“Because I’ve never—” I stop myself. I can’t believe I almost just confessed that I’m still a virgin.
“You’ve never . . .” When realization dawns in Leti’s eyes, I can tell it’s too late. “You’ve never—” He gives me a look, and I nod.
He shakes his head in astonishment, that amused smile still plastered on his lips. “This just keeps getting better and better.”
Things just kept getting worse.
Later that week, Dr. Pullman gave a pop quiz to make sure everyone had been reviewing the basics like he had instructed us to do as homework, and I got a C. A freaking C! And of course, instead of blaming myself for being so easily distracted, I blamed a certain boy with disheveled brown hair, piercing gray eyes, and a very talented tongue.
The night before the quiz, I had dreamt about him. I’d woken up practically groping Dee. Talk about awkward . . . She hadn’t woken up, but I felt embarrassed as hell. I’d never had a dream that explicitly vivid in my entire life. I woke up out of breath, all my muscles aching. For a few minutes, I lied there hating myself for turning Adam down. I wondered if the real thing would have been as amazing as that dream . . .
So when Dr. Pullman handed out the quiz the next day, my attempts to concentrate on the questions instead of the sex-god-of-my-dreams sitting up front was pretty much impossible. I’d been reviewing the basics all week, but my brain was filled with too much Adam to remember them.
I blamed that dream on pent-up sexual frustration caused by the good side of my two-faced pastor’s son ex-boyfriend.
He texted me the day after we commandeered my car, left me messages begging me to just talk to him.
I caved and texted him back. I told him I would talk to him when I was ready.
Really, it was more courtesy than he deserved, but I felt a nagging need to end some of the pain he was feeling. Even after what he’d done to me, a part of me still loved him and hated seeing him so torn up. His constant texts and voicemails were numbing my anger to nonexistence, and I wasn’t sure how I felt about that. If I let go of the anger, what did I have—besides a huge gaping hole?
By the second week of classes, Adam had started arriving at French class late. By the fourth week, I never knew if he was actually going to show or not. He usually arrived with a girl or two or three, and most of the time, they were girls I’d never seen before. He brought new faces with him to almost every class he showed up to, and I started realizing that the pretty girls who tagged along with him weren’t even in our class at all—they just showed up with him, waited on him, and left with him. It was highly irritating.
A social life of my own probably would’ve helped, but every week, Dee got invited to parties and extended second-hand invitations to me, and every week, I found creative ways to turn her down.
Really, I don’t know why she ever wanted to be seen in public with me. After the novelty of having Adam in my class wore off and it became clear he was never going to notice me, I switched to full-on college-bum mode. I walked to campus in two-day-old yoga pants and baggy T-shirts, with flip-flops on my socked feet and my unkempt hair twisted up into a messy bun. Half the time, I didn’t even bother putting my contacts in and would show up wearing my rectangular black glasses instead. Dee would furrow her brow at me when I walked into history class, but I’d just grin at her. Once, I blew her a kiss, and she fiercely batted it away, which earned us strange looks from everyone who noticed.
I filled my nights with studying and my weekends with extra credit. After getting that first C in French, I really stepped it up. When Dr. Pullman offered extra credit to any students who were willing to help him set up the new language lab on a Saturday, I volunteered and dragged Leti along with me. We helped arrange the headphones and hardware and then installed software on the computers and tested it all out. Dr. Pullman bought us pizza and actually cracked a few jokes as we all worked together, and I realized he was actually pretty awesome. Tough as nails, but awesome.
The next weekend, he offered more extra credit to anyone willing to translate a short book from English to French. Apparently, I was the only person who took him up on the opportunity. I translated a children’s book I wrote in eighth grade, and he gave me an exorbitant number of extra points, telling me that my story about the little unicorn without a horn was extremely touching in both languages. I nearly squealed with delight when I read the green-ink comments, rushing to shove the paper in Leti’s face so he could see them too.
“You’re such a nerd girl,” he said with a laugh.
When fall break rolled around, I was almost sad to leave Leti’s familiar face. He’d become a regular in our dorm room, and even Macy seemed to light up more when he was around. But I also missed my mom and dad, so I gave Leti a peck on the cheek and he saw Dee and me off from the Walmart parking lot. We drove home separately.
THAT SUNDAY, AFTER spending the week with my parents, I leave my car at their house and ride home with Dee. We stop at a gas station on the long trip back to school. As she fills up her tank, I go inside to use the restroom and stock up on gum. I’m walking back to the car when I notice Dee sitting inside it, talking on my phone. The windows are rolled down, so her voice swims out to me when she coldly finishes a sentence with, “because she obviously doesn’t want to talk to you.”
My feet fly across the last few steps of pavement in an instant, and I dive into the car like a bullet, snatching the phone roughly from Dee’s hand. I pull it to my own ear to hear the tail end of Brady’s reply.