“And I’d like a blowjob every night before I go to bed. Disappointment’s a bitch.”
“Man...” Diaz shakes his head before attacking his food again.
Sighing, I put down my now empty bowl. What’s the deal? Where to start? I think I’ve become f**k buddies with the girl I’m falling for. And while the sex is phenomenal, the fact that she views me as little else is killing me. Yeah, that wouldn’t crush my pride to say out loud.
“She’s…” I frown at the TV. “I don’t know… hesitant.”
“So she’ll let you bang her but doesn’t want anything to do with you otherwise?” Gray snorts a laugh, covering his mouth to keep in his stew. “Oh the irony.”
Gray is too smart for his own good.
“Asshole,” I mutter then give him a glare. “And we’re adding an addendum to the rules. You don’t get to discuss Anna in terms of sex, in any shape or form.”
He wipes his mouth and takes a swig of beer. “Look, man, I’m not trying to be a dick—”
“—I’m just kind of… shit… shocked. I thought she was into you.”
He gets up to refill his bowl, and I slouch further into the couch. “I wish.”
A movement at my side has me tensing. I forgot Diaz was there he’s so quiet. Warily, I look over, and he regards me for a moment before giving a small shrug. “She don’t belong, that’s all.”
“Want to run that by me again, D?” I sit up, my fists clenching. I don’t need my teammates trying to make Anna an outsider.
He shrugs again. “Don’t mean anything bad by it, but she knows she doesn’t fit with our crew. I saw her at the party. She wasn’t comfortable there.”
I squeeze the back of my stiff neck. This is the most Diaz has said to me in weeks, so the words take a while to sink in past the shock.
“This is true,” Gray says as he plops back into his seat. “She looked antsy as all hell.”
I pinch the bridge of my nose. A headache is coming on. “Yeah.” They’re right. I know this. I’ve just ignored it in favor of feeling sorry for myself.
“If you want her,” says Diaz, “you better take it slow.” His teeth are white against the dark bronze of his skin. “Slow, as in wooing her, cuz you’re clearly her bitch if that glazed look and drunken-ass walk you got goin’ on mean anything.”
“I can kick your ass too, D.”
“So,” Gray asks Diaz, “how do you woo a chick, D?”
“Poetry?” Gray sputters. “Are you f**king kidding me?”
“No, you philistine. It’s cool and women love it.”
Gray presses a hand to his chest as if he’s pained. “I…have no words.”
“Because you’re a punk player,” Diaz says, stabbing into his stew with his spoon.
“That hurts, D. Deep inside my soft gooey center.”
“I bet you read ‘em haikus. Can’t imagine you saying more than seventeen syllables at once.”
“You best be imagining my foot up your ass, cuz it’s about to be there.”
They continue to talk shit, but my mind drifts elsewhere. I think about my father and the time we worked on changing the carburetor of my old car. The rusty piece wouldn’t budge.
“Never force something, Drew. A bolt, a pass, a game, whatever.” His dark brown eyes hold mine. “Force it and you’ll lose. Patience and persistence is how you win in life. Take your time, look for the solution, and if it doesn’t come to you, fall back, reassess, and try again.”
I know the true Anna. I’ve seen glimpses of her. When she’s not thinking up reasons for us not to be together, that girl looks at me as if I’m worth something to her. She’s the Anna that makes my heart beat faster, enjoy each second I’m with her. If she thinks she can hide behind sex, then I’ll let her hide until she realizes I’m safe, that actually being together could be something transcendent. And damn if I won’t have a good time doing it. Because while I might be patient, I’m no saint.
IT’S A PERFECT Sunday. The weather is cool and the sun is shining. There are things I could do, assignments to finish, books to read. I could go shopping or into town to watch a movie. But no, I’m sitting on the balcony watching the scant street traffic. My stomach aches and my skin feels too tight. I know what’s wrong. I’m infected with want of Baylor.
It’s going to happen again.
Addiction is best defeated with abstinence. So I’m going to be strong. I’m not going to reach out to him. I just need to get off my ass and do something.
On the table beside me, my phone dings.
I’m hoping it’s Iris telling me where she is so I can join her. But it’s not.
Unknown: Hey. It’s Drew. You busy?
I stare down at the screen, my mind trying to make the letters form comprehensible words. Drew? Texting me? I glance over my shoulder, as if he might be behind me or something. Which is stupid and juvenile. I’m still pretty sure he’s made me insane. There is a part of me, however, that gives a little leap of excitement. The lower part of me, I think darkly as I text him back.
Me: How did you get my number?
I rise and head into the apartment, the feeling of being watched still riding strong.
Unknown: Class study roster. ;)
I snort as my thumb taps on the screen.
Me: Damn study roster.