Just a Little Crush (Crush #1)

By: Renita Pizzitola

Chapter One

It’s not often a girl goes out of her way to look her worst, but tonight warranted the extra effort. Or lack thereof. Agreeing to go to the party had been for Mason’s sake, but doing my best-friend duty meant I’d have to endure a night of Noah who, though cute and intelligent (which earned him mega-points in my book), did nothing for me. My attraction to him was nonexistent. The more he liked me, the less I liked him. Story of my life.

Mason tapped his foot while I peeled off my blue shirt, which complemented my eyes a little too well, and switched to a lightweight gray sweater.

“Just wear that one,” he groaned.

“Remember, my goal here is to look unattractive. Like a wallflower. Blend in.” I slipped on black boots. “I want Noah to run when he sees me.”

“That’s not happening. Have you seen your ass in those jeans?”

I spun around and craned my neck to get a good view in the mirror. “These aren’t my good jeans though. They’re my boot jeans. I can’t get any other pair to shove into these boots just right.” I frowned. “Should I change?”

“Uh, no.” Mason bolted upright. He checked the mirror, flipping his dark-blond hair out of his eyes, then grabbed my hand and dragged me to the door. “The party will be over before we even get there, at this rate.”

We made our way downstairs to the dorm lobby.

Mason held the door for me and I slipped past. “I know you’re eager to see whatever her name is, but you promised not to abandon me.”

“I won’t.”

“I’m serious. If you leave me alone with Noah…” A gust of wind ruffled my hair as we turned onto the sidewalk. I balled my hands into fists and wrapped my arms around my chest. “It’s cold. I should have brought a jacket.”

“You’re always cold.”

“Sorry, we can’t all be as hot as you.” I nudged him.

“I knew it. You think I’m hot.”

I laughed and looped my arm through Mason’s as we made our way toward Canton. Private dorms for the rich and fortunate. Unlike Laney, where we lived. Home of the unfortunates.

It was only a block away, but my fingers were numb by the time we arrived. Being that it was February in Texas, the weather was unpredictable. Today had been an unseasonably warm day, but once the sun set, the temperature dropped quickly. The warmth of the dorm’s lobby was welcome after the chilly walk.

Noah’s suite was on the first floor and easy to find due to the noise. Another perk of private-dorm life. I could barely watch a movie without being asked to turn the volume down.

Music thumped from behind the door. I lifted my hand to knock.

“What are you doing?” Mason stared at me like I’d grown a third eye.

I shrugged. “Knocking.”

“No one will hear you.” He placed his hand on the doorknob.

I gasped. “We can’t just walk in.”

“You really don’t go to many parties, do you?”

“Oh, like you do.” I pushed past Mason and turned the knob.

He chuckled. “Figured that would work.”

“Stop with all that weird mind-control.”

Mason stepped into the crowded living area of the dorm. He angled his body toward me to allow a group of people past. “It’s not mind-control. It’s I’ve-known-you-forever, and you’re always trying to prove the opposite of anything people say.”

“That’s not true.”

“I rest my case.” He smiled, then glanced around, surveying the crowd.

I shot him a playful glare.

“Uh-oh. You have company,” he muttered.

With a slow blink, I cringed but remained rooted. My natural instinct was to turn, but I knew it was Noah and some tiny part of me hoped maybe he’d just keep walking and never notice me.

“He’s staring at your ass,” Mason whispered.

I bit back a grin and shook my head.

“We need drinks.”

“Mason, don’t you dare leave. I don’t even dr—” Son of a bitch. He’d abandoned me two seconds in, with Noah hot on my trail. This wasn’t the first time Noah had invited me to a party, but it was the first time I’d agreed to come. Which to him probably seemed like progress.