over-the-top bravado. I have no idea what you really think about anything—including a situation like this. Plus you tried to make me believe we did something.” I look at him, trying to sift through the layers of shit he coats on everything.
For once that false front is gone. He’s just a guy, plainspoken and sincere. “I was teasing. I thought you remembered getting up here. You were funny, except for the stripping part. You told me all this stuff. We talked. I thought you’d remember some of that. You seemed to be coming out of it, but then you took my shirt and went to bed.”
“We talked?” He nods, blue eyes wide. “About what?”
He runs his hand through his hair and down his neck. “I don’t know. About life, family, sex, and things not going the way we’d thought they would.” He laughs lightly after a moment and glances at me. “I’m glad you don’t remember that part. I mean, lying on a bed next to a beautiful naked woman and talking? My reputation would be trashed.” He laughs nervously, and I wish I remembered what he'd told me. This isn’t the jackass version of Josh that I know.
Worry still pinches my brow, and he sees it. “I swear to you, nothing happened. I stayed with you because you were saying crazy things. I didn’t want to walk away and find out someone mistreated you.”
“What kind of crazy things?”
He smiles. “Stuff about a teacher, Carter, and Matt. You also talked about some guy named Nate. At one point you wanted to find him. Despite your lack of clothing, I think he would have been happy to see you. Had I not known what happened, I'd have said yes if you came to me.” He presses his lips together nervously and glances up at me from under dark lashes. “Kerry, I know we don’t belong together—actually, I’m pretty sure we usually hate each other—but I hate seeing you cry. If you ever need a shoulder or a dick, I’m here for you.”
I snort. “You are a dick.”
“Then we both agree.” He opens his arms and offers a hug. I step into his embrace convinced nothing happened between us. It’s weird, but all that emotional turbulence fades and I don’t doubt him. At some point, I started trusting people again. I have no idea when that occurred, but I’m glad. Life’s too short to be alone.
I can’t help wondering what happened to Nathan. He has no one.
I t turns out Beth was more affected by whatever got added to that bottle of vodka. The problem is everyone brought identical bottles, so there’s no way to tell who did it. At first, I suspected one of her brothers, but that doesn't add up. It would mean one of those overprotective siblings of Beth's drugged her on purpose, and I can’t believe that. Especially considering how pissed off they are now that the whole thing has passed. They seem madder now than when it happened. Instead of cooling off, they're hell-bent on finding out who is responsible.
We're sitting on a concrete bench in a courtyard outside the English building watching the doors. Josh seems to think he’s been invited. Today his hair is a mess. Since the night of the incident, he started styling it in a rumpled look. He’s wearing a clingy, deep-blue t-shirt and hip-hugging jeans with a frayed knee. They’re a brand I’ve never heard of, but when I accidentally brushed the back of my hand against his leg, it was impossible not to notice the buttery soft texture of the denim. I’m guessing those jeans cost more than my bus.
I've been hoping Josh will wander off, but he seems intent on staying. It’s been difficult to go anywhere without him, particularly if Beth is coming. He hasn’t let her out of his sight for an instant. It’s slowly driving her nuts, but the incident frazzled her, too. I’d be shocked if it hadn't.
I don’t like to mix worlds, especially since there’s a hugeass chasm between Carter and Josh, but if someone is drugging women on campus, it makes me feel a little better to have him around. I