The first time Grayson snuck into my room was a little over a month ago, and he made it clear from the beginning that he wasn’t looking for a relationship. I made it clear that I wasn’t looking for him, so naturally we hit it off right away. Of course, he’ll be one of the few people I know at school, so I’m worried it might mess up the good thing we’ve got going—which is absolutely nothing.

He’s been here less than three minutes and he’s already got his hand up my shirt. I think it’s safe to say he’s not here for my stimulating conversation. His lips move from my mouth in favor of my neck, so I use the moment of respite to inhale deeply and try again to feel something.

Anything.

I fixate my eyes on the plastic glow-in-the-dark stars adhered to the ceiling above my bed, vaguely aware of the lips that have inched their way to my chest. There are seventy-six of them. Stars, that is. I know this because for the last few weeks I’ve had ample time to count them while I’ve been in this same predicament. Me, lying unnoticeably unresponsive, while Grayson explores my face and neck, and sometimes my chest, with his curious, over-excited lips.

Why, if I’m not into this, do I let him do it?

I’ve never had any emotional connection to the guys I make out with. Or rather, the guys that make out with me. It’s unfortunately mostly one sided. I’ve only had one guy come close to provoking a physical or emotional response from me once, and that turned out to be a self-induced delusion. His name was Matt and we ended up dating for less than a month before his idiosyncrasies got the best of me. Like how he refused to drink bottled water unless it was through a straw. Or the way his nostrils flared right before he leaned in to kiss me. Or the way he said, “I love you,” after only three weeks of declaring ourselves exclusive.

Yeah. That last one was the kicker. Buh-bye Matty boy.

Six and I have analyzed my lack of physical response to guys many times in the past. For a while she suspected I might be gay. After a very brief and awkward “theory testing” kiss between us when we were sixteen, we both concluded that wasn’t the case. It’s not that I don’t enjoy making out with guys. I do enjoy it—otherwise, I wouldn’t do it. I just don’t enjoy it for the same reasons as other girls. I’ve never been swept off my feet. I don’t get butterflies. In fact, the whole idea of being swooned by anyone is foreign to me. The real reason I enjoy making out with guys is simply because it makes me feel completely and comfortably numb. It’s situations like the one I’m in right now with Grayson when it’s nice for my mind to shut down. It just completely stops, and I like that feeling.

My eyes are focused on the seventeen stars in the upper right quadrant of the cluster on my ceiling, when I suddenly snap back to reality. Grayson’s hands have ventured further than I’ve allowed them to in the past and I quickly become aware of the fact that he has unbuttoned my jeans and his fingers are working their way around the cotton edge of my panties.

“No, Grayson,” I whisper, pushing his hand away.

He pulls his hand back and groans, then presses his forehead into my pillow. “Come on, Sky.” He’s breathing heavily against my neck. He adjusts his weight to his right arm and looks down at me, attempting to play me with his smile.

Did I mention I’m immune to his panty-dropping grin?

“How much longer are you gonna keep this up?” He slides his hand over my stomach and inches his fingertips into my jeans again.

My skin crawls. “Keep what up?” I attempt to ease out from under him.

He pushes up on his hands and looks down at me like I’m clueless. “This ‘good girl’ act you’ve been trying to put on. I’m over it, Sky. Let’s just do this already.”

This brings me back to the fact that, contrary to popular belief, I am not a slut. I’ve never had sex with any of the boys I’ve made out with, including the currently pouting Grayson. I’m aware that my lack of sexual response would probably make it easier on an emotional level to have sex with random people. However, I’m also aware that it might be the very reason I shouldn’t have sex. I know that once I cross that line, the rumors about me will no longer be rumors. They’ll all be fact. The last thing I want is for the things people say about me to be validated. I guess I can chalk my almost eighteen years of virginity up to sheer stubbornness.

For the first time in the ten minutes he’s been here, I notice the smell of alcohol reeking from him. “You’re drunk.” I push against his chest. “I told you not to come over here drunk again.” He rolls off of me and I stand up to button my pants and pull my shirt back into place. I’m relieved he’s drunk. I’m beyond ready for him to leave.

He sits up on the edge of the bed and grabs my waist, pulling me toward him. He wraps his arms around me and rests his head against my stomach. “I’m sorry,” he says. “It’s just that I want you so bad I don’t think I can take coming over here again if you don’t let me have you.” He lowers his hands and cups my butt, then presses his lips against the area of skin where my shirt meets my jeans.

“Then don’t come over here.” I roll my eyes and back away from him, then head to the window. When I pull the curtain back, Jaxon is already making his way out of Six’s window. Somehow we both managed to condense this hour-long visit into ten minutes. I glance at Six and she gives me the all-knowing “time for a new flavor” look.

She follows Jaxon out of her window and walks over to me. “Is Grayson drunk, too?”

I nod. “Strike three.” I turn and look at Grayson who’s lying back on the bed, ignorant to the fact that he’s no longer welcome. I walk over to the bed and pick his shirt up, tossing it at his face. “Leave,” I say. He looks up at me and cocks an eyebrow, then begrudgingly slides off the bed when he sees I’m not making a joke. He slips his shoes back on, pouting like a four-year-old. I step aside to let him out.

Six waits until Grayson has cleared the window, then she climbs inside when one of the guys mumbles the word “whores.” Once inside, Six rolls her eyes and turns around to stick her head out.

“Funny how we’re whores because you didn’t get laid. Assholes.” She shuts the window and walks over to the bed, plopping down on it and crossing her hands behind her head. “And another one bites the dust.”

I laugh, but my laugh is cut short by a loud bang on my bedroom door. I immediately go unlock it, then step aside preparing for Karen to barge in. Her motherly instincts don’t let me down. She looks around the room frantically until she eyes Six on the bed.

“Dammit,” she says, spinning around to face me. She puts her hands on her hips and frowns. “I could have sworn I heard boys in here.”

I walk over to the bed and attempt to hide the sheer panic coursing throughout my body. “And you seem disappointed because…” I absolutely don’t understand her reaction to things sometimes. Like I said before…contradictory.

“You turn eighteen in a month. I’m running out of time to ground you for the first time ever. You need to start screwing up a little more, kid.”

I breathe a sigh of relief, seeing she’s only kidding. I almost feel guilty that she doesn’t actually suspect her daughter was being felt up five minutes earlier in this very room. My heart is pounding against my chest so incredibly loud, I’m afraid she might hear it.

“Karen?” Six says from behind us. “If it makes you feel better, two hotties just made out with us, but we kicked them out right before you walked in because they were drunk.”

My jaw drops and I spin around to shoot Six a look that I’m hoping will let her know that sarcasm isn’t at all funny when it’s the truth.

Karen laughs. “Well, maybe tomorrow night you’ll get some cute sober boys.”

I don’t think I have to worry about Karen hearing my heartbeat anymore, because it just completely stopped.

“Sober boys, huh? I think I can arrange that,” Six says, winking at me.

“Are you staying the night?” Karen says to Six as she makes her way back to the bedroom door.

Six shrugs her shoulders. “I think we’ll stay at my house tonight. It’s my last week in my own bed for six months. Plus, I’ve got Channing Tatum on the flat screen.”

I glance back at Karen and see it starting.

“Don’t, Mom.” I begin walking toward her, but I can see the mist forming in her eyes. “No, no, no.” By the time I reach her, it’s too late. She’s bawling. If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s crying. Not because it makes me emotional, but because it annoys the hell out of me. And it’s awkward.

“Just one more,” she says, rushing toward Six. She’s already hugged her no less than ten times today. I almost think she’s sadder than I am that Six is leaving in a few days. Six obliges her request for the eleventh hug and winks at me over Karen’s shoulder. I practically have to pry them apart, just so Karen will get out of my room.

She walks back to the door and turns around one last time. “I hope you meet a hot Italian boy,” she says to Six.

“I better meet more than just one,” Six deadpans.

When the door closes behind Karen, I spin around and jump on the bed, then punch Six in the arm. “You’re such a bitch,” I say. “That wasn’t funny. I thought I got caught.”

She laughs and grabs my hand, then stands up. “Come. I’ve got Rocky Road.”

She doesn’t have to ask twice.

Monday, August 27th, 2012 7:15 a.m.

I debated on whether or not to run this morning but I ended up sleeping in, instead. I run every day except Sunday, but it seems wrong having to get up extra early today. Being the first day of school is enough torture in itself, so I decide to put off my run until after school.

Luckily, I’ve had my own car for about a year now, so I don’t have to rely on anyone other than myself to get me to school on time. Not only do I get here on time, I get here forty-five minutes early. I’m the third car in the parking lot, so at least I get a good spot.

I use the extra time to check out the athletic facilities next to the parking lot. If I’m going to be trying out for the track team, I should at least know where to go. Besides, I can’t just sit in my car for the next half hour and count down the minutes.

When I reach the track, there’s a guy across the field running laps, so I cut right and walk up the bleachers. I take a seat at the very top and take in my new surroundings. From up here, I can see the whole school laid out in front of me. It doesn’t look nearly as big or intimidating as I’ve been imagining. Six made me a hand-drawn map and even wrote a few pointers down, so I pull the paper out of my backpack and look at it for the first time. I think she’s trying to overcompensate because she feels bad for abandoning me.

I look at the school grounds, then back at the map. It looks easy enough. Classrooms in the building to the right. Lunchroom on the left. Track and field behind the gym. There is a long list of her pointers, so I begin reading them.


Tags: Colleen Hoover Hopeless Romance
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