Home > The Learning Hours (How to Date a Douchebag #3)(15)

The Learning Hours (How to Date a Douchebag #3)(15)
Author: Sara Ney

“This music sucks,” one of my roommates complains.

“Who cares—we’re not here for the music.” The other one raises his beer in the air, happy to be out on a weekday. “We’re here for the puss-aaaa.”

Embarrassed, I deck him the arm. “Don’t ever say shit like that again.”

“Ow dude, that fucking hurt.” Gunderson rubs his arm, grumbling. “I just want both of you fuckers to know that tonight I’m getting laid. My dick will shrivel off if I don’t, so forgive me in advance for bringing some chick home.”

He glances around the room, fingers steepled. “Who’s the lucky girl going to be, who’s it going to be…”

“You are not bringing anyone home tonight.” I scowl. “Not tonight. No.”

“Fate will decide.” Gunderson throws his hands up in mock defeat. “I’m not going to beat anyone off with a stick if they want to fuck me later, that’s all I’m saying.”

Johnson scowls. “You’re the one who wanted to come out. Do we need to start calling you New Guy Buzz Kill?”

“Or Boner Killer.”

“Cock Blocker?” They take a liking to that one.

“Yeah, good one—I like that. Cock Blocker.”

“Let’s leave Cock Block to drown his sorrows in the bottle. We’re wasting our time standing here in this corner—it smells like sexual repression and nocturnal admissions.”

The word is emissions—nocturnal emissions.

God, what a couyon.

Johnson throws up deuces. “Later bro. Don’t leave early without us.”

“Don’t piss me off and I won’t.”

They offer their knuckles before sauntering off, parting the crowd and wading through like they own the place, leaving me at the edge of the room alone.

Alone to fend for myself in a room packed full of people dressed like nerds and Greeks.

Great.

Easing farther toward the far side of the room, I plant myself against the wall, eyes scanning every face among the crowd, searching for long black hair in a sea of blonde and brown, and some neon colors like blue and pink.

Uneasy, I pick at the label on my beer bottle.

Breaking the rules to come out tonight doesn’t sit right with me, and coming to meet Alex only increases the anxiety building in my stomach. I want to fucking vomit.

This was such a shitty idea; I’m not equipped to handle this. Have no idea what I’m fucking doing. What I’m going to do when I finally find her and meet her face to face.

Shit, shit, shit.

Panic sets in, my mind in overdrive, palms sweating.

I fiddle with the collar of my navy t-shirt. The logo of a popular Nantucket company sits on the left breast pocket, the only decent, clean shirt I had on the floor of my closet that wasn’t wrinkled, dirty, or too dressy and didn’t have a wrestling logo from the wrong college.

I feel like a fucking dope.

A bright flash of red across the room catches my eye, and whatever curse graces the tip of my tongue dies in my throat.

There she is, standing in a corner with her friends, laughing. Head thrown back, long pale neck exposed. Long red hair the color of fucking fire. Flawless white skin. Dark burgundy lips. Tall.

She’s not Alex, but she’s beautiful.

No, not beautiful.

Elle est mieux. She’s better.

More.

Stunning.

Jesus, is she human? She’s gorgeous and I need to shut the fuck up about it already.

I stare—of course I do—and Christ, I feel pathetic with the beer in my hand suspended halfway to my mouth, gaping foolishly from across the overcrowded party.

Black, long-sleeved polka dot midriff top with an expanse of white belly showing, she’s not dressed like anyone at the party.

High-waisted shorts with two rows of silver buttons down the sides. Pale legs that go on for miles.

When she raises her eyes and scans the room, I duck my head, face flaming hot. Turn my back and chug. Chug the entire bottle of beer down for liquid courage—I need it just to be standing in the same room with her.

How messed up is that?

I don’t know how long I stand facing the wall, but it’s long enough that I finish off the tepid amber liquid in my bottle.

Choke it down my throat like I’m chugging warm piss.

Give the ceiling an eye roll and pivot to face the room.

Turn to find the redhead studying me.

Head tilted as her friends talk and laugh next to her, she doesn’t pay them one bit of attention; all her focus is on me. She nods absently to the girl beside her, never taking that gaze off my flaming hot face.

A sly smile plays with one corner of her perfectly shaped mouth, the bold, dark lips pursing for a split second.

Honestly, she’s so pretty I don’t know where to look first.

Do I look directly at her? Or do I avert my eyes?

I find a nearby table and set my empty bottle there, wiping my sweaty palms down my pant legs so I can dig the phone out of my back pocket and shoot off a note to Alex.

Where is she?

She’s texted me a few times since we jerked off to each other, each message short and sweet, amusing. I continue building her up in my mind, romanticizing what she could mean to me. I see her as perky, outgoing, kind of an airhead at times, but fun.

Me: Hey. You coming out tonight?

Alex: I was going to, but I changed my mind. Don’t think I’ll make it, sorry.

Me: Why didn’t you tell me you were going to stand me up?

Alex: I’m sorry! I wanted to stay home instead.

Me: You could have texted to let me know.

Alex: LOL, I didn’t think I had to.

Me: You know, I’m only allowed to go out one night a week, and this ISN’T that night. I’m breaking the rules to meet you and you didn’t bother showing up.

Alex: Your roommates don’t seem to mind breaking the rules.

Me: Huh?

Alex: Wild guess that you’re out with your roommates? Did you end up at that party?

Me: Yes, but I’m going to bounce. Too crowded.

Alex: And you don’t like that?

Me: No, not when I should have stayed home tonight, too.

Alex: So you’re heading home?

Me: Yeah.

Alex: K.

K? What the fuck? Irritated, I start toward the door, pissed that Alex didn’t bother telling me she was staying home then acted nonchalant about it, like it doesn’t matter to her one bit that I came out.

Fucking rude and disrespectful; I should have known she was going to stand me up.

I know so little about women and the head games they play, but I should have known this was going to happen. God, I’m so fucking dumb.

Determined to leave, head bent, I push through the crowd toward the door. Stop on the porch to send Gunderson and Johnson a text, knowing they won’t give a shit that I’m already leaving.

Pocket my phone and start the descent down the steps of the frat house, out the way I came in. I can’t get out of here fast enough—

“Hey,” a voice calls from behind me. “Where are you going?”

Pausing at the bottom of the wide porch steps, I hesitate before turning on my heel toward the house.

She’s standing there, hip against the massive white column on the porch, flaming red hair and dark red lips scorching under the lights, glossy. Staring down at me, mouth curved into a sly little smile.

She can’t possibly be talking to me.

With a shake of my head, I gather my senses, pivot, and keep walking.

Her voice stops me again. “I’m talking to you.”

Jamming my cell into the back pocket of my jeans, I watch as the beautiful girl from the party props her elbow against the white pillar, one ankle hooked around the other casually as she stands there with a cup in her hand.

She tries again. “Not having any fun?”

I let my eyes study the length of her hips and long legs, wondering if they’re as silky as they look. I examine those legs and the black cork wedges buckled at the ankle.

“I, uh, was waitin’ for someone who didn’t bother showing up.”

“Bummer.” She stares down, out into the dark yard. “Didn’t feel like getting dressed up in a toga?”

“No. Didn’t you?”

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