A Perfect Ten

Page 47

As I walked along the sidewalk toward home, eighteen blocks from Aspen’s house, I decided it would be best if Midnight Visitor had just made her last foray to Oren’s bedroom.

When I woke in the morning, I was alone. I instantly missed her and swiped out my hand to her side of the bed. The head-shaped indention in the pillow next to mine made me smile. At least I had proof she was real.

The stinging on my back as I showered was more proof.

“What the hell?” I muttered, twisting and trying to feel around back there to figure out what was wrong with me. It wasn’t until I’d stepped out and was drying myself off that I caught a glimpse of the scratch marks on my shoulder blades and realized what the sting was. She must’ve left her mark when I’d gone down on her last night. She had gripped me pretty hard.

Damn, I liked that. Grinning, I whistled as I strolled back to my room in nothing but a towel. I started to make my bed, feeling like a dork when I had to pause and lean down to smell her on my sheets. When I caught a whiff of her unique perfume, I sighed and sucked in an even deeper inhale. God, she smelled so good. I was about to crawl onto the bed and jack off to thoughts of her when I stopped myself.

What the hell was I doing? Was I really this far gone for some chick I knew nothing about except how she felt, and smelled, and tasted...oh, and that she had an unnatural obsession for me? I must’ve lost my frigging mind. I was already fixated on someone, damn it; I didn’t need to add another woman to the list.

I’d let her in way too easily last night and given her some of that talking crap she’d wanted. Why had I done that? We didn’t need to talk. We were all about the physical. And that’s all it was, I commanded myself a little more firmly. In fact, next time she texted, I was just going to ignore her. I should find some chick that I had no problem just being physical with, and my life would return to normal. No more stress drawing, no more disturbing dreams like that one I’d had last night of my sister, and no more of this “feelings” bullshit. Not for me.

With a fistful of sheets, I ripped the covers off my bed, meaning to wash her scent off them, but then I realized I was actually following her orders to wash my bedding.

Damn it.

Fuck. They needed to be washed anyway. I kept tearing them from my mattress, a little more aggressively, pissed that some unnamed, faceless woman had me changing my mind so much in the past week. Dudes weren’t supposed to be such mind-changers. Before I knew it, I’d be growing ovaries.

“Pfft.” I snorted. “Not likely.”

When one corner of the fitted sheet wouldn’t come free of the mattress after one tug, I growled and jerked it with so much pressure that I stumbled backward when it finally came free. I ended up landing on my ass with the towel I had wrapped around my waist coming free and falling by the wayside.

But the most painful part was the hard, rock-like thing I landed on as it dug into my right butt cheek.

“Ouch. Fuck!”

Bare-ass naked, I scrambled off it and spun around to notice a necklace with the gold chain bunched around a bright oval stone.

Blinking, I sucked in a breath. “Oh, hell.” Remembering how I’d asked Midnight Visitor about her necklace last night, I swiped my thumb over the glittery green amulet. The clasp was broken, telling me it had accidently fallen off its owner.

This was the only link I had to her. Whoever she was, emeralds were somehow important to her. It made my chest fill with accomplishment to know that, and then irritation for even wanting to know it.

Caroline’s birthday was in May, so I instantly wandered what the birthstone for May was. No, fuck. I wasn’t going to associate her with Caroline any more. This woman should have her own identity, an identity I needed to dissociate myself from.

I debated what to do. Yesterday, I would’ve pulled out my phone and sent her a little message, holding her necklace for ransom until she agreed to give me what I wanted. Hell, I was still itching to do that. But I needed to get my head on straight here.

After tossing the amulet onto my bureau, I dressed for the day. I jammed a sketchpad and a few textbooks that I might need into my backpack, and I started for the door of my bedroom, only to pause and glance down at that damn necklace.

A split second decision later, I snatched it up and tucked it into my pocket before hightailing it out the door.

The Blondie-Ham combo were already gone for the day; they had early-ass classes, so I took my time, raiding the kitchen. I snagged a donut and Sunny D, then headed toward campus. My first class of the day was some boring business ethics thing I tried not to sleep (too heavily) through. Next was an architectural design class and then a lunch break before architectural history.

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