This was a mistake. I should’ve never listened to her.”
I grinned. Now we were getting somewhere. “Who’s her?”
“You said you never should’ve listened to her. Who’s her?”
“My mom.”
“Your mom?”
She nodded. “She works for your dad.”
“A lot of people work for my dad.” As I said that, I already knew the angle. The mom wanted an introduction to my dad. She heard about the divorce and sent her kid as bait. My stomach clenched. I let out a disgusted sound. “Bit of advice.”
She paused, listening. Her eyes narrowed.
“If a guy has a reputation for being an ass**le and doesn’t date, he’s not fairytale material. He’s not going to change so don’t go over to waste his time.”
Her mouth fell open. “Jeezus, you’re blunt.”
“Are you here to screw me?”
She turned away and crossed her arms. I thought she was leaving, but she didn’t. She stood there, as if thinking it over. When she turned back, there was a tentative look in her eyes. I said, “You heard me. I don’t date. I don’t hold hands. I don’t do nice things for girls. I have sex and that’s it. Your mom put you up to this, right?”