A muffled, evil giggle, breaks through my fog. “Slumming much, Baylor?”


“Maybe he lost a bet.”

I can’t stand it any longer. I tear free.

“No,” I say to Drew. “Not here.” Out of the corner of my eye, I can see the two girls, now joined by a third, watching. And it’s humiliating.

“Anna,” Drew says, oblivious and confused, “what are you talking about?” He makes a furtive gesture to touch my cheek but pauses when I tense, he glances in the direction of my fleeting gaze. Dark color floods his cheeks and his brows snap together. “Are you kidding me?”

His voice carries across the quad and I stiffen further. My gaze darts around. A few people are slowing down. Watching. I can see it in their expressions: What’s Baylor doing with that girl?

“Keep your voice down,” I say. I hate scenes. Hate them. My face burns.

Drew looks like he wants to punch something. “Why? Because someone might know that we’re together?”

“We’re not—”

“Right,” he snaps, cutting me off. “We’re just f**king.” He’s really yelling now. “How could I forget?”

I want to die on the spot. More people have drifted to a stop. Drew sees me looking, and scowls over his shoulder at the girls watching with wide eyes. On a curse, he grabs my elbow. His grip is firm but doesn’t hurt as he marches me over to a stand of trees at the edge of the quad. It gives us a bit of privacy but we’re still exposed. I’m still exposed. I have to stop this. But I can’t seem to say a word. I don’t have to. Drew’s going at me again.

Hurt and anger color his words as he leans over me. “So I can put my dick in you. You can suck me off,”—I wince—“I can go down on you until you scream my name,” he adds with a sneer. “But the very idea that I might try to kiss you in public is so horrific to you that you actually f**king flinch away.”

My lip trembles and I bite it. God, I’ve hurt him. I’m hurting him now. I need to fix this, but my mind and body are shutting down. “I just…”

“Just what?” he presses. “Just don’t want people to know that you’re…” His mouth works, but no words come, and his jaw bunches, his eyes going bright with frustration.

“I’m what?” I can’t help but ask. A bitch? Yeah, I know that. I am the ass**le here. I know it well.

But he doesn’t say that. He says something much worse. “Mine!” he shouts. “That you are mine!”

The ground beneath me sways, tilts back. My head hits the trunk of the tree. His. I can’t even fathom a world in which I belong to someone. It’s never happened to me. No one has ever wanted me that completely. He must be mistaken. He’ll see that. Eventually he’ll see.

“We. I.” I take a breath. “We were never supposed to…”

“Yeah, I got that.” He rakes a hand through his hair. “You made it quite clear what we are and what we aren’t.” The corners of his eyes are creased. Pain there. Disappointment.

I’m not worth it. I want to shout it to him. I’m not worth his pain. He has the world in his palm. He doesn’t need the burden of me.

It’s his turn to look away, his fist going to his hips, his head ducking as he presses his lips together. A lock of hair drops over his forehead, and my fingers throb with the need to touch it.

His voice turns low and bitter. “I mean, God forbid that perfect, classy Anna Jones be seen with Drew the man-whore, right?” He shakes his head on a snort. “You don’t even know how f**king ironic that is.” His eyes catch mine then, and they are burning. “You haven’t got a f**king clue.”

I can’t stop myself then. “Drew. I don’t want to hurt your feelings.”

“Says the girl who doesn’t have any feelings.”

I blink rapidly, wanting to cave in on myself. I don’t even know what I can say. I knew this would end sooner, rather than later. I wasn’t meant to be his. Even as I think the words, I know I’m making a huge mistake. I’m f**king up in the worst possible way. Helpless, I reach out. My fingers graze his forearm. And he explodes like I’ve sliced into him.

His arm flies up and he takes a huge step back.

“No!” He grips his hair at the back of his head as if he might pull it out. “I tried to give you space, give you time. I thought that you were just scared, shy—Fuck, I don’t know what, something.”

God, he knows me so well, I want to cry, but he’s not done. “But I was just f**king kidding myself. You just didn’t want me the way I wanted you.”

“No, Drew, it was—”

“Tell me I’m wrong then,” he insists, his voice raw. “Tell me that this whole hooking up bullshit hasn’t been about who I am.”

My throat hurts so badly that the words feel like broken glass. “I can’t.”

His expression goes blank, his gaze going right through me. And my heart plummets. I’ve done this. I’ve made him look at me like I’m a stranger.

“You know what? I don’t need this.” He’s backing away. “I don’t need any of this.” Even though I know what’s coming, it still plunges in like a knife when he finally says it. “I’m done. We’re done.”

And then he walks away.

Chapter 24

I’M DEAD INSIDE. My emotions have locked down so tight, I hardly feel a thing, just the dense weight of my body as it moves me along. Like I’m pushing through thick, cold sludge. I don’t even know how I end up at the local coffee shop. I must have walked. Must have ordered; there’s an untouched latte sitting by my laptop. I’m writing…something. My midterm on Queen Elizabeth and the use of virginity as a means of political power.

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