Hunter was sitting with the same girl who had been cozy with him the last time I’d seen him in the Barnyard. Ada. This time, however, she was sitting across from him. Did Hunter invite her to our dinner? Or did she invite herself? I wanted to turn and run, but instead put my shoulders back and walked as confidently as I could toward the open seat next to Hunter. I had nothing to be ashamed of. I approached and she locked eyes with me.
Hunter followed Ada’s stare. His face lit up when he saw me, causing a warm bubbly feeling to emerge in my midsection. I felt myself relaxing immediately. Being around Hunter was so comfortable and felt so right. I took a deep breath and sat down next to him.
He smiled at me. “Lorrie!”
“Hey Hunter,” I said cheerily, returning his smile.
Hunter gestured to Ada and me, in turn. “Ada, this is my girlfriend Lorrie. Lorrie, Ada.”
The fact he’d immediately called me his girlfriend boosted my confidence. He knew how to make me feel good. Ada plastered a big fake smile on and tilted her head. “So nice to meet you, Lorrie.”
“Hi,” I said politely.
“Sorry it was last minute,” Hunter said. “But I saw Ada at another table and invited her over so you guys can meet. Clear up some confusion.”
“Yeah, sorry about that whole banana thing,” she said, waving her hand dismissively. “It wasn’t serious. We were just goofing around.”
“Ah, I see,” I replied awkwardly, unsure what the proper response to that was. I noted a subtle hint of insincerity in her voice but I wasn’t certain enough to address it. “No worries.”
“Well, I already ate and now I’m gonna go study,” Ada said, clearly uncomfortable with the situation. “It was nice to meet you, Lorrie.”
“Oh, you don’t have to go,” I offered, trying to be nice.
“No, no, it’s okay. I have to be somewhere and I’ll let you guys enjoy your dinner. Bye Hunter.” Ada got up and left.
“Yeah, sorry about that, she can be a little cold. I also want to apologize to you again for the banana thing.”
“It’s alright, Hunter. I was pissed off before, but I think I’m over it now. I know how much you care about me.”
He smiled warmly and hugged me to him. “Good, I’m glad to hear it.”
I paused to consider Ada’s odd tone. “Does she still have feelings for you, Hunter?”
“Nah, we dated for a little over a year up ‘til sophomore year. We have history, but that chapter’s closed,” he reassured me. “Remember how we had that discussion about Daniela and pushy-types? Well, Ada pretty much fits that description.”
“Really? She seemed kind of nice . . .”
“Trust me, we’ve had some bitter arguments.” He shook his head. “But whatever, we’re cool now.”
Feeling better about the awkward start to our dinner and the whole Ada situation in general, I began eating and so did Hunter. I was in the middle of taking a bite of my turkey when I spied him looking at my food longingly. His own plate was filled with basically just meat. Where were the carbs?
“You want a bite of my potatoes, Hunter?”
He smirked. “It’s not in my training diet, but oh do you know how to tempt me Lorrie.”
He kissed me on the cheek then took a bite of my potatoes and chewed. I leaned into his warm chest and he put his arm around me. He was wearing a very plush, red Arrowhart hoodie that I wanted to melt into. Maybe I could steal it from him sometime. I told him about the gossiping incident in the library and he did his best to comfort me. “The whole thing just made me feel shitty. Why do people have to be so mean?”
“I don’t know. All you can do is ignore them and eventually they’ll stop. Everyone needs something new to gossip about sooner or later.”
“I know,” I said, burrowing into his chest. I lifted my gaze up to his. “It still hurt, though. I mean, none of it’s true, right?”
He squeezed me tighter to his chest. “No, none of it’s true. I’m with you because I’m absolutely crazy about you. Our relationship is nobody’s business but ours.”
I smiled and felt the muscles in my shoulders and back relax. Hunter’s confident tone made me feel better. I finally picked up my fork and began to pick at my food. We ate in silence for a few minutes. Just being close to him made me feel warm, like I was tucked tightly into bed under my covers.
“Daniela told me about a party she’s going to on Friday night,” I said after a while. “I told her I wasn’t sure if you’d want to go but I’d ask anyway.”
“Do you want to go?” he asked
“I don’t know. Do you?”
He shrugged. “Why not? If you decide you want to go, let me know. I’m flexible: wherever you are, I want to be.”
His perfect words made me smile. “Okay, let’s go.”
We finished up eating and went back to my dorm to watch a movie. One of the benefits of living with three roommates was pooling together all our movies. Daniela was especially useful because she liked action movies. I ended up picking The Dark Knight Rises, which I hadn’t seen before. We put the disc into my laptop and watched while cuddled up in my bed.
It was an extra-long twin, which made it way too small for two people, especially someone the size of Hunter. I ended up lying against him with the laptop on my lap as he propped his back against the wall. The huge muscles in his chest were like a warm, comfy pillow, made all the better by his sweatshirt.
About half way through the movie he decided to take his sweatshirt off revealing a fitted black t-shirt underneath.
“Aww, I like that hoodie,” I said, twisting to face him.
He cocked a brow. “Watch it Snorrie. If you keep complaining every time I take a piece of clothing off, you’re going to destroy my confidence.”
I smiled. “I doubt that, Mr. Tattoos and Muscles.”
He grinned wickedly. “Maybe you’re right. But we better make sure, don’t you think?”
My heart began racing in my chest at Hunter’s suggestion of sex. “We can’t,” I said softly. “My suitemates will hear.”
He took the laptop from my lap and set it down beside my bed. “That’s why we keep the movie playing.”
“You don’t want to finish it?”
His eyes locked on mine. “I want a lot of things right now.”