Jock Row Page 2

Jerking at the end of it with my left hand, I pull it slack, lifting it over my head, relieving myself of one round mohair loop after another. Stuff the entire thing in my purse—which is more of a cumbersome tote—all the while holding a red cup in my right hand.

Drinking tonight wouldn’t be doing myself any favors with this cold still lingering, so it’s copious amounts of water disguised as alcohol instead.

And can I just say, finding a liquid in this house that isn’t beer was damn near impossible. I had to leave Tessa and Cam to their own devices to scavenge the kitchen, raiding the fridge.

There was a note taped to the door that said, Off limits, but it was old, and faded, and I was way too parched to care.

Inside, a treasure trove of water, juice, and power beverages, even some protein shakes.

Snagging two bottles of ice-cold water (one for now and one for later), I stuffed them into my tote, grateful I had a purse along and wondering why they don’t have water at the makeshift bar in their living room.

Is it stealing if the fridge was open?

I meander from room to room, searching for the two blondes I came here with, their pretty blonde heads having gone astray in the short amount of time it took for me to find two water bottles. I fidget, airing myself out by tugging at the neckline of my sweater, and take a few refreshing sips of my pilfered beverage.



I fan myself idly, standing off to one side of the living room, doing my best not to faint dead away. A melodramatic statement, even for me, but if I manage not to pass out from overheating, it will be a damn miracle.

Three more sweeps of the room and I locate them near the front windows. My upper torso is so unbelievably itchy.

Stupid and scorching. I’m sweaty and irritable and oh my freaking god why am I freaking wearing this!

I slide a finger inside the furry collar to alleviate my crawling skin, lower my body temperature, giving it yet another tug. But, it’s no use—I’m boiling in this godforsaken potato sack.

I need the porch, porch, porch.

No one hears my loud sigh over the music; how could they? It’s turned up so loud the windows shake with the base, floor quaking with tiny vibrations.

Hating myself just a lil bit, I join the girls; they’re both having more fun and better luck tonight than I, cloistered in a huddle and chatting it up with two insanely attractive young men.

Tessa is batting her lash extensions at the blond one—he’s a tall, lanky guy, his winning feature a lazy smile he’s freely throwing her way. Perfect teeth.

Boyish, in a way, but I can see why she’s attracted to him, though my type is more rugged and rough around the edges. Someone large and strapping with a killer personality would win me over in a heartbeat.

“Hey guys—thought I lost you.” I raise my water and take a long, refreshing drag. “What did I miss?”

“Scar, this is Derek and Ben,” Tessa says, introducing us. “They’re both on the team. Guys, this is Scarlett.”

“I’m sorry, which team are we talking about?” I can’t help teasing, just can’t.

“The baseball team,” the dark-haired guy mutters, running his brown gaze up and down my outfit. He’s not entertained—not in the least—and stares at me like I’m an idiot.


Can’t please everyone, I guess.

“We were just about to take a selfie,” Cameron adds. “Scar, will you take it for us?” She unceremoniously thrusts her phone at me, fluffing her beautiful, wavy hair.

I fiddle with the flash, flipping the camera toward me and sticking out my tongue before clicking away. Take a few selfies before righting the camera and getting down to the business at hand.

“Would you quit screwing around?” Tessa prompts through clenched teeth, lips curved into a seductive smile. “I can’t keep my face like this much longer.”

“You can delete those.” I thumb through the pictures before turning the camera back on my friends. “Well not this one—I look adorable. Can you text it to me?”

I giggle.

“Everyone say ‘Balls!’” I take another six photos before slapping the cell into Cameron’s waiting palm. She immediately starts shuffling through them, dissecting herself in every one, huge smile plastered on her pretty face.

“So, it turns out you were right about the sweater.” I give Tessa a bump with my hip. “I don’t know about you guys, but I’m ready to get going.”

Everyone stares.

“I’m hot and itchy, but thank god it’s not a rash, ha ha.” I’m the only one who laughs.

Ben, the guy wearing a smile that doesn’t reach his eyes and a baseball cap I want to knock off his head, points a finger in my direction. “Are you for real?”

“You have no idea how hot this shirt is, buddy.” I pull a long face, emphasizing my plight. Hold up my hands in mock defeat. “We’ve been here a few hours, and I wouldn’t hate it if we left. That’s all I’m sayin’.”

“How bad are you feeling really?” She reaches to feel my forehead. “You do feel warm, but it could just be the temperature in here.”

“Guys, we came together and we should leave together.”

“Tessa here can’t leave until she helps me with my little problem,” Ben says, eyes dropping down into her cleavage.

“Little problem?” My eyes drop unceremoniously down to the crotch of his jeans.

“My phone.” He holds his jet black cell in front of him like an offering. Tessa’s blue eyes land on the illuminated screen, her teeth raking across her bottom lip playfully. “There’s a problem with it.”

“What’s wrong?” she asks, tilting her head.

“I keep searching and searching but can’t find the number I’m looking for.” His big hand palms the device, thumb stroking up and down the screen, and I think he’s trying to be sexy? Or something?

“What number?” Tessa coos.

“You know—the number I’m missing.”

“Did it disappear?”

“No, baby, I’m trying to put it in here.” His thumb slides up and down the flat surface, stroking idly.

“But is it—”

Oh my god, I can’t take it anymore.

“I get it. I get it.” I step forward to finish the tease he’s trying his damnedest to deliver, dragging out the pick-up line in a painfully slow fashion. “There’s a problem with his phone, Tess, because your number isn’t in it.”

“Huh?” Tessa wrinkles her brow, confused, while the guy stares me down, mouth set into a hard line.

I pull a face like a grade-school student who’s just blurted out the answer in class without raising their hand, my cheeks getting hotter.

Clearing my throat, I’m too embarrassed to glace up at Ben.

“Tessa, it’s…you know—a pick-up line? It goes like this.” I lower my voice, doing my best impression of a man. “There’s something wrong with my phone—because your name isn’t in it.” My head wobbles back and forth as I deliver the moronic sentence. “Get it? I read it online, probably Buzzfeed? There was this whole long list of the world’s shittiest pick-up lines, and that one topped it.”

When I do happen a glance up, it’s into a set of scowling eyes.

“Don’t get mad.” I awkwardly laugh, pulling at my neckline. “Get better lines. Those are awful.” My flirtatious giggle goes unappreciated. “Oh come on, I’m trying to help you! That was a pro tip.”

The guy opens his mouth. “Do you not realize you’re a fucking buzzkill? What the hell are you wearing?”

His tone is no longer friendly, no longer flirty. He’s no longer interested in being a team player; I’ve unintentionally pissed him off by stealing his thunder.

Tessa, bless her kind heart, breaks through the tension with a lighthearted laugh, giving Benny boy a few flirtatious pats on the cheek. Diverts his attention.

“You want my number?” She sounds positively giddy. “Why didn’t you just say so, silly?” She plucks the phone out of his hands, tapping her digits into the contacts as he shoots another distrustful glance in my direction.

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