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Chapter 2

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I'd resorted to hiding in my bedroom, FaceTiming with Gabby. Her beautiful face hung on every word, eyes wide with an eager expression behind her glasses.

"They're talking about football. Like, extensively. While they stand around the grill like a couple of pals from way back," I said.

"I don't care what they're talking about," she scoffed, wrapping a long, dark ringlet around her finger. "Drayton Lahey is in your house. Having barbecue."

"I know," I groaned. "It's like a horror movie out there."

"You think he's hot?" Gabby asked.

"Yes. That doesn't change the fact that he's a di—"

"Dallas?" The knock on my door was followed by Drayton peeking through the gap, searching the room until he found me in the corner under my window. "Food's ready."

Hands in his pockets, leaning against the doorframe with a relaxed smile, he looked as though it wasn't the most bizarre thing in the world to be standing in my bedroom.

"Is that hi—"

"Uhshutupgoodbyeseeyoutomorrow!" I hung up the call, stood up, and smoothed out the black tank top I'd changed into after the water bottle incident.

Drayton watched me with a smug smile. "Talking about me?"

"Actually, yes," I confessed. "Apparently, there was some rumor going around about you and Mara Linden."

I dropped her name because, unfortunately for me, being on the cheer team meant being ear to a bunch of meaningless gossip twenty-four seven, whether I wanted to hear it or not. I knew for a fact he'd slept with her at a Fourth of July pool party at the beginning of summer.

"She's telling everyone that your penis is tiny and your stroke game is weak." The look that seized his features was so good that I was tempted to take a picture. His arrogant expression dropped, and, in its place, mortification bloomed as he visibly swallowed. "The cheer team have been talking about it all day."

That was a half truth. They had been talking about it all day, but more in praise, because apparently, he was as incredible as he looked. Of course he was.

I gave him a sympathetic smile and tapped his arm as I walked past, ignoring the impulsive desire to keep my hand on his biceps a little longer than appropriate. "Smells good. I'm starving."

The aroma of barbecue wafted down the hallway and I followed it out the back door to the yard, where Nathan had arranged the food in the middle of the picnic table. We ate like this all the time; neither of us cooked much, and the grill was easy and convenient. What wasn't normal was the buff star quarterback of my school dragging out a seat and sitting down like he was part of the family.

Drayton had clearly recovered from the blow to his ego, and was now leaning back in the chair, taking a swig of his beer, and winking in my direction. The fact that he knew I was uncomfortable and was enjoying it made me want to slap the bottle straight out of his hand.

"Seriously, why are you still here?" I scowled, leaning over the table. "I refuse to believe that you have nothing better to do."

"Dallas." Nathan gave me a wide-eyed warning as he sat down. "What is your problem tonight?"

"My problem is that you don't even know this guy. He goes to my school, but you invited him to stay for dinner. It's weird."

"I always invite your friends to stay if they're here around dinnertime." Nathan cut into his steak. "You've never had a problem with it before."

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