Revel (Second Chance Romance #1)(10)

By: Alison Ryan

Declan laughed, “And how do you know? You think I’m some big party guy?”

“Well, yes,” she said. “You kind of look like you’d be in a frat or something. Am I wrong?”

Dammit, she wasn’t wrong, she was completely spot on.

“Well, yeah,” he said. “But I don’t party that much these days. Or, at least I’ve curbed it.”

Charlotte sighed, “Well, I guess that’s good. Or whatever. I don’t know. But yeah, everyone here seems to be into the Greek life.”

“You’re not in a sorority?” Declan asked.

Charlotte shook her head, “I don’t pay for friends. Not that I wouldn’t if I could, to be honest. I just can’t afford to. So it’s just easier to say I don’t.”

It was shockingly honest and Declan nodded, “It’s hard to make friends here so Greek life is an easy way. I bet you could have had your pick if you’d bid.”

Charlotte looked at him, “Why would you think that?”

Declan was rarely the guy that was nervous around any girl. But something about how she looked at him suddenly made him sheepish, “I don’t know. You just… Well, you’re pretty and you seem smart and…” He was really reaching now.

“How do you know I’m smart? You’ve only been talking to me for five minutes,” she said, looking forward again. “I mean, I am smart. But you don’t know something like that just from looking at someone.”

Declan laughed nervously, “Sorry. I’m just… I’m trying to get to know you. It’s not every day I literally run into a beautiful girl on the Ravenel. Especially one who’s alone. The girls here all seem to travel in herds.”

Charlotte laughed, a sound Declan suddenly realized might be his new favorite, “That’s so true. None of them can go by themselves anywhere! I work at Dixie Garden and the girls always go to the bathroom in a large group. No chick left behind. Which is fine because none of them eat their food anyway, so they’re not missing out.”

Declan laughed, “What a waste.”

Charlotte smiled at him, the afternoon sun lighting up her face. She was so damn pretty it almost knocked him over.

“Do you go to the college?” Declan asked.

“Yep,” Charlotte said. “For now.”

“What do you mean?” he looked at her quizzically. “You on academic probation?”

Charlotte shook her head, “No, quite the opposite. My grades are fine, but my living situation isn’t. My roommate is kind of… kicking me out.”

He could tell it was a topic that was upsetting. Was that why she’d been crying?

“Well, that’s shitty,” he said. “Why?”

“She wants her boyfriend to move in,” Charlotte explained. “Which is fine, had she informed me of this 3 months ago when there was still any possibility of me finding a rental for the summer.” Charlotte’s voice caught in her throat. “I shouldn’t even be telling you this. But it’s why I’m a little upset, so forgive me if I don’t come off as the friendliest. I’m not in a great mood.”

“Well, that’s understandable,” Declan said. “She really put you in a bind.”

Charlotte nodded, “Yep. She really did. So I don’t know what I’m going to do. I really don’t want to have to go back to Nashville.”

“Is that where you’re from?” he asked. “My dad went to Vanderbilt.” Ugh, he thought. You sound like a bragging douche.

“Yep,” she said. “And that’s where my dad wanted me to go. Still wants me to go.”

“Wow, you got into Vanderbilt and didn’t go?” Declan asked, impressed.

Charlotte shrugged, “I wanted to get away. It just felt like it would have been high school, part two. I would have lived at home and nothing would have changed. Anyway, it’s more complicated than that but… That’s the truth.”

They were walking down the incline now, getting closer to East Bay. He turned around and walked backwards while they talked, his hands shoved in the pockets of his running shorts.

“So why here?” he asked. “I mean; I grew up here so I can completely understand the desire to get away.”