Read For Real (Rules of Love, Book One) Online

Authors: Chelsea M. Cameron

Tags: #romance, #New Adult

For Real (Rules of Love, Book One) (2 page)

BOOK: For Real (Rules of Love, Book One)
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As much as we get along, Hazel and I are visual opposites. Her skin is gorgeous and dark and she tans within twenty seconds of standing in the sun. Her dark hair curls in perfect rings, unlike mine that tends to do its own thing and be curly on some days and not so curly on other days.

With the kind of figure that made guys eyes pop when she dances, she definitely gets more attention from the opposite (and sometimes the same) sex than I do.

“You going to work?” A few months ago, Hazel had gotten herself a job as a bartender at the campus bar a few nights a week. It’s a little bit classier than some of the college establishments, but the tips suck, so it’s a tradeoff. At least, if one of the patrons gets rowdy, she can call campus security and they actually show up.

“Yeah, in an hour. Remind me why I didn’t sell my organs online to pay for my education?” I grab a fork and start stealing bites of mac and cheese from the pot. I’m starving, so I’m willing to take a risk.

“Because it’s illegal?”

“Right. That. They might frown upon that at law school, yes?”

I nod and she gets a fork, too. We often eat dinner like this. Less dishes to wash.

“Usually.”

We finish off the pot and then share the salad from the plastic container as we sit on the couch and work on our various never-ending homework assignments.

“So it’s going to happen tonight,” Hazel says as she puts on the tight shirt she always wears to work. It shows a lot of cleavage, but she gets better tips that way. I don’t hate the player, I hate the game in this instance.

“What’s going to happen?” I already know the answer.

“I am going to find a nice young man to pop that cherry of yours.” She jabs her fork at me and I back up so she doesn’t stab me with it.

There it is again. The reminder that I’m a card-carrying member of the Virginity Club. I wish I had some good reason, that I was saving myself for Jesus, or my parents had put the fear in me, or told me that if I had sex with a boy that my ears would fall off and I’d gain forty pounds, but I have no such excuse.

The truth is, boys are just gross. Part of me is still semi-convinced they have cooties.

I’ve sort of dated, but every time I think about getting physical, or close to a guy, he smells weird, or has hair on his knuckles, or burps or does something else to completely turn me off.

I’ve been on a few dates here and there, but usually I have to send out an emergency call to one of my friends. In high school, rumors went around that I was a lesbian, and I went ahead and let them spread. Of course, then girls started hitting on me, but they were easier to fend off.

I thought that in college, I’d have the chance to maybe meet someone. But, here I am, well into my junior year and that fellow hasn’t shown up yet. Sure, there are plenty of guys on campus, but a lot of them are taken. Or gay. Or taken and gay. Or total and complete douchebags. Or budding alcoholics. Or gay, taken, douchebag alcoholics.

Since my friends have always struck out when it came to setting me up with a boy in order to make him my boyfriend, they’ve lowered their expectations to just getting me laid.

I don’t exactly advertise my virginity, but it always seems to come up when people are drinking and swapping stories, and I get red-faced and run away to the bathroom when everyone starts talking about their first times.

“How many times have I told you I’m set? It will happen when it’s supposed to happen.” This is always my response. Even though it’s probably bullshit.

She shakes her head, her curls bouncing. “Don’t give me that fairy godmother, dreams come true shit. We don’t need to find your prince charming. Just a non-skeezy guy to do you a service. Think of him as . . . a plumber.” She scrapes the bottom of the salad container for the last few croutons.

“A plumber? Have you ever seen a sexy plumber? Outside of a porno?” One of the other things my friends have done to try to make me want to have sex is make me watch it. I’d only lasted about five minutes when I had to run away and beg them to shut it off. Seeing other people . . . doing things like that? I don’t understand how anyone can find that sexy. Plus, the girls were like, unbelievably flexible. No way I can contort myself like that.

I’d been branded as a prude from then on.

“Why are you so hung up about it? I know you have a little battery friend.”

“Yeah, so? I’m a virgin, but I’m not supposed to know about my own body?” Hazel has also surprised me a time or two when I thought I was alone. “I have a sex drive, Haze. Being a virgin doesn’t stop me from having sexual feelings.”

In fact, I probably have more than the average girl, just because they are so . . . pent up.

“We just need to take those sexual feelings and transfer them to something with a penis. A real penis. With a boy attached to it.”

I shake my head and go to take a shower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I get out of the shower, Hazel yells to me that she’s going to work. I change into my favorite sweats and start on some more homework. I’m NEVER done with homework. Or maybe it’s never done with me.

As soon as I finish everything on my To Do list, I finally allow myself a reward: a few chapters of the book I’d gotten last week. It’s a heart-wrenching contemporary, and I know it’s bound to make me cry. Hazel is always telling me that I’m missing out on the college experience, but I’d rather not wake up on the floor of a strange apartment, under a strange naked guy, not knowing how I’d gotten there. If that makes me a loser, then I guess I’ll wear that label proudly. I can party when I’ve gotten what I wanted.

I plug my phone in, making sure the alarm is set for seven, and shut the light off. I try to go to sleep, but my mind is busy and chattering in my skull and making it difficult. I don’t like to dwell on negative thoughts, because they’re rarely productive, but tonight they seem especially loud. I blame it on the encounter with Laptop Guy.

Maybe the reason I haven’t found a good guy is that he doesn’t exist. That there’s something in me that’s . . . allergic to them. I’m attracted to them, sure, but the moment things get close, I just . . . can’t go any further. I find flaws and they turn me off.

I’m a control freak. No one needs to tell me that. I’ve known it my whole life. Ever since I freaked out when my mom didn’t put the crayons in the box exactly the way they’d been when we’d opened it. I’ve always needed order, and things to be just so. It’s a wonder I don’t have Obsessive-compulsive disorder. Hazel is always telling me I should get tested when I spend fifteen minutes rearranging the plates the right way after she’s unloaded the dishwasher.

Sex is one of those things that’s a complete loss of control. You give yourself up, in your most vulnerable state, to another person, and they give themselves to you. I don’t think I’m ready for that. For the . . . intimacy. I mentally gag on the word.

I spend the rest of the night tossing and turning and thinking about sex until it’s too much and I have to get myself off a few times just so I can sleep. Can you be a nymphomaniac if you only have sex with yourself? Finally, I fall into a semi-restless sleep, and I’m grumpy when I get up the next morning.

Hazel’s passed out in her room, so I make sure I’m as quiet as I can be while I get ready and drive to campus for yet another day of my undergraduate career. I’m setting my travel mug in the cupholder when I notice the paper crane. Shrugging, I toss it in my bag. It can keep my pens company.

 

 

I end up carrying the crane with me for the rest of the week, but I don’t see Laptop Guy again. Hazel also hasn’t been able to find me a guy at work, so on Friday night I’m told, for the thousandth time, that I must get myself ready to go on the prowl. Fun, fun, fun.

Sometimes, I wonder if I should just tell my friends to go fuck themselves. To leave me alone about it. I can picture how that would go, and it wouldn’t stop them from continuing to try. It would probably make them work even harder, actually. So, I curl my hair, put on my “going out” make-up, which is a little sexier than my normal make-up routine, and make sure that my boobs are boosted and show to good advantage. There aren’t a whole lot of social options around, and the local bars are more than happy to cater to the collage populace. Despite the fact that Hazel works in a bar, the only thing she seems to want to do with her time off is . . . go to a bar.

“Are y’all ready yet?” Jordyn, our resident Southern Belle (who completely denies it, despite the overwhelming evidence), stands in the kitchen and taps her heel on the floor. A South Carolina girl at heart, she’s somehow convinced that her upbringing left no impression on her.

She pulls some gum out of her purse and hands me a piece as she fluffs her brown hair that certainly doesn’t need any fluffing. Jordyn has a tendency to go for big loose curls that flounce on her shoulders and down her back, and she’s no stranger to a teasing comb.

“Hazel is taking her time,” I say, adjusting the strap on my heel. Jordyn rolls her eyes.

“Are you guys coming?” Daisy pops her head in the front door, followed by Cass. They’re both statuesque and tall (the bitches), Daisy with dark shoulder-length hair, and Cass with a strawberry blonde bob. They’ve been friends since high school and I’d adopted them our first week, back in our freshman year, when I’d bumped into them after having a wardrobe emergency in the dorm bathroom.

Jordyn is the newest of the group and Hazel had met her in one of her classes last year. Strange how you can have one encounter with someone that forms a friendship that can last years.

Sometimes I wonder if the reason I can’t get a guy is because I only have friends who are girls. I can talk to guys, certainly. I’m not a complete social defect. I just . . . have a tendency to say embarrassing things in front of guys. Or do embarrassing things. Or both. And then I have to run away to my friends and they admonish me and then I beg to go home.

“Tonight is the night!” Hazel says, banging her bedroom door open and striking a pose in the doorway. A shiny black top slinks over her torso, paired with her tightest jeans and her BBs (bitch boots).

“Tonight is what night?” I ask, even though I know the answer. We’ve done this routine enough times.

“Tonight is the night, you, Shannon Travers, are getting laid.” She draws out the word “laid” and swivels her hips around, as if she’s having sex with it. Dread churns in my stomach.

The other girls cheer and clap and I die a little inside.

“Um, may I remind you how many times you’ve tried this before? And how many times has it worked?” I say, tugging on my shirt so it’s even.

“This time, I have a feeling. My Hazel senses are tingling,” she says, wiggling her nose. Oh, she is asking for it. I spank her and she shrieks.

“Yeah, I think I’m feelin’ you,” Jordyn says, and Daisy and Cass nod as if they’re one person.

“It’s
happening
, Shan,” Cass says, patting me on the shoulder. It’s not reassuring. I don’t have any hope for tonight.

None of them are virgins and Cass and Jordyn both currently have boyfriends. Daisy is fresh off a break-up and Hazel doesn’t date. Any way you slice it, I’m the fifth wheel. Their unfortunate virgin friend.

I hate it.

They’re still going on about getting me a man as we pile into Cass’ car. It’s her turn to be the DD and she isn’t very happy about it, judging by her constant grumbling. I should have just taken her turn, but I’m going home with a guy, if they have their way. I swear, one of these days they are just going to pay someone to take me home. Or maybe pool their money and buy me a mail-order-virginity-taker.

There is a general cheer that goes up when we pull into the parking lot of the least-sketchy bar in Hartford. I tell them I’m cheering on the inside.

I allow myself one last inhale of cool fresh air before my friends drag me into the darkness, heat and noise of the bar. Here goes nothing.

 

BOOK: For Real (Rules of Love, Book One)
8.61Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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