The class laughs as Dr. V gives me an appreciative smile. “That’s quite the talent, Rowan.”
My cheeks are flush with embarrassment when I finally take my seat, fighting the urge to hide my face in my hands. Dee gives me a half smile and shrugs her shoulders, and I shake my head at myself, pressing the heel of my palm against my forehead. So much for first impressions.
When class ends, I’m done for the day, so I walk directly back to Dee’s dorm and flop face-first onto her mattress. She has one class left and then we’re going to meet back here to figure out dinner plans.
I want to tell her about Adam so freaking badly. But I just don’t think she’d be the best person to give me any advice. She’s still trying to convince me to light Brady’s car on fire or replace all of his shampoo with . . . well, that conversation is just not one I want to commit to long-term memory.
When she bursts through the door an hour and half later, she hops onto the bed, making me bounce. “I love college!”
“Told you you would.” I’m glad to see her so happy. She’s been waiting for this day since before I can remember, and if I’m being honest, I had been a little worried it wouldn’t meet her expectations. For once, I’m glad I was wrong.
Macy is sitting on her own bed in the opposite corner, a laptop on her lap. She looks up from it and asks, “Did you like your classes, Deandra?”
Dee freezes, eyes wide with shock that Macy is attempting to converse. In person. With a fellow human. “Yeah, I did, Mace. What about you?” Dee shoots an “oh my God” glance at me out of the corner of her eye, but I pretend not to notice and wait for Macy to reply.
“They were alright, I suppose.”
“What are you taking?” I ask.
And that’s how I lure Macy into a conversation that ends with me insisting she come to dinner with us. At a diner downtown—since Dee insists the food on campus tastes like feet—Dee rattles on like Macy isn’t even there, so I guess she isn’t put off by me inviting an extra wheel. Macy sits at the table silently nibbling on some fries. She’s small and skinny, with straight black hair, a pale face, and eyes a little too large and dark for her face. But she has a friendly smile, and I find myself wanting to help her come out of her shell a little.
“So there’s this guy in my class,” I say. “His name’s Leti.”
“Oooh,” Dee says. “Is he hot?”
“He’s . . . he’s definitely something.” I chuckle, and Dee raises an eyebrow. “I’m pretty sure you two would love shoe-shopping together, if you know what I’m getting at.”
“A gay friend?! You already made a gay friend?! No fair! I want one!”
I laugh and sip my Coke. “Maybe we should invite him to hang out sometime.”
“We should definitely invite him to hang out sometime!”
“Next time we have class, I’ll get his number and see if he wants to meet up with us some night.”
When Macy speaks, it shocks us into silence again. “That’s very kind of you.”
I shrug it off. “It’s no big deal. The more friends, the better. Right, Dee?”
“As long as this Leti doesn’t try to steal my best girl, I’m golden.” She sucks down a vanilla milkshake.
I grin at her and then at Macy. “Thanks again for letting me stay with you, Macy.”
“Thank you for inviting me out tonight.”
“Mace,” Dee cuts in, shifting in her seat to face Macy, who is sitting beside her, pressed against the chipped yellow wall. “Let me ask you a question. You know Ro is staying with us because her scumbag piece-of-shit ex-boyfriend cheated on her, right?” Macy nods. “Well, don’t you think she deserves to get some type of revenge? Flatten his tires or something? I mean, they were together for three years.”
Macy gazes across the table at me. “I think Rowan is taking the higher road. It’s an admirable quality.”
“Higher road,” Dee scoffs. “I’d like to catch him on a higher road,” she mumbles, “and drive him right off it.”
Macy and I both chuckle, and Dee finishes off the last of her milkshake. After she drives us back to her dorm, I pull a textbook onto my lap. The heavy weight is comforting, reminding me of simpler times, when the only thing I had to worry about was homework. Homework, I can do. Homework, I can bury myself in. I fall asleep with the textbook on my lap and Dee’s knee jutting into my thigh. Much-needed sleep trumps the plan to go get my car, but it’s not like I’ll need it anytime soon anyway.
The next morning, I have to wake up earlier than Dee for my morning classes—she refused to take anything before 11 o’clock—so I try to keep quiet as I get ready for school. My first class is English 101. Then I have math, followed by an hour-and-a-half-long break during which I grab lunch in Lion’s Den, and then I head to Benton Hall for history class with Dee.
If all three classes were about a certain brown-haired rocker boy with ungodly skilled lips, I’d ace them with no problem. But as it stands, I’m pretty sure I’m going to fail.
My thoughts are back on Adam’s tour bus, and they travel to that black satin bed. In history class, I chew on the end of my pencil, simultaneously regretting the moment and wishing I could go back and live it all over again. Making out with him had been so, so out of character for me. Before Adam, I’d only ever kissed two guys other than Brady. One was in fifth grade, so I’m not even sure if that counts, and the other was a guy I went on a few group dates with when I was a freshman, before Brady and I ever got together.