Home > Walking Disaster (Beautiful #2)(17)

Walking Disaster (Beautiful #2)(17)
Author: Jamie McGuire

Before, it was just where I slept. A place where I’d never spent much time at all. Abby’s presence made the white, clutter-less walls obvious, to the point where I felt a lesser version of embarrassment. Abby being in my room made it feel like home, and the emptiness no longer seemed right.

“Nice pj’s,” I said finally, sitting on the bed. “Well, come on. I’m not going to bite you.”

Her chin lowered and she raised her brows. “I’m not afraid of you.” Her biology book landed beside me with a thud, and then she stopped. “Do you have a pen?”

I nodded to the night table. “Top drawer.” The second I said the words, my blood turned cold. She was going to find my stash. I readied myself for the impending death match that would quickly follow.

She put one knee on the bed and reached over, pulling open the drawer and fishing around until her hand lurched back. In the next second, she grabbed the pen and then slammed the drawer shut.

“What?” I asked, pretending to scan over the words in the biology book.

“Did you rob the health clinic?”

How does a pigeon know where to get condoms? “No. Why?”

Her face twisted. “Your lifetime supply of condoms.”

Here it comes. “Better safe than sorry, right?” She couldn’t possibly argue with that.

Instead of the yelling and name calling I expected, she rolled her eyes. I turned the pages of the biology book, trying not to look too relieved.

“Okay, we can start here. Jesus . . . photosynthesis? Didn’t you learn this in high school?”

“Kind of,” she said, defensively. “It’s Biology 101, Trav. I didn’t pick the curriculum.”

“And you’re in calculus? How can you be so advanced in math and behind in science?”

“I’m not behind. The first half is always review.”

I raised an eyebrow. “Not really.”

She listened while I went over the basics of photosynthesis, and then the anatomy of plant cells. It didn’t matter how long I talked, or what I said, she hung on to every word. It was easy to pretend that she was interested in me and not a passing grade.

“Lipids. Not lipides. Tell me what they are again.”

She pulled off her glasses. “I’m beat. I can’t memorize one more macromolecule.”

Fuckin’ A. Bedtime. “All right.”

Abby suddenly looked nervous, which was curiously soothing to me.

I left her alone with her nerves to take a shower. Knowing she had just been standing naked in the same spot made for some arousing thoughts, so for the five minutes before I got out, the water had to be ice cold. It was uncomfortable, but at least it got rid of my hard-on.

When I returned to the bedroom, Abby was lying on her side, eyes closed, and stiff as a board. I dropped my towel, changed into my boxers, and then crawled into bed, flipping off the light. Abby didn’t move, but she wasn’t asleep.

Every muscle in her body was tense, but they tightened even more just before she turned to face me.

“You’re sleeping in here, too?”

“Well, yeah. This is my bed.”

“I know, but I . . .” she trailed off, weighing her options.

“Don’t you trust me by now? I’ll be on my best behavior, I swear.” I held up my index, middle, and pinky finger, affectionately known by my frat brothers as the “shocker.” She didn’t get it.

As much as being good would suck, I wasn’t going to run her off the first night by doing something stupid.

Abby was a delicate balance of tough and tender. Pushing her too far seemed to garner the same reaction as a cornered animal. It was fun to walk the tightrope she required, in a terrifying, driving-at-a-thousand-miles-per-hour, backward-on-a-motorcycle kind of way.

She turned away from me, karate chopping the blanket around every curve of her body. Another smile crept across my face, and I leaned into her ear.

“Good night, Pigeon.”



THE SUN HAD JUST BEGUN TO CAST SHADOWS ON THE walls of my bedroom when I opened my eyes. Abby’s hair was tangled and messy, and covering my face. I took a deep breath through my nose.

Dude. What are you doing . . . besides being creepy? I thought. I turned onto my back, but before I could stop myself, took in another breath. She still smelled like shampoo and lotion.

A few seconds later, the alarm bleated, and Abby began to rouse. Her hand ran across my chest, and then lurched back.

“Travis?” she said, groggily. “Your alarm.” She waited for a minute, and then sighed, reaching across me, straining until she finally reached the clock, and then pounded against the plastic until the noise stopped.

She fell against her pillow and puffed. A chuckle escaped my lips, and she gasped.

“You were awake?”

“I promised I’d behave. I didn’t say anything about letting you lay on me.”

“I didn’t lay on you. I couldn’t reach the clock. That has to be the most annoying alarm I’ve ever heard. It sounds like a dying animal.”

“You want breakfast?” I tucked my hands behind my head.

“I’m not hungry.”

She seemed pissed about something, but I ignored it. She probably just wasn’t a morning person. Although with that logic, she wasn’t really an afternoon or night person, either. Come to think of it, she was kind of a cranky bitch . . . and I liked it.

“Well, I am. Why don’t you ride with me down the street to the café?”

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