“What are you doing?” Shepley said. He stood in the middle of the room, a pair of sneakers in one hand, a dirty pair of underwear in the other.
“Uh, cleaning?” I said, shoving shot glasses into the dishwasher.
“I see that. But...why?”
I smiled, my back turned to Shepley. He was going to kick my ass. “I’m expecting company.”
“Abby, Shep. I invited Abby.”
“Dude, no. No! Don’t fuck this up for me, man. Please don’t.”
I turned, crossing my arms across my chest. “I tried, Shep. I did. But, I don’t know.” I shrugged. “There’s something about her. I couldn’t help myself.”
Shepley’s jaw worked under his skin, and then he stomped into his room, slamming the door behind him.
I finished loading the dishwasher, and then circled the couch to make sure I hadn’t missed any visible empty condom wrappers. That was never fun to explain.
The fact that I had bagged nearly every beautiful co-ed at Eastern was no secret, but I didn’t see a reason to remind them when they came to my apartment. It was all about presentation.
Pigeon, though. It would take far more than a good presentation to bag her on my couch. At this point I was taking it one step at a time. If I focused on the end result, I could easily fuck it up. She noticed things. She was farther from naive than I was; light years away. This operation was nothing less than precarious.
I was in my bedroom sorting dirty laundry when I heard the front door open. Shepley usually listened for America’s car to pull in so he could greet her at the door.
Murmuring, and then the closing of Shepley’s door was my signal. I walked into the front room, and there she sat: Glasses, her hair piled on top of her head, and what might have been pajamas. I wouldn’t have been surprised if they’d been molding in the bottom of her laundry hamper.
It was so hard not to bust into laughter. Never once had a female come to my apartment dressed like that. My front door had seen jean skirts, dresses, even a see-through tube dress over a string bikini. A handful of times, spackled-on makeup and glitter lotion. Never pajamas.
Her appearance immediately answered why she’d so easily agreed to come over. She was going to try to nauseate me into leaving her alone. If she didn’t look absolutely sexy like that, it might have worked, but her skin was impeccable, and the lack of makeup and the frames of her glasses just made her eye color stand out even more.
“It’s about time you showed up,” I said, falling onto my couch.
At first she seemed proud of her idea, but as we talked and I remained impervious, it was clear that she knew her plan had failed. The less she smiled, the more I had to stop myself from grinning ear to ear. She was so much fun. I just couldn’t get over it.
Shepley and America joined us again. Abby was flustered, and I was damn near lightheaded. She went from doubting the fact that I could write a simple paper to questioning my penchant for fighting. I kind of liked talking to her about normal stuff, preferable to the awkward task of asking her to leave once I bagged her. She didn’t understand me, and kind of wanted to, even though I seemed to piss her off.
“What are you...the Karate Kid? Where did you learn to fight?”
Shepley and America seemed to be embarrassed for Abby. I don’t know why; I sure as hell didn’t mind. Just because I didn’t talk about my childhood much didn’t mean I was ashamed.
“I had a dad with a drinking problem and a bad temper, and four older brothers that carried the asshole gene.”
“Oh,” she said simply. Her cheeks turned red, and at that moment, I felt a twinge in my chest. I wasn’t sure what it was, but it bugged me. I immediately tried to make her feel better. “Don’t be embarrassed, Pidge. Dad quit drinking. The brothers grew up.”
“I’m not embarrassed.” Her body language was opposite her words. I struggled to think of something to change the subject, and then mentioning her sexy, frumpy look came to mind. Her embarrassment was immediately replaced by irritation, something I was far more comfortable with.
America suggested watching TV, but the last thing I wanted to do was to be in a room with Abby, unable to talk to her. I stood. “You hungry, Pidge?”
“I already ate.”
America’s eyebrows pulled in. “No, you haven’t. Oh...er...that’s right. I forgot. You grabbed a...pizza? Before we left.”
Abby was embarrassed again, but anger quickly covered it.
I opened the door, trying to keep my voice casual. I’d never been so eager to get a girl alone—especially to not have sex with her. “C’mon. You’ve gotta be hungry.”
Her shoulders relaxed a bit. “Where are you going?”
“Wherever you want. We can hit a pizza place.” I inwardly cringed. That might have been too eager.
She looked down at her sweat pants. “I’m not really dressed.”
I grinned. She had no idea how beautiful she was. That made her even more appealing. “You look fine. Let’s go, I’m starvin’.”
Once she was on the back of my Harley, I could finally think straight again. My thoughts were usually more relaxed on the bike. Abby’s legs had my hips in a vice grip, but that was oddly relaxing, too. Almost a relief.
The weird urge I felt around her was disorienting. I didn’t like it, but then again, it reminded me that she was around, so it was as comforting as it was unsettling. I decided to get my shit together. Abby might be a pigeon, but she was just a fucking girl. No need to get my boxer briefs in a bunch.
Besides, there was something under the good girl facade. She hated me on sight because she’d been burned by someone like me before. No way was she a slut, though. Not even a reformed slut. I could spot them a mile away. My game face slowly melted away. I’d finally found a girl that was interesting enough to get to know, and a version of me had already hurt her.
I barely knew the girl, and the thought of some jackhole hurting Pidge infuriated me. Abby associating me with someone that would hurt her was even worse. I gunned the throttle as I pulled into the Pizza Shack. That ride wasn’t long enough to sort out the clusterfuck in my head.
I wasn’t even thinking about my speed, so when Abby jumped off my bike and started to yell, I couldn’t help but laugh.
“I went the speed limit.”
“Yeah, if we were on the Autobahn!” She ripped the wild bun down and then brushed her long hair with her fingers.
I couldn’t stop staring while she re-wrapped the long, caramel strands, and then tied them back again. I imagined that was how she looked first thing in the morning, and then had to refer to the first ten minutes of Saving Private Ryan to keep my dick from getting hard. Blood. Screaming. Visible intestines. Grenades. Gunfire. More blood.
I held the door open. “I wouldn’t let anything happen to you, Pigeon.”
She angrily stomped past me and into the restaurant, ignoring my gesture. It was a damn shame; she was the first girl that I had ever wanted to open the door for. I’d been looking forward to that moment, and she didn’t even notice.
OMFG! I'm seriously going to self combust! BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE!
Shepley jogged around the front of the Charger, and then slid into the driver’s seat. “I’m still taking the official position that this is a bad idea.”
“The jewelry store?”
“Why, Travis?” Shepley said, his voice more stern than before.
He shook his head. “Are you trying to run her off?”
“It’s going to happen, Shep. I just want to have it. For when the time is right.”
“No time any time soon is right. I am so in love with America that it drives me crazy sometimes, but we’re not old enough for that shit, yet, Travis. And … what if she says no?”
My teeth clenched at the thought. “I won’t ask her until I know she’s ready.”
Shepley’s mouth pulled to the side. “Just when I think you can’t get any more insane, you do something else to remind me that you are far beyond bat shit crazy.”
“Wait until you see the rock I’m getting.”
Shepley craned his neck slowly in my direction. “You’ve already been over there shopping, haven’t you?”