The Dare

Page 16

“Fine. What about your admirers?” I counter. “What if Natalie from Tri-Delt wants another go and suddenly you have a fake girlfriend?”

He shrugs. “I’m not interested in another go with her.”

“Bull. Have you seen her hair? It’s so shiny.”

That earns me a snicker. “Shiny hair aside, I’m being serious. She posted a pic of me naked in her bed when I was asleep. That ain’t cool with me. Consent, you know?”

“Bull,” I say again. “Look at you.” With both hands, I gesture toward his half-naked Playgirl physique. “You probably love flaunting it for the camera.”

“Not without my consent,” he repeats, and the hard look on his face tells me he really wasn’t fond of Natalie’s actions.

I suppose I can’t blame him. I still have nightmares about Kappa pledge week and all the embarrassing shit the seniors filmed us doing.

“Anyway,” he goes on, “maybe I need a break from the sex circuit. Take some time to regroup.”

I punch him in the shoulder. “Sex circuit? Oh my God. Must you be so gross?”

He offers that cocky grin again. “You don’t think I’m gross. Otherwise you wouldn’t be letting me snuggle up in your lap.”

I swallow through my suddenly dry throat. “This is not considered snuggling,” I say sternly.

“Sure it is, T.”

“It sure isn’t, C,” I mock. “And, what, you’re saying you’re going to abstain from sex for the foreseeable future? Because I don’t buy that.”

Conor looks aghast. “Abstain? Hell no. I’m gonna try to seduce you at every turn.”

A laugh flies out of my mouth. “You’re incorrigible.”

“Why’d you stop playing with my hair? Felt nice.” His tongue darts out to moisten his bottom lip, an adorable action that quickens my pulse. “So what do you say? We keep pretending for a while longer?”

“The fact that I’m entertaining this idea says I had too much to drink today,” I respond.

“That was hours ago. You’re not drunk. Besides, tell me the look on Abigail’s face every time she’s seen us together hasn’t gone straight to your tingly place.”

“First, don’t ever call it that again. Second…” I want to tell him he’s wrong. That I’m above such petty amusements. However…he’s not entirely wrong about the tingle. “Maybe I enjoyed it a little,” I confess.

“Ha! I knew it. You enjoy the game as much as I do.”

“Just a little,” I stress.

“Liar.”

When he sits abruptly, I experience a sense of loss I’m not allowed to feel. But I feel it all the same, missing the heaviness of his warm body on me and the softness of his blond hair between my fingers.

“What are you doing?” I demand as he hops off the bed and grabs his discarded pants.

He returns with his phone, plopping down beside me. His thumb slides over the screen as he…well, I’m not sure what he’s doing. Because I’m nosy, I lean closer to peek, and discover that he’s pulled up MyBriar, our school’s social media app.

My eyes widen as I watch him change his status to in a relationship.

“Hey,” I chide, “I didn’t say yes.”

“You basically said yes.”

“I was at a seventy percent at best.”

“Welp, might as well prance that last thirty, because we’re blowing up, babe.”

Oh my effing God. The little bubble above the notification icon starts blinking. Ten, twenty, forty.

“C’mon,” he coaxes. “I’m bored. This’ll be good for a laugh, at least. Best case scenario—you cave to my smoldering good looks and fall into bed with me.”

“You wish.”

“I really do. But fine, second-best case scenario: it might get Abigail to lay off you for a while. That’s worth something, right?”

That would be nice. Especially since there’s a Kappa chapter meeting tomorrow and I just know Abigail will be all over me with her passive aggressive jabs.

“You know you want to…” He wiggles his phone in the air enticingly.

My gaze is drawn to the thick silver band around his middle finger. “Nice ring. Where’d you get it?”

“LA. And you’re deflecting.” He holds the phone out to me. “I dare you.”

“You’re incredibly persistent.”

“Some would consider it one of my better qualities.”

“Also completely obnoxious.”

Conor flashes his self-assured grin that says “obnoxious” is just girl code for “charming” when she’s about to break.

“Taylor Marsh, will you do me the incredible honor of updating your relationship status and becoming my fake girlfriend?”

And break she does. As if possessed by some supernatural being, my hand takes the phone from him. My finger logs out of his MyBri and then logs into mine. And as I change my status to match his, I’m vaguely aware of two things:

One, I could have just used my own phone, but it would have ruined the moment.

And two, whatever this is, it’s bound to get messy.

 

 

8

 

 

Taylor

 

 

Less than twenty-four hours after Conor and I make it “official,” the entire Kappa membership gathers at the house while our chapter president leads the meeting. First on the agenda is the upcoming spring election for next year’s president and vice president. Naturally, since Charlotte is a senior, Abigail as her VP is the heir apparent. Gag me with a dishrag.

“To ensure no undue influence on the part of myself or the vice president,” Charlotte is saying, “Fiona will lead the election commission with Willow and Madison. They will host the platform dinner and coordinate the ballot committee. Anyone interested in helping out should talk with them after the meeting.”

Truth is, the election is all but a formality. Every year, the outgoing senior names a junior as her VP and she is elected the following year. All pretenses that we aren’t living under a dynastic system are insulting. Dani, who’s running against Abigail as the lone voice of resistance, doesn’t stand a chance. But she’s got my vote.

“Fi?” Charlotte prompts.

The tall redhead stands up. “Yes, okay. So, both Abigail and Dani will give their final campaign speeches at the platform dinner. The format will be—”

My phone vibrates against my thigh, drawing focus away from Fiona. I peer down and hide a smile when I read Conor’s text.

HIM: How’s my sexy babe doing this afternoon?

 

 

I covertly type back a response, although I feel Sasha’s knowing gaze on me. She’s in the chair next to mine, no doubt trying to read what I’m writing.

ME: In the middle of a chapter meeting. Kill me now.

HIM: Kill you?! But then how will we ever fuck?

 

 

I fight a laugh and reply with an eyeroll emoji.

He ups the ante by sending a picture of his abs, and I try not to drool all over the dining room table.

“Are you going to share with the rest of the class, Tay-Tay?” comes Abigail’s snippy voice.

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