Page 30 of I Promise You

His chest rises up and down as he puts his hands on his hips and nods his head at the driveway. “You know who lives here? We’ve stopped here a few times.”

“Nah.”

My eyes dart up to the garage where Serena lives. Where is her car at six thirty in the morning? She said she doesn’t have a boyfriend, but is she fucking someone?

Thoughts of her in the locker room tumble around in my head, the softness of her skin under my hands, the way she leaned on my shoulder, her story about her parents—and my impulse to kiss her.

Then, I had to go and open my mouth… I’d wish for someone who’s real, you know, not just some hanger-on, but someone who gets me. What possessed me to say that? Jesus! I totally freaked during our conversation, surprised by the level of intimacy between us, how easy she was to talk to. I got anxious and reverted to being a jackass. I acted like a douche, telling her I notch my belt. Not true. Please. Sure, I date girls, never staying with one too long, but I never leave them with hurt feelings. I treat them well and never fool around. My brief relationships come and go and that’s been cool for the past three years. I never formed a real connection. I never found the right one. Well, I thought I did three years ago, but…

I couldn’t wait to get away from Serena, afraid I was going to blurt out everything from freshman year right in front of her. Hello, we kissed once. I may have imagined us as a couple. I looked for you for months. Yes, I’m a lunatic. Yeah, not cool.

A sigh comes from me. Sawyer has thrown down the challenge, and I’ve accepted just to shut him up, but I have no intention of wooing her.

I’m not interested in you like that. Boom. Message received.

Maybe we can be friends?

But… I’m not unaware that her eyes linger on me. I see the pulse in her throat that beats faster than normal. There is something there. The question is, what do I want to do about it?

Her number has been in my phone for two days, and last night I almost called her, the urge eating at me like crazy as Sawyer and I played video games. Instead, I took a cold shower and went to bed. Frustration swirls, part of me wanting to knock on her door and see if she’s home, the other part ready to rip my hair out to get her off my mind. And last night’s dream? Her naked in my bed, hips rolling on top of me, her hair tumbling down her back—

I huff out a long breath.

Sinclair mimics me, doing his own stretches, eyeing me as he touches his toes. “My hamstrings are killing me,” he moans. “Let’s call it a day.”

Tearing my eyes away from Serena’s place, I look over at him. “When you figure out that football isn’t just about you, we can run on a treadmill.”

He snorts—as much as he can while trying to regulate his breathing. “You think being older makes you wiser? I went to school with rich pricks like you who think the world owes them.”

I click my tongue. The world hasn’t been kind to me. Sure, it may look like that from the outside, but… “You got siblings, Sinclair? Family?”

“Two younger sisters and my mom. My dad split.”

At least we have that in common, yet he has family who needs him. No one needs me. Once my brother did, but he died. My dad did, but he left. My mom never needed me, period.

I never talk about Myles, but with Serena I had.

I can dive from here, Dillon, just like you…

My head spins with images of my brother, his small body a direct contrast to my bigger size. Four years younger than me, we looked nothing alike, me the athlete, him the intellectual who’d rather hold a book than a football. Barely thirteen, and all he wanted was to hang out with me. I should have watched him better, should have stopped him from jumping off that cliff into the water below.

“You?”

It’s the first time he’s asked me about myself, and I start, coming back to the present. “My cousin Mary attends Waylon, but we’re not close. My mom travels a lot. My dad moved back to Malibu and got remarried. My bio dad died in a private plane crash with my grandparents when I was a month old.” It’s as if my real dad never existed. All I have are photos of him, a tall dark-haired man with my eyes. He was an only child so there’s no connection to that side of my family. Wes McQueen adopted me when he married my mom two years later, and he’s the only father I’ve ever known.


Tags: Ilsa Madden-Mills Romance
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