Authors: Ashelyn Drake
Behind Closed Doors (Campus
Behind Closed Doors
Copyright © Kelly Hashway
No part of this novel may be reproduced, copied, recorded or used by any means without written permission from the publisher.
This book is a work of fiction. Any names, places, characters and incidents are a product of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. They are not to be misconstrued as real. Any resemblances to any persons, either living or dead are completely coincidental.
Trademarks: Grey Goose Vodka, Mountain Dew, Coke, BMW, Honda Accord
Cover design: True Poison
To love in the face of all odds.
Behind Closed Doors (Campus Crush #2)
Love makes people do stupid things.
penne ala Vodka threatening to come back up as Noelle and Andy cuddle across the booth from me is proof of that. But after spending the entire summer watching them be all lovey dovey, I’ve had my fill. This summer was supposed to be about my best friend and me settling into college and dating some hot guys—
, not getting into a serious relationship with them—but Noelle’s been attached to Andy to the point where I barely see her and when I do, Andy’s always with us. If I’ve learned anything from watching her with Andy, it’s that the stupidest thing love makes you do is want it—crave it. I’m dying to be a fool in love. I want the kind of relationship Noelle and Andy have.
“So, Julia, who’s the lucky guy going to be?” Noelle asks as Andy continues to kiss the spot just below her ear. God, I wish I’d find a guy to do that to me. Besides Andy’s R.A. friend, Mike, I haven’t kissed anyone since I graduated high school.
I look around the restaurant, scanning the bartender and then the bus boys. The bartender is way too old, probably in his late thirties, but one of the bus boys is promising. I’ve never dated a guy with any piercings before, and I’m kind of digging his eyebrow ring. “Maybe.” I shrug a shoulder and sip my Mountain Dew.
Noelle’s eyes rise to the door, and a smile spreads across her lips. I know that look. She’s in full-on scheming mode, something she learned from me. “Now
your type.” She stretches out the word “exactly” and her voice squeaks with excitement.
I casually turn my head, as if I’m bored with the conversation at my table and am just checking out the place, and my eyes land on him. All, what has to be, six feet of him. My gaze lingers on his sculpted chest. If he’s not a weightlifter, I’ll be surprised. He shoves his hands into his pockets as he talks to the hostess, and his biceps bulge, making my stomach do a little flip. His dark hair is cut short and styled perfectly—messy in a sexy way that’s meant to give the “just got out of bed” look. He turns and follows the hostess to an empty table for two right next to our booth, and I see his eyes. They’re hazel, the perfect combination of green and brown.
“You’re starting to drool,” Noelle whispers, leaning across the table so the object of my attraction doesn’t overhear.
I take her advice and avert my eyes, but I can’t turn away for long because the waitress walks over and I hear her say his name.
“Hey, Darren. Grabbing a bite before your shift?” She sets a glass of Coke on the table in front of him. He must be a regular if she knows his name and what he drinks.
Pathetic, I know, eating here when I’m going to be spending the next six hours serving drinks in this place, but what can I say?” He smiles, and my eyes lower to his lips, which are full and kissable.
Noelle kicks me under the table. “Way to be obvious.”
“Yeah, you might want to tone it down a little,” Andy says. “With the way you just licked your lips, you look like you’re going to pounce.”
I like Andy, but right now I want to smack him. He’s not exactly being quiet, and Darren turns in our direction. I take another forkful of penne and hold it up. “What can I say? The pasta is just
good.” I glare at Andy, conveying just how annoyed I am that he got Darren’s attention. Hopefully Darren will buy my line about the food.
Andy nods apologetically. “Yeah, the food here is really good.”
Noelle smiles at him like he’s the cutest thing ever, which she tells me all the time. Saying I’m jealous of their relationship is an understatement. I never thought I wanted that, but seeing how happy they are, I do. It’s disgusting to watch other people act so cutesy and in love, but I’m dying to make other people watch
with the guy of my dreams. I just have to find him.
We finish our meal, and I try not to stare too much at Darren. It’s so pathetic that I’m already thinking of him by name, as if I know him. All I know is he works here at McEntire’s Pub and he doesn’t mind eating alone. I don’t know how he does it. I’ve never been able to eat alone—at least not in a restaurant. I need people to talk to.
I lean across the booth. “Think I should go sit with him while he eats? It’s kind of sad that he’s here alone.” I’m not sure why I’m asking Noelle of all people. She’d never walk up to a complete stranger and offer to share a meal with him. I’m still surprised she took a chance and went after Andy, although it was completely obvious he was into her from the moment we walked into freshman orientation last spring.
“Go for it if you’re feeling daring.” She laces her fingers through Andy’s and squeezes his hand. I’ve always been okay about not having a boyfriend, but right now my hand is feeling extremely cold and empty.
I press my hands flat on the tabletop and push off. “I’m doing it.”
“Good luck,” Andy says, and Noelle nods in agreement.
I don’t think luck has anything to do with two people meeting. It’s about fate. The problem is I don’t have a clue what fate has in store for Darren and me. I grab my Mountain Dew, mostly so I’ll have something to keep my hands from fidgeting if I get nervous, and take the three steps to Darren’s table.
“Hi,” I say, smiling down at him.
His gaze meets mine, and he returns the smile. “Hi.” He briefly glances at Noelle and Andy, who are already kissing again. “Let me guess, you were feeling like a third wheel.”
I nod in their direction. “For about two months now. Any chance you’re the type to save
a damsel in distress?”
He looks me up and down. “Why am I thinking you’ve never actually been a damsel in distress?”
I laugh. Noelle always says my red hair and long legs make me look fiery and intimidating. I have to agree and fully admit to playing up my height. I’m five nine in flats, and I
wear flats. “Good guess, but I promise to keep you entertained if you save me from
.” I motion over my shoulder to my former table.
Darren gestures to the empty chair across from him. “Be my guest.”
I smile and sit down, placing my drink on the table. “Thanks. I’m Julia by the way.”
“You work here, right?”
“Yeah. I bartend four nights a week.” He eyes me. “Have I served you? I think I’d remember that.”
I pick up on his flirty tone immediately. No way am I telling him I’m not twenty-one. He must be that, if not a few years older. “I heard you talking to the waitress. These tables are ridiculously close together.”
“I’ll be sure to tell my dad to space the tables out more.”
His dad? “Do your parents own this place?”
He nods. “All my life.”
That explains how the waitress knows what he likes to drink. As if she’s reading my mind, the waitress—Caroline, according to her nametag—walks up to the table. “Oh, I didn’t realize you were expecting someone,” she says to Darren, and I can’t help noticing a hint of disappointment in her voice.
“Actually, I wasn’t, but it was a nice surprise.” Darren smiles at me, his eyes locking on mine.
Caroline’s jaw clenches for a moment, but she recovers quickly and asks me, “Can I get you anything. A refill maybe?”
Darren hasn’t even gotten his food yet, so I nod. “Sure.”
Darren reaches for Caroline’s arm. “Bring her a piece of the mocha cake, too.”
Caroline’s eyes linger on his hand, and she smiles. “Separate bills, right?”
Darren lets go of her and looks at me. “No, it’s on me. After all, she rescued me from having to eat alone.”
I can’t help it. I smile at Caroline as she glares at me and walks away. “You don’t have to pay for me,” I say once we’re alone again.
“Don’t sweat it. It’s a new item on the menu. I have a thing for mocha. Dad said we didn’t need to add any new desserts, but I disagreed. If you want to pay me back, you can rave about the cake on the comment cards at the hostess booth.”
Darren stares at me for a moment. “You know, if you’re going to have the mocha cake, you should really try this wine we just got in. The two go together perfectly. Hang on a second. I’ll tell Caroline to bring us two glasses.”
I watch him get up and walk to the bar. His dark jeans hug him in all the right places. As long as he doesn’t figure out he’s about to serve an underage college co-ed, the rest of the night looks promising.
I jump as Noelle and Andy suddenly show up at the table. “What are you doing?” I ask them in a hushed tone.
“We came to say goodbye,” Noelle says, but she quickly adds, “Oh wait, we can’t leave. You won’t have a ride home.”
Damn it. She’s right. It’s not like I can hang out all night while Darren works his shift. I’d look pathetic, but I don’t want to leave yet either.
“There’s a bus stop around here, right?” I ask, thinking fast.
Andy nods. “At the traffic light on the corner, but you shouldn’t walk alone at night.”
Andy and his overprotective R.A. speeches. I resist the urge to roll my eyes because I know he means well. “I’ll make sure I leave before it gets dark,
“Have fun,” Noelle says, “but not too much. He looks older than us.”
“I know.” I smile and wave. Being older is part of Darren’s appeal. The incoming freshman guys aren’t going to be much different than high school guys, and I’m over the games they play. I think Noelle and Andy work so well together because he’s older than she is. He’s mature in a way guys our age aren’t.
Darren walks back to the table carrying two glasses of wine. “Our food should be here in a minute.”
He hands me a glass, and I take a sip without hesitation.
Holy crap that’s good wine! “Thanks. This is delicious.”
“Just wait until you try it with the cake.” He leans over the table, closing the distance between us, and flashes me a sexy smile.
Again, as if on cue, Caroline returns. It’s almost like she’s stalking our table—or, more accurately, Darren. “All set.” She smiles at Darren as she places his steak and fries in front of him. She doesn’t even bother looking at me as she shoves the cake down. “Can I get you anything else, Darren?”
“No, we’re all set. Thanks, Caroline.”
She lingers, not wanting to leave. “Yeah, thanks,” I say, snapping her out of her Darren-induced trance. I can’t really blame her though. He’s nice to look at.
“It seems weird that I’m eating dessert while you haven’t had your meal yet,” I say once Caroline walks away.
“Not at all. In fact, I’ve been known to eat my dessert first every once in a while.” He smiles again, and I notice how it reaches his eyes.
“A guy who knows what he wants—I like it.”
He reaches forward and takes my fork. “May I?”
I’m assuming all the dessert talk made him hungry so I nod, but he breaks a piece off and holds the fork out to me. He wants to feed me. Wow! I lick my lips, keeping my eyes locked on his, and open my mouth. He’s right about the mocha cake. It’s heavenly. A moan escapes my lips, making his smile widen.
“Like heaven in your mouth, right?”
I can’t even answer because between the cake and the way he’s looking at me, I’m in a euphoric stupor.
“Now have a sip of the wine.”
I raise the glass and sip. The flavors couldn’t compliment each other better. “That’s incredible.”
“Would you like some?” I push the plate closer to him, but he doesn’t make a move for it.