Home > Jersey Girl (Sticks & Hearts #1)(16)

Jersey Girl (Sticks & Hearts #1)(16)
Rhonda James

I know it's wrong, because he's my brother's friend who's made it clear he will never touch me again, but when I see his name, I get tingly all over.

Him: What's up?

Me: Not much. Heading 2 a party.

Him: The one at Sig Phi?

Me: Hmm, let me check.

"Hey, Veronica." I have to yell over the noise of her hairdryer. "This party we're going to, is it at Sig Phi?"

"Yeah. That's Josh's frat house." My eyes roll toward the ceiling. Great. I'm pretty sure she'll end up spending the night and I'll walk home alone. Lucky me.

Me: That's the one.

Him: Watch out for those Sig boys.

Me: Aww, ur worried about me.

Him: Well, u know, underage and all. I'd rather u share your first tequila shot with me.

Me: What makes u think I'm a tequila virgin?

Him: Call it a hunch. I've been thinking...

Me: Sounds dangerous.

Him: On occasion, yes.

Me: What's up?

Him: Remember that maybe?

Me: I do. I'm still angry with u.

Him: Well, I can't have that now, can I? Now it's a yes.

Me: Aww, B. I'm touched.

Him: Told u I'm a nice guy.

Me: U kinda dig me, don't u, B?

Him: Just meet me tomorrow at 5.

Me: I knew it!

Him: It's turning back into a maybe.

Me: Fine. Deny your true feelings. See u at 5.

What a goofball. I stare at the screen and feel a twinge of guilt for deceiving him. I know I run the risk of him showing up at the coffee house and storming back out when he realizes I'm Candy. I hate lying, yet I also hate he'd been so quick to push me away.


Wild doesn't begin to describe the scene greeting us when we walk through the door at Sigma Phi house. A half-naked girl comes screaming down the stairs and runs out the door we just entered, while a shirtless, tattooed guy darts between the gawkers to chase after her. My first inclination is to be concerned for her safety, then I hear her make a reference to their relationship being over, and I realize these two exhibitionists know one another. After that, we all go back to what we were doing.

One glance around the room and I'm already preparing an early escape. To the left of the front door is a large room that must hold a hundred students, and most of them are crowded around a pool table or the bank of foosball tables lining the perimeter of the room. A secondary staircase sits on the far side of the room. Guys and girls wearing bathing suits are packed on the stairs like sardines as they wait their turn to dive into an awaiting blow-up pool filled with a red, gelatinous substance.

We weave our way through the room in search of the kitchen, somehow managing to avoid getting sprayed by red chunks flying through the air. Three large kegs greet us when we reach our destination and, not surprisingly, so does Josh.

"You made it!" he calls to Roni as she gets closer. Taking her by the hand, he pulls her in for an open-mouthed kiss, and it's hard not to recall the last time I saw him. Even if it was a brief glance, I've been scarred for life. I may never look at him the same way. He glances over, finally acknowledging my presence, and a scowl fills his face. "Who's your friend?"

"You remember my roommate, Cassie?" My eyes shoot daggers her way, but miraculously, she remains unaffected. The way she clings to Josh's chest only proves my earlier guesstimate I will be on my own heading home tonight.

"Oh, yeah. Hey, sorry about that little scare, but maybe you should try knocking next time." With that, he turns, leading Roni into the adjoining room, and I'm left standing with a look of pure hatred on my face. What a jerk.

Rolling my eyes, I fill a red plastic cup with beer and make my way through the crowded kitchen and into the next room. This house seems to be a never-ending maze of rooms, each one seemingly larger than the one you just left. While passing a group of nerdy looking guys standing in the corner, I learn this particular fraternity houses forty upperclassmen. I whistle under my breath, failing to understand the allure of living with that many people. I like solitude and value my privacy. Having a roommate sleeping less than five feet from my own bed took some getting used to, but the thought of that many people walking around, with the ability to get up in my personal space at any given moment, is enough to send shivers down my spine.

No matter how many times I've looked, I can't seem to find Roni anywhere. I take a sip of my beer and instantly want to spit it back out. Keg beer. Yuck. I'm most certainly not a fan. Finally, I give up my search and take up residence in one corner of the game room. The windowsill is lined with red solo cups, so I think nothing of adding one more to the mix. By now, the pool divers are completely covered in gelatinous goo, and I pity the poor sap charged with cleaning it up tomorrow. There's a spot on one of the sofas in the room, but I can only imagine what has taken place on those cushions, and that vision keeps me standing. All around me, couples are hooking up and seem completely oblivious to the fact a hundred other students surround them. I'm all for PDA, but what I'm witnessing goes way beyond that. The couple on the sofa looks like they're eating each other's faces off. Next to them, another girl is straddling some guy's lap while he plays with her breasts. Instantly, I feel my cheeks flush, so I turn my head and pretend I didn't see anything before I give up and move to the opposite side of the room.

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