Page 72 of I Promise You

Bambi smiles, waving her hands at me. “So dramatic. It’s a new event to raise money for a local women’s shelter. Where’s your Theta sense of sisterhood? Your love for helping others? Don’t you want to contribute to the community? More importantly, where’s your intrinsic drive to mate with a hottie?”

“Dead,” I chirp. I had sex with Dillon; I might be good for another eighteen months.

She titters. “We have some sexy applicants. Not surprised—we are the best sorority.” She turns and, as a trio, we do our secret handshake. In the glass reflection of the door, I see the goofy grin on my face.

“And you just might meet someone nice,” Chantal adds.

“I’m in leggings and flip-flops! Worse, I’m sweaty. Also, it’s dark—”

“It’s eight in the evening. God, you’re old,” Chantal says as she elbows me.

“Come on, Serena. You’re bored and lonely.” Bambi pulls my hair out of my ponytail and arranges it around my shoulders. “They can’t see you anyway. It’s like that show The Dating Game, only we made it better. This event is about getting to know someone—without seeing them. You might meet Mr. Right.”

“I’m not lonely.” I haven’t seen or talked to Dillon in four days, and I miss him. I keep expecting him to pop up wherever I am, and he hasn’t. A long sigh slides through my lips.

“As far as I’m aware—and I would know since I’m part of the committee—no football players signed up, so you don’t have to worry about you know who being here, if you were,” Chantal says.

“I wasn’t.”

Bambi pulls out a tiny glass bottle and spritzes me. I bat it away, even though it does smell nice.

“Settle down, it’s just some Louis Vuitton perfume. Free sample in the mail. Score.”

“We did help you write your article for the LSU game,” Chantal reminds me, a gleam in her eyes.

I heave out a breath. “Fine, but I’m only staying for half an hour. That’s it. After that—”

They squeal.

“I’m a firm believer in love at first sight. My dad fell for my mom in a heartbeat,” Bambi gushes.

“My parents hate each other, but don’t listen to me,” Chantal says with a grin. “Honestly, we just need more participants.”

I don’t believe her as I take in the line of guys and girls waltzing into the library, most of them dressed for going to the club…

Screw it. I have been lonely.

Monday night, I consumed a pint of ice cream as I re-watched Shaun of the Dead. On Tuesday, I outlined a fluff story called “How To Suck at Paintball But Win”—kind of on the nose, but I’ll fix it later. Then earlier today, I almost texted him when I thought I saw him inside the student center.

“Let’s rock this,” I grouse.

Another squeal.

The young girl at the entrance to the main lobby glances up at the officers on either side of me. She almost does a curtsey. Ah, I recall those days of pledging.

“We’ve brought fresh meat,” Chantal says to the pledge.

The girl at the podium takes my name, cell number, and email then passes me a piece of paper that resembles some kind of scorecard and tips on dating.

“Ticket, please, or if you don’t have one, it’s a hundred dollars,” the pledge says.

I gasp, nearly running out the door.

“No need for that. She’s a sister,” Chantal pronounces, as if I’m the queen of England.

The girl smiles at me brightly. “Welcome! Please proceed upstairs to Room 100. They’ll make announcements there and explain the rules.”

“Rules?”

Bambi pats me. “When you frown, it makes lines on your forehead.”

I give her my fake smile.

“Creepy. And don’t squint. Try again.”

“We can’t all look like Mila Kunis—”

“Funny,” she says as we walk up the stairs and enter the spacious room, taking seats in the back.

“One of the Kappa guys is explaining how it works,” Chantal murmurs. “You made us late.”

“I didn’t intend to come!” I whisper ferociously. “Where’s Ashley?”

“Oh, she’s behind the scenes getting everything organized,” Bambi says.

The guy on stage is dressed in slacks and a lavender Ralph Lauren shirt. He says his name is Kevin and goes into a spiel about how their fraternity has partnered with the Thetas to benefit the Magnolia Women’s Shelter, giving details about the importance of the facility and the cost of maintenance. I listen while scanning the crowd. There are about twenty-five girls, none of them familiar. The guys must be in a separate room.

“…women will be assigned small rooms, one of the study carrels, on the third floor. If you’ve never been to the top floor, just take the stairs right outside the door here. The men will rotate rooms. You’ll have seven minutes to get to know each other—seven minutes in heaven, I like to say. Heh.” Kevin smirks. “After that, a buzzer will sound and the men will move to the next room.”


Tags: Ilsa Madden-Mills Romance
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