Page 14 of I Promise You

“We get it,” I snap. “You have a fetish for capes.” Irrational jealousy fires over me.

“It’s Black Panther for me,” Bambi whispers to Serena.

“Winter Soldier,” Chantal throws in. “His long hair, mmmm…”

Ashley traces her red nails down my arm. “I don’t fantasize about superheroes. I’d pick you any day, Dillon.”

I give her a look. Maybe I’ll cozy up to her tonight. I’ve yet to mess around with any of them, and she’s been giving me the fuck me, please eyes all week…

“Everyone wants Dillon,” Bambi says. “He’s perfect.”

“He is so perfect,” Serena says sweetly as our eyes hold in the mirror.

“What is love anyway? At this point, I just want some great sex,” Chantal tells the car.

Serena holds her beer up in salute. “Vibrator. All day long.”

“You just ran that stop sign, Dillon!” Chantal calls out as she and Bambi giggle.

Dammit. I ease up on the accelerator. Must stop looking at her in the mirror! I shift around in the seat to ease my erection. That’s what I get for imagining Serena’s orgasm face.

“Honestly, we’re doing the contest because Dillon is a great guy. Plus, there’s the competition,” says Chantal. “I love to win. I’m the current vice president.”

“Speaking of love, I miss my Pekingese. Her name was Taffy,” Bambi says randomly. “The feeling isn’t romantic, of course, but I never had any siblings and she kept me company. People say you can’t really care for dogs like people, but you can. She died of old age my freshman year. I never got to say goodbye.” She whips out her phone and shows Serena a picture, presumably Taffy. Serena coos at the image, murmuring her condolences. Chantal leans over and commiserates with them.

I realize they’ve lowered their voices in the back.

“…boyfriend?” Bambi asks.

My eyes cling to Serena’s face, watching expressions flit over her features. She takes a swig of beer, winces, then says something I don’t catch. I turn the music completely off, ignoring Ashley’s protests.

“Oh, goody, tell us,” Bambi begs, clapping her hands together. “Maybe we know him.”

“Oh, I’m sure you do,” is Serena’s reply.

Hang on… Her answer was vague. Does she have a guy or not? She mentioned a vibrator, but girls do that with or without a guy. I give myself a mental shake. Why do I care if she has a guy?

“Amen.” Chantal nods. “Hey, do you want to come to the party with us? Trust me, there’s nothing like athletes. I know some guys you should meet.”

Okay, so no boyfriend.

Who does Chantal want her to meet?

“Sawyer is hot,” Bambi says. “Dark hair, tight muscles, loves to sing.”

“And Troy,” Chantal muses. “Huh. I wonder if he’d wear a Winter Soldier outfit…”

“Please come!” Bambi gushes. “I’d love to get to know you. And if you like the guys and want to come to a game, I’ll find you a jersey, crop it, bedazzle it.”

“She has to go see her nana at the nursing home. Isn’t that right?” I say. “Which is interesting—you’d think all the old people would be in bed by now.”

“Trust me, my nana is up, and she’d resent being called an old person. Meh, I may have lied about the nursing home. My nana is on a date with her man. I’ll take you up on the invitation next time, Chantal.” I hear Serena rattling off her digits.

“Here’s my place,” she says a few seconds later, tapping the back of my seat. “On the right. Just park on the street.”

I pull over to the curb of an older two-story house with white siding and a detached, two-story garage. My headlights drape over the rundown residence, a faded red shutter askew on the front, weeds in the flower beds, an overgrown yard. Her streetlight is burned out, shrouding the area in darkness.

I’m out of the car in a heartbeat and open the door for her. She gives me a surprised glance as I grab the bags at her feet at the same time she does. We tussle over who’s going to carry them. She gives up with a puzzled expression and steps down to the street. She stumbles over the curb and my hand reaches for her elbow, catching her before she falls. The brush of her skin against mine makes goosebumps rise on my arm.

We disentangle, both of us giving each other wary looks.

The girls call out goodbyes to her as I walk toward the house and she follows.

“What are you doing?” she asks.

“I’m walking you to your door. I want to make sure you get inside.”

She gives me an uncertain look, hesitating as she points away from the house and toward the detached garage. “I’m at the top, up there, but you don’t have to.”

I should just hand over the bags, but part of me doesn’t want to let her disappear. What if I never see her again? It’s an odd thought, but there it is. “I’d like to escort you to your door. If you don’t mind?”

Tags: Ilsa Madden-Mills Romance