Chapter One

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I look down at the words written in pink chalk and curse.

My sorority has a date dash tonight.

While I love a good party, I loathe a date dash. I hate how you don't find out about it until you see it chalked all over the campus sidewalk. I hate that it forces us all to "dash" to find a date and a costume. And, probably most of all, I hate how we all have to adjust our schedules at the last minute in order to go.

I had planned to meet up with my non-sorority friends tonight after finishing up work at the research lab that's taking over my life. But now that there's a date dash, I'm going to have to rearrange everything.

Because it's not like I'm not going to go to the party.

Sighing, I pull out my phone and shoot a text to Tyler, a guy I hooked up with off and on last semester to see if he wants to come with me tonight. As I head inside the building that houses the science lab, I feel my phone buzz in my hand.

Thanks so much for the invitation, but I won't be able to make it tonight. Have a great time!

I frown at my phone, annoyed that I was just turned down, and text my roommate, Priya.

Tyler Martinez just turned me down for the date dash.

I can see on the screen that she's writing back, and just a few seconds later a message pops up.

Of course he did! He and Chloe Babcocks are official. Did you really not know or were you testing the waters?

My eyes widen at that. I had no idea he had a girlfriend. I've been too busy for gossip, I guess.

I really didn't know, I quickly type back. Do you have a date yet?

I turn the corner and as I'm reaching for the door to the lab, my phone buzzes again.

Evan Chambers.

Which means I can't ask Evan.

"Hey, Kate," Tom, the other lab assistant, says as I walk in the door. "Ready for another exhilarating day of lab work?"

"Hey," I say back. "Is it bad if I say not really?"

He laughs and then says, "I know exactly what you mean."

He has a nice laugh and his eyes crinkle just slightly at the corners when he smiles. I suddenly find his face ridiculously adorable and before I can remind myself this is a terrible idea, I'm looking at him in a new light. He's a senior. He's nice to talk to. He'd probably go with me tonight if I asked him.

But then my rational brain catches up with me. He's my lab partner, and a really good one at that. I don't want to end up going with him and then somehow screwing up our working relationship.

Striking Tom off the list.

"Are you going to go to your sorority's party tonight?" he asks.

I sigh. "I should say that I'm not, shouldn't I?"

He shrugs. "I can handle writing up the lab report tonight. But you'll owe me a night off."

"That sounds fair," I say, even though I know that when the time comes and he asks for his night off, I'll hate myself for agreeing to this. As much as I enjoy science, I've realized since taking on this extra, great-for-my-résumé lab position that I don't love research and that I really don't love being in a lab. Especially by myself.

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