Page 8 of I Promise You

“Creative.” I follow him, accidentally on purpose bumping his cart with mine.

His head comes up and he frowns at me as those emotional—yes, emotional—blue-green eyes flash over my face, lingering on my hat, bouncing off the hole in my shirt, taking in my black and green camo pants then landing on my shiny red Doc Martens, my only claim to fashion. Taking his time, he makes his way back up to my face, which I keep composed, but okay, it’s hard. Being the center of that attention for these few seconds is a little disconcerting, but nothing I can’t handle. I’m invincible to his hotness! I am woman!

“Each Oreo has 90 ridges around the perimeter—”

“Perimeter?” He shakes his head as if waking from a bad dream.

“—and National Oreo Day is March 6. Sadly, most people don’t know. I usually celebrate by deep frying them inside a crescent roll. Delicious.”

He blinks. “Look, fine, you want a package of my Oreos—I get it. Normally, I’d be sweet—I am sweet—but I promised my team I’d bring enough back for everyone. I’ve got forty people at my house. You understand, right?” There’s the barest hint of hesitation on his face, as if he’s close to just giving them to me. Maybe he feels sorry for the plain girl—but then his phone chimes and he forgets about me, his fingers flurrying with a text.

As he wanders down the aisle, I follow him, keeping our carts side by side. It’s hard because I have to dodge a display of bagged peanuts, but I manage. Also, my legs are shorter than his, and he walks fast.

“A study in 2013 said Oreos are as addictive as cocaine. If I had to pick something to be addicted to, a cookie isn’t bad. My little sister loves them so much. She’s so adorable.”

His phone forgotten, he swivels his head in my direction, squinting as they sweep over me again, lingering on my hat. A pained expression flashes on his face, as if it hurts to gaze at me. It’s the hat, I know. Horrid.

“Sister? How old?”

“Four. Just precious.” Seventeen, hellion—just like I was.

“Oreos were my brother’s favorite. He used to crumble them up in a glass of milk. Rather gross.” A faint smile flickers on his lips.

“Nice. Just give me a pack of cookies and I’ll be on my way.”

A wary silence settles between us, a crackling in the air. A strange expression spreads across his features, and he lowers his lashes, shielding his gaze. “Do I know you?”

“No.”

“You look familiar.”

“Do I?”

“You go to Waylon?”

“Doesn’t everyone?” No way he knows me. I don’t keep up with sports or attend undergrad classes. Since most of my friends have graduated and moved away, I tend to keep to myself. Maybe he’s seen me in the library, but somehow I have a hard time envisioning this man in the stacks. He’d just have one of his girls study for him.

“You always answer a question with a question?” he asks.

“Is this a trick?”

“Do you know who I am?”

My lips twitch. “Oh, yeah. Totally. David. You play lacrosse.”

He rocks on his heels. “Wrong. If you knew who I was… Well, I might have given you one of my packages of Oreos.”

I let my gaze drift over him lazily. “My bad. Daniel.”

“No.”

“Oops. Dexter, tell me, how does the new lacrosse season look? Think we’ll beat Leland University this year? Or Whitman? I heard Hawthorne really kicked your ass last year.”

A flush rises on his cheeks, and if I had to guess, I’d say annoyance is starting to build inside him. Is it weird that I like sparring with him? Yes. Definitely.

He moves down the aisle.

I follow, and his gaze sharpens as it darts over to me. “Are you stalking me?”

“Hello, there’s only one aisle. Do people actually stalk you? What on earth for?”

“Girls follow me everywhere. I’m used to it, but you’re kind of strange, and if I need to call security…” He shrugs broad shoulders.

Ugh! I sputter as indignation rises, mixing with my insane and, yes, irrational need to needle the jock. This was supposed to be about getting the video, but now I just want to push his buttons. Maybe it’s because he reminds me of my ex and his entourage.

“I just want the Oreos,” I snap.

He picks up a bag of M&M’s, throws them in his cart, and moves ahead of me. “Huh, I bet Walmart is still open.”

I resist the urge to stamp my foot. “That’s on the other side of town. I still need to finish my shopping then go visit my nana at the nursing home. You know what her favorite cookie is?”

“Oreos, I wager,” he drawls. “Poor Nana. If only you’d asked nicer, maybe batted those lashes at me, I might have been willing—”

“Dillon! Which beer did you want? There isn’t much to choose from,” calls Ashley from the other end of the aisle as she holds up a six-pack of Bud Light in one hand and Michelob in the other. She poses against the end cap, and I arch my brow. It really is a pretty cow dress. It’s super tight, but I’ve worn just as clingy, although I didn’t look as good as she does.


Tags: Ilsa Madden-Mills Romance
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