“Are you over Vane?”
“I’m not in love with him anymore. I had to see him, Dillon. It’s like the ending of a book. It’s finished.”
He pauses. “You must have figured out that I’m not interested in just hooking up, Serena. I guess…I snapped when he called.”
Long seconds pass as my heart hammers.
“What are you thinking?” he asks.
A long sigh comes from my chest. “I wish…” I close my eyes, praying for bravery. “I wish you’d come over here and kiss me.”
He snaps out of his seat and appears in front of me. With careful hands, he pulls me up to face him.22What happens when two people confess secrets then sit across from each other in a restaurant and look each other in the eyes? You’d think shyness or at least a few hesitant looks, but we do neither. He sits next to me in the booth and holds my hand inside Sugar’s, a popular gathering place near campus. We can’t stop staring at each other. A plate of cheese fries on the table is being ignored.
Dipping my head, I laugh.
His thumb caresses my hand. “What’s so funny?”
“Those Thetas’ faces when we ran for the stairwell. That Chi-O who heard your voice and came out of her room and ran at you.”
He looks away uncertainly. “That bugs you.”
I smile wryly. “You were with me, so I think I’ll live. Her calling me a slut—well, that’s just plain old mean and wrong for her as well. If you’d let me explain to her what that word does to women, it could have been a great teaching moment, but no, you had to swing me up on your back and run—”
“Wanted you to myself.”
“And here we are…in a crowded restaurant.”
“Your stomach was growling,” he protests, laughing as a sheepish expression appears. “Besides, we need an official date besides Cadillac’s, paintball, and hotel sex.”
“You forgot the tryouts. Did Chantal and Bambi bring you to the event?”
“Those little devils. Did you know I was there?”
“And your dates?”
“I can’t recall a word they said. Was looking for you.”
Satisfaction swirls inside me as I pick up a fry and stick it in my mouth while he watches. I give him one and he eats it out of my hand, his tongue sliding against my finger. Being close to him, like this, in a way with walls down, is liberating. Long after he’s eaten the fry, my hand lingers on his face, touching the sharp jawline, his full lips, the way his eyebrows arch. I’m in Dillon overload.
“I still have questions for you,” he murmurs. “Why is there a light in the fridge if we shouldn’t eat at night?” He grins. “I made up my own questions to mess with them.”
“Me too!” I laugh, and he watches me with an intensity I’m getting used to.
“How ’bout this: would you rather be completely hairless or as hairy as a gorilla?” he asks.
I sputter. “Sweater back, so gross. Hairless.”
“Son of a nutcracker, I figured since you had a thing for Bigfoot…”
He swoops in and kisses me.
“Y’all are disgusting,” is the phrase that brings our eyes off each other. We turn, and Chantal, Bambi, Sawyer, and Troy are standing next to our table. It’s Chantal who’s spoken, but there’s amusement in her voice. They plop down across from us, Sawyer grabbing chairs to pull up for him and Troy.
Dillon groans. “How did you find us?”
Bambi gives him a Don’t you wish you knew look then smiles. “We drove around until we saw your Escalade.”
“My sorority sisters won’t leave me alone,” I tell Dillon. “Apparently, they’re setting me up on dates now.”
He throws an arm around me. “You don’t seem sad about it.”
I whisper in his ear as the others order from the waitress. “I have five bottles of cheap champagne in my fridge. Don’t know why I bought them except I keep anticipating you popping the cork, pouring it over me and licking it off…”
He gives me a smoldering glance. “You ready to go?”
“Alright!” Chantal says with a clap before I can reply. “Who’s up for some poppin’ duet singing?”
Groans and protests come from the guys.
She ignores them and struts to the stage, looking over her shoulder. “It’s karaoke night, and it must not be missed. Dillon and Serena, y’all do ‘Shallow’ by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper or ‘Islands in the Stream’ by Dolly and Kenny. Which will it be?”
I jump up. “If I’m gonna sing, it’s my pick! How about—”
Dillon’s eyes widen. “Oh, God, no, Serena. I’m not getting up there. I can’t sing. Anything but that. Please.”
He rises anyway, his hand linking with mine.
“You’re gonna die of embarrassment, especially considering your ex,” he grouses.
Sawyer calls out, “He can hold a ball but not a tune!”
Dillon flips them off, and I jump into his arms, ignoring the catcalls from our friends. “I don’t care how you sing—it’s that you’re willing to do it with me. I need you, Dillon, to sing a song with me. Will you?”