Just a Little Crush (Crush #1)(4)

By: Renita Pizzitola

My face heated and I turned so fast my drink dribbled down my arm.

Noah made a disgusted grunting sound.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to spill on you.” My cheeks still burned.

“You didn’t. It’s fine.” He glanced at Ryder. “Let’s walk.” That time it wasn’t a question. He placed his hand on my elbow and led me out of the kitchen.

Some stupid, desperate part of me had to look back.

The girl was still pressed to Ryder but his eyes were narrowed on something else. He lifted his gaze to mine then abruptly looked away.

Noah led me through the front door and right into a couple going at it. Was everyone getting some around here? I hoped he didn’t get any ideas.

He turned the corner and we stepped out a metal door with a red Exit sign. I cringed, expecting a fire alarm to go off, but nothing happened.

“It’s broken,” he said.

“Oh.” Apparently, even the rich-kid dorms had issues.

“Or ‘disabled’ may be more accurate. It’s where everyone sneaks in and out. Marcus in 3B is a techie. He hooked us up.”

The door slammed shut behind me.

“Dammit.” He glanced at the door. “It locks. We usually use the rock.” He pointed to a small boulder sitting near the door, along with a pile of cigarette butts.

I wasn’t convinced he was actually sorry he’d forgotten to prop it.

“Don’t worry, someone will come out for a smoke or we can walk to the front. Want to sit?” He gestured to the curb.

I glanced around, not liking the idea of being locked out. No one knew where we were. “Maybe we should knock and see if someone hears?”

“Let’s give it ten minutes. If no one comes, I’ll call my roommate to open the door.”

“Oh, yeah.” I didn’t even think about the phone. I could just call Mason. “Okay.”

Noah sat and pulled a pack of cigarettes from his pocket. He tilted it toward me. “Want one?”

“No thanks.” The fact that he smoked made him even less attractive.

He flicked a lighter and his face illuminated. With a cigarette in his mouth, he tilted his head and raised the dancing flame.

I scrunched my nose, anticipating the odor, and he paused.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t even ask if you minded.” He lowered the lighter.

“Oh, it’s fine.”

He laughed. “No, it’s not.” He slipped the cigarette back in the pack.

“Really, you can smoke if you want.”

“It’s cool.” He patted the curb next to where he sat.

I hugged myself and glanced around. I was being paranoid. Noah was a good guy.

I sat and tucked my knees to my chest. “It’s cold.”

He stretched his legs out and reached into his pocket. “Wanna sip?” He lifted a flask.

Who was this guy? Definitely not the cute-but-not-my-type book nerd, I thought.

“It’s whiskey and will warm you right up.” He twisted the lid and tilted the bottle to his lips.

I was freezing but preferred not to warm myself with anything served in a flask.

“Here you go.” He handed me the metal bottle.

I sniffed then jerked it away.

“It’s warm going down.”

I swished the whiskey around. Maybe I could fake a sip just to indulge Noah.

The door screeched open and Ryder stepped out. He stared at me then at the flask in my hand.

He raised an eyebrow. “Locked out?” He kicked the rock into place then crossed his arms and, from my vantage point, towered over us. “Your friend’s looking for you.” He tilted his chin in my general direction.

“Oh. He is?” I handed the flask back to Noah and stood. I was happy to have an excuse to go inside, but couldn’t help but wonder if Ryder actually remembered me or just knew where to find Noah. Though we’d gone to high school together, it had been a year and a half since we’d last seen each other. If he did actually know who I was, I feared the only thing he’d remember was our disastrous kiss, but then again, he’d probably kissed a lot of girls in the last few years and had forgotten all about me…which was a good thing.

“Yeah, so you should get inside.” Ryder nodded toward the door.

But, of course, after that comment, some idiotic part of me didn’t want to go inside now, merely out of spite, and regardless of the fact I wanted to get away from Noah.

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