Home > Crave (Crave #1)(7)

Crave (Crave #1)(7)
Author: Tracy Wolff

“Told you I could have taken it,” Flint says to her.

“It’s not the weight of the suitcase,” she snipes back. “It’s how fast I had to carry it.”

“I’ve got longer legs.” He glances around. “So, which hallway am I taking her to?”

“We’re in the North wing,” Macy says, pointing to the hallway directly to our left. “Follow me.”

Despite all her huffing and puffing, she takes off at a near run, with Flint and me hot on her heels. As we race across the landing, I can’t help but be grateful for the supporting arm he’s still lending me. I’ve always thought I was in pretty good shape, but life in Alaska obviously takes fit to a whole new level.

There are four sets of double doors surrounding the landing—all heavy, carved wood—and Macy stops at the set marked North. But before she can reach for the handle, the door flies open so fast that she barely manages to jump back before it hits her.

“Hey, what was that ab—” She breaks off when four guys walk through the door like she’s not even there. All four are dark and brooding and sexy af, but I’ve only got eyes for one of them.

The one from downstairs.

He doesn’t have eyes for me, though. Instead, he walks right by—face blank and gaze glacier cold—like I’m not even here.

Like he doesn’t even see me, even though he has to skirt me to get by.

Like he didn’t just spend fifteen minutes talking to me earlier.

Except…except, as he passes, his shoulder brushes against the side of my arm. Even after everything we said to each other, heat sizzles through me at the contact. And though logic tells me the touch was accidental, I can’t shake the idea that he did it on purpose. Any more than I can stop myself from turning to watch him walk away.

Just because I’m angry, I assure myself. Just because I want the chance to tell him off for having disappeared like that.

Macy doesn’t say anything to him, or the other guys, and neither does Flint. Instead, they wait for them to be out of the way and then head down the hallway like nothing happened. Like we didn’t just get blatantly snubbed.

Flint tightens his warm arm around my waist, and I can’t help but wonder why the guy with ice in his veins makes my skin tingle and the one literally lending me his warmth leaves me cold. Looks like my messed-up life is totally messing with my brain as well…

I want to ask who they are—want to ask who he is so I finally have a name to go with his insane body and even more insane face—but now doesn’t feel like the time. So I keep my mouth shut and concentrate on looking around instead of obsessing over some guy I don’t even like.

The North hallway is lined with heavy wooden doors on both sides, most with some kind of decoration hanging on them. Dried roses in the shape of an X on one, what looks to be an elaborate set of wind chimes on another, and a ton of bat stickers all over a third. I can’t decide if the person living there has dreams of being a chiropterologist or if they are simply a fan of Batman.

Either way, I’m absurdly fascinated by all the decorations—especially the wind chimes, as I can’t imagine there’s much wind in an indoor hallway—and not at all surprised when Macy stops at the most elaborately adorned door of them all. A garland of fresh flowers winds its way around the doorframe, and lines of threaded, multicolored crystals fall from the top of the door to the bottom in a fancy kind of beaded curtain.

“Here we are,” Macy says as she throws the door open with a flourish. “Home sweet home.”

Before I can take a step over the threshold, another hot guy dressed entirely in black passes by. And though he pays us no more attention than any of the others did at the North hallway door, the hair on the back of my neck stands up. Because even though I’m sure I’m imagining things, it suddenly feels an awful lot like I’m being watched.

5

Things Hot Pink

and Harry Styles

Have in Common

“Which bed is hers?” Flint asks as he propels me over the threshold.

“The one on the right,” Macy answers. Her voice is back to sounding funny, so I glance over my shoulder to make sure she’s okay.

She looks fine, but her eyes are huge, and they keep darting from Flint to the rest of the room and back again. I give her a what’s up look, but she just shakes her head in the universal sign for don’t say ANYTHING. So I don’t.

Instead, I look around the room I’m going to share with my cousin for the next several months. It takes only a couple of seconds for me to figure out that no matter what she said about being okay with me having my own room, she had planned on me rooming with her all along.

For starters, all her possessions are arranged neatly on one rainbow-colored side of the room. And for another, the spare bed is already made up in—of course—hot-pink sheets and a hot-pink comforter with huge white hibiscus flowers all over it.

“I know you like surfing,” she says, watching me eye the blindingly bright comforter. “I thought you might like something that reminds you of home.”

That shade of pink reminds me of surfer Barbie more than it reminds me of home, but no way am I going to say that to her. Not when it’s obvious she’s gone out of her way to make me feel comfortable. I appreciate she cared enough to try. “Thanks. It’s really nice.”

“It’s definitely cheerful,” Flint says as he helps me to the bed. The look he gives me is totally tongue-in-cheek, but that only makes me like him more. The fact that he realizes how absurd Macy’s decorating choices are but is way too nice to say anything that might hurt her feelings totally works for me. If I’m lucky, maybe I’ve made another friend.

He drops my suitcases at the foot of the bed, then steps back as I sink onto my mattress, my head still spinning a little.

“Do you guys need anything else before I head out?” Flint asks after we are completely disentangled.

“I’m good,” I tell him. “Thanks for the help.”

“Any time, New Girl.” He flashes me a ten-thousand-kilowatt smile. “Anytime.”

I’m pretty sure Macy whimpers a little at the sight of that grin, but she doesn’t say anything. Just kind of walks to the door and smiles weakly as she waits for him to leave. Which he does with a little wave for me and a fist bump for her on his way out.

The second the door is closed, and locked, behind him, I say, “You’ve got a crush on Flint.”

“I don’t!” she answers, looking wildly at the door, like he can hear us through the thick wood.

“Oh yeah? Then what was all that about?”

“All what?” Her voice is about three octaves too high.

“You know.” I wring my hands, bat my lashes, give a halfway-decent imitation of the sounds she’s been making since her father flagged down Flint for help.

“I don’t sound like that.”

“You totally sound like that,” I tell her. “But I don’t get it. If you like him, why didn’t you try to talk to him more? I mean, it was, like, a perfect opportunity,”

“I don’t like him like him. I don’t!” she insists with a laugh when I give her a look. “I mean, yeah, he’s gorgeous and nice and supersmart, but I’ve got a boyfriend who I really care about. It’s just, Flint is so…Flint. You know? And he was in our room, next to your bed.” She sighs. “The mind boggles.”

“Don’t you mean swoons?” I tease.

“Whatever.” She rolls her eyes. “It’s not a real crush. It’s more like…”

“More like the aura surrounding the most popular boy in school?”

“Yes, that! Exactly that. Except Flint’s not quite that high on the list. Jaxon and his group have the top positions pretty much sewn up.”

“Jaxon?” I ask, trying to sound casual even as my whole body goes on high alert. I don’t know how I know she’s talking about him, but I do. “Who’s Jaxon?”

“Jaxon Vega.” She fake swoons. “I have no idea how to explain Jaxon, except… Oh, wait! You saw him.”

“I did?” I try to ignore the way flying dinosaurs have once again taken up residence in my stomach.

“Yeah, on the way to our room. He was one of the guys who nearly hit me in the face with the door. The really hot one out in front.”

I play dumb even though my heart is suddenly beating way too fast. “You mean the ones who completely ignored us?”

“Yeah.” She laughs. “Don’t take it personally, though. That’s just the way Jaxon is. He’s…angsty.”

He’s a lot more than angsty, if our conversation a little while ago is anything to go by. But I’m not about to bring up what happened to Macy when I don’t even know how I feel about it yet.

So I do the only thing I can do. I change the subject. “Thanks so much for setting up the room for me. I appreciate it.”

“Oh, don’t worry about it.” She waves it away. “It was no big deal.”

“I’m pretty sure it was a big deal. I don’t know that many companies that deliver ninety minutes outside of Healy, Alaska.”

She blushes a little and looks away, like she doesn’t want me to know just how much trouble she’s gone through to make me feel at home. But then she shrugs and says, “Yeah, well, my dad knows all the ones that do. It wasn’t a problem.”

“Still, you’re totally my favorite cousin.”

She rolls her eyes. “I’m your only cousin.”

“Doesn’t mean you aren’t also my favorite.”

“My dad uses that line.”

“That you’re his favorite cousin?” I tease.

“You know what I mean.” She sighs in obvious exasperation. “You’re a dork; you know that, right?”

“I absolutely do, yes.”

She laughs, even as she crosses to the mini fridge next to her desk. “Here, drink this,” she says as she pulls out a large bottle of water and tosses it to me. “And I’ll show you the rest.”

   
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