Home > Jersey Girl (Sticks & Hearts #1)(15)

Jersey Girl (Sticks & Hearts #1)(15)
Rhonda James

CASSIE

With today's classes behind me, I begin the long walk back to the dorms. This week has been rough. I'm not sleeping well, and my eating habits have gone to shit. My day ended after two torturous hours in music composition. Just before I left for Ann Arbor, I'd written a new song. I spent the better part of the morning sitting at a piano, working through a section that isn't coming together like I envisioned.

One thing I've learned since arriving is that it's nearly impossible to eat healthy. Okay, there's a salad bar in the cafeteria. And they have a wide assortment of pre-made salads and soups. But then I move to the other side of the room and see signs for pizza, hoagies, tacos, and Italian. Honestly, it's too much. If I'm not careful, I'll gain ten pounds in my first month on campus.

Climbing the steps to my room, I'm greeted by many of the acquaintances I've made since classes started. A group of us try to meet every Wednesday night just to hang out. We usually eat popcorn and watch a movie, though some nights all we do is sit around and gossip. For instance, just this week I learned a girl who lives down the hall from me is a dancer at a strip club. Some of the guys in our group went there last week and she performed for them. So, when I'm walking up the stairs and look up to see her coming my way, I'm naturally intrigued. I want to grab her by the arm and ask all about it. What's it like? How much money does she make? What prompted her to start stripping? The questions are endless. Not that I'm considering stripping for a living, or anything like that. I'm just naturally a curious person. I fight the urge, and we brush past each other without so much as a word or backward glance.

When I come to our door, I pause, knocking loudly four times before turning the handle.

"Geez, Louise. Come in, you dork." Veronica is stretched out on her bed, reading a book, when I poke my head in the room. "Will you knock it off already?"

"Hey, I've been traumatized. The last thing I want to see after a long day is your naked ass in the air." I drop my bag on the floor and collapse on the hard mattress.

"What's wrong with my ass?" she pouts, twisting her head around to check out her butt.

"Nothing at all. You have a perfectly fine ass. Nicely shaped. Pert in all the right places. I'm just not partial to staring at naked women."

"Would you be happier if I always have the guy's ass pointed toward the door?" She bites down on her lip to refrain from cracking up.

I ponder her offer for a moment and then shrug. "It depends. If he's standing, then it's a yes. But, if he's bent over and I see his balls, then definitely no."

"Ohmygod, you are so crazy!" She grabs a balled-up sock off the floor and throws it at me. Then she sits up and bounces on the edge of her bed. One thing I've learned about my new roommate, she's a very hyper person. "What are you doing tonight?"

"No plans. I'll probably study my calculus notes and start season 5 of SOA."

"Wrong. We're going to a party!"

"Yeah, I don't think so."

"Why not?" she pouts. "You never do anything, and Josh invited me, so now I'm inviting you."

"Who's Josh?" I narrow my eyes and wait while she squirms uncomfortably. "Veronica?"

"Okay, okay. He's the guy you caught me with."

"You mean the one you were riding like Seabiscuit? Yeah, no, thanks."

"Oh, come on. This will be good for you. You can get out and meet people. Besides, season 5 sucks. Something bad happens to Opie and Jax spends the rest of the season angry." She fans her hand in front of her as if my plans are insignificant. Not to mention, she just spoiled the entire season for me.

"Gee, thanks. I would have preferred finding out on my own. Now you've ruined it."

"Trust me, it was not pretty. I'm sparing you the gory discovery. Now, what do you say? Stay home and not be surprised, or go out with me and have fun?"

"You're not going to shut up until I say yes, are you?"

"Probably not."

I breathe out a long sigh and dangle my legs over the edge of the bed. "What time do we leave?"

***

I've been ready and waiting for fifteen minutes while Roni primps in the bathroom. While I hang out, I pass time scrolling through social media. I post a selfie on Instagram with the hashtag #partywithseabiscuit, then shoot off a quick text to my mom to say I'll call her on Sunday. I'm in the middle of typing out another to see how much longer Roni will be, when one comes through for me.

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