Home > Fake Fiancée(5)

Fake Fiancée(5)
Author: Ilsa Madden-Mills

“What’s wrong?” Isabella asked.

“Dammit. I was so tired last night, I forgot to stop at the market.” I pressed my forehead against the coolness of the fridge and banged it. “I don’t have any coffee, there’s a giant spider under my bed, my ex is going to be in class, and my toe is falling off. I’m gonna die!”

“God, I love the way your voice gets extra Southern when you get upset. Do I need to come over and give you a pep talk?”

“Maybe.”

She cleared her throat. “You’re Sunny freaking Blaine and you always have your shit together. You’ve paid your own way through college. You’re not Italian yet you make the meanest lasagna in the whole state of Georgia—maybe the world. You don’t care what people think, case in point: yoga pants are your dress up clothes. You drink coffee like I shoot tequila. You once stole a car. You are a badass mama jama, and I’d be your lesbian lover in a heartbeat if I went that way—and if you went that way. I’m so jealous of your blond hair that I dream of shaving you bald—”

“Now it’s weird.” I smiled even though she couldn’t see me. “I feel better, though. Lunch at Hotdog Haven soon?”

“Yeah,” she said around her chews. “I’ll tell you about frat boy’s big wiener.”

I groaned. “Thank you for that parting image.”

We said our goodbyes, and I got off the phone and limped to the bathroom. A small room with an antique claw tub, it had a certain eclectic charm with pale blue walls and a myriad of rainbow and unicorn decals leftover from the previous renters. I hadn’t the heart to take them all down. The biggest one, a white unicorn, was stuck right next to the mirror over the sink. With a glittery pink mane and long eyelashes, he was fit for a princess—so unlike my own childhood. Perhaps that’s why I kept him.

I sent him a nod. “Morning, Charlie. Let’s hope this day doesn’t get any worse.”

It did.

After wrapping my toe in a waterproof Hello Kitty Band-Aid, I put my long hair in a bath cap and hopped in the tub, which had been modernized with a shower head on the wall above it and a shower curtain on an oval rod hanging from the ceiling. I turned the water temp to hot and just stood there, gut churning. Today I was facing Bart for the first time since we’d broken up.

Later while I was brushing my teeth, I glanced out the window next to the tub and saw a disheveled brunette bounce out of Mr. Quarterback’s door, stumble off the porch, and fall in the azalea bushes. I snickered. She crawled up, brushed herself off, and weaved along the sidewalk, obviously still trashed as she dug in her purse for what I assumed were her keys. She was the second girl this week who’d done the walk of shame from his house. The brunette finally made it to her BMW, got in, and cranked it up. Gunning the engine, she lost control and sideswiped my poor Camry parked on the street.

My mouth plopped open, and my forgotten toothbrush fell to the floor. I’d just paid the clunker off this summer!

She threw her car in reverse and backed up, scraping along the side of my car, making me cringe at the sound of grinding metal. Then she sped off.

Fuck! I stared up at the dingy popcorn ceiling and blinked my tears away.

And so it begins. The football player and I were finally going to meet.

I was going to murder him.

Max

THE GIRL ON MY PORCH was livid.

I studied her, taking in the wild white-blond hair that draped over a wrinkled shirt with Pizza is my Soulmate printed across the front. A pair of black yoga pants clung to her lean thighs. They’d seen better days according to the hole at the knee. I quirked an eyebrow, my gaze leisurely as it roved across her nice tits, all the way to her pink toenails and then back to her flushed face. Simple, no makeup, and barely together. Not the usual kind of girl who knocked on my door.

Yet . . .

My heart jumped.

I knew her.

I shifted through memories of countless girls I’d met—and screwed—at Leland.

Had she been in one of my classes? Had I met her at a party?

Nope. I got nothing, but I couldn’t erase that feeling of goosebumps, like a ghost was blowing on the back of my neck.

Her eyes flared as she took in every inch of me. Heart-shaped lips parted in surprise. Guess she hadn’t expected a six foot six badass.

“Who are you?” I said curtly. Direct. I had shit to do.

Smoky gray eyes blinked, looking uncertain. A range of emotion skittered across her face, from anger to amazement to complete and utter confusion. “I—I’m your new neighbor. I moved in last week.” Her voice was thin and reedy as if she couldn’t breathe.

Great. Another psycho.

I vaguely recalled a truck backed up to the porch of the sagging house across the street. “Yeah? What’s your problem?” I said, popping a smirk and slipping into my I’m cool mask. I wore it a lot in public. When you’d gotten to the level of success I had, everything you did was open for scrutiny. I played everything as if someone was watching—or I tried to. “Mad because you weren’t invited to our party last night?” I asked, leaning against the doorjamb.

She rubbed her forehead and continued that dazed stare.

Those fucking goosebumps came back.

“Uh, hello?”

She blinked rapidly. Clearing her throat, she shook herself, swallowed, and smiled tightly, seeming to gain her equilibrium. “I don’t really party. It’s the skank I’m here about.”

   
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