Just a Little Crush (Crush #1)(6)

By: Renita Pizzitola

“Really? Huh.”


He shook his head. “Nothing.” He started walking again.

We reached our dorm and took the elevator up to my floor.

“Tell me, Mason. What are you thinking?”

“That it’s weird he went to find you.” The doors glided open and we exited.

“He just wanted to hook up out there. How long had you been looking when you asked for his help?”

We’d reached my room and I was glad to see no sock hanging from the knob. I was ready for bed.

“I didn’t.”

I stared at him. “Didn’t look long?”

“I didn’t ask for his help.”

“But he said—”

“I know what he said.”

So, why had he…?

Mason shook his head and his anger reappeared. “ ’Night, Brinley. I’ll see you tomorrow.” He stormed off.

What was his problem? Maybe tonight stirred memories better forgotten for him as well. Though it didn’t seem fair he was taking his anger out on me. Never in a million years would I have imagined we’d run into Ryder at the party.

I watched Mason walk away, wondering if I should say something, then decided to just let it go and slipped inside my room.

I tugged off my sweater, leaving on the cami I’d worn underneath, and unbuttoned my jeans. I reached around for my phone, but my back pocket was empty. Shit. I shoved my hands into my front pockets. Nothing. I took off my jeans and searched the pockets better. Where had it gone? I carefully examined the floor.

“Crap,” I muttered. It had to have fallen out when I sat on the curb with Noah. I’d be lucky to find it at all now. It was probably long gone and I’d never be able to afford a new one. Really, this night couldn’t get any suckier.

I tossed and turned in bed in an attempt to get comfortable, begging for sleep to shut off my brain, which was now filled with memories from that night. It would always be one of those moments that, no matter how hard I tried to suppress it, would torture me. In vivid detail.

And it all started when that stupid bottle landed on me.

I was sitting next to Mason as he kept me entertained with his impersonation of my neighbor Ava, the birthday girl and my unwilling host. It involved lots of pretend hair flipping, eye rolling and overdramatized pouts. Though Mason was a part of this crowd, I loved that he saw her for what she really was. And best of all, he didn’t care what people thought about him, which is probably why he was kind enough to befriend me at the party, when no one else had.

I’d been so distracted it took me a moment to notice that everyone in the circle had shifted and stared at where we sat tucked into a corner.

Two guys craned their heads back and one gestured toward me. “It’s pointing at her.”

“No, he needs a re-spin,” Ava demanded.

“No way. Rules are: Where it lands it stays,” the first guy said.

“If we change the rules for him, we have to change them for everyone,” the other added.

“This is stupid.” Ava crossed her arms and scowled.

“It’s fine,” said Ryder. “It’s where it landed. Whatever.” He shrugged, stood and nodded toward me. “Come on.”

He moved with the kind of confidence I could only dream of having. And it was, hands down, the most attractive and intimidating thing about him. Which said a lot, considering he was crazy good-looking, with every inch of him built to perfection.

He glanced back to see if I’d followed.

“Look at her. She’s too scared to even go,” Ava laughed.

“Shut up, Ava,” Mason barked. He turned to me. “You don’t have to do this.”

Every gaze turned to me and I knew I’d hit a pivotal moment. If I said no, I’d be deemed the girl too scared to kiss the hottest guy in school. If I went, I’d be the girl who kissed the hottest guy in school.

I sucked up a ton of courage, then stood, adjusted my skirt and shrugged. “It’s fine. I just didn’t realize I was playing.” I followed Ryder to the bathroom while Ava shot daggers at me.

Girls like her probably always got chances like this. As Mason had said, she was the trifecta of popular: pretty, blond, cheerleader. But girls like me could only rely on luck, and now that it had struck, I’d be an idiot not to jump on this opportunity.

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